Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Wrong Scent

Well done Brian (Cox): You are helping to put people off the scent. You really don't want to follow this one!

This news item on UD by Denise O’Leary is worth mentioning: She quotes a BBC web site article where Brian Cox was quoted:

“That there’s an infinite number of universes sounds more complicated than there being one,” Prof Cox told the programme.
“But actually, it’s a simpler version of quantum mechanics. It’s quantum mechanics without wave function collapse… the idea that by observing something you force a system to make a choice.”*1
Accepting the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics means also having to accept that things can exist in several states at the same time.
But this leads to a another question: Why do we perceive only one world, not many?

I think I probably would go along with the sentiment of Denise’s comments here: If we are allowed to play the game in terms of what theoretical concepts make sense*2, then I have to say that for me the “many worlds” interpretation of quantum theory makes very little sense indeed, and that’s because for me the cosmos is starting to look like a declarative programmer's paradise  (See also: )

The question about why we don’t see those many worlds is very telling: In the many worlds view ancillary devices have to be added to explain why the macro world doesn't manifest quantum ambiguities; after all, chaos will insure that these ambiguities get magnified up to macro level. Moreover, decoherence ideas don’t fit very well with those quantum experiments where there is a null result but where the implication is that the quantum state vector still jumps in a discontinuous way and in a way that implies non-locality.
The article linked to by Denise finishes with this statement:

 Brian Cox supports the many worlds interpretation and, he believes, more and more physicists are now subscribing to this view.

Suits me! That should keep them off the scent and off my heels for a bit! I need some of space. In any case I’m a crank – who’d want to follow a crank, eh? So please don’t follow me, I've probably picked up the scent of a skunk.

*1 Cox's sentiment of "simplification" of choice, if taken to its uttermost, leads to Max Tegmark's  Mathematical Universe where every mathematically coherent alternative has been selected for reification, thus doing away with any hint that there is some enigmatic agency out there actually making a very particular and special selection from platonic space.... although there is one choice left; namely, the choice between everything and nothing; Max doesn't tell us why everything rather than nothing has been choosen! See here:
*2 In the final analysis “making sense of evidence” is all theoretical narratives can do  – this is because evidence is never inductive, but rather abductive .

Once upon a time in the Web 
A story from of Wild Web

Smells like a skunk: Quantum Theory looks a bit mad.

Brian Cox isn't Clint Eastwood so there's no competition in town.

Closing in on our wanted man.

But we haven't nailed him yet!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi, I am from Australia.
Please find three related references on Quantum Reality and the inherent limitations of "point of view" whether secular or what is usually called religious (as in the Uncommon Descent website)