Hal:
> Philosophically the real question is not why QM is non-local, because
> there is no a priori reason the universe should be local.

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Nature is earlier than man. And man is earlier than natural science.
Thus sometimes (Einstein, essentially) we refuse even the possibility
of non-locality.
> The question is why the universe is so nearly local;
This is a good question. Bell and Eberhard (at the end of '70s)
made simulations about that. It was shown that any possible
deterministic theory, reproducing all QM results - at they
thought it was possible to build such a theory - would cause
a very strong non-locality (v > c). Thus it is possible that
QM rules are a good 'compromise', seen from the point of view
of an evolving universe (or universe as a computer). I think
it is possible to translate all that in Chaitin terms (complexity).
One who wrote something on this subject is (perhaps) Yurtsever.
> why it appears to be local for all practical purposes,
> if it is built on non-local underpinnings;
Difficult question. There are a lot of papers showing
'quantum-like' patterns in sociology, economy, etc.
They also find 'interferences', performing experiments :-)
> why the non-local connections are unable to affect causality.
This might be a trap. There are dozens of (different) proofs about
the 'peaceful coexistence' between QM and SR. But, as far as I know,
in all these proofs there is the QM 'tensor product' rule (imposed by
von Neumann, among many other possible products) which seems to
forbid v > c (Kennedy says that, Fuchs says something different).
Anyway the other problem is the "collapse", which is out of the
Schroedinger equation, which (if 'physical') could be non-linear,
etc. Essentially the "collapse" is out of QM. Now it is possible to
think that any proofs saying that QM does not allow superluminal
speeds (of informations) are illogical, and flawed, because of
that (sometimes hidden) assumption of "collapse", which is out
of QM.