When I read quantum mechanics and listen to those invested in the many 
places the mathematics leads, What strikes me is the extent to which the 
starting point is mathematics. That is, the entire discussion is couched 
as if the mathematics is defining what there is, rather than a mere 
describing what is there. I can see that the form of the mathematics 
projects a multitude of possibilities. But those invested in the  
business seem to operate under the assumption - an extra belief  - about 
the relationship of the mathematics to reality. It imbues the 
discussion. At least that is how it appears to me. Consider the 
pragmatics of it. I, scientist X,  am in a position of adopting 2 
possible mindsets:

Position 1
1a) The mathematics of quantum mechanics is very accurately predictive 
of observed phenomena
1b) Reality literally IS the mathematics of quantum mechanics (and by 
extension all the multitudinous alternative realities actually exist). 
Therefor to discuss mathematical constructs is to speak literally of 
reality. My ability to mentally manipulate mathematics therefore makes 
me a powerful lord of reality and puts me in a position of great 
authority and clarity.

Position 2
2a) The mathematics of quantum mechanics is very accurately predictive 
of observed phenomena
2b) Reality is not the mathematics of (a). Reality is constructed of 
something that merely appears/behaves quantum-mechanically to an 
observer made of whatever it is, within a universe made of it. The 
mathematics of this "something" is not the mathematics of kind (a).

1a) = 2a)
1b)  and 2b) they are totally different.

The (a) is completely consistent with either (b).
Yet we have religious zeal surrounding (1b)

I hope that you can see the subtlety of the distinction between position 
1 and position 2. As a thinking person in the logical position of 
wondering what position to adopt, position 1 is *completely 
unjustified*. The parsimonious position is one in which the universe is 
made of something other than 1b maths, and then to find a method of 
describing ways in which position 1 might seem apparent to an observer 
made of whatever the universe is actually made of.. The nice thing about 
position 2 is that I have room for *doubt* in 2b which does not exist in 
1b. In position 2 I have:

(i) laws of nature that are the describing system (predictive of 
phenomena in the usual ways)
(ii) behaviours of a doubtable 'stuff' relating in doubtable ways to 
produce an observer able to to (i)

In position 1 there is no doubt of kind (ii). That doubt is replaced by 
religious adherence to an unfounded implicit belief which imbues the 
discourse. At the same time  position 1 completely fails to explain an 
observer of the kind able to do 1a.

In my ponderings on this I am coming to the conclusion that the very 
nature of the discourse and training self-selects for people who's 
mental skills in abstract symbol manipulation make Position 1 a 
dominating tendency. Aggregates of position 1 thinkers - such as the 
everything list and 'fabric of reality' act like small cults. There is 
some kind of psychological payback involved in position 1 which selects 
for people susceptible to religiosity of kind 1b. Once you have a couple 
of generations of these folk who are so disconnected from the reality of 
themselves as embedded, situated agents/observers... that position 2, 
which involves an admission of permanent ignorance of some kind, and 
thereby demoting the physicist from the prime source of authority over 
reality, is marginalised and eventually more or less invisible.

It is not that MWI is true/false.... it's that confinement to the 
discourse of MWI alone is justified only on religious grounds of the 
kind I have delineated. You can be quite predictive and at the same time 
not actually be discussing reality at all - and you'll never realise it. 
I.E. Position 2 could be right and all the MWI predictions can still be 
right. Yet position 1 behaviour stops you from finding position 2 ... 
and problems unsolved because they are only solvable by position 2 
remain unsolved merely because of 1b religiosity.

Can anyone else here see this cultural schism operating?


Colin Hales

Jason Resch wrote:
> The following link shows convincingly that what one gains by accepting
> MWI is far greater than what one loses (an answer to the born
> probabilities)
> http://www.overcomingbias.com/2008/05/if-many-worlds.html
> "The only law in all of quantum mechanics that is non-linear,
> non-unitary, non-differentiable and discontinuous.  It would prevent
> physics from evolving locally, with each piece only looking at its
> immediate neighbors.  Your 'collapse' would be the only fundamental
> phenomenon in all of physics with a preferred basis and a preferred
> space of simultaneity.  Collapse would be the only phenomenon in all
> of physics that violates CPT symmetry, Liouville's Theorem, and
> Special Relativity.  In your original version, collapse would also
> have been the only phenomenon in all of physics that was inherently
> mental.  Have I left anything out?"
> Jason
> On Thu, May 14, 2009 at 7:06 AM, ronaldheld <ronaldh...@gmail.com> wrote:
>> read Aixiv.org:0905.0624v1 (quant-ph) and see if you agree with it
>>                                                    Ronald
> >

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