Colin Hales wrote:
> Hi,
> 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.

I don't know many physicist who takes this position. I guess Max Tegmark would 
be one.  But most physicists seem to take the math as descriptive.  It is more 
often mathematicians who are Platonists; not I think because of ego, but 
mathematics seems to be "discovered" rather than "invented".

> 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).

What about the mathematics is as complete a description as we have of whatever 
underlying reality there may be.  So we might as well, provisionally, identify 
it with the real.


> Note
> 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?
> regards
> 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)
>> "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 <> wrote:
>>> read (quant-ph) and see if you agree with it
>>>                                                    Ronald
> > 

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