On 12/9/2012 5:03 PM, Jason Resch wrote:


On Sun, Dec 9, 2012 at 6:51 PM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net <mailto:meeke...@verizon.net>> wrote:

    On 12/9/2012 4:37 PM, Jason Resch wrote:


    On Sun, Dec 9, 2012 at 5:40 PM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net
    <mailto:meeke...@verizon.net>> wrote:

        On 12/9/2012 12:08 PM, Jason Resch wrote:

            And without a doubt the most popular interpretation of Quantum 
Mechanics
            among working physicists is SUAC (Shut Up And Calculate),


        That's not an interpretation at all.

        Well for a more philosophical statement of it see Omnes.  His view is 
that once
        you can explain the diagonalization of the the density matrix (either by
        eigenselection, dechoherence, or just assumed per Bohr) then you have 
predicted
        probabilities.  QM is a probabilistic theory - so predicting 
probabilities is
        all you can ask of it.


    Is science just about its applications or about understanding the world?  I 
would
    argue that science would not progress so far as it has if we thought 
finding the
    equation was the be all and end all of science.  The "shut up and calculate"
    mindset can be translated as "don't ask embarrassing questions", it is the
    antithesis of scientific thinking.

    Student in the 1500s: Does the earth move about the sun, or do the planets 
merely
    appear to move as if earth moved about the sun?
    Professor in the 1500s: We have all the formulas for predicting planetary 
motion,
    so shut up and calculate!

    Fortunately, Copernicus wasn't satisfied with that answer.

    So what's your objection to Omnes?  That the world just can't be 
probabilistic?  So
    instead there must be infinitely many inaccessible worlds - which happen to 
mimic a
    probabilistic world.


It is fine if QM is a probabilistic theory. Where I disagree with him is in his belief that we can never go beyond that in our understanding of it. I am not sure how accurate this statement is, since it is a secondary source, but http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roland_Omn%C3%A8s says: "We will never, Omn├Ęs believes, find a common sense interpretation of quantum law itself." To me, it almost seems as if he says it is not worth trying to find an answer.

Suppose he'd said in 1400CE, "We will never find a common sense interpretation of the sphericity of the Earth." He'd have been right; we didn't, instead we changed 'common sense'.

I lean more towards David Deutsch who says science is about finding good 
explanations.

But why isn't "It's a probabilistic world and it obeys the Born rule." a good explanation. I'm all for finding a better explanation, i.e. a deterministic one. But simply postulating an ensemble of worlds to make the probabilities "deterministic" in arbitrary way doesn't strike me as any improvement.

Brent
"As to the fable that there are Antipodes, that is to say,
men on the opposite side of the earth where the sun rises
when it sets to us, men who walk with their feet opposite
ours, that is on no ground credible. Even if some unknown
landmass is there, and not just ocean, "there was only one
pair of original ancestors, and it is inconceivable that
such distant regions should have been peopled by Adam's
descendants."
      --- St. Augustine

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