On Mon, Dec 10, 2012 at 12:32 AM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:

>  On 12/9/2012 5:03 PM, Jason Resch wrote:
> On Sun, Dec 9, 2012 at 6:51 PM, meekerdb <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> 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, Omnès 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 don't know, I think Sagan's explanation fits most people's 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.

It is worse than that.  From:

"All right," says Nohr.  He sighs.  "Look, if this theory of yours were
actually true—if whole sections of the wavefunction just instantaneously
vanished—it would be... let's see.  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?"

The page also asks:

But suppose that decoherence and macroscopic decoherence had been realized
immediately following the discovery of entanglement, in the 1920s.  And
suppose that no one had proposed collapse theories until 1957.  Would
decoherence now be steadily declining in popularity, while collapse
theories were slowly gaining steam?

> 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.

MWI follows directly from a literal reading of the equations, which contain
no mention of collapse or only applying only at certain scales.  Even
better, the Born rule falls out as Everett himself noticed.  If anyone is
performing a stretch (postulating new things), it is those in the collapse
camp who add new conjectures to the theory in an unjustified effort to
preserve the notion of a single universe.  The theory itself explains why
the other universes are not observed, so pretending we have to augment the
theory by adding new postulates (observers, collapse, born rule) to make it
agree with our observations is somewhat absurd.

In the history of science efforts to keep humanity on the center stage seem
to always fail ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8GA2w-qrcg ).  I think
that very reason, to keep the Earth near the "center of the universe", was
and is the basis for collapse theories.


> 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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