On 11 Dec 2012, at 18:05, meekerdb wrote:

On 12/11/2012 6:58 AM, Bruno Marchal wrote:


On 10 Dec 2012, at 17:25, meekerdb wrote:

On 12/10/2012 2:47 AM, Bruno Marchal wrote:


On 10 Dec 2012, at 02:03, 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, 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. I lean more towards David Deutsch who says science is about finding good explanations.

Omnes is very special. His many books gives the best account and defense of the MWI, except that in the last paragraph, or chapter, he insist that we have to be irrational, in fine, and select one reality. This is really cosmo-solipsism, and makes QM indeed no more rational at all.

What's not rational about it? I think 'rational' just means 'being able to give coherent reasons'. There's a perfectly good coherent reason for 'selecting' one reality - we experience one reality.

But there is no reason to extrapolate from this. We experience a flat earth, we see the Sun turning around Earth, we feel the need of force to keep the same speed, etc.

And all those inferences were perfectly rational. The fact that later, more comprehensive theories were found doesn't change that. Rational is not the same as 'always right'.

OK. But I was pointing of the fact that there was a pattern in the mistake, which consists in extrapolating from our experience. Progress along the path Galileo, Einstein, Everett always come from a better distinction between what is, and how it can appear to us. Then in the search of a TOE, we need to use coherent reasons, but we need also a coherent big picture.

I agree I tend to use "rational" is an unusually restricted sense: going from "the earth look flat" to the "earth looks round" is rational. Going from "the earth looks flat" to "the earth *is* round" is irrational.



Usually when we refer to experience we are wrong

We're not wrong about the experience, although we may be wrong about it's extrapolations.

OK. That is what I meant.




(and from this some extrapolate wrongly that we cannot mention experience in experiment ...).

Also, we do not experience a reality. We experience something (consciousness, mainly) and we extrapolate reality from that, and from theories already extrapolated.

I agree. But the model of reality we build should comport with experience. We don't experience many worlds, so a valid model must include that.

But we do experience many worlds. We see those interference that we can see, and without collapse, that we don't see, this is a sort of experiencing the many worlds. Like we do experience the roundness of the earth, through travel, media, pictures, etc. If not, we never experience anything physical to start with. We are just more and more conscious of the assumptions we make.

Being rational we prefer to explain the complex from the simple than the simple from the complex. But the understanding of the simple, itself, is already complex, and so it is the place where we have to agree, the more explicitly, on what is simple and what is not.

Bruno


http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/



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