On 1 January 2014 13:18, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:

>  On 12/31/2013 1:58 PM, LizR wrote:
>  On 1 January 2014 10:46, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:
>> On 31 Dec 2013, at 03:09, LizR wrote:
>>> But I feel that you must already know this. Are you just being Devil's
>>> Advocate, or do you honestly not see the usefulness of multiverse theories?
>>  Partly playing Devil's Advocate - but doing so because I'm not convinced
>> that Everett's MWI is the last word and because I don't like to see the
>> hard problem of predicting/explaining *this* to be fuzzed over by an easy
>> "everythingism".
>>  Your use of disparaging language to sum up the opposing position
> doesn't fill me with optimism that you actually get why this hard problem
> may in fact have been solved. There is no "fuzzing over" involved in the
> MWI, quite the reverse - you need to "fuzz things over" if you want to get
> "this" out of QM as a unique solution. Collapse of the wave function and so
> on -- a "fuzzy" hand-waving exercise.
> That's the usual argument of MWI advocates, "It's better than collapse of
> the wave function."  But is it?  It's only better than Copenhagen.  What
> about Penrose?  And what about the subjective Bayesian interpretation.

The MWI is better than *unexplained* collapse because it at least scores
better on one test for scientific respectability, namely Occam's Razor.

Penrose's idea is a good example of a viable collapse mechanism,
Furthermore, it suggests that superpositions can only grow so large before
they MUST collapse. And we are testing larger superpositions all the time
(didn't someone mention sending VWs through the two-slit experiment, if we
can just find a way to stop them decohering?!) So Penrose is a good example
of a theoretical collapse mechanism that can be tested. I will be
interested to know the results.

I don't know about the SBI, unless I know it under a different name -
please explain?

> I'm not 100% ken on the straw man, either. *No one *thinks the MWI is the
> last word, because it isn't a TOE. But it *may* be a good approximation
> (or it may not, of course).
> ?? It's an *interpretation*.  Interpretations are only useful in pointing
> to new tests or new theories - they've not approximations.

Yeah, sorry, sloppy phrasing. What I meant was no one thinks QM is the last
word, and since the MWI is (I'm told) just QM with no bolt-on extras, I
conflated the two. There may of course be better interpretations of QM, and
they may point to deeper theories with testable consequences, and those
deeper theories may indicate whether one or another interpretation was
correct. So basically I was trying to say in my cack-handed way that we
can't know if the MWI is the correct interpretation without a TOE (and even
then we can't *know*, of course. But it may be the best interpretation
consistent with said TOE, or the TOE may point the way to something else,
maybe a collapse mechanism, like, say, Roger Penrose's "gravity-assisted
collapse" mentioned above).

>  *If* it's a good approximation, it solves the problem of "why this
> history?" without resorting to any extra doodads on top of the basic
> equations. Or so I'm told.
> I'd say adding infinitely many worlds just to get a probability to come
> out 1/pi is a lot of doodads.

Sometimes "a physicist's gotta do..." Adding a huge number of worlds just
to explain why the lights in the sky move around is a lot of doodads, too,
but if it makes for a simpler and more convincing explanation, well, "it's
a long shot but it might just work!"

> AFAICS you either need to have a reason why it "just comes out this way"
> or you have to use an Everett/comp style explanation. If you have a third
> type of explanation, please tell me!
> No, in science you don't always need to have an explanation.  Sometimes
> it's "I don't know."

No, in science it's *always* "I don't know". But we are discussing rival
ontologies, and hence it isn't a scientific question, but a logical one -
how CAN we explain things coming out one way, rather than another, even in
principle? I'm actually seriously interested to know if there is another
way to explain "this" (so I could do without a patronising put down. If I
want those, I have Edgar.)

> Otherwise you're just saying "I don't like it, so it can't be true!"
> I didn't say I don't like it. It may point the way forward.  But I don't
> like the evangelical tone of some of it's disciples.

This is my problem. Some of the time you're arguing (sensibly) about the
merits or otherwise of the MWI, but some of the time you seem to have an
agenda, and it's hard to disentangle the two. I'm not an "MWI disciple",
but do I want to know what is good or bad about a particular theory or
interpretation without having to worry about any extra baggage, especially
when I don't know which part is answering the baggage and which part is
answering me, (who I hope isn't quite described the same way, at least not
yet :)

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