Posts tagged ‘philosophy of science’

October 3rd, 2013

Quantum Entanglement and the Many Worlds Interpretation

by Max Andrews

Erwin Schrödinger introduced quantum entanglement in a 1935 paper[1] delivered to the Cambridge Philosophical Society in which he argued that the state of a system of two particles that have interacted generally cannot be written as a product of individual states of each particle.

|Particle A interacting with B〉 ≠ |A〉|B〉

Such a state would be an entanglement of individual states in which one cannot say with any certainty which particle is in which state. Disentanglement occurs when a measurement is made.[2] This is what gave rise to Schrödinger’s famous (or infamous) cat illustration, which will be useful in understanding the role of measurement and the following consequent for a quantum version of many worlds.

The non-interactive state of two particles cannot be expressed as a certain conjunction of the two states. An example of an entangled state is

Screen Shot 2013-10-03 at 1.38.29 PM

August 29th, 2013

Michael Denton’s New Paper That Argues for the Fine-Tuning of the “Laws of Form”

by Max Andrews

Original source from Evolution News & Views.

In a new peer-reviewed paper in BIO-Complexity, Michael Denton challenges the view that biological organisms are accidents of random mutation and natural selection, instead adopting a structuralist view that body plans are like Platonic “types,” woven into the fabric of nature.

According to Denton, a biochemist and Senior Fellow with Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture, this perspective, popular before Darwin wrote Origin of Species in 1859, “was not based, as Darwinists often claim, on a priori philosophical belief in Platonic concepts, but rather upon the empirical finding that a vast amount of biological complexity, including the deep homologies which define the taxa of the natural system, appears to be of an abstract, non-adaptive nature that is sometimes of a strikingly numerical and geometric character.”

August 1st, 2013

Transcript and Thoughts on My Debate with Justin Schieber

by Max Andrews

Over the last month or two I’ve been working on a written/audio debate with Justin Schieber of Reasonable Doubts. The topic of the debate was “Does the Christian God Exist?” I imagine the debate may have been released earlier had it not been for my delayed responses due to health issues and moving out of our house and preparing to embark on our move to Scotland. I have apologized to Mr. Schieber concerning this and I extend apologies to the readers and listeners.

I was actually expecting much stronger arguments from Mr. Schieber. Two arguments were off topic and the other one was a far metaphysical and modal stretch. You’ll be able to read his arguments in full but here are my thoughts :

July 17th, 2013

How “Sudden” Was the Cambrian Explosion?

by Max Andrews

Original post by Casey Luskin.

On June 19, the day after Darwin’s Doubt was first available for purchase, Nick Matzke published a 9400-word “review” of the book in which it appears that he tried to anticipate many of Stephen Meyer’s arguments. Unfortunately, he often either guessed wrong as to what Meyer would say or — assuming he actually read the book as he claims — misread many of Meyer’s specific claims. As I showed in a previous response to Matzke, Matzke repeatedly misquoted Meyer, at one point claiming he referred to the Cambrian explosion as “instantaneous,” when Meyer nowhere makes that claim. Indeed, Matzke faulted Meyer for not recognizing that the Cambrian explosion “was not really ‘instantaneous’ nor particularly ‘sudden.’”

July 17th, 2013

Appealing to ‘Chance’ is Still Consistent with Design or Fine-Tuning

by Max Andrews

The non-fine-tuning hypothesis, non-design, or even, dare I say, Darwinism have several different forms but, broadly speaking, is anything other than fine-tuning (or the design hypothesis).  There are three primary non-fine-tuning (non-design) versions: chance, necessity, and chance and necessity.  Each one has different explanatory strengths and weaknesses.

June 24th, 2013

Q&A 28: The Multiverse, Many Worlds, and the Problem of Evil

by Max Andrews

Question:

Hey Max,
This was a great idea to start this Q&A section!  I have a question regarding the Problem of Evil that I have been working on for a couple months now.  I haven’t yet found an intellectually satisfying answer, but hopefully through you, God will provide one.  (I almost didn’t want to ask it because I enjoy the “chase” as Christ reveals Himself to me through the process!)
read more »

June 17th, 2013

Boltzmann Brains and Multiverse Scenarios

by Max Andrews

Max Tegmark has introduced an anthropic principle specifically related to multiverse scenarios—the minimalistic anthropic principle (MAP). Tegmark believes the anthropic principle has generated more heat than light with so many different interpretations. MAP states that when testing fundamental theories with observational data, ignoring selection effects can give incorrect conclusions.[1]

Tegmark does not use MAP and selection effects to rule out everything. It cannot rule out chaotic inflation by the fact that we find ourselves living in the miniscule fraction of space where inflation has ended, since the inflating part is uninhabitable to us. As pointed out by Ludwig Boltzmann, if the universe were in a classical thermal equilibrium (heat death), thermal fluctuations could still make atoms assemble at random to briefly create a self-aware observer (a Boltzmann brain) like us every once in a blue moon, so the fact that we exist right now does not rule out the heat death cosmological model.[2]  So, what should we do with Boltzmann brains?

June 12th, 2013

Q&A 26: Revisiting the Viability of Theistic Explanations

by Max Andrews

Question:

This is a follow up question from week 16. For a greater context please see that Q&A.

OK, thank you so much!

I’ll go through your reply point by point more or less, but I’ll try my best to be concise.

On successful research programs – Correct me if I’m wrong, but you seem to assume that science and philosophy aren’t continuous. Perhaps this is based on the idea that science is committed to methodological naturalism (MN). But what do you think of the idea that science isn’t looking for the best naturalistic explanations, but the best explanations, period; and it just so happens that naturalistic explanations have a successful track record and supernatural ones don’t? In other words, MN need not be seen as a presupposition of science, but as sensible advice based on past experience – MN has been tremendously successful before, so why not be committed to it? My point is this: it seems that, unless we assume science and philosophy (qua explanatory practice, at least) are discontinuous, your appeal to God as a metaphysical explanation (as opposed to a scientific one) is questionable.

June 9th, 2013

The Philosophy of Science Directory

by Max Andrews

This is a compilation of posts, which focus on the philosophy of science. These posts will cover a broad spectrum within the philosophy of science ranging from multiverse scenarios, scientific theory, epistemology, and metaphysics.

  1. MA Philosophy Thesis: “The Fine-Tuning of Nomic Behavior in Multiverse Scenarios”
  2. Natural Law and Scientific Explanation
  3. Science and Efficient Causation
  4. Which Comes First, Philosophy or Science?
  5. The Postulates of Special Relativity
  6. There’s No Such Thing as Creation Science–There’s Just Science
  7. Time Travel and Bilking Arguments
  8. “It’s Just a Theory”–What’s a Scientific Theory?
  9. Exceptions to a Finite Universe
  10. Teleology in Science
  11. Duhemian Science
  12. The Relationship Between Philosophy and Science
  13. The History of the Multiverse and the Philosophy of Science
  14. Where’s the Line of Demarcation Between Science and Pseudoscience?
  15. Miracles and the Modern Worldview
  16. Mass-Density Link Simpliciter
  17. Scientific Nihilism
  18. Q&A 10: The Problem of Defining Science
  19. Q&A 6: Scientism and Inference to the Best Explanation
  20. The Quantum Universe and the Universal Wave Function
  21. The History and Macro-Ontology of the Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Physics
    read more »

May 29th, 2013

MA Thesis Available Online — “The Fine-Tuning of Nomic Behavior in Multiverse Scenarios”

by Max Andrews

My Master’s thesis is now available for download.

Department: Philosophy

Degree: Master of Arts

Chair: W. David Beck

Primary Subject Area: Philosophy; Physics, Astronomy and Astrophysics; Religion, General; Physics, Theory; Physics, General

Keywords: cosmology, fine-tuning, information, multiverse, philosophy of science, quantum

Disciplines: Astrophysics and Astronomy | Cosmology, Relativity, and Gravity | Philosophy | Philosophy of Science | Quantum Physics | Religion

Abstract: The multiverse hypothesis (the view that there is not just one world or universe in existence, bur rather that there are many) is the leading alternative to the competing fine-tuning hypothesis (the laws of physics and constants are fine-tuned for the existence of life).