Posts tagged ‘quantum mechanics’

July 25th, 2014

A New Cosmological Argument: EPS 2014

by Max Andrews

This year’s Evangelical Philosophical Society Annual Conference will be in San Diego, California, USA (500 Hotel Circle North, San Diego, California 92108). I will be presenting from 0920 to 1000 on Wednesday in EPS Session A4 in Windsor.

This is the third year in a row I’ve had a paper accepted for presentation at EPS (coauthoring with Dave Beck). This paper will help thresh out some of my research concerning the behaviour of natural law as well as methodology in a philosophy of cosmology. In the paper I will be able to examine different cosmological models (primarily multiverse models) and consider the necessitarian vs. regularity debate as well as the metaphysical and modal status of natural law and the ontological furniture of all reality. This is relevant to several sections of my thesis and the peer feedback offered by conferences such as this are vital to have external minds critiquing my proposed models for many universes and, what I believe to be, the radical metaphysical contingency of worlds.

May 3rd, 2014

Philosophical Fragments Botches the Multiverse

by Max Andrews

Philosophical Fragments is a blog with Patheos and there was a guest post (don’t hold it against he actual blog owner, it’s a guest) named Mark Goldblatt (I’m not certain that’s the author but notice his employer and notice what he’s writing on… I’m just saying…) titled “Bad Epistemology.” Let me begin by telling you what I really think… I think this post is full of bad science, bad philosophy, bad semantics, quibbling over spilled milk, and botches the multiverse is an embarrassingly bad way. Aaaand, yes, there are some good things and I won’t forget to highlight them either.

If you want to argue against the multiverse [or quantum issues], fine, but do so in an informed and more educated manner than this.

Goldblatt begins his epic rant by discussing contemporary science’s search and desire to discover the truth about the cosmos and the origin of life. Quoting Neil deGrasse Tyson from the reinstatement of Cosmos:

“If you take the universe all the way back to the Big Bang, well, the entire universe was really small. So now you take the shotgun wedding – quantum physics and general relativity. In that shotgun wedding, if you follow through with all the predictions quantum physics gives you, it allows multiple bubbles to form – one of which is our universe. These are sorts of fluctuations in the quantum foam. Quantum physics fluctuates all the time. But now the fluctuations are not just particles coming into and out of existence, which happens all the time. It’s whole universes coming into and out of existence.”

April 6th, 2014

Discovery of quantum vibrations in ‘microtubules’ inside brain neurons supports controversial theory of consciousness

by Max Andrews

The pre-Socratics have a habit of coming back to the moderns and contemporaries and saying, “I told you so.” This is something Dave Beck and I argue in regards to the multiverse (or many worlds) in a forthcoming paper in Philosophia Christi this summer. Could it be the case that Democritus was right about mind being in the finer atoms?

SourceScience Daily

Summary: A review and update of a controversial 20-year-old theory of consciousness claims that consciousness derives from deeper level, finer scale activities inside brain neurons. The recent discovery of quantum vibrations in “microtubules” inside brain neurons corroborates this theory, according to review authors. They suggest that EEG rhythms (brain waves) also derive from deeper level microtubule vibrations, and that from a practical standpoint, treating brain microtubule vibrations could benefit a host of mental, neurological, and cognitive conditions.

February 3rd, 2014

Max Tegmark and The Fluke Explanation for Life

by Max Andrews

our mathematical universe tegmarkI’m reading Max Tegmark’s newest and only book Our Mathematical Universe, which I will be reviewing for an academic journal. I wanted to share, as much as I could without copyright infringement an amazing point on the issues of fine-tuning in the most broad sense of the word (the existence of a universe that permits the existence of life).

 So what are we to make of this fine-tuning? First of all, why can’t we just dismiss it all as a bunch of fluke coincidences? Because the scientific method doesn’t tolerate unexplained coincidences saying, “My theory requires an unexplained coincidence to agree with observation.” For Example, we’ve seen how inflation predicts that space is flat and the spots in the cosmic microwave background should have an average size around a degree, and that the experiments…. confirmed this… Suppose the Planck team observed [something else being] much smaller average spy size, prompting them to announce that they’d ruled out inflation with 99.999% confidence. This would mean that random fluctuations in a flat universe could [author's emphasis] have caused spots to appear as unusually small as they measured, tricking them into an incorrect conclusion, but what with 99.999% probability this wouldn’t happen? In other words, inflation  would require a 1 – in – 100,000 unexplained coincidence in order to agree with the measurement…

November 17th, 2013

A Theological Argument for Many Worlds

by Max Andrews

The following is the abstract to Don Page’s paper, “A Theological Argument for an Everett Multiverse.”

Science looks for the simplest hypotheses to explain observations. Starting with the simple assumption that {\em the actual world is the best possible world}, I sketch an {\it Optimal Argument for the Existence of God}, that the sufferings in our universe would not be consistent with its being alone the best possible world, but the total world could be the best possible if it includes an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent God who experiences great value in creating and knowing a universe with great mathematical elegance, even though such a universe has suffering.

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
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February 28th, 2013

Higgs Boson Calculations Indicate a Finite Lifespan for the Universe

by Max Andrews

Screen Shot 2013-02-28 at 7.46.19 PMReblogged from Irene Klotz with Yahoo News.

Scientists are still sorting out the details of last year’s discovery of the Higgs boson particle, but add up the numbers and it’s not looking good for the future of the universe, scientists said Monday [Feb. 18].

“If you use all the physics that we know now and you do what you think is a straightforward calculation, it’s bad news,” Joseph Lykken, a theoretical physicist with the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois, told reporters.

Lykeen spoke before presenting his research at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Boston.

“It may be that the universe we live in is inherently unstable and at some point billions of years from now it’s all going to get wiped out,” said Lykken, who is also on the science team at Europe’s Large Hadron Collider, or LHC, the world’s largest and highest-energy particle accelerator.

February 5th, 2013

A Theological Argument for an Everett Multiverse

by Max Andrews
Max Tegmark, "Parallel Universes," Scientific American 2003.

Max Tegmark, “Parallel Universes,” Scientific American 2003.

The following is the abstract to Don Page’s paper, “A Theological Argument for an Everett Multiverse.”

Science looks for the simplest hypotheses to explain observations. Starting with the simple assumption that {\em the actual world is the best possible world}, I sketch an {\it Optimal Argument for the Existence of God}, that the sufferings in our universe would not be consistent with its being alone the best possible world, but the total world could be the best possible if it includes an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent God who experiences great value in creating and knowing a universe with great mathematical elegance, even though such a universe has suffering.

God seems loathe to violate elegant laws of physics that He has chosen to use in His creation, such as Maxwell’s equations for electromagnetism or Einstein’s equations of general relativity for gravity within their classical domains of applicability, even if their violation could greatly reduce human suffering (e.g., from falls). If indeed God is similarly loathe to violate quantum unitarity (though such violations by judicious collapses of the wavefunction could greatly reduce human suffering by always choosing only favorable outcomes), the resulting unitary evolution would lead to an Everett multiverse of `many worlds’, meaning many different quasiclassical histories beyond the quasiclassical history that each of us can observe over his or her lifetime. This is a theological argument for one reason why God might prefer to create a multiverse much broader than what one normally thinks of for a history of the universe.

January 9th, 2013

The Quantum Universe and the Universal Wave Function

by Max Andrews

In 1956 Hugh Everett III published his Ph.D. dissertation titled “The Theory of the Universal Wave Function.”  In this paper Everett argued for the relative state formulation of quantum theory and a quantum philosophy, which denied wave collapse.  Initially, this interpretation was highly criticized by the physics community and when Everett visited Niels Bohr in Copenhagen in 1959 Bohr was unimpressed with Everett’s most recent development (439).  In 1957 Everett coined his theory as the Many Worlds Interpretation (MWI) of quantum mechanics.  In an attempt to circumvent the problem of defining the mechanism for the state of collapse Everett suggested that all orthogonal relative states are equally valid ontologically. An orthogonal state is one that is mutually exclusive.  A system cannot be in two orthogonal states at the same time.  As a result of the measurement interaction, the states of the observer have evolved into exclusive states precisely linked to the results of the measurement.  At the end of the measurement process the state of the observer is the sum of eigenstate—or a combination of the sums of eigenstates, one sum for each possible value of the eigenvalue.  Each sum is the relative state of the observer given the value of the eigenvalue (442-43).  What this means is that all-possible states are true and exist simultaneously.

January 8th, 2013

Popper’s Two Cents on Many Worlds

by Max Andrews

In this section (Quantum Theory and the Schism in Physics, Ed. W. W. Bartley, III (Totowa, NJ: Rowman and Littlefield, 1956, 1982), 89-95.) Karl Popper discusses his attraction to the Many Worlds Interpretation as well as the reasons for his rejection of it. Popper is actually quite pleased with Everett’s threefold contribution to the field of quantum physics. Despite his attraction to the interpretation he rejects it based on the falsifiability of the symmetry behind the Schrödinger equation.

Popper’s model allows for a theory to be scientific prior to supported evidence.  There is no positive case for purporting a theory under his model. There can only be a negative case to falsify it and as long as it may be potentially falsified it is scientific.  Thus, a scientific theory could have no evidence or substantiated facts to provide good reasons for why it may be true. What makes this discussion of the many worlds interpretation of quantum physics (MWI) interesting is that despite Popper’s attraction to MWI it’s not the attraction that makes it scientific, it’s his criterion of falsification.

Popper’s arguments:

In favor of MWI:

  1. The MWI is completely objective in its discussion of quantum mechanics.
  2. Everett removes the need and occasion to distinguish between ‘classical’ physical systems, like the measurement apparatus, and quantum mechanical systems, like elementary particles.  All systems are quantum (including the universe as a whole).
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