Posts tagged ‘quantum physics’

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).
    read more »

November 26th, 2012

Call for Papers on the Philosophy of Science and Science

by Max Andrews

This is a call for papers to be submitted to me for online publication with Sententias. I’m looking for about ten papers. Please include an abstract and Turabian format. The paper can be a minimum of 4 pages but there’s not maximal limit. I will compile the papers and put them in the first volume and issue of the Sententias Journal (Free online PDF file). This is just to kickstart more activity for Sententias to take part in. Depending on the feedback and participation we can make this a peer-reviewed process so we can have some respectable esteem. But, for now, we need to start modestly. Theists, atheists, Christians, evolutionists, and intelligent design proponents are all welcome. Here are a few suggested options:

  • What’s a scientific theory?
  • What’s a scientific explanation?
  • Breaking down a particular interpretation of quantum physics.
  • Brak down a model of cosmological origins.
  • Argue for Darwinism
  • read more »

  • November 26th, 2012

    New Paper: The History and Macro-Ontology of the Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Physics

    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. (DOWNLOAD HERE)

    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.[1] 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.[2]  What this means is that all-possible states are true and exist simultaneously.

    November 17th, 2012

    “God and the Multiverse” EPS 2012 Paper

    by Max Andrews

    David Beck and I recently presented a paper on God and the multiverse at the annual Evangelical Philosophical Society conference in Milwaukee, WI on November 14, 2012. In this paper we argue that if a multiverse exists then it is harmonious with theism. Not only do we argue that it’s compatible with theism but we develop a distinctly Christian approach to it. We trace the idea of many worlds back to the pre-Socratics, which contributed to a theistic framework. We use Thomas Aquinas, Leibniz, Kant, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and others to create a Christian model of modal realism. We have called our model “Thomistic Modal Realism.” We plan on explicating the paper and submitting it for publication soon. Please feel free to comment and leave feedback in the comment section. Any and all appropriate/substantive feedback will help us strengthen our model.

    November 8th, 2012

    Entangle Schrödinger’s Cat

    by Max Andrews

    Nothing is more adorable than a kitten playing with string, but when Schrödinger’s cat becomes entangled, things get really weird.

    Two research teams have independently added an extra layer of quantum oddity – the property of entanglement – to a test of wave-particle duality, a real-life demonstration of the ideas captured by physicist Erwin Schrödinger’s famous thought experiment involving a box and a precarious puss.

    This extra layer of entanglement lets the researchers delay measuring the results of the test for an indefinite amount of time, even though the measurement itself is supposed to have determined earlier on whether a photon is behaving as a particle or a wave at a particular point in the experiment. It’s the equivalent of putting off the decision to check whether Schrödinger’s cat is alive, dead or something in between, for as long as you like.

    Understanding this doubly quantum effect could be useful when building quantum computers and communication networks, which depend on entanglement to function.

    October 24th, 2012

    Hugh Everett and the Many Worlds Interpretation

    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 [1].  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 [2].  What this means is that all-possible states are true and exist simultaneously.

    October 23rd, 2012

    Karl Popper on the Many Worlds Interpretation

    by Max Andrews

    In a brief section of Karl Popper’s Quantum Theory and the Schism in Physics[1] he discusses his attraction to the Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum physics as well as the reason for his rejection of it. Popper is actually quite pleased with Everett’s three-fold 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 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.

    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).
    3. Everett shows that the collapse of the state vector, something originally thought to be outside of Schrödinger’s theory, can be shown to arise within the universal [Schrödinger] wave function.
      read more »

    September 7th, 2012

    “The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle was Never Quite Right”

    by Max Andrews

    Pioneering experiments have cast doubt on a founding idea of the branch of physics called quantum mechanics.

    The Heisenberg uncertainty principle is in part an embodiment of the idea that in the quantum world, the mere act of observing an event changes it.

    But the idea had never been put to the test, and a team writing in Physical Review Letters says “weak measurements” prove the rule was never quite right.

    That could play havoc with “uncrackable codes” of quantum cryptography.

    Quantum mechanics has since its very inception raised a great many philosophical and metaphysical debates about the nature of nature itself.

    The experiment requires preparing pairs of “entangled” photons, the particles from which light is made (BBC)