Physics

Exploring the Possibility of Parallel Universes



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When exploring the possibility of parallel universes, we conclude that Physicist Hugh Everett's many worlds theory isn't scientifically adequate. To illustrate, we note the observational challenges of the many worlds interpretation, where "definite measurements arise from a deterministic wave function evolution that superimposes the state vectors of all possible measurements." With respect to probability predictions of this quantum-mechanical universe, we report that Everett's world picture of a unified theory cannot be tested for its consequences, and makes a claim to reality which it cannot substantiate through unremitting observation. We support Alfred North Whitehead's line of reasoning that some principles of scientific logic should be believed, "not on their own account, but on account of their consequences".

We also agree with John Dewey that the value of a system of thought must reside in its capacity to illustrate the consequences of its use. It's one thing to say that the theory is an end in itself and another thing, a thing of a contrary kind, to say that this theory was developed from observation and testing. We also believe that "it is precisely in experience that the different consequences of different methods of investigation and ratiocination are convincingly shown", where "matter and methods have been constantly selected and worked over on the basis of empirical success and failure". We advocate a mathematical logic that is empirically founded and experimentally applied. After all, "we cannot avoid the conclusion that the status of mathematics is as empirical as that of metallurgy."

 Dr. Lee Smolin agreed that effective scientific laws are based on what we can actually observe, and that "we want a law to explain just one history of one universe.” As Everett's many worlds theory cannot be put in satisfactory correspondence with our experience, we share Sir Roger Penrose's argument where "you want a physical theory that describes the world that we see around us. That’s what physics has always been: explain what the world that we see does, and why or how it does it. Many Worlds quantum mechanics doesn’t do that." We would have to modify our notion of what a scientific theory is in order to accommodate Everett's proposition that there is no fundamental distinction between measuring apparatus and other physical systems.

If we are offered Everett's definition of correlation applicable to all probability distributions, what, then, is to be taken as the criterion of truth? By what standard do we assess the validity of our knowledge of the world? We can say that "knowing begins with specific observations that define the problem and ends with specific observations that test a hypothesis for its solution." Scientific ideas should represent possible solutions to the degree in which they are connected with experiment. It is this degree of coherent wholeness of experience that is a consolidation of both observation and theory. We recognize with Max Tegmart's examination of Everett's theory that, when observation and theory do not agree, "contradiction arises, due to some oversight or omission in one or the other, and corrections are needed, or presuppositions must be changed, in order to restore coherence and systematic wholeness". 

If Everett's quantum theory is to retain the incisiveness and rigor of its immediate predecessors, it must feature a vital dialogue between experiment and theory. According to Professor Stephen W. Hawking, "a good theory must accurately describe a large class of observations on the basis of a model that contains only a few arbitrary elements ,and it must make definite predictions about the results of future observations" Hawking also states that a theory is "just a model of the universe, or restricted part of it, and a set of rules that relate quantities to the model of observations that we make." Sir Karl Popper also emphasized that a good theory is characterized by the fact that it makes a number of predictions that could in principle by disproved or falsified by observation. 

The theoretical abstraction of Everett's universal wave function is remote from experience when "the concept of a universal wave mechanics, together with the necessary correlation machinery for its interpretation, forms a logically self consistent description of a universe in which several observers are at work." Hawking recommends that it's better to employ the principle of economy known as Occam's Razor, and cut out all the features of the theory that cannot be observed. We discount Everett's theory as it is incapable of forming part of any exact science because it contradicts our empirical knowledge. Bertrand Russell confirms our philosophy that "every proposition which we can understand must be composed wholly of constituents with which we are acquainted." 

SOURCES:

Hugh Everett, III "The Many-Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics: The Theory Of The Universal Wavefunction", 1957, available online at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/manyworlds/pdf/dissertation.pdf

Hugh Everett, III's original letter to Bryce DeWitt, 1957, at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/manyworlds/pdf/orig-everett-letter.pdf

Erwin Schrödinger, "The Present Situation In Quantum Mechanics: A Translation Of Schrödinger's "Cat Paradox Paper", Translator: John D. Trimmer, This translation was originally published in Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, 124, 323-38. [And then appeared as Section I.11 of Part I of Quantum Theory and Measurement (J.A. Wheeler and W.H. Zurek, eds., Princeton university Press, New Jersey 1983).], available online at http://www.tu-harburg.de/rzt/rzt/it/QM/cat.html#sect15.

Itzhak Orion, Michael Laitman, "The Double-Slit Experiment and Particle-Wave Duality: Toward a Novel Quantum Interpretation, J. Mod. Phys., 2010, 1, 90-92 doi: 10.4236/jmp.2010.110013 Published Online April 2010 (http://www.scirp.org/journal/jmp)

R. F. Streater, "Lost Causes in Theoretical Physics, XII. The many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, available online at: http://www.mth.kcl.ac.uk/~streater/lostcauses.html#XII         

Don N. Page, "The Born rule fails in cosmology", Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics Volume 2009, July 2009 .

Rudolf Seising, "On classical, fuzzy classical, quantum, and fuzzy quantum systems", European Centre for Soft Computing, Mieres, Asturias, Spain, 2009.

Peter Byrne, "The Many Worlds Theory Today", posted 10.21.08, available online at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/physics/many-worlds-theory-today.html

Henry Kripps, "Measurement in Quantum Theory", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2008 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2008/entries/qt-measurement/>.

Jeffrey Barrett, "Everett's Relative-State Formulation of Quantum Mechanics", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2011 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2011/entries/qm-everett/>.

Susan Kruglinski, September 2009 issue; published online October 6, 2009 http://discovermagazine.com/2009/sep/06-discover-interview-roger-penrose-says-physics-is-wrong-string-theory-quantum-mechanics.

J.S. Bell, "Speakable and Unspeakable in Quantum Mechanics" Cambridge University Press, Revised Edition first published 2004.

Justin Mullins, "When the multiverse and many-worlds collide", New Scientist Magazine issue 2815, 01 June 2011, available online at http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21028154.200-when-the-multiverse-and-manyworlds-collide.html?full=true&print=true

Casey Blood, "The Many-Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics is Fatally Flawed", 2010, see arXiv:1010.4767v2 [quant-ph]

Joshua H. Cooperman, "Rescuing the Born Rule for Quantum Cosmology", Department of Physics, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, February 17, 2011, see arXiv:1010.3395v2 [gr-qc]

Anthony Aguirre, Max Tegmark, David Layzer, "Born in an Infinite Universe: a Cosmological Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics, 2010, see arXiv:1008.1066v1 [quant-ph]

Adrian Kent, "Against Many-Worlds Interpretations", 1997, see arXiv:gr-qc/9703089v1

Adrian Kent, "One world versus many: the inadequacy of Everettian accounts of evolution, probability, and scientific confirmation", 2010, see arXiv:0905.0624v2 [quant-ph]

Max Tegmark (MIT), "The Mathematical Universe", 2007, see arXiv:0704.0646v2 [gr-qc]

Max Tegmark, "Many Worlds in Context", 2010, see arXiv:0905.2182v2 [quant-ph]

Max Tegmark, "The Multiverse Hierarchy", 2009, see arXiv:0905.1283v1 [physics.pop-ph]

Raphael Bousso and Leonard Susskind, "The Multiverse Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics", 2011, see arXiv:1105.3796v1

Stephen W. Hawking, "A Brief History of Time", published in large print 1989 by Clio Press

James B. Hartman, Ed., "Philosophy of Recent Times, Volume II: Readings in Twentieth Century Philosophy", Scarborough College, University of Toronto, McGraw-Hill, 1967.

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