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Science based on evidence


JonG
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It is often claimed that Science is based on evidence. For example:

 

"Astronomers think that the Universe started with the Big Bang. As with all science, this is based on evidence; so what is the evidence for the Big Bang theory? "

 

from here: http://www.schoolsobservatory.org.uk/astro/cosmos/bb_evid

 

or

 

"Science relies on evidence"

 

from here: http://undsci.berkeley.edu/article/0_0_0/whatisscience_06

 

Assuming that "evidence" refers to empirical evidence or observation of natural phenomena, what evidence is there to support the multiverse interpretation of quantum mechanics? (or would this idea be regarded as speculation, and not Science?)

Edited by JonG
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Interpretations of quantum theory are just attempts to explain what the underlying theory "means" (if it means anything). As such, there is no experiment that can distinguish one interpretation from another.

 

Rather, the interpretations will differ in what they about why an experiment gives that result.

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Interpretations of quantum theory are just attempts to explain what the underlying theory "means" (if it means anything). As such, there is no experiment that can distinguish one interpretation from another.

 

I accept that. But when one considers the number of additional universes required, the interpretation begins to look absurd. Why not just accept that the coefficients of eigenstates are probablity amplitudes and leave it at that? The alternative of collapsing wavefunctions doesn't look much better.

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I accept that. But when one considers the number of additional universes required, the interpretation begins to look absurd. Why not just accept that the coefficients of eigenstates are probablity amplitudes and leave it at that? The alternative of collapsing wavefunctions doesn't look much better.

 

Sounds like you lean towards the "shut up and calculate" approach :).

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Sounds like you lean towards the "shut up and calculate" approach :).

 

Quite the opposite, actually. Some calculations can be tiresome. It's just that this particular interpetation seems over the top.

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If you are talking about the the Everett interpretation, then we in fact do have a theory that can be tested. It is another formulation of quantum mechanics. However, today there is no experimental evidence for this theory. We don't have the technology today to make these tests. I am really not an expert in this and so all I can suggest really is a quick 'google' for more about these proposed tests.

 

 

You can find out more about the formulation in [1]

 

[1] Kent, A., 1990, ‘Against Many-Worlds Interpretation’, International Journal of Modern Physics A, 5: 1745–1762. (ArXiv)

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If you are talking about the the Everett interpretation, then we in fact do have a theory that can be tested. It is another formulation of quantum mechanics. However, today there is no experimental evidence for this theory. We don't have the technology today to make these tests. I am really not an expert in this and so all I can suggest really is a quick 'google' for more about these proposed tests.

 

 

You can find out more about the formulation in [1]

 

[1] Kent, A., 1990, ‘Against Many-Worlds Interpretation’, International Journal of Modern Physics A, 5: 1745–1762. (ArXiv)

 

 

I was thinking about Everett's interpretation (what is referred to as MWI in the link that you have given). I am aware that Everett himself considered it to be falsifiable, but I haven't seen an example of testable predictions.

 

quote:

 

Many-worlds is often referred to as a theory, rather than just an interpretation, by those who propose that many-worlds can make testable predictions (such as David Deutsch) or is falsifiable (such as Everett)

 

From here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Many-worlds_interpretation

 

The link you gave was very relevant and interesting (although I have not read it all in detail). Thank you for including it. It seemed to focus on such things as the validity of axioms. The conclusion arrived at towards the end leaned towards scepticism rather than support for MWI (to put it mildly). On page 27:

 

All of this suggests that Everett’s original program has degenerated, apparently beyond

repair. Although the logical possibility of an MWI consistent with known physics cannot

completely be excluded, it seems that the defining axioms of such a theory would have to be

extremely ugly and arbitrary.

Edited by JonG
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  • 3 weeks later...

 

 

I was thinking about Everett's interpretation (what is referred to as MWI in the link that you have given). I am aware that Everett himself considered it to be falsifiable, but I haven't seen an example of testable predictions.

isn't a prediction the existence of a universal wavefunction? i read that somewhere i think, trying to find the source.

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Accepting the probability paradigm is the easiest approach, JonG, if you somewhat understand it.

To explain it to lay people you need to relate it to everyday, common occurrences. That is what an interpretation does.

Although I find it funny that someone could consider an infinitude of universes more common than the universe's probabilistic nature.

 

Is there an 'actual' universal wavefunction Andrew Cellini, or simply a wavefunction mathematical model for the universe ?

And do you mean the Wheeler-DeWitt equation which is the starting point for LQG ?

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Came across an article on yet another interpretation of quantum mechanics. It proposes that our universe is "Newtonian" but interactions with other universes causes the quantum effects we observe. I don't think this theory gives any new predictions that can be tested. Link:

 

http://motherboard.vice.com/read/parallel-universes-colliding-could-explain-quantum-weirdness?utm_source=mbfb

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