Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Still Not Getting Warmer

At Not Even Wrong, Peter Woit answers the question, “Are there any plausible alternatives to string/M-theory as a fundamental theory of physics?” with a resounding “No!” Lee Smolin begs to differ, commenting that “There is a whole generation of brilliant young theorists working on alternatives to string theory you should meet.”

Readers of this blog know what spacetime and matter are made of, and can be pretty confident that all of that young brain power is barking up the wrong trees. Wish I could help.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Evil says, "I'm possible, therefore I am."

I found the following item on Peter Woit’s blog, Not Even Wrong.

The New Scientist article has Don Page pointing out that this [the many worlds interpretation] explains the problem of evil. God likes the idea of everything possible happening all the time so much he’d rather not be bothered to stop bad things from happening:

“God has values,” he says. “He wants us to enjoy life, but he also wants to create an elegant universe.” To God the importance of elegance comes before that of suffering, which, Page infers, is why bad things happen. “God won’t collapse the wave function to cure people of cancer, or prevent earthquakes or whatever, because that would make the universe much more inelegant.”

Remarkably, this is very close to the truth. The glaring problem with it, however, is Page’s attribution of human-like qualities to God. As we saw here, God is the atemporal aspect of existence. It is a thought thinking itself. It simply is. It doesn’t like or want. In observing itself it sees one world of the many possible worlds, and it sees everything in that world that is possible, thereby creating it. This is not because it wants to create this kind of world, but simply because it is existence, the creator of everything possible. We see some things as evil and some as good, but to God everything simply is. A fundamental tenet of quantum mechanics is that if something is possible, there is a nonzero probability that it will be observed. That’s exactly what you’d expect in a universe that consists of existence observing itself.

Many Worlds, Yet Again

On his blog, Not Even Wrong, Peter Woit reports that the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics is getting favorable press again. We dealt with this interpretation here, showing that the many worlds form a population of possible worlds from which, in true quantum mechanical fashion, only one is chosen as atemporal existence observes itself. The many worlds interpretation proves that you can't do accurate physics if you ignore metaphysics.