Monday, 3 March 2008


I am now on page 103 of ITLAD and loving the ride so far. As someone who has had some exposure to the ideas of collapsing wave functions but as a "newbie" in pondering the ramifications of such quantum events, here are some questions floating about in my gray matter. Don't feel obliged to answer all of these as I'm sure many of them will be answered as I continue ITLAD and do some extra-curricular reading. But if you fancy a comment or two, they will all be read with relish (and perhaps some mustard). Also, some may not be very well formulated questions as I probably don't understand enough to even ask the question intelligently. But, in any event, here goes in no particular order (the numbering is merely a convenience for responding to them) ...

1) How do you get from the two-slit experiment to the effect on me? I.e., how does the wave function collapse on the quantum level effect the macroscopic world?

2) Why does that rock over there always appear over there? If I stop observing it and then start again, it always appears exactly the same as if the wave function collapses the same way every time. If I observe it differently --- e.g. if I touch it with my eyes closed --- it still seems to be the same.

3) If each and every possibility occurs in one of the many worlds, then doesn't that mean that good and bad balance each other with the result being an indifferent universe? So, not only are children who die as infants born healthy in other worlds, but in some worlds, I die as an infant.

4) Related to #3: Does the macro-world probability of an event derive from the wave function (or vice versa)? E.g. in mothers who are of such an age with certain factors, a certain percentage (say, P) of births result in a child with Down Syndrome. So, would such a child be born with Down Syndrome in P percent of the many worlds and born without Down Syndrome in (100-P) percent of the many worlds?

5) Does Cygnus X-1 exist in the world of someone who has never heard or observed it? How does my world differ from the world of someone who is blind since they cannot "observe" things in the same way that I do?

6) Does the need for "conscious observing" explain the exponential growth in scientific discoveries? As we look for things, our looking "creates" them so the more we look the more we find?

7) When someone is sick in our world, are they only sick in "our" world but healthy in their own world? When we interact with someone who is sick in our world and they admit that they are sick, who is doing the admission if they are not sick in there own world?

8) How does all of this jive with the Buddhist/mystical idea that we are all the same; that we are really God playing a game? Doesn't this imply a unique, impartial, supra-reality?

9) How does all of this jive with reincarnation and karma?

10) Doesn't this obliterate evolution? If there takes conscious observers to create the world, how did we evolve? We could never be unconscious pond scum because there would not be a world in which the scum could evolve into conscious beings.


susan marie said...

KEN; I can only comment on a couple of your concerns, because they were mine as well. First, reincarnation and karma are changed into recurrence as oneself, and a kind of karma issuing from that. That to my thinking takes care of those aspects that are extremely counter-intuitve regarding reincarnation. More problematic: people growing ill and dying. Having watched my husband grow ill at age 52 and die at age 53, I have come to the conclusion that this was NOT a quantum event. It was not like speeding through a red light and appearing to die to others, but jumping into a different time line wherein one has survived. The illness and dying were all too real. It happened in his universe as well as in mine. To say otherwise is to divest dying of its profundity. The MWI in which trillions of us are out there to me can be thrown overboard without destroying Peake's theory. Those trillions are possibilities but not actual. I suppose I am one to place meaning far above of mechanism. I agree with William James that any juncture in which a bifurcation occurs must be momentous and not trivial; it must be forced and not arbitrarily chosen; the consequences must be vast, and they must be fought for and won and earned. Those are the probabilities which become actual, and only those. I guess Anthony would not agree with me. I feel that the dead may go into some dream-like interum phase, and reemerge in a later line.

ken said...

thank you Susan Marie. A quick reaction to just one thing you said ... along the lines of Johar's question on a different thread ... Perhaps consciousness is required to collapse the wave function in each of the many worlds. But they don't all collapse and so remain possibilities. In the ones where consciousness is available - the momentous, non-trivial ones - are the ones where the collapse occurs.

susan marie said...

Thank you, too, Ken. Yes, I agree.

Anthony Peake said...

Over the last few days I have swopped a couple of emails with Marcus Chown, the author of the great book "The Universe Next Door". Although not a member of the blog he does read it sometimes. He said that the solution to the wave-function collapse lies in something called decoherence. Now as I understand this it is an attempt to explain why microcosmic physics does not effect macrocosmic physics - indeed why a lot of buzzing and swirling of energy can bring about the illusion of a solid universe. I intend to look into this in more detail and indeed discuss it with Karl L Le Marcs when we meet later this morning in Wigan.

Ken has also mentioned the work of Roger Penrose. I discuss his ideas (and those of Stuart Hammerof) in my Scientific & Medical Network Lectures. I will place a posting on this fascinating alternative in the ext few days.

Karl L Le Marcs said...

Panic over, I am here.
*laughs at self*
Right. Ken, firstly, by completing reading the book I expect you will be able to answer 3 or 4 of your questions yourself. Secondly, a few of your points are seeimingly questions relating to the same point and lastly, you do raise a couple of interestingly philosophical/quasi-scientific anamolies about which I like to tease Tony during his lectures.
I repeat what I have said before elsewhere on here that the important word to consider within Quantum Mechanics is "Interpretation". By its very definition this means that ALL QM interpretations CANNOT be true. If one is seen to be proven beyond challenge then others will collapse. HOWEVER, as in the Venn Diagrams of our school memories, there are interconnected areas. Copenhagen Interpretation, which is NOT actually an interpratation anyway, merely a name given to a collection of ideas formed around Bohr and De Broglie's wave collapse observations has intrinsic links to MWI and Bohm's Implicte Order (indeed one of the more prevalent but seldom discussed "Interpretations" of QM is the Bohm-De Broglie Wave - which I won't go into here in order to prevent mass headaches!!!!)
I like the way your mind seems to work Ken, it mirrors mine and Tony's in the inquisitive nature of the analysis of given a priori and a posteriori experimental data (Or Something).
I'm sure that when you have completed the book you will have personally been able to resolve some of your initial queries. BUT, I look forward very much to hearing your comments after devouring ITLAD in its entirety.