Thursday, September 20, 2007

Meanwhile, In Another Universe...

Reassuring news - I think - on the parallel universes front. I've always found this notion - one of the very few in modern science that makes any kind of sense to me - strangely comforting, but that's probably because I don't actually understand it. Seems to me it must dent the old enemy, determinism - but does it? Perhaps someone out there in the blogosphere can throw some light on this...


  1. Right on, Bro. It is a consoling idea. In some interpretations, it does damage determinism because casuality cannot be shown to cross between universes, though, in theory, their must be contact. That's how quantum computers seem to work. At least I think so.

  2. Hmm, aren't you fraternizing with the enemy? Isn't the parallel universes argument one of the main materialist responses to the anthropic principle--that it is statistically impossible for all the subtle conditions necessary for life to have evolved randomly?

    But I do like your methodology, Nige. I'm the same. When confronted with complex, opposing scientific arguments one couldn't possibly even begin to understand, one should opt for the one with the conclusions that charm him the most.

  3. I like the idea, too, Nige. Probably why I love Borges' "Garden of Forking Paths."

  4. The many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, which is the subject of this New Scientist article, is a deterministic interpretation. It proposes that the quantum state of the universe never 'collapses', and that the quantum state of the universe at one time uniquely determines the quantum state of the universe at all other times.

    Alternative interpretations of quantum mechanics accept that the quantum state of a system collapses non-deterministically, and probabilistically, when a measurement-like interaction takes place.

    The many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics should be distinguished from the multiverse scenarios proposed in relation to the anthropic principle. Even if the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics were true, the values of the physical constants, (such as the charge of an electron), upon which the existence of life is so sensitively dependent, would remain constant throughout the branching, 'many-worlds' structure.