John Horgan recently wrote a column which has received a lot of attention. Horgan's thesis is that when it comes to three topics: the existence of God, the mind-body problem, and the measurement problem in quantum mechanics, science can't provide the answers and may never be able to. Horgan advises that the only responsible position … Continue reading Clarifying agnosticism
I've posted a lot over the years on interpretations of quantum mechanics. My writing has tended to focus on comparing the big three: Copenhagen, pilot-wave, and many-worlds. But there are a lot of others. One that has been gaining converts among physicists and others is Carlo Rovelli's relational quantum mechanics (RQM) interpretation. This is an … Continue reading Carlo Rovelli’s Helgoland
Scott Aaronson posted an interesting piece this week coming out about his favorite interpretation of quantum mechanics. I think the most relevant part is this snippet. (Although the full piece has a lot of nuance well worth reading.) I don’t mean to say that the interpretations are all interchangeable, or equally good or bad. If … Continue reading An instrumentalist Everettian
I just finished reading Jim Baggott's new book Quantum Reality: The Quest for the Real Meaning of Quantum Mechanics - a Game of Theories. I was attracted to it due to this part of the description: Although the theory quite obviously works, it leaves us chasing ghosts and phantoms; particles that are waves and waves … Continue reading Quantum Reality
With quantum physics, we have a situation where a quantum object, such as a photon, electron, atom or similar scale entity, acts like a wave, spreading out in a superposition, until we look at it (by measuring it in some manner), then it behaves like a particle. This is known as the measurement problem. Now, … Continue reading The measurement problem, Copenhagen, pilot-wave, and many worlds
I've seen the TV show Devs come up in a number of conversations on social media, and several people recommended it. But it was JamesOfSeattle's recommendation that finally got me to check it out. The result was, as usual for a show I really enjoy, a weekend binge. As the show starts, we find Lily … Continue reading Devs
I'm just about finished reading Sean Carroll's Something Deeply Hidden. I was going to wait to post this until I'd completely finished, but all I've got left is the appendix, I perceive that I've gotten through the main points, and discussion on the previous post is veering in this direction. As widely reported, Carroll is … Continue reading Sean Carroll’s Something Deeply Hidden
Last week I started listening to a Sean Carroll podcast episode, an interview of Adam Becker on his book, What Is Real?: The Unfinished Quest for the Meaning of Quantum Physics. Before even finishing the episode, I downloaded Becker's book and read it. Becker starts out in the early decades of the 20th century, when … Continue reading Recommendation: What Is Real?
I've been thinking lately about quantum physics, a topic that seems to attract all sorts of crazy speculation and intense controversy, which seems inevitable. Quantum mechanics challenges our deepest held most cherished beliefs about how reality works. If you study the quantum world and you don't come away deeply unsettled, then you simply haven't properly … Continue reading Do all quantum trails inevitably lead to Everett?
"Anyone who is not shocked by quantum theory has not understood it." --Niels Bohr "If you think you understand quantum mechanics, you don't understand quantum mechanics." --Richard Feynman Quantum mechanics are utterly bizarre. Quantum particles behave like spread out waves, until their position is measured, when they suddenly behave like a particle with definite position. The … Continue reading A debate on quantum mechanics interpretations