[extropy-chat] Is Many Worlds testable?

The Avantguardian avantguardian2020 at yahoo.com
Sun Dec 31 03:56:35 UTC 2006

--- Damien Broderick <thespike at satx.rr.com> wrote:
> I think what Serafino said is that a conscious
> observer, seeing the 
> particle hit the wall rather than the inner plate,
> knows that the 
> "collapse of the state vector" or the "world
> divergence" happened 
> *already*, in the past--and therefore consciousness
> was not required 
> to bring it about.
> Thus, mind is ruled out as an
> operator

While I understand this objection to MWI, I am not so
sure I buy it. For me MWI has greater scope than
simply a quantum phenomenon. For example, I flip a
coin. According to MWI, the universe splits into two
universes, one in which the coin lands on heads and a
second where it lands on tails.

Since the flip and the observation occur concurrently
("simulataneously" has too much theoretical baggage),
it seems as though the flip caused the divergence and
conscious observation is unnecessary to collapse the
wave function. But if you flip enough coins, you
inevitably find yourself in a universe where the coin
rolls under the sofa. What then? Has the universe
split in two and you are just ignorant of which
universe you are in? Or does the universe wait for you
to peek under the sofa to decide which one it is?

This is the macroscopic version of the argument
Serafino makes with his diagrams of scintilation
screens. Thus Serafino and Russell would probably both
say it is the interaction of the coin with the floor
that collapses the wavefunction and the measurement of
a conscious observer is ancillary. But I am still not
entirely certain of this.

In the quantum limit, fundamental "wavicles" interact
with each other all the time. If two fuzzy atomic
waves become discrete and particulate long enough to
collide with and tranfer momentum, energy, etc. to one
another, then how do they both decide to do it at the
right time and position? To put it another way, how
would two wavefunctions spread out over spacetime
decide *where* to collapse over the interval of their
overlap such that they are in the same place at the
same time in order to collide?

Another aspect of the measurement problem: does
Schrodinger's Cat qualify as a conscious observer? If
the cat is in an entangled state of being both alive
and dead in the box, until an observer looks at it
then how can the cat itself not know its own

Yes I know the dead cat doesn't KNOW it's dead but for
the cat, the wavefunction of the decaying particle
would have collapsed the moment the cat smelled the
poison gas. Thus it KNOWS it is dying before the human
observer finds out whether it is alive or dead.

Thus the cat can be either dead or alive to itself and
both dead and alive to the human. Or it can be either
dead or alive to itself and the same to the human. But
it apparently the cat can't be dead to itself and
alive to the human or vice versa because this is a
forbidden quantum state. Unless you are Stephen King.

So did I resolve anything? No. If you are confused
well join club. :)

Stuart LaForge
alt email: stuart"AT"ucla.edu

"Aagghh! Who knew that bio-engineered food would lead to smart puke."
-Willy the school janitor from the Simpsons.

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