[ExI] Is the wave function real?

col.hales at gmail.com col.hales at gmail.com
Sun Dec 4 02:30:46 UTC 2016

QM is verified in the eyes of a presupposed observer. It is descriptive (predictive) of nature and nothing ever done allows anyone to claim the universe is ‘made’ of QM.

The hole in the logic is this: QM fails to predict the existence of an observer or depict the  mechanism underlying it. This is the massive hole, a blind spot culturally promulgated that will not go away until we recognise the hole as a community.

This situation is a vast map/territory confusion. QM is a map, not territory. The universe is made of <x> and so, therefore, are we. It is because we are made of <x> inside a massive collection of it, that originates our capacity to observe. Claiming we/the universe are made of the observed (QM) is a category error that has the whole of physics duped. 

Whatever <x> is, we observers are observers (a first-person experience called observation) because we are literally _being_ <x> inside a massive collection of it called a universe. We are not observers because we are being a wave function!

Is the wave function real?
Yes, it’s a real description.
No, it’s not what we are made of.

The gap between these two things is a scientific account of the (scientific) observer. Which I hasten to add is AKA the science of consciousness.

I remain hopeful that I will see the necessary correction made before I fall off the perch.



Sent from my Windows 10 phone

From: Jason Resch
Sent: Sunday, December 4, 2016 4:02 AM
To: ExI chat list
Subject: Re: [ExI] Is the wave function real?

On Sat, Dec 3, 2016 at 10:24 AM, Stuart LaForge <avant at sollegro.com> wrote:
Jason Resch wrote:

<The wave function is a standard assumption of all QM
theories/interpretations that accurately describes the evolution of any
isolated system. The universal wave function just treats the entire
universe as an isolated system, and applies the regular rules of QM to
determine how it evolves.>

When I took college chemistry, I was taught the Copenhagen "shut up and
calculate" interpretation of QM. This was back in 90's. One of the things
I noticed was my professors were hesitant to discuss anything to do with
the implications QM might have for the nature of reality.

Because of this, I tended to regard QM as an accurate-as-possible
epistemic model of the behavior of entities on the lower limit of what we
can, with sensitive instrumentation, measure. I suspected that the wave
function itself was a statistical compromise for hidden variables that we
just didn't have the ability to detect.

Over the years, I have resisted thinking of the wave function as a real
entity. To my mind, it simply organized and quantified our ignorance about
the system and its degrees of freedom sort of like Boltzmann entropy. In
my opinion, to think otherwise would smack of platonism and a dualistic
world view.

The reason I bring this up is that MWI posits an ontologically real
Universal Wave Function that I capitalize because, like the Internet, it
is unique. It represents the wave function of every wave-particle in the
universe, including those that comprise the observer, entangled into a
giant wave function with a possibly infinite number of terms.

Infinity sitting somewhere out there in Hilbert space, doling out entire
universes to observers who roll the quantum dice. I thought it was a bit
much to swallow. On the flip side, I have always admired MWI for its
deterministic nature, the fact that it is a better fit with GR,
decoherence, etc.

So this was all until just yesterday when I found this paper:


For those of you trapped behind a paywall, here is the arxive version:


So now apparently we have empirical evidence suggesting the wave function
really is real and published in nature, no less. So that rules out about
one third of the extant interpretations of QM out there, including

Interesting, thanks for sharing the link. I am reading through it now.

Are you familiar with the book Theory of Nothing by Russell Standish? He has a free e-book version available at his site: http://swc2.hccs.edu/kindle/theoryofnothing.pdf

What I found most fascinating about it is that he shows how you can derive the mathematics of the wave function and other quantum postulates, from a very simple theory of observation in the context of an infinite reality. This also suggests that "splitting universes" isn't the correct way to view what is happening, but rather the infinite instances of our minds are differentiating as we encounter different information.

Bruno Marchal has taken this a step further, and shown that from arithmetical realism, the idea that the integers and their additive and multiplicative relations, are sufficient to explain the appearance of physical reality including quantum mechanics. In a sense, had his theory arrived before quantum mechanics, it would have served as a prediction for the existence of quantum phenomenon: http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/publications/SANE2004MARCHAL.pdf

Are these ideas Platonist? Surely, but I don't think that is a bad thing, Why should nature be so capricious to only realize a single universe, history, and set of physical laws? If this universe, with its laws can sustain itself, why can't other sound mathematical structures do likewise? I think the block in a lot of people's minds has to do with time. Things in math don't change. But a thorough understanding of special relativity suggests block time, our universe can be viewed as a static 4-dimensional block, with all points in time equally real and always extant. Should this 4-d block be the only such mathematical structure blessed with reality?


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