Does the "Many Worlds Theory" require conscious beings?

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This topic contains 13 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Davis 3 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #29416

    Unseen
    Participant

    As typically explained, the so-called “many worlds theory” holds that the world is always branching, and a typical sort of example might be something like this: confronted with the option of having pie after dinner, you either accept the offer or you don’t. But actually you do both according to the theory. In one world you accept the pie and in a separate branch you get up from the table without having pie. And branches like this are happening all day long.

    Here’s a question, though: Would many worlds exist where no one is making choices? A world with no free will. A world entirely without life.

    #29418

    PopeBeanie
    Moderator

    In spite of what some reputable physicists say, I think the many-worlds theory is just philosophical conjecture if not absurd. I forgot what the most popular alternative theory to that is, but either theory may never be provable or disprovable. At least one thing is true, I think, and that is that it takes conscious physicists to make up these theories. 🙂

    So speaking of “consciously affecting quantum spins (which is what I think were ultimately getting at here?), I have to admit that I still don’t understand the mathematics of the Bell Inequality which supposedly supports entanglement at a distance, and so in my feeble unphysicist mind I’ve landed on the conviction that there’s still something going on that’s not understood by physicists, like some version of pilot wave theory that hasn’t been uncovered, yet. I.e., I think there must be some hidden variable, e.g. entangled particles that are just sharing a ride on the same wave that we can’t yet detect that’s in one of those extra dimensions. Maybe dark matter and dark energy are hiding there, too. (And I don’t mean they’re “consciously” hiding there, just for their own amusement.)

    I am most definitely open to your suggestions on this one. 😉

    I think that Sean Carroll wrote about this in his latest book, and I don’t know of anyone one who can explain these things more clearly to normal folk.

    #29419

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    I find it very implausible that when I choose to do “this” rather than “that”, it creates an entire new universe.

    #29420

    _Robert_
    Participant

    Well….we can toss out the old adage “You can’t have your pie and eat it too.

    #29423

    Unseen
    Participant

    I’m still wondering if a conscious being is required, or, for example, does an earthquake both happen and not happen? I haven’t really found a quantum theorist addressing this question.

    #29428

    PopeBeanie
    Moderator

    I think this is a pretty good summary, in the simple version of wikipedia. But I would still need to re-read stuff like descriptions of more involved double-slit experiments to get more into discussion about it.

    #29433

    does an earthquake both happen and not happen ?

    At the quantum level everything is measured in probabilities. We will know when we make an observation if the earthquake happened.

    When we say “particles can exist in 2 states simultaneously ” (the double slit experiment) we seldom continue to say that both particles cannot be measured simultaneously.

    #29435

    Unseen
    Participant

    When we say “particles can exist in 2 states simultaneously ” (the double slit experiment) we seldom continue to say that both particles cannot be measured simultaneously.

    But does a particle in two different states simultaneously exist in two different worlds?

    #29441

    PopeBeanie
    Moderator

    But does a particle in two different states simultaneously exist in two different worlds?

    Seems to me yes, at least in a sense.

    Here’s a video I gave up trying to understand after about seven minutes into it, but will revisit. (It might have been posted here at AZ before, but I don’t remember where it would be.)

    #29443

    Davis
    Participant

    We don’t remotely know enough to make any theories that aren’t just fanciful speculation.

    Are we in a universe that is nothing but overlapping existences representing the infinite possible results of a vortex of probabilities that can only collapse if a conscious being observes or tests it? Maybe. I guess that means nothing was collapsed nor existed in the way we understand it until the first conscious creater on Earth (or some other part of the galaxy) first observed something. Whether that conscious actor is as simple as a one celled organism with primative sensory organs, a more advanced animal that can analyse its enviroment in a sophisticated way, a slightly more advanced primate or a proto-homosapian…who knows. How could we go back in history and find out? How could we test if the quantum field collapses if a snail is the agent observing it?

    Or are we all agents who have our own universes which is each the collapsed quantum field as seen from our own conscious perspective? Or inifinite universes for every decisision each individual has or could ever make? Or are there infinite ones not just for decisions but any possible state of every single particle during the shortest possible unit of time? Or is there simply one universe and the quantum field is simply not well understood by us? Who knows. You haven’t read a good theory proposed on the subject because the theories can only go as far as a tiny little bit of slightly evidence based science (there are some pretty doubtful claims that the multiverse theory is actually quite likely) and of course, the addition of the limitless human imagination.

    #29540

    Unseen
    Participant

    One disheartening aspect of the many worlds theory seems to be that in addition to this world, there’s also one where I’m a mass murderer.

    #29554

    PopeBeanie
    Moderator

    One disheartening aspect of the many worlds theory seems to be that in addition to this world, there’s also one where I’m a mass murderer.

    So what, specifically, could have originally caused that kind of split? Just one subatomic particle in your body or brain that underwent a quantum field collapse? And the theory is that a whole new universe was created and branched off at that moment, right? And then there are uncountable more splits that must happen not only for you in this or that part of your body or brain, and then for other people it’s happening bazillions of times in each of seven billions of people’s lifetime. The number of universes branching off doubles every time? After all those instances of yourself have been created and built up over your lifetime(s), are they even still anything like the you in this world at all? Do they even have the same name since birth, or have the same number of kids in each instance?

    I really don’t get the math of this theory, or how provable or practical of a theory it can ever be in any sense. But I admit this world’s instance of Me is not at all, not even in the least, well read on the theory.

    #29559

    Unseen
    Participant

    Is there a universe where I bake a bran muffin with the butterfly effect of destroying the universe?

    #29560

    Davis
    Participant

    I think Nicolas Taleb put it really well in his book The Black Swan (outstanding read if you have the time). Throw a pool ball at two others and you can likely work out where they will go. Throw it into a pool table with 15 already moving balls and you need to account for the current wobble of a star 1000 light years away in order to properly work out what will happen. Going from bran muffins to the universe ending vs. any other possible future scenario where the universe doesn’t end (cause your actions will ripple across the entire universe minus runaway expansion). So you’d simply have to be a God to figure it out. But it could quite possibly be the case that in this very universe…the split second you go “yes…I’ll bake those muffins” leads to a chain of events where the universe is doomed where virtually any other reaction would not. I’d say the likelihood of that being the case is a google times a google to the power of a google to the super power of a google plus a bunch more googles. Practically no…ever so minisculy possibly yes.

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