boda wrote: Kenneth Chan wrote:
This exact predictability in the mathematical calculations of quantum mechanics just proves that the mathematical formulation of quantum mechanics is correct. It does not at all explain why the mathematical formulation works (physicists have no idea why it works). It also does not explain why the conscious observer is involved. That mystery is solved by Madhyamika philosophy. Since you object to the word "solved," I'll rephrase it and say that that mystery is explained by Madhyamika philosophy.
It's also explained by many-worlds and other theories.
No, it is not. (You have clearly not read my paper.) All these other interpretations are attempts at getting rid of the conscious observer. They all involve hypothetical ad hoc
additions to the basic formulation of quantum mechanics, additions that are contrived purely for the purpose of negating the role of the observer. And all of these interpretations run into serious conceptual problems.
Let me quote here, from my paper, what the problems are, with respect to the many-worlds interpretation:
"The big disadvantage with this many-worlds interpretation is that, even with such an extravagant ad hoc
addition, by hand, to the theory (i.e. infinite alternate universes), there still remains many unresolved problems. One problem is that the probability distribution provided by the expansion coefficients
no longer apply; another problem is the unresolved question of what exactly causes the universe to split if it does not involve the observer; yet another problem is the unresolved question of how we determine the preferred basis
for the splitting of the universe (and in fact, why there should even be a preferred basis
at all, when there is no observer involved). In other words, it remains to be seen whether the many-worlds interpretation can ever resolve all these problems, and adequately explain quantum mechanics without involving the observer. It has definitely not succeeded yet."
And for your benefit, here is the first section of my paper (http://kenneth-chan.com/physics/direct- ... mechanics/
) which discusses the situation with all these other interpretations of quantum mechanics:1 Relativity and the Underlying Problem in Interpreting Quantum Mechanics
Even a whole century after the discovery of the mathematical formulation of quantum mechanics, there is still no universally accepted and consistent interpretation of what the formulation actually means. Instead, we have a wide array of differing interpretations of quantum mechanics, requiring additional ad hoc
hypothetical conditions, inserted by hand, in order to make the formulation fit the particular interpretation favored. The absence of a general acceptance of any of these interpretations means, also, that none of these interpretations are actually free of conceptual problems.
So what exactly is the underlying problem here? How is it that we cannot even interpret, consistently, the formulation of quantum mechanics that, together with the theory of relativity, forms the foundation of all modern physics?
What we plan to explore, in this paper, is the possibility that the problem of interpretation may not actually reside in the basic mathematical formulation of quantum mechanics itself. The problem of interpreting quantum mechanics may, in fact, reside in having to fit the formulation into the prevailing philosophical view of reality that physicists subscribe to. In other words, we are looking at the possibility that the prevailing philosophical view of reality may, in fact, be incorrect, and that this may be the actual cause of the problems in interpreting quantum mechanics.
Let us begin by looking at what the theory of relativity—which forms the other half of the foundation of modern physics—tells us about the nature of our reality. What the theory of relativity informs us is that our science is actually a science of how we experience the universe, and not a science of a universe “out there” that is independent of us as observers. This realization enables us to explain why the speed of light is constant in all inertial frames of reference. Since this constancy of the speed of light is a crucial starting postulate in the theory of relativity, it means that, by acknowledging our science as a science of our experience, we can even explain, to a large extent, why the theory of relativity exists. (See "Why Relativity Exists" at http://kenneth-chan.com/physics/why-relativity-exists/
On reflection, it is evident that our science must be a science of what we experience because the very data that is used for the formulation of our scientific theories comes from measurements made by conscious observers. Our scientific theories cannot be based on data that is free of the conscious observer, because unobserved data means no data! So our science must be a science of our experience.
Now, if our science is a science of our experience and quantum mechanics reflects this experience by correctly describing what we find in our measurements, it follows logically that quantum mechanics provides important information about how we experience our reality. Quantum mechanics, at least to some extent, must be about the observer’s experience. This is reinforced by the fact that the very formulation of quantum mechanics is centered on the observer and the results of measurements by the observer. The role of the observer is, in fact, so pivotal in quantum mechanics that the whole formulation would not even make sense without the observer!
It is remarkable, then, that many physicists, instead of looking at what quantum mechanics tells us about our experience of reality, prefer to focus their efforts in trying to get rid of the observer. For more than a century now, physicists have repeatedly introduced new theoretical ideas to free quantum mechanics from the observer. As a result, there is now a whole array of interpretations of quantum mechanics, all aimed at negating the role of the observer, but with none of them fully succeeding in actually removing the observer.
It is time to correct, at least to some extent, this unbalanced situation by now studying what quantum mechanics actually tells us about how we experience the universe, as well as what it tells us about the nature of our reality. For this reason, we will here adopt a direct experiential interpretation of quantum mechanics
What this means is that we will accept the reality that our science is a science of how we experience the universe, and not a science of a universe “out there” independent of us. We accept that the conscious observer necessarily plays a role in our science, and that quantum mechanics, in the first place, was formulated to fit the results of measurements made by the conscious observer. This, in fact, is not an assumption. It is actually the truth. We choose here not to battle against this truth but to simply accept it and see what we find. This is what we mean by a direct experiential interpretation of quantum mechanics
Imagine the scenario if we had, earlier in history, adopted the same approach concerning relativity, and accepted that the scientific definitions of time and space were, in the first place, designed to fit how we, the conscious observers, experience these entities. Again this would not have been an assumption. It would be the truth since the scientific concepts of time and space were actually constructed, in the first place, to fit the conscious observer’s experience of them.
Now, if we had accepted this truth, and had learned that the physiological mechanisms of our body all run via electromagnetic transmission, we would, in fact, have been able to predict that the speed of light would always remain constant, relative to us, regardless of our state of motion. The direct experiential interpretation of the concepts of time and space would then have led to this falsifiable proposition. And we would have confirmed that this direct experiential interpretation did, in fact, correctly predict that the speed of light is constant relative to all frames of reference. In other words, theoretically, we could have predicted the results of the Michelson-Morley experiment even before it was performed if history had worked out differently! (See "Why Relativity Exists" at http://kenneth-chan.com/physics/why-relativity-exists/
So now let us apply a similar direct experiential interpretation to quantum mechanics
and see what we can learn from it. We shall do this without invoking artificially added ad hoc
conditions to the basic rules of quantum mechanics. In other words, we will adopt an interpretation that accepts directly what the formulation of quantum mechanics is telling us about the reality that we experience.