Quantum mechanics does not refer to a "random" universe. It is a statistical description of a mysterious universe.
I think the Many-Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics is on the right track, but that it needs to be modified to more closely model the multiverse. In quantum systems, we see discontinuities and virtual exchanges that can only be described as being fungible and interactive between multiple universes (worlds). The MWI posits that the wavefunction is literally true, and that every possible reality is realized. From this it is deduced that there must be infinite branching from every single quantum event, making infinites upon infinites of alternate universes. It is my impression that what is really going on is this: The multiverse is already there, but there is no infinite branching in real time. Rather, the quantum particles, which look like they are engaged in discontinuous histories, are really involved in continuous histories in multiple universes. So each universe, at least throughout a portion of a Level II Multiverse, interacts with each and all of the other universes in consideration. That is, fungible elementary particles vibrate extra-dimensionally from one universe to another, and so on, and so on, making each universe a crucial causal player in the history of every other universe. In this sense, as I mentioned above there is no infinity-squared branching in real time, but rather a very complex and consequential interaction between universes (when you or I, while influenced at this fundamental level by the multiverse, exist in this universe and do not literally branch off). There is no branching, but rather, a continuous thread, given the exchange of fundamental particles, running throughout the extant multiverse.
Quantum entanglement is the process of information tunneling through time. Entanglement is of course crucial for our experience of consciousness.
We have Richard Feynman's reformulation of quantum mechanics into action-principle path integration, which means essentially that a given quantum particle, in traversing a particular path, will simultaneously and literally traverse every possible path in the universe between point A and point B. The point is this: Does this not sound like a way of mathematically articulating nonlocality? If it must be literally true that a particle take every possible path in the universe every time it travels, is this not some preliminary mathematical language for saying that David Bohm's subquantum fluid (and corresponding quantum potential) might exist after all? That every point in the universe is somehow transcendentally unified with every other? Is Feynman's reformulation, in the abstract, not some sort of approach to this? I may be the only person on Earth who has suggested that Feynman's approach invites hidden variables! Why not?
The collapse of the wavefunction is generally considered the objective quantum event. In reality, the evolution of the Schrodinger equation is the representation of objectivity, and the collapse is an illusory abstraction.
We clearly live in a quantum universe. So the question becomes: Why does General Relativity work?
The beauty of string theory is that, by positing a minimum smallest unit of distance in the universe, the infinities that come out of the unification of quantum mechanics and relativity can be neatly dealt with. The catch with string theory is, of course, that it is essentially religion -- there is no way to experimentally back it up, and likely won't be for a very long time. It could be revolutionary, somewhat useful, or completely wrong. We can't know yet.
All I can say is that the Schrodinger equation describes a process that is underway at all times and everywhere in reality.
The universe, combinatorially, is almost like a language, in that it is quantized or discretely composed. Almost any meaning or output -- combination of units -- can be created, being not truly infinite, but a virtual infinity nonetheless. Languages can say almost anything, in their domain, by combining letters. Universes can exist as almost anything, by combining discrete units. There is a real correspondence between physical processes and some sort of objective meaning, vis a vis information. Just like a language.
Everett's Many-Worlds Interpretation of quantum mechanics recapitulates Leary-Wilson's seventh "meta-programming" circuit. Bohm's "implicate order" (and more technically his "quantum potential") recapitulates Leary-Wilson's eighth "non-local quantum" circuit. There is no analog in Leary-Wilson's scheme for Bohm's "super-implicate order."
There seems to be confusion about whether quantum entanglement violates the Special Theory of Relativity and whether this amounts to a major, jarring conflict in our theory. If one assumes that the level at which entanglement occurs is more fundamental than the plane of mass-energy, there need be no conflict. Matter and energy are deep, but not fundamental.
Will physics triumph in a final, all-encompassing "Theory of Everything" which elegantly and completely describes mathematically all structures and functions of the multiverse? Or is the cosmos rather like an onion with an infinite number of layers, and the laws of physics are really further and further approximations (each previous one a special case of the latter) of a hyperdimensional existence whose physicists will have work forever? The former approach seems more popular, but the latter lingers on in curious minds....
If you have explained the double-slit experiment, you have by extension essentially explained quantum mechanics. Can de Broglie-Bohm pilot wave theory finally become respectable? It seems as if no one is really paying attention. Let's get beyond quantum mechanics.
Perhaps it is best to think about things as constituted of semi-autonomous levels or layers.
Modern western culture still operates in an Aristotelian-Newtonian-Cartesian materialist framework. Modern thinking has not caught up with early twentieth-century findings in physics. Quantum mechanics and relativity expressly and unambiguously rule out this old perspective as the primary reality, but none of the institutions or ideologies or dominant memes of the modern world have kept pace with this -- including the institution of scientific education and inquiry itself. It is rather strange and quite awful.
Mathematics is really a kind of quantitative language. It is not so much about manipulating numbers as it is about exploring relationships, and studying the nature of interaction and process.
We're even still, in physics and as a culture, operating on the Cartesian billiard-ball principles. They are wrong, and we even know they are wrong. It's time to move past this.
"Electron." Great word. Does anyone -- anyone at all -- know what it refers to? Little balls hurtling through space, or a wire? No. Mathematical points? Representing what? Will we ever see one? No. What are they? I think we must concede that, aside from a few abstract mathematical principles, nobody really has any idea. There is no way for a human mind to visualize what is, in an electron, inherently unvisualizable. All we have to go on are our various languages -- with no clear idea of what the referent might be, or how a human can even relate to it at all.
The essential problem with the Copenhagen Interpretation, and many of the mystical, New-Age spinoff pet-theories derived from it, is that it assumes the human agent causes certain events to occur. Which is to say, when an observation is made, this type of thinking has it that the human observer actually generates or creates the event as the wave function "collapses." This is egocentric, and does not give enough credence to objective reality. Perhaps in reality, while the human observer is undoubtedly fundamentally connected with a quantum event, its happening is simply a unity between observer and observed in some higher-dimensional space. We do not create the past by looking at it; rather we cognize the event, and it is a unified happening, outside of time, between observer and observed, which are really one thing. The past is the past -- we do not create it by looking at it. We merely meet it. This is not at all to say humans don't create anything -- far from it, we certainly do. What is meant is that we are not "creating" events every time the wave function collapses; we are only identifying with them.
Most people in the physics community feel that the concept of hidden variables is absurd. But, is it really so absurd to suppose that quantum mechanics is incomplete? How absurd is it to think that there can be a theory beyond quantum mechanics; that there is more to nature than we currently understand? I don't see why it's so controversial -- it seems to me that anyone in his right mind would firmly attest that there will probably be a deeper theory than quantum mechanics -- that reality itself goes deeper than we are currently able to probe. I suppose, perhaps, it might just come down to the silly human propensity to think that one essentially knows all there is to know. And that people as smart as physicists surely are fall victim to this egotistical nonsense more often than not. I hope I'm not right about that.
Whatever is not being observed is often relegated to the category of nonexistence. That is, the notion is that nothing exists unless or until it has been observed. This is not true. Objectively, everything exists, whether it is under the observation of a human or not. We should think of this very much as we think of the subconscious mind, which is by definition not under observation, but is really running the show. Objects existing out there, unseen, should be viewed similarly -- they exist in the subconscious of the universe. Which, I might add, is also a fundamental part of the human subconscious.
Robert Anton Wilson's principle of Model Agnosticism is indeed quite admirable and eminently constructive, but I would point out that some models are in fact truer than others. In other words, the basis for forming mental structures out of the chaos of existence should not be considered arbitrary.
"It doesn't matter what you're doing. Don't ask questions. Just do it." That's the Copenhagen interpretation. Personally, I find it unsatisfactory.
A quantum mechanical observation does not cause an object to appear -- rather object and experimenter meet there in time.
The wavefunction of the universe ultimately does not break down. From the level of the non-local quantum circuit, everything remains entangled and the wavefunction is an objective information function guiding quantum states. The collapsing occurs when, in Schrodinger's words, we ask a discontinuous question. Whenever we measure a physical attribute of a particle (such as mass, energy, time, position, momentum, spin, etc.), we are plucking one single measurement out of an evolving system. We have the illusion of the wavefunction breaking down from some purportedly objective superposition into a definite outcome for the observer. I feel that the picture is somehow more complicated, and in fact over half of the popular interpretations of quantum mechanics being supported today posit no collapse of the wave function. It just so happens that the Copenhagen interpretation has been the mainstream one.
I can't figure it out. So I'm going to say that the truth is a superposition of both a collapsing and a non-collapsing wave function. The particular situation causes this superposition to collapse into one or the other.
The wavefunction never breaks down in de Broglie-Bohm-Hiley because it is observerless. That is, it refers to the conscious substrate of the universe and does not depend on human consciousness.
In Bohmian mechanics, the probabilistic nature of the wavefunction is really an averaging over ignorance; therefore, it doesn't really collapse, as a particle with a definite history turns up in an observation. On the other hand, there is still definitely something there that is quite mysterious.
Common sense for Copenhagenists: the observer is not unique.
Subatomic particles lie at the boundary between matter and consciousness.
I refuse to believe that reality needs me in order to exist. Or anyone else for that matter. And believing it does -- that the wavefunction cannot collapse, and therefore an event cannot take place, without an observer's presence -- is the tacit assumption of the dominant ethos in quantum mechanics. Obviously, we do not know what is really going on.
While the transition from quantum theory to de Broglie-Bohm mechanics, the new interpretation of the wavefunction, and the reality of the implicate order may be viewed as one from indeterminacy to determinacy, I would not hasten to call the new framework one of determinism or causality, which I view as essentially fictions. I would rather call the new theory reasonable. Which implies, of course, that quantum mechanics, at least in the Copenhagen interpretation, which singles out the observer as somehow special, isn't.
Bohmian mechanics is too mind-like to be compared closely with classical mechanics. In every interpretation of quantum mechanics, including Bohmian mechanics, consciousness figures in quite prominently. Bohm's is emphatically not a materialistic hypothesis.
Atoms clearly exist, but they are not as fundamental as most think they are. Their supposed primacy is an illusion.
The quantum realm is a step beyond energy and matter. That is why studying it is so confusing and counterintuitive. It is removed from the ordinary consensus reality with which we are used to dealing.
Atomic particles are both objective and subjective.
For the most part we are neither observing detachedly from the outside, nor creating freely from the inside, but rather participating.
It is not that nothing exists until one has observed it; it is that nothing is meaningful for the observer until it has been observed.
The objective essence of the universe is that it is infinite. And chances are, there will never be a final "Theory of Everything" -- one neat principle or equation that explains literally everything. Nature at bottom is like an irrational decimal: you can set up a theory that goes a long way down through the sequence of digits to get to a very refined and precise answer -- but the digits keep going. A few decades or centuries later, you might find a new theory and a new paradigm that takes you to an even deeper and more precise digit -- but the digits keep going. This is how the universe is, and there will likely never be a truly final theory.
The standard formulation of quantum theory gives arbitrary (random) results. Look around you. Nature is not arbitrary.
Quantum mechanics basically recognizes that the universe is granular, not smooth -- that it has a maximum upper resolution, not an infinitely sharp one.
Quantum mechanics describes deterministic laws of nature. Much is made of the "uncertainty" principle and the statistical nature of the wavefunction to infer that nature is basically random and indeterminate at a fundamental level, and that the wavefunction collapses into only one possible outcome out of an infinite number, in one universe. It has also been proposed that when the wavefunction collapses, nature is making a literal choice with a kind of inherent free will, and that this explains human consciousness. This is all rather nonsensical and is at bottom simply an error. Quantum laws are deterministic. Here is an example of why that is: Let's say we're in a Fedex shipping store. There are two ways to ship: you can fill out a waybill and have the employee process the package on the spot, or you can pre-label the package and simply drop it off. Let's focus on the pre-labeled packages. Some customers track their package scans online, so they drop off without requesting a receipt. Some customers want a printed receipt with the tracking number on it. Now, the only way we can mathematically predict which customers will ask for a receipt and which won't is through statistics -- a probability equation that gives a percentage of which customers will request a receipt. Does this mean the process is random? Absolutely not. There are concrete reasons for the customers' decisions. Maybe their boss needs a receipt, or maybe they ship in bulk and track everything online. But there are no random reasons why one customer will request a receipt and another won't. This is an example of a statistical principle explaining a completely deterministic, reasonable phenomenon. Like quantum mechanics!
The problem, as I see it, with the Copenhagen Interpretation -- and I was a Copenhagenist for a long time -- is threefold. First, it assigns human mathematics to undiscovered reality. We say the wavefunction collapses, we say nature is indeterminate/nondeterministic, but really that's just how our math works. We are assigning our mathematics to the objective reality of nature, and that is a mistake. Nature could be completely causally deterministic for all we know, and actually there is some good evidence that it is. Second, the simpler explanation is usually the best. In this case, there is no explanation for the process of the wavefunction's collapse. Niels Bohr just sort of pulled that one out of a hat, as it were. When you posit more than one universe, the wavefunction can be true as is. It seems mystical and even religious, and no, we have never observed any other universe than our own, but maybe we will someday. In any case, Copenhagenism takes some liberties and makes some fudges which are not really consistent with quantum theory as such. I don't want to say many-worlds is definitely true; just that the more popular alternative is lacking in ways that are not usually acknowledged and are really unsatisfactory. Third, the Copenhagen Interpretation is the license for physicists to claim that it doesn't matter what the equations mean, as long as they work. That nothing matters at all but that the equations are accurately confirmed by experiment. This is folly. Not to put a scientific theory in context and perspective is almost like saying God must be responsible. In other words: they're satisfied with no explanation at all. Other versions of quantum mechanics do give an explanation, but since they have not yet been verified by experiment, they are seen not to be worthy of even the faintest consideration. These are some of the problems I perceive with the status quo -- which, for the most part, is the Copenhagen Interpretation.
If we do live in a multiverse, there is no reason the wavefunction's upper limit on Psi has to equal unity. Its value can increase, meaning one no longer equals itself but a higher number or even infinity. Its value can decrease, meaning that a fraction of unity (say, an individual) can equal the whole (universe). If there are multiple universes, and we can interact with them, or even just prove their existence, there is no problem assigning a Psi value of greater than or less than one. The value of one implies one universe. If there are indeed many universes, all bets are off.
I was astounded to discover that the quantum is divisible.
The classical mindset is still quite dominant. I wish that more people were open to the alternative, but most people out there are still running around with the notion in their heads that it's a billiard-ball universe. Quantum mechanics and Relativity both dismissed that model a hundred years ago, but that's still how most people visualize things. I would add that if we're to be consistent in our knowledge, the whole Cartesian framework has got to go. We know it's wrong, but it's the best way for us to approximate things and do math, and so we're wedded to it. The whole essence of the Cartesian approach, with the grid especially, goes completely against the essence of the new knowledge. The whole concept of location has changed, but we still want to know x,y,z. It's backwards.
In the end, quantum mechanics constitutes a (semi-autonomous) level, which is the most fundamental level for us, but beyond which are yet more levels. This is a constructive way to think about it.
We do not arbitrarily "create" reality by observing it; we realize it.
There is a huge number of parallel universes out there in the cosmos, at varying stages of development. There is some confusion about the Many-Worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics. There is not an infinite branching off from every instant in our universe; rather, those universes already exist. The different quantum states represented by the wave function correspond to a variety of different realities existing and evolving in other universes. There is no branching off into a new universe; the universes are fixed (with new ones being born all the time) and represent an infinity of different possible realities. This is a subtle point that needs more emphasis when discussing Many-Worlds. Cf. David Deutsch in The Ghost in the Atom.
The important thing to realize about the many different interpretations of quantum mechanics is that there are elements of truth to be found in each of them.
The collapse of the wave function involves a higher-dimensional process which quantum theory fails completely to account for. But it is there.
Our observations can certainly affect, but probably not determine, reality.
The handicap that quantum theory has placed upon us is that one cannot, even in principle, think about things physically anymore. We must resign ourselves to an unexplained cloud of probabilities. This was what Einstein detested so much. And who wouldn't?
For a physicist to state that it doesn't matter what underlies it because quantum mechanics works might make some sense and is not totally unreasonable, necessarily. Quantum mechanics works, so hidden variables and many-worlds and Copenhagen and all the rest are just chatter that is of no consequence. This might be a good rule of thumb for a physicist: it explains my experiments precisely, so that is all, for the time being, that I need to know. Fine. But to take a very small step beyond that stance and tacitly assume, as so much of the physics community does, that because we refrain from saying anything about it there is in fact nothing to say at all, is bad philosophy and simply an error. We will learn, in time, why we have to use these equations, what they mean and what they imply about reality and our future. We will find a theory beyond quantum mechanics (which reduces to it in the special case). To banish philosophical and future scientific validity altogether, because you have taken your perspective of philosophical indifference and projected it back onto reality is itself a philosophical prediction and very much in the same mold as all the others. Putting the ideas out of one's mind is one thing; concluding that reality has been discovered to be objectively random and meaningless is quite another and a big mistake and is as biased and loaded and inherently philosophical a stance as any of the ideas one is trying to exclude.