Exploring the Possibility of Parallel Universes

When exploring the possibility of parallel universes, we conclude that Physicist Hugh Everett’s many worlds theory isn’t scientifically adequate. To illustrate, we note the observational challenges of the many worlds interpretation, where “definite measurements arise from a deterministic wave function evolution that superimposes the state vectors of all possible measurements.” With respect to probability predictions of this quantum-mechanical universe, we report that Everett’s world picture of a unified theory cannot be tested for its consequences, and makes a claim to reality which it cannot substantiate through unremitting observation. We support Alfred North Whitehead’s line of reasoning that some principles of scientific logic should be believed, “not on their own account, but on account of their consequences”.

We also agree with John Dewey that the value of a system of thought must reside in its capacity to illustrate the consequences of its use. It’s one thing to say that the theory is an end in itself and another thing, a thing of a contrary kind, to say that this theory was developed from observation and testing. We also believe that “it is precisely in experience that the different consequences of different methods of investigation and ratiocination are convincingly shown”, where “matter and methods have been constantly selected and worked over on the basis of empirical success and failure”. We advocate a mathematical logic that is empirically founded and experimentally applied. After all, “we cannot avoid the conclusion that the status of mathematics is as empirical as that of metallurgy.”

 Dr. Lee Smolin agreed that effective scientific laws are based on what we can actually observe, and that “we want a law to explain just one history of one universe.” As Everett’s many worlds theory cannot be put in satisfactory correspondence with our experience, we share Sir Roger Penrose’s argument where “you want a physical theory that describes the world that we see around us. That’s what physics has always been: explain what the world that we see does, and why or how it does it. Many Worlds quantum mechanics doesn’t do that.” We would have to modify our notion of what a scientific theory is in order to accommodate Everett’s proposition that there is no fundamental distinction between measuring apparatus and other physical systems.

If we are offered Everett’s definition of correlation applicable to all probability distributions, what, then, is to be taken as the criterion of truth? By what standard do we assess the validity of our knowledge of the world? We can say that “knowing begins with specific observations that define the problem and ends with specific observations that test a hypothesis for its solution.” Scientific ideas should represent possible solutions to the degree in which they are connected with experiment. It is this degree of coherent wholeness of experience that is a consolidation of both observation and theory. We recognize with Max Tegmart’s examination of Everett’s theory that, when observation and theory do not agree, “contradiction arises, due to some oversight or omission in one or the other, and corrections are needed, or presuppositions must be changed, in order to restore coherence and systematic wholeness”. 

If Everett’s quantum theory is to retain the incisiveness and rigor of its immediate predecessors, it must feature a vital dialogue between experiment and theory. According to Professor Stephen W. Hawking, “a good theory must accurately describe a large class of observations on the basis of a model that contains only a few arbitrary elements ,and it must make definite predictions about the results of future observations” Hawking also states that a theory is “just a model of the universe, or restricted part of it, and a set of rules that relate quantities to the model of observations that we make.” Sir Karl Popper also emphasized that a good theory is characterized by the fact that it makes a number of predictions that could in principle by disproved or falsified by observation. 

The theoretical abstraction of Everett’s universal wave function is remote from experience when “the concept of a universal wave mechanics, together with the necessary correlation machinery for its interpretation, forms a logically self consistent description of a universe in which several observers are at work.” Hawking recommends that it’s better to employ the principle of economy known as Occam’s Razor, and cut out all the features of the theory that cannot be observed. We discount Everett’s theory as it is incapable of forming part of any exact science because it contradicts our empirical knowledge. Bertrand Russell confirms our philosophy that “every proposition which we can understand must be composed wholly of constituents with which we are acquainted.” 


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