TED Conversations

Matt Hintzke

Student, Coffman Engineers, Inc

This conversation is closed.

Refuting a quantum mechanics theory

There is a fairly popular theory first developed in the 1950's I believe that states that the universe in which we are all accustomed to is only one of an infinite number of parallel universes and that because of the concept of locality and the act that, due to quantum mechanics, all particles (and essentially objects) can be at 2 or more places at the same time, these "other places" are actually other universes. Meaning that there are inifinite number of you and me doing all different things at the same time.
However, due to simple cause and effect logic, it appears that such a thing is impossible. Every action (or effect) that happens in the universe is governed by a cause. Essentially, I believe that all actions by myself, other people, animals, and inanimate objects can be traced back to the Big Bang itself. If all constituents of math and physics have fixed values, meaning things like gravitational constants, then everything, including brainfunction can be completely defined by a previous cause. All functions are manipulated by the environment around it, whether physically, emotionally, psychologically, or habitually, and because of this, it appears that there is only 1 single way that the space-time can unfold, through infinite number of causes and effects.

Overall, what I am saying is that it appears logical to say that if we could re-enact a big bang with 100% precision, that universe's history would be identical to ours in every single way.

What do you think about this theory?

An example I thought of was this:
Are there any scientific experiments that truly give randomized results given very precise initial conditions? If you do an experiment 1,000,000 times with every initial condition exactly the same, should you not get the same result every single time? This concept can be applied to the big bang's initial conditions

Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Jun 5 2011: You're following one important train of thought already in the forward-looking mode. You (like I) want to know if there is any "news" that can be injected into the universe without breaking any of the rules. Be that news "random" fluctuations in the ongoing revelation of quantum particles' states or (more interestingly) the "free" decisions of sentient beings, we want to know if the universe is actually still forking along paths of possibility with ends unknown and unknowable. The key here is about the unknowableness. I think it's relatively easy to see that the twists and turns are indeed unknowable and dependent on decisions we make because of the deep nature of the unknowableness we can understand in taking the inquiry in the opposite direction:

    William Poundstone's "The Recursive Universe" uses Conway's Game of Life (CGOL) to elucidate some things about the real world. For one thing he shows how for a particular state of the game board in CGOL, one can always know the very next state (and therefore all subsequent) exactly, but one cannot determine the previous state with any certainty. This is for the simple reason that for almost all CGOL states, there are very many possible preceding states. The key point here is that the laws of CGOL, like the laws of physics, place detailed constraints on how one state transitions to another, but this does not mean it's possible to project backwards in time to identify prior states.

    Understanding this, one sees that your question presupposes something deeply impossible and is therefore flawed. It will never be possible to discover the initial state of the universe, nor to know the full extent of the current state. It's deeply unknowable, or perhaps "fundamentally irrelevant". For this reason the question (which is still a good question, I'm glad you posed it) is only a fantasy (no dis intended).

    The complete universe is exactly and only self-evident. No template, no model, no knower, no parallel applies. For us, anyway.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.