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Matt Hintzke

Student, Coffman Engineers, Inc

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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


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    Jun 6 2011: Hi Matt,

    I agree with your analysis. Those who disagree would be well thought of by me if they could explain "what would cause the different outcome given the same set of initial conditions or causes". Unless of course they are implying that some events don't have a cause. If that is so please tell me about one.
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      Jun 6 2011: If you follow a linear progression then it would makes sense to agree, limiting your focus to one cause then effect at a time. However the overall cause and effect is not linear. There are many many many causes and effects happenings simultaneously. This leads to numerous possibilities

      As I had stated earlier in the multitude of cause and effects there will be causes that have the ability to lead to more then one effect. If you have a sphere traveling directly at a wedge divider when the sphere hits perfectly in the center it has the chance to go left, right, or split and go both. In the stance you are taking you're saying that the sphere only goes one direction. It's hard for me to wrap my mind around that. What happen to the other possibilities? Why must the sphere only go in one direction, how can it? It would go in each possible direction evenly in this case.
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        Jun 6 2011: Complexity does not answer the proposition. A series, or a group, or a cluster of causes (however you wish to put your argument) when assembled in the same fashion would result in the same outcome....if not why not.

        It is no answer to say "...oh there are many causes and thus it is therefore unpredictable"
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        Jun 8 2011: If the sphere hit the divider perfectly in the middle as you said, what gives it the means to go left or right? It would get divided equally and go in both directions because, after being split, both halves are completely identical and will travel identical ways. In order to go left or right, the sphere would have needed to have more mass in either of those two directions which is not true according to your mind experiment.
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          Jun 10 2011: Then there is the possibility of the sphere not splitting but instead bouncing back or coming to a rest.
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      Jun 7 2011: "what would cause the different outcome given the same set of initial conditions or causes".

      It's really not hard with a little thought experiment. Consider the problem with predicting the decay of an atom of uranium. Nothing we know about the uranium atom that can tell us why one atom will decay and another will not. The best we can do is predict the probability that a particular atom will decay.

      Now suppose your initial conditions contain a single atom or uranium and whether it decays or doesn't decay at a particular time is the point of divergence between two chains of events. If you play through once and the atom decays at the appropriate time you get one outcome. Now go back to the exact initial conditions and you'll find you are stuck with a probability not a certainty the same thing will happen. The only way out of this is to show a cause behind the decay of that particular atom at that particular time.

      The easy answer is 'there MUST be a cause' but it's singularly unscientific answer that assumes knowledge we don't have. It assumes the universe works in a particular way because it's easier to understand. It misses the point and much of the mystery behind QM.
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        Jun 8 2011: Exactly as you said, "Nothing we know about the uranium atom can tell us why one atom will decay and another will not." This is right, however contradicting yourself. Although the Uranium atom does not give us information about whether it will decay or not, that does not mean that there is not some physical property or environmental feature on the microscopic level that denotes whether the atom will decay or not. You honestly believe that one atom will just decay..just because, while another will not..just because. That sounds like terrible scientific logic.
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          Jun 8 2011: Matt, I don't honestly believe anything when it comes to science. Science isn't about belief; it is about evidence and designing experiments to test hypotheses.

          Your arguments are based on what you think the world should look like, not what we actually observe. For instance you are certain, it seems, that the radioactive decay of an atom is caused by some predictable underlying cause. That's a fine hypothesis that a lot of people have had, but until you can test it, it's just that—an assumption based on applying your observations in the macroscopic world to the subatomic world. There is enough evidence out there to cast a lot of doubt on that assumption. Until you can design a way to test, "some physical property or environmental feature on the microscopic level that denotes whether the atom will decay or not…" I think you are kind of stuck. Anything you build on this assumption will be an built on shifting sand.

          So no, I don't honestly believe that, but I do believe that we don't know, which scientifically speaking, is a much better place to be.
    • Jun 13 2011: You wrote: "Unless of course they are implying that some events don't have a cause. If that is so please tell me about one."

      That's an easy one to answer: The existence of the universe (or if you prefer, the initial conditions of the big bang) is without cause.

      So it's not a stretch to propose that similar causes to that which initiated the big bang continue to be at work in the universe.

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