Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Philosophers like many-worlds

A couple of prominent Oxford philososphers, Harvey R Brown and Christopher G Timpson, write a new paper:
Bell on Bell's theorem: The changing face of nonlocality

Between 1964 and 1990, the notion of nonlocality in Bell's papers underwent a profound change as his nonlocality theorem gradually became detached from quantum mechanics, ... In our view, the significance of the Bell theorem, both in its deterministic and stochastic forms, can only be fully understood by taking into account the fact that a fully Lorentz-covariant version of quantum theory, free of action-at-a-distance, can be articulated in the Everett interpretation.
Action-at-a-distance theories are contrary to relativistic causality, and contrary to the reductionist methodology of science. If proved scientifically, we would have to accept action-at-a-distance, but we would rather not.

So these guys use that as an excuse to prefer the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, where zillions of unobservable parallel universes are postulated.

This is just more evidence that philosophers are detached from modern science. The MWI is promoted as an interpretation, meaning there isn't really any empirical evidence for it. So what good is some physical argument about action-at-a-distance? I suppose that is supposed to be better than other philosophers who promote interpretations that introduce action-at-a-distance, like Bohmian mechanics, but I am not sure. The parallel universes are just as contrary to scientific thinking.

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