Rational Scientific Theories from Theism

 

Difficulties in Understanding Quantum Physics,
or
 What does the Wave Function Describe?

Quantum mechanics is very successful!

  • Good calculational tool! 
  • A framework in which we express our physical theories. 
  • No failures yet found, despite many tests (still ongoing) 
  • BUT: (what) does Quantum Mechanics (QM)  tell us about the physical world???

Features difficult to understand:

  • Wave/particle duality, interference effects, non-locality, etc, as we all know. 
  • But there are more questions
    • Does anything actually happen? Are there actual events independent of our immediate experience? 
    • Are all measurements really position measurements, even though precise positions are never measured! 
    • What happens after measurements? 
    • Are actual and virtual events the same or different? 
    • Are all events really interactions? 

What happens after a measurement?

  • If we measure a ‘system’ described by wave function y=a1u1+a2u2 to discriminate between the ui, and u1 is found to occur: 
  • What happens after to the ‘unphysical’ u2
  • Equally as real as u1? many worlds/Bohm 
  • Exists, but has no effect? decoherence 
  • Dynamically reduced? new physics!

Dynamical Reduction?

  • If it occurs: When and Why? 
    • Large sizes? No: large superconductors 
    • Large distances? No: photons 20km apart 
    • Energy differences? No: we do see DE interferences 
    • Spontaneous? (GRW) ad hoc 
    • Mind? (Wigner, Stapp) cat? virus? 
    • Gravity: is spacetime classical? (Penrose) 
  • Scope for new physics!? tests ongoing. 
    • Any law should be Lorentz-invariant!

Does wave function describe anything?

  • Relation between observations / experiences? 
  • Does it tell us what exists? What is a ‘system’? 
  • We agree that 
    • cannot use naive models of particles or waves 
    • assuming a ‘material world’ leads to problems, if ‘material’ means ‘solid’ or ‘fluid’ 
  • I claim that: if we cannot find any idea of quantum existence, this shows not that there is no underlying world, but that we lack imagination!

There are many references I could give for this section, to a wide range of books and articles in both physics and philosophy.

www.TheisticScience.org Author: Ian J. Thompson, Email: IanT at TheisticScience.org