Frank Wilczek, a physics Nobel laureate, wrote a first soporific, and then baffling article in Quanta magazine: “Entanglement Made Simple”. Yes, all too simple: it sweeps the difficulties under the rug. After a thorough description of classical entanglement, we are swiftly told at the end, that classical entanglement supports the many World Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics. However, classical entanglement (from various conservation laws) has been known since the seventeenth century.
Skeptical founders of Quantum physics (such as Einstein, De Broglie, Schrodinger, Bohm, Bell) knew classical entanglement very well. David Bohm found the Bohm-Aharanov effect, which demonstrated the importance of (nonlocal) potential, John Bell found his inequality which demonstrated, with the help of experiments (Alain Aspect, etc.) that Quantum physics is nonlocal.
The point about the cats is that everybody, even maniacs, ought to know that cats are either dead, or alive. Quantum mechanics make the point they can compute things about cats, from their point of view. OK.
Quantum mechanics, in their busy shops, compute with dead and live cats as possible outcomes. No problem. But then does that mean there is a universe, a “world“, with a dead cat, happening, and then one with a live cat, also happening simultaneously?
Any serious philosopher, somebody endowed with common sense, the nemesis of a Quantum mechanic, will say no: in a philosopher’s opinion, a cat is either dead, or alive. To be, or not to be. Not to be, and not to be.
A Quantum mechanic can compute with dead and live cats, but that does not mean she creates worlds, by simply rearranging her computation, this way, or that. Her various dead and live cats arrangements just mean she has partial knowledge of what she computes with, and that Quantum measurements, even from an excellent mechanic, are just partial, mechanic-dependent measurements.
For example, if one measures spin, one needs to orient a machine (a Stern Gerlach device). That’s just a magnetic field going one way, like a big arrow, a big direction. Thus one measures spin in one direction, not another.
What’s more surprising is that, later on, thanks to a nonlocal entanglement, one may be able to determine that, at this point in time, the particle had a spin that could be measured, from far away, in another direction. So far, so good: this is like classical mechanics.
However, whether or not that measurement at a distance has occurred, roughly simultaneously, and way out of the causality light cone, EFFECTS the first measurement.
This is what the famous Bell Inequality means.
And this is what the problem with Quantum Entanglement is. Quantum Entanglement implies that wilful action somewhere disturbs a measurement beyond the reach of the five known forces. It brings all sorts of questions of a philosophical nature, and make them into burning physical subjects. For example, does the experimenter at a distance have real free will?
Calling the world otherworldly, or many worldly, does not really help to understand what is going on. Einstein’s “Spooky Interaction At A Distance” seems a more faithful, honest rendition of reality than supposing that each and any Quantum mechanic in her shop, creates worlds, willy-nilly, each time it strikes her fancy to press a button.
What Mr. Wilczek did is what manyworldists and multiversists always do: they jump into their derangement (cats alive AND dead) after saying there is no problem. Details are never revealed.
Here is, in extenso, the fully confusing and unsupported conclusion of Mr. Wilczek:
“Everyday language is ill suited to describe quantum complementarity, in part because everyday experience does not encounter it. Practical cats interact with surrounding air molecules, among other things, in very different ways depending on whether they are alive or dead, so in practice the measurement gets made automatically, and the cat gets on with its life (or death). But entangled histories describe q-ons that are, in a real sense, Schrödinger kittens. Their full description requires, at intermediate times, that we take both of two contradictory property-trajectories into account.
The controlled experimental realization of entangled histories is delicate because it requires we gather partial information about our q-on. Conventional quantum measurements generally gather complete information at one time — for example, they determine a definite shape, or a definite color — rather than partial information spanning several times. But it can be done — indeed, without great technical difficulty. In this way we can give definite mathematical and experimental meaning to the proliferation of “many worlds” in quantum theory, and demonstrate its substantiality.”
Sounds impressive, but the reasons are either well-known or then those reasons use a sleight of hand.
Explicitly: “take both of two contradictory property-trajectories into account”: just read Feynman QED, first chapter. Feynman invented the ‘sum over histories’, and Wilczek is his parrot; but Feynman did not become crazy from his ‘sum over history’: Richard smirked when his picturesque evocation was taken literally, decades later…
And now the sleight of hand: …”rather than [gather] partial information spanning several times. But it can be done — indeed, without great technical difficulty.” This nothing new: it is the essence of the double slit discovered by that Medical Doctor and polymath, Young, around 1800 CE: when one runs lots of ‘particles’ through it, one sees the (wave) patterns. This is what Wilczek means by “partial information“. Guess what? We knew that already.
Believing that one can be, while not to be, putting that at the foundation of physics, is a new low in thinking. And it impacts the general mood, making it more favorable towards unreason.
If anything can be, without being, if anything not happening here, is happening somewhere else, then is not anything permitted? Dostoyevsky had a Russian aristocrat suggests that, if god did not exist anything was permitted. And, come to think of it, the argument was at the core of Christianism. Or more, exactly, of the Christian reign of terror which started in the period 363 CE-381 CE, from the reigns of emperor Jovian to the reign of emperor Theodosius. To prevent anything to be permitted, a god had to enforce the law.
What we have now is way worse: the new nihilists (Wilczek and his fellow manyworldists) do not just say that everything is permitted. They say: it does not matter if everything is permitted, or not. It is happening, anyway. Somewhere.
Thus Many-Worlds physics endangers, not just the foundations of reason, but the very justification for morality. That is that what is undesirable should be avoided. Even the Nazis agreed with that principle. Many-Worlds physics says it does not matter, because it is happening, anyway. Somewhere, out there.
So what is going on, here, at the level of moods? Well, professor Wilczek teaches at Harvard. Harvard professors advised president Yeltsin of Russia, to set up a plutocracy. It ruined Russia. Same professors made a fortune from it, while others were advising president Clinton to do the same, and meanwhile Prime Minister Balladur in France was mightily impressed, and followed this new enlightenment by the Dark Side, as did British leaders, and many others. All these societies were ruined in turn. Harvard was the principal spirit behind the rise of plutocracy, and the engine propelling that rise, was the principle that morality did not matter. because, because, well, Many-Worlds!
How does one go from the foundations of physics, to the foundations of plutocracy? Faculty members in the richest, most powerful universities meet in mutual admiration societies known as “faculty clubs” and lots of other I scratch-your-back, you scratch-my-back social occasion they spend much of their time indulging in. So they influence each other, at the very least in the atmospheres of moods they create, and then breathe together.
Remember? It is not that everything is permitted: it’s happening anyway, so we may as well profit from it first. Many-Worlds physics feeds a mood favorable to many plutocrats, and that’s all there is to it. (But that, of course, is a lot, all too much.)