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    Answer To Where Are The Parallel Worlds
    By Sascha Vongehr | June 6th 2014 01:04 AM | 8 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Sascha

    Dr. Sascha Vongehr [风洒沙] studied phil/math/chem/phys in Germany, obtained a BSc in theoretical physics (electro-mag) & MSc (stringtheory)...

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    Space seems like an empty box that lives through time. This can already be classified as a “better model”, as you can see in the table below. However, this tacitly held model makes people wonder: If I toss a coin and find myself with the result being “tails”, where is the other me, the one who found “heads”, the other possibility which physics can no longer ignore, and which good philosophy has always known to be equivalent?

    Has a universe popped up next door to this one?

    The question “Where are the other outcome worlds?” is similar to “Where are the other times, for example tomorrow, where is it?” The answers are thus similar.

    Great philosophers like Kant and Wittgenstein knew half of the answer implicitly; they understood the ‘apriority’ of space, time, and causality. Modern physics clarifies it, making it palatable to the common intellectual. We physicists provided first empirical data that were incompatible with naïve models, but proof alone does not convince.

    More importantly, we provide better visually intuitive models, such as Minkowski’s space-time diagrams in case of Einstein’s special relativity, and now the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen Many-World model in case of relativistic quantum theory.

    So where is tomorrow, where are the parallel worlds? They are not anywhere. Or you could as well say that they are right here, because this is the place we are talking about, namely you near that tossed coin, but at another time, tomorrow, or being in a slightly different configuration, heads instead of tails. “When” and “how”, not “where”! However, we strongly desire to point to a place inside a space, a model, and we are not satisfied until we can – I personally did not rest for many years until I had a geometrical model of parallel worlds, all the time fully aware of the fundamental silliness, perhaps impossibility of the endeavor.

    Luckily, it turned out to be possible.

    This is what the common box, space-time, and many-world models are about. They allow our mind to consider the issue in familiar ways, namely those of a hunter-gatherer with a visual cortex so impressive that his nose has become obsolete. Humans ‘understand’ such issues if they can imagine a model with places and paths where they can point their fingers: “Here is the past, and there is the future, and that is a path of light from here to there, and now you see.” All of a sudden we have insight; the difficult has become trivial.

    Quantum mechanics is very similar to relativity theory and even similar to the common box model already in this sense: The box includes all locations together, relativity theory is about including also different times properly, and quantum mechanics is about furthermore including all relevant possibilities, too – these connections are illustrated in the table below. Our intuition decreases with decreasing accessibility (top yellow row), so we have to work harder to grasp the model.

     

     

    Overview of models: The blue text is understandable through this article. Orange background: This decade’s cutting edge, not yet known to mainstream. Red: Hypothetical, may be wrong! (Original work, please use, but please use with proper attribution)

    If you want to model not only different places in a three dimensional (3D) space but also different times, you need four dimensional (4D) structures, which are listed in the third column in the table. Space at a certain time is then a 3D “cut” through that 4D structure, a cross section. This is *not* yet Einstein relativity theory!

    We are now inside the second row of the table; the better models are in the row below. Einstein’s special relativity is: observers who move relative to each other disagree on the orientation of the cut: If I move relative to you, my 3D “box-right-now” has only a 2D slice in common with your box-right-now; all my other parallel 2D slices are at different times relative to you.

    Note: this is not just about mere location and time labels. Measured lengths differ and twins can meet in the future having aged differently (the twin paradox).

    Something very similar happens in quantum physics. Not only are different outcomes included (fourth column). That is true, but naïve many-world models that are confused with the concept of the multiverse (almost all science writers etc. confuse this - see here and here for the crucial difference!) do not have the correct symmetries. Again, the proper ‘Everett relativity’ becomes obvious in better models in the row below.

    Locations, times, and now also outcomes depend on the observer’s situation. Again, this is not merely about different labels. At a certain angle in the EPR experiment, the Alice that observes 0 meets a Bob who got 1, while the Alice that got 1 finds a Bob that got 0.

     

    Cross section of an EPR MW model with correct quantum probabilities (the classical-to-quantum transition model is simpler): Every small area is a parallel world of Carl as he observes the measurement results from Alice and Bob. Source: [1] and more explanation here.

    Let us briefly review in order to reveal a problem: The 3D box is a useful model in everyday life and classical physics. In physics books, we see 2D pictures of the 3D model. If you want to understand time, the 3D box is a misleading model. You need 4D Minkowski space-time. Still, our pictures are mostly 2D. For understanding probability better, 4D space-time is insufficient. You need something that includes not just different times, but different possibilities. This is why there are now many-world models. So far so good, but the problem with them is: They have many more dimensions. 2D slices like the one above need a lot of explanation. Nevertheless, there are these comprehensible representations now and there is a touchable 3D model possible, too! Finally we have the satisfaction of understanding like a human must understand:

    “Look, there is Alice finding tails and there is Bob finding heads.”
    “But where are Alice and Bob both finding tails for example?”
    “Right there at that angle.”
    “Oh, yes, and I see right away that there are so few of those possibilities. Nice, but wait; do they find the quantum probabilities? Does the model violate the Bell inequality?”
    “Well, go ahead and count, there and there ... , you can put your finger on them and count now. Then rotate the angle further and count again.”
    “ … Oh, wow … but … the model is actually so simple … ”

    A new version of the introduction to the EPR-MW model has just today been made available – it is yet more accessible to lay persons and has many simple drawings that slowly increase in complexity until the above 2D picture can be fully understood. Be one of the first people in the world who already understand this exciting model and its significance for science and philosophy; connect it with your creative work before everybody else catches up.

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    Remark: Einstein-Everett relativity is almost unacceptable to our socially evolved belief system, because it threatens naïve rationalizations of the concept of responsible agency by further clarifying the illusionary nature of the feeling of “free will” that coevolved with social systems depending largely on control via communicated abstract meaning. Therefore, crackpots, religious, etc. attack demystifications such as attempted here. Comments are tightly monitored in order to ensure a useful comment section for reasonable readers. Thank you for your understanding.

    Comments

    This sounds much better than older versions of thinking about many-worlds, such as the "branching"-nonsense. All possibilities are already there somehow. Time could be the key to where it all sits, since it somehow manages to fan out one 3D world into a set of slightly different versions.

    We need a theory which accomodates the other possibilities and timelines next to each other in the quantum sense. Your idea of EPR/entanglement providing a simple glimpse of what is happening may be crucial.

    Hfarmer
    Interesting.  How would you respond to this comment from Paul Steinhardt? 
    http://www.nature.com/news/big-bang-blunder-bursts-the-multiverse-bubble...


    Second, inflation does not end with a universe with uniform properties, but almost inevitably leads to a multiverse with an infinite number of bubbles, in which the cosmic and physical properties vary from bubble to bubble. The part of the multiverse that we observe corresponds to a piece of just one such bubble. Scanning over all possible bubbles in the multi­verse, every­thing that can physically happen does happen an infinite number of times. No experiment can rule out a theory that allows for all possible outcomes. 
    Science advances as much by mistakes as by plans.
    vongehr
    Dear Hontas, I am unsure about what you want to specifically know here, because there could be said a lot. Having just this comment from Steinhardt, I see nothing contradictory or objectionable, except for that the description he employs seems to be based on an absolute time. However, there is nothing too wrong and one can use that description as long as one stays aware of its problems, which he perhaps does. In such a description, he must end up with an infinity of repetitions of everything, which is unnecessary and worsens the measure problem of cosmology, but it is not stricktly wrong in as far as what I describe here. Did you see any strong conflict between our descriptions? I focus on many-worlds here, he focusses on multiverse - again, they are intimitely related, but they are different aspects of the overall Einstein-Everett event structure.
    Hfarmer
    No I just wanted to hear your reaction to his declaration that "many worlds" is an unprovable and therefore unscientific idea. 
    I don't think that myself.  if the big bang can happen once, then somehow it could've happened at other completely separate "times".  On the other hand since we can not interact with any manner of alternate universe, and prove they exist...

    Steinhardt was writing in reference to inflation.  The BICEP2 result favored chaotic inflation. A model in which there would be bubbles of space-time pinching off to form new bubbles for ever and ever.  Hence multiple universes.   If the BICEP2 result does not hold up, say goodbye to chaotic inflation and the existence of multiple universes of that type.  

    (For the casual readers: The existence of separate M-Theory branes is a different kind of alternate universe all together.  )
    Science advances as much by mistakes as by plans.
    vongehr
    No I just wanted to hear your reaction to his declaration that "many worlds" is an unprovable and therefore unscientific idea.
    If that is his opinion, he must stick to a sort of naive realism with absolute time. Many good physicist are good physicists precisely because they believe in naive realism and empirical verificationism that is close to unenlightened "philosophers" like Popper (who nobody in the theory of mind for example takes seriously). Sadly, these beliefs, as good as they are for doing empirical science day to day, are a hinderance with fundamental questions, because they are unenlightened about that there is no theory-free start, no easy ontology - philosophy has long understood that such cannot even be consistently expressed (and a theory is a description). So, Steinhardt is unlikely to overcome the measure problem. It is great in a way - they can do their impressive empirical cosmology, which I fully support, while people like me can work on answers that are fundamentally satisfying, that are not from the get-go already destined to leave the very questions we feel uncomfortable with unanswered.
    I don't think that myself.  if the big bang can happen once, then somehow it could've happened at other completely separate "times".
    Not sure what you mean - the big bang comes after inflation! All possible big bangs are equivalently real. Are you worried about that the Higgs ether is unstable and another BB is triggered right here to destroy our universe? That is not a problem as only the parallel worlds where it does not blow up are still observed from the inside (~ quantum suicide).
    On the other hand since we can not interact with any manner of alternate universe, and prove they exist...
    Bell violation in EPR is the empirical proof that they exist, since they physically interact in order to uphold the apparently non-local correlations. This is explained in my paper - I even start the abstract with telling the reader that many-worlds are not just an "interpretation". That my theory does not need the empirical proof is not to say that we do not have one (see beginning of this article about physicists providing empirical proofs and models).
    existence of multiple universes of that type.  ... (For the casual readers: The existence of separate M-Theory branes is a different kind of alternate universe all together.
    Yes, thank you for supporting the message that multiverses are more complicated and not the same as many-worlds/minds.
    Thor Russell
    I don't see why Einstein-Everett relativity is unacceptable because of free will. Compatibilism like described by Dennett in books such as "Intuition pumps" certainly has no problem with it. 
    Apparently its not so 100% clear cut what the average person thinks also:

    "The newly emerging field of experimental philosophy (or “X-phi”) has a rather unprepossessing track record to date, but these are early days, and some of the work has yielded interesting results that certainly defy complacent assumptions common among philosophers.  The study by Nahmias et al. 2005 found substantial majorities (between 60 and 80%) in agreement with propositions that are compatibilist in outlook, not incompatibilist."

    http://www.naturalism.org/Dennett_reflections_on_Harris's_Free_Will.pdf

    Also many scientists are hard determinists anyway.


    Thor Russell
    vongehr
    I don't see why Einstein-Everett relativity is unacceptable because of free will.
    First off - this is not just about determinism, which may mean for example that god determined your single history to a "reasonable" one. With many-worlds, the fear is that if all the possibilities are, I will be tortured in some worlds, I will go crazy and kill my loved ones, and so on, because they are all macrostates based on possible micro states. I wrote on this in Are Terrible Quantum States Phenomenal and Did God Pick Quantum Mechanics to Protect Us from Evil Scientists and Tautologically Totalitarian Totality and Why We Do Not Accept It.
    Compatibilism like described by Dennett in books such as "Intuition pumps" certainly has no problem with it. 
    That is why I carefully wrote 'threatens naïve rationalizations of the concept of responsible agency by further clarifying the illusionary nature of the feeling of “free will”'. It depends on your definition of "free will", i.e. free of what. I have free will in some sense, but not in the sense that it is often discussed on lay-physics forums. Dennett knows that there is no "willing my will" as if my soul steps out of the universe.
    Also many scientists are hard determinists anyway.
    Good point, but they do not spam here about how terrible many-worlds is, nor are they representative of the audience here.
    My thing with the branching-universe kind of SciFi story has always been that it tends to be limited to human-level things of importance doing the branching - Kennedy's Assassination, Germany Winning WW2, etc. And it was always rather binary - it did or it didn't happen.

    When I was reading about the quantum version, though, it seemed to me that the *quantum* events were the critical ones - kind of ... at any particular period of Planck time length (and I know I am munging that all up), that there would be a branching at every point where something could *possibly* happen (which would be everywhere, with vacuum energy fluctuations), and the branching would include a branch for every single possible outcome, so that from some hypothetical outside, you would effectively see a nearly infinitely dimensional solid mass of timelines - not nice neat individual strands you could pick and choose between.

    That, of course, led me to the crackpot idea that maybe dark matter was just the average leaked influence of where matter was in all of those other timelines - "nearer" universes contributing more, of course, "farther" ones less. But the physicists are doing quite well on creating their own crackpot ideas that might actually be correct for dark matter and dark energy (and geeez! I can't believe someone actually suggested dark magnetism!)