If the odds are in your favor, why not bet some money? There have been plenty of high profile bets in physics. Bets spice up stuff people do not know how to otherwise spice up. Moreover: If nobody is willing to take your offer and bet against you, they effectively publicly admit defeat, even if they may claim otherwise.
If Laplace believes in a deterministic, classical universe, if he believes to have a method to use his knowledge to force a certain outcome, he is not only consistent when he bets his first born on that outcome, but moreover, he is consistent to promote his bet as if it proves something about nature!
Joy, Brian, or Dick, just to take some entirely random names with no relation to real people whatsoever, they believe in certain versions of stochastic (random) theories like for example quantum mechanics. Dick knows that Brian will lose a certain bet with 99.99% probability, because that is what quantum mechanics tells us. Dick proposes the bet, but that is not all. He makes it public: “Look everybody, I challenge any of those classical, anti-quantum crackpots out there, 3000 dollars to who beats my challenge”. If you believe to win 3000 bucks with 99.99% probability, go ahead, but can this bet prove anything?
Laplace’s theory predicts that he wins 100%. If he loses, his theory failed. If Dick wins against Brian, who has a silly non-quantum theory that he claims beats Dick’s bet with 80% probability, then what? After all, if Dick loses the bet against Brian, quantum mechanics predicted that, too, namely with 0.01% probability! Quantum mechanics even tells us that the 0.01% is in some way counting “real worlds”. Dick will lose!
Gambling with a quantum die can be weird.
But Dick claims something more profound: As long as Joy and Brian refuse to put money on the table, Brian is a loudmouth or perhaps Joy is even a cheater who apparently knows all too well not to have a working theory. Dick’s friends agree, however, this does not stop the many Joys and Brians from claiming that Dick’s offer is unfair and not actually testing their theories but something else. The public agrees with Dick, perhaps because he may be a professor in a related field. But actually they agree with Brian, perhaps also a professor, even if in a somewhat removed field, because if quantum mechanics demands all that craziness like them parallel worlds, then nah, these physicists nowadays with their dark energy and stuffs, nah gee, lets keep the feet on the ground, you know, keep it “real”.
There is another problem: What does 99.99% prove? What if it were 51%? What about 52%? 80%? Who knows the threshold where scientists can agree on that this is the very probability, that if a challenger passes this line, his theory has won against quantum mechanics? Where is that number that could disprove quantum mechanics empirically and thus make it falsifiable, as many people mistakenly demand as necessary for all good science? There is none! Whatever the percentage, these are arbitrary numbers and as such hardly scientific. The public perhaps learns that science is about fighting for whims and personal gain, about professors belonging to an upper middle class that can gamble away a few crates of wine without suffering a loss – all true and good to know. But surely, they will not learn about quantum mechanics, which, as far as known, is all about that there is no* such threshold.
The Quantum Randi Challenge is an example for a new type of challenge, called General Randi Challenge, which is never just some sort of silly bet, but specifically designed with all these problems in mind. A General Randi Challenge is on the next level: It addresses a new generation that demands transparency over expert elites (1), it avoids dealing with pseudo-scientists (2), and it refuses to fall for their forcing the agenda (3) – all without strengthening the appearance of suppression by an establishment.
Increasingly, researchers at the cutting edge of quantum foundations discuss the Quantum Randi Challenge, but there is a surprisingly large hurdle, almost a certain inability to shake off preconceived notions. They for example complain that the Quantum Randi Challenge has no well defined statistical criterion that, when passed, would mean that a challenger has passed the challenge.
Precisely! The Quantum Randi Challenge does not have any level where established experts grant approval, because such arbitrary thresholds are not only somewhat unscientific (A), but quantum mechanics does not provide such a criterion (B), which makes such criteria a didactic shot into the foot, and most importantly (C), a General Randi Challenge must be independent of establishment expert consensus. One of the main aims of a General Randi Challenge is that it allows refusing giving pseudoscience a platform without strengthening the pseudo-scientists’ claim about there being an establishment conspiracy against the truth.
The agenda is no longer classical physics. Quaint crackpots as well as deceptive anti-science nuts desperately hold on to classical physics with silly, from a modern perspective unnatural, ad hoc constructions. As bad as that is, it should not force us researchers to focus on classical, blind mechanisms that are alive enough to conspire to deceive humans, or superluminal ghosts or whatever comes next. The Quantum Randi Challenge talks to reasonable people, to a generation that grew up with virtual reality, to people who are not cognitively closed toward modifications of naïve direct realism, and it tells them:
“Here is the prediction of quantum mechanics as we know it today as a reasonable, non-contrived theory that is the underpinning of many applications vital to current technology; here is the explanation of something it does in a way that you can follow every step without trusting anybody but yourself, and here is the very system that you understand one could use easily to disprove all of this in case nature were instead directly real (which includes “local”). The challenge is to merely modify this very simple system so it proves the opposite, which would be so truly science shattering that you would hear of it in a matter of days, and hundreds of people much like yourself would then check it and be convinced in a matter of hours in case it truly does what it claims. So you, the enlightened individual, judge for yourself: Why, after years, still no challenger has succeeded?”
Are you an IT knowledgeable person and know how to convert a trivial Mathematica code into something more widely available or perhaps even Java or whatever you feel is best to make the challenge an attractive internet application? Look at the details, go ahead and start for a couple of afternoons or so, contact me if you think you can really do it and want to do it. Attach your name to a growing, future oriented project that can only succeed.
Are you interested in illustrating the explanation of the Bell inequality that should be added to the internet application? Go ahead (but first understand it yourself please).
* Unitary QM holds those 0.01% “real” even if they become 0.000001%. We have not found a gravity induced low probability cutoff like the Diosi-Penrose criterion, any “further fact” about phenomenal consciousness not being able to observe terrible quantum states, or world mangling.