Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Is “Many Worlds” an atheist war on quantum mechanics?


Conducted, according to lawyer and editor Ian Huyett, by — among others — Hugh Everett III (1930-1982), founder of the “many worlds” interpretation of quantum mechanics:

A dyed-in the-wool nihilist, Everett is known for ordering that his ashes be dumped into a trashcan when he died—a practice that Everett’s daughter later copied upon committing suicide. Everett brought this same dedication to bear in his scientific career. Today, Everett’s disciples praise him for bringing an atheistic scorn of the immaterial back to quantum mechanics.

As a graduate student in the 1950s, Everett was alarmed to discover that traditional quantum mechanics did not line up with his materialist commitments. He was repulsed by the fact that the human mind seemed to be given a special role—a conclusion that Everett thought smacked of the supernatural. There seemed to be “a magic process in which something quite drastic occurred, while in all other times systems were assumed to obey perfectly natural continuous laws.”[4] In Jonathan Allday’s words, Everett firmly believed that such a “‘magic process’… should not be considered in quantum physics.”

Everett therefore devised the Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum mechanics—perhaps the most widely-known interpretation in contemporary popular culture. The purpose of the interpretation was, in essence, to create a consistent model of quantum mechanics that would preserve Thomas Huxley’s materialistic dismissal of the mind. Everett’s model continues to be extremely influential.

David Deutsch, a militantly atheistic contemporary physicist, regards himself as a sort of apostle of Hugh Everett. “Everett was before his time,” says Deutsch. Before Everett, “things were regarded as progress which are not explanatory, and the vacuum was filled by mysticism and religion and every kind of rubbish. Everett is important because he stood out against it.”[5] Deutsch’s words of praise are important: Everett’s greatest achievement is not the elegance of his mathematical model, but that the fact that his model pushed back against “religion,” which is of course false.

The physicist Stephen M. Barr—a rare theist among physicists—admits that the Many Worlds Interpretation successfully reconciles the math of quantum mechanics with materialism. Yet the interpretation, Barr says, is “awfully heavy baggage for materialism to carry.” In the words of Bryce DeWitt, a proponent of the interpretation, Many Worlds means that there are literally “10^100 slightly imperfect copies of oneself all constantly splitting into further copies, which ultimately become unrecognizable.” This, Dewitt concedes, “is not easy to reconcile with common sense. Here is schizophrenia with a vengeance.”

Ian Huyett, “The Atheist War Against Quantum Mechanics” at Staseos – Bold Christianity (Updated November 28, 2021)

It’s an undemonstrable thesis, actually. It makes so much more sense to just believe in God. Or, as Eugene Wigner, also quoted, put it, “while many philosophical ideas ‘may be logically consistent with present quantum mechanics… materialism is not.’”

Hat tip: Philip Cunningham

Like Hugh Everett's a-priori commitment to atheism drove his formulation of Many Worlds, (and contrary to popular belief that Darwin only became an atheist later in his life), for Charles Darwin his atheism came first, and 'natural selection' was not so much 'discovered' by Darwin, but Natural Selection was instead, basically, invented by Darwin in order to accord with his a-priori belief in atheistic materialism.
Is Darwinism Atheistic? - Jun 10, 2009 Excerpt: Dissenters have argued that Darwinism is not science, but that Darwin superimposed an atheistic/materialistic worldview on nature, then searched for the facts to support his theory. Darwinians responded that Darwin’s own writings show that he was not an atheist, but always believed in some form of deity. A careful study of Darwin’s writings, especially his posthumously published private notebooks and personal communication, reveals that Darwin was indeed an atheist and his theory of natural selection was formulated to replace a Creator with naturalistic processes.,,, Despite Darwin’s claim that skepticism ruled only the latter part of his life, evidence from a large number of recently published private notebooks, dating from 1836 to 1844, has revealed that Darwin expressed belief in atheism and materialism as early as May 1838,,,, Many scholars are coming to the conclusion that Darwin was in fact an atheist well before the publication of Origin.27 Howard Gruber stated, “The material gives clear evidence for Darwin’s realization during this period that his ideas were indeed materialistic, tending toward atheism, and therefore dangerous.”28 Stephen Jay Gould likewise said, “The notebooks prove that, Darwin was interested in philosophy and aware of its implications. He knew that the primary feature distinguishing his theory from all other evolutionary doctrines was its uncompromising philosophical materialism.”29 https://www.equip.org/article/is-darwinism-atheistic/ Myth-Making and Malthus - Neil Thomas - January 10, 2022 Excerpt: If anything, Darwin’s method was to pick up opinions from elsewhere and then search for ways of backing up those opinions by observations made in the field (rather than the other way around). In that sense it might be more accurate to borrow a term used by anthropologists and classicists to describe Darwin’s modus operandi: mythopoeisis (myth-creation/creative confabulation), that which Michael Denton referred to as the weaving together of a great cosmogenic myth1 https://evolutionnews.org/2022/01/myth-making-and-malthus/
And indeed, like Everett's Many Worlds, Natural Selection more properly belongs in the category of 'unrestrained imagination', and even in the category of ''just-so' story telling', rather than belonging in the realm of hard and testable sciences.
Sociobiology: The Art of Story Telling – Stephen Jay Gould – 1978 – New Scientist Excerpt: Rudyard Kipling asked how the leopard got its spots, the rhino its wrinkled skin. He called his answers “Just So stories”. When evolutionists study individual adaptations, when they try to explain form and behaviour by reconstructing history and assessing current utility, they also tell just so stories – and the agent is natural selection. Virtuosity in invention replaces testability as the criterion for acceptance. https://books.google.com/books?id=tRj7EyRFVqYC&pg=PA530 Darwin’s Theory of Natural Selection Has Left a Legacy of Confusion over Biological Adaptation Brian Miller - September 20, 2021 Excerpt: Evolutionary biologist Robert Reid stated: "Indeed the language of neo-Darwinism is so careless that the words ‘divine plan’ can be substituted for ‘selection pressure’ in any popular work in the biological literature without the slightest disruption in the logical flow of argument." Robert Reid, Biological Emergences: Evolution by Natural Experiment, PP. 37-38 (2009) To fully comprehend the critique, one simply needs to imagine attempting to craft an evolutionary barometer that measures the selection pressure driving one organism to transform into something different (e.g., fish into an amphibian). The fact that no such instrument could be constructed highlights the fictitious nature of such mystical forces. https://evolutionnews.org/2021/09/darwins-theory-of-natural-selection-has-left-a-legacy-of-confusion-over-biological-adaptation/ Top Ten Questions and Objections to ‘Introduction to Evolutionary Informatics’ – Robert J. Marks II – June 12, 2017 Excerpt: “There exists no model successfully describing undirected Darwinian evolution. Hard sciences are built on foundations of mathematics or definitive simulations. Examples include electromagnetics, Newtonian mechanics, geophysics, relativity, thermodynamics, quantum mechanics, optics, and many areas in biology. Those hoping to establish Darwinian evolution as a hard science with a model have either failed or inadvertently cheated. These models contain guidance mechanisms to land the airplane squarely on the target runway despite stochastic wind gusts. Not only can the guiding assistance be specifically identified in each proposed evolution model, its contribution to the success can be measured, in bits, as active information.,,,”,,, “there exists no model successfully describing undirected Darwinian evolution. According to our current understanding, there never will be.,,,” https://evolutionnews.org/2017/06/top-ten-questions-and-objections-to-introduction-to-evolutionary-informatics/ Robert Jackson Marks II is an American electrical engineer. His contributions include the Zhao-Atlas-Marks (ZAM) time-frequency distribution in the field of signal processing,[1] the Cheung–Marks theorem[2] in Shannon sampling theory and the Papoulis-Marks-Cheung (PMC) approach in multidimensional sampling.[3] He was instrumental in the defining of the field of computational intelligence and co-edited the first book using computational intelligence in the title.[4][5] – per wikipedia
I wonder what Everett & Co. thought about Darwinism, where, "a magic process in which something quite drastic occurred", is a requirement for for each of its just-so stories about evolution. Fasteddious
A whole new material universe materializes ... from what? How? Where does the "matter" come from to produce these "many worlds?" Where do they "materialize?" We can't even find "matter" in this universe, yet whole new universes made of matter are constantly "appearing?" Quantum physics killed materialism, but materialists refuse to give up their materialism. Similarly, quantum physics also killed dualism, but dualists refuse to give up their dualism. The only thing left is idealism, yet the implications of idealism are extremely problematic for some traditional theisms. William J Murray
What a well written article. I especially liked how Huyett pointed out that, for atheists, many times their atheism comes first, and the science comes a distant second. And, as it was in Everett's formulation of the many worlds model, their interpretations, and/or models, in 'science' are often driven, first and foremost, by their a-priori commitment to atheism. Not by any compelling empirical evidence that would lead to Atheism, and/or compel an atheistic interpretation of the evidence. As to empirical evidence, although Ian Huyett mentioned interaction free measurement to refute the atheist's contention that decoherence, (i.e. interaction with the environment), is sufficient to explain quantum measurement,,
A few common objections will now have to be dealt with. Many members of the Internet atheist community are confused about this experiment, and it is common to see lay atheists assert that the experiment does not even superficially challenge materialism. The particles do not behave differently because they are being “observed,” many say, but because the use of a measuring device somehow physically pushes the particles, causing them to behave differently. Physicists, however, do not accept this explanation. Seth Lloyd, for example, diffuses it unambiguously: "It is interesting to note, in the above experiment, that the measurement disturbs the particle’s wave whether or not the detector clicks. The detector clicks only if the particle goes through the right-hand slit, where the detector is located. But when the detector fails to click, meaning that the particle has gone through the left-hand slit, the interference pattern is still destroyed—that is, the measurement still disturbs the particle’s wave. The particle need not ever come close to the detector." - Ian Huyett - The Atheist War Against Quantum Mechanics - Nov. 2021 Quantum Experiment without Interaction (Double Slit experiment with detector at only one slit) - video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOv8zYla1wY
,,, although Ian Huyett mentioned interaction free measurement, there is also another piece of empirical evidence that also refutes the atheist's many worlds model. In the atheist's many worlds model, the collapse of the wave function is simply denied as being a real effect. As wikipedia bluntly states, in many worlds "there is no wave function collapse."
Many-worlds interpretation Excerpt: The many-worlds interpretation (MWI) is an interpretation of quantum mechanics that asserts that the universal wavefunction is objectively real, and that there is no wave function collapse.[2] – per wikipedia Quantum mechanics – Philosophical implications Excerpt: Everett’s many-worlds interpretation, formulated in 1956, holds that all the possibilities described by quantum theory simultaneously occur in a multiverse composed of mostly independent parallel universes.[52] This is a consequence of removing the axiom of the collapse of the wave packet. – per wikipedia
Yet, directly contrary to what atheist's hold to be true in their many worlds model, the collapse of the wave function is now experimentally shown to be a real effect. As the following experiment found, “homodyne measurements, show,, the non-local collapse of a particle’s wave function.,” and, “the collapse of the wave function is a real effect”, and, “”Through these different measurements, you see the wave function collapse in different ways, thus proving its existence and showing that Einstein was wrong.”
Quantum experiment verifies Einstein's 'spooky action at a distance' - March 24, 2015 Excerpt: An experiment,, has for the first time demonstrated Albert Einstein's original conception of "spooky action at a distance" using a single particle. ,,Professor Howard Wiseman and his experimental collaborators,, report their use of homodyne measurements to show what Einstein did not believe to be real, namely the non-local collapse of a (single) particle's wave function.,, According to quantum mechanics, a single particle can be described by a wave function that spreads over arbitrarily large distances,,, ,, by splitting a single photon between two laboratories, scientists have used homodyne detectors—which measure wave-like properties—to show the collapse of the wave function is a real effect,, This phenomenon is explained in quantum theory,, the instantaneous non-local, (i.e. beyond space and time), collapse of the wave function to wherever the particle is detected.,,, "Einstein never accepted orthodox quantum mechanics and the original basis of his contention was this single-particle argument. This is why it is important to demonstrate non-local wave function collapse with a single particle," says Professor Wiseman. "Einstein's view was that the detection of the particle only ever at one point could be much better explained by the hypothesis that the particle is only ever at one point, without invoking the instantaneous collapse of the wave function to nothing at all other points. "However, rather than simply detecting the presence or absence of the particle, we used homodyne measurements enabling one party to make different measurements and the other, using quantum tomography, to test the effect of those choices." "Through these different measurements, you see the wave function collapse in different ways, thus proving its existence and showing that Einstein was wrong." http://phys.org/news/2015-03-quantum-einstein-spooky-action-distance.html
1 Thessalonians 5:21 Test all things; hold fast to that which is good.
Of supplemental note as to just how badly the atheist's many worlds model undermines science itself,,
Why the Many-Worlds Interpretation Has Many Problems - Philip Ball - May 2018 Excerpt: Every scientific theory (at least, I cannot think of an exception) is a formulation for explaining why things in the world are the way we perceive them to be. This assumption that a theory must recover our perceived reality is generally so obvious that it is unspoken.,, But the MWI refuses to grant it. Sure, it claims to explain why it looks as though “you” are here observing that the electron spin is up, not down. But actually it is not returning us to this fundamental ground truth at all. Properly conceived, it is saying that there are neither facts nor a you who observes them. It says that our unique experience as individuals is not simply a bit imperfect, a bit unreliable and fuzzy, but is a complete illusion. If we really pursue that idea, rather than pretending that it gives us quantum siblings, we find ourselves unable to say anything about anything that can be considered a meaningful truth. We are not just suspended in language; we have denied language any agency. The MWI — if taken seriously — is unthinkable. Its implications undermine a scientific description of the world far more seriously than do those of any of its rivals. The MWI tells you not to trust empiricism at all: Rather than imposing the observer on the scene, it destroys any credible account of what an observer can possibly be. Some Everettians insist that this is not a problem and that you should not be troubled by it. Perhaps you are not, but I am. https://www.quantamagazine.org/why-the-many-worlds-interpretation-of-quantum-mechanics-has-many-problems-20181018/
Of humorous note, Dr. Egnor quips that, "the (Many Worlds) issue here isn’t physics or even logic. The issue is psychiatric.,,, People have been prescribed anti-psychotic drugs for less."
Atheist Physicist Sean Carroll: An Infinite Number of Universes Is More Plausible Than God - Michael Egnor - August 2, 2017 Excerpt: as I noted, the issue here isn’t physics or even logic. The issue is psychiatric. We have a highly accomplished physicist, who regards the existence of God as preposterous, asserting that the unceasing creation of infinite numbers of new universes by every atom in the cosmos at every moment is actually happening (as we speak!), and that it is a perfectly rational and sane inference. People have been prescribed anti-psychotic drugs for less. Now of course Carroll isn’t crazy, not in any medical way. He’s merely given his assent to a crazy ideology — atheist materialism —,,, What can we in the reality-based community do when an ideology — the ideology that is currently dominant in science — is not merely wrong, but delusional? I guess calling it what it is is a place to start. https://evolutionnews.org/2017/08/atheist-physicist-sean-carroll-an-infinite-number-of-universes-is-more-plausible-than-god/

Leave a Reply