What I find so contradictory about MWI (the QM interpretation that Ball unloads his frustration on), is that it assumes that the wavefunction splits at every “decision”, without taking into account that a wavefunction is non-local and global. This was the view of Nobel laureate Eugene Wigner, which didn’t get a mention in Ball’s list. Wigner said that the final outcome is fixed, not because of parallel universes, but because the universe is being observed by an outside observer. For all Ball knows (and that includes physicists too), the wavefunction is completely determined elsewhere in the universe, and the “split” we calculate here was completely determined and hence not a split at all, and MWI collapses down to ordinary reality.
“Oh no, that was Einstein’s “hidden variable” theory which was disproven in the 70’s!”, a true believer is likely to object. No, because the “hidden variable” theory replaces an observer with static existence.
Wigner didn’t promote some sort of “Einstein locality”, he promoted a person observing the Universe. And that makes all the difference.
Which is probably why his theory didn’t get even an honorable mention.
Presumably, any unobservable cosmic-level weirdness is better.
See, for example, this comment:
MWI follows inevitable as a deduction from the principles of quantum mechanics …
See also: As if the multiverse wasn’t bizarre enough …meet Many Worlds
But who needs reality-based thinking anyway? Not the new cosmologists
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