BIBLE: Quantum computers & Many Worlds Hypoth. (fwd)

Joel Cannon (
Mon, 26 Aug 1996 22:29:23 -0600 (CDT)

Two comments concerning Glenn's many-worlds post.

1. I am not familiar with the article (and at the start of a semester
will not become familiar with it). However, the statement that a
quantum computer that worked successfully would requre acceptance of
the many-worlds seems dubious. What is needed to provide evidence is a
situation where the two pictures provide conflicting
predictions. Since the yet-to-be-built computer operates using the
equations of quantum mechanics which are common to any interpretation,
a one-world situation would give the same answer.

I suspect the problem is in an implicit assumption that the equivalent
of 10^500 sequential calculations could not be performed in one
universe. There is apparently nothing in the equations of QM that
precludes this. I suspect it is only the author's sensibilities that
are offended by the number happening in a one world universe. In
fact, any sensitive feeling person's sensibilities are regularly
offended by quantum mechanics so offended sensibilities provide a very
sandy foundation for speculation.

> there would be little
> evidence of design in the universe.

not follow since the case on which the many universe picture (the
computer) involves a very shrewd design which allegedly makes use of a
many universe scenario. Sort of like Richard Dawkins and his designed
computer program which illustrates the absence of design ("The Blind
Biomorphmaker"? ) I got this from Michael Poole (excellent critique in
British equiv of Perspectives) who got the quote from someone else.

On the other hand design arguments seems to me so tenuous and
fraught with difficulties in one universe that I would hate to try
them in an infinite number of them. David Hume would have a field day!

Apologies for the imprecision of mixing many-world and many-universe,
likely with different hyphenation styles (if I use all the
possibilities I'm guaranteed to be correct at least once) here--I'm
trying to get my semester and next lecture ready.

Joel W. Cannon
Dept. of Physics
Centenary College of Louisiana
P. O. Box 41188
Shreveport, LA 71134-1188

(318)869-5026 FAX