I've been reading an interesting book, "The Conscious Universe" by Baratos
and Nadeau, who are respectively physics and English profs at George Mason
University near me. The book came as a freebie when you join the Natural
Science Book Club, which I recommend.
The authors argue for the Bohr interpretation of quantum mechanics, in
which the observer is inextricably part of the experiment. This view leads to
acceptance of non-locality (Einstein's "spooky action at a distance") which in
turn could imply that something other than causality maintains the coherence of
the world (my words here). The authors however do not favor the many-worlds
hypothesis, but try to uphold a strictly instrumentalist or positivist
interpretation of data -- don't infer anything that can't be observed.
Anyway, at the ASA annual meeting I found that George Murphy also got this
book (in the same way) and liked it, but he suggested a new interpretation from
Griffiths that was not mentioned as an alternative in the book: "consistent
histories". I also talked to Jack McIntyre at the meeting. He is an old-timer
in ASA, and a physics professor who has taught quantum mechanics. He also likes
the "consistent histories" approach, which he said does away with a lot of the
weirdness of non-locality and other problems.
I don't know any more than this, but maybe some of you out there do.
Incidentally, in a recent issue of Science, there is an article about
experimental demonstration of Schroedinger's cat, modeled with atoms. It shows
that indeed, interference between the live/dead states can be observed, at least
for cats as small as atoms.
Paul Arveson, Research Physicist
Code 724, NSWC, Bethesda, MD 20084
(301) 227-3831 (W) (301) 227-1914 (FAX) (301) 816-9459 (H)