Quantum Physics


Are the Quantum World and The Real World the Same Thing?

While quantum mechanics is arguably our most successful theory of nature, it is perhaps best known for its strangeness. Quantum theory—and its key mathematical tool, the wave function—excels at predicting probabilities for the outcomes of experiments. Yet, after nearly a century of debate, physicists and philosophers of science can agree only that there is no real consensus on what quantum theory actually says about the world. This has led to a cottage industry of interpretations of quantum theory, which now number in the hundreds if not the thousands.

Visualization of a quantum wave function for a Bose-Einstein condensate of Rubidium atoms. Credit: NIST/JILA/CU-Boulder via Wikimedia Commons

At the center of this quagmire is the “wave function.” Using the wave function, better known by its mathematical nickname, ψ (“psi”), physicists can calculate the probability that a quantum measurement will have a particular outcome. The success of this procedure has allowed us to control the subatomic world with unprecedented precision: You can thank (or curse) quantum theory for your iPads, smartphones, and laptops. Yet, unlike classical physics, quantum mechanics can’t deliver a single, definite answer to a simple question about the outcome of a measurements. Instead, it returns a probability distribution representing many different possible outcomes. It’s only after you make a measurement that you observe a stable, predictable, classical outcome. At this point, the wave function is said to have “collapsed.”

To some, this suggests that there is a gap between the real, physical universe and whatever it is that the wave function is describing. So, what does the wave function actually represent? And what, if anything, is actually collapsing? Now, theorists and experimenters are bringing new insight (and new data) to this devilishly complex debate.

The wave function debate

Philosophers use the word “ontic” to describe real objects and events in the universe, things that exist regardless of whether anyone observes them. If you think of the universe as a video game, the so-called “ψ-ontic” view holds that the wave function is the source code. From this perspective, the wave function does indeed correspond directly to physical reality, containing a complete description of what philosophers call “the furniture of the world.” For these “ψ-ontologists” (as their opponents playfully call them), quantum theory, and reality itself, is ultimately about how the wave function unfolds over time, according to the Schrödinger Equation. In the quantum realist view, ψ is, in some sense, “all there is.”

To many thinkers in this camp, nothing extraordinary happens at the moment the wave function collapses. The apparently instantaneous collapse is actually just a very rapid process that occurs as a formerly-isolated quantum system interacts with its surrounding environment.

By contrast, the alternative “ψ-epistemic” view holds that the wave function represents at most our limited knowledge of the state of the system—not the source code, but just what you can learn about the source code, if it exists, from a particular round of the game. Some ψ-epistemologists believe an actual ontic state still exists even if the wave function is just a convenient computational tool that doesn’t capture all of the underlying reality. Others in the ψ-epistemic camp contend that the physical ontic state may not even exist in a meaningful way without an observer present: the game doesn’t exist if there’s no one there to play it. Most of the following discussion will adopt a “realist” position, which holds that there is a real, physical, world that exists independent of the observer, regardless of whether or not the wave function captures the whole story.

In the ψ-epistemic view, wave function collapse is not an actual physical process. Instead, it represents the near-instantaneous updating of our knowledge about the state of the system. This seems to give the observer some kind of special status, which may or may not be desirable, depending on your perspective. As a bonus, in this view, uncomfortable quantum superpositions, like those that put Schrödinger’s cat into mortal purgatory, are mere mathematical mirages, sums of possibilities, not actualities. Even if we are temporarily ignorant of it, there may really be only one actual fact of the matter, at a given time, about the questionable vital status of Schrödinger’s cat. It is only our knowledge that seems to change discontinuously, not the cat’s actual state.

New insights

Is the wave function objective reality or just subjective knowledge? With such diametrically opposing views, it is no wonder that the two camps can’t “collapse” onto the same meaning for ψ. Now, recent theoretical work by the British physicists Matthew Pusey, Jonathan Barrett, and Terry Rudolph (PBR) has presented the strongest theoretical evidence to date in favor of the ψ-ontic view. The trio of theorists have shown that—with certain assumptions—the ψ-epistemic view contradicts the predictions of quantum mechanics. In light of the astounding empirical success of quantum theory, this seems to suggest that the wave function really does correspond to an objective physical reality, and the ψ-epistemic team is out of luck.

Not so fast, say the skeptics. Remember those “certain assumptions” I mentioned? One of those assumptions is that systems prepared independently have independent physical ontic states; that is, that a photon in Vienna, for example, has absolutely nothing to do with a photon in Cambridge. But almost everything we have ever been able to access experimentally has a fairly recent shared causal history. Even if you agree that, in practice, a quantum system prepared in Vienna is approximately independent of a quantum system prepared in Cambridge, the Earth is a cosmically small place and light takes only a few milliseconds to cross it. Furthermore, the atoms in everything on Earth all emerged from a shared cosmic causal past, stretching all the way back to the big bang, nearly 14 billion years ago.

So, how can we know for sure that no parts of each experimental apparatus or quantum system are quantum mechanically entangled with one another, even if only to a tiny degree? Each system is certainly entangled with its local environment, and by considering larger and larger parts of the surrounding environment, it doesn’t take long until the wider environment encompasses both experiments.

While these concerns might not affect the results of most quantum experiments in a noticeable way, the PBR theorem requires that they be prepared completely independently. Any tiny violation of this, no matter how small, would invalidate the conclusions. In fact, questioning the seemingly reasonable assumption of preparation independence, and even whether scientists have complete free will to set up their experiments, is one of the main motivations that led my colleagues at MIT and I to propose an experiment to use causally disconnected quasars to choose experimental settings in a test of Bell’s inequality.

Back to the laboratory

Late last year, a team of experimental physicists including lead author Martin Ringbauer, working in the group of Professor Andrew White at the University of Queensland, performed an experiment designed to test whether the ψ-ontic or ψ-epistemic picture gives the best explanation for certain quantum experiments, without having to make the same assumptions that PBR did. The key issue is that certain quantum states called “orthogonal” are relatively easy to distinguish experimentally: for example a photon with “horizontal” polarization versus another with “vertical” polarization. Other “non-orthogonal” quantum states, like two different combinations of both horizontal and vertical polarization, cannot be distinguished perfectly, even if the experimenter knows what the possibilities are in advance.

The ψ-ontic and ψ-epistemic views tell very different stories about why non-orthogonal quantum states are so hard to tell apart in the lab. In the ψ-ontic view, the quantum state is uniquely determined by the ontic state. But in the ψ-epistemic picture, more than one quantum wave function can represent the same ontic reality. Think of the old chestnut about the tree falling in the forest: assuming for the moment that the tree does have an ontic state even in the absence of an observer, that ontic state can be either “fallen” or “not fallen,” and the quantum state can be “sound” or “no sound.” A quantum state of “no sound” can correspond to two different realities—one in which it didn’t fall, and one in which no one was there to hear it—so knowing the quantum state alone doesn’t tell you the true ontic state.

We can show this visually using a graph like the one below. Assuming that there really is some underlying “reality” (a subject for another day), the ψ-ontic model says that the wave functions of two independent states can’t overlap. But in the ψ-epistemic model, on the right, two different wave functions can correspond to the same ontic state, represented by the purple area where the curves of the wave functions do overlap.


Now, imagine that, instead of overlapping two-dimensional curves, we had overlapping three-dimensional spheres. (For extra credit, and a guaranteed headache, you can even try imagining four-dimensional overlapping hyperspheres.) The more dimensions you add, the smaller the relative size of the overlap. In quantum mechanics, this means that as you measure more parameters of your system—not just polarization but the direction of motion, for instance—it’s harder to find two wave functions that represent the same ontic reality.

Ringbauer and his colleagues tested this out by measuring several states of specially-prepared photons, each with either three or four parameters. Adding a new quantum state is like adding an extra sphere to the set. When adding more spheres, and/or increasing the number of dimensions, it becomes even harder to find places where all the spheres overlap. With this analogy in mind, the Queensland group found that as they increased the number of parameters for each quantum state and increased the number of states they were trying to distinguish between, their experimental results increasingly diverged from the predictions of a well defined ψ-epistemic model. Their experimental results thus strongly conflict with the ψ-epistemic picture’s “overlap” model—a major strike against the ψ-epistemic viewpoint.

The new results aren’t totally free of controversial assumptions, though. For example, Ringbauer and colleagues have to assume that there are such things as objective physical properties, independent of observers. (That is, that the moon exists even when you’re not looking at it, as Einstein once said.) Their argument also hinges on the specific way they define a physical model to be ψ-ontic or ψ-epistemic, adapting an expanded framework originally developed by John Bell in 1964 when deriving his famous Bell’s theorem. But they do avoid the assumption of preparation independence that was required for the PBR theorem. Overall, this is an elegant approach to attacking a deep foundational issue with experimental data.

If new results like these help us to better understand the nature of reality, many physicists will undoubtedly utter a ψ of relief. In all seriousness, I expect (and hope) that a combination of new theoretical ideas and real-world experiments will help reconcile these two seemingly incomparable views on the wave function. Both camps have many points in their favor and both seem to be at least partially right.

In the quest to understand the true Nature of Reality, we must continually question our most basic assumptions, admit and quantify our ignorance, and be explicit about what we are assuming. All of this is required in order to edge ever closer to finally grasping the meaning of the complex mathematical workhorse of quantum theory: the century-old, yet still misunderstood, wave function.

Go Deeper
Author’s picks for further reading

arXiv: Measurements on the reality of the wavefunction
In this preprint of their Nature Physics paper published in 2015, Martin Ringbauer and his colleagues in the group of Andrew White (Queensland) describe their experiment bolstering the ψ-ontic view of the wave function.

arXiv: QBism, the Perimeter of Quantum Bayesianism
A broad overview of Quantum Bayesianism, both philosophical and technical, by one of its leading proponents, Christopher Fuchs (UMass Boston).

arXiv: On the reality of the quantum state
In this 2012 paper, later published in Nature Physics, Matthew Pusey (Perimeter Institute), Jonathan Barrett (Oxford) and Terry Rudolph (Imperial) present their novel “PBR” no-go theorem supporting the ψ-ontic view.

arXiv: A Synopsis of the Minimal Modal Interpretation of Quantum Theory
Jacob Barandes (Harvard) and David Kagan (UMass Dartmouth) present a synopsis of an explicitly realist quantum interpretation with both ψ-ontic and ψ-epistemic features.

Matt Leifer: Can the Quantum State be Interpreted Statistically?
An excellent explanation of the PBR theorem, and the basic issues surrounding ψ-ontic and ψ-epistemic models, by quantum foundations expert Matt Leifer (Perimeter Institute).

Nature News: Physics: QBism puts the scientist back into science
An accessible article by eminent quantum theorist, and converted Quantum Bayesian, N. David Mermin (Cornell) about how one of the most prominent ψ-epistemic views, QBism, helps demystify both quantum mechanics and classical physics, including our subjective perception of time.

Quanta: Is the Quantum State Real? An Extended Review of ψ-ontology Theorems
A thorough recent review article also by Matt Leifer (Perimeter Institute) on the most important results regarding ψ-ontic and ψ-epistemic models in the technical literature.

Tell us what you think on Twitter, Facebook, or email.


Andrew Friedman

    Andrew Friedman is a recent National Science Foundation Science, Technology & Society postdoctoral fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and currently a Visiting Research Scientist at the MIT Center for Theoretical Physics. Before MIT, he received a Ph.D. in Astronomy and Astrophysics from Harvard University and a B.A. in Physics and Astrophysics from the University of California, Berkeley. He is currently working on several theoretical and observational cosmology projects, including devising fun experiments that leverage cosmology to help test fundamental physics. His research background is primarily in observational astronomy and cosmology, specifically cosmological studies of Gamma-Ray Bursts and infrared observations of Type Ia Supernovae which can be used to measure the expansion history of the universe, cosmic acceleration, and dark energy. He is very interested in projects at the intersection between astrophysics, cosmology, and the philosophy of science, and is excited to continue bringing some of these fascinating scientific questions to the public through science writing, art, animation, and other media.

    • mleifer

      Nice explanation, but I have to nit pick this paragraph:

      “For these “ψ-ontologists” (as their opponents playfully call them),
      quantum theory, and reality itself, is ultimately about how the wave
      function unfolds over time, according to the Schrödinger Equation. In the quantum realist view, ψ is, in some sense, “all there is.””

      What you have described here is the “psi-complete” position rather than the “psi-ontic position”. For psi-ontologists, the wave function need not be “all there is”. There could be other degrees of freedom in addition to the wavefunction, e.g. as in Bohmian mechanics where there is both the wavefunction and particles with definite positions. You described the psi-ontic position correctly correctly later on in your discussion of the Ringbauer et. al. experiment.

      For a discussion that makes this distinction particularly clear, see http://arxiv.org/abs/0706.2661

      • Thanks for pointing out the distinction between the psi-ontic and psi-complete views. I agree that not all psi-ontic positions must hold that the wave function is all there is if they consider other degrees of freedom. I suppose then that the “psi-complete” position could be described as the most committed psi-ontic position. A better way to write things might be “To the most committed psi-ontologists (but not all who hold the psi-ontic view), the wave-function, psi, may be, in some sense, “all there is.”

        • Yam Yaryan

          In all seriousness I have to ask a question.

          I understand higher math is a wonderful thing, and all this prodding into the nature of everything is also wonderful (and a fulfilling pastime), but how do you come to grips with the distain that many scientists routinely display towards metaphysics when the primary tool you use to explain all these wonderful concepts, i.e. numbers, are totally conceptual and only exist in an intellectual context, and are the highest illustration of metaphysical expression?

          I have always been mystified by this, and you seem a lot less geeky and far more down to earth than the run-of-the-mill egghead (if you’ll forgive the expression(s)).

          I await your reply with great interest.

          • In my view, learning science is pretty much like learning a foreign language, which, at is core, is based on both mathematics and natural language, including English jargon like psi-ontology. Scientists have many different views on mathematics, but my own view is that, while we do invent certain symbols to represent equations and we do choose what parts of the mathematical landscape to explore, the fundamental facts of mathematics are already there waiting to be discovered, not invented. These facts are conditional statements like: “If the axioms of Euclidean geometry are true, then the Pythagorean theorem holds”. Its not that the axioms or the Pythagorean theorem are true by themselves. Axioms are just assumptions and theorems are just what you get when you follow the axioms to their logical conclusions. Ultimately, the full statement of the form “If A then B” is where mathematical truth really sits. If you choose different axioms, you get different theorems. It stands to reason that the same mathematical truths of this form could be discovered by any intelligent beings who searched for them. These are things that are true independent of what you or anyone believes about them. They simply are. The entire framework of mathematics also turns out to be “unreasonably effective” at helping us predict and explain things in the real world, and this is undoubtedly a big mystery in and of itself. So all told, I don’t view math as pure metaphysics, but something that actually exists as part of the world. Its not the same type of existence as the matter and energy we are familiar with, but existence nonetheless. Ultimately, math is the bridge that allows us to understand the world in a more precise way than we can just through natural language, which is more powerful than math at evoking emotions, but woefully imprecise for many of the trickiest topics in science. In any case, you may also be interested in Mario Livio’s recent article on this site for a different take on this topic: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/blogs/physics/2015/04/great-math-mystery/

            • Yam Yaryan

              THANK YOU! I REALLY appreciate you responding to a philosophical conundrum of this nature, but with all due respect, and I MEAN that (respect), I totally disagree with any premise that numbers exist in and of themselves without the intellect being the catalyst to their discovery.

              Mathematical LAWS may exist, but they are reliant of being interpreted by the symbols we call numbers, and are in no need of an audience….humanity, in other words.

              The universe doesn’t give a damn whether or not numbers exist, because, quite simply, they don’t, and the universe seems to be merrily wending its way through its physical life span without any help from humanity, in any event.

              We discovered a means of measurement and calculation that is essential to advancing OUR knowledge, yes, but these actions are secondary to events that have a life of their own with or without numbers meddling in the process.

              If the illuminative process we call conceptualization in regards to numbers had never come about no one would have ever known the difference; do you agree? I think this is an obvious truth, that discovery always precedes application.

              THAT was my point: that science owes ALL of its advances to something that is NOT empirical in nature, the number, and relies on placing value on a symbolic equivalent that only exists to give meaning to this non-empirical and totally conceptual entity, and this is the great irony of adherents of science endlessly worrying about whether their “facts” are based on the empirical or not.

              The proof is in the pudding; show me a number. Any one of them in their natural state, running wild, will do. Just one. It is empirically impossible to do so.

              We all know this.

              If the elemental meaning of the term metaphysical is a “thing” that defies measurement and cannot be observed, what better example of metaphysics vital relationship to science as its most crucial element can be found than concepts reliant on being given a physical manifestation by the intellect driving the entire discipline?

              I’ll be quite interested in your answer.

            • I appreciate your point of view. But I believe the disagreement largely comes down to different definitions of the concepts of “existence” and “mathematical truth”. My position does not require that numbers exist in the sense you are describing, only that given certain axioms, certain theorems about numbers are true. Or in physics, given certain assumptions, certain physical laws exist. This is something you seem to have no problem with.

              In science, we routinely infer the existence of entities that we can’t observe directly like electrons or black holes. Indeed, the only things we perceive directly are our own sense perceptions. But we can leverage technological tools to gain empirical access to many things far beyond our own senses. I indirectly infer the existence of mathematical truths as I defined them based on the effects I believe they have on the parts of the world we can access empirically. In my view, these mathematical truths form the basis for physical laws, which we have a huge amount of empirical evidence for. Some subset of true mathematical statements happens to correspond, at least approximately, to the physical laws that apply in our actual world. This is why science and the mathematics it uses works so well to describe our actual world. I believe this is not an accident but points to a deep fact about the nature of reality.

              By analogy to computation, physical laws are the software and our physical world is the hardware. You can’t run software without implementing it on a specific kind of hardware. But any piece of self-consistent software can be run on many different kinds of possible hardware. This independenence of software from hardware is one way of arguing that the software exists, in a meaningful sense, independent from its particular implementation. Poetically, mathematical truth is the software of existence. But keep in mind that not all logically possible software is actually running in our universe since there could be different worlds with different, self-consistent mathematical laws. The set of all mathematical truths is much larger than the set of mathematical truths that corresponds to the physical laws of our particular universe.

              Since my position on mathematical truth does not claim that the integers or idealized triangles need to exist as independent objects in the world, I don’t need to demonstrate any of these “running wild” to make my point. I only claim that certain logical statements about integers or triangles, for example, are true independent of our beliefs about them. These statements are always of the conditional form I described. If Axioms, Then Theorems. The number 2 doesn’t have an independent existence. Nor does the statement 2+2=4 exist on its own, since this is a theorem about integers which first requires certain axioms. But you can prove theorems like 2+2=4 about numbers like 2 and 4 if you first assume certain axioms of arithmetic, for example. These conditional truths do exist, in my view.

              In fact, this kind of relational and conditional mathematical truth is the purest candidate for existence that I can think of that is independent of human prejudices. It is independent of which particular symbols we use to represent 2 and 4, for example. It certainly doesn’t require the human mind for it to exist. Other, alien minds certainly could, and likely would, discover many of the same truths, although of course they would likely have taken a different historical path exploring the mathematical landscape, and they may have discovered many things that we have not, and vice versa. I also don’t see any problem with these mathematical truths existing in the sense I described even in an empty universe without any conscious beings. That empty universe would still be governed by some mathematical laws, albeit ones that did not necessarily permit the existence of life. If you somehow were able to travel to (and survive in) this previously sterile universe, you could still discover the same mathematical truths that you could have discovered in our universe, although you might discover new physical laws there.

              In summary, in my view, the physical laws are like theorems which do not exist not on their own, but are derivable from certain assumptions. The only concepts I am arguing for the existence of here are relational truths of the form:

              assumptions –> physical laws

              axioms –> theorems

              None of this requires basing science on the metaphysical existence of isolated Platonic objects like numbers or perfect geometrical shapes. All that is required to exist are certain relationships between these abstract entities, independent of our personal beliefs, and independent of whether we know about them yet.

            • Yam Yaryan

              Numbers, as they exist, are a metaphysical creation….as are ALL conceptual entities, for that matter.

              This has nothing to do with mathematical truths, which are obvious, but with numbers, which are nonexistent entities in the empirical universe, yet are the primary tool for scientific discovery.

              THAT is my point. Science lovers (not you) love to babble on about their superiority because of the value of the concept of empirical proof when the numbers they’re using as a basis for all their measurements to prove their various discoveries aren’t empirical in any form, and I find this very ironic, and quite amusing.

            • Yam Yaryan

              Thank you for the “up vote.”

            • Nicholas Hosein

              Reality is the real numbers. If it were not numbers as a concept could not exist. Quantitative symbols were used to represent sets of objects, units of measurement or distinctions of some kind. We need to reconnect mathematics to reality.

    • Donald

      For the quantum challenged does “It’s only after you make a measurement that you observe a stable, predictable, classical outcome. At this point, the wave function is said to have “collapsed.” imply that the act of measurement causes the wave function to collapse?

    • ytrewq

      Easy for you to say, or not say, depending, and I would possibly agree with you if I had a clue.

      • Bobbi Young-Browne

        Clever, you are, ytrewq!

    • Paul Maher

      A fellow says is going to pick a nit. All of the theories are in some ways analogous to all of the different religions, not really proven yet. Although enough has been learned lately in the world of Condensed Matter Nuclear Science to do mankind some real good. I know that it is off topic, but fellows at your level in the study of the Quantum world must have gleaned something from the products of Low Energy Nuclear Reactions.
      Have you seen their journal.

    • Katie Sterling

      Thanks for the article, Andrew.

    • jack

      There is no state till knowledge acquisition by a detector and then therein the entire system lies in wait till consciousness can perceive the entire entangled system, detector and all; what’s real is consciousness, not the ever changing system (the world).
      The perceiver (only one perceiver, simultaneously rising as seemingly different observers, but in reality always only one) never changes, like the screen. The movie is ever changing (relativity), the screen (you), never changing.
      And unlike a movie screen, the screen that you are is of zero dimension. The universe made of three dimensions of space and one of time has as its reality zero dimensional consciousness.
      Thus the solution to the quantum enigma is not many worlds, each of which coming into existence with every possible state of the superposition, but zero worlds and one consciousness: As a screen to the movie played on it.
      The problem with the argument that the quantum is collapsed by interacting with the world is, what collapsed the other matter in that world? The whole system collapses at the point of observation, knowledge acquisition. In fact, because the world is ever changing, it never really collapses. The rock solid solidity of the world is, in fact, the rock solid knowing of your own existence.

    • glenna

      Source code,try codes source.

    • Jeff Simoneaux

      Check out the new book called THE TRUTH The Illumination of Conscience and embark on an adventure like no other . You will learn things about life and the universe that will make absolute truth evident you will question your reality no more. This is not a religious book by a book of divine truth and why it is so important for us to exist to begin with but not necessarily in the way we that we previously would have considered our existence but in a much more meaningful and entangled way. In fact, we are blended together in a neverending rythmic dance with our universe not simply as independant observers but as integrated parts of the system itselt. For we, ourselves exist on two planes, that of our perceived reality and that of our unperceived reality which we would consider our spiritual plane but some would consider a quantum plane. Read the book that is slowly changing the world, one copy at a time. Come along on a journey like no other you will ever take and the world will never be the same. How would you like to live in a world with no crime, no wars, no hate where anything and everything is possible? Come walk with me a while, take my hand.

      • Yam Yaryan

        ….or you could just take a hit of acid, contemplate the universe as it is and connect on many levels within your own state of being and not have to take anything out of anyone else’s mouth at face value.

        • Bobbi Young-Browne

          there are Definitely at least a Few “down-sides” to that approach, yam. not that i’m a “just-say-no”er by any means. but any Serious “trip” has intrinsic Negative (as well as Positive) risks that can be Life-Altering … and Permanent. it’s not always “fairies and rainbows” that ends-up being the psychic take-away.

          • Yam Yaryan

            Many years ago during a lengthy 2400 microgram adventure (yes, 2400) I observed the nature of evil….you are preaching to the choir, my friend.

        • raygsanders01

          If bronze age middle eastern goat herders wrote it then it must be true. God made man out of dirt but had to use Adam’s rib to make the woman. Then a talking snake gets the rib woman to eat an apple and all mankind was cursed.

          This is all very scientific. Also this is very scientific:

          1 Chronicles 16:30: “He has fixed the earth firm,

          After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of
          the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree. Revelations 7:1 Who can a sphere have four corners?

          • Yam Yaryan

            Who’s talking about religion? You are. I’m not. Go pick on some Christians somewhere….I’m not one of them.

            Spirituality and religion are not the same thing; please keep this in mind.

      • Yam Yaryan

        The book seems to be predicated on the assumption that the New Testament, which was selected and finally codified after Rome had taken over the early church, is the real word. Keep in mind, Jesus left no teaching in any written form, never called for a written work, and left it to the individual to work out their relationship to the Father on a personal basis, using the life of Christ as their model. Please explain.

      • Bobbi Young-Browne

        i Definitely like and agree with your “take” here, jeff. but i hasten to add that i believe our “neverending rythmic dance with our universe” may actually be Happening on many More than 2 dimensions at once … Many Many more!

    • Shadow Prower

      The funniest part of this is the fact that ψ-ontic and ψ-epistemic views may as well be superposed and correct at the same time!

    • raygsanders01

      The quantum nature of reality seems to work only in the micro world. All the quantum states average out in the macro world. Take a cue ball and hit the eight ball with the right speed and direction and it goes into the pocket every time. It is not based on probabilities. The micro world may be based on probabilities but the macro world isn’t. The macro world doesn’t change when we observe it.

      • Nedward Marbletoe

        There are macro size quantum things you can see in the lab. Superfluid helium, for example. Superconducting wire, for another.

        Btw perhaps nothing “changes when we observe it” — by the many worlds interpretation, we simply take one path or another. The paths remain the same.

    • raygsanders01

      Come along on a journey like no other you will ever take and the world
      will never be the same. How would you like to live in a world with no
      crime, no wars, no hate where anything and everything is possible?……

      I would say the probability of that is .0000000000000000000000001%

      • Edward N Haas

        @raygsanders01: Why would a truly godly God (i.e.: a truly loving God) not create such a world from the very beginning? I SUGGEST this: Because that’s the most glorious thing anyone can do (including God), no truly loving individual (including God) would do it wholly and entirely on his own; instead, he would share the doing & the glory of it with as many others as possible. But, how do that?! Evolution is the answer: Let the world start off as the very opposite of the perfectly blissful world, and then, with God’s assistance, let the inhabitants of that very painful world slowly but surely, thru many generations of their descendants, produce the perfectly blissful one.

        It’s not merely a case of: “How would you like to live” in a perfectly blissful world; it’s far more importantly a case of: “How would you like to be one of those who helped to bring it to pass?”. I know not what others may say; but, as for me, I say: “Give me a part in that achievement, or grant that I never did and never shall exist.”

        EDWARD N. HAAS (79) – HAASWOOD, LA & originator of “Esoptrics: The Algebraic Logic Of The Mirror a/k/a Dynamic Mirror Theory”.

        • Bobbi Young-Browne

          SO very well said, Edward ! God loves us Enough to Want us to be Her/His co-creators! i am Definitely “with you” on this. our typical image of the Divine is So small and “2-dimensional” imo but our AWE will be Restored, i believe, at our (next?!) Cross-Over. Amazed and Grateful we’ll Be!!! Thank You, Edward, for this “reminder.”

          • raygsanders01

            Why does an all powerful all loving god allow millions of
            innocent babies to die all over the world every year?

            Why doesn’t the all powerful all loving god destroy the Devil?

            When I see a picture of an emaciated baby in Ethiopia my first thought is – God is in control.

        • raygsanders01

          Let the world start off as the very opposite of the perfectly blissful
          world, and then, with God’s assistance, let the inhabitants of that very
          painful world slowly but surely, thru many generations of their
          descendants, produce the perfectly blissful one….

          You don’t get out much do you? Wars, famine, disease, natural disaster, are just as much a part of our world today than they were in our past.

          If you were walking by a burning building and saw a baby inside would you save that baby if there were no risk to yourself. Of course you would. God could save these babies at no risk to himself but he doesn’t.

    • raygsanders01

      Energy can neither be created nor destroyed. Therefore energy is eternal. Where
      was all this energy before the Big Bang? It was everywhere. Then it collapsed
      into a single point called the Singularity. That singularity inflated (Big
      Bang). Eventually that Big Bang will be followed by another Big Crunch. We are
      just living in one of those infinite cycles. It is called the Oscillating
      universe theory. Given an infinite number of oscillations then everything that
      can possibly happen will happen. The universe is currently expanding at an
      increasing rate because of dark energy. When this dark energy is used up then
      the universe will begin collapsing again.

      I believe this is the most reasonable explanation of our universe. Occam’s razor.

      • Guy Overall

        You contradict yourself…

        “Energy can neither be created nor destroyed.”

        “When this dark energy is used up”

        • Brian

          Maybe he meant “converted” instead of “used up”.

          • raygsanders01

            Thank you Brian. The energy is still there but in a different form. It will revert to it’s prior state during the Big Crunch. When you put gas in your car it is eventually used up and will no longer move your car. The gas is still there but it is no longer in a usable form.

      • Yam Yaryan

        ….assuming, of course, that the big bang was a real event and not something surmised by science to justify all their theoretical mumbo-jumbo.

        • raygsanders01

          The Big Bang theory was formulated by a Catholic Priest who was an astronomer. When he heard the universe was expanding he just took the logical position that if it is expanding then at an earlier time it must have been closer together. Take that farther and farther back in time and you get to a singularity.

          • Yam Yaryan

            Right….preceded by what? A speck of energy (that came from where?) exploding into a universe?

            It always boils down to what came before the beginning….it is the serpent eating its own tail.

        • Nedward Marbletoe

          huh? by mumbo-jumbo do you mean things you don’t understand?

      • Edward N Haas

        In my experience, what passes for “the most reasonable explanation of our universe” depends upon the condition of the observer’s eyes which, in turn, too often depends upon the condition of the observer’s heart & ego. As the originator of Esoptrics: The Algebraic Logic Of the Mirror a/k/a Dynamic Mirror Theory, I SUGGEST the most reasonable explanation runs so: In the beginning, there was an Infinitely Intense Tri-Functional State Of Excitation analogous to the act of a dynamic mirror, which is to say the act of a kind of mirror which, by its very nature, is ever mirroring itself to see itself. The result is a same, one act whose internality is at once: (A) what’s being aware, (B) that of which it’s aware, & (C) what’s joining those 2. The result is 6 real relations: (1) A related to B; (2) A related to C; (3) B related to A; (4) B related to C; (5) C related to A; (6) C related to B. Because these 6 real relations are internal to a same one act, they are not extended or outside of one another IN SPACE; they are strictly LOGICALLY distinct but still REALLY so.

        This logically sextuplex, INFINITELY intense tri-functional state of excitation then creates a multitude of FINITELY intense COMPOSITE states of excitation each of which is an ultimate constituent of the Universe logically divisible into 6 COMPONENT states of excitation. Being FINITELY intense, there can be a multitude of different integral intensities (x, 2x, 3x, 4x, etc.) among them. Esoptrics says there were, at first, only 2^1 levels of intensity possible (Universe’s 1st epoch), then 2^2 (epoch #2), then 2^4 (epoch #3), then 2^8, 2^16, 2^32, 2^64, 2^128, & 2^256 (epochs 4 thru 9 respectfully). How did this progress?

        Esoptrics says the minimum segment of time (called an alphakronon and K for short) is 7.2×10^-96 sec. as we reckon seconds. That’s because time is the measure of change, and nothing in the Universe ever undergoes any kind of change whatsoever more frequently than once per K; and so, for any given composite state of excitation (ultimate constituent) time is relative to the rate at which it changes the intensity of one or more of its 6 component states of excitation. Thus, in Esoptrics, it’s very easy to understand how time is relative once one understands how all change of every kind is intermittent and what determines its various rates.

        At 1K into epoch #9, God created one ultimate constituent at intensity 2^256x (Call it Omega, the Universe’s logical center.). At 2K thru 2^255K (1K per step), God created 8 at each of the intensities of 2^255x thru 1 less than 2^256x. At 2^255K thru the next 2^254K, 8^2 at each of the intensities of 2^254x thru 1 less than 2^255, etc., until at 2^256K into epoch #9 (c. 10^-19 sec), God created 8^256 at the intensity of 1x (These are the source of electrons theorizes Esoptrics.) & ceased to create. As each new set of ultimate constituents was created, its members pushed the members of
        the prior set away from Omega’s center &, thus, produced the first kind of

        For Esoptrics, there is no oscillating Universe; instead, at 2^385K into the 9th epoch (c. 18 trillion Earth years = 2 times the cube of the square root
        of 2^256K), creation shall resume; the max level of intensity shall increase to 2^512x (square of 2^256), and creation shall again be 1 ultimate at intensity 2^512x at 1K into the 10th epoch (For its people, K’s value is now c. 10^-196 sec. as they will reckon seconds.), then, at 2K thru 2^511K, 8^1 for each of the intensities of 2^511 thru 1 less than 2^512, etc..

        Yes, Occam and Co. will insist it’s too complex. So said those who refused to switch from the Geocentric to the Heliocentric Theory of the solar system. I sympathize. For, as one Canadian professor of Theoretical Physics recently advised me: Esoptrics’ ideas are brilliant; but, brilliant new ideas are generally not well received. Fortunately, by birth, I am so well off financially & genetically, I couldn’t care less.

        EDWARD N. HAAS (79) – HAASWOOD, LA

        • raygsanders01

          Sigh, pun intended. I think I just heard poor Occam just roll over in his grave. I would rather be simple minded and correct as brilliantly wrong. Haas should have studied string theory or the multiverse. Both are about as provable as God At 1K into epoch #9, God created one ultimate constituent at intensity 2^256x (Call it Omega, the Universe’s logical center.) When you can set up an experiment that is peer reviewed that proves this God exists and this ultimate constituent exists then I will believe it. Until then I will just accept that it is nonsense.

      • Bobbi Young-Browne

        i thought somehow that the “big crunch” as Inevitable had been discredited?? am i wrong???

        • raygsanders01

          No, it is back in vogue again. The finding of dark matter and dark energy is causing scientists to take another look at the oscillating universe theory.

      • Paul M

        Quantum Mechanics says that particles can spontaneously emerge from pure vacuum. Experiments have proven this. There’s also a non-zero probability that an entire universe could emerge. We seem to live in such a universe.

        Frankly, though, I doubt we’ll ever solve the mystery of existence. We can no more imagine infinite time than we can imagine limited time, or non-existence. Even if you prefer to beleive that God made everything then you have to wonder where God came from. Say that God always existed is no answer and neither is saying that there was something before God.

        Now my head hurts. I’m going to have a drink or three…

    • Nawaz

      Great read. Thank u for sharing :)
      The article puts it almost clearly that we would be able to predict the final Quantum state more accurately as our information is increasing.
      I believe that we would be able to accurately derive cause and effect relationship more precisely between variables involved, in a given problem, giving us more accurate info of the final state of a given Universe.

    • Superstrings

      “Both camps have many points in their favor and both seem to be at least partially right.” In the spirit of quantum mechanics, would we expect anything else?

      • Nedward Marbletoe

        nice. a superposition of camps. overall, complimentary descriptions of the ‘same’ thing seem to be necessary (e.g. Alice and Bob at the black hole). relativity has such as well.

    • Edward N Haas

      As, by far, the most detailed and mathematically precise theory regarding the ultramicroscopic make-up of time, space, matter, energy, and locomotion, Esoptrics: The Algebraic Logic Of The Mirror a/k/a Dynamic Mirror Theory, = the sole explanation of how the Uni­verse is ultimately a collec­tion of c. 10^232 SPATIALLY indivisible points each a duo-combo logically divided into 2 logi­cally concentric kinds of COMPO­SITE states of excitation (macro- vs. micro-) each LOGICALLY divided into 6 COMPONENT states. On each duo-combo’s macro side, each component state has the same one of 2^256 integral (x, 2x, 3x, 4x, etc.) levels of FINITE intensity. On each given duo-combo’s micro side, the intensity level is the re­verse of the level present in the macro side of whatever other duo-combo to which the given duo-combo is applying for a field of locomotion (1/2 vs. 2/1; 1/3 vs. 3/1; 1/4 vs. 4/1).
      The sextuplex logical divisibility of the macro- & micro- composite states is the result of an INFINITELY intense, tri-functional state of excitation logically divided into 6 real relations continu­ously giv­ing the Universe’s 2 kinds of composite states of excitation (macro- & micro-) their sextuplex logical divis­ibility & the 2^256 finite levels of intensity open to their 6 component states.
      Every duo-combo’s MICRO-state of compo­site excitation so affects the MACRO-state of composite excitation of some other duo-combo to which it’s applying for a field of locomotion [It’s always a case of the less intense interacting with
      the more intense.], that other macro-state becomes a “space envelope” offering
      each of its applying combos (2x)^3 [x=its level of intensity] possible micro-states of excitation arranged in a logically sextuplex sequence [To picture that metaphorically, image a cube of cubes in which each small cube represents a possible micro-state of excitation & the large cube the macro-state of the second duo-combo to which the first is applying for a field of locomotion.]. Thru such
      “space envelopes” & their 2^256 versions, every duo-combo is logically divided from — & has some logical distance from — each of all the others, except where many duo-combos — each at a discrete level of intensity — become logically concentric to produce the kinds of MULTI-combos serving, on the sub-atomic level, as leptons and quarks (multi-combos in which the # of concentric duo-combos <2^129) &, on the super-atomic level, as super massive MULTI-combos either massive enough to hold a planet or star together (# of concentric duo-combos ranges from c. 2^180 to 2^140) or massive enough to hold together a galaxy, a clus­ter of galaxies, etc. (# of concentric duo-combos ranges from c. 2^140 to 2 less than 2^256).
      Spatial divisibility is everywhere the EFFECT of logical divisibility among the Universe’s ulti­mate points (duo-combos), &, until that’s understood, Theoretical Physics has no sound ontological foundation (i.e.: does not truly know what time, space, matter, energy and locomotion REALLY are) and is thus left, as Einstein
      expressed it, feeling only the "lion's tail" (Shades of the blind men and the elephant!). And what a tragically misleading view of the whole a limitation that exten­sive must beget when it comes to what’s real in the strictest, truest, primary, most definite, and unqualified sense of “real”!


      • raygsanders01

        Very impressive. I have not been so impressed since I read a book trying to explain the Trinity. Then someone told me that the reason volumes of books have been devoted to explaining the Trinity is because it is impossible to explain nonsense.

    • Rick Yanez

      Einstein said ” The moon exists even when you’re not looking at it.” if we could veil the moon from every observer in the world, we would know the last position of it and all the information about it. We could then predict where it would be when the veil is removed. Upon verifying this, the moon must have existed when unseen. What I find most interesting is injecting consciousness into the mix. At the moment of the big bang everything was set in motion on its way to a definite and inevitable conclusion. Thought seems to imply free will but why should it be any different than anything else that’s predetermined? The illusion of ‘freedom of choice” relieves us from the chaos of feeling that cognition is just as predetermined as everything else in the universe.

      • raygsanders01

        Actually, quantum theory is necessary for free will. Since quantum actions are based on probability then your quantum brain can actually choose A rather than B. But, the problem with that is that quantum actions are not determined but are random so your brain is not really choosing at all. It is just following the quantum happenings in your brain. Most people think that there is a you that controls your brain. But actually it is your brain controlling the you.

      • Nedward Marbletoe

        “We could then predict where it would be when the veil is removed.” Not exactly. There would be a probability function for where the moon might be when we looked at it.

    • ycplum

      I took Physics IV :Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. I don’t remember much. I suspect that is due to a subconscious selfdefense mechanism to protect my sanity.

      • raygsanders01

        Reality is weird.

    • Mr Atmosphere

      In all probability, this article could leave you feeling a bit ψ-chotic…
      but thanks for the article.

    • raygsanders01


    • raygsanders01

      The internet the place where religion goes to die.

    • raygsanders01

      In many cultures it is customary to se out of nothing. But this is mere
      temporizing. If we wish courageously to pursue the question, we must, of course
      ask next where God comes from? And if we decide this to be unanswerable, why
      not save a step and conclude that the universe has always existed? Carl Sagan

    • raygsanders01

      A further indication of the correlation between the decline in a belief in
      God and the application of scientific A thinking is found in the results of a
      1998 survey of elite scientist who were members of the National
      Academy of Science. In that survey, a paltry 7% of these elite scientist
      believe in a personal God.

    • raygsanders01

      “You believe in a book that has talking animals,
      wizards, witches, demons, sticks turning into snakes, burning bushes, food
      falling from the sky, people walking on water, and all sorts of magical, absurd
      and primitive stories, and you say that we are the ones that need help?”
      –Mark Twain

      • Nedward Marbletoe

        animals talk. people don’t listen.

    • raygsanders01

      I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this
      but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called
      religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so
      far as our science can reveal it. (Albert Einstein, 1954)

    • raygsanders01

      A lady asked her preacher how did he know which part of the
      collection went to God and which went to him. The preacher said, well I throw
      the money into the air and what comes back down is mine and the rest is Gods.

    • raygsanders01

      And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the
      generation of Minerve in the brain of Jupiter. But may we hope that the dawn of
      reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away with this
      artificial scaffolding, and restore to us the primitive and genuine doctrines
      of this most venerated reformer of human errors.

      -Thomas Jefferson, Letter to John Adams, April 11, 1823

    • Hank Wilson

      Star Dust, in this universe, is a reflection

    • Nag Hammadi

      Flesh is born from the Spirit, Spirit is born from the Unutterable. This quantum conundrum will never be understood by those in the Flesh, but it’s fun trying.

    • Nag Hammadi

      Can I ask which of these views supports ( or is supported ) by the idea that the Universe is simply the dream of Unutterable ( pure information )?

    • Nedward Marbletoe

      “Yet, unlike classical physics, quantum mechanics can’t deliver a single, definite answer to a simple question about the outcome of a measurements.” NOT quite true:
      If we know the complete state of a quantum system, there is at least 1 measurement that we cannot predict, and one measurement that we can predict with 100% certainty.


      in quantum mechanics there are many possibilities but the outcome is only one.
      for example-
      suppose you are in a restaurant and ordered something and when a covered dish comes before you, it may have any of the dish from the menu but when you open it all the possibilities collapse and only one dish that you selected come in front as the outcome


      the world you select comes in front of you in quantum mechanics


      everything is your selected


      i have full believe in quantum mechanics which also states the presence of aliens

    • Carl Gunther

      Hi Andrew,

      To me, the most basic question is the nature of the “observer”. As you point out, “In the quest to understand the true Nature of Reality, we must continually question our most basic assumptions.” We might then ask, where does the wave function collapse? Does it happen out there–in what we call the physical world? Or is it a “perceptual” event that occurs within the neural fizz of the observer’s mind?

      Today scientists generally take a strong stand that the mechanics of the physical world create the consciousness of the “observer.” Many have little desire to look beyond that belief or say that the issue is too nebulous to tackle. But there is a very strong case that this is not so. If one is willing to follow the evidence point by point, one arrives at some very startling conclusions. What holds the chronological organization of the observer’s memory? The brain? Or could it be block time?

      Schrodinger is famous for his wave function. But his observations on life in the classic, “What is Life?” have been largely ignored. To me, his bafflement at life’s ever-expanding molecular organization is the door to a most perplexing mysteries.

      If are interested in why current biological theory is about to fall into the weirdness of modern physics, look at “Mind, Memory, Time” on Amazon ebooks. It moves through the thoughts of Schrodinger, Heisenberg, Lashley, Eccles, and others to develop a cohesive new model. Within it, collapsing wave functions appear to be part of the answer.


      I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts.