All posts by Andrew Soltau

Scientific Revolution

A major scientific revolution is in progress, yet you might not have even heard about it. Copernicus removed us from the centre of the universe, and Darwin demoted us to clever naked apes, but this time it is good news beyond our wildest imaginings.

500 years ago it was Nicolaus Copernicus who set in motion the first great scientific revolution. He established that the Sun is the centre of the solar system, and thus the Earth was never the centre of the universe. The charming idea that us humans are of central importance in the universe was shown to be quite false. Scientific infancy was over.

300 years ago Isaac Newton brought about another radical shift in people’s understanding of the world. With just three fundamental equations he showed that the universe operates in a completely predictable and rational manner, like a giant clockwork.

200 years ago Charles Darwin demonstrated the evolution of species. This initiated another tremendous shift in society’s understanding of nature because it directly implies vast tracts of time in the past. The world was not created just a few thousand years ago.

100 years ago the new physics ushered in a further new age of scientific enlightenment. But this revolution is incomplete because our view of nature has not been updated. Although the science is superb no one knows what it really means. As the great physicist, bongo drummer, safe cracking hobbyist and all-round genius Richard Feynman famously said of quantum theory:

Do not keep saying to yourself, if you can possibly avoid it, “But how can it be like that?” because you will get “down the drain,” into a blind alley from which nobody has yet escaped. Nobody knows how it can be like that. (1965)

This, of course, is a bit of a major setback for the noble science of physical reality. As physicist Nick Herbert wrote in his book Quantum Reality:

Wrenched out of centuries-old thought patterns, physicists of a century ago found themselves compelled to embrace a new metaphysics. The distress which this reorientation caused continues to the present day. Basically physicists have suffered a severe loss: their hold on reality. (1985, 15)

The Relative World

So what is the problem? In a nutshell, quantum theory tells us that the world is only real when it is observed. This means that instead of the ordinary world as we understand it, this is a ‘relative world’. In other words it works like Einstein’s relativity. Relativity shows us that time and motion are only defined relative to an individual observer. In the relative world, the physical reality of the world itself is only defined relative to the individual.

This is the type of world demonstrated in QBism, the latest interpretation of quantum theory.  And this has now been confirmed in recent experiments. But it remains highly controversial because it is so impossibly absurd. It would seem to raise more questions than it answers.  Surely, the world must be all there? And anyway, just looking at physical reality can hardly have an effect on it. It sounds more like magic than physics, which of course is why physicists get wound up about it.

Many Worlds

The resolution. is simple but deeply counter-intuitive. As my work demonstrates, the real world is indeed the ordinary world, all solid and real and there; but the world in which one actually lives is like a special effect brought about by being in many of these worlds all at once. As described in this technical paper, that gives exactly the effect of the QBism world. But of course the physics of the ordinary world is also perfectly correct. That is what everything is made of.

So the great puzzle is solved, leaving a different kind of puzzle. How can we possibly get our heads around that? What is that like? The aim of this blog is to explain it all as simply as possible. There are a number of big ideas that go together to make complete sense of this, and when they are clearly put together we get a new and fully coherent worldview. It is weird but it all makes sense.

And we strike gold. Quite unexpectedly, the new worldview is not only empowering in everyday life, but also leads to the solution to the tremendous global problems facing our human culture. The scientific enlightenment is hugely good for us. Please stay tuned!

The book tells the whole story.

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