1 - Reality's Magic Trick

Scientists take pride in making the world rational. This helped society emerge from a dark and superstitious past. But it's time for that pride to end.

It's preventing many scientists from truly appreciating the absolute magic at the heart of quantum mechanics and therefore of reality itself. Even the simplest demonstration of quantum mechanics - the double-slit experiment[1] - shows the world behaving in impossible ways and should inspire the same type of wonder as if a ghost walked through the wall in front of you. Because that's essentially what's going on with the building blocks of our universe - the quantum world. David Deutsch, a father of quantum computing[2], gives a simple demonstration:

Instead of acknowledging the impossible magic of the quantum world, science traditionally has obfuscated it as "wave-particle duality" - as if that explains anything!

It does not. The only interpretation of quantum mechanics that actually explains this magic is the Many-Worlds Interpretation (MWI) - that our universe is constantly interacting with an almost infinite number of parallel universes. The only true alternative to MWI is to say 'we don't know', and give up. More eloquently put, "in Many Worlds theory, science’s aspiration to explain the world fully remains intact."

So let's create a sense of wonder at the magic shown by the simplest of quantum experiments. How the heck is an interference pattern produced by a single photon going through a slit? Why the heck does the photon not produce that same pattern when the other slit is covered up, as if the photon knew  ahead of time?

I'm going to make a few hypothesis while staying within a strict understanding of MWI. These have the potential of restoring something that science so coldly removed from the modern world - meaning. I think that this lack of meaning is the root of the depression & anxiety so wide-spread in modern life. Science has a responsibility to restore this meaning that it's taken away, enlightening us to the basic goodness inherent in our nature and in reality itself.

Next: Anthropic Quantum Computing in Biology

1  Richard Feynman on quantum mechanics:
The single-photon double-slit experiment is a phenomenon which is impossible, absolutely impossible to explain in any classical way, and which has in it the heart of quantum mechanics. In reality, it contains the only mystery.
2  A favorite David Deutsch quote:
To those who still cling to a single-universe world-view, I issue this challenge: explain how Shor’s algorithm (how quantum computers will break encryption) works. I do not merely mean predict that it will work, which is merely a matter of solving a few uncontroversial equations. I mean provide an explanation. When Shor’s algorithm has factorized a number, using 10500 or so times the computational resources than can be seen to be present, where was the number factorized? There are only about 1080 atoms in the entire visible universe, an utterly minuscule number compared with 10500  So if the visible universe were the extent of physical reality, physical reality would not even remotely contain the resources required to factorize such a large number. Who did factorize it, then? How, and where, was the computation performed?