Thursday, May 22, 2008

Physics and Philosophy - Thoughts on the Implications of Quantum Mechanics, and Other Matters #11ii

11. On classical causality v. quantum probability:

ii. The most famous arguments against quantum probability were made by Albert Einstein. His most famous quote regarding the issue was “God does not play with dice,” while objecting the indeterminate nature of quantum mechanics. Einstein wrote to his colleague, Mac Born, to whom it often fell to refute Einstein’s objections:
“I find the idea quite intolerable that an electron, exposed to radiation should choose of its own free will, not only its moment to jump off, but also its direction. In that case, I would rather be a cobbler, or even an employee in a gaming house, than a physicist.”
In stating his case against the Copenhagen Interpretation, Einstein put forth, to Born, a succession of thought experiments. Born and his students, often with a considerable amount of effort, always found the flaws in his reasoning. Consequently, the case for this interpretation, of the observed phenomena in question, was strengthened. Einstein was no quitter. He eventually stated that the theory was incomplete, and would someday be replaced. Of course, this observation is pretty much true of scientific theories in general.

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