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Mike Sutton
Mike Sutton
Dr Mike Sutton is the author of 'Nullius in Verba: Darwin's greatest secret'.
 

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Posted in Science / Physics / Quantum Physics

When Blogging Splits the Universe

Sep. 29, 2014 12:23 pm
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Trumpet from the rooftopsPublic Domain

The Divergent Ramifications of Your Own Actions!

In quantum physics, observations at the sub atomic level prove that matter operates according to natural laws that do not apply for larger objects. For example, in our own world in our own universe, much as we might wish it was the case, it is impossible for any of us to be in more than one place at once. However, at the sub-atomic level,things become 'spooky' because sub-atomic particles exist as both particle and wave. A wave can be in more than one place at a time, and we have those same spooky little particles inside us.

As Josh Clark neatly explains: http://science.howstuffworks.com/science-vs-myth/everyday-myths/parallel-universe2.htm

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Trumpet from the rooftopsPublic Domain

At the quantum level, matter can exist as both particles and waves

‘As unsettling as it may sound, Everett's Many-Worlds interpretation has implications beyond the quantum level. If an action has more than one possible outcome, then -- if Everett's theory is correct -- the universe splits when that action is taken. This holds true even when a person chooses not to take an action.

This means that if you have ever found yourself in a situation where death was a possible outcome, then in a universe parallel to ours, you are dead. This is just one reason that some find the Many-Worlds interpretation disturbing.’

This might sound like whacked-out pseudo-science to you, but I can assure you that many of the top minds in the world of physics think it currently the best theoretical explanation for what scientists are observing.

Many World's Theory is different to the Classic Copenhagen Interpretation

Sean Carroll explains the difference:

'The situation in quantum mechanics is superficially entirely different. Think of Schrödinger’s Cat. Quantum mechanics describes reality in terms of wave functions, which assign numbers (amplitudes) to all the various possibilities of what we can see when we make an observation. The cat is neither alive nor dead; it is in a superposition of alive + dead. At least, until we observe it. In the simplistic Copenhagen interpretation, at the moment of observation the wave function “collapses” onto one actual possibility. We see either an alive cat or a dead cat; the other possibility has simply ceased to exist. In the Many Worlds or Everett interpretation, both possibilities continue to exist, but “we” (the macroscopic observers) are split into two, one that observes a live cat and one that observes a dead one. There are now two of us, both equally real, never to come back into contact.'

If it's true, then just how spooky is that?

Why a splitting universe is both unsettling and quite appealing

Last week I was out for a 6 mile run. On the last ½ mile, I found the pavement was completely blocked by two large ladies in their 70’s who were ambling along with their backs to me. Both ladies were deep in conversation. Not wanting to run up behind them and scare them out of their wits by stage-whispering "excuse me", I calculated that for the 1-2 seconds it would take to get around them it would be OK to step out into the bus lane, without needing to look over my shoulder, since I could not hear a bus coming and running one way whilst overtaking ladies and looking backwards is rather difficult.

Something made me look over my shoulder at the very last instant – so last in fact that I lost my balance and trod one foot into the curb of the bus lane. At that very split-second a big green bus shot past me and missed my foot by no more than a couple of inches - our bus lanes being so narrow and buses so wide.

Had a synapse in my brain not fired one way rather than the other I’d have been “obliviated” for sure. Yet in a parallel world, proximal to our own and in our own universe, but inaccessible, unmeasurable and invisible to us, if the theory is right, I never looked over my shoulder. In that world I died under a bus! And so you my friend have a double in that world who is not reading these very words!

This brings me to a personally appealing feature of Everett’s Many Worlds interpretation of quantum physics.

It is a little known fact that Charles Darwin, writing on the subject of naming discoveries, argued with Hugh Strickland in a desperate attempt to change the rules of scientific priority for discovery so that lesser known first discoverers would lose their priority to better known naturalists such as Darwin. In sum, Strickland and Darwin argued over the attribution of 'priority' regarding who should have the right to be attributed with a discovery. Strickland thought it should go to the person who first discovered and named something. Darwin thought it should go to the more senior naturalist if they did more important work on the discovery.

The letter that Darwin (1849) wrote on the subject is lost to the sands of time. However, his correspondent, Strickland, kept a record of exactly what Darwin proposed, which includes the following[1]:

“… if the first description was originally imperfect, & had been superseded by any better description, it wd perhaps be better to omit all reference to it, for the sooner such an author's name was buried in oblivion the better”[2]

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Trumpet from the rooftopsPublic Domain

Hugh Strickland thwarted Darwin's Unethical and Selfish Priority Plans

Strickland would have none of it and so essentially thwarted Darwin’s protracted scheming selfish ambitions in this regard. For example, in his letter of the 31st January 1849, Strickland - the more senior scientist - lectured Darwin on his ethical scientific responsibilities as a synthesiser, which is certainly a description of Darwin that most would agree with:

‘ I say that the compilers of monographs or of systematic works are bound in justice to search out the cognate labours of others in ever possible direction, and where they have (even unavoidably) overlooked other persons' writings, they must still pay the penalty by having their nomenclature superseded in favour of a prior one. Scientific natural history has now become as much a matter of literary research as of physical observation. I have had this forcibly brought home to me last autumn, when looking through the fine collection of foreign periodicals in the Bodleian Library, when I was astonished at the mass of original memoirs on zoology and other sciences which seem never to have made their way beyond the scientific but limited coterie in whose periodical they are printed. Authors should be encouraged to publish matters of science in standard and accessible periodicals (& the Association code has a clause ([SYMBOL]D) to that effect, still we cannot prevent them from doing otherwise, and we must (as the law does with libels) regard the act of printing as tantamount to publication, and deal out equal justice accordingly.’

Unfortunately for the history of biology, Strickland’s brain – at least in our world – failed to tell him to look over his shoulder in a dangerous situation. Because Strickland died in 1853, six years before the publication of Darwin's (1859) Origin of Species , when he is said to have accidentally stepped into the path of one train in order to avoid another.

Yet if the Many World's Theory is true, in a parallel world, Strickland looked over his shoulder in 1853 – saw the train coming – and lived to a ripe old age.

Accordingly, and according to quantum physics experts, in a parallel world in our universe Patrick Matthew - instead of Charles Darwin - is now most definitely on the back of the British £10 note!

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Public Domain

Patrick Matthew (1831) was the first to fully explain natural selection as new species branching from a common ancestor by way of nature selecting varieties that were best circumstance suited. He even uniquely called it: 'the natural process of selection'. A term Darwin (1859) would uniquely four word shuffle into 'process of natural selection'.

In that parallel world where Strickland looked and lived, when Darwin fully admitted in an 1860 letter of reply to Matthew in the Gardener’s Chronicle that Patrick Matthew had in 1831 published the full and complete hypothesis of natural selection, Strickland - true to form - made sure that Matthew was hailed and celebrated thereafter as the immortal great thinker of science who first discovered natural selection and so had full priority over Darwin. In that universe it is Patrick Matthew’s head – not Darwin’s – that currently adorns the back of the British £10 note. Imagine that!

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Thinker Media IncUsed only with express written permission

Nullius in Verba

Despite Darwin’s fallacious protestations in 1860 that no naturalist known to him had read it – we know today (in our world at least) that at least seven naturalists did in fact read Matthew’s book - on Naval Timber and Arboriculture - of 1831 because they cited it. Moreover, three of those seven - well known to Darwin and his best friends - played key roles at the very epicentre of influence on the pre-1858 work of Darwin and Wallace (see here).

SCIENCE WARNING: THERE FOLLOWS A SHAMELESS AND HIGHLY MANIPULATIVE QUANTUM SALES PITCH FOR THE AUTHOR'S OWN BOOK.

BEWARE: READING THE TEXT BELOW MAY SPLIT THE UNIVERSE!

If you would like to read a great deal more about Strickland, Darwin - and those who big data has newly revealed cited Matthew's 1831 book - naturalists and others who Darwin actually knew well – then you could do worse than read Nullius in Verba: Darwin’s greatest secret. On which note, you may or may not be pleased to know that there is absolutely nothing at all in it on quantum physics and parallel worlds. Well, not in this world anyway.

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Public Domain

Split YOUR universe

Go on now, split the universe. You know it makes sense.

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Trumpet from the rooftopsPublic Domain

Darwin merely replicated Matthew's 'divergent ramification' explanation of how species change and branch to evolve from a common ancestor

Remember, according to Many Worlds Theory, if you don't buy my e-book then YOU personally just split the universe, which means that now your double, in another world, just clicked here. Consequently, your double will soon know a whole lot more than YOU about the real origin of The Origin of Species. No pressure. Just click here to split the universe again, or not - just as the case may be.


[1] The reference for this is in footnote no 6 of Darwin’s letter to Strickland (29th January 1849) on the Darwin Correspondence Project: http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/entry-1215

[2] Coincidentally, or perhaps not, as the case may be, the popular Victorian phrase ‘buried in oblivion’ was used in the same year in an article about Erasamus Darwin’s writing (Harris 1848) : ‘I trust however that these remarks may stimulate inquiry in relation to principles which every day practice acknowledges as true but which in the writings of the day appear to be almost buried in oblivion.’

 
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