Templeton and Quantum Confusion

Bill Westmiller writes:

I found this quiz of mainstream physicists interesting. Contrary to the impression of universal agreement on the fundamentals of Quantum Mechanics, there is enormous *disagreement* on a host of questions:


Thanks so much Bill for the heads up. I am not sure how representative this quiz could be, since it was taken at a conference sponsored by the Templeton Foundation. As readers may know, the foundation also awards the annual $1.5 million Templeton Prize to a ‘living person who has made an exceptional contribution to affirming life's spiritual dimension.’ It is essentially a reactionary religious organization seeking to thwart deterministic interpretations of scientific results by supporting accomodationists. One of their most notable failures included the “prayer test” performed on heart patients (Stein, 2006). Legitimate scientists generally avoid having anything to do with Templeton, although regressive physicists seem especially prone to bite the apple. One prizewinner is even a priest and a professor of astrophysics. So, we don’t expect much out of the attendees of this conference, which was entitled “
Quantum Physics and the Nature of Reality," held July 3-7, 2011 in Austria.

As you mentioned, Bill, the 33 out of 35 attendees who answered the quiz were all over the place with regard to the philosophical meaning of QM. In answer to the most critical question (No. 12) “What is your favorite interpretation of quantum mechanics?”, the largest group (42%) favoured Copenhagen, while none of them favored Bohm’s deterministic view, which comes closest to univironmental determinism. The rest advanced various flavors of indeterministic compromise.

Of course, all this was discussed in some detail in my explanation of the Third Assumption of Science, uncertainty (It is impossible to know everything about anything, but it is possible to know more about anything). The troubles with QM stem from the mainstream’s inability to accept what really happened when Heisenberg proposed the Uncertainty Principle. Classical mechanics and classical determinism lay dead on the auditorium floor. Finite causality had taken a body blow, but few besides Bohm had any inkling of the next step: the need for a new form of causality (All effects have an infinite number of material causes). In one fell swoop, classical mechanics became neomechanics, classical determinism became univironmental determinism, and finite universal causality became infinite universal causality. Nothing characterizes today’s regressive physicists better than their reluctance to assume infinity (The universe is infinite, both in the microcosmic and macrocosmic directions). That is why we still have Copenhageners. That is why we are still messing around with the BBT and the Higgs boson. As the conference showed, the jump from finity to infinity is impossible for indeterminists. It will not happen soon, no matter how many conferences Templeton supports.

No wonder that the authors stated that “Yet, nearly 90 years after the theory's development, there is still no consensus in the scientific community regarding the interpretation of the theory's foundational building blocks” (Schlosshauer and others, 2013, p. 14). Attendees were asked if there should be another conference soon. Well, why not, nothing like a free ride to Europe. They also could debate free will vs. determinism directly until they were blue in the face.


Schlosshauer, M., Kofler, J., and Zeilinger, A., 2013, A Snapshot of Foundational Attitudes Toward Quantum Mechanics: http://arxiv.org/pdf/1301.1069v1.pdf, 17 p.

Stein, R., 2006, Prayer doesn't aid recovery, study finds: Effect on healing of strangers at distance after heart-bypass surgery examined, Washington Post: Washington, DC, March 31.

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