Re: virus: real world?

John P. Schneider (
Mon, 30 Dec 1996 05:36:36 -0600

Concerning discussions of 'reality'.... In general, if I want to go
any further than metaphysical meandering in discussions of reality,
I use science, since science is all about making things happen.
I quote Dirac (hoping noone minds an appeal to his 'authority'):
1) on the domain of science: "A question about what will happen to
a particular photon under certain conditions is not really precise.
To make it precise one must imagine some experiment performed having
a bearing on the question and inquire what will be the result of the
experiment. Only questions about the results of experiments have
a real significance and it is only such questions that theoretical
physics has to consider."
2) on the aim of science: "... the main object of physical science
is not the provision of pictures, but is the formulation of laws
governing phenomena and the application of these laws to the dis-
covery of new phenomena."

In this sense, while I think the Many-Worlds Hypothesis is 'neat',
I have no idea how to imagine a 'Many-Worlds Phenomenon', hence any
thoughts I have on it are so open-to-argument that I can think of
a dozen arguments myself before I start typing.

I can recommend the book "Quantum Reality" by Nick Herbert, though.
He talks about Many-Worlds Hypothesis in it, as well as some other
'pictures'. He's also good enough to not suggest that any picture
is 'really the real picture'. It's one of few non-fiction books
that I've reread cover-to-cover.

I can also ask: how does consciousness interact with reality?
Answer: by choosing an experiment. In other words, it is important
to not that we have never shown ourselves to be able to consciously
affect the results of any particular experiment; rather, we affect
reality only by choosing that particular experiment instead of some
other experiment.