Re: virus: real world?

Vicki Rosenzweig (
Wed, 15 Jan 97 14:03:00 PST

I think we may be confusing levels, or maybe difficulties, here.
Despite what our anonymous friend thinks, as far as modern
physics can tell, matter isn't "solid" at the atomic level: those
nice high-school chemistry models of molecules as balls
connected by rods are no more than an approximation.
"Really," what's going on is fuzzy concentrations of energy--
these are particles, including the ordinary ones like protons--
that are near each other, or maybe overlapping each other.
We talk about electron orbits, but they aren't like planetary
orbits. You can't meaningfully talk about where in its orbit an
electron is: it's all over.

Nonetheless, on the macroscopic level, we do touch things and
perceive them as solid.

This is all separate from the many-worlds hypothesis. I have no
strong feelings on the validity of this hypothesis--I'm not really
convinced by any interpretation of quantum mechanics, and
people's choice of one seems to have a lot to do with their
personalities--but it doesn't require us to be able to see or touch
our alternate selves, any more than the knowledge that I was
sitting in this same chair yesterday requires me, or allows me,
to reach through time and talk to myself.

Vicki, hoping I'm not repeating stuff (I've been too busy to read all
list posts lately)
From: owner-virus
To: virus
Subject: Re: virus: real world?
Date: Wednesday, January 15, 1997 12:35PM

On Mon, 30 Dec 1996 wrote:

> S. Atkins wrote:
> > I have been asked to forward this message from an anonymous poster.
> >
> > **********************Is the world real?
> >
> > Theoretical physicists have developed a parallel universe hypothesis to
> > account for the various ghostlike, unexplainable effects resulting from
> > Heisenberg's uncertainty principle. This hypothesis stems from the need
> > to
> > give Heisenberg's quantum mechanics a physical expression. Hence, a
> > system
> > of parallel worlds. These worlds would be alternative dimensions
> > superimposed upon our own in which every single potential condition
> > contained in quantum mechanics actually existed. This model of reality,
> > if
> > confirmed, might help us form an image of Heisenberg's mathematically
> > abstract atom.
> Wouldn't this theory mean that matter does not exist as a "solid" if you
> understand what I mean? It's a difficult thing to explain, but I'll
> have a go. Matter exists, so we are told :), as an actual presence in
> space, that is rigid at it's basic form (ie molecular level) and there
> is something that can be "touched" present. If MWH is correct, then
> surely this matter theory is incorrect, as presumably matter exists
> unconditionally. It would be, in my mind, impossible to have multiple
> Universes Co-existing with our own in the same part of space, due to the
> fact that if matter is "solid" then *all* Universes matter would be in the
> same parts of space as in the other dimensions. Does that make sense?
> This would result in us being able, quite easily - by touch alone - to
> detect the presence of other universes. Presumably the other "you" is
> just as real in that dimension as in this, so why can we not see him if
> matter is real, and he co-exists in the same space, but another dimension
> (what definition would "dimension" take in this case?)?

I would suggest as many spatial dimensions as the real numbers, *all*
perpendicular to our space-time. That may not be enough: I would hope
that as many as all functions from real numbers to real numbers would be

> The only way I can see this theory being possible is by matter actually
> made up of Photons, and thus no more "solid" than light. If a Photonic
> is what matter is built from, then maybe different wavelengths/frequencies
> interact well with eachother, to produce our universe, and other
> produce other universes. In this way, "matter" could be present, but we
> be unable to see or touch it.
> Appologies for the somewhat fuzzy explanation. I hope that someone can
> what I'm getting at. Please feel free to interpret what I've said in a
> better way.
> >
> > According to the parallel universe hypothesis, there is only one
> > universe at
> > the beginning of time, but each atomic event causes it to split off into
> > two
> > or more parallel dimensions, so that we soon have a continuous branching
> > pattern like in a hierarchical communications network or a tree.
> What is an atomic event classed as? Is it something fairly major, or is
> something as simple as decision making?

It's fairly small-scale. Actually, some interpretations of Quantum
Mechanics seem to exclude decision-making from the domain of study.

At this level of resolution, you should imagine your body as experiencing
much more than 6.023*10^26 atomic events per second [yes, I whipped
Avogadro's constant out: 1 event/mol/second (*way* too slow!)]