When people try to refute William Lane Craig’s first premise of the kalam cosmological argument (“Everything that begins to exist has a cause”), they sometimes cite quantum mechanics as proof there are uncaused events. As part of his response, Craig will often explain that the idea that there are uncaused events at the subatomic level is merely one interpretation of the data. And in fact, he says, there are other interpretations that also fit the data:
There are at least ten different physical interpretations of the equations of quantum mechanics, and they’re all empirically equivalent, they’re mathematically consistent, and no one knows which, if any of them, is the correct physical interpretation. I’m inclined to agree with philosophers of science who think of the traditional Copenhagen interpretation [which includes uncaused events] as really just quite unintelligible, and I’m therefore more inclined to some sort of deterministic theory of quantum mechanics…. It remains a matter of deep debate as to how to understand it.
Now there’s been an interesting development on this subject, according to an article in Wired titled “Have We Been Interpreting Quantum Mechanics Wrong This Whole Time?”
For nearly a century, “reality” has been a murky concept. The laws of quantum physics seem to suggest that particles spend much of their time in a ghostly state, lacking even basic properties such as a definite location and instead existing everywhere and nowhere at once. Only when a particle is measured does it suddenly materialize, appearing to pick its position as if by a roll of the dice.
This idea that nature is inherently probabilistic — that particles have no hard properties, only likelihoods, until they are observed — is directly implied by the standard equations of quantum mechanics. But now a set of surprising experiments with fluids has revived old skepticism about that worldview. The bizarre results are fueling interest in an almost forgotten version of quantum mechanics, one that never gave up the idea of a single, concrete reality.
The experiments involve an oil droplet that bounces along the surface of a liquid. The droplet gently sloshes the liquid with every bounce. At the same time, ripples from past bounces affect its course. The droplet’s interaction with its own ripples, which form what’s known as a pilot wave, causes it to exhibit behaviors previously thought to be peculiar to elementary particles — including behaviors seen as evidence that these particles are spread through space like waves, without any specific location, until they are measured.
Particles at the quantum scale seem to do things that human-scale objects do not do. They can tunnel through barriers, spontaneously arise or annihilate, and occupy discrete energy levels. This new body of research reveals that oil droplets, when guided by pilot waves, also exhibit these quantum-like features.
Rest the rest here.