Which of the following criteria is more persuasive for choosing a Theory Of Everything:

  • A very simple theory that requires an enormous amount of calculation to compute the universe (e.g. 10^(10^(10^(....))) with operations to simulate/generate the observable universe or even a single atom.
  • A more complicated theory with more rules and ad hoc constants that allows the universe to be simulated/generated with far fewer calculations (e.g. polynomial on the number of particles). Ultimately, which of the two would they see as a better criterion for a Theory of Everything.
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    I think the problem with this question is that it does not take into account how theory-building works: It's not like we could simply choose between alternatives, the theory will be as complex and calculation-intensive as it needs to be to actually be able to explain everything (ie. present a set of laws that all hold for both the quantum and macroscopic scale). That said, physicists generally prefer the most precise calculation possible as long as it does not come to engineering (solving practical problems). – Philip Klöcking Oct 23 '20 at 21:41
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    Assuming the two theories (provably) make the same predictions there is nothing to choose, they are the same theory. The first will be seen as the conceptual formulation, and the second as a derived collection of rules of thumb good for practical use. – Conifold Oct 24 '20 at 8:05
  • @Conifold well I am aware that some physicists do (or did?) feel uncomfortable with the Multi Worlds Interpretation of quantum mechanics, due to the gigantic amount of decohered universes, and rather prefer that somehow the wavefunction collapses (which is a complication of the theory). – Juggernaut Oct 24 '20 at 9:51
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    In that case the theories are even computationally equivalent, they prescribe exactly the same calculational algorithms, so it does not fit into your dilemma. As for "complications", it is a matter of taste what is better, collapse or copious amount of unobservable metaphysical junk. Besides, MWI still has to introduce effective collapse through the back door, it is done through bridge principles that connect the theory to what is observed in actual experiments by us, so arguably the "complication" is still there, and is simply swept under the rug. – Conifold Oct 24 '20 at 10:20

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