Measure for Measure: Quantum Physics and Reality

#1
Interesting debate on the interpretations of QM approximately 100 years later.
From the 2014 World Science Festival, moderated by Brian Greene with: David Z. Albert, Sean Carroll, Sheldon Goldstein, Ruediger Schack.


After the initial intro on the subject the discussion becomes pretty interesting.

cheers
 
#2
Thanks for the video, Bucky. I roughly understood three of the four approaches, but had problems with Cubism. If anyone can express it simply, I hope they'll come along and help me out.

Although Sean Carroll is an atheist and I disagree with him on that ground, I think there's something to the many worlds view except I don't believe that all the many worlds exist as actualities; rather, I think they exist as potentialities, until, that is, something actually eventuates. The dart can "spike" at any point on the board--until it spikes at a particular point on the board. Prior to that moment, it could have spiked at any one of myriad other points.

Maybe this view is equivalent to the collapse of a probability wave, but I didn't get the sense that any of the panellists (not 100% sure about the Cubist) was really into the idea that consciousness had any role to play. If you don't believe in a Source consciousness, then the only consciousness that could putatively cause collapse would be that of a local one such as you or I, and I can see how that would be problematic, particularly in respect of phenomena that can be viewed in the same way by many different observers.

OTOH, within an Idealistic framework, where there is nothing but consciousness, then there's no such thing as an event that isn't "observed by consciousness", so to speak. And when you factor in something like Morphic Resonance, that doesn't exclude the possibility of some newly observed phenomenon gradually evolving into one capable of generating a more and more predictable kind of outcome.

I mean, they're all very clever guys and one has to respect their mathematical apprehensions (which are quite beyond my grasp), but if they are predicated on the irrelevance of consciousness, then it would seem to me (if that predicate is untrue), that their models of reality are bound to break down at some point or other. That would apply however accurate they might be in their predictions in certain cases (and I understand they can sometimes be extremely accurate).

If a theory that omits consciousness leads to intractable problems, then that's a fair indication that it might be worth considering the influence of consciousness. I think that the fathers of QM (Shroedinger and others) tended to be much more open to accepting this influence. Like me (they being also aware that QM wouldn't make sense if localised consciousness was the only flavour of consciousness possible), they seemed to lean to the idea that consciousness was all-pervasive and in fact had primacy.

But this, of course, is anathema in a version of science that has become more and more strident in its materialistic outlook. If I'm right, and consciousness has a primal role to play, my prediction is that at some point, materialist approaches to understanding QM will fail: eventually, physicists will have to throw in the towel. I don't think that's going to happen tomorrow or in my lifetime, but sooner or later I think it will.
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#3
Thanks for the vid Bucky!

Michael you may like the work of the physicist Morhroff (links to multiple works here). From his paper Radical Nonlocality:

This article points out a nonlocality of quantum mechanics that is significantly more radical than that implied by violations of Bell locality or Einstein locality. It consists in the fact that the spatiotemporal differentiation of the physical world is incomplete. The so-called parts of space only exist to the extent that they are physically realized, and arbitrarily small parts cannot be physically realized. Further it is shown that intrinsically all fundamental particles are identical in the radical sense of numerical identity. Hence it is impossible to model reality "from the bottom up," whether on the basis of an intrinsically and completely differentiated space or spacetime or out of a multitude of intrinsically distinct building blocks. Quantum theory's explanatory arrow points in the opposite direction — from unity to multiplicity. In addition to establishing these conclusions, the article examines their implications for the enterprise called physics, illuminates these conclusions and their implications in a quintessential Indian philosophical context, and points out that while the radical nonlocality of the quantum world renders intelligible the possibility of paranormal correlations, quantum mechanics offers no help in explaining how paranormal phenomena come about.
Finally, I don't know if you've seen it but Radicalpolitik posted a video of Chalmers discussing consciousness collapsing the wave function (board thread here):

 
#4
Thanks for the video, Bucky. I roughly understood three of the four approaches, but had problems with Cubism. If anyone can express it simply, I hope they'll come along and help me out.
Similarly I was a little perplexed about Qbism (apparently this is how it's written), maybe not to confuse it with Picasso? :D
I also missed a few bits and pieces because of the strange accent of the professor... maybe it's just me.

Although Sean Carroll is an atheist and I disagree with him on that ground, I think there's something to the many worlds view except I don't believe that all the many worlds exist as actualities; rather, I think they exist as potentialities, until, that is, something actually eventuates. The dart can "spike" at any point on the board--until it spikes at a particular point on the board. Prior to that moment, it could have spiked at any one of myriad other points.
Yes, I like this hypothesis and I was struck by the work of Rob Brianton ... I think I have posted this a hundred times, but it's quite a thought provoking work:


Orthodox physicist have conflicting opinions of this work, but Brianton's sources are rock solid and he's mainly borrowing his ideas from well known theoretical physicist and cosmologists. The amount of speculation is not different from that that supports the MWI or String theory.

If you don't believe in a Source consciousness, then the only consciousness that could putatively cause collapse would be that of a local one such as you or I, and I can see how that would be problematic, particularly in respect of phenomena that can be viewed in the same way by many different observers.
Yes, plus there's the problem of "who/what" was observing the universe before any conscious being existed.

I mean, they're all very clever guys and one has to respect their mathematical apprehensions (which are quite beyond my grasp), but if they are predicated on the irrelevance of consciousness, then it would seem to me (if that predicate is untrue), that their models of reality are bound to break down at some point or other. That would apply however accurate they might be in their predictions in certain cases (and I understand they can sometimes be extremely accurate).
Did you notice how "consciousness" hasn't been mentioned a single time in almost 90 minutes of conversation?
The best we can get is "observer" and of course it's an observer made of the same stuff of the other matter in the universe. They are all pretending the problem doesn't exist.. but hey, of course, they are physicists...

But this, of course, is anathema in a version of science that has become more and more strident in its materialistic outlook. If I'm right, and consciousness has a primal role to play, my prediction is that at some point, materialist approaches to understanding QM will fail: eventually, physicists will have to throw in the towel. I don't think that's going to happen tomorrow or in my lifetime, but sooner or later I think it will.
Indeed their eminent predecessors seemed much less uncomfortable about taking consciousness in account.
I guess it's a sign of the times.
 
#6
Finally, I don't know if you've seen it but Radicalpolitik posted a video of Chalmers discussing consciousness collapsing the wave function (board thread here):
No, I hadn't seen it, but I have now, so thanks to you (and R.) for that.

What I found irritating was that the possibility Source or Universal consciousness wasn't really addressed: perhaps one of the questioners was groping at that concept when he mentioned God. Everything just makes so much more sense if you think in terms of Idealism: then, processes can unfold in Universal consciousness regardless of whether any localised, self-reflective process is aware of them.

Tom Campbell, as I recall, seems to think in terms of a universal computing process continuously refreshing a kind of virtual reality, so that if some entity is the first to detect a star (say), that entity can then train instruments on it and the computing process supply more information about the star. Or something like that.

I posit that the star actually exists as a process in Universal consciousness whether or not a particular localised, self-reflective process like you or me has observed it. The falling tree makes a sound regardless of an observing process because that's one of the things the process of a tree does when it falls.

In a way, I see the Idealist viewpoint as straightforward and much less airy-fairy than the knicker-knots that physicists tie themselves up in. Why do we see an interference pattern in the plain vanilla double-slit experiment? Maybe just because that's how electrons behave in that circumstance. Why do we not see the pattern if we elect to determine which slit the electrons went through? Maybe because that's how electrons behave in that different circumstance. Maybe it only seems weird because macroscopic processes behave differently.

I mean, you'd think we knew what the heck gravity or mass was, but actually, I don't think we do. They don't seem weird because we're macroscopic beings wired to experience macroscopic processes; but perhaps they're just as weird as QM phenomena, which may only appear strange because we so long lacked the technology to look at the micro-world, and we weren't expecting there to be a difference.
 
#7
Yes, I like this hypothesis and I was struck by the work of Rob Brianton ... I think I have posted this a hundred times, but it's quite a thought provoking work:
Fascinating, but I suspect it's a product of overactive imagination trying its best to come up with something in the absence of acceptance of Universal consciousness: an absurd level of epicycling if you like.;)
 
#8
Fascinating, but I suspect it's a product of overactive imagination trying its best to come up with something in the absence of acceptance of Universal consciousness: an absurd level of epicycling if you like.;)
I think Bryanton accepts (or at least suspects) Universal consciousness and he does hint at it on several occasions in his work (book and videos). I suspect that the "taboo effect" is at work here too. In order for his work to gain acceptance it's probably best to emphasize the scientific grounds and leave the philosophical or spiritual implications in the background.

He has already been attacked quite frontally by some "Youtube personalities" in the field of physics with the usual labels: pseudoscience, woo-woo, the whole lot :(
It's always great to observe the disproportionate reaction from these people. Bryanton is not posing as an intellectual or a pioneer, he has simply published his work out of sheer passion for these subjects. He's never claimed to be a physicist or that his work should be taken as some new groundbreaking theory. And yet you get these angry, hostile characters from the academic world jumping at his jugular and screaming heretic!

Talk about being stuck at the egoic level of mind :D
 
Top