Quantum Mechanics, Consciousness and the Death of Materialism

#1
Hi all,

So I stumbled upon this rather wonderful YouTube video today, summarising the current state of the field of quantum mechanics, and where experimentation and research has brought us to today.

It is rather eye opening, and I don't doubt will be incredibly provocative to those who staunchly adhere to materialist notions of the reality we experience.


Check it out. It will be interesting to hear thoughts on this.
 
#2
Great video. Really opened my eyes to QM a while ago. The other videos of the creator of this one are pretty good too. You may or may not like and agree with what hes talking about, but hes definitely showing everyone some new perspectives that can be considered.
 
#4
Hi all,

So I stumbled upon this rather wonderful YouTube video today, summarising the current state of the field of quantum mechanics, and where experimentation and research has brought us to today.
This is good, soulatman, but I do wish that the narrator spoke more slowly. I had to keep rewinding and re-viewing to take certain parts in. Not your fault, of course!
 
#5
Great video. Really opened my eyes to QM a while ago. The other videos of the creator of this one are pretty good too. You may or may not like and agree with what hes talking about, but hes definitely showing everyone some new perspectives that can be considered.
I haven't seen any of this guys other video's, though Alex pointed out to me he is somewhat of a Christian Apologetic. Personally, I feel Christian Apologetics and a mainstream interpretation of Christian doctrine has nothing to offer me, however, Christian mysticism on the other hand I am just really beginning to discover. The gnostic writings, the hermetic and alchemical teachings, and all that wonderful jazz, is something I find fascinating. It is much more akin to Islamic mysticism (Sufism), Buddhism and Hinduism, and I have a deep respect and awe for these paths and perspectives. I feel that what we are learning from quantum mechanics is bringing many of the mystical teachings from these traditions to the fore, and validating their central tenets, regarding the interconnectedness of all things, the primary role of the observer etc.
 
#6
Alright, 2nd try.

I thought about the whole thing with QM and consciousness again after i remembered the video here that you posted.
I remembered how hard it is for me to make any connections between consciousness and QM. The idea of that is quite nice and interesting, but im not sure if i can see why i would believe in e.g. a conscious observer since a observer can also be a machine that certainly isnt conscious. I might be wrong with that, but it always seems to me like people force consciousness into QM somehow because it could work in some sort of way. Idk.

I like the idea, but i got a hard time believing in it.
 
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#7
The idea of that is quite nice and interesting, but im not sure if i can see why i would believe in e.g. a conscious observer since a observer can also be a machine that certainly isnt conscious.
No machine can be an observer. The observation is only made when a conscious being makes it, maybe with the aid of some kind of measuring device. Even with totally automatic measuring devices, in what sense can recorded data be said to be an observation until a conscious observer becomes aware of it?

You overlooked your circular argument. You presupposed that finalised data exists in the "external world" independent of the observer, when all experiments to date show they are indeterminate until the observation is made, and not only for data about microscopic phenomena.

Witness Buckyballs (http://physicsworld.com/cws/article...-particle-duality-seen-in-carbon-60-molecules), macroscopically visible diamonds (http://www.livescience.com/17264-quantum-entanglement-macroscopic-diamonds.html) and Aluminium superconductors (http://www.wired.com/2009/09/quantum-entanglement/).
 
#9
No machine can be an observer. The observation is only made when a conscious being makes it, maybe with the aid of some kind of measuring device. Even with totally automatic measuring devices, in what sense can recorded data be said to be an observation until a conscious observer becomes aware of it?

You overlooked your circular argument. You presupposed that finalised data exists in the "external world" independent of the observer, when all experiments to date show they are indeterminate until the observation is made, and not only for data about microscopic phenomena.

Witness Buckyballs (http://physicsworld.com/cws/article...-particle-duality-seen-in-carbon-60-molecules), macroscopically visible diamonds (http://www.livescience.com/17264-quantum-entanglement-macroscopic-diamonds.html) and Aluminium superconductors (http://www.wired.com/2009/09/quantum-entanglement/).
I believe a machine can be a observer. You can put a machine there that is triggering the effect for you. The human can sit on his computer and get an email about the results of the experiment several hours later. The observation is already done by then. At the point where the human is reading his email with the results the observation was already made without any kind of consciousness involved in it. The effect was triggered, the uncertainity is already gone. I find it hard to believe that the observation from a machine results in uncertainity until a human is looking at the results of that observation. Thats why im wondering if consciousness is involved in the whole thing and especially where it plays its role or if it is just doing nothing at all.

I get the feeling though that im misinterpreting what you are trying to say here.

As for the 2nd part, i didnt really write that. The observation has to be made, otherwise there is no data. But as much as i know the observer does not need to be conscious. Thats the point im going on about.
 
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#10
I believe a machine can be a observer. You can put a machine there that is triggering the effect for you. The human can sit on his computer and get an email about the results of the experiment several hours later. The observation is already done by then. At the point where the human is reading his email with the results the observation was already made without any kind of consciousness involved in it. The effect was triggered, the uncertainity is already gone. I find it hard to believe that the observation from a machine results in uncertainity until a human is looking at the results of that observation. Thats why im wondering if consciousness is involved in the whole thing and especially where it plays its role or if it is just doing nothing at all.

I get the feeling though that im misinterpreting what you are trying to say here.

As for the 2nd part, i didnt really write that. The observation has to be made, otherwise there is no data. But as much as i know the observer does not need to be conscious. Thats the point im going on about.
Look. It's a self-evident fact that until a conscious observer makes an observation, there is no observation. Even a realist has to accept that on philosophical grounds alone. But we have more than philosophy to rely on: we have hard evidence from physics, even in the macroscopic realm, that until an observation is made by a conscious observer, indeterminacy applies.

You see, you are a realist. You think that in a universe with no consciousness whatsoever, events would carry on regardless. But in such a universe, there would be no quantum mechanics: no double-slit phenomena, no entanglement. Not only because no one would be around to have witnessed them, but because what appears to be out there would actually be out there, regardless of consciousness.

You're presupposing what you're trying to assert: that the universe has reality independent of consciousness, and because that's the case, then inanimate objects can make observations. To reiterate: in that case, we wouldn't have QM. If you fired particles at double slits, they would always behave like particles and never waves. There would be no such thing as entanglement or quantum tunnelling. There would be no mystery: everything would be as you imagine it to be, completely real and determinate.

The actual facts, however, are very uncomfortable for many physicists, which is why they've tried to prove realism for so long, and yet every experiment they've tried has refuted it. They've gone to extraordinary lengths in this endeavour, even as far as inventing the absurd and unparsimonious metaphysical idea that new universes are created for all the possible outcomes of all quantum events, even at the subatomic level. Out of their desire for realism to apply, they've invented something outrageously unreal and in any case unfalsifiable.
 
#11
Look. It's a self-evident fact that until a conscious observer makes an observation, there is no observation. Even a realist has to accept that on philosophical grounds alone. But we have more than philosophy to rely on: we have hard evidence from physics, even in the macroscopic realm, that until an observation is made by a conscious observer, indeterminacy applies.

You see, you are a realist. You think that in a universe with no consciousness whatsoever, events would carry on regardless. But in such a universe, there would be no quantum mechanics: no double-slit phenomena, no entanglement. Not only because no one would be around to have witnessed them, but because what appears to be out there would actually be out there, regardless of consciousness.

You're presupposing what you're trying to assert: that the universe has reality independent of consciousness, and because that's the case, then inanimate objects can make observations. To reiterate: in that case, we wouldn't have QM. If you fired particles at double slits, they would always behave like particles and never waves. There would be no such thing as entanglement or quantum tunnelling. There would be no mystery: everything would be as you imagine it to be, completely real and determinate.

The actual facts, however, are very uncomfortable for many physicists, which is why they've tried to prove realism for so long, and yet every experiment they've tried has refuted it. They've gone to extraordinary lengths in this endeavour, even as far as inventing the absurd and unparsimonious metaphysical idea that new universes are created for all the possible outcomes of all quantum events, even at the subatomic level. Out of their desire for realism to apply, they've invented something outrageously unreal and in any case unfalsifiable.
Why wouldnt we have QM? I dont see why QM implies consciousness. Double-slit works perfectly fine with a normal observer that isnt conscious. Like i wrote before, a conscious human being can look at the results of such a experiment, but the process already happened then. how would consciousness take part in that? Its a bit too much for me to believe in that a conscious observation of the experiment results can make a decision that should have happened already a specific time span ago. Thats really my primary issue with the whole thing. A machine can create the same effect. Why? Im totally honest here, how can consciousness influence the results then? Im not doubting that a observer can influence those processes - im not sure though if the observer must be conscious. Its not as self-evident to me as it might be to others.

Btw, good catch with the realist... guess you are pretty much right there. I did hardly choose though.
 
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#12
Observations in quantum mechanics must be made by conscious observers according to John von Neumann:

In his treatise The Mathematical Foundations of Quantum Mechanics, John von Neumann deeply analyzed the so-called measurement problem. He concluded that the entire physical universe could be made subject to the Schrödinger equation (the universal wave function). Since something "outside the calculation" was needed to collapse the wave function, von Neumann concluded that the collapse was caused by the consciousness of the experimenter.[22]
Wikipedia
 
#13
https://sites.google.com/site/chs4o8pt/eminent_researchers#researchers_plank


Max Planck
(Nobel Prize for Physics)
As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.

Das Wesen der Materie [The Nature of Matter], speech at Florence, Italy (1944) (from Archiv zur Geschichte der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, Abt. Va, Rep. 11 Planck, Nr. 1797)
Erwin Schrödinger
(Nobel Prize for Physics)
"Consciousness cannot be accounted for in physical terms. For consciousness is absolutely fundamental. It cannot be accounted for in terms of anything else."
http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/show/325387



The observing mind is not a physical system, it cannot interact with any physical system. And it might be better to reserve the term "subject" for the observing mind. ... For the subject, if anything, is the thing that senses and thinks. Sensations and thoughts do not belong to the "world of energy."
http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Erwin_Schrödinger
The Wikipedia article on Wigner (Nobel Prize in Physics) says:
Wigner also conceived the Wigner's friend thought experiment in physics, which is an extension of the Schrödinger's cat thought experiment. The Wigner's friend experiment asks the question: "At what stage does a 'measurement' take place?" Wigner designed the experiment to highlight how he believed that consciousness is necessary to the quantum-mechanical measurement processes.
 
#15
Why wouldnt we have QM? I dont see why QM implies consciousness. Double-slit works perfectly fine with a normal observer that isnt conscious. Like i wrote before, a conscious human being can look at the results of such a experiment, but the process already happened then. how would consciousness take part in that? Its a bit too much for me to believe in that a conscious observation of the experiment results can make a decision that should have happened already a specific time span ago. Thats really my primary issue with the whole thing. A machine can create the same effect. Why? Im totally honest here, how can consciousness influence the results then? Im not doubting that a observer can influence those processes - im not sure though if the observer must be conscious. Its not as self-evident to me as it might be to others.

Btw, good catch with the realist... guess you are pretty much right there. I did hardly choose though.
Yes, a machine can make a measurement. There is no real destinction between light passing through the lense of your eye, and the lens of say a microscope.
But if 'you' want to learn something, you're going to have to observe it. Consiousness does seem to be a requirement for learning in the external world.

But there doesn't seem to be a way an observer can influence a measurement just by conscious observation, if there were QM wouldn't be so accurate. It doesn't matter who does the experiment QM always gives the same results if you follow the rules.

Yet entanglement tells us that no interaction is ever forgotton, no matter how far away, or how long ago. Thus there will always be a history connected to any observation.

But there is still no physical state between measurements whenever we do QM measurements.
 
#16
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Von_Neumann–Wigner_interpretation
The von Neumann–Wigner interpretation, also described as "consciousness causes collapse [of the wave function]", is an interpretation of quantum mechanics in which consciousness is postulated to be necessary for the completion of the process of quantum measurement.
...

Henry Stapp has argued for the concept as follows:

From the point of view of the mathematics of quantum theory it makes no sense to treat a measuring device as intrinsically different from the collection of atomic constituents that make it up. A device is just another part of the physical universe... Moreover, the conscious thoughts of a human observer ought to be causally connected most directly and immediately to what is happening in his brain, not to what is happening out at some measuring device... Our bodies and brains thus become...parts of the quantum mechanically described physical universe. Treating the entire physical universe in this unified way provides a conceptually simple and logically coherent theoretical foundation...
 
#17
Why wouldnt we have QM? I dont see why QM implies consciousness. Double-slit works perfectly fine with a normal observer that isnt conscious. Like i wrote before, a conscious human being can look at the results of such a experiment, but the process already happened then. how would consciousness take part in that? Its a bit too much for me to believe in that a conscious observation of the experiment results can make a decision that should have happened already a specific time span ago. Thats really my primary issue with the whole thing. A machine can create the same effect. Why? Im totally honest here, how can consciousness influence the results then? Im not doubting that a observer can influence those processes - im not sure though if the observer must be conscious. Its not as self-evident to me as it might be to others.

Btw, good catch with the realist... guess you are pretty much right there. I did hardly choose though.
You're so embedded in your ideas about realism that you can't understand what I'm saying. The latest QM experiments indicate that observation of an event in the present influences the past. You're convinced that there's an arrow of time and forward causality, even though empirical data like this confounds that view. You're defending a classical view of physics that is simply unsustainable, and there's nothing I could do to convince you otherwise. Anyway, I've said my piece and will leave it there.
 
#18
Why wouldnt we have QM? I dont see why QM implies consciousness. Double-slit works perfectly fine with a normal observer that isnt conscious. Like i wrote before, a conscious human being can look at the results of such a experiment, but the process already happened then. how would consciousness take part in that? Its a bit too much for me to believe in that a conscious observation of the experiment results can make a decision that should have happened already a specific time span ago. Thats really my primary issue with the whole thing. A machine can create the same effect. Why? Im totally honest here, how can consciousness influence the results then? Im not doubting that a observer can influence those processes - im not sure though if the observer must be conscious. Its not as self-evident to me as it might be to others.

Btw, good catch with the realist... guess you are pretty much right there. I did hardly choose though.
If observation can be done without conscious intervention then it will be done without conscious intervention, in which case there would never be a situation where reality was unobserved, because reality would always be observing itself. This effectively negates QM.
 
#19
You're so embedded in your ideas about realism that you can't understand what I'm saying. The latest QM experiments indicate that observation of an event in the present influences the past. You're convinced that there's an arrow of time and forward causality, even though empirical data like this confounds that view. You're defending a classical view of physics that is simply unsustainable, and there's nothing I could do to convince you otherwise. Anyway, I've said my piece and will leave it there.
Sigh. Okay. Leaving all those wrong accusations about my beliefs and intentions aside, especially accusing me wrongly of believing in classical physics - i do understand what you are trying to say, no worries. Im asking questions. Im not defending anything at all. And im certainly not convinced, otherwise i wouldnt have posted here. So dont run away Michael, im not done discussing things with you. Im going to try to be a bit more understanding about it.

Including that what you stated before i guess the general idea goes like this:

Theres a experiment with a QM process. We measure the experiments outcome with a machine device. Theres some sort of result from that. A human being is looking at the results at some point later on. The conscious observation of the results is a part of the QM history of the experiment and can actually influence it and other experiments aswell that happened before or will happen in the future.

According to that the conscious observation of a human being can change the outcome of the experiment even after or before it happened. Is that what you are trying to tell me? Wouldnt that make it more like a conscious decision-maker instead of a conscious observer? I believe some of our misunderstandings here are because of a wording problem. The observer for me is the "measuring device". That does not need to be a conscious human, right? That may or may not be correct, but thats what i assumed from the start. I guess your observer is a bit more than that.

And do you have a link to the paper or something about that experiment that you were talking about in that post?
 
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#20
Yes, a machine can make a measurement. There is no real destinction between light passing through the lense of your eye, and the lens of say a microscope.
But if 'you' want to learn something, you're going to have to observe it. Consiousness does seem to be a requirement for learning in the external world.

But there doesn't seem to be a way an observer can influence a measurement just by conscious observation, if there were QM wouldn't be so accurate. It doesn't matter who does the experiment QM always gives the same results if you follow the rules.

Yet entanglement tells us that no interaction is ever forgotton, no matter how far away, or how long ago. Thus there will always be a history connected to any observation.

But there is still no physical state between measurements whenever we do QM measurements.
If i want to learn something? Hm, okay. I can see that. If i as a being want to learn about the results of the experiment i actually need to learn about it, which would require consciousness.

No physical state between measurements? Multiple measurements might be connected with each other through history, but theres no physical state that mirrors that?
 
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