Mod+ [Resources] Physics & Consciousness

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Sciborg_S_Patel

#21
If that were a truth then I'd always know what my wife is thinking or wants. Most of the time I have no idea.
I don't understand what this has to do with entanglement.

Consciousness can't account for the wave collapse because it is believed here that it is immaterial; immaterial things can't by their nature affect material things.
You're referencing the Mind-Body problem, which isn't an issue for Idealism because it's all consciousness.

In any case Kaku presents Wigner's Idealism as a valid interpretation that isn't disproven. Arguments against dualism aren't relevant here and can't settle the matter for the above stated reason.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#22
Critique of “Quantum Enigma: Physics Encounters
Consciousness”
Abstract
The central claim that understanding quantum mechanics requires a con-
scious observer, which is made by B. Rosenblum and F. Kuttner in their book “Quan-
tum Enigma: Physics encounters consciousness”, is shown to be based on various
misunderstandings and distortions of the foundations of quantum mechanicshttp://physics.ucsc.edu/~michael/qefoundations.pdf
The paper mentions Leggett once, quoting Reflections on the quantum measurement paradox. In Quantum Implications.
This was written in 1991. The experiments mentioned in the OP take place in the early 00s, with the article being written in 2008 which is when Zellinger ponders if information and reality aren't as distinct as we might initially be inclined to think.

At this point there's a few people studying quantum physics who think the universe's foundations are information or mathematics. The article seems to be about a particular book, and written before some of the evidence for warm & wet quantum processes & macroscopic superposition were discovered.

Not to say there is a slam dunk for Idealism here, but it seems to me if one incorporates something like Krippner's findings it becomes hard to see why materialism would be the correct paradigm.
 
#23
Critique of “Quantum Enigma: Physics Encounters
Consciousness”
Abstract
The central claim that understanding quantum mechanics requires a con-
scious observer, which is made by B. Rosenblum and F. Kuttner in their book “Quan-
tum Enigma: Physics encounters consciousness”, is shown to be based on various
misunderstandings and distortions of the foundations of quantum mechanicshttp://physics.ucsc.edu/~michael/qefoundations.pdf
This appears to be a critique of a book. There is also a response to the critique here:
http://www.researchgate.net/publica...ers_Consciousness/file/504635292fe480e791.pdf

I haven't read the book or the critique yet, so I can't really add anything else here
 
#24
Not to say there is a slam dunk for Idealism here, but it seems to me if one incorporates something like Krippner's findings it becomes hard to see why materialism would be the correct paradigm.
I don't care about philosophy. But since it has been brought up, QM is materialism at the fundamental level because it does not in anyway whatsoever even in an infinitesimally small smidgeon of a way attempt to explain the immaterial spiritual world. What it does try to do is explain how this universe works - that's materialism / physicalism.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#25
I don't care about philosophy. But since it has been brought up, QM is materialism at the fundamental level because it does not in anyway whatsoever even in an infinitesimally small smidgeon of a way attempt to explain the immaterial spiritual world. What it does try to do is explain how this universe works - that's materialism / physicalism.
Seems to me you're begging the question in your last statement. Science, as noted by Bernardo, is about figuring relationships out rather than simply assuming materialism is true:

The scientific method allows us to study and model the observable patterns and regularities of nature...Modelling the observable patterns and regularities of nature is all that science is about, because it is all that it can be about...

But our ability to model the patterns and regularities of reality tells us little about the underlying nature of things. Scientific modelling is useful for informing us how one thing or phenomenon relates to another thing or phenomenon – this being precisely what mathematical equations do – but it cannot tell us what these things or phenomena fundamentally are in and by themselves. The reason is simple: science can only explain one thing in terms of another thing; it can only characterise a certain phenomenon in terms of its relative differences with respect to another phenomenon.
As for whether idealism or materialism is the paradigm underlying reality, as noted by Donald Hoffman in Interface Theory of Perception that's an open question:

The discussion here should, however, help place the interface theory of perception within the philosophical landscape. It is not classical relativism, which claims that there is no objective reality, only metaphor; it claims instead that there is an objective reality that can be explored in the normal scienti c manner. It is not nave realism, which claims that we directly see middle-sized objects; nor is it indirect realism, or representationalism, which says that we see sensory representations, or sense data, of real middle-sized objects, and do not directly see the objects themselves. It claims instead that the physicalist ontology underlying both nave realism and indirect realism is almost surely false: A rock is an interface icon, not a constituent of objective reality. Although the interface theory is compatible with idealism, it is not idealism, because it proposes no speci c model of objective reality, but leaves the nature of objective reality as an open scienti c problem.
 
#27
I don't understand what this has to do with entanglement.
Go back and read David's post



You're referencing the Mind-Body problem, which isn't an issue for Idealism because it's all consciousness.

In any case Kaku presents Wigner's Idealism as a valid interpretation that isn't disproven. Arguments against dualism aren't relevant here and can't settle the matter for the above stated reason.
I am not referencing any such thing.
I don't care what the conjectures of a physicist are no matter how authoritative they sound. When they step outside of their area of expertise they are no different than you or me.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#28
I don't care what philosophers have to say.
Note that Krippner, Legget, Zeilinger, & Hoffman are not philosophers.

In any case, science's foundations rest on philosophy. An example of this would be Popper's Science as Falsification.

Go back and read David's post
I am not referencing any such thing.
Looking at the Mind-Body problem, you are essentially referencing such a thing. Your contention was that something immaterial cannot affect the material, which is the argument against dualistic notions of reality. But if it's all Mind, or some form of Neutral Monism, then the contention is irrelevant.

I don't care what the conjectures of a physicist are no matter how authoritative they sound. When they step outside of their area of expertise they are no different than you or me.
Kaku's authority is important because he specifically notes Wigner's Idealism has not been disproven, and with the experiments described in the OP strongly indicating realism is false it lends further weight to the possibility of Idealism.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#29
Hoffman, who wrote the aforementioned Interface Theory of Perception, also comes out in favor of Idealism.

I propose that the obstruction is commitment to a physicalist ontology: It is
not possible to obtain consciousness from unconscious ingredients. I propose
instead the ontology of conscious realism: Consciousness and its contents are all
that exists. Matter, brains, and space-time are among the contents of
consciousness, dependent on it for their existence. For a conscious realist the
mind-body problem is to show precisely how conscious agents construct the
macroscopic and microscopic physical world. I propose a mathematically rigorous
account of conscious agents and their dynamics, and of their construction of the
physical world.
-Physics from Consciousness


Video, Slides, Applet
 
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#30
I don't care about philosophy. But since it has been brought up, QM is materialism at the fundamental level because it does not in anyway whatsoever even in an infinitesimally small smidgeon of a way attempt to explain the immaterial spiritual world. What it does try to do is explain how this universe works - that's materialism / physicalism.
Sorry, but that is backwards. Materialism IS philosophy. It's in the first line on wikipedia:
In philosophy, the theory of materialism holds that all things are composed of material...
Let's try physicalism:
In philosophy, physicalism is the ontological thesis that "everything is physical"...
Everyone has some philosophy. Your very idea of reality IS philosophy. This is what I see as the blindness of the organized Skeptic movement. Most Skeptics that I have encountered adopt a very specific philosophy while believing that they are not philosophizing, but 'just following science'. I love the scientific method as much as anyone. I do not believe there is a more useful tool in our arsenal to learn about the physical world. But it is a tool - when it is stretched to turn it into a Belief System (B.S.), it stops being useful. We need to have the courage to admit where we do not know the answers. Materialism-of-the-gaps arguments are no more useful than God-of-the-gaps arguments.

So which of us is really skeptical, in the true sense of the word? Being agnostic, I have not made any truth claims - I am interested in discussing all possibilities. From where I am sitting, it sure feels like I am being skeptical of your belief system, not the other way around.

Anyway, I've been spending too much time here. I'm going back to lurking, at least in this forum. Thanks for posting all of the interesting discussions Sciborg, I really enjoy reading them.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#31
Quantum shadows: The mystery of matter deepens

Interesting article from New Scientist. Have to register (for free) to see it but here's some relevant quotes:

The strangeness starts when you lower the light intensity to the point at which only a single photon enters the experimental setup at any one time....But remove the particle detector and place a light-collecting screen - a kind of long-exposure camera - a distance behind the slits, and the same pattern of light and shade that Young had observed slowly builds up. It is as if each photon is an interfering wave that passes simultaneously through both slits...

...Quantum objects such as photons simply have complementary properties - being a wave, being a particle - that can be observed singly, but never together. And what determines which guise an object adopts? Bohr laid out a first outline of an answer at a grand gathering of physicists at the Istituto Carducci on the shores of Lake Como in Italy in September 1927: we do. Look for a particle and you'll see a particle. Look for a wave and that's what you'll see.

The idea that physical reality depends on an observer's whim bothered the likes of Einstein no end...
There is more to this than wild conspiracy theory. Imagine an explosion that sends two pieces of shrapnel in opposite directions. The explosion obeys the law of conservation of momentum, and so the mass and velocity of the pieces are correlated. But if you know nothing of momentum conservation, you could easily think that measuring the properties of one fragment determines the properties of the other, rather than both being set at the point of explosion. Was a similar hidden reality responsible for goings on in the quantum world?

This is where Wheeler's thought experiment came in. Its aim was to settle the issue of what told the photon how to behave, using an updated version of the double-slit experiment. Photons would be given a choice of two paths to travel in a device known as an interferometer. At the far end of the interferometer, the two paths would either be recombined or not. If the photons were measured without this recombination - an "open" interferometer - that was the equivalent of putting a detector at one or other of the slits. You would expect to see single particles travelling down one path or the other, all things being equal, splitting 50:50 between the two (see "Neither one nor the other").

Alternatively, the photons could be measured after recombination - a "closed" setting. In this case, what you expect to see depends on the lengths of the two paths through the interferometer. If both are exactly the same length, the peaks of the waves arrive at the same time at one of the detectors and interfere constructively there: 100 per cent of the hits appear on that detector and none on the other. By altering one path length, however, you can bring the wave fronts out of sync and vary the interference at the first detector from completely constructive to totally destructive, so that it receives no hits. This is equivalent to scanning across from a bright fringe to a dark one on the interference screen of the double slit experiment.

Wheeler's twist to the experiment was to delay choosing how to measure the photon - whether in an open or a closed setting - until after it had entered the interferometer. That way, the photon couldn't possibly "know" whether to take one or both paths, and so if it was supposed to act as a particle or a wave.
There was no getting round it. Wave and particle behaviours really do seem to be two sides of one coin representing material reality. As to which way it flips - well, you decide...

Unless, of course, you make things even stranger. In December 2011, Radu Ionicioiu...proposed extending Wheeler's thought experiment (Physical Review Letters, vol 107, p 230406). Their new twist was that the decision of how to measure the photon, as a particle or as a wave, should itself be a quantum-mechanical one - not a definite yes or no, but an indeterminate, fuzzy yes-and-no.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#32
More:

There is a way to do that: you use light to control the detector designed to probe the light. First you prepare a "control" photon in a quantum superposition of two states. One of these states switches the interferometer to an open, particle-measuring state, and the other to a closed, wave-measuring state. Crucially, you only measure the state of the control photon after you have measured the experimental "system" photon passing through the interferometer. As far as you are concerned, the system photon is passing through an interferometer that is both open and closed; you don't know whether you are setting out to measure wave or particle behaviour (see diagram). So what do you measure?

This time, it took only a few months for the experimentalists to catch up with the theorists. But when three independent groups...performed different versions of the experiment last year, the results were unnerving - even to those who consider themselves inured to the weirdnesses of quantum physics (Nature Photonics, vol 6, p 600; Science, vol 338, p 634 and p 637).

The answer is, what you see depends on the control photon. If you look at the measurements of the system photons without ever checking the corresponding measurements of the control photons - so never knowing what measurement you made - you see a distribution of hits on the two detectors that is the signature neither of particles or waves, but some ambiguous mixture of the two. If particle is black and wave is white, this is some shade of grey.

Do the same, but this time looking at the control photon measurements as well, and it is like putting on a pair of magic specs. Grey separates clearly into black and white. You can pick out the system photons that passed through an open interferometer, and they are clearly particles. Those that passed through a closed interferometer look like waves. The photons reveal their colours in accordance with the kind of measurement the control photon said you made.

It gets yet stranger. Quantum mechanics allows you to put the control photon not just in an equal mix of two states, but in varying proportions. That is equivalent to an interferometer setting that is, say, open 70 per cent of the time and closed 30 per cent of the time. If we measure a bunch of system photons in this configuration, and look at the data before putting on our magic specs, we see an ambiguous signature once again - but this time, its shade of grey has shifted closer to particle black than wave white. Put on the specs, though, and we see system photons 70 per cent of which have seemingly - but clearly - behaved as particles, while the remaining 30 per cent acted as waves.

In one sense, the results leave Bohr's side of the argument about quantum reality stronger. There is a tight correlation between the state of the control photon, representing the nature of the measurement, and the system photon, representing the state of reality. Make for more of a particle measurement, and you'll measure something more like a particle, and vice versa. As in earlier experiments, a hidden-reality theory à la Einstein cannot explain the results.

But in another sense, we are left grappling for words. "Our experiment defies the conventional boundaries set by the complementarity principle," says Li. Ionicioiu agrees. "Complementarity shows only the two ends, black and white, of a spectrum between particle and wave," he says. "This experiment allows us to see the shades of grey in between."

....The complementarity principle is at the heart of the "Copenhagen interpretation" of quantum mechanics, named after Bohr's home city, which essentially argues that we see a conflict in such results only because our minds, attuned as they are to a macroscopic, classically functioning cosmos, are not equipped to deal with the quantum world. "The Copenhagen interpretation, from the very beginning, didn't demand any 'realistic' world view of the quantum system," says Kofler...

The outcomes of the latest experiments simply bear that out. "Particle" and "wave" are concepts we latch on to because they seem to correspond to guises of matter in our familiar, classical world. But attempting to describe true quantum reality with these or any other black-or-white concepts is an enterprise doomed to failure.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#33
Astrophysicist Bernard Haisch talks about the IQOQI results at SSE.

Bernardo seems to have gone over this whole thing before, and mentions the old forum


In an earlier article in this blog, which I titled Our modern madness, I argued that our present day consensus that reality exists 'out there,' separate from our minds, is an enormous leap of faith from a logical standpoint. Notice that, although there is empirical, scientific evidence that reality and mind are one and the same thing, my argument in that article has been eminently based on common-sense alone (therefore, my use of the word 'madness'). That has raised several questions and criticisms online. Here, I'd like to elaborate further on my earlier article, tackling the key questions and criticisms brought up.
 
#34
Rosenblum and Kuttner are now working on a sequel of sorts to Quantum Enigma. When I e-mailed Rosenblum, he graciously sent me a draft preface. I won't reproduce it in toto here, but they seem to be moving in an idealist direction:

Our starting point will be a musing by Hendrik Casimir, a distinguished 20th century Dutch physicist, causally relating thoughts and intentions to physical reality. Our upgrading of Casimir’s musing to a speculation replaces the idea of “causally relating” with “entangling.”​
 
#35
Here's a list of interpretations that attempt to solve/explain the measurement problem.

One thing I'd note is Bohm's ideas of Implicate Order were more akin to Neutral Monism than materialism, as noted by John Macguire in the sadly gobbled up Bohm thread. Here's the interview with Bohm biographer D.Peat.

Paul Levy has been going through the physicist John Wheeler's thoughts on QM at Reality Sandwich:

The Physics of Dreaming (Part 1)

The Physics of Dreaming (Part 2)
Great links. Thanks. I'm usually all over Reality Sandwich but had not seen these. Good stuff.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#36
Interview with Zeilinger in Discover:

What are the philosophical implications of your work?

The quantum state represents measurement results; it represents information about a concrete situation, and it allows me to make predictions about future measurement results. So it is information both about a situation that I know and information about the future. I often say that quantum theory is information theory, and that the separation between reality and information is an artificial one. You cannot think about reality without admitting that it’s information you are handling. So we need a new concept that encompasses the two. We are not there yet.

Have any philosophers picked up on the conceptual 
implications of your research?

I have a program where I invite philosophers to see what goes on in the lab, because it changes your intuition. A great majority of philosophers are realists, though sometimes naive realists. I often ask them, “Why are you so realistic? If you analyze your fundamental notions you might conclude that these things are more counterintuitive than you think.” Often the answer is, “Yes, but I want to describe reality.” And then I say, “I also want to describe reality, but why are you not satisfied with describing the reality of the observations? Why do you want a hidden reality that exists independent of the observation?” And I don’t get satisfactory answers.
Note the bias against Idealism among philosophers. Calls to mind a saying from Tolstoy:

I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives.

-- Leo Tolstoy
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#37
"Some of these stories, like the idea of a material object, are hardwired into the human brain. Other stories, like the idea of a chemical or electricity, are not innate. One of the triumphs of the human species is that we are able to communicate these stories, so that a new story once constructed can be propagated without having to be encoded into our DNA. Consistency defines reality.

We distinguish between the perceptions that we have while sleeping from those we have while awake precisely because our wakeful perceptions are more amenable to consistent storytelling. We call our wakeful perceptions "reality" and our sleepful ones "dreams" for precisely this reason. It is so deeply ingrained in our psyche to believe that the universe is consistent because reality is in some sense real that the suggestion that reality is simply a mental construct that our brains concoct to explain consistency in perception sounds preposterous on its face.

For one thing, our brains are real. If they weren't, they wouldn't be around to do any concocting. I will defer this issue for now; for the moment let us simply accept that consistency and reality are intimately connected without making any commitments to which way the causality runs. The point is that the Universe is comprehensible because it is consistent."
-Ron Garret, Quantum Mysteries Disentangled
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#38
The Oxford University Press back cover of Quantum Enigma

In trying to understand the atom, physicists built quantum mechanics, the most successful theory in science and the basis of one-third of our economy. They found, to their embarrassment, that with their theory, physics encounters consciousness. Authors Bruce Rosenblum and Fred Kuttner explain all this in non-technical terms with help from some fanciful stories and anecdotes about the theory’s developers. They present the quantum mystery honestly, emphasizing what is and what is not speculation. Quantum Enigma’s description of the experimental quantum facts, and the quantum theory explaining them, is undisputed.

Interpreting what it all means, however, is heatedly controversial. But every interpretation of quantum physics involves consciousness. Rosenblum and Kuttner therefore turn to exploring consciousness itself–and encounter quantum mechanics. Free will and anthropic principles become crucial issues, and the connection of consciousness with the cosmos suggested by some leading quantum cosmologists is mind-blowing. Readers are brought to a boundary where the particular expertise of physicists is no longer the only sure guide. They will find, instead, the facts and hints provided by quantum mechanics and the ability to speculate for themselves.

In the few decades since the Bell’s theorem experiments established the existence of entanglement (Einstein’s “spooky action”), interest in the foundations, and the mysteries, of quantum mechanics has accelerated. In recent years, physicists, philosophers, computer engineers, and even biologists have expanded our realization of the significance of quantum phenomena. This second edition includes such advances. The authors have also drawn on many responses from readers and instructors to improve the clarity of the book’s explanations.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#39
Just wanted to touch on something Zeilinger and Kaku noted. Zeilinger points to randomness out of our control showing us a reality beyond ourselves exists.

Trying to square this is with his ideas on reality and observation, I think it goes back to something Kaku said in The Future of Mind:

At this point, it’s important to note that some people think that because consciousness determines existence, then consciousness can therefore control existence, perhaps by meditation. They think that we can create reality according to our wishes.This thinking, as attractive as it might sound, goes against quantum mechanics...Quantum mechanics allows you only to determine the chance of finding one state, but we cannot bend reality to our wishes. For example, in gambling, it is possible to mathematically calculate the chances of getting a royal flush. However, this does not mean that you can somehow control the cards to get the royal flush. You cannot pick and choose universes, just as we have no control over whether the cat is dead or alive.
I'm not 100% he's right about this, but I did think it was important to mention this in light of the objective reality Zeilinger mentions later in the linked interview.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#40
Toward a Quantum Theory of Perception

Talk by Catherine Pepin, Theoretical Physicist (Resume/CV)

The physics of the XXth century has been the scene of fantastic theoretical advances, among them he theory of quantum mechanics. One key notion is the one of measurement which introduces notions like the collapse of the wave function, which enables to "read" data out of a quantum system. In this talk, we will reconsider this very notion of measurement but within a nondual perspective, asking the most fundamental question: what is perception ? Can we perceive anything away from consciousness, or is anything perceived "in" consciousness ? If it is true that consciousness is the actual space where perception takes place, then is there a way to introduce this notion in modern physics?
 
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