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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-19-2017, 10:23 PM Thread Starter
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The strange link between the mind and quantum physics

http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20170...uantum-physics

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But here is the really odd thing.

If we place a detector inside or just behind one slit, we can find out whether any given particle goes through it or not. In that case, however, the interference vanishes. Simply by observing a particle's path – even if that observation should not disturb the particle's motion – we change the outcome.

The physicist Pascual Jordan, who worked with quantum guru Niels Bohr in Copenhagen in the 1920s, put it like this: "observations not only disturb what has to be measured, they produce it… We compel [a quantum particle] to assume a definite position." In other words, Jordan said, "we ourselves produce the results of measurements."
If that is so, objective reality seems to go out of the window.

And it gets even stranger.

If nature seems to be changing its behaviour depending on whether we "look" or not, we could try to trick it into showing its hand. To do so, we could measure which path a particle took through the double slits, but only after it has passed through them. By then, it ought to have "decided" whether to take one path or both.

An experiment for doing this was proposed in the 1970s by the American physicist John Wheeler, and this "delayed choice" experiment was performed in the following decade. It uses clever techniques to make measurements on the paths of quantum particles (generally, particles of light, called photons) after they should have chosen whether to take one path or a superposition of two.
It turns out that, just as Bohr confidently predicted, it makes no difference whether we delay the measurement or not. As long as we measure the photon's path before its arrival at a detector is finally registered, we lose all interference.

It is as if nature "knows" not just if we are looking, but if we are planning to look.
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Whenever, in these experiments, we discover the path of a quantum particle, its cloud of possible routes "collapses" into a single well-defined state. What's more, the delayed-choice experiment implies that the sheer act of noticing, rather than any physical disturbance caused by measuring, can cause the collapse. But does this mean that true collapse has only happened when the result of a measurement impinges on our consciousness?

That possibility was admitted in the 1930s by the Hungarian physicist Eugene Wigner. "It follows that the quantum description of objects is influenced by impressions entering my consciousness," he wrote. "Solipsism may be logically consistent with present quantum mechanics."

Wheeler even entertained the thought that the presence of living beings, which are capable of "noticing", has transformed what was previously a multitude of possible quantum pasts into one concrete history. In this sense, Wheeler said, we become participants in the evolution of the Universe since its very beginning. In his words, we live in a "participatory universe."
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To this day, physicists do not agree on the best way to interpret these quantum experiments, and to some extent what you make of them is (at the moment) up to you. But one way or another, it is hard to avoid the implication that consciousness and quantum mechanics are somehow linked.

Beginning in the 1980s, the British physicist Roger Penrose suggested that the link might work in the other direction. Whether or not consciousness can affect quantum mechanics, he said, perhaps quantum mechanics is involved in consciousness.

What if, Penrose asked, there are molecular structures in our brains that are able to alter their state in response to a single quantum event. Could not these structures then adopt a superposition state, just like the particles in the double slit experiment? And might those quantum superpositions then show up in the ways neurons are triggered to communicate via electrical signals?

Maybe, says Penrose, our ability to sustain seemingly incompatible mental states is no quirk of perception, but a real quantum effect.
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He first got this idea when he started thinking about mental illness.

"My entry into the biochemistry of the brain started when I decided three or four years ago to explore how on earth the lithium ion could have such a dramatic effect in treating mental conditions," Fisher says.

Lithium drugs are widely used for treating bipolar disorder. They work, but nobody really knows how.

"I wasn't looking for a quantum explanation," Fisher says. But then he came across a paper reporting that lithium drugs had different effects on the behaviour of rats, depending on what form – or "isotope" – of lithium was used.

On the face of it, that was extremely puzzling. In chemical terms, different isotopes behave almost identically, so if the lithium worked like a conventional drug the isotopes should all have had the same effect.
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But Fisher realised that the nuclei of the atoms of different lithium isotopes can have different spins. This quantum property might affect the way lithium drugs act. For example, if lithium substitutes for calcium in Posner molecules, the lithium spins might "feel" and influence those of phosphorus atoms, and so interfere with their entanglement.

If this is true, it would help to explain why lithium can treat bipolar disorder.
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At this point, Fisher's proposal is no more than an intriguing idea. But there are several ways in which its plausibility can be tested, starting with the idea that phosphorus spins in Posner molecules can keep their quantum coherence for long periods. That is what Fisher aims to do next.

All the same, he is wary of being associated with the earlier ideas about "quantum consciousness", which he sees as highly speculative at best.
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In 2016, Adrian Kent of the University of Cambridge in the UK, one of the most respected "quantum philosophers", speculated that consciousness might alter the behaviour of quantum systems in subtle but detectable ways.

Kent is very cautious about this idea. "There is no compelling reason of principle to believe that quantum theory is the right theory in which to try to formulate a theory of consciousness, or that the problems of quantum theory must have anything to do with the problem of consciousness," he admits.
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One particularly puzzling question is how our conscious minds can experience unique sensations, such as the colour red or the smell of frying bacon. With the exception of people with visual impairments, we all know what red is like, but we have no way to communicate the sensation and there is nothing in physics that tells us what it should be like.

Sensations like this are called "qualia". We perceive them as unified properties of the outside world, but in fact they are products of our consciousness – and that is hard to explain. Indeed, in 1995 philosopher David Chalmers dubbed it "the hard problem" of consciousness.

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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-19-2017, 11:22 PM
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I have no idea what the first part is about. How did they know the path changed when they aren't looking?
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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-19-2017, 11:26 PM
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Quantum physics is an interesting but confounding and troubling subject for me. I am mostly lost and perplexed. Things so small and things so large seem to behave differently than how we interpret them in our reality and our results seem to say we can't decipher them using our reality, at least that's my understanding. Thanks for posting.
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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-20-2017, 01:01 AM
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I didnt read it but anything that suggests the mind may be linked to the quantum world seems to support biocentrism. We only know so much about our science and what we know now may be considered primative compared to the far future.
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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-20-2017, 07:19 AM
 
 
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There's nothing strange about it. Things can only be described in relation to a particular observation point in time and space. Observations must always take the observer into account. There can of course be no observation without an observer, that empirical duality is inescapable, so we have to work it into the equations.

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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-20-2017, 08:06 AM
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This is all very interesting and an enjoyable read.

However the question I am sure we all want answered is, how can we factor in the influence of Donald Trump?

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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-20-2017, 08:22 AM
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so everything is an illusion, and some illusions are perceived in the same way by everyone. thats the only part i understood lol

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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-20-2017, 06:16 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Dissonance View Post
I have no idea what the first part is about. How did they know the path changed when they aren't looking?
Read the whole thing on the BBC link I didn't want to link all of it because I wasn't sure if it would be more then the post limit and couldn't be bothered.

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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-24-2017, 03:47 PM
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I have no idea what the first part is about. How did they know the path changed when they aren't looking?
http://www.youtube.com/v/DfPeprQ7oGc
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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-25-2017, 01:00 AM
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I think we still have yet to discover a lot about the cosmos, these new discoveries in quantum physics seem like make-believe but maybe one day we'll understand in full detail the workings of the universe and we can delve deeper into fundamental laws of physics.
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post #11 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-26-2017, 09:32 AM
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So if nobody's looking, the photon passes through both slits and displays an interference pattern with itself, as the light waves do constructive and destructive interference on each other, just like ocean waves. But if someone is looking, the photon goes through only one slit and it does not interfere with itself.

The experiment has been conducted a zillion times, and that's always what is observed. So we jump to the conclusion that it is consciousness which collapses the wave and makes the photon be a particle instead of a wave.

A wave does not happen at a time or a place. A wave propagates in all dimensions forever.

A particle happens at a particular time and place.

So the consciousness observes something that is all over the place all the time, but it observes it at an explicit time and at a particular place. Consciousness takes a still-snapshot of a thing that is continuous in time and space. And it is a subjective observation, which differs relative to different observers.

I do not believe that consciousness is collapsing some wave function, which is the Physics takeaway from this experiment.

I do believe, however, that the double slit experiment is evidence that time and space do not exist empirically. Objective reality exists outside of time and space. Time and space are artifacts of consciousness. Time and space are consciousnesses way of understanding causality. There is no objective time, no objective space. We live in a block universe where nothing ever happens. There is only causality, which we sense through the consciousness-created graph paper of space and time.

If anyone wants to read my theory of how consciousness works, please read my blog.

@causalset As a Physics PhD, what is your take on the double slit experiment and consciousness collapsing the wave function?

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post #12 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-26-2017, 09:41 AM
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Don't know why but this kind of stuff always gives me bad vibes.

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post #13 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-26-2017, 09:57 AM
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Don't know why but this kind of stuff always gives me bad vibes.
That's because reality lies under the vale of space and time. Our consciousness will not let us understand a timeless dimensionless universe. We can only interpret reality on the consciousness-created graph-paper of space and time.

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post #14 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-26-2017, 10:12 AM
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That's because reality lies under the vale of space and time. Our consciousness will not let us understand a timeless dimensionless universe. We can only interpret reality on the consciousness-created graph-paper of space and time.
I was thinking more along the lines of people shouldn't mess with things they don't understand. We've gotten ourselves into all kinds of trouble just screwing around with relatively simple stuff that we do (more or less) understand very well.

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post #15 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-04-2017, 09:36 PM
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post #16 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-04-2017, 09:45 PM
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So if nobody's looking, the photon passes through both slits and displays an interference pattern with itself, as the light waves do constructive and destructive interference on each other, just like ocean waves. But if someone is looking, the photon goes through only one slit and it does not interfere with itself.

The experiment has been conducted a zillion times, and that's always what is observed. So we jump to the conclusion that it is consciousness which collapses the wave and makes the photon be a particle instead of a wave.

A wave does not happen at a time or a place. A wave propagates in all dimensions forever.

A particle happens at a particular time and place.

So the consciousness observes something that is all over the place all the time, but it observes it at an explicit time and at a particular place. Consciousness takes a still-snapshot of a thing that is continuous in time and space. And it is a subjective observation, which differs relative to different observers.

I do not believe that consciousness is collapsing some wave function, which is the Physics takeaway from this experiment.

I do believe, however, that the double slit experiment is evidence that time and space do not exist empirically. Objective reality exists outside of time and space. Time and space are artifacts of consciousness. Time and space are consciousnesses way of understanding causality. There is no objective time, no objective space. We live in a block universe where nothing ever happens. There is only causality, which we sense through the consciousness-created graph paper of space and time.

If anyone wants to read my theory of how consciousness works, please read my blog.

@causalset As a Physics PhD, what is your take on the double slit experiment and consciousness collapsing the wave function?
Fascinating. I mean im sure we can come up with some good theories that go along with known science just with not much more than what we've observed from the double slit experiment and with a bit of thinking. It may not necessarily be magic but something simple that we have overlooked.
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post #17 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-05-2017, 09:46 AM
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@Errol So when the particle was observed to be going through one slit, and not interfering with itself in a snapshot of time, if it ceased to be observed, would it continue not interfering with itself, or would it interfere with itself, or would both results be possible?

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post #18 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-05-2017, 10:16 AM
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@Errol So when the particle was observed to be going through one slit, and not interfering with itself in a snapshot of time, if it ceased to be observed, would it continue not interfering with itself, or would it interfere with itself, or would both results be possible?
Although, not 100% the same, I'd recommend you look into the quantum eraser experiment. Suppose a tagging device is attached by which we can know the "which path" information of the photon. Now if, just before the photon hits the detector screen, we eliminate the possibility of our knowledge of the "which path" information by erasing the mark registered by the tagging device, both possibilities that is the photon passed through the left slit and photon passed through the right slit should come back into play. Both histories should come back once again and interference pattern should reemerge. However, in orthodox quantum mechanics, there is something known as the "projection postulate". It is the idea that once one of the possibilities becomes actual at one position, the probabilities for actualization at all other positions becomes instantly zero. New information has appeared. Once the quantum system (the photon or electron) interacts with a specific detector at the screen, all other possibilities vanish. Its easier to think of the superposition of photons, not as a physical property, but as an abstract probability and detached information.
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post #19 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-05-2017, 10:27 AM
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time and space do not exist empirically. Objective reality exists outside of time and space. Time and space are artifacts of consciousness. Time and space are consciousnesses way of understanding causality. There is no objective time, no objective space. We live in a block universe where nothing ever happens. There is only causality, which we sense through the consciousness-created graph paper of space and time.
Time and space are models of certain kinds of phenomenon. I would place causality in the same category. Believing that one thing 'causes' another thing is as much a mental abstraction as believing in an objective, empirical time and space. It's just a way of organizing certain kinds of experiences in consciousness.

The "strange link between the mind and quantum physics" is only a "strange link" because we have two models: "the mind" and "quantum physics" and these models come into conflict with one another. Because they're abstractions from experience, not real things. You can't stub your toe on a mind or trip over quantum physics; they're just ways we've collectively organized certain kinds of experiences.

In the same way, the "mind/body problem" is an artificial problem. There is, in fact, no problem at all. The problem arises from the way we're trying to force different kinds of experiences into different categories. When one observes one's own experience directly, there is no mind and there is no body; there are merely phenomenon which we try to sort into boxes. But since the phenomena themselves are abstractions (what is a "feeling"? It's an abstraction, a line drawn loosely around certain kinds of phenomena that arbitrarily separates it from everything it's connected to) we run into sorting conflicts and the frustration we experience at not being able to sort everything 'properly' creates this illusion that there is an unbridgeable division between mind and body.

But in reality there is no division; mind and body are just two abstractions we impose on experience. Reality is whole and undivided; all paradox is a result of trying to use imperfect models to understand perceived phenomena. It strikes me as painfully obvious that there is a connection between quantum physics and consciousness because in reality there is no division anywhere in the universe. The idea of "division" itself is an artifact of thinking.

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post #20 of 26 (permalink) Old 03-07-2017, 09:00 AM
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Time and space are models of certain kinds of phenomenon. I would place causality in the same category. Believing that one thing 'causes' another thing is as much a mental abstraction as believing in an objective, empirical time and space. It's just a way of organizing certain kinds of experiences in consciousness.
You make a good point. It's hard to talk about causality outside of time and space. A ball rolls through space because a hand imparted kinetic energy to it. How does that causality work when there is no space for the ball to roll in, and the hand and the ball exist together in a singularity, and there is no time over which a stationary ball is struck and becomes a ball in motion. There can be no motion without space and time. There can be no cause and effect. Everything just is. It's as though motion over time never occurred, and what we experience as motion results from consciousness adding time and space to make sense of signals coming into the 5 senses. So causality is something that we imagine. Each person might attribute a different cause to an action. So that makes causality seem like an attribute of consciousness too.

But, looking at it from the consciousness perspective, something caused me to reach out and push the ball. I believe that causality chain extends all the way back to my first quickening in the womb. And, barring a free-will soul, that cause could only have originated in the environment that I experience with my senses, and learn everything from. So causality has its roots in the environment. Spacetime has its roots in consciousness. Maybe that's why I say that causality exists, but space and time do not. Because I believe that consciousness has a physical cause, and that cause is the environment, as experienced by the 5 senses, which molds us into the minds that we are. We are DNA programmed environmental sampling machines.

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The "strange link between the mind and quantum physics" is only a "strange link" because we have two models: "the mind" and "quantum physics" and these models come into conflict with one another. Because they're abstractions from experience, not real things. You can't stub your toe on a mind or trip over quantum physics; they're just ways we've collectively organized certain kinds of experiences.

In the same way, the "mind/body problem" is an artificial problem. There is, in fact, no problem at all. The problem arises from the way we're trying to force different kinds of experiences into different categories. When one observes one's own experience directly, there is no mind and there is no body; there are merely phenomenon which we try to sort into boxes. But since the phenomena themselves are abstractions (what is a "feeling"? It's an abstraction, a line drawn loosely around certain kinds of phenomena that arbitrarily separates it from everything it's connected to) we run into sorting conflicts and the frustration we experience at not being able to sort everything 'properly' creates this illusion that there is an unbridgeable division between mind and body.

But in reality there is no division; mind and body are just two abstractions we impose on experience. Reality is whole and undivided; all paradox is a result of trying to use imperfect models to understand perceived phenomena. It strikes me as painfully obvious that there is a connection between quantum physics and consciousness because in reality there is no division anywhere in the universe. The idea of "division" itself is an artifact of thinking.
I agree. There is no division between the mind and the body. The mind is a physical mechanism. Sensors at different locations send electro-chemical signals to the spinal cord and the brain. The brain sends signals back to the sensors. The sensors work at different layers of fidelity and varying catchment areas. They send signals to the brain at different speeds. And signals flow constantly. And they are mixed together/integrated in the spinal cord and brain to yield an overall feeling, or quale, or quality. At that point, we lose track of specific times and places and so it seems like some spiritual world, but I believe that the overall feeling (love etc) is the product of the same body sensors that produces physical experience.

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