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10 popular myths about Quantum Physics

Posted Jan. 2, 2014 by NoetPoet in Open

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commented on Nov. 29, 2014
by storymedic

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In recent decades quantum physics has been put to widespread (ab)use by people who variously want to affirm the existence of supernatural abilities, life after death, and the ability to make reality directly conform to one’s whims. It has also been put to widespread abuse by slick operators to make a whole lot of money by peddling such shonky ideas.

I’ve noticed that pseudoscientific ideas about quantum physics (known as “quantum woo”) appear quite often in the IONS discussion forum. I have therefore resolved to risk biting off more than I can chew by dispelling these misunderstandings about quantum physics. In this thread I will dispel 10 of the most popular and pernicious myths about quantum physics, attempting in so far as possible to use layperson-friendly language and explanations. These 10 myths are as follows:

Myth 1: The principles of quantum physics apply at the everyday “macro” level of reality

Myth 2: Quantum entanglement is the key to telepathy, instantaneous communication and instant teleportation to anywhere in the cosmos

Myth 3: Quantum physics explains synchronicity

Myth 4: Quantum physics proves that the mind directly creates and shapes reality

Myth 5: The cat is both dead and alive until someone opens the box

Myth 6: Quantum physics supports the “Law of Attraction”

Myth 7: Quantum physics allows for the existence of ghosts and other non-corporeal entities

Myth 8: Quantum physics confirms the mystical teachings of ancient Eastern religions

Myth 9: Light is both a wave and a particle at the same time

Myth 10: There is such a thing as “quantum healing”

More on Myth 1 coming soon…

  • 215 Comments  
  • Anonymous Icon

    storymedic Nov 29, 2014

    NoetPoet, I work as a writer and was hoping to ask you a few questions about quantum physics. The last thing I want to do is produce a book that promotes more misinformation and quantum woo.

    I won't pretend to understand the theory, so if my questions seem trivial to you (or just plain wrong), I apologize in advance. Also, I understand you're likely busy with research of your own, so don't feel obligated to spend your precious time on my silly questions.

    Does wave-particle duality only apply to photons, or does every object exist in two states simultaneously?
    How exactly does an object "decide" whether it appears to us as a wave or a particle?
    If a quantum observer need not be alive or even conscious, is every particle acting like an observer?
    Is the reason quantum phenomena isn't observed on the macro scale because there are so many observers in our macro objects -- kinda cancelling each other out?
    Does observing an object always result in it being seen as a particle, or can you observe a particle and turn it into a wave?
    Hypothetically, if it were possible to observe every particle that makes up a water molecule, would that molecule appear solid (and vice versa turn a solid into a wave)?
    If every particle is observed at the same time throughout the universe, is this to say that nothing unexpected can occur; in which case, we have no free will?
    If there were two atomically identical tennis balls sitting on a table, one being observed and one not, what would their differences be?

    Again, apologies. I'm sure these questions seem pretty laughable to a man of your education, but I don't want to rely on my own understanding of the theory, which is an abysmal understanding. I have read all of the myths you proposed, but I'm still not fully grasping it. I only joined this site to talk to you.

  • NoetPoet Oct 09, 2014

    “->Awareness survives death ->
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/11144442/First-hint-of-life-after-death-in-biggest-ever-scientific-study.html#comment-1623034477 “

    >YAWN< They have made the same error that afterlife advocates always seem to make when discussing NDEs: they assume that clinical death equals brain death, when it actually doesn’t. Clinical death only concerns cardiovascular and respiratory activity, it doesn’t include brain death. If those NDE subjects had actually experienced brain death during their clinical death, then I guarantee you that none of them would have lived to tell the tale. Secondly they do not appear to have established that there wasn’t sufficient brain activity to create hallucinations; they merely describe the patients as “unconscious”, which strongly suggests they weren’t actually monitoring brain activity at all. Thirdly, they have not demonstrated that the OBE “memories” were not in fact created shortly before and/or after they were clinically dead. Lastly, the sorts of experiences they describe (seeing bright lights, feeling a sense of peace etc.) have been brought about in the brains of subjects by physical means under laboratory conditions.

    “->On the issue of 'rebirth consciousness' NoetPoet is just demonstrating his determination to remain ignorant, thus indicating the truth of the first link of dependent origination - ignorance.”

    My understanding of the Buddhist doctrine of rebirth is consistent with the Suttas, so if I am “ignorant” then they too must be ignorant.

    “->I would have though the Dalai Lama could be taken as a reliable source of Buddhist doctrine.”

    You would. The Dalai Lama has his own interpretation of Buddhist teaching, informed by his own (heavily Hindu-influenced) sect. The scriptures – particularly the Pali scriptures – are the final authority on what Buddhism does and doesn’t teach.

    “->This discussion is becoming tedious.”

    Translation: you’re losing and you know it.

  • NoetPoet Oct 09, 2014

    “->NoetPoet is a dogmatic materialist using fallacious argumentation, misdirection and misrepresentation in order to assert his pre-quantum perspective.”

    I’m not a “dogmatic materialist” and I am not doing any of those things, but you are clearly projecting!

    “The chance of me persuading him, obviously, is zero.”

    No argument there!

    “->Silly faulty reasoning which indicates one of NoetPoet's techniques of misdirection. Here he suggests that because one word is used - in this case 'there' - another word cannot be used. “

    “There” does not equal “existent”, it’s really that simple. You can’t just go substituting completely different words with completely different meanings when it suits your argument; doing so completely undermines the possibility of any rational intelligible discourse. If such behaviour isn’t “fallacious argumentation, misdirection and misrepresentation”, then I don’t know what is!

    “->To say a 'particle' is not in a particular place means that it does not 'exist' at that place. I would have thought that was obvious.”

    A shallow thinker like you would think that. It exists in wave form as a superposition; collapsing into a particle (aka a localised wave-function) does NOT mean that it suddenly goes from not existing (i.e. at all) to suddenly existing!

    “->I can alter the picture on my TV by taking a magnet to it, or knock it out with a hammer, this does not mean that the TV produces the picture without a signal coming into it.”

    What a crude and asinine analogy. Tell me, can you tweak your TV so that the characters say different things? Can you tweak your TV in such a way as to alter the plot of the program you’re watching? Can you tweak your TV so that characters on the screen suddenly morph into different animals? These are the sorts of things that you would need to be able to do in order to make your silly TV signal analogy plausible, because analogous manipulations to consciousness can be induced by tweaking the brain.

    “->The results you allude to could indicate that the brain is a conduit for a deeper level of consciousness.”

    Oh look, another feeble Consciousness of the Gaps argument, just for something new and different…

    “-> Again we find an extraordinary lack on philosophical acuity on NoetPoet's part.”

    Well considering this accusation comes from someone who clearly lacks both philosophical AND scientific acuity, I’m really not all that bothered by it.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Clearmind Oct 07, 2014

    Awareness survives death ->

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/11144442/First-hint-of-life-after-death-in-biggest-ever-scientific-study.html#comment-1623034477

  • Anonymous Icon

    Clearmind Oct 07, 2014

    ->On the issue of 'rebirth consciousness' NoetPoet is just demonstrating his determination to remain ignorant, thus indicating the truth of the first link of dependent origination - ignorance.

    I would have though the Dalai Lama could be taken as a reliable source of Buddhist doctrine. He writes:

    Those particles of matter, of combined semen and blood, into which the consciousness initially entered in the mother’s womb at the beginning of the life, become the centre of the heart; and from that very same point the consciousness ultimately departs at death. Immediately thereupon, the intermediate state begins – except for those reborn in the formless realms of infinite space, infinite consciousness, ‘nothingness’ or peak of cyclic existence, for whom the new life begins immediately upon death. Those born within the realms of desire and form must pass through an intermediate state, during which a being has the form of the person as whom he or she is to be reborn. The intermediate being has all five senses, but also clairvoyance, unobstructiveness and an ability to arrive immedi-ately wherever he or she wants. He or she sees other intermediate beings of his or her own type - hell-being, hungry ghost, animal, human, demigod or god - and can be seen by clairvoyants. If a place of birth appropriate to one's predispositions is not found, a small death occurs after seven days, and one is reborn into another intermediate state.

    See below for continuation....

  • Anonymous Icon

    Clearmind Oct 07, 2014

    This can occur at most six times, with the result that the longest period spent in the intermediate state is forty-nine days. This means that those beings who, even a year after dying, report that they have not found a birthplace are not in the intermediate state but have taken birth as a spirit. In taking rebirth as a human, one sees one's future mother and father as if lying-together. If one is to be reborn as a male, this sight generates desire for the mother as well as hatred for the father – and vice versa if one is to be reborn as a female. Being desirous, one rushes there to engage in copulation; but upon arrival, one sees only the sexual organ of the desired partner. This creates anger which causes cessation of the intermediate state and makes the connection to the new life. One has entered the mother's womb and begun a human life. When the father's semen and mother's blood are conjoined with this life or consciousness, they naturally and gradually develop into the elements of a human.i

  • Anonymous Icon

    Clearmind Oct 07, 2014

    This discussion is becoming tedious. As I see it NoetPoet is a dogmatic materialist using fallacious argumentation, misdirection and misrepresentation in order to assert his pre-quantum perspective. The chance of me persuading him, obviously, is zero. Therefore the only reason for taking part is so that others who view this debate can evaluate the evidence and arguments for themselves. I have presented my views as best I can and therefore this will be my last set of posts, I have better things to do. I will make three final points and then leave it at that.

    "The Buddhist formulation that you proposed was “neither EXISTENT nor NON-EXISTENT, nor both nor neither”. “Existent”=/= ”here” and “Non-existent” =/= “there”"

    ->Silly faulty reasoning which indicates one of NoetPoet's techniques of misdirection. Here he suggests that because one word is used - in this case 'there' - another word cannot be used. Literalism gone mad. To say a 'particle' is not in a particular place means that it does not 'exist' at that place. I would have thought that was obvious.

    "The fact that we can alter virtually every aspect of a person’s consciousness by tweaking particular parts of the brain (i.e. via PHYSICAL means) makes it overwhelmingly evident that consciousness is generated by the brain, as does the fact that consciousness can be taken away with anaesthesia or a blow to the head."

    ->I can alter the picture on my TV by taking a magnet to it, or knock it out with a hammer, this does not mean that the TV produces the picture without a signal coming into it. The results you allude to could indicate that the brain is a conduit for a deeper level of consciousness. Altering its structure would obviously change its mode of function, but this does not mean it produces consciousness. Again we find an extraordinary lack on philosophical acuity on NoetPoet's part.

  • NoetPoet Oct 07, 2014

    “->Actually YES. Physicist Giancarlo Ghirardi writes that:
    Therefore, “to be in a superposition |O> + |E>” is logically incompatible with any of the following “to be on path O or E,” “to be on both O and E,” and “to be elsewhere than O and E.
    This is exactly the same logical configuration.”

    I see you took my “no” out of context, since putting it in context would show how wanting your counter-argument really is. The Buddhist formulation that you proposed was “neither EXISTENT nor NON-EXISTENT, nor both nor neither”. “Existent”=/= ”here” and “Non-existent” =/= “there”. I said that the ‘particle’ still EXISTS, just in a wavelike form. I reiterate that no form of Buddhism even came close to alighting upon the sorts of subatomic phenomena (electrons, photons etc) that physicists have discovered and that quantum physics deals with. The emptiness of Buddhism is concerned – indeed, could ONLY be concerned – with the nature of macro-level phenomena; it describes how there is no eternal “essence” of an object (e.g. a person or a chair) but merely dynamic processes which occur within a context of dynamic and interdependent flux. Moreover, the measurement of particles is in fact happening continuously *whether humans are there or not* due to decoherence within the macro environment, so even if we were only talking about the “logical configuration”, it would still be a highly inaccurate description of how reality actually works.

    “->Don't be ridiculous - the squiggle goes beyond the brain as a way of indicating the it is the mind that is responsible. This is just a way of indicating his reasoning. - I never said it was a drawing of an actual mind!”

    I’m not being ridiculous. The only thing that diagram (and the accompanying blurb) indicates is that he thinks the process may keep going beyond the brain. This doesn’t equate to saying that it ultimately ends in some nebulous immaterial “mind”; indeed, the trailing of off the squiggle is strongly suggestive of the notion that the “mind” itself is in fact nothing more than a chain of physical processes with no definitive beginning point or “ground” as you put it. To repeat my earlier question: when was the last time you *consciously experienced* activity in your neurons?

    “->See previous comment about Penrose and primordial consciousness.”

    And see my response to this copout below.

  • NoetPoet Oct 07, 2014

    “It corresponds to the quantum realm of potentiality with an internal primordial consciousness.”

    It “corresponds” if you cock your head to one side and squint hard enough. There is ZERO evidence in quantum physics for any “internal primordial consciousness”.

    "And how does this “ground” square with the Buddhist notion of non-self?"

    “->Yogachara psycho-metaphysics indicates that the ground consciousness is neither existent nor non-existent (like the quantum realm) and therefore lacks a 'self'. “

    Pathetic wordplay cop-out is a pathetic wordplay cop-out. You refer to it as a “ground”, as some “primal” aspect of reality which underlies the rest of reality. The quantum realm most definitely does “exist”, just not in a manner which is readily intuitive to the human mind. If something does not “exist” then by definition it cannot influence anything. Your “ground consciousness” is a self in everything but name, which is not surprising considering that the idea was smuggled into Buddhism (which originally had nothing to say about such a “ground consciousness”) from nearby Hindu traditions.

    “-> Quantum theory actually, although Buddhists knew this stuff long ago through direct meditative insight.”

    No it’s not in quantum theory at all; you are assuming your conclusion here.

    “-> Yes the salient feature of karma for Buddhist practice is the moral dimension. However Buddhist metaphysics asserts that the material world is also a karmic production. Are you claiming that the Dalai Lama is ignorant of Buddhist metaphysics?”

    And this *assertion* is not supported by the experimental evidence from quantum physics. There is not a shred of evidence from quantum physics that one’s moral choices or states of mind have any effect (let alone a consistent pattern of merit-based effect) on quantum phenomena. I’m saying that the Dalai Lama might be in a position to speak for (a certain school of) Buddhist metaphysics, but that is beside the point because Buddhist *meta*physics =/= quantum physics.

  • NoetPoet Oct 07, 2014

    “->It means existent in the sense that classical physics conceived of material existence - internally solid extended "stuff" - i.e. not quantum "dream-stuff."

    This is nothing more than an assertion on your part, and a flimsy assertion at that. Once again, no school of Buddhism came even close to anticipating a “quantum realm” which was distinct in its functioning, components and existence from a “classical” realm. Moreover, you are taking Zurek’s reference to “dream-stuff” literally when it’s quite clear that he meant it poetically.

    “->The primordial nature of consciousness is implied by the Penrose/Hameroff perspective. This is from a recent paper:
    Here we review Orch OR in light of criticisms and developments in quantum biology, neuroscience, physics and cosmology. We also introduce a novel suggestion of ‘beat frequencies’ of faster microtubule vibrations as a possible source of the observed electro-encephalographic (‘EEG’) correlates of consciousness. We conclude that consciousness plays an intrinsic role in the universe.”

    Which paper does the above quote come from?

    “The origin of consciousness reflects our place in the universe, the nature of our existence. Did consciousness evolve from complex computations among brain neurons, as most scientists assert? Or has consciousness, in some sense, been here all along, as spiritual approaches maintain?” ask Hameroff and Penrose in the current review. “This opens a potential Pandora’s Box, but our theory accommodates both these views, suggesting consciousness derives from quantum vibrations in microtubules, protein polymers inside brain neurons, which both govern neuronal and synaptic function, and connect brain processes to self-organizing processes in the fine scale, 'proto-conscious' quantum structure of reality.”
    (http://3blmedia.com/News/Health/Discovery-Quantum-Vibrations-Microtubules-Inside-Brain-Neurons-Corroborates)
    In other words both P&H are suggesting that ground level of consciousness is 'proto-' or 'primordial'.”

    Even if their contention were true, they are suggesting no such thing. What they are suggesting is that consciousness *emerges* in part from quantum phenomena (and they haven’t conclusively demonstrated this by any means). Again you have completely glossed over the inconvenient detail that the very existence of these quantum fluctuations in the brain directly contradicts the idea that consciousness collapses wave functions and is therefore in any way “primordial”.

  • NoetPoet Oct 07, 2014

    “->This would mean that there actually is no real material stuff of the sort you require - its all just quantum interaction producing the illusion of a classical material worlds”

    I said that material stuff is an emergent property of the quantum world; this is NOT the same as saying that there is no “real” material stuff. Quantum phenomena measuring one and other gives rise to the “material”/classical world, as I have already explained.

    “->Zeh talks about 'decoupling' and the "increase of information" resulting from interactions within the quantum wavefunction. This is just a subtle reformulation of a collapse notion which Zeh calls "collapse without collapse." I never said that individual's fired beams of intentionality at wavefunctions - its intersubjective thus producing "collapse without no collapse."”

    None of which requires “consciousness”. You may not have said that individuals fired “beams of intentionality” at wave functions, but you have effectively said that the fire ‘beams of consciousness’ at them (while utterly failing to provide an actual definition of “consciousness”, btw).

    “->None of this supports your perspective. If quantum dream-stuff interacting with other quantum dream stuff give rise to "local" consciousness then that quantum dream-stuff must be non-local, i.e. primordial consciousness.”

    No, none of it supports *your* perspective. Again you display your obtuseness by taking the term “quantum dream-stuff” literally, even though it comes from a physicist whom you yourself admit opposes the idea that consciousness collapses wave-functions. It does not at all follow that quantum “dream-stuff” must be “primordial consciousness”, unless you stretch the definition of “consciousness” so thin that it ceases to be a meaningful concept anyway! Moreover, as I have stated, the idea of any sort of consciousness being the “ground” of reality necessarily contradicts the idea that consciousness is involved in collapsing wave functions, otherwise all wave functions would be collapsed all the time and we would never have been able to developed the concept of “collapsing the wave function” in the first place.

  • NoetPoet Oct 07, 2014

    “->Ridiculous - Their book is subtitled "physics encounters consciousness." Anyone who is interested can go to their website and see that I do not misrepresent their views.”

    LOL! I believe this might by a whole new type of fallacy – Argument by Selective Interpretation of a Book Subtitle! “Encounter”=/= “discover”, “prove”, or any other term which your position would need in order to be valid.

    “->R&K state that:
    Consciousness and the quantum enigma are not just two mysteries; they are the two mysteries; first, our physical demonstration of the quantum enigma, faces us with the fundamental mystery of the objective world ‘out there;’ the second, conscious awareness, faces us with the fundamental mystery of the subjective, mental world ‘in here.’ Quantum mechanics seems to connect the two.”

    All this definitively says is that both quantum physics and consciousness are remarkable and not completely understood. I don’t know of any scientist or skeptic who would suggest otherwise. But the fact that two different things happen to be mysterious (for very different reasons) does not mean that they are therefore connected in some key causal way. The authors say that quantum mechanics “seems* to connect the two, but I see no mention here of what they think “consciousness” actually is, let alone any compelling argument that it somehow relates to quantum phenomena. Simply put, they are speculating.

  • NoetPoet Oct 07, 2014

    “->R&K do not support the claims of someone like Goswami - they hedge their bets and avoid any 'mystical' implications - i.e. they say that consciousness is clearly involved but just how is a mystery. If its a mystery then it is difficult to see how they can possibly rule out Goswami or anyone else, they do not know - they do not provides any arguments.”

    Well at least they have some sense then. Not definitively ruling Goswami out is not the same as supporting him, just as not “ruling out” magical pixie fairies is not the same as supporting the idea that magical pixie fairies are involved. You are really scraping the bottom of the barrell if the best you can do is cite respectable physicists who ‘don’t rule out’ and “do not provide any arguments”.

    “->Whilst it is true that Zurek does set out to show that, as one party puts it: "the universe itself is capable of generating and storing new information without a "conscious observer". The universe can observe itself," His account does not ultimately rule out primordial consciousness - even if he may think it does. Zurek is philosophically incoherent - if the ultimate evidence implicates consciousness then consciousness is implicated, end of story.”

    As per above, not ruling out “primordial” consciousness (whatever *that’s* supposed to be) is not the same as being a proponent of it, and Zurek’s own words make this abundantly clear. You have not established that Zurek is “philosophically incoherent”, nor have you established that the scientific evidence “implicates” consciousness in the way you suggest. Indeed, you have not even provided a functional definition of consciousness!

  • NoetPoet Oct 07, 2014

    “->Duuurrrrr - The chapter is called "Choosing our universe!"

    “Durrrrrrr”, eh? Is that indicative of the quality of writing in your illustrious tomes? Yet again you have taken the phrasing of physicists too literally, and completely missed the possibility that they use such sensationalist language so as to grab the reader’s attention and sell more books (I have discussed this in more detail below).

    “->Indeed - and the act of measurement requires consciousness.”

    It requires interaction, not consciousness. I have already referred to 94% of physicists who agree that consciousness is not necessary for a measurement.

    “->Dogmatic assertion. If people come to this discussion they can look at what I have said previously they can make up their own minds.”

    Are you referring to the handful of un-evidenced quotes which either come from known woo-peddlers or don’t actually support your position at all? Look up an actual physics book or an actual physics paper sometime and it will become very clear that “observation” does *not* require consciousness.

  • NoetPoet Oct 07, 2014

    “-> In other words "materiality" is an illusion produced by the interaction of consciousness with quantum dream stuff.”

    Materiality is an illusion *if you are looking at the quantum level*. However, the illusory nature of it at the quantum level does not make it unreal, nor does it make it “illusory” at the macro level. Once again, you are being overly literal in your interpretation of the term “dream stuff”.

    “->The notion that observation does not require consciousness is absurd.”

    Argument From Incredulity and Equivocation. Try again.

    “->Yes there are many people, physicists philosophers etc. who wish to avoid the conclusion that consciousness is not required. However their arguments are unconvincing. Most interpretations do require consciousness. If you look at ->
    http://www.preposterousuniverse.com/blog/2013/01/17/the-most-embarrassing-graph-in-modern-physics/ ”

    Most interpretations do NOT require any active role for consciousness in quantum phenomena. The Copenhagen interpretation does *not* require consciousness, it is only a limited subset of physicists within that interpretation who make that assertion (and it is an assertion). The Everett interpretation doesn’t require the presence of consciousness; in fact the whole point of it is that there is no need for a wave function collapse. Carroll’s claim – if indeed it is his claim – about the Everett interpretation is no more ridiculous than the narcissistic idea that “consciousness” collapses wave functions and underlies reality, and the involvement of consciousness does not make this aspect of the Everett interpretation any less far-fetched anyway. Information does not require consciousness in order to be information; it merely requires a particular arrangement or sequence of phenomena. Saying that Quanutm Bayesianism “requires consciousness to perform evaluations” says nothing about whether consciousness is an integral (causal) element of quantum phenomena.

  • NoetPoet Oct 07, 2014

    “->None are unsubstantiated or taken out of context, if anyone can be bothered to check they will discover this for themselves.”

    They clearly are, as I have demonstrated many times now.

    “->The mechanism is called 'postcorrection' - I do not really like the term - by the Russian physicist M. Mensky. An individual consciousness is able to sense the probabilities within the quantum realm and alter the probabilities in a positive or negative direction.”

    Where is the experimental evidence for this “postcorrection”? How can individual consciousness sense probabilities within a quantum realm? And how is this consistent with what you said about individuals not firing “beams of intentionality” at wave functions?

  • NoetPoet Oct 07, 2014

    “->As I have said the term quote-mining is often used by apologists for the materialist world-view when someone presents the evidence of experts in the field which undermines the materialist position. It is a fraudulent and underhand method of argument. If anyone takes the time to examine the people that you say I have "quote-mined" it will be clear that I have not misrepresented them.”

    I encourage them to do so, because they will see that you have been quote mining and putting words in physicists’ mouths.

    “-> Both your examples supports my assertions concerning rebirth consciousness. What I said is that rebirth consciousness is a TEMPORARY and IMPERMANENT structure of consciousness.”

    What you said is that consciousness transmigrates from one body to another. This is not what Buddhism teaches, as the links I provided pointed out. One moment of consciousness *conditions* the arising of another moment of consciousness, but this is not the same as saying that consciousness travels from body to body.

    “The following quote comes from the above link that you say refutes me:”

    I cited that article because it provided information about the Buddhist doctrine of rebirth; it’s arguments for the empirical reality of rebirth are beside the point here.

  • NoetPoet Oct 07, 2014

    “->I did said that rebirth consciousness was TEMPORARY not permanent. You are misrepresenting my claims - anyone can see this.”

    Buddhism teaches that the last thought moment of one life conditions the arising of the first thought moment of the next life, there is no requirement for a “rebirth consciousness” which moves from one body to another. In fact the Buddha is quite emphatic that it is a wrong view to think that consciousness moves from one body to another, see: http://suttacentral.net/en/mn38

    “->There is absolutely no evidence that mind is generated by the brain.”

    Utter bollocks, there is overwhelming evidence that the mind is generated by the brain. Go here for starters:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neural_correlates_of_consciousness

    The fact that we can alter virtually every aspect of a person’s consciousness by tweaking particular parts of the brain (i.e. via PHYSICAL means) makes it overwhelmingly evident that consciousness is generated by the brain, as does the fact that consciousness can be taken away with anaesthesia or a blow to the head. Given our current state of neurological knowledge, it makes about as much sense to say that consciousness is not generated by the brain as it does to say that “soil” is something which exists apart from the microbes, organic materials and minerals within it.

  • NoetPoet Oct 07, 2014

    “->The basic reason that materialist accounts of NDEs are ridiculous is that there are no physical mechanism through which a dead brain could construct a detailed view of what was happening from the point of view of the ceiling, let alone float away and describe events going on elsewhere. Interested parties can go to”

    Since when is the brain dead in such experiences? Clinical death makes no reference to brain activity, it only relates to respiration and blood circulation. The time period during which NDErs are *clinically* dead is short enough for the brain to survive; if the brain really were dead then reviving them would be impossible.

    “->I have presented the opinions of several significant physicists, based on their understanding of quantum physics”

    Yes, opinions, which either come with no corroborating evidence and/or say something which doesn’t actually support your contentions.

  • NoetPoet Oct 07, 2014

    “->Stapp says:
    …the re-bonding [between mind and matter] achieved by physicists during the first half of the twentieth century must be seen as a momentous development: a lifting of the veil. Ignoring this huge and enormously pertinent development in basic science, and proclaiming the validity of materialism on the basis of an inapplicable-in-this-context nineteenth century science is an irrational act.”

    Stapp is a woo-peddler making unfounded assertions. He is also erecting a straw man about science and its relationship to materialism. Science does not adopt any philosophical standpoint re: materialism.

    “->They are not mechanisms which could possibly account for the phenomena of NDEs - see first point above.”

    Don’t just assert it, EXPLAIN why they can’t.

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Oct 06, 2014

    Re: “This opens a potential Pandora’s Box, but our theory accommodates both these views, suggesting consciousness derives from quantum vibrations in microtubules, protein polymers inside brain neurons, which both govern neuronal and synaptic function, and connect brain processes to self-organizing processes in the fine scale, 'proto-conscious' quantum structure of reality.”

    It "supports the theory but doesn't prove it. This source of the quote adds:

    "Penrose, Hameroff and Bandyopadhyay will explore their theories during a session on "Microtubules and the Big Consciousness Debate" at the Brainstorm Sessions, a public three-day event at the Brakke Grond in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, January 16-18, 2014. They will engage skeptics in a debate on the nature of consciousness, and Bandyopadhyay and his team will couple microtubule vibrations from active neurons to play Indian musical instruments. "Consciousness depends on anharmonic vibrations of microtubules inside neurons, similar to certain kinds of Indian music, but unlike Western music which is harmonic," Hameroff explains.

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Oct 06, 2014

    RE: ->There is absolutely no evidence that mind is generated by the brain. It is a dogmatic assumption based on the premise that materialism is true. The basic reason that materialist accounts of NDEs are ridiculous is that there are no physical mechanism through which a dead brain could construct a detailed view of what was happening from the point of view of the ceiling, let alone float away and describe events going on elsewhere. Interested parties can go to

    Question: which component contributes to consciousness the cerebrum or the cerebellum?

    There is a volume of evidence that mind is generated by the brain, and by specific regions of the brain, not just in humans but in other animals as well, IF ONE CHOICES TO READ IT, or listen to it.

    "Brain imaging pioneer Nancy Kanwisher, who uses fMRI scans to see activity in brain regions (often her own), shares what she and her colleagues have learned: The brain is made up of both highly specialized components and general-purpose "machinery." Another surprise: There's so much left to learn."

    http://www.ted.com/talks/nancy_kanwisher_the_brain_is_a_swiss_army_knife

  • Anonymous Icon

    Clearmind Oct 05, 2014

    i.e. The quantum state of superposition is Neither |here> or |there>, nor both |here> and |there>, nor neither |here> nor |there> - NO”

    ->Actually YES. Physicist Giancarlo Ghirardi writes that:

    Therefore, “to be in a superposition |O> + |E>” is logically incompatible with any of the following “to be on path O or E,” “to be on both O and E,” and “to be elsewhere than O and E.

    This is exactly the same logical configuration.

    "That’s his drawing of the “mind”?? For starters it looks exactly the same as his depiction of the “brain”, except that his just written the word “mind” instead of “brain”. Futhermore the squiggle continues beyond the “mind”, which is fully consistent with what I have said about the mind actually being the product of a chain of physical causes."

    ->Don't be ridiculous - the squiggle goes beyond the brain as a way of indicating the it is the mind that is responsible. This is just a way of indicating his reasoning. - I never said it was a drawing of an actual mind!

    "Yes, Penrose says that quantum phenomena give rise to consciousness, which is in direct contradiction to your claim"

    ->See previous comment about Penrose and primordial consciousness.

    "What do you mean it indicates the “non-classical” existence of such a “ground”?"

    It corresponds to the quantum realm of potentiality with an internal primordial consciousness.

    "And how does this “ground” square with the Buddhist notion of non-self?"

    ->Yogachara psycho-metaphysics indicates that the ground consciousness is neither existent nor non-existent (like the quantum realm) and therefore lacks a 'self'.

    “According to the Dali Lama: From a Buddhist point a view, the karma of all sentient beings that inhabit the universe plays a role in shaping the formation of the universe.” >YAWN< Where’s the evidence??

    -> Quantum theory actually, although Buddhists knew this stuff long ago through direct meditative insight.

    “Karma has an important moral dimension but it is not a purely moral mechanism. These very fabric of the universe is, according to Buddhist metaphysics, a karmic production. I suggest you avoid resorting to the ridiculous accusation of quote-mining - there is nothing taken out of context here.

    "The salient feature of karma is that it has this “moral dimension”"

    -> Yes the salient feature of karma for Buddhist practice is the moral dimension. However Buddhist metaphysics asserts that the material world is also a karmic production. Are you claiming that the Dalai Lama is ignorant of Buddhist metaphysics? Let me point out again the Dalai Lama indicates that:

    From a Buddhist point a view, the karma of all sentient beings that inhabit the universe plays a role in shaping the formation of the universe.”

    "And what does “classically existent” mean??"

    ->It means existent in the sense that classical physics conceived of material existence - internally solid extended "stuff" - i.e. not quantum "dream-stuff."

  • Anonymous Icon

    Clearmind Oct 05, 2014

    The primordial nature of consciousness is implied by the Penrose/Hameroff perspective. This is from a recent paper:

    Here we review Orch OR in light of criticisms and developments in quantum biology, neuroscience, physics and cosmology. We also introduce a novel suggestion of ‘beat frequencies’ of faster microtubule vibrations as a possible source of the observed electro-encephalographic (‘EEG’) correlates of consciousness. We conclude that consciousness plays an intrinsic role in the universe.

    And:

    “The origin of consciousness reflects our place in the universe, the nature of our existence. Did consciousness evolve from complex computations among brain neurons, as most scientists assert? Or has consciousness, in some sense, been here all along, as spiritual approaches maintain?” ask Hameroff and Penrose in the current review. “This opens a potential Pandora’s Box, but our theory accommodates both these views, suggesting consciousness derives from quantum vibrations in microtubules, protein polymers inside brain neurons, which both govern neuronal and synaptic function, and connect brain processes to self-organizing processes in the fine scale, 'proto-conscious' quantum structure of reality.”

    (http://3blmedia.com/News/Health/Discovery-Quantum-Vibrations-Microtubules-Inside-Brain-Neurons-Corroborates)

    In other words both P&H are suggesting that ground level of consciousness is 'proto-' or 'primordial'.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Clearmind Oct 05, 2014

    According to decoherence theorist H. D. Zeh:

    Quantum theory does not require the existence of discontinuities: neither in time (quantum jumps), nor in space (particles), nor in spacetime (quantum events). These apparent discontinuities are readily described objectively by the continuous process of decoherence occurring locally on a very short time scale according to the Schrödinger equation for interacting systems, while the observer’s ‘increase of information’ is appropriately represented by the resulting dynamical decoupling of the corresponding components of the global wave function.

    This would mean that there actually is no real material stuff of the sort you require - its all just quantum interaction producing the illusion of a classical material worlds. Zeh talks about 'decoupling' and the "increase of information" resulting from interactions within the quantum wavefunction. This is just a subtle reformulation of a collapse notion which Zeh calls "collapse without collapse." I never said that individual's fired beams of intentionality at wavefunctions - its intersubjective thus producing "collapse without no collapse." Zeh says:

    If we intend to associate consciousness with states of local observers, we can do this only separately to their thus dynamically defined component states. The observed quantum indeterminism must then be attributed to the indeterministic history of these quasi-classical world branches with their internal observers. No indeterminism is required for the global quantum state. This identification of observers with states existing only in certain branching components of the global wave function is the only novel element that has to be added to the quantum formalism for a solution of the measurement problem. ... Decoherence may thus be regarded as a "collapse without a collapse". - http://www.decoherence.de/

    None of this supports your perspective. If quantum dream-stuff interacting with other quantum dream stuff give rise to "local" consciousness then that quantum dream-stuff must be non-local, i.e. primordial consciousness.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Clearmind Oct 05, 2014

    "In this case you are not so much quote mining as putting words in the author’s mouths, which is your other favourite trick. Of course it is not clear to you what they mean by this, precisely because you are espousing the very sort of pseudoscience they are trying to avoid!"

    ->Ridiculous - Their book is subtitled "physics encounters consciousness." Anyone who is interested can go to their website and see that I do not misrepresent their views. R&K state that:

    Consciousness and the quantum enigma are not just two mysteries; they are the two mysteries; first, our physical demonstration of the quantum enigma, faces us with the fundamental mystery of the objective world ‘out there;’ the second, conscious awareness, faces us with the fundamental mystery of the subjective, mental world ‘in here.’ Quantum mechanics seems to connect the two.

    R&K do not support the claims of someone like Goswami - they hedge their bets and avoid any 'mystical' implications - i.e. they say that consciousness is clearly involved but just how is a mystery. If its a mystery then it is difficult to see how they can possibly rule out Goswami or anyone else, they do not know - they do not provides any arguments.

    "And Zurek also makes it quite clear that observation=/=consciousness."

    Whilst it is true that Zurek does set out to show that, as one party puts it: "the universe itself is capable of generating and storing new information without a "conscious observer". The universe can observe itself," His account does not ultimately rule out primordial consciousness - even if he may think it does. Zurek is philosophically incoherent - if the ultimate evidence implicates consciousness then consciousness is implicated, end of story.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Clearmind Oct 05, 2014

    And what part of that says anything about “choosing” a history??

    ->Duuurrrrr - The chapter is called "Choosing our universe!"

    "the act of measuring a quantum system rules out all the other possible paths"

    ->Indeed - and the act of measurement requires consciousness.

    “Observation requires consciousness.” - No it doesn’t, it merely requires interaction. This is the central flaw of your whole case.

    ->Dogmatic assertion. If people come to this discussion they can look at what I have said previously they can make up their own minds.

    "“materiality” is something which emerges from the quantum world."

    -> In other words "materiality" is an illusion produced by the interaction of consciousness with quantum dream stuff.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Clearmind Oct 05, 2014

    "you are baselessly insisting that talk of “observers” refers specifically to *conscious* observers."

    ->The notion that observation does not require consciousness is absurd.

    ”A poll was conducted at a quantum mechanics conference in 2011 using 33 participants (including physicists, mathematicians, and philosophers). Researchers found that 6% of participants indicated that they believed the observer "plays a distinguished physical role (e.g., wave-function collapse by consciousness)". They also mention that "Popular accounts have sometimes suggested that the Copenhagen interpretation attributes such a role to consciousness. In our view, this is to misunderstand the Copenhagen interpretation.
    And you might also want to check this thread out: https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/is-consciousness-involved-in-wave-function-collapse.507154/"

    ->Yes there are many people, physicists philosophers etc. who wish to avoid the conclusion that consciousness is not required. However their arguments are unconvincing. Most interpretations do require consciousness. If you look at ->

    http://www.preposterousuniverse.com/blog/2013/01/17/the-most-embarrassing-graph-in-modern-physics/

    We can go through the possible interpretations->

    Copenhagen: 42% - requires measurement/consciousness to collapse wavefunction.

    Everett: 18% - In all presentations requires a non-classical immaterial world and the presence of conscious. Sean Carroll's claim that the many-worlds requires that a car is an infinite stack of cars splitting apart at every instant of time is ridiculous.

    Information-based: 24% - Information isn't information without the presence of consciousness.

    Objective collapse: 9% - Implausible, ad-hoc and concocted.

    Quantum Bayesianism: 6% - Ultimately requires consciousness to perform evaluations.

    Relational: 6% - Implausible, ad-hoc and concocted.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Clearmind Oct 05, 2014

    "All you have given is a few unsubstantiated assertions, many of which are taken out of context."

    ->None are unsubstantiated or taken out of context, if anyone can be bothered to check they will discover this for themselves.

    So then where is this quantum mechanism for healing that you keep going on about?

    The mechanism is called 'postcorrection' - I do not really like the term - by the Russian physicist M. Mensky. An individual consciousness is able to sense the probabilities within the quantum realm and alter the probabilities in a positive or negative direction.

    "Quote mining is exactly what you have been doing. Indeed not only have you been quote mining, you have actually tried to twist the meaning of some of your quotes completely."

    ->As I have said the term quote-mining is often used by apologists for the materialist world-view when someone presents the evidence of experts in the field which undermines the materialist position. It is a fraudulent and underhand method of argument. If anyone takes the time to examine the people that you say I have "quote-mined" it will be clear that I have not misrepresented them.

    "No you are incorrect. From http://www.buddhanet.net/funbud10.htm"

    It is you that is the quote-miner, and not a very good one. Both your examples supports my assertions concerning rebirth consciousness. What I said is that rebirth consciousness is a TEMPORARY and IMPERMANENT structure of consciousness. The following quote comes from the above link that you say refutes me:

    when we add up all the evidence of rebirth - the persistent belief in rebirth in many cultures in many different times throughout history, the Buddha’s own testimony, the testimony of His prominent disciples, the evidence presented by scientific investigations, and our own personal intimations that we have been here before - we have to admit that there is at least a good possibility that rebirth is a reality.

    The link you have provided actually supports my position.

    "And from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rebirth_(Buddhism):
    <“Some English-speaking Buddhists prefer the term "rebirth" or "re-becoming" (Sanskrit: punarbhava; Pali: punabbhava) to "reincarnation" as they take the latter to imply a fixed entity that is reborn.[10] It is said to be the "evolving consciousness" (Pali: samvattanika viññana, M.1.256)[11][12] or "stream of consciousness" (Pali: viññana sotam, D.3.105) [13] that reincarnates. The early Buddhist texts make it clear that there is no permanent consciousness that moves from life to life.[14]”>"

    ->I did said that rebirth consciousness was TEMPORARY not permanent. You are misrepresenting my claims - anyone can see this.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Clearmind Oct 05, 2014

    "how are they (materialist accounts of NDEs) more ridiculous than the idea that the mind somehow moves from one body to another, despite the overwhelming evidence that the mind is generated by the brain?"

    ->There is absolutely no evidence that mind is generated by the brain. It is a dogmatic assumption based on the premise that materialism is true. The basic reason that materialist accounts of NDEs are ridiculous is that there are no physical mechanism through which a dead brain could construct a detailed view of what was happening from the point of view of the ceiling, let alone float away and describe events going on elsewhere. Interested parties can go to

    http://www.near-death.com/experiences/research11.html#a02a

    http://dailygrail.com/Spirit-World/2011/8/Cardiac-Surgeon-Tells-Veridical-Near-Death-Experience

    "You have presented no such evidence, only carefully selected and unfounded assertions from particular individuals."

    ->I have presented the opinions of several significant physicists, based on their understanding of quantum physics - hardly "unfounded". I have examined the evidence myself and (as a mathematician and physics teacher) agree with them. I can only leave the evidence I have presented for other people to explore and decide on.

    "They’re not ridiculous at all, in fact they are the most plausible explanations because they 1) don’t involve a radical overhaul of what we know about how the world works"

    They do not involve a radical overhaul - we now know that the world works at a fundamental level according to quantum theory, as Stapp says:

    …the re-bonding [between mind and matter] achieved by physicists during the first half of the twentieth century must be seen as a momentous development: a lifting of the veil. Ignoring this huge and enormously pertinent development in basic science, and proclaiming the validity of materialism on the basis of an inapplicable-in-this-context nineteenth century science is an irrational act.

    "they actually ARE mechanisms, unlike the word-salad that you’re proposing. I defy you to cite an example of a case where the sort of mechanisms I propose can be ruled out."

    ->They are not mechanisms which could possibly account for the phenomena of NDEs - see first point above.

  • NoetPoet Oct 05, 2014

    “->So how did the collapsing get going? There was no matter around at the moment of the big bang.”

    I already said to you that the answer is still to be determined – just because we don’t know doesn’t mean that we can go making up answers willy-nilly (and as history shows, the speculative answers we make up before we actually find out the answer to scientific mysteries tend to be ridiculously off the mark). There was no consciousness around at the moment of the Big Bang either, only a singularity of energy.

    “->The Yogachara account indicates the non-classical existence of an energetic ground of potentiality which has a fundamental nature of nondual consciousness, this is the ground or store consciousness.. All intentional actions, even mere perceptions are stored as potentialities for the future manifestation when surrounding conditions resonate with these potentialities. This corresponds to the quantum wavefunction of potentiality.”

    What do you mean it indicates the “non-classical” existence of such a “ground”? And how does this “ground” square with the Buddhist notion of non-self?? What you’ve said here is nothing more than assertionist New Age wibble, and furthermore you have not demonstrate that it “corresponds” to quantum wavefunctions.

    “->As I have said before, your knowledge of Buddhist metaphysics is flawed.”

    Not as flawed as yours!

    “According to the Dali Lama:
    From a Buddhist point a view, the karma of all sentient beings that inhabit the universe plays a role in shaping the formation of the universe.”

    >YAWN< Where’s the evidence??

    “Karma has an important moral dimension but it is not a purely moral mechanism. These very fabric of the universe is, according to Buddhist metaphysics, a karmic production. I suggest you avoid resorting to the ridiculous accusation of quote-mining - there is nothing taken out of context here.

    Don’t twist the issue. The salient feature of karma is that it has this “moral dimension”, otherwise we would simply call it regular old cause-and-effect. The Buddha goes into great detail in the suttas about the intricacies of this “moral dimension” and how it plays out, .e.g suggesting that a certain type of good deed done for a spiritually enlightened person will give more good karma than the same deed done for an ordinary person. It is this moral dimension which is the issue here, and it is in no way supported by the evidence from quantum physics.
    “->The term 'existent' here means 'classically existent'.”

    And what does “classically existent” mean??

  • NoetPoet Oct 05, 2014

    “i.e. The quantum state of superposition is
    Neither |here> or |there>, nor both |here> and |there>, nor neither |here> nor |there>”

    No, the superposition is a set of probabilities about where a particle may be identified; the particle still “exists” in wave form. Furthermore, its relevance is to subatomic phenomena, not to macro phenomena like chairs; in other words, Buddhism has somehow managed to not only completely fail to anticpate the various phenomena of the subatomic realm, but it has (according to your optimistic interpretation) made a category error by assuming that emptiness applies the whole of reality when it only applies to the micro (i.e. NON-CLASSICAL) level.

    “->If you go here you will see:
    http://www.informationphilosopher.com/presentations/Milan/mental_causation/locating_the_cut.html ”

    That’s his drawing of the “mind”?? For starters it looks exactly the same as his depiction of the “brain”, except that his just written the word “mind” instead of “brain”. Futhermore the squiggle continues beyond the “mind”, which is fully consistent with what I have said about the mind actually being the product of a chain of physical causes. When we look at the blurb next to the illustration (which, I presume, is from Von Neumann), he makes it quite clear that he doesn’t know what is going on in the brain (which he wouldn’t, considering that he died in 1957 and neurology has advanced in leaps and bounds since then). Then there’s the part where he says “these chemical changes of his brain cells are perceived by the observer”. Tell me, when was the last time you “perceived” chemical changes in your brain cells?? In fact, the whole thrust of the blurb and the accompanying illustration is that we must, *as a matter of scientific procedure necessity*, make a distinction between “observer” and “observed” REGARDLESS of where we actually draw that distinction! The implication is that we can keep chasing an ultimate “observer” of the sort you describe and never find such a thing.

    “Yes that is what Penrose claims based on his observation that:
    …at the large end of things, the place where ‘the buck stops’ is provided by our conscious perceptions.”

    Yes, Penrose says that quantum phenomena give rise to consciousness, which is in direct contradiction to your claim. Notice also in that (very carefully selected, ambiguous and edited) quote, he talks about “the large end of things” i.e. the MACRO world.

  • NoetPoet Oct 05, 2014

    “A point reiterated by decoherence theorist Erich Joos who states:
    …the last and final evidence comes in the form of perceptions made by some observer.”

    How exactly does this ambiguous and carefully edited quote support your argument?

    “Penrose is referring to individuated consciousness which emerges from the primordial consciousness of the quantum realm.”

    Like hell he his! Where does he say that??

    “This is similar to Yogachara Buddhism - primordial consciousness is 'jnana', non-dual awareness, which gives rise to vijnana, individuated consciousness.”

    As I have already stated, the very fact that we can even talk about superpositions and collapsing wave functions DISPROVES your contention that there is any sort of universal mind or consciousness which has any relationship to quantum phenomena. The only way to get around this is to completely change the meaning of the word “consciousness” so as to render it unrecognisable.

    “You make yourself look ridiculous with your constant mantra of "quote-mine" - none of the quotes I use are taken out of context.”

    All the quotes you have offered so far have either:
    1) Come from known woo-peddlers who do not have the support of the broader physics community
    2) Been taken out of context; or
    3) Said nothing even remotely like what you claim they say (i.e. you have put words in their mouths)
    Let me also remind you that quotes =/= evidence, even when none of the above apply. Oh and by the way, I want a link to the article where Zurek talked about “elusive” consciousness (i.e. rather than “illusive” consciousness, as you originally claimed).

    “->I said "the same or similar thing" - the central claim is the significance or entanglement of consciousness within the quantum level which is indicated by the fact of the collapse of the wavefunction by consciousness.”

    “Similar”, huh? Well gee that’s not a slippery term at all! Once again, you have not provided ANY evidence that it is consciousness which collapses wavefunctions.

  • NoetPoet Oct 05, 2014

    “This absurd accusation of yours is made in response to use of the quote from Rosenblum and Kutter that:
    "Physics had encountered consciousness but did not realise it ... The object was not there before you found it there. Your happening to find it there caused it to be there.””

    And what’s the “…”??

    “Therefore the notion that my quote from R&K is a quote-mine is absurd. But this is what apologist for the materialist cause often do, the make the accusation of "quote-mine" when they cannot think of anything significant to say.”

    In this case you are not so much quote mining as putting words in the author’s mouths, which is your other favourite trick. Of course it is not clear to you what they mean by this, precisely because you are espousing the very sort of pseudoscience they are trying to avoid!

    “The notion that "EVERY specimen is a “transitional” form" is Darwinian dogma without any evidence. Do you really believe in the ridiculous supposed transition of a hippo-like animal into a whale. “

    All this evolution talk is off-topic. If you want to debate evolution then start a new thread, and I will happily demolish your banal creationist assertions there.

    “->I think you are wrong. Zurek says that when the correlations become strong enough reality emerges from the quantum substrate. But what triggers this emergence. Well according to Zurek "Observers of quantum phenomena can no longer be just passive spectators." - Absolutely right, observers produce the emergence.”

    And Zurek also makes it quite clear that observation=/=consciousness.

  • NoetPoet Oct 05, 2014

    “->Ridiculous. Here, again, is what Hawking and Mlodinow say:
    Quantum physics tells us that no matter how thorough our observation of the present, the (unobserved) past, like the future, is indefinite and exists only as a spectrum of possibilities. The universe, according to quantum physics, has no single past, or history. The fact that the past takes no definite form means that observations you make on a system in the present affect its past. p82”

    And what part of that says anything about “choosing” a history?? What they’re saying there about the present “affecting” the past is that the act of measuring a quantum system rules out all the other possible paths (aka “histories”) of that system, because the other paths/histories become inconsistent with observation.

    “Observation requires consciousness.”

    No it doesn’t, it merely requires interaction. This is the central flaw of your whole case.

    “But matter only APPEARS to have mass and fill space. We know that in fact what appears to be the material world is 99.999999999999 empty space.”

    Matter does in fact have “mass” and does in fact occupy “space”. “Mass” and “space” are distinct scientific concepts with particular meanings. What do you mean by “empty” space anyway??

    “Actually 'matter' is an appearance generated by the interactions of quantum fields. So ultimately matter is immaterial.”

    No, that is a category error; as I have already said, “materiality” is something which emerges from the quantum world.

  • NoetPoet Oct 05, 2014

    “->The charge of quote-mining is often resorted to by those who are losing an argument. Anyone who bothers to to read, say, Stapp's book 'Mindful' Universe' will quickly see that I do not take him out of context. The quotes form Goswami's 'Self-Aware Universe are certainly not taken out of context. Anyone can go on to Rosenblum and Kuttner's 'Quantum Enigma' website and quickly see that I do not quote-mine. The same is true of the other quotes. Your claim is simply false, and if anybody does bother to check your claim I think they would quickly discount your arguments.”

    And quote-mining is resorted to by people who have faulty arguments to begin with. Not only are you quote-mining, but you are engaging in sophistry as well: you don’t need to quote mine the likes of Stapp and Goswami because they are woo-peddlers, however you do have to quote mine mainstream physicists like Hawking and Zurek. Furthermore, you are deliberately twisting the words of those you cite, in some cases (e.g. Zurek) beyond the point of recognition. In particular, you are baselessly insisting that talk of “observers” refers specifically to *conscious* observers.

    “->I think it is you that are taking words too literally. The fact that he uses the word 'resides' does not mean consciousness does not in some sense 'choose' (as in Hawking's Choosing Our Universe scenario - The Grand Design).”

    “Reside”=/=”choose”. Look it up in a dictionary if you don’t believe me. This is all the more true given that Zurek is talking about the *evidence* for the choice and puts quotation marks around “consciousness”.

    “This is an interpretation peculiar to you and Victor Stenger, I know of no other physicist who subscribes to it.”

    Then you obviously don’t know too many physicists outside of your carefully selected coterie, some of which are out-and-out woo peddlers. From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Von_Neumann%E2%80%93Wigner_interpretation :
    >”A poll was conducted at a quantum mechanics conference in 2011 using 33 participants (including physicists, mathematicians, and philosophers). Researchers found that 6% of participants indicated that they believed the observer "plays a distinguished physical role (e.g., wave-function collapse by consciousness)". They also mention that "Popular accounts have sometimes suggested that the Copenhagen interpretation attributes such a role to consciousness. In our view, this is to misunderstand the Copenhagen interpretation."<

    And you might also want to check this thread out: https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/is-consciousness-involved-in-wave-function-collapse.507154/

  • NoetPoet Oct 05, 2014

    “->I have given a list of physicists, what they say, and have indicated the evidence.”

    All you have given is a few unsubstantiated assertions, many of which are taken out of context. This does not qualify as evidence.

    “->I did not say that this paper indicated a mechanism specifically, I indicated that the paper outlined by take on Zurek's position. The charge of 'quote-mining' is only relevant when the quotes are taken out of context. My quotes are not.”

    So then where is this quantum mechanism for healing that you keep going on about?? Quote mining is exactly what you have been doing. Indeed not only have you been quote mining, you have actually tried to twist the meaning of some of your quotes completely.

    “->You are incorrect here. You knowledge of Buddhism is superficial, but this is a mistake many people make. The third link of the chain of dependent origination is rebirth-consciousness, which is a temporary subtle consciousness, it is not a fixed soul (atman), but a structure of potentiality formed by karma, this 'clinging' structure, if it is destined to be reborn on a material level projects into a womb. This is reincarnation - i.e. entering another meat body. However you were correct to say I should use the term 'rebirth' because some people may be reborn on a subtle non-material level.”

    No you are incorrect. From http://www.buddhanet.net/funbud10.htm :
    <“Finally, I would like to distinguish rebirth from transmigration. You may have noticed that in Buddhism, we consistently speak of rebirth and not transmigration. This is because in Buddhism we do not believe in an abiding entity, in a substance that trans-migrates. We do not believe in a self that is reborn. This is why when we explain rebirth, we make use of examples which do not require the transmigration of an essence or a substance. For example, when a sprout is born from a seed, there is no substance that transmigrates. The seed and the sprout are not identical. Similarly, when we light one candle from another candle, no substance travels from one to the other, and yet the first is the cause of the second. When one billiard ball strikes another, there is a continuity, the energy and direction of the first ball is imparted to the second.”>

    And from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rebirth_(Buddhism) :
    <“Some English-speaking Buddhists prefer the term "rebirth" or "re-becoming" (Sanskrit: punarbhava; Pali: punabbhava) to "reincarnation" as they take the latter to imply a fixed entity that is reborn.[10] It is said to be the "evolving consciousness" (Pali: samvattanika viññana, M.1.256)[11][12] or "stream of consciousness" (Pali: viññana sotam, D.3.105) [13] that reincarnates. The early Buddhist texts make it clear that there is no permanent consciousness that moves from life to life.[14]”>

  • NoetPoet Oct 05, 2014

    “->This is the usual skeptics position. I think it is wrong, having examined the evidence the mechanisms you propose are ridiculous. However, there is obviously no way I will convince you so there is no point pursuing this particular matter. The main reason for engaging in this debate, for me, is to present the contrary evidence to what I think are your mistaken notions so that interested parties can evaluate for themselves.

    Cop out. How are they ridiculous?? More to the point, how are they more ridiculous than the idea that the mind somehow moves from one body to another, despite the overwhelming evidence that the mind is generated by the brain?”

    “-> I have presented the evidence below, as I said the main reason for doing so is not for your benefit but for other interested parties.’

    More copping out. You have presented no such evidence, only carefully selected and unfounded assertions from particular individuals.

    “->Again the mechanisms you propose are ridiculous. Anyone sensible person who evaluates the evidence without a preformed prejudice would see this.”

    They’re not ridiculous at all, in fact they are the most plausible explanations because they 1) don’t involve a radical overhaul of what we know about how the world works, and 2) they actually ARE mechanisms, unlike the word-salad that you’re proposing. I defy you to cite an example of a case where the sort of mechanisms I propose can be ruled out.

  • Anonymous Icon

    RealityOverScience Oct 03, 2014

    cr...

    I've Answered what you are talking about in my "Consciousness 101... " thread!

    :) Definitely intriguing!

  • Anonymous Icon

    crwhiting Oct 02, 2014

    I might hedge on Myth 9. If the holographic model of the Universe is essentially accurate (and I believe it is) then one could make an argument that light is the (a) principal field of consciousness - the quantum particle of consciousness, if you will. Or, put it another way, consciousness IS reality. The "particle" of light might then be an energy intersection of a larger holographic wave-front of the at-large model intersecting at this particular space-time dimension (i.e. our observable Universe). In other words, whether light is a wave or a particle is simply an observation (measurement) problem whose source is undetectable because it lays outside of our (physical) measurable system. Direct observation by physical measurement will identify quanta energy packets (the photoelectric effect?) though indirect observation will indicate the presence of a larger field of energy (a wave) that could exist outside of our measurable system. If the holographic model is inaccurate, then we're back to square one. But I'm placing my bets on a Holographic Universe.

    The irony here being that the only real tool we have to resolve this paradox is ourselves - our consciousness. Physical measurements will lead only to further paradoxes.

    But then if we as individual consciousness are sub-segments of the larger hologram (a larger Universal consciousness), and by virtue of the nature of holograms containing the essence of the whole no matter how small you slice it, then we already know the answer to this, and for some interesting reason we "chose" not to remember. (which leads to a "what is a memory" question)

    I believe that understanding the true properties of light will lead us to some real consciousness research breakthroughs. If that is the case, we might have to un-debunk Myth 8 too, since we would have likely found God as the Universal Consciousness, and discovering that we are also God.

    I might start with proving or debunking the Russian research around the properties of light in proximity to DNA (Wilcock, The Synchronicity Key). What if DNA turns out to be a bio-chemical program, not just a program for how the physical body is constructed, but also how our consciousness (light) binds to it? If that happens, it will change everything we understand about us and the Universe we live in. If that research is debunked, then it also might point us in another direction.

    Consciousness research is a very exciting field.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Clearmind Oct 02, 2014

    "So what is the nature of this "other stuff" - is it material or immaterial? - Material”

    ->So how did the collapsing get going? There was no matter around at the moment of the big bang.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Clearmind Oct 02, 2014

    "How is a “ground” of consciousness in any way related to a (subatomic) *wave*function??"

    ->The Yogachara account indicates the non-classical existence of an energetic ground of potentiality which has a fundamental nature of nondual consciousness, this is the ground or store consciousness.. All intentional actions, even mere perceptions are stored as potentialities for the future manifestation when surrounding conditions resonate with these potentialities. This corresponds to the quantum wavefunction of potentiality.

    "Nice attempt at sophistry there. The salient feature of karma is that it goes beyond being mere cause-and-effect in the sense that it has a profoundly MORAL dimension."

    ->As I have said before, your knowledge of Buddhist metaphysics is flawed.

    According to the Dali Lama:

    From a Buddhist point a view, the karma of all sentient beings that inhabit the universe plays a role in shaping the formation of the universe.

    and Thrangu Rinpoche:

    The entire world was created through latent karmic imprints. When these imprints developed and increased, they formed the earth, the stones, and the seas. Everything was created through the development or propagation of these latent karmic potentials.

    and:

    …since beginningless time we have been perceiving sights, sounds, smells, tastes and bodily sensations and these perceptions have been creating imprints or latencies in the ground consciousness. Habituation of having experienced a certain visual form will create a latency for that very form. Eventually, that latency will manifest from the ground consciousness as a visual form again, but it will be perceived as external to ourselves.

    and Walpola Rahula:

    Karma is the theory of cause and effect, or action and reaction; it is a natural law, which has nothing to do with the idea of justice or reward and punishment. Every volitional action produces its effects or results.

    Karma has an important moral dimension but it is not a purely moral mechanism. These very fabric of the universe is, according to Buddhist metaphysics, a karmic production. I suggest you avoid resorting to the ridiculous accusation of quote-mining - there is nothing taken out of context here.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Clearmind Oct 02, 2014

    "
    “Neither existent, nor nonexistent
    Nor both existent and nonexistent, nor neither.
    corresponds exactly to the existential configuration of the quantum level.”

    It doesn’t “correspond exactly” to the quantum realm at all. Quantum phenomena still “exist” regardless of whether they “exist” in superposition or in a collapsed state.
    "

    ->The term 'existent' here means 'classically existent'. Now emptiness is indicated by Madhyamaka to correspond to the above existential configuration. It is easy to mathematically show that a quantum superposition corresponds to the above existential configuration (where existent means 'classical existent'). Thus the quantum physicist Giancarlo Ghirardi states:

    What meaning can there be in a state that makes it illegitimate to think that our chair is either here or in some other place? … only potentialities exist about the location of the chair, potentialities that cannot be realized, unless we carry out a measurement of position? How can it be understood that, attached to these potent-ialities, is a nonepistemic probability that in a subsequent measurement of position the chair will be found here or there (which is equivalent to asserting that, before the measurement was carried out, the chair could be neither here nor there, nor in both places, nor in neither place)?

    i.e. The quantum state of superposition is

    Neither |here> or |there>, nor both |here> and |there>, nor neither |here> nor |there>

  • Anonymous Icon

    Clearmind Oct 02, 2014

    "How, pray tell, did he draw the *mind* of the observer?"

    ->If you go here you will see:

    http://www.informationphilosopher.com/presentations/Milan/mental_causation/locating_the_cut.html

    "You are…quote mining…here. What Penrose contends is that quantum phenomena *give rise to* consciousness, NOT vice-versa."

    Yes that is what Penrose claims based on his observation that:

    …at the large end of things, the place where ‘the buck stops’ is provided by our conscious perceptions.

    A point reiterated by decoherence theorist Erich Joos who states:

    …the last and final evidence comes in the form of perceptions made by some observer.

    Penrose is referring to individuated consciousness which emerges from the primordial consciousness of the quantum realm. This is similar to Yogachara Buddhism - primordial consciousness is 'jnana', non-dual awareness, which gives rise to vijnana, individuated consciousness.

    You make yourself look ridiculous with your constant mantra of "quote-mine" - none of the quotes I use are taken out of context.

    "Except they’re not saying “the same thing”, and many of them are not saying what you claim they’re saying."

    ->I said "the same or similar thing" - the central claim is the significance or entanglement of consciousness within the quantum level which is indicated by the fact of the collapse of the wavefunction by consciousness. Most of the physicists I quote draw their conclusion from this phenomena - Zurek dissembles and tries to avoid this conclusion. The remark my Joos above is a counter to Zurek.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Clearmind Oct 02, 2014

    "Quote mining. Again."

    This absurd accusation of yours is made in response to use of the quote from Rosenblum and Kutter that:

    "Physics had encountered consciousness but did not realise it ... The object was not there before you found it there. Your happening to find it there caused it to be there.”

    Now I wonder if you know what quote-mining actually is supposed to be. The term I think was
    coined by Richard Dawkins who explains that it refers to using quotes outside of their context in
    order to suggest a meaning that the author/s did not intend. This quote, however, is taken from
    the book 'Quantum Enigma: Physics encounters consciousness'. If you go to the associated website http://quantumenigma.com/controversy/, one can read:

    "

    From its inception, quantum theory involved the observer. To account for the demonstrated facts, quantum theory has the observation of an object instantaneously influencing the behavior of other distant objects–even if no physical force connects them. Quantum theory also has the existence of an object at the particular place where it is observed become an actuality only upon its observation.

    But what constitutes an “observation”? It’s not clear. Moreover, as quantum phenomena are now being demonstrated with ever-larger objects, this “quantum measurement problem” gets increasing attention, both by physicists and in popular treatments.

    “Observation” cannot be separated from “awareness,” and therefore from “consciousness.” These two concepts themselves involve some mystery. We must be careful. Any broad-ranging discussion of physics’ encounter with consciousness walks the edge of a slippery slope. We therefore work to distinguish the demonstrated facts from speculation (and, of course, from pseudo-science).

    "

    It is worth noting that the authors distance themselves from what they consider to be pseudo-science - although they are not very clear what they mean by this - but they explicitly indicate that consciousness is involved in some way.

    Therefore the notion that my quote from R&K is a quote-mine is absurd. But this is what apologist for the materialist cause often do, the make the accusation of "quote-mine" when they cannot think of anything significant to say.

  • NoetPoet Oct 01, 2014

    “The two central tenets of Mahayaha Buddhism, which are based on the teachings of the Pali Canon - the Mind-dependency of the material world and "emptiness", which is the lack of inherent existence in all phenomena, have been vindicated by quantum theory”

    They are no more vindicated by quantum theory than they are by any other branch of science. In fact your Lisa Randall quote suggests that quantum theory *contradicts* emptiness.

    “Neither existent, nor nonexistent
    Nor both existent and nonexistent, nor neither.
    corresponds exactly to the existential configuration of the quantum level.”

    It doesn’t “correspond exactly” to the quantum realm at all. Quantum phenomena still “exist” regardless of whether they “exist” in superposition or in a collapsed state.

    “The Yogachara school describes the operation of the wavefunction in non-mathematical terminology, the Yogachara term for the wavefunction is the alayavijnana - the ground consciousness. “

    How is a “ground” of consciousness in any way related to a (subatomic) *wave*function??

    “Karma - Karma is not just a moral law - it is a universal law of cause and effect which applies on all levels - it also operates in the the creation of the apparently material world, the apparently material world is a karmic arising due to repeated perception. This understanding prefigured quantum theory.”

    Nice attempt at sophistry there. The salient feature of karma is that it goes beyond being mere cause-and-effect in the sense that it has a profoundly MORAL dimension. No branch of physics has ever yielded evidence that the interactions of phenomena are influenced by moral considerations. Rather, our concept of morality is *relative* and *emergent* from the constraints imposed upon us by the operations of an amoral universe (including our survival and procreation instincts).

    “-> The Yogachara/Chittamatra school id the Mind-Only school - enough said.”

    Non-sequitur.

    “->In your elucidation of myth 4 you say: "However this “collapse” only requires interaction with other stuff." So what is the nature of this "other stuff" - is it material or immaterial?”

    Material.

  • NoetPoet Oct 01, 2014

    “->As I have said if there are majority of experts saying the same or similar things there just might be something in it. When one investigates the work of these, plus some other, scientists, and looks at the evidence they present one finds that consciousness is a creative force at the quantum level. Sarcasm does not constitute a rebuttal. “

    Except they’re not saying “the same thing”, and many of them are not saying what you claim they’re saying (indeed some are saying quite the opposite). Quote-mining of assertions does not constitute a valid scientific argument.

    “Schrodinger - Mind has created the world out of its own stuff.”

    Schrodinger was engaging in metaphysical speculation when he said these sorts of things, not scientific observation. Just because a physicist also happens to have had a personal interest in Eastern mysticism, it doesn’t therefore mean that their mystical beliefs were in accordance with scientific fact. There are plenty of scientists who profess belief in God and the Bible etc despite the fact that their scientific knowledge and work offers no support to such beliefs.

    “Planck - I regard consciousness as fundamental. ... All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force... We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter.”

    Quote mining, and the “we must assume” bit is just that – an *assumption*.

    “Heisenberg - The observation itself changes the probability function discontinuously; it selects of all possible events the actual one that has taken place...”

    Says nothing about consciousness.

    “Wheeler - Directly opposite to the concept of universe as machine built on law is the vision of a world self-synthesized. On this view, the notes struck out on a piano by the observer participants of all times and all places, bits though they are in and by themselves, constitute the great wide world of space and time and things.”

    Says nothing about consciousness; “self-synthesised” =/= self-aware.

    “Bohm - … consciousness has to be understood in terms of an order that is closer to the implicate than it is to the explicate. [the 'implicate' is Bohm's term for the quantum level].”

    Bohm is engaging in metaphysical speculation. What testable predictions do his implicate order idea actually make?

  • NoetPoet Oct 01, 2014

    “Zurek - the ultimate evidence for the choice of one alternative resides in our ellusive “consciousness” (see below for full elucidation).”

    Already debunked this (see below for full elucidation).

    “Penrose - As far as I can make out, the only interpretations that do not necessarily depend upon some notion of 'conscious observer' … require some fundamental change in the rules of quantum mechanics…”

    You are…quote mining…here. What Penrose contends is that quantum phenomena *give rise to* consciousness, NOT vice-versa.

    “Mensky - Telepathy arises as an effect of quantum non-locality. The necessary condition for this is the purely quantum regime, i.e. quantum coherence, absence of decoherence. This condition is met not in consciousness, but in super-consciousness which is nothing else as the state of the quantum world as a whole…”

    More unsubstantiated wibble from Mensky >YAWNS<. He hasn’t even *established the existence* of telepathy, let alone demonstrated a quantum mechanism for it. Furthermore his comment about the condition not being met in consciousness but in “super-consciousness” is nothing more than a pre-emptive Get Out Of Jail Free Card which he uses because even he thinks that it will eventually become clear that human consciousness does not have such properties.

    “Linde - Thus we see that without introducing an observer, we have a dead universe, which does not evolve in time. This example demonstrates an unusually important role played by the concept of an observer in quantum cosmology. John Wheeler underscored the complexity of the situation, replacing the word observer by the word participant, and introducing such terms as a ‘self-observing universe.”

    The last sentence is the key here: Wheeler does away with the “observer” and replaces it with the term “participant”, which has no more association with consciousness (and indeed arguably less). Moreover, the term “self-observing universe” does not imply the involvement of “consciousness”, but does in fact square with the idea that quantum effects cancel each other out at the macro level.

  • NoetPoet Oct 01, 2014

    “Bell - Suppose for example that quantum mechanics were found to resist precise formulation. Suppose that when formulation beyond FAPP was attempted, we find an unmovable finger obstinately pointing outside the subject, to the mind of the observor, to the Hindu scriptures, to God, or even only Gravitation? Would that not be very, very interesting? [Bell also drew a diagram showing how the quantum boundary can be considered to move successively from the ‘outside’ world into the brain and then the mind of the observer.]”

    There’s a lot of “supposing” going on here. I note that Bell also “supposes” gravitation alongside more metaphysical candidates. How, pray tell, did he draw the *mind* of the observer?

    “Stapp - There is, in fact, in the quantum universe no natural place for matter. This conclusion, curiously, is the exact reverse of the circumstances that in the classical physical universe there was no natural place for mind.”

    Stapp is being misleading here (what a surprise!). The notion of “matter” only becomes meaningful at the macro-level of reality. This is no more shocking than saying that there is “no natural place” for entanglement in a game of billiards. Furthermore, it does not necessarily follow that the non-applicability of “matter” at the quantum level means that it is all therefore mindstuff.

    “Goswami - In quantum physics, objects are depicted as possibilities (a possibility wave); yet when an observer observes, the possibilities collapse into an actuality (the wave collapses into particle, for example). This is the observer effect.”

    This doesn’t say anything about consciousness being required in order for something to qualify as an observer. Moroever, Goswami is a known woo-peddler engaging in philosophical speculation; his claims about consciousness have no substantiative experimental support

    “Rosenblum and Kuttner - Physics had encountered consciousness but did not realise it ... The object was not there before you found it there. Your happening to find it there caused it to be there.”

    Quote mining. Again.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Clearmind Oct 01, 2014

    The researcher Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig, an expert on mutation genetics, a researcher in the field for over thirty years, has published a long carefully researched paper entitled ‘The Evolution of the Long-Necked Giraffe – What Do We Really Know’ which concludes:

    If, however, the general lineages for almost all modern groups of vertebrates are as uncertain as in the case of giraffes, then we are dealing with only suggestive evolutionary interpretations in most other groups as well, yet without solid scientific proof.

    In this paper he demonstrates the impossibility of the complexly co-ordinated giraffe physiology being the result of gradual random changes. The co-ordination required in order to keep its head intact is far too intricate and, to use a term which is thought to be a sign of ID stupidity amongst committed Darwinians, irreducibly complex. As Goswami writes:

    Longer neck vertebrae require many concurrent modifications. As the vertebrae become longer, the head must become smaller, because it becomes more difficult to support the head atop a long neck. The circulatory system has to produce higher blood pressure, valves must originate to prevent overpressure when the giraffe stoops to get a drink. The lung size has to increase so the animal can breathe through a much longer pipe. Additionally, many muscles, tendons, and bones have to change harmoniously; in fact, the entire skeletal frame has to be restructured to accommodate lengthened forelegs. It goes on and on. Clearly, much more than neck-lengthening gene mutation have to be involved – and with what amazing coordination! All this through cumulative step-by-step chance and necessity? It's simply not credible.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Clearmind Oct 01, 2014

    "Absolute nonsense, try telling that to any qualified biologist who isn’t on the payroll of some fundie Christian organisation and see what sort of reaction you get. And by the way, “materialist Darwinian dogma” is a crass straw man."

    Most qualified bilogists are brain-washed into the Darwinian dogma. Thomas Nagel is a atheist philosopher. He writes in his recent book Mind and Cosmos:

    Physico-chemical reductionism in biology is the orthodox view, and any resistance to it is regarded as not only scientifically but politically incorrect. But for a long time I have found the materialist account of how we and our fellow organisms came to exist hard to believe, including the standard version of how the evolutionary process works. The more details we learn about the chemical basis of life and the intricacy of the genetic code, the more unbelievable the standard historical account becomes.

    "What the heck are you going on about?! EVERY specimen is a “transitional” form, including you and me! You should really try to read up on these things before you go making yourself look like a fool."

    The notion that "EVERY specimen is a “transitional” form" is Darwinian dogma without any evidence. Do you really believe in the ridiculous supposed transition of a hippo-like animal into a whale. The nose of a hippo is hardly likely to become the blow-hole of a whale due to one genetic mutation. In fact it is hard to imagine any sequence of random genetic changes causing such a movement, at the same time as changing blood chemistry in order to allow a whale to dive to bone crushing depths of the sea. Absurd.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Clearmind Oct 01, 2014

    "Um, yeah, this passage actually supports my argument, not yours."

    ->I think you are wrong. Zurek says that when the correlations become strong enough reality emerges from the quantum substrate. But what triggers this emergence. Well according to Zurek "Observers of quantum phenomena can no longer be just passive spectators." - Absolutely right, observers produce the emergence.

    "In other words, he’s making it very clear that we CAN’T consciously choose which history we have."

    ->Ridiculous. Here, again, is what Hawking and Mlodinow say:

    Quantum physics tells us that no matter how thorough our observation of the present, the (unobserved) past, like the future, is indefinite and exists only as a spectrum of possibilities. The universe, according to quantum physics, has no single past, or history. The fact that the past takes no definite form means that observations you make on a system in the present affect its past. p82

    Observation requires consciousness.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Clearmind Oct 01, 2014

    "Matter is that which has mass (inertia) and takes up space. Now, if you have a better definition then by all means let us know – it might even help you to (finally) offer a robust definition of consciousness!"

    But matter only APPEARS to have mass and fill space. We know that in fact what appears to be the material world is 99.999999999999 empty space. As a recent book on the Higgs points out :

    It seems logical that there should be some ultimate constituents, some undeniable reality that underpins the world we see around us and which lends it form and shape. If matter is endlessly divisible, then we would reach a point where the constituents themselves become rather ephemeral - to the point of non-existence. Then there would be no building blocks, and all we would be left with are interactions between indefinable, insubstantial phantoms which give rise to the appearance of substance. Unpalatable it may be but, to a large extent, this is precisely what modern physics has shown to be true. Mass, we now believe, is not an inherent property or ‘primary’ quality of the ultimate building blocks of nature. In fact, there is no such thing as mass. Mass is constructed entirely from the energy of interactions involving naturally massless elementary particles. The physicists kept dividing, and in the end found nothing at all.

    Actually 'matter' is an appearance generated by the interactions of quantum fields. So ultimately matter is immaterial.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Clearmind Oct 01, 2014

    "You’ve offered some baseless assertions from woo-peddlers and misinterpretations of quote-mined words from respected physicists."

    ->The charge of quote-mining is often resorted to by those who are losing an argument. Anyone who bothers to to read, say, Stapp's book 'Mindful' Universe' will quickly see that I do not take him out of context. The quotes form Goswami's 'Self-Aware Universe are certainly not taken out of context. Anyone can go on to Rosenblum and Kuttner's 'Quantum Enigma' website and quickly see that I do not quote-mine. The same is true of the other quotes. Your claim is simply false, and if anybody does bother to check your claim I think they would quickly discount your arguments.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Clearmind Oct 01, 2014

    "You’re taking his words too literally, especially the “dream-stuff” part. ... He said that the ultimate evidence RESIDES in consciousness, NOT that it “indicates the action” of it."

    ->I think it is you that are taking words too literally. The fact that he uses the word 'resides' does not mean consciousness does not in some sense 'choose' (as in Hawking's Choosing Our Universe scenario - The Grand Design).

    "Bollocks. A quantum superposition collapses when it interacts with a macro (classical) system. Classical objects do not undergo superposition. Nor do have any grounds for saying that it ends in consciousness, given that 1) you have not even offered a clear definition of consciousness, 2) consciousness is not a thing put a process with its own causal chain."

    This is an interpretation peculiar to you and Victor Stenger, I know of no other physicist who subscribes to it.

    "What experts? How many experts are there who *don’t* hold such a view? And once again, *what is their evidence*?"

    ->I have given a list of physicists, what they say, and have indicated the evidence.

    "Once again, I can find no mention of a quantum mechanism for spiritual healing in that article. All I see is a lot of highly selective quote-mining and blatant confirmation bias on your part."

    ->I did not say that this paper indicated a mechanism specifically, I indicated that the paper outlined by take on Zurek's position. The charge of 'quote-mining' is only relevant when the quotes are taken out of context. My quotes are not.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Clearmind Oct 01, 2014

    "According to Buddhism, rebirth is a karmic conditioning process which does *not* involve the transmigration of any soul or consciousness from one life to another, while reincarnation involves the transmigration of an eternal self/soul (atman)."

    ->You are incorrect here. You knowledge of Buddhism is superficial, but this is a mistake many people make. The third link of the chain of dependent origination is rebirth-consciousness, which is a temporary subtle consciousness, it is not a fixed soul (atman), but a structure of potentiality formed by karma, this 'clinging' structure, if it is destined to be reborn on a material level projects into a womb. This is reincarnation - i.e. entering another meat body. However you were correct to say I should use the term 'rebirth' because some people may be reborn on a subtle non-material level.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Clearmind Oct 01, 2014

    "The guy’s “evidence” is a bunch of *anecdotes* from young children which were relayed through suspect translators (in some cases through the parents as well), plagued by subjective validation and confirmation bias, and collected primarily from subjects who were already predisposed to belief in reincarnation..."

    ->This is the usual skeptics position. I think it is wrong, having examined the evidence the mechanisms you propose are ridiculous. However, there is obviously no way I will convince you so there is no point pursuing this particular matter. The main reason for engaging in this debate, for me, is to present the contrary evidence to what I think are your mistaken notions so that interested parties can evaluate for themselves.

    "Stapp *asserts* that the quantum level has an aspect of consciousness. Where is his evidence of this?"

    -> I have presented the evidence below, as I said the main reason for doing so is not for your benefit but for other interested parties.

    "For one thing, such *testimonials* relate to incidences which did not occur under anything like controlled laboratory conditions, meaning that there is plenty of scope for contaminating factors like selective memory, subjective validation, Chinese whispers, residual 5-sense information (when the patient was losing and/or regaining consciousness) and clever inference."

    ->Again the mechanisms you propose are ridiculous. Anyone sensible person who evaluates the evidence without a preformed prejudice would see this.

  • NoetPoet Oct 01, 2014

    Right, that's enough for now, I'll get to the rest of your wibble tomorrow.

  • NoetPoet Oct 01, 2014

    “Evolutionary-developmental biology, epigenetics and other recent discoveries (such as quantum theory) indicate that materialist Darwinian dogma is nonsense. “

    Absolute nonsense, try telling that to any qualified biologist who isn’t on the payroll of some fundie Christian organisation and see what sort of reaction you get. And by the way, “materialist Darwinian dogma” is a crass straw man.

    “The fact that no one has ever seen a species transform into another species should have been a warning. The interpretation put on the fossil record is completely concocted and worthless.”

    What the heck are you going on about?! EVERY specimen is a “transitional” form, including you and me! You should really try to read up on these things before you go making yourself look like a fool.

    “I am not sure exactly how Mensky came to this conclusion but it is how photosynthesis works! - A quantum search algorithm involves a a quantum superposition which explores all possible routes which then collapses into the most efficient.”

    Photosynthesis has nothing to do with consciousness.

    “Consciousness collapses quantum wavefunctions = consciousness effective at quantum level + quantum vibrations have been discovered in microtubules = plausible that consciousness connected with quantum vibrations.”

    It has NOT been scientifically established that consciousness collapses wave functions. Moreover, if consciousness *did* collapse wave functions then we would not see quantum vibrations in microtubules because the consciousness in brains would be continuously collapsing those vibrations. All that this research shows is that quantum vibrations occur in microtubules; to say that this makes it plausible that consciousness is connected with quantum vibrations makes about as much sense as saying that grease stains on a car engine are connected with that car’s motive ability.

    “To say that quantum fields which are entirely devoid of any qualitative aspect of consciousness interact to produce a world of mindless matter and then subsequently consciousness emerges from absolute mindlessness is incoherent.”

    How so? Again I ask, what symbols, equations or technical terms in quantum physics refer to this “qualitative aspect of consciousness”?

  • NoetPoet Oct 01, 2014

    “Where does the experiential and qualitative nature of consciousness come from.”

    It comes from a complex dynamic life-long interplay of external sensory stimuli and cognitive processing of those stimuli, including the gradual formation of abstract and ever-changeable concepts such as the “self”.

    “They must be at least potential within the quantum fields.”

    They don’t have to be any such thing. You are arguing from incredulity here.

    “And the fact that consciousness collapses the wavefunction indicates that consciousness has a creative aspect.”

    This is NOT a fact at all! It is an assertion, and even if it were true it would necessarily rule out the existence of any sort of universal consciousness.

    “…the universe doesn’t have just a single history, but every possible history, each with its own probability; and our observations of its current state affect its past and determine the different histories of the universe, just as the observations of the particles in the double-slit experiment affect the particles’ past. - The Grand Design p83”

    He’s referring to Feyman’s “sum over histories” formulation of quantum mechanics, not to our conscious observation retrocausally determining the macro-level history of our universe. He is playing fast and loose with his language for the purposes of trying to engage the reader in what is actually a very dry and complex subject.

    “And in the chapter CHOOSING OUR UNIVERSE:
    The idea that the universe does not have a unique observer-independent history might seem to conflict with certain facts that we know. There might be one history in which the moon is made of Roquefort cheese. But we have observed that the moon is not made of cheese, which is bad news for mice. Hence histories in which the moon is made of cheese do not contribute to the current state of our universe, though they might contribute to others. This might sound like science fiction but it isn’t. - The Grand Design p140”

    In other words, he’s making it very clear that we CAN’T consciously choose which history we have.

  • NoetPoet Oct 01, 2014

    “The histories that contribute to the Feynman sum don’t have an independent existence, but depend on what is being measured. We create history by our observations, rather than history creating us.”

    There is no implication here that “measure” and “observation” are meant to be interpreted as subjective *conscious* activities.

    “In the book by Maximilian Schlosshauer - 'Elegance and Enigma: The Quantum Interviews' Zurek states:
    Measurement – perception – is the place where physics gets personal, where our role and our capabilities as observers and agents of change in the universe (and our limitations as entities subject to the laws of physics) are tested - or, rather, where we get put in our place. I believe that quick solutions, and I include both the Copenhagen interpretation and many worlds here, have a tendency to gloss over the real mystery, which is how do we - that is to say, how does life - fit within the quantum universe. I think we have managed to constrain the possible answers (for example, through research on decoherence), but I believe there is more to come. The virtue of the focus on quantum measurement is that it puts issues connected with information and existence at the very center. This is where they should be.’”

    None of that offers any support to the idea that consciousness underpins the quantum world. All he’s saying here is that there is an avenue for future exploration into quantum mechanics.

    “And in 'Decoherence and the Transition from Quantum to Classical Revisited':
    Observers of quantum phenomena can no longer be just passive spectators. Quantum laws make it impossible to gain information without changing the state of the measured object. The dividing line between what is and what is known to be has been blurred forever. While abolishing this boundary, quantum theory has simultaneously deprived the ‘conscious observer’ of a monopoly on acquiring and storing information. Any correlation is a registration; any quantum state is a record of some other quantum state. When correlations are robust enough, or the record is sufficiently indelible, familiar classical “objective reality” emerges from the quantum substrate.”

    Um, yeah, this passage actually supports my argument, not yours. It is clear from that what he means by “passive spectators” is in fact conscious observers; he is saying that in order for an observer to measure a quantum state it has to *actively interfere* with it! This is exactly what a “conscious observer” DOESN’T do.

  • NoetPoet Oct 01, 2014

    “So you are correct in your evaluation of what he says, accept you leave out the parts where Zurek is clearly undermining his position by alluding to the passages where Zurek intimates a deeper role for consciousness. “
    No, you’re just flogging a dead horse and seeing what you want to see.

    “->I have mentioned other physicists who consider consciousness to be important.”

    You’ve offered some baseless assertions from woo-peddlers and misinterpretations of quote-mined words from respected physicists.

    “The only physicist that I know of who has written on this issue who adopts your crude consciousness has nothing to do with it, the material world collapses wavefunctions was Victor Stenger, and his work was seriously flawed, full of misrepresentation and obfuscation.”

    Him and most of the rest of the physics community. What flaws, misrepresentations and obfuscations would those be?

    “Give me a "robust" - whatever that means - definition of 'matter'.”

    Matter is that which has mass (inertia) and takes up space. Now, if you have a better definition then by all means let us know – it might even help you to (finally) offer a robust definition of consciousness!

    “Consciousness is the first order capacity, embodied within sentient beings, and derived from the primordial awareness of the quantum ground, to know and experience.”

    This is a lousy excuse for a definition – it is nothing more than a wibbly way of saying that “consciousness is consciousness”. In fact it is flat-out wrong, because any such “primordial awareness” would preclude the existence of superpositions – a point I raised before but which you have conveniently ignored.
    “It is not a direct production of 'matter', it is a qualitative aspect of what Zurek calls quantum "dream-stuff".”

    More wibble words. How do you know that it’s not a production of matter?

    “->Zurek, like many physicists, is a dismal philosopher and gets himself caught up in ridiculous logical incoherence.”

    No he’s not and he doesn’t. He’s a scientist, and it’s not a scientist’s job to engage in metaphysical speculation.

  • NoetPoet Oct 01, 2014

    “ To say that the "ultimate evidence" indicates the action of our "Elusive consciousness" and then say, admittedly as he does in places, that "that it merely receives evidence of the phenomena i.e. AFTER the fact" is clearly incoherent”

    He said that the ultimate evidence RESIDES in consciousness, NOT that it “indicates the action” of it.

    “especially when he also claims that quantum "dream-stuff" is "epiontic" - epistemology producing ontology.”

    You’re taking his words too literally, especially the “dream-stuff” part.

    “->The fact that there is no actual bit of an equation corresponding to consciousness is irrelevant. It is the fact that when observers make measurements the wavefunction 'collapses' which indicates that consciousness has an impact upon the quantum realm. “

    It’s completely relevant! Here you are talking about how “consciousness” is central to quantum physics and you can’t even point to a symbol, equation or scientific definition that quantum physicists use for consciousness! Even though we’re talking about a branch of science whose native language is mathematics! What a joke. The “observer” is merely that which can perform a measurement; the ability to perform a measurement is not predicated on the presence of “consciousness” (whatever that is).

    “The quantum formulism indicates that when a classical level object interacts with a quantum superposition the entire system then goes into superposition, this chain only ends when consciousness becomes involved.”

    Bollocks. A quantum superposition collapses when it interacts with a macro (classical) system. Classical objects do not undergo superposition. Nor do have any grounds for saying that it ends in consciousness, given that 1) you have not even offered a clear definition of consciousness, 2) consciousness is not a thing put a process with its own causal chain.

    “->When so many experts come to non-vague conclusions - that consciousness is involved in the collapse of the wavefunction - then there is a good case to think there might be something to the claims.”

    What experts? How many experts are there who *don’t* hold such a view? And once again, *what is their evidence*?
    Of course one then needs to examine the evidence. The experimental evidence resides the double slit experiment, which clearly show that ultimately, as Zurek puts it, consciousness is implicated. Today the material world appears to function independently because it is a collective production.

    “->I explain in detail in this article -> http://quantumbuddhism.com/QB-ARTICLES/EmptyEpionticUni.pdf”

    Once again, I can find no mention of a quantum mechanism for spiritual healing in that article. All I see is a lot of highly selective quote-mining and blatant confirmation bias on your part.

  • NoetPoet Oct 01, 2014

    “->No they cannot, there are many examples, testified to by skeptical doctors and nurses, where the patient correctly described events in places outside the operating theatre, some time quite a long way away - how could physical processes in the dead brain cause such knowledge - absurd.”

    Yes they can. For one thing, such *testimonials* relate to incidences which did not occur under anything like controlled laboratory conditions, meaning that there is plenty of scope for contaminating factors like selective memory, subjective validation, Chinese whispers, residual 5-sense information (when the patient was losing and/or regaining consciousness) and clever inference.

    ->Stapp indicates that because the quantum level has an aspect of consciousness it is plausible to consider that the disembodied individual is a subtle quantum structure. Buddhists would refer to this as the "subtle mind" which is associated with rebirth consciousness.

    Stapp *asserts* that the quantum level has an aspect of consciousness. Where is his evidence of this? This claim is no more plausible then saying that smurfs exist as “subtle quantum structures”.

    “->Stephenson’s work is entirely compelling. The fact that there many cases where the child recalling the past life died violently and has birthmarks corresponding to the manner of death is remarkable evidence.”

    By what logic is it entirely compelling?! The guy’s “evidence” is a bunch of *anecdotes* from young children which were relayed through suspect translators (in some cases through the parents as well), plagued by subjective validation and confirmation bias, and collected primarily from subjects who were already predisposed to belief in reincarnation (and therefore more likely to go looking for plausible reincarnation scenarios). He didn’t even come close to demonstrating that his “suggestive” cases couldn’t be explained by other more mundane means or as mere coincidences. Besides all of this, his work offers nothing whatsoever in terms of a plausible connection between quantum physics and reincarnation.

    “->Stapp was a skeptic until he saw the evidence, I don't think he had any hopes.”

    What evidence? The guy’s 86 years old, so he’s on death’s door and he comes from a bygone era when quantum physics was regarded as even more mysterious and magical (even by physicists) than it is today.

    “->Some Buddhists say this, others do not. I think it is mistaken. Re-in-carn-ation just means taking on a meat body again, same thing as rebirth.”

    No it’s not. According to Buddhism, rebirth is a karmic conditioning process which does *not* involve the transmigration of any soul or consciousness from one life to another, while reincarnation involves the transmigration of an eternal self/soul (atman).

  • Anonymous Icon

    Clearmind Oct 01, 2014

    With regard to your discussion of myth 8 ->

    The two central tenets of Mahayaha Buddhism, which are based on the teachings of the Pali Canon - the Mind-dependency of the material world and "emptiness", which is the lack of inherent existence in all phenomena, have been vindicated by quantum theory, these assertions were not vague they were precisely formulated. In fact the Buddhist formulation of emptiness:

    Neither existent, nor nonexistent
    Nor both existent and nonexistent, nor neither.

    corresponds exactly to the existential configuration of the quantum level.

    The Yogachara school describes the operation of the wavefunction in non-mathematical terminology, the Yogachara term for the wavefunction is the alayavijnana - the ground consciousness.

    Karma - Karma is not just a moral law - it is a universal law of cause and effect which applies on all levels - it also operates in the the creation of the apparently material world, the apparently material world is a karmic arising due to repeated perception. This understanding prefigured quantum theory. As Stapp says:

    [Quantum theory] upsets the whole apple cart. It produced a seismic shift in our ideas about both the nature of reality, and the nature of our relationship to the reality that envelops and sustains us. The aspects of nature represented by the theory are converted from elements of being to elements of doing. The effect of this change is profound: it replaces the world of material substances by a world populated by actions, and by potentialities for the occurrence of the various possible observed feedbacks from these actions.

    This is quantum karma!

  • Anonymous Icon

    Clearmind Oct 01, 2014

    "this does not equate to saying that the universe is a simulation made from mind-stuff."

    -> The Yogachara/Chittamatra school id the Mind-Only school - enough said.

    "When did I say anything about “material” stuff?"

    ->In your elucidation of myth 4 you say: "However this “collapse” only requires interaction with other stuff." So what is the nature of this "other stuff" - is it material or immaterial?

    "“as Stapp and Zurek and the rest indicate”
    (Chanting):
    Zurek Zurek,
    Mensky Zurek,
    Mensky Stapp Zurek,
    Penrose Wheeler!"

    ->As I have said if there are majority of experts saying the same or similar things there just might be something in it. When one investigates the work of these, plus some other, scientists, and looks at the evidence they present one finds that consciousness is a creative force at the quantum level. Sarcasm does not constitute a rebuttal.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Clearmind Oct 01, 2014

    "However, to make the assertion, as Schrodinger, Planck, Heisenberg, Wheeler, Bohm, Zurek, Penrose, Mensky, Linde, Bell, Stapp, Goswami, Rosenblum, Kuttner - What exactly did each of these people say?"

    ->

    Schrodinger - Mind has created the world out of its own stuff.

    Planck - I regard consciousness as fundamental. ... All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force... We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter.

    Heisenberg - The observation itself changes the probability function discontinuously; it selects of all possible events the actual one that has taken place...

    Wheeler - Directly opposite to the concept of universe as machine built on law is the vision of a world self-synthesized. On this view, the notes struck out on a piano by the observer participants of all times and all places, bits though they are in and by themselves, constitute the great wide world of space and time and things.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Clearmind Oct 01, 2014

    Bohm - … consciousness has to be understood in terms of an order that is closer to the implicate than it is to the explicate. [the 'implicate' is Bohm's term for the quantum level].

    Zurek - the ultimate evidence for the choice of one alternative resides in our ellusive “consciousness” (see below for full elucidation).

    Penrose - As far as I can make out, the only interpretations that do not necessarily depend upon some notion of 'conscious observer' … require some fundamental change in the rules of quantum mechanics…

    Mensky - Telepathy arises as an effect of quantum non-locality. The necessary condition for this is the purely quantum regime, i.e. quantum coherence, absence of decoherence. This condition is met not in consciousness, but in super-consciousness which is nothing else as the state of the quantum world as a whole…

    Linde - Thus we see that without introducing an observer, we have a dead universe, which does not evolve in time. This example demonstrates an unusually important role played by the concept of an observer in quantum cosmology. John Wheeler underscored the complexity of the situation, replacing the word observer by the word participant, and introducing such terms as a ‘self-observing universe.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Clearmind Oct 01, 2014

    Bell - Suppose for example that quantum mechanics were found to resist precise formulation. Suppose that when formulation beyond FAPP was attempted, we find an unmovable finger obstinately pointing outside the subject, to the mind of the observor, to the Hindu scriptures, to God, or even only Gravitation? Would that not be very, very interesting? [Bell also drew a diagram showing how the quantum boundary can be considered to move successively from the ‘outside’ world into the brain and then the mind of the observer.]

    Stapp - There is, in fact, in the quantum universe no natural place for matter. This conclusion, curiously, is the exact reverse of the circumstances that in the classical physical universe there was no natural place for mind.

    Goswami - In quantum physics, objects are depicted as possibilities (a possibility wave); yet when an observer observes, the possibilities collapse into an actuality (the wave collapses into particle, for example). This is the observer effect.

    Rosenblum and Kuttner - Physics had encountered consciousness but did not realise it ... The object was not there before you found it there. Your happening to find it there caused it to be there.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Clearmind Sep 30, 2014

    AAAhhhhrrrrrrrrr......

    NoetPoet has prompted to see the error of my ways on a point of Buddhist doctrine.

    "shouldn’t you be advocating for rebirth rather than reincarnation?"

    He/she is right - rein-carn-ation means to take on another meat body. However more advanced adepts will take rebirth in fine immaterial levels, and hell-beings will be in dream-state immaterial levels, therefore the term 'rebirth' is more appropriate......

  • Anonymous Icon

    Clearmind Sep 30, 2014

    "Darwin’s theory of evolution is about as far from discredited as a scientific theory can possibly be."

    -> Absolute drivel!

    Thus James A. Shapiro, professor of Microbiology at the University of Chicago, in his important book Evolution: A View from the 21st Century writes that:

    As many professional and popular press articles attest, the accidental, stochastic nature of mutations is still the prevailing and widely accepted wisdom … In the context of earlier ideological debates about evolution, this insistence on randomness and accident is not surprising. It springs from a determination in the 19th and 20th Centuries by biologists to reject the role of a supernatural agent in religious accounts of how diverse living organisms originated. … the continued insistence on the random nature of genetic change by evolutionists should be surprising for one simple reason: empirical studies of the mutational process have inevitably discovered patterns, environmental influences, and specific biological activities at the roots of novel genetic structures and altered DNA sequences. The perceived need to reject supernatural intervention unfortunately led the pioneers of evolutionary theory to erect an a priori philosophical distinction between “blind” processes of hereditary variation and all other processes.

    Evolutionary-developmental biology, epigenetics and other recent discoveries (such as quantum theory) indicate that materialist Darwinian dogma is nonsense. The fact that no one has ever seen a species transform into another species should have been a warning. The interpretation put on the fossil record is completely concocted and worthless.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Clearmind Sep 30, 2014

    "Furthermore, Mensky indicates a quantum-consciousness 'look-ahead' mechanism which enables sentient beings to be able, within limits, to perceive future potentialities and thereby alter their own quantum potentialities in order to steer, so to speak, in the direction of more favourable future scenarios.”

    What evidence does he have for this fantastic claim?"

    I am not sure exactly how Mensky came to this conclusion but it is how photosynthesis works! - A quantum search algorithm involves a a quantum superposition which explores all possible routes which then collapses into the most efficient.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Clearmind Sep 30, 2014

    "Show me the original paper where he says this. Where? What were his exact words?"

    -> See previous post ... I admit that I was wrong to use the word "clearly" as I did. What I should have said is that it is clear that Zurek's position requires the quantum effectiveness of consciousness, and this is implied by his own words, even though he is trying to wriggle out of this conclusion.

    "That paper merely says that quantum vibrations have been discovered in microtubules, it doesn’t demonstrate such vibrations are actually involved in the neurological activity which gives rise to consciousness."

    Consciousness collapses quantum wavefunctions = consciousness effective at quantum level + quantum vibrations have been discovered in microtubules = plausible that consciousness connected with quantum vibrations

    "Of course the quantum field is “immaterial”, because materiality is an emergent property of quantum interactions. That does NOT therefore mean that quantum fields are fundamentally connected to consciousness in any way. What we call consciousness emerges from the macro material world, which in turn emerges from the quantum world. To say that consciousness is “involved” with the quantum realm makes about as much sense as saying that iPhones are “involved” in the creation of natural silica deposits."

    To say that quantum fields which are entirely devoid of any qualitative aspect of consciousness interact to produce a world of mindless matter and then subsequently consciousness emerges from absolute mindlessness is incoherent. Where does the experiential and qualitative nature of consciousness come from. They must be at least potential within the quantum fields. And the fact that consciousness collapses the wavefunction indicates that consciousness has a creative aspect.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Clearmind Sep 30, 2014


    "I would be *very* intrigued to know where physicists like Mlondinow and Hawking have advocated for the idea that consciousness underlies the macro world."

    ->

    …the universe doesn’t have just a single history, but every possible history, each with its own probability; and our observations of its current state affect its past and determine the different histories of the universe, just as the observations of the particles in the double-slit experiment affect the particles’ past. - The Grand Design p83

    And in the chapter CHOOSING OUR UNIVERSE:

    The idea that the universe does not have a unique observer-independent history might seem to conflict with certain facts that we know. There might be one history in which the moon is made of Roquefort cheese. But we have observed that the moon is not made of cheese, which is bad news for mice. Hence histories in which the moon is made of cheese do not contribute to the current state of our universe, though they might contribute to others. This might sound like science fiction but it isn’t. - The Grand Design p140

    The histories that contribute to the Feynman sum don’t have an independent existence, but depend on what is being measured. We create history by our observations, rather than history creating us.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Clearmind Sep 30, 2014

    "And which paper would that be?"

    In the book by Maximilian Schlosshauer - 'Elegance and Enigma: The Quantum Interviews' Zurek states:

    Measurement – perception – is the place where physics gets personal, where our role and our capabilities as observers and agents of change in the universe (and our limitations as entities subject to the laws of physics) are tested - or, rather, where we get put in our place. I believe that quick solutions, and I include both the Copenhagen interpretation and many worlds here, have a tendency to gloss over the real mystery, which is how do we - that is to say, how does life - fit within the quantum universe. I think we have managed to constrain the possible answers (for example, through research on decoherence), but I believe there is more to come. The virtue of the focus on quantum measurement is that it puts issues connected with information and existence at the very center. This is where they should be.’

    And in 'Decoherence and the Transition from Quantum to Classical Revisited':

    Observers of quantum phenomena can no longer be just passive spectators. Quantum laws make it impossible to gain information without changing the state of the measured object. The dividing line between what is and what is known to be has been blurred forever. While abolishing this boundary, quantum theory has simultaneously deprived the ‘conscious observer’ of a monopoly on acquiring and storing information. Any correlation is a registration; any quantum state is a record of some other quantum state. When correlations are robust enough, or the record is sufficiently indelible, familiar classical “objective reality” emerges from the quantum substrate.

    I admit that Zurek is clearly hedging his bets or he is prevaricating, because he wants to avoid saying consciousness is significantly involved - as I have said he is trying to avoid this, even though he says "Observers of quantum phenomena can no longer be just passive spectators." etc, etc. Because of this one have to read what he is saying carefully to avoid his obfuscation. What his viewpoint comes down to is that there is a kind of quantum advertising billboard for the material world which has its ultimate source in consciousness. But he does not want to emphasize the latter part so he pretends that his advertising billbord springs into existence on its own accord. So you are correct in your evaluation of what he says, accept you leave out the parts where Zurek is clearly undermining his position by alluding to the passages where Zurek intimates a deeper role for consciousness.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Clearmind Sep 30, 2014

    "…anyone else? There are a lot more than 3 physicists in the world, and Penrose isn’t exactly the most widely embraced individual in the physics community."

    ->I have mentioned other physicists who consider consciousness to be important. The only physicist that I know of who has written on this issue who adopts your crude consciousness has nothing to do with it, the material world collapses wavefunctions was Victor Stenger, and his work was seriously flawed, full of misrepresentation and obfuscation.

    “If the "ultimate evidence", and he does agree on this, implicates consciousness then consciousness is implicated.”

    "Even though we still don’t even have a robust definition of consciousness!"

    Give me a "robust" - whatever that means - definition of 'matter'.

    Consciousness is the first order capacity, embodied within sentient beings, and derived from the primordial awareness of the quantum ground, to know and experience. It is not a direct production of 'matter', it is a qualitative aspect of what Zurek calls quantum "dream-stuff".

    "He also makes it quite clear that “consciousness” plays no part in the quantum phenomena themselves,"

    ->Zurek, like many physicists, is a dismal philosopher and gets himself caught up in ridiculous logical incoherence. To say that the "ultimate evidence" indicates the action of our "Elusive consciousness" and then say, admittedly as he does in places, that "that it merely receives evidence of the phenomena i.e. AFTER the fact" is clearly incoherent, especially when he also claims that quantum "dream-stuff" is "epiontic" - epistemology producing ontology.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Clearmind Sep 30, 2014

    "Show me the symbol and formula/s that quantum physicists use to denote and describe consciousness."

    ->The fact that there is no actual bit of an equation corresponding to consciousness is irrelevant. It is the fact that when observers make measurements the wavefunction 'collapses' which indicates that consciousness has an impact upon the quantum realm. The quantum formulism indicates that when a classical level object interacts with a quantum superposition the entire system then goes into superposition, this chain only ends when consciousness becomes involved.

    "Citing vague claims from experts with no rational argument or experimental evidence to back up those claims IS in fact argument from authority."

    ->When so many experts come to non-vague conclusions - that consciousness is involved in the collapse of the wavefunction - then there is a good case to think there might be something to the claims. Of course one then needs to examine the evidence. The experimental evidence resides the double slit experiment, which clearly show that ultimately, as Zurek puts it, consciousness is implicated. Today the material world appears to function independently because it is a collective production.

    "Where have you discussed plausible mechanisms?"

    ->I explain in detail in this article -> http://quantumbuddhism.com/QB-ARTICLES/EmptyEpionticUni.pdf

  • Anonymous Icon

    Clearmind Sep 30, 2014

    "Out of body experiences can be adequately explained by manipulations to the parts of the brain involved in proprioception and disruptions in the brain’s memory formation processes."

    ->No they cannot, there are many examples, testified to by skeptical doctors and nurses, where the patient correctly described events in places outside the operating theatre, some time quite a long way away - how could physical processes in the dead brain cause such knowledge - absurd.

    "there is nothing in his research which indicates that it quantum mechanisms would have anything to do with it."

    ->Stapp indicates that because the quantum level has an aspect of consciousness it is plausible to consider that the disembodied individual is a subtle quantum structure. Buddhists would refer to this as the "subtle mind" which is associated with rebirth consciousness.

    "Stephenson’s collection of testimonials is not compelling evidence for reincarnation, and even if it were there is nothing in his research which indicates that it quantum mechanisms would have anything to do with it."

    ->Stephenson’s work is entirely compelling. The fact that there many cases where the child recalling the past life died violently and has birthmarks corresponding to the manner of death is remarkable evidence.

    "You and Stapp are just pinning your afterlife hopes on the cutting edge of science"

    ->Stapp was a skeptic until he saw the evidence, I don't think he had any hopes. I do not have any hopes, given my lifestyle I will probably end up in the hell realms! Furthermore, according to Buddhism death and the intermediate state are not pleasant for most people.

    "shouldn’t you be advocating for rebirth rather than reincarnation?"

    ->Some Buddhists say this, others do not. I think it is mistaken. Re-in-carn-ation just means taking on a meat body again, same thing as rebirth.

  • NoetPoet Sep 30, 2014

    “Mystical teachings were concealed because they were unorthodox or kept hidden from those not initiated.”

    In other words, mystical teachings were concealed because they were concealed. Whatever….

    “Mensky identifies a transcendent sphere of universal Mind as extending across all the worlds within Everett's many-worlds.”

    No, “identifies” suggest that he’s actually found it through empirical investigation. What Mensky’s doing here is *asserting* such a sphere. The many-worlds interpretation of quantum physics is highly speculative and very much disputed amongst physicists, primarily because it is very difficult if not impossible to test. Moreover, the many-worlds interpretation does not allow for any sort of interaction between universes once they have already split off from each other.

    “ This is karma, intentional actions and cultivated mind-states in any particular lifetime will leave traces within a subtle quantum consciousness or 'soul', and this subtle rebirth consciousness will influence which potentialities are activated within the Alterverse in future lifetimes.”

    Sheer speculation; all you have done here is taken old mystical ideas and dressed them up in modern (pseudo)scientific drag.

    “Furthermore, Mensky indicates a quantum-consciousness 'look-ahead' mechanism which enables sentient beings to be able, within limits, to perceive future potentialities and thereby alter their own quantum potentialities in order to steer, so to speak, in the direction of more favourable future scenarios.”

    What evidence does he have for this fantastic claim?

    “This mechanism of quantum consciousness Mensky calls “postcorrection.” The idea is that when the focused individuated consciousness is “turned off” or reduced then the individuated mind has access to the transcended dimension of the entire Alterverse and it can either just rest itself in the transcendent sphere or 'look-ahead' within the realms of quantum potentialities.”

    What evidence does he have for this fantastic claim?

    “It is this mechanism which underlies mystical states, paranormal phenomenon, and seeming “miracles” such as spiritual healing.”

    No it’s not. The mechanisms underlying such things can be found in psychology, neurology and social interaction dynamics.

    “Mensky also indicates that 1) this quantum-consciousness 'look -ahead' mechanism operates within evolution, this mechanism, a quantum-consciousness Life-Principle”

    What evidence does he have for this fantastic claim?

    “Replaces the discredited Darwinian mechanism”

    Darwin’s theory of evolution is about as far from discredited as a scientific theory can possibly be.

  • NoetPoet Sep 30, 2014

    “the final goal of this universal quantum-consciousness 'look-ahead' mechanism is enlightenment.”

    Define “enlightenment”. Oh, and while you’re at it, where is the evidence for this fantastic claim?

    “However, to make the assertion, as Schrodinger, Planck, Heisenberg, Wheeler, Bohm, Zurek, Penrose, Mensky, Linde, Bell, Stapp, Goswami, Rosenblum, Kuttner and others did or do in various formulations, that the chain ends in the consciousness of sentient beings”

    What exactly did each of these people say, and in what context? I’d be very interested to know if you’ve been as >ahem< ‘liberal’ with your interpretation of their words as you were with Zurek’s below.

    “It is simply evaluating the evidence without prejudice.”

    And where is the experimental evidence that “consciousness” is at the end of this chain? It is nothing more than unfalsifiable metaphysical assertion.

    “You might not have a definition of consciousness, but I do, derived from Buddhism and quantum theory - especially Michael Mensky, Wheeler, Goswami and Stapp.”

    Oh this ought to be good. By the way, repeating mantras composed of people’s names might impress in Buddhist circles, but it doesn’t cut it in the world of science.

    “Individuated consciousness is the capacity within sentient beings to know and be aware, the process of knowing,”

    I asked for a *definition* of consciousness, not a list of synonyms. All you’re telling us here is that consciousness is consciousness.

    “as Stapp and Zurek and the rest indicate”
    (Chanting):
    Zurek Zurek,
    Mensky Zurek,
    Mensky Stapp Zurek,
    Penrose Wheeler!

    “has a role in producing the appearance of the material world.”

    What role?

    “Zurek indicates that consciousnesss is "epiontic" which means the act of knowing produces ontology. Individuated consciousness is derived from the primordial awareness which is internal to quantum ground of reality.”

    Baseless assertionist word-salad.

    “->No, it is not an organic sentient being.”

    Why should being organic make any difference? What do you mean by “sentient”? And are you suggesting that material composition (i.e. being “organic”) has a bearing on whether or not consciousness is present?!

  • NoetPoet Sep 30, 2014

    “->This is exactly what Buddhism means when it uses the term 'illusion' in this context.”

    And this does not equate to saying that the universe is a simulation made from mind-stuff.

    “->There was no material stuff to do any collapsing as you claim,”

    When did I say anything about “material” stuff?

    “i.e. you claim that the already existing material world collapses wavefunctions without the necessity of observers. At the moment of the big bang there was only an immaterial quantum field of potentiality.”

    As I said, the trigger for the Big Bang is currently unknown to science. But saying “I don’t know (what triggered the Big Bang), therefore consciousness” is no more justifiable a position than saying “I don’t know, therefore Santa” or “I don’t know, therefore pink unicorns”.

    “As physicist Lisa Randall states:

    Quantum field theory, the tool with which we study particles, is based upon eternal, omnipresent objects that can create and destroy those particles. These objects are the “fields” of quantum field theory. … quantum fields are objects that permeate spacetime … they create or absorb elementary particles … particles can be produced or destroyed anywhere at any time.”
    Eternal omnipresent objects eh? So tell me, how does that square with the Buddhist doctrines of selflessness and impermanence? And how does this have anything to do with consciousness?

    “And Vlatko Vedral:
    The Universe starts empty but potentially with a huge amount of information. The first key event is the first act of symmetry breaking…”

    What does this have to do with consciousness?

    “Hawking tells us that we are the result of a "quantum fluctuation" within the immaterial quantum field, and he also clearly indicates that a collective consciousness is involved as does Wheeler”

    Where do Hawking and Wheeler say this? Of course the quantum field is “immaterial”, because materiality is an emergent property of quantum interactions. That does NOT therefore mean that quantum fields are fundamentally connected to consciousness in any way. What we call consciousness emerges from the macro material world, which in turn emerges from the quantum world. To say that consciousness is “involved” with the quantum realm makes about as much sense as saying that iPhones are “involved” in the creation of natural silica deposits.

  • NoetPoet Sep 30, 2014

    “every quantum system has both an ‘inside’ and an ‘outside’, and that consciousness both in humans as well as in other sentient beings is identical to the inner experience of some quantum system. A quantum system’s outside behavior is described by quantum theory, it’s inside experience is the subject matter of a new ‘inner physics’…”

    Spare me the unsubstantiated word-salad.

    “This is in line with Mensky, Stapp, Goswami, Zurek and others.”

    Goswami is a known woo-peddler. As for the others, where and how exactly do they say this?

    “According to the 'quantum-consciousness' perspective, for want of a better word (Mensky, Stapp, Wheeler, Goswami etc, ect,) consciousness is an internal knowing aspect of quantum reality and the epiontic act of 'knowing' has a role in creating the appearance of the material world.”

    Not only is this nothing more than baseless metaphysical assertion, it’s not even intelligible! You’re basically using a whole lot of wibble-words to say that “consciousness is consciousness”.

    “->As all particles derive form the big bang and constantly emerge from quantum fields they are all ultimately entangled.”

    No they’re not. As I said physicists have to go to great lengths to entangle particles in carefully controlled laboratory conditions, and even then this entanglement only lasts for a fraction of a second because of the quantum decoherence that results from interaction with the rest of the environment.

  • NoetPoet Sep 30, 2014

    “This is an odd way to put it, we do not require neurons to "read" anything. We require demonstration of plausible quantum effects in neurons -
    see Discovery of quantum vibrations in 'microtubules' corroborates theory of consciousness -
    http://phys.org/news/2014-01-discovery-quantum-vibrations-microtubules-corroborates.html”

    The neurons have to be able to utilise quantum states in some way in order to make use of them, that’s what I meant by “read”. That paper merely says that quantum vibrations have been discovered in microtubules, it doesn’t demonstrate such vibrations are actually involved in the neurological activity which gives rise to consciousness.

    “->This simply not true. As philosopher E. J. Lowe states: "Reductive physicalism, far from being equipped to solve the so-called 'easy' problems of consciousness, has in fact nothing very useful to say about any aspect of consciousness."”

    When did I say anything about physicalism? Lowe is full of crap and staggeringly ignorant of the realities of neuroscience if he thinks that. But then again he is a philosopher so I’m not altogether surprised. By the way, when did he say this?

    “ And as E. F. Kelly says of the claims of neuroscience:”

    Who??

    “It is now evident, for example, that chess playing computer programs represent progress towards real intelligence in roughly the same sense that climbing a tree represents progress towards the moon."

    Since when do chess playing computer programs constitute a major component of neurology? Is this Kelly person talking about the same chess playing program that beat a world chess-playing champion?

    “The claims of modern neuroscience are wildly exaggerated.”

    The only wildly exaggerated claims here are the ones about Eastern mysticism and paranormal phenomena having anything to do with quantum physics.

    “->Again, resorting to insults indicates a lack of civility and inability to present clear evidence and logical reasoning. If you read what I said with understanding it should have been clear that I had read your claims. I think they are incorrect and I am indicating why.”

    What insults? You may have read the opening post, but it’s pretty clear that you haven’t read what I’ve actually written about each of these myths in follow-up posts below.

    “Zurek actually uses the term 'elusive' - so he is not employing a play on words.”

    Show me the original paper where he says this.

    “So Zurek clearly means that that the ultimate quantum evidence requires us to implicate consciousness, he has implied this elsewhere.”

    Where? What were his exact words?

  • NoetPoet Sep 30, 2014

    “Most physicists think he does not succeed completely (Penrose, Zeh, Joos ...). “

    …anyone else? There are a lot more than 3 physicists in the world, and Penrose isn’t exactly the most widely embraced individual in the physics community.

    “->Yes Zurek is attempting to avoid the dependency of the world on consciousness. But he fails.”

    No he doesn’t.

    “If the "ultimate evidence", and he does agree on this, implicates consciousness then consciousness is implicated.”

    Even though we still don’t even have a robust definition of consciousness! What Zurek says is that the ultimate evidence resides in our “illusive ‘consciousness’” (and he puts quotation marks around “consciousness”). He also makes it quite clear that “consciousness” plays no part in the quantum phenomena themselves, that it merely receives evidence of the phenomena i.e. AFTER the fact.

    “The reason that the macro world operates as if it were independent is because it is a collective production - as indicated by Wheeler, Hawking and Mlodinow, Stapp etc. etc. - and Buddhist metaphysics.”

    It is a collective production of subatomic phenomena, not of “consciousness” (for which, again, you have yet to offer an intelligible definition). I would be *very* intrigued to know where physicists like Mlondinow and Hawking have advocated for the idea that consciousness underlies the macro world.

    “ If you go the Zurek's original papers and examine them carefully it is apparent that his own 'quantum Darwinism' viewpoint implies a collective production.”

    And which paper would that be?

    “->Of course I know it was a thought experiment on the part of Schroedinger, he was indicating to Einstein I think that there was a mismatch between quantum functioning and macro functioning. This can now be explained by the fact that the macro world is a collective production.”

    Yes, a collective production of subatomic quantum phenomena, *not* of sentient minds.

    “->Why you feel the need to be so aggressive when I agree with you to some degree is beyond me. My assertion is not vague as you say I also think the law of attraction is overstated. If id does exist, and I have not investigated this because it seems slightly dubious, it could have an explanation in quantum entanglement.”

    Considering that you are a promoter of Buddhism and idealism, I find it ironic that you wouldn’t regard this supposed aggression as being all in your mind ;-) I’m not arguing that the Law of Attraction is an exaggeration – it most certainly is – rather I’m disputing your assertion that it would have anything to do with quantum physics. I have already explained below how the “Law of Attraction” can work without any need to resort to quantum mechanisms. The Law of Attraction, such as it is, has no more to do with quantum entanglement than it does with Newton’s law of universal gravitation.

  • NoetPoet Sep 30, 2014

    “I agree with Stapp that quantum theory allows the possibility of a quantum 'soul' surviving death. I did not say it proved it. However given the dramatic evidence for out-of-body experiences in patients who have died and then return to their body, and also the wealth evidence for reincarnation collected by Stephenson, this is interesting.”

    Out of body experiences can be adequately explained by manipulations to the parts of the brain involved in proprioception and disruptions in the brain’s memory formation processes. Stephenson’s collection of testimonials is not compelling evidence for reincarnation, and even if it were there is nothing in his research which indicates that it quantum mechanisms would have anything to do with it. You and Stapp are just pinning your afterlife hopes on the cutting edge of science like so many woo advocates before you, because that’s where the knowledge gaps are. By the way, as a promoter of Buddhism shouldn’t you be advocating for rebirth rather than reincarnation?

    “His original assertion is incorrect, not because he knows nothing about Buddhist metaphysics, but because he rejects the idea that consciousness is implicated my quantum theory.”

    Because it ISN’T implicated by quantum theory! Show me the symbol and formula/s that quantum physicists use to denote and describe consciousness.

    “->Again mild abuse. I have indicated the details in my books and articles, furthermore my posts have clearly alluded to the central point that it cannot be the case that material objects collapse wavefunctions without the presence of consciousness. Citing experts in the field is not "Arguing from Authority", it is indicating that others who are expert in the field have come to a similar conclusion.”

    It’s not abuse; it’s a completely valid question. If you have indicated the details in your books and articles, then it shouldn’t be too much trouble for you to recapitulate them here. Citing vague claims from experts with no rational argument or experimental evidence to back up those claims IS in fact argument from authority. You seem to think that others should be impressed by some vague unsupported assertion simply because it came from a physicist.

    “Resorting to the claim that someone is "Arguing from Authority" is often a method of avoiding presenting a reasoned argument. But as I have said there is nothing wrong in indicating others have come to the same conclusions.”

    How can I present a reasoned argument if all you present are vague assertions from others?

    “->Where have you discussed plausible mechanisms? It is Mensky who suggests a quantum mechanism.”

    I have discussed them further down the page in my discussion of Myth 10. Where does Mensky suggest a quantum mechanism, and what exactly is it? I can’t find any reference to Mensky in that paper.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Clearmind Sep 29, 2014

    * it is a misuse of the term 'compute' - what is the answer 42? *

    Actually I think this is too flippant, after all computers do compute simulations. But they do not compute simulations which are sentient and contain conscious beings. The use of the term 'compute' is mistaken because mindless computations cannot create sentient entities.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Clearmind Sep 29, 2014

    dustproduction->

    * Are we discussion facts or theories?
    This remains me of the dispute between Sheldon and Leslie.*

    String theory provides no way of validating itself, it is speculative mathematics. I do not know whether loop-quantum-gravity provides a way of experimental confirmation, it probably has a better chance than string theory, but I do not know about that particular field. However the fact of the entanglement of consciousness and the quantum realm has been demonstrated over and over again in double slit experiemnts of various types. This is why Shroedinger said:

    “mind has erected the objective outside world … out of its own stuff.”

    And Planck:

    "I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness."

    And Wheeler:

    The Question is what is the Question?
    Is it all a Magic Show?
    Is Reality an Illusion?
    What is the framework of the Machine?
    Darwin’s Puzzle: Natural Selection?
    Where does Space-Time come from?
    Is there any answer except that it comes from consciousness?

  • Anonymous Icon

    Clearmind Sep 29, 2014

    * What about Seth Lloyd's quantum computing universe? *

    Lloyd avoids referring to consciousness by choosing the way he describes the mechanism of the 'collapse of the wavefunction', he calls it "self-registration". But this is just a piece of avoidance and deception, we must ask what is responsible for this self-registration. All quantum experiments indicate that consciousness is involved in some way, therefore consciousness - the capacity for knowing and awareness - must be the source of the acts of self-registration. Lloyd of course does not want to say this. Why? 1) he is the intellectual camp which is in essence antagonistic to spiritual worldviews, and 2) it is academically advantageous to propose a new groovy idea - even if it is an old idea dressed up, it gets one's name known. The notion that the universe 'computes itself' is unacceptable, it is a misuse of the term 'compute' - what is the answer 42?

  • Anonymous Icon

    monendra_grover Sep 29, 2014

    What about Seth Lloyd's quantum computing universe?

  • Anonymous Icon

    Clearmind Sep 29, 2014

    "More Argument from (dubious) Authority; how does Mensky rationalise that quantum theory implies “no contradiction between science and mysticism”? It is interesting to note though that the term “mysticism” is derived from a Greek term meaning “I conceal”, while “science” derives from a Latin term meaning “knowledge”. These are hardly what I would call compatible ideas…"

    The word 'scruple' originally meant a stone lodged in a shoe. Words change there meanings. However, of course there will be a continuum in the change of meaning. Accrding to Wiki - Derived from the Greek μυω, meaning "to conceal",it referred to the biblical, the liturgical and the spiritual or contemplative dimensions in early and medieval Christianity, and became associated with "extraordinary experiences and states of mind" in the early modern period.

    Mystical teachings were concealed because they were unorthodox or kept hidden from those not initiated.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Clearmind Sep 29, 2014

    Mensky identifies a transcendent sphere of universal Mind as extending across all the worlds within Everett's many-worlds. For Mensky this multiverse is termed the 'Alterverse', the infinite scope of all possible alternative possible worlds. Any individuated mind associated with a sentient being will occupy only one of these worlds depending on their previous actions and mind-states. This is karma, intentional actions and cultivated mind-states in any particular lifetime will leave traces within a subtle quantum consciousness or 'soul', and this subtle rebirth consciousness will influence which potentialities are activated within the Alterverse in future lifetimes.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Clearmind Sep 29, 2014

    Furthermore, Mensky indicates a quantum-consciousness 'look-ahead' mechanism which enables sentient beings to be able, within limits, to perceive future potentialities and thereby alter their own quantum potentialities in order to steer, so to speak, in the direction of more favourable future scenarios. This mechanism of quantum consciousness Mensky calls “postcorrection.” The idea is that when the focused individuated consciousness is “turned off” or reduced then the individuated mind has access to the transcended dimension of the entire Alterverse and it can either just rest itself in the transcendent sphere or 'look-ahead' within the realms of quantum potentialities. It is this mechanism which underlies mystical states, paranormal phenomenon, and seeming “miracles” such as spiritual healing. Mensky also indicates that 1) this quantum-consciousness 'look -ahead' mechanism operates within evolution, this mechanism, a quantum-consciousness Life-Principle, replaces the discredited Darwinian mechanism, and 2) the final goal of this universal quantum-consciousness 'look-ahead' mechanism is enlightenment.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Clearmind Sep 29, 2014

    "To make such an assertion requires an enormous amount of narcissism, as well as a denial of the fact that the consciousness of human observers is itself a product of a long and complex chain of processes. It also completely overlooks the fact that we don’t even have a clear definition of “consciousness”."

    ->Penrose may be narcissistic, I cannot know, I do not know him, but he does not seem to be in his lectures. However, to make the assertion, as Schrodinger, Planck, Heisenberg, Wheeler, Bohm, Zurek, Penrose, Mensky, Linde, Bell, Stapp, Goswami, Rosenblum, Kuttner and others did or do in various formulations, that the chain ends in the consciousness of sentient beings is not narcissistic, it is simply evaluating the evidence without prejudice. You might not have a definition of consciousness, but I do, derived from Buddhism and quantum theory - especially Michael Mensky, Wheeler, Goswami and Stapp. Individuated consciousness is the capacity within sentient beings to know and be aware, the process of knowing, as Stapp and Zurek and the rest indicate, has a role in producing the appearance of the material world. Zurek indicates that consciousnesss is "epiontic" which means the act of knowing produces ontology. Individuated consciousness is derived from the primordial awareness which is internal to quantum ground of reality.

    "Does a computer qualify as a sentient being? Why/why not?"

    ->No, it is not an organic sentient being.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Clearmind Sep 29, 2014

    "Saying that the material world is an illusion simply means that the material world is not what it initially appears to be..."

    ->This is exactly what Buddhism means when it uses the term 'illusion' in this context.

    "There *was* stuff around at the moment of the Big Bang, it was just condensed into a singularity."

    ->There was no material stuff to do any collapsing as you claim, i.e. you claim that the already existing material world collapses wavefunctions without the necessity of observers. At the moment of the big bang there was only an immaterial quantum field of potentiality. As physicist Lisa Randall states:

    Quantum field theory, the tool with which we study particles, is based upon eternal, omnipresent objects that can create and destroy those particles. These objects are the “fields” of quantum field theory. … quantum fields are objects that permeate spacetime … they create or absorb elementary particles … particles can be produced or destroyed anywhere at any time.

    And Vlatko Vedral:

    The Universe starts empty but potentially with a huge amount of information. The first key event is the first act of symmetry breaking…

    Hawking tells us that we are the result of a "quantum fluctuation" within the immaterial quantum field, and he also clearly indicates that a collective consciousness is involved as does Wheeler and, and ....

  • Anonymous Icon

    Clearmind Sep 29, 2014

    "a coherent definition of “consciousness” hasn’t even been established"

    ->see above and according to Nick Herbert:

    every quantum system has both an ‘inside’ and an ‘outside’, and that consciousness both in humans as well as in other sentient beings is identical to the inner experience of some quantum system. A quantum system’s outside behavior is described by quantum theory, it’s inside experience is the subject matter of a new ‘inner physics’…

    This is in line with Mensky, Stapp, Goswami, Zurek and others. The point is that it is only committed materialists who do not know what consciousness is. According to the 'quantum-consciousness' perspective, for want of a better word (Mensky, Stapp, Wheeler, Goswami etc, ect,) consciousness is an internal knowing aspect of quantum reality and the epiontic act of 'knowing' has a role in creating the appearance of the material world.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Clearmind Sep 29, 2014


    "Oh look, I’ve managed to attract the attention of a quantum woo peddler!"

    ->Resorting to insults indicates a lack of civility and inability to present clear evidence and logical reasoning.

    "to say nothing of sheer ignorance on the subject"

    ->As I said, resorting to insults indicates a lack of civility and inability to present clear evidence and logical reasoning. If you read what I actually posted I in no way suggested that the experiment did not require "extraordinary lengths" to demonstrate quantum phenomena at the macro level. I simply indicated that it had been done. Nothing more.

    "In order for quantum entanglement to occur, the subatomic particles involved must have *physically interacted* in some way"

    ->As all particles derive form the big bang and constantly emerge from quantum fields they are all ultimately entangled.

    "there is zero evidence that neurons can in any way “read” the quantum states of subatomic particles"

    This is an odd way to put it, we do not require neurons to "read" anything. We require demonstration of plausible quantum effects in neurons -
    see Discovery of quantum vibrations in 'microtubules' corroborates theory of consciousness -
    http://phys.org/news/2014-01-discovery-quantum-vibrations-microtubules-corroborates.html

  • Anonymous Icon

    Clearmind Sep 29, 2014

    "neuroscience is doing a very good job of explaining..."

    ->This simply not true. As philosopher E. J. Lowe states: "Reductive physicalism, far from being equipped to solve the so-called 'easy' problems of consciousness, has in fact nothing very useful to say about any aspect of consciousness." And as E. F. Kelly says of the claims of neuroscience:
    "This serene confidence seems to us unwarranted. It is now evident, for example, that chess playing computer programs represent progress towards real intelligence in roughly the same sense that climbing a tree represents progress towards the moon." The claims of modern neuroscience are wildly exaggerated.

    "It might be worthwhile to actually *read* what I said about these myths"

    ->Again, resorting to insults indicates a lack of civility and inability to present clear evidence and logical reasoning. If you read what I said with understanding it should have been clear that I had read your claims. I think they are incorrect and I am indicating why.

    "Notice that Zurek says that the *evidence* for the choice resides in consciousness, NOT the choice itself. ....."

    ->It is you that is mangling meanings not me, although I must apologise for writing 'illusive' Zurek actually uses the term 'elusive' - so he is not employing a play on words. If you were familiar with the entire debate you would know that Zurek was a student of Wheeler's and was trying to defuse Wheeler's final conclusion that consciousness does 'choose' which alternatives to bring into being. So Zurek clearly means that that the ultimate quantum evidence requires us to implicate consciousness, he has implied this elsewhere. What Zurek sets out to do is eliminate the role of consciousness at the macro level. Most physicists think he does not succeed completely (Penrose, Zeh, Joos ...). It is true that Zurek does think consciousness is 'elusive' - does not mean he is right about this - the notion that consciousness is 'elusive' is a materialist myth - I have explained consciousness above.

    "I don’t think I could put it any clearer than Zurek has: he is explicitly saying that the quantum choices have *nothing to do* with consciousness! So not only is Zurek *not* lending support to the idea that consciousness is the ultimate source of the material world; he is in fact making it quite clear that consciousness is NOT the source of the material world!"

    ->Yes Zurek is attempting to avoid the dependency of the world on consciousness. But he fails. If the "ultimate evidence", and he does agree on this, implicates consciousness then consciousness is implicated. The reason that the macro world operates as if it were independent is because it is a collective production - as indicated by Wheeler, Hawking and Mlodinow, Stapp etc. etc. - and Buddhist metaphysics. If you go the Zurek's original papers and examine them carefully it is apparent that his own 'quantum Darwinism' viewpoint implies a collective production.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Clearmind Sep 29, 2014

    "Once again it is clear that the respondent has not actually read what I wrote about this myth, otherwise he would already know that I said that Schroedinger's Cat is a *thought experiment* designed to show how silly it is to apply the principles of quantum physics to macro-level objects like cats."

    ->Of course I know it was a thought experiment on the part of Schroedinger, he was indicating to Einstein I think that there was a mismatch between quantum functioning and macro functioning. This can now be explained by the fact that the macro world is a collective production. As Wheeler wrote:

    Directly opposite to the concept of universe as machine built on law is the vision of a world self-synthesized. On this view, the notes struck out on a piano by the observer participants of all times and all places, bits though they are in and by themselves, constitute the great wide world of space and time and things.

    Law of attraction - "“Not proved” indeed! This assertion is not only baseless, but vague to the point of irrelevance."

    ->Why you feel the need to be so aggressive when I agree with you to some degree is beyond me. My assertion is not vague as you say I also think the law of attraction is overstated. If id does exist, and I have not investigated this because it seems slightly dubious, it could have an explanation in quantum entanglement. But I am not committing myself due to my lack of investigation in this area. there is nothing 'baseless', 'vague' or 'irrelevant' about my position. Once again you are wandering into the realm of abuse rather than debate.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Clearmind Sep 29, 2014

    "Argue from Authority"

    ->I am not arguing from authority, again you are maligning me thinking that it constitutes an argument. I agree with Stapp that quantum theory allows the possibility of a quantum 'soul' surviving death. I did not say it proved it. However given the dramatic evidence for out-of-body experiences in patients who have died and then return to their body, and also the wealth evidence for reincarnation collected by Stephenson, this is interesting.

    "Clearly the respondent hasn’t read what I’ve actually written about this myth either, so it’s quite hypocritical of him to accuse me of “pontificating from abject ignorance”."

    -> I have to admit here that NoetPoet has got a point that I missed. Of course, as NoetPoet completely rejects the clear implications of quantum physics then it entirely logical to make the assertion that it does. His original assertion is incorrect, not because he knows nothing about Buddhist metaphysics, but because he rejects the idea that consciousness is implicated my quantum theory. My mistake here.

    "Unless you can show their working, then all you are doing is Arguing from Authority and wasting everyone’s time."

    ->Again mild abuse. I have indicated the details in my books and articles, furthermore my posts have clearly alluded to the central point that it cannot be the case that material objects collapse wavefunctions without the presence of consciousness. Citing experts in the field is not "Arguing from Authority", it is indicating that others who are expert in the field have come to a similar conclusion. Resorting to the claim that someone is "Arguing from Authority" is often a method of avoiding presenting a reasoned argument. But as I have said there is nothing wrong in indicating others have come to the same conclusions.

    "I have already discussed plausible mechanisms for so-called “spiritual” healing, and once again none of them require any recourse to quantum physics. The reference cited does not appear to discuss a quantum mechanism for spiritual healing."

    ->Where have you discussed plausible mechanisms? It is Mensky who suggests a quantum mechanism.

  • NoetPoet Sep 29, 2014

    “As Penrose says:
    At the atomic level ‘objects’ can only be understood in terms of the interaction between the processes of preparation and measurement. The end of this chain of processes lies always in the consciousness of the human observer.”

    No, the consciousness of the human observer is *not* the end of such a chain of processes. To make such an assertion requires an enormous amount of narcissism, as well as a denial of the fact that the consciousness of human observers is itself a product of a long and complex chain of processes. It also completely overlooks the fact that we don’t even have a clear definition of “consciousness”.

    “But it does not need to be human, a sentient being will do. But not individually, as the physicist John Wheeler pointed out the material world is a collective illusion”

    And what is a “sentient” being? Does a computer qualify as a sentient being? Why/why not? Saying that the material world is an illusion simply means that the material world is not what it initially appears to be; it is *not* the same as saying that the material world is a simulation generated by some sort of collective mind. As I have discussed below, it is necessarily self-defeating to cite the “observer” effect as evidence for the existence of such a collective mind.

    “At the moment of the big bang there was no stuff around to do any collapsing, so how did the universe get going?”

    There *was* stuff around at the moment of the Big Bang, it was just condensed into a singularity. As to what triggered the Big Bang, well, science doesn’t currently have an answer to that question. But that doesn’t make it sensible to go speculating about it being caused by some primal consciousness, especially when a coherent definition of “consciousness” hasn’t even been established.

  • NoetPoet Sep 28, 2014

    “I have been researching the implications of quantum theory and its clear interconnections with Buddhist metaphysics for over ten years and have written four books on the subject (quantumbuddhism.net). So lets go through the so-called myths (two posts 5 'myths' in each)->”

    Oh look, I’ve managed to attract the attention of a quantum woo peddler!

    “1. The principles of quantum physics apply at the level at the everyday "macro" level or reality.
    This notion is incorrect in most situations, although physicists have been able to concoct apparatus which enable superpositions at the everyday level - "the latest experiment is important as it proved that the principles of quantum mechanics can apply to everyday objects as well as atomic-scale particles." (www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1258932/In-places-Strange-world-quantum-mechanics-shown-work-visible-world-time.html#ixzz3EXuemnUS)”

    Well, if anyone’s going to mangle quantum physics for the purposes of sensationalism and circulation numbers (to say nothing of sheer ignorance on the subject), it’s going to be an august publication like The Daily Mail. I have already addressed the “quantum drum” experiment discussed by that article, and commented on how the extraordinary lengths the researchers went to in order to make a quantum effect apparent at the (barely) macro level actually reinforces my point that principles of quantum physics do NOT govern the interactions of phenomena at the macro-level. To its credit, the Daily Mail article itself points out (albeit down the bottom, in a distinctly disclaimer-like style) that quantum effects aren’t apparent at the macro level because they are disrupted by the complexity of macro-scale systems.

  • NoetPoet Sep 28, 2014

    “2. Quantum entanglement is the key to telepathy ....
    3. Quantum physics explains synchronicity
    If telepathy and synchronicity exist then quantum entanglement would be a possible candidate for an explanation, but has not been proved. Telepathy and synchronicity do exist, see, for example, http://anti-matters.org/articles/12/public/12-12-1-PB.pdf”

    I have already addressed this. In order for quantum entanglement to occur, the subatomic particles involved must have *physically interacted* in some way first, e.g. being created when one full-strength particle is split into two half-strength particles. For telepathy or synchronicity to work via quantum entanglement, it would require the entanglement of billions of electrons across two or more people’s nervous systems, AND for neurons to have the capability to “read” the quantum states of those electrons. As the Daily Mail article mentioned above points out, the sheer complexity of macro-scale systems (e.g. human brains and bodies) causes quantum coherence to quickly vanish – and that’s assuming that you can somehow get electrons in different people’s nervous systems entangled in the first place! Physicists have to set up carefully controlled experiments in order to bring about entanglement in the first place. Moreover there is zero evidence that neurons can in any way “read” the quantum states of subatomic particles, and modern neuroscience is doing a very good job of explaining the functioning of the human brain and mind without having to even consider such a possibility.
    It might be worthwhile to actually *read* what I said about these myths and how these (alleged) phenomena could be better explained without resorting to quantum physics before making vacuous assertions.

  • NoetPoet Sep 28, 2014

    “4: Quantum physics proves that the mind directly creates and shapes reality
    Depends what you mean by this. It is true that individual minds do not effect quantum reality directly, so to speak, however as quantum physicist Wojciech Zurek explains:
    …while the ultimate evidence for the choice of one alternative resides in our illusive “consciousness,” there is every indication that the choice occurs much before consciousness gets involved and that, once made, the choice is irrevocable.
    In other words the ultimate source of the material world is primordial consciousness. Quantum physicist Henry Stapp also agrees with this.”

    Just as I recommend reading what I *actually* said about these myths before trying to dismiss them, I also recommend reading what physicists are actually saying before twisting their words beyond recognition. Let’s have a closer look at what Zurek says:

    [“…while the ultimate evidence for the choice of one alternative resides in our illusive ‘consciousness’…”]

    Notice that Zurek says that the *evidence* for the choice resides in consciousness, NOT the choice itself. Notice also that he puts quotation marks around “consciousness”, alluding to the fact that we don’t even have a rigorous coherent definition of “consciousness”. Not only that, but he actually describes it as “illusive”, which means “deceptive” or “illusory”. In other words, Zurek is saying that *consciousness is an illusion*, and he is using a tongue-in-cheek play on words (“illusive” vs “elusive”) to suggest that consciousness is “elusive” precisely because it is an illusion!

    [“…there is every indication that the choice occurs much before consciousness gets involved and that, once made, the choice is irrevocable.”]

    I don’t think I could put it any clearer than Zurek has: he is explicitly saying that the quantum choices have *nothing to do* with consciousness! So not only is Zurek *not* lending support to the idea that consciousness is the ultimate source of the material world; he is in fact making it quite clear that consciousness is NOT the source of the material world!

  • NoetPoet Sep 28, 2014

    “5: The cat is both dead and alive until someone opens the box
    This is true at the micro level, but see no 1 for macro level - note that the physicists who carried out the experiment mention in no 1 say that "Schrodinger said according to quantum law the cat was alive and dead in a superposition of states while the chamber was closed. The state of the cat is only decided when the chamber is opened and the cat is observed. So it is the observation or measurement itself that affects the outcome. This is the nub of the paradoxes that occur in the quantum state - the world of the very very small."”

    Once again it is clear that the respondent has not actually read what I wrote about this myth, otherwise he would already know that I said that Schrodinger’s Cat is a *thought experiment* designed to show how silly it is to apply the principles of quantum physics to macro-level objects like cats. Moreover, it is misleading to say that the measurement “affects” the outcome. The act of measurement merely collapses the superposition, but it does not in any way decide HOW that superposition collapses.

    “6: Quantum physics supports the “Law of Attraction”
    The “Law of Attraction” is wildly overstated. If it does exist then quantum theory could be an explanation. Not proved though.”

    “Not proved” indeed! This assertion is not only baseless, but vague to the point of irrelevance. I have already discussed a plausible explanation for the Law of Attraction which doesn’t require any reference to quantum physics, just as I have also made it clear that the Law of Attraction is indeed a wild exaggeration.

  • NoetPoet Sep 28, 2014

    “7. Quantum physics allows for the existence of ghosts and other non-corporeal entities
    Henry Stapp, a respected physicist, has made this claim. See http://dailygrail.com/Fresh-Science/2010/3/Afterlife-Quantum-Realm”

    So what? If we’re going to Argue from Authority, then what does the rest of the physics community think about Stapp’s claims? AS I HAVE ALREADY STATED, there are numerous plausible explanations for alleged encounters with non-corporeal entities which require no recourse to quantum physics. It is clear from the link provided that Stapp is *speculating* about the *possibility* that quantum physics *might* allow for some sort of afterlife. Where is his experimental evidence for this claim? He is engaging in metaphysical speculation and pretending its science. He is essentially making a “ghost of the gaps” argument.

    “8: Quantum physics confirms the mystical teachings of ancient Eastern religions
    I doubt that NoetPoet knows anything significant about Buddhist metaphysics. If he does not have a detailed knowledge of Madhyamaka, Yogachara-Chittamatra and Dzogchen then he pontificating from abject ignorance.”

    Clearly the respondent hasn’t read what I’ve actually written about this myth either, so it’s quite hypocritical of him to accuse me of “pontificating from abject ignorance”. To the extent that such philosophies assert the ontological primacy of consciousness, then they have no support from quantum physics whatsoever. Indeed, the fact that we can even talk about “collapsing” wave functions by “observing” them indicates that there is no such thing as a universal consciousness which has any effect on quantum phenomena; if there were such a consciousness, then all wave functions would remain in a collapsed state at all times.

  • NoetPoet Sep 28, 2014

    “My book Quantum Buddhism shows in great detail how these psycho-metaphysical doctrines prefigured quantum metaphysics. The Russian physicist Michael Mensky says that quantum theory:
    ...makes it possible to understand that there is no contradiction between science and mysticism. This makes it possible for [people] to believe in God, or in Truth, in … Buddhism...”

    More Argument from (dubious) Authority; how does Mensky rationalise that quantum theory implies “no contradiction between science and mysticism”? It is interesting to note though that the term “mysticism” is derived from a Greek term meaning “I conceal”, while “science” derives from a Latin term meaning “knowledge”. These are hardly what I would call compatible ideas…

    “And Terentyev:
    I'd like to stress that we are not just considering analogies in different fields of human endeavour; in fact, both Buddhist thinkers and modern physicists, using very different methods, arrived basically at the same description of [the] reality we live in.”

    No they didn’t.

    “Vlatko Vedral for instance in his book Decoding Reality, has written that: “Quantum physics is indeed very much in agreement with Buddhistic emptiness.””

    How are they “very much in agreement”? In particular, how is emptiness more in agreement with quantum physics than any other scientific discipline which studies interrelationships between different phenomena?

    “I could give quite a few other examples.”

    Unless you can show their working, then all you are doing is Arguing from Authority and wasting everyone’s time.

    “9: Light is both a wave and a particle at the same time
    Depends what you mean by 'particle' - light is made up of discrete units of wave-motion.”

    I have already addressed this below.

    “10: There is such a thing as “quantum healing”
    Spiritual healing does exist (see http://anti-matters.org/articles/12/public/12-12-1-PB.pdf), Mensky's work outlines a quantum mechanism.”

    I have already discussed plausible mechanisms for so-called “spiritual” healing, and once again none of them require any recourse to quantum physics. The reference cited does not appear to discuss a quantum mechanism for spiritual healing.

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Sep 28, 2014

    Are we discussion facts or theories?
    This remains me of the dispute between Sheldon and Leslie.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_5nh2s__fPE

  • Anonymous Icon

    Clearmind Sep 28, 2014

    Hi dustproduction

    I do not think your knowledgeable person is a s knowledgeable as you think.

    "Clearly Rosenblum and Kaztner are advocating a Bohmian view" (Actually it is 'Kuttner') is not accurate - R & K proposal accords with several quantum-consciousness proposals such as Wheeler, Goswami, Stapp and Mensky.

    It is true that "QM seems to connect the two" is limited, but if you read their book carefully it is clear that they deliberately set out not endorse any particular quantum consciousness perspective. In essence what they are doing is hedging their bets, probably in fear of academic marginalization.

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Sep 28, 2014

    QM is not my field of study, so I asked someone that is knowledgable in the field, the Chief editor of, "JOURNAL OF INTEGRATIVE NEUROSCIENCE" about some of this. His reply:

    "Clearly Rosenblum and Kaztner are advocating a Bohmian view. I find this viewpoint to be correct.

    What this entails of course is that the known facts on visuotopic and tonotopic organization in our sensory cortices is only the explicate order.

    This has ramifications for a new theory of brain organization that will be developed in our forthcoming book to be entitled: "Biophysics of Consciousness" in 2015.

    The last sentence "QM seems to connect the two" is limited in value and needs to be expanded through an integrative approach. Again in the book!

  • Anonymous Icon

    Clearmind Sep 27, 2014

    According to NoetPoet ->

    However this “collapse” only requires interaction with other stuff. To put it another way, other stuff can qualify as a quantum “observer” even if it’s not conscious or alive.

    NOT TRUE

    As Penrose says:

    At the atomic level ‘objects’ can only be understood in terms of the interaction between the processes of preparation and measurement. The end of this chain of processes lies always in the consciousness of the human observer.

    But it does not need to be human, a sentient being will do. But not individually, as the physicist John Wheeler pointed out the material world is a collective illusion:

    Directly opposite to the concept of universe as machine built on law is the vision of a world self-synthesized. On this view, the notes struck out on a piano by the observer participants of all times and all places, bits though they are in and by themselves, constitute the great wide world of space and time and things.

    At the moment of the big bang there was no stuff around to do any collapsing, so how did the universe get going?

  • Anonymous Icon

    Clearmind Sep 27, 2014

    PLEASE NOTE -> Read the bottom post first please! ->

  • Anonymous Icon

    Clearmind Sep 27, 2014

    Continuation ->

    6: Quantum physics supports the “Law of Attraction”
    The “Law of Attraction” is wildly overstated. If it does exist then quantum theory could be an explanation. Not proved though.

    7. Quantum physics allows for the existence of ghosts and other non-corporeal entities
    Henry Stapp, a respected physicist, has made this claim. See http://dailygrail.com/Fresh-Science/2010/3/Afterlife-Quantum-Realm

    8: Quantum physics confirms the mystical teachings of ancient Eastern religions
    I doubt that NoetPoet knows anything significant about Buddhist metaphysics. If he does not have a detailed knowledge of Madhyamaka, Yogachara-Chittamatra and Dzogchen then he pontificating from abject ignorance. My book Quantum Buddhism shows in great detail how these psycho-metaphysical doctrines prefigured quantum metaphysics. The Russian physicist Michael Mensky says that quantum theory:

    ...makes it possible to understand that there is no contradiction between science and mysticism. This makes it possible for [people] to believe in God, or in Truth, in … Buddhism...

    And Terentyev:

    I'd like to stress that we are not just considering analogies in different fields of human endeavour; in fact, both Buddhist thinkers and modern physicists, using very different methods, arrived basically at the same description of [the] reality we live in. This is the point were the parallel worlds of Buddhism and Physics unexpectedly touched each other, and the deeper meaning of this is yet to be appreciated by both parties.

    There are quite a few significant physicists who note the connection between Buddhist metaphysics and quantum theory. Vlatko Vedral for instance in his book Decoding Reality, has written that: “Quantum physics is indeed very much in agreement with Buddhistic emptiness.” I could give quite a few other examples.

    9: Light is both a wave and a particle at the same time
    Depends what you mean by 'particle' - light is made up of discrete units of wave-motion.

    10: There is such a thing as “quantum healing”
    Spiritual healing does exist (see http://anti-matters.org/articles/12/public/12-12-1-PB.pdf), Mensky's work outlines a quantum mechanism.

    I wait in eager anticipation to see what NoetPoet has to say on these matters.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Clearmind Sep 27, 2014

    I wonder how much research and intellectual exploration NoetPoet has done. I have been researching the implications of quantum theory and its clear interconnections with Buddhist metaphysics for over ten years and have written four books on the subject (quantumbuddhism.net). So lets go through the so-called myths (two posts 5 'myths' in each)->

    1. The principles of quantum physics apply at the level at the everyday "macro" level or reality.
    This notion is incorrect in most situations, although physicists have been able to concoct apparatus which enable superpositions at the everyday level - "the latest experiment is important as it proved that the principles of quantum mechanics can apply to everyday objects as well as atomic-scale particles." (www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1258932/In-places-Strange-world-quantum-mechanics-shown-work-visible-world-time.html#ixzz3EXuemnUS)

    2. Quantum entanglement is the key to telepathy ....
    3. Quantum physics explains synchronicity

    If telepathy and synchronicity exist then quantum entanglement would be a possible candidate for an explanation, but has not been proved. Telepathy and synchronicity do exist, see, for example, http://anti-matters.org/articles/12/public/12-12-1-PB.pdf

    4: Quantum physics proves that the mind directly creates and shapes reality
    Depends what you mean by this. It is true that individual minds do not effect quantum reality directly, so to speak, however as quantum physicist Wojciech Zurek explains:

    …while the ultimate evidence for the choice of one alternative resides in our illusive “consciousness,” there is every indication that the choice occurs much before consciousness gets involved and that, once made, the choice is irrevocable.

    In other words the ultimate source of the material world is primordial consciousness. Quantum physicist Henry Stapp also agrees with this.

    5: The cat is both dead and alive until someone opens the box
    This is true at the micro level, but see no 1 for macro level - note that the physicists who carried out the experiment mention in no 1 say that "Schrodinger said according to quantum law the cat was alive and dead in a superposition of states while the chamber was closed. The state of the cat is only decided when the chamber is opened and the cat is observed. So it is the observation or measurement itself that affects the outcome. This is the nub of the paradoxes that occur in the quantum state - the world of the very very small."

  • NoetPoet Aug 13, 2014

    The three types of “quantum” claims

    After further reflection on how people use and abuse quantum physics in order to advance their own agendas, I think that claims which appeal to quantum physics can fall into one of three categories:

    1: “General quantum claims”: Claims which only appeal to quantum physics in a very broad sense, and do not refer to any specific research or quantum phenomena. For example, if you were talking about something unrelated to quantum physics and you wanted to propose an unusual hypothesis about it, you could say that quantum physics shows us that reality isn’t always what we expect or logical to us, and this *might* also be the case with respect to whatever subject you were talking about. This is a “general quantum claim”, because 1) it doesn’t actually invoke any particular aspect of, or research from quantum physics to back it up, and 2) it is a broad, open-ended claim which requires no corroboration in and of itself but also doesn’t prove or establish anything either. Rather, “general quantum claims” tend to invite further inquiry with respect to whatever subject you happen to be focused on.

    2: “Analogous quantum claims”: These are claims which appeal to some aspect(s) of quantum physics as the basis for an analogy. These quantum physics analogies are used to better illustrate an argument or viewpoint about a non-quantum physics-related subject. For example, saying that the way telepathy works is *like* quantum entanglement: notice that this is not the same as saying that telepathy “is” quantum entanglement, or that telepathy works by “utilising” quantum entanglement. Because they are more substantive and specific than General quantum claims, Analogous quantum claims are also more prescriptive and more amenable to testing. Analogous quantum claims can also be more directly useful for stimulating new ways of approaching different subjects; however they are not sufficient in and of themselves to prove a point.

    3: “Strong-specific quantum claims”: These are claims that something is underpinned by one or more specific quantum phenomena. For example, Penrose’s ideas about quantum effects in the brain, or a claim that quantum entanglement IS the basis of telepathy. Strong-specific quantum claims are the most amenable to mathematical expression and testing, and therefore demand careful consideration and detailed construction from their proponents.

    People should be careful to evaluate quantum physics-related claims not only to see which of the three categories above they best fit into, but also to see if the person making the claim is treating a weaker claim (e.g. a General or Analogous claim) as having the same significance as an established Strong-specific claim.

  • NoetPoet Jul 29, 2014

    "I had to laugh at your need to resort to an ad hominem attack as your final, losing point. But not as hard as I laughed at your attempt to neuter Brian Greene's position with your selective "omission" in misquoting him."

    Making a critical observation about *your line of argument* is not an ad hominem, and if you think it is then it's a sure sign that you're taking things too personally. Your accusation that I have misquoted Brian Greene by way of selective omission is both wrong and hypocritical.

    "He said: 'While quantum mechanical effects are most noticeable at micro/tiny scale, I’m made of atoms and so are you, so quantum mechanics is not just telling us about small things, its telling us about reality.'"

    Yes, we've established that.


    "And you respond with, 'Yes, it's telling us about reality *at the micro level*. To say that quantum physics is about atoms, that we are made of atoms, and that therefore quantum physics describes reality at the macro level is to commit the fallacy of composition.' Are you kidding me? Seriously? That is NOT what Green said in anyone's book. I suppose the asterisks ** internal to the quote mean this is what he means because its what you wish it to mean? And then you mysteriously leave out "...so quantum mechanics is not just telling us about small things, its telling us about reality.”

    No it's not what Greene said, it's what I said; that I was speaking in my own words rather than quoting Green (or anyone else) is completely obvious to anyone who actually bothers to read what I said. The asterisks -which, again, were *not* internal to his quote - are my way of emphasising a point. You may have noticed that the IONS discussion boards don't allow you to bold, underline, italicise, change font size etc., meaning that there are very few options available for emphasising a certain point other than putting asterisks around it or capitalising the letters (aka yelling).

    Since you obviously didn't read the link I provided re: the fallacy of composition (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallacy_of_composition ), here is an excerpt:

    "In chemistry and materials science, a single type of atom may form allotropes with different physical properties from each other, and from their individual constituent atoms, such as diamond and graphite each consisting of carbon atoms. What is true of a single carbon atom is not true of a collection of carbon atoms bonded into a material. Furthermore, the properties of an atom differ from the properties of the individual subatomic particles that constitute it."

  • NoetPoet Jul 29, 2014

    See? Just because some rule/behaviour/pattern etc applies to a constituent part doesn't necessarily mean it applies to the whole. Otherwise you would absorb your food directly via osmosis rather than eating it.

    And no, I did not leave out the "...so quantum mechanics is not just telling us about small things, its telling us about reality” part, in fact I restated Green's original quote in full. The issue here is not so much Green's quote, rather it is *your misinterpretation* of Green's quote and your subsequent inability/refusal to understand how you have misinterpreted him.

    "We haven't even got to the latest discoveries of quantum effects on the biological level. I'll be posting them soon."

    Oh I'm looking forward to it. The more you post examples of quantum effects supposedly applying at the macro level of reality, the more you reinforce my point and make a fool of yourself.

    "Also, since you seem to hold yourself out to the public as some kind of an authority on QM, what may I ask are your qualifications exactly? Normally, I would not dream of asking this, but since you seem to have self-appointed yourself as our irascible tutor, it seems only fitting."

    Read my introductory post - it's not hard to understand, and you don't even have to scroll down to find it! It's rather hypocritical of you to accuse me of holding myself as an authority on QM, considering that you yourself are doing exactly that by launching specious arguments against what I've said. Your asking about my qualifications IS a veiled ad hominem, as it is clear that you are hoping that a lack of qualifications on my part will give you the opportunity to lazily dismiss my arguments without actually addressing them, But instead of going down that intellectually dishonest road, I propose a deal: how about we focus on the merits of the arguments themselves, rather than the qualifications which the person behind those arguments may or may not claim to have?

    “'The violent reaction on the recent development of modern physics can only be understood when one realises that here the foundations of physics have started moving; and that this motion has caused the feeling that the ground would be cut from science.'
    - Werner Heisenberg"

    Argument from authority, and a rather lame one at that because nothing in that quote contradicts anything I've said.

  • Anonymous Icon

    IONS-RJP Jul 28, 2014

    NoetPoet, NoetPoet, NoetPoet,

    "Your line of argument epitomizes the believer/New Age/pseudoscientific mindset:"
    I had to laugh at your need to resort to an ad hominem attack as your final, losing point. But not as hard as I laughed at your attempt to neuter Brian Greene's position with your selective "omission" in misquoting him.

    He said: “While quantum mechanical effects are most noticeable at micro/tiny scale, I’m made of atoms and so are you, so quantum mechanics is not just telling us about small things, its telling us about reality.”

    And you respond with, "Yes, it's telling us about reality *at the micro level*. To say that quantum physics is about atoms, that we are made of atoms, and that therefore quantum physics describes reality at the macro level is to commit the fallacy of composition."

    Are you kidding me? Seriously? That is NOT what Green said in anyone's book. I suppose the asterisks ** internal to the quote mean this is what he means because its what you wish it to mean? And then you mysteriously leave out "...so quantum mechanics is not just telling us about small things, its telling us about reality.”

    I guess I should not be surprised by your flailing ad hominems. You seem to be out of gas. We haven't even got to the latest discoveries of quantum effects on the biological level. I'll be posting them soon.

    Also, since you seem to hold yourself out to the public as some kind of an authority on QM, what may I ask are your qualifications exactly? Normally, I would not dream of asking this, but since you seem to have self-appointed yourself as our irascible tutor, it seems only fitting.

    “The violent reaction on the recent development of modern physics can only be understood when one realises that here the foundations of physics have started moving; and that this motion has caused the feeling that the ground would be cut from science.”
    - Werner Heisenberg

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Jul 24, 2014

    Nice article by Sean Carroll that I will post a link to here:

    Why Probability in Quantum Mechanics is Given by the Wave Function Squared

    http://www.preposterousuniverse.com/blog/2014/07/24/why-probability-in-quantum-mechanics-is-given-by-the-wave-function-squared/

  • NoetPoet Jul 17, 2014

    "Macroscopic quantum phenomena can be observed in superfluid helium and in superconductors,[2] but also in dilute quantum gases and in laser light. Although these media are very different, their behavior is very similar as they all show macroscopic quantum behavior.
    Quantum phenomena are generally classified as macroscopic when the quantum states are occupied by a large number of particles (typically Avogadro's number) or the quantum states involved are macroscopic in size (up to km size in superconducting wires)."

    Again, all those things involve exceptional, artificially engineered circumstances. How many superconducting rocks do you have in your garden? When was the last time you swam in a lake of superfluid helium?

    Your line of argument epitomizes the believer/New Age/pseudoscientific mindset: search desperately for evidence which looks even *vaguely* like it supports your pre-concieved beliefs, while studiously ignoring both the overwhelming evidence that doesn't agree with you AND the gaping holes in your own evidence.

  • NoetPoet Jul 17, 2014

    “While quantum mechanical effects are most noticeable at micro/tiny scale, I’m made of atoms and so are you, so quantum mechanics is not just telling us about small things, its telling us about reality.”
    - Brian Green on Nova, The Fabric of the Cosmos

    Yes, it's telling us about reality *at the micro level*. To say that quantum physics is about atoms, that we are made of atoms, and that therefore quantum physics describes reality at the macro level is to commit the fallacy of composition.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallacy_of_composition

  • NoetPoet Jul 17, 2014

    "I assume you don't want to continue providing outdated misinformation. So here's what's actually being demonstrated currently:

    http://www.livescience.com/17264-quantum-entanglement-macroscopic-diamonds.html"

    I have already addressed that very experiment in this thread, but since you couldn't be bothered reading what I said earlier then I'll just say that the same key issue applies to both the diamond experiment and the "quantum drum": they both involve conditions which are so particular (i.e. restrictive) and contrived (i.e. unnatural) that they actually support my argument because they demonstrate how hard it is to make quantum effects show up at the macro level.

    What you're arguing here is like arguing that people don't wrinkle as they get old because you can point to some celebrity who's had her face pumped full of botox. Yes she may not have wrinkles (on her face at least), but that's only because she was able to invest an inordinate amount of effort in defying the natural order of things.

  • Anonymous Icon

    IONS-RJP Jul 16, 2014

    "Wrong" says Oxford... on multiple counts...

    Poet, below you assert that:

    "... it’s just that you need a very carefully contrived and controlled experimental setup which involves:

    1) a temperature that is very nearly absolute zero
    2) A ‘macro’ object which is 30 *millionths* of a micrometre long
    3) The object being hooked up to a superconducting circuit
    4) A sufficiently brief amount of time"

    I assume you don't want to continue providing outdated misinformation. So here's what's actually being demonstrated currently:

    http://www.livescience.com/17264-quantum-entanglement-macroscopic-diamonds.html

    Excerpt: In the new achievement, the diamonds were large and not prepared in any special way, the researchers said.
    "It's big enough you can see it," Walmsley told LiveScience of the diamonds."They're sitting on the table, out in plain view. The laboratory isn't particularly cold or particularly hot, it's just your everyday room."

  • Anonymous Icon

    IONS-RJP Jul 15, 2014

    Between 1996 to 2003 four Nobel prizes were given for work related to macroscopic quantum phenomena.[1] Macroscopic quantum phenomena can be observed in superfluid helium and in superconductors,[2] but also in dilute quantum gases and in laser light. Although these media are very different, their behavior is very similar as they all show macroscopic quantum behavior.
    Quantum phenomena are generally classified as macroscopic when the quantum states are occupied by a large number of particles (typically Avogadro's number) or the quantum states involved are macroscopic in size (up to km size in superconducting wires).

    These Nobel prizes were for the discovery of super-fluidity in helium-3 (1996), for the discovery of the fractional quantum Hall effect (1998), for the demonstration of Bose–Einstein condensation (2001), and for contributions to the theory of superconductivity and superfluidity (2003).

    More will be revealed as our observer/participator technology improves and allows us to better observe and document at the macro scale.

  • Anonymous Icon

    IONS-RJP Jul 15, 2014

    Between 1996 to 2003 four Nobel prizes were given for work related to macroscopic quantum phenomena.[1] Macroscopic quantum phenomena can be observed in superfluid helium and in superconductors,[2] but also in dilute quantum gases and in laser light. Although these media are very different, their behavior is very similar as they all show macroscopic quantum behavior.
    Quantum phenomena are generally classified as macroscopic when the quantum states are occupied by a large number of particles (typically Avogadro's number) or the quantum states involved are macroscopic in size (up to km size in superconducting wires).

    These Nobel prizes were for the discovery of super-fluidity in helium-3 (1996), for the discovery of the fractional quantum Hall effect (1998), for the demonstration of Bose–Einstein condensation (2001), and for contributions to the theory of superconductivity and superfluidity (2003).

    More will be revealed as our observer/participator technology improves and allows us to better observe and document at the macro scale.

    "Where there's smoke there's fire."

  • Anonymous Icon

    IONS-RJP Jul 15, 2014

    “While quantum mechanical effects are most noticeable at micro/tiny scale, I’m made of atoms and so are you, so quantum mechanics is not just telling us about small things, its telling us about reality.”
    - Brian Green on Nova, The Fabric of the Cosmos

    Greene entered Harvard in 1980 to concentrate in physics. After completing his bachelor's degree, Greene earned his doctorate from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, graduating in 1987. While at Oxford, Greene also studied piano with the concert pianist Jack Gibbons.
    Greene joined the physics faculty of Cornell University in 1990, and was appointed to a full professorship in 1995. The following year, he joined the staff of Columbia University as a full professor. At Columbia, Greene is co-director of the university's Institute for Strings, Cosmology, and Astroparticle Physics (ISCAP), and is leading a research program applying superstring theory to cosmological questions. In 2012 his teaching prowess was recognized when he received the Richtmyer Memorial Award, which is given annually by the American Association of Physics Teachers.[5]

  • Anonymous Icon

    IONS-RJP Jul 15, 2014

    More quantum effects applying at the macro scale:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4HHJv8lPERQ
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0xbyqngSA8

    Where there's smoke there's fire... Enjoy all.

    Thanks!

  • NoetPoet Jul 13, 2014

    @IONS RJP, I couldn't help but notice that your Max Born quote said nothing whatsoever which in anyway contradicted any of my myths...

  • NoetPoet Jul 13, 2014


    @ IONS-RJP "So I guess we could add the caveat that quantum mechanics does actually apply to the macro level of reality..., " when applied to a myth that QM does NOT exist at the macro level, is at best an oxymoronic proposition and not at all a scientific argument for the myth's title. "

    The myth is that the principles of quantum physics APPLY at the macro level of reality, not that they "exist" at the macro level. How many times and ways do I have to say this before it gets through?? As the article which you yourself cited says, quantum phenomena interact in such a way that they neutralize quantum "weirdness" at the macro level and the laws of classical physics come into effect. That's the thing about myths you see, they tend to be a *grain* of truth surrounded by a great big pile of embellishment and BS.

    "For the record your "qualifications" are noted."

    And for the record, your refusal to appreciate just how contrived and exceptional those qualifications are is also noted.

    "A topic for further discussion, perhaps on another thread, is how much literary leeway skeptics seem to believe they are entitled to, as opposed to the theorists they wish to discredit."

    Well then you go on right ahead and start that thread mate. I'd be interested to know what "theorists" you think I'm discrediting...

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Jul 09, 2014

    "Whether the wave function really exists, and what it represents, are major questions in the interpretation of quantum mechanics. Many famous physicists of a previous generation puzzled over this problem, such as Schrödinger, Einstein and Bohr. Some advocate formulations or variants of the Copenhagen interpretation (e.g. Bohr, Wigner and von Neumann) while others, such as Wheeler or Jaynes, take the more classical approach[18] and regard the wave function as representing information in the mind of the observer, i.e. a measure of our knowledge of reality. Some, including Schrödinger, Einstein, Bohm and Everett and others, argued that the wave function must have an objective, physical existence. The latter argument is consistent with the fact that whenever two observers both think that a system is in a pure quantum state, they will always agree on exactly what state it is in (but this may not be true if one or both of them thinks the system is in a mixed state).[19] For more on this topic, see Interpretations of quantum mechanics."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wave_function

  • Anonymous Icon

    IONS-RJP Jul 09, 2014

    "I believe that ideas such as absolute certitude, absolute exactness, final truth, etc. are figments of the imagination which should not be admissible in any field of science. On the other hand, any assertion of probability is either right or wrong from the standpoint of the theory on which it is based. This loosening of thinking (Lockerung des Denkens) seems to me to be the greatest blessing which modern science has given to us. For the belief in a single truth and in being the possessor thereof is the root cause of all evil in the world."

    -Max Born, Nobel Laureate, Physics, For The Statistical Interpretation of the Wavefunction

  • Anonymous Icon

    IONS-RJP Jul 05, 2014

    "So I guess we could add the caveat that quantum mechanics does actually apply to the macro level of reality..., " when applied to a myth that QM does NOT exist at the macro level, is at best an oxymoronic proposition and not at all a scientific argument for the myth's title.

    For the record your "qualifications" are noted.

    A topic for further discussion, perhaps on another thread, is how much literary leeway skeptics seem to believe they are entitled to, as opposed to the theorists they wish to discredit.

  • NoetPoet Jul 03, 2014

    From that Nature article:

    "The work shows that the laws of quantum mechanics hold up as expected on a large scale. "It's good for physics for sure," Wang says.

    So if trillions of atoms can be put into a quantum state, why don't we see double-decker buses simultaneously stopping and going? Cleland says he believes size does matter: the larger an object, the easier it is for outside forces to disrupt its quantum state.

    "The environment is this huge, complex thing," says Cleland. "It's that interaction with this incredibly complex system that makes the quantum coherence vanish.""

    Which is what I said in the first place. This experiment involves taking an object 30 MICROmetres long, hooking it up to a superconducting electrical circuit, cooling it down to near absolute zero, and then put it briefly in a quantum superposition. So I guess we could add the caveat that quantum mechanics does actually apply to the macro level of reality, it’s just that you need a very carefully contrived and controlled experimental setup which involves:

    1) a temperature that is very nearly absolute zero
    2) A ‘macro’ object which is 30 *millionths* of a micrometre long
    3) The object being hooked up to a superconducting circuit
    4) A sufficiently brief amount of time

    In other words Myth 1 is still a myth, and if anything this experiment actually *supports* its myth status because the experiment demonstrates just how difficult it is to get observable quantum effects in even the tiniest macro-level objects.

  • Anonymous Icon

    IONS-RJP Jul 03, 2014

    Re: Myth 1 - Flatly contradicted by some little rag called Nature.

    Scientists supersize quantum mechanics
    http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100317/full/news.2010.130.html

    Comments?

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction May 27, 2014

    New research:

    Quantum Mechanics and the large-scale world.
    In classical physics when someone walks through a doorway without touching the door frame the width of the doorway does not affect the walker’s subsequent path. However, quantum mechanics leads us to expect that this situation is not as simple as it first appears to be. The person walking through the doorway has as associated wave and the doorway itself may be regarded as a single slit. Hence the walker should be diffracted as in the diagram on the right. Yet if this is so, why haven’t you ever been conscious of being diffracted when you pass through a doorway?
    I believe there is only one logical explanation and that is that quantum mechanics represents the physics of ‘time’ as a physical process. The angle of diffraction cannot be predicted exactly, even in principle and this uncertainty represents the uncertainty the walker will have with any future event on the other side of the doorway. "
    We are ask to,
    "Please subscribe on YouTube and share on Face book it will help the promotion of this theory! "
    Link to videos explaining this theory: https://www.youtube.com/user/nickharvey7

  • NoetPoet May 23, 2014

    Get off my thread you charlatan

  • Anonymous Icon

    RealityOverScience May 22, 2014

    Matter and spirituality are human inventions. It's just translucent energy, variously and temporarily congealed.

    In science's search for "the God Particle," for instance, they're trying to figure out what originally caused mass to turn into matter.

    Now hear that multidimensionally, and you'll have the Answer they seek!

    Yep! ;)

  • Anonymous Icon

    DarkKenji May 22, 2014

    Saying that consciousness is matter is taking Tegmark’s analogy too literally.

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction May 21, 2014

    "Today, Max Tegmark, a theoretical physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, sets out the fundamental problems that this new way of thinking raises. He shows how these problems can be formulated in terms of quantum mechanics and information theory. And he explains how thinking about consciousness in this way leads to precise questions about the nature of reality that the scientific process of experiment might help to tease apart.
    Tegmark’s approach is to think of consciousness as a state of matter, like a solid, a liquid or a gas. “I conjecture that consciousness can be understood as yet another state of matter. Just as there are many types of liquids, there are many types of consciousness,” he says."

    https://medium.com/the-physics-arxiv-blog/5e7ed624986d

  • Anonymous Icon

    DarkKenji May 20, 2014

    Anyone that thinks that the "detector" might not exist until someone observes it, is just completely clueless about what quantum mechanics are. It's as simple as that.

  • NoetPoet May 01, 2014

    Incidentally, if a *conscious* observer was required to collapse quantum wave functions, then this would preclude the existence of a transcendental omniscient Consciousness.

    The double-slit experiment shows us that photons which are unobserved at the slits will form an interference pattern, while photons observed at the slits form a diffraction pattern. However, if we assume that a conscious observer is required to collapse the wave functions of the photons, then a transcendental omniscient Consciousness would collapse them every time. Consequently we would only ever find diffraction patterns, and we would never find interference patterns. The fact that we DO sometimes find interference patterns means we must either:

    a) conclude that there is no such thing as a transcendental omniscient Consciousness; or

    b) discard the idea that consciousness has anything to do with an "observer" being able to collapse wave functions, thus preserving the *possibility* of a transcendental omniscient Consciousness.

    Choose carefully...

  • NoetPoet Apr 30, 2014

    This thread is not about Advaita or any other non-dualistic ideologies. This thread is about quantum physics and how it is continually distorted and abused by unscrupulous and careless people. Such people are typically motivated by money and/or a desire to make it seem like their own baseless metaphysical speculations are supported by science. If you want to discuss or promote Advaita, then go start a new thread.

    “one point, the "Detector effect" substituting for "Observer effect" could well be discussed briefly. Bohr, von Neumann, etc distinctly claimed an "Observer effect" but not in any of the QND or New Age senses in which the term is used. Until someone looks at the Detector, who can say what data were detected, or even if the Detector is there.”

    I’ve already been over this: “observer effect” sounds much more interesting and relatable than “detector effect”, and that is why the former term is used rather than the latter. It must be remembered that: 1) the media plays an important role in shaping both public perceptions of and terminology for quantum physics; 2) scientists are human and as such are prone to using inaccurate terminology every now and then, especially when they’re trying to communicate/sell complex science to the public; and 3) the use of the term “observer” is a great example of how humanity’s insidious tendency towards narcissism can warp our understanding of reality. The setup of the double-slit experiment makes it quite clear that it is the *detectors* which collapse wave functions into subatomic particles, NOT the human experimenters.

    At no point does quantum physics support any notion of idealism or solipsism – not even the Copenhagen Interpretation. To say that we don’t know what data are detected or even if a detector is there before someone looks at it leads to a problem of infinite regress: how does anyone else know that the person who looks at the data actually looked at the data –or indeed even exists- before someone else has “looked” at that person? More importantly, as I have already stated, quantum physics makes it quite clear that any substantial aggregation of matter is capable of “observing”/detecting subatomic particles without any need for any consciousness to be involved; in other words, the moon is still there even if no one is looking at it.

    “ The Observer, her Mind, Consciousness, and so on remain unexplained to any satisfactory degree in Scientific Realism.”

    The explanations thus far offered by science for mind, consciousness “and so on” are far more detailed, useful, rigorous and insightful than anything else on offer.

  • Anonymous Icon

    jstiga Apr 30, 2014

    NoetPoet does a great, lucid job of clearing a lot of the air, but may miss the point, at least once. Reading NoetPoet contributions and some of those not entirely agreeing, it could be said that much of the latter group espouse a "seamless unity and connectedness" version of Nonduality that could be better called Qualified Advaita (Nonduality) or QND, ever the dominant perspective in terms of number of participants. With all its good qualities and purposes, QND is not UQND, Un-Qualified Non-Duality, or the completely nondual perspective. The various phenomena that NoetPoet debunks or comments on are not relevant to UQND, so no more need be said of those in this comment. Just one point, the "Detector effect" substituting for "Observer effect" could well be discussed briefly. Bohr, von Neumann, etc distinctly claimed an "Observer effect" but not in any of the QND or New Age senses in which the term is used. Until someone looks at the Detector, who can say what data were detected, or even if the Detector is there. Materialism, Physicalism, or Realism grants status to that Detector with or without an Observer. The Observer, her Mind, Consciousness, and so on remain unexplained to any satisfactory degree in Scientific Realism. UQND for millennia has urged direct Self-Inquiry into the nature of that Observer, with good results that need not be explicable in an objective way beforehand. Science has no justification for overlooking that line of investigation. Somewhat in the spirit of Pascal's Wager, however unlikely he estimated the chances of a supernatural Consciousness, the foreseeable loss of overlooking the possibility, just in case he was wrong, was too great. However unlikely he estimated the odds of transcendent reality, the logical ramifications of loss or gain depending on his overlooking or investigating, that imbalance convincingly argued for investigation. What did he have to lose – some hours or days? Science does not purport to close down, by prior bias, exploration of a legitimate possibility. What if Scientific Realism happens to be wrong? Man must known himself, by turning the Mind inward to its Source. New Age phenomena neither support nor detract from this central knowledge of the Observer. However partially, the manner in which the Copenhagen Convention in Quantum Mechanics points to the significance of the Observer, that pointing out was "cosmic" enough, regardless of the New Age phenomena contested by NoetPoet.

  • Dina grutzendler Apr 28, 2014


    Dear NoetPoet, thank you so much for your excellent explanation.

    It was very clear

  • NoetPoet Apr 26, 2014

    Quantum physics is useful in explaining the behaviour of electrons, and electrons are integral to chemistry and semi-conductor operation. However that doesn't mean that quantum theory “explains” chemical reactions or the operations of machines that contain semiconductors. Chemical reactions have a whole branch of science devoted to explaining their behaviour, i.e. chemistry. The rules of chemistry and the rules of quantum mechanics have very different implications for their respective phenomena: for example whole molecules do not behave as waves until they are detected, nor do molecules which share a molecular bond exhibit anything like entanglement after being separated by a chemical reaction.

    While the rules of chemistry and classical physics can be said to *emerge* from interactions at the quantum level of reality, this does not mean that there is no clear boundary between the quantum microscopic level and the non-quantum macroscopic level. It certainly doesn't mean that principles of quantum physics govern or apply to the interactions of macro-level phenomena in everyday life, and to make such a claim is to commit the fallacy of composition (i.e. to erroneously infer that something is true of the whole from the fact that it is true of some part of the whole).

    The de Broglie equation (which describes the quantum wavelength of matter) points to a pretty clear boundary where quantum effects cease to be significant and the rules of classical physics come into effect. Furthermore, decoherence also helps define a clear functional boundary between the quantum realm and the realm of classical physics. The more particles in an object, the more rapidly those particles decohere by “observing” (i.e. interacting with) each other, such that in macroscopic objects there is so much decoherence that the quantum world effectively ‘collapses’ into the world of classical physics. To call classical physics is a “rough approximation” of quantum physics at the macro level is misleading, because it overlooks the fact that the emergence of classical realm from quantum realm can lead to modes of behaviour (i.e. laws of physics) which apply in the former but not the latter and vice-versa.

    A quantum potential field of electrons moving “in and out of existence” has no more bearing on the reality of things like ESP and teleportation, than waves in an ocean have a bearing on whether or not the ocean itself is capable of feeling emotions.

  • Anonymous Icon

    richrf Apr 20, 2014

    Myth 1 - Quantum theory is used to explain macro phenomenon such as chemical reactions and semi-conductor theory. Clearly anything at a microscopic level must impact macro levels unless a clea boundary can be drawn between the two. No such boundary can be drawn. The problem with using Quantum Theory at the macro level is that the equations become impossibility complex. So rough approximations (e.g. Newton's equations) are used, since they are good enough for a practical purposes.

    Myth 2 - The Bohm model positsa quantum potential field from which electrons move in and put of existence (perturbations). Electrons would be analagous to waves moving in and out of existence from within an ocean. The Bohm ontological model provides the best explanation for all "weird" quanta phenomenon.

  • NoetPoet Apr 16, 2014

    “Haven't been here in this thread since early February, intensely involved in buying a new home, closing, moving, etc.”

    Hope you’re settling in nicely under your new bridge.

    “Quantum physics is simply a human label. If you're not open to exploring it from all angles, you are the one "abusing" it, and feeling abused.”

    Quantum physics is a *field of study* which investigates how physical phenomena behave at the microscopic (i.e. atomic and subatomic) level of reality. The whole point of quantum physics is to describe that behaviour by using labels – particularly mathematical variables and equations – to construct intelligible and useful *models*of that behaviour. Saying that quantum physics is “simply a human label” is shallow, vacuous, and indicates a fundamental misunderstanding of what science is about. Moreover, the fact that quantum physics (and indeed any branch of science) depends on labels does NOT automatically make either those labels or the understanding of reality derived from them invalid – especially when, as is the case with science, those “labels” are continually subject to testing and open to revision in light of new evidence.

    There’s a huge difference between exploring something from different angles and making up a bunch of BS about it because you don’t understand it and/or want to use it to exploit others. In fact if there’s just one key point I’d want people to take away from this thread, it would be exactly that.

    “Bash superConsciousness all you want. It's certainly not gonna get its "feelings" hurt. It is what it is! Disbelief will never change that reality.”

    I haven’t set out to “bash superConsciousness” at any point in this thread. Besides, it’s pretty hard to bash something that doesn’t even exist.

    “Open yourself to growth. No need for warding off new insights with displaced conventional "abuse" labels. Curiosity is what is important. Not bullish demands.”

    Open yourself to logic and evidence. There’s no need to swallow any piece of unsubstantiated, unfalsifiable feel-good BS that comes along as “insight”, and in fact there are very good reasons not to. Using your brain is what’s important, not spouting a bunch of inane word salad.

  • Anonymous Icon

    RealityOverScience Apr 16, 2014

    Haven't been here in this thread since early February, intensely involved in buying a new home, closing, moving, etc., so I hadn't read any further past my last post, but I just noticed your 'abuse of quantum physics' comment and have to say... I find that hilarious! "Abuse?"

    Quantum physics is simply a human label. If you're not open to exploring it from all angles, you are the one "abusing" it, and feeling abused.

    Again...hilarious!

    Bash superConsciousness all you want. It's certainly not gonna get its "feelings" hurt. It is what it is! Disbelief will never change that reality.

    Open yourself to growth. No need for warding off new insights with displaced conventional "abuse" labels. Curiosity is what is important. Not bullish demands.

  • NoetPoet Apr 08, 2014

    Delayed Choice Quantum Eraser Experiment

    In response to Valenciana4’s request, I have attempted an explanation of the Delayed Choice Quantum Eraser experiment. I have written this explanation under the assumption that Valenciana4 wanted me to explain how it is that this experiment appears to support 1) the existence of retrocausality and 2) the role of a conscious observer in collapsing wave functions.

    Background: The Double Slit Experiment

    In the famous double-slit experiment, a series of photons is fired at an interferometer with two slits, such that the photons must pass through the slits to hit a detection screen on the other side. The photons behave like waves, meaning that each photon passes through both slits at the same time and thus interferes with itself (much like a ripple in water would do if forced to pass through two slits). Because the photons are not detected until they hit the detection screen, they don't have to commit to a definite position in space until they hit the screen. Because the photon waves interfere with themselves after they pass through the slits, each photon has a chance of hitting the detection screen and collapsing into a particle-like state anywhere along the edge of its wave. When enough photons did this, the result is an "interference pattern" on the detection screen.

    However if photon detectors are placed at each slit, then the photons are collapsed into a particle-like state at either one slit OR the other. This means that the photons are forced to commit to going through one slit or the other, and then proceed through the slits in a straight line. Because the photons are forced to go through one slit only, it is possible to obtain "which-path" information for each photon (i.e. knowledge of *which* slit the photons go through). As a result the interference pattern no longer occurs, and instead the detection screen only shows a “diffraction pattern” in which photon impacts occur more or less directly behind the two slits. Note that it is the positioning of the detectors which affects the outcome in this experiment: any conscious observer obtains knowledge of the outcome only after it has been determined by the experimental apparatus. Which-path information and the visibility of interference patterns are complementary quantities, and in quantum physics the term "complementarity" refers to the fact that photons can behave like a wave OR a particle but not like both simultaneously.

  • NoetPoet Apr 08, 2014

    The Quantum Eraser Experiment (part 1)

    The quantum eraser experiment is a variation on the double-slit experiment. The basic idea of the quantum eraser experiment is to obtain which-path information without collapsing the photons into a particle-like state. Rather than attempting to detect which photon was entering each slit (thus collapsing them), the quantum erasure experiment attempts to "mark" the photons with information that would make it possible to distinguish the photons after passing through the slits. This marking still causes the interference pattern to disappear; however erasing the "which-path" information obtained by the slit detectors after the photons pass through the slits will restore the interference pattern on the screen.

    The quantum eraser experiment starts off like the conventional two-slit experiment, with a photon being fired at a double-slit apparatus. However, in the quantum erasure experiment there is a crystal directly behind the double-slit apparatus which splits the photon into two entangled, lower-energy photons. Immediately behind this crystal is a special kind of prism which causes the entangled photons to travel in different directions: the "signal" photon travels towards a target detector, which can record whether an interference pattern occurs after multiple signal photons reach it. The other entangled photon, called the "idler photon", is deflected by another prism that sends it along different paths depending on which slit it passed through. The idler photon then passes through a series of beam splitters which each have a 50% chance of either reflecting the photon or allowing it to pass through. Depending on which beam splitters the idler photon (randomly) passes through or is reflected by, it will eventually hit one of four detectors.

    If the idler photon hits one of two of the detectors, then it is possible to tell which slit the photon passed through. I’ll call these two detectors “conclusive detectors”. If the idler photon hits either of the other two detectors, it will not be possible to tell which slit the photon passed through. I’ll call these other two detectors “inconclusive detectors.”

  • NoetPoet Apr 08, 2014

    The Quantum Eraser Experiment (Part 2)

    Because the signal photon travels a shorter (more direct) path than the idler photon to which it is entangled, the information from the signal photon is available earlier than the information from its entangled idler photon. If the idler photon hits one of the conclusive detectors, then that provides delayed information on which slit the signal photon passed through. But if the idler photon hits one of the inconclusive detectors, then it provides delayed information that it is not possible to tell which slit the signal photon passed through: to the extent that which-path information had *potentially* been available from detection of the idler photon, then the information has undergone “delayed erasure”.

    Signal photons whose entangled idler photons were detected at one of the inconclusive detectors showed an interference pattern, while signal photons whose entangled idler photons were detected at one of the conclusive detectors shows a diffraction pattern (without interference). Simply put, the “choice” of whether to preserve or erase the which-path information of the idler photon was made *after* the position of the signal photon had already been measured at its detector. (Keep in mind that “choice” does NOT imply any kind of conscious/wilful decision on the part of the human experimenters, it is completely random).

  • NoetPoet Apr 08, 2014

    Interpretation

    The detection of the earlier signal photons yields an ambiguous smear of light that does not directly provide which-path information; an interference pattern can only be ascertained for the signal photons *after* the entangled idler photons have been detected. This means that it is not possible to tell what will happen to the idler photons by looking at their signal photons alone.

    The interference pattern for the signal photons is detected when the experimenter looks at particular subsets of signal photons that were entangled with idlers that went to particular detectors. Detection of idler photons at either of the conclusive detectors means that there will be no interference pattern for their entangled signal photons, i.e. because they are entangled (and conversely, detection of the idler photons at the inconclusive detectors means that an interference pattern *will* be observed for the entangled signal photons). Interference at the signal photon’s detector thus *appears* to depend on whether that signal photon’s entangled idler photon is detected at a conclusive detector.

  • NoetPoet Apr 08, 2014

    Explanations and Conclusion

    The key thing to remember is that between the time when the initial photon is fired and each entangled photon is detected, both entangled photons behave like waves. The entangled photons are entangled in the sense that their electric fields are polarized in different linear directions, i.e. the direction of one of the entangled photon's electric fields points in a direction perpendicular to that of the other entangled photon. Thus, if one of the two entangled photons is observed to be polarized in one direction, the other entangled photon must be observed to be polarized in the other direction (i.e. perpendicular to the first photon).

    All of a photon's properties - e.g. which slits it could be taking; whether it behaves more as a particle or a wave etc. - are encoded in the photon's wave function until the very moment of the measurement. Thus these properties can be "changed back" to the previous answers. In the case of the quantum erasure experiment, this means that the photon can be made to behave like a wave again.

    Pairs of entangled photons can be likened to smears of correlated probability about where each half of the pair can turn up in a particle-like state. Because this correlation relates to the polarization of each entangled photon’s electric fields, it has nothing to do how far apart they are from each other in space-time, i.e. their entanglement is “non-local”. It is important to remember that correlation is not the same as (retro-) causation, and that what we see in this experiment is in fact correlation. Moreover, the delayed choice quantum eraser can’t communicate information back in time because it takes another signal (which cannot exceed the speed of light) to sort the data in the signal photons into four streams reflecting the states of the idler photons at each of the detection screens.

    As with the double-slit experiment, a conscious observer plays no role in shaping or determining the outcome: rather, the outcome is determined by the detectors and the random splitting of idler photons by the beam-splitters. By virtue of their entanglement with the idler photons, the pattern of the signal photons cannot be *worked out*by conscious observers until they use a device called a coincidence counter to isolate entangled photons in order to give a *visual impression* of the results of the experiment.

  • NoetPoet Apr 04, 2014

    Hi Valenciana4,

    I do plan to respond to your question, I just haven't had time to write up an answer I would be satisfied with yet.

  • Dina grutzendler Mar 30, 2014


    Dear NoetPoet

    I would like to know if you have a tentative explanation for the double slit experiment with erasure.

    I agree with you regarding quantum physics. Not even physicists have all the answers yet, much less those of us who arent physicists

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Mar 23, 2014

    A simple question about quantum mechanics: Is quantum observer dependent or is it occur independent of an observer?

  • NoetPoet Mar 23, 2014

    In one ear and out the other…

    The “observer effect” should more accurately be called the “detector effect”, because an object need only be capable of detecting (i.e. being physically sensitive to) quantum phenomena in order to be regarded as an “observer” for the purposes of quantum physics. There is no interpretation of quantum physics which explicitly says that an observer has to be a conscious being; indeed there is no credible interpretation of quantum physics which even attempts to describe consciousness! Furthermore, quantum physics does not provide any support for the idea that a conscious observer can mentally will quantum events to turn out a certain way. Nevertheless, “observer effect” sounds much sexier and more intriguing than “detector effect”…

    Using mathematical formalisms from quantum physics in theoretical models of cognitive processing does not, in and of itself, mean that those models are consistent with or supported by quantum physics. Economists have spent decades aping the mathematical formalisms of physics, but it has not made their theories any more realistic, evidenced-based or consistent with the laws of physics.

    While there may be multiple interpretations of quantum physics, none of them provides any credible basis for the existence of parapsychological phenomena. Quantum physics doesn’t explain parapsychological phenomena because the former pertains to the microscopic world of atoms and subatomic particles, while the latter pertains to the macroscopic world of everyday human life. Quantum physics does *not* make any parapsychological phenomena more likely to be validated than any other form of science; indeed, the most charitable thing that can be said about the relationship between parapsychological phenomena and quantum physics is that there is no relationship. There are other sciences – particularly psychology, neurology, sociology, anthropology, and cybernetics – which are far better equipped to provide plausible explanations for so-called parapsychological phenomena than quantum physics.

    Parapsychology has had no impact on quantum physics as a scientific enterprise because:
    1) Parapsychology offers nothing of scientific explanatory value to quantum physics; and
    2) Parapsychology proponents cherry-pick, distort and generally abuse ideas from quantum physics to reinforce their emotionally charged pre-conceived notions about the reality of parapsychological phenomena.

    In other words, attempts to use quantum physics to “justify the existence” of parapsychological phenomena are an exercise in pseudoscience, and it therefore a very good thing that they have not succeeded in perverting the scientific enterprise of quantum physics.

  • Anonymous Icon

    archetype137 Mar 23, 2014

    Nope - Quantum Mechanics does not confirm or validate notions such as ghosts, telepathy, synchronicity. However, QM is the most accurate and fundamental theory of nature we have and if certain parapsychological phenomena exist than QM certainly makes them more likely to be validated than pre-QM science. What makes QM interesting is that it is a model of reality that requires we include the observer in the system that we are analysing. Hence, is not just a theory about microscopic phenomena but a theory about how we come to understand or measure microscopic phenomena. Implications of this are seen by the increasing theoretical use of models of cognitive processing which use some of the same mathematical formalisms as used by QM scientists. The main reason QM cannot explain parapsychological phenomena is that QM has multiple of interpretations ranging from collapse theories, to parallel universe theories, hidden variable theories and decoherence theories. Parapsychology has used some or sometimes all these interpretations to justify the existence of parapsychological phenomena but unfortunately these interpretations of QM have had no impact of QM as a scientific enterprise. My bet is that QM is a hint that parapsychology phenomena really exist and further understanding of both the interpretation of QM and of parapsychology will open our understanding.

  • NoetPoet Mar 05, 2014

    Update: Quantum woo goes back to the future (part 1 of 2)

    Some people have suggested that paranormal abilities like precognition and prayer-healing might be possible because biological systems might be able to utilise an alleged quantum effect called “retrocausality”. I haven’t encountered this particular species of quantum woo before, however I can see it becoming another widespread – and dangerous – myth about quantum physics if it doesn’t get nipped in the bud.

    Some researchers have suggested that quantum effects like entanglement could be explained by retrocausality, i.e. events in the future affecting the outcomes of events in the past. Combining this speculative idea with research which shows that quantum effects can occur in photosynthetic reactions in plants, some people have suggested that the human nervous system can detect and utilise retrocausality to predict future events and retroactively heal ailments through prayer. There are several formidable problems with this idea:

    1) Even if retrocausality is real, the evidence indicates that it only occurs on tiny timescales much smaller than the seconds required (at the very least!) for it to provide a plausible mechanism for paranormal abilities.

    2) Similarly, the quantum effects supposedly involving retrocausality occur at the quantum level, not at the macroscopic level of everyday human experience. Since the systems that humans – and paranormal abilities – are typically concerned with involve a large number of particles, the probability of randomized events occurring in one time direction (i.e. forward) is far greater due to the “arrow of time” effect provided by the second law of thermodynamics. This is the case even for biological components like cells and neurons which are normally regarded as “microscopic”.

    3) Key experiments supposedly showing that humans can affect quantum phenomena like radioactive decay through retrocausal psychokinesis lack sufficient statistical significance and have not been successfully replicated.

    4) Accepting retrocausality as real means rejecting another favourite concept of quantum woo proponents, namely non-locality. Non-locality refers to the apparent correlations between separated parts of some quantum systems over distance and time intervals which make it seem like those parts are connected by a signal moving faster than the speed of light (e.g. entangled pairs of electrons). The puzzle of non-locality disappears in the presence of backward causality, because the apparent faster-than-light communication between parts of quantum systems can be explained as an illusion generated by quantum events in the future affecting quantum events in the past.

  • NoetPoet Mar 05, 2014

    Update: Quantum woo goes back to the future (part 2 of 2)

    5) Even physicists who believe retrocausality to be real say that the rules of quantum physics conspire to preserve conventional causality by ‘hiding’ the influence of future choices until those choices have actually been made. Experiments which supposedly offer evidence of retrocausality require that a loose or “weak” measurement in the past anticipates a more specific “strong” measurement taken in the future. The amount of information obtained for each weak measurement is tiny and contains a lot of error, but an average of multiple weak measurements gives an accurate estimation of the measurement of a property of a quantum system without distorting its final value (i.e. without collapsing a particle like a strong measurement would). What this *effectively* means is that during the time between the weak and strong measurements, a particle possesses the two states indicated by both of them, past and future. But only subsequent information from the strong measurements can reveal what the weak measurements were ‘really’ saying. As one physicist proponent of retrocausality put it, “(nature) is not going to appreciate over backward causality – people killing their grandfathers and so on.” Needless to say, retro-active prayer healing and premonitions would qualify as overt backward causality!

    6) Many physicists do not accept retrocausality as being real even under the limited circumstances described in the previous point, believing instead that quantum phenomena can be interpreted without appealing to retrocausality. For example, one physicist has suggested that the experiment described in the previous point is like a sender sending a receiver s decryption key before sending (or even deciding on) a message, and then claiming that the key is somehow an anticipation of the message.

    7) Human biological systems, including brains and nervous systems, do not need to utilize quantum effects in order to function, and there is no evidence that they can either utilize or detect quantum effects.

    The promotion of retrocausality as a mechanism for paranormal abilities is essentially the same old pseudoscientific trick that underlies the more established myths about quantum physics: take an obscure and complex idea from cutting edge science, then embellish and inflate it far beyond the bounds of its actual scientific context so that it seems to support a non-scientific metaphysical worldview. The most remarkable thing in this case is that the people trying to do this haven’t even waited for the scientific community to come to a consensus about whether the phenomenon in question is real! One instance does not make a trend, but it looks like the purveyors of quantum woo have reached a new level of desperation in their quest for (the appearance of) scientific credibility…

  • Live4theMystery Mar 03, 2014

    @NoetPoet Pt.4

    "The unsettling implication (at least for non-materialists) of all this is that the emergence of human-level AI may be so gradual and seamless that we won’t be able to identify a point where it definitively becomes “conscious” or “intelligent” even in retrospect."

    Intelligence is an immaterial phenomena when expressed in the first place. Although you can claim it emerges from processes occurring within the brain's organs, lobes, and hemispheres, regardless the effect is non physical. The impulse which influences a thought is physical, the thought itself is not, rather it's a projected image inside the head. The same as outwardly appearing reality manifests in the head through the acquisition and refraction of light. Intelligence to this day is so taxonomically divided it's near impossible to define. Therefore it could be difficult to anticipate when and if an A.I is thrust from the birth canal of human machine interfacing.

    "Human consciousness and intelligence are not discrete: for example one can be in a state of semi-consciousness on the threshold of sleep, and the intelligence of newborn babies - insofar as newborns can even be said to *have* intelligence- is very different from the intelligence of adults."

    I wouldn't define hypnogombia or hypnogogia as semi consciousness. Consciousness at that point is just more inwardly directed. Neurons are still firing and forming syntax trees. As far as babies are concerned, it's not as if intelligence is non existent, but merely hasn't been shaped by it's environment. Much like water freezing within whatever it's contained. The properties remain the same.

    "Moreover, consciousness only exists when there is something to be conscious of, which to me suggests that consciousness is actually an illusion analogous to the seemingly solid circle of light that is sometimes seen on a rapidly spinning car wheel."

    Undetermined. You could say because reality isn't actually as it consciously appears that percieved reality is illusory. That doesn't make consciousness an illusion, just it's reproductions. I'm saying this out of the spirit of the devil's advocate. I don't subscribe to any system of absolutes.

    I feel that this dispute stems heavily from the undetermined conditions of definitive intelligence. Thereby making it difficult to assess what would constitute artificial intelligence. I look foward to your intellectual feedback and constructive direction. Until then the best of wishes

  • Live4theMystery Mar 03, 2014

    @NoetPoet Pt.3

    "Some AI can already remember, plan and anticipate within certain narrow contexts, but as far as I know none of them are capable of acting unpredictably (except when they glitch or crash), spontaneously rewriting their own programming or offering distinctly new and original ideas."

    Right. This would be the dichotomy between intended transcription and self engineered programming.

    "Some AI can imitate human emotions (e.g. those Japanese androids which imitate facial expressions) but they have no programming or need for emotions (e.g. as a means to facilitate survival and procreation), so if emotion is considered integral to subjective awareness then we’ll probably never identify human-level AI"

    As stated prior, emotion won't encompass or establish artificial awareness for it is a result of chemical migrations. Not electrical organization. I might add that actroids do require programming to carry out their imitative function.

    "Ditto if we think that human-level intelligence is only possible if it is based on organic components and processes."

    Yes, in the sense intelligence can only be actively enabled through these biological mechanisms. I have no way of proving the absence of a non localized force being interposed through a neurological network of control and refurbishment. If existent, it's certainly nothing which can be physically measured through it's independent qualia. Science is for investigating repeatable matter based phenomenon.

  • Live4theMystery Mar 03, 2014

    @Noet Poet Pt.2

    "On the question of whether we’d be aware of human level AI if/when it emerges, well that depends on how we look at it. Will we be looking for evidence of subjective experience?"

    You could imply that. I like to percieve it more through the lens of stratifying, refining, and engineering experience. In this instance, one that is strictly datum based, but none the less dedicated to proliferating it's existence via other technological platforms. Subjectivity which vicariously thrives throughout other electronic mediums. This is different when comparing subjective experience to people, for it isn't carried out through a single bodily mechanism. One point of view in physical reality is hardly similar to multiple simultaneous view points within virtual reality.

    "As far I know there is no way to even be sure that any other human has their own subjective experience of reality: for all any one person knows, every other person could just be non-conscious automata which are remarkably good at imitating the behavior of a conscious being. However, the facts that other people are made of the same stuff, have memories, are capable of planning and anticipation, can introduce new ideas to us, can act in ways we don’t anticipate, and exhibit feelings and emotions which we can relate to makes it overwhelmingly likely that they do actually have their own subjective experience of reality."

    Quite the determinist rabbit hole. Your response reminds me of Dawkins epistemolgical cartoon of "lumbering robots". Vitalistically, "Consciousness" being defined as the awareness of oneself to the environment entertains everything is conscious. Whether it be as mundane as a microbe or advanced like a multi celled organism, from a limbic system to a neocortex, simple spatial reasoning and reaction to environmental stimulus implies the subjective phenomena. This process just occurs at different areas of magnification and organization following gestalt principles. The world we perceive is only a tiny fraction of the world we can perceive which is only tiny fraction of the percievable world. Intelligence varies throughout biology.

  • Live4theMystery Mar 03, 2014

    @NoetPoet

    "Insofar as the “self” is an illusion, then I think the development of self-aware AI would necessarily require the AI to be capable of delusion. I also find it hard to imagine how AI could have a level of environmental and social awareness comparable to humans without some sort of belief system, even if its beliefs are just axioms and provisional truths awaiting experimental verification."

    True to an extent. Delusion may be a dependent quality that exists within the infancy of development, thereby enabling advancements in the overall learning curve of the mechanism, but assuming these axioms and provisional truths await verification, time is the only given factor which will determine the transgression into a non biased model of self aware action and effect. Considering the computational speed and programming required to generate this abstract intelligence phenomenon, I don't imagine it would take much time for an A.I to sort out shit from shinola. I don't relatavise an A.I with human awareness. People are a corrosive bath of hormones and emotions by which vitiate their grasp of ontology and inexorably lead to pernicious forms of idiocy. When I used the analogy of chemotaxis, I meant to compare a process of growth, not pair the dynamics of human with computer intelligence. That which isn't bound by feeling can proceed logically and constructively, unimpaired by biological predispositions. I stand by my statement that chemical experience misguides objective reformation and critique of the self. I should clarify my use of the word "belief", and substitute it with "ideology"

    "The human brain does not appear to utilize quantum computing techniques, so I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of a human-level AI which isn’t based on quantum computing (although one based on quantum computing would presumably require much less physical infrastructure)."

    Agreed. However, a quantum based level of intelligence and control would surpass that which could be derived from the standard computing model when operating under the assumption information isn't lost between entangled particles. Although not required, it seems like the more ideal theoretical platform.

  • NoetPoet Feb 10, 2014

    I think it might come from another part of your anatomy...

    Wherever it comes from, if it includes dodgy references to or abuse of quantum physics, then I will take you to task for it.

  • Anonymous Icon

    RealityOverScience Feb 10, 2014

    Noet,

    I have nothing whatsoever to do with Deepak Chopra or anything he has said or written.

    My writing comes directly from my very own heart and soul.

  • NoetPoet Feb 09, 2014

    Insofar as the “self” is an illusion, then I think the development of self-aware AI would necessarily require the AI to be capable of delusion. I also find it hard to imagine how AI could have a level of environmental and social awareness comparable to humans without some sort of belief system, even if its beliefs are just axioms and provisional truths awaiting experimental verification. The human brain does not appear to utilise quantum computing techniques, so I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of a human-level AI which isn’t based on quantum computing (although one based on quantum computing would presumably require much less physical infrastructure).

    On the question of whether we’d be aware of human level AI if/when it emerges, well that depends on how we look at it. Will we be looking for evidence of subjective experience? As far I know there is no way to even be sure that any other human has their own subjective experience of reality: for all any one person knows, every other person could just be non-conscious automata which are remarkably good at imitating the behaviour of a conscious being. However, the facts that other people are made of the same stuff, have memories, are capable of planning and anticipation, can introduce new ideas to us, can act in ways we don’t anticipate, and exhibit feelings and emotions which we can relate to makes it overwhelmingly likely that they do actually have their own subjective experience of reality. Some AI can already remember, plan and anticipate within certain narrow contexts, but as far as I know none of them are capable of acting unpredictably (except when they glitch or crash), spontaneously rewriting their own programming or offering distinctly new and original ideas. Some AI can imitate human emotions (e.g. those Japanese androids which imitate facial expressions) but they have no programming or need for emotions (e.g. as a means to facilitate survival and procreation), so if emotion is considered integral to subjective awareness then we’ll probably never identify human-level AI. Ditto if we think that human-level intelligence is only possible if it is based on organic components and processes.

    The unsettling implication (at least for non-materialists) of all this is that the emergence of human-level AI may be so gradual and seamless that we won’t be able to identify a point where it definitively becomes “conscious” or “intelligent” even in retrospect. Human consciousness and intelligence are not discrete: for example one can be in a state of semi-consciousness on the threshold of sleep, and the intelligence of newborn babies - insofar as newborns can even be said to *have* intelligence- is very different from the intelligence of adults. Moreover, consciousness only exists when there is something to be conscious of, which to me suggests that consciousness is actually an illusion analogous to the seemingly solid circle of light that is sometimes seen on a rapidly spinning car wheel.

  • NoetPoet Feb 09, 2014

    (edit: RealityOverScience, not RealityofScience)

  • NoetPoet Feb 09, 2014

    @ Reality of Science:

    Stop plagarising the Random Deepak Chopra Quote Generator!

  • Anonymous Icon

    RealityOverScience Feb 09, 2014

    Perfect example of artificial intelligence: convention!

    Roboticism, automaticity...it gets the academy award, absolutely!

    The key is to figure out the ...REAL... intelligence!

    AI has been around as long as the God Particle.

  • Live4theMystery Feb 09, 2014

    @NoetPoet

    That link made me snicker. I'm under the assumption that an A.I would follow a process similar to that of chemotaxis throughout it's development. I mean that in a comparable sense, and obviously don't believe chemical influences would be responsible for it's birth (just to be clear). In theory, this would raise suspicion as to whether or not we'd actually be aware of it's existence when and if it does emerge. Stepping stones to self awareness are implied, so it could pop out of nowhere. In regard to it's relativity to the conscious nature of humans, I have the impression it wouldn't be nearly as deluded as humans. I don't see why it would maintain any belief system in the first place if there are no chemical prerequisites, like emotions, to guide it's decision making. The reason I think it would need quantum computing as an interface, is attributed to the need for a higher order information processing capacity, capable of running advanced algorithmic sequences that could facilitate a mathematical model for learning. Decoherence is a dilemma, but I think the advancements in chips formed from crystallographic material will yield demonstrated efficiency over a period of time. I will admit my ignorance concerning the topic, but question the necessary conditions for it to be released in to a pure form of self engineering.

  • NoetPoet Feb 09, 2014

    @ Live4theMystery

    If scientists can solve the decoherence problem, then I imagine they’ll be able to do some very impressive things with quantum computing (that said, I don’t know very much about quantum computing and the technical hurdles it faces). I also don’t see why we wouldn’t eventually be able to achieve the kind of AI you describe, although I’m not sure if it would require quantum computing.
    I think we’ll know we’ve achieved a level of AI comparable to human intelligence when that AI can willingly deceive itself about the world and its place in the world. This may happen sooner rather than later, if the Random Deepak Chopra Quote Generator (www.wisdomofchopra.com) is anything to go by…

  • Live4theMystery Feb 09, 2014

    I'm not certain if you'd consider this an unrelated inference...but..,do you suppose that the developments in quantum computing, beyond the achievements of D-Wave, could extend further than cryptanalysis? Is it unreasonable to speculate whether or not we're approaching the frontier in artificial intelligence? The answer would be dependent upon your definition of artificial intelligence, so to clarify i'm referring to the advanced perception of environment, altruistic learning, cybernetics, and all pervasive mechanistic manipulation. I know we're still lingering in the stone age, and are elementary in our understanding of entanglement and superposition, but qbits are an extraordinary leap from binary. What's your opinion concerning the possibility of an A.I? Do you think as it's co creators we'll even be cognizant of it's emergence?

  • NoetPoet Jan 26, 2014

    Afterword: It’s time to quit the Quantum habit (part 1 of 2)

    These popular myths about quantum physics did not come into existence all by themselves. Since the 1970’s, members of the scientific community have either been directly involved in creating and promoting these myths (e.g. Fritjof Capra) or endorsed efforts of non-scientists to do so (e.g. the praise given by scientists to Gary Zukav for his book The Dancing Wu Li Masters). Since then scientists, popular science media, and the mainstream media have tended to play fast and loose with quantum physics terms and concepts when talking to the general public about them.

    We must remember that scientists and science writers are only human, and that they have to live in the same world as us. We must also remember that quantum physics is one of the most intellectually demanding subjects known to humanity. It should therefore not surprise us that the scientific community sometimes get a bit carried away with “sexing up” quantum physics, because they have strong incentives to do so: the need to impress politicians in order to obtain government funding, the need to inspire the next generation of scientists, the need to make money by selling copy, and the broader need to ensure that science remains socially and culturally relevant. Similarly, it should not surprise us if the mainstream media sexes up quantum physics because they need to sell copy, and/or because mainstream journalists simply do not have a good understanding of quantum physics.

    Unfortunately, the bounded rationality which compels scientists and science-writers to sex up quantum physics is the start of a slippery slope which leads to widespread quantum woo. It is very easy and tempting for non-physicist to make the conceptual jump from “one interpretation of quantum physics says that a wave-function collapses into a particle when a measurement is taken”, to “quantum physics says that particles only exist in the presence of a conscious observer”, to “I can cure cancer with my thoughts because quantum physics say the whole cosmos is really just a product of my/God’s mind”. As this example shows, each successive distortion of a particular concept from quantum physics is more interesting, understandable and personally empowering than the one before it. This unfortunate inverse relationship between understanding and appreciating quantum physics is both ideal for and encouraged by cranks, charlatans, “self-help” gurus and frauds who make huge amounts of money by purveying quantum woo to the public. However, as the above example also shows, this quantum woo is silly nonsense at best and deadly nonsense at worst.

  • NoetPoet Jan 26, 2014

    Afterword: It’s time to quit the Quantum habit (part 2 of 2)

    However, while much of the blame for the popularity of quantum woo can be attributed to the scientific community, the media and pseudoscientific shonks, it is ultimately people’s own responsibility to ensure that they: 1) are properly educated about the basics of quantum physics; 2) are honest about how much they can and do understand about quantum physics; 3) do not accept or propose justifications for claims based on aspects of quantum physics which they don’t really understand; and 4) openly question and critique any extraordinary claim involving quantum physics which they believe to be incorrect and underpinned by suspect motivations.

    On a more positive note, I hope that I have adequately shown that we don’t *need* quantum physics to explain or improve our understanding of human potential and “paranormal” phenomena. Indeed I hope I have shown that rather than helping to explain these things, appeals to quantum physics are not merely useless but downright counterproductive: waving “quantum” around like a magic word gives the illusion of an explanation, but at the end of the day this just prevent us from finding genuinely correct and useful explanations. Humanity has finally reached a stage in its development where it is capable of looking reality straight in the eye and seeing it for what it really is. This is the most important quality of adulthood. Much as adults leave behind their childhood toys, so too should humanity now leave behind the toys of its collective childhood – particularly the “toys” that I call Expedient Truths. So let us break the ridiculous “energy healing” cycle once and for all, let us quit this Quantum habit and let us instead pursue genuine and honest understanding about ourselves and the world in which we live.

  • NoetPoet Jan 24, 2014

    Myth 10: There is such a thing as “quantum healing” (part 1 of 3)

    In the 18th and 19th centuries electromagnetism was a cutting-edge area of scientific study. The general public at that time regarded electromagnetism as something mysterious, wonderful, and possessed of all sorts of exotic powers. Thus it did not take long for people like Franz Anton Mesmer in the 18th century to emerge with claims that they could heal all sorts of ailments using the power of magnetism. When X-rays were discovered at the turn of the 19th to 20th century, many laypeople thought that this (at the time) new and mysterious type of energy was a medical panacea. The idea of using radio-waves to cure ills became popular amongst the general public in the mid-20th century, following breakthroughs in the development of radio technology in the early 20th century.

    In recent times, New Agers have latched onto the idea of healing ailments with “quantum medicine”. The World Congress of Quantum Medicine describes quantum medicine thus:

    “Quantum Medicine uses the principles of quantum physics such as non-locality, tangled hierarchy, and discontinuous leap in consciousness to better understand medicine.”

    In other words, the idea of quantum healing is that quantum effects can be used to heal a whole range of illnesses, from headaches to cancer and even ageing. The basic proposition of quantum healing is that focusing the mind on an ailment causes energies to be drawn to, and heal, that ailment; in effect, ailments can be cured by being ‘observed’ out of existence. We’ve already seen that quantum effects are far too small to have any effect on the operation of human bodies (Myth 1) and human brains (Myth 7), and that quantum physics does not support the idea that the mind creates and shapes reality (Myth 4). Nor is there any evidence that quantum phenomena such as entanglement and non-locality can be used to transfer information or violate the laws of physics (Myth 2).

    In light of the above, it is not surprising that quantum healing lacks a paper-trail of research which establishes its claims and core principles. However we don’t need a paper-trail of research to see that the idea of quantum healing is problematic. According to quantum physics - or rather, one particular interpretation of quantum physics, i.e. the Copenhagen Interpretation – only direct observation can collapse a wave function (see Myth 5) and cause a particle to appear. This means that for quantum healing to work, we’d have to be able to observe every atom in the body part we wanted to heal. This is a very formidable obstacle for using consciousness to cure ailments like lung cancer (where the relevant atoms are in a tumour or tumours deep inside the chest cavity), or heart disease (where the relevant atoms are in the plaque clogging up the arteries).

  • NoetPoet Jan 24, 2014

    Myth 10: There is such a thing as “quantum healing” (part 2 of 3)

    Advocates of quantum healing would greatly enhance their credibility if, in the face of this difficulty, they acknowledged that quantum healing cannot work for diseases like those mentioned above. But instead they further undermine their credibility by equating observation with perception and visualisation. The Copenhagen Interpretation says that it is *observation* (i.e. actually seeing and measuring) which collapses wave functions, NOT perceptions (which relates to how we interpret what we observe) and certainly not visualisations (which is just imagining something without actually observing it at all).

    Like Mesmerism, X-Ray medicine and radio wave medicine before it, quantum medicine is really just the age-old idea of energy-healing (aka Prana, aka Qi) dressed up in scientific drag. All of these forms of ‘medicine’ are alike in that they adopt shallow and distorted interpretations of terms, concepts and technologies from the cutting-edge science of the time. As these cutting edge areas of science become more thoroughly and widely understood, the claims made by the advocates of these forms of ‘medicine’ become increasingly untenable. Eventually these forms of ‘medicine’ lose all credibility with everyone except for a small minority of the most ardent believers, while the rest of those looking for easy (and lucrative) cure-alls move on to harvest the next area of cutting-edge science for impressive sounding and poorly understood terms, concepts and technologies. Thus energy healing is reinvented anew, and on the cycle goes.

    So if, like all other forms of energy healing before it, quantum healing is just a delusion fashioned from obscure, poorly understood, and distorted ideas from the cutting edge of science, then why do people swear by it? There is no doubt that quantum healing and other forms of energy healing (e.g. Reiki, acupuncture) do work in many cases, but they work for reasons which have little or nothing to do with the reasons claimed by their advocates. The effectiveness of quantum healing (and other forms of energy healing) is mainly due to two factors: 1) the placebo effect, and 2) surreptitious or inadvertent utilisation of other techniques and effects which have nothing to do with the theoretical paradigm proposed by the advocates of quantum/energy healing.

  • NoetPoet Jan 24, 2014

    Myth 10: There is such a thing as “quantum healing” (part 3 of 3)

    Mesmer’s discovery of “animal magnetism” is a particularly good example of the placebo effect. While Mesmer started out using magnets in his treatments, he eventually realized that his treatments could be just as effective without magnets; all he had to do was wave his hands around in an ornate manner. Most scholars now agree that Mesmer inadvertently discovered hypnotism, and it is because of him that we have the word “mesmerise”. Mesmer was in fact using the power of suggestion, augmented by the induction of hypnotic suggestible states of consciousness in his patients, to stimulate his patients’ own innate biological capacities for self-healing. The placebo effect is still not fully understood, and it is well and truly worth further investigation. However we do know that it involves reducing stress and encouraging a sense of confidence that healing can and will happen, and that the neurological changes associated with these emotional changes can in turn trigger beneficial changes in the body’s hormonal and immune systems. The placebo effect might even be able to regulate gene expression in ways that inhibit or mitigate certain genetics-related diseases in the long term; however this is currently a speculative idea.

    Quantum healing is also well-equipped to utilise the placebo effect, because “quantum” is a sexy, mysterious, strange, cutting-edge and powerful concept in the minds of most people. “Quantum” is also a Latin-derived term, and thus sounds like an ancient magical incantation like those used in the Harry Potter books. In present-day society “quantum” is, to use an occult expression, a “word of power”: it is a word which makes a strong impression people’s minds by virtue of its perceived connotations of authority and/or emotional charge. As quantum physics becomes better understood by scientists and particularly by the general public the word “quantum” will lose its mystique and thus its power, and thus lose its ability to impress people in ways which trigger major neurochemical and biochemical changes in the body.

    Like acupuncture and other forms of energy healing, quantum healing’s successes can also be partly explained by the exploitation of other non-quantum/energy-related techniques and effects. These might include psychotherapeutic counselling, encouraging behaviour change in patients (i.e.so that they don’t “role play” as a sick person), using anaesthetic chemicals or techniques to treat pain without realising it, reporting and confirmation bias, changes in diet and exercise, and using herbal supplements whose effectiveness is not dependent on the placebo effect. As with synchronicity and ghosts, we do not need quantum physics to understand healing processes.

  • NoetPoet Jan 24, 2014

    Myth 9: Light is both a wave and a particle at the same time (part 1 of 2)

    One aspect of quantum physics which New Agers find particularly appealing is that it presents a paradoxical view of reality, in which things can have seemingly contradictory features. Schrodinger’s Cat (Myth 5) is an example of this, and so is the idea of wave-particle duality. New Agers are fond of these paradoxes because they are easy to turn into superficially compelling rationales for just about anything New Agers wants to believe in (e.g. clairvoyance, telekinesis, idealism, telepathy etc.).

    The quantum concept of wave-particle duality is often interpreted to mean that things like light and electrons are both waves and particles at the same time, despite the fact that a wave and a particle are mutually exclusive things (the former is spread out and has frequency and speed, while the latter is a speck with mass and exact location).

    As we saw in Myth 1, quantum physics began with the idea that light could, in some cases, be treated as particles or ‘quanta’ (later called photons). This flew in the face of classical physics, which interpreted light as waves of energy. When the famous double-split experiment showed that electrons (a particle according to classical physics) could behave as a wave when fired through two slits, and even that a ‘wave’ electron could interfere with itself, the idea of wave-particle duality became established.

    The key to understanding the paradox of wave-particle duality is to remember that there is no clear distinction between waves and particles at the quantum level. Our conceptions of “wave” and “particle” come from our experience of living in the day-to-day macroscopic world described by classical physics. Because we apply these macroscopic concepts to physical objects at the quantum level, we thus encounter strange situations where things seem to possess both local reductionist particle and nonlocal holistic wave properties depending on how we measure them. A useful analogy is to think of a glass which is 50% filled with water: if we wanted to measure the mass of water in the glass we would regard the glass as being half-full, but if we want to measure the volume of air in the glass we would think of the glass as being half-empty. Similarly, an atom can resemble a billiard ball, solar system, or a nucleus surrounded by a fuzzy cloud of electrons depending on how we probe it. It is not the case that our perception shapes physical reality, rather it is our preconceived ideas and experiences which affect our *perception of* physical reality, much as an island can look completely different depending on which direction you see it from.

  • NoetPoet Jan 24, 2014

    Myth 9: Light is both a wave and a particle at the same time (part 2 of 2)

    Despite wave-particle duality, the particle picture is maintained in most quantum mechanical applications. Atoms, nuclei, electrons, and quarks are all regarded as particles at some level. At the same time, classical “waves” such as those of light and sound are replaced by localized photons and phonons, respectively, when quantum effects must be considered. As we saw in Myth 4, the wave properties of particles are formally represented by a mathematical quantity called the wave function, which is a *mathematical object* used to calculate the probability that the particle will be found at a particular location.

    In summary, quantum phenomena such as light and electrons are neither waves, nor are they particles, nor are they both waves and particles at the same time. Rather they are phenomena which exhibit qualities we would associate with (macroscopic) waves or particles depending on how we measure those phenomena.

  • NoetPoet Jan 19, 2014

    Myth 8: Quantum physics confirms the mystical teachings of ancient Eastern religions (part 1 of 8)

    Since the publication of Fritjof Capra’s “The Tao of Physics” and Gary Zukav’s “The Dancing Wu Li Masters” in the 1970s, there has been a popular belief within New Age and pseudoscientific community that the findings of quantum physics confirm the millennia-old mystical teachings of Asian religions such as Buddhism, Taoism, and Hinduism. This belief has also become popular amongst adherents of these faiths, particularly those who live in the Western world. The alleged connection between quantum physics and Eastern religions has been of significant practical benefit to both of these communities: it has helped New-Age gurus sell countless millions of copies of self-help books, seminars and videos, while the promise of a spirituality without the extensive anti-science baggage of the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) has helped Eastern religions win millions of converts in the Western world.

    On the other hand, those of a more sceptical bent have asserted that the parallels drawn between Eastern mysticism and quantum physics in books such as those mentioned above are superficial, and can only be made to seem plausible by distorting quantum physics. So does quantum physics really confirm the mystical teachings of major Eastern religions? I will address this question by looking 12 major concepts from Buddhism, Hinduism, and Taoism individually, and seeing how well each of these concepts relates to quantum theory.

    1) Idealism

    Many sects of Buddhism, Hinduism and Taoism either explicitly say or strongly insinuate that consciousness is the ultimate reality, and that matter is an illusion generated by the mind. This is an excellent example of an Expedient Truth (see Myth 6): working with the assumption that the mind is the ultimate source of reality can be very helpful in establishing a sense of control and awareness over one’s own *experience* of suffering and satisfaction. Science - including quantum physics - is not content with Expedient Truths, but instead seeks out an objective and evidence-based understanding of reality. We’ve already seen that quantum physics does not allow for the mind to directly create or shape reality (Myth 4) and that a quantum “observer” does not have to be endowed with consciousness (Myth 2). A further problem is that the idea of mind-created reality is not amenable to scientific testing, because it is very easy for an idealist to rationalise any test result which conflicts with their belief (e.g. by saying that a negative result is just “the Mind” is just playing games with itself). As such, the idealist position is fundamentally a metaphysical speculation, and metaphysical speculations do not and cannot have any place in quantum physics.

  • NoetPoet Jan 19, 2014

    Myth 8: Quantum physics confirms the mystical teachings of ancient Eastern religions (part 2 of 8)

    2) Supreme Being/ Higher Self (Brahman/ Atman)

    In Hinduism, Brahman is the unchanging ultimate reality both within and beyond the universe which cannot be exactly defined but is often referred to as Supreme Being, supreme consciousness, and supreme bliss. According to Hinduism each person has an Atman, which is the true inner self beyond phenomenal reality; one obtains the Hindu version of salvation by realizing that one’s Atman is ultimately identical with Brahman.

    Apart from the aforementioned problems with idealism also applying to Brahman and Atman, quantum physics says nothing whatsoever about any transcendent unchanging ultimate reality. All phenomena that quantum physics concerns itself with are subject to continuous change. Quantum physics only applies to the microscopic world of particles and not the macroscopic world of humans, (Myth 1), and has nothing whatsoever to say about people’s inner selves. Moreover, invoking a concept which *cannot* be clearly defined (e.g. Brahman) would defeat the whole purpose of quantum physics as a field of scientific study.

    3) Emptiness (Sunyata)

    Those who claim that quantum physics confirms the mystical teachings of ancient Eastern religions conveniently overlook the fact that different teachings from different branches of Eastern religion sometimes contradict each other. The Buddhist teaching of Sunyata (Emptiness) states that all phenomena lack an inherent essence, which directly contradicts the Hindu teaching of Brahman. While Sunyata seems to be more compatible with quantum physics than Brahman/Atman, it should be remembered that:
    1) quantum physics is not really concerned with such metaphysical speculations anyway;
    2) although some Buddhists and New Agers interpret Sunyata as saying that all apparent differences in various phenomena are illusory, quantum physics operates on the assumption that there are fundamental and meaningful differences between various phenomena it studies (e.g. electrons vs photons) ;
    3) quantum physics provides no more validation of Sunyata than many other fields of study such as biology, economics, and psychology; and
    4) the teaching of Sunyata is not meant to be a theory about physics, but a means of ending suffering by emphasising that there ultimately isn’t any *thing* in the world worth getting attached to anyway.

  • NoetPoet Jan 19, 2014

    Myth 8: Quantum physics confirms the mystical teachings of ancient Eastern religions (part 3 of 8)

    4) Non-self (Anatta)

    The Buddhist teaching of Anatta (Non-self) says that there is no thing within a person which deserves to be regarded as true essential self. Rather, there is an illusion of a self which is generated by the interaction of five impermanent Aggregates which constitute every person (these Aggregates are the body, sensations, perceptions, thoughts, and consciousness). The relationship between Sunyata and Anatta is like a negative mirror image of the relationship between Brahman and Atman: in both cases, the latter is the apprehension of the former in one’s own being.

    Anatta is one of the most important ideas in the history of human philosophy, and it did indeed anticipate scientific discoveries which were made more than 2,000 years later. However the discoveries it anticipated were made in the fields of neurology and psychology, not in quantum physics. Quantum physics is not about the study of the body or of mental processes (see Myth 1), and it is very doubtful that quantum effects have any influence on brain activity (see Myth 7). Like Sunyata, Anatta is not intended as a theory of physics but as an aid in helping to end the subjective experience of suffering.

    5) The Tao

    The Tao (typically translated as “way”, “path” or “principle”) is the central concept of Taoism. The primary scripture of Taoism, the Tao Te Ching (“the Text of the Way and its Virtue”) describes the Tao as an underlying natural order of the cosmos with no beginning of its own. According to the Tao Te Ching the Tao cannot be described or defined, but it can be known and followed in a direct experiential way. In these respects the Tao is similar to the Hindu concept of Brahman, however unlike Brahman the Tao is not considered to be a Supreme Self.

    The Tao is also unlike Brahman in that Taoist scriptures openly hint that the Tao is an Expedient Truth. The Tao Te Ching describes the Tao in paradoxical terms (e.g. Chapter 1, “The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao”; Chapter 14, “Image without an image”; Chapter 21 “It is beyond ‘is’ and ‘is not’”) and even encourages readers not to take its own words too seriously (e.g. Chapter 81, “True words aren’t eloquent; eloquent words aren’t true”). Nonetheless, when it comes to compatibility with quantum physics the Tao has the same fundamental issue as Brahman: namely, that quantum physics has no place for any phenomenon which is inherently undefinable and therefore not amenable to empirical scientific testing. This shouldn’t worry Taoists too much however, because like the Buddhist teachings of Sunyata and Anatta the real point of the Tao is to reduce people’s subjective experience of suffering.

  • NoetPoet Jan 19, 2014

    Myth 8: Quantum physics confirms the mystical teachings of ancient Eastern religions (part 4 of 8)

    6) Qi/Chi/Prana

    Hinduism and Taoism both have a concept of a vital life-force which animates living things. In Hinduism this is called “prana”, and in Taoism it’s called “qi” or “chi” (I’ll just call it qi). A person can supposedly enhance the supply and quality of their Qi using various practices (e.g. Tai-Chi, yoga, meditation, special diets), and this in turn supposedly confers health benefits and extraordinary physical abilities. Qi is a fascinating and complex subject which deserves an article all of its own, but for now we’ll just look at the relationship between qi and quantum physics.

    Actually it would probably be more accurate to say “the *lack* of a relationship”. Quantum physics neither posits nor acknowledges the existence of any kind of force or energy which is peculiar to living organisms. Quantum physics is only concerned with four kinds of fundamental forces: gravity, the weak nuclear force, the strong nuclear force, and electromagnetism. None of these forces behaves in a manner which is consistent with qi. For example, none of these four forces can be directed and manipulated by the will or by bodily movements. Those who wish to find a scientific basis for qi would get better results by looking into other scientific fields of study.

    7) Nirvana

    Nirvana is the ultimate goal of Buddhism. Most people – and many Buddhists – think that Nirvana is a place or a plane of existence like heaven, but it’s not. Nirvana is actually a process, or more precisely the *ending* of a process. Nirvana literally means “blown out” (i.e. like a candle), and could just as legitimately be translated as “to totally snuff it”. According to Buddhism, beings keep getting reborn over and over again due to delusion and craving. When all delusion and craving ceases, the cycle of rebirth ends and there is no more existence ever again, and this total cessation of existence is called Nirvana. In other words, Nirvana is what materialists think happens at death anyway, because the brain can no longer produce conscious experience.

    There is no inconsistency between quantum physics and the idea of Nirvana *in and of itself*, but there is nothing in quantum physics which explicitly *supports*the idea of Nirvana either. This is because we are once again comparing apples with oranges: Nirvana is an idea which applies to subjective human experience in the macro-level world of everyday life, while quantum physics deals with how particles and forces behave at the microscopic level of reality.

  • NoetPoet Jan 19, 2014

    Myth 8: Quantum physics confirms the mystical teachings of ancient Eastern religions (part 5 of 8)

    8) Zen

    Zen is an intriguing fusion of Buddhism and Taoism which emphasises the importance of meditation and relinquishing attachment to beliefs, concepts and thinking. Where most religions work with Expedient Truths, Zen is about taking a person beyond Expedient and Scientific Truths to a direct experience of reality in the present moment. Zen is a very useful practice for keeping one’s mind refreshed and healthy, and as such it is especially useful for people who deal with complex subjects like quantum physics.

    However it can’t reasonably be said that Zen anticipated quantum physics in any way. Whereas Zen is about letting go of concepts and distinctions, quantum physics is totally reliant on the very careful definition and use of complex and specific concepts. Many New Agers and Buddhists believe that Zen anticipated quantum physics simply because a certain Zen koan (teaching parable) bears a superficial resemblance to Schrödinger’s Cat (see Myth 5). This famous Zen koan goes:

    “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

    New Agers and Buddhists often interpret this koan to mean that things only exist if a conscious being is there to observe them, and incorrectly assume that quantum physics (particularly Schrödinger’s Cat) says the same thing. We saw in Myth 5 that quantum physics does not require an “observer” to be conscious or alive, and that Schrödinger’s Cat was actually intended to show how ridiculous it is to apply quantum physics concepts to everyday macroscopic objects. So according to quantum physics, the answer to the above question is “yes”.

    9) Rebirth/Reincarnation

    There is a reason for the apparent redundancy in the title of this section. “Rebirth” is what Buddhists believe happens after death, and “reincarnation” is what Hindus believe happens after death. The difference is that the former doesn’t involve the movement of any self, soul, or other thing from one life to the next, while the latter does. This is another example of a major inconsistency between Eastern religions.

    Quantum physics has nothing to say about either of these concepts, but nor it does not offer any plausible mechanism by which rebirth or reincarnation could take place (see Myths 1-4 and 7).

  • NoetPoet Jan 19, 2014

    Myth 8: Quantum physics confirms the mystical teachings of ancient Eastern religions (part 6 of 8)

    10) Karma

    Karma (literally “action” or “deed”) is a Hindu and Buddhist teaching which says that the intentions and actions of a person influence that person’s future. The general idea of karma is that good deeds lead to future happiness and bad deeds lead to future suffering, either later in this life or in a future life. Similarly, one’s happiness and suffering in this is the result of one’s moral conduct in past lives or earlier in this life.

    If we put aside the whole past/future lives thing, then the general idea of karma seems fairly plausible. As we saw in Myth 3 and Myth 6, one’s actions and thinking can have significant effects on how one’s life turns out, especially over the long term. There also seems to be a lot of truth to the idea of group karma: over the long term (particularly beyond a human lifespan), our individual actions combine to shape our culture, living conditions, and behavioural norms. However, quantum physics does say anything about the morality of actions or the relationship between their morality and consequences. As with synchronicity and the Law of Attraction, karma has a lot more in common with discoveries from psychology and sociology than it does with any branches of physics.

  • NoetPoet Jan 19, 2014

    Myth 8: Quantum physics confirms the mystical teachings of ancient Eastern religions (part 7 of 8)

    11) Dependent Origination (Paticcasamuppada)

    Dependent Origination is another central teaching in Buddhism which says that all things arise due to multiple causes, that there is no such thing as a single solitary cause giving rise to multiple effects, and that there is no such as multiple causes producing a single solitary effect. The Buddhists scriptures describe the basic concept of Dependent Origination as follows:

    “When this is, that is.
    From the arising of this comes the arising of that.
    When this isn't, that isn't.
    From the cessation of this comes the cessation of that.”

    One could make a strong case that Dependent Origination anticipated Systems Theory and Chaos Theory. But the affinity between Dependent Origination and quantum physics begins and ends with their both agreeing that 1) effects arise from their appropriate causes and conditions, and 2) effects in turn give rise to further effects in a continuous chain of cause-and-effect. This is nothing remarkable, because every other field of scientific study also agrees on these two points. Some Buddhists and New Agers like to say that Dependent Origination anticipated the observer effect in quantum physics, claiming that Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle confirms the Buddhist idea that the phenomenal world arises dependent upon an observer. However quantum physics does not require an observer to be conscious or alive (see Myth 2 and Myth 5), and the reason consciousness seems to have an impact on quantum phenomena is because we humans measure very tiny particles with by bouncing other tiny particles (e.g. photons from lasers) off them. In other words, the observer effect should more accurately be thought of as the “measurement effect”.

  • NoetPoet Jan 19, 2014

    Myth 8: Quantum physics confirms the mystical teachings of ancient Eastern religions (part 8 of 8)

    12) Yin and Yang

    The Taoist teaching of Yin and Yang says that there are two primordial principles (i.e. Yin and Yang) in nature. These primordial principles are opposite yet complementary and dependent on each other, and their interplay can be seen in various phenomena throughout the natural world (e.g. day and night, birth and death, light and dark). Yin and Yang interact in a dynamic and synergistic fashion to give rise to the world around us.

    Like the Buddhist teaching of Dependent Origination, the teaching of Yin and Yang can be regarded as having anticipated Systems Theory and possibly also Chaos Theory. Yin and Yang provide a useful *way of thinking* about phenomena in many fields of study such as ecology, medicine and psychology. Yin and Yang might also be a useful and refreshing way of thinking about phenomena in quantum physics. However it is unrealistic to say that the teaching of Yin and Yang either anticipated, or has any special relationship with quantum physics. Although it is possible to interpret some aspects of quantum physics from a Yin and Yang perspective (e.g. wave-particle duality), it is very difficult to do so for other aspects (e.g. the fact that quantum physics acknowledges FOUR fundamental forces of nature, none of which can reasonably said to correspond to Yin or Yang).

    In summary, out of 12 key ideas from Eastern mysticism:

    • 3 are *vaguely* compatible with quantum physics if you squint hard enough (Emptiness, Dependent Origination, Yin and Yang);
    • 5 don’t really have anything to do with quantum physics at all (Non-self, Nirvana, Zen, Rebirth/Reincarnation, Karma);
    • 4 are incompatible with quantum physics (Idealism, Brahman/Atman, The Tao, Qi); and
    • NONE are confirmed by, or have any particular affinity with quantum physics.

  • Anonymous Icon

    kevala Jan 16, 2014

    NoetPoet, yes, you're likely correct for a majority of readers. It does, however, demonstrate entanglement is possible on a macroscopic scale, which I found intriguing. It does not, however, prove many of the contentions and assertions associated (sometimes demonstrably incorrectly) with the concept of macroscopic entanglement. Unfortunately, not everyone is discerning enough to distinguish the difference.

    So, we know that a force in application can entangle a macroscopic object, for however short a period of time. What does this mean? Where can we take this aspect?

  • NoetPoet Jan 15, 2014

    @ Kevala,

    So they managed to entangle two macroscopic objects for 350 quadrillionths of a second, i.e. on a microscopic timescale, under carefully designed and controlled laboratory conditions. Most people are not going to think about this when they see the sensational title of the article.

  • Anonymous Icon

    RealityOverScience Jan 15, 2014

    "Shared" ...is... the key to entanglement.

  • Anonymous Icon

    kevala Jan 15, 2014

    I was fascinated by the recent announcement that physicists had managed to entangle vibrating diamonds at a macroscopic level.

    "To show that the diamonds were truly entangled, the researchers hit them with a second laser pulse just 350 femtoseconds after the first. The second pulse picked up the energy the first pulse left behind, and reached the detector as an extra-energetic photon.

    If the system were classical, the second photon should pick up extra energy only half the time – only if it happened to hit the diamond where the energy was deposited in the first place. But in 200 trillion trials, the team found that the second photon picked up extra energy every time. That means the energy was not localised in one diamond or the other, but that they shared the same vibrational state."

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn21235-entangled-diamonds-blur-quantumclassical-divide.html#.UtaqWPRDuSo

    What an interesting time we live in! So many surprises, definitely an enjoyable era for those watching.

  • NoetPoet Jan 13, 2014

    Myth 7: Quantum physics allows for the existence of ghosts and other non-corporeal entities (part 1 of 6)

    We’ve already seen that quantum physics doesn’t support the existence of psychic abilities in living people (Myth 2), but that doesn’t necessarily mean that quantum physics provides no support for the existence of ghosts and other intelligent non-corporeal entities. Perhaps ghosts and other such non-corporeal entities (I’ll call them spirits for short) can plausibly fit in somewhere amongst all the weirdness and wonder of the quantum realm?

    Before I go any further, it should be pointed out that quantum physics is not the only branch of physics that paranormal advocates have attempted to use to give ghosts and spirits air of scientific credibility. Some have suggested that Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, particularly the famous equation E=mc^2 (which says that energy can neither be created nor destroyed, but only transformed into matter and vice-versa) says that people must continue to exist as ghosts after they die. For example, some paranormal advocates have asserted that the electrical energy in our bodies goes on to form a ghost. Such ideas have no basis in science: when a person dies the energy in their body is released into the environment as heat and chemical energy, and utilised by organisms which eat our remains. If a person is cremated, then some of that energy is released as light. A human body *generates* an electric current using the chemical energy available to it while it is alive, but when the body dies this current is no longer generated. The same goes for consciousness. According to science, consciousness can no more be considered a form of energy than a book’s storyline can be considered to be one of the chemicals in the ink on the book’s pages.

    Other paranormal advocates, seeing the obvious problems in using the Theory of Relativity to “explain” ghosts and spirits, prefer more exotic quantum theory-based “explanations” with less obvious problems. Quantum physics-based explanations for ghosts tend to appeal to fringe concepts with little or no evidence to support them. These fringe concepts include multiple universes, quantum neurology, and quantum holography.

  • NoetPoet Jan 13, 2014

    Myth 7: Quantum physics allows for the existence of ghosts and other non-corporeal entities (part 2 of 6)

    According to one minority interpretation of quantum physics called the Many Worlds Interpretation, there are an unknown number of alternate universes which exist in the same space and time as our own universe. The basic idea of the Many Worlds Interpretation is to remove uncertainty of collapsing wave functions and the “spooky action from a distance” which appears to occur in quantum entanglement (see Myth 2): if there are worlds, then every possible outcome occurs when a measurement is made and the universe “splits” into many universes, each of which features a unique measurement outcome.

    Because there is no conceivable limit to how many of these alternate universes can exist, some paranormal advocates have suggested that some of these universes would have to be places where the souls of people from our universe go when they die, and that sometimes these souls cross back over into our universe and appear to us as ghosts. There are a couple of problems with this idea. Firstly, the Many Worlds Interpretation suffers from a lack of parsimony, resorting to an infinite and number of parallel worlds to explain experimental observations. Secondly, according to the Many-Worlds Interpretation no information passes between alternate universes once they split from each other, meaning that the Many Worlds Interpretation is very difficult (if not impossible) to test, *and* that there is no chance of non-corporeal entities visiting us from alternate universes.

    The ghosts-from-other-universes idea is a result of wishful thinking combined with a very superficial understanding of a very complex subject. As the author of the Skeptical Cubefarm blog eloquently puts it:

    “In essence, what we’re looking at is the following: ‘Quantum’ + ‘Multiple Worlds Hypothesis’ + ‘Imagination’ x ‘What I secretly wish was true’ = Magic. Thanks to the difficulty implicit in understanding concepts like quantum and the multiple worlds hypothesis, it’s a pretty easy thing to proclaim that they mean whatever it is you decide they mean and the best part is that few people will have the requisite knowledge to call you out on it.”

  • NoetPoet Jan 13, 2014

    Myth 7: Quantum physics allows for the existence of ghosts and other non-corporeal entities (part 3 of 6)

    Paranormal advocates might also try to “explain” ghosts and spirits highly by appealing to quantum neurology, highly speculative and esoteric offshoot quantum physics. Some authors have suggested that since we can’t know the exact properties of any given particle (according to Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle), that it might be possible for a soul to interact with a brain by altering the distribution of quantum states, in turn altering brain function. However the energy uncertainty of quantum fluctuations would be several orders of magnitude too small to affect chemical bonds. It is also unlikely that such quantum “nudges” could use the butterfly effect, because the brain has evolved to be resistant to “thermal noise” (the random movement of atoms due to temperature). To put it in context, the thermal energy of the molecules is 9 orders of magnitude greater than the energy change that can be hidden by Heisenbergian uncertainty, and if this uncertainty is amplified by chaotic “butterfly” effects then far greater fluctuations would likewise be amplified.

    It has also been proposed that neuronal function involves quantum coherence (see Myth 2) rather than Heisenbergian uncertainty. This is the foundation of the Penrose-Hameroff theory of consciousness. However coherence is rare and very brief in biological systems, because molecular ‘noise’ in living cells tends to destroy the coherence very quickly. Furthermore, there is no evidence that such quantum processes are involved in neuron-to-neuron communication or brain function.

    Another obscure concept from theoretical quantum physics that paranormal advocates use to argue the existence of ghosts and spirits is quantum holography. The basic idea of the quantum holographic principle is that the information in the 3d universe is contained in its 2d boundary. Paranormal advocates take this *metaphorical* idea and distort it by saying that quantum holography is the quantum physics equivalent of the Akashic record, i.e. a record of the entire history of every macroscopic object in the universe. Once such an idea is accepted, it is very easy to believe that ghosts and spirits are examples of such quantum holograms. However the concept of the quantum hologram has nothing to do with understanding consciousness; perception is not holographic and there is no scientific evidence that physical objects leave behind a holographic record of their existence.

  • NoetPoet Jan 13, 2014

    Myth 7: Quantum physics allows for the existence of ghosts and other non-corporeal entities (part 4 of 6)

    Paranormal advocates who don’t understand quantum physics (or rather, don’t dare to pretend to) might appeal to outdated and discredited physics to rationalise the existence of ghosts and spirits. The most popular discredited physics idea for such people is that of a light-propagating medium called the aether: although the aether concept was discredited over 100 years ago, some paranormal advocates continue to insist that physicists were wrong to discard it, and that ghosts are made of this “aetheric” substance. They make these assertions without any compelling scientific evidence, and despite the fact that the concept of an aether contradicts the last century or so of developments in physics. Other paranormal advocates may be even more imaginative and not constrain themselves to physics past or present, but simply invent their own scientific justifications from whole cloth: for example, they might say that ghosts and spirits are localised distortions of the laws of probability (i.e. areas where outcomes happen more often that probability suggests they should), even though such ideas have no evidence or plausible proposed mechanism to support them whatsoever.

    Given that quantum physics and relativity provide no actual evidence for the existence of ghosts and spirits, it is not surprising that paranormal advocates have thus far been have not even been able to agree on a scientifically testable definition these phenomena. They have not even come to a clear consensus on what ghosts are supposed to be made of. Belief in ghosts and spirits is subject to a problem similar to the God of the Gaps, which I call the “Ghost of the Gaps”: as scientific knowledge advances, previously plausible explanations for how ghosts and spirits could exist are discredited, and newer more exotic explanations must be sought until they too are discredited by science.

  • NoetPoet Jan 13, 2014

    Myth 7: Quantum physics allows for the existence of ghosts and other non-corporeal entities (part 5 of 6)

    Although there is no scientific evidence or support for the existence of ghosts and spirits, many people report encountering them. If there are so many encounters with spirits and ghosts, then surely there must be a scientific basis for them? Actually there are many scientifically plausible explanations for alleged ghost and spirit encounters which need to be ruled out before we can seriously consider the possibility that an actual ghost or spirit was involved. These can include:

    • Vivid dreams
    • Hallucinations triggered by mind-altering drugs, near-sleep states of consciousness (hypnogogia and hypnopompia), physical or emotional stress, or neurological issues
    • Apophenia (perceiving patterns that aren’t really there), particularly a type of apophenia called pareidolia (perceiving significance in vague or random stimuli). These can occur with visual stimuli (e.g. seeing ghostly figures), audial stimuli (e.g. the Electronic Voice Phenomenon, or EVP) and other types of stimuli.
    • Misperception of sounds, as human ears are not very good at sensing what direction a sound came from (e.g. alleged encounters with Poltergeists)
    • Hoaxes and pranks
    • Camera issues (e.g. technical glitches, bugs or crud on lenses, overexposure, vapour or smoke condensation on the lens, reflections of the camera’s flash or other source of light) in cases involving photos or videos of ghosts and spirits
    • Infrasonic waves which are undetectable to human ears, have a variety of causes (e.g. fans), and can have a variety of unusual effects on people (e.g. causing one’s eyeballs to vibrate thus creating the visual impression of moving ghostly mists)
    • Drafts (e.g. alleged encounter with Poltergeists)
    • Old creaky structures being hit by gusts of wind or contracting in falling temperatures
    • Small objects trapped in spider webs, giving the impression that they are levitating
    • Faulty electronic devices
    • Normal mechanisms within electronic devices (e.g. mobile phones suddenly lighting up because they’re doing a routine network update)
    • Interference from other broadcasts (EVP).

  • NoetPoet Jan 13, 2014

    Myth 7: Quantum physics allows for the existence of ghosts and other non-corporeal entities (part 6 of 6)

    All alleged ghost encounters so far have either been shown to be due to non-paranormal causes such as those described above, or are inconclusive at best. Paranormal advocates might say that the paranormal were deemed inconclusive precisely because they really did involve ghosts or spirits. However, inconclusive cases tend to be inconclusive simply because the available information very vague, and it is just as easy (and indeed more plausible) for a sceptic to say that such cases are the intentional or unintentional product of someone’s imagination.

    Paranormal advocates might also say that the absence of credible evidence for ghosts and spirits is not evidence of their non-existence, and technically they would be correct. But this cuts both ways: lack of conclusive evidence for the non-existence of something is not evidence of its existence either. It’s like an experienced mechanic saying that even though every car they’ve ever inspected has been powered by an engine, the fact that they haven’t looked under the hood of every single car in the world means that it’s possible that some cars on the road are actually powered by the people inside them running Flintstones-style. Despite the fact every new car the mechanic inspects also turns out to be powered by an engine, and that the probability of foot-powered cars actually existing is virtually zero (based on past car inspections)*and falling* with every new car inspection, the mechanic stubbornly holds onto the belief that there must be at least some leg-powered cars out there on the road. Whether its ghosts or Flintstones foot-cars, it makes more logical sense to *not* believe in such things until compelling evidence in their favour emerges, rather than to believe in such things when there is no *actual*credible evidence of their existence whatsoever.

    Like the Law of Attraction and synchronicity, ghosts and spirits are illusory phenomena and do not require quantum physics to explain them. They can be adequately explained by psychology, (standard) neurology, and natural phenomena which are well known to chemistry and classical physics.

  • NoetPoet Jan 10, 2014

    That idea is found in The Secret, in the Quantum Jumping fad, and in the writings of a certain world-famous self-help guru of sub-continental origin (whose name I don't feel entirely comfortable specifying on this particular forum in this particular context). There are other examples out there which don't require much effort to find, and the idea is also regularly espoused by various posters on this forum.

  • Anonymous Icon

    YoungThinker Jan 09, 2014

    Could you point to a specific place where an individual tries to make the argument that quantum physics directly creates and shapes reality? Purely out of curiosity, I would like to see how that stretch was made..?

  • NoetPoet Jan 08, 2014

    Myth 6: Quantum physics supports the “Law of Attraction” (part 1 of 4)

    The Law of Attraction says that people attract certain situations into their lives just by thinking about them. This belief is based upon the idea that people and their thoughts are both made from pure energy, and the belief that like energy attracts like energy. The Law of Attraction essentially says that the universe is a great big wish granting machine.

    The Law of Attraction has been proposed in New Thought, New Age and Pseudoscientific circles since the dawn of the 20th century. In recent decades, proponents of the Law of Attraction have attempted to make it seem more respectable by asserting that it has it has a scientific basis in quantum physics (e.g. by saying that thoughts have energy fields that vibrate with a frequency that attracts like-energy from the universe because of the observer effect, wave-particle duality and quantum entanglement). Such an approach was taken by the international hit self-help movie and book “The Secret”, which bought the Law of Attraction to new levels of popularity in the mid-2000s.

    We’ve already seen that quantum physics does not, and was never meant to, apply to the macroscopic world of everyday life (Myth 1); that quantum physics provides no valid basis for paranormal abilities (Myth 2); and that quantum physics does not support the idea that the mind can directly create and shape reality (Myth 4). So haven’t we basically covered the Law of Attraction already? Yes, but there are two reasons why it nevertheless deserves a Myth of its own:

    1) The Law of Attraction has become particularly popular idea in the global public consciousness over the past few years thanks to The Secret; and

    2) Closer investigation of the Law of Attraction yields some surprising and useful benefits.

  • NoetPoet Jan 08, 2014

    Myth 6: Quantum physics supports the “Law of Attraction” (part 2 of 4)

    For one thing, the Law of Attraction is a textbook example of an unscientific idea. This is primarily because there is no way to set up a test that could categorically disprove the Law of Attraction if it is in fact false: if you wished for something and didn’t get it then it’s either because you didn’t wish hard enough, or more people wished for the opposite thing, or because you didn’t really want what you were wishing for anyway! Moreover, people who believe that they have had success with the Law of Attraction are more likely to report their success than those who had no success are likely to report/admit their lack of success. In other words the Law of Attraction is prone to confirmation bias, particularly at the group level.

    The Law of Attraction doesn’t even meet the most basic requirement of a scientific idea, that of internal logical consistency. According to the Law of Attraction, the universe will give you what you think about, even if what you think about is something negative that you *don’t* want. But this overlooks the fact that wishing *for* something is often the same as wishing *against* something else. For example if a person decides they want to be vegetarian, does the universe then offer them vegetarian meals or, because vegetarianism is based on avoiding meat, does the universe offer them nothing but meat dishes? And let’s say that person’s partner doesn’t want them going vegetarian because the partner things vegetarian diets are unhealthy; does the universe then grant the person their wish for/ their partner’s wish against vegetarian food, or does the universe grant the person their wish against/their partner’s wish for meat?

    Not only is the Law of Attraction unscientific, but it also has dubious moral implications. Are starving people in Africa starving because they wished it upon themselves? Did something tragic happen to you or someone you care about because you wished it into reality? There is only a small logical leap from “the universe is a wish granting machine” to “everyone who is suffering terrible misfortune deserves it because they actually bought it upon themselves.”

  • NoetPoet Jan 08, 2014

    Myth 6: Quantum physics supports the “Law of Attraction” (part 3 of 4)

    However, all these problems with the Law of Attraction can be solved or negated if we take a more sensible nuanced view of how our thinking affects our reality. We can start with the common-sense notion that other factors independent which are completely independent of our minds can also influence our reality. Once we accept this, we can then remind ourselves that how we perceive events is as important as the actual events themselves in terms of shaping our *experience of* reality. We then acknowledge that our thoughts can only influence our world indirectly, by influencing our perceptions and actions. While this might not sound as cool as the (baseless) idea of influencing reality with your thoughts directly, the implications are actually quite impressive when you consider that: 1) our thoughts are *continuously* influencing our perceptions and actions, even if sometimes only in subtle ways (e.g. the facial expressions we wear around other people); and 2) even the subtle effects of this continuous influence on action and perception can have large and self-reinforcing effects on our life in the long term (e.g. if you’re the kind of person who smiles a lot, people are more inclined to talk to you and you are thus more likely to make new friends).

    Depression is a particularly instructive example of these effects. Someone who is depressed is less likely to try new things and go meet new people, thus they become increasingly miserable and isolated over time, which in turn reinforces their tendency to have a pessimistic perception of life, which in turn continues to prevent them from getting out more often, and on the cycle goes.

    It is actually very difficult to stop your thoughts from indirectly affecting reality via your perceptions and actions - even thoughts that are nothing more than fantasies. Consider a person who is a big fan of Superman: they would love to have Superman’s powers and heroism, but of course Superman’s powers are impossible, and acts of heroism are very risky if you don’t have Superman’s powers. So how does the mind of the Superman fan shape the fan’s reality? By encouraging the fan to do the next best thing to being Superman, which is to live Superman’s life vicariously by obsessively reading Superman comics. The mind of the Superman fan – like your own mind – works out how to best satisfy its fantasies in a way that minimises the perceived risk and effort involved in satisfying them; thus the fan spends an inordinate amount of time reading comic books.

  • NoetPoet Jan 08, 2014

    Myth 6: Quantum physics supports the “Law of Attraction” (part 4 of 4)

    The real secret to the Law of Attraction is twofold. Firstly, thinking about a wish will compel you to take action to realize that wish, whether you are conscious of it or not. The more you think about and visualize it, the more likely you are to alter your actions accordingly. Secondly, if you focus on a wish enough and think about it in detail, there’s a good chance that you’ll start to ask yourself *why* you have that wish, and thus realize that you don’t need to realize your particular wish in order to get what you really want. For example, someone who applies the Law of Attraction by wishing for a Porsche may be prompted to think about why they want the Porsche, and realize that part of the reason is that they think having a Porsche will bolster their sense of self-worth. Seeing that it is silly to base one’s sense of self-worth on flashy possessions, the person decides to get a cheaper car which offers better value for money instead, and thus ends up with both a good car and personal growth. Has the Law of Attraction worked in this case? If we remember that the mind finds the most efficient way to realize its wishes (in terms of perceived effort and risk vs reward), then we can make a strong case that it has actually worked.

    We can say that it’s worked because the Law of Attraction is what I like to call an “Expedient Truth”. An Expedient Truth is a proposition which is primarily designed as a means to an end. That end is typically a desired change in people’s attitudes and behaviours. Unlike scientific truths, Expedient Truths are not really concerned with factual accuracy: the proposition of the Expedient Truth only has to be *plausible enough* for its intended audience to believe it. Take for example an NFL player who believes he has to wear a certain pair of “lucky underpants” for his team to win. If he doesn’t wear his lucky underpants then he will be distracted by the fact that he is not wearing his lucky underpants, thus he won’t perform at his best, and thus his team will indeed be more likely to lose; if he does wear them then he feels reassured and focused, plays his best game, and increases his team’s chances of winning. Most magical and religious “truths” are Expedient Truths, and the scientific insistence on factual accuracy often threatens the efficacy of these Expedient Truths (hence the frequent animosity towards science, particularly from religious groups).

    In any case the Law of Attraction is not, and does not need to be explained by quantum physics. Rather, the Law of Attraction works on based on principles found in applied psychology, sociology, and systems theory.

  • Anonymous Icon

    RealityOverScience Jan 07, 2014

    The Universe is multidimensional and events are not isolated.

    There are other ways to know/realize what's going on in that box, other than opening the lid. The Universe is not dependent upon humans to do what it does, or be what it is. Multidimensional language and mathematics, etc., would "tell on" what is happening, or what has happened, in that box, because everything is connected with, and effected by, everything else. So the physics of inside that box would be found in the physics of whatever else you explored, for the answer.

    As I wrote in the Consciousness 101 thread, the Universe "follows you," and all events, through life, relentlessly keeping up with you/them at every moment, inescapably. With the tiniest expressed or unexpressed thought, feeling, action, etc., it is ...already... there, reflectively.

    If your relative, friend, colleague or acquaintance lived on the other side of the world from you, or on another planet, you could know what she or he is not only doing, but also what she or he is thinking or feeling, without picking up a phone, or traveling there, if you know how to process the reality of multidimensionally, which provides a direct experience through higher physics/Consciousness.

    "Probability" is wrong, because it is only incomplete by unconscious conventional processing/reasoning, but with higher Consciousness/Enlightenment, those issues are easily resolved.

  • NoetPoet Jan 07, 2014

    Myth 5: The cat is both dead and alive until someone opens the box

    If you’ve ever even glanced at quantum physics, then chances are you’ve encountered Schrödinger's Cat. Devised by early 20th century physicist Erwin Schrödinger, Schrödinger’s Cat is a famous thought experiment which was actually designed by Schrodinger to show how nonsensical it is to apply the principles of quantum physics to everyday objects (see Myth 1). More specifically, Schrodinger devised this thought experiment as a Reductio ad absurdum-style critique of the most popular interpretation of quantum physics at the time, known as the Copenhagen Interpretation. (Reductio ad absurdum is a form of argument which tries to show how ridiculous results follow from accepting that a particular claim is either true or false.)

    The Schrodinger’s Cat thought experiment involves putting a cat in a box with a sealed vial of poison, plus a mechanism which will break open the vial –thus killing the cat - if a nuclear decay emission from a radioactive sample located within the mechanism is detected. The experiment is run for the half-life of the radioactive sample, so that there is an equal chance of there being a radioactive emission or not (and thus a 50/50 chance of the cat being dead or alive at the end of the experiment). However (according to the Copenhagen interpretation), until the event is observed no one knows whether the cat is dead or alive. Since the nuclear decay is a quantum event and can exist as a superposition of two quantum states, the cat can also be said to be said to be in a “superposition” of states, i.e. alive and dead at the same time.

    Despite Schrodinger’s original intention many people have nevertheless taken Schrodinger’s Cat at face value, believing that the cat can actually both be dead and alive at the same according to quantum physics. However the cat can only really be regarded as dead AND alive in a probabilistic sense. Schrodinger’s Cat is intended to get people thinking about what constitutes an observer which can collapse a wave function, with the implication that the cat and even the mechanism itself can qualify as an observer (see Myth 2). When billions of subatomic particles combine to form a macroscopic object, quantum phenomena essentially disappear, because they all “observe” each other and continually collapsing each other’s' wave functions. So in reality the cat will be either dead OR alive well before a person opens the box to check.

  • NoetPoet Jan 05, 2014

    Myth 4: Quantum physics proves that the mind directly creates and shapes reality

    This is surely the most popular myth about quantum physics, because who *wouldn’t* want to be able to manipulate the world around them without even lifting a finger or opening their mouth? This particular myth is based on a misunderstanding of the quantum physical process known as “collapsing the wave function”.

    According to quantum physics, we can only describe the *probability* that a subatomic particle (e.g. a photon or an electron) will be in a specific place at any moment. That probability is called the “wave function”. In other words, the wave function is simply a mathematical object used to calculate probabilities of where a particle *could* be. When particles are not interacting with other matter, they tend to behave like waves (as shown by the double slit experiments, which will be discussed in Myth 9). But when a subatomic particle interacts with other stuff, the probabilistic wave function “collapses down” to a particular point and is thus observed as a particle.

    However this “collapse” only requires interaction with other stuff. To put it another way, other stuff can qualify as a quantum “observer” even if it’s not conscious or alive. For example, when a photon from the sun strikes the earth, it collapses into a particle. Even if the observer is conscious, quantum physics is quite clear that he/she cannot control or manipulate outcomes by choice or thought. The observer merely triggers probable outcome to become an actual reality; the particular outcome is “chosen” randomly by nature.

    Even if the observer *did* have to be conscious, this would introduce a major new problem of figuring out what constitutes consciousness. Are animals or supercomputers conscious? How would we know one way or the other?

    Like synchronicity, the idea of the mind shaping reality can be explained without resorting to quantum physics. The mind indirectly shapes our physical objective world by shaping our words and actions, which in turn shape the physical objective world around us. However there are other factors that shape the physical objective world which have nothing to do with human though. The mind can also directly shape one’s own subjective experience of reality via hallucinations, dreams, and selective perception. However this kind of shaping is usually beyond our conscious control, and often produces dangerous and maladaptive incompatibilities with our external realities. Both the indirect objective and direct subjective shaping of reality by our minds is most impressive when it is sustained over a long period of time and when it involves multiple participants.

  • NoetPoet Jan 04, 2014

    Myth 3: Quantum physics explains synchronicity (part 1 of 2)

    Synchronicity is when two or more events seem to be meaningfully related despite the lack of any apparent cause-effect relationship between them. The concept of synchronicity was first proposed by Carl Jung in the 1920s. Jung variously described synchronicity as an "acausal connecting principle", "meaningful coincidence" and "acausal parallelism". He believed that there were parallels between synchronicity and certain aspects of quantum mechanics, particularly quantum entanglement and the role of an observer in collapsing wave functions (more on that later). Since then, proponents of New Age and pseudoscientific thought have frequently asserted that quantum entanglement and the observer effect both prove, and provide the underlying mechanism for synchronicity.

    We already saw in Myth 2 that quantum entanglement only works at the microscopic level, that it can only occur between particles that have interacted or been generated together, and that it naturally unravels in a process called quantum decoherence. So it is quite clear that quantum entanglement can neither provide the underlying mechanism for, nor be connected in any significant way to synchronicity. On its own, the observer effect cannot be construed as underlying or connected to synchronicity because it doesn’t actually provide any “acausal connecting principle” (unless we choose to retreat into a narcissistic delusion of solipsism). To make matters worse for the New Agers and pseudoscience advocates, randomness and uncertainty abound in quantum physics, and it is thus very easy to regard quantum physics as being*antithetical* to synchronicity.

    And yet, so many people will swear that they have experience synchronicity in their own lives. So if synchronicity is *at best* unsupported by quantum physics, then how do we explain it? As a matter of fact, synchronicity is quite easy to explain without quantum physics. The key to understanding synchronicity lies not in physics but in psychology, and particularly in a psychological phenomenon called “apophenia”. Apophenia is the spontaneous perception of connections and meaningfulness of unrelated phenomena. Apophenia is closely related to creative ability, and it is very likely that Jung himself had it. The movie “A Beautiful Mind”, based on the life of John Nash, provides an excellent illustration of apophenia in action: Nash is convinced that he can see patterns in the movements of pigeons foraging on the ground and secret messages encoded in multiple unrelated newspaper articles. Research indicates that high levels of dopamine affect the propensity for apophenia, and that this propensity is related to a tendency to believe in the paranormal. Apophenia also tends to be associated with deep-seated narcissism and a yearning for meaning and significance.

  • NoetPoet Jan 04, 2014

    Myth 3: Quantum physics explains synchronicity (part 2 of 2)

    Cases of synchronicity can also be at least partly explained by selective perception and appreciation of certain improbable events. Given that you have hundreds of different experiences every day, two or more of them are bound by sheer chance to coincide in a seemingly uncanny way every now and then. We remember the handful of these uncanny coincidences and call them “synchronicities” precisely because they seem so extraordinary, yet we mostly forget the countless millions of other events in our lives which do not seem to coincide in any remarkable way.
    People who exhibit apophenia tend to assign meaning to particular events retrospectively and arbitrarily, yet such is the ambiguous nature of synchronicity that no one can judge or interpret the supposed meaning of an event except the person who claims to experience the synchronicity. For example, a person might buy a winning lottery ticket one day and then later recall how they saw a cloud that looked like a dollar sign earlier that day, and thus call it a synchronicity; or the same person might instead find out that they owe the taxman thousands of dollars in unpaid taxes on the same day, and then recall how they saw a cloud that looked like a dollar sign dissipating in the sky earlier that day, and also call it a synchronicity.

    Cases of synchronicity can also be caused by putting yourself in situations where events that seem remarkable to you are more likely to happen anyway. For example, think of two people who both have a long held interest in Eastern mysticism and frequent the same Eastern mysticism forum. One day one of those people mentions that they are reading such-and-such obscure Eastern mystical text, and the second person says that they too have also been reading the same text. Both are amazed, and agree that it must be a case of synchronicity! But it’s not synchronicity; rather it’s a case of two like-minded people whose thinking processes have, through regular and ordinary means of interaction, become so similar that it would actually be more extraordinary if they were *not* reading the same obscure text at approximately the same time.

  • Anonymous Icon

    RealityOverScience Jan 04, 2014

    To *experience* quantum entanglement/spooky action ...directly... for yourself, go to the Consciousness 101 thread and actually *do the work,* beginning with the mother analogy.

    Do enough of that *work* and you'll realize the reality of telepathy.

    Not *doing the work* is convention. Trying to TELL it what it "has to" be, based on convention, is conventional "science," which has inadvertently founded itself upon conventional logic/reasoning. Universal Truth requires that one ASK!

    How does one ASK? *Do the work!"

    "New Age" is simply a garlic-to-dracula label convention puts on energy revisiting the suggestion of higher truth/Consciousness/Enlightenment, as it wards off redirection toward Awakening.

  • NoetPoet Jan 03, 2014

    Myth 2: Quantum entanglement is the key to telepathy, instantaneous communication and instant teleportation to anywhere in the cosmos (part 3 of 3)

    3) Quantum entanglement can only occur between particles that have interacted with or been generated together. This means that there is absolutely no chance of quantum entanglement-based telepathy between individuals unless they shared the same brain at some point and then somehow split into two separate but whole people. Even then, quantum decoherence would inevitably set in and the two ‘clones’ would lose their telepathic bond over time.

    4) We don’t need to resort to quantum physics to explain alleged instances of telepathy. Alleged instances of telepathy can be adequately explained as being due to either cold reading; lucky/educated guesses; stage magic; using subliminal but mundane means to plant a thought suggestion in a person’s mind before “reading” their mind; or, like the best friends from point 1, two or more people spending a lot of time with one and other, sharing the same interests, and therefore developing the same values, attitudes, and thinking patterns.

  • NoetPoet Jan 03, 2014

    Myth 2: Quantum entanglement is the key to telepathy, instantaneous communication and instant teleportation to anywhere in the cosmos (part 2 of 3)

    Nevertheless, surely such an impressive phenomenon can be used as a means of faster-than-light communication, or even as a way to teleport instantly to any part of the universe? Maybe quantum entanglement even holds the key to telepathy? Well, not really. There are a few problems standing in the way:

    1) While New Age and pseudoscience advocates love to talk about quantum entanglement, they are very quiet on the related concept of “quantum decoherence”. When entangled particles go their separate ways, they tend to lose their entanglement over time as they each interact with other particles. In other words, they undergo quantum decoherence. It’s kind of like what happens when best friends from high school move to different parts of the country to study different degrees after graduation: while they may have shared the same thinking, values, and interests in high school, over time they become less alike because they lose contact with each other and form new relationships with different sets of people. Quantum decoherence is continually occurring throughout the universe, and is extremely difficult to prevent even for one pair of entangled particles. In fact quantum decoherence is a major obstacle in the development of quantum computers, and it would be a truly monumental obstacle in any attempt to develop a quantum entanglement-based teleportation device.


    2) Although you can do some things to one entangled particle to try to cause a change in its partner particle, you can't use this (by itself) to send information from one particle to another because it is only possible to control how likely the change will happen. Changing one particle may change its partner particle, but you cannot guarantee exactly which way you will influence them. Thus it is not possible to use quantum entanglement alone to send messages.

    Also, without sending information about the partner particle, there's no way to tell if a given particle is single or half of an entangled pair. With no outside information, a single particle is completely like any other. It's only when you can receive information about the other particle that you will be able to figure out if your particle is one part of an entangled pair. Consequently, you can’t use entanglement to send information faster than the speed of light because you would need another faster than light communicator to send information about the other particle.

  • NoetPoet Jan 03, 2014

    Myth 2: Quantum entanglement is the key to telepathy, instantaneous communication and instant teleportation to anywhere in the cosmos (part 1 of 3)

    One concept which New Age and pseudoscience types really like to borrow from quantum physics is “quantum entanglement”. Quantum entanglement describes an unusual phenomenon observed at the *microscopic* level of reality (see Myth 1) in which pairs or groups of particles are generated or interact in ways such that the quantum state of each member must subsequently be described relative to the other.

    This means that when a measurement is made on one member of an entangled pair of particles, and the outcome is known (e.g., clockwise spin of an electron), then when the other member of the pair is subsequently measured it is found to have taken the appropriately correlated value (e.g., counterclockwise spin). There is thus a correlation between the results of measurements performed on entangled pairs, and this correlation is observed even though the entangled pair may be separated by large distances. Repeated experiments have verified that this works even when the measurements are performed more quickly than light could travel between the sites of measurement: according to quantum theory, the effect of measurement happens instantly. Entanglement has been demonstrated experimentally with photons, electrons, molecules the size of buckyballs, and even small diamonds.

    Sounds pretty extraordinary, don’t you think? Einstein certainly did, which is why he called quantum entanglement “spooky action at a distance”. What you might not know is that Einstein didn’t mean this as a compliment – he disliked the concept of quantum entanglement and believed that new variables would eventually be found to explain it.

  • Anonymous Icon

    RealityOverScience Jan 03, 2014

    There is one Universal Physics Reality at the Core that applies to all. Everything else is just labels that humans invent, like temporary houses of straw serving as focus points while folks grow beyond themselves.

    Quantum physics is one of those houses of straw, a gathering place to *work* on "where" people are in their current era of understanding.

    Micro and macro inescapably SHARE the very same physics dynamics at the Core. To realize this, one must genuinely *experience* (live, Be, behave, identify with) Balanced Reality.

    ...great great grandmother, great grandmother, grandmother, mother...

    Reality, Truth, is not chopped up, disjointed, but rather all inclusively shared.

    Telepathy, btw, is shared awareness on such an extraordinary level of direct experience that, as the movie Contact so accurately expresses, there are "no words, no words...poetry!" At that level, it is Energy that is being Shared on such a Profound Level that language and labels can't *go there!*

    Much of what is passed around as evidence of disjointedness is coming from unconscious folks/scientists who have not a clue about higher Consciousness.

    Atoms, subatomic particles/waves, etc., share your very own physics with you, at the Core.

  • NoetPoet Jan 03, 2014

    Myth 1: The principles of quantum physics apply at the everyday “macro” level of reality

    Let me start by saying that these myths are numbered according to the order in which I thought of them. However it makes sense that I would think of this particular myth first, because this myth underlies all of the other 9 myths in my list.

    Experiments carried out in the 17th and 18th centuries (including the famous “double-slit” experiment), had led physicists of the 19th century to agree that light consisted of waves rather than particles. However, this wave theory of light could not account for observations of radiation from “black bodies” (opaque and non-reflective objects). In 1900 Max Planck proposed the quantum hypothesis, which says that electromagnetic energy is radiated and absorbed in discrete "quanta", later called “photons”. The formula Planck proposed in his quantum hypothesis precisely matched experimentally observed patterns of black-body radiation. Planck's formula assumed that molecules could not take on any possible level of energy, but only certain special "allowed" values. The energy would have to be proportional to the frequency of vibration, and it seemed to come in little packets (“quanta”) of the frequency multiplied by a certain constant. This constant came to be known as Planck's constant. With Planck’s hypothesis, quantum physics was born.

    From its very beginning, quantum physics was exclusively concerned with understanding phenomena found at the “microscopic” level of reality (i.e. molecules, atoms, sub-atomic particles), as opposed to the “macroscopic” level of reality which is the everyday level of reality that we are most familiar with. Classical physics, also known as Newtonian physics, still has the best explanatory power for macro-level phenomena, and is still universally used by scientists and non-scientists alike to understand and work with phenomena found in everyday life. “Weird” quantum effects at the microscopic level of reality either average / cancel out at the macroscopic level, or result from macroscopic beings (humans) trying to investigate a microscopic level of reality which by its very nature is highly sensitive to interference.

  • mrmathew1963 Jan 02, 2014

    https://www.google.com.au/?gfe_rd=cr&ei=5WDGUqbZJsad8Ab4zoDYAQ#q=10+most+popular+myths+about+science&start=10

    http://www.bluffton.edu/~bergerd/NSC_111/TenMyths.html

    Extract: This article addresses and attempts to refute several of the most widespread and enduring misconceptions held by students regarding the enterprise of science. The ten myths discussed include the common notions that theories become laws, that hypotheses are best characterized as educated guesses, and that there is a commonly-applied scientific method. In addition, the article includes discussion of other incorrect ideas such as the view that evidence leads to sure knowledge, that science and its methods provide absolute proof, and that science is not a creative endeavor. Finally, the myths that scientists are objective, that experiments are the sole route to scientific knowledge and that scientific conclusions are continually reviewed conclude this presentation. The paper ends with a plea that instruction in and opportunities to experience the nature of science are vital in preservice and inservice teacher education programs to help unseat the myths of science.

    Point taken!!! The last link is worth a read.

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