rmiller wrote:

At 11:27 AM 6/3/2005, rmiller wrote:
At 10:23 AM 6/3/2005, Stephen Paul King wrote:
Dear R.,

You make a very good point, one that I was hoping to communicate but failed. The notion of making copies is only coherent if and when we can compare the copied produce to each other. Failing to be able to do this, what remains? Your suggestion seems to imply that "precognition, coincidence and "synchronicity"" are some form "resonance" between decohered QM systems. Could it be that decoherence is not an "all or nothing" process; could it be that some 'parts' of a QM system decohere with respect to each other while others do not and/or that decoherence might occur at differing rates within a QM system?


Yes, that's what I am suggesting. The rates may remain constant---i.e. less than a few milliseconds (as Patrick L. earlier noted) however, I suspect there is a topology where regions of decoherence coexist and border regions of coherence. An optics experiment might be able to test this (if it hasn't been done already), and it might be experimentally testable as a psychology experiment.\\

More to the point---Optical experiments in QM often return counterintuitive results, but they support the QM math (of course). No one has satisfactorily resolved the issue of measurement to everyone's liking, but most would agree that in some brands of QM consciousness plays a role. On one side we have Fred Alan Wolf and Sarfatti who seem to take the "qualia" approach

What do you mean by "the qualia approach"? Do you mean a sort of dualistic view of the relationship between mind and matter? From the discussion at http://www.fourmilab.ch/rpkp/rhett.html it seems that Sarfatti suggests some combination of Bohm's interpretation of QM (where particles are guided by a 'pilot wave') with the idea of adding a nonlinear term to the Schrodinger equation (contradicting the existing 'QM math', which is entirely linear), and he identifies the pilot wave with "the mind" and has some hand-wavey notion that life involves some kind of self-organizing feedback loop between the pilot wave and the configuration of particles (normally Bohm's interpretation says the configuration of particles has no effect on the pilot wave, but that's where the nonlinear term comes in I guess). Since Bohm's interpretation is wholly deterministic, I'd think Sarfatti's altered version would be too, the nonlinear term shouldn't change this.

while on the other
side we have those like Roger Penrose who (I think) take a mechanical view (microtubules in the brain harbor Bose-Einstein condensates.)

Penrose's proposal has nothing to do with consciousness collapsing the wavefunction, he just proposes that when a system in superposition crosses a certain threshold of *mass* (probably the Planck mass), then it collapses automatically. The microtubule idea is more speculative, but he's just suggesting that the brain somehow takes advantage of not-yet-understood quantum gravity effects to go beyond what computers can do, but the collapse of superposed states in the brain would still be gravitationally-induced.

  All this model-building (and discussion) is fine, of
course, but there are a number of psychological experiments out there that consistently return counterintuitive and heretofore unexplainable results. Among them, is Helmut Schmidt's "retro pk" experiment which consistently returns odd results. The PEAR lab at Princeton has some startling "remote viewing" results, and of course, there's Rupert Sheldrake's work. As far as I know, Sheldrake is the only one who has tried to create a model ("morphic resonance"), and most QM folks typically avoid discussing the experiments--except to deride them as nonscientific. I think it may be time to revisit some of these "ESP" experiments to see if the results are telling us something in terms of QM, i.e. decoherence. Changing our assumptions about decoherence, then applying the model to those strange experiments may clarify things.


Here's a skeptical evaluation of some of the ESP experiments you mention:


Anyway, if it were possible for the mind to induce even a slight statistical bias in the probability of a bit flipping 1 or 0, then simply by picking a large enough number of trials it would be possible to very reliably insure that the majority would be the number the person was focusing on. So by doing multiple sets with some sufficiently large number N of trials in each set, it would be possible to actually send something like a 10-digit bit string (for example, if the majority of digits in the first N trials came up 1, you'd have the first digit of your 10-digit string be a 1), something which would not require a lot of tricky statistical analysis to see was very unlikely to occur by chance. If the "retro-PK" effect you mentioned was real, this could even be used to reliably send information into the past! When these ESP researchers are able to do a straightforward demonstration like this, that's when I'll start taking these claims seriously, until then "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence".


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