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