On Feb 22, 8:12 pm, "rmiller" <rmil...@legis.com> wrote:
> From: everything-list@googlegroups.com
> [mailto:everything-l...@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Jason Resch
> Sent: Sunday, February 21, 2010 11:38 PM
> To: everything-list@googlegroups.com
> Subject: Re: Many-worlds vs. Many-Minds
>
> Certainly there's a substructure that involves time. Cramer's
> Transactional theory includes particles that travel from the future to the
> past, and there are a few things about quantum mechanics-the Delayed Choice
> Experiment comes to mind-that suggests the future may influence the past-or
> some version of it.   German physicist Helmut Schmidt once decided to
> (effectively) expand Bohr's Copenhagen theorem to real-life experiments.  As
> a result, he was able to show with scientific probability (p <0.05) that a
> group of students can "change the past."  It's commonly known as the
> retrocausality experiments and he took a lot of heat for them.  In 1995 I
> asked him what he thought the results meant:  Did causality run in reverse,
> or was it a matter of a group of 25 students "choosing" the universe they
> wanted to be in?  His answer: probably the latter.   But if you're a fan of
> Richard Feinman, you may conclude that this is evidence that causality does
> indeed run in reverse---you can affect the past (or a version of it.)   Once
> Cramer gets his laser experiment to work, we'll be that much closer to
> knowing the answer.  

Huw Price suggests that our view of causality is strongly influenced
by the way we're embedded / oriented in space-time. He points out in
"Time's Arrow and Archimedes' Point" that the laws of physics are
almost entirely time-symmetric, with the result that (for example) you
can't tell which way up a Feynman diagram is - either time-orientation
is equally valid. If we accept what the laws of physics appear to say,
that nature is for the most part indifferent to the direction of time,
this implies that quite a few things are a lot less strange than we
think. Delayed-choice and ERP experiments become trivial to explain,
for example, once we stop thinking of the particles involved as
similar to macroscopic objects with a clear arrow of time, and assume
their state is equally constrained by past and future boundary
conditions (e.g. the emitter and detector). This view is similar to
Cramer's Transactional Interpretation and Wheeler-Feynman Absorber
Theory, but makes them both look unnecessarily complicated, since it
doesn't require any new physics, it merely suggests we take the
existing physics at face value (as Hugh Everett III once did, with
similarly interesting results).

Price's view allows us to focus on the real mystery of time, which is
not why it appears to "flow" in one "direction", but why the region of
space-time near the Big Bang was in a state of very low entropy. I
have a suspicion that the answer is something to do with the shape of
space-time (but I haven't yet been able to get my head around how this
connects with breaking eggs and melting ice...) Admittedly that only
pushes the "why" back a step but that is still progress: rather than
attempting to explain a non-existent preference for one time direction
that we thought was embedded somehow in the laws of physics, we now
need to explain why the universe has a particular boundary condition.
(Possibly Tegmark's MUH comes in here?)

Helmut Schmidt's experiments appear to (purportedly) involve
psychokinesis; I have a feeling that I've read various attempts to
debunk these claims in the "Skeptical Enquirer" but unfortunately my
subscription lapsed some years ago, and I can't recall the details. It
does sound like an extraordinary claim that requires extraordinary
evidence to back it up. The website I looked at was a mass of
statistics that I didn't really follow, unfortunately.

> As for the role of consciousness in all of this, I believe some answers have
> already been found-back in 1978 when Stanford Clinical Psychologist Ernest
> R. Hilgard discovered the Hidden Observer phenomenon.  Seems there's an
> "executive function" in each of us that comes to the fore only under
> extremely deep (60+) hypnosis.  His book on the subject, "Divided
> Consciousness" is fascinating reading.  Someone familiar with Many Worlds
> theory will come away with the impression that there evolved as a mechanism
> to keep track of the local many-world space we inhabit.

This is a facinating idea, although Hidden Observer theory is still
contraversial (since the experiments involved deep hypnosis,
presumably the results may have been the result of suggestion by the
experimenters?). Apparently the Stoic philosopher Epictetus believed
that the hidden observer (or "Daemon") had foreknowledge of the
person's fate, an idea which if true would fit in well with
retrocausality (but tend to discredit the MWI, since the latter states
that the person has many fates!)

Charles

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