Does Consciousness Cause Quantum Collapse?

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Philosophy Now
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Does Consciousness Cause Quantum Collapse?

Post by Philosophy Now » Tue Jul 25, 2017 9:19 pm

Kelvin McQueen asks whether minds could directly influence physical reality.

https://philosophynow.org/issues/121/Does_Consciousness_Cause_Quantum_Collapse

raiderman
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Re: Does Consciousness Cause Quantum Collapse?

Post by raiderman » Tue Jul 25, 2017 9:31 pm

There is a reason it is called the "Measurement Problem" and not the "Consciousness Problem." The reason is that consciousness is not required for the collapse of the wave function. If there are mechanical detectors placed in the double slit experiment to measure through which slit the photon passes (and the experimenter leaves the room and never observes), the interference pattern is destroyed and the photons act as particles. The wave collapses for a subatomic particle whenever it interacts with a classical system. The act of measuring requires an interference with the thing being measured It has nothing to say about "consciousness," and anything said to the contrary is based on a misconception of quantum mechanics by mystics or those with a religious agenda.

KJM
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Re: Does Consciousness Cause Quantum Collapse?

Post by KJM » Wed Jul 26, 2017 5:08 pm

Raiderman,
Your assertion that "The wave collapses for a subatomic particle whenever it interacts with a classical system" has been experimentally refuted. For example by Aaron O’Connell's 2010 experiment which put an observable strip of metal into superposition.
The issue of religion and mysticism is irrelevant given that the consciousness hypothesis is experimentally testable. See the response to objection one.

seeds
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Re: Does Consciousness Cause Quantum Collapse?

Post by seeds » Thu Jul 27, 2017 4:34 am

KJM wrote:
Wed Jul 26, 2017 5:08 pm
Raiderman,
Your assertion that "The wave collapses for a subatomic particle whenever it interacts with a classical system" has been experimentally refuted. For example by Aaron O’Connell's 2010 experiment which put an observable strip of metal into superposition.
The issue of religion and mysticism is irrelevant given that the consciousness hypothesis is experimentally testable. See the response to objection one.
Not to mention that raiderman doesn't seem to be considering the last paragraph in the article he is responding to:
Dr Kelvin J. McQueen wrote: In conclusion, the ‘consciousness causes quantum collapse’ hypothesis – at least when combined with modern neuroscience – is a viable theory of physical and mental reality, which offers a clear research program and distinctive experimental predictions. It proposes a solution to the measurement problem by defining when and where collapse occurs. And it provides a place for consciousness in nature by giving consciousness a causal role. Developing this theory may well enable us to answer even deeper questions; questions such as why consciousness causes collapse and why consciousness exists at all.
Also, raiderman stated the following:
raiderman wrote: ...consciousness is not required for the collapse of the wave function.
And he insists that the reason for that is because:
raiderman wrote: If there are mechanical detectors placed in the double slit experiment to measure through which slit the photon passes (and the experimenter leaves the room and never observes), the interference pattern is destroyed and the photons act as particles.
The problem with that is how would you know that the interference pattern is destroyed unless the experimenter comes back into the room and makes an observation? - an observation that (allegedly) is now necessary not only to collapse the spread-out wavefunction that encompasses the entire double-slit setup, but also that of the room itself.

I know that sounds far-fetched, but those are some of the implications of certain interpretations of quantum theory which, of course, contributed to the admonishment to just “shut up and calculate.” :)

(Btw, KJM and raiderman, welcome to the forum to both of you.)
_______

davidm
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Re: Does Consciousness Cause Quantum Collapse?

Post by davidm » Thu Jul 27, 2017 4:55 am

The article gives short shrift to many worlds. Many worlds removes the wave function collapse, thus doing away with the notion that consciousness causes it, because the collapse doesn't happen. But also, MW does away with indeterminism and nonlocality. It makes QM the very kind of theory Einstein was looking for, albeit with a lot of different worlds out there.

raiderman
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Re: Does Consciousness Cause Quantum Collapse?

Post by raiderman » Thu Jul 27, 2017 6:01 pm

KJM,

Can you give me the reference to Aaron O’Connell's 2010 experiment? I am not familiar with an observable object being in superposition. If this were true, we would being seeing objects being in multiple places at the same time or objects suddenly disappearing and reappearing. This happens to electrons, but it's nothing we see in the macro world. As far as the comment that the experimenter had came back in the room to make an observation, yes that is technically true because you always have to make an observation at some point in an experiment. However, there is no basis for saying the observation caused the collapse of the wave. It happened whether is was observed or not, unless you want to say that it didn't happen until consciousness evolved. I think you would have a hard time defending that , unless you take a panpsychist position, another theory for which there is no evidence. I agree with davidm that the many worlds hypothesis seems more aligned with the data than consciousness causes quantum collapse.

seeds
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Re: Does Consciousness Cause Quantum Collapse?

Post by seeds » Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:14 pm

davidm wrote:
Thu Jul 27, 2017 4:55 am
The article gives short shrift to many worlds. Many worlds removes the wave function collapse, thus doing away with the notion that consciousness causes it, because the collapse doesn't happen. But also, MW does away with indeterminism and nonlocality. It makes QM the very kind of theory Einstein was looking for, albeit with a lot of different worlds out there.
raiderman" wrote: I agree with davidm that the many worlds hypothesis seems more aligned with the data than consciousness causes quantum collapse.
It’s just my personal opinion, but I think that Hugh Everett’s “Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics” is perhaps one of the most ridiculous concepts ever devised by humans.

Have either of you guys given any deep critical thought in regards to its implications?
_______

davidm
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Re: Does Consciousness Cause Quantum Collapse?

Post by davidm » Thu Jul 27, 2017 11:12 pm

seeds wrote:
Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:14 pm
davidm wrote:
Thu Jul 27, 2017 4:55 am
The article gives short shrift to many worlds. Many worlds removes the wave function collapse, thus doing away with the notion that consciousness causes it, because the collapse doesn't happen. But also, MW does away with indeterminism and nonlocality. It makes QM the very kind of theory Einstein was looking for, albeit with a lot of different worlds out there.
raiderman" wrote: I agree with davidm that the many worlds hypothesis seems more aligned with the data than consciousness causes quantum collapse.
It’s just my personal opinion, but I think that Hugh Everett’s “Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics” is perhaps one of the most ridiculous concepts ever devised by humans.

Have either of you guys given any deep critical thought in regards to its implications?
_______
Yes. Among them, as listed above, is removing nonlocality, indeterminism, any need for hidden variables, and unexplained wave function collapse, making it a normal classical theory, the kind that Einstein wanted for QM.

KJM
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Re: Does Consciousness Cause Quantum Collapse?

Post by KJM » Thu Jul 27, 2017 11:29 pm

raiderman wrote:
Thu Jul 27, 2017 6:01 pm
Can you give me the reference to Aaron O’Connell's 2010 experiment? I am not familiar with an observable object being in superposition.
You can google this, it was awarded the 2010 "Breakthrough of the Year" prize after all. Here's the lead experimenter's Ted talk.
raiderman wrote:
Thu Jul 27, 2017 6:01 pm
If this were true, we would being seeing objects being in multiple places at the same time or objects suddenly disappearing and reappearing.
This doesn't follow. If you were to look directly at the superposed observable object then you wouldn't see a superposition, rather (assuming there is no collapse) you yourself would entangle with the system and thereby enter into a superposition of having two distinct observations. This is called decoherence and is the basis for the no-collapse many worlds approach.

Decoherence poses significant difficulties for examining the quantum states of objects that are large enough to entangle with their environments. Consequently, physicists use indirect methods. In O'Connell's case, the observable strip of metal is placed into a freezer so cold that the metal is suddenly a two state system (not vibrating [NV] versus barely vibrating [BV]). The strip begins in the NV state. O'Connell uses an electrical circuit to put the strip into a superposition of NV and BV. Importantly, O'Connell does this thousands of times to find the relative frequency of observing the strip to be NV versus BV. When these frequencies line up with the quantum mechanical Born rule predictions, it is confirmed that the strip was in a superposition of NV and BV.
raiderman wrote:
Thu Jul 27, 2017 6:01 pm
there is no basis for saying the observation caused the collapse of the wave. It happened whether is was observed or not, unless you want to say that it didn't happen until consciousness evolved. I think you would have a hard time defending that , unless you take a panpsychist position, another theory for which there is no evidence.
Those issues are discussed in the article. I recommend reading it before criticizing it.
raiderman wrote:
Thu Jul 27, 2017 6:01 pm
I agree with davidm that the many worlds hypothesis seems more aligned with the data than consciousness causes quantum collapse.
There is no experimental data that favours many worlds over the consciousness hypothesis, although there most likely will be in the future, when the above discussed kinds of experiments become more elaborate.
Until then the issue is largely conceptual. The main conceptual problem with many worlds is accounting for the Born rule probabilities. I'm also sympathetic with the many worlds approach, so don't see this problem as devastating. The main conceptual problem with collapse is known as the tails problem (in addition, the collapse process is somewhat difficult to precisely define in a Lorentz invariant way).

seeds
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Re: Does Consciousness Cause Quantum Collapse?

Post by seeds » Fri Jul 28, 2017 12:27 am

seeds wrote:
Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:14 pm
It’s just my personal opinion, but I think that Hugh Everett’s “Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics” is perhaps one of the most ridiculous concepts ever devised by humans.

Have either of you guys given any deep critical thought in regards to its implications?
davidm wrote:
Thu Jul 27, 2017 11:12 pm
Yes. Among them, as listed above, is removing nonlocality, indeterminism, any need for hidden variables, and unexplained wave function collapse, making it a normal classical theory, the kind that Einstein wanted for QM.
That’s not what I am talking about.

My question is have you ever tried to visualize the absurdity of every micro and macro detail of a hundred billion galaxies of suns and planets (including a copy of you and every other living thing on this planet), instantly coming into existence...

(basically “out of nowhere” and fully-formed)

...just to accommodate an ever-so-slight variance of where a single photon may have landed on a phosphorescent screen in an alternate universe?
_______

davidm
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Re: Does Consciousness Cause Quantum Collapse?

Post by davidm » Fri Jul 28, 2017 1:27 am

seeds wrote:
Fri Jul 28, 2017 12:27 am
seeds wrote:
Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:14 pm
It’s just my personal opinion, but I think that Hugh Everett’s “Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics” is perhaps one of the most ridiculous concepts ever devised by humans.

Have either of you guys given any deep critical thought in regards to its implications?
davidm wrote:
Thu Jul 27, 2017 11:12 pm
Yes. Among them, as listed above, is removing nonlocality, indeterminism, any need for hidden variables, and unexplained wave function collapse, making it a normal classical theory, the kind that Einstein wanted for QM.
That’s not what I am talking about.

My question is have you ever tried to visualize the absurdity of every micro and macro detail of a hundred billion galaxies of suns and planets (including a copy of you and every other living thing on this planet), instantly coming into existence...

(basically “out of nowhere” and fully-formed)

...just to accommodate an ever-so-slight variance of where a single photon may have landed on a phosphorescent screen in an alternate universe?
_______
That isn't how it works. See here.

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henry quirk
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Post by henry quirk » Fri Jul 28, 2017 3:25 pm

Yeah, that cat in the box?

He's dead or he's alive, not both, not 'uncertain', and he's dead or alive whether he's 'measured' or not.

And: the universe/reality/timeline?

There's just one.

I think 'Rick and Morty' is great but science fiction is fiction.

'Many Worlds' is bunkum; Quantum Collapse' is hooey.

davidm
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Re:

Post by davidm » Fri Jul 28, 2017 4:05 pm

henry quirk wrote:
Fri Jul 28, 2017 3:25 pm
Yeah, that cat in the box?

He's dead or he's alive, not both, not 'uncertain', and he's dead or alive whether he's 'measured' or not.
No the cat is dead and alive, regardless of measurement. It's just not dead AND alive on the same branch
And: the universe/reality/timeline?

There's just one.
Right, one universe only, with many quantum worlds.
I think 'Rick and Morty' is great but science fiction is fiction.
QM is not fiction.
'Many Worlds' is bunkum; Quantum Collapse' is hooey.
Do you actually realize what you're saying here? Many Worlds is the opposite of collapse. They are mutually exclusive. If you're saying both MW and collapse are hooey, then you are claiming the most successful theory ever invented, in which superpositions can be observed (two-slit, etc.), is wrong -- even though it's known to be right.

raiderman
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Re: Does Consciousness Cause Quantum Collapse?

Post by raiderman » Fri Jul 28, 2017 4:57 pm

Those issues are discussed in the article. I recommend reading it before criticizing it.
raiderman wrote:
Thu Jul 27, 2017 6:01 pm
I did read it and it makes no sense. That's why I am criticizing it. I assume you believe the universe existed before conscious beings evolved on one planet, but that doesn't mean the material world didn't follow the laws of physics. What is consciousness and what is the mechanism which allows it to affect the physical world? Which observer determines reality when we both observe? You say those issues were discussed, but there are no answers given.
Last edited by raiderman on Fri Jul 28, 2017 5:26 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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henry quirk
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"Do you actually realize what you're saying here?"

Post by henry quirk » Fri Jul 28, 2017 5:12 pm

Do you?

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