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Thread: Wigner's friend, the existence of the Immaterial soul, and death of materialism

  1. #51
    tWebber TheLurch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grmorton View Post
    Sorry to hear about that Lurch.
    Thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by grmorton View Post
    I was thinking about t'Hooft's statement while down at MD Anderson getting bone scans, cat scans and MRI scans and I realized I think I have a better point to make about his definition of free will.
    t'Hooft said:
    "This is the free will axiom in its modified form. form. This, we claim, is why one should really want ‘free will’ to be there. It is not the free will to modify the present without affecting the past, but it is the freedom to choose the initial state, regardless its past, to check what would happen in the future."
    The phrase freedom to choose the initial state is exactly a collision with consciousness as something very special. A molecule can't choose anything. A rock in space can't choose anything much less initial states in an experiment. A dog and cat, can choose, but can't knowingly choose experimental settings. The only existing thing in the universe which can chose initial states in an experiment are conscious human beings. Seems to me, t'Hoofts definition far from dumping the specialness of humans, actually shows it. It is the only thing in the universe that can choose to set up an experiment and choose the initial settings. And that makes it very very special and very very different from rocks, asteroids, suns, galaxies and all other material objects.
    Ok, you have forced me to reread the paper. One, i want to emphasize again: the entire paper is written from the framework of how things work in a world where there is causal behavior underlying quantum mechanics. The only definition of free will he argues for only works within that framework. As a result, you cannot both reject the consequences of that causal world - there being no free will in the traditional sense, because everything is causal - and then use arguments made within that framework to support your contentions.

    Well, i mean, you can, obviously, given that's what you're doing here. But it's not logically consistent. It's like arguing for the lunar regolith having specific mineral properties based on things derived in a model in which the moon is made of cheese.

    Now, that's only a problem because you've already rejected the supercausal framework that these arguments are based on. But there's also an issue with this particular quote you're using. This again gets back to the issue that you're arguing for a very specific meanings for things like "free will" and "choice", but using quotes from materials where these things have different meanings.

    In the case of this quote, the full context of the paper makes it clear that he's talking about "free will" purely in physical models. Any decent physical model, he argues, should be able to project future behavior from any set of initial conditions you choose. The "freedom to choose the initial state" that you've bolded is nothing more than having a model you can plug any arbitrary but physically plausible parameters into.

    To make this clear, let me quote the from just above the bit you quoted:

    In our model, we will only be able to perform such tasks if we possess some notion of the complete class of all possible configurations of our variables. For every member of this class, our model should produce reasonable predictions. Even if, in the real world, only very limited subsets of all possibilities will ever be realized anywhere at any time, our model must be able to describe all eventualities. If we would have been deprived of the possibility to freely choose our initial states, we would never be able to rely on our model; we would not know whether our model makes sense at all.
    This, i think, makes it clear that "freedom to choose the initial state" is within the context of a physical model, not in the real world.
    "Any sufficiently advanced stupidity is indistinguishable from trolling."

  2. Amen JimL, shunyadragon amen'd this post.
  3. #52
    tWebber
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    I too want to revisit the quote at the bottom of your note above.

    In our model, we will only be able to perform such tasks if we possess some notion of the complete class of all possible configurations of our variables. For every member of this class, our model should produce reasonable predictions. Even if, in the real world, only very limited subsets of all possibilities will ever be realized anywhere at any time, our model must be able to describe all eventualities. If we would have been deprived of the possibility to freely choose our initial states, we would never be able to rely on our model; we would not know whether our model makes sense at all.


    If they have to have a notion of the complete class of possible configurations, that is impossible in many quantum problems because the information required for that task exceeds the available information in the known universe.

  4. #53
    tWebber TheLurch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grmorton View Post
    I too want to revisit the quote at the bottom of your note above.

    In our model, we will only be able to perform such tasks if we possess some notion of the complete class of all possible configurations of our variables. For every member of this class, our model should produce reasonable predictions. Even if, in the real world, only very limited subsets of all possibilities will ever be realized anywhere at any time, our model must be able to describe all eventualities. If we would have been deprived of the possibility to freely choose our initial states, we would never be able to rely on our model; we would not know whether our model makes sense at all.


    If they have to have a notion of the complete class of possible configurations, that is impossible in many quantum problems because the information required for that task exceeds the available information in the known universe.
    Yeah, i had the sense reading through it that, by necessity, the model could only handle reasonable-sized subsets of the universe, not be expected to simulate the entire universe at once. In other words, it's written as if things face the issues we have now: many models can in theory scale to the universe, but can't do so practically because of computational constraints.
    "Any sufficiently advanced stupidity is indistinguishable from trolling."

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    Hey guys, could you please explain if the Copenhagen interpretation state that consciousness, or conscious observation, is the cause of the reality that we observe? Does the interpretation conclude that my obsevation of a thing is the cause of that thing? Thanks.

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    tWebber TheLurch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimL View Post
    Hey guys, could you please explain if the Copenhagen interpretation state that consciousness, or conscious observation, is the cause of the reality that we observe? Does the interpretation conclude that my obsevation of a thing is the cause of that thing? Thanks.
    Which interpretation of the Copenhagen interpretation?

    As far as i'm aware, the Copenhagen interpretation doesn't specify the qualities that an observer must have. So, i think that both my favored position and grmorton's would be compatible with Copenhagen.
    "Any sufficiently advanced stupidity is indistinguishable from trolling."

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    tWebber seer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheLurch View Post
    Which interpretation of the Copenhagen interpretation?

    As far as i'm aware, the Copenhagen interpretation doesn't specify the qualities that an observer must have. So, i think that both my favored position and grmorton's would be compatible with Copenhagen.
    Well does the observer cause change or not, influence reality or not?
    Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

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    tWebber TheLurch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    Well does the observer cause change or not, influence reality or not?
    It causes reality to shift from a probability distribution to a defined state.
    "Any sufficiently advanced stupidity is indistinguishable from trolling."

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheLurch View Post
    It causes reality to shift from a probability distribution to a defined state.
    How does that happen? What is the physical connection between the observer and the wave to cause this?
    Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

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    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheLurch View Post
    It causes reality to shift from a probability distribution to a defined state.
    for everyone or just that observer?

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    There’s one thing about these double slit experiments I’ve never been able to get clear. Does the “observer” have to be conscious, and does the conscious observer have to know which slit the particle went through, or just that whichever slit it passed through was measured and is now potentially knowable?

    If a computer is programmed to randomly turn a detector on or off before a run of the experiment, but the results are not relayed to any conscious observer, do you get still get an interference pattern (when the pattern is also being detected only by a camera and another computer, not by any conscious observer)?

    What if the computer is programmed to delete all record of the detection whenever a particle pattern has been observed (by cameras, not by people), so we can know that something was detected, but we can never know what? What if only one person knows, if Bob is watching the experiment, but sometimes he closes his eyes? Could we tell from the results of which experiments were deleted when his eyes were open and when they were closed?

    I seem to recall an experiment in which the “detector” was nothing more than a single electron in an electron trap between the two slits. If the particle passed through one slit, the electron would be released, and a later conscious observer could check and find the trap empty to prove it went through that slit, and therefore you get a particle pattern. But does the particle pattern only appear if someone is actually going to check the trap? Can it predict the future? Or is the mere “knowability” enough to cause collapse (in which case consciousness is not an actual requirement)? And can that knowability be erased (as in quantum eraser experiments), after the fact, and how long after the fact so as to change the results of an experiment that are themselves knowable, but not known?

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