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

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheLurch View Post
    I wasn't claiming that it does. If you'd read my post carefully, i was arguing that it explains why, contra one of your statements, the interaction of a quantum system with another object does not necessarily result in the two becoming entangled.

    As far as i can tell, your argument here is that decoherence doesn't explain why we get a single measurement result when we do measure. Decoherence would seem to provide a tidy solution, given that we know decoherence exists, but I'm more than happy to acknowledge we don't have any evidence that it is involved at all. More generally, I'll happily admit that nobody knows scientifically what's involved with a wavefunction collapse other than in terms of phenomenology - because that's been my point the whole time.

    But: none of that means that decoherence does not exist as a phenomenon, or that it doesn't explain other quantum behaviors. We'd all have quantum computers now if it didn't exist, after all. And one of the things it explains is why simple interactions don't end up with everything being entangled with everything else.
    When you look at Phillip Ball's description of decoherence, it is nothing but the von Neuman chain in action. Except the point of decoherence is to say if you are entangled with everything, you are not entangled at all and are found in one state or the other. Decoherence has some real problems. With quantum computers, one must realize that the conscious scientist doesn't know the qubit has collapsed without looking at his instruments. At least I can agree with you on this, Nobody can prove decoherence did it vs the observer looking at his instruments.


    Let me ask this, do humans have free will? That means a choice that is not bound by the laws of physics? If so, what do you see as the consequences of Free Will? What I am thinking of comes from quantum but I want to know your view of these questions.
    Last edited by grmorton; 05-20-2019 at 09:41 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by grmorton View Post
    that is what I am claiming, that consciousness is the only thing that can collapse the wavelet. Today I posted a reasons why the decoherence view is totally misunderstood and doesn't allow a naturalistic collapse of the wavelet. And if consciousness is the only thing that can cause collapse, then consciousness is apart from and something different than matter. i.e. doesn't arise from matter.
    What I am asking, or rather suggesting, is that there is no such thing as wave collapse. It seems more reasonable to me from my laymans perspective that consciousness simply evolves along with everything else. The objects of observation exist before we observe them because we don't actually see them until the light reflecting from them reaches our eyes. How can our consciousness be the cause of that which exists if we are not conscious of those things until the light image of them registers in our brains.

  3. Amen shunyadragon amen'd this post.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimL View Post
    What I am asking, or rather suggesting, is that there is no such thing as wave collapse. It seems more reasonable to me from my laymans perspective that consciousness simply evolves along with everything else. The objects of observation exist before we observe them because we don't actually see them until the light reflecting from them reaches our eyes. How can our consciousness be the cause of that which exists if we are not conscious of those things until the light image of them registers in our brains.
    No wavelet collapse is what Hugh Everett proposed in 1957. It is called the many worlds view.

    The problem with your suggestion is that the Schrodinger equation consists of TWO different realities--one where the electron has spin up and the other where the electron has spin down. They can't coexist in the same universe, so this isn't just a matter of light reaching our eyes and in quantum it is certainly arguable whether objects exist before we look at them.


    No one said we were conscious of the options prior to observation. The math says they both exist, but we eventually, when we look, see only one of them never both.

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    Quote Originally Posted by grmorton View Post
    At least I can agree with you on this, Nobody can prove decoherence did it vs the observer looking at his instruments.
    We're definitely agreed then.

    Quote Originally Posted by grmorton View Post
    Let me ask this, do humans have free will? That means a choice that is not bound by the laws of physics?
    I honestly have no idea how to answer that question (though i don't feel bad about that, because neither does anybody else).
    "Any sufficiently advanced stupidity is indistinguishable from trolling."

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    The Experimentally Proven Existence of Free Will Proves the Soul’s Is Not Bound by Physical Law. (by me, from another list but of interest to this thread)

    I am going to present a slightly different quantum argument for the existence of the soul. The general view of the scientific community is that we have no free will–everything is determine, and this lack of free will is compatible with the materialist view of the world.

    The first quote is from a friend of mine, with whom during my crisis of faith, I had many conversations that involved, free will, evolution, evidence for atheism, intelligent design, what would cause Will to change his mind, and our personal stories. These interchanges took place over three years or so and continued after his diagnosis with brain cancer. Will was the son of a Methodist minister who sadly never got to discuss his change of heart with his father. I think he was a bit sad about that as he obviously liked his father so this wasn’t a preacher’s kid rebellion. His views are outlined in a book on him, and I strongly disagree with what he sees as the nature of evolution:

    Quote Originally Posted by from "The Faith of an Atheist" by George Liles, written about Cornell Biology Prof. William Provine "MD" Magazine, March, 1994 pg. 60
    "If you really accept evolution by natural selection, Provine says, you soon find yourself face to face with a set of implications that undermine the fundamental assumptions of Western civilization:
    o There are no gods or purposive forces in nature.
    o There are no inherent moral or ethical laws to guide human society
    o Human beings are complex machines that become ethical beings by way of heredity and environmental influences, with environment playing a somewhat smaller role than is commonly supposed.
    o There is no free will in the traditional sense of being able to make unpredictable choices.
    o When we die, we die _ finally and completely and forever .

    Searles agrees that there is no free will and says that if we have it we have to have an entity that can influence matter (that is how I interpret his statement–a little more broadly than just limited to moving molecules)"


    Quote Originally Posted by John Searle, Minds, Brains, and Science, (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1983), p 92
    “But if libertarianism, which is the thesis of free will, were true, it appears we would have to make some really radical changes in our beliefs about the world. In order for us to have radical freedom, it looks as if we would have to postulate that inside each of us was a self that was capable of interfering with the causal order of nature. That is, it looks as if we would have to contain some entity that was capable of making molecules swerve from their paths. I don’t know if such a view is even intelligible, but it’s certainly not consistent with what we know about how the world works from physics . And there is not the slightest evidence to suppose that we should abandon physical theory in favour of such a view.”
    These statements seem to posit a universe lacking soul, and Provine’s world is positively bleak. So is there a way out of this conundrum. We certainly feel like we have free will? Is there any evidence of free will from science?

    As it turns out there is. It comes from an observational experiment which works ONLY if there is free will. This is scientific evidence FOR the existence of free will. The Nobel prize winner, Gerard t’Hooft said:

    Quote Originally Posted by Gerard t’Hooft ON THE FREE-WILL POSTULATE IN QUANTUM MECHANICS , p. 3
    "A class of very important questions arose when John Bell formulated his famous inequalities[1]. Indeed, when one attempts to construct models that visualize what might be going on in a quantum mechanical process, one finds that deterministic interpretations usually lead to predictions that would obey his inequalities, while it is well understood that quantum mechanical predictions violate them. In attempts to get into grips with this situation, and to derive its consequences for deterministic theories, the concept of “free will” was introduced. Basically, it assumes that any ‘observer’ has the freedom, at all times and all places, to choose, at will, what variables to observe and measure. Clashes with Bell’s inequalities arise as soon as the observer is allowed to choose between sets of observables that are mutually non commuting. " https://arxiv.org/pdf/quant-ph/0701097.pdf
    For understandability, non-commuting operators don’t change ontology, see p. 7 of t’Hooft’s article.

    In other words, in order for Bell’s famous experiment to work as it does, the observer MUST have free will. If that is so, then that certainly makes me look back at Searles’ statement: That is, it looks as if we would have to contain some entity that was capable of making molecules swerve from their paths. While maybe not molecules, Gordie and I have presented much evidence from quantum that the conscious observer affects matter. To me, this is just another reason to hold that the immaterial soul actually exists.

    The conjunction of these two ideas means that the existence of free will as shown in Bell’s Theorem supports the concept that the immaterial soul exists. Free Will requires something to be above and apart from matter. To again quote the physicist Stephen M. Barr,

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen M. Barr, Modern Physics and Ancient Faith, (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2003), p. 27-28
    "But this was only one of the remarkable reversals produced by the quantum revolution. In the opinion of many physicists-including such great figures in twentieth-century physics as Eugene Wigner and Rudolf Peierls-the fundamental principles of quantum theory are inconsistent with the materialist view of the human mind. Quantum theory, in its traditional, or "standard," or "orthodox" formulation, treats "observers" as being on a different plane from the physical systems that they observe . A careful analysis of the logical structure of quantum theory suggests that for quantum theory to make sense it has to posit the existence of observers who lie, at least in part, outside of the description provided by physics. This claim is controversial. There have been various attempts made to avoid this conclusion, either by radical reinterpretations of quantum theory (such as the so-called "many-worlds interpretation") or by changing quantum theory in some way. But the argument against materialism based on quantum theory is a strong one, and has certainly not been refuted. The line" of argument is rather subtle. It is also not well- known, even among most practicing physicists. But, if it is correct, it would be the most important philosophical implication to come from any scientific discovery."
    Romans 1:20 says," For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse."

    It seems to me that it is up to Christians to defend our viewpoint, not waiting for atheists, scientist or not, to point out where nature might show the glory of God. When we just accept what people tell us without critically thinking through the issues, we end up believing what they say about the nature of reality.
    One physics student struggling with how free will fits into his deterministic world view wrote:

    "I was going through the results of Bell’s theorem recently and found that the freedom of the experimenter to choose the variable to measure is a key assumption. Given that we have no reason to believe that experimenters have “true” free will, how does this affect the validity of Bell’s theorem?

    So…does the current state of science allow for traditional "free" will that is unbound from the laws of nature? After all, that is the meaning of the word "free" - as in "not bound"." Reference https://www.physicsforums.com/thread...e-will.731617/
    The one answer to his physics forum question referred to Libet’s work which suggested that the brain makes up its mind before the consciousness becomes aware that the decision is made.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymous, “Your brain makes its decisions long before you know it,” New Scientist, April 19, 2008, p. 14
    “EVEN now, your brain may already have decided to turn the page. That’s the upshot of a study which found that a person’s decision to press a button can be detected up to 7 seconds before they are even aware of it.”
    "Our decisions are predetermined unconsciously a long time before our consciousness kicks in," says John-Dylan Haynes at the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience in Berlin, Germany, who led the study. "I think it says there is no free will"
    “It’s not the first time scientists have cast doubt on conscious free will. In the early 1980s, neuroscientist Benjamin Libet uncovered a spark of brain activity 300 milliseconds before subjects opted to raise a finger, in a brain region involved in planning body movement. However, this area may only perform the final calculations to move, not the initial decision to lift a finger, Haynes says.”
    “His team asked 14 volunteers to tap one of two buttons at will, with a finger of their left or right hand, and used an fMRI scanner to monitor their brains all the while. They saw part of the prefrontal cortex - vital for executive thought and consciousness - "light up" about 7 seconds before the volunteers pressed a button.”
    “What’s more, deciding to press the left or right buttons revealed slightly different brain patterns, enabling the team to predict 60 per cent of the time which button would be pressed (Nature Neuroscience, 001: 10.1038/nn.2112).”


    What about those experiments like Libet and of Haynes which suggest that the unconscious brain makes a decision before consciousness becomes aware of it? The body is prepped to move before the subjects become consciously aware of it. Haynes says there is a 7 second precursor signal to movement. Libet’s time was less and his data has been claimed to be an artefact by John Eccles. These experiments are claimed to show that consciousness has nothing to do with making our decisions.


    I don’t know what the exact problem is but it is clear to me that the conscious decision to move does not take 7 seconds. Consider driving and seeing danger ahead. The generally accepted time of our response is 1.5 seconds from seeing the danger and hitting the brakes. The best response time is .7 seconds (obviously in teenagers lol). That best reaction time is divided as follows:

    Of this, 0.5 is perception and 0.2 is movement, the time required to release the accelerator and to depress the brake pedal. https://www.visualexpert.com/Resourc...ctiontime.html

    Furthermore while driving, we can’t prep our bodies for movement prior to actually SEEING the danger. There would be a lot more bad accidents if we required seven seconds to move our bodies. Evolution would have wiped out such a lethargic species. A leopard can run at 37 mph, which means that if it takes that long for my body to decide to move, any leopard that gets within 4 houses from me, will have me for dinner while I just stand there.
    My guess as to the problem is that the subjects in these experiments have been given instructions prior to the tests and they prep their body accordingly. I know I would start thinking about what finger to move. I wouldn’t be able to stop myself from doing so.

    Besides, physics says we have free will, and that means our WILL is not bound by the laws of physics–that is what Free means. Again, quantum leads us to understand that consciousness is a very special thing in this universe, above and apart from matter.

    With the existence of a God an open question, one can’t claim with certainty, like Provine did, that there are no moral or ethical laws.

    To go back to Provine’s list above, if the soul is not subject to the laws of physics, then it is something immaterial, and many of his claims fall.

    The claim that gods don’t exist as a statement of his certitude falls. If immaterial objects exist, then maybe a God exists.

    The claim that evolution is purely naturalistic is at least questionable. IF a God exists, then who knows what he did during the evolution of life?

    The existence of the immaterial soul affect’s Provines claim that when we die we are just gone. Not necessarily if we are not material girls, as Madonna sings!

    I sincerely liked Provine and wish he were still here to discuss this with. I think the discussions would be different now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by grmorton View Post
    No wavelet collapse is what Hugh Everett proposed in 1957. It is called the many worlds view.

    The problem with your suggestion is that the Schrodinger equation consists of TWO different realities--one where the electron has spin up and the other where the electron has spin down. They can't coexist in the same universe, so this isn't just a matter of light reaching our eyes and in quantum it is certainly arguable whether objects exist before we look at them.


    No one said we were conscious of the options prior to observation. The math says they both exist, but we eventually, when we look, see only one of them never both.
    Well, observation is only observation if it is conscious observation, no? So, if it takes time for light to travel from the object to the surface of our eyes and then on into our brains wherein we then become conscious of it, how can it be that our observation is the cause of said objects existence? Doesn't the time lapse between the two events, the object existing and the observation of it, contradict the notion that observation is the cause said object?

  8. Amen shunyadragon amen'd this post.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheLurch View Post
    We're definitely agreed then.


    I honestly have no idea how to answer that question (though i don't feel bad about that, because neither does anybody else).
    We are not quite agreed. I posted a detailed analysis of the mathematics of decoherence. If that is the math for decoherence they depend on, then there is no way decoherence can collapse the wavefunction. My comment was meant to say that decoherence advocates cant prove that decoherence collapsed the wavefunction BECAUSE they only know the collapse happened AFTER they observe it. From their perspective they can't know if decoherence collapsed it or their observation collapsed it. If decoherence advocates can come up with math that actually collapses the wavefunction, then they might have a case to make.

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    Quote Originally Posted by grmorton View Post
    As it turns out there is. It comes from an observational experiment which works ONLY if there is free will. This is scientific evidence FOR the existence of free will. The Nobel prize winner, Gerard t’Hooft said:
    ...
    In other words, in order for Bell’s famous experiment to work as it does, the observer MUST have free will.
    To begin with, i don't think the t'Hooft manuscript is as favorable to your argument as you think it is. I'm going to quote the abstract in full:

    The so-called “free will axiom” is an essential ingredient in many discussions concerning hidden variables in quantum mechanics. In this paper we argue that “free will” can be defined in different ways. The definition usually em- ployed is clearly invalid in strictly deterministic theories. A different, more precise formulation is proposed here, defining a condition that may well be a more suitable one to impose on theoretical constructions and models. Our axiom, to be referred to as the ‘unconstrained initial state’ condition, has consequences similar to “free will”, but does not clash with determinism, and appears to lead to different conclusions concerning causality and locality in quantum mechanics. Models proposed earlier by this author fall in this cate- gory. Imposing our ‘unconstrained initial state’ condition on a deterministic theory underlying Quantum Mechanics, appears to lead to a restricted free will condition in the quantum system: an observer has the free will to modify the setting of a measuring device, but has no control over the phase of its wave function. The dismissal of the usual “free will” concept does not have any consequences for our views and interpretations of human activities in daily life, and the way our minds function, but it requires a more careful discussion on what, in practice, free will actually amounts to.
    So, t'Hooft is arguing that you can define free will in a way that "does not clash with determinism" and yet still gives you quantum behavior. And the exact consequences of free will depend on whether there is deterministic physics underlying quantum mechanics (something t'Hooft personally believes).

    (For those following this thread, please also note that this isn't free will as commonly understood, but free will as defined relative to some specific physics behaviors.)

    The second issue i have with the claim is an experiment done relatively recently to close one of the loopholes in tests of Bell's inequalities. Like other tests of the sort, it used a delayed choice setup, where the behavior of particles depends on how you choose to measure it. Except nobody was choosing anything. Instead, they set it up so that the measurement choice was made based on whether a sensor pointed at a distant quasar was detecting photons at the moment the decision had to be made.

    Now, if we assume humans have free will, then there was free will involved in the decision to make the measurement dependent upon events that happened a billion years ago. But there was, as far as i can see, no possibility that the actual measurement choice was made using free will - instead it relied on an unconstrained variable that the universe had already determined.

    If anybody's curious, they can read more about the experiment here:
    http://news.mit.edu/2018/light-ancie...anglement-0820
    Last edited by TheLurch; 05-22-2019 at 07:11 AM.
    "Any sufficiently advanced stupidity is indistinguishable from trolling."

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheLurch View Post
    To begin with, i don't think the t'Hooft manuscript is as favorable to your argument as you think it is. I'm going to quote the abstract in full:


    So, t'Hooft is arguing that you can define free will in a way that "does not clash with determinism" and yet still gives you quantum behavior. And the exact consequences of free will depend on whether there is deterministic physics underlying quantum mechanics (something t'Hooft personally believes).

    (For those following this thread, please also note that this isn't free will as commonly understood, but free will as defined relative to some specific physics behaviors.)

    The second issue i have with the claim is an experiment done relatively recently to close one of the loopholes in tests of Bell's inequalities. Like other tests of the sort, it used a delayed choice setup, where the behavior of particles depends on how you choose to measure it. Except nobody was choosing anything. Instead, they set it up so that the measurement choice was made based on whether a sensor pointed at a distant quasar was detecting photons at the moment the decision had to be made.

    Now, if we assume humans have free will, then there was free will involved in the decision to make the measurement dependent upon events that happened a billion years ago. But there was, as far as i can see, no possibility that the actual measurement choice was made using free will - instead it relied on an unconstrained variable that the universe had already determined.

    If anybody's curious, they can read more about the experiment here:
    http://news.mit.edu/2018/light-ancie...anglement-0820
    I know t'hooft is a deterministic guy and believes that the universe is in cahoots and conspiracy to make us think we have free will. And that is why I didn't mention that particular view. Most people don't want to go to superdeterminism because it means that knowledge, science religion, absolutely NOTHING means anything. Your current belief that I am wrong in this matter was determined to be the case at the Big Bang. Your MYOB faith was determined at the Big Bang--you had no choice in deciding to put that on your profile. The name Lurch was decided at the Big bang. If that is the view you think helps your case, fine, I think it means the results of all our experiments were determined at the Big Bang so science doesn't actually tell us anything new.This is from Wiki on superdeterminism.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superdeterminism
    Thus, it is conceivable that freedom of choice has been restricted since the beginning of the universe in the Big Bang, with every future measurement predetermined by correlations established at the Big Bang[citation needed]. This would make superdeterminism untestable, since experimenters would never be able to eliminate correlations that were created at the beginning of the universe: the freedom-of-choice loophole could never be completely eliminated.[1]


    A hypothetical depiction of superdeterminism in which photons from the distant galaxies Sb and Sc are used to control the orientation of the polarization detectors α and β just prior to the arrival of entangled photons Alice and Bob.
    In the 1980s, John Bell discussed superdeterminism in a BBC interview:[2][3]
    There is a way to escape the inference of superluminal speeds and spooky action at a distance. But it involves absolute determinism in the universe, the complete absence of free will. Suppose the world is super-deterministic, with not just inanimate nature running on behind-the-scenes clockwork, but with our behavior, including our belief that we are free to choose to do one experiment rather than another, absolutely predetermined, including the "decision" by the experimenter to carry out one set of measurements rather than another, the difficulty disappears. There is no need for a faster than light signal to tell particle A what measurement has been carried out on particle B, because the universe, including particle A, already "knows" what that measurement, and its outcome, will be.
    Although he acknowledged the loophole, he also argued that it was implausible. Even if the measurements performed are chosen by deterministic random number generators, the choices can be assumed to be "effectively free for the purpose at hand," because the machine's choice is altered by a large number of very small effects. It is unlikely for the hidden variable to be sensitive to all of the same small influences that the random number generator was.[4]



    You may have that superdeterminism position as your defence against the immateriality of the soul. But since it was determined at the Big Bang that you would take that position and I would take mine, does any of this debate mean anything?

    Edited to add: from the above wiki link By taking this approach you destroy science and scientific knowledge. I didn't think anyone in their right mind would take this, but since it was determined at the big bang that you might hold this view, then maybe you are in your right mind, meaning the one the universe determined for you. lol:

    The implications of superdeterminism, if it is true, would bring into question the value of science itself by destroying falsifiability, as Anton Zeilinger has commented:
    [W]e always implicitly assume the freedom of the experimentalist... This fundamental assumption is essential to doing science. If this were not true, then, I suggest, it would make no sense at all to ask nature questions in an experiment, since then nature could determine what our questions are, and that could guide our questions such that we arrive at a false picture of nature.
    [6]
    Last edited by grmorton; 05-22-2019 at 07:36 AM.

  12. Amen seer amen'd this post.
  13. #40
    tWebber TheLurch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grmorton View Post
    I know t'hooft is a deterministic guy and believes that the universe is in cahoots and conspiracy to make us think we have free will. And that is why I didn't mention that particular view. Most people don't want to go to superdeterminism because it means that knowledge, science religion, absolutely NOTHING means anything. Your current belief that I am wrong in this matter was determined to be the case at the Big Bang. Your MYOB faith was determined at the Big Bang--you had no choice in deciding to put that on your profile. The name Lurch was decided at the Big bang. If that is the view you think helps your case, fine, I think it means the results of all our experiments were determined at the Big Bang so science doesn't actually tell us anything new.
    I'm not using it to argue for superdeterminism. (To be clear, I'm not arguing against superdeterminism either - the universe is on record as obviously indifferent to how we'd prefer the world to work). I'm just pointing out that "free will" has a very specific meaning and context in the t'Hooft piece, and so i think the quote you've used from that has a somewhat different meaning from the way you'd like to use that quote.

    And I think the experiment i described poses problems for free will as you'd like to define it regardless of whether the universe is superdeterministic or not. Specifically, even in a non-superdeterministic universe, some things can be determined without conscious choice, and the results of that experiment would seem to fit that description.
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