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# The wave function is non physical and conscious

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posted on May, 6 2014 @ 06:18 PM
The wave function is non physical and it represents consciousness. This goes to the heart of quantum mechanics. The reason that you have interpretations in QM is because of the measurement problem. What's the measurement problem?

The measurement problem in quantum mechanics is the unresolved problem of how (or if) wavefunction collapse occurs. The inability to observe this process directly has given rise to different interpretations of quantum mechanics, and poses a key set of questions that each interpretation must answer. The wavefunction in quantum mechanics evolves deterministically according to the Schrödinger equation as a linear superposition of different states, but actual measurements always find the physical system in a definite state. Any future evolution is based on the state the system was discovered to be in when the measurement was made, meaning that the measurement "did something" to the process under examination. Whatever that "something" may be does not appear to be explained by the basic theory.

en.wikipedia.org...

The main problem here is consciousness. It's the elephant in the room because some want to give consciousness a role in QM while some want to eradicate consciousness from the conversation because frankly they have no physical explanation for consciousness. So they want to explain the laws of physics without being bothered by consciousness but QM says they can't escape it.

QM shows that conscious choice does something to the wave function. The wave function evolves in a deterministic way and then the observer makes a conscious choice to make a measurement and the wave function becomes a local observable state and the evolution of the wave function starts again from that point.

So conscious choice creates reality.

Let's say I go into a store and I'm about to buy a bag of Doritos or a bag of Sour Cream chips. When I choose one I create a reality. If I choose Doritos, I may go straight to the register and leave. If I choose Sour cream chips, I may go and buy a drink that I like to have with my sour cream chips. I then bump into a high school friend and we're in the same business. We then exchange numbers, go into business together, I meet his sister at a cookout and we eventually get married and have kids. So there's a history that flows from my choice. If I buy Doritos, I go to the register and I don't bump into my friend and no wife and kids with his sister.

This is what's happening with QM. When a measurement occurs, a history unfolds from that measurement. We see how conscious choice can even reach into the "past." We see this in things like the delayed choice, quantum eraser delayed choice, entanglement swapping experiments. John Wheeler said imagine if a photon is emitted billions of years away from us. This photon comes across a dense galaxy and it can either go around it to the left or to the right. QM tells us the photon takes both paths and how a conscious observer chooses to measure the photon determines which path information. So the photon doesn't even have a history until that history is measured and known by us. Here's more:

It goes even deeper when you look at the Free Will theorem. A particles path is determined by the free will choice of the experimenter.

In mid-2004, John Conway and Simon Kochen of Princeton University proved the Free-will Theorem. This theorem states "If there exist experimenters with (some) free will, then elementary particles also have (some) free will." In other words, if some experimenters are able to behave in a way that is not completely predetermined, then the behavior of elementary particles is also not a function of their prior history. This is a very strong "no hidden variable" theorem.

The Conway-Kochen proof of the Freewill Theorem relies on three axioms they call SPIN, TWIN and FIN:

SPIN
Particles have the 101-property. This means whenever you measure the squared spin of a spin-1 particle in any three mutually perpendicular directions, the measurements will be two 1s and a 0 in some order.

FIN
There is a finite upper bound to the speed at which information can be transmitted.

TWIN
If two particles together have a total angular momentum of 0, then if one particle has an angular momentum of s, the others must necessarily have an angular momentum of -s.

In other words, the spin of a particle is dependent solely on the direction from which it was measured and not on its history. But we have already seen from the Kochen-Specker paradox, there is no way for a particle to predetermine its spin in every direction in a way consistent with SPIN.

QM tells us that matter doesn't have any observable properties until measured. So if I look at billiards balls as subatomic particles, they would be a wave of probabilities until measurement. When measured and observed we will then find each billiard ball as a 9 or a 3 ball. So how can the universe exist without which path information being known by consciousness?

Scientist are now talking about the wave function as non physical and this ties into consciousness.

The wave-function is real but nonphysical: A view from counterfactual quantum cryptography

Counterfactual quantum cryptography, based on the idea of interaction-free measurement, allows Bob to securely transmit information to Alice without the physical transmission of a particle. From local causality, we argue that the fact of his communication entails the reality of the quantum wave packet she transmits to him. On the other hand, the travel was not physical, because were it, then a detection necessarily follows, which does not happen in the counterfactual communication. On this basis, we argue that the particle's wave function is real, but nonphysical. In the classical world, the reality and physicality of objects coincide, whereas for quantum phenomena, the former is strictly weaker. Since classical cryptography is insecure, the security of quantum counterfactual cryptography implies the nonphysical reality of the wave function.

arxiv.org...

This makes sense because matter doesn't have any observable properties prior to measurement so where do these observables come from? Where do these observables exist? I submit they exist in the non physical consciousness of the wave function.

So science can only speak in interpretations when it comes to QM because they can't quantify why you choose Doritos or Sour Cream chips just like they can't know which spin an electron while be observed in.
edit on 6-5-2014 by neoholographic because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 6 2014 @ 06:55 PM
Great thread! Haven't read it all yet, but came across this one problem.

originally posted by: neoholographic
QM shows that conscious choice does something to the wave function.

This is not true. The wave function, when it decoheres, collapses into what is loosely described as "a choice". This doesn't mean that anything is physically chosen by anything conscious, its just a term used for lack of a better explanation and for lack of understanding. You don't choose which slit the particle goes through. The particle doesn't choose (as far as we know). All we know is that there is a probability of 50/50 chance of where the particle will wind up.

posted on May, 6 2014 @ 07:06 PM
That's a big one, a bit like chicken and egg doritos. No big bang there then.

posted on May, 6 2014 @ 07:09 PM

originally posted by: neoholographic
This makes sense because matter doesn't have any observable properties prior to measurement so where do these observables come from? Where do these observables exist? I submit they exist in the non physical consciousness of the wave function.

I like thinking about this. The whole world, as a wave, interacting as a wave with itself. No distinction between one part and the other. All blending. Alive.

Maybe consciousness is our connection to the wave state because it is the one thing you can't observe. You can only observe objects but you can't observe the observer. You can look outward, not inward. You can't see what is doing the seeing. You can only see. So the seer remains unseen and remains as the wave. It remains as the part that blends. It remains as the part that is with all possibilities. It remains the wave. Always coherent.

posted on May, 6 2014 @ 07:19 PM
Before the big bang, the universe was the potential for everything that can happen. After the big bang, everything that can happen starts to happen. But the one thing that could happen that could never materialized was consciousness. The observer could not be known. It could only know. So it remained and continues to remain as that which went through one slit, went through the other slit, went through both slits, and went through neither slit.
edit on 6-5-2014 by smithjustinb because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 6 2014 @ 09:12 PM

Thanks for the reply. You said:

This is not true. The wave function, when it decoheres, collapses into what is loosely described as "a choice". This doesn't mean that anything is physically chosen by anything conscious, its just a term used for lack of a better explanation and for lack of understanding. You don't choose which slit the particle goes through. The particle doesn't choose (as far as we know). All we know is that there is a probability of 50/50 chance of where the particle will wind up.

This is a current misconception of decoherence. Decoherence has nothing to do with the choice of the observer and it doesn't try to explain the measurement problem. Here's more:

Specifically, decoherence does not attempt to explain the measurement problem. Rather, decoherence provides an explanation for the transition of the system to a mixture of states that seem to correspond to those states observers perceive. Moreover, our observation tells us that this mixture looks like a proper quantum ensemble in a measurement situation, as we observe that measurements lead to the "realization" of precisely one state in the "ensemble".

en.wikipedia.org...

When people try to use decoherence to support something like many worlds interpretation, they're simply trying to ignore consciousness by saying there isn't any measurement problem. So they talk about "apparent collapse of the wave function" or "collapse is just an illusion."

Sadly for them these things don't hold water and that's why it's just an interpretation. How do you show apparent collapse or that measurement is just an illusion?

Decoherence still gives you probabilities. A pure state becomes a mixed state of probabilities without interference when decoherence occurs. You still have a unitary evolution of an ensemble of probabilities. The next step is ignored by decoherence and it's called an illusion. This is the definite state the particle is observed in and is a non unitary state and this is why you have interpretations.

Many worlds just tries to ignore this and say it's an illusion while Copenhagen says it's not an illusion. The problem MWI has is that there's nothing illusory about measurement. When an observable is measured and it's in a definite state, the unitary evolution of probabilities is gone. The wave function then evolves from the point when an observer measured a definite state.

This is why a non physical model of QM works best. It says both Copenhagen and MWI are true. They're just probable states of the non physical wave function. It's no different than saying that both sour cream chips and doritos are two probable states that can occur. So we can live in a state where Copenhagen is true or a state where MWI is true. This suggests a cyclical model of the universe.

Back to my chips example. If you knew the history of everytime I went in the store and bought sour cream chips or doritos, you can say there's a 70% chance that I buy sour cream chips and a 30% chance I buy Doritos. Now there a 50-50 chance of me buying either one each time I buy a bag of chips. Probability just says over time I may buy sour cream 70% of the time and doritos 30% of the time.

This is the same with QM. I believe this stems from a cyclical universe. So when you measure a spin state of a particle, there a probability that you may measure spin up and a probability you may measure spin down and these probabilities could be based on past histories of cyclical universes. So a cyclical universe that has occurred over a million times, I may have measured one state 70% of the time and measured another state 30% of the time. So the non physical wave function is just giving us these probabilities based on cyclical histories of the universe.

Also, I never said a conscious observer chooses which slit. There's actually experiments in Psi that are showing this could be the case, but that's not what I'm talking about here.

I said the observers choice creates reality. When the observer makes a choice to carry out a measurement or buy a bag of doritos, there choice causes a measurement to occur and a a history to evolve from that choice. Decoherence doesn't tell you why a measurement was observed in a definite state. Some use it to say that measurement is an illusion but that's more about belief not science.

posted on May, 6 2014 @ 09:31 PM
As a person of faith, one who takes his faith and belief in God seriously and whose view of the cosmos is shaped by it, this stuff thrills me. I see God in it.

If, indeed, "The wave function is non physical and it represents consciousness," perhaps we are seeing some indication of the consciousness of God in that. I've always theorized that this entire cosmos is, in a way, nothing more than a thought of God.

I could carry on. This really is thrilling to me. But this is not a theological thread, and I don't want to turn it into one. Just thoughts that occur to me when I read this stuff.

posted on May, 6 2014 @ 09:49 PM
If you have not read Robert Anton Wilson's novel 'Shroedinger's Cat,' go get it now. It revolves in depth around this concept with great humor.

posted on May, 6 2014 @ 09:58 PM

originally posted by: neoholographic

Thanks for the reply. You said:

This is not true. The wave function, when it decoheres, collapses into what is loosely described as "a choice". This doesn't mean that anything is physically chosen by anything conscious, its just a term used for lack of a better explanation and for lack of understanding. You don't choose which slit the particle goes through. The particle doesn't choose (as far as we know). All we know is that there is a probability of 50/50 chance of where the particle will wind up.

This is a current misconception of decoherence. Decoherence has nothing to do with the choice of the observer and it doesn't try to explain the measurement problem.

I know. That's what I thought I was saying. Choice is irrelevant in quantum physics (as far as we know).
edit on 6-5-2014 by smithjustinb because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 6 2014 @ 10:04 PM

originally posted by: neoholographic

When people try to use decoherence to support something like many worlds interpretation, they're simply trying to ignore consciousness by saying there isn't any measurement problem.

My understanding of decoherence is that it only describes the fact that the wave "collapses" into a position and what that collapse looks like, not why or what causes it to "collapse". Proponents of decoherence (which is everyone) don't use decoherence against any interpretation of how or why because decoherence is just an explanation of what the "collapse" looks like. Even proponents of the copenhagen interpretation use decoherence to describe how the wave "collapses".

posted on May, 6 2014 @ 11:22 PM

Choice isn't irrelevant in QM. If I don't choose to carry our a measurement then how is which path information going to be known?

The only time it's called irrelevant is when people want to ignore it. It's ignored because they don't have a physical explanation for consciousness.

If I walk into a lab and I choose to carry out a double slit experiment then then which path information is known because of my choice. Decoherence doesn't say if a non unitary change in the wave function to a definite state has or hasn't occurred.

Decoherence just tells us why we don't see superposition at large scales or for long lengths of time with classical objects like Schrodinger's cat. This is because the the system is coupled with it's environment. So the quantum system(particles wave function) becomes coupled with a macroscopic system like a cat. Decoherence explains to us why we will always find the cat in one state and not in superposition. It doesn't explain collapse or the probabilistic nature of measurements.

This is also why you hear arguments about the role of decoherence. This is because decoherence doesn't explain why the system is in a definite state when it's observed and the wave function evolves from the non unitary point of measurement. Decoherence explains why we don't see superposition on a macroscopic scale.

Decoherence does not generate actual wave function collapse. It only provides an explanation for the observation of wave function collapse, as the quantum nature of the system "leaks" into the environment. That is, components of the wavefunction are decoupled from a coherent system, and acquire phases from their immediate surroundings. A total superposition of the global or universal wavefunction still exists (and remains coherent at the global level), but its ultimate fate remains an interpretational issue. Specifically, decoherence does not attempt to explain the measurement problem. Rather, decoherence provides an explanation for the transition of the system to a mixture of states that seem to correspond to those states observers perceive. Moreover, our observation tells us that this mixture looks like a proper quantum ensemble in a measurement situation, as we observe that measurements lead to the "realization" of precisely one state in the "ensemble".

Again, decoherence still leaves you with an interpretational issue. So you will have arguments that go in every possible direction. This is easily explained by a non physical model of the wave function. All of these interpretations are just probable states projected onto what we call matter.

posted on May, 6 2014 @ 11:48 PM

I believe consciousness does have a part to play in QM.
The sentence on- The spin of a particle is solely dependent on which direction it is measured, not its history.

This is to do with time, only space changes time doesn't. The particle has no history.

Time is just a measurement in space changing.

I love these topics

posted on May, 6 2014 @ 11:57 PM

originally posted by: neoholographic

Choice isn't irrelevant in QM. If I don't choose to carry our a measurement then how is which path information going to be known?

Choice isn't irrelevant in QM. If I don't choose to carry our a measurement then how is which path information going to be known?

You don't have to carry out a measurement. Its not directly the act of measurement that collapses the waveform, although measurement collapses it every time. Its, more specifically, the presence of the ability to know which path the particle will take. This was demonstrated in the delayed choice quantum eraser experiment.

So, you don't have to choose to measure anything. If there exists the ability for the information to be known, the wave will decohere. In a lab setting, yes, I guess you probably have to choose to set up the detectors and set up the experiment, but the actual choosing to do that has little to do with how decoherence occurs. Decoherence can happen independent of choice and independent of observation. Its not that you choose to observe. Its that the path is able to be known. If any evidence gets left behind for any event that occurred, it means that the event took place in a defined state. So, decoherence can happen independent of a conscious observer.

posted on May, 8 2014 @ 12:22 PM

You said:

So, you don't have to choose to measure anything. If there exists the ability for the information to be known, the wave will decohere. In a lab setting, yes, I guess you probably have to choose to set up the detectors and set up the experiment, but the actual choosing to do that has little to do with how decoherence occurs. Decoherence can happen independent of choice and independent of observation. Its not that you choose to observe. Its that the path is able to be known. If any evidence gets left behind for any event that occurred, it means that the event took place in a defined state. So, decoherence can happen independent of a conscious observer.

Like I said earlier, this is the misconception about decoherence and it stems from people trying to be independent of a conscious observer when QM tells us consciousness plays a big role.

You said decoherence can happen independent of choice and observation but that's not in dispute. This is why I started the thread off talking about the measuring problem. So the question is what is decoherence?

Let's say you have a particle in a state of pure superposition and the density matrix tells us there's a 64% chance you will find the particle in 1 state or a 36% chance you will find it in an 0 state. This means that diagonal elements have real components and off diagonal elements have imaginary components. So the particle is in a state of coherence and the imaginary elements also give us interference.

When the system is coupled with it's environment, the imaginary elements go to zero. You now go from a pure state to a mixed state.

This is all decoherence tells you. It tells you why you don't see yourself sitting and standing in a chair at the same time. The imaginary elements are gone and there's no interference but you still have probabilities.

This is where interpretation comes into play and you have a measurement problem. When a measurement occurs, the probabilities are gone and you find the particle in a definite state.

Again, this is where interpretations come into play because if I choose to carry out a measurement and I observe the state that had a 64% chance of being measured, what happened to the state that had a 36% chance of being measured?

MWI wants to avoid the measurement problem and say the 36% still exists but in a parallel universe. For some who support Copenhagen, the wave function is statistical and it speaks to the uncertainty or lack of information of the observer, therefore the wave function collapses.

Decoherence has nothing to do with it. If it did there wouldn't be any need for these interpretations. When a measurement occurs something happens to the evolution of the wave function. A definite state is observed and then the evolution of the wave function flows from that state. So you have the deterministic evolution of the wave function, a measurement occurs and indeterminism takes over.

It goes back to my example about the potato chip rack. The observers choice creates reality on a macroscopic and a microscopic scale. When the observer chooses to make a measurement and this could be buying a back of sour cream chips or measuring the spin of a particle, it alters the wave function and a history flows from that choice.

This is why a non physical model of the wave function works out much better. It doesn't need parallel universes like MWI and it's not statistical like Copenhagen. It says the wave function is a non physical reality that stores information about the probable states a particle can be in.

So this would be like our minds. We store information about probable states that can occur.

When you go buy that bag of chips, you have information about the probable state of buying a bag of sour cream chips or buying a bag of doritos. If you knew the history of everytime you went into the store and bought chips you can say it's a 64% chance that you will buy sour cream chips and a 36% chance that you will buy doritos. When you make that CHOICE, a measurement occurs and a history flows from that choice. This occurs on a macroscopic and microscopic level.

So the wave function and the mind are the same thing. It's a non physical reality that stores information about probable states that can be measured.
edit on 8-5-2014 by neoholographic because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 9 2014 @ 01:37 AM

Our side argument, really, is off topic. This is a good thread, and I don't want to derail it.

posted on May, 9 2014 @ 07:01 AM

The "wave function" concept as it relates to QM is just a clever way of admitting to the fact that no one can accurately predict what the proximity position of a particle will be when they take a measurement. I'm sure that this became extremely frustrating for those gilded age scientists who confronted this belligerence, and it's no surprise that someone finally decided that enough was enough; that obviously there was metaphysical tomfoolery afoot here. This is the same culture of professionals that declared the Titanic to be unsinkable. Let's not forget that.

Einstein fought for years against the superposition interpretation as an explanation for the lack of predictive control that one has over system responses at the contextually pristine quantum level of physical existence, but Bohr was a much better "politician" that Einstein, and Einstein was shouted down in the end. The truth is that scientists can still only measure/observe the effect that occurs as a result of a presence at that level, and even then, it's fairly sketchy as it relates to exactly what is being suggested by the effects that can be observed. The "discovery" of an entire "alphabet soup" of new particles, antiparticles, and faux particles since Heisenberg declared QM to be unmeasurable has been our best evidence to date that science is still groping around in the dark at the quantum level of physical existence.

It even got so bad that some 40+ years ago a handful of them stopped trying to deal with particles altogether and focused instead on (perhaps invented, to be completely honest here) the "elastic" of the strong force that cemented quarks and "anti-quarks" together (given the actual fact that there's no true evidence for the existence of antiparticles, and that their existence is just the accepted interpretation of data if one insists that the whole of physical reality itself is super-symmetrical - which is beginning to unravel as an assumption) as being "strings" that are the actual fundamentals of physical reality. This led to String Theory (and M Theory - whatever that actually is) and now half of the world's theoretical physicists are basing their professional careers on it, even though there have been no verifiable results concerning any of it.

To sum up here, a lot is assumed and even more is suspected, but relatively speaking little is known about the true nature of physical reality at the quantum level. Once super-symmetry is finally tossed out (which has been declared to be imminent ever since CERN's last run at detecting any "partner" particles, but we'll just have to see what happens) it will become pretty chaotic in the physics department. A lot of PhDs will be greasing up their resumes and looking for the next "breakthrough" bandwagon to jump onto.

All that can be predicted about quantum theory and quantum mechanics is that human beings will chase the grant money regardless of where it leads to.

edit on 5/9/2014 by NorEaster because: (no reason given)

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