The Hard Problem of Consciousness (3'd iteration)

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Yazata, Jul 11, 2012.

  1. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    Yes, I agree with that. I've been trying to argue that point.

    So where does it leave the "hard problem" and its "zombie" objections? The 'zombie' and the human are both in the same relationship to their surrounding environments. They are both processing information about that environment in the exact same physical ways. And that as-yet poorly-understood internal processing results in identical speech and behavior in both cases. Yet supposedly, the human contains conscious experience, while the 'zombie' doesn't and is merely an automaton.

    Pretty clearly, we need to have some better account of what this "conscious experience" is supposed to be, about how it can be determined whether conscious awareness is present and about what kind of ontological being it's supposed to have, in order for the 'zombie' possibility to even be meaningful, let alone plausible.

    (I don't think that it is plausible. But thinking about the possibility might be an occasion for some valuable conceptual clarification and analysis.)

    How can we make sense of what "conscious experience" is supposed to be in these "zombie" thought-experiments, without introducing the idea of introspection into our considerations? And if we make that move, then we are apt to find ourselves burdened with the question of who/what is doing the introspecting, where it's happening, and what kind of things are being introspected. That's where 'qualia' enter into the discussion.

    Ok, so what's an "appearance"? What are "images, sounds, odors, etc."? Are they non-physical ontological beings in their own right? Are they mysterious non-physical qualities of matter that aren't included in the inventory of physical science? Or are they (as I would argue) simply information (whether true or false) about the environment, simply values of visual, auditory or olifactory variables?

    Treating 'experiences' as information (as opposed to things) has big-time implications for the 'zombie' thought-experiment. It would suggest that if any perceptual-cognitive system has access to the information in question about its environment, then there wouldn't be a whole lot of reason for us to say that it isn't conscious of its environment.

    I'd speculate that ultimately, down at its most basic level such as we might find in a worm or a starfish, animal consciousness reduces to causality. As we ascend the phylogenetic tree, we find organisms capable of extracting more and more information from their environments, and capable of processing that information in more and more sophisticated ways. I don't think that there's any huge or sudden ontological leap in there, between unconscious and conscious, any sudden influx of non-physical qualia and a resulting leap from Cartesian-style bio-mechanical zombies to phenomenally aware humans.
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  3. Chipz Banned Banned

    Woah -- is everyone smoking crack?
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  5. Rav Valued Senior Member

    Not enough, apparently, if rude intrusions are still perceptible.
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  7. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    It might seem that way with all the talk about zombies and stuff.

    Zombies are the subject of a famous thought-experiment in the philosophy of mind.
  8. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    In Gregg Rosenberg's philosophy of mind, he seems to posit phenomenal properties as being either the mediators of causation or the internal character of the mesh of causal relations constituting a universe. While we're in this this vein of "cause", Plato's power or "power to bring about / influence" is one of the principles I might select for a neutral monism, as an alternative to physicalism, which then would accordingly be prior to any produced appearance and description, internal or external.

    Since the hard problem is grounded in physicalism, one could dispense with it by contending that physicalism is a trivial or irrelevant doctrine. If in the long run it is found to opportunistically modify its presuppositions when it gets backed into a corner. Surely there's a consensus that it has already diverged considerably from the naive materialism - of extended, concrete bodies being primal - which it is taken to be descended from, or a more developed version of. Anti-metaphysical positivists may have originally introduced the term physicalism, but others later borrowed it for a "matter philosophy" more amenable to physics.

    Chalmers himself accumulated a list of varying models of physicalism ranging from A to F, which exhibits this "multiple personality" it has taken on. And at a physicalist convention in 2005, a lot of the speeches were reported by one attendee to have emphasized the disagreements transpiring over how to define physicalism. Galen Strawson and Gregg Rosenberg even sport versions of physicalism that feature panpyschism. So if it could be construed as bordering on "almost anything goes" in the long term, not defending much of any fixed position, then who needs this formal belief? As one can alternatively say that "I just ride on the coattails of a methodology (science), and agree with whatever is outputted by that process in whatever decade. Should it not try to account for the emergence of experience in terms of known properties attributed to matter/energy, then neither do I care." Example:

    Anil Seth - "A hundred years ago, consciousness was at the heart of psychology, and it was only excluded following the advent of behaviourism, which focused scientific efforts only on what could be observed objectively — behaviour, not experience. But now we recognise it's OK to take people's descriptions of their conscious experiences as proper scientific data. The study of consciousness may also have been retarded by people worrying about what the philosopher David Chalmers called the 'hard problem'. This says, let's say we can understand everything about how the brain works, we know how you generate behaviour and perceptions... but we would still have no idea why there was anything like experience generated by this stuff. In other words, why is there consciousness in the universe at all? Nowadays, more of us realise that we don't need to answer that 'why?' question to make a lot of progress. Consciousness exists, we know when we're conscious and when we're not, and what we're conscious of. We can start to study those differences in the same way physicists have made progress without worrying about why there's a universe in the first place." (; The Observer; 'Anil Seth: identifying the root of consciousness')

    Personally, though, of the three metaphysical monism options sometimes attributed to philosophical naturalism (physicalism, idealism, neutral monism), I tend to often prefer generic neutral monism, making both "mental stuff" (subjective events, introspection) and "physical stuff" (objective events, extrospection) reducible to a more fundamental principle. In epistemological context, I'd probably favor some form of double aspectism, where experience is divided into those two modes (internal and external), with experiment and reason then inferring all sorts of theories and understandings (further knowledge) about experience and its split situation, including ontological doctrines like physicalism, idealism, neutral monism, etc.
  9. Ostronomos Banned Banned

    Qualia are real. Zombies are imaginary.
  10. Ostronomos Banned Banned


    Thank you for confirming that qualia are indeed real. Even though they are not physical.
  11. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    Suggestion of a homunculus as how perceptions become experiences is no more explanatory than the origin of the universe is explained by "god made it."

    Both are but the first steps in an infinite regression. I.e. Such "explanations" only push the problem back, stage by stage. - The homunculus must have his still smaller homunculus inside, etc. without end, just as god must have been created by some more powerful, preceding God who in turn had his creating god. etc. without end.

    Most recently posting here know this already. This is just for the less informed who happen by. I will soon make a more substantial post. - I have been too busy to read more than last few posts.
  12. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    I tend to agree with all of this with one minor exception: I think all these “subjective experiences” are produced in the same part of the brain (parietal cortex.) Partly because “I”, a unified perceiver, experience the yellow, the texture, the shape, the stiffness when squeezed, the sound when hit, etc. of a tennis ball, and that is not plausible if the “yellow qualia” is in V4, the fuzzy feel qualia is in part of the cortex called the sensory cortex just behind the central sulcus, the sound qualia is in the temporal lobe, etc.

    Note when I want to clearly indicate that it is the “psychological experiencer” I am speaking of, I often use quotes around “I” “me” etc. For example, “I” possibly do have free will but my body, a complex neuro-chemical-mechanical machine, which obeys the deterministic laws of nature, does not; however, “I” can control that deterministic body, in a way I will try to explain in post soon to be made. “I” am created in the parietal cortex along with all the qualia “I” experience. "I" don´t exist when my body is in deep sleep state (but do when dreaming). When body is in deep sleep, "I" am sort of like a computer with no power - only a potentially existing "thinking" / "feeling" non-material being. (But not some ghostly "spirit" that could potentially survive my body´s death; however, as "I" am just an information process, conceptually in some distant future "I" might be "up-loaded" into some other information processing system, but "I" would not want that to happen if that system did not also have environment sensors like my body had. "I" prefer non-existence, like deep sleep, to being like the often discussed "brain in a bottle.")

    “Partly” because there are many clinical observations and quite a few others that clearly point to the parietal cortex as where all this hard to understand, non-physical, stuff takes place.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 5, 2012
  13. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    The problem of conscious experience is closely related, IMHO, to the question of "free will" - I.e. how can either be achieved by a system of neural discharges which follow the deterministic laws of nature. As I may not have time in near future to make good on my promise made in last post (about "my" control of my body), I will, for now, just give link to my discussion of how genuine free will might not be in conflict with the physical laws governing neural discharges: See:

    There my point of view, set forth with many supporting facts, is that "I" am not a material body but an information process, a part of a larger one taking place in parietal cortex, which I call the "Real Time Simulation", RTS. I.e. I do not believe we directly perceive computational transforms of the sensory input signals (the orthodox POV of most cognitive scientists) from our neural transducers of environmental stimulation. Instead this information is used to guide the evolution of the RTS taking place in parietal brain. What we perceive is what is created / constructed in the parietal´s RTS of the external (and "internal") world along with the creation of "me."
  14. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    “… Consciousness is a single channel bottle neck the very capable parallel processing brain´s work must pass thru. I suspect a major reason consciousness exists is due to fact we can only do one or many possible actions. A selection must take place. - Consciousness makes that selection. …”


    But read full post there to understand what an amazing parallel processor of simultaneous language streams the brain is (and many other concurrent information streams too).
  15. Brainiac Banned Banned

    Qualia are real.

    "In the course of an evolution process begun with inorganic chemical compounds and proceeding in steps of ever increasing complexity, life, thought and consciousness have emerged as a bonus that cannot be explained on a purely computational basis. Because in quantum physics we no longer have observables representing the ontology of the world, but only observations representing epistemic knowledge, it implies a psychological dimension which so far has been neglected. It is therefore necessary, in order to complete the picture, to introduce the psychological dimension best represented in the western tradition by Jung and by Buddhist practices in the East. Contrary to Buddhist tradition however, the brain not the mind, is considered here a sensory organ on a par with the other five. In fact, because of quantum entanglement between observer and the observed, it is possible to state that the observer (the brain) is part of the physical world (the observed) whose representations (qualia), as generated by the brain includes the representation of the brain itself. This leads to an innovative definition of qualia and their role in the emergence of consciousness: the mind is the qualia of the brain’s neural mechanisms, this is how the perceiver perceives himself, from within. This is how consciousness emerges (Rapparini, 2010, p. 169). This is what qualia are for: the objectivity of cognition as obtained from the subjectivity of feelings of what happens. . . The closing of the explanatory gap makes it possible for the mind to change the brain by self-directed neuroplasticity in agreement with the Buddhist belief on the mental power of meditation through bare attention. Finally, the concept of entanglement has been instrumental in reaching a definition of consciousness based on the innovative role of qualia." (Rapparini, 2010, p. 173).
  16. wellwisher Banned Banned

    The trick is two centers of consciousness, with free will connected to the newer conscious center (ego). Our ego consciousness is able to override the older natural center (inner self) which evolved naturally (via the DNA). The new center evolves via education and culture (via the brain).

    For example, my animal body starts to get hungry. Since this hunger is natural it is based on deterministic cause and effect; natural selection. My ego or the secondary center, can sense this need to eat, but can chose to delay eating, simply because my favorite show is on. Alternately, I can have an eating disorder at the unconscious level, that overrides my ego will power. I try not to eat but I find myself compelled to pig out (as an example). There can be two opposing motivations.

    Subjectivity is important to the ego secondary, since subjectivity does not have to be in touch with cause and effect, like instincts which evolved using the causal process of natural selection. Subjectivity brings a randomizer effect to the table; entropy. There is a primitive fear of novelty. This comes from the primary attempting to discourage the randomizer of free will.

    In the case of these forums, the super ego of Freud (socially defined norms) is one center. I use free will to randomize away from this collective social center. If I just followed it blindly, there is no need for free will. Again subjectivity makes it possible to override even the natural instincts and call unnatural the new natural.

    An addiction is when something inside makes a choice for you; the ego looses its free will. In this case, the unconscious mind is making the choice and although one is aware, the ego lacks the willpower to override. When free will first evolved, natural instinct would have been much more compelling and was not as easy to just override. One would have overcompensate to overcome the guilt/doubt. The bible tells of the early civilized humans becoming bestial due to the randomizer and overcompensation.

    The ego would start small, with only a small amount of free will and randomizer leverage. The first naturalist religions appear to help keep the needs of the DNA based center conscious and natural, so the randomizer of the ego does not randomize into unnatural; alter the natural personality firmware. The ego knows data from the outside, so the primary has to project into natural, so the secondary can learn as it expects to learn; externalized as earth spirits.

    If you are unconscious of the unconscious, you will assume one center. This creates practical free will problems since one will need to compare free will to something else; chemical processes.
  17. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    To Brainiac:
    You mention: "quantum entanglement between observer and the observed."

    Assuming you mean a large classical system, like a human being this is nonsense. Quantum entanglement is ALWAYS a quantum system only, and is quite difficult to produce. Does not occur between macro systems like a human observer and a quantum system and certainly not between two separated macro systems, A & B. I.e. measurements, decisions, choices, action, etc. on or by A have no determination effect by quantum entanglement upon the behavior, thoughts, actions, decisions etc. of B.

    Of course A can influence the behavior, thoughts, actions, decisions of B, but there is NO quantum entanglement acting or even existing between A & B if even one of them is a macro, not quantum, system
  18. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member


    Entanglement Proven At The Macroscale

    "Scientists at the University of California in Santa Barbara (UCSB) have recently managed to demonstrate that the quantum entanglement effect – one of the basic ones in quantum physics – can be observed at a large scale as well, and that it is not necessarily confined to the elementary-particle level. The team that detailed its finds in the September 24 issue of the journal Nature also shows that billions of electrons flowing in superconductor materials can collectively exhibit this property.

    “It’s an exciting piece of work. People are interested in pushing the boundaries of quantum mechanics,” Yale University physicist Steven Girvin says of the work. Quantum entanglement is one of the more peculiar consequences of quantum mechanics, and is characterized by the fact that interacting particles become somehow linked to each other at some point, as in entangled. This means that whatever happens to one of them affects the others directly, even if they are not in contact with each other. Ions, photons and atoms have thus far been the only classes of particles in which quantum entanglement was scientifically observed.

    The UCSB team, led by expert John Martinis, devised a simple experiment to prove the quantum principle. They placed two superconductor materials on a small chip. Each of the aluminum-based superconductors was less than one millimeter across, and they were placed a few millimeters apart from each other. The entire setup was then exposed to very low temperatures, which allowed for electrons to flow between the two devices without meeting any resistance. The experts noticed that all the electrons within the superconductors moved together, in a naturally coherent way, which was unexpected.

    “There are very few moving parts, so to speak. It’s a general fact that the larger an object is, the more classical it is in its behavior, and the more difficult it is to see quantum mechanical effects,” Girvin says. In a follow-up experiment, Martinis and his team used microwave pulses to ensure that entanglement was truly at work. They hypothesized that, if the spin of electrons in one superconductor was clockwise, the other would be clockwise. In order to test the accuracy of their own calculations, team members measured the quantum state about 34 million times.

    If classical physics had been at work, Martinis reveals, then the electron flows should have acted independently of each other. However, an extremely large percentage of the measurements revealed that the spins were opposite, thus demonstrating quantum entanglement at the large scale. “It has to be in this weird quantum state for you to get those particular probabilities that we measure. The percentages of those different things are not something that you can classically predict,” Martinis says.

    “It’s interesting to test quantum mechanics on a large scale. Do things look classical on large scales because there’s something wrong with quantum mechanics? Personally, I think that’s wrong, but one never knows,” Girvin concludes, quoted by Wired."

    Quantum entanglement between two diamonds:

    Observation of micro-macro entanglement of light

    A. I. Lvovsky, R. Ghobadi, C. Simon, A. Chandra, A. S. Prasad

    (Submitted on 15 Dec 2012)

    "Schroedinger's famous thought experiment involves a (macroscopic) cat whose quantum state becomes entangled with that of a (microscopic) decaying nucleus. The creation of such micro-macro entanglement is currently being pursued in several fields, including atomic ensembles, superconducting circuits, electro-mechanical and opto-mechanical systems. For purely optical systems, there have been several proposals to create micro-macro entanglement by greatly amplifying one half of an initial microscopic entangled state of light, but experimental attempts have so far been inconclusive. Here we experimentally demonstrate micro-macro entanglement of light. The macro system involves over a hundred million photons, while the micro system is at the single-photon level. We show that microscopic differences (in field quadrature measurements) on one side are correlated with macroscopic differences (in the photon number variance) on the other side. On the other hand, we demonstrate entanglement by bringing the macroscopic state back to the single-photon level and performing full quantum state tomography of the final state. Our results show that it is possible to create and demonstrate micro-macro entanglement for unexpectedly large photon numbers. Schroedinger's thought experiment was originally intended to convey the absurdity of applying quantum mechanics to macroscopic objects. Today many quantum physicists believe that quantum principles in fact apply on all scales. By combining the present approach with other (e.g. mechanical) systems, or by applying its basic ideas in different contexts, it may be possible to bring quantum effects ever closer to our everyday experience." ---

    The Observer Effect

    "Re: Details: There have been numerous double-slit experiments carried out since the early nineteenth century — using light, neutrons, atoms, electrons, and even molecules as large as carbon-60 and carbon-70. Some were measured by human observers, and some recorded by detectors which were then observed by human observers — who, I might add, also conceived and built the detectors specifically for the purpose of later observation. So, while a real-time human observer is not needed for the experiment itself, it nevertheless holds that a detector’s results are observed, at some point, by a human. And so the effect occurs.

    In QT circles, this phenomenon is known as the “measurement problem.” It’s also an ontological dilemma for many people. To my thinking, it seems a simple enough fact that everything we know about anything in this universe is a direct result of observation, for how could we “know” anything otherwise? From that perspective, it also makes sense that an observer (like, for instance, a human) will have an effect on any observable with which it interacts (like, for instance, a photon).

    To quote one of my favorite physicists, Erwin Schrodinger, “Subject and object are only one. The barrier between them cannot be said to have broken down as a result of recent experience in the physical sciences, for this barrier does not exist.”---

    "Spooky Quantum Entanglement Created in Everyday Objects"

    "The weird behavior physicists call quantum entanglement happens when two particles become mysteriously linked, so that affecting one automatically affects the other, even if it’s far away. Now scientists have witnessed it in everyday objects under normal conditions, blurring the quantum and classical worlds."

    By Stephanie Warren Comments 1Share

    "Quantum entanglement is one of those strange facets of quantum mechanics that produces baffling behaviors in objects at the quantum level, but isn't easy to find in our everyday world that appears to be governed by good old-fashioned classical physics. Yet, according to quantum theory, even objects in our everyday macro-size world should have this property. And in a new study in today’s edition of the journal Science, researchers have shown that they could entangle diamond crystals, the first time entanglement has been shown in objects under real-life conditions.

    Quantum entanglement happens when two particles, such as photons or electrons, interact and become linked. Even when the particles are moved miles apart, the molecules’ mechanical states (such as their spin, momentum, and polarization) remain mysteriously coupled. If the state of one entangled particle is changed, its faraway twin will be instantaneously affected. It’s a bizarre property Einstein famously called "spooky action at a distance."

    This spooky property of matter has a powerful effect on the outcome of events in the quantum world. "In the classical world, chance outcomes have no strange correlations—the events at one roulette wheel in a casino have no effect on events at the other tables," says physicist Luming Duan from the University of Michigan, in a separate article in Science. But "in a quantum casino, we could imagine that roulette wheels are entangled, so that if one ball dropped on a black number, the ball at the next table must drop on red." Another strange thing about entanglement: The information seems to travel faster than light between the two objects, breaking the universe's apparent speed limit.

    Scientists have been able to entangle particles in the lab before, but only under special conditions, by isolating them and cooling them to ultra-low temperatures. "What we did was to demonstrate that you could make these wacky states in these everyday normal objects sitting in a regular laboratory under no particularly special conditions," study author Ian Walmsley says. To do this, his team used a laser to start the crystals of a millimeter-size diamond vibrating. The vibrations were reflected in the diamond’s entangled twin a few centimeters away. The researchers used ultra-fast optical technology to create and measure the entangled state before it broke up.

    It was this fast detection that made the diamond entanglement experiment possible. Most physicists, Walmsley says, believe that quantum entanglement is a property present in all objects in our macro world; we just don’t see it happening. "In the everyday environment, objects are connected to other objects," he says. "They’re sitting on the floor, wafting in the wind, and those connections are ways in which information and energy can leak out of one system into another." So objects lose their entanglement quickly. By using super-speedy technology, this team caught the diamonds acting entangled before environmental interactions overcame the effect.

    Walmsley says that future experiments will focus on getting the quantum interactions to hang on longer, and in bigger objects. The bigger the objects gets, the harder it is to home in on quantum interactions. But, he says, to put quantum entanglement to technological use, it has to be done.

    One dream is to use quantum entanglement to create super-powerful quantum computers. Quantum computing would use a new fundamental design based on the properties of quantum mechanics, which would basically allow these computers to "explore a great number of options simultaneously in a very efficient way," Walmsley says. But because a computer is a hefty, macroscopic thing, to to build a practical quantum computer, scientists will have to create entanglement on a much bigger scale."---
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2013
  19. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    Thanks to Magic Realist for nice set of links, but there is no need to change anything in my post 74 because of them. Normally, one thinks of a "quantum entanglement" as between two items described by probabilistic quantum mechanics that are often independent, of each others but when "quantum entanglement" are one quantum system and completely dependent upon each other, usually shown in some constant of the system, like net zero spin or polarization, etc. being conserved when the "quantum entanglement" is broken by a measurement on one part of the quantum system.

    What is incomprehensible to humans, even Einstein, is that quantum entangled systems can extend over huge spatial extent. So large that when the quantum entanglement is destroyed and one now independent quantum system is observed and found in say spin up state, the other can be observed to be spin down, keeping the total zero still, even if the second observation follows the first with such short delay for that spatial separation than the effect of the first observation seems to have propagated to the location of the second observation faster than the speed of light permits.

    The basic problem is with human POVs, not the quantum entangled system. While observations / measurements on a human time scale appear to instant, they are not. The quantum entangled system is a mix of (at least) two Eigen states and that mix evolves under the observation by the Schrödinger equation (or Hamiltonian) into two pure, but different Eigen states so that the conserved quantity remains conserved. I.e. The second measurement did not evolve it into a pure Eigen state. The item / object was evolved into a pure Eigen state by and during the time duration of the first measurement. It was in a pure state already as a result of the first, even distant, measurement. It does not even need to be measured - we know values of its observables from the results of the first measurement.

    Another characteristic of quantum systems that earns them the description of being "quantum entangled" is some spatial extent observable on human scales.

    There is no limitation on the number of normally independent quantum described items that can become one entangled quantum system. For example all Bose condensate are entangled into one quantum state, but rarely spoken of as "quantum entangled" because they normally don´t meet the human imposed condition of "significant separation" of the individual components. In some sense, all Lasers are "quantum entangled" photons, but I won´t speak more about this. Instead I note that long before there was much, (if any?) discussion of "quantum entanglement" supper conductivity was understood (BCS theory) as quantum entangled "Cooper pairs" which are so widely separated that their common inverse r^2 electrostatic repulsion is not important compared the their mutual attraction, which need not decrease with separation as it is due to the "exchange energy" * of their shared single quantum state.

    It has also been known for decades that pairs of Cooper pairs are effectively Bosons and do form Bose Condensates. I.e. many thousands of supper conducting electrons, like other Bose Condensates are in ONE complex quantum state (not a macro state).

    It is, IMO, a mis-uses of the term "macro" to describe these single quantum state collection of thousands of items that often are in single not interacting quantum states as a "Macro System," as some of your links do. None of the sets described in your links are quantum entangled interactions between true macro state objects.

    As I said in my post 74, ALL quantum entanglements are between items or objects that normally are described by independent quantum systems but in the quantum entangled state have only one quantum state. Humans or other macro system can not be in a quantum entangled state. They are macro systems.

    SUMMARY: The existence of an objects composed of millions of items, which usually are independent quantum systems, but are interdependent as in one quantum system ("quantum entangled state") does NOT make that object a Macro System. My post 74 is 100% correct.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    Notice the entangled Cooper pair can be separated by ~1000 times the lattice spacing. Yet the avoidance of loss of energy (electrical resistance) during a "collision" between one electron and a lattice atom is "immediate" - Einstein´s "spoky action at a distance" on small scale.

    * I don´t want to tell much about "exchange energy" ** but note it comes about ONLY for identical particles, like electrons. I.e. when they are exchanged there is no change and this effects the number of possible states of the system. I mention it only to help one understand why it does not, like the inverse r^2 force, decrease with separation distance. The Cooper pairs are, however, "coupled" by phonon interactions so can not be miles apart.

    ** I have forgotten nearly all I once knew. - I did do a QM calculation of it soon after BCS theory showed it was the basis for supper conducivity as part of an advanced physic course exercise.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 14, 2013
  20. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    Wrong. All the listed cases are instances of entanglement of macro systems, macro defined simply as any classical system consisting of more than one particle. You just don't want to admit you were wrong. I understand. You have a sterling reputation to maintain here online what with all your self-quoted articles. But we would think better of you if you were more honest and just admitted you screwed up.
  21. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    No they are all quantum systems, not macro systems. What is your idea of a Macro or "classical” system? - Mine is that it is one NOT governed by probabilistic quantum physics, I.e. one that cannot exist in a mix of quantum states (or Eigen functions). I.e. cannot be the entangled mix of quantum states that characterize the quantum entangled state.

    You seem to have no difference between quantum and classical systems, but consider any system of two or more particles a "classical or macro system."
    For you the two electrons of a Cooper pair are a classical macro system. Also for you, the most common quantum entangled states (two photons or two electrons) are classical macro systems. - Very confused, ill defined ideas.

    There are two physics concepts that need to be kept clear. Classical (or Macro) vs. Quantum physics systems. What distinguishes them is the type of laws (deterministic vs. probabilistic) that govern them, not the number of particles in them. For example both a NaCl crystal and a Bose condensate can have thousands of particles but one is a classical macro system and the other a quantum physics system.
  22. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    No..Two particles quantum entangled with EACH OTHER is NOT a macro system. They are a micro system defined as one particle quantum entangled with another particle. But now we know entanglement is not an exclusively quantum level or micro phenomena. All the world of science acknowledges now, as per my quoted articles, that entanglement occurs between aggregates of many particles and so occurs at the macro classical level. It also occurs between micro and macro systems. Entanglement is no longer exclusive to single particles as you define it. Brush up on your science articles next time you post something. Here's that diamond entanglement experiment again:

    Entangled diamonds blur quantum-classical divide

    "Two diamonds as wide as earring studs have been made to share the spooky quantum state known as entanglement. The feat, performed at room temperature, blurs the divide between the classical and quantum worlds, since typically the quantum link has been made with much smaller particles at low temperatures.

    Entanglement is one of the weird aspects of quantum mechanics, where the fates of two or more particles are intertwined – even when they are physically far apart. Electrons, for example, have been entangled, so that changing the quantum spin of one affects the spins of its entangled partners.

    Macroscopic objects, on the other hand, are supposed to mind their own business – flipping one coin shouldn't force a neighbouring flipped coin to come up heads.

    But that's just what happened with two 3-millimetre-wide diamonds on a lab bench at the University of Oxford. Physicists there led by Ka Chung Lee and Michael Sprague were able to show that the diamonds shared one vibrational state between them.

    Other researchers had previously shown quantum effects in a supercooled 0.06-millimetre-long strip of metal, which was set in a state where it was vibrating and not vibrating at the same time. But quantum effects are fragile. The more atoms an object contains, the more they jostle each other about, destroying the delicate links of entanglement.

    Fleeting link

    Cooling an object down to fractions of a degree above absolute zero was thought to be the only way to keep atoms from doing violence to each other.

    "In our case we said, let's not bother doing that," says Ian Walmsley of Oxford, head of the lab where the diamonds were entangled. "It turns out all you need to do is look on a very short timescale, before all that jostling and mugging around has a chance to destroy the coherence."

    The team placed two diamonds in front of an ultrafast laser, which zapped them with a pulse of light that lasted 100 femtoseconds (or 10-13 seconds).

    Every so often, according to the classical physics that describes large objects, one of those photons should set the atoms in one of the diamonds vibrating. That vibration saps some energy from the photon. The less energetic photon would then move on to a detector, and each diamond would be left either vibrating or not vibrating.

    But if the diamonds behaved as quantum mechanical objects, they would share one vibrational mode between them. It would be as if both diamonds were both vibrating and not vibrating at the same time. "Quantum mechanics says it's not either/or, it's both/and," Walmsley says. "It's that both/and we've been trying to prove."

    Same state

    To show that the diamonds were truly entangled, the researchers hit them with a second laser pulse just 350 femtoseconds after the first. The second pulse picked up the energy the first pulse left behind, and reached the detector as an extra-energetic photon.

    If the system were classical, the second photon should pick up extra energy only half the time – only if it happened to hit the diamond where the energy was deposited in the first place. But in 200 trillion trials, the team found that the second photon picked up extra energy every time. That means the energy was not localised in one diamond or the other, but that they shared the same vibrational state.

    Entangled diamonds could some day find uses in quantum computers, which could use entanglement to carry out many calculations at once.

    "To actually realise such a device is still a way off in the future, but conceptually that's feasible," Walmsley says. He notes that the diamonds were entangled for only 7000 femtoseconds, which is not long enough for practical applications.

    Quantum limit

    The real value of the experiment may be in probing the boundary between quantum mechanics and classical physics. "We think that it is the first time that a room-temperature, solid-state system has been demonstrably put in this entangled quantum state," Walmsley says. "This is an interesting avenue for thinking about how quantum mechanics can emerge into the classical world."

    Erika Andersson of Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, UK, agrees.

    "We want to push and see how far quantum mechanics goes," she says. "The reported work is a major step in trying to push quantum mechanics to its limits, in the sense of showing that larger and larger physical systems can behave according to the 'strange' predictions of quantum mechanics."--
  23. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    To Magical Realists:

    Again I´m not impressed that two objects with vibrational states can exchage energy when there is any form of classical energy transfer process available. This has nothing to do with quantum entangled states. In fact it was known at least 100 years before anyone knew there was a region of physics we now call quantum phyiscs.

    For example two pendulum clocks, with essentially the same construction, like your two essentially same diamonds will, if mounted not too far apart on a common wall (or in the dimond case, the same slab), exchange vibrational energy. The clocks and the diamonds are not shown to be macro examples of quantum systems or quantum entangled systems just because of this energy exchange.

    Also, I did NOT say: "Entanglement is exclusive to single particles as you define it." I said just the opposite in fact. I cited the thousand of particles in a Bose condensates and Cooper pairs as examples of more than one particle entanglments. What I said was they exist in ONE complex quantum state.

    That above & below is very old hat too (from 1923). I even demonstrated the Raman effect in CS2 (Carbon diSulfide liquid) as a graduate student.

    I.e. a few photons interact with the vibrational mode structures of the molecules of the liquid or crystal and give a vibrational quantum of energy to it, losing a precise corresponding amount of energy. I.e. leave with a slightly longer wave length. They are called the "stokes lines."

    More rarely the opposite happens, the emerging photon leaves with exactly that same amount of energy MORE than the entering photon had. They are called the "anti-Stokes lines" - Not easy to detect, but with wide dispersion spectrograph using a film detector and couple hours exposure, I could just detect the anti-Stokes radiation - not only subjectively by looking at the film, but with electronic scanning of the line images recorded on the film.

    I think "Raman spectrospy" is still quite important for some Chemists as it tells how the energy level of a molecule, like CS2, are changed in the dense state.
    PS Raman was one of India´s great physicists.

    True but photons are not classical objects with defined geometric paths. I.e. EACH goes thru both slits of the double slit intererence experiment, so of course each goes thru both diamonds. One proves that EACH goes thru both slits (Or both diamonds) with very long exposures and very low intensity light so that most of the time, not even one photon exists - the interference is still produced or the Stokes and Anti-Stokes lines will be too.

    I will not respond off thread more. I just state again: ONLY quantum systems can show quantum entanglement, not classical / macro systems, which by definiton, do not follow the laws of quantum physics.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 14, 2013

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