The place of the psyche in QM

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by Reiku, Dec 5, 2011.

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  1. Reiku Banned Banned

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    Should consciousness have a place in physics?

    For many years, a little over 9 years I have studied what quantum mechanics has had to say about consciousness. In light of this area of science many developments have been made which attempt to talk about consciousness in terms of experiencing time, (which may include) space and energy. I could talk about many idea's here, but that was not my goal for this post.

    I want to ask the scientists here what there opinion is on whether science will actually need to explain consciousness. In other words, do you think consciousness is a phenomenon outside of physics, or as a general theory of everything, will it need to account for consciousness?

    Andre Linde has asked a similar question. In fact, many top scientists to mark have asked similar questions.
     
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  3. CptBork Valued Senior Member

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    The answer to your question is "no", to date there's still no experimental grounds for such fantasies. Please refrain from quoting Fred Alan Wolf.

    Kthxbye
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 5, 2011
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  5. kwhilborn Banned Banned

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    I think the main answer you will get here is no, however I would say consciousness does belong.

    This is not an original debate, and the debate itself is called.
    "Quantum mind–body problem"
    (link below)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_mind/body_problem

    I think the consensus from Sciforums will be consciousness does not cause collapse, but some theories depend on that andntil any are proven then it would be unethical to close those patterns of thought.
     
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  7. Reiku Banned Banned

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    I also haven't qouted Fred Alan Wolf. I know of his work, quite well actually.

    No, the people I had in mind, was Andre Linde, Benjamin Libet who is a neuroscientist who has strong evidence of time-reversed antedating in the modelling the mind. I also had in mind Nick Herbert, Stuart Hameroff, Alfred Kaszniak, Alwyn Scott and maybe even Penrose who developed the microtubular existence of gravity in mediation to parts of the brain.

    No one needs to resort to Fred Alan Wolf.

    So, your opinion is ''no''. My opinion is undecided as of yet. I think Andre Linde might have had a good speculationary question.

    If the unified theory needs to account for everything, would that not necessarily involve the phenomenon of consciousness?

    I mean, ask the question, what is consciousness...?

    Go, ask yourself this. Then see if any definition of a theory of everything would be outside this.
     
  8. prometheus viva voce! Registered Senior Member

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    mod note: this forum is not the place for this discussion. IMO it's already earned a place in the cesspool (in only 4 posts - that must be close to the record)
     
  9. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Mod note: Thread moved to General Science. It seems to me that this thread is perhaps not quite ready for the Cesspool yet.
     
  10. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    In my opinion, this is a classic case of the Fallacy of Anthropocentrism.

    The premise here is that humans are just so dadgum special, that the natural laws need to be revised or augmented in order to properly study the little idiosyncrasies of this one little species on this one little planet in this one little galaxy.
    • We are qualitatively so much more complex than other globs of matter of similar size, that an unknown force must be postulated, which nudged the primordial environment on this one little planet to develop organic compounds, then cells, then tissues, then animals, then our species.
    • Our consciousness is so much more advanced than all the other endothermic vertebrates (whose brain waves nonetheless indicate that they dream like we do!), that our existence can't be explained by several billion years of mutation, so yet another unknown force must be postulated.
    • We are so special that it would be a colossal waste of cosmic resources to let one of us degrade back into fertilizer after several decades of life, so yet one more unknown force must be postulated that maintains a continuity of our consciousness for all eternity, in one of two (count 'em, two!) different places outside the realm of the natural universe.
    • All of this together makes a mockery of science's careful identification and enumeration of the laws of nature, so an entire supernatural universe must be postulated, whence creatures and other forces whimsically perturb the operation of the natural universe, to explain all of the inconsistencies with the laws of science--none of which inconsistencies have in fact ever been observed and documented.
    By golly, if there are "conscious" living creatures on other planets in the universe, there must be a zillion little asterisks in the scientific canon to catalog all the exceptions they represent.
    I refer to this anthropocentric model of the universe as human hubris.

    Ten nonilllion (check my math but does it really make a big difference if I'm off by four or five zeros?) cubic light-years of space-time in the universe, and it's all about us!

    Woo-hoo! No wonder my dog thinks I'm God! I'm gonna run right out and celebrate my big bad important self!
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2011
  11. Reiku Banned Banned

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    Well I disagree. I don't think the matter whether physics will have to account for consciousness is a matter of whether it is special or not.

    Now, depending on the physics theory, it might. For instance, the out-dated belief (but still clung onto by many physicists) is that the idea that we are so special, that by the act of observation we are creating the world around us. While it is true in general that we can collapse the wave function upon a measurement, it doesn't however mean we are somehow special. Atoms and subatomic particles act as sufficient observers as well.

    There are other questions however, like whether the universe was created specfically to suit life. The fine tuning problem of cosmology tends to ask this question. The Anthropic Principle then, might suggest there is something special about life, but not humans in general.
     
  12. Pincho Paxton Banned Banned

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    I think that consciousness is very important, I think we need to understand it to understand AI, and AI is important for robotics. I think the TOE should cover it. I think that animals have it too. All I think it is however is cause, and effect playing out in a different order.
     
  13. Reiku Banned Banned

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    It could be argued that animals capable of self-reflection might have a level of consciousness. Monkeys, Dolphins and Elephants all have the ability to self-reflect.

    A dog will look in a mirror, and not see itself, for instance. This is not the same for these animals. If they have a red dot stuck to their foreheads, they will recognize it being there, and this shows quite a strong level of intellect and perhaps a certain level of consciousness coupled with intelligent awareness.
     
  14. Reiku Banned Banned

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    Now basic animals have awareness. Defining consciousness is quite hard.
     
  15. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    I'd only call these particle disturbances "observers" in a purely figurative sense, though (unless you're literally endorsing some form of panpsychism -- the environment itself having phenomenal presentations or experiences?) These background interactions, from photons and the like, serve as Wojciech Zurek's "environmental witness", but this is in the context of his version of decoherence in so-called "quantum darwinism".

    Accordingly, if you and him are contending that interactions can replace brain-based observers (whether referring to decoherence or traditional collapse), then there seems little point to "consciousness" being involved here -- as far as how the world would exist outside the head, independent of our manifested representations and conceptual interpretations. Unless again, you're attributing some manner of panpsychism to the universe or its quantum nature at large, regardless(?) of how the latter is interpreted in the context of this or that scheme.
    One might also claim that there's something special about Earth, having a large Moon, and its location in its solar system and the less dangerous rural outskirts of the galaxy -- as far as being a haven for complex life to evolve (at least, no Black Monolith, von Neumann machine emissaries and cosmic scale engineering projects of a "Federated Worlds of The Milky Way" has been noted recently by astronomers). But this initial specialness of Earth dissolves via there being countless other planets in the universe. Given enough numbers, a "lucky" Earth becomes un-miraculous. Likewise, with the accumulating evidence for Inflation theory, its sub-genre of Chaotic Inflation theory tags along as a possible explanation for the supposed "lucky" universe. One need not append this with the rising legion of other "multiverses" popping-out of what seems like every string/brane, QM interpretation, "single infinite universe with different laws varying over vast distances amounts to a multiverse", etc., that's being dredged up on the shores of mathematical based conclusion-generation these days.
     
  16. Reiku Banned Banned

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    Completely figurative. This is just the language of quantum mechanics, we can define atoms, subatomic particles all as observers. They are not conscious, but that is the whole point, consciousness is not equivalent to being an observer, though we as observers are conscious.

    The whole point was to show that we are not unique in this sense.

    ''One might also claim that there's something special about Earth, having a large Moon, and its location in its solar system and the less dangerous rural outskirts of the galaxy''

    I don't see how any logical arguement could.

    Consider that there is probably around 400-600 billion stars in our galaxy alone. This consists of about 50 billion planets where about 500 million of these planets could exist within a habital zone next to their nieghbouring star; then take into consideration there is about 200-400 billion stars in our galaxy alone.

    In the entire universe, there is around 200 billion galaxies in the observable universe. A recent estimate is that it might be even higher, around 500 billion! Knowing that there is 100 billion stars per galaxy gives an approximate total of 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars altogether in the universe.
    There is so much matter in the forms of planets out there, that saying that Earth is special is rather mundane and without good reasoning. Now, if you think life is rare, then you must think there is some kind of God involved in all of this, or that humans are so special, that we might as well be selfish to think that we are the only life forms out there.
     
  17. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    Yes, an autonomous vehicle can navigate its terrain quite well without being qualitatively conscious (images exhibited and having thoughts about them), and could therefore be considered a primitive observer. But this indicates observation isn't mere passive reception of environmental energies, like a rock absorbing EM waves. It's at least a systemic analysis of the received information to arrive at some formal identification of what has been received. Thus, even without "phenomenal consciousness" a rock is not even a p-zombie type observer in the sense that Qbo the robot might be (that is, no internal manifestations arising from its information processing and memory correlations). Similarly, an atom would seem little better than a rock, although the former doubtless qualifies more as an organized system compared to the loose aggregation of material composing a rock. But an atom is not necessarily a system devoted to yielding what either a phenomenally unconscious robot (observer) or a phenomenally conscious human (observer) does.
    And likewise, as I said, the supposed "special conditions" of a universe favorable to life fades when it becomes just one "bubble" among many. The discovery of more "universes" in the 1920s that resulted in the Milky Way's demotion to "galaxy" was hardly the only era that featured the size of "reality" ignoring attempts to cage it with parsimony. Given that it never seems to tire of relentlessly flashing a rude finger at humans in that respect, an anthropic or biotic principle grounded in potential "mysteriousness" isn't the only raft to swim to.
     
  18. Reiku Banned Banned

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    Discovery of more universes?

    Is there a terminology being deployed here I am unfamiliar with? When someone says more universes, I tend to think the many worlds interpretation ie the Multiverse?
     
  19. Pincho Paxton Banned Banned

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    Humans have so many senses though that it is hard to distinguish the consciousness from the hardware. What I do is give computers, and humans a fair game. I imagine a human who was born with hardly any senses, and they are often sitting around rocking back, and forth. Then imagine a computer with many senses like touch, taste, smell hearing, and sight. I'm sure that the computer wins this game. Then you have to imagine how far science can take the senses.. and I think senses can actually be introduced to computers 10X greater than humans. I mean hearing can be taken to a level higher than any animal using the surveillance technology available. You can say consciousness isn't about senses, but the example of seeing yourself in a mirror is all about the sense of sight. Our imagination includes the word 'image' which again is sight 'remembered'. To create music is hearing. To create art is sight.

    Self aware.. consciousness. The guy born with no senses can become lost in even finding himself.
     
  20. Reiku Banned Banned

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    But I see no evidence to suggest that AI will exist. Personally, I don't think computers can or will become conscious.

    The prerequisites of life in general are not in favor for a computer to become suddenly aware.
     
  21. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    What do you think the Milky Way was formerly considered as before it was found to not be the only one? Edmond Hamilton even wrote a bit of space-opera pulp in the 1920s called "Outside The Universe", referring to outside the Milky Way, about a war between galaxies. It hadn't fully caught on in the public yet that the Milky Way and its newly discovered rivals had been demoted from "universes" to "galaxy" status. The ancients viewed the stars as being on some bloody vaulted ceiling or whatever arching over a flat Earth, a few hundred or thousand kilometers away.
     
  22. Reiku Banned Banned

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    Well, let's not use outdated terminologies. It will confuse me

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  23. Pincho Paxton Banned Banned

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    Muti-verse is taking off scientifically now. Some Cosmic microwave background radiation suggests other Universe are causing some disturbances out there.
     
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