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[Home]>[The Man-Made Church]>[47. Quantum physics and consciousness]

 

This is the 47. Chapter of "The Man-Made Church"

 

47. Quantum physics and consciousness

 

by Frank L. Preuss

 

I am going to quote from a book with the title "Parapsychology, The controversial science" by Richard Broughton, 1991.

In that book the abbreviation PK is used. PK seems to refer to psychokinesis and my dictionary has this to say about psychokinesis: The alleged ability of some people to alter physical reality in the absence of any known mechanism for accomplishing it (e.g. bending metal objects without touching them).

Another abbreviation is RNG. It seems to indicate a random-number generator.

The purpose of these quotations is to bring to the reader’s awareness the importance of consciousness in science.

Quantum physics exists for about a century and the most important aspect of it is that everything depends on consciousness and it is exactly the study of consciousness that has been avoided by the generations of scientists since then.

This chapter 47 of the book "The Man-Made Church" brings information that gives insights into consciousness.

Now follow extracts from the book "Parapsychology, The controversial science":

 

On the surface micro-PK looks like traditional PK, only with a smaller target. A subject is asked to cause a change in a physical system using only mental effort, and subsequently a change is observed. By all appearances the micro-PK subject has been able to cause an action at a distance, which is one of the traditional definitions of PK.

The difference in targets, however, is more than just one of size. In traditional PK the objects that are apparently being moved are large objects ordinarily governed by the deterministic rules of Newtonian physics. The target objects to which Kulagina directs her PK efforts are stable, normally unmoving objects. Without external force (or PK) they would remain just where they are for a long time. In micro-PK, on the other hand, the atomic particles at the heart of the RNG are governed by the probabilistic laws of quantum theory. The target of micro-PK thus becomes nature’s purest chance process.

What we are seeing in the results of micro-PK research is not object movement but the changing of probabilities of events in systems based on pure chance processes. In other words the micro-PK subjects are not so much shifting things around as they are shifting the odds of an event occurring. Typically in Schmidt’s binary PK experiments groups of individuals can shift probabilities from 50 percent to between 51 and 52 percent. Certain individuals have managed over 54 percent. This may not seem like very much, but that it is happening at all raises some very fundamental issues for quantum theory.

Many readers will already be familiar with the profound changes in our thinking about subatomic processes that quantum theory has wrought. The most basic dictum of quantum mechanics is that one cannot observe a subatomic event without changing it in the process. Since we generally associate observing a system – taking measurements on it – with the conscious attention of the human being who is doing the measuring, some physicists have claimed that consciousness itself must be part of the quantum process. The role that consciousness plays in quantum physics is one of the burning issues in physics today, and Schmidt’s time-displayed PK experiments bring parapsychology face to face with the issue.

According to quantum theory the atomic events that are governed by quantum mechanics do not exist as single, discrete events until they are measured. Whether a photon will appear as a particle or part of a wave – two mutually exclusive alternatives – is not determined until it is actually measured. It is not the case that prior to measurement the electron "really is" a wave or a particle (but we do not know which) the way a gift "really is" a particular object but remains unknown until we open it. It is not even as if reality were rapidly alternating between possibilities – neither the particle nor the wave exists as such. The electron, prior to measurement, is considered the sum of the probabilities of all possible outcomes. This sum of probabilities is known as the state vector, and upon measurement the state vector that describes all possible states "collapses" to a single state – the one that is observed - while all the other possibilities immediately assume a probability of zero. This strange way of looking at the world of atomic particles cannot be blamed on parapsychology. It is fundamental to contemporary physics and, though counterintuitive to the nonphysicist, it is a very successful scientific picture of the subatomic world.

Obviously we do not live in a world where objects are sums of probabilities – a chair is a chair, and we can sit in it without fearing it will mutate into something else when we are not observing it. How does the transition between the odd world of quantum events, which lies at the heart of all matter, and the everyday world of Newtonian physics take place? The act of measurement is a critical issue for this question, and it is precisely here that we find a number of diverging interpretations. The interpretations become especially controversial when they try to explain how atomic events interact with macroscopic systems. The "standard" interpretation of quantum mechanics does not distinguish between measuring device that makes a macroscopic record of the event (such as a tape recorder) and the observation of a human being – either should collapse the state vector and "fix" reality. However, quite a few leading physicists venture so far as to say that mere measurement by a machine is not enough – conscious observation must be there to bring about state-vector collapse. This interpretation of quantum theory would say that Schmidt’s prerecorded but yet unobserved tapes do not have a succession of right and left clicks on them. Until they are observed (by a conscious person listening to them), each click-event exists as a sum or "superposition" of the probability of a right click plus the probability of a left click. Until observation the clicks simply do not exist as discrete events. Remember that this can only be possible because the source of the clicks is a pure-chance process governed by quantum mechanics.

Schmidt and other physicists who study parapsychology believe that it is in the process of observation that the subject exerts a PK effect by producing a slight change in the conventional (without PK) probabilities for the event. The observer is, quite literally, helping specify the reality that he or she will see. This, of course, goes beyond the usual interpretations of quantum theory; standard interpretations permit the observing subject to collapse the state vector to a unique event, but not to help specify what event that will be. Yet, as the evidence from micro-PK experiments mounts, conventional physics may yet have to come to terms with this possibility.

According to the state-vector-collapse interpretation of micro-PK findings, the subject is not actually going back in time, as it were, to affect a past event. The event simply does not exist as a specific outcome until it is observed. It follows from this view that the psychological conditions (Motivation, expectancy, and so on) for the subject at the time of observation will be salient. They will affect the strength of the PK effect; whatever the subjects or the experimenter may be feeling when the RNG is generating the targets is probably unimportant, according to this view. It also follows that if another person observes the results before the PK subject has an opportunity to "work" on them, then a PK effect may be diminished or even eliminated. In fact Schmidt recently reported an experiment to test exactly that. He had two subjects, one with a history of success in PK experiments and one with no apparent PK ability, make consecutive attempts to influence the same prerecorded events. The runs that the PK subject was the first to see produced a highly significant above-chance score, whereas those runs that the PK subject saw only after the control subject had seen them produced only nonsignificant below-chance scores.

It is too soon to propose a precise mechanism by which micro-PK effects might be introduced into the state-vector collapse, but the interpretation so far suggests that it may be an informational process – sort of reverse ESP. The way one would help select a single event among various alternatives is to add some information into the system. If you have two alternatives, it would require just one item or "bit" of information to specify a single event – the bit that says "that one." If you have four possibilities, as in the four-button experiment mentioned earlier, it would take two bits to pick a single event – one to say "greater than 2" and another bit to decide between 3 and 4. Thus instead of being a force that pushes or pulls atomic particles around, micro-PK may prove to be a type of information flow directly from the consciousness of the observer to the collapsing state vector.

 

The evidence from micro-PK is threatening to make sense in the seemingly crazy world of quantum physics. For decades the cutting edge of physics has been wrestling with conflicting interpretations of the role of human consciousness in determining reality at the subatomic level.

 

God does not play dice. – Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein’s comment was meant to convey his dissatisfaction with the view of the world that was emerging from quantum mechanics. Along with many others, Einstein found a world in which classical causation was replaced by collections of possible events profoundly unsettling, hence his unwillingness to concede the possibility of a world governed by statistical probabilities. Yet quantum theory has not only persevered but has been immensely successful in describing the realm of atomic events. In a sense God does play dice with the cosmos, and it is beginning to look as if humans can load those dice.

Quantum mechanics grew out of the realization, early in this century, that at the subatomic level, basic physical quantities, such as energy or electrical charge, were found to come in discrete quantities – quanta. An electron orbiting a nucleus will be at one energy level or another, but never in between. The same is true of its charge, or "spin."

In pursuit of the quantum world, physicists soon discovered that the particles of the subatomic realm did not behave in the same way as objects in the familiar world of our senses. In the old view, particles had definite properties. One could specify a precise velocity and an exact position. In the quantum world that was no longer true.

Both the logic of quantum physics and various experiments pointed to a view of the world in which subatomic particles do not have definite properties until the moment they are measured. It is not simply a question of the properties being unknown until measured; the properties do not exist until measured. Before the moment of measurement a particle’s properties – its spin, or charge, for example – can only be described as a collection of probabilities describing the states in which the particle might be found when measured.

It was this view of the unseen subatomic world as collections of probabilities that disturbed Einstein. He proposed the famous Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox as a means of illustrating the absurdity of the probabilistic view. Take, for example, one of the measurable properties of an electron, its spin. According to quantum mechanics, when no measurement is taken the electron does not really have a spin. Now, suppose a pair of electrons are split off from an atom. The general laws of physics tell us that the electrons will be spinning in opposite directions. We do not know which direction (clockwise or counterclockwise) either electron is spinning, but we do know the directions are opposite one another. Let the electrons travel light-years apart so that they cannot possibly communicate with one another, and then measure one. If it is clockwise, we know instantly that its distant counterpart must be counterclockwise, without ever measuring it. Einstein argued that the nonmeasured electron must have really had counterclockwise spin to start with, thus quantum mechanics must be incorrect on this point.

Although the EPR paradox was troubling, it did not deter the march of quantum physics. In the mid-sixties the Scottish physicist John Bell proposed what amounted to an experimental test of the EPR paradox. Bell’s theorem (as it has come to be known) predicted that the particles split off in the atomic reaction would have different characteristics if their atomic properties were really there to begin with (Einstein’s view) from those they would have if described by a probabilistic wave function.

For many years Bell’s theorem pointed to a hypothetical experiment that few thought would ever be done. Technology has moved on, however, and within the last decade quite a few extremely clever experiments have put Bell’s theorem to the test. The verdict: Einstein was wrong. The predictions of quantum mechanics hold; electrons have no spin before measurement; electrons are really nowhere when they are not being observed.

The flurry of recent experiments examining some of the strange properties of quantum mechanics have highlighted even stranger consequences of the quantum view. Experiments similar to the paired-electrons experiment have been done in such a way that, after the electrons are split off, one electron of the pair always turns out to be spinning in the opposite direction. But the direction in which the first electron will be constrained is decided after they split, when the electrons are too far apart to communicate even at the speed of light. How does the second electron know in which direction it must spin?

Don’t expect an answer to that question yet. That is about as far as physics has gotten so far. Several physicists, including Nobel laureate Brian Josephson, regard experiments of this type as the best evidence yet for the existence of something like telepathy. For the present most physicists are ignoring the implications of this recent research, though a few are truly disturbed by these data.

So what has all this quantum mechanics to do with the future of parapsychology? Well, if several of my colleagues are correct, it is the future of parapsychology. Parapsychology’s links to quantum mechanics may be more fundamental than the suggestions of telepathic-like phenomena emerging from EPR-type experiments.

The act of measuring in quantum mechanics is obviously very important. Prior to measurement, particles, charges, and spin do not literally exist, but the moment they are measured, they are found to be discrete entities or have discrete values. In the language of quantum mechanics the "state vector" that described all possible states before measurement has been "collapsed" to a single state by the act of measurement. Simple enough? No. For physicists this is actually the starting point for the problem of measurement. Since a quantum system is really a rather "fuzzy" set of probable states prior to measurement, what is it that "selects" the particular state that is observed?

This problem becomes particularly apparent when the state vector describes equally probable states. It is often illustrated by a thought experiment known as the Schrödinger’s Cat experiment (after the Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger, who developed the wave-function equation). Suppose a cat is locked in a room along with a radioactive source that has an exactly fifty-fifty probability of decaying within one hour. A Geiger counter will register that decay, if it occurs, and will cause a hammer to fall and strike a flask containing a poisonous gas. According to the equations of quantum mechanics, after one hour the cat is neither dead nor alive, but in a "linear superposition" (a mixture) of the states of being alive and being dead. When the experimenter opens the door and looks, however, the cat is going to be in only one of those states.

Contemporary physics deals with the measurement problem in several ways, none of them universally accepted. The most widely accepted stance, sometimes called the Copenhagen interpretation, is that the state vector does not represent some physical reality but simply a measure of how much information an observer has about a system. Measurement simply happens, and the sudden increase of the observer’s knowledge of the system is accompanied by the sudden collapse of the state vector.

From the early days of quantum mechanics a number of leading physicists did not feel this was a complete picture. They argued there must be some "hidden variables" in the quantum system required for a complete description of quantum reality. The hidden variables might be what cause the wave function to collapse into a particular state. In 1961 the American Nobel Prize-winning physicist Eugene Wigner suggested that consciousness itself was the hidden variable that decided which state actually occurs in state-vector collapse. For Wigner it is the consciousness of the observer that determines the state in which Schrödinger’s cat ends up.

Although this interpretation of state-vector collapse is subscribed to by only a minority of physicists, it is a growing and influential minority. Some, such as Princeton physicist John A. Wheeler, have suggested that the term observer fails to convey the new view of the relationship between reality and consciousness. Wheeler offers participator as a more accurate replacement. Indeed the inescapable conclusion from this line of reasoning is that consciousness plays a role in determining what reality will be.

Wigner’s model of the measurement process is not a radical reworking of quantum theory. It requires only minimal modifications to the standard version and only at the last stage of measurement, when the observer comes into play. Since consciousness enters the system only at the moment of observation, Wigner’s model (unlike the Copenhagen interpretation) permits macroscopic states (that is, ones we can see) to exist ambiguously, like Schrödinger’s cat, as long as they are not observed by a conscious being. Schmidt has exploited this feature in his time-displayed PK experiments, where the PK targets are recorded, but not observed, before the subject is asked to influence them.

It is through this minority view of quantum mechanics that parapsychology comes face to face with modern physics. For decades parapsychologists have been conducting experiments that demonstrate that consciousness can directly affect physical reality. Hundreds of carefully conducted experiments reveal observers to be influencing – selecting, if you will – the observed states in probabilistic systems. For about the same time physicists have been wrestling with the problem of consciousness. Working from the basic principles of quantum mechanics, they have added consciousness as a variable in their equations. It is not just a passive consciousness but a consciousness capable of bringing about the selection of the observed state of physical reality.

It seems that parapsychologists and physicists, travelling down two different roads, have arrived at the same place. Only a few physicists and parapsychologists have begun to realize this, however. Over the years several leading physicists (including Einstein himself) have looked sympathetically upon the struggles of parapsychology, often offering speculations on how psi phenomena might fit into physical theory. In the early seventies physicist Evan Harris Walker began a sustained attempt to incorporate psi phenomena within the framework of quantum mechanics. Walker’s theory explicitly links consciousness to the hidden variables of quantum theory, and he endows consciousness with a "will" factor that serves to exchange information with the state vector as it collapses. Helmut Schmidt, the physicist responsible for many of the innovative experiments that have made explicit the connection between psi and quantum mechanics, has also proposed a theory of psi function based on quantum-mechanical principles.

To the extent that physics will continue to grapple with the role of consciousness in the determination of reality, we can expect that parapsychology will find itself an increasingly useful partner in the search for understanding. Perhaps, if parapsychology’s data continue to accumulate and if the climate of tolerance among the established sciences improves, then parapsychology, so long the shunned outsider of the sciences, may become a full participant in the search for answers to some of the most fundamental questions science can ask.

 

We have come to the end of the quotations from the book "Parapsychology, The controversial science".

Now first of all I want to repeat five statements:

1 According to quantum theory the atomic events that are governed by quantum mechanics do not exist as single, discrete events until they are measured.

2 The event simply does not exist as a specific outcome until it is observed.

3 It is not simply a question of the properties being unknown until measured; the properties do not exist until measured.

4 Electrons are really nowhere when they are not being observed.

5 Prior to measurement, particles, charges, and spin do not literally exist, but the moment they are measured, they are found to be discrete entities or have discrete values.

These five statements seem to clearly suggest that we have two stages in the process of an experiment. The first stage is before observation and the second stage is after observation. During the first stage nothing physical exists, it only exists after observation.

The existence before observation is a non-physical one, one that is not of a material kind and that would be a spiritual existence and only observation makes a material one out of it.

So the entire process is that of creating physical things out of the spiritual kingdom.

Out of the spiritual kingdom material things are created. Consciousness creates matter. What has been something spiritual now becomes something physical.

And this is done by consciousness, or more exact by the will of the observer.

It is will, or intent, that creates things.

"Walker’s theory explicitly links consciousness to the hidden variables of quantum theory, and he endows consciousness with a "will" factor that serves to exchange information with the state vector as it collapses."

With terms like "the collapse of the wave function" or "state-vector collapse" or "bringing about the selection of the observed state of physical reality", something is described that is really just creation, creating material objects out of nothing and nothing being the spiritual realm.

And then we have this statement: "Several physicists, including Nobel laureate Brian Josephson, regard experiments of this type as the best evidence yet for the existence of something like telepathy."

And also: "Parapsychology’s links to quantum mechanics may be more fundamental than the suggestions of telepathic-like phenomena emerging from EPR-type experiments."

Telepathy is therefore something that has been proven already several years ago and it has again been proven 2014, as we have shown in Telepathy scientifically proven.

Thought-transference is instant and therefore the speed of light is not the maximum speed possible.

But in many scientific researches it is consciousness that is the pivot that will really decide if progress is made.

"The most basic dictum of quantum mechanics is that one cannot observe a subatomic event without changing it in the process. Since we generally associate observing a system – taking measurements on it – with the conscious attention of the human being who is doing the measuring, some physicists have claimed that consciousness itself must be part of the quantum process. The role that consciousness plays in quantum physics is one of the burning issues in physics today."

The above mentioned hidden variable is of course the spiritual kingdom and its influences because the entire material world was created out of this spiritual realm, is controlled by it and the spiritual light beings have complete control over the physical world and its inhabitants, men, who have free will and are to use it to find their way back to being again all powerful gods.

 

This is the end of "Quantum physics and consciousness"

Go to the German version of this chapter: Quantenphysik und Bewußtsein

Next chapter: [48]

 

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