Mindful Universe: Quantum Mechanics & Participating Observer

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

Re: Mindful Universe: Quantum Mechanics & Participating Observer

Postby Dan74 » Thu Sep 30, 2010 1:56 am

Euclid wrote:The same quantum interactions which occur between 'the mind' and 'the outside world' are just the same interactions that occur between a piece of toast and the plate it's sitting on.


"Nothing but" statements are not really science. Best minds in the field have often shown a great deal of humility in the way they see science explain what is, never overstating the case. The mind, consciousness and their potential are still very poorly understood by science and as for quantum interactions, well that my be the end of the thread to unravel these old puzzles. Or maybe not.

PS I am not a physicist, but as a mathematician, I've taken a bit of interest in theoretical physics, which makes me no kind of expert. So I may well be completely wrong in my interpretations.
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Re: Mindful Universe: Quantum Mechanics & Participating Observer

Postby Individual » Thu Sep 30, 2010 5:38 pm

Euclid wrote:First off, allow me to preface my post by saying that I am training to be a physicist (second year undergrad BSc). There's quite a bit I'd like to say here (mainly because I enjoy talking about physics), but I'm not sure where to start.

chownah wrote:For those wondering what the heck "quantum entanglement" is.....here's a video again featuring Dr. Quantum....


This video is correct(-ish) up until about 45 seconds into it. Quantum entanglement definitely exists, but it is totally wrong to say everything was created in the big bang. The majority of matter we encounter (all matter which isn't hydrogen, which admittedly is the most abundant element in the universe) was created via stellar nucleosynthesis, so no, not everything in the universe is entangled (not even close to it).

Individual wrote:I haven't found anything yet in QM to convince me of a "participating observer".


I personally feel that the double-slit experiment is fairly convincing. If you interact with the photons, then they act as particles; leave them alone and they act as waves. There's also lots of evidence for the Shroedinger wave equation, too; this famous picture is great evidence for the wave equation (the vertical displacement, the y axis, is essentially the number of electrons found per unit measurement. The wave-like ripple within the atomic cage is exactly what the equation predicts)

Image

m0rl0ck wrote:Does anyone really still beleive this? Even after all the recent data showing that the mind can alter the function and physical structure of the brain? Amazing.


This is the kind of language which makes things very difficult. What is 'the mind'? It is gestalt brain activity. So when we talk of saying how 'the mind' can change the physical structure of the brain, what actually is it specifically that we are talking about?

The whole understanding of QM and how it relates to the mind is, in my eyes, fundamentally misguided. QM demonstrates that we do not live in a deterministic world, but nothing much aside from this. Quantum interactions occur on the quantum level - ie, not on a macroscopic scale. The interactions which occur are truly random - you cannot 'will' the interactions to have any greater outcome. The same quantum interactions which occur between 'the mind' and 'the outside world' are just the same interactions that occur between a piece of toast and the plate it's sitting on.

I'm pretty familiar with QM.

The double-slit experiment was the definitive proof of wave-particle duality, which is a very strange phenomenon, unlike anything else we experience in nature.

But wave-particle duality does not prove that the self is the one causing quantum fields to act like particles or waves; that is merely how the quantum field itself is, for whatever reason. When they travel, they move in waves. When they interact, they act as particles. No observer required.
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Re: Mindful Universe: Quantum Mechanics & Participating Observer

Postby Viscid » Thu Sep 30, 2010 8:30 pm

The majority of matter we encounter (all matter which isn't hydrogen, which admittedly is the most abundant element in the universe) was created via stellar nucleosynthesis, so no, not everything in the universe is entangled (not even close to it).


But, doesn't observation about the state of a particle imply interaction with whatever is doing the observering and the particle? Doesn't that mean that the observer (us) is [potentially] entangled with the observable universe?
"What holds attention determines action." - William James
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