Cosmology, Quantum Mechanics & Consciousness Message Board › Can the Human Mind harness Quantum principles to engineer Synchronicity?

Can the Human Mind harness Quantum principles to engineer Synchronicity?

A former member
Post #: 45
Hello Trisha, welcome to cosmology, quantum mechanics & consciousness (and Ian. If it isn't already obvious, he is encyclopaedic and ferociously clever).

I think you are right to say, "Science is wonderful in that it asks questions rather than claiming to have all the answers" . Actually, I should come clean and admit to being a crude Feyerabendian and add that to me what is truly wonderful about science is that it is done by people, some of whom are brilliant, some are bonkers, some are fastidious, some are slovenly and so on; you know, people. But I think what distinguishes science it is the type of answers these people accept, often grudgingly and rarely unanimously. They are the answers that anyone who tests them is bound to agree with. As I think you have discerned, these are not the sort of questions that are likely to be posed at the proposed meet up, it may as well be about "can alien dolphins use crystal pyramids to capture quantum fairies".

The idea that the mind can reach out and affect the material world is seductive, I remember Uri Geller creating a career on precisely that whimsy, but there is no evidence to persuade the mildly sceptical, let alone any 'scientist' worth taking seriousy. Having said that, no scientist worth his or her salt would ever say never, but as I think Feynman said, 'extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.'

Will
lan B.
user 10895495
London, GB
Post #: 243

Splendidly expressed down to the final clause, Will. (Not too sure about the content of the first para though. I'm trying to avoid creating the impression that we might be some sort of mutual admiration society, but thanks for the kind thought anyway. :-) )
A former member
Post #: 154
Ian's post #242 above mentions an incomprehensible paper that I found a while ago about bird navigation, quantum mechanics and the European robin. To be fair I've just noticed an update on that research (http://www.quantumlah...­) which implies that poor robin may not be so much of a quantum hero. More work needed to get to a consensus result.

Ian is still "wondering what exactly it is about the word "quantum" which attracts such attention from people who are fundamentally -- indeed, who are effectively only -- interested in disseminating and employing social relationship knowledge, techniques, and associated activities". I think the answer is perfectly obvious and may be given in two words: 'human nature'. Where modern science has de-mystified the world, many people evidently feel disappointed and would prefer to revert to an age of enchantment in which aliens observe us from hidden flying saucers, new religions and spirituality flourish, consciousness is a fundamental component of Nature, the human mind engineers 'synchronicity' and so on. The undeniable mysteries of quantum physics clearly offer some appeal as a hoped-for route to some imagined more magical universe. To which may be added the commercial possibilities of selling new age ideas with 'quantum' in the title. It's a pity that people cannot be more patient to learn the truth, because the future that science and technology will bring to us will probably be at least as amazing as all these present fantasies, whilst being real. Though to be realistic, no human has yet lived to understand the truth of our universe, so patience has yet to be rewarded in these terms. No wonder then that spirituality and weird ideas of all kinds still flourish.

Those are two good references mentioned by Trisha in her #8. From a superficial reading neither of them convinces me as their authors would wish. The article by Stapp seems just.... unconvincing. The paper by Koch and Hepp seems more heavyweight and I can well believe that neuroscience is getting closer to understanding how our minds really work. But even after all this progress, even when in the future we become able to mimic the neuron networks of the brain in a computer, will that computer have our sensation of the colour red? Will this line of research ever be able to decide that question? Maybe not!

Trisha
user 10455453
Lehigh Acres, FL
Post #: 9
Thanks for the welcome Will. I completely agree that "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence". In my first post I had not read any of Jazz's posts yet; I happened upon this thread before exploring other sections of this site. I suppose I was giving the title and organizers the benefit of the doubt, but as I have stated I am a bit startled at Jazz's assertions. I am not an expert and I am here to learn, but his presumptuous and misleading statements were notable.
"It pays to keep an open mind, but not so open your brains fall out." Carl Sagan

Does anyone know who is organizing this meet up or who will be giving the talk/lecture? I have also noticed there is now a price for attendance where previously it seems there was none? Maybe its unrelated but it seems a bit odd to me that the previous topics were not so suspect, had better descriptions and were also free. I hope this isn't degenerating into a place for scam artists. (I've been utterly surprised before at the kind of nonsense that gets an audience, even at respected University settings.)
lan B.
user 10895495
London, GB
Post #: 244

[From Andrew]:

Ian's post #242 above mentions an incomprehensible paper that I found a while ago about bird navigation, quantum mechanics and the European robin. To be fair I've just noticed an update on that research (http://www.quantumlah...­. ) which implies that poor robin may not be so much of a quantum hero. More work needed to get to a consensus result.

Yes, I’ve just read it. Thanks for fearlessly providing the follow-up to the original claim, even though it’s a little disappointing as we might have anticipated. (Still, 10 µs is quite impressive; 100 x the earlier-suggested figure (?). In fact, it’s an entire geological era – like the Palaeozoic – in comparison to the timescales of individual chemical reactions, which are typically < 10^-14 s!)

Ian is still "wondering what exactly it is about the word "quantum" which attracts such attention from people who are fundamentally -- indeed, who are effectively only -- interested in disseminating and employing social relationship knowledge, techniques, and associated activities". I think the answer is perfectly obvious and may be given in two words: 'human nature'. Where modern science has de-mystified the world, many people evidently feel disappointed and would prefer to revert to an age of enchantment in which aliens observe us from hidden flying saucers, new religions and spirituality flourish, consciousness is a fundamental component of Nature, the human mind engineers 'synchronicity' and so on. The undeniable mysteries of quantum physics clearly offer some appeal as a hoped-for route to some imagined more magical universe. To which may be added the commercial possibilities of selling new age ideas with 'quantum' in the title.


confused confused confused

Tell us about it!



To be perfectly honest, Andrew, I was bemoaning the situation rhetorically. Still, you’ve certainly hit the nail on the head in your snapshot socio-psychological analysis.

It's a pity that people cannot be more patient to learn the truth, because the future that science and technology will bring to us will probably be at least as amazing as all these present fantasies, whilst being real.

Yes, but almost certainly too slowly for most peoples’ tastes! Young children – boys especially; there still seems to be a sex bias – want Star Trek technology, time travel, force fields, portable disintegrator ray guns, and all the other fictional future technology. (Most of which will sadly turn out never to be feasible. In fact, the world hasn’t changed an amazing amount in terms of perceived quality for several decades. Sure, standards of domestic and industrial design shift subtly, and information technology has really come to the fore (even though it could have done so in the early ‘70s, about 25 years sooner than the developments which history actually witnessed). However, what we really wanted as children was not so much electric kettles, desktop PCs and 3D cinema – the latter available in admittedly somewhat contrived and clumsy fashion as far back as the 1950s – but, as said, all the spacey, Trekky stuff. What we end up doing is falling into the same life-situations as our parents: jobs, mortgages, fairly conventionally predictive sets of experiences (no walking on the surface of Mars, for example!) and then death. One sees what Andrew is getting at.

Though to be realistic, no human has yet lived to understand the truth of our universe, so patience has yet to be rewarded in these terms. No wonder then that spirituality and weird ideas of all kinds still flourish.

Those are two good references mentioned by Trisha in her #8. From a superficial reading neither of them convinces me as their authors would wish. The article by Stapp seems just.... unconvincing. The paper by Koch and Hepp seems more heavyweight and I can well believe that neuroscience is getting closer to understanding how our minds really work.

Unfortunately Internet Explorer isn’t unable to display the relevant webpages for me! (I’ll keep trying.)

But even after all this progress, even when in the future we become able to mimic the neuron networks of the brain in a computer, will that computer have our sensation of the colour red? Will this line of research ever be able to decide that question? Maybe not!

Well we’ve already at least partly thrashed that one out within our 2 separate “Consciousness” threads. You, Will and myself agreed as to the nature of Chalmers’ famously-named Hard Problem, with me contributing my few cents’/pennies-worth of allusion to the insight made both by Galileo and Locke in regard to the distinction between the primary, external-world qualities of physics, chemistry and engineering on the one hand, and the secondary qualities of purely subjective, incommunicable sensation on the other. I wasn’t able to persuade you of the cogency of such a distinction, though, and IMHO contemporary Phil of Mind has wandered way off the course which it should be taking, and is therefore misleading everyone else including the neuroscientific research community and AI circuit designers and software writers who tend by and large to be somewhat naïve philosophically speaking (IMO) and who therefore look, mistakenly, to the Phil of Mind community for “professional help” (!)

Just a quick rehash: No software simulation of some physical situation – e.g. the global status of communication between cerebral neurons during some time-slice – will actually ever become that situation. Such identity is only possible when software is written to simulate other software. A mistaken equation – largely egged on by the science fiction (SF) community – is generally made by professional enthusiasts of computer culture that, somehow, consciousness = information. In Shannon information terms, “information” = “idiosyncratically and statistically atypical bit-profile” (of some putative signal).

What we need instead is an epistemological analysis of the notion of sensation (which I essayed in my 40-or-so-pp-long paper, but, alas, only some are persuaded. Time will tell!)


lan B.
user 10895495
London, GB
Post #: 245

[From Trisha]:

"It pays to keep an open mind, but not so open your brains fall out." Carl Sagan

Amen to that, Trisha! (Communications engineers have a similar saying about bandwidth: “If you open the window too wide, the s..t will fly in.” Well-known to hi-fi purists!)

Does anyone know who is organizing this meet up or who will be giving the talk/lecture? I have also noticed there is now a price for attendance where previously it seems there was none? Maybe its unrelated but it seems a bit odd to me that the previous topics were not so suspect, had better descriptions and were also free. I hope this isn't degenerating into a place for scam artists. (I've been utterly surprised before at the kind of nonsense that gets an audience, even at respected University settings.)

Her name is Frances C. Nalon and she acquired control if I remember right a little > a year after ex-physicist and City Man Paul – who originally set up the group around October 2009 – emigrated to Australia. Her interests are mystical and “spiritual” rather than scientifically directed, although she expresses an interest in scientific matters, and harbours no hostility to science as such, but is evidently unwilling to be bound by its procedural and postulatory strictures! Even during Paul’s overlordship/suzerainty there was an individual Meetup attendance charge which I think was originally £2.00. Just lately Frances raised it to £3.00 and as we’ve seen it’s just risen again to a fiver. To be fair, Frances is obliged to maintain her moderately spacious room – which she’s apparently been renting for around 20 years – near Bethnal Green tube station, and I see by trawling the host of supposedly affine Meetup Groups (geometry joke; sorry!) run by hordes of “spiritually”-minded people that the standard Meetup Group attendance charge now seems to have been coordinated either by word-of-mouth or via top-down insinuation from NY City at £5.00. Well, we’re inhabiting a recession, and clearly some if not necessarily all Group convenors are cashing in. Mystical themes will, of course, always provide a moderately lucrative cash cow because, unfortunately, there is, as they say, “one born every minute”!
A former member
Post #: 46
Wotcher Ian

The fan mail was really meant as an addendum to your earlier confessional, you old soak. I didn’t want Trisha thinking you were just some loudmouth who occasionally struggles with written English.
Anyway, for all that we rail against flim-flam, we are not offering an alternative, and it might be a while before anyone else does. Perhaps we ought to bite the bullet and arrange a meetup ourselves, the curmudgeon’s harrumphery or something. We could spend as long as it takes to say no discussing whether the human mind can harness quantum principles to engineer synchronicity and then move on to something completely different. I would really like to understand this decoherence you keep banging on about, but you’d be on your own with that. Alternatively we could have fisticuffs over whether what you see really is what you get. Or something; anyone else up for it? Andrew?
A former member
Post #: 155
About your suggestion, Will, to arrange a meetup discussion based more on science than flim-flam. I did suggest some time ago that there could be a meet-up to discuss the possible connections between quantum physics and consciousness, bearing in mind the name of our group. That suggestion was not followed up. I think it's worth doing in order to distinguish ideas which have at least some scientific merit from those which definitely do not.

Frances would have to approve this meeting including choice of presenter(s). I would suggest two presenters, at least one of them with working knowledge of the subject and both with good enough communication skills. Neither of them having an anti-scientific flim-flam agenda. Then one will interview the other about the topic, so we have an interview instead of a lecture - the typical TV presenter ploy. Maybe either you or Trisha could be the interviewer. I think that people (including Ian and myself) who have already actively posted on the topic should not be involved, because people would not want to listen to more of the same.
lan B.
user 10895495
London, GB
Post #: 246

Wotcher Ian

Wotcher myte!

The fan mail was really meant as an addendum to your earlier confessional, you old soak.

("Confessional"? .. )

I didn’t want Trisha thinking you were just some loudmouth who occasionally struggles with written English.

Consideration indeed for a complete stranger! She's clearly a lot more sensible thn most, but her lack of communication for the past few days suggests that because of the bleakly deflationary, no-fun-at-all tapestry which we've been jointly weaving -- me more ferociously thn most -- she's moved on to more human(e) pastures.

I must confess that slow as I must be it's just occurred to me that I'm missing the whole point of these Meetup thingies. I've never been on any others, and this is still the only one. I only joined 3 yrs ago persistently kept intruding itself, virus-like, on to my monitor until like a fool I succumbed!

Maybe more seriously/realistically focussed aims in connection with such topics as QM are not suited to the Meetup niche. I don't know. What I do know is that even though we (well, to be honest, mostly me) swamp the message boards, the general tone of .. well .. er .. serious discussion would tend to be progressively diluted by more fantasy-focussed interest if not, so I suppose I see myself as some sort of unappointed Praetorian Guard for scientific accuracy and philosophical common sense (as I interpret it!)

(You could call me the Mary Whitehouse of quantum cosmology and consciousness. There! Displaying my venerable age on my sleeve.)


Anyway, for all that we rail against flim-flam, we are not offering an alternative, and it might be a while before anyone else does. Perhaps we ought to bite the bullet and arrange a meetup ourselves, the curmudgeon’s harrumphery or something. We could spend as long as it takes to say no discussing whether the human mind can harness quantum principles to engineer synchronicity and then move on to something completely different. I would really like to understand this decoherence you keep banging on about, but you’d be on your own with that. Alternatively we could have fisticuffs over whether what you see really is what you get. Or something; anyone else up for it? Andrew?

We can't -- unlike all the mysticians -- and shouldn't pretend to offer solutions to the problem of the awful daily existential angst of sheer living, if that's what you mean, but I've hinted (as subtly as an elephant) many times that there are interesting, realist interpretations of QM out there. Bohr and Copenhagenism certainly no longer rule the theoretical roost in almost-untouched isolation. I am confident that it is possible to develop an utterly consistent, best-fit epistemology, and slightly less confident but still pretty gung-ho about the way to go in providing the definitive interpretation of QM.

About your suggestion, Will, to arrange a meetup discussion based more on science than flim-flam. I did suggest some time ago that there could be a meet-up to discuss the possible connections between quantum physics and consciousness, bearing in mind the name of our group. That suggestion was not followed up. I think it's worth doing in order to distinguish ideas which have at least some scientific merit from those which definitely do not.

Frances would have to approve this meeting including choice of presenter(s). I would suggest two presenters, at least one of them with working knowledge of the subject and both with good enough communication skills. Neither of them having an anti-scientific flim-flam agenda. Then one will interview the other about the topic, so we have an interview instead of a lecture - the typical TV presenter ploy. Maybe either you or Trisha could be the interviewer. I think that people (including Ian and myself) who have already actively posted on the topic should not be involved, because people would not want to listen to more of the same.

Seems sensible to me! (If it comes to pass that means that there'll be at least 5 attendees to the next Meetup-but-one!)

lan B.
user 10895495
London, GB
Post #: 247


BTW I almost forgot: If I can get Camilla to return -- at least temporarily! -- my copy of the out-of-print The Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics by Roland Omnèsthen any interested parties will be able to do some necessary boning-up. I suppose it was unreasonable of me to insist on Andrew getting his own copy from Amazon just in order to gain greater familiarity with Omnès' outlook (with which in a philosophical sense I am not in complete agreement, even though I like his acutely-honed sense of scientific realism.
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