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Reviewer: Mind is “elephant in the room” as far as evolution is concerned

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David Snoke

Just up at the Christian Scientific Society’s site, physicist David Snoke reviews Mind & Cosmos by Thomas Nagel (2012). Nagel, you will recall, is the atheist philosopher who has been vehemently attacked for doubting Darwin. Snoke writes,

For Nagel, the elephant in the room which has not been adequately explained by the theory of evolution, by a long shot, is the existence of Mind. We all live every day with our whole experience governed by our experience with Mind. Nagel asks how we can consider any explanation of life adequate which fails to explain this predominating fact. Even if we had a complete theory of evolution with all the physical mechanisms (A) which explained the existence of brains (B), it would fail to explain Mind (C) unless it could be shown that the physical mechanisms are intrinsically connected to the existence of Mind.

On reflection, it is surprising that the existence of Mind has not been considered a major problem to address in evolutionary thought. This stems from the early commitment of Western science to a sharp distinction between observer and observed. That distinction was fruitful, because early science too easily settled on conclusions that the scientists wanted to be true or felt to be true because of their personal experience. But it evolved into a complete removal of the observer from consideration.

The standard narrative of evolution is that having minds makes people better able to find resources and avoid threats, and this favored their survival in competition with other species. But this explains only those abilities: resource-finding and threat-avoidance. It does not explain some pervasive, fundamental aspects of Mind which seem unrelated to those goals. Nagel lists these under the categories of Consciousness, Cognition, and Value. More.

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17 Replies to “Reviewer: Mind is “elephant in the room” as far as evolution is concerned

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    Mind is “elephant in the room” as far as evolution is concerned,,,

    to that I would add the Mind is “elephant in the room” as far as Quantum Mechanics is concerned. And the ‘observer’, far from ‘complete removal of the observer from consideration’, is found to be central to Quantum Mechanics.,,,
    I first, much like everybody else, was immediately shocked to find out that the observer would have any effect whatsoever in the double slit experiment:

    Quantum Mechanics – Double Slit and Delayed Choice Experiments – video
    https://vimeo.com/87175892

    Dr. Quantum – Double Slit Experiment and Entanglement – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4096579

    Double Slit Experiment – Explained By Prof Anton Zeilinger – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/6101627/

    Quantum Mechanics – Double Slit Experiment. Is anything real? (Prof. Anton Zeilinger) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayvbKafw2g0

    Prof. Zeilinger makes this rather startling statement in the preceding video:

    “The path taken by the photon is not an element of reality. We are not allowed to talk about the photon passing through this or this slit. Neither are we allowed to say the photon passes through both slits. All this kind of language is not applicable.”
    Anton Zeilinger

    …the “paradox” is only a conflict between reality and your feeling of what reality “ought to be.”
    Richard Feynman, in The Feynman Lectures on Physics, vol III, p. 18-9 (1965)

    Of course, atheists/materialists were/are in complete denial as to the obvious implications of mind in the double slit (invoking infinite parallel universes and such to try to get around it). But my curiosity was aroused and I’ve been sort of poking around finding out a little more about quantum mechanics and how the observer is central to it. One of the first interesting experiments in quantum mechanics I found after the double slit, that highlighted the centrality of the observer to the experiment, was Wigner’s Quantum Symmetries. Here is Wigner commenting on the key experiment that led Wigner to his Nobel Prize winning work on quantum symmetries,,,

    Eugene Wigner
    Excerpt: When I returned to Berlin, the excellent crystallographer Weissenberg asked me to study: why is it that in a crystal the atoms like to sit in a symmetry plane or symmetry axis. After a short time of thinking I understood:,,,, To express this basic experience in a more direct way: the world does not have a privileged center, there is no absolute rest, preferred direction, unique origin of calendar time, even left and right seem to be rather symmetric. The interference of electrons, photons, neutrons has indicated that the state of a particle can be described by a vector possessing a certain number of components. As the observer is replaced by another observer (working elsewhere, looking at a different direction, using another clock, perhaps being left-handed), the state of the very same particle is described by another vector, obtained from the previous vector by multiplying it with a matrix. This matrix transfers from one observer to another.
    http://www.reak.bme.hu/Wigner_.....io/wb1.htm

    Wigner went on to make these rather dramatic comments in regards to his work:

    “It was not possible to formulate the laws (of quantum theory) in a fully consistent way without reference to consciousness.” Eugene Wigner (1902 -1995) from his collection of essays “Symmetries and Reflections – Scientific Essays”; Eugene Wigner laid the foundation for the theory of symmetries in quantum mechanics, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1963.

    “It will remain remarkable, in whatever way our future concepts may develop, that the very study of the external world led to the scientific conclusion that the content of the consciousness is the ultimate universal reality” –
    Eugene Wigner – (Remarks on the Mind-Body Question, Eugene Wigner, in Wheeler and Zurek, p.169) 1961

    Also of note:

    Von Neumann–Wigner – interpretation
    Excerpt: The von Neumann–Wigner interpretation, also described as “consciousness causes collapse [of the wave function]”, is an interpretation of quantum mechanics in which consciousness is postulated to be necessary for the completion of the process of quantum measurement.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V.....rpretation

    Then after Wigner’s Quantum Symmetries, I stumbled across Wheeler’s Delayed choice experiments in which this finding blew my socks off as to the central importance of the observer to quantum experiments:

    Alain Aspect speaks on John Wheeler’s Delayed Choice Experiment – video
    http://vimeo.com/38508798

    “Thus one decides the photon shall have come by one route or by both routes after it has already done its travel”
    John A. Wheeler

    Wheeler’s Classic Delayed Choice Experiment:
    Excerpt: Now, for many billions of years the photon is in transit in region 3. Yet we can choose (many billions of years later) which experimental set up to employ – the single wide-focus, or the two narrowly focused instruments. We have chosen whether to know which side of the galaxy the photon passed by (by choosing whether to use the two-telescope set up or not, which are the instruments that would give us the information about which side of the galaxy the photon passed). We have delayed this choice until a time long after the particles “have passed by one side of the galaxy, or the other side of the galaxy, or both sides of the galaxy,” so to speak. Yet, it seems paradoxically that our later choice of whether to obtain this information determines which side of the galaxy the light passed, so to speak, billions of years ago. So it seems that time has nothing to do with effects of quantum mechanics. And, indeed, the original thought experiment was not based on any analysis of how particles evolve and behave over time – it was based on the mathematics. This is what the mathematics predicted for a result, and this is exactly the result obtained in the laboratory.
    http://www.bottomlayer.com/bot.....choice.htm

    Genesis, Quantum Physics and Reality
    Excerpt: Simply put, an experiment on Earth can be made in such a way that it determines if one photon comes along either on the right or the left side or if it comes (as a wave) along both sides of the gravitational lens (of the galaxy) at the same time. However, how could the photons have known billions of years ago that someday there would be an earth with inhabitants on it, making just this experiment? ,,, This is big trouble for the multi-universe theory and for the “hidden-variables” approach.
    http://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/2.....r.html.ori

    “It begins to look as we ourselves, by our last minute decision, have an influence on what a photon will do when it has already accomplished most of its doing… we have to say that we ourselves have an undeniable part in what we have always called the past. The past is not really the past until is has been registered. Or to put it another way, the past has no meaning or existence unless it exists as a record in the present.”
    – John Wheeler – The Ghost In The Atom – Page 66-68

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Then I found out that the delayed choice experiment had been extended:

    The Experiment That Debunked Materialism – video – (delayed choice quantum eraser)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xKUass7G8w

    (Double Slit) A Delayed Choice Quantum Eraser – updated 2007
    Excerpt: Upon accessing the information gathered by the Coincidence Circuit, we the observer are shocked to learn that the pattern shown by the positions registered at D0 (Detector Zero) at Time 2 depends entirely on the information gathered later at Time 4 and available to us at the conclusion of the experiment.
    http://www.bottomlayer.com/bot.....ly-web.htm

    And then the delayed choice experiment was refined yet again:

    “If we attempt to attribute an objective meaning to the quantum state of a single system, curious paradoxes appear: quantum effects mimic not only instantaneous action-at-a-distance but also, as seen here, influence of future actions on past events, even after these events have been irrevocably recorded.”
    Asher Peres, Delayed choice for entanglement swapping. J. Mod. Opt. 47, 139-143 (2000).

    Quantum physics mimics spooky action into the past – April 23, 2012
    Excerpt: The authors experimentally realized a “Gedankenexperiment” called “delayed-choice entanglement swapping”, formulated by Asher Peres in the year 2000. Two pairs of entangled photons are produced, and one photon from each pair is sent to a party called Victor. Of the two remaining photons, one photon is sent to the party Alice and one is sent to the party Bob. Victor can now choose between two kinds of measurements. If he decides to measure his two photons in a way such that they are forced to be in an entangled state, then also Alice’s and Bob’s photon pair becomes entangled. If Victor chooses to measure his particles individually, Alice’s and Bob’s photon pair ends up in a separable state. Modern quantum optics technology allowed the team to delay Victor’s choice and measurement with respect to the measurements which Alice and Bob perform on their photons. “We found that whether Alice’s and Bob’s photons are entangled and show quantum correlations or are separable and show classical correlations can be decided after they have been measured”, explains Xiao-song Ma, lead author of the study.
    According to the famous words of Albert Einstein, the effects of quantum entanglement appear as “spooky action at a distance”. The recent experiment has gone one remarkable step further. “Within a naïve classical world view, quantum mechanics can even mimic an influence of future actions on past events”, says Anton Zeilinger.
    http://phys.org/news/2012-04-q.....ction.html

    i.e. The preceding experiment clearly shows, and removes any doubt whatsoever, that the ‘material’ detector recording information in the double slit is secondary to the experiment and that a conscious observer being able to consciously know the ‘which path’ information of a photon with local certainty, is of primary importance in the experiment. You can see a more complete explanation of the startling results of the experiment at the 9:11 minute mark of the following video:

    Delayed Choice Quantum Eraser Experiment Explained – 2014 video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6HLjpj4Nt4

    And then, as if all that was not more than enough to prove that a conscious observer is central to the experiments of quantum mechanics, I stumbled across something called Leggett’s Inequality. Leggett’s Inequality was, as far as I can tell, a mathematical proof developed by Nobelist Anthony Leggett to prove ‘realism’. Realism is the notion that an objective reality exists independently of a conscious observer. And, as is usual with challenging the predictions of Quantum Mechanics, his proof was violated by 80 orders of magnitude, thus once again, in over the top fashion, highlighting the central importance of the conscious observer to Quantum Experiments:

    A team of physicists in Vienna has devised experiments that may answer one of the enduring riddles of science: Do we create the world just by looking at it? – 2008
    Excerpt: In mid-2007 Fedrizzi found that the new realism model was violated by 80 orders of magnitude; the group was even more assured that quantum mechanics was correct.
    Leggett agrees with Zeilinger that realism is wrong in quantum mechanics, but when I asked him whether he now believes in the theory, he answered only “no” before demurring, “I’m in a small minority with that point of view and I wouldn’t stake my life on it.” For Leggett there are still enough loopholes to disbelieve. I asked him what could finally change his mind about quantum mechanics. Without hesitation, he said sending humans into space as detectors to test the theory.,,,

    (to which Anton Zeilinger responded)

    When I mentioned this to Prof. Zeilinger he said, “That will happen someday. There is no doubt in my mind. It is just a question of technology.” Alessandro Fedrizzi had already shown me a prototype of a realism experiment he is hoping to send up in a satellite. It’s a heavy, metallic slab the size of a dinner plate.
    http://seedmagazine.com/conten....._tests/P3/

    Alain Aspect and Anton Zeilinger by Richard Conn Henry – Physics Professor – John Hopkins University
    Excerpt: Why do people cling with such ferocity to belief in a mind-independent reality? It is surely because if there is no such reality, then ultimately (as far as we can know) mind alone exists. And if mind is not a product of real matter, but rather is the creator of the “illusion” of material reality (which has, in fact, despite the materialists, been known to be the case, since the discovery of quantum mechanics in 1925), then a theistic view of our existence becomes the only rational alternative to solipsism (solipsism is the philosophical idea that only one’s own mind is sure to exist). (Dr. Henry’s referenced experiment and paper – “An experimental test of non-local realism” by S. Gröblacher et. al., Nature 446, 871, April 2007 – “To be or not to be local” by Alain Aspect, Nature 446, 866, April 2007 (Leggett’s Inequality: Verified to 80 orders of magnitude)
    http://henry.pha.jhu.edu/aspect.html

    The following video and paper get the general point across of what ‘giving up realism’ actually means:

    Quantum Physics – (material reality does not exist until we look at it) – Dr. Quantum video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1ezNvpFcJU

    Macrorealism Emerging from Quantum Physics – Brukner, Caslav; Kofler, Johannes
    American Physical Society, APS March Meeting, – March 5-9, 2007
    Excerpt: for unrestricted measurement accuracy a violation of macrorealism (i.e., a violation of the Leggett-Garg inequalities) is possible for arbitrary large systems.,,
    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2007APS..MARB33005B

    But, as if that was not enough, I then stumbled across something called the ‘Quantum Zeno Effect’,,

    Quantum Zeno Effect
    The quantum Zeno effect is,, an unstable particle, if observed continuously, will never decay.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_Zeno_effect

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    The reason why I am very impressed with the Quantum Zeno effect as to establishing consciousness’s primacy in quantum mechanics is, for one thing, that Entropy is, by a wide margin, the most finely tuned of initial conditions of the Big Bang:

    The Physics of the Small and Large: What is the Bridge Between Them? Roger Penrose
    Excerpt: “The time-asymmetry is fundamentally connected to with the Second Law of Thermodynamics: indeed, the extraordinarily special nature (to a greater precision than about 1 in 10^10^123, in terms of phase-space volume) can be identified as the “source” of the Second Law (Entropy).”

    How special was the big bang? – Roger Penrose
    Excerpt: This now tells us how precise the Creator’s aim must have been: namely to an accuracy of one part in 10^10^123.
    (from the Emperor’s New Mind, Penrose, pp 339-345 – 1989)

    For another thing, it is interesting to note just how foundational entropy is in its explanatory power for actions within the space-time of the universe:

    Shining Light on Dark Energy – October 21, 2012
    Excerpt: It (Entropy) explains time; it explains every possible action in the universe;,,
    Even gravity, Vedral argued, can be expressed as a consequence of the law of entropy. ,,,
    The principles of thermodynamics are at their roots all to do with information theory. Information theory is simply an embodiment of how we interact with the universe —,,,
    http://crev.info/2012/10/shini.....rk-energy/

    In fact, entropy is also the primary reason why our physical, temporal, bodies grow old and die,,,

    Aging Process – 85 years in 40 seconds – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A91Fwf_sMhk

    *3 new mutations every time a cell divides in your body
    * Average cell of 15 year old has up to 6000 mutations
    *Average cell of 60 year old has 40,000 mutations
    Reproductive cells are ‘designed’ so that, early on in development, they are ‘set aside’ and thus they do not accumulate mutations as the rest of the cells of our bodies do. Regardless of this protective barrier against the accumulation of slightly detrimental mutations still we find that,,,
    *60-175 mutations are passed on to each new generation.
    Per John Sanford

    And yet, to repeat,,,

    Quantum Zeno effect
    Excerpt: The quantum Zeno effect is,,, an unstable particle, if observed continuously, will never decay.
    per wiki

    This is just fascinating! Why in blue blazes should conscious observation put a freeze on entropic decay, unless consciousness was/is more foundational to reality than the 1 in 10^10^120 entropy is?

    Putting all the lines of evidence together the argument for God from consciousness can now be framed like this:

    1. Consciousness either preceded all of material reality or is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality.
    2. If consciousness is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality then consciousness will be found to have no special position within material reality. Whereas conversely, if consciousness precedes material reality then consciousness will be found to have a special position within material reality.
    3. Consciousness is found to have a special, even central, position within material reality.
    4. Therefore, consciousness is found to precede material reality.

    Four intersecting lines of experimental evidence from quantum mechanics that shows that consciousness precedes material reality (Wigner’s Quantum Symmetries, Wheeler’s Delayed Choice, Leggett’s Inequalities, Quantum Zeno effect):
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1G_Fi50ljF5w_XyJHfmSIZsOcPFhgoAZ3PRc_ktY8cFo/edit

    Verse and Music:

    Colossians 1:17
    And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

    Brooke Fraser- “C S Lewis Song”
    http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=DL6LPLNX

  4. 4
    peter_G says:

    my two cents:(sorry for my english)

    Atheist is the Belief, which the Origin (or the first Cause) of everything is something dead or none living entity.

    For God is living.

    The question is what definition of life can we have, to include God, i try this way (please correct me, if i’m wrong): entities, who has freedom to produce and maintain Order,

    freedom means those orders are not results from natural laws.

    maintain Order means to reverse the effect of the second law of thermodynamics.

  5. 5
    Robert Byers says:

    As always its a rejection of historic Christiandom’s conclusion that man is a soul only. The body is just a vessel.
    These deniers of christian conclusions must say we are brains in skulls. then they must explain the mind as opposed to the parts. it doesn’t work or they are not brainy enough to figure it out.
    I figuerd that out.

  6. 6
    Gordon Davisson says:

    Bornagain77:

    The preceding experiment clearly shows, and removes any doubt whatsoever, that the ‘material’ detector recording information in the double slit is secondary to the experiment and that a conscious observer being able to consciously know the ‘which path’ information of a photon with local certainty, is of primary importance in the experiment.

    In another comment thread, I just asked if you thought conscious observation was the trigger for wavefunction collapse; from what you say here, it appears the answer is “yes.”

    If I’m interpreting your claim correctly, I think you haven’t thought the implications all the way through. Specifically, the implications for the idea of an omniscient (all-observing) God. In all of the various QM tests you describe, we can show that the wavefunctions don’t collapse before measurement. (Showing that collapse does happen turns out to be very difficult/maybe impossible, because it’s indistinguishable from decoherence — but don’t worry about that right now.)

    In the two-slit experiment, the interference pattern only appears if nobody looks at which slit the particle/wave goes through. In the entanglement tests (Bell, Legett, etc), the limit-violating correlations only appear if nobody looks at the photons prematurely. The quantum zeno effect implies that unstable particles only decay when nobody’s watching them sufficiently closely.

    I see a limited set of possibilities here:
    1) God doesn’t exist,
    2) God exists, but is not all-seeing,
    3) God exists and is all-seeing, but not conscious, or
    4) Conscious observation does not always trigger wavefunction collapse.

    It looks to me like the view that conscious observation triggers collapse is incompatible with any reasonable variant of Christian theology.

  7. 7
    Gordon Davisson says:

    BTW, I should clarify that I don’t see any particular conflict between standard QM and theology; the only conflict is with the idea that conscious observation triggers collapse. For example, I don’t see any problem with the idea that God could observe the raw (uncollapsed) wavefunction.

  8. 8
    bornagain77 says:

    Actually, quantum mechanics and General relativity are both far more compatible with Christianity than you, as an many worlds atheist, would prefer to believe: (whichever version of your many worlds infinite self ‘you’ may be upon your last observation of a photon. A infinite many worlds self who you also happen to believe randomly evolved from some hypothetical primordial slime to possess a brain with for more complexity than all the computers in the world combined). Yes, please do tell me how me beliefs are incompatible with reality. I’m sure you got a firm grip on that whole reality bit! LOL 🙂

    Darwinism is a Pseudo-Science – Part II
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1oaPcK-KCppBztIJmXUBXTvZTZ5lHV4Qg_pnzmvVL2Qw/edit

    But anyways, apart from the sheer absurdity of being lectured by a many worlds Darwinist on the true nature of reality, let’s see if reality conforms to Christianity:

    John 14:6
    Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

    Since ‘truth’ cannot be grounded in Naturalism, save by the hidden presupposition of Theistic claims in Naturalism in the first place, what does it REALLY mean to ‘seek truth’ for a naturalist? Well, a lot of atheists would claim, such as Hawking, that ‘seeking truth’ would involve seeking the hypothetical mathematical ‘Theory of Everything’. But, as Godel proved, and as Hawking himself admitted and subsequently forgot, truth cannot be grounded within a mathematical ‘Theory Of Everything’ since any mathematics that is specific enough to have counting numbers within it cannot contain ‘the Truth’ within itself but is dependent on a outside cause in order to derive its truthfulness:

    The nature and significance of Gödel’s incompleteness theorems – Princeton – 2006
    Excerpt: ,,Stephen Hawking and Freeman Dyson, among others, have come to the conclusion that Gödel’s theorem implies that there can’t be a (mathematical) Theory of Everything.,,
    http://math.stanford.edu/~fefe.....el-IAS.pdf

    Kurt Gödel – Incompleteness Theorem – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/8462821

    THE GOD OF THE MATHEMATICIANS – DAVID P. GOLDMAN – August 2010
    Excerpt: we cannot construct an ontology that makes God dispensable. Secularists can dismiss this as a mere exercise within predefined rules of the game of mathematical logic, but that is sour grapes, for it was the secular side that hoped to substitute logic for God in the first place. Gödel’s critique of the continuum hypothesis has the same implication as his incompleteness theorems: Mathematics never will create the sort of closed system that sorts reality into neat boxes.
    http://www.firstthings.com/art.....ematicians

    Godel and Physics – John D. Barrow
    Excerpt (page 5-6): “Clearly then no scientific cosmology, which of necessity must be highly mathematical, can have its proof of consistency within itself as far as mathematics go. In absence of such consistency, all mathematical models, all theories of elementary particles, including the theory of quarks and gluons…fall inherently short of being that theory which shows in virtue of its a priori truth that the world can only be what it is and nothing else. This is true even if the theory happened to account for perfect accuracy for all phenomena of the physical world known at a particular time.”
    Stanley Jaki – Cosmos and Creator – 1980, pg. 49
    http://arxiv.org/pdf/physics/0612253.pdf

    Thus Naturalists/Atheists cannot appeal to a platonic realm of abstract mathematical ideas in their ‘seeking of truth’ since ‘truth’ cannot be grounded in any mathematics that is specific enough to account for the universe. This would seem to be rather obvious point to make since agency cannot be grounded in a mathematical description:

    GORDON: Hawking’s irrational arguments – Oct. 2010
    Excerpt: This transcendent reality cannot merely be a Platonic realm of mathematical descriptions, for such things are causally inert abstract entities that do not affect the material world,,,
    Rather, the transcendent reality on which our universe depends must be something that can exhibit agency – a mind that can choose among the infinite variety of mathematical descriptions and bring into existence a reality that corresponds to a consistent subset of them. This is what “breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe.” Anything else invokes random miracles as an explanatory principle and spells the end of scientific rationality.,,,
    Universes do not “spontaneously create” on the basis of abstract mathematical descriptions, nor does the fantasy of a limitless multiverse trump the explanatory power of transcendent intelligent design. What Mr. Hawking’s contrary assertions show is that mathematical savants can sometimes be metaphysical simpletons. Caveat emptor.
    http://www.washingtontimes.com.....arguments/

    The Laws of Nature (Have Never ‘Caused’ Anything) by C.S. Lewis – doodle video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_20yiBQAIlk

    Of related note: In the following video, at the 22:27 to the 29:50 minute mark, is a pretty neat little presentation of the Schrodinger Equation in answer to the question, ‘Why does mathematics describe the universe?’ i.e. The short answer? God!

    The Professors: An after-hours conversation on Georgia Tech’s hardest questions – veritas video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?f.....038;t=1349

    Mathematics and Physics – A Happy Coincidence? – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/9826382

    1. If God did not exist the applicability of mathematics would be a happy coincidence.
    2. The applicability of mathematics is not a happy coincidence.
    3. Therefore, God exists.

  9. 9
    bornagain77 says:

    Indeed, assuming naturalism as the source for the truthfulness inherent within mathematics leads to the frightful proposition, because of the ‘randomness’ postulate at the base of naturalism, that at any moment our mathematical models may fail to give us an accurate account of reality. i.e. ‘Random’ Naturalism simply does not guarantee us that our mathematical models will remain consistent tomorrow with the reality they purport to describe to us today. Even a minor variance would spell catastrophy for the scientific enterprise:

    “There is absolutely no reason these constants should be constant,” says astronomer Michael Murphy of the University of Cambridge. “These are famous numbers in physics, but we have no real reason for why they are what they are.”
    The observed differences are small-roughly a few parts in a million-but the implications are huge (if they hold up): The laws of physics would have to be rewritten, not to mention we might need to make room for six more spatial dimensions than the three that we are used to.”,,,
    The speed of light, for instance, might be measured one day with a ruler and a clock. If the next day the same measurement gave a different answer, no one could tell if the speed of light changed, the ruler length changed, or the clock ticking changed.
    Scientists Question Nature’s Fundamental Laws – Michael Schirber – 2006
    http://www.space.com/2613-scie.....-laws.html

    And yet Naturalists/Atheists, apparently completely oblivious to the chaos in science that would ensue if random variance were actually found to be in the fundamental constants of the universe, continue to be surprised every time they find that the constants have not ‘randomly’ varied as they presuppose they should according to their base naturalistic (i.e. random) worldview:

    Dark energy alternatives to Einstein are running out of room – January 9, 2013
    Excerpt: Last month, a group of European astronomers, using a massive radio telescope in Germany, made the most accurate measurement of the proton-to-electron mass ratio ever accomplished and found that there has been no change in the ratio to one part in 10 million at a time when the universe was about half its current age, around 7 billion years ago. When Thompson put this new measurement into his calculations, he found that it excluded almost all of the dark energy models using the commonly expected values or parameters.
    If the parameter space or range of values is equated to a football field, then almost the whole field is out of bounds except for a single 2-inch by 2-inch patch at one corner of the field. In fact, most of the allowed values are not even on the field. “In effect, the dark energy theories have been playing on the wrong field,” Thompson said. “The 2-inch square does contain the area that corresponds to no change in the fundamental constants, (a ‘true cosmological constant’), and that is exactly where Einstein stands.”
    http://phys.org/news/2013-01-d.....-room.html

    Job 9:8
    Who alone spreadeth out the heavens, and walketh upon the waves of the sea

    Stronger and More Comprehensive Tests Affirm the Universe’s Unchanging Physics – July 1, 2013 By Dr. Hugh Ross
    Excerpt: For thousands of years, the Bible has been on record stating that the physical laws governing the universe do not vary. For example, Jeremiah 33:25, God declares that he “established the fixed laws of heaven and earth” (NIV, 1984).,,,
    Laboratory measurements have established that variations any greater than four parts per hundred quadrillion (less than 4 x 10-17) per year cannot exist in the fine structure constant, which undergirds several of the physical laws.,,,
    ,,they confirmed with 99 percent certainty that possible variations in the fine structure must be less than two parts per 10 quadrillion per year over the past 10 billion years. This limit is about a thousand times more constraining than the one I described in More Than a Theory.
    http://www.reasons.org/article.....ng-physics

    “Men became scientific because they expected Law in Nature, and they expected Law in Nature because they believed in a Legislator. In most modern scientists this belief has died: it will be interesting to see how long their confidence in uniformity survives it.”
    Lewis, C.S., Miracles: a preliminary study, Collins, London, p. 110, 1947.

    Indeed Einstein and Wigner both expressed awe that mathematics should describe reality so accurately when, according to naturalism, this should not be a-priorily expected:

    “You find it strange that I consider the comprehensibility of the world (to the extent that we are authorized to speak of such a comprehensibility) as a miracle or as an eternal mystery. Well, a priori, one should expect a chaotic world, which cannot be grasped by the mind in any way.. the kind of order created by Newton’s theory of gravitation, for example, is wholly different. Even if a man proposes the axioms of the theory, the success of such a project presupposes a high degree of ordering of the objective world, and this could not be expected a priori. That is the ‘miracle’ which is constantly reinforced as our knowledge expands.”
    Albert Einstein – Goldman – Letters to Solovine p 131.

    The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences – Eugene Wigner – 1960
    Excerpt: ,,certainly it is hard to believe that our reasoning power was brought, by Darwin’s process of natural selection, to the perfection which it seems to possess.,,,
    It is difficult to avoid the impression that a miracle confronts us here, quite comparable in its striking nature to the miracle that the human mind can string a thousand arguments together without getting itself into contradictions, or to the two miracles of the existence of laws of nature and of the human mind’s capacity to divine them.,,,
    The miracle of the appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a wonderful gift which we neither understand nor deserve. We should be grateful for it and hope that it will remain valid in future research and that it will extend, for better or for worse, to our pleasure, even though perhaps also to our bafflement, to wide branches of learning.
    http://www.dartmouth.edu/~matc.....igner.html

    The Absurdity of Inflation, String Theory and The Multiverse – Dr. Bruce Gordon – video
    http://vimeo.com/34468027

    Here is the last power-point slide of the preceding video:

    The End Of Materialism?
    * In the multiverse, anything can happen for no reason at all.
    * In other words, the materialist is forced to believe in random miracles as a explanatory principle.
    * In a Theistic universe, nothing happens without a reason. Miracles are therefore intelligently directed deviations from divinely maintained regularities, and are thus expressions of rational purpose.
    * Scientific materialism is (therefore) epistemically self defeating: it makes scientific rationality impossible.

    Yet, to go back to square one

    John 14:6
    Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

    ,,, Can what we have reviewed so far support such a radical claim that Christ made about Himself? Yes! I believe Christ’s claim of being ‘The Truth’ is substantiated by the following. If we allow that ‘God can play the role of a person’, (for who could deny Him that possibility “IF” He exists), as even the author of the incompleteness theorem himself allowed that God could do,,

    The God of the Mathematicians – Goldman
    Excerpt: As Gödel told Hao Wang, “Einstein’s religion [was] more abstract, like Spinoza and Indian philosophy. Spinoza’s god is less than a person; mine is more than a person; because God can play the role of a person.”
    – Kurt Gödel – (Gödel is considered one of the greatest logicians who ever existed)
    http://www.firstthings.com/art.....ematicians

    ,, ‘if’ we allow that possibility that ‘God can play the role of a person’, (and how could a person who believes in the absurdity of infinite multiverses deny at least that possibility?) ‘if’ we allow that possibility then we find a very credible reconciliation between the finite/materialistic world of the 4-D space-time of General Relativity and the infinite/Theistic world of Quantum Mechanics. A very credible reconciliation that does not wind up in the ‘anything goes’ epistemological pit of logical absurdities as string theory, m-theory and the multiverse in general does,,,

    The Center Of The Universe Is Life – General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Entropy and The Shroud Of Turin – video
    http://vimeo.com/34084462

    ,,,in fact, unlike all these outlandish multiverse scenarios which have no solid empirical support (and which undermine our ability to rationally practice science in the first place anyway), we find a reconciliation between General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics that has a surprising amount of empirical support. For instance, it is now shown that the process in which the image was formed on the Shroud of Turin had to be a ‘quantum process’, not a classical process:

    The absorbed energy in the Shroud body image formation appears as contributed by discrete values – Giovanni Fazio, Giuseppe Mandaglio – 2008
    Excerpt: This result means that the optical density distribution,, can not be attributed at the absorbed energy described in the framework of the classical physics model. It is, in fact, necessary to hypothesize a absorption by discrete values of the energy where the ‘quantum’ is equal to the one necessary to yellow one fibril.
    http://cab.unime.it/journals/i.....802004/271

    “It is not a continuum or spherical-front radiation that made the image, as visible or UV light. It is not the X-ray radiation that obeys the one over R squared law that we are so accustomed to in medicine. It is more unique. It is suggested that the image was formed when a high-energy particle struck the fiber and released radiation within the fiber at a speed greater that the local speed of light. Since the fiber acts as a light pipe, this energy moved out through the fiber until it encountered an optical discontinuity, then it slowed to the local speed of light and dispersed. The fact that the pixels don’t fluoresce suggests that the conversion to their now brittle dehydrated state occurred instantly and completely so no partial products remain to be activated by the ultraviolet light. This suggests a quantum event where a finite amount of energy transferred abruptly. The fact that there are images front and back suggests the radiating particles were released along the gravity vector. The radiation pressure may also help explain why the blood was “lifted cleanly” from the body as it transformed to a resurrected state.”
    Kevin Moran, optical engineer

    Scientists say Turin Shroud is supernatural – December 2011
    Excerpt: After years of work trying to replicate the colouring on the shroud, a similar image has been created by the scientists.
    However, they only managed the effect by scorching equivalent linen material with high-intensity ultra violet lasers, undermining the arguments of other research, they say, which claims the Turin Shroud is a medieval hoax.
    Such technology, say researchers from the National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (Enea), was far beyond the capability of medieval forgers, whom most experts have credited with making the famous relic.
    “The results show that a short and intense burst of UV directional radiation can colour a linen cloth so as to reproduce many of the peculiar characteristics of the body image on the Shroud of Turin,” they said.
    And in case there was any doubt about the preternatural degree of energy needed to make such distinct marks, the Enea report spells it out: “This degree of power cannot be reproduced by any normal UV source built to date.”
    http://www.independent.co.uk/n.....79512.html

  10. 10
    bornagain77 says:

    Also of important note is the fact that physics reveals two very different eternities to us:

    “Einstein’s equation predicts that, as the astronaut reaches the singularity (of the black-hole), the tidal forces grow infinitely strong, and their chaotic oscillations become infinitely rapid. The astronaut dies and the atoms which his body is made become infinitely and chaotically distorted and mixed-and then, at the moment when everything becomes infinite (the tidal strengths, the oscillation frequencies, the distortions, and the mixing), spacetime ceases to exist.”
    Kip S. Thorne – “Black Holes and Time Warps: Einstein’s Outrageous Legacy” pg. 476

    Two very different ‘eternities’ revealed by physics:
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-489771

    i.e. Black Holes are found to be ‘eternal’ singularities of destruction and disorder rather than singularities of creation and order such as the extreme order we see at the creation event of the Big Bang. Needless to say, the implications of this ‘eternity of destruction’ should be fairly disturbing for those of us who are of the ‘spiritually minded’ persuasion!

    In light of this dilemma that these two very different eternities present to us spiritually minded people, and the fact that Gravity is, in so far as we can tell, completely incompatible with Quantum Mechanics, it is interesting to point out a subtle nuance on the Shroud of Turin. Namely that Gravity was overcome in the resurrection event of Christ:

    A Quantum Hologram of Christ’s Resurrection? by Chuck Missler
    Excerpt: “You can read the science of the Shroud, such as total lack of gravity, lack of entropy (without gravitational collapse), no time, no space—it conforms to no known law of physics.” The phenomenon of the image brings us to a true event horizon, a moment when all of the laws of physics change drastically. Dame Piczek created a one-fourth size sculpture of the man in the Shroud. When viewed from the side, it appears as if the man is suspended in mid air (see graphic, below), indicating that the image defies previously accepted science. The phenomenon of the image brings us to a true event horizon, a moment when all of the laws of physics change drastically.
    http://www.khouse.org/articles/2008/847

    THE EVENT HORIZON (Space-Time Singularity) OF THE SHROUD OF TURIN. – Isabel Piczek – Particle Physicist
    Excerpt: We have stated before that the images on the Shroud firmly indicate the total absence of Gravity. Yet they also firmly indicate the presence of the Event Horizon. These two seemingly contradict each other and they necessitate the past presence of something more powerful than Gravity that had the capacity to solve the above paradox.
    http://shroud3d.com/findings/i.....-formation

    Particle Radiation from the Body – July 2012 – M. Antonacci, A. C. Lind
    Excerpt: The Shroud’s frontal and dorsal body images are encoded with the same amount of intensity, independent of any pressure or weight from the body. The bottom part of the cloth (containing the dorsal image) would have born all the weight of the man’s supine body, yet the dorsal image is not encoded with a greater amount of intensity than the frontal image. Radiation coming from the body would not only explain this feature, but also the left/right and light/dark reversals found on the cloth’s frontal and dorsal body images.
    http://www.academicjournals.or.....onacci.pdf

    Personally, considering the extreme difficulty that many brilliant minds have had in trying to reconcile Quantum Mechanics and special relativity, i.e. QED, with Gravity, I consider the preceding nuance on the Shroud of Turin to be a subtle, but very powerful, evidence substantiating Christ’s primary claim as to being our Savior from sin, death, and hell:

    John 8:23-24
    But he continued, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am he, you will indeed die in your sins.

    G.O.S.P.E.L. – (the grace of propitiation) – poetry slam – video
    https://vimeo.com/20960385

    Verse and Music:

    Matthew 10:28
    “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

    Michael W. Smith – You Won’t Let Go LIVE
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNZusL1OHG4

  11. 11
    bornagain77 says:

    footnote:

    The Mental Universe – Richard Conn Henry – Professor of Physics John Hopkins University
    Excerpt: The only reality is mind and observations, but observations are not of things. To see the Universe as it really is, we must abandon our tendency to conceptualize observations as things.,,, Physicists shy away from the truth because the truth is so alien to everyday physics. A common way to evade the mental universe is to invoke “decoherence” – the notion that “the physical environment” is sufficient to create reality, independent of the human mind. Yet the idea that any irreversible act of amplification is necessary to collapse the wave function is known to be wrong: in “Renninger-type” experiments, the wave function is collapsed simply by your human mind seeing nothing. The universe is entirely mental,,,, The Universe is immaterial — mental and spiritual. Live, and enjoy.
    http://henry.pha.jhu.edu/The.mental.universe.pdf

    The Renninger Negative Result Experiment – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3uzSlh_CV0

    Elitzur–Vaidman bomb tester
    Excerpt: In 1994, Anton Zeilinger, Paul Kwiat, Harald Weinfurter, and Thomas Herzog actually performed an equivalent of the above experiment, proving interaction-free measurements are indeed possible.[2] In 1996, Kwiat et al. devised a method, using a sequence of polarising devices, that efficiently increases the yield rate to a level arbitrarily close to one.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E.....xperiments

    Experimental Realization of Interaction-Free Measurement – Paul G. Kwiat; H. Weinfurter, T. Herzog, A. Zeilinger, and M. Kasevich – 1994
    http://www.univie.ac.at/qfp/pu.....994-08.pdf

    Interaction-Free Measurement – 1995
    http://archive.is/AjexE

    Realization of an interaction-free measurement – 1996
    http://bg.bilkent.edu.tr/jc/to.....rement.pdf

    In related note to ‘interaction-free measurement’, it is proposed that non-local (spooky action at a distance) quantum entanglement is possible without the physical interaction of the particles first:

    Qubits that never interact could exhibit past-future entanglement – July 30, 2012
    Excerpt: Typically, for two particles to become entangled, they must first physically interact. Then when the particles are physically separated and still share the same quantum state, they are considered to be entangled. But in a new study, physicists have investigated a new twist on entanglement in which two qubits become entangled with each other even though they never physically interact.,,
    In the current study, the physicists have proposed an experiment based on circuit quantum electrodynamics (QED) that is fully within reach of current technologies. They describe a set-up that involves a pair of superconducting qubits, P and F, with qubit P connected to a quantum field vacuum by a transmission line. During the first time interval, which the scientists call the past, P interacts with the field. Then P is quickly decoupled from the field for the second time interval. Finally, F is coupled to the field for a time interval called the future. Even though P and F never interact with the field at the same time or with each other at all, F’s interactions with the field cause it to become entangled with P. The physicists call this correlation “past-future entanglement.”
    http://phys.org/news/2012-07-q.....ement.html

  12. 12
    Gordon Davisson says:

    Insulting me, ranting about garbled versions of what you think my views are, and throwing out random “look how weird QM is!” snippets… none of this really addresses the problem:

    1) God doesn’t exist,
    2) God exists, but is not all-seeing,
    3) God exists and is all-seeing, but not conscious, or
    4) Conscious observation does not always trigger wavefunction collapse.

    Or, to put it more simply: in a standard two-slit experiment, does God know which slit the particle went through? If so, why does the interference pattern still appear?

  13. 13
    scordova says:

    Gordon,

    I tend to accept #4.

    Thanks for your participation. I think conscious “choice” is not the same as “obvservation”. Thus we can still have consciousness as an fundamental component of QM system evolution. I think that is Richard Conn Henry’s view.

    I studied QM at graduate level like you, but well, ha…doesn’t mean I can make much sense of what I learned.

    Thanks for your insights. I always enjoy reading what you have to say.

    Sal

  14. 14
    Gordon Davisson says:

    Hi, Sal. Good to hear from you as well. I just reread the old article you linked; do you still favor the transactional interpretation? Since that doesn’t require a special role for consciousness, the conflict doesn’t really arise there. I presume the equivalent of #4 under TI would be that God can “see” the raw Offer and Confirmation waves that form transactions (essentially, He has access to reality at a deeper level than we do)?

    I agree about choice being a separate question from observation, but I also think that conscious free will is irrelevant to the sorts of free will that show up in QM. In QM, free will shows up mainly as an assumption about free choice of measurements, which could correspond to conscious free will, or simple randomness, or deterministic results of independent causes… or it could be a wrong assumption (as in superdeterminism), in which case the experiments aren’t telling us what we think they are.

    (Well, there’s also quantum randomness, but I don’t think that has anything to conscious free will either.)

    I’m not really sure how to fit consciousness into QM, but I think this is mostly a result of not understanding consciousness very well. I know, I am conscious, but that doesn’t mean I understand what it is any more than a fish understands what water really is. Or perhaps a better analogy would be the human body: I live in one, but that doesn’t make me an expert on anatomy, physiology, biochemistry,…

    BTW, remember that “Origins and Destiny” book you linked a while back, and I said I’d take a look and see what I thought? I, um, got distracted. But it’s still on my list…

  15. 15
    scordova says:

    When studying physics and science is that it seems that the equations don’t predict which conditions will force consciousness to exist. When a human develops from any zygote, at what point will the assemblage of molecules create consciousness? So I think it is non-material and separate from anything we can access through ordinary physics.

    Regarding interpretations of QM, I have my biases, but I don’t think there is much hope for resolution. Curiously, ID proponents like Frank Tipler and John Barrow accept consciousness collapse AND Many World’s simultaneously where the all the MWIs eventually collapse with a final observation by the ultimate observer — the Final Anthropic Principle.

    I like the elegance of the transactional interpretation and at least the fact that they tried to make experimental “confirmation”. I think the TI just compartmentalizes some of the issues to proximal causes which themselves may regress to an ultimate cause. The TI’s domain is localized and is thus agnostic to the ultimate question of whether consciousness is fundamental.

    I thought your discussion of MWI was extremely interesting, and some of it was over my head. One thing however is that we must be mindful of whether our mathematical representation create fictitious artifacts that we should regard not as reality but byproducts of our convenience representations.

    For example, I could represent the number 1 in the following way:

    1 = 8 + (-7)

    or I could state it with various finite or infinite series representations.

    When I say there is 1 person in the room, mathematically we could say there are

    8 + (-7)

    people in the room. Even though, in terms of reality, such a description is nonsensical. In Electrical Engineering we often invoke imaginary currents and voltages, but are they really there or just an artifact of our representation.

    So too MWI or any other interpretation of QM could be loaded with fictitious artifacts of our representation. Even when I was finding solutions to the Schrodinger equation, we threw out lots of solutions as non physical, but well, they were still solutions!

    Even in some mechanics problems where I had to find square roots, I might choose to throw out negative solutions (i.e, the square root of 4 is +2 or -2).

    We can come up with infinite series representations of finite physical phenomenon (like a wave) but does that really mean the wave is physically made up of an infinite number of components, or is it just a convenience representation of the wave. I sometimes suspect MWI is possibly a convenience representation. That said, I found your MWI argument compelling even though it is a view I don’t share. I think MWI is a valid virtual conceptual tool just like virtual particles in physics and imaginary currents and voltages in electrical engineering.

    Maybe we end up with artifacts as we try to find solutions to our physical laws that really are only mathematically valid solutions, but not real in the ultimate sense.

    From my vantage point, rather than proof, I’m content to accept possibility (rather than absolute proof) of a non-material consciousness as fundamental to reality. I also think, akin to the problems of Gödel’s theorem, truly fundamental questions can have no proof, thus if consciousness is fundamental to reality, we won’t be able to absolutely prove it because the most fundamental truths are axiomatic and not capable of proof.

    PS
    I think the “Origins and Destiny” book is probably wrong in its use of a generalized 2nd law, or at best the formulation is intractable, so I personally wouldn’t want you to be troubled to work through it. I felt it had some valuable insights, and I certainly learned things from reading it and discussing it.

  16. 16
    bornagain77 says:

    Funny that the number one ‘reasonable’ option on Gordon’s list (as if reason could be had in the naturalist’s worldview) of quote/unquote ‘rational’ objections is that ‘1. God doesn’t exist’. Perhaps, Gordon, you can tell that to God when you stand before him when you die and he holds the fate of your eternal soul/mind in his hands! Believe what you want Gordon, it is obvious no amount of reason (since you have no mind to reason with) will prevent you from trying to find whatever imaginary ‘loophole’ you can so as to deny the reality of God.

  17. 17
    bornagain77 says:

    Gordon you said ‘Insulting me’,,,

    Gordon I did not insult you so much as I insulted your insane *worldview. But I guess to the extent that you are married to your insane worldview then I guess that would be an personal insult! 🙂

    *(i.e. a quasi-infinite number of mindless Gordons, in a quasi infinite number of parallel universes, who all ‘randomly’ evolved from some primordial slime to have a brain that is far more complex than all the computers on the earth put together. A deterministic brain which has no choice but to believe it is a quasi-infinite number of mindless Gordons, in a quasi infinite number of parallel universes, who all believe they ‘randomly’ evolved from some primordial slime)

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