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An interview with quantum physicist and consciousness researcher Henry Stapp

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Henry P. Stapp, Ph.D.
Henry P. Stapp

By Ryan Cochrane at Social Epistemology

Ryan Cochrane (RC): How did you become interested in physics and how did you end up working with Wolfgang Pauli and Werner Heisenberg?

Henry Stapp (HS): Already in high school I was solving every mathematical puzzle I could find, and was proposing theories about how the world works for example how light is propagated. As a junior, I read a book Inside the Atom that described, in effect, the double-slit experiment, and I decided that this was a puzzle that I needed to solve. As a junior in college, at the University of Michigan, I carried out, during Easter vacation a double-slit experiment where the photons were, on average, 1 km apart, and verified that effect was not due different photons interfering with one another. As a young post-doc at UCB [University of California, Berkeley] in 1956, I was chosen to write up the lecture notes describing lectures that Pauli was giving. I talked often to Pauli, and expressed my objections to a theory that he was then working on with Heisenberg. Pauli invited me to come to Zurich. I arrived in September, we talked every weekday, and he treated me with great kindness and respect. In December he went to the hospital for a check-up, and sent a message that he wanted me to come to the hospital. But because I knew he was not at work, I worked at my apartment. When I returned to my office I found out that he had died. After his death I completed what we had been working on together, and then read von Neumann’s book. I wrote for myself as essay “Mind, Matter, and Quantum Mechanics”. I pursued the topic as a sideline to my main more practical work at the lab, and in 1993 published a book with the same title.

It was years later, in 1970 or 1971, that Heisenberg invited me to come to the Max Planck Institute in Munich, of which he was then the director. I had been working in Berkeley on Axiomatic S-Matrix Theory, but had become deeply involved with the question of locality (faster-than-light transfer of information about which experiment an experimenter chooses to perform) stimulated by a 1935 paper by Einstein, Podolsky, and Rosen, and Bohr’s response, and some more recent works by John Bell. We talked about these deep problems, and stimulated by those, and by my readings of William James, and many others, I wrote an article, “The Copenhagen Interpretation,” which was published in 1972 in AJP [American Journal of Physics]. Heisenberg commented favorably upon it in letters recorded in the appendix.

RC: What do you think quantum mechanics [QM] has to say about the nature of the universe?

HS: I think the fantastic success and accuracy of QM, and its capacity to rationally encompass our conscious thoughts and their evident empirical capacity to influence our bodily behavior, together with the mind-like behavior of the physical aspects of the quantum mechanical description of nature — its sudden global jumps to new forms compatible with newly received information — suggest that the world is in closer accord with our conception of mind than with our conception of classically conceived matter. More.

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22 Replies to “An interview with quantum physicist and consciousness researcher Henry Stapp

  1. 1
    wallstreeter43 says:

    This is a truth that atheists are having a heck of a time trying to get around and it always seems to hit them with a thud, that the universe seems to behave more like a great mind then a great mechanism.

    You have to marvel at the mind of God to have created all we see in front of us and marvel even more at what he has in store for us in the after life. Our feeble minds can’t even come close to comprehending that ultimate reality that must make this one seem feeble in comparison.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    As to

    “As a junior in college, at the University of Michigan, I carried out, during Easter vacation a double-slit experiment where the photons were, on average, 1 km apart, and verified that effect was not due different photons interfering with one another.”

    Now that is an impressive feat for a full fledged PhD, much less a junior in college. No wonder he caught the eye of Wolfgang Pauli and Werner Heisenberg.

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    That consciousness is integral to quantum mechanics is fairly obvious to the unbiased observer (no pun intended). 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 as that to try to get around the obvious implications of ‘Mind’). But my curiosity was aroused and I’ve been sort of poking around finding out a little more here and there 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

    “I think von Neumann’s orthodox QM gives a good way to understand the nature of the universe: it is tightly tied to the practical test and uses of our basic physical theory, while also accounting for the details of the mind-brain connection in a way that is rationally concordant with both our conscious experiences, and experience of control, and the neuroscience data.” ??
    Henry Stapp

    Then after Wigner’s Quantum Symmetries, I stumbled across Wheeler’s Delayed choice experiments in which this finding shocked me as to the central importance of the observer’s free will choice in 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

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    Then a bit later I learned 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 I learned 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

    Of related note to unconstrained ‘free will’, it was recently shown that one can ‘steer a particle’ into a desired state:

    Steering by peeking: Physicists control quantum particles by looking at them – Feb 17, 2014
    Excerpt: By varying the strength of the coupling between the nucleus and the electron, the scientists could carefully tune the measurement strength. A weaker measurement reveals less information, but also has less back-action. An analysis of the nuclear spin after such a weak measurement showed that the nuclear spin remained in a (slightly altered) superposition of two states. In this way, the scientists verified that the change of the state (induced by the back-action) precisely matched the amount of information that was gained by the measurement.
    Steering by peeking
    The scientists realised that it is possible to steer the nuclear spin by applying sequential measurements with varying measurement strength. Since the outcome of a measurement is not known in advance, the researchers implemented a feedback loop in the experiment. They chose the strength of the second measurement depending on the outcome of the first measurement. In this way the scientists could steer the nucleus towards a desired superposition state,,,,
    http://phys.org/news/2014-02-p.....icles.html

    In other words, if you don’t like that the cat might be dead (nucleus pointing down), you back off the strength of your measurement until you get a reading telling you that the cat might be more alive than dead (nucleus pointing up) and then once you get that reading you increase the strength of the measurement, as long as the measurement continues to give you the desired more alive than dead state, until you finally have complete knowledge that the cat is fully alive (nucleus pointing up). The preceding experiment obviously seems to be another fairly strong confirmation of free will’s axiomatic position within quantum mechanics.

    Related notes on ‘interaction free’ measurement:

    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

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

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

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

    And then I learned about 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 belief that an objective reality exists independently of a conscious observer looking at it. And, as is usual with challenging the predictions of Quantum Mechanics, his proof was violated by a stunning 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, and dramatic, 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 learned about 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

    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?

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    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

    Supplemental Notes:

    The Galileo Affair and Life/Consciousness as the true “Center of the Universe”
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1BHAcvrc913SgnPcDohwkPnN4kMJ9EDX-JJSkjc4AXmA/edit

    Two very different eternities revealed by physics
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-490689

  7. 7
    bornagain77 says:

    OT: 2CELLOS – Thunderstruck [OFFICIAL VIDEO]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uT3SBzmDxGk

  8. 8
    cantor says:

    As to

    “As a junior in college, at the University of Michigan, I carried out, during Easter vacation a double-slit experiment where the photons were, on average, 1 km apart, and verified that effect was not due different photons interfering with one another.”

    Now that is an impressive feat for a full fledged PhD, much less a junior in college. No wonder he caught the eye of Wolfgang Pauli and Werner Heisenberg.

    How would one go about running such an experiment using only equipment available in the late 1940s??

  9. 9
    Axel says:

    ‘I think that shifting from the basic issues about mind and conscious experience is obscuring, not clarifying. The essential issues have to do with the place in the greater whole of the only things we know to be real, our conscious thoughts and the capacity of our present thoughts, ideas, and feelings to influence our future thoughts, ideas, and feelings, and if so, how to both comprehend that capacity and enhance it. Focusing on information tends to obscure rather than clarify, at least if information is not clarified.’ – Henry Stapp

    Yes. Theology as the Queen of the Sciences was a perfectly correct designation. It is a mistake, normal though it is in our current culture, to view the abstract and conceptual as superior to personal.

    The liberal putative theologian Karl Rahner evidently believed that reconciling Christian theology with philosophy would advance Christian theology, but, while philosophy has helped us to understand the processes of logic, and covered many bases of man’s natural conjectures, in effect, Rahner was trying to turn a silk purse into a sow’s ear. Ultimate truth is not merely personal, but ultra personal; the very antithesis of the atheist’s most basic credo.

    Personally, I’m not ‘into’ validating the words of scripture in reference to the physical world, but I have found that the Psalms are a font of metaphysical truths, e.g. ‘Love and truth walk in your presence of Lord’; not vice versa, which would be the natural perspective.

    Reading the second sentence of the quote, transcribed below, Aldous Huxley’s essay, The Perennial Philosophy, springs to mind. Also, in a less reliable way, the use of hallucinogens. Although perhaps he was adverting to a more clinical and less mystical influence on our epistemological world-view than either. I mean analytical thought, rather than unitive. Although, if so, presumably, as an introduction, where physics might still be recognizable as distinct from a theology of the meeting of matter and spirit (not necessarily in that order!).

    ‘The essential issues have to do with the place in the greater whole of the only things we know to be real, our conscious thoughts and the capacity of our present thoughts, ideas, and feelings to influence our future thoughts, ideas, and feelings, and if so, how to both comprehend that capacity and enhance it.

  10. 10
    Axel says:

    It’s all woo-woo, I tell you! It’s all woo-woo. You’re all mad!

  11. 11
    PaV says:

    BA77:

    The two-slit experiments you’ve been referring to have the allure of postulating an “observer” as a causal necessity for quantum effects to come into being. While this might fit in quite nicely with our understanding of the “mind of God” or the “eye of God,” or however you prefer to phrase it, I, nevertheless, consider this interpretation to be wrong.

    The reason I think this is wrong has to do with my understanding of fundamental physics. Let me just say that if my understanding turns out to be right—and the latest results from BICEP2 fits in with this understanding, as well as the latest tests on Dark Energy and most other observations—then the whole of physics will be pointing to a Supreme Being. So, actually, if it is shown that the Copenhagen interpretation is wrong, or if my understanding is shown to be correct, there will still be physical observations pointing directly at God.

    [But, of course, if multiverses can be invented to ‘save’ science from God, who knows what will be invented to get around any new discoveries shouting out that God exists.]

  12. 12
    tragic mishap says:

    Somehow I don’t think that we can argue on the one hand that God created a intelligible, logical universe which can be understood by the human mind and on the other use unintelligible, illogical interpretations to support that claim.

  13. 13
    bornagain77 says:

    PaV, not that I have disagreed with much of what you have said, but I certainly disagree with your interpretation (not that I embrace Copenhagen) but I consider all the evidence you listed, and much evidence you did not list, to fit in quite well with my ‘consciousness is integral’ interpretation.

  14. 14
    bornagain77 says:

    i.e. ‘accidental or intended?’

  15. 15
    bornagain77 says:

    cantor @8, I searched a bit for the experiment and Dr. Stapp’s page, at least the one I found, only has papers going back a few decades. If you happen to run across the experiment, I would appreciate it if you could let me know.

  16. 16
    Robert Byers says:

    I don’t agree its that complicated.
    OCD is just a problem with the triggering mechanism of trhe memory.
    Its all indeed just the soul meshed against up against a memory machine. JUst like a man with a computer. The computer is just a memory machine with details.
    QM is just a machine with triggering elements even if including God.
    Its still just a machine and they simply are slow to figure it out.

  17. 17
    cantor says:

    cantor @8, I searched a bit for the experiment and Dr. Stapp’s page, at least the one I found, only has papers going back a few decades. If you happen to run across the experiment, I would appreciate it if you could let me know.

    My searches to this point have also been unsuccessful, but if I eventually find something I will share it.

  18. 18
    Axel says:

    ‘Somehow I don’t think that we can argue on the one hand that God created a intelligible, logical universe which can be understood by the human mind and on the other use unintelligible, illogical interpretations to support that claim’.

    I don’t know if you are talking about the paradoxes, seemingly imponderable mysteries of quantum physics, tragicmishap. Because, if so, it seems that scientists involved in QM research have seen their findings lead to innumerable practical applications in our industrial societies.

    They would do this, by accepting the mystery component for what it is, and simply using it, as is, and as a staging- post, a springboard to new discoveries, just as the Christian church and its theologians do, religious paradoxes/mysteries.

    For obvious reasons, the current, atheist, scientific establishment finds the notion of paradox, of imponderable mystery, unacceptable, so describe such phenomena as, ‘counter-intuitive’. They are doubtless convinced that their ‘promissory note’, is backed by no less a guarantor than Random Chance or Gaia or some other such demigod they venerate.

  19. 19
    Axel says:

    … the total, ultimate triumph of the worldly intelligence. Reason, spelt large, albeit, wrongly.

  20. 20
    bornagain77 says:

    Thanks cantor. That would really be an interesting experiment to know the details of. Hopefully something turns up. Perhaps I’ll search a bit more later on this evening.

  21. 21
    bornagain77 says:

    Cantor, that paper/experiment, if it is on the web somewhere, is buried deep. I broke down and e-mailed Dr. Stapp. If he answers it and gives me the paper or any details, I will try to let you know.

  22. 22
    bornagain77 says:

    Hey Cantor, Henry Stapp replied to my e-mail! 🙂 Here is how he accomplished the experiment:

    The experiment was meant only to inform myself, and there was never any thought of publication, although I saved for many years the glass slides with the two photographic images, one below the other, of the two double-slit patterns.

    The U of M optics lab featured a double slit
    experiment. My modified version was not very ingenious:
    the lab had some calibrated color filters. I merely
    placed a stack of filters between the light source and
    the rest of the experiment, so that, using the stated absorption coefficients of the filters, the light was attenuated to an intensity that amounted to an average distance of 1km between photons, whose coherence length was supposed to be about a meter.

    The run lasted ten days.The two interference patterns, one just above the other, were, to my eye, indistinguishable. The “crazy” quantum mechanical prediction was apparently correct! Something very, very interesting was afoot.
    – Henry Stapp

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