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At Mind Matters News: Quantum physics: Is everything determined? Egnor vs. Papineau, Round 6

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Physicalist philosopher David Papineau is clearly unhappy with the implications of quantum mechanics, as neurosurgeon Michael Egnor sets them out:

Michael Egnor: Do you endorse the many worlds phenomenon, the many worlds theory?

David Papineau: I prefer the many worlds view, but I was just saying was consistent with …

Michael Egnor: This is fascinating. David, you have just gotten done ridiculing, ridiculing Aristotelian, Thomistic [00:48:00] metaphysics because it involves the concepts of intelligibility and form, but you have accepted the idea that with every quantum event, an entirely new universe is created. If you’re talking magic, if you’re talking crazy stuff, boy, that is the pinnacle. That is the pinnacle. You think a new universe is created with any quantum event?

David Papineau: I don’t think you should argue in this way if you don’t understand the theory. I don’t think an entirely new [00:48:30] universe is created every time there’s a quantum event. I think there’s a local branching. It doesn’t involve the entire universe at all. It doesn’t proceed any faster than the speed of light. It’s a local thing, nothing magical about it at all.

News, “Quantum physics: Is everything determined? Egnor vs. Papineau” at Mind Matters News

As it happens, many versions of multiverse theory do involve exactly that view. But quite the dustup!

Takehome: As a physicalist, Papineau is quite sure that the universe is deterministic and he endorses the many-worlds (multiverse) theory.

You may also wish to read the earlier portions of the debate:

Neurosurgeon Michael Egnor takes on philosopher David Papineau Round 1. In the debate, Egnor begins by offering three fundamental reasons why the mind is not the brain. Neuroscience caused Egnor to honestly doubt Papineau’s materialist perspective that the mind is simply what the brain does.

Round 2: Philosopher Papineau replies to neurosurgeon Egnor. Dr. Papineau is considered to be one of the best defenders of naturalism (nature is all there is), often called “materialism.” Papineau: Mental processes, including conscious processes, are one in the same as physical processes. I’m curious about how Michael Egnor would answer it.

Round 3: Egnor vs Papineau: The Big Bang has no natural beginning. In the debate between theistic neurosurgeon Michael Egnor and naturalist philosopher David Papineau, the question gets round to the origin of the universe itself. Egnor maintains that the Big Bang, which is held to have created the universe, is an effect with no physical cause. Papineau agrees.
Round 4: Egnor vs. Papineau Egnor defends the mind vs. the brain

Round 4: Philosopher David Papineau does not feel that neurosurgeon Michael Egnor is being “entirely helpful” at this point… It became quite the dustup actually. Egnor deals with the brain as an organ, not a theory, and doesn’t see it as equivalent to the mind. Papineau differs.

Round 5: Can traditional philosophy help us understand mind vs. brain? Michael Egnor asks us to look back to the traditional idea that the soul is the “form” of the body. In the Western world, the traditional view of the soul originated with Greek philosophers, chiefly Aristotle and Plato.

Also: Philosopher: Consciousness Is Not a Problem. Dualism Is! He says that consciousness is just “brain processes that feel like something” Physicalist David Papineau argues that consciousness “seems mysterious not because of any hidden essence, but only because we think about it in a special way.” In short, it’s all in our heads. But wait, say others, the hard problem of consciousness is not so easily dismissed.

3 Replies to “At Mind Matters News: Quantum physics: Is everything determined? Egnor vs. Papineau, Round 6

  1. 1
    AaronS1978 says:

    I felt Dr. Egnor was a little bit too passive on this one and papineau got away with a little bit too much when it came to his blatant statements which were primarily opinionated

    Personally it made me feel kind of gross when he kept declaring that there’s no room for the soul or the mind stuff according to his view of science

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    David Papineau states

    I am one of the philosophers of quantum mechanics who appeals to decoherence to understand quantum mechanical processes, and like others who appeal to decoherence,

    Yet Steven Weinberg, (an accomplished physicist, not a philosopher), says that decoherence ‘begs the question’

    The Trouble with Quantum Mechanics – Steven Weinberg – January 19, 2017
    Excerpt:
    One common answer is that, in a measurement, the spin (or whatever else is measured) is put in an interaction with a macroscopic environment that jitters in an unpredictable way. For example, the environment might be the shower of photons in a beam of light that is used to observe the system, as unpredictable in practice as a shower of raindrops. Such an environment causes the superposition of different states in the wave function to break down, leading to an unpredictable result of the measurement. (This is called decoherence.) It is as if a noisy background somehow unpredictably left only one of the notes of a chord audible. But this begs the question. If the deterministic Schrödinger equation governs the changes through time not only of the spin but also of the measuring apparatus and the physicist using it, then the results of measurement should not in principle be unpredictable. So we still have to ask, how do probabilities get into quantum mechanics?,,,
    http://quantum.phys.unm.edu/46.....inberg.pdf

    Moreover, decoherence is experimentally falsified.

    As Physics Professor Richard Conn Henry, (who is also not a ‘philosopher’), stated, “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 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

    And here are some of the interaction-free measurements that have been performed thus far that have experimentally falsified decoherence.

    An Interaction-Free Quantum Experiment (Zeilinger Bomb Tester experiment, and in the double slit experiment, the Detector can be placed at one slit during the double slit experiment and yet the photon or electron still collapses in the unobserved slit) – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOv8zYla1wY

    Interaction-Free Measurements
    In physics, interaction-free measurement is a type of measurement in quantum mechanics that detects the position, presence, or state of an object without an interaction occurring between it and the measuring device. Examples include the Renninger negative-result experiment, the Elitzur–Vaidman bomb-testing problem [1], and certain double-cavity optical systems, such as Hardy’s paradox.,,,
    Initially proposed as thought experiments, interaction-free measurements have been experimentally demonstrated in various configurations, 6,7,8,,
    6. Kwiat, Paul; Weinfurter, Harald; Herzog, Thomas; Zeilinger, Anton; Kasevich, Mark A. (1995-06-12). “Interaction-Free Measurement”. Physical Review Letters. 74 (24):
    7. White, Andrew G. (1998). “”Interaction-free” imaging”. Physical Review A. 58 (1):
    8. Tsegaye, T.; Goobar, E.; Karlsson, A.; Björk, G.; Loh, M. Y.; Lim, K. H. (1998-05-01). “Efficient interaction-free measurements in a high-finesse interferometer”. Physical Review A. 57 (5):
    – per wikipedia

    As the following 2015 interaction free measurement article explains, “its presence can be detected without interacting with a single atom.”

    Interaction-free measurements by quantum Zeno stabilization of ultracold atoms – 14 April 2015
    Excerpt: In our experiments, we employ an ultracold gas in an unstable spin configuration, which can undergo a rapid decay. The object—realized by a laser beam—prevents this decay because of the indirect quantum Zeno effect and thus, its presence can be detected without interacting with a single atom.
    http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2.....S-20150415

    Moreover, if the noise of the environmental background was sufficient to cause the superposition of different states in the wave function to break down, i.e. cause it to ‘decohere’, then the following experiment should have been completely impossible.

    The following paper found that the human eye can detect the presence of a single photon, the researchers stated that “Any man-made detector would need to be cooled and isolated from noise to behave the same way.”,,, “What we want to know next is how does a biological system achieve such sensitivity? How does it achieve this in the presence of noise?”

    Study suggests humans can detect even the smallest units of light – July 21, 2016
    Excerpt: Research,, has shown that humans can detect the presence of a single photon, the smallest measurable unit of light. Previous studies had established that human subjects acclimated to the dark were capable only of reporting flashes of five to seven photons.,,,
    it is remarkable: a photon, the smallest physical entity with quantum properties of which light consists, is interacting with a biological system consisting of billions of cells, all in a warm and wet environment,” says Vaziri. “The response that the photon generates survives all the way to the level of our awareness despite the ubiquitous background noise. Any man-made detector would need to be cooled and isolated from noise to behave the same way.”,,,
    The gathered data from more than 30,000 trials demonstrated that humans can indeed detect a single photon incident on their eye with a probability significantly above chance.
    “What we want to know next is how does a biological system achieve such sensitivity? How does it achieve this in the presence of noise?”
    http://phys.org/news/2016-07-humans-smallest.html

    Thus, as far as experimental science, (not philosophy), is concerned, Papineau’s belief in decoherence is falsified.

    David Papineau then states

    “we, (atheistic philosophers?), do not believe in the collapse of the wave function. We think that’s an apparent phenomenon. It’s a superficial, macroscopic, phenomenon, and at the bottom level, there’s no collapse,,,,”
    “I prefer the many worlds view,,,”

    And indeed, the Many Worlds Interpretation does indeed deny the reality of wave function collapse.

    Quantum mechanics
    Excerpt: The Everett many-worlds interpretation, formulated in 1956, holds that all the possibilities described by quantum theory simultaneously occur in a multiverse composed of mostly independent parallel universes.[43] This is not accomplished by introducing some new axiom to quantum mechanics, but on the contrary by removing the axiom of the collapse of the wave packet:?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Q.....plications

    Small problem for Papineau in his denial of wave function collapse, the following experiment shows that the ‘non-local’ collapse of the wave function is a real effect,,

    Quantum experiment verifies Einstein’s ‘spooky action at a distance’ – March 24, 2015
    Excerpt: An experiment,, has for the first time demonstrated Albert Einstein’s original conception of “spooky action at a distance” using a single particle.
    ,,Professor Howard Wiseman and his experimental collaborators,, report their use of homodyne measurements to show what Einstein did not believe to be real, namely the non-local collapse of a (single) particle’s wave function.,,
    According to quantum mechanics, a single particle can be described by a wave function that spreads over arbitrarily large distances,,,
    ,, by splitting a single photon between two laboratories, scientists have used homodyne detectors—which measure wave-like properties—to show the collapse of the wave function is a real effect,,
    This phenomenon is explained in quantum theory,, the instantaneous non-local, (beyond space and time), collapse of the wave function to wherever the particle is detected.,,,
    “Einstein never accepted orthodox quantum mechanics and the original basis of his contention was this single-particle argument. This is why it is important to demonstrate non-local wave function collapse with a single particle,” says Professor Wiseman.
    “Einstein’s view was that the detection of the particle only ever at one point could be much better explained by the hypothesis that the particle is only ever at one point, without invoking the instantaneous collapse of the wave function to nothing at all other points.
    “However, rather than simply detecting the presence or absence of the particle, we used homodyne measurements enabling one party to make different measurements and the other, using quantum tomography, to test the effect of those choices.”
    “Through these different measurements, you see the wave function collapse in different ways, thus proving its existence and showing that Einstein was wrong.”
    http://phys.org/news/2015-03-q.....tance.html

    So much for Papineau’s belief that the wave function doesn’t collapse.

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    Then Papineau tries to have his cake and eat to by distancing himself from the sheer insanity that is inherent in many worlds by claiming that the speed of light is a limit for quantum ‘branching’,,,,

    “I don’t think an entirely new [00:48:30] universe is created every time there’s a quantum event. I think there’s a local branching. It doesn’t involve the entire universe at all. It doesn’t proceed any faster than the speed of light.”

    First off, quantum correlations are shown to be faster than the speed of light.

    Looking Beyond Space and Time to Cope With Quantum Theory – (Oct. 28, 2012)
    Excerpt: To derive their inequality, which sets up a measurement of entanglement between four particles, the researchers considered what behaviours are possible for four particles that are connected by influences that stay hidden and that travel at some arbitrary finite speed.?Mathematically (and mind-bogglingly), these constraints define an 80-dimensional object. The testable hidden influence inequality is the boundary of the shadow this 80-dimensional shape casts in 44 dimensions. The researchers showed that quantum predictions can lie outside this boundary, which means they are going against one of the assumptions. Outside the boundary, either the influences can’t stay hidden, or they must have infinite speed.,,,
    The remaining option is to accept that (quantum) influences must be infinitely fast,,,
    “Our result gives weight to the idea that quantum correlations somehow arise from outside spacetime, in the sense that no story in space and time can describe them,” says Nicolas Gisin, Professor at the University of Geneva, Switzerland,,,
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....142217.htm

    Thus, so much for Papineau’s belief that quantum mechanics “doesn’t proceed any faster than the speed of light.”

    And thus also, so much for Papineau trying to distance himself from the sheer insanity that is inherent in the MWI by appealing to the speed of light.

    Many Worlds truly exposes reductive materialism in all its full blown absurdity. i.e. The material particle is given so much unmerited power in the many worlds interpretation of Quantum Mechanics that every time someone observes a particle, instead of the wave function merely collapsing, the particle instead creates a virtual infinity of parallel universes.

    Too many worlds – Philip Ball – Feb. 17, 2015
    Excerpt:,,, You measure the path of an electron, and in this world it seems to go this way, but in another world it went that way.
    That requires a parallel, identical apparatus for the electron to traverse. More – it requires a parallel you to measure it. Once begun, this process of fabrication has no end: you have to build an entire parallel universe around that one electron, identical in all respects except where the electron went. You avoid the complication of wavefunction collapse, but at the expense of making another universe.,,,
    http://aeon.co/magazine/scienc.....a-fantasy/

    Why the Many-Worlds Interpretation Has Many Problems – Philip Ball – October 18, 2018
    Excerpt: It, (The Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics), says that our unique experience as individuals is not simply a bit imperfect, a bit unreliable and fuzzy, but is a complete illusion. If we really pursue that idea, rather than pretending that it gives us quantum siblings, we find ourselves unable to say anything about anything that can be considered a meaningful truth. We are not just suspended in language; we have denied language any agency. The MWI — if taken seriously — is unthinkable.
    Its implications undermine a scientific description of the world far more seriously than do those of any of its rivals. The MWI tells you not to trust empiricism at all: Rather than imposing the observer on the scene, it destroys any credible account of what an observer can possibly be. Some Everettians insist that this is not a problem and that you should not be troubled by it. Perhaps you are not, but I am.
    https://www.quantamagazine.org/why-the-many-worlds-interpretation-of-quantum-mechanics-has-many-problems-20181018/

    As Dr. Egnor noted elsewhere, “the issue here (with MWI) isn’t physics or even logic. The issue is psychiatric.”

    Atheist Physicist Sean Carroll: An Infinite Number of Universes Is More Plausible Than God – Michael Egnor – August 2, 2017
    Excerpt: as I noted, the issue here isn’t physics or even logic.
    The issue is psychiatric. We have a highly accomplished physicist, who regards the existence of God as preposterous, asserting that the unceasing creation of infinite numbers of new universes by every atom in the cosmos at every moment is actually happening (as we speak!), and that it is a perfectly rational and sane inference. People have been prescribed anti-psychotic drugs for less.
    Now of course Carroll isn’t crazy, not in any medical way. He’s merely given his assent to a crazy ideology — atheist materialism —,,,
    What can we in the reality-based community do when an ideology — the ideology that is currently dominant in science — is not merely wrong, but delusional? I guess calling it what it is is a place to start.
    https://evolutionnews.org/2017/08/atheist-physicist-sean-carroll-an-infinite-number-of-universes-is-more-plausible-than-god/

    Also of note, the irresolvable dilemma (for atheists) of deriving the “Born rule” within the Many Worlds Interpretation (MWI) is discussed at the 4:00 minute mark of the following video,

    The Measurement Problem in quantum mechanics – (Inspiring Philosophy) – 2014 video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qB7d5V71vUE

    And here is a bit deeper, more technical, look at the many fallacies inherent within the Many Worlds Interpretation:

    A Critique of the Many Worlds Interpretation – (Inspiring Philosophy – 2014) – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_42skzOHjtA&list=PL1mr9ZTZb3TViAqtowpvZy5PZpn-MoSK_&index=7

    Papineau also mentioned “Bohmians”. So here is a critique of Bohmian Mechanics

    A Critique of Bohmian Mechanics (Pilot Wave theory) – (2018) video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pn2hoU4jaQQ

    Of humorous note to Papineau’s appeal to Bohemian mechanics,

    “When Bohm expressed “hope” that violations of QM (Quantum Mechanics) would be found later and hidden variables supported, Bohr responded that the strange sentence is almost isomorphic to “I hope that 2×2=5 will be proven at some point which will have a good effect on our finances.”
    – per Matt’s blog

    Papineau acted as if he knew quantum mechanics inside and out, but alas, none of the arguments that he presented to Dr. Egnor has stood up to even minimal scrutiny.,,, Thus, so much for Papineau’s self-proclaimed expertise in quantum mechanics.

    One final note, there is a very strong correlation between defining attributes of the immaterial mind and the actions that we are witnessing in quantum mechanics:

    How the mental attributes of ‘the experience of the now’ and of ‘free will’ strongly correlate with recent advances in quantum mechanics
    https://uncommondescent.com/neuroscience/michael-egnor-talks-with-podcaster-lucas-skrobot-about-how-we-can-know-we-are-not-zombies/#comment-706147

    Verse

    Colossians 1:17
    He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

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