Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Fri Nite Frite: Do atoms know we are watching them?

arroba Email

In a double slit experiment?

From Physics World:

Truscott’s team found that when the second laser pulse was not applied, the probability of the atom being detected in each of the momentum states was 0.5, regardless of the phase lag between the two. However, application of the second pulse produced a distinct sine-wave interference pattern. When the waves were perfectly in phase on arrival at the beamsplitter, they interfered constructively, always entering the state formed by adding them. When the waves were in antiphase, however, they interfered destructively and were always found in the state formed by subtracting them. This means that accepting our classical intuition about particles travelling well-defined paths would indeed force us into accepting backward causation. “I can’t prove that isn’t what occurs,” says Truscott, “But 99.999% of physicists would say that the measurement – i.e. whether the beamsplitter is in or out – brings the observable into reality, and at that point the particle decides whether to be a wave or a particle.”

Indeed, the results of both Truscott and Aspect’s experiments shows that a particle’s wave or particle nature is most likely undefined until a measurement is made. The other less likely option would be that of backward causation – that the particle somehow has information from the future – but this involves sending a message faster than light, which is forbidden by the rules of relativity. More.

If the little beggars are scheming against us, that could explain a lot. You know, bashed shins, broken windshields … 😉

Follow UD News at Twitter!

mike1962 While I like the Copenhagen interpretation, in that it leaves the consciousness/free will question open, I prefer an interpretation that, as Radin pointed out when he found consciousness to be correlated with the interference pattern in the double slit, I prefer an Interpretation that is a bit more of a consciousness-related interpretation so as to not leave that question open.
Consciousness and the double-slit interference pattern: six experiments – Radin – 2012 Excerpt: The results appear to be consistent with a consciousness-related interpretation of the quantum measurement problem. http://www.deanradin.com/papers/Physics%20Essays%20Radin%20final.pdf
The reason why I prefer a more explicitly consciousness-related interpretation in Quantum Mechanics is that the loss of agent causality in science has led to the epistemological failure of science, (i.e. Many Worlds, Multiverses, Boltzmann Brains, etc,,), in which everything is predicted and therefore nothing is predicted. It is interesting to note that the presupposition of agent causality, i.e. God, behind the mathematical laws of the universe was presupposed by the Christian founders of modern science when they first discovered the mathematical laws of the universe. Yet, although God was presupposed to be behind the laws of nature at the founding of modern science, somehow God is, without us ever being told, or shown, exactly why, now somehow considered to be unscientific as a causal explanation for the mathematical laws of the universe. https://uncommondesc.wpengine.com/physics/but-isnt-there-a-contradiction-between-quantum-theory-and-the-mind-as-meat/#comment-566184 But since agent causality was, mysteriously and without warrant, thrown out of the mathematical descriptions of the universe as being ‘unscientific’ then, as a result, agent causality is now deemed to be ‘unscientific’ in terms of describing ourselves as causal agents. As a result, we find ourselves to wind up in what is termed ‘epistemological failure': Professor Budziszewski puts the epistemological failure that results in denying agent causality like this:
A Professor’s Journey out of Nihilism: Why I am not an Atheist – University of Wyoming – J. Budziszewski Excerpt page12: “There were two great holes in the argument about the irrelevance of God. The first is that in order to attack free will, I supposed that I understood cause and effect; I supposed causation to be less mysterious than volition. If anything, it is the other way around. I can perceive a logical connection between premises and valid conclusions. I can perceive at least a rational connection between my willing to do something and my doing it. But between the apple and the earth, I can perceive no connection at all. Why does the apple fall? We don’t know. “But there is gravity,” you say. No, “gravity” is merely the name of the phenomenon, not its explanation. “But there are laws of gravity,” you say. No, the “laws” are not its explanation either; they are merely a more precise description of the thing to be explained, which remains as mysterious as before. For just this reason, philosophers of science are shy of the term “laws”; they prefer “lawlike regularities.” To call the equations of gravity “laws” and speak of the apple as “obeying” them is to speak as though, like the traffic laws, the “laws” of gravity are addressed to rational agents capable of conforming their wills to the command. This is cheating, because it makes mechanical causality (the more opaque of the two phenomena) seem like volition (the less). In my own way of thinking the cheating was even graver, because I attacked the less opaque in the name of the more. The other hole in my reasoning was cruder. If my imprisonment in a blind causality made my reasoning so unreliable that I couldn’t trust my beliefs, then by the same token I shouldn’t have trusted my beliefs about imprisonment in a blind causality. But in that case I had no business denying free will in the first place.” http://www.undergroundthomist.org/sites/default/files/WhyIAmNotAnAtheist.pdf
i.e. The denial of agent causality for ourselves leads to epistemological failure in science since it undermines our ability to be rational agents instead of mindless automatons.
Sam Harris’s Free Will: The Medial Pre-Frontal Cortex Did It – Martin Cothran – November 9, 2012 Excerpt: There is something ironic about the position of thinkers like Harris on issues like this: they claim that their position is the result of the irresistible necessity of logic (in fact, they pride themselves on their logic). Their belief is the consequent, in a ground/consequent relation between their evidence and their conclusion. But their very stated position is that any mental state — including their position on this issue — is the effect of a physical, not logical cause. By their own logic, it isn’t logic that demands their assent to the claim that free will is an illusion, but the prior chemical state of their brains. The only condition under which we could possibly find their argument convincing is if they are not true. The claim that free will is an illusion requires the possibility that minds have the freedom to assent to a logical argument, a freedom denied by the claim itself. It is an assent that must, in order to remain logical and not physiological, presume a perspective outside the physical order. http://www.evolutionnews.org/2012/11/sam_harriss_fre066221.html also see Plantinga's 'Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism' and Pearcey's 'Darwin's Robots'
Although Professor Budziszewski was comparing the superiority of agent causality to the mere mathematical description of gravity, (i.e. general relativity), the necessity for agent causality, (to ‘breathe fire into the equations’ in order to give them a universe to describe), is seen much more clearly in the field of Quantum Mechanics. Seen overwhelmingly clearly with something called Leggett’s Inequality:
“I’m going to talk about the Bell inequality, and more importantly a new inequality that you might not have heard of called the Leggett inequality, that was recently measured. It was actually formulated almost 30 years ago by Professor Leggett, who is a Nobel Prize winner, but it wasn’t tested until about a year and a half ago (in 2007), when an article appeared in Nature, that the measurement was made by this prominent quantum group in Vienna led by Anton Zeilinger, which they measured the Leggett inequality, which actually goes a step deeper than the Bell inequality and rules out any possible interpretation other than consciousness creates reality when the measurement is made.” – Bernard Haisch, Ph.D., Calphysics Institute – Quantum Mechanics and Consciousness – A New Measurement – Bernard Haisch, Ph.D (Shortened version of entire video with notes in description of video) http://vimeo.com/37517080 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: Violated, as of 2011, to 120 standard deviations) http://henry.pha.jhu.edu/aspect.html “Look, we all have fun ridiculing the creationists who think the world sprang into existence on October 23, 4004 BC at 9AM (presumably Babylonian time), with the fossils already in the ground, light from distant stars heading toward us, etc. But if we accept the usual picture of quantum mechanics, then in a certain sense the situation is far worse: the world (as you experience it) might as well not have existed 10^-43 seconds ago!” Scott Aaronson – MIT associate Professor – Lecture 11: Decoherence and Hidden Variables – Quantum Physics – (material reality does not exist until we look at it) – Dr. Quantum video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1ezNvpFcJU
Moreover, If we rightly allow agent causality ‘back’ into math (as the Christian founders of modern science originally intended, so as to ‘“breathe fire into the equations” and make a universe for them to describe), then a successful, empirically backed, resolution to Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity readily pops out for us that resolves the ‘infinity problem’ between the two theories. Namely, if agent causality is rightly let back into science, then the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead provides a successful, empirically backed, resolution for the much sought after 'theory of everything': https://uncommondesc.wpengine.com/intelligent-design/multiverse-cosmologist-says-the-concept-of-infinity-is-ruining-physics/#comment-549912 Verses and Music:
Matthew 28:18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Colossians 1:15-20 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. John1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” of note: ‘the Word’ in John1:1 is translated from the word ‘Logos’ in Greek. ‘Logos’ also happens to be the root word from which we derive our modern word logic Brooke Fraser – Hillsong: “Lord Of Lords” – music https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tlqDIfS4O3s
BA77: our free will choices figure so prominently in how reality is actually found to be constructed in our understanding of quantum mechanics
For this reason (among others) I personally favor the Copenhagen interpretation. mike1962
Of note: since our free will choices figure so prominently in how reality is actually found to be constructed in our understanding of quantum mechanics, I think a Christian perspective on just how important our choices are in this temporal life, in regards to our eternal destiny, is very fitting:
Is God Good? (Free will and the problem of evil) - video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rfd_1UAjeIA Does God Control Everything - Tim Keller - (God's sovereignty and our free will, how do they mesh?) - video (12:00 minute mark) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkQ6ld8dn7I
Moreover, it is important to point out that although free will is often thought of as allowing someone to choose between a veritable infinity of options, in a theistic view of reality that veritable infinity of options all boils down to just two options. Eternal life, (infinity if you will), with God, or Eternal life, (infinity again if you will), without God.
“There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, "Thy will be done," and those to whom God says, in the end, "Thy will be done." All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell." - C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce
And exactly as would be expected on a Christian view of reality, we find two very different eternities in reality. A ‘infinitely destructive’ eternity associated with General Relativity and a extremely orderly eternity associated with Special Relativity:
Special Relativity, General Relativity, Heaven and Hell https://docs.google.com/document/d/1_4cQ7MXq8bLkoFLYW0kq3Xq-Hkc3c7r-gTk0DYJQFSg/edit
Verse and Music:
Deuteronomy 30:19 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live Mary Mary - Shackles - Music Videos https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V7eZD3TKn_M
Of related interest: Dean Radin, who spent years at Princeton testing different aspects of consciousness, recently performed experiments testing the possible role of consciousness in the double slit. His results were, not so surprisingly, very supportive of consciousness’s central role in the experiment:
Consciousness and the double-slit interference pattern: six experiments – Radin – 2012 Abstract: A double-slit optical system was used to test the possible role of consciousness in the collapse of the quantum wavefunction. The ratio of the interference pattern’s double-slit spectral power to its single-slit spectral power was predicted to decrease when attention was focused toward the double slit as compared to away from it. Each test session consisted of 40 counterbalanced attention-toward and attention-away epochs, where each epoch lasted between 15 and 30 s(seconds). Data contributed by 137 people in six experiments, involving a total of 250 test sessions, indicate that on average the spectral ratio decreased as predicted (z = -4:36, p = 6·10^-6). Another 250 control sessions conducted without observers present tested hardware, software, and analytical procedures for potential artifacts; none were identified (z = 0:43, p = 0:67). Variables including temperature, vibration, and signal drift were also tested, and no spurious influences were identified. By contrast, factors associated with consciousness, such as meditation experience, electrocortical markers of focused attention, and psychological factors including openness and absorption, significantly correlated in predicted ways with perturbations in the double-slit interference pattern. The results appear to be consistent with a consciousness-related interpretation of the quantum measurement problem. http://www.deanradin.com/papers/Physics%20Essays%20Radin%20final.pdf
As to the delayed choice experiment in particular, here are few notes: When I first learned on Wheeler's Delayed Choice experiments, Wheeler’s Delayed Choice experiments shocked me as to the central importance of the observer’s free will choice in the 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/bottom/basic_delayed_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. - per Greer “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
Then, a little 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/bottom/kim-scully/kim-scully-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-quantum-physics-mimics-spooky-action.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
Moreover, in the preceding experiments, the claim that past material states determine future conscious choices (determinism) is directly falsified by the fact that present conscious choices are, in fact, effecting past material states. In other words, if my conscious choices were merely the result of whatever state the material particles in my brain happen to be in in the past (deterministic) then how in blue blazes are my present choices instantaneously effecting the state of material particles into the past? This experiment is simply completely impossible for any coherent materialistic/deterministic presupposition! bornagain77
"The other ... option would be that of backward causation – that the particle somehow has information from the future – but this involves sending a message faster than light, which is forbidden by the rules of relativity."
Uh, no, faster than light "travel" is only forbidden by General Relativity if the information traverses space. The quantum information in this case is instantaneous and does not traverse space, as are other "non-local" phenomena (e.g, the reduction of super-position of spin by entangled particles.) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EPR_paradox How EPR is interpreted regarding locality depends on the interpretation of quantum mechanics one uses. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interpretations_of_quantum_mechanics mike1962
corrected link: Do atoms going through a double slit ‘know’ if they are being observed? - May 26, 2015 http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/2015/may/26/do-atoms-going-through-a-double-slit-know-if-they-are-being-observed Of related interest is this article from yesterday:
Experiment confirms quantum theory weirdness - May 27, 2015 Excerpt: The bizarre nature of reality as laid out by quantum theory has survived another test, with scientists performing a famous experiment and proving that reality does not exist until it is measured. Physicists at The Australian National University (ANU) have conducted John Wheeler's delayed-choice thought experiment, which involves a moving object that is given the choice to act like a particle or a wave. Wheeler's experiment then asks - at which point does the object decide? Common sense says the object is either wave-like or particle-like, independent of how we measure it. But quantum physics predicts that whether you observe wave like behavior (interference) or particle behavior (no interference) depends only on how it is actually measured at the end of its journey. This is exactly what the ANU team found. "It proves that measurement is everything. At the quantum level, reality does not exist if you are not looking at it," said Associate Professor Andrew Truscott from the ANU Research School of Physics and Engineering. Despite the apparent weirdness, the results confirm the validity of quantum theory, (a theory) which,, has enabled the development of many technologies such as LEDs, lasers and computer chips. The ANU team not only succeeded in building the experiment, which seemed nearly impossible when it was proposed in 1978, but reversed Wheeler's original concept of light beams being bounced by mirrors, and instead used atoms scattered by laser light. "Quantum physics' predictions about interference seem odd enough when applied to light, which seems more like a wave, but to have done the experiment with atoms, which are complicated things that have mass and interact with electric fields and so on, adds to the weirdness," said Roman Khakimov, PhD student at the Research School of Physics and Engineering. http://phys.org/news/2015-05-quantum-theory-weirdness.html

Leave a Reply