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Quantum mechanics: Pushing the “free-will loophole” back to 7.8 billion years ago

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The Open Door, William Henry Fox Talbot (British, Dorset 1800–1877 Lacock), Salted paper print from paper negative
the open door/William Henry Fox Talbot (1800–1877)

Philip Cunningham writes to tell us of an interesting experiment by quantum physicist Anton Zeilinger and colleagues that pushed the “free-will loophole” back to 7.8 billion years ago, using quasars to determine measurement settings:

Abstract: In this Letter, we present a cosmic Bell experiment with polarization-entangled photons, in which measurement settings were determined based on real-time measurements of the wavelength of photons from high-redshift quasars, whose light was emitted billions of years ago; the experiment simultaneously ensures locality. Assuming fair sampling for all detected photons and that the wavelength of the quasar photons had not been selectively altered or previewed between emission and detection, we observe statistically significant violation of Bell’s inequality by 9.3 standard deviations, corresponding to an estimated p value of ≲ 7.4 × 10^21. This experiment pushes back to at least ∼ 7.8 Gyr ago the most recent time by which any local-realist influences could have exploited the “freedom-of-choice” loophole to engineer the observed Bell violation, excluding any such mechanism from 96% of the space-time volume of the past light cone of our experiment, extending from the big bang to today. – Anton Zeilinger, “[article title]” at Cosmic Bell Test Using Random Measurement Settings from High-Redshift Quasars, 14 June 2018

Cunningham adds, “It should be noted that this present experiment is a vast improvement over their last Cosmic Bell Test which only went back 600 years.”

From Quanta 2017:

In the first of a planned series of “cosmic Bell test” experiments, the team sent pairs of photons from the roof of Zeilinger’s lab in Vienna through the open windows of two other buildings and into optical modulators, tallying coincident detections as usual. But this time, they attempted to lower the chance that the modulator settings might somehow become correlated with the states of the photons in the moments before each measurement. They pointed a telescope out of each window, trained each telescope on a bright and conveniently located (but otherwise random) star, and, before each measurement, used the color of an incoming photon from each star to set the angle of the associated modulator. The colors of these photons were decided hundreds of years ago, when they left their stars, increasing the chance that they (and therefore the measurement settings) were independent of the states of the photons being measured.

And yet, the scientists found that the measurement outcomes still violated Bell’s upper limit, boosting their confidence that the polarized photons in the experiment exhibit spooky action at a distance after all.

Nature could still exploit the freedom-of-choice loophole, but the universe would have had to delete items from the menu of possible measurement settings at least 600 years before the measurements occurred (when the closer of the two stars sent its light toward Earth). “Now one needs the correlations to have been established even before Shakespeare wrote, ‘Until I know this sure uncertainty, I’ll entertain the offered fallacy,’” Hall said.

Next, the team plans to use light from increasingly distant quasars to control their measurement settings, probing further back in time and giving the universe an even smaller window to cook up correlations between future device settings and restrict freedoms. Natalie Wolchover, “Experiment Reaffirms Quantum Weirdness” at Quanta

And here is another recent interesting experiment by Anton Zeilinger, (and about 70 other researchers), that insured unpredictable measurement settings in a Bell test from the free will choices of 100,000 human participants instead of having a physical randomizer determine measurement settings:

Abstract: A Bell test, which challenges the philosophical worldview of local realism against experimental observations, is a randomized trial requiring spatially-distributed entanglement, fast and high-efficiency detection, and unpredictable measurement settings. While technology can perfect the first two of these, and while technological randomness sources enable device-independent protocols based on Bell inequality violation, challenging local realism using physical randomizers inevitably makes assumptions about the same physics one aims to test. Bell himself noted this weakness of physical setting choices and argued that human free will could rigorously be used to assure unpredictability in Bell tests. Here we report a suite of local realism tests using human choices, avoiding assumptions about predictability in physics. We recruited ~100,000 human participants to play an online video game that incentivizes fast, sustained input of unpredictable bits while also illustrating Bell test methodology. The participants generated 97,347,490 binary choices, which were directed via a scalable web platform to twelve laboratories on five continents, in which 13 experiments tested local realism using photons, single atoms, atomic ensembles, and superconducting devices. Over a 12-hour period on the 30 Nov. 2016, participants worldwide provided a sustained flow of over 1000 bits/s to the experiments, which used different human-generated bits to choose each measurement setting. The observed correlations strongly contradict local realism and other realist positions in bi-partite and tri-partite scenarios. Project outcomes include closing of the freedom-of-choice loophole, gamification of statistical and quantum non-locality concepts, new methods for quantum-secured communications, a very large dataset of human-generated randomness, and networking techniques for global participation in experimental science. Antoine Suarez, “Challenging local realism with human choices” at arXiv, 20 May 2018

Antoine Suarez All of this plays into the recent “free will” thread with respect to Antoine Suarez

See also: Suarez: Quantum nonlocal correlations come from outside space-time

4 Replies to “Quantum mechanics: Pushing the “free-will loophole” back to 7.8 billion years ago

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    It is interesting to note just how deep this experiment goes in its implications.

    First off, this is the last major ‘loop-hole’ within quantum mechanics to be closed:

    Closing the ‘free will’ loophole: Using distant quasars to test Bell’s theorem – February 20, 2014
    Excerpt: Though two major loopholes have since been closed, a third remains; physicists refer to it as “setting independence,” or more provocatively, “free will.” This loophole proposes that a particle detector’s settings may “conspire” with events in the shared causal past of the detectors themselves to determine which properties of the particle to measure — a scenario that, however far-fetched, implies that a physicist running the experiment does not have complete free will in choosing each detector’s setting. Such a scenario would result in biased measurements, suggesting that two particles are correlated more than they actually are, and giving more weight to quantum mechanics than classical physics.
    “It sounds creepy, but people realized that’s a logical possibility that hasn’t been closed yet,” says MIT’s David Kaiser, the Germeshausen Professor of the History of Science and senior lecturer in the Department of Physics. “Before we make the leap to say the equations of quantum theory tell us the world is inescapably crazy and bizarre, have we closed every conceivable logical loophole, even if they may not seem plausible in the world we know today?”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....112515.htm

    Secondly, with the establishment of free will as valid for quantum mechanics, it undermines the Darwinian worldview from within.

    As Weinberg, an atheist himself, points out in the following article, having free will figure so centrally in quantum mechanics at such a deep level, undermines the Darwinian worldview from within in that instead of humans being the result of impersonal physical laws, “humans are brought into the laws of nature at the most fundamental level.” Specifically Weinberg states, “the instrumentalist approach (in quantum mechanics) turns its back on a vision that became possible after Darwin, of a world governed by impersonal physical laws that control human behavior along with everything else.”

    The Trouble with Quantum Mechanics – Steven Weinberg – January 19, 2017
    Excerpt: The instrumentalist approach,, (the) wave function,, is merely an instrument that provides predictions of the probabilities of various outcomes when measurements are made.,,
    In the instrumentalist approach,,, humans are brought into the laws of nature at the most fundamental level. According to Eugene Wigner, a pioneer of quantum mechanics, “it was not possible to formulate the laws of quantum mechanics in a fully consistent way without reference to the consciousness.”11
    Thus the instrumentalist approach turns its back on a vision that became possible after Darwin, of a world governed by impersonal physical laws that control human behavior along with everything else. It is not that we object to thinking about humans. Rather, we want to understand the relation of humans to nature, not just assuming the character of this relation by incorporating it in what we suppose are nature’s fundamental laws, but rather by deduction from laws that make no explicit reference to humans. We may in the end have to give up this goal,,,
    Some physicists who adopt an instrumentalist approach argue that the probabilities we infer from the wave function are objective probabilities, independent of whether humans are making a measurement. I don’t find this tenable. In quantum mechanics these probabilities do not exist until people choose what to measure, such as the spin in one or another direction. Unlike the case of classical physics, a choice must be made,,,
    http://www.nybooks.com/article.....mechanics/

    Materialists, and Darwinists in particular, hold that the supposed ‘ground rule’ for all of science is ‘methodological naturalism’, i.e. only ‘natural’ explanations are ever allowed in science.

    The fatal flaw with artificially presupposing ‘methodological naturalism’ as the supposed ground rule for all of science is that it rules free will and/or agent causality out of scientific bounds prior to any investigation even being done.

    In the following article, Paul Nelson highlights this inherent absurdity within methodological naturalism:

    Do You Like SETI? Fine, Then Let’s Dump Methodological Naturalism – Paul Nelson – September 24, 2014
    Excerpt: Epistemology — how we know — and ontology — what exists — are both affected by methodological naturalism. If we say, “We cannot know that a mind caused x,” laying down an epistemological boundary defined by MN, then our ontology comprising real causes for x won’t include minds.
    MN entails an ontology in which minds are the consequence of physics, and thus, can only be placeholders for a more detailed causal account in which physics is the only (ultimate) actor. You didn’t write your email to me. Physics did, and informed you of that event after the fact.
    “That’s crazy,” you reply, “I certainly did write my email.” Okay, then — to what does the pronoun “I” in that sentence refer?
    Your personal agency; your mind. Are you supernatural?
    You are certainly an intelligent cause, however, and your intelligence does not collapse into physics. (If it does collapse — i.e., can be reduced without explanatory loss — we haven’t the faintest idea how, which amounts to the same thing.) To explain the effects you bring about in the world — such as your email, a real pattern — we must refer to you as a unique agent.
    If ID satisfied MN as that philosophical doctrine is usually stated, the decades-long dispute over both wouldn’t have happened. The whole point of invoking MN (by the National Center for Science Education, for instance, or other anti-ID organizations) is to try to exclude ID, before a debate about the evidence can occur, by indicting ID for inferring non-physical causes.
    That’s why pushing the MN emergency button is so useful to opponents of ID. Violate MN, if MN defines science, and the game is over.
    https://evolutionnews.org/2014/09/do_you_like_set/

    In fact, since methodological naturalism rules agent causality, (i.e. free will and consciousness), out of ‘scientific’ bounds prior to any investigation, then demonstrating a ‘miracle’ becomes a piece of cake

    Dr. Craig Hazen, in the following video at the 12:26 minute mark, relates how he performed, for an audience full of academics at a college, a ‘miracle’ simply by raising his arm,,

    The Intersection of Science and Religion – Craig Hazen, PhD – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?f.....qlE#t=746s

    The denial of agent causality, and/or free will, within science by methodological naturalism is completely absurd. The laws of physics certainly do not design telescopes, microscopes, spectroscopes, etc.. etc.. or analyze the experimental results, Scientists themselves do!

    Moreover the denial of free will undermines any claim from atheists that they are making a logically coherent argument in the first place,

    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/2.....66221.html

    Further clarification of free will:
    Free will: a source totally detached from matter (detached from nature) which is the origin (cause) of options, thoughts, feelings,… That is, the absence of (natural) laws, the existence of an “autonomous mind”, i.e. a principium individuationis.

    Yet, despite the fact that the denial of free will is blatantly self-refuting (in fact, it should be the very definition of a self refuting argument!), atheists continue to deny the existence of free will since to allow otherwise is to ‘allow a divine foot in the door’.

    Luckily science itself could care less how atheists would prefer the world to behave.

    In short, the present experiment, validating the reality of free will in quantum mechanics, restores sanity back to science by undermining the atheist’s supposed ground rule for science, i.-e. ‘methodological naturalism’.
    ————

    Also see “Kochen-Speckter Theorem” in the Suarez link in the OP

    “The Kochen-Speckter Theorem talks about properties of one system only. So we know that we cannot assume – to put it precisely, we know that it is wrong to assume that the features of a system, which we observe in a measurement exist prior to measurement. Not always. I mean in a certain cases. So in a sense, what we perceive as reality now depends on our earlier decision what to measure. Which is a very, very, deep message about the nature of reality and our part in the whole universe. We are not just passive observers.”
    – Anton Zeilinger – Quantum Physics Debunks Materialism – video (7:17 minute mark)

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Of supplemental note, besides quantum mechanics, neurological research, despite claims from materialists, has also consistently validated the reality of free will

    Neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield on Free Will – Michael Egnor – July 26, 2018
    No Counterfeit Will
    Penfield marveled that he could stimulate all manner of movement and sensation and memory, but he could never evoke agency. He couldn’t stimulate the sense of will — he couldn’t produce a counterfeit will in the conscious patient by stimulation of the brain.
    Penfield concluded that this meant that the will (he called it the “mind”) was not in the brain, or at least not in any part of the brain that he could stimulate, and that the will was not a physical thing. The will was free, in the sense that it could not be evoked by material means.
    Penfield began his career as a strident materialist. He ended it as a passionate dualist — the title “Mystery of the Mind” was largely the expression of his amazement that there was a scientifically demonstrable duality to the mind.,,,
    The denial of free will is an ideological bias, not a credible scientific or philosophical conclusion.
    https://evolutionnews.org/2018/07/neurosurgeon-wilder-penfield-on-free-will/

    In fact, atheists will often invoke the experiments of Benjamin Libet from 1983. Yet Libet himself was a strong defender of free will:

    Do Benjamin Libet’s Experiments Show that Free Will Is an Illusion? – Michael Egnor – January 15, 2014
    Excerpt: Materialists often invoke the experiments of Benjamin Libet when they deny free will.,,,
    (Yet) Libet himself was a strong defender of free will, and he interpreted his own experiments as validating free will. He noted that his subjects often vetoed the unconscious “decision” after the readiness potential appeared.
    ,,,”The role of conscious free will would be, then, not to initiate a voluntary act, but rather to control whether the act takes place. We may view the unconscious initiatives for voluntary actions as ‘bubbling up’ in the brain. The conscious-will then selects which of these initiatives may go forward to an action or which ones to veto and abort, with no act appearing.” – Libet
    Libet even observed that his experimental confirmation of free will accorded with the traditional religious understanding of free will:,,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....81171.html

    Do we have free will? Researchers test mechanisms involved in decision-making – January 4, 2016
    Excerpt:,,, Until now, the existence of such preparatory brain processes has been regarded as evidence of ‘determinism’, according to which free will is nothing but an illusion, meaning our decisions are initiated by unconscious brain processes, and not by our ‘conscious self’. ,,,
    Using state-of-the-art measurement techniques, the researchers tested whether people are able to stop planned movements once the readiness potential for a movement has been triggered.
    “The aim of our research was to find out whether the presence of early brain waves means that further decision-making is automatic and not under conscious control, or whether the person can still cancel the decision, i.e. use a ‘veto’,” explains Prof. Haynes. ,,,
    “A person’s decisions are not at the mercy of unconscious and early brain waves. They are able to actively intervene in the decision-making process and interrupt a movement,” says Prof. Haynes. “Previously people have used the preparatory brain signals to argue against free will. Our study now shows that the freedom is much less limited than previously thought.
    http://m.medicalxpress.com/new.....aking.html

  3. 3

    Fundamental awareness: A framework for integrating science, philosophy and metaphysics.

    Abstract:
    The ontologic framework of Fundamental Awareness proposed here assumes that non-dual Awareness is foundational to the universe, not arising from the interactions or structures of higher level phenomena. The framework allows comparison and integration of views from the three investigative domains concerned with understanding the nature of consciousness: science, philosophy, and metaphysics. In this framework, Awareness is the underlying reality, not reducible to anything else. Awareness and existence are the same. As such, the universe is non-material, self-organizing throughout, a holarchy of complementary, process driven, recursive interactions. The universe is both its own first observer and subject. Considering the world to be non-material and comprised, a priori, of Awareness is to privilege information over materiality, action over agency and to understand that qualia are not a “hard problem,” but the foundational elements of all existence. These views fully reflect main stream Western philosophical traditions, insights from culturally diverse contemplative and mystical traditions, and are in keeping with current scientific thinking, expressible mathematically.

     

  4. 4
    polistra says:

    If these creatures didn’t have PhDs they would be in group homes on mandatory Haldol.

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