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Wayne Rossiter: Time is all in our heads?

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From Wayne Rossiter,, author of Shadow of Oz: Theistic Evolution and the Absent God, on the recent claim that time is all in our heads:

1) Don’t a series of events have to pass in order to arrive at a state of the universe in which observers can exist? On atheistic naturalism, doesn’t intelligent life emerge from non-life at one or more places in the cosmos, after some cosmic evolution? If the passage of time is directly related to the experience of the observer, how could time pass leading up to the first observer (or was there no time back there)?

2) What qualifies as an observer? Sure, us (humans). But what/who else?

3) Okay, a third one: If an observer is required for time to pass, and there may have been a time before which observers existed in the universe, wouldn’t that end up making a great case for some “ultimate” observer? One that actualizes all things?

Good questions. The idea is actually a perfect companion to the idea that “evolution” bred a sense of reality out of us.

The current Christians for Darwin craze tends to obscure the reality: The primary thrust of evolution rhetoric today is not just to convince us that we are merely animals but that our basic perceptions of reality are somehow wrong. And falsifiability is not important. If we think all that doesn’t matter, we are certainly kidding ourselves.

See also: Time is all in our heads? Then we can reverse time! Our kind reader is simply demonstrating that he is not a fan of the pop science philosophy of life. But then neither are we.


Evolution bred a sense of reality out of us NPR’s Adam Frank: I find the logic in Hoffman’s ideas both exciting and potentially appealing because of other philosophical biases I carry around in my head. (But he suspects thethery is ultimately wrong.)

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I like this quote:
“Information is known to be transcendent of normative physicality because it isn't bound by space-time limitations, and it changes the properties of a system under analysis just by being present in the observation method (as per delayed-choice & quantum eraser experiments). We know that this information is directly tied to observers. Quantum systems compute virtually infinite potential outcomes, but they do not collapse into physicality until observed (and how they are observed), and it has been demonstrated by experiment that this collapse into what we call physical reality is not bound by space or time; it can retroactively alter historical properties (quantum eraser). These scientific experiments unequivocally disprove materialism as any more valid than, say, Classical Physics; it's okay as a useful tool in many applications, but as a philosophical worldview, it's simply false; as false as any superstition based upon limited capacity to investigate the nature of reality. While things may apparently operate in a cause and effect, material sequence manner for the most part, science has revealed that without the observer, there simply is no such thing as apparent local realism - there is only nearly infinite information potential that has yet to coalesce into any particular arrangement. IOW, classical cause-and-effect materialism that claims mind to be generated by matter is proven to be a myth just like Apollo pulling the sun through the sky. Science has essentially proven that there must have been a sentient first cause (as observer), or must be a sentient sufficient cause (as observer or observers) in a non-physical, superluminal and non-temporal state in order for what we call the "reality" of cause-and-effect physicality to exist. Free will, soul, mind, god, whatever you want to call it as creator of the physical universe has been demonstrated by experiment to necessarily exist, and exist in a non-material, non-local state, or else there wouldn't be a universe, only information and potential. The question is: when will materialist atheists simply admit they are wrong, when their own preferred methodology - science - has disproven their worldview as much as it has disproven other myths and superstitions that were based on a lack of information? God as the immaterial sentient observer that is necessary (as sufficient or first cause) in order for classical reality to exist, yes. The "how" is explained above. If God is not the sentient observer-cause of the universe (at least as the "supermind" of which all other minds are parts of), then we are left with each sentient mind collapsing their own reality into nothing more than actual solipsism (refer to: Boltzmann Brains). We are either in a shared reality that is created (collapsed) by a god-like mind, or we are individual, solipsist Boltzmann Brains each creating our own reality. Those are your evidenced, scientific choices according to the current state of quantum experimentation. Local realism - materialism - is no longer a philosophical option and consciousness must be taken as a fundamental quality of reality, not something a material reality produces."? Alfalfa L Henry? - alias
of related interest: at the 8:30 minute mark of the following video, Schrodinger’s cat and Wigner's Friend are highlighted:
Divinely Planted Quantum States - video https://youtu.be/qCTBygadaM4?t=512
Wigner's friend made its first appearance in this paper
Remarks on the mind-body question - E.P. Wigner (1961), Excerpt: "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" - http://www.projects.science.uu.nl/igg/jos/foundQM/wigner.pdf
Wigner's insights are fostering a 'second quantum revolution'
Eugene Wigner – A Gedanken Pioneer of the Second Quantum Revolution - Anton Zeilinger - Sept. 2014 Conclusion It would be fascinating to know Eugene Wigner’s reaction to the fact that the gedanken experiments he discussed (in 1963 and 1970) have not only become reality, but building on his gedanken experiments, new ideas have developed which on the one hand probe the foundations of quantum mechanics even deeper, and which on the other hand also provide the foundations to the new field of quantum information technology. All these experiments pay homage to the great insight Wigner expressed in developing these gedanken experiments and in his analyses of the foundations of quantum mechanics, http://epjwoc.epj.org/articles/epjconf/pdf/2014/15/epjconf_wigner2014_01010.pdf
Apparently Wigner changed his beliefs later in his life (after his breakthrough thought experiments which opened the way for the 'second quantum revolution'). The driving philosophical reason for Wigner changing his view was, ironically, to avoid solipsism. Which is interesting since he was the one who came up with 'Wigner's Friend ' in the first place':
In a lecture of 1982, he then regards the issue of solipsism as a sufficient reason to repudiate his earlier views on measurement in quantum mechanics (pp. 73–74, and also p. 230). In order to avoid solipsism, Wigner considers it to be necessary to admit state reductions independently of an observer’s consciousness. And his conclusion, based on Zeh’s argument, that quantum mechanics is not valid for macroscopic systems opens up the way for him to conceive state reductions when it comes to macroscopic systems. Changing his mind, Wigner makes a concrete suggestion for an amendment of the Schrödinger equation which is intended to describe a physical process of state reduction (pp. 75–77, 242–243) http://www.unil.ch/files/live//sites/philo/files/shared/DocsPerso/EsfeldMichael/1999/SHPMP99.pdf
I know of no ‘amendment to the Schrödinger equation’ that has ever been adopted since Wigner suggested it that has ever solved the measurement problem. Perhaps it was tried and rejected since it did not work. I have no idea why the ‘amendment’ suggested by Wigner is never discussed in the literature since the measurement problem is still very much alive and well:
The Measurement Problem in quantum mechanics – (Inspiring Philosophy) – 2014 video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qB7d5V71vUE
Secondly, Wigner’s solipsism objection, which was the driving force for him to philosophically reject a ‘consciousness’ view of quantum mechanics and search, (unsuccessfully), for another solution, was touched upon by Richard Conn Henry when the 2007 Leggett’s results came out.
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
Apparently, that leaves only Theism as the only rational solution seeing as solipsism was rightly rejected as being unreasonable by Wigner himself. This following video may also be of interest to some:
Double Slit, Quantum-Electrodynamics, and Christian Theism – video https://www.facebook.com/philip.cunningham.73/videos/vb.100000088262100/1127450170601248/?type=2&theater

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