# Darwinism, Reproduction and QM

Anyway, the apparent 'collapse' happens instantaneously across the universe(otherwise we might have been able to see superpositions - at least in the realistic interpretations).
I guess I thought PAP would have a more gradual collapse of the wave function of various systems across the universe, thereby doing a more gradual fine tuning. Just for the sake of this discussion lets just make the huge assumption that wave function collapse is somehow linked to animal nervous systems and perception in some way. Could there then be an extending sphere of influence as wave functions are collapsed by a greater and greater number of observations? Also, as perceptual systems made "measurements" with greater accuracy these collapses might restrict values to a greater and greater degree.

NWO
Originally Posted by Coldcall
Yes i am afraid i dont accept that one particle can "observe" another since it has no relatively complex information processing capabilities. So yes when i talk about observers i mean biological systems which have a) sensors to interpret the physical environment b) information processing ability.

NWO
Guys Im not a physicist(gcse level) but have a question.... If by the power of observation you bring the atom out of super position into a solid stae we percieve as reality, what was doing it before we the conscious observers were here to observe and create reality. I have the esoteric answer which is... the universe and everything in it is consciousness. The big bang happened because of the creators intention to expierience its self. so it manifested its self outwards as consciousness into everything that exists, so not only are we part of God( Im not religious in anway) but we also have all the power to create as God does and his greatest gift that he gave to us is free will......... but from your physics eyes what happened before we were around?

Fra
If by the power of observation you bring the atom out of super position into a solid stae we percieve as reality, what was doing it before we the conscious observers were here to observe and create reality.
If you want to know what "normal science" says, "observer" in quantum mechanics really does NOT refer to a "human observer". This is a misconception. It traditionally refers to one system (a measurement device) interacting with another system.

"Observation" is an abstraction that refers to two subsystems systems interacting and observing each other.

This is the same in Einsteins relativity, observer really does not refer to "human", it can refers to any material systems "communicating" with another one.

So before you and me were around there where other humans, before they were areound there were monkeys. Before that there was other animals, all the way down to life with lowe and lower complexity. Before cellular life was around, there was also complex chemistry. Take this all the way down to the idea of the big bang.

But of course, as you picture this "scale" we also expect to scale the interactions back to a point of unification. So the simple observers would possible also see just "simple laws". All this w/o humans.

/Fredrik

Fra said:
If you want to know what "normal science" says, "observer" in quantum mechanics really does NOT refer to a "human observer". This is a misconception. It traditionally refers to one system (a measurement device) interacting with another system.

"Observation" is an abstraction that refers to two subsystems systems interacting and observing each other.

This is the same in Einsteins relativity, observer really does not refer to "human", it can refers to any material systems "communicating" with another one.

So before you and me were around there where other humans, before they were areound there were monkeys. Before that there was other animals, all the way down to life with lowe and lower complexity. Before cellular life was around, there was also complex chemistry. Take this all the way down to the idea of the big bang.

But of course, as you picture this "scale" we also expect to scale the interactions back to a point of unification. So the simple observers would possible also see just "simple laws". All this w/o humans.

/Fredrik

The problem with this is that you forgot to include the human as an essential part of the system "observer - observed". It's the human that does the measurement. If it's a machine by itself(human is absent),the system is in a superposition of states until knowledge of the system's state(measurement) forces it into a definite state.

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Fra
The problem with this is that you forgot to include the human as an essential part of the system "observer - observed". It's the human that does the measurement.
Yes, humans build measurement devices, interpret data as part of human science and so one. There is no question about that.

But I wanted to point out to NWO that whenever one in relativity or QM talk about "observers", it really does not refer to humans. Quantum mechanics is not a theory of the human brain, nor is relativity a theory of how the human brain is affected my motion or gravity.

I'm the first to admit that there are interesting analogies with actions of the brain, and actions of physical systems when it comes to weighting possibilities, but it's still two different domains of complexity. The conventional quantum mechanics is not a theory of the human brain.

I think we should try to see the relevant differences here and not confuse the unavoidable human role in EVERYTHING we do or talk about, since we are humans, and the scientific consensus that we are still able to produce about how nature works, that alll humans agree upon. One could also say that nature agrees upon it, since nature is largely consistent with our understanding.

I think trying to explain the interference patterns of double slit experients, the stability of atoms, the photoelectric effect, or the clock dilations or SR or GR by introducing the human mind more than what is already obvious anyway since we are humans is IMO out of reasonable focus.

/Fredrik

apeiron
Gold Member
The problem with this is that you forgot to include the human as an essential part of the system "observer - observed". It's the human that does the measurement. If it's a machine by itself(human is absent),the system is in a superposition of states until knowledge of the system's state(measurement) forces it into a definite state.
Like I asked, Coldcall, what does this view then commit you to in some concrete cases?

Say there is a strata of uranium deep in the ground. No complex senses are detecting it. Would it be decaying or remain in a state of superposition until some mining company comes along to dig it up, assay if for its value?

Or what about the cosmic ray that struck some cell in my body many years ago and set in train cancerous changes. Did the cell have the complexity to collapse the wave function or does it all have to wait until I become aware of the fact of the cancer?

And besides, where was it ever proved that collapse does not happen in the absence of human observation? In the history of QM, the collapse was only placed in the human mind as a last resort - through a failure to place the collapse out in the environment.

Fra said:
I think we should try to see the relevant differences here and not confuse the unavoidable human role in EVERYTHING we do or talk about, since we are humans, and the scientific consensus that we are still able to produce about how nature works, that alll humans agree upon. One could also say that nature agrees upon it, since nature is largely consistent with our understanding.

I think trying to explain the interference patterns of double slit experients, the stability of atoms, the photoelectric effect, or the clock dilations or SR or GR by introducing the human mind more than what is already obvious anyway since we are humans is IMO out of reasonable focus.

/Fredrik

I see no way to restore the old idea of atoms being billiard balls and the human mind being the result of a physical brain. I see no way to interpret the ontology of QFT as anything more than humans, objects, planets, etc. being instant excitations of fields comprising what we term "the universe". Atoms and molecules passing through a double slit as waves/fields when unobserved don't lend credibility to a realist picture of structured, localised objects in space.
Physical, invariant objects with definite properties in space is a misconception, found in our perception at the macro scale and adopting realism as a starting point for interpreting reality and nature is bound to failure IMO. Such a local realistic picture is inconsistent with experiments and needs adjustment.

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apeiron said:
Like I asked, Coldcall, what does this view then commit you to in some concrete cases?

Say there is a strata of uranium deep in the ground. No complex senses are detecting it. Would it be decaying or remain in a state of superposition until some mining company comes along to dig it up, assay if for its value?

Multi-particle systems are best treated as fields. This is what gives QFT the edge over QM. Until obervers are present, i'd say, those fields don't have the definite properties that we seem to perceive as matter in space. There are no objects, there are events. QFT confirms this and QFT is the best tested of all physical theories.

Or what about the cosmic ray that struck some cell in my body many years ago and set in train cancerous changes. Did the cell have the complexity to collapse the wave function or does it all have to wait until I become aware of the fact of the cancer?
Time is still very puzzling but Time 'flowing' and in only one direction is to be found in your head. It is an illusion. I'd say that all events exist out there(as pictured in GR) and the apparent distinction of past, present and future is an illusion created by awareness causing collapse of the 'proper' wavefunctions to create the macroscale we inhabit.

And besides, where was it ever proved that collapse does not happen in the absence of human observation? In the history of QM, the collapse was only placed in the human mind as a last resort - through a failure to place the collapse out in the environment.
That was my point in my previous reply to Fra - we can't divorce the conscious human from the system "measurement apparatus - measured event". In the end, it is always the human awareness that objectifies the results of measurements, now, tomorrow or in 1 billion years.

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apeiron
Gold Member
Multi-particle systems are best treated as fields. This is what gives QFT the edge over QM. Until obervers are present, i'd say, those fields don't have the definite properties that we seem to perceive as matter in space. There are no objects, there are events. QFT confirms this and QFT is the best tested of all physical theories.
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So you would be believing that uranium does not decay independent of a human observation? The deposit just is a wavefunction evolving and waiting to be collapsed into a history of events going back to when each uranium atom was first created in a supernova? Or because the supernova was not being witnessed at the time, part of prior wavefunctions back to the first moment?

Time is still very puzzling but Time 'flowing' and in only one direction is to be found in your head. It is an illusion. I'd say that all events exist out there(as pictured in GR) and the apparent distinction of past, present and future is an illusion created by awareness causing collapse of the 'proper' wavefunctions to create the macroscale we inhabit.
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I thought we were talking quantum reality? Time does flow in a background dependent formalism like QM. GR and this blocktime reply is based on precisely the classical reality you want to deny.

The wavefunction actually does exist in time. So if consciousness is required, then it was my awareness of the cancer that is the collapse event. Coldcall perhaps believes the cell itself perhaps had the biological complexity.

Now I'm wondering what if I die without ever realising I had a cancer caused by a cosmic ray? Maybe it even caused a brain cancer, so disabling my awareness is ways that absolutely prevented my making the observation?

That was my point in my previous reply to Fra - we can't divorce the conscious human from the system "measurement apparatus - measured event". In the end, it is always the human awareness that objectifies the results of measurements, now, tomorrow or in 1 billion years.
First, we can divorce ourselves from the modelling of reality in any regard. Second, the basics of good modelling is to divorce ourselves as much as possible.

The formalism of QM does not specify a machinery of collapse. That is why it has become a matter of interpretation. In practice, when using QM models, people work round the collapse issue in practical ways. And that is why I am suggesting you talk about your chosen interpretation in relation to everyday life concrete examples. As it stands, we are left free to place the collapse anywhere we want it. Why not start with where it makes the most commonsense - out in the busy world of interacting things?

apeiron said:
So you would be believing that uranium does not decay independent of a human observation? The deposit just is a wavefunction evolving and waiting to be collapsed into a history of events going back to when each uranium atom was first created in a supernova? Or because the supernova was not being witnessed at the time, part of prior wavefunctions back to the first moment?

Yes. Essentially, definite properties exist only when measured/observed. This is perfectly in agreement with experiments.

I thought we were talking quantum reality? Time does flow in a background dependent formalism like QM. GR and this blocktime reply is based on precisely the classical reality you want to deny.
What do you mean by "Background dependent QM"? The background is missing, the relationship between state space and physical space is matter of constant debates. Time flowing in the quantum world is a misconception as well, you should not confuse the ability to extract amplitude probabilities in time, with time flowing.

The wavefunction actually does exist in time. So if consciousness is required, then it was my awareness of the cancer that is the collapse event. Coldcall perhaps believes the cell itself perhaps had the biological complexity.
"Awareness" as the agent causing collapse is a very loose term but is consistent with all evidence. Before accepting it as an actual cause or dismissing it, we have to actually know what it is and its properties. We do not.

Now I'm wondering what if I die without ever realising I had a cancer caused by a cosmic ray? Maybe it even caused a brain cancer, so disabling my awareness is ways that absolutely prevented my making the observation?

Yes, at some point in a copenhagenish type of interpretation, the mind of god has to step in. But this is a problem of all interpretations. Is there an interpretation that explains all events in the universe without resorting to vague and ridiculous claims of the existence of 100 billion trillion universes?

First, we can divorce ourselves from the modelling of reality in any regard.
This is a slogan and experiments are not in agreement with it.

Second, the basics of good modelling is to divorce ourselves as much as possible.

Yes, but it appears impossible. Unobserved entities do not have defined physical properties.

The formalism of QM does not specify a machinery of collapse. That is why it has become a matter of interpretation. In practice, when using QM models, people work round the collapse issue in practical ways. And that is why I am suggesting you talk about your chosen interpretation in relation to everyday life concrete examples. As it stands, we are left free to place the collapse anywhere we want it. Why not start with where it makes the most commonsense - out in the busy world of interacting things?
Yes, that is my point. The reality we perceive only exists as a relationship of correlated events. Ours is a universe of events, not of fixed, immutable, FOR-independent objects. You can choose to include or not a mind, but without a mind, the perception of reality is very problematic.

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Hi, first post here :)

Your statement sounds interesting but I have a few problems with it, for instance: Reality exists without our perception of it, the individual or collective need not witness anything for it to occour or have occoured.
If on the right track of your argument here I believe what you are saying is that existence is maintained by reproduction and that a chain of events governed by time can mutate the subject given certain conditions. This is evolution.

Having said that a strange thought lingers, temperature may change due to global warming, other factors may invoke illness for the poor and prosperity for the rich yet evolution keeps advancing at the same pace despite all these gradual changes in circumstances. What is the driving force behind this, mother nature? This seems like another meaningless word for something that has absolutely no logical explanation.

So you would be believing that uranium does not decay independent of a human observation? The deposit just is a wavefunction evolving and waiting to be collapsed into a history of events going back to when each uranium atom was first created in a supernova? Or because the supernova was not being witnessed at the time, part of prior wavefunctions back to the first moment?
Yes, this is actually what I thought PAP says. Other aspects of the system would have been restricted by previous observations, but the main point I thought was, as Wheeler said:"no elementary phenomenon is a phenomenon until it is an observed phenomenon."

Think of Wheeler's delayed choice experiment, only not with photons but with radiated particles from uranium in a distant galaxy. It seems pretty clear then that the uranium doesn't decay until it is observed.

Now I'm wondering what if I die without ever realising I had a cancer caused by a cosmic ray? Maybe it even caused a brain cancer, so disabling my awareness is ways that absolutely prevented my making the observation?
Well this gets back to what an observation is. Maybe it has something to do with the nervous system, and since our bodies are bundles of nerves, anything that affects could in some sense be observed.

Well this gets back to what an observation is. Maybe it has something to do with the nervous system, and since our bodies are bundles of nerves, anything that affects could in some sense be observed.
If observation is treated as physical, as you imply above, then why should it be restricted to human nervous systems? Other physical systems can "observe" as well as human can, in which case reality progresses as expected.

It is only when observation is treated as an epistemological issue that the human becomes a factor. But in this case, you, are that observer and it is your knowledge that is being updated, nothing else.

Either observation is only about your own personal knowledge, or any physical thing can do it.

In neither case is there any contradiction or great dilemma. Just be sure not to confuse the two. We have no reason to believe that humans are a special type of observer.

Also, hi GCMax .

apeiron
Gold Member
Having said that a strange thought lingers, temperature may change due to global warming, other factors may invoke illness for the poor and prosperity for the rich yet evolution keeps advancing at the same pace despite all these gradual changes in circumstances. What is the driving force behind this, mother nature? This seems like another meaningless word for something that has absolutely no logical explanation.
No, this is all perfectly understandable from the second law of thermodynamics. Everything that happens in the universe is entrained to this gradient or purpose - the relentless increase in entropy over time.

So if you study modern ecology or dissipative structure theory, you will learn all about why it is absolutely logical that order in the form of bios - life and mind - arises. It is because we accelerate the heat death of the universe.

From the second law's view, it is right and natural that humans are blowing ancient geo-deposits of petroleum. All that locked-up hydrocarbon is order or negentropy that needs degrading.

Not so good for us and our children of course.

If observation is treated as physical, as you imply above, then why should it be restricted to human nervous systems? Other physical systems can "observe" as well as human can, in which case reality progresses as expected.
Yeah, I am just throwing around ideas, and am not arguing that the human NS would be the only thing that could make an observation (although it might be lol). I don't think QM supports a "physical" universe though as you seem to be using the term. When I ponder the NS bringing a superposition into an actuality I am thinking of an evolving superposition reaching some point of complex interaction where experienced events start occurring. Obviously this is just conjecture, and terms like "experienced," "complex interaction" etc are hard to define (just as "physical" is).

You say that "other physical systems can observe" and yet buckyball molecules with 60 carbon atoms can be in a superposition and create a diffraction pattern. It would seem on some level human subjective observations are not in superpositions. In a "physical" universe where between the two do you think events start occurring?

You say that "other physical systems can observe" and yet buckyball molecules with 60 carbon atoms can be in a superposition and create a diffraction pattern. It would seem on some level human subjective observations are not in superpositions. In a "physical" universe where between the two do you think events start occurring?
I never claimed to know the interface between the objective and subjective . I think it's literally impossible to prove the connection between the two. They are just two viewpoints from which you can consider physics.

Taking the subjective view, a superposition isn't anything real. It's simply an expression of a lack of knowledge. Taking an objective view, all physical interactions are observations. Two atoms colliding actually collide and interact when we would expect them to - the reaction they have to each other counts as an observation.

What things are like between those physical interactions is anyone's guess. We don't have an agreed upon answer, and it may be impossible to find one. Physics only deals with the results of interactions. We can have no direct evidence of anything between interactions (observations).

apeiron
Gold Member
You say that "other physical systems can observe" and yet buckyball molecules with 60 carbon atoms can be in a superposition and create a diffraction pattern. It would seem on some level human subjective observations are not in superpositions. In a "physical" universe where between the two do you think events start occurring?
What you have to consider here is the increasing care and energy it takes to observe macroscale QM effects. So this gives you your cut-off between naked QM and QM in interaction with a decohering context.

See for example discussions of the future of this kind of research - people are optimistic we can still go a few orders of magnitude higher in the scale of the hot molecules...here on earth....

http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0103-97332005000200004

http://www.df.uba.ar/users/mininni/teo2/interferencia_fulereno.pdf [Broken]

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