16 October 2012

What can the "Measurement Problem" from Quantum Mechanics tell us about souls

With an interested layman's reading of the "Measurement Problem" arising in the theory of quantum mechanics I came to a very startling conclusion.  From a study of the fundamental nature of all things, in quantum mechanics, it is clear that any measurement are required to add "something else" to the fundamental properties of nature in order to overcome a fatal paradox.

From Chapter 6 - 'The Measure of All Things: Quantum Mechanics and the Soul' by Hans Halvorson, published in The Soul Hypothesis: Investigations into the Existence of the Soul. http://www.amazon.com/The-Soul-Hypothesis-Investigations-Existence/dp/1441152245 follows:
  • Superposition principle: any two possible states can be superposed.  In a superposition state..., an object is neither in the state [A] nor in the state [B]; rather, its location is indeterminate.
  • Entanglement: a pair of objects can be in an entangled state in which neither of the objects has any determinate properties
  • Linear dynamics: superpositions are maintained through dynamical changes.
  • Size does not matter: the postulates apply to all physical objects, regardless of their size.
  • Measurement problem: ... quantum mechanics entails a fact - that at the end of a measurement, a person will not have any belief about the outcome - that would utterly destroy our ability to test the predictions of quantum mechanics. Therefore, [it seems] quantum mechanics is incoherent...
These properties has been confirmed experimentally and pose a serious problem for nature having consciousness at all, because the ultimate problem seems to be the "Measurement problem" that follows from the preceding postulates.  Being able to measure something, I contend is the most fundamental effort to allocate an abstraction to a physical object. What happens is that a mind is trying to "know" a specific physical state.  With this in mind there are some very interesting conclusions that follow from my interpretation:
  • Without measurement being a purely physical arrangement, nature will flow without any paradox.
  • The "measurement problem" only exist when the observer has a property of entanglement, which is physically unavoidable, but logically not necessary.
  • Human beings are constantly measuring and allocating all kinds of states to physical objects, 
  • Clearly, to sense can only be an experience if there is a non-physical component i.e. qualia* is the description of this interaction.
  • These states are objectively real to our experience and ability to do any form of science and require an explanation
  • From the "measurement problem" it is clear that a purely physical interpretation of existence cause a paradox, that can only be overcome by explaining away the proven postulates listed above.
  • This problem in my view force a dualistic interpretation as the parsimonious and scientifically preferred solution.
  • There are fruitful channels of investigation that will follow to exploit the knowledge of our dualist nature**

*From wordweb: quale (qualia) 1. (philosophy) an ineffable conscious experience, as distinct from any physical or computational process
** Chaper 9 "A scientific case for the soul" by Robin Collins, published in The Soul Hypothesis: Investigations into the Existence of the Soul. http://www.amazon.com/The-Soul-Hypothesis-Investigations-Existence/dp/1441152245


Michael said...

1) The physical character of a measurement cannot be an arbitrary event. The physical aspect of Measurement is, in my mind, best described as, “Just a specific type of physical interaction with a probability distribution” and to the MWI this is the only definition available.
2) If the splitting events propagate at a speed the same or less than the speed of light (...as David Deutsh in "Beginning of infinity" propose)… then the issue of a splitting universe that does not immediately split from the total state of all states of (physical)reality is, that it seems impossible that any intelligibility (...or natural flow of events) will be available in any of the universes resulting from a splitting event that is not instantaneous. This is because all the states of (physical)reality that is available to make our universe intelligible the way we know it, will be completely mixed up by the inherent "unrelatedness" of all possible splitting events that somehow ends up in the same "split universe", - Therefore MWI requires, in my opinion, universal action at a distance, which is not allowed, just to be able to talk about other worlds as a coherent state of physical reality. (I do battle to comprehend what the information state is of a resulting universe that split due to a measurement event in this universe...)

Michael said...

Thinking of the "unrelatedness" I refer to I realised that it can be considered "related to an infinite number of states" with exactly the same effect on coherence.