Where did this ‘Wrong’ idea of quantum theory implying consciousness come from?

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Where did this ‘Wrong’ idea of quantum theory implying consciousness come from? Quantum physicists.

Ruth Kastner

Quote:There has been much angst in the cybersphere recently about purported hijackings of solid, rational physical theory in service of ‘unprincipled New Age fantasies’ about ‘Consciousness’ being implied by quantum theory. The purpose of this post is to set the record straight about where these allegedly  ‘Crazy’, ‘Wrong’ ideas came from: distinguished pioneering quantum physicists. In fact, this is all ancient history for students of foundations of physics. It can be found in the comprehensive historical record of the pioneering discussions of the implications of quantum theory, Quantum Theory and Measurement (a collection of essays edited by Wojciech Zurek and Nobel Laureate John A. Wheeler), which I’ll abbreviate here as QTM.

Quote:So there you have it: the ‘ego’ of the conscious observer, in a process of ‘psycho-physical parallelism’, is seen by Quantum Physics Guru John Von Neumann as what leads to ‘collapse of the wavefunction’. This identification of the mind as a purportedly essential component of quantum phenomenology did not come from ‘New Age charlatans’; it came from the original quantum physicists.

Von Neumann was certainly not the only one. Our next visit in the trip down Quantum Memory Lane is with Nobel Laureate John Wheeler, who asserted: “no phenomenon is a real phenomenon until it is an observed phenomenon.” (“Law Without Law,” QTM, p. 183)  Wheeler coined the term ‘Participatory Anthropic Principle” (PAP), the notion that the universe is brought into existence by the participation of observers. Now, the article linked above in connection with PAP notes that Wheeler left some ambiguity about what constitutes an ‘observer’ and whether consciousness was necessary for wave function ‘collapse’. But it  also notes that Stanford University physicist Andrei Linde answers that question–whether consciousness is required–with a decisive ‘yes’. This is no so-called “New Age quack”. It is a Stanford physics professor speaking. In 2002.

Nobel Laureate Eugene Wigner also embraced consciousness as a supposedly inescapable implication of quantum theory...
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


(This post was last modified: 2023-02-16, 08:05 PM by Sciborg_S_Patel.)
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Thanks for pointing to this blog post of mine. I should note, however, that I contest the popular idea that quantum theory demands "consciousness of the observer," because the latter has been used as a 'bandaid' to try to solve the measurement problem. The issue of consciousness is important, but in my view it's a mistake to invoke it the way von Neumann and others have done, as a way to come up with measurement results. I discuss that issue here: https://transactionalinterpretation.org/...servation/
(This post was last modified: 2023-02-17, 10:38 PM by rekastner. Edited 1 time in total.)
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(2023-02-17, 07:42 PM)rekastner Wrote: Thanks for pointing to this blog post of mine. I should note, however, that I contest the popular idea that quantum theory demands "consciousness of the observe," because the latter has been used as a 'bandaid' to try to solve the measurement problem. The issue of consciousness is important, but in my view it's a mistake to invoke it the way von Neumann and others have done, as a way to come up with measurement results. I discuss that issue here: https://transactionalinterpretation.org/...servation/

Thanks for stopping by! I did wonder if I should specifically mention these views I quote are not your position, but I worried that I might be speaking from the poor vantage point of my own ignorance.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


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  • rekastner
The "woo woo" beliefs of renowned scientists

collected by "UnrealityOfThus"

Quote:You might find this useful. I've compiled lots of quotes from renowned scientists (with sources referenced) that seem to suggest panpsychist, idealist, or otherwise non-physicalist perspectives. (The blog's title is ironic, of course).

Quote:The twenty scientists quoted are:

David Bohm, Freeman Dyson, Sir Arthur Eddington, Albert Einstein, Adam Frank, Bernard Haisch, Werner Heisenberg, Richard Conn Henry, Sir Julian Huxley, Sir James Jeans, John von Neumann, Wolfgang Pauli, Sir Roger Penrose, Asher Peres, Max Planck, Erwin Schrödinger, George Wald, Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker, John Archibald Wheeler, and Eugene Wigner.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


(This post was last modified: 2023-05-17, 05:26 PM by Sciborg_S_Patel. Edited 1 time in total.)

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