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Author Topic: Major Bombshell : Manifesto For A Post-Materialistic Science :  (Read 186291 times)

Offline DonQuichotte

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Excerpt from "Biology of Belief .." by biologist Bruce Lipton , Chapter 5 : "Biology and Belief " , "Placebos: The Belief Effect" :


Quote : "Every medical student learns, at least in passing, that the mind can affect the body. They learn that some people get better when they believe (falsely) they are getting medicine.

When patients get better by ingesting a sugar pill, medicine defines it as the placebo effect. My friend Rob Williams, founder of PSYCH-K, an energy-based psychological treatment system, suggests that it would be more appropriate to refer to it as the perception effect. I call it the belief effect to stress that our perceptions, whether they are accurate or inaccurate, equally impact our behavior and our bodies.

I celebrate the belief effect, which is an amazing testament to the healing ability of the body/mind.
However, the “all in their minds” placebo effect has been linked by traditional medicine to, at worst, quacks or, at best, weak, suggestible patients. The placebo effect is quickly glossed over in medical schools so that students can get to the real tools of modern medicine like drugs and surgery.

This is a giant mistake. The placebo effect should be a major topic of study in medical school. I believe that medical education should train doctors to recognize the power of our internal resources.
Doctors should not dismiss the power of the mind as something inferior to the power of chemicals and the scalpel. They should let go of their conviction that the body and its parts are essentially stupid and that we need outside intervention to maintain our health.

The placebo effect should be the subject of major, funded research efforts. If medical researchers could figure out how to leverage the placebo effect, they would hand doctors an efficient, energybased, side effect–free tool to treat disease. Energy healers say they already have such tools, but I am a scientist, and I believe the more we know about the science of the placebo, the better we’ll be able to use it in clinical settings.

I believe the reason the mind has so summarily been dismissed in medicine is the result, not only of dogmatic thinking, but also of financial considerations. If the power of your mind can heal your sick body, why should you go to the doctor and more importantly, why would you need to buy drugs? In fact, I was recently chagrined to learn that drug companies are studying patients who respond to sugar pills with the goal of eliminating them from early clinical trials.

 It inevitably disturbs pharmaceutical manufacturers that in most of their clinical trials the placebos, the “fake” drugs, prove to be as effective as their engineered chemical cocktails. (Greenberg 2003) Though the drug companies insist they’re not trying to make it easier for ineffective drugs to get approved, it is clear that effectiveness of placebo pills is a threat to the pharmaceutical industry. The message from the drug companies is clear to me: if you can’t beat placebo pills fairly, simply remove the competition!

The fact that most doctors are not trained to consider the impact of the placebo effect is ironic because some historians make a strong case that the history of medicine is largely the history of the placebo effect. For most of medical history, doctors did not have effective methods to fight disease.
Some of the more notorious treatments once prescribed by mainstream medicine include bloodletting, treating wounds with arsenic, and the proverbial cure-all, rattlesnake oil.

No doubt some patients, the conservatively estimated one third of the population who are particularly susceptible to the healing power of the placebo effect, got better with those treatments. In today’s world, when doctors wearing white coats deliver a treatment decisively, patients may believe the treatment works—and so it does, whether it is a real drug or just a sugar pill.

Though the question of how placebos work has in the main been ignored by medicine, recently some mainstream medical researchers are turning their attention to it. The results of those studies suggest that it is not only wacky, nineteenth-century treatments that can foster a placebo effect but also modern medicine’s sophisticated technology, including the most “concrete” of medical tools, surgery.
A Baylor School of Medicine study, published in 2002 in the New England Journal of Medicine evaluated surgery for patients with severe, debilitating knee pain.

(Moseley, et al, 2002) The lead author of the study, Dr. Bruce Moseley, “knew” that knee surgery helped his patients: “All good surgeons know there is no placebo effect in surgery.” But Moseley was trying to figure out which part of the surgery was giving his patients relief. The patients in the study were divided into three groups. Moseley shaved the damaged cartilage in the knee of one group.

For another group, he flushed out the knee joint, removing material thought to be causing the inflammatory effect. Both of these constitute standard treatment for arthritic knees. The third group got “fake” surgery. The patient was sedated, Moseley made three standard incisions and then talked and acted just as he would have during a real surgery—he even splashed salt water to simulate the sound of the knee-washing procedure. After 40 minutes, Moseley sewed up the incisions as if he had done the surgery. All three groups were prescribed the same postoperative care, which included an exercise program.
The results were shocking. Yes, the groups who received surgery, as expected, improved.

 But the placebo group improved just as much as the other two groups! Despite the fact that there are 650,000 surgeries yearly for arthritic knees, at a cost of about $5,000 each, the results were clear to Moseley:
“My skill as a surgeon had no benefit on these patients. The entire benefit of surgery for osteoarthritis of the knee was the placebo effect.” Television news programs graphically illustrated the stunning results.

 Footage showed members of the placebo group walking and playing basketball, in short doing things they reported they could not do before their “surgery.” The placebo patients didn’t find out for two years that they had gotten fake surgery. One member of the placebo group, Tim Perez, who had to walk with a cane before the surgery, is now able to play basketball with his grandchildren. He summed up the theme of this book when he told the Discovery Health Channel: “In this world anything is possible when you put your mind to it. I know that your mind can work miracles.”
Studies have shown the placebo effect to be powerful in treating other diseases, including asthma and Parkinson’s. In the treatment of depression, placebos are stars. So much so that psychiatrist

Walter Brown of the Brown University School of Medicine has proposed placebo pills as the first treatment for patients with mild or moderate depression. (Brown 1998) Patients would be told that they’re getting a remedy with no active ingredient, but that shouldn’t dampen the pills’ effectiveness.
Studies suggest that even when people know they’re not getting a drug, the placebo pills still work.
One indication of the power of the placebo came from a report from the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

The report found that half of severely depressed patients taking drugs improve versus thirty-two percent taking a placebo. (Horgan 1999) Even that impressive showing may underestimate the power of the placebo effect because many study participants figure out they’re taking the real drug because they experience side effects that are not experienced by those taking the placebo. Once those patients realize they’re taking the drug, i.e., once they start believing that they’re getting the real pill, they are particularly more susceptible to the placebo effect.

Given the power of the placebo, it is no wonder that the $8.2 billion antidepressant industry is under attack by critics who charge that drug companies are hyping the effectiveness of their pills. In a 2002 article in the American Psychological Association’s Prevention & Treatment, “The Emperor’s New Drugs,” University of Connecticut psychology professor Irving Kirsch found that eighty percent of the effect of antidepressants, as measured in clinical trials, could be attributed to the placebo effect. (Kirsch, et al, 2002) Kirsch had to invoke the Freedom of Information Act in 2001 to get information on the clinical trials of the top antidepressants: these data were not forthcoming from the Food and Drug Administration.

The data show that in more than half of the clinical trials for the six leading antidepressants, the drugs did not outperform placebo, sugar pills. And Kirsch noted in a Discovery Health Channel interview that “the difference between the response of the drugs and the response of placebo was less than two points on average on this clinical scale that goes from fifty to sixty points.

That’s a very small difference. That difference clinically is meaningless.”
Another interesting fact about the effectiveness of antidepressants is that they have performed better and better in clinical trials over the years, suggesting that their placebo effects are in part due to savvy marketing. The more the miracle of antidepressants was touted in the media and in advertisements, the more effective they became.

Beliefs are contagious! We now live in a culture where people believe that antidepressants work, and so they do. A California interior designer, Janis Schonfeld, who took part in a clinical trial to test the efficacy of Effexor in 1997, was just as “stunned” as Perez when she found out that she had been on a placebo.

Not only had the pills relieved her of the depression that had plagued her for thirty years, the brain scans she received throughout the study found that the activity of her prefrontal cortex was greatly enhanced. (Leuchter, et al, 2002) Her improvements were not “all in her head.” When the mind changes, it absolutely affects your biology. Schonfeld also experienced nausea, a common Effexor side effect.

She is typical of patients who improve with placebo treatment and then find out they were not on the real drug—she was convinced the doctors had made a mistake in the labeling for she “knew” she was on the drug. She insisted that the researchers double-check their records to make absolutely sure she wasn’t on the drug." End quote .
 

Offline DonQuichotte

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"Mind-Time The Temporal Factor -Benjamin Libet" : "General Views on Mind and Matter ":

Quote : "At one pole is the determinist materialist position. In this philosophy, observable matter is the only reality and everything, including thought, will, and feeling, can be explained only in terms of matter and the natural laws that govern matter. The eminent scientist Francis Crick (codiscoverer of the genetic molecular code) states this view elegantly (Crick and Koch, 1998):

“You, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions,
your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules. As Lewis Carroll’s Alice might have phrased it: ‘You’re nothing but a pack of neurons (nerve cells).’”
According to this determinist view, your awareness of yourself and the world around you is simply the by-product or epiphenomenon of neuronal activities, with no independent ability to affect or control neuronal activities.

Is this position a “proven” scientific theory? I shall state, straight out, that this determinist materialist view is a belief system; it is not a scientific theory that has been verified by direct tests. It is true that scientific discoveries have increasingly produced powerful evidence for the ways in which mental abilities, and even the nature of one’s personality, are dependent on, and can be controlled by, specific structures and functions of the brain.

 However, the nonphysical nature of subjective awareness, including the feelings of spirituality, creativity, conscious will, and imagination, is not describable or explainable directly by the physical evidence alone.
As a neuroscientist investigating these issues for more than thirty years, I can say that these subjective phenomena are not predictable by knowledge of neuronal function.

 This is in contrast to my earlier views as a young scientist, when I believed in the validity of determinist materialism. That was before I began my research on brain processes in conscious experience, at age 40. There is no guarantee that the phenomenon of awareness and its concomitants will be explainable in terms of presently known physics.

In fact, conscious mental phenomena are not reducible to or explicable by knowledge of nerve cell activities. You could look into the brain and see nerve cell interconnections and neural messages popping about in immense profusion. But you would not observe any conscious mental subjective phenomena. Only a report by the individual who is experiencing such phenomena could tell you about them.

Francis Crick demonstrated his scientific credentials by terming
his physicalist-determinist view an “astonishing hypothesis,” awaiting future developments that might produce more ade-quate answers. But many scientists and philosophers appear not to realize that their rigid view that determinism is valid is still based on faith. They really don’t have the answer.

Actually, even the nonmental physical world exhibits uncertainties (quantum theory) as well as chaotic behaviors that make a deterministic predictability of events impossible. At a small conference on these issues, the eminent theoretical physicist Eugene Wigner was asked whether physics could ever explain consciousness.
Wigner replied, “Physics can’t even explain physics,” let alone consciousness.
 The more meaningful question, therefore, would be: Does the phenomenon of conscious experience, and its relation to the physical brain, fully obey the known rules and laws of the physical world? (More on this later.).

At the opposite pole from determinist materialism are beliefs that the mind is separable from the brain (dualism). A religious version of dualism may maintain a belief in the existence of a soul that is somehow part of the body during life, but can separate and take off to variously defined destinations of immortality after death.
I shall state, at once, that the latter is absolutely tenable as a belief.

The same is true for most other philosophical and religious proposals. There is nothing in all of scientific evidence that directly contradicts such beliefs. Indeed, they do not fall within the purview of scientific knowledge (see Karl Popper’s position, described earlier).
A beautiful example of the scientific process was given by Einstein’s
proposal that light is subject to the same gravitational influences as matter.

 However, to demonstrate the gravitational effect on light requires that the light pass near an object of immense mass, one far greater than that available on earth. The difficulty in providing a proper test prevented full acceptance of Einstein’s proposal. Fortunately, around 1920 a complete solar eclipse occurred.

The light from a star located on the other side of the sun passed near the sun on its way to earth and was visible during the eclipse. Indeed, the star’s apparent position was altered, as the light was bent from its path by the “pull” of the sun. Had the light not been bent, Einstein’s proposal would have been falsified (contradicted)..." End quote
« Last Edit: 12/12/2014 18:10:03 by DonQuichotte »
 

Offline DonQuichotte

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Quote
author=dlorde link=topic=52526.msg446410#msg446410 date=1418344208]
I was just saying that QM has been showing to us that what we call reality or the physical reality might be an illusion, a mental one and more
Ah, no. That would be solipsism - it doesn't work. And you'd be arguing with figments of your imagination, which also doesn't work.

Quote
QM says thus the very opposite of what materialism has been saying : Bell's theorem and its related experiments corroborated that fact clearly : 
Lol! no, they didn't. They changed our understanding of it. Reading is good, but you need to try a little more understanding.

Oh , yes , they did : read those relevant posted short quotes regarding Bell's theorem ,from "Quantum Enigma ..." book,  in the previous page , once again , and more carefully this time :

Bell's theorem and its related experiments which were conducted by Aspect , Clauser and others did prove non-locality to exist or "spooky action at a distance " or entanglement , as well as they did challenge the classical concept of "reality " or realism that states that the properties of objects can  exist independently of any "observation " ,and more ,so any physical theory that might supersede QM in the future must predict the latter results and more .

Furthermore , quantum effects have been demonstrated even at the relatively "macroscopic " level :

Excerpt from "Quantum Enigma ..." :

Quote : " Experimental Metaphysics:

"All men suppose that what is called wisdom deals
with the first causes and the principles of things."
— Aristotle, in Metaphysics

Metaphysics , literally, “after physics,” is the title a fi rst-century editor gave to a collection of Aristotle’s philosophical works that came after his book Physics . Were Aristotle around today, he would surely explore “first causes” by trying to understand what quantum mechanics is telling us about the world, and about us.

Our title for this chapter, “Experimental Metaphysics,” was inspired by
a recent collection of essays by that name discussing laboratory experiments exploring the foundations of quantum mechanics. The book’s first chapter (by John Clauser) has the provocative title “De Broglie Wave
Interference of Small Rocks and Live Viruses,” which are the experiments
Clauser is proposing.
Because the microscopic realm of atoms differs by so many orders of
magnitude from the macroscopic realm of humans, some argue that quantum mechanics has little implication for our human-scale view of Nature, “what’s really going on.”

That was not the attitude of Einstein, Bohr, Schrödinger, Heisenberg, and the other developers of quantum theory. In later years, however, as the quantum enigma remained unresolved, and the theory worked so well for all practical purposes, the early concerns waned.
That’s changed. There’s lots of agreement today that we fundamentally
don’t understand what’s going on. At least there’s lots of dis agreement about what’s going on, which is pretty much the same thing.

Bell’s theorem and the experiments it fostered are responsible. They
did more than confirm the weird predictions of quantum theory. The
experiments showed that no future theory could ever explain our actual
world as a “reasonable” one. Any correct future theory must describe a
world in which objects do not have properties that are separately their
own, independent of their “observation.” In principle, that applies to all
objects. Even to us?

From a classical physics point of view, some argue that we are just
objects governed by biology and chemistry, and therefore ultimately
by deterministic physics. However, since Bell’s theorem, the human element, free choice, for example, is seen as an issue in fundamental physics questions.

While the free choice of the experimenter was implicit in classical physics there is no classical physics experiment where free choice, a human
element, becomes problematic. Although it may never be practical to do a
quantum experiment critically involving free choice, a suggested one discussed below comes close.

In the rest of this chapter, we touch on several experiments and proposed
experiments that ever more tightly, but mysteriously, connect the strange microscopic world with the “reasonable” macroscopic world we experience.


Macroscopic Realizations :

So far, in our telling of an object’s existence in two places at once, or its
entanglement with another object, the objects were photons, electrons, or
atoms, objects small enough to be physically isolated from their macroscopic surroundings.

 In recent years, quantum phenomena have been extended to larger objects, and even more signifi cantly, to objects with substantial contact with the macroscopic environment. By the time this book is in print there will surely be dramatic phenomena we would have included.
Here’s an early example of “two places at once” with an almost macroscopic
object. In 1997, researchers at MIT put a clump of several million sodium atoms at low temperature in a quantum state called a Bose-Einstein
condensate.

They then put this single clump two places at once separated by a distance larger than a human hair. That’s a small separation, but it’s a macroscopically seeable one. The whole clump was in both places. Each of
its atoms was in both places. To demonstrate that this clump, this almost
macroscopic object, was in two places at the same time, they did what one
always does to demonstrate such a superposition state. They brought the
clump from the two regions together to overlap and produce an interference
pattern.

Physicists at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2009 demonstrated a quantum entanglement between two objects big enough to see with your naked eye.
Figure 14.1 is an electronic circuit chip made of aluminum in contact
with a solid substrate. Each side of the largest white box is 6 mm, a quarter inch. The small white squares on the gray background are superconducting loops, and a current can flow within each of them.

 A pulse of microwaves directed at the chip entangles the two current flows.
Classically, the direction of current flow in the two loops should be completely independent of each other. But
after the entangling microwave pulse, the currents fl owed in opposite directions, something explained only by the quantum entanglement of these
directly seeable objects. Entanglements of circuits like this are the probable
basis of quantum computers.

Scientists at the U.S. National Institute of Science and Technology, in 2008, displayed the first device on a chip that could reasonably be described as a “quantum computer.” It even looks a bit like an early computer circuit.
Here, trapped ions and associated circuitry can perform at least 160 different computer operations, albeit with only ninety-four percent accuracy.

For any practical use, accuracy would need to be greatly improved, and a
practical quantum computer would have to link many such devices, by
quantum entanglement, Einstein’s “spooky actions.” In 2009, Physics World
picked this quantum achievement as the “Breakthrough of the Year.”
A March 2010 article in Nature News is titled “Scientists Supersize Quantum
Mechanics: Largest Ever Object Put into Quantum State.” The object was
a metal paddle only a thousandth of a millimeter long, but visible to the
naked eye in the same way you can see a tiny dust mote in a sunbeam. The little cantilever was cooled to an extremely low temperature until it reached the most motionless state permitted by quantum mechanics, essentially standing still. It was then “excited” to be in a superposition of that motionless state and simultaneously in a vibrating state.

 The paddle was moving and not moving at the same time. (Shades of a cat being dead and alive at the same time!) Even more impressive than the existence of this almost macroscopic superposition state is the fact that the paddle was not physically isolated. Its base was solidly connected to a block of silicon, which was in physical contact with the experimental apparatus, and ultimately with the rest of the world. It was enough to “isolate” the particular vibration motion, and not necessary to isolate the physical object.

 It was often considered that any contact with the macroscopic surroundings would rapidly collapse a strange superposition. The entanglement of modes of behavior of objects too big to isolate now looks much more feasible. This feat by scientists at the University of California at Santa Barbara was named the 2010 “Breakthrough of the Year” by Science magazine. Even before the year was over! It came too late for us to include a picture of the paddle in our book, but you can see it at:
http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100317/full/news.2010.130.html.

In 2011, an article in Nature reported the cooperative effort of scientists
at fi ve different laboratories to display interference with large organic
molecules. The largest contained 430 atoms. This set a new record for putting individual objects in two places at the same time. Moreover, the fact that the molecules had internal temperatures of several hundred degrees Centigrade demonstrated that positional wavefunctions are not necessarily decohered by coupling to internal thermal motions. This makes the apparent display of quantum phenomena in biological systems ever more reasonable.

The philosophical significance of their work was not ignored by the authors, who refer to their molecules as “the fattest Schrödinger cats
realized to date.”

Macroscopic Proposals :

Proposals abound for the entanglement or for putting essentially macroscopic objects in two places at once. In some cases there’s a further end in mind, such as the sensitive detection of gravity waves. Often the motivation is to display the strangeness of quantum theory on an ever more provocative level.

In 2003 a paper titled “Towards Quantum Superpositions of a Mirror” scientists at the University of Oxford and the University of California, Santa Barbara, claim the result implied by the paper’s title, a mirror in a
quantum superposition state, “is within reach using a combination of state-of-the-art technologies.” The mirror they’re talking of is tiny, but it’s one seeable with the naked eye. It would be mounted on a tiny lever terminating one arm of an interferometer.

 A quantum superposition would be indicated by the disappearance of interference and its return as the mirror goes into a superposition state and then returns to its initial state.
Experiments in 2006 testing the feasibility of the earlier proposal conclude
that it is feasible, though barely, with today’s technology.
In 2008, calculations by physicists at the Max-Planck-Institut für Gravitationsphysik at Leibniz and at Potsdam argued that the entanglement of two “heavily macroscopic mirrors” will be achievable within the next decade.

The mirrors they analyze are each on the perpendicular arms of an interferometer built to detect gravitational radiation, something predicted by general relativity, but yet to be observed. Gravitational wave interferometers, for which quantum phenomena are proposed, are currently in operation and use mirrors ranging from a few grams up to 40 kg.
A 2008 article in the American Physical Society’s Physical Review Focus ,
which publicizes significant physics of wide interest, is titled “Schrödinger’s
Drum.”

The allusion, of course, is to Schrödinger’s cat. Here the “cat” is an
essentially macroscopic one-millimeter-square membrane of silicon nitride
that is free to vibrate like a drum and is cooled to a very low quantum
state. Researchers at several institutions are discussing such a drum.
In a particularly interesting display, a pair of such membranes would be
entangled so that an observation of one instantaneously influenced the
other–without any physical force connecting them.



Quantum Phenomena in Biology? :

The question mark in this section’s title reflects our prejudice as physicists
that contact with the warm, wet biological environment would frustrate
any quantum superposition or entanglement. Countering that concern,
perhaps a single aspect of a biological system could be sufficiently decoupled from the rest of the body. An example of such decoupling was demonstrated for the little visible paddle described above.

That paddle had to be at extremely low temperature so that vibrating atoms did not disturb the superposition state, a usual requirement for a quantum effect in a many-atom object. Low temperatures would preclude any biological process. But conceivably, there could be a decoupling from the thermal motion. A warm violin string vibrating many thousands of cycles would be a classical analogy. A quantum entanglement in a warm, wet biological environment is hard to believe, but is it less counterintuitive than the quantum enigma itself?

A proposed quantum phenomenon with a biological organism, not just in a
biological process, can raise philosophical issues. In 2009 scientists at the
Max-Planck-Institut in Garching and the Institut de Ciències Fotòniques in
Barcelona proposed putting living organisms in quantum superposition states, in two places at the same time. They intend to optically levitate an
infl uenza virus, put it in a superposition state by using a light pulse, and
subsequently detect the superposition state by reflected light.

Their analysis argues for the feasibility of their proposal for even larger living organisms, in particular, tardigrades, or “water bears,” which can survive at the low temperatures and in the vacuum required for these experiments. They consider their work “to be a starting point to experimentally address fundamental questions, such as the role of life and consciousness in quantum mechanics.”

Explaining the remarkable effi ciency of photosynthesis by quantum coherence is not a new idea. But in 2010, chemists at the University of
Toronto offered experimental evidence that algae use quantum coherence
to harvest light.

In photosynthesis, special proteins absorb incoming photons to excite electrons to higher energy to start a series of electron transfers to “photosystems,” where the energy of the electrons starts the creation of carbohydrates. Classically, the electrons would find their way to photosystems by random hops. But the high efficiency displayed suggests that electron probability waves sample many paths simultaneously and collapse to find the best ones. To display this, they excited proteins with a laser pulse and used a second laser pulse to see where the electrons went.

Analysis by researchers at the University of Geneva and at the University
of Bristol in 2009 show that quantum experiments establishing a violation
of Bell’s inequality are possible with human eyes as the detectors at one
site. Since the human eye cannot reliably detect a single photon, one of the twin-state photons is amplified by cloning it by stimulated emission. What is claimed here is not only that there can be entanglement between two microscopic systems, but also that there can be entanglement between a microscopic object and a macroscopic human system. This can supposedly be so, even in the presence of photon loss to the environment, which might have been expected to wash out the entanglement.
A 2009 article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science is titled “Some Quantum Weirdness in Physiology.”

The paper notes that “most modern biomolecular scientists view quantum mechanics much as deists view their God; it merely sets the stage for action and then classically understandable, largely deterministic pictures take over.” The paper then comments on a dozen, mostly recent, studies denying that mainstream view.

These papers report evidence for quantum coherence effects, that is,
superpositions and entanglements, in biological systems, principally photosynthesis and vision.

Two other proposals for even weirder quantum phenomena in a biological
system, namely, the human brain, one by Roger Penrose and another by Henry Stapp, are treated in chapter 17. Both focus on the issue of consciousness." End quote



Quote
One has to admire the childish enthusiasm with which you latch on to every new idea you encounter and read into it whatever you can find or twist to fit your worldview.

A universe that lacks "reality ", whatever the latter might mean , or that the properties of objects cannot exist independently of 'observation " is a mind blowing one indeed : I can't even imagine what that means , let alone picture that .

Sounds insane to all of us , but that's what QM has been saying : Bell's theorem and its related experiments just corroborated that fact , so , that's why i presumed that the physical universe or the physical reality might be just an illusion , a mental illusion : The physical reality might not be entirely mental or entirely an illusion , but i can't picture what that new concept of "reality " might entail , who can ? Can you ?

Oh , i am asking the wrong person, a materialist lol , so , don't bother telling  me about your own materialistic conception of what that new "reality " might mean .  lol

I am not comfortable with that strange or weird idea .I don't know what to make of it either , but QM is the epitome of weirdness ,so .

Blame it on QM then ,or just blame it on the fact that what QM might mean is still a big controversy , after all .
« Last Edit: 12/12/2014 20:05:15 by DonQuichotte »
 

Offline DonQuichotte

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dlorde , Cheryl, alancalverd :

Try to read ,with an open mind ,that is , the above displayed excerpt from a certain Lipton's book regarding the demonstrated placebo effect even at the level of surgery ,as well as regarding Candace Pert's research and discoveries , placebo effect that can never be accounted for , let alone explained , by materialism .

dlorde :

Your autonomic brain "explanation "  (away) of the placebo effect does hold no water whatsoever , so, try to come up with somethingelse more intelligent instead= some other more intelligent materialistic inexplicable magic lol  .

Cheryl :

See what Libet had to say about deterministic reductionist materialism regarding the brain -body relationship or nature, or regarding the materialistic identity theory that equates the activity of the  neuronal correlates with that of the mind ... .

alancalverd :

Read those relevant posted short quotes from "Quantum Enigma ..." book , in the previous page , regarding Bell's theorem and its related experiments .

And tell me what does that tell you about "reality " .

Thanks, guys . Nice weekend . Cheers.
« Last Edit: 12/12/2014 19:03:10 by DonQuichotte »
 

Offline alancalverd

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I have no intention of being sidetracked into a discussion about reality, fantasy, or any other abstract noun. All I ask is just one example for proof that your preferred nonmaterialist approach is more predictive (i.e. more useful) than whatever it is that you decry.

Come on, Don, just one sentence and all will be resolved in your favour!
 

Offline DonQuichotte

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dlorde , alancalverd :

What part exactly can't you understand from the following ? :

Source : "Quantum Enigma , Physics encounters consciousness : "

http://quantumenigma.com/

The following are the results of experiments , no abstract talk :

Quote :

"According to Bell:
In his arguments with Bohr, Einstein was wrong in all the details.
Bohr understood the actual manipulation of quantum mechanics much better than Einstein. But still, in his philosophy of physics and his idea of what it is all about and what we are doing and should do, Einstein seems to be absolutely admirable. . . . [T]here is no doubt that he is, for me, the model of how one should think about physics."

.......


"Bell’s theorem and the experiments it fostered are responsible. They
did more than confi rm the weird predictions of quantum theory. The
experiments showed that no future theory could ever explain our actual
world as a “reasonable” one. Any correct future theory must describe a world in which objects do not have properties that are separately their own, independent of their “observation.” In principle, that applies to all objects. Even to us?"

............

Bell’s theorem has been called “the most profound discovery in science in
the last half of the twentieth century.” It has rubbed physics’ nose in the weirdness of quantum mechanics. Bell’s theorem and the experiments it stimulated answered what was supposedly a “merely philosophical question” in the laboratory. We now know Einstein’s “spooky actions” actually exist. Even events at the edge of the galaxy instantly influence what happens at the edge of your garden. We quickly emphasize that such influences are undetectable in any normally complex situation.Nevertheless, What are now called “EPR-Bell influences,” or entanglement, now get attention in industrial laboratories for their potential to allow incredibly powerful computers. They already provide the most secure encryption for confidential communication. Bell’s theorem has renewed interest in the foundations of quantum mechanics, and dramatically displays physics’ encounter with consciousness."

..........

.."When the experiments were done, Bell’s inequality was violated. Assumptions of reality and separability yielded a wrong prediction in our actual world.

Bell’s straw man was knocked down, as Bell expected it would be. Our world therefore does not have both reality and separability. It’s in this sense, an “unreasonable” world.
We immediately admit not understanding what the world lacking “reality” might mean. Even what “reality” itself might mean. In fact, whether or not reality is indeed required as a premise in Bell’s theorem is in dispute.
However, we need not deal with that right now.

 For our derivation of a Bell inequality, we assume a straightforward real world. Later, when we discuss the consequences of the violation of Bell’s inequality in our actual world, we’ll define a “reality” implicitly accepted by most physicists. It will leave us with a strangely connected world." End quotes
« Last Edit: 14/12/2014 20:22:25 by DonQuichotte »
 

Offline DonQuichotte

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Is There Any Scientific Approach to the Mind-Brain Problem? :

Excerpt from the same above mentioned book .

Libet assumed  that consciousness was  an emergent phenomena , David Cooper would not agree with  that , i guess .

Libet had some very interesting things to say anyway .  He was a great mind indeed .

Quote : " ...Is there some way to arrive at convincing knowledge of how conscious subjective experience arises? Is there a way to do this that is based on observable evidence?.

We must first recognize that the brain is the physical “organ” for conscious and unconscious mental functions. For life as we know it, the necessity of the appropriate function and structure of the brain is incontrovertible. There is no objective evidence for the existence of conscious phenomena apart from the brain.
(A belief in a separable conscious soul is not excluded, as noted previously.) .
Perhaps the most convincing piece of evidence that it is the brain and not any other bodily structure that is crucial lies in the effects of a complete severing (transaction) of the spinal cord at its junction with the brain.

This unfortunate event occurs not infrequently in accidents in which the neck is “broken,” as in the recently publicized case of the actor Christopher Reeves. The patient remains the same conscious person he was before the accident. However, he loses all control of body movements from the neck down, including of breathing movements, as well as all sensations that are carried by spinal nerves to the body.

Interruption of the nerve pathways that connect the brain with the spinal cord is the reason for the loss of sensory and motor control below the neck. The person does remain aware of all the important sensations arising with intact nerve connections to the head. And, if the brain is functional, the person retains awareness of his thoughts, feelings, and self.
On the other hand, damage to the brain itself can result in the loss of various conscious functions, or even a permanent loss of consciousness, depending on the sites of the damage.

 It is the loss of brain function that truly defines the end of conscious human life, that is, death. This is so even when the rest of the body, including the spinal cord, skeletal muscles, and the heart, are still functioning. Indeed, under this condition of brain death, the other organs or tissues may be taken for transplantation to other people.

In earlier times, the heart was often regarded as the seat of consciousness and of emotional feelings (see Aristotle). But replacing one heart with another (even one that is a mechanical device) does not alter an individual’s emotional makeup or experience.

So, what sorts of factual answers to the questions about conscious experience could we hope to pursue successfully, and what answers have we now achieved? One important question—how brain activities are related to conscious and unconscious mental function—is, in principle, amenable to descriptive and experimental investigation. But to do that, we need to define conscious subjective experience, and do so in a way that is operational—
that is, practical for study.

We start with the stubborn fact that a conscious subjective experience
is directly accessible only to the individual who has the experience. Consequently, the only valid evidence for an external observer must come from an introspective report of the experience by the subject.

Introspective Reports of Subjective Experience :.

Scientists, like philosophers, have speculated about how the brain and mind are connected. But, until recently, very few, including neuroscientists, have attempted direct experimental studies of how cerebral nerve cell activities are involved in the production or appearance of conscious, subjective experiences.
Why? Apart from the technical difficulties for such experiments on human subjects, a philosophical impediment has played a major role.

Studies that require data from introspective reports of subjective experiences have tended to be taboo in the academic community.
That negative attitude was influenced in large part by the dominance, during the first seventy-five years of the twentieth century, of behaviorism in psychology and of logical positivism in philosophy.

These viewpoints hold that only directly observable events are admissible as scientific data. Introspective reports are only indirectly related to the actual subjective experiences; that is, they are reports of something not directly observable by the investigator and are untrustworthy observations.
However, unless scientists can find a way to obtain valid introspective
reports, they can never study the profoundly important question of how our conscious mind is related to our brain.

The late great physicist Richard Feynman stated, “I’m just looking to find out more about the world . . . Whatever way it comes out, it’s nature, and she is going to come out the way she is! Therefore, when we go to investigate it we shouldn’t pre-decide what it is we’re going to find.”

We must, of course, admit that an introspective report does not provide absolute evidence about the experience. (Paren-thetically, physicists agree that even hard-nosed physical measurements
cannot be made with absolute certainty.) .

The only subjective experience that one can be absolutely certain about is one’s own experience—as noted by René Descartes, Bishop Berkeley, and others. Yet, in our ordinary social interactions we commonly accept introspective reports of experiences by other individuals as meaningful reflections of their experiences, although we may try to evaluate the validity of these reports.
To be sure, the conversion and transmission of an experience into a report may involve some distortion.

However, it is possible to limit the kinds of experiences being studied to very simple ones that do not have emotional content. These experiences can even be tested for reliability. In our own investigations we used very simple sensory experiences that had no emotional aspects that might lead to distortion.

 Furthermore, we could test the reliability of the reports, by changing the sensory inputs in ways under the investigator’s control and comparing the different reports elicited in this way. It should have been clear, therefore, that a way to study subjective experiences scientifically can be achieved.

I should add that an introspective report need not be made by a verbal, oral statement. A nonverbal report, like tapping an appropriate key to indicate whether a sensation had been subjectively felt, can be quite acceptable, providing the subject understands that this indicator in fact refers to a subjective, introspective experience.

I may add here that when I was an undergraduate, I realized that verbal expressions are not completely adequate representations of reality. They are only approximations, limited by the meanings attributable to the words.

 I decided, therefore, to try to think about reality in a nonverbal way—that is, to try to grasp the real situation in a fully integrated and intuitive way. In my subsequent thinking about experimental problems, I did actually tend to view them in nonverbal ways.
The development of cognitive psychology in the 1970s onward became a major factor in shifting scientific opinion on the usefulness of introspective reports.

Cognitive scientists wanted to deal with questions about what people knew and felt, and how that was related to reality. To do so, they had to have people tell them about their subjective experiences. I should note that there are still traditional behaviorists among psychologists, and that a large group of philosophers adhere to a movement related to behaviorism called functionalism.

Starting in the late 1950s, I did not wait for cognitive science to
support my use of introspective reports in our studies. I approached
this issue as a physiologist, with no stake in behaviorism or functionalism. My attitude was, from the start, that conscious experience could be studied and treated like any other observable function of the brain. As an experimental scientist, it was, and is, my firm conviction that a person’s report of a conscious experience should be regarded as primary evidence.

 This evidence should not be altered or distorted so as to be made to conform to a preconceived view or theory about the nature of consciousness. Unless they can be convincingly affected or contradicted by other evidence, properly obtained introspective reports of conscious experience should be looked on like other kinds of objective evidence.

I was, in fact surprised when I found that a controlling body of opinion among behavioral scientists did not agree with my view. Indeed, a visiting group of such individuals, representing a study section of the National Institutes of Health, told me I was not studying a suitable topic. They denied my application for a grant.

Interestingly, I found no such rejection among the world’s
leaders in experimental neurophysiology, such as Lord Adrian, Sir John Eccles, Herbert Jasper, Charles Phillips,Wilder Penfield, Roger Sperry, Frederic Bremer, Ragnar Granit, Anders Lundberg, Robert Doty, and Howard Shevrin.

These researchers regarded our work as praiseworthy and pioneering—sentiments also expressed during a major symposium entitled “Brain and Conscious Experience” in 1964. Sponsored by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and chaired by Sir John Eccles, this symposium was held in the fifteenth-century house of Pius IV, inside the Vatican grounds. Pope Paul took us seriously enough to hold a formal audience with us.

The twenty-five or so members of the symposium were seated on one side of a great hall, and a roughly equal number of Cardinals faced us on the other side in their red robes. When the Pope came down to greet us, the Catholic scientists knelt and kissed his ring, and the rest of us shook his hand. I still have the thick red leather nameplate with gold lettering from that meeting. Since then, I have been a participant and speaker in a number of additional interesting symposia on consciousness. There was, in fact, another one in the Vatican in 1988, again organized by Sir John Eccles.

Besides neurophysiologists, leading philosophers such as the
late Sir Karl Popper, Thomas Nagel, and the late Stephen Pepper also agree with my views concerning how to study conscious subjective experience. Stephen Pepper was Professor of Philosophy at the University of California–Berkeley.

Pepper was a strong advocate of so-called identity theory, which holds that the externally observable physical quality of the brain and the inner quality of subjective experience are simply different phenomenological aspects of a single “substrate.” Nevertheless, Pepper listened carefully to my discussion of my team’s views and findings; he even concluded that our evidence for a retroactive referral of sensory timing might argue against the validity of identity theory..."End quote
 

Offline DonQuichotte

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dlorde , Cheryl, alancalverd :

I will not be here until next monday , so, you will have time enough to read all the above .

Try to read ,with an open mind ,that is , the above displayed excerpt from a certain Lipton's book regarding the demonstrated placebo effect even at the level of surgery ,as well as regarding Candace Pert's research and discoveries , placebo effect that can never be accounted for , let alone explained , by materialism .

dlorde :

Your autonomic brain "explanation "  (away) of the placebo effect does hold no water whatsoever , so, try to come up with somethingelse more intelligent instead= some other more intelligent materialistic inexplicable magic lol  .

Cheryl :

See what Libet had to say about deterministic reductionist materialism regarding the brain -body relationship or nature, or regarding the materialistic identity theory that equates the activity of the  neuronal correlates with that of the mind ... and more (2 Libet Excerpts ) .

alancalverd :

Read those relevant posted short quotes from "Quantum Enigma ..." book , on  this page , regarding Bell's theorem and its related experiments .

And tell me what does that tell you about "reality " .

dlorde :

I could not fix the display of the above posted excerpt in my reply to your post ,sorry .Enjoy anyway .It's not that bad and it's worth reading it as well .

Thanks, guys . Nice weekend . Cheers.
« Last Edit: 12/12/2014 20:59:59 by DonQuichotte »
 

Offline DonQuichotte

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Just a final thought for today, guys :

Some people's personalities or characters  , sense of morality ....and more do change almost completely when they get ...drunk lol, for example .
Some good nice polite mannered  people become aggressive ,rude, vulgar , offensive ...you name it , because alcohol blocks or deactivates their inhibitions area in the brain, i guess  .

Even peaceful people can become beasts Under certain circumstances , like during wars ,riots,  turmoil , economic or other crises ....

Cheers.

 

Offline dlorde

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Bell's theorem and its related experiments which were conducted by Aspect , Clauser and others did prove non-locality to exist or "spooky action at a distance " or entanglement , as well as they did challenge the classical concept of "reality " or realism that states that the properties of objects can  exist independently of any "observation " ,and more ,so any physical theory that might supersede QM in the future must predict the latter results and more .
Well, they challenged locality and counterfactual definiteness, but yes, it's pretty much the same thing from 60,000ft. The thing to remember is that an 'observation' or 'measurement' is any interaction with a quantum system - whether it be a fundamental particle or the atoms of Heisenberg himself. The only requirement for consciousness is if, at some point, you want to be aware of the measurement.

Quote
Furthermore , quantum effects have been demonstrated even at the relatively "macroscopic " level
Yes, we know. Try to remember that what seems new and exciting to you is not necessarily news to other people.

Quote
A universe that lacks "reality ", whatever the latter might mean , or that the properties of objects cannot exist independently of 'observation " is a mind blowing one indeed : I can't even imagine what that means , let alone picture that .
'Reality', in this context, means lacking conterfactual definiteness (as above), which is the ability to say definitely what the state of a system is between measurements. You can have that or locality, but not both.

Quote
Sounds insane to all of us
You just have to get used to it. Special Relativity sounded insane until people came to terms with it.

Quote
.. that's why i presumed that the physical universe or the physical reality might be just an illusion , a mental illusion : The physical reality might not be entirely mental or entirely an illusion , but i can't picture what that new concept of "reality " might entail , who can ? Can you ?
Just because you can't conceptualise something, doesn't mean you should jump to wild and unjustified conclusions. Work with what you know, the empirical evidence, not wild speculation. That's why quantum interpretations are just that, interpretations, non-mathematical ways to work conceptually with what the empirical data tells us.

Quote
Oh , i am asking the wrong person, a materialist lol , so , don't bother telling  me about your own materialistic conception of what that new "reality " might mean .  lol
Given that contemporary materialism has so much broader a scope than solely the 'matter' of the original form, perhaps 'Physicalism' is more appropriate. And so, in the circumstances, it seems entirely appropriate to say that only the physical world has meaning for us, and we have an astonishingly good model of how it behaves, if not an intelligible explanation.

Quote
I am not comfortable with that strange or weird idea .
It's more a question of semantics than philosophy - you need to accept that the reality is that, between interactions, quantum systems can not be said to have a definite state, but the probabilities of the outcome of some interaction can be precisely calculated. That's the way mother nature is; she doesn't care how comfortable you are.

Why you want to add to the weirdness by bringing atavistic anthropocentric ideas of consciousness affecting these outcomes - which it clearly doesn't, as the outcome probabilities are the same whether the interacting system is a fundamental particle or a brain cell, is unclear. Perhaps it's the traditional fear of loss of control in the face of seemingly 'random' nature - man must be special; I must be special; consciousness must be special; we can't be just like everything else (we're God's special creatures), we must control something - is that it? a deliberate anthropocentric equivocation of 'observer'?

It's a simple truth that if you drop the idea of wavefunction collapse and just let the wavefunction evolve continuously (which is all QM formalism specifies), all awkward interpretive problems drop away; for you, of course, this also means dropping the even more problematic idea of consciousness having anything to do with it.
 

Offline dlorde

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dlorde :

Your autonomic brain "explanation "  (away) of the placebo effect does hold no water whatsoever , so, try to come up with somethingelse more intelligent instead= some other more intelligent materialistic inexplicable magic lol  .

Really? What is your reasoned argument against it?
 

Offline dlorde

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Some people's personalities or characters  , sense of morality ....and more do change almost completely when they get ...drunk lol, for example .
Some good nice polite mannered  people become aggressive ,rude, vulgar , offensive ...you name it , because alcohol blocks or deactivates their inhibitions area in the brain, i guess  .

Even peaceful people can become beasts Under certain circumstances..
Is that an allusion of an apology for your past uncivil rants? - not your fault because they were drunken rants?

And, of course, that only makes sense if your brain is what makes you the person you are  ;) .
 

Offline alancalverd

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"Bell’s theorem and the experiments it fostered are responsible. They
did more than confirm the weird predictions of quantum theory.

But quantum theory is entirely materialistic. It's all about the observed behaviour of real stuff. What nonmaterialistic predictions did these experiments confirm?

And note that later in the paragraph "observation" is in quotation marks. It doesn't mean observation by a conscious being.
 

Offline cheryl j

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 It inevitably disturbs pharmaceutical manufacturers that in most of their clinical trials the placebos, the “fake” drugs, prove to be as effective as their engineered chemical cocktails. (Greenberg 2003) Though the drug companies insist they’re not trying to make it easier for ineffective drugs to get approved, it is clear that effectiveness of placebo pills is a threat to the pharmaceutical industry. The message from the drug companies is clear to me: if you can’t beat placebo pills fairly, simply remove the competition!

Placebo medicine used to be widely available. It was called Snake Oil. And I would think that if a drug company could get away with marketing a physiologically inert substance with no side effects or risks as an effective medication, they'd actually be thrilled. Think of the costs saved in research and development.

When you look at the actual knee study, it suggests to me that knee surgery may be less effective that thought, not that a placebo is a great cure. There were moderate improvements all three groups, but there were also other factors for all three groups . David Felson of Boston University and Joseph Buckwalter of the University of Iowa notes that "Although smoothing cartilage and [other] irregularities may sound appealing, larger forces within and outside the joint environment, such as malalignment, muscle weakness, instability, and obesity may have greater effects on the clinical outcomes of osteoarthritis of the knee."
Patients are encouraged to lose weight before knee surgery. Could weight loss, physical therapy, prophylactic antibiotics, anti inflammatory pain medication, and completely resting the knee after surgery, sham or otherwise, for an extended period of time also result in the level of "moderate" improvement obtained in the study?

Placebos are useful controls and that is why such studies are done.  The point of placebo is to replicate every aspect  of experiment as accurately as possible, except the one variable you want to observe.

People who equate placebo with the ability to change reality by thinking about it are quick to ignore other explanations - that some diseases or conditions do resolve or improve with time for purely physiological reasons.
« Last Edit: 13/12/2014 17:51:22 by cheryl j »
 

Offline cheryl j

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"Mind-Time The Temporal Factor -Benjamin Libet" : "General Views on Mind and Matter ":



What aspect of his CFM theory would you like to discuss?

Your quotes are somewhat selective, I notice. He also says:

"Nondeterminism—which is the view that conscious will may,at times, exert effects not in accord with known physical laws— is of course also a nonproven speculative belief."

and

"There is no objective evidence for the existence of conscious phenomena apart from the brain."

"On this last point, we must recognize that there is no evidence to support the concept of separate entity status, which can only be a metaphysical belief."

"It should be noted that all cognitive functions (receipt, analysis,recognition of signals), information storage, learning and memory, processes of arousal and attention and of states of affect and mood, and so on) are not
 proposed as functions to be organized or mediated by the postulated CMF (conscious mental field). In short, it is only the phenomenon of conscious subjective experience, associated with all the complex cerebral functions, that is modeled in the CMF, in an admittedly speculative manner."

"The CMF does not exist without the brain. It emerges from the appropriate system of neural activities."
 

Offline dlorde

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Placebo medicine used to be widely available. It was called Snake Oil. And I would think that if a drug company could get away with marketing a physiologically inert substance with no side effects or risks as an effective medication, they'd actually be thrilled. Think of the costs saved in research and development.
In fact, doctors have been using placebo medicines for years for the commonest class of illnesses - by prescribing antibioics for viral infections and various 'general malaises'. Unfortunately, this has had damaging consequences with antibiotic resistance.

In recent times, there has been a lot of discussion about how to take advantage of placebo effects in an ethical way (i.e. without deliberately deceiving the patient). The irony is that Homeopathy has been part of the UK National Health Service from the beginning (1948), providing a successful placebo service, but only recently have the ethics of this service been questioned now that it is clearly known to be only placebo. The discovery that the effect can occur even when you know the treatment is placebo, holding out the possibility of informed placebo treatment, has revived interest a little, although it is still controversial.

Quote
When you look at the actual knee study, it suggests to me that knee surgery may be less effective that thought, not that a placebo is a great cure.
That seems to be the case for arthritic and degenerative joint conditions. A more recent Finnish study (though rather small) has shown similar results in cases of degenerative meniscal tears. This is further support for placebo having positive effect for certain inflammatory conditions and reducing perceived pain, consistent with a CNS-mediated response.

Even back in the early 1980's, when I was working on the menisectomy research project in the Environmental Physiology Unit at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, we knew that good surgical outcomes were mainly associated with acute injuries immobilised and operated on immediately (i.e. within a couple of days). This was mostly restricted to professional footballers; miners, the other major group involved in the study, generally had long-term degenerative knee conditions and far less positive surgical outcomes.

Quote
People who equate placebo with the ability to change reality by thinking about it are quick to ignore other explanations - that some diseases or conditions do resolve or improve with time for purely physiological reasons.
Yes, indeed - the is true of most 'alternative' medicine; Ben Goldacre writes about this, and regression to the mean, etc., in his excellent book 'Bad Science' (with a great chapters on 'The Placebo Effect' and 'Why Clever People Believe Stupid Things'). 
 

Offline dlorde

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"Mind-Time The Temporal Factor -Benjamin Libet" : "General Views on Mind and Matter ":
What aspect of his CFM theory would you like to discuss?

Your quotes are somewhat selective, I notice. He also says:
<...quotes directly contradicting Don's main thesis...>
Ouch! Yes, that looks like deliberately deceptive cherry-picking...
 

Offline cheryl j

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"Mind-Time The Temporal Factor -Benjamin Libet" : "General Views on Mind and Matter ":
What aspect of his CFM theory would you like to discuss?

Your quotes are somewhat selective, I notice. He also says:
<...quotes directly contradicting Don's main thesis...>
Ouch! Yes, that looks like deliberately deceptive cherry-picking...

I will say that Don is correct in that Libet is critical of reductionist materialism, as expressed in the excerpt and else where in the book. Libet  does not automatically exclude the possibility of the immaterial or even things like souls, life after death, etc.

This seems to contradict Don's earlier claims that neuroscientists who rely on materialist methodologies like fMRIs, or attribute mental processes to brain activity, do so because they are incapable of grasping any non-materialist interpretation, rather than simply following the evidence.

Libet does not sound indoctrinated to me, nor afraid that considering the existence of the immaterial or criticizing materialism in any way will brand him as a nut case. But he does insist on evidence. He is an example of the kind of neuroscientist that Don claims doesn't exist.
 

Offline cheryl j

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The wikipedia article has a good summary of Libet's work, and CMF theory, as well as an experiment he proposes to test it.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Libet#Conscious_Mental_Field_Theory

I don't know if my version of the book is the same as Don's, but on this website there is a interesting forward to the book that discusses the basis of choice in applying the veto power or after one becomes conscious of what wants or is intending to do. I will post the entire forward since he never seems to follow my links.


 
  F O R E W O R D

I just typed the word “consciousness” into the search engine in Amazon.com, and it returned 2,670 titles. If I wait a few weeks, there will probably be more. Does the world really need another book on consciousness? Yes—if we are talking about the one you are holding in your hands, right now. This book is strikingly different from most of the others in one key respect: It focuses on empirical discoveries, not speculation or argument.  Benjamin Libet has an enviable track record of producing solid empirical findings about the relationship between neural events and consciousness. And these findings are not simply reliable— they are also surprising. His discoveries were at first controversial, but have withstood the test of time. Surprising findings play a special role in science, given that they (by definition) upset the apple cart of conventional wisdom. His results must now be explained by any theory of consciousness and its neural underpinnings. This book gathers together Libet’s contributions in one place, and puts them in context.
 

Libet’s work has focused on temporal relations between neural events and experience. He is famous in part for discovering that we unconsciously decide to act well before we think we’ve made the decision to act. This finding has major implications for one of the deepest problems in philosophy and psychology,namely the problem of “free will.”First, a brief overview of the basic discovery: Libet asked people to move their wrist at a time of their choosing. The participants were asked to look at a moving dot that indicated the time, and note the precise time when they decided to flex their wrist. The participants reported having the intention about 200milliseconds before they actually began to move. Libet also measured the “readiness potential” in the brain, which is revealed by activity recorded from the supplementary motor area of the brain (which is involved in controlling movements). This readiness potential occurred some 550 milliseconds before the action began. The brain events that produced the movement thus occurred about 350 milliseconds before the participant was aware of having made a decision. Libet shows that this disparity is not simply due to extra time required to note and report the time.

Why is this finding important? Consider two reasons: First, on the face of things, the finding suggests that being conscious of having made a decision might be best thought of as a result of brain processes that actually do the work, rather than as part of the causal chain of events leading up to a decision. Second,Libet points out that even if a movement were initiated by unconscious forces, there is nevertheless ample time to veto an act, once one is aware of one’s intentions. Libet believes that  this observation keeps the door open for traditional notions of “free will.”
 
But does it? Consider an argument against free will, based on one developed in detail by Strawson
1. At birth, one’s thoughts, feelings and behavior are deter-mined by genes, prenatal learning, and environmental stimuli.
2. Subsequent thoughts, feelings and behavior are built on the foundation present at birth—they are determined by one’s genes, learning history, and present stimuli. All decisions and choices are based on reasons, and those reasons are a direct result of one’s accumulation of experience, as modulated by genetic factors.
3. If one tries to change oneself, both the goals and methods of such change are themselves determined by genes, previous learning, and current environmental stimuli. What one can be is determined by what one already is.
4. Adding random factors would not confer free will. Klein(2002; Stapp, 2001; and others) notes that simply adding indeterminacy to a system does not make its actions free if they are not already free. In fact, adding randomness decreases freedom rather than increasing it. “Random behavior” is not “free will.”
5. Thus, this argument goes, there’s no free will to be exercised during the interval between when one becomes aware of an impending action and one performs it. Whether or not you will squelch the action is as determined as are the factors that initiate the action in the first place. Even if one has time to override one’s unconscious urges, there’s no free will at work if one’s conscious decisions are themselves determined(cf. Wegner, 2002). Libet’s “time to veto” no more confers the opportunity to exercise of free will than the time between put-ting eggs on the skittle and waiting for them to fry provides the eggs with the opportunity not to cook.

Nevertheless, at least to my mind, something smells right about Libet’s proposal. In particular, the opposite of being “determined” is not necessarily being “random.” Klein (2002) notes that classical deterministic views are rooted in a world view that is not in fact correct. Many events in the real world are not like pool balls, hitting one another and careening off the sides of the table in predictable ways. We know that many physical systems have chaotic elements: The way they respond to a perturbation depends on tiny—in principle, never precisely measurable—differences in their start state. Freeman (2000) and others have shown that at least some aspects of brain function are best conceived as such systems. Is it possible that the very nature of the brain confers free will? Kane (1996) has suggested as much,and I will summarize a version of the type of view he advocates(although he focuses on process that may occur when one is faced with difficult decisions, the basic ideas can be extended further).Let’s consider one possible way in which this feature of the brain may keep the door open for Libet’s idea.

1. Libet is right to focus on consciousness when theorizing about free will: In order to employ free will, one must evaluate information in working memory. Such information includes the alternative choices, the rationales for each, and the anticipated consequences of making each choice (although not all this information must be in working memory at the same time). If an external force coerces us, or we are operating on “automatic pilot,” we are not exercising free will.

2. The rationales and anticipated consequences—and even, depending on the situation, the alternative courses of action—are not simply “looked up” in memory, having been stashed away like notes in a file after previous encounters. Rather, one constructs rationales and anticipated consequences, as appropriate for the specific situation at hand. This construction process may rely in part on chaotic processes. Such processes are not entirely determined by one’s learning history (even as filtered by one’s genes). By analogy, consider the path of a raindrop dribbling down a pane of glass. It zigs, it zags, tracing a path best explained with the aid of chaotic principles. The same raindrop,striking precisely the same place on that pane on a warmer day(which would cause the glass to be in a slightly different state)would take a different path. In chaotic systems, very small differences in start state can produce large differences downstream.The pane of glass is like the state of the brain at any instant. Depending on what one was just thinking about, the brain is in a different “start state” (i.e., different information is partially activated, different associations are primed) when one constructs rationales and anticipated consequences—which will affect how one decides. (Note that this idea does not simply move the problem back a step: What one was just thinking itself was in part a result of non deterministic processes.) Our thoughts, feelings and behavior are not determined; we can have novel insights as well as “second thoughts.”

3. Given the choices, rationales, and anticipated consequences,one decides what do on the basis of “what one is” (mentally speaking, to use Strawson’s term, which includes one’s knowledge, goals, values, and beliefs). “What one is” consists in part of information in memory, which plays a key role in the processes that construct the alternatives, rationales, and anticipated  consequences. In addition, “what one is” governs how one actually makes the decisions. And making that decision and experiencing the actual consequences in turn modifies “what one is,”which then affects both how one constructs alternatives, rationales and anticipated consequences and how one makes decisions in the future. Thus, with time one’s decisions construct what one is. We are not simply accumulators of environmental events, fil-tered by our genetic make-ups. We bring something novel and unique to each situation—ourselves. Nietzsche (1886, as quoted in Strawson, 1994, p. 15) commented, “The causa sui is the best self-contradiction that has been conceived so far.” Maybe not.

4. This brings us back to the implications of Libet’s discovery,and suggests a way in which we can exercise free will during that crucial interval between when we become aware of that action and the action begins: The sum of “what one is” leads one to make a specific decision. Such a decision can occur unconsciously, and initiate an action. However, upon realizing that one is about to perform a specific act, one can consider its likely consequences and the rationales pro and con for performing that act; this information is constructed on the spot, and is not present during unconscious processing. And, based on “what one is,”one then can decide not to move ahead—or, if the action has begun, one can decide to squelch it (and thus one is not limited to the 200 milliseconds Libet has measured). As Libet notes, we can in fact veto an action, and that decision is not a foregone conclusion. We make decisions for reasons, and those reasons are our reasons.

Libet has made a fundamental discovery. If the timing of mental events is as he describes, then we not only have “freewill” in principle—but we also have the opportunity to exercise that free will.The ideas I’ve briefly sketched are variants of many others (cf.Kane, 1996), and address issues that have been discussed (some-times heatedly) for thousands of years. I’ve not mentioned the issue of “ultimate responsibility”—whether one is completely responsible for “what one is.” Given that one cannot control the genetic cards one’s parents dealt one, the sense of “free will” developed here seems to go only so far. However, Libet’s veto idea leads us to take a step back, and reframe the question: Instead of asking whether one is “ultimately responsible” for every aspect of what one is, why not ask whether one is “proximally responsible” for the effects
 of every aspect of what one is on what one does? Can we choose—based on what we’ve chosen to be-come—to override some impulses and express others?

I hope these brief reflections have conveyed two essential points. The first is that these are extraordinarily knotty issues,and the question of the role of consciousness in free will is not likely to be resolved soon. And the second is that we are entering a new era in discussing such questions. No longer are we restricted to the arm chair and the silver tongue. We now have objective data. This book makes a crucial contribution in providing grist for the mill of anyone interested in consciousness, free will,responsibility, or the relation of mind and body.I hope you enjoy reading this book as much as I did.


S. M. Kosslyn
« Last Edit: 14/12/2014 17:28:31 by cheryl j »
 

Offline DonQuichotte

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The wikipedia article has a good summary of Libet's work, and CMF theory, as well as an experiment he proposes to test it.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Libet#Conscious_Mental_Field_Theory

I don't know if my version of the book is the same as Don's, but on this website there is a interesting forward to the book that discusses the basis of choice in applying the veto power or after one becomes conscious of what wants or is intending to do. I will post the entire forward since he never seems to follow my links

What 's your point , Cheryl ?
You could have just displayed that wiki link in question .
I have read most of that book , so, what's your point then ?
Libet assumed that consciousness was an emergent phenomena ,that's what that theory of his was all about .

He just replaced the materialistic magical identity theory with yet another inexplicable magic : consciousness as an alleged emergent phenomena .

Consciousness cannot be an emergent phenomena though : we have already talked about that on many occasions , on that lengthy consciousness thread : even Cooper did reject it .

Why don't you react to the following from that same book ?,regarding the materialistic identity theory that's just a matter of belief , no scientific theory  :

"Mind Time ,The Temporal Factor in Consciousness -Benjamin Libet" : "General Views on Mind and Matter ":

Quote : "At one pole is the determinist materialist position. In this philosophy, observable matter is the only reality and everything, including thought, will, and feeling, can be explained only in terms of matter and the natural laws that govern matter. The eminent scientist Francis Crick (codiscoverer of the genetic molecular code) states this view elegantly (Crick and Koch, 1998):

“You, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions,
your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules. As Lewis Carroll’s Alice might have phrased it: ‘You’re nothing but a pack of neurons (nerve cells).’”
According to this determinist view, your awareness of yourself and the world around you is simply the by-product or epiphenomenon of neuronal activities, with no independent ability to affect or control neuronal activities.

Is this position a “proven” scientific theory? I shall state, straight out, that this determinist materialist view is a belief system; it is not a scientific theory that has been verified by direct tests. It is true that scientific discoveries have increasingly produced powerful evidence for the ways in which mental abilities, and even the nature of one’s personality, are dependent on, and can be controlled by, specific structures and functions of the brain.

 However, the nonphysical nature of subjective awareness, including the feelings of spirituality, creativity, conscious will, and imagination, is not describable or explainable directly by the physical evidence alone.
As a neuroscientist investigating these issues for more than thirty years, I can say that these subjective phenomena are not predictable by knowledge of neuronal function.

 This is in contrast to my earlier views as a young scientist, when I believed in the validity of determinist materialism. That was before I began my research on brain processes in conscious experience, at age 40. There is no guarantee that the phenomenon of awareness and its concomitants will be explainable in terms of presently known physics.

In fact, conscious mental phenomena are not reducible to or explicable by knowledge of nerve cell activities. You could look into the brain and see nerve cell interconnections and neural messages popping about in immense profusion. But you would not observe any conscious mental subjective phenomena. Only a report by the individual who is experiencing such phenomena could tell you about them.

Francis Crick demonstrated his scientific credentials by terming
his physicalist-determinist view an “astonishing hypothesis,” awaiting future developments that might produce more ade-quate answers. But many scientists and philosophers appear not to realize that their rigid view that determinism is valid is still based on faith. They really don’t have the answer.

Actually, even the nonmental physical world exhibits uncertainties (quantum theory) as well as chaotic behaviors that make a deterministic predictability of events impossible. At a small conference on these issues, the eminent theoretical physicist Eugene Wigner was asked whether physics could ever explain consciousness.
Wigner replied, “Physics can’t even explain physics,” let alone consciousness.
 The more meaningful question, therefore, would be: Does the phenomenon of conscious experience, and its relation to the physical brain, fully obey the known rules and laws of the physical world? (More on this later.).

At the opposite pole from determinist materialism are beliefs that the mind is separable from the brain (dualism). A religious version of dualism may maintain a belief in the existence of a soul that is somehow part of the body during life, but can separate and take off to variously defined destinations of immortality after death.
I shall state, at once, that the latter is absolutely tenable as a belief.

The same is true for most other philosophical and religious proposals. There is nothing in all of scientific evidence that directly contradicts such beliefs. Indeed, they do not fall within the purview of scientific knowledge (see Karl Popper’s position, described earlier).
A beautiful example of the scientific process was given by Einstein’s
proposal that light is subject to the same gravitational influences as matter.

 However, to demonstrate the gravitational effect on light requires that the light pass near an object of immense mass, one far greater than that available on earth. The difficulty in providing a proper test prevented full acceptance of Einstein’s proposal. Fortunately, around 1920 a complete solar eclipse occurred.

The light from a star located on the other side of the sun passed near the sun on its way to earth and was visible during the eclipse. Indeed, the star’s apparent position was altered, as the light was bent from its path by the “pull” of the sun. Had the light not been bent, Einstein’s proposal would have been falsified (contradicted)..." End quote
 

Offline DonQuichotte

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author=cheryl j link=topic=52526.msg446567#msg446567 date=1418573514]
"Mind-Time The Temporal Factor -Benjamin Libet" : "General Views on Mind and Matter ":
What aspect of his CFM theory would you like to discuss?

Your quotes are somewhat selective, I notice. He also says:
<...quotes directly contradicting Don's main thesis...>
Ouch! Yes, that looks like deliberately deceptive cherry-picking...

I will say that Don is correct in that Libet is critical of reductionist materialism, as expressed in the excerpt and else where in the book. Libet  does not automatically exclude the possibility of the immaterial or even things like souls, life after death, etc.

You've done your homework well, Cheryl, i see .
Quote
This seems to contradict Don's earlier claims that neuroscientists who rely on materialist methodologies like fMRIs, or attribute mental processes to brain activity, do so because they are incapable of grasping any non-materialist interpretation, rather than simply following the evidence.

(Prior note : Libet's theory of consciousness , in the sense that the latter allegedly was  just an emergent phenomena  from brain activity has not been supported by any empirical evidence whatsoever either : that was just Libet's interpretation of the evidence  :  Libet made the same lethal mistake that's been committed by most neuroscientists : confusing correlation with causation .)

lol

What are you talking about , Cheryl ?

Once again, post -materialistic science does embrace both the material and the immaterial alike in nature , needless to add .
Who then rejected studying the physical brain via fMRIs and other brain scans,via experiments  ...? : that's no materialist methodology , that's scientific methodology regarding the working of the physical brain .
Have you seen non-materialist neuroscientists like Beauregard rejecting brain scans...? Have you seen non -materialist cognitive scientist Schwartz doing that ? .....

The mind does work through its brain , so the latter's working must also be studied scientifically , needless to add .

Quote
Libet does not sound indoctrinated to me, nor afraid that considering the existence of the immaterial or criticizing materialism in any way will brand him as a nut case. But he does insist on evidence. He is an example of the kind of neuroscientist that Don claims doesn't exist.

Libet was just a rare exception to the rule ,like Penfield , Eccles , Sperry ...were .
Libet was a believer in the materialistic reductionist identity theory when he was a graduate student ,as he said in that above mentioned book of his , but he moved on beyond the former ,later on .

Libet was one of the exceptions to the rule : most ,if not all , materialist scientists never question their reductionist identity theory that's just a matter of belief , ever,let alone their materialist belief regarding the nature of reality : all is matter , including the mind , materialistic beliefs that have been supported by no empirical evidence whatsoever  .

Worse : materialism has been equated with science for relatively so long now and counting , without question, by the majority of scientists ..., to mention just the latter .

Worst: They assume that the reductionist IT has been supported by empirical evidence . lol

dlorde is 1 of those die-hard materialistic reductionists who still assume that the identity theory is not a belief , and hence it has been supported by empirical evidence . lol
« Last Edit: 14/12/2014 18:30:36 by DonQuichotte »
 

Offline dlorde

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The wikipedia article has a good summary of Libet's work, and CMF theory, as well as an experiment he proposes to test it.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Libet#Conscious_Mental_Field_Theory

I don't know if my version of the book is the same as Don's, but on this website there is a interesting forward to the book that discusses the basis of choice in applying the veto power or after one becomes conscious of what wants or is intending to do. I will post the entire forward since he never seems to follow my links.


An interesting foreword - although I couldn't help noticing that Kosslyn makes some basic errors -


The 5th paragraph of the Foreword surprisingly suggests that chaotic systems are not deterministic. They are - but, as he rightly says, they are not predictable. Benoit Mandelbrot and Edward Loenz originally developed the field of chaos theory, showing chaotic behaviour in simple non-linear deterministic mathematical systems (e.g. fractals and chaotic attractors). 


Numbered paragraph 2 defers free-will to chaos, but compounds the error of thinking it is not deterministic because of its unpredictability (or seemingly random influences). By confusing chaos with indeterminism, it further implies only non-deterministic systems can have novel insights, which is not the case.


Numbered paragraph 4 is also questionable when it says the veto (the 'free-won't') is 'constructed on the spot' (what does he mean by that? if he means unpremeditated, isn't he eliminating conscious deliberation?), and 'is not present during unconscious processing'; it is not clear that this latter is the case. There are arguments that the veto also involves unconscious decision-making, which follows ongoing subconscious modelling of the consequences of the initial action, of which we also subsequently become aware (the subconscious System 1 processing is highly parallel, unlike conscious System 2 processing). In other words, the initial decision is made subconsciously, while modeling of its consequences continues subconsciously, at some point throwing up a veto alarm (i.e. oops - bad idea!). We become consciously aware of the initial decision shortly before we become aware of the veto alarm which overrides and suppresses the initial decision to act.


It's possible to argue either way - that the systems involving conscious awareness coordinate the sequences of subconscious processing, or that they simply become aware of the results as they unfold, and arrogate agency for them; but it seems to me most likely that the 'veto alarm' does originate in subconscious processing, as in everyday experience it generally has that characteristic 'oops!' or 'oh-oh' lightbulb moment of conscious realisation (i.e. sometimes we become aware that we've caught ourselves in time to prevent a gaff, sometimes we become aware that we've made a gaff). This may not be so apparent in a lab setting, but, to be fair, the jury is still out on this one.


Nevertheless, if we drop the errors on chaos & determinism, and stick with the meat of his analysis, he's basically arguing for compatibilist free will - the uncoerced and unconstrained application of the experience,  knowledge, mental state, etc., that makes us who we are at and over the period in which we make a decision.

 

Offline DonQuichotte

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"Mind-Time The Temporal Factor -Benjamin Libet" : "General Views on Mind and Matter ":
What aspect of his CFM theory would you like to discuss?

Your quotes are somewhat selective, I notice. He also says:
<...quotes directly contradicting Don's main thesis...>
Ouch! Yes, that looks like deliberately deceptive cherry-picking...

Selective quotes ??? : You're the one who's selective in your reading of the above , ironically enough .
I have posted 2 Libet's excerpts : once concerning his rejection of the materialist identity theory that's just a belief , no scientific theory (no wonder that you did not like that : you still believe that the materialistic reductionist identity theory is a "scientific theory " that has " been supported by the available empirical evidence so far " lol ) ,concerning IT and more .

The second Libet's excerpt is about his rejection of behaviorist functionalism , positivism and more .

Libet's theory of consciousness that does take into consideration the relevance and evidence of the the first person subjective experience that's accessible only to the one experiencing it : positivism ,behaviorism and identity theory do reject the "unobserved " subjective experience ...

Read all that .

Since you are still a die-hard dogmatic materialist reductionist who has been taking his materialistic beliefs for granted as science , as Libet showed here above , i see no point in discussing Libet's theory or the mind -body problem with you ,what for ? .

Try to differentiate between materialist beliefs and science by distinguishing them from each other ,and hence by stopping to equate between them ,then and only then , we can progress in this debate .

 

Offline dlorde

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dlorde is 1 of those die-hard materialistic reductionists
I'll admit to being a physicalist with a predilection for type-physicalism (nomological monism), but I'm open to Davidson's anomalous monism if it can be shown to be useful; it's just an alternative interpretation.

My reasons are simply that there is no evidence to support a dualist view (and quantum field theory confirms there can be no mechanism), and all existing evidence is consistent with monism. This is hardly surprising, as the immaterial or non-physical by definition can't interact with the physical.

If you know different, you're welcome to provide convincing evidence. So far, your contributions have been notable for the complete absence of any such evidence. 
 

Offline DonQuichotte

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author=alancalverd link=topic=52526.msg446498#msg446498 date=1418482520]
Quote
"Bell’s theorem and the experiments it fostered are responsible. They
did more than confirm the weird predictions of quantum theory.

But quantum theory is entirely materialistic. It's all about the observed behaviour of real stuff. What nonmaterialistic predictions did these experiments confirm?

What "real " stuff ?: Bell's theorem and its related experiments did challenge the very concept of classical "reality " or realism, locality and more ...did prove Einstein to be wrong and Bohr to be right ,in that famous EPR argument of theirs ...

Nobel laureate Bohr's son even denies the very existence of the quantum world as such : extreme Copenhagen interpretation .

QM or modern physics in general are all about "physical material"  phenomena .
Materialism is somethingelse entirely different : materialism is just a false conception of nature that reduces everything to just matter or to just material processes , not to mention that QM can never be understood without reference to the mind , once again .
You're still unable to differentiate between 2 simple concepts : between the material or physical reality , and between ...materialism .


Quote
And note that later in the paragraph "observation" is in quotation marks. It doesn't mean observation by a conscious being.

So, you're denying the very existence as such of the measurement problem in QM , once again ?

Whatever .Since the mind is non-physical and non-local ,and hence materialism is false , and since conscious observation has to be made at the end of the measurement chain in QM , then conscious observation has to have some effect on the measured objects,as Von Neumann proved  .

See what this prominent idealist monist quantum physicist has to say on the subject :

He thinks that the so-called physical reality is just an illusion : all is mind : the very opposite of materialism : all is matter :

He thinks that "matter " does exist as just wave-like probabilities , eventualities , possibilities ...waiting to be actualized by the very act of conscious observation ...:

http://www.amitgoswami.org/


« Last Edit: 14/12/2014 19:16:44 by DonQuichotte »
 

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