From ggglobus@UCI.EDU Thu Mar 4 07:31:57 1999
Date: Tue, 2 Mar 1999 23:32:53 -0800
From: gordon g globus
Subject: [q-mind] On Sarfatti's "refutation" of Stapp--Henry Stapp
From: Henry Stapp
Subject: Re; [q-mind] Refutation of Stapp's Orthodox QM Theory of Consciousness
Stapp replies to Sarfatti
[Jack]
On second reading I find that Henry's position above is logically
inconsistent within the explanatory framework, or paradigm, of my
heuristic formulation of post-quantum physics.
[Stapp]
Inconsistency with your position is not a "refutation"of mine.
But in any case, I think you have missed some essential points, and that
clarifications might be useful.
[Jack]
Henry is correct in this sense that the notion of consciousness is
built into Copenhagen from the git-go. But, it is built in as a
primitive axiom that cannot be explained in any sense within the
Copenhagen Interpretation.
[Stapp]
Any theory must start somewhere. The postulate that conscious
experiences exist is reasonable primitive postulate: denying it seems
nonsensical.
[Jack]
The Copenhagen
Interpretation is simply the approximation that "the wave function
has no sources" (Bohm and Hiley, p.30 & 14.6).
[Stapp]
It is indeed true, as Bohm & Hiley point out, that a wave function evolving
in accordance with the Schroedinger equation has no source. But is that trivial
fact the same thing as the Copenhagen Interpretation that has been
expounded and debated by philosophers and scientists for seventy years, and
that Einstein claimed he could not understand? I think Einstein, after thirty
years of pondering, been able to understand the trivial fact that the
Schroedinger equation has no source term.
Where is there in the absence of the source term, the crucial
assertion that that the whole theory has no ontological content and is about
``our knowledge''.
I stress this point because it lies right at the heart of the difference
between my Copenhagen/vonN/W orthodox approach and your more mechanical
approach, and any attempt to trivialize it will miss a profound aspect of the
orthodox position.
[Jack]
So there are two levels.
One, setting up the Heisenberg Choice. That is, selection of the
relevant physical basis of eigenfunctions dictated by "the total
experimental arrangement".
Two, setting up the Dirac Choice. That is, selection of the particular
set of complex coefficients in the coherent superposition over the
Heisenberg Choice (aka implicate frame of reference in the Hilbert
space).
[Stapp]
This misses my main point. In idealized Bohm theory, for example, one
assumes that a good measurement condition has come into being and that
this causes the wave function in configuration space to divide into disjoint
"branches" that correspond to different experiences. But it is a rigorous
consequence of the Schroedinger equation that Psi (t, x_1, ...x_n) cannot
vanish on any open set in 3n+1 space. So their cannot be any exact separation
into branches with disjoint supports. So what happens in the brain to define
the
distinct branches associated with distinct possible experiences? The
Schroedinger dynamics alone seems inadequate.
In your theory one could say that the "back-action" adds an
extra force that separates the wave function into distinct branches that
correspond to distinct experiences. Would this bring `experience'
in in some way, or would the experiences be a by-product of forces that are
defined without reference to "experience"? Is the correspondence between
disjoint branches and distinct experiences something that needs to refer to
the possible experiences?
So there seems to be a very real possibility that the brain state would not
just
divide, by virtue of the Schroedinger equation, into disjoint branches that
correspond to different experiences. You have your back action that might
come to the rescue. But I need something that specifies the separation
of the brain state into different possibilities corresponding different
possible experiences. In my terminology, I need a process that poses
a question that corresponds on the one hand to a possible experience,
and on the other hand to a projection operator P that projects onto
brain states in which the neural correlate of that experience is excited.
[Jack]
"Probability" is used in the "ensemble" sense as a frequency. Given N
identical simple systems completely independent of each other, e.g. no
entanglements among members of the ensemble are permitted.
.....
But the point here is that this whole explanatory
framework, at the foundation of Stapp's attempt at an orthodox theory of
consciousness, is totally inappropriate to explaining the consciousness
in a unique living human brain with a unique complex personality, set of
memories etc. Henry is over-extrapolating a limiting case of a more
general theory.
[Stapp]
The orthodox stance as regard the objective probabilities that occur in
quantum theory is that they refer to the individual quantum system:
in Heisenberg's language they are objective tendencies, or potentia: in
Popper's
language they propensities. Predictions involving these statistical weights
are TESTED by looking, for example, at similarly prepared systems. But they
are supposed to be a property of the individual system, specifying how it is
likely to respond to a question put to nature. I believe that the individual
answer
in an individual case must be determined by some aspect of the entire universe,
but that our lack of knowledge about, say, distant parts of the universe,
renders
a statistical answer the only one currently --- and perhaps ever ---
achievable by us. The issue here is: what exactly is it that determines what
actually happens in the individual case. Bohm's idea is that this answer is
determined by some microscopic classical world that lies behind the
phenomena, whereas the orthodox position is that the important thing
is the structure that determines what we can predict or know, and that
this is contained in the quantum mechanical description: that the many
conceivable more detailed models that reproduce these predictions may
be less real than an objective structure that specifies all we can ever know.
[Jack]
In post-quantum theory, the Heisenberg Choices correspond to the shape
of the landscape of basins of attractors for the paths of the Bohm
points through their configuration space.
[Stapp]
Are different basins connected to different experiences? How is such
a connection ensured?
[Jack]
The Dirac Choice is simply the
movement of a single Bohm point into this or that attractive basin. It's
as simple as that.
[Stapp}
Not quite so simple: If all that is involved is a Bohm point moving into
a basin, in accordance to specific equations then why is there any need for an
experience to occur?
[Jack]
The landscape is from the quantum potential Q in the
nonrelativistic limit of Galilean relativity. Q is built from the
modulus of the total complex-valued wave function. Henry never
formulates his theory using either special or general relativity.
[Stapp]
Orthodox theory rests on relativistic quantum field theory:
that is the foundation, and it encompassed special relativity.
Physicists [ e.g., D. Duerr, F. Faisal] have not succeeded in making
Bohmian mechanics compatible with special relativity.
{Jack]
First, ....[a long description involving a micro-scopic model follows involving
many features but no equations]
[Stapp]
Is this physics or poetry? Are you evading the contention of quantum
theory that all testable predictions are imbedded in the variables of usual
quantum description? ]
[Jack]
Conservation of total quantum probability will be violated in the
presence of back-action. ...
This means that the notion of quantum probability itself is
breaking down. In fact, the notion of an ensemble is totally
inappropriate to explaining conscious experience in a single complex
living brain. This is the basic reason that Henry's strictly orthodox
attempt is wrong-headed IMHO. Consciousness is there in his model, but
as a primitive axiom.
[Stapp]
Probability enters orthodox QM as propensity [potentia, objective tendency]
in the individual case. Reduction in the orthodox theory involves a break
in the probability-conserving unitary evolution. Your back=action is doing
the same thing.
Orthodox theory does put conscious experience in as basic. I do not see how
it come into your theory at all. A trajectory falling into a basin does not
logically entail the existence of a corresponding experience. That stipulation
must be added. But if it is not put in as a basic reality then how can it be
deduced from mechanics.?
[Jack}
The real beauty and power of Bohm's ontology is that it is a theory of
individuals not ensembles.
{Stapp]
Bohr and Heisenberg repeatedly stress that the quantum state S is the
description of the individual system, and the vN/W state is the state of the
whole individual actual universe.
[Jack]
So imagine a single Bohm point of the
complexity of the human brain. Forget ensembles of simple systems
prepared in an initial Born probability distribution. That is totally
irrelevant.
[Stapp]
But then the Bohmian world W could be on a extremely unlikely
trajectory such that motion in accordance with your rules
(supposed now to be actually specified in some way) would not
give the usual statistical results of quantum theory.
[Jack]
Back-action is the generator of conscious experiences. Why?
Because of Wigner's definition of consciousness. Consciousness,
according to Wigner, is the reaction of matter on mind.
[Stapp}
What is Mind?
[Jack]
Intent is the action of mind on matter.
[Stapp]
Sounds suspiciously like you may be bringing in "Mind"
as a primitive.
[Jack}
Post-quantum theory stipulates in its axioms
that "mind" = quantum information landscape and "matter" = Bohm point
attached to that mental quantum landscape.
[Stapp]
Formal definitions can never get you to the consciousness experiences that we
actually have if these things are not part of the basic framework.
My formulation is that the vN/W state of the universe represents objective
properties of a reality that includes our conscious experiences, and that
the rules of orthodox quantum theory give sound predictions about
correlations between our conscious experiences.
[Jack]
This is natural if you read
Bohm and Hiley or http://hia.com/pcr/vigier/slides/Vigier.HTM Remember,
in the orthodox case, the evolution of the shape of the landscape is
strictly deteministic. Determinism breaks down in post-quantum theory.
Determinism is replaced by "self-determination" i.e., the "two-way
relation between wave and particle (Bohm and Hiley) is a mutual
co-evolution of mind and brain "tweaked" (Stuart Kauffman) by the
sources of environmental decoherence (including Penrose's "OR"). That
is, the shape of the mental landscape, its portrait of basins of
attractors, aka Heisenberg Choices and its sequence of Dirac Choices,
i.e. path of the one unique complex adaptive material brain
configuration, the Bohm point, mutually co-determine each other tweaked
by environmental decoherence. There is no more vagueness in exactly what
is making the Heisenberg Choice. The Dirac Choice makes the Heisenberg
Choice and vice-versa, both ways in time, forming a globally
trans-temporal self-consistent self-determining nonunitary post-quantum
"creative evolution" (Henri Bergson). Viewed from the outside, we have a
sentient self-organizing complex individual adapting to Darwinian
natural selection pressures (environmental decoherence). Probability is
irrelevant at this high complexity level of coherent undivided
wholeness. I have the whole shmear.
[Stapp]
Wow, Jack.