The Magical Quantum Post – A Response to Martymer81

Video this is a response to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7WusCyD_eTc

So Martymer81, a popular youtube atheist who responds to theists, but who I admire for his attacks on pseudoscientific ideas, has decided to respond to my video Quantum physics debunks Materialism. For the most part he doesn’t come across as rude or arrogant, even though at specific times it seems that way. But he says he’ll try not to be, so I can look past those specific times. However, his response seemed to attack my points by mischaracterizing them. Raatz also did a video response and noted a lot of the same ideas as I did:

So lets dive in and look at his points:

Ending at 2:30 his first point is nit-picky and I hardly see why it needed to be pointed out. I agree with that and don’t see how it contradicted my definition of realism. I agree that realism would be a system that exists in a distinct state even if it is not observed. I did say in my video that realism is the idea that “physical reality exist independent of observers.” I don’t see how different these are, as I go on throughout the video to pretty much define realism as this. Minor point though.

Ending at 3:36 – Unfortunately, he starts out directly misunderstanding what I am saying in my video. He claims that I say observation brings the entire system into existence. But that is not what I said. Of course something exists prior to observation. We would argue that would be information. What I said (and he put on the screen) was, “The conclusion was drawn that the very act of observing caused the wave function to collapse and create the existence of matter either in the state of particles or as a wave.” I would like to ask him where I said observation creates the whole system, because I clearly said it only “creates the existence of matter either in the state of particles or as a wave.” If he can’t listen to what I actually said, and reword things, then he shouldn’t be trying to criticize my video. This is an odd mistake since he flashed my words on the screen and then attacked something I never said.

Raatz and I are pointing out that quantum states do not exist as particles or waves prior to measurement. The state of the system is information, and appearance of particles comes about from that system depending on what we choose to measure. Didn’t he notice the quotes that followed this section from Rosenblum and Kuttner?

“The waviness in a region is the probability of finding the object in a particular place. We must be careful: The waviness is not the probability of the object being in a particular place. There is a crucial difference here! The object was not there before you found it there.1

Here is another from Heisenberg, “. . . the atoms or elementary particles themselves are not real; they form a world of potentialities or possibilities rather than one of things or facts.2

Ending at 4:19 – Here we go… Marty accuses me of misunderstanding what the wavefunction is, and then takes it to be that of the neo-copenhagenist understanding. On the screen he flashes this, “A wave function tells us the probability of finding the system in a particular state.” This is similar to what Dirac advanced, that the wavefunction just represents our available knowledge of the system, not an ontological claim. Well this is useful in the Copenhagen interpretation for practical usage. But, if I misunderstood the Schrodinger equation as it pertains to the orthodox interpretation or quantum information theory, then perhaps Rosenblum and Kuttner did as well. Allow me to read what they say:

“Quantum probability, waviness, on the other hand, is mysteriously objective; it’s the same for everyone. The wavefunction is the whole story: The standard quantum description has no atom in addition to the wavefunction of the atom. As a leading quantum physics text would have it, the term “the wavefunction of the atom” is synonym for “the atom. If someone looked in a particular spot and happened to see the atom there, that looked “collapsed” the spread out waviness of that atom to be wholly at that particular spot.3

If you read the surrounding the context, they keep iterating the point “Observing the particle creates it being there,” “the atom’s widely spread out wavefunction to be concentrated at that spot on the screen.” All I do is borrow the same language they used for my video. People sometimes ask me why I fill my videos with quotes from experts. Well the answer is simple: if skeptics are going to say I am wrong on a point, then you are going to say the physicists and philosophers are wrong as well. All I do is stand on their shoulders. Also, we are not saying the wavefunction is that of a physical objection like wave in space-time, but information prior space-time.

Ending at 6:34 – It seems all he is doing is just saying the same thing as I am in different words. Raatz said this in his video as well. I find nothing wrong with this section and wonder where he think I disagree. He rightly points out that Bell’s inequality shows we can only have a theory that either violates locality or have hidden variables. What I said was “If this inequality was shown to be false then the local hidden variable theories would be debunked…” So the idea of having both locality and realism (local realism) would be false. No where do I disagree with him on this as I said, “local hidden variable theories.”

Ending at 7:10 – Here he attacks the idealist understanding of the violation of Bell’s inequality. He says it is wrong to say that only from the violation of Bell inequality we can infer that observation defines the properties particles have. Now I agree, as you can avoid it through loopholes, which were closed later. One could avoid that (as John Bell did) with violating relativity and using faster than speed of light signals. However, the violation of Leggett’s inequality in 2007 takes away that last bit of freedom.

Remember, I am going off the argument that the idealistic view is still the best understanding of this. So of course I will conclude observation is what is giving particles their properties instead of non-local hidden variables or other metaphysical interpretations, which I would argue are ad hoc and suffer problems from later experiments that I get to in the next section of my video.

Ending at 8:39 – Now he is challenging the claim that the observer needs to be conscious. But he never actually explains why this is wrong, he just says it is wrong and moves on. Well if that is his argument I guess there is not much to point other than he doesn’t have one. I was absolutely sure one was going to follow and I was ready to respond with failures of decoherence, employing von Neumann’s work, etc. But unfortunately he didn’t offer an argument, so there is nothing more that needs to be said and all I’ll note is this will be addressed in a later video called “The Measurement Problem.” Expect it this August. In actuality all interaction constitutes as measurement but that doesn’t change the implications of the von Neumann chain and the need for a mechanism to derive the Born Rule. Decoherence/interaction cannot do this. But again, this will be explained in my August video.

Ending at 10:16 – Marty makes the point that quantum effects disappear in macro objects, but I fail to see why this matters or where I disagree. The basic point I am trying to make here is that the macro-world is emergent from the quantum world. So the universe isn’t built by tiny particles that are fundamental and independent existing objects. The macro-world is an emergent phenomenon of an underlying reality. Of course the further in size you go up the smaller the probability spread gets and eventually converges to a classical limit. But this doesn’t mean the macro-world is a separate world with a different ontology, so if one tries to posit that they run into issues.

Second, on a bit of a side note, Anton Zeilinger has said that the effects of quantum mechanics may go quite far. In fact they may go further than we expect, but will have to wait and see. We have already demonstrated quantum effects with objects big enough to be seen by the naked eye:

http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100317/full/news.2010.130.html

http://www.wired.com/2009/09/quantum-entanglement/

Ending at 10:59 – Now, we get to the core of Marty’s position. He argues for the Many World Interpretation (MWI) of quantum mechanics, and argues that there is no interpretation of QM that makes fewer assumptions than MWI. Well, I can hardly agree, as I can point out that idealism posits much less, namely, only what we know to exist. Which is that consciousness exists (no one can deny that) and that there is a reality we experience and participate in. It is pretty simple, as it doesn’t need to posit extra substances from which the information comes from.

If we just look at the double slit experiment, what it seems to show us is that we decide how to measure the particle and therefore decide which properties they have, whether it is wave-like or particle-like. The 2011 confirmation of the Kochen-Specker theorem, and other recent experiments show us that what we perceive as reality now depends on our earlier decision of what to measure. So we cannot discount the input of the observer.

With that being said, all this idealist interpretation says is that this what reality is, namely information and consciousness (mind). Minds select one possibility to be actual from the only ‘information reality’ we know to exist. All you need to accept is that we exist and are conscious, and there is one reality, which are mathematical possibilities of what we could experience. Why posit these other possibilities are physically, real, existing worlds that we could never detect or know to exist, when it is simpler to say they exist as information, which is how we know them to be in the mathematics?

Why would it be more parsimonious to argue that the particle really has both sets of properties: one in our world and another in an undetectable world, and we are just measuring to find out which world we are in? The idealistic view is really just the philosophical implications of the pragmatic Copenhagen view. The Copenhagen interpretation was formulated as the most practical way to handle quantum mechanics. If the MWI is far simpler, then why didn’t the founders of quantum theory posit that to begin with? Instead they formulated the most practical way of handing it. All idealists like myself say, is that this practical solution is metaphysically true, and there is no need to posit anything else.

Also quick note, I never said the MWI posits one extra entity per world. I was referring to turning the countless abstract possibilities into a real thing. Minor point though.

With recent experiments like the confirmation of the Kochen-Specker, MWI advocates cannot deny the input of the observer is needed to play a role, so they have to assume some sort of superdeterminism, basically saying all our decisions in this ‘one world of many’ are somehow predetermined. Although it appears we are choosing the outcome, we are really not, and we are really just conforming to what is already set in this world.

However, that makes far more assumptions. Why not just agree that we are affecting reality as it appears in the experiments? Why add the assumption that this selection is an illusion? Why posit realism and then an ensemble of worlds we can never detect to save realism, instead of simply saying they are what we know them as, which is information? Why posit an interpretation that cannot be falsified? Where as, it is easy to falsify the idealistic view scientifically, simply with hidden variables, show that matter can act independently. It seems far more parsimonious.

Furthermore, idealism can go beyond collapse and explain other elements of reality, which Brian Whitworth explains and I addressed in my video, “Digital Physics Argument for God’s Existence.4” The MWI is only employed to explain collapse. It is incapable of explaining other areas of reality, unlike idealism. So if one employs it, then they still have to make extra assumptions to explain these other aspects of reality, which idealism has no problem explaining since it is akin to Whitworth’s virtual reality theory. I hardly see why Marty could say that the MWI can explain more with less.

The irony of all this is that he admits that none of this make sense when he says at 11:30, “Hey, it doesn’t have to make sense, just shut up and do the math.” If that is his mentality, then perhaps he really doesn’t have much faith in MWI, and I don’t blame him for that if it is true. I’d invite him to come over to idealism, where it can make sense. If he doesn’t want to take my word for it, then listen to an atheist:

Now quickly I want to address his assumptions he says we make:

  1. That wave functions are “real things”.

– Yes, and as I have described above it is not an actual wave in space-time but non-local information outside of space-time.

  1. That “real things” don’t exist, yet wave functions do.

-This is false, and I addressed in the beginning.

  1. That observation causes wave function collapse.
  2. …but only of the observer is conscious.

– Yes, and I gave plenty of evidence for why this must be so in my video and I am planning another one soon called “The Measurement Problem.”

  1. That consciousness is fundamental to reality.

– Yes, and basically, if idealism is true and matter is emergent I don’t see why this would be an extra assumption. It would be a consequence of monistic idealism.

Ending at 11:26 – He has made another odd mistake. I am not arguing the Copenhagen Interpretation, as that is just a pragmatic interpretation. I am arguing an idealistic view, based on von Neumann (orthodox) and Quantum Information Theory.

Ending at 11:45 – Well this is straw man. He makes the same remark about the wavefunction, which I addressed earlier, but then accuses me of arguing that no real objects exist. Where did I say there are no real objects? Clearly I would argue that minds exists and information exists. I didn’t say “no things” exist… I argue that matter doesn’t exist independent or fundamentally. It is an emergent illusion of underlying information. Even at that it still exists, just not how realist or materialists argue it does, but as an emergent illusion. So I never said real object do not exist.

Ending at 12:18 – Here we go, with the old contingency argument. Marty sadly decided to raise, what I honestly feel is the worst objection to theism: If God created reality who created God? This has been addressed so many times (even by atheist philosophers like Michael Ruse and Nicolas Everitt) that I can’t believe he would even try it. If he has never heard of the response to this, then allow me to sum it up for him.

God is defined as a necessary being, which basically means uncaused and eternal. Philosophers have pointed out for centuries that since contingent things exist, like us, our existence can only be explained by appealing to external causes. However, there has to be a first cause, an unmoved mover, which started this chain to begin with. Whatever this is, it would be necessary and not needing to be created. Now, I argued this more in-depth in my video, “The Leibnizian Cosmological Argument5“, but basically, when theists say that God is the first mover or creator, we are saying He is necessary and that would entail He doesn’t need a cause. He simply is. Just asking who created God is not a good argument and is in fact meaningless. Even Michael Ruse, in responding to Dawkins points out that this is a terrible objection:

Look at it this way, David Hume said the universe was necessary. If you would have gone to David Hume and tried to refute his theory that the universe was uncaused, by asking if the universe is the explanation for our existence then what created the universe, he would have simply replied he stated that universe is necessary and therefore didn’t need a creator. So this objection is meaningless. Sadly, I may need to do a video pointing this simple fact out because I keep hearing it…

12:35 – Marty tries to argue that the MWI is more parsimonious because we know one reality exists, so why couldn’t more exist? My question is: how does that follow that there are trillions and trillions more? We know one exists… how does that infer that there can be more? Just because something is, that doesn’t mean there ought to be more of them. I don’t see how that logically follows. This is like arguing with people who believe we have been visited by aliens, who have tried an argument on me, “life exists on this planet so there must be life on other planets.” Well that is fallacious to assume based on that reasoning. Perhaps there are good reasons to believe in aliens, but life on this planet doesn’t mean there is on others though. This argument he gives for the MWI commits his same error. I address the MWI more in-depth further above, but I just wanted to note here, the existence of our reality is in no way evidence of other worlds. It is only proof that our reality exists. To infer that there are others just from knowing ours exists is fallacious.

Next, all he does is presuppose physcialism, which would be question begging. I didn’t see any argument that matter produces mind, just the assumption. I argued throughout my video that it is mind from which the illusion of matter emerges based on the scientific evidence. To say that we cannot theorize a mind without a brain is question begging, in that it assumes physcialism from the start. I would argue we cannot experience matter without a mind. So Marty needs to argue that matter produces mind, not just assume it.

14:04 – I am not sure where he got this, but he accuses me of creating a false dichotomy. However, I didn’t create a false dichotomy. I didn’t say we pick one or the other: materialism or idealism. I said that science has buried materialism and inferred theism. That is not a false dichotomy. That is claiming that science has ruled out materialism and is favoring another view. So this is, once again, a mischaracterization. No where do I say we can pick only one of these two. My argument is that materialism is scientifically falsified and theism is the best inference. This obviously doesn’t rule out something like agnosticism.

He ends by saying that I resort to “magic’ to explain my interpretation. Well, he can claim “magic” all he wants like this is some sort of theistic witch hunt and all of us are the same, but I clearly don’t need to invoke ad hoc reasoning to respond. Furthermore, if I am going to also throw out cheap shots as well, then the MWI is just magic. How do these several worlds exist, never interact, and where did they come from? Magic? Or I could be nice and call it a misleading metaphysical interpretation. Calling it “magic” is not an argument, it is resorting to caricatures. If Marty wants to show that people don’t know what they are talking about, then he should rest primarily on arguments, not caricaturing.

Other than that I hope Marty continues to do videos because some of them I rather enjoy, even if I don’t fully agree with him.

 

 

 

Notes:

 

  1. Bruce Rosenblum & Fred Kuttner (2011) The Quantum Enigma 2nd Edition, Page 81
  2. Werner Heisenberg (1958) Physics and Philosophy, Page 160
  3. Bruce Rosenblum & Fred Kuttner (2011) The Quantum Enigma 2nd Edition, Page 83
  4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2Xsp4FRgas
  5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2ULF5WixMM
Advertisements

Quantum Physics Still Debunks Materialism – Refuting thePolyMath

Response to this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iuEHe_BK-oI

When a video starts out with a bunch of name calling, you know the video doesn’t have good arguments. The reason is because one has to bolster his arguments by trying to throw out a bunch of insults in an attempt to give the illusion that one’s opponents are beneath him. Calling someone a ‘fringe quack’ is not an argument. There was a time when the big bang was thought to be quackery, as well as the need for doctors to wash their hands. You need arguments and evidence to show why a theory is wrong, but name-calling doesn’t work. This seems to be the new tactic of some angry new atheists: just call quantum mechanics ‘woo woo’ and move on. It’s really hysterical when we cite scientific studies, and they come back with-name calling. ThePolymath decided to do an hour-long response to my video, “Quantum Physics Debunks Materialism” and that was pretty much what he did. There was little to no evidence given for why the video was wrong, and he didn’t even address many of my points. Here, I’m going to respond to his points (if you can call them that), and show how he failed in many several ways to debunk the video, or to give evidence of hidden variables, giving realism a leg to stand on. Perhaps next time, he should spend more time doing research instead of wasting time figuring out fun ways to insult someone he disagrees with.

Ending at 8:55 – He starts by getting technical and saying that when it comes to observation, “As a matter of physics, it cannot be a human observer, as our eyes are not sensitive enough to see the low intensity light that is frequently dealt with in these types of experiments.” That I agree. I thought it would have been obvious that we are not actually seeing subatomic particles, which is why in my original video I only say an observer makes measurement or an observation, never that we are ‘seeing’ particles. This technicality is hardly a problem for idealism and I’ll explain more in a moment with the decoherence project and the von Neumann chain, as you still need an observer to begin with.

But first, ending at 9:17 – He seems to accuse me of endorsing the pseudoscience documentary “What the Bleep do we know” by Fred Allen Wolf. But do I ever refer to Fred Allen Wolf or cite him in my original video? No, because he does take things too far. I merely use graphics from a documentary to explain the double slit experiment. I never endorse his work, nor do I say that I agree with him. This shows desperation if you have to get upset over the graphic choices I used, and jump to the conclusion that this means I endorse the documentary. Ironically, ThePolymath also uses graphics from the same documentary later in his video, so I guess he must support Wolf… In fact by his own reasoning he does agree with Fred Allen Wolfe.

Ending at 15:27 – Now as expected Polymath tries the interaction/decoherence argument, that observers are not needed to cause collapse to one definite state. But this has been dealt with so many times now. When two photons interact they will cause collapse, but that is only because one is connected back to conscious observer, through what is known as a von Neumann chain.1 When one photon is measured by another they entangle, which is what Bohr pointed out mathematically years ago. If one particle measures another it inherits part of it wave function, so to speak, and that particle (which is supposed to be measuring) cannot be fully explained without what it is measuring. So you need another measuring device to collapse that (initial measuring) particle to a definite state and so on and so on. This creates a chain of material objects in a superposition of measuring. Since quantum laws are what truly describe all material things some other particle or measuring apparatus always need to collapse the next one so it can also measure. You keep going back until you get to something non-local, outside the system, which escapes this chain by not being described by physical quantum laws, which is a conscious observer. And the observer cannot be fully described by quantum theory. I like the way the physicists Stephen Barr explains this:

             The surprising claim, however, is that this cannot be done. The observer is not totally describable by physics… If we could describe by the mathematics of quantum theory everything that happened in a measurement from beginning to end-that is, even up to the point where a definite outcome was obtained by the observer- then the mathematics would have to tell us what that definite outcome was. But this cannot be, for the mathematics of quantum theory will generally yield only probabilities. The actual definite result of the observation cannot emerge from the quantum calculation. And that says that something about the process of observation- and something about the observer- eludes the physical description.2

On top of that advocates of the decoherence project (that interaction will cause collapse without the conscious observer) admit this cannot fully explain why there is a collapse to one definite state and derive the Born Rule. E. Joos says, “Does decoherence solve the measurement problem? Clearly not. What decoherence tells us, is that certain objects appear classical when they are observed. But what is an observation? At some stage, we still have to apply the usual probability rules of quantum theory.”3 G. Bacciagaluppi  says, “Claims that simultaneously the measurement problem is real [and] decoherence solves it are confused at best.4

‪See more in this paper: http://arxiv.org/abs/quant-ph/0312059

Why would they say this? Well as, G. Grübl demonstrates in “The quantum measurement problem enhanced,” initial state environmental effects cannot explain the occurrence of definite experimental outcomes. The environment lacks the ability to choose between the possibilities in the wavefunction and choose one to be actual. Plus the environment is also described by the same quantum laws and has the same results. Thus is why Stephen Adler says “Decoherence, in the absence of a detailed theory showing that it leads to stochastic outcomes with the correct properties, has yet to achieve this status.”5 Even in “Preferred states, predictability, classicality and the environment-induced decoherence” Zurek refers to the observer being involved in the ultimate collapse.6

Interaction stems back from an observer’s ability to make “Heisenberg choice” (to use Henry Stapp’s terminology), which derives a “Dirac Choice” back from nature. That is how we can derive the Born Rule and get one actual outcome from the possibilities of the wavefunction. Only the observer has the ability to ‘choose’ (give a Heisenberg choice) between possibilities. Non-conscious measuring devices cannot. As Henry Stapp says:

 The observer in quantum theory does more than just read the recordings. He also chooses which question will be put to Nature: which aspect of nature his inquiry will probe. I call this important function of the observer ‘The Heisenberg Choice’, to contrast it with the ‘Dirac Choice’, which is the random choice on the part of Nature that Dirac emphasized.7

Niels Bohr said in reply to Einstein once said:

“To my mind, there is no other alternative than to admit that, in this field of experience, we are dealing with individual phenomena and that our possibilities of handling the measuring instruments allow us only to make a choice between the different complementary types of phenomena we want to study.”8 

Ending at 16:21- Here is tries to claim particles actually have properties prior to measurement. And of course, he provides no evidence for this hidden variable, or why we can choose what properties a particle has, as shown by the double slit experiment. How does the particle know what we are going to pick so it can conform to that?

He continues with this theme even though he provides no evidence, he just assume he is right. The problem is, in absence of observation, all we can speak of in regards to a photon is its wavefunction, which is a wave of possibilities rather than a real thing. As Niels Bohr said, “No elementary phenomenon is a phenomenon until it is a registered phenomenon.”9

As they point out in book, ‘The Quantum Enigma’, “Quantum probability is not the probability of where the atom is. It’s the objective probability of where you or anybody, will find it. The atom wasn’t someplace until it was observed to be there.”10

As Heisenberg said years ago: “. . . the atoms or elementary particles themselves are not real; they form a world of potentialities or possibilities rather than one of things or facts.”11 Unless there is evidence of some hidden variable, then how can someone even suggest that a particle has its properties prior to measurement? ThePolyMath doesn’t seem to care or provide any evidence for hidden variables.

But at 21:43 – He tries to quote Victor Stenger to say that particles have properties prior to measurement. However, Stenger never actually explains why this is so. He goes on for several minutes and concludes, “This whole thing is a total misunderstanding.” Okay… Why? Can skeptics not back up this claim, or it is easier to pretend it already has been?

You can call it what you like, but that doesn’t make it true. This would be as bad as if my argument was: “Idealism is true because Amit Goswami says so.” ThePolyMath fallaciously thinks he can just appeal to the opinion of Stenger and be done with it. It’s truly adorable.

Now, lets be clear before we move on. I am not attacking the use of referring to an expert here. That is fine. Quotes are a good way to provide support for your argument, but the key is using them to support an argument, not just saying “person X” disagrees with you, therefore you are wrong. It would have been fine if he gave an argument for hidden variables then quoted Stenger, or even vice-verse. But just relying on the beliefs of one physicist is not an argument.

Ending at 30:10 – He tries to say Haisch doesn’t support an idealist picture of reality, which is laughable! I don’t think he has read much of him. I’d recommend his book “The God Theory” even though I don’t entirely agree with his theology. But to say that astrophysicist Bernard Haisch doesn’t support the idea that mind is fundamental shows very poor research.

He also continues to claim that particles really have properties prior to measurement, but doesn’t really say how or why. In 1982, the violation of Bell’s inequality demonstrated that particles can obtain their properties instantly over a great distance, when the other entangled particle is measured by an observer. So what causes this if not the observer? Why does it just appear we can decide what properties a particle has, and cause non-local effects instantly? Why does observation just appear to collapse the wavefunction to a definite state every time, and even so non-locally?

John Bell theorized that maybe the particles can signal faster than the speed of light. This is what he advocated in his interview in “The Ghost in the Atom.” But the violation of Leggett’s inequality in 2007 takes away that possibility and rules out all non-local hidden variables.12 Observation instantly defines what properties a particle has and if you assume they had properties before we measured them, then you need evidence, because right now there is none which is why realism is dead, and materialism dies with it.

Ending at 30:16 – ThePolymath tries an ad hominem against Haisch here, which shows his desperation. Because Haisch believes some crazy stuff (in his view), he must be wrong about the violation of Leggett’s inequality. So how does that follow? To refute an argument you need evidence, not character assassination. ThePolymath fails to give any. Instead, he just moves on thinking he did his job.

Imagine if I said Dawkins is wrong on his philosophy because he is just a biologist and an atheist… That is pretty much what ThePolyMath does here. In my original video I merely use a video clip of Haisch talking about the 2007 violation of Leggett’s inequality, who is citing “The New Scientist magazine.” Nowhere did I say that I fully agree with Him; just that Leggett’s inequality was violated, and any testable hidden variable has been ruled out.

Ending at 32:37 – Things start to get interesting now. ThePolyMath becomes vague and obscure in his choice of words. He admits something interesting, which is that the knowledge of the properties a particle has, is inaccessible to us. Right! And so we must then ask why it appears that my choice of how to measure gives it a definite position. Are they really there when we don’t measure? If so, why can’t we find hidden variables showing that matter is not dependent on how we choose to measure?

Ending at 34:11 – He continues to remain vague and says something that I could not agree more with at this point. He directly says, “the system itself is information.” Why would this challenge idealism? I doubt he would agree with this claim metaphysically, but he never clarifies. We idealists would completely agree because all reality is information. I also love some of the other things he says before this, like “…in this sense the experimenter is preparing the wavefunction with an initial condition. It can be said that the “which path’ information of any quantum mechanical experiment reduces the state vector, simply because the preparation of the system at any point in time of observation is such that an amount of information which would tell you one of the many eigenstates or paths of the superposition is known to be the definite state or path.” So basically the observer prepares the wavefunction to yield one definite state, which is something I completely agree with. The observer chooses one possibility from the wave function to be actual. How is this challenging what I already said in my original video?

Also love how he says “in principle” we could of measured something different and obtained some other result, and I agree. This is actually the same thing taught in “The Quantum Enigma.” In principle we could of chosen a different possibility to be actual. How does any of this show particles have defined properties before we choose to measure them?

Ending at 36:02 – I almost laughed out loud at this point. Things really start to go down hill now (if they weren’t there already). In my original video I quote Anton Zeilinger talking about the implications of the Kochen-Specker theorem. That our notion of reality depends on our earlier decision of what to measure, which destroys the idea that matter acts independent of us. ThePolyMath says he agrees. Well, if he accepts that our notion of reality now depends on our earlier decision of what to measure, then he agrees that there are no hidden variable acting independent of us, which refutes his opinion (I can’t call it an argument because there was no evidence for it) he gave throughout the first half of a video: that measurement doesn’t give a particle it’s properties. So was he too lazy to go back and fix the first half? Whatever it is, we can’t avoid the implications of the Kochen-Specker theorem.

But he seems to think he can by arguing this doesn’t apply to the macro-world. Now if he’d actually cared to research this topic before thinking he can make a response video, he would’ve of watched the full interview with Zeilinger that I cited. He would have seen that Zeilinger was asked this very question next, no less than a few seconds later. So here ThePolyMath is caught once again doing very poor research. Zeilinger’s reply to question (whether or not the effects of the observer are limited to just quantum objects and not macro-objects) was, “As people say, this is comforting possibility, but there is no reason to believe that, nothing in this theory tells us that. There is no limit for the validity of Quantum mechanics and we and other groups are actually exploring how far can we go and I’m sure we will go to sizes that our quite surprising.” If ThePolyMath actually cared about research instead of just finding any way he thought might work to refute the overwhelming evidence for idealism, he wouldn’t have put his foot in his mouth by trying to argue they very thing that Zeilinger says is not possible in the next question of the interview.13

The Kochen-Specker theorem applies to all matter including the macro-world. Our notion of reality depends on our earlier decision of what to measure, and you cannot escape by positing a separation of the macro world, as Zeilinger points out. And if he agrees with this section, then what was he talking about in the first half of his video that properties of particles exist prior to measurement? As Zeilinger said in the interview (which appeared in my video and his response video), “…we know it is wrong to assume that the features of a system, which we observe in a measurement exist prior to measurement.” Case closed on hidden variables.

Ending at 39:03 – I am not sure if he remembers the video he is responding to. I directly cited several violations of the Leggett-Garg inequality. When he states the Leggett-Garg inequality has not been violated, he is just wrong. But he does say experiments, which show violations of the Leggett-Garg inequality, are criticized. OK… Why? What evidence can he give? Or is he just going to assume that is good enough? The recent violations are even harder to dismiss. Such as:

http://www.nature.com/news/2011/050411/full/news.2011.210.html

http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100317/full/news.2010.130.html

Why are these not violations and where is the line between the quantum and macro-world? Furthermore, there is no way around the fact that the macro-world is made of quantum objects. So the fundamental nature of reality stays quantum (indeterministic and dependent on observer’s input) and the macro-world is just an emergent illusion of this quantum world. That fits just fine into my worldview.

This idea of a dividing line as recently been challenged by Johannes Kofler and Caslav Brukner in a presentation titled “Macrorealism Emerging from Quantum Physics,” which I cited in my original video. As they say, it is conceptually different from the decoherence program but not dynamically. What they say is macrorealism emerges from quantum mechanics under coarse grain-measurements, not independent through a limit for large quantum numbers. Observation still affects macro-objects; we just don’t notice it because the effects are so small.

They argue, and I agree, it has more explanatory power as it can fully explain isolated systems and how macro-realism emerges. Where as the decoherence program has a hard time explaining the dividing line and how to explain why we observe one definite outcome. Coarse-grained measurements for macro-realism has more explanatory power so far, and fits with the frequent violations of the Leggett-Garg inequality.14

So continuing this, ending at 41:00 – I can stop laughing at this point? When Zeilinger was asked what the limit was on showing quantum effects on macro objects. He replied “Only Budget.”15 As I write, physicists are already planning experiments on mid-sized proteins and viruses and no one doubts that the results will be different than before. As I already said in my original video, quantum effects have already been demonstrated with macro-objects. There is no dividing line here. Macro-objects are quantum objects and this has been shown. Case Closed.

Ending at 46:17 – This shows his anger, bias, and ignorance. Nowhere did I see an argument here; just immature bully tactics. Obviously he has some personal anger issues he needs to work out. These arguments from quantum mechanics are really bothering him, and it appears more personal than ‘respectful disagreement’.

Schrodinger’s thought experiment about the cat was meant to show quantum mechanics was absurd and needed to be fixed, but as I already demonstrated in my videos with the experimental results, and as Michio Kaku pointed out: the answer is that this thought experimental is actually true in a sense. Matter, even macro-objections, are quantum objects and observation gives a definite outcome to one state. He has done nothing to show this is false.

Naming-calling is the tactic of children when they are outsmarted, and that is all he does here. So instead of refuting my original video he only reconfirms that he cannot and can only insult.

Second, this shows his bias. ThePolyMath’s thought process seems to be: scientific evidence is okay as long as it doesn’t support the existence of a God. This is not thinking objectively; this is presuppositional atheist apologetics, meaning all the evidence must favor his worldview, or something is wrong with it. If I am actually wrong, then he can show that with evidence, not presuppositional beliefs that science cannot provide evidence for theism no matter what.

Just before the end he throws up a slide saying that the words “mind” or “consciousness” do not appear in any of Zeilinger’s papers. Well, neither does idealism, but so what? ThePolyMath continues with his list of fallacies by now adding an argument from silence. Not using certain words doesn’t mean the evidence doesn’t favor the idealistic explanation. And I doubt he has ever read anything of Zeilinger papers, because Zeilinger use phrases like, “If the observer measures,” “No naive realistic picture is compatible with our results,” “one can actively choose whether or not to erase which-path information,” “achieved by independent active choices,” “Victor is free to choose” “we can actively delay the choice of measurement.” These are only a few phrases from two papers.16,17

To be fair Zeilinger, keeps his personal beliefs private, which I would prefer. He is a scientist, not a philosopher, and I believe he would prefer to present the findings of his results, and leave his personal view out of it. Nowhere do I say “Idealism is true because Zeilinger said so.” I merely cite his experimental results as evidence that idealism is true.

To conclude this response, I have one final thing. At the end, he tries to compare me to Deepak Chopra, which is an ad hominem. Although we would agree on many things, that doesn’t mean we agree on everything. Is ThePolymath actually thinking that these comparisons should be taken seriously? This is like if I said, “Stalin believes the earth is round, God doesn’t exist, and evolution is true. ThePolyMath believes the earth is round, God doesn’t exist, and evolution is true, therefore ThePolyMath is Stalin.” This a cheap shot, but we wouldn’t expect anything better from someone like ThePolyMath, who can’t give a coherent argument, and just resorts to insults as the basis of his argument. This is something you would get from someone in the first grade, not someone claiming to be intellectually honest. He should be ashamed and apologize for this. Of course he won’t, because of the pride and rage in him is obviously overpowering his intellectually honesty and reason, but I hope I will be wrong about this point. We’ll have to wait and see. To be honest, if he apologizes by taking down his video and re-uploading it without all the childish insults, I am willing to redo this blog post and make it sound more respectful, because I long for respectful, intellectual conversation. This mud-slinging is a disgrace.

He ends by saying (in comparing me to Chopra) “Would you really trust some who spews as much bullshit as he does?” Well, the different between ThePolyMath and myself is that I use evidence, scientific experiments, and quotes from the experts. He uses insults, opinions, and no evidence. So why would we trust someone like this guy, who can’t even give evidence for his worldview, and then throws a tantrum when the evidence is presented and contradicts his worldview? He can call it all BS, but that is not an argument. I’ll choose to follow the evidence. He can stay with his pseudoscience and continue to respond with anger.

 

 

Notes:

1. John von Neumann (1955) The Mathematical Foundations of Quantum Mechanics. Princeton: Princeton University Press

2. Stephen Barr (2003) Modern Physics and Ancient Faith. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame, Page 231.

3. E. Joos (2000). Decoherence: Theoretical, Experimental, and Conceptual Problems, Page 14.

4. G. Bacciagaluppi (23 April 2003) Lecture at workshop, Quantum Mechanics on a Large Scale, Vancouver. http://www.physics.ubc.ca/∼berciu/PHILIP/CONFERENCES/ PWI03/FILES/baccia.ps.

5. Stephen Adler (2002) Why Decoherence has not Solved the Measurement Problem: A Response to P.W. Anderson. http://arxiv.org/abs/quant-ph/0112095

6. Wojciech H. Zurek (1994) Preferred states, predictability, classicality and the environment-induced decoherence, Page 30 http://arxiv.org/abs/gr-qc/9402011

7. H. P. Stapp (1999) “Attention, intention, and will in quantum physics,” J. Consciousness Studies Page 21 http://arxiv.org/pdf/quant-ph/9905054v1.pdf

8. Niels Bohr (1951) “Discussions with Einstein on Epistemological Problems in Atomic Physics”

9. N. Bohr (1984) in Quantum Theory and Measurement, J. A. Wheeler and W. H. Zurek, Eds. Princeton University Press, Page 9-49.

10. Bruce Rosenblum & Fred Kuttner (2011) The Quantum Enigma 2nd Edition, Page 129

11. Werner Heisenberg  (1958) Physics and Philosophy, Page 160

12. Simon Groeblacher, Tomasz Paterek, Rainer Kaltenbaek, Caslav Brukner, Marek Żukowski, Markus Aspelmeyer, Anton Zeilinger (2007) “An experimental test of non-local realism” http://arxiv.org/pdf/0704.2529.pdf

13. See full interview here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LiNJRh2fxY8

14. See the presentation here: http://www.powershow.com/view/11ad57-NjM4M/Macroscopic_Realism_Emerging_from_Quantum_Physics_powerpoint_ppt_presentation

15. Bruce Rosenblum & Fred Kuttner (2011) The Quantum Enigma 2nd Edition, Page 156.

16. (2013) “Quantum erasure with causally disconnected choice” http://arxiv.org/pdf/1206.6578v2.pdf

17. (2012) “Experimental delayed-choice entanglement swapping” http://arxiv.org/pdf/1203.4834.pdf