If a tree falls in the forest etc.... Does the uncertainity principle require some form of consciousness to cause change. How can we ever know what exists or what happens, (if anything at all) if there is nothing there to observe or measure it. Are we only talking about human consciouness or does all life have consciouness.
Lots of questions and lots of opinions but few if any absolute answers as near as I can tell.
Here is some information on two guys who have studied this question in depth.
wikipedia on Penrsoe writes:
Physics and consciousness Penrose has written controversial books on the connection between fundamental physics and human consciousness. In The Emperor's New Mind (1989), he argues that known laws of physics are inadequate to explain the phenomenon of human consciousness. Penrose hints at the characteristics this new physics may have and specifies the requirements for a bridge between classical and quantum mechanics (what he terms correct quantum gravity, CQG). He argues against the viewpoint that the rational processes of the human mind are completely algorithmic and can thus be duplicated by a sufficiently complex computer -- this is in contrast to views, e.g., Biological Naturalism, that human behavior but not consciousness might be simulated. This is based on claims that human consciousness transcends formal logic systems because things such as the insolvability of the halting problem and GÃ¶del's incompleteness theorem restrict an algorithmically based logic from traits such as mathematical insight. These claims were originally made by the philosopher John Lucas of Merton College, Oxford.
In 1994, Penrose followed up The Emperor's New Mind with Shadows of the Mind and in 1997 with The Large, the Small and the Human Mind, further updating and explaining his theories.
Penrose's views on the human thought process are not widely accepted in scientific circles. According to Marvin Minsky, because people can construe false ideas to be factual, the process of thinking is not limited to formal logic. Further, AI programs can also conclude that false statements are true, so error is not unique to humans. Another dissenter, Charles Seife, has said, "Penrose, the Oxford mathematician famous for his work on tiling the plane with various shapes, is one of a handful of scientists who believe that the ephemeral nature of consciousness suggests a quantum process."
Penrose and Stuart Hameroff have constructed a theory in which human consciousness is the result of quantum gravity effects in microtubules. But Max Tegmark, in a paper in Physical Review E, calculated that the time scale of neuron firing and excitations in microtubules is slower than the decoherence time by a factor of at least 10,000,000,000. The reception of the paper is summed up by this statement in his support: "Physicists outside the fray, such as IBM's John Smolin, say the calculations confirm what they had suspected all along. 'We're not working with a brain that's near absolute zero. It's reasonably unlikely that the brain evolved quantum behavior', he says." The Tegmark paper has been widely cited by critics of the Penrose-Hameroff proposal. It has been claimed by Hameroff to be based on a number of incorrect assumptions (see linked paper below from Hameroff, Hagan and Tuszynski), but Tegmark in turn has argued that the critique is invalid (see rejoinder link below).
I'm with you. I have trouble understanding the argument for the universe being deterministic.
Let's say I'm going to the store. At the last second I decide to drive the scenic route which is something I virtually never do. Three blocks later I'm nailed by a drunk driver and die.
Same scenario but I take the normal route, arrive home safely with my bread and milk and get on with life which includes fathering 12 kids of which one finds a cure for cancer.
The only difference from the two very different outcomes is a seemingly innocuous conscious decision.
It just makes sense to me that the universe has to function in a way that allows for a virtually infinite number of futures. It seems to me that QM is discovering the mechanism that allows for that, and what appears to be basic to that mechanism is observation or measurement which require consciousness.
:) I guess cavediver is still moving. It is unbelievable to me that I can with my Brian Greene course on physics use this forum to get teaching from a guy with his credentials. I'll be glad when he's back.
I tend to think though that if I'm in disagreement with cavediver then I'm either dead wrong or don't understand the question. (probably both. :frazzled: )
I believe it is like many things in nature a little of both. We can decide to tip the dominoe over or not...but once done it follows its course.
I'm still curious to know what would exist if anything if all consciousness ceased. Mitchel Mckain in a thread recently posted that it is his contention that all cellular life has consciousness, and that the difference between us and plant and animal life is the degree of our consciousness. I'm inclined to agree. If then there is no consciousness of any degree to observe, measure or interact in any way would what some physicists call the illusion of space and time just cease to exist?
In answer to the OT then I in my view I'm inclined to believe that reality is very much based on our perceptions.
Depends on how determined you are. Anyone who argues so has to argue so it would seem. They have no choice in the matter for there is no choice.
It seems to me then that the only way for there to be no choice is to agree that there is an intelligence outside of this existence that knew that I was going to take the scenic route to the grocery store prior to the beginning of time. (This position it would seem to me would make an infinite universe impossible.)
A non-deterministic view of things seems to me to allow for but not necessarily require a metaphysical intelligence.