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Mind and Matter IX Quantum Physics VII Mind over Matter VII Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. —Albert Einstein.

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Presentation on theme: "Mind and Matter IX Quantum Physics VII Mind over Matter VII Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. —Albert Einstein."— Presentation transcript:

1 Mind and Matter IX Quantum Physics VII Mind over Matter VII Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. —Albert Einstein

2 Topics for today Quantum Physics VII – Bell's Theorem and the experimental results Mind over Matter VII – Mind beyond matter 2

3 Topics for today Quantum Physics VII – Bell's Theorem and the experimental results Mind over Matter VII – Mind beyond body I believe that the world is totally connected; that is to say, that there are no events anywhere in the universe which are not tied to every other event in the universe. Jacob Bronowski ( ) The Origins of Knowledge and Imagination 3

4 Bohr vs. Einstein Their disagreement was a difference of interpretation – Not on any experimental results Einstein: hidden variables – Real properties not dependent on observation Bohr: influences – Properties produced by observation – For entangled particles, observation of one influences the other Even though they are separated and moving away from each other, each at the speed of light The disagreement was spelled out in EPR and Bohr’s response – The matter more or less rested from 1935 to

5 From 1935 to EPR wasn’t considered very important until Bell’s Theorem Published in 1965 John Stewart Bell ( ) (born in Belfast) Did the work in 1964 – while on sabbatical from CERN – It wasn’t considered respectable to work on anything that might question the Copenhagen interpretation 5

6 Key concepts treated by Bell’s Theorem Reality: – Objects have physically real properties Not just properties created by their observation – EPR claimed that quantum theory’s observation- created reality arose from its failure to include real properties of objects – “hidden variables” Separability: – Objects can be separated from each other so that what happens to one cannot instantaneously affect the other – In other words, objects can affect each other only by physical forces Physical forces cannot travel faster than the speed of light Einstein believed in reality and separability – In agreement with most ordinary sane people Bohr did not 6

7 Description of quantum entanglement of photons Excerpts from a one-hour video – 0:00 to 1:15 – Introduction of Ron Garret – 20:15 to 24:50 – Quantum entanglement of twin photons by Ron Garret Google tech talks, January 6, 2011 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEaecUuEqfc 7

8 Bell’s Theorem in a nutshell (I) Provides an experimentally testable prediction that has to be true in a world that includes an observation-independent reality and separability – Reality: Objects have physically real properties – Separability: Objects can be separated from each other so that what happens to one cannot instantaneously affect the other In other words, objects can affect each other only by physical forces, which cannot travel faster than the speed of light 8

9 Bell’s Theorem in a nutshell (II) Premises of Bell’s Theorem: Suppose that.. – The world has physically real properties that are not created by their observation (“Reality”) – Objects can be separated from each other so that what happens to one cannot instantaneously affect the other (“Separability”) Bell’s theorem amounts to a deduction (from the two premises) that certain observable quantities cannot be larger than certain other observable quantities – “Bell’s inequality” – An experimentally testable conclusion 9

10 Bell’s Theorem in a nutshell (III) Bell’s inequality (proved by the theorem) – Certain observable quantities cannot be larger than certain other observable quantities – An experimentally testable conclusion If Bell’s inequality is shown experimentally to be false in any situation, one or both of the premises (reality and separability) must be false – Recall: Both reality and separability are assumed in classical physics Both are denied in quantum theory If Bell’s inequality is ever violated.. – No objects with both reality and separability can exist in our actual world 10

11 The experimental tests (I) John Clauser (1942-) – Experiments at UC Berkeley – Measurements for twin-state photons – Bell’s inequality was violated In just the way predicted by quantum theory – Clauser: “My own…vain hopes of overthrowing quantum mechanics were shattered by the data” The experiments showed that properties of our world either have only an observation-produced reality or that there exists a connectedness beyond that mitigated by ordinary physical forces, or both. 11

12 The experimental tests (II) Alain Aspect (1947-) – Experiments in early 1980’s in France – Using more sophisticated electronic equipment – Confirmed and strengthened Clauser’s results 12

13 More on entanglement (from Rosenblum & Kuttner 2011) Entanglement at large distance 188 L Schrodinger’s cat: entanglement version 188B Universal connectedness 189 U Einstein and Bohr both died before 1965 Quote from John Bell 192 M 13

14 Topics for today Quantum Physics VII – Bell's Theorem and the experimental results Mind over Matter VII – Mind beyond body 14

15 Quotation 15 That consciousness exists at all is as odd today as it has been in ancient times. But here too, familiarity breeds contempt; the presence of consciousness at every moment in our waking lives often makes us forget how incredible it is. For more than two millennia, the study of this problem (Block et al., 1997) has made no scientific progress. Physicalism, dualism, and all other isms keep debating on it without being able to propose any decisive argument, not to mention experimental test, which could conclude the debate in favor of one theory or another. Avshalom C. Elitzur (2009) (physicist and philosopher)

16 Science and non-physical mental phenomena “Objections [to non-physical mental phenomena] are based on an incompatibility with physics are grounded in a theory of physics that has been known to be obsolete for over a century.” (Chris Carter 2012: 10) Quantum mechanics is unexplained by classical physics – Even unexplainable according to some But most people haven’t yet heard about that They assume that science still upholds the view of a purely mechanistic physical world 16

17 The “Irreducible Mind” position in psychology New paradigm, arising mainly since 2000 Proposed as the psychology of the 21 st century Holds that – Despite half a century of cognitive psychology, we are no closer to explaining mind than at the outset – There are well-documented mental phenomena that are independent of physical bodies (as we know them) – The mind is not reducible to brain structures – Psychology needs greater appreciation of the work of Wm James and other early investigators Major proponents Edward Kelly, University of Virginia, Irreducible Mind (2007) Charles Tart, UC Davis, The End of Materialism (2009) 17

18 The big question and empirical evidence The Question: Is the mind, or some aspect of mind, independent in some way from the brain or is it reducible to and therefore dependent on brain function? There is an empirical test available – Put the question this way: – Can mind or consciousness can exist independently of brain? – If so, then mind/consciousness is not dependent on the brain for its existence There actually is evidence bearing directly on this question – In fact the evidence is quite extensive – But it is being ignored by many philosophers and psychologists 18

19 Evidence for the independence of consciousness (The question: Can mind/consciousness exist separately from brain?) What would decisive evidence look like? If mind can survive the death of the brain, then it clearly can have independent existence Evidence that mind can survive bodily death: – “Reports of phenomena suggesting the continued existence of those who once lived in Earth have come from virtually all known cultures, and have continued into the modern age. …the most convincing evidence has been gathered under rigorous conditions over the last 125 years.” Chris Carter Science and the Afterlife Experience (2012) 19

20 Why is the evidence being ignored? A remarkable phenomenon of modern times – The “perceptual barricade” – Reject evidence that doesn’t fit prior belief system In fact, the evidence being ignored is extensive On the periphery, many people have looked at it – Widespread publications have enjoyed commercial success But it still remains outside the mainstream of thinking in modern American society 20

21 Intellectual trend-setters and mainstream thinking Every age has a group of intellectual trend-setters – In contemporary America New York Times, Washington Post, WSJ, … Time, Newsweek, U.S. News and World Report Scientific American, etc. Public Broadcasting System, NPR Colleges and Universities – They promote a thought system “Respectable Thought” – People become aware of what respectable thought is – Those who deviate are considered odd or weak-minded 21

22 Pressures to maintain respectable thought The danger of departing from respectable thought – Ridicule – Danger of being considered Superstitious Ignorant Insane The result: Many people tend – not to think for themselves – to help maintain the perceptual barricade 22

23 Scientific materialism and the perceptual barricade Acceptance of mind as a non-physical phenomenon would undermine the belief-system of scientific materialism If they accept the evidence they would have to radically adjust their belief system Alternative: Reject the evidence – Excuses for rejecting it The evidence is anecdotal Fraud The evidence is unacceptable simply because it demolishes the belief system – The barricade: we will refuse to look at the evidence even to acknowledge that it exists 23

24 Evidence of consciousness continuing after death It is extensive and it’s varied – But little known to most people Types of evidence – Children who remember previous lives – Near-death experiences (NDE’s) – Deathbed visions – Apparitions – After death communications (ADC’s) – Communications through mediums 24

25 Evidence of consciousness continuing after death It is extensive and it’s varied – But little known to most people Types of evidence – Children who remember previous lives – Near-death experiences (NDE’s) – Deathbed visions – Apparitions – After death communications (ADC’s) – Communications through mediums 25

26 Schopenhauer on Reincarnation “Were an Asiatic to ask me for a definition of Europe, I should be forced to answer him: It is that part of the world which is haunted by the incredible delusion that man was created out of nothing, and that his present birth is his first entrance into life.” Arthur Schopenhauer ( )

27 Reincarnation Systematic scientific investigation beginning in the 1950’s  Ian Stevenson (psychiatry, U. of Virginia) Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation (1966) Numerous other publications Stevenson and colleagues have intensively investigated over 250 cases Reincarnation and Biology (2 volumes, 1997)

28 The case of Bishen Chand Born in 1921 in Bareilly, India As young child, spoke of a previous life in Pilibhit, a town 50 kilometers away – No one in his family knew anyone in Pilibhit Claims of Bishen Chand at about age 5: – His name had been Laxmi Narain – Had an uncle named Har Narain – His father had been a wealthy landowner – He had had a mistress His father told a friend who told a lawyer The lawyer, K.K. Sahay, decided to investigate 28

29 Investigation of the case by K.K. Sahay (attorney) Visited the family in 1926 Wrote down 20 claims made by the boy Went with the boy and his father to Pilibhit A resident of Pilibhit showed them a photo of Laxmi Narain and Har Narain – The boy put his finger on the photo of Har Narain and said, “Here is Har Narain and here am I” The boy recognized houses in Pilibhit – The house of one Sander Lal, which he had described as having a green gate The gate was painted with a faded varnish but was green underneath – The house of Har Narain Including features of the house, then in ruins 29

30 Investigation of the case by K.K. Sahay (cont’d) People in the town asked him for the name of his mistress – He answered “Padma” – They said that was correct They presented him with a set of tabla (drums) – He played them skillfully – Laxmi Narain had played the tabla – Father (in current life) said that the boy had never even seen tabla before 30

31 Investigation of the case by K.K. Sahay (cont’d) Laxmi Harain’s mother was still alive – She asked him a series of test questions, which he answered correctly – One question: where had Har Narain hidden the treasure he was thought to have had? The boy led the way to a room in the old house There they found a cache of gold coins The boy claimed that in his former life he could speak Urdu – He unexpectedly used Urdu words instead of the Hindi words for two objects Of the 20 claims originally recorded by the attorney, only one was found to be incorrect: – He identified Har Narain as his uncle rather than as his father 31

32 Birthmarks and birth defects in reincarnation cases Extensive research since about 1970 – Ian Stevenson(Kelly 232f) Two-volume monograph, 1997 – J. B. Tucker – Others Examples – Boy with cluster of hypopigmented birthmarks on chest – 2 or more birthmarks corresponding to wounds in prior life 33 cases in Stevenson 1997 – In 18 of these, birthmarks correspond to entry and exit gunshot wounds – In one case, entry wound on throat(Kelly 234) 32

33 Phenomena similar to stigmata (V): Dream induced Physiological response to a dream (Tuke, 1884) A man dreamed he had been hit in the chest with a stone “The vivid shock awoke him, and then he found that there was on his chest…a round mark, having the appearance of a bruise” The next day it was swollen Went to doctor for treatment 33 Review

34 Phenomena similar to stigmata (VI): Induced by dream or by near death experience An Indian man with typhoid fever (Ian Stevenson, 1997) Thought he had died and that while in the “other realm” – Was struggling to return to life – Persons there had subdued him by cutting off his legs at the knees Upon recovery from typhoid fever, – “was found to have some unusual horizontal scars in the skin across the front of both knees” – the “scars” persisted and were photographed by Stevenson several years later 34 Review

35 Near-Death Experiences (NDE’s) Extensively studied and documented over the past 50 years – Thousands of cases Raymond Moody, Life after Life (1975) Chris Carter, Science and the Near-Death Experience (2010) Recent publications – Todd Burpo, Heaven is for Real (2010) 154 weeks on NYT paperback best-seller list – Eben Alexander, Proof of Heaven (2012) On NYT best-seller list continuously since publication Cover of Newsweek magazine, Fall 2012 – A crack in the barricade 35

36 Cracks in the perceptual barricade Colleges and Universities – U of California, Davis – U of Virginia – U of Edinburgh The Press – Newsweek magazine, fall 2012 Front-page story on Eben Alexander – Time magazine, fall 2014 Story on Alexander’s new book 36

37 Challenging the validity of NDE’s “Just a few anecdotal reports” “The alleged experiencer is not a reliable observer” “May indeed have been near death, but the cortex was still functioning to some extent” – “Therefore, it could have been the imagination of the patient” – “Hallucination produced by the trauma, occurring just before or just after loss of brain function” “No independent corroborating evidence” 37

38 Challenging the validity of NDE’s “Just a few anecdotal reports” – Actually, there have been thousands of cases reported – Major early publication: Raymond Moody, Life after Life (1975) » NYT bestseller – Current estimates are that, “due to modern medical resuscitation technology, millions of people may have had an NDE” (Charles Tart, The End of Materialism (2009) 38

39 T h a t ‘ s i t f o r t o d a y ! 39


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