Re: Equivalence

From: rmiller <>
Date: Fri, 03 Jun 2005 14:27:02 -0500

At 01:46 PM 6/3/2005, rmiller wrote:
>>What do you mean by "the qualia approach"? Do you mean a sort of
>>dualistic view of the relationship between mind and matter? From the
>>discussion at it seems that
>>Sarfatti suggests some combination of Bohm's interpretation of QM (where
>>particles are guided by a 'pilot wave') with the idea of adding a
>>nonlinear term to the Schrodinger equation (contradicting the existing
>>'QM math', which is entirely linear), and he identifies the pilot wave
>>with "the mind" and has some hand-wavey notion that life involves some
>>kind of self-organizing feedback loop between the pilot wave and the
>>configuration of particles (normally Bohm's interpretation says the
>>configuration of particles has no effect on the pilot wave, but that's
>>where the nonlinear term comes in I guess). Since Bohm's interpretation
>>is wholly deterministic, I'd think Sarfatti's altered version would be
>>too, the nonlinear term shouldn't change this.

Seems to me you've described the "qualia approach" pretty well.

>>while on the other
>>>side we have those like Roger Penrose who (I think) take a mechanical
>>>view (microtubules in the brain harbor Bose-Einstein condensates.)
>>Penrose's proposal has nothing to do with consciousness collapsing the
>>wavefunction, he just proposes that when a system in superposition
>>crosses a certain threshold of *mass* (probably the Planck mass), then it
>>collapses automatically. The microtubule idea is more speculative, but
>>he's just suggesting that the brain somehow takes advantage of
>>not-yet-understood quantum gravity effects to go beyond what computers
>>can do, but the collapse of superposed states in the brain would still be

Penrose has a *lot* of things to say about QM---and his new book has the
best description of fibre bundles I've seen in quite a while---but no, I
didn't mean to suggest his entire argument was based on BECs in the
microtubules. I suggested Penrose because his approach seems diametrically
opposed to the qualia guys.

>> All this model-building (and discussion) is fine, of
>>>course, but there are a number of psychological experiments out there
>>>that consistently return counterintuitive and heretofore unexplainable
>>>Among them, is Helmut Schmidt's "retro pk" experiment which consistently
>>>returns odd results. The PEAR lab at Princeton has some startling
>>>"remote viewing" results, and of course, there's Rupert Sheldrake's
>>>work. As far as I know, Sheldrake is the only one who has tried to
>>>create a model ("morphic resonance"), and most QM folks typically avoid
>>>discussing the experiments--except to deride them as nonscientific. I
>>>think it may be time to revisit some of these "ESP" experiments to see
>>>if the results are telling us something in terms of QM, i.e.
>>>decoherence. Changing our assumptions about decoherence, then applying
>>>the model to those strange experiments may clarify things.
>>Here's a skeptical evaluation of some of the ESP experiments you mention:
>>Anyway, if it were possible for the mind to induce even a slight
>>statistical bias in the probability of a bit flipping 1 or 0, then simply
>>by picking a large enough number of trials it would be possible to very
>>reliably insure that the majority would be the number the person was
>>focusing on. So by doing multiple sets with some sufficiently large
>>number N of trials in each set, it would be possible to actually send
>>something like a 10-digit bit string (for example, if the majority of
>>digits in the first N trials came up 1, you'd have the first digit of
>>your 10-digit string be a 1), something which would not require a lot of
>>tricky statistical analysis to see was very unlikely to occur by chance.
>>If the "retro-PK" effect you mentioned was real, this could even be used
>>to reliably send information into the past!

I spoke with Schmidt in '96. He told me that it is very unlikely that
causation can be reversed, but rather that the retropk results suggest many

>>When these ESP researchers are able to do a straightforward demonstration
>>like this, that's when I'll start taking these claims seriously, until
>>then "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence".
>>The extraordinary claims---evidence rule is good practical guidance, but
>>it's crummy science. Why should new results require an astronomical Z
>>score, when "proven" results need only a Z of 1.96? Think about the poor
>>fellow who discovered that ulcers were caused by helicobacter
>>pylori---took him ten years for "science" to take him seriously, and then
>>only after he drank a vial of h.pylori broth himself. Then there's the
>>fellow at U of I (Ames) who believed that Earth is being pummeled by
>>snowballs--as big as houses--from space. He was thoroughly derided (some
>>demanded he be fired) for ten years or so---until a UV satellite saw the
>>snowballs smack into the atmosphere. And not too long ago, there was the
>>cult of anthropologists that believed the New World was populated just
>>12,000 yrs ago (give or take a thousand or two)--even as the evidence
>>poured in refuting that view.

>>On the other side, we have guys like Harvard Epidemiologist Ken Rothmann,
>>who claims disease clusters are not worthy of study (Keynote address: CDC
>>"Cluster Buster" conference Atlanta, 1989). There are other examples, but
>>to insist on some ridiculously high standard of proof for "new"
>>results---extraordinary or otherwise, is merely being conservative to the
>>point of inertia. In Jefferson's time, no reputable scientist believed
>>rocks fell from the sky---they would believe it (maybe) only when one
>>fell into their outstretched hand. The odds against that happening by
>>chance would involve a Z score of about 20 or so.

>>Those who demand extraordinary evidence should have the courage of their
>>convictions---and announce their criteria for belief in terms of a Z
>>score---or probability. For your convenience, here's a table (calculated
>>using Systat 10; n>500). If you want the entire table, you can find it

Again, keep in mind that for much of science, a p<0.05 is fine (Z = 1.96)
--two-tailed test.
Z score Probability
3.01 2.61 x 10^-3
3.5 4.65 x 10^-4
4.0 6.33 x 10^-5
5.0 5.7 x 10^-7
6.0 1.97 x 10^-9
7.0 2.5 x 10^-12
8.0 8.8 x 10^-16

>> RM
Received on Fri Jun 03 2005 - 15:29:28 PDT

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