I agree with Nick's argument below. However, it was not Fred Alan Wolf who first suggested that consciousness collapses the wave function, I think it started with Fritz London, John Von Neumann, Eugene Wigner on to Henry Stapp & Roger Penrose (with his "orch" modification that is vague, but I think is equivalent to "signal nonlocality" violating "no-cloning" , "unitarity" et-al i.e. P =/= |Psi|^2 aka "sub-quantal non-equilibrium").
David Deutsch also argues no consciousness in orthodox quantum theory - Penrose's of course is not "orthodox". However, none of these people, in my opinion, have asked the right question in regard to the physical nature of consciousness. For that we must go to P.W. Anderson's "More is different" aka spontaneous symmetry breakdown of the ground state e.g. Vitiello's mind model.
The conscious mind field is a macro-quantum coherent ground state order parameter of the living body in which some kind of either quasi-particle or collective mode (poles of single-particle & pair propagators respectively) of an underlying dynamics, e.g. ions, dipoles in microtubules et-al are in effect Bose-Einstein condensed i.e. Penrose-Onsager ODLRO (macroscopic eigenvalues of low order density matrices).
The effective c-number field order parameter dynamics is non-unitary, nonlinear (Landau-Ginzburg) with signal nonlocality - living systems are not in thermal equilibrium - the effective low energy Bohm macro-quantum coherent potential is local in ordinary 3D space though it has the nonlocal influence from the boundary conditions discussed e.g. at beginning of Bohm & Hiley's Undivided Universe for the single particle problem - intensity independence, context dependence etc.
On Sep 18, 2010, at 10:49 AM, nick herbert wrote:
The conventional wisdom asserts that
all the various quantum realities
are non-testable--each gives the same experimental result.
This may or may not be true
as imaginative experiments of the type you are looking for might show.
For a time I thought that the
Bedford & Wang thought experiment
(a crude variation on your own proposal)
might do the trick (see Consciousness Post)
but after much thought and discussion with other reality fans I concluded that Ordinary quantum calculations showed that no test for conscious collapse was possible
with the B&W setup and its variants.
Successful variants of your experiment might exist,
Someone on this list might be inspired to think of one.
Your physical setup is a very clever variation on the double-slit experiment with "which-path" observations cleverly and naturally built-in.
And more important, it is a real experiment that can easily be done.
One sad fact about the quantum/consciousness connection is that (like the quantum/gravity connection) despite tons of groundless speculation and opinion (see the work of Fred Allen Wolf) there exists not a single experiment that successfully connects consciousness with quantum mechanics. (pace Rosenblum & Kuttner and Dean Radin). Perhaps this situation will change for the better due to discussions triggered by your recent paper.
Good luck in your work
Nick Herbert On Sep 18, 2010, at 4:59 AM, Danko Nikolic wrote:
My criticism is that you choose a system such that quantum mechanics predicts no interference no matter what you do to the entangled photons, even including leaving them forever unobserved, so that your consciousness postulate is sure to be falsified.
Yes, but is there another system for which this does not hold? Can one make it different such that the hypothesis is not sure to be falsified? We could not think of another experimental setup that would not produce the same outcome.
I had discussions with several experimental quantum physicists from Vienna--hoping to design and conduct an experiment. We could not think of a setup. If we could, we would have probably already ran it.
So, perhaps our point is that an experiment of your likings (and ours), to the best of our knowledge, CANNOT BE DESIGNED.
If someone can be more creative and prove us wrong, great! Let us go then and run the experiment. I would gladly be a part of it.
With best regards,