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Why do you think back-from-the-future retro-causation may be involved? If your results are real then I say it's evidence for two things:
1) Aharonov's post-selection "destiny" effect.
2) Signal nonlocality violating quantum theory's linear unitarity.

On Nov 30, 2010, at 1:20 PM, Dean Radin wrote:

Retrocausal "explanations" can arise in any experiment where the measurement of interest is noisy. Under such conditions, *if* one can perceive potential future states then one can select times in the present to take measurements that will support any hypothesis of interest. This is not "data selection" in the usual sense of data snooping, but rather selection of fortuitous moments and contexts in which to conduct an experiment. The paper "Decision Augmentation Theory" on Ed May's webpage: goes into this in detail. Other papers on that same page are also relevant to the idea that one can take present-time advantage of retrocausal information.

Of course, the whole concept of retrocausal influence throws a very serious monkey wrench into basic epistemological assumptions in science. But from what I've seen so far, Nature doesn't seem to care about our assumptions.

best wishes,

On Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 11:19 AM, JACK SARFATTI <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.> wrote:

Why do you think back-from-the-future retro-causation may be involved? If your results are real then I say it's evidence for two things:

1) Aharonov's post-selection "destiny" effect.

2) Signal nonlocality violating quantum theory's linear unitarity.

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Thanks Dean
OK got it. Very clear. In fact, however Yakir Aharonov just got a medal from President Obama for showing how the future does influence the present exactly like I and Fred Alan Wolf have been saying now for decades. So the idea is now in the air and has gone mainstream.

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On Nov 30, 2010, at 9:03 AM, Dean Radin wrote:
Similar to Dick, my approach to this problem is from the "data are sacred" perspective. So I have been testing the effect of consciousness on a double-slit interference pattern by asking people to use their imagination or "mind's eye" to gain which-path knowledge from a distance. I'm writing up the last two years of experimentation now, and my conclusion is in agreement with Dick's: The act of focusing attention on a double-slit system weakly alters the interference fringes in a direction consistent with consciousness collapsing the wavefunction. The effect is noticeably stronger in meditators than in non-meditators.
Note that this effect is not necessarily quantum -- it might be due to a classical perturbation on some other aspect of the optical system, or it might be due to a retrocausal effect. With a colleague I've been comparing the data with models of an ideal double-slit system to see if it's possible to distinguish between classical and quantum explanations.

best wishes,
Dean Radin PhD
Co-Editor-in-Chief, Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing
Adjunct Professor, Department of Psychology, Sonoma State University
Senior Scientist
Institute of Noetic Sciences
101 San Antonio Road
Petaluma, CA 94952 USA

On Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 1:39 AM, Dick Bierman wrote:
I must confess that I did not (yet) follow the current discussion closely. So my comments may be inappropriate.
The idea to get results in simple physical systems that are different from the predictions of QP because of interaction with consciousness seems to be a dead-end as Danko writes.
Our research has followed the line originally proposed by the Shimony group: to see if a conscious observation of a quantum system has an effect on the experience of a subsequent conscious observer (of the same 'delayed' event). An underlying assumption is that the brain is sensitive for the difference between a non-collapsed and a collapsed state. And of course the assumption that is tested is that conscious observation is the ultimate measurement 'device'  (resulting in collapse).
I am not sure if by reasoning alone (on the basis of QP) one can easily show for this set-up that there can not be an effect of pre-observation but I assume that Shimony did think about this and the fact that he ran such an experiment suggests to me it is not as simple as that.
My position is that data are sacred and theory must follow.
We ran 3 experiments of the kind, two of which has been published. We are currently writing a review of all 3 experiments  for publication, hopefully in FoP.
The verdict will be that over-all the data seem to show a weak differential effect in brain processing of a second observer of a quantum event depending on pre-observation but that the effect size is too small to draw firm conclusions.  (no differential effect when observing a classical event).
One big problem in all this is that we pretend to run a physics-psychology experiment but actually might be running a parapsychological experiment. That is also a reason to remain very cautious when drawing conclusions.

Dick Bierman, University of Amsterdam

On Nov 30, 2010, at 1:58 AM, Hrvoje Nikolic wrote:

What Danko says below makes much more sense to me.
However, my impression is that this is NOT
what Danko and Shan have written in the paper.
I would suggest them to rewrite the paper
completely, not only to emphasize the points that
Danko made below, but also to remove the misleading
discussions that only distract attention from
the good points.

Hrvoje Nikolic

On Tue, 30 Nov 2010, Danko Nikolic wrote:

On Nov 30, 2010, at 12:42 AM, Yu Shan wrote:

HPS: I suggest that you check with a quantum physicist, such as Zeilinger,
about your paper!

Thanks for your suggestion. We did so. And we are still keep our minds open.

I actually visited Zeilinger and had an extended discussion with him and with his team about the possibilities of designing exactly such an experiment, as Henry suggests. Before I visited, my (naive) plan was to combine our cognitive/psychological expertise in manipulating consciousness with the Vienna expertise in QM experiments. This was supposed to be a conjoint super-experiment that would involve physics and psychology in the same set up. Some people in Zeilinger's group were about equally excited about the idea. Zeilinger was open and curious two. However, unfortunately, as our discussions were progressing in the course of three days, it became more and more apparent that such an experiment cannot be designed. Nothing we came up with could be used as a test.

Shan and I now came to believe that this inability to create a proper design is not a technical problem or a problem of limited creativity of researchers'. Instead, it seems that this is a principal problem. It seems that such an experiment CANNOT EVER be designed. The QM-consciousness hypothesis seems utterly unapproachable even in principle. Whichever experiment we considered to test the relationship between QM and consciousness, we could ALWAYS predict the outcome based on the present knowledge of quantum mechanics. Thus, the known laws of quantum mechanics seemed already so fixed, predictable and complete that there was no room left for any additional manipulation. There seem to be no space left to test empirically the role of observer's consciousness in QM.

Let me illustrate with another problem:
Imagine that someone hypothesizes that consciousness about an object's motion is necessary for Newton's first law of motion to work. How would you test this hypothesis without violating Newton's equations? To formulate an empirical test, one needs to have some degree of freedom. Something must have a possibility to vary. In contrast, Newton's laws already predict everything. There is no variation outside these laws. The laws are complete (please ignore the relativity here). As a consequence, to design an experiment, you already have to assume that Newton got something wrong. You must assume that there is something about motion that Newton did not get right and that consciousness may account for instead. So, even before you begin running the tests, you must have certain conviction about the incorrectness of the existing theory. One cannot design an experiment about the role of consciousness in motion and, in the same time, assume that Newton'w laws are correct.

Similarly, Henry pointed out correctly: "But in the set-up you describe there is no possibility of observing an interference." Note that he makes this conclusion on the basis of the current knowledge of QM. And he assumes that this knowledge is correct. We assume the same. However, the problem that we want to point out is that no matter which experimental design one considers the outcome will be the same. The available knowledge of QM will always lead us to a similar problem: there will always be a lack of a possibility of either an observation or a manipulation. At the end, no matter what you do, you will be every time unable to test the hypothesis. It seems that no experiment can ever be designed.

This inability to operationalize the idea of consciousness-in-QM due to the completeness of the existing QM theory, is our main argument for rejecting the hypothesis.

I hope this helps.


Danko Nikolic