IS Forum
Forum Index Register Members List Events Mark Forums Read Help

Go Back   International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » Science, Mathematics, Medicine, and Technology
 


Welcome to the International Skeptics Forum, where we discuss skepticism, critical thinking, the paranormal and science in a friendly but lively way. You are currently viewing the forum as a guest, which means you are missing out on discussing matters that are of interest to you. Please consider registering so you can gain full use of the forum features and interact with other Members. Registration is simple, fast and free! Click here to register today.
Tags Hugh Everett , quantum mechanics

Reply
Old 28th December 2020, 02:37 PM   #41
Thermal
Penultimate Amazing
 
Thermal's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: East Coast USA
Posts: 13,545
What's that I hear? A bell ringing? Sounds like schools in session.
__________________
We find comfort among those who agree with us, growth among those who don't -Frank A. Clark

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect -Mark Twain
Thermal is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th December 2020, 02:46 PM   #42
Mike Helland
Graduate Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2020
Posts: 1,288
Originally Posted by Squeegee Beckenheim View Post
It was always my layperson's understanding that anything that interacted with a quantum system in any way could be classed as an observer. An electron could be an observer.
That's a fairly common school of thought today.

Sean Carroll promotes that position often. An observer could be a video camera, or a cloud of gas.

I think a video camera makes a good observer because it makes measurement records, of which we can determine what happened and when.

Let's say I shoot a gun three times through a cloud of gas against a wall, and I video tape it.

The "all matter is an observer" theory would say the cloud of gas, the wall, and the video tape are all observers.

If you can look at the cloud of gas and tell exactly how many shots were fired and when, that'd be impressive. If you were to look at the three bullet holes in the wall and know which when hit first, also impressive.

But if you watch the video tape, you can see which hole is shot A, which is shot B and which is shot C.

I think only the video camera makes acceptable measurement records.
Mike Helland is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th December 2020, 02:47 PM   #43
Sideroxylon
Featherless biped
 
Sideroxylon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Aporia
Posts: 24,331
You shouldn’t have.
Sideroxylon is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th December 2020, 02:48 PM   #44
Mike Helland
Graduate Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2020
Posts: 1,288
Originally Posted by Mike Helland View Post
That's a fairly common school of thought today.

Sean Carroll promotes that position often. An observer could be a video camera, or a cloud of gas.

I think a video camera makes a good observer because it makes measurement records, of which we can determine what happened and when.

Let's say I shoot a gun three times through a cloud of gas against a wall, and I video tape it.

The "all matter is an observer" theory would say the cloud of gas, the wall, and the video tape are all observers.

If you can look at the cloud of gas and tell exactly how many shots were fired and when, that'd be impressive. If you were to look at the three bullet holes in the wall and know which when hit first, also impressive.

But if you watch the video tape, you can see which hole is shot A, which is shot B and which is shot C.

I think only the video camera makes acceptable measurement records.
Everett says:

Quote:
We require only that they be capable of the interpretation "The observer has experienced the succession of events A, B,..., C."
A video camera can do that. An electron cannot.
Mike Helland is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th December 2020, 03:09 PM   #45
JayUtah
Penultimate Amazing
 
JayUtah's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 19,136
Originally Posted by Mike Helland View Post
Just a nitpick, but if you mean "interpretation" instead of "formulation", I agree.

My point is that the relative state formulation isn't an interpretation. It describes a sophisticated codifiable mathematical model that makes measures of itself.
Actually I meant what I said. Among the various ways of observing and describing the universe, quantum mechanics is often described as a novel approach because it exists primarily as a mathematical formulation (or, if you prefer, as any of a number of formulations), not as an analytical model. It's the origin and basis of the model that activates this particular fallacy, not whether it's unique and not the special meaning of interpretation as it exists in quantum mechanics.

Fringe claimants misuse this principle to argue that rebuttals of their claims based on analytical models that prevail in the macro universe cannot be preclusive because "other ways" of describing the universe exist and may speculatively allow for their particular claims. (They don't.) If you present me with a sophisticated modifiable mathematical model that pertains to quantum behavior, that's still in the style of model that gets misused to dispute the validity of analytical models as grounds for rebuttal.

Last edited by JayUtah; 28th December 2020 at 03:12 PM.
JayUtah is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th December 2020, 03:11 PM   #46
Squeegee Beckenheim
Penultimate Amazing
 
Squeegee Beckenheim's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 31,257
Originally Posted by Mike Helland View Post
That's a fairly common school of thought today.

Sean Carroll promotes that position often. An observer could be a video camera, or a cloud of gas.

I think a video camera makes a good observer because it makes measurement records, of which we can determine what happened and when.

Let's say I shoot a gun three times through a cloud of gas against a wall, and I video tape it.

The "all matter is an observer" theory would say the cloud of gas, the wall, and the video tape are all observers.

If you can look at the cloud of gas and tell exactly how many shots were fired and when, that'd be impressive. If you were to look at the three bullet holes in the wall and know which when hit first, also impressive.

But if you watch the video tape, you can see which hole is shot A, which is shot B and which is shot C.

I think only the video camera makes acceptable measurement records.
You seem to be stating that an observer can only be an observer if what it observes can be communicated to a conscious observer. On what are you basing that?

Originally Posted by Mike Helland View Post
A video camera can do that. An electron cannot.
Why can an electron not experience a sequence of events?
__________________
I don't trust atoms. They make up everything.
Squeegee Beckenheim is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th December 2020, 03:23 PM   #47
Lukraak_Sisser
Illuminator
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 3,966
So, I guess the takeaway from this thread will be:

If you want to understand QM you'll need to work hard, study thoroughly and fully understand mathematics, not spout of some barely understood pseudo-science.
Lukraak_Sisser is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th December 2020, 03:28 PM   #48
Myriad
The Clarity Is Devastating
 
Myriad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Betwixt
Posts: 17,489
Originally Posted by Mike Helland View Post
That's a fairly common school of thought today.

Sean Carroll promotes that position often. An observer could be a video camera, or a cloud of gas.

I think a video camera makes a good observer because it makes measurement records, of which we can determine what happened and when.

Let's say I shoot a gun three times through a cloud of gas against a wall, and I video tape it.

The "all matter is an observer" theory would say the cloud of gas, the wall, and the video tape are all observers.

If you can look at the cloud of gas and tell exactly how many shots were fired and when, that'd be impressive. If you were to look at the three bullet holes in the wall and know which when hit first, also impressive.

But if you watch the video tape, you can see which hole is shot A, which is shot B and which is shot C.

I think only the video camera makes acceptable measurement records.

A video camera does not experience, observe, measure, or record bullets hitting a wall. It detects a few of the photons emitted during those events (those that happen to impinge on its optics), and records digital data representing the patterns of those detections in time and image coordinates. (What it experiences is a question for philosophers to debate, such debate being mostly about definitions of "experience.")

We happen to be better at forming consensual narratives of the causes of such patterns in time and image-space than we are at forming them from the movements of disturbed particles in a gas cloud. So the video recording is more convenient for us. But it's no more or less an observation either way.
__________________
A zÝmbie once bit my sister...
Myriad is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th December 2020, 03:31 PM   #49
Mike Helland
Graduate Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2020
Posts: 1,288
Originally Posted by Squeegee Beckenheim View Post
You seem to be stating that an observer can only be an observer if what it observes can be communicated to a conscious observer. On what are you basing that?

Why can an electron not experience a sequence of events?
Based on Everett's definition of an observer, it doesn't produce measurement records.
Mike Helland is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th December 2020, 03:33 PM   #50
Mike Helland
Graduate Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2020
Posts: 1,288
Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
A video camera does not experience, observe, measure, or record bullets hitting a wall. It detects a few of the photons emitted during those events (those that happen to impinge on its optics), and records digital data representing the patterns of those detections in time and image coordinates. (What it experiences is a question for philosophers to debate, such debate being mostly about definitions of "experience.")

We happen to be better at forming consensual narratives of the causes of such patterns in time and image-space than we are at forming them from the movements of disturbed particles in a gas cloud. So the video recording is more convenient for us. But it's no more or less an observation either way.
The video camera can be combined with a neural network that observes holes in a medium and records the order in which they are placed.

Everett describes an observer as having sensory apparatus and memory configurations depicting a series of events.

A smartphone can do that.
Mike Helland is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th December 2020, 03:35 PM   #51
Mike Helland
Graduate Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2020
Posts: 1,288
Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
Actually I meant what I said. Among the various ways of observing and describing the universe, quantum mechanics is often described as a novel approach because it exists primarily as a mathematical formulation (or, if you prefer, as any of a number of formulations), not as an analytical model. It's the origin and basis of the model that activates this particular fallacy, not whether it's unique and not the special meaning of interpretation as it exists in quantum mechanics.

Fringe claimants misuse this principle to argue that rebuttals of their claims based on analytical models that prevail in the macro universe cannot be preclusive because "other ways" of describing the universe exist and may speculatively allow for their particular claims. (They don't.) If you present me with a sophisticated modifiable mathematical model that pertains to quantum behavior, that's still in the style of model that gets misused to dispute the validity of analytical models as grounds for rebuttal.
Fair enough.

Maybe a relevant question is, is something like Bohmian mechanics an interpretation of QM, or a formulation of it's own?
Mike Helland is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th December 2020, 03:42 PM   #52
theprestige
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Hong Kong
Posts: 49,686
Originally Posted by Mike Helland View Post
Based on Everett's definition of an observer, it doesn't produce measurement records.
The actual "observer" in QM is defined in math, though, not in English. There's not really anything useful for a layperson to get from a natural language approximation of QM, in terms of how to understand QM.

You want to tell us how to understand QM? Start with the definition of an observer in the system of formal logic that actually describes QM.
theprestige is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th December 2020, 03:46 PM   #53
Myriad
The Clarity Is Devastating
 
Myriad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Betwixt
Posts: 17,489
Originally Posted by Mike Helland View Post
The video camera can be combined with a neural network that observes holes in a medium and records the order in which they are placed.

Everett describes an observer as having sensory apparatus and memory configurations depicting a series of events.

A smartphone can do that.

The wall itself can do that, if (for instance) it has a surface layer that propagates cracks without shattering.
__________________
A zÝmbie once bit my sister...
Myriad is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th December 2020, 04:19 PM   #54
JayUtah
Penultimate Amazing
 
JayUtah's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 19,136
Originally Posted by Mike Helland View Post
Fair enough.

Maybe a relevant question is, is something like Bohmian mechanics an interpretation of QM, or a formulation of it's own?
It's an interesting question, but it's entirely irrelevant to my point because it exists at a level of scrutiny that the people I'm talking about can't and don't apply. That said, my point was a tangent to this thread and so not necessarily worth pursuing much further.
JayUtah is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th December 2020, 04:24 PM   #55
Mike Helland
Graduate Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2020
Posts: 1,288
Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
The actual "observer" in QM is defined in math, though, not in English.
Ok.

Copy and paste the math here for us to see.

I contend that the observer Everett is talking about exists in a program that could be copied and pasted... when it exists.

We don't have the hardware right now dedicated to such a problem.
Mike Helland is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th December 2020, 04:38 PM   #56
Mike Helland
Graduate Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2020
Posts: 1,288
Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
The wall itself can do that, if (for instance) it has a surface layer that propagates cracks without shattering.
If we can make it some kind of memory wall?

I agree.
Mike Helland is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th December 2020, 04:41 PM   #57
Mike Helland
Graduate Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2020
Posts: 1,288
Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
The wall itself can do that, if (for instance) it has a surface layer that propagates cracks without shattering.
How about the cloud of gas in front of the wall?

What do we do about that?
Mike Helland is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th December 2020, 04:46 PM   #58
theprestige
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Hong Kong
Posts: 49,686
Originally Posted by Mike Helland View Post
Ok.

Copy and paste the math here for us to see.
Unlike some, I have no pretensions of trying to explain how to understand QM.
theprestige is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th December 2020, 04:47 PM   #59
JayUtah
Penultimate Amazing
 
JayUtah's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 19,136
Originally Posted by Mike Helland View Post
If we can make it some kind of memory wall?

I agree.
My recollection of Everett's observer was that the final quantum state of the observer would be a unique entanglement of the measurement record in order, but didn't necessarily have to incorporate a time sequence of measurements. To put my recollection in the photographic terms we seem to be using, it could be a still photo of the wall after a number of events. That is, if I throw spaghetti with marinara sauce at the wall, and then a cheesecake, the final state of the wall would be different than if I threw the cheesecake first and then the spaghetti. You would be able to tell from a still photo of each wall what order prevailed, but that sequence doesn't have to be something the observer preserves as a stepwise construct.
JayUtah is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th December 2020, 04:58 PM   #60
Mike Helland
Graduate Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2020
Posts: 1,288
Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
My recollection of Everett's observer was that the final quantum state of the observer would be a unique entanglement of the measurement record in order, but didn't necessarily have to incorporate a time sequence of measurements. To put my recollection in the photographic terms we seem to be using, it could be a still photo of the wall after a number of events. That is, if I throw spaghetti with marinara sauce at the wall, and then a cheesecake, the final state of the wall would be different than if I threw the cheesecake first and then the spaghetti. You would be able to tell from a still photo of each wall what order prevailed, but that sequence doesn't have to be something the observer preserves as a stepwise construct.
* Everett, Hugh, (1957) "Relative State Formulation of Quantum Mechanics", Reviews of Modern Physics, 29: 454462.

Page 9

Observation

We have the task of making deductions about the appearance of phenomena to observers which are considered as purely physical systems and are treated within the theory.

It will suffice for our purposes to consider the observers to possess memo- ries (i.e., parts of a relatively permanent nature whose states are in correspon- dence with past experience of the observers). In order to make deductions about the past experience of an observer it is sufficient to deduce the present contents of the memory as it appears within the mathematical model.

As models for observers we can, if we wish, consider automatically func- tioning machines, possessing sensory apparatus and coupled to recording devices capable of registering past sensory data and machine configurations. We can further suppose that the machine is so constructed that its present actions shall be determined not only by its present sensory data, but by the contents of its memory as well. Such a machine will then be capable of performing a sequence of observations (measurements), and furthermore of deciding upon its future experiments on the basis of past results. If we consider that current sensory data, as well as machine configuration, is im- mediately recorded in the memory, then the actions of the machine at a given instant can be regarded as a function of the memory contents only, and all relavant [sic] experience of the machine is contained in the memory.

For such machines we are justified in using such phrases as "the machine has perceived A" or "the machine is aware of A" if the occurrence of A is represented in the memory, since the future behavior of the machine will be based upon the occurrence of A. In fact, all of the customary language of subjective experience is quite applicable to such machines, and forms the most natural and useful mode of expression when dealing with their behavior, as is well known to individuals who work with complex automata.

The symbols A, B, ..., C, which we assume to be ordered time-wise, there- fore stand for memory configurations which are in correspondence with the past experience of the observer. These configurations can be regarded as punches in a paper tape, impressions on a magnetic reel, configurations of a relay switching circuit, or even configurations of brain cells. We require only that they be capable of the interpretation "The observer has experienced the succession of events A, B,..., C."

The mathematical model seeks to treat the interaction of such observer systems with other physical systems (observations), within the framework of Process 2 wave mechanics, and to deduce the resulting memory configura- tions, which are then to be interpreted as records of the past experiences of the observers.
Mike Helland is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th December 2020, 05:08 PM   #61
Mike Helland
Graduate Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2020
Posts: 1,288
Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
My recollection of Everett's observer was that the final quantum state of the observer would be a unique entanglement of the measurement record in order, but didn't necessarily have to incorporate a time sequence of measurements. To put my recollection in the photographic terms we seem to be using, it could be a still photo of the wall after a number of events. That is, if I throw spaghetti with marinara sauce at the wall, and then a cheesecake, the final state of the wall would be different than if I threw the cheesecake first and then the spaghetti. You would be able to tell from a still photo of each wall what order prevailed, but that sequence doesn't have to be something the observer preserves as a stepwise construct.
Would n forensic investigators come up with 1 story of how many tosses and how many noodles were in each toss looking at a wall of spaghetti misadventure?

If the wall told the story, we wouldn't have subservience cameras.

That said, given silent high speed footage of a plastic bag, it has been proven we can reconstruct the sounds made during the time of footage.

I get that media records its past interactions.

I think Everett saying "we only require the observer can say A, B... C" is purely mechanical, but not so simple as satisfied by an electron or cloud of gas.
Mike Helland is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th December 2020, 05:10 PM   #62
Mike Helland
Graduate Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2020
Posts: 1,288
Originally Posted by Mike Helland View Post
Would n forensic investigators come up with 1 story of how many tosses and how many noodles were in each toss looking at a wall of spaghetti misadventure?

If the wall told the story, we wouldn't have subservience cameras.

That said, given silent high speed footage of a plastic bag, it has been proven we can reconstruct the sounds made during the time of footage.

I get that media records its past interactions.

I think Everett saying "we only require the observer can say A, B... C" is purely mechanical, but not so simple as satisfied by an electron or cloud of gas.
Sound from images:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUzB...ture=emb_title

We would still need video footage of the wall or cloud of gas to make a real determination of measurement records.
Mike Helland is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th December 2020, 05:17 PM   #63
JayUtah
Penultimate Amazing
 
JayUtah's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 19,136
Nothing in the dissertation that mandates that the observer memory has to retain all the steps separately up to the present memory. It can be a still photo, as long as the still photo depicts the ordered accumulation of past events, and the current sensory information is separate. If the succession of events, A, B, and C, is preserved (albeit entangled and static) then I think it satisfies his criteria.

Thanks for digging up Everett's dissertation to confirm what he wrote. Your key phrases in it are the analogies to the state of a relay switching circuit or configurations of brain cells. The former especially can be the (unique) product of a sequence of combinatorial steps without preserving explicitly all the steps. The next step could be inferred from (a) the current state of the relay circuit and (b) the present sensory values.

This doesn't preclude that an observer can retain them. But I think it's salient to consider that it doesn't have to in order to qualify.
JayUtah is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th December 2020, 05:21 PM   #64
Mike Helland
Graduate Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2020
Posts: 1,288
Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
Nothing in the dissertation that mandates that the observer memory has to retain all the steps separately up to the present memory. It can be a still photo, as long as the still photo depicts the ordered accumulation of past events, and the current sensory information is separate. If the succession of events, A, B, and C, is preserved (albeit entangled and static) then I think it satisfies his criteria.

Thanks for digging up Everett's dissertation to confirm what he wrote. Your key phrases in it are the analogies to the state of a relay switching circuit or configurations of brain cells. The former especially can be the (unique) product of a sequence of combinatorial steps without preserving explicitly all the steps. The next step could be inferred from (a) the current state of the relay circuit and (b) the present sensory values.

This doesn't preclude that an observer can retain them. But I think it's salient to consider that it doesn't have to in order to qualify.
That's the sole requirement:

The symbols A, B, ..., C, which we assume to be ordered time-wise, there- fore stand for memory configurations which are in correspondence with the past experience of the observer. These configurations can be regarded as punches in a paper tape, impressions on a magnetic reel, configurations of a relay switching circuit, or even configurations of brain cells. We require only that they be capable of the interpretation "The observer has experienced the succession of events A, B,..., C."
Mike Helland is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th December 2020, 05:25 PM   #65
Mike Helland
Graduate Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2020
Posts: 1,288
Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
Nothing in the dissertation that mandates that the observer memory has to retain all the steps separately up to the present memory. It can be a still photo, as long as the still photo depicts the ordered accumulation of past events, and the current sensory information is separate. If the succession of events, A, B, and C, is preserved (albeit entangled and static) then I think it satisfies his criteria.

Thanks for digging up Everett's dissertation to confirm what he wrote. Your key phrases in it are the analogies to the state of a relay switching circuit or configurations of brain cells. The former especially can be the (unique) product of a sequence of combinatorial steps without preserving explicitly all the steps. The next step could be inferred from (a) the current state of the relay circuit and (b) the present sensory values.

This doesn't preclude that an observer can retain them. But I think it's salient to consider that it doesn't have to in order to qualify.
Thank you for your comments.

The key phrase seems to be:

"We require only that they be capable of the interpretation "The observer has experienced the succession of events A, B,..., C." "
Mike Helland is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th December 2020, 05:32 PM   #66
JayUtah
Penultimate Amazing
 
JayUtah's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 19,136
Originally Posted by Mike Helland View Post
That's the sole requirement:

The symbols A, B, ..., C, which we assume to be ordered time-wise, there- fore stand for memory configurations which are in correspondence with the past experience of the observer. These configurations can be regarded as punches in a paper tape, impressions on a magnetic reel, configurations of a relay switching circuit, or even configurations of brain cells. We require only that they be capable of the interpretation "The observer has experienced the succession of events A, B,..., C."
Yeah, you didn't actually address my point. I think you're reading too much into Everett's description, and I think my emphasis on two of the examples he alludes to support that contention. While paper and magnetic tapes can record sequences of information, a relay circuit cannot. It can ever hold only one state at a time, as can an assemblage of brain cells. To change what it stores, one must destroy the previous state.

I think you're stuck on the notion of the sequential storage nature of computer tape. But keep in mind that those were the most prevalent persistent storage technologies in computers at the time Everett wrote. That they can store a complexly expressed state only as a sequence of simple elements of it is an accident of his attempt to analogize in the terms of his time. He brings up other examples of physical technology that can store complex state, but famously cannot preserve sequences of former states; the new state completely overwrites the existing state, but as a combination of former state and present events that may yet preserve the unique result of some sequence of events.
JayUtah is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th December 2020, 05:36 PM   #67
Mike Helland
Graduate Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2020
Posts: 1,288
Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
Yeah, you didn't actually address my point. I think you're reading too much into Everett's description, and I think my emphasis on two of the examples he alludes to support that contention. While paper and magnetic tapes can record sequences of information, a relay circuit cannot. It can ever hold only one state at a time, as can an assemblage of brain cells. To change what it stores, one must destroy the previous state.
Destroy the previous state?

I can write a journal on paper, or magnetic hard drives. Each new entry doesn't destroy the last..

There are three sentences here:

Quote:
The symbols A, B, ..., C, which we assume to be ordered time-wise, there- fore stand for memory configurations which are in correspondence with the past experience of the observer. These configurations can be regarded as punches in a paper tape, impressions on a magnetic reel, configurations of a relay switching circuit, or even configurations of brain cells. We require only that they be capable of the interpretation "The observer has experienced the succession of events A, B,..., C."
The second sentence describes possible ways this could work. It's not the key sentence. Look at what he says without that:

Quote:
The symbols A, B, ..., C, which we assume to be ordered time-wise, there- fore stand for memory configurations which are in correspondence with the past experience of the observer. ... We require only that they be capable of the interpretation "The observer has experienced the succession of events A, B,..., C."
Mike Helland is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th December 2020, 05:37 PM   #68
JayUtah
Penultimate Amazing
 
JayUtah's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 19,136
Originally Posted by Mike Helland View Post
Thank you for your comments.

The key phrase seems to be:

"We require only that they be capable of the interpretation "The observer has experienced the succession of events A, B,..., C." "
And I don't see why that requires a stepwise preservation, which complicates the model. At some time point, the state of the observer reflects the result of having experienced, in order, a succession of events A, B, ..., C. I don't understand why that can't be a single wave function that entangles those sequential effects in a unique way reflecting the sequence of applications.
JayUtah is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th December 2020, 05:39 PM   #69
Mike Helland
Graduate Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2020
Posts: 1,288
Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
And I don't see why that requires a stepwise preservation, which complicates the model. At some time point, the state of the observer reflects the result of having experienced, in order, a succession of events A, B, ..., C. I don't understand why that can't be a single wave function that entangles those sequential effects in a unique way reflecting the sequence of applications.

Are you disagree with me that Everett said "we require the observer to know the succession of event A, B ... C" or are you saying you disagree with Everett?
Mike Helland is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th December 2020, 05:43 PM   #70
JayUtah
Penultimate Amazing
 
JayUtah's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 19,136
Originally Posted by Mike Helland View Post
Destroy the previous state?
Yes. You cannot change the configuration of a relay switching network without losing the previous state.

Quote:
I can write a journal on paper, or magnetic hard drives. Each new entry doesn't destroy the last..
A journal on paper is sequential because that's how journals work, not because the nature of the information you wish to preserve is essentially sequential. And if you bring up a hard drive as opposed to a magnetic tape, I assure you that if I rewrite the same sector of a hard disk drive with new information, the previous state is effectively destroyed.

Quote:
The second sentence describes possible ways this could work. It's not the key sentence. Look at what he says without that:
He describes several physical examples of how his observer could work. Two of his examples cannot possibly preserve a sequence. The others preserve a sequence only because they must do so as an accident of their engineering. Random-access persistent memory for computers was not commonplace in 1957, so when Everett analogizes to persistent computer memory, he's accepting the sequential nature of it as an incidental nuisance, not to illustrate the need to preserve, in the observer, the stepwise state of all intermediate splits.
JayUtah is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th December 2020, 05:47 PM   #71
JayUtah
Penultimate Amazing
 
JayUtah's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 19,136
Originally Posted by Mike Helland View Post
Are you disagree with me that Everett said "we require the observer to know the succession of event A, B ... C" or are you saying you disagree with Everett?
No, I'm disagreeing with you. You're the one interpreting Everett to say the observer must preserve all intermediate steps and ignoring that at least two of the examples he gives of a possible valid observer cannot do what you expect it to do in that regard. And I say this because I recall reading more modern discussions of many-worlds that do not require the observer to preserve all the intermediate steps.

And you've reworded Everett. Now you're trying to say that Everett calls out specifically the requirement that the sequence be maintained. But you quoted him previously as saying,

Originally Posted by Everett, 1957
We require only that they be capable of the interpretation "The observer has experienced the succession of events A, B,..., C."
Do you see the subtle difference between what he said and what you're now trying to say?
JayUtah is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th December 2020, 05:51 PM   #72
Mike Helland
Graduate Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2020
Posts: 1,288
Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
A journal on paper is sequential because that's how journals work, not because the nature of the information you wish to preserve is essentially sequential.
If we were machines that output a punch and a paper feed when given the appropriate stimuli/input, which is what I think he was talking about, then wouldn't our output reflect the events we experienced in succession? (Meeting the criteria of that which it is we want to measure.)


Quote:
Random-access persistent memory for computers was not commonplace in 1957, so when Everett analogizes to persistent computer memory, he's accepting the sequential nature of it as an incidental nuisance, not to illustrate the need to preserve, in the observer, the stepwise state of all intermediate splits.
Nor were computer screens prevalent for individuals.

To us in 2020, we should know that examining the inner working of a neural network is fruitless, and just examine the outputs. In Everett's day, that would be blinking lights.

We shouldn't look at the modeled observer's neurons, but instead its simplified output, which could be a series of bitmaps sent to a display driver.
Mike Helland is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th December 2020, 05:59 PM   #73
JayUtah
Penultimate Amazing
 
JayUtah's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 19,136
Originally Posted by Mike Helland View Post
If we were machines that output a punch...
Okay, you're not really listening. I'm trying to reconcile your interpret of Everett with others' interpretation. In others' discussion of the many-worlds interpretation, the observer does not retain a sequence of all past events, but it does reflect a present-state that is the result of having experienced a sequence of events.

Stop trying to analogize this in terms of specific computer equipment and try to think about it abstractly. Do you understand that a specific single wave function can be the unique result of a sequence of measurement events?
JayUtah is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th December 2020, 06:08 PM   #74
Mike Helland
Graduate Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2020
Posts: 1,288
Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
Okay, you're not really listening. I'm trying to reconcile your interpret of Everett with others' interpretation. In others' discussion of the many-worlds interpretation, the observer does not retain a sequence of all past events, but it does reflect a present-state that is the result of having experienced a sequence of events.

Stop trying to analogize this in terms of specific computer equipment and try to think about it abstractly. Do you understand that a specific single wave function can be the unique result of a sequence of measurement events?
Not a single function, the universal wave function, as per Everett's thesis. It contains all particles.

*Edit*: No sorry, I thought a single specific wave function contained the possible outcomes and their probablities.

Last edited by Mike Helland; 28th December 2020 at 06:10 PM.
Mike Helland is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th December 2020, 06:13 PM   #75
JayUtah
Penultimate Amazing
 
JayUtah's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 19,136
Originally Posted by Mike Helland View Post
Not a single function, the universal wave function, as per Everett's thesis. It contains all particles.
That has nothing to do with my question. Do you understand how any wave function can be the unique product of a sequence of events without needing to be a sequence of wave functions?
JayUtah is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th December 2020, 06:17 PM   #76
Mike Helland
Graduate Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2020
Posts: 1,288
Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
That has nothing to do with my question. Do you understand how any wave function can be the unique product of a sequence of events without needing to be a sequence of wave functions?
Yep.

Maybe.

In that could we would be talking about one property of one particle?

*Edit* No, I don't think we would.
Mike Helland is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th December 2020, 06:19 PM   #77
Mike Helland
Graduate Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2020
Posts: 1,288
Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
That has nothing to do with my question. Do you understand how any wave function can be the unique product of a sequence of events without needing to be a sequence of wave functions?
I'll try again.

Yes.

I think I understand, any wave function can be, not just anything, but many things.

Everett's universal wavefunction though, I think was talking about the wave function of everything.

Given a universal wave function it would never need to collapse, but churn on.
Mike Helland is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th December 2020, 06:35 PM   #78
Roboramma
Penultimate Amazing
 
Roboramma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Shanghai
Posts: 14,287
Originally Posted by Squeegee Beckenheim View Post
It was always my layperson's understanding that anything that interacted with a quantum system in any way could be classed as an observer. An electron could be an observer.
The problem with an electron as an observer is that a system of, say, two electrons interacting won't undergo decoherence.
__________________
"... when people thought the Earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the Earth was spherical they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the Earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the Earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together."
Isaac Asimov
Roboramma is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th December 2020, 06:36 PM   #79
theprestige
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Hong Kong
Posts: 49,686
An analogy turns out to fall short of properly describing the thing itself? Say it ain't so!
theprestige is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 28th December 2020, 06:47 PM   #80
Chanakya

 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 2,603
Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
Thought experiments aside, the notion that quantum mechanics relies entirely upon its formulation is exactly the appeal in fringe argumentation, because it constitutes a "completely different way of thinking about the universe." Cautionary quotes applied because some variation of this phrase is always what's equivocated to amplify the presumed need to "think differently" about the macro world than what mainstream perceptions provide. This is the common -- though incorrect -- justification for abandoning present models about the observable large-scale behavior of the universe and instead latching onto some woo that is presented as a viable alternative model. The "different way" of thinking about the universe in quantum mechanics is not just whatever handwaving nonsense someone thinks of, it's identically statistical mechanics. And it's not "the universe" that's thought of differently, just the behavior of certain very tiny bits of the universe when observed at quantum scale.

Yep, that's something we see often enough. So, 'quantum fallacy'?


I've seen Newton's third law similarly (mis)used, with a straight face, in "explaining" karma theory, and claiming in all earnestness that this is scientifically proven fact.

But of course, this 'quantum fallacy' thing is seen far more often when actually invoking QM.



There is one small difficulty here, however. As you say, it is the math that [is] QM. Absolutely, point taken. But the fact is, for most of us the math is beyond us. I suppose it's entirely possible for many of us to learn enough of it, given that we do have the basics; but it is almost certain that most of us won't.

So, when you tell someone who's peddling this kind of "quantum woo" that, as you say, the math is what the QM is, then that opens those of us who don't have QM-level math to the obvious objection that, by that same reasoning, we don't know what we're talking about and are not equipped to meaningfully object to said woo, or even identify it as such.


eta: I'm speaking generally here, and not necessarily on the specific topic of this thread. This is more about the out and out woo that's peddled by invoking QM, rather than weird takes on QM itself. Although the difficulty I spoke of would apply in both kinds of mangling of QM.

Last edited by Chanakya; 28th December 2020 at 06:58 PM.
Chanakya is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Reply

International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » Science, Mathematics, Medicine, and Technology

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 12:38 PM.
Powered by vBulletin. Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

This forum began as part of the James Randi Education Foundation (JREF). However, the forum now exists as
an independent entity with no affiliation with or endorsement by the JREF, including the section in reference to "JREF" topics.

Disclaimer: Messages posted in the Forum are solely the opinion of their authors.