Monday, 7 December 2015

Quantum Mechanics does not apply to me

I have repeatedly stated that Science cannot give an objective account of reality because Quantum mechanics proves that Scientific realism is false. While the sadist alternative is to resort to solipsism there is still one optimism for realists like me which is Platonic Realism which has withstood the test of times.

In this 1939 paper London and Bauer question the validity of scientific objectivity and claim that consciousness or our "faculty of introspection" is a distinct property possessed by systems like us who can treat ourselves as alien external observers who can modify the Schroedinger's wavefunction without ourselves being subjected to it.

Consciousness is the only true measurement apparatus and leads to mind over matter. The fact that physicists cannot solve the measurement problem even after eight decades proves that non-physical minds exists and quantum mechanics even gives us a clue that the evolution of such non-physical minds should be non-linear or even non-computable as Penrose argues.

The Theory of Observation in Quantum Mechanics by Fritz London and Edmond Bauer (1939)

At first sight it would appear that in quantum mechanics the concept of scientific objectivity has been strongly shaken. Since the classic period, the idea has become familiar that a physical object is something real, existing outside of the observer, independent of him, and in particular independent of whether or not the object has been subjected to measurement. The situation is not the same in quantum mechanics. Far from it being possible to attribute to a system at every instant its measurable properties, one cannot even claim that to attribute to it so much as a wave function has a well-defined meaning, unless referring explicitly to a definite measurement. Moreover, it looks as if the result of a measurement is intimately linked to the consciousness of the person making it, and as if quantum mechanics thus drives us toward complete solipsism.

Actually, however, we know that the relations between physicists have undergone practically no change since the discovery of quantum mechanics. No physicist has retired into a solipsistic isolation. Physicists use the same means of scientific exchange as in the past and are capable of cooperation in studying the same object. Thus there really exists something like a community of scientific perception, an agreement on what constitutes the object of the investigation, and it is this that still has to be looked into.

First of all, it is easy to recognize that the act of observation, that is, the coupling between the measuring apparatus and the observer (see our example in §11), is truly a macroscopic action and not basically quantal. Consequently one always has the right to neglect the effect on the apparatus of the “scrutiny” of the observer. Tracing things back in time, one will obtain definite conclusions about the state of the apparatus (or the photographic plate) and consequently the state of the object before the observation (but of course after the coupling is turned off). Moreover, nothing prevents another observer from looking at the same apparatus; and one can predict that, barring errors, his observations will be the same. The possibility of abstracting away from the individuality of the observer and of creating a collective scientific perception therefore in no way comes seriously into question.

It might appear that the scientific community thus created is a kind of spiritualistic society which studies imaginary phenomena—that the objects of physics are phantoms produced by the observer himself. In classical physics, one can picture a system at every instant in a unique and continuous way by the set of all of its measurable properties, even when it is not subjected to observation. It is exactly the possibility of this continuity of connection between properties and object that has ordinarily been considered as proof that physics deals with something “real,” that is, having in principle an existence “independent of all observers.” In quantum mechanics an object is the carrier, not of a definite set of measurable properties, but only a set of "potential" probability distributions or statistis referring to measurable properties, statistics which only come into force on the occasion of an effective well-defined measurement. If one abstracts away from all acts of measurement, it is meaningless to claim these measurable properties as realized; the very mathematical form of the statistics does not allow it (see §8).

But that does not keep us from predicting or interpreting experimental results. Theory fixes the rules. It teaches us first of all how to filter an object to get a pure case —that is, reproducible conditions, then it suggests how to make measurements, either to check theoretical predictions or to discover new empirical regularities. The theory adapts itself truly marvelously to the realities of experiment. It gives answers on all desired details and is silent on hypothetical questions with out experimental meaning.

In present physics the concept of “objectivity” is a little more abstract than the classical idea of a material object. Is it not a guarantee of “the objectivity” of an object that one can at least formally attribute measurable properties to it in a continuous manner even at times when it is not under observation? The answer is No, as this new theory shows by its internal consistency and by its impressive applications. It is enough, evidently, that the properties of the object should be present at the moment they are measured and that they should be predicted by theory in agreement with experiment.

In the limiting case of macroscopic phenomena, quantum theory rejoins classical theory. Thus it justifies the use of the “naive” concept of “objectivity” and at the same time specifics the limitations of this concept.

What has just been said relates to an important philosophical problem that we cannot enter into here: the determination of the necessary and sufficient conditions for an object of thought to possess objectivity and to be an object of science. This problem was perhaps posed for the first time in any general way by such mathematicians as Malebranche, Leibniz, and especially by B. Bolzano. More recently Husserl (1901, 1913; see also the rather similar ideas in Cassirer, 1910, 1936) has systematically studied such questions and has thus created a new method of investigation called Phenomenology.”

Physics insofar as it is an empirical science cannot enter into such problems in all their generality. It is satisfied to use philosophical concepts sufficient for its needs, but on occasion it can recognize that some of the concepts that once served it have become quite unnecessary, that they contain elements that are useless and even incorrect, actual obstacles to progress. One can doubt the possibility of establishing philosophical truths by the methods of physics, but it is surely not outside the the competence of physicists to demonstrate that certain statements which pretend to have a philosophical validity do not. And sometimes these “negative” philosophical discoveries by physicists are no less important, no less revolutionary for philosophy than the discoveries of recognized philosophers.