Quantum Discussion

From Ely Dorsey 2005.04.02.21:16 EST

When you get past the first four chapters in the Rae Book,
things become interesting.

I have challenge for all of you: if the measuring
apparatus and the subatomic particles/waves are both in quantum states, then
why is that we can only know that they are both in quantum states by performing
experiments that yield results that do not agree with our classical eyes and
deduce that they both must be in quantum states so that we can explain to
ourselves that which we do not understand through our classical eyes. Or
stated another way, “Why haven’t we seen quantum behavior in the
macro world as a matter of everyday course?”

If you meet this challenge effectively, you will be ascended
to heaven and given an abacus with a self perpetuating energy source whereby
you can redo the universe in any way you wish.

You will see in the Rae book in the later chapters that he
speaks about his with an example using a special detector and an H/V
polarizer. My problem with his discussion is that if the detector and the
photon are both in quantum states for the purposes of his explanations, then
what happens if we have the detector by itself? In other words, do we
need the photon to make the detector quantum?

Enjoy.

Ely

When you get past the first four
chapters in the Rae Book, things become interesting.
[From Bill Powers (2005.04.02.1935 MST)]

Ely Dorsey 2005.04.02.21:16 EST –

Well, Chapter 4 (on the Copenhagen Interpretation) set my mind on an
interesting track, but I don’t see what to make of it yet. There is
a very deep conflict here: is the world real or not? Bohr, I suddenly
realized, was saying something very familiar: “It’s all
perception.” He said there’s no point in trying to guess what is Out
There before you perform a measurement, and after you perform a
measurement the result is then determined. That is a perfect description
of the process of applying a perceptual input function to incoming data
to produce a perceptual signal. He was talking about perceptions:
the inner, not the outer, reality.

One of the interesting sidelights of PCT is that perceptions can be
controllable even if they do not correspond to any physical entity. For
example, consider a perception p computed as

p = (pitch of whistle you are producing, Hz)*(time of day, 0-23 Hr) *(
temperature outside front door, degrees F)/(most recent Dow-Jones
average)

For example, if you are whistling A-440, at 11 in the morning, the
outside thermometer reads 65 degrees F, and the TV has just reported the
D-J average as10,500, the value of p is 29.96. If the reference level for
p is set at 35, you can make p equal it by raising the pitch of the
whistle to 514 Hz. Of course you don’t need to compute that as I just
did; just keep raising the pitch until the error is zero. You can easily
counteract disturbances produced by variations in the temperature, the
time, and the D-J average.

So this is a perfectly good controlled variable that is controlled by
acting on the outside world. But it doesn’t exist out there – it exists
only as a perceptual signal. And if you don’t compute it, it doesn’t
exist at all.

After reading various things on quantum theory, that sounds very
familiar, particularly after getting to Copenhagen. Quantum theory
is a way of perceiving the outside world. However, there is no necessity
that the entities of QT have any counterparts in the outside world – for
example, the entity that is called probability. But that may go even
deeper. Physics has given us some very elaborate perceptual input
functions, and the assumption has always been that they correspond to
things outside us. But maybe they don’t. Maybe they are just more or less
arbitrary functions of whatever is out there, and because physics has not
particularly considered the subject of human perception yet, maybe
we haven’t any idea what the forms of the functions are.

Bohr teetered on the edge of solipsism, but if he had known about PCT he
would have been in no danger. It is possible to postulate that there is a
real reality independent of us with its own stable properties – and at
the same time to say that the world we perceive is not isomorphic to
reality – meaning that we have, so far, hardly a glimmer of what those
properties actually are. This is because we have not been able to
separate the properties of human perceptual systems from properties of
the external world that determine our inputs, and that turn our actions
into changes in the inputs. The very idea of a “particle” is
clearly a product of human perceptual input functions. So is a
“wave”. Both are projections of some aspect of reality
into human perceptual space, but we have no idea what aspect.

Best,

Bill P.

Re: Quantum Discussion
[Martin Taylor 2005.04.02.22.07]

From Ely Dorsey
2005.04.02.21:16 EST

I have challenge for
all of you: if the measuring apparatus and the subatomic
particles/waves are both in quantum states, then why is that we can
only know that they are both in quantum states by performing
experiments that yield results that do not agree with our classical
eyes and deduce that they both must be in quantum states so that we
can explain to ourselves that which we do not understand through our
classical eyes. Or stated another way, “Why haven’t we seen
quantum behavior in the macro world as a matter of everyday
course?”

Surely everything we do see in the everyday world is exhibiting
quantum behaviour all the time – at least if quantum theory is
correct. What about your question am I missing?

Martin

Re: Quantum Discussion

From Ely Dorsey 2005.04.03.01:31EST

Two Things: 1. That
is just the point of my challenge, if you read Bill’s remarks, then the
challenge is answered by the Copenhagen
default.

  1.   What is
    

quantum as an adjective? If it is everything, then it is nothing.
It yields no information for our classical minds, since the basis of our epistemology
is the method of comparison. Thus, another thing;

  1.   What is
    

quantum epistemology? Another thing:

  1.   In classical
    

epistemology, (Newtonian Physics), we are able to know things because in
that epistemology knowing is built in as a characteristic. That knowing
is comparison, that is, the testing of the null hypothesis in one form or
another after we have established the existential nature of the thing that we
will compare other things to, to ‘know’ the new thing. This
knowing systems is affirmed and validated by internal validation methods such
as probability theory: we can speak of the chances of a thing coming into
being. The basis of this is the Identity axiom of our logic and set
theory systems: (For models of any set theory system, M, x = x). so
we can speak of the probability of a thing being, because we can speak of a
thing being a thing. That is, being itself. Now in quantum
epistemology this is not the case. That is, not in any sense that our
classical eyes can see. In quantum, we speak of a thing, being
everything. Classical epistemology is based on tautologies. I do
not think this is the case for quantum epistemology.

  1.   So what is
    

quantum epistemolology?

···

From: Control Systems
Group Network (CSGnet) [mailto:CSGNET@listserv.uiuc.edu] On Behalf Of Martin Taylor
Sent: Saturday, April 02, 2005
10:10 PM
To: CSGNET@listserv.uiuc.edu
Subject: Re: Quantum Discussion

[Martin Taylor 2005.04.02.22.07]

From Ely Dorsey 2005.04.02.21:16 EST

I have challenge for all of you: if the measuring
apparatus and the subatomic particles/waves are both in quantum states, then
why is that we can only know that they are both in quantum states by performing
experiments that yield results that do not agree with our classical eyes and
deduce that they both must be in quantum states so that we can explain to
ourselves that which we do not understand through our classical eyes. Or
stated another way, “Why haven’t we seen quantum behavior in the macro
world as a matter of everyday course?”

Surely everything we do see in the everyday world is exhibiting quantum
behaviour all the time – at least if quantum theory is correct. What about
your question am I missing?

Martin

[From Bill, Powers (2005.04.03.0837 MDT)] On Daylight Time
now.

Ely Dorsey 2005.04.03.01:31EST –

A question about Bell’s Inequality. Rae shows that it is true for any
collection of arbitrary sets of three items in which two are the same. So
how is it possible that this inequality is ever violated? I didn’t see
any example of such a collection generated by quantum observations. If
there were such a set, it would have to obey the inequality, wouldn’t it?
So write it out and show it to me. I will count the pluses and minuses,
and I guarantee that Bell’s Inequality will hold. How could it not?
Something’s fishy here.

Best,

Bill P.

···

[From Bill Powers (2005.03.03.0928 MDT)]

Ely Dorsey 2005.04.03.01:31EST

I’m not picking on you, I just need a target.

Measurement:

Rae says that a calcite crystal “measures” the polarization of
a photon. But if we want to know what the plane of polarization of the
incident light is, we need more than a calcite crystal. We need a sensor
to tell us how much light energy is coming out of the crystal. Is
the term “measurement” correct if nobody ever perceives the
result? I think a more appropriate word would be “interaction.”
The calcite crystal interacts with the incoming light to change its plane
of polarization. Or, if you don’t want to preserve the identity of the
incoming photon, you can say that the calcite crystal absorbs it and
emits a new photon having a different plane of polarization. There’s no
measurement involved.

A measurement provides information to an observer, as I use the term. We
try to measure things in such a way as not to change them. For example,
when measuring the length of a piece of wood, we lay a ruler next to it
so we can compare the marks with the ends of the piece of wood. This does
not disturb the piece of wood because it would be reflecting light
anyway, and is not affected by whatever receives that light.

On a very small scale, of course, the energy of the light probe used to
make a measurement does disturb the thing being measured, but if that
probe is always present whether we are measuring or not, the fact that
someone perceives the result (gets in the way of the light leaving the
probe and absorbs it) does not affect the measurement. If you’re
concerned about reflectance from the person, just put the person a couple
of light-seconds away (long enough to write the result down), observing
through a telescope.

What we measure is the interaction between the probe and the thing being
measured. Knowing the properties of the probe, we can correct the
measurement to the undisturbed case as nearly as statistics
permit.

Notice that the photons entering and leaving the calcite crystal are
imaginary. We can’t observe photons any more than we can observe
light-waves. What we observe are macroscopic effects like interference
fringes (places that are light and dark). Then we try to imagine what is
causing those appearances. The reality is the fringes that we see. All
the rest, we made up.

Best,

Bill P.

[From Rick Marken (2005.04.03.1110)]

Bill Powers (2005.03.03.0928 MDT) --

Notice that the photons entering and leaving the calcite crystal are imaginary. We can't observe photons any more than we can observe light-waves. What we observe are macroscopic effects like interference fringes (places that are light and dark). Then we try to imagine what is causing those appearances. The reality is the fringes that we see. All the rest, we made up.

This is such a basic point but one that seems to get lost in discussions of QM, where theory (photons, probabilities) is regularly treated as observation. Perhaps this always occurs when you have a particularly puzzling observations (like those made in the two-slit "quantum" experiment) that you can only explain by making up spooky theories. The spooky theories themselves become much more interesting to people that the simple (but puzzling) observations they were made up to explain.

I think the same thing could have happened in the study of control if PCT hadn't been around to immediately provide a non-spooky explanation of an extremely puzzling observation. Actually, the observation itself would probably not have been made if PCT were not around to motivate making it. The observation is, of course, the one you (Bill) describe in the first Byte article: where, in a compensatory tracking task, you show that the correlation between cursor and output is close to 0 while that between unseen disturbance and output is close to 1.0. I would include my variation on that experiment as another puzzling observation, where repetition of an unseen disturbance on two trials results in repetition of the output on the two trials despite the fact that the cursor movements on the two trials -- which is what the subject actually sees -- are completely uncorrelated. The latter demonstration is on the web at: http://www.mindreadings.com/ControlDemo/Cause.html

If those observations were made before the simple PCT explanation was provided, I can imagine all kinds of spooky mathematical explanations being invented, involving information being filtered though the cursor, collapsing probability envelopes and the like. These would be invented to preserve the basic idea that input causes output. Maybe the same kind of thing is going on in QM.

Best regards

Rick

···

---
Richard S. Marken
marken@mindreadings.com
Home 310 474-0313
Cell 310 729-1400

[From Bruce Gregory (2005.0403.1415)]

Rick Marken (2005.04.03.1110)

If those observations were made before the simple PCT explanation was provided, I can imagine all kinds of spooky mathematical explanations being invented, involving information being filtered though the cursor, collapsing probability envelopes and the like. These would be invented to preserve the basic idea that input causes output. Maybe the same kind of thing is going on in QM.

Perhaps God is controlling the results of QM experiments. That would explain a lot.

A true believer knows the solution before he understands the problem.

[From Rick Marken (2005.04.03.1500)]

Bruce Gregory (2005.0403.1415)

Rick Marken (2005.04.03.1110)

If those observations were made before the simple PCT explanation was provided, I can imagine all kinds of spooky mathematical explanations being invented, involving information being filtered though the cursor, collapsing probability envelopes and the like. These would be invented to preserve the basic idea that input causes output. Maybe the same kind of thing is going on in QM.

Perhaps God is controlling the results of QM experiments. That would explain a lot.

It would explain too much observation with too little model, I think.

I assume that the puzzling results of QM experiments, like the puzzling results of PCT experiments, are determined by the nature of the systems under study (light and people, respectively). What I was saying about the PCT observations (of the high correlation between invisible disturbance and output in a compensatory tracking task) is that these results could have led to a spooky explanation if the closed loop control model were not already there to provide a non-spooky one. I don't doubt the results observed in the PCT experiment (because I've observed them) and I don't doubt the results observed in the QM experiment (because I trust the scientists to have accurately reported what they observed). I'm just wondering whether the current explanation of the QM results, which involves what seem like fairly spooky assumptions about the effect of the observer on what is observed, are really the best explanation.

Regards

Rick

···

---
Richard S. Marken
marken@mindreadings.com
Home 310 474-0313
Cell 310 729-1400

[From Bruce Gregory 2005.0403.1856)]

Rick Marken (2005.04.03.1500)

I assume that the puzzling results of QM experiments, like the puzzling results of PCT experiments, are determined by the nature of the systems under study (light and people, respectively). What I was saying about the PCT observations (of the high correlation between invisible disturbance and output in a compensatory tracking task) is that these results could have led to a spooky explanation if the closed loop control model were not already there to provide a non-spooky one. I don't doubt the results observed in the PCT experiment (because I've observed them) and I don't doubt the results observed in the QM experiment (because I trust the scientists to have accurately reported what they observed). I'm just wondering whether the current explanation of the QM results, which involves what seem like fairly spooky assumptions about the effect of the observer on what is observed, are really the best explanation.

All I can say is that lots of very bright folks have failed to come up with an alternative. Believe me, they have tried.

A true believer knows the solution before he understands the problem.

[Martin Taylor 2005.04.03.22.33]

[From Rick Marken (2005.04.03.1500)]

  I'm just wondering whether the current explanation of the QM results, which involves what seem like fairly spooky assumptions about the effect of the observer on what is observed, are really the best explanation.

Simply on historical grounds, that no theory about the basis of physics has failed to be supplanted by a better one, I'd put my money on it not being the best explanation. It's just the best anyone has been able to come up with yet. Bohm did articulate a non-local approach to it, and that may turn out to be the direction of some kind of new physics.

The other reason for thinking that the current approach to quantum mechanics may be supplanted is that nobody yet has reconciled it with Sepcial relativity. Both theories make ultra-precise predictions of rather arcane observations, and if they are both "right", they both ought to dovetail into one another. But they don't.

My bet is that whatever supplants QM and GR will be, to our 21st century minds, even spookier than either.

Martin