Disproving the Claim that the LHC Disproves the Existence of Ghosts

Recent articles in dozens of online magazines shout things like: “The LHC Disproves the Existence of Ghosts and the Paranormal.”

To which I respond: LOLOLOLOLOL

There are so many things wrong with this backwards scientific thinking, I almost don’t know where to start.  But here are a few…

1. The word “disproves” doesn’t belong here. It is unscientific at best. Maybe use “evidence against one possible explanation for ghosts” – I can even begin to appreciate that. But if I can demonstrate even one potential mechanism for the paranormal that the LHC couldn’t detect, you cannot use the word “disprove.” And here is one potential mechanism – an unknown force that the LHC can’t explore because its experiments are designed to only measure interactions in the 4 forces physicists are aware of.

The smoking gun is Brian Cox’s statement “If we want some sort of pattern that carries information about our living cells to persist then we must specify precisely what medium carries that pattern and how it interacts with the matter particles out of which our bodies are made. We must, in other words, invent an extension to the Standard Model of Particle Physics that has escaped detection at the Large Hadron Collider. That’s almost inconceivable at the energy scales typical of the particle interactions in our bodies.” So, based on that statement, here are a few more problems…

2. “almost inconceivable” is logically inconsistent with the term “disproves.”

3. “If we want some sort of pattern that carries information about our living cells to persist…” is an invalid assumption. We do not need information about our cells to persist in a traditional physical medium for paranormal effects to have a way to propagate. They can propagate by a non-traditional (unknown) medium, such as an information storage mechanism operating outside of our classically observable means. Imagine telling a couple of scientists just 200 years ago about how people can communicate instantaneously via radio waves. Their response would be “no, that is impossible because our greatest measurement equipment has not revealed any mechanism that allows information to be transmitted in that manner.” Isn’t that the same thing Brian Cox is saying?

4. The underlying assumption is that we live in a materialist reality. Aside from the fact that Quantum Mechanics experiments have disproven this (and yes, I am comfortable using that word), a REAL scientist should allow for the possibility that consciousness is independent of grey matter and create experiments to support or invalidate such hypotheses. One clear possibility is the simulation argument. Out of band signaling is an obvious and easy mechanism for paranormal effects.  Unfortunately, the REAL scientists (such as Anton Zeilinger) are not the ones who get most of the press.

5. “That’s almost inconceivable at the energy scales typical of the particle interactions in our bodies” is also bad logic. It assumes that we fully understand the energy scales typical of the particle interactions in our bodies. If scientific history has shown us anything, it is that there is more that we don’t understand than there is that we do.

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Collapsing the Objective Collapse Theory

When I was a kid, I liked to collect things – coins, baseball cards, leaves, 45s, what have you. What made the category of collectible particularly enjoyable was the size and variety of the sample space. In my adult years, I’ve learned that collections have a downside – where to put everything? – especially as I continue to downsize my living space in trade for more fun locales, greater views, and better access to beaches, mountains, and wine bars. However, I do still sometimes maintain a collection, such as my collection of other people’s theories that attempt to explain quantum mechanics anomalies without letting go of objective materialism. Yeah, I know, not the most mainstream of collections, and certainly nothing I can sell on eBay, but way more fun than stamps.

The latest in this collection is a set of theories called “objective collapse” theories. These theories try to distance themselves from the ickyness (to materialists) of conscious observer-centric theories like the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics. They also attempt to avoid the ridiculousness of the exponentially explosive reality creation theories in the Many Worlds Interpretations (MWI) category. Essentially, the Objective Collapsers argue that there is a wave function describing the probabilities of properties of objects, but, rather than collapsing due to a measurement or a conscious observation, it collapses on its own due to some as yet undetermined, yet deterministic, process according to probabilities of the wave function.

Huh?

Yeah, I call BS on that. And point simply to the verification of the Quantum Zeno effect.  Particles don’t change state while they are under observation. When you stop observing them, then they change state, not at some random time prior, as the Objective Collapse theories would imply, but at the exact time that you stop observing them. In other words, the timing of the observation is correlated with wave function collapse, completely undermining the argument that it is probabilistic or deterministic according to some hidden variables. Other better-physics-educated individuals than I (aka physicists) have also called BS on Objective Collapse theories due to other things such as the conservation of energy violations. But, of course there is no shortage of physicists calling BS on other physicists’ theories. That, by itself, would make an entertaining collection.

In any case, I would be remiss if I didn’t remind the readers that the Digital Consciousness Theory completely explains all of this stuff. By “stuff,” I mean not just the anomalies, like the quantum zeno effect, entanglement, macroscopic coherence, the observer effect, and quantum retrocausality, but also the debates about microscopic vs. macroscopic, and thought experiments like the time that Einstein asked Abraham Pais whether he really believed that the moon existed only when looked at, to wit:

  • All we can know for sure is what we experience, which is subjective for every individual.
  • We effectively live in a virtual reality, operating in the context of a huge and highly complex digital substrate system. The purpose of this reality is for our individual consciousnesses to learn and evolve and contribute to the greater all-encompassing consciousness.
  • The reason that it feels “physical” or solid and not virtual is due to the consensus of experience that is built into the system.
  • This virtual reality is influenced and/or created by the conscious entities that occupy it (or “live in it” or “play in it”; chose your metaphor)
  • The virtual reality may have started prior to any virtual life developing, or it may have been suddenly spawned and initiated with us avatars representing the various life forms at any point in the past.
  • Some things in the reality need to be there to start; the universe, earth, water, air, and, in the case of the more recent invocation of reality, lots of other stuff. These things may easily be represented in a macroscopic way, because that is all that is needed in the system for the experience. Therefore, there is no need for us to create them.
  • However, other things are not necessary for our high level experience. But they are necessary once we probe the nature of reality, or if we aim to influence our reality. These are the things that are subject to the observer effect. They don’t exist until needed. Subatomic particles and their properties are perfect examples. As are the deep cause and effect relationships between reality elements that are necessary to create the changes that our intent is invoked to bring about.

So there is no need for objective collapse. Things are either fixed (the moon) or potential (the radioactive decay of a particle). The latter are called into existence as needed…

…Maybe

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Comments on the Possibilist Transactional Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics, aka Models vs. Reality

Reality is what it is. Everything else is just a model.

From Plato to Einstein to random humans like myself, we are all trying to figure out what makes this world tick. Sometimes I think I get it pretty well, but I know that I am still a product of my times, and therefore my view of reality is seen through the lens of today’s technology and state of scientific advancement. As such, I would be a fool to think that I have it all figured out. As should everyone else.

At one point in our recent past, human scientific endeavor wasn’t so humble. Just a couple hundred years ago, we thought that atoms were the ultimate building blocks of reality and everything could be ultimately described by equations of mechanics. How naïve that was, as 20th century physics made abundantly clear. But even then, the atom-centric view of physics was not reality. It was simply a model. So is every single theory and equation that we use today, regardless of whether it is called a theory or a law: Relativistic motion, Schrodinger’s equation, String Theory, the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics – all models of some aspect of reality.

We seek to understand our world and derive experiments that push forward that knowledge. As a result of the experiments, we define models to best fit the data.

One of the latest comes from quantum physicist Ruth Kastner in the form of a model that better explains the anomalies of quantum mechanics. She calls the model the Possibilist Transactional Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics (PTI), an updated version of John Cramer’s Transactional Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics (TIQM, or TI for short) proposed in 1986. The transactional nature of the theory comes from the idea that the wavefunction collapse behaves like a transaction in that there is an “offer” from an “emitter” and a “confirmation” from an “absorber.” In the PTI enhancement, the offers and confirmations are considered to be outside of normal spacetime and therefore the wavefunction collapse creates spacetime rather than occurs within it. Apparently, this helps to explain some existing anomalies, like uncertainty and entanglement.

This is all cool and seems to serve to enhance our understanding of how QM works. However, it is STILL just a model, and a fairly high level one at that. And all models are approximations, approximating a description of reality that most closely matches experimental evidence.

Underneath all models exist deeper models (e.g. string theory), many as yet to be supported by real evidence. Underneath those models may exist even deeper models. Consider this layering…

Screen Shot 2015-09-29 at 8.18.55 PM

Every layer contains models that may be considered to be progressively closer to reality. Each layer can explain the layer above it. But it isn’t until you get to the bottom layer that you can say you’ve hit reality. I’ve identified that layer as “digital consciousness”, the working title for my next book. It may also turn out to be a model, but it feels like it is distinctly different from the other layers in that, by itself, it is no longer an approximation of reality, but rather a complete and comprehensive yet elegantly simple framework that can be used to describe every single aspect of reality.

For example, in Digital Consciousness, everything is information. The “offer” is then “the need to collapse the wave function based on the logic that there is now an existing conscious observer who depends on it.” The “confirmation” is the collapse – the decision made from probability space that defines positions, spins, etc. This could also be seen as the next state of the state machine that defines such behavior. The emitter and absorber are both parts of the “system”, the global consciousness that is “all that there is.” So, if experimental evidence ultimately demonstrates that PTI is a more accurate interpretation of QM, it will nonetheless still be a model and an approximation. The bottom layer is where the truth is.

Elvidge’s Postulate of Countable Interpretations of QM…

The number of intepretations of Quantum Mechanics always exceeds the number of physicists.

Let’s count the various “interpretations” of quantum mechanics:

  • Bohm (aka Causal, or Pilot-wave)
  • Copenhagen
  • Cosmological
  • Ensemble
  • Ghirardi-Rimini-Weber
  • Hidden measurements
  • Many-minds
  • Many-worlds (aka Everett)
  • Penrose
  • Possibilist Transactional (PTI)
  • Relational (RQM)
  • Stochastic
  • Transactional (TIQM)
  • Von Neumann-Wigner
  • Digital Consciousness (DCI, aka Elvidge)

Unfortunately you won’t find the last one in Wikipedia. Give it about 30 years.

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The Berenstein Bears – The Smoking Gun of The Matrix?

Hollywood has had a great deal of fun with the ideas of time loops, alternate universes, reality shifts, and parallel timelines – “glitch in the Matrix”, “Groundhog Day”, “Back to the Future”, to name a few that have entered our collective consciousness.

But that’s just entertainment.

In our reality, once in a while, something seems to be amiss in a similar manner. Years ago, there was some speculation about the “Mandela Effect”, the idea that many people seem to have remembered that Nelson Mandela died in prison, which, of course, he didn’t.

At least not in this universe.

It seems that this was sort of a “soft glitch”, because only some people remembered the event – one of those cases where you don’t quite remember where you heard the news, but it is in your memory. Perhaps it was just an urban legend that got passed around through word of mouth.

Then, yesterday, one of my friends posted this link on Facebook about the apparent glitch in reality where the Berenstein Bears became the Berenstain Bears:

I remember it being pronounced “Ber-en-steen” and spelled “Berenstein.” Do you? Turns out that not only do all of the friends and colleagues who I asked, but also most of the people who have weighed in on various blogs and articles about this topic throughout the Internet and Twitterverse. The originators of the book series only recall their names as “Berenstain” and seem perplexed by everyone else’s recollection. Is it a case of mass confusion, an example of a parallel universe in action, or a rare and extreme piece of evidence that our reality is purely subjective?

MWI (Many Worlds Interpretation) Quantum theorists would have one possible yet incomplete explanation. In this theory, reality bifurcates constantly every time a quantum mechanical decision needs to be made (which occurs at the subatomic particle level countless times per second, and may be influenced by the observer effect). The figure below demonstrates. At some point, one of the ancestors of Stan and Jan Berenstein, the creators of the Berenstein Bear book series, encountered a situation where his name could have been spelled one of two ways. Perhaps, it was at Ellis Island, where such mistakes were common. For whatever reason, the universe bifurcated into one where the ancestor in question retained his original name, Berenstein, and another where the ancestor received a new spelling of his name, Berenstain (or vice versa; it doesn’t matter). Down the Berenstein path travelled we and/or all of our ancestors. Our doppelgängers went down the Berenstain path.

berenstein

According to MWI, all of these realities exist in something called Hilbert Space and there is no ability to travel from one to another. This is where MWI fails, because we are all in the Berenstain path now, but seem to remember the Berenstein path. So, for some reason (reality just messing with us?) we all jumped from one point in Hilbert Space to another. If Hilbert Space allowed for this, then this idea might have some validity. But it doesn’t. Furthermore, not everyone experienced the shift. Just ask the Berenstains. MWI can’t explain this.

The flaw is in the assumption that “we” are entirely in one of these realities. “We,” as has been discussed countless times in this blog and in my book, are experiencing a purely subjective experience. It is the high degree of consensus between each of us “conscious entities” that fools us into thinking that our reality is objective and deterministic. Physics experiments have proven beyond a reasonable doubt that it is not.

So what is going on?

My own theory, Digital Consciousness (fka “Programmed Reality”), has a much better, comprehensive, and perfectly consistent explanation (note: this has the same foundation as Tom Campbell’s theory, “My Big TOE”). See the figure below.

ATTI

“We” are each a segment of organized information in “all that there is” (ATTI). Hence, we feel individual, but are connected to the whole. (No time to dive into how perfectly this syncs with virtually every spiritual experience throughout history, but you probably get it.) The “Reality Learning Lab” (RLL) (Campbell) is a different set of organized information within ATTI. The RLL is what we experience every day while conscious. (While meditating, or in deep sleep, we are connected elsewhere) It is where all of the artifacts representing Berenstein or Berenstain exist. It is where various “simulation” timelines run. The information that represents our memories is in three places:

  1. The “brain” part of the simulation. Think of this as our cache.
  2. The temporary part of our soul’s record (or use the term “spirit”, “essence”, “consciousness”, “Being”, or whatever you prefer – words don’t matter), which we lose when we die. This is the stuff our “brain” has full access to, especially when our minds are quiet.
  3. The permanent part of our soul’s record; what we retain from life to life, what we are here to evolve and improve, what in turn contributes to the inexorable evolution of ATTI. Values and morality are here. Irrelevant details like the spelling of Berenstein don’t belong.

For some reason, ATTI decided that it made sense to replace Berenstein with Berenstain in all of the artifacts of our reality (books, search engine records, etc.) But, for some reason, the consciousness data stores did not get rewritten when that happened, and so we still have long-term recollection of “Berenstein.”

Why? ATTI just messing with us? Random experiment? Glitch?

Maybe ATTI is giving us subtle hints that it exists, that “we” are permanent, so that we use the information to correct our path?

We can’t know. ATTI is way beyond our comprehension.

Which came first, the digital chicken, or the digital philosophy egg?

Many scientists, mathematicians, futurists, and philosophers are embracing the idea that our reality is digital these days. In fact, it would be perfectly understandable to wonder if digital philosophy itself is tainted due to the tendency of humans to view ideas through the lens of their times. We live in a digital age, surrounded by computers, the Internet, and smart phones, and so might we not be guilty of imagining that the world behaves just as a multi-player video game does? We probably wouldn’t have had such ideas 50 years ago, when, at a macroscopic level at least, everything with which we interacted appeared analog and continuous. Which came first, the digital chicken, or the digital philosophy egg?

Actually, the concepts of binary and digital are not at all new. The I Ching is an ancient Chinese text that dates to 1150 BCE. In it are 64 combinations of 8 trigrams (aka the Bagua), each of which clearly contain the first three bits of a binary code. 547px-Bagua-name-earlier.svg

Many other cultures, including the Mangareva in Polynesia (1450), and Indian (5th to 2nd century BCE), have used binary encodings for communication for thousands of years. Over 12,000 years ago, African tribes developed a binary divination system called Odu Ifa.

German mathematician and philosopher Gottfried Leibniz is generally credited as developing the modern binary number system in 1679, based on zeros and ones. Naturally, all of these other cultures are ignored so that we can maintain the illusion that all great philosophical and mathematical thought originated in Europe. Regardless of Eurocentric biases, it is clear that binary encoding is not a new concept. But what about applying it to the fundamental construct of reality?

It turns out that while modern digital physics or digital philosophy references are replete with sources that only date to the mid-20th century, the ancient Greeks (namely Plato) believed that reality was discrete. Atoms were considered to be discrete and fundamental components of reality.

A quick clarification of the terms “discrete”, “digital”, “binary”, “analog”, and “continuous” is probably in order:

Discrete – Having distinct points of measurement in the time domain

Digital – Having properties that can be encoded into bits

Binary – Encoding that is done with only two digits, zeros and ones

Analog – Having continuously variable properties

Continuous – The time domain is continuous

So, for example, if we encode the value of some property (e.g. length or voltage) digitally using 3 values (0, 1, 2), that would be digital, but not binary (rather, ternery). If we say that between any two points in time, there is an infinitely divisible time element, but for each point, the value of the measurement being performed on some property is represented by bits, then we would have a continuous yet digital system. Conversely, if time can be broken into chunks such that at a fine enough temporal granularity there is no concept of time between two adjacent points in time, but at each of these time points, the value of the measurement being performed is continuously variable, then we would have a discrete yet analog system.

In the realm of consciousness-driven digital philosophy, it is my contention that the evidence strongly supports reality being discrete and digital; that is, time moves on in “chunks” and at each discrete point in time, every property of everything can be perfectly represented digitally. There are no infinities.

I believe that this is a logical and fundamental conclusion, regardless of the fact that we live in a digital age. There are many reasons for this, but for the purposes of this particular blog post, I shall only concentrate on a couple. Let’s break down the possibilities of our reality, in terms of origin and behavior:

  1. Type 1 – Our reality was created by some conscious entity and has been following the original rules established by that entity. Of course, we could spend a lifetime defining “conscious” or “entity” but let’s try to keep it simple. This scenario could include traditional religious origin theories (e.g. God created the heavens and the earth). It could also include the common simulation scenarios, a la Nick Bostrom’s “Simulation Argument.”
  1. Type 2 – Our reality was originally created by some conscious entity and has been evolving according to some sort of fundamental evolutionary law ever since.
  1. Type 3 – Our reality was not created by some conscious entity, and its existence sprang out of nothing and has been following primordial rules of physics ever since. To explain the fact that our universe is incredibly finely-tuned for matter and life, materialist cosmologists dreamt up the idea that we must exist in an infinite set of parallel universes, and via the anthropic principle, the one we live only appears finely-tuned because it has to in order for us to be in it. Occam would be turning over in his grave.
  1. Type 4 – Our reality was not created by some particular conscious entity, but rather has been evolving according to some sort of fundamental evolutionary law from the very beginning.

I would argue that in the first two cases, reality would have to be digital. For, if a conscious entity is going to create a world for us to live in and experience, that conscious entity is clearly highly evolved compared to us. And, being so evolved, it would certainly make use of the most efficient means to create a reality. A continuous reality is not only inefficient, it is theoretically impossible to create because it involves infinities in the temporal domain as well as any spatial domain or property.

pixelated200I would also argue that in the fourth case, reality would have to be digital for similar reasons. Even without a conscious entity as a creator, the fundamental evolutionary law would certainly favor a perfectly functional reality that doesn’t require infinite resources.

Only in the third case above, would there be any possibility of a continuous analog reality. Even then, it is not required. As MIT cosmologist and mathematician Max Tegmark succinctly put it, “We’ve never measured anything in physics to more than about sixteen significant digits, and no experiment has been carried out whose outcome depends on the hypothesis that a true continuum exists, or hinges on nature computing something uncomputable.” Hence there is no reason to assume, a priori, that the world is continuous. In fact, the evidence points to the contrary:

  • Infinite resolution would imply that matter implodes into black holes at sub-Planck scales and we don’t observe that.
  • Infinite resolution implies that relativity and quantum mechanics can’t coexist, at least with the best physics that we have today. Our favorite contenders for rationalizing relativity and quantum mechanics are string theory and loop quantum gravity. And they only work with minimal length (aka discrete) scales.
  • We actually observe discrete behavior in quantum mechanics. For example, a particle’s spin value is always quantized; there are no intermediate states. This is anomalous in continuous space-time.

For many other reasons, as are probably clear from the evidence compiled on this site, I tend to favor reality Type 4. No other type of reality structure and origin can be shown to be anywhere near as consistent with all of the evidence (philosophical, cosmological, mathematical, metaphysical, and experimental). And it has nothing to do with MMORPGs or the smart phone in my pocket.

Macroscopic Coherence Explained

Coherence is a general property of a system whereby the components of that system all act in a similar manner. Coherent light is what makes lasers what they are – an alignment of photons, or waveform phases (why cats chase them is a little harder to explain). Superconductivity, a property of zero resistance to electrical flow that was formerly only observed at temperatures near absolute zero, is closely related in that the atoms of the superconducting material are aligned coherently. Quantum entanglement is an example of perfect coherence between two or more particles, in that they act as a single particle no matter how far away from each other you take them. Einstein famously referred to this property as “spooky action at a distance.” The Bose-Einstein condensate is another state of matter that exists at extremely low temperatures and involves a system of particles that have all achieved the lowest quantum state, and hence, are coherent.

Over the years, clever experimental scientists have pushed the boundaries of coherence from extreme cryogenics and quantum scales to room temperatures and macroscopic scales. Author and fellow truth seeker Anthony Peake posted an article today about experiments that are being done at various research institutes which demonstrate how the contents of liquid containers connected by arbitrarily thin channels exhibit “action at a distance” macroscopically.

Once again, such anomalies have scientists scratching their heads for explanations; that is, scientists who cling to the never-proven pre-assumed dogma of objective materialism. Entanglement and macroscopic action at a distance find no home in this religion.

However, over here at “Consciousness-based Digital Reality” Central, we enjoy the simplicity of fitting such anomalies into our model of reality. 🙂

It all follows from three core ideas:

  1. That all matter is ultimately comprised of data (“it from bit” as John Wheeler would say) and that forces are simply the rules of how the complex data structures that form particles interact with each other.
  1. That consciousness, which is also organized data, interacts with the components of reality according to other rules of the overall system (this greater System being “reality”, “the universe”, God, “all that there is” or whatever you want to call it).
  1. The System evolves according to what Tom Campbell calls the “Fundamental Rule.” Similar to evolution, the system changes state and evolves in the direction of more profitable or useful states and away from less useful states.

Because of #3, our system has evolved to be efficient. As such, it would likely not be wasteful. So, when an observer observes (consciousness interacts with) a pair of particles in proximity to each other, the system sets their states (collapsing the wave function) and the rules of their behavior (a finite state machine) to be coherent simply out of efficiency. That is, each particle is set to the same finite state machine, and forever behaves that way no matter how far apart you take them (distance being a virtual concept in a virtual digital world).

So what prevents the same logic from applying to macroscopic collections of coherent particles? Nothing. In fact, it is inevitable. These clever scientists have learned methods to establish a coherent identical quantum state across huge quantities of particles (aka macroscopic). At the point in which the experimenter creates this state and observes it, the system establishes the state machines for all of them at once, since they are all to be in the same quantum state. And so we get room temperature superconductivity and macroscopic containers of liquid that demonstrate non-locality.

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Quantum Zeno Effect Solved

Lurking amidst the mass chaos of information that exists in our reality is a little gem of a concept called the Quantum Zeno Effect.  It is partially named after ancient Greek philosopher Zeno of Elea, who dreamed up a number of paradoxes about the fluidity of motion and change.  For example, the “Arrow Paradox” explores the idea that if you break down time into “instants” of zero duration, motion cannot be observed.  Thus, since time is composed of a set of instants, motion doesn’t truly exist.  We might consider Zeno to have been far ahead of his time as he appeared to be thinking about discrete systems and challenging the continuity of space and time a couple thousand years before Alan Turing resurrected the idea in relation to quantum mechanics: “It is easy to show using standard theory that if a system starts in an eigenstate of some observable, and measurements are made of that observable N times a second, then, even if the state is not a stationary one, the probability that the system will be in the same state after, say, one second, tends to one as N tends to infinity; that is, that continual observations will prevent motion …”.  The term “Quantum Zeno Effect” was first used by physicists George Sudarshan and Baidyanath Misra in 1977 to describe just such a system – one that does not change state because it is continuously observed.

The challenge with this theory has been in devising experiments that can verify or falsify it.  However, technology has caught up to philosophy and, over the last 25 years, a number of experiments have been performed which seem to validate the effect.  In 2001, for example, physicist Mark Raizen and a team at the University of Texas showed that the effect is indeed real and the transition of states in a system can be either slowed down or sped up simply by taking measurements of the system.

I have enjoyed making a hobby of fully explaining quantum mechanics anomalies with the programmed reality theory.   Admittedly, I don’t always fully grasp some of the deep complexities and nuances of the issues that I am tackling, due partly to the fact that I have a full time job that has naught to do with this stuff, and partly to the fact that my math skills are a bit rusty, but thus far, it doesn’t seem to make a difference.  The more I dig in to each issue, the more I find things that simply support the idea that we live in a digital (and programmed) reality.

The quantum Zeno effect might not be observed in every case.  It only works for non-memoryless processes.  Exponential decay, for instance, is an example of a memoryless system.  Frequent observation of a particle undergoing radioactive decay would not affect the result.  [As an aside, I find it very interesting that a “memoryless system” invokes the idea of a programmatic construct.  Perhaps with good reason…]

A system with memory, or “state”, however, is, in theory, subject to the quantum Zeno effect.  It will manifest itself by appearing to reset the experiment clock every time an observation is made of the state of the system.  The system under test will have a characteristic set of changes that vary over time.  In the case of the University of Texas experiment, trapped ions tended to remain in their initial state for a brief interval or so before beginning to change state via quantum tunneling, according to some probability function.  For the sake of developing a clear illustration, let’s imagine a process whereby a particle remains in its initial quantum state (let’s call it State A) for 2 seconds before probabilistically decaying to its final state (B) according to a linear function over the next second.  Figure A shows the probability of finding the particle in State A as a function of time.  For the first 2 seconds, of course, it has a 0% probability of changing state, and between 2 and 3 seconds it has an equal probability of moving to state B at any point in time.  A system with this behavior, left on its own and measured at any point after 3 seconds, will be in State B.

probability

What happens, however, when you make a measurement of that system, to check and see if it changed state, at t=1 second?  Per the quantum Zeno effect, the experiment clock will effectively be reset and now the system will stay in State A from t=1 to t=3 and then move to state B at some point between t=3 and t=4.  If you make another measurement of the system at t=1, the clock will again reset, delaying the behavior by another second.  In fact, if you continue to measure the state of the system every second, it will never change state.  Note that this has absolutely nothing to do with the physical impact of the measurement itself; a 100% non-intrusive observation will have exactly the same result.

Also note that, it isn’t that the clock doesn’t reset for a memoryless system, but rather, that it doesn’t matter because you cannot observe any difference.  One may argue that if you make observations at the Planck frequency (one per jiffy), even a memoryless sytem might never change state.  This actually approaches the true nature of Zeno’s arguments, but that is a topic for another essay, one that is much more philosophical than falsifiable.  In fact, “Quantum Zeno Effect” is a misnomer.  The non-memoryless system described above really has little to do with the ad infinitum inspection of Zeno’s paradoxes, but we are stuck with the name.  And I digress.

So why would this happen?

It appears to be related in some way to the observer effect and to entanglement:

  • Observer Effect – Once observed, the state of a system changes.
  • Entanglement – Once observed, the states of multiple particles (or, rather, the state of a system of multiple particles) are forever connected.
  • Quantum Zeno – Once observed, the state of a system is reset.

What is common to all three of these apparent quantum anomalies is the coupling of the act of observation with the concept of a state.  For the purposes of this discussion, it will be useful to invoke the computational concept of a finite state machine, which is a system that changes state according to a set of logic rules and some input criteria.

I have explained the Observer effect and Entanglement as logical necessities of an efficient programmed reality system.  What about Quantum Zeno?  Why would it not be just as efficient to start the clock on a process and let it run, independent of observation?

A clue to the answer is that the act of observation appears to create something.

In the Observer effect, it creates the collapse of the probability wave functions and the establishment of definitive properties of certain aspects of the system under observation (e.g. position).  This is not so much a matter of efficiency as it is of necessity, because without probability, free will doesn’t exist and without free will, we can’t learn, and if the purpose of our system is to grow and evolve, then by necessity, observation must collapse probability.

In Entanglement, the act of observation may create the initiation of a state machine, which subsequently determines the behavior of the particles under test.  Those particles are just data, as I have shown, and the data elements are part of the same variable space of the state machine.  They both get updated simultaneously, regardless of the “virtual” distance between them.

So, in Quantum Zeno, the system under test is in probability space.  The act of observation “collapses” this initial probability function and kicks off the mathematical process by which futures states are determined based on the programmed probability function.  But that is now a second level of probability function; call it probability function 2.  Observing this system a second time now must collapse the probability wave function 2.  But to do so means that the system would now have to calculate a modified probability function 3 going forward – one that takes into account the fact that some aspect of the state machine has already been determined (e.g. the system has or hasn’t started its decay).  For non-memoryless systems, this could be an arbitrarily complex function (3) since it may take a different shape for every time at which the observation occurs.  A third measurement complicates the function even further because even more states are ruled out.

On the other hand, it would be more efficient to simply reset the probability function each time an observation is made, due to the efficiency of the reality system.

The only drawback to this algorithm is the fact that smart scientists are starting to notice these little anomalies, although the assumption here is that the reality system “cares.”  It may not.  Or perhaps that is why most natural processes are exponential, or memoryless – it is a further efficiency of the system.  Man-made experiments, however, don’t follow the natural process and may be designed to be arbitrarily complex, which ironically serves to give us this tiny little glimpse into the true nature of reality.

What we are doing here is inferring deep truths about our reality that are in fundamental conflict with the standard materialist view.  This will be happening more and more as time goes forward and physicists and philosophers will soon have no choice but to consider programmed reality as their ToE.

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