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.


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…



The Observer Effect and Entanglement are Practically Requirements of Programmed Reality

Programmed Reality has been an incredibly successful concept in terms of explaining the paradoxes and anomalies of Quantum Mechanics, including non-Reality, non-Locality, the Observer Effect, Entanglement, and even the Retrocausality of John Wheeler’s Delayed Choice Quantum Eraser experiment.

I came up with those explanations by thinking about how Programmed Reality could explain such curiosities.

But I thought it might be interesting to view the problem in the reverse manner.  If one were to design a universe-simulating Program, what kinds of curiosities might result from an efficient design?  (Note: I fully realize that any entity advanced enough to simulate the universe probably has a computational engine that is far more advanced that we can even imagine; most definitely not of the von-Neumann variety.  Yet, we can only work with what we know, right?)

So, if I were to create such a thing, for instance, I would probably model data in the following manner:

For any space unobserved by a conscious entity, there is no sense in creating the reality for that space in advance.  It would unnecessarily consume too many resources.

For example, consider the cup of coffee on your desk.  Is it really necessary to model every single subatomic particle in the cup of coffee in order to interact with it in the way that we do?  Of course not.  The total amount of information contained in that cup of coffee necessary to stimulate our senses in the way that it does (generate the smell that it does; taste the way it does; feel the way it does as we drink it; swish around in the cup the way that it does; have the little nuances, like tiny bubbles, that make it look real; have the properties of cooling at the right rate to make sense, etc.) might be 10MB or so.  Yet, the total potential information content in a cup of coffee is 100,000,000,000 MB, so there is a ratio of perhaps 100 trillion in compression that can be applied to an ordinary object.

But once you decide to isolate an atom in that cup of coffee and observe it, the Program would then have to establish a definitive position for that atom, effectively resulting in the collapse of the wave function, or decoherence.  Moreover, the complete behavior of the atom, at that point, might be forever under control of the program.  After all, why delete the model once observed, in the event (probably fairly likely) that it will be observed again at some point in the future.  Thus, the atom would have to be described by a finite state machine.  It’s behavior would be decided by randomly picking values of the parameters that drive that behavior, such as atomic decay.  In other words, we have created a little mini finite state machine.

So, the process of “zooming in” on reality in the Program would have to result in exactly the type of behavior observed by quantum physicists.  In other words, in order to be efficient, resource-wise, the Program decoheres only the space and matter that it needs to.

Let’s say we zoom in on two particles at the same time; two that are in close proximity to each other.  Both would have to be decohered by the Program.  The decoherence would result in the creation of two mini finite state machines.  Using the same random number seed for both will cause the state machines to forever behave in an identical manner.

No matter how far apart you take the particles.  i.e…


So, Observer Effect and Entanglement might both be necessary consequences of an efficient Programmed Reality algorithm.


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Rewriting the Past

“I don’t believe in yesterday, by the way.”
-John Lennon

The past is set in stone, right?  Everything we have learned tells us that you can not change the past, 88-MPH DeLoreans notwithstanding.

However, it would probably surprise you to learn that many highly respected scientists, as well as a few out on the fringe, are questioning that assumption, based on real evidence.

For example, leading stem cell scientist, Dr. Robert Lanza, posits that the past does not really exist until properly observed.  His theory of Biocentrism says that the past is just as malleable as the future.

Specific experiments in Quantum Mechanics appear to prove this conjecture.  In the “Delayed Choice Quantum Eraser” experiment, “scientists in France shot photons into an apparatus, and showed that what they did could retroactively change something that had already happened.” (Science 315, 966, 2007)

Paul Davies, renowned physicist from the Australian Centre for Astrobiology at Macquarie University in Sydney, suggests that conscious observers (us) can effectively reach back in history to “exert influence” on early events in the universe, including even the first moments of time.  As a result, the universe would be able to “fine-tune” itself to be suitable for life.

Prefer the Many Worlds Interpretation (MWI) of Quantum Mechanics over the Copenhagen one?  If that theory is correct, physicist Saibal Mitra from the University of Amsterdam has shown how we can change the past by forgetting.  Effectively if the collective observers memory is reset prior to some event, the state of the universe becomes “undetermined” and can follow a different path from before.  Check out my previous post on that one.

Alternatively, you can disregard the complexities of quantum mechanics entirely.  The results of some macro-level experiments twist our perceptions of reality even more.  Studies by Helmut Schmidt, Elmar Gruber, Brenda Dunne, Robert Jahn, and others have shown, for example, that humans are actually able to influence past events (aka retropsychokinesis, or RPK), such as pre-recorded (and previously unobserved) random number sequences

Benjamin Libet, pioneering scientist in the field of human consciousness at  the University of California, San Francisco is well known for his controversial experiments that seem to show reverse causality, or that the brain demonstrates awareness of actions that will occur in the near future.  To put it another way, actions that occur now create electrical brain activity in the past.

And then, of course, there is time travel.  Time travel into the future is a fact, just ask any astronaut, all of whom have traveled nanoseconds into the future as a side effect of high speed travel.  Stephen Hawking predicts much more significant time travel into the future.  In the future.  But what about the past?  Turns out there is nothing in the laws of physics that prevents it.  Theoretical physicist Kip Thorne designed a workable time machine that could send you into the past.  And traveling to the past of course provides an easy mechanism for changing it.  Unfortunately this requires exotic matter and a solution to the Grandfather paradox (MWI to the rescue again here).

None of this is a huge surprise to me, since I question everything about our conventional views of reality.  Consider the following scenario in a massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) or simulation.  The first time someone plays the game, or participates in the simulation, there is an assumed “past” to the construct of the game.  Components of that past may be found in artifacts (books, buried evidence, etc.) scattered throughout the game.  Let’s say that evidence reports that the Kalimdors and Northrendians were at war during year 1999.  But the evidence has yet to be found by a player.  A game patch could easily change the date to 2000, thereby changing the past and no one would be the wiser.  But, what if someone had found the artifact, thereby setting the past in stone.  That patch could still be applied, but it would only be effective if all players who had knowledge of the artifact were forced to forget.  Science fiction, right?  No longer, thanks to an emerging field of cognitive research.  Two years ago, scientists were able to erase selected memories in mice.  Insertion of false memories is not far behind.  This will eventually perfected, and applied to humans.

At some point in our future (this century), we will be able to snort up a few nanobots, which will archive our memories, download a new batch of memories to the starting state of a simulation, and run the simulation.  When it ends, the nanobots will restore our old memories.

Or maybe this happened at some point in our past and we are really living the simulation.  There is really no way to tell.

No wonder the past seems so flexible.