Do we create what we see?

#1
One night in 1952, Richard Feynman and David Bohm went bar-hopping in Belo Horizonte. Louisa Gilder reconstructs the night in her brilliant book on the history of quantum mechanics, The Age of Entanglement.

This is an interview with physicist Basil Hiley, long term collaborator of Bohn. Hiley concludes the interview with the following argument:

That’s a very interesting question. Do we create what we see? Maybe we do. I know people say, “Oh, it’s all subjective.” But there are only certain things you can do with it. You can’t magic things up. You can reorder things. You can rearrange things when you are making your reality. We’re rearranging the processes. We are part of the process.

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com...hysicist-basil-hiley/?WT_mc_id=SA_DD_20131104

So how to people here view this argument?

Jules.
 
#2
Personally, I think we need more courageous scientists to tell it like it is, and not try to squeeze themselves black and blue to fit into a rapidly receding paradigm just so they can remain members of the boys club. Here is a man with his eyes open, prepared to go where the data leads, and not ignore that which does not fit his paradigm.

The truth is there is massive support for the idea that we do truly create all we see, collectively and individually. I hate when materialists bang on about it being impossible, and how no scientist worth their salt would entertain such an idea. I think this article puts that nonsense to bed. Great stuff.
 
#3
I can see how some people may think, based on how quantum measurements behave, that we create or at least confine reality with our perception, but on the other side of the coin, I'm skeptical about equating equations to ontology. "The 'map' is not the 'territory'."
 
#4
I can see how some people may think, based on how quantum measurements behave, that we create or at least confine reality with our perception, but on the other side of the coin, I'm skeptical about equating equations to ontology. "The 'map' is not the 'territory'."
Interesting. So how would you account for the results of Radin's experimental data demonstrating the healing power of intent or the ability of a meditator to influence the collapse of the wave function in the double slit experiment?
 
#5
I was just about to start a thread about that actually.
I'm aware of Radin's data regarding meditation and brain structure, I didn't know he already has evidence for the collapse of wave function, last time I checked ION's site was months ago when I tried to take part in the trial, but the program didn't work for me. Do you have a link?
 
#6
I was just about to start a thread about that actually.
I'm aware of Radin's data regarding meditation and brain structure, I didn't know he already has evidence for the collapse of wave function, last time I checked ION's site was months ago when I tried to take part in the trial, but the program didn't work for me. Do you have a link?
Here you are: http://www.deanradin.com/papers/Physics Essays Radin final.pdf

Obviously more research is required to replicate findings etc.
 
#7
Ok I've seen this one, I'm not mathematically trained to verify it, but it does seem to indicate that sheer consciousness can affect quantum systems. On that front, I have reservations about applying this to macroscopic systems directly. I'm not saying it's impossible, just that I'd like that area investigated. I understand that some physicists are doing just that, Anton Zeillinger is one if memory serves.

I was thinking about how some experiments showed that intention can affect brain structure. On the one hand this seems to demonstrate that consciousness can indeed affect macroscopic objects, I'm slightly inclined to come on board with this idea.

But I suspect the results could also fit a materialist explanation. If consciousness is indeed emergent from purely deterministic processes, then its apparent effects on brain structure is just part of that deterministic process. And if I really stretch this line of thinking, I could argue that the universe is also completely deterministic and that the fact "intention" seems to affect distant quantum systems is just a product of deterministic process that seem strange, but is not, since there is no intention at all, it's all billiard balls.

Of course there are big holes here as no one has yet put forth a convincing theory or demonstration of how consciousness exactly emerges. And it's starkly at odds with quantum indeterminacy.
 
#8
Ok I've seen this one, I'm not mathematically trained to verify it, but it does seem to indicate that sheer consciousness can affect quantum systems. On that front, I have reservations about applying this to macroscopic systems directly. I'm not saying it's impossible, just that I'd like that area investigated. I understand that some physicists are doing just that, Anton Zeillinger is one if memory serves.

I was thinking about how some experiments showed that intention can affect brain structure. On the one hand this seems to demonstrate that consciousness can indeed affect macroscopic objects, I'm slightly inclined to come on board with this idea.
Yes, I think something very interesting is happening here. I think the results of this research need to be considered in light of the growing body of research in this area. An example of this is the research into the impact of being unknowingly stared at. Measures of galvanic skin response show biological systems respond to directed attention in a way which is not directly explainable according to the current model. I find it all very intriguing.

But I suspect the results could also fit a materialist explanation. If consciousness is indeed emergent from purely deterministic processes, then its apparent effects on brain structure is just part of that deterministic process. And if I really stretch this line of thinking, I could argue that the universe is also completely deterministic and that the fact "intention" seems to affect distant quantum systems is just a product of deterministic process that seem strange, but is not, since there is no intention at all, it's all billiard balls.
How would we test this theory?

Of course there are big holes here as no one has yet put forth a convincing theory or demonstration of how consciousness exactly emerges. And it's starkly at odds with quantum indeterminacy.
I don't think anyone has yet put forward an adequate explanation of what consciousness is let alone how it can impact on the physical world. It's the Achilles heal of materialism. Still, if we can verify reliably that it does, we then need to deal with that evidence. I think there has been an overwhelming propensity to bury inconvenient science. And presumably the body of research being done with help us develop testable theories.
 
#9
Well, I think materialists could and definitely will put their model of consciousness to the test, it would come as an almost inevitable result of the growth of computing power. Eventually people will try to simulate the brain on a cellular level in real time, then if what emerges can convince the researchers that it's conscious by passing a battery of psych tests and demonstrations of intelligence, it will be considered conscious. If that didn't work, they'll move on to simulating sub-cellular level structures, then maybe atomic level or even sub-atomic level.

Now of course like you pointed out there is currently no formal definition of what consciousness is, but the reason I say it will go right down the simulation route, is because A. materialists define consciousness as an illusion, therefore they only need to demonstrate behavior. B. We as a civilization is totally dependent upon and addicted to ever more computing power, and even failed attempts at producing conscious-in-silica could turn into very profitable products.

My guess is that they will probably succeed in producing a simulated entity or non-entity(algorithms) that behaves just like a conscious entity, we may get very convincingly human robots and software as a result. Victory over all superstition, woo and jesus shall be declared.

But it won't fundamentally change the discourse on what consciousness is as long as we fail to integrate the subjective and experiential aspect of knowledge with the objective and empirical aspect.
 
#10
Well, I think materialists could and definitely will put their model of consciousness to the test, it would come as an almost inevitable result of the growth of computing power. Eventually people will try to simulate the brain on a cellular level in real time, then if what emerges can convince the researchers that it's conscious by passing a battery of psych tests and demonstrations of intelligence, it will be considered conscious. If that didn't work, they'll move on to simulating sub-cellular level structures, then maybe atomic level or even sub-atomic level.

Now of course like you pointed out there is currently no formal definition of what consciousness is, but the reason I say it will go right down the simulation route, is because A. materialists define consciousness as an illusion, therefore they only need to demonstrate behavior. B. We as a civilization is totally dependent upon and addicted to ever more computing power, and even failed attempts at producing conscious-in-silica could turn into very profitable products.

My guess is that they will probably succeed in producing a simulated entity or non-entity(algorithms) that behaves just like a conscious entity, we may get very convincingly human robots and software as a result. Victory over all superstition, woo and jesus shall be declared.

But it won't fundamentally change the discourse on what consciousness is as long as we fail to integrate the subjective and experiential aspect of knowledge with the objective and empirical aspect.
I would still argue that even if it could be done they couldn't isolate their conscious intent to create consciousness from the structure of the experiment.

Maureen Caudill is the author of Suddenly Psychic. She describes her background prior to the beginning of her psychic experiences:

At the time, I was a senior scientist and project manager for a major Department of Defense contractor, doing research and development in artificial intelligence and neural networks (computing systems that mimic the brain). My training in college and graduate school was in physics and mathematics; my career since then had been exclusively in computer science, with a foray or two into the structure of the brain deriving from my specialization in neural networks. I’d never had a psychic experience, and didn’t believe in such things.

Her experiences left her with the belief that all matter is conscious in some form. I remember reading research recently which points to subsystems of animals and plants demonstrating (it would appear) some of the properties of consciousness. So if these are demonstrated in a more advanced way in the future with AI or some biological assembly line, does that really prove materialism? If we can assemble a structure which demonstrates consciousness we prove it is intrinsic to the functioning of matter. This doesn't show how it operates. The field model of consciousness may be just as relevant as an hypothesis. The homoeopathic model supports the view that the physicality of a substance and its "spirit" can be separated. If you put that on as a hat and wear it for a while things start to look a little different.

So far the brain cells cultivated from stem cells have not thanked the lab technicians for the liberating experience...:)
 
#11
Ok so even if an artificial "conscious" is demonstrated, it still doesn't refute the transmission hypothesis.
In that case then, if non-materialists want to play the materialists' game, they'd have to abide by their rules and come up with a falsifiable theory for the transmission hypothesis.
 
#12
Ok so even if an artificial "conscious" is demonstrated, it still doesn't refute the transmission hypothesis.
What form do you envisage such a demonstration would take? For example would a voice emanating from a loudspeaker issuing the words "I think, therefore I am" be sufficient? Or would there be some other requirement in order to demonstrate it was conscious?
 
#13
What form do you envisage such a demonstration would take? For example would a voice emanating from a loudspeaker issuing the words "I think, therefore I am" be sufficient? Or would there be some other requirement in order to demonstrate it was conscious?
Therein lies the rub. How could we possibly devise a test to determine whether the machine actually experiences anything?

Pat
 
#14
Therein lies the rub. How could we possibly devise a test to determine whether the machine actually experiences anything?

Pat
Theoretically, a psychic with good skills should know. Despite any show of emotion from the computer, a psychic should feel nothing from the machine if it was just simulating consciousness.

But, I guess most wouldn't consider that a scientific test. Perhaps in the future when the utility of psychic ability is harnessed better and more common, it will be.
 
#15
Theoretically, a psychic with good skills should know. Despite any show of emotion from the computer, a psychic should feel nothing from the machine if it was just simulating consciousness.

But, I guess most wouldn't consider that a scientific test. Perhaps in the future when the utility of psychic ability is harnessed better and more common, it will be.
I agree, except that I would replace the bolded word with "if". ;)

Pat
 
#16
I would expect that some kind of modified turing test would convince most scientists that they've successfully created a conscious entity.

The computer just needs to fool enough people into thinking that it's not a computer via text or voice, demonstrate behaviors consistent with emotions such as fear, and be able to perform cognitive tasks such as problem solving, and show signs of creativity and curiosity.

None of this is an empirical demonstration of consciousness of course, but under the present paradigm behavior is the benchmark.

If somehow PSI gains a lot of traction, then perhaps scientists trained in psi abilities or very experienced meditators or some such can take part in a blinded test to see if enough of them confuse the computer with an actual human being. This kind of test could even be crowdsourced like some of ION or sheldrake's experiments since a lot of TK experiments didn't involve trained subjects and got results all the same.
 
#18
Ok so even if an artificial "conscious" is demonstrated, it still doesn't refute the transmission hypothesis.
In that case then, if non-materialists want to play the materialists' game, they'd have to abide by their rules and come up with a falsifiable theory for the transmission hypothesis.
I have a different view. To disprove the materialist view we simply need to show how consciousness behaves. The behaviour (the capabilities) of consciousness already disprove the current model if you take into consideration the psi research. Likewise a homoeopath doesn't have to prove how the remedies work, only that they do.
 

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

Nap, interrupted.
Member
#20
Therein lies the rub. How could we possibly devise a test to determine whether the machine actually experiences anything?
We would know one way or the other, because we programmed the machine. But your question gets right to the heart of the issue: There is no way to know until we decide exactly what we mean by experience in the general case.

There seems to be an assumption here that a machine has to experience things just like humans do in order to qualify as experiencing. Why? Take an example. What does a machine have to do to have "the inner experience of the red of a tomato" in order for humans to agree that it is experiencing red?

~~ Paul
 
Top