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Science and Technology "Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known." - Carl Sagan.

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Old November 15 2013, 11:25 AM   #1
Metryq
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Anthropic double slit

"Scientist" rediscovers Copenhagen interpretation, sent to anthropic principle's office

Quantum physics proves that there IS an afterlife, claims scientist
  • Robert Lanza claims the theory of biocentrism says death is an illusion
  • He said life creates the universe, and not the other way round
  • This means space and time don't exist in the linear fashion we think it does
  • He uses the famous double-split experiment to illustrate his point
  • And if space and time aren't linear, then death can't exist in 'any real sense' either
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Old November 15 2013, 12:32 PM   #2
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Re: Anthropic double slit

This is bunk.

Also, the link to Copenhagen in the OP is wrong. It should be to the Copenhagen interpretation. Or, if it's wrong on purpose, because the crackpot theory is bunk, then very funny.
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Old November 15 2013, 01:36 PM   #3
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Re: Anthropic double slit

The description of the double-slit experiment is wrong, too. I'm tempted to close this for not actually being science. This is garbage, trying to spin the weirdness of quantum physics into a justification for new age woo.
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Old November 16 2013, 01:20 AM   #4
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Re: Anthropic double slit

I think it's an ad for Lanza's book. It's certainly not science. But things masquerading as science (which the proverbial man in the street may swallow as science) are still a concern for this kind of forum.

Close the thread if you wish. I just wanted to share the link. And if you watch the 25th anniversary edition of the BACK TO THE FUTURE trilogy, you can skip the supplement with Michio Kaku, too.
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Old November 16 2013, 04:48 AM   #5
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Re: Anthropic double slit

Is this an Onion parody? Oh, wait -- it's the Daily Fail. Sometimes there's not a whole lot of difference.

Actually, at first I thought this thread was about some weird porno thing.
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Old November 16 2013, 04:49 AM   #6
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Re: Anthropic double slit

Lanza should be of concern to scientists because he is wearing their clothes to sell glaring falsehoods. This sets up the dilemma of whether to let it slide or to publicly denounce him, which could serve as publicity and actually help him.
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Old November 16 2013, 06:17 AM   #7
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Re: Anthropic double slit

Bad science should always, always, always be shouted down by those who know better. Science isn't about popularity or selling brands, so taking a PR approach doesn't make any sense. It's about what's correct and what isn't, so bad science can never just get a free pass. Even ignoring it is dangerous, because bad science actually kills people (witness the anti-vaccination craze still going on the US and UK.)
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Old November 16 2013, 12:48 PM   #8
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Re: Anthropic double slit

On a more general note, any metaphysical notion, be it an interpretation of quantum mechanics, a general concept about other universes, is in its nature unscientific, can't be proven by science and probably can't be proven at all. Quantum mechanics does one thing – describes how our universe works within its own space and time. It can't be used to extrapolate what happens outside the universe, before the universe or after you die from your own perspective, because those "places" haven't been observed, can't possibly be observed and are very likely to differ so significantly in nature that anything you know is inapplicable to them at all.

Two examples:
1. Assume multi-world interpretation of quantum mechanics leads to quantum immortality for all individuals. For our universe to exist, let alone support life, the quantum fluctuations, their randomness and indeterminism in quantum processes need to be within precise constraints as defined by the laws of physics we know (or think we know). Any change in quantum fluctuations could destroy the universe, and if randomness stopped being random, I am not sure what will happen. And that's exactly what will be going on in your immortalverse. Of course, you could just be struck with an enormous streak luck winning the intergalactic lottery every Planck time turning into an eternal anomaly that lives against all odds and against the laws of physics, but this is profoundly more unlikely than finding yourself in a universe where your luck matches the local laws of physics. Living for a second that way has a probability that makes the Ackermann function sweat.
2. Existence itself is undefined for these metaphysical realms. Existence is the things that we can observe directly or indirectly. Nobody will observe your afterlife, nor will you observe anyone else's, so it doesn't even exist, how can we be talking about the more well-defined physical concepts? Worse, existence here is tied to probability – if six people saw a goose, there is probably a goose, because the likelihood of light shaped like a goose just randomly popping into six people's eyes is just incredible. Well, if the whole of your personal existence is more unlikely than that, how can anything exist in your realm?

I do believe in immortality of sorts that arises from much simpler things that have nothing to do with quantum mechanics or complex physics though:
- I think that we overestimate our personal importance, and that a person carrying out your legacy or mentally arriving at the same place as you accidentally is more than enough, and your personal uniqueness doesn't add much to that if at all, and you can share and immortalise your memories if you think they are this important.
- If you were immortal in the traditional sense, your life would start repeating itself. When it does, you're as good as dead, you'd be living the same finite thing over and over again.
- Living your life over and over is the same as living it once. Time is the natural progression from cause to effect that we observe, implying there's more to it is giving it metaphysical properties we have not observed. If the effect takes you back to the cause, that does nothing for the posterity of anything in-between, outside of our perception of time, which in the grand scheme of things is irrelevant. Been there, done that.
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Old November 16 2013, 05:57 PM   #9
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Re: Anthropic double slit

YellowSubmarine wrote: View Post
On a more general note, any metaphysical notion, be it an interpretation of quantum mechanics, a general concept about other universes, is in its nature unscientific, can't be proven by science and probably can't be proven at all. Quantum mechanics does one thing – describes how our universe works within its own space and time. It can't be used to extrapolate what happens outside the universe, before the universe or after you die from your own perspective, because those "places" haven't been observed, can't possibly be observed and are very likely to differ so significantly in nature that anything you know is inapplicable to them at all.

Two examples:
1. Assume multi-world interpretation of quantum mechanics leads to quantum immortality for all individuals. For our universe to exist, let alone support life, the quantum fluctuations, their randomness and indeterminism in quantum processes need to be within precise constraints as defined by the laws of physics we know (or think we know). Any change in quantum fluctuations could destroy the universe, and if randomness stopped being random, I am not sure what will happen. And that's exactly what will be going on in your immortalverse. Of course, you could just be struck with an enormous streak luck winning the intergalactic lottery every Planck time turning into an eternal anomaly that lives against all odds and against the laws of physics, but this is profoundly more unlikely than finding yourself in a universe where your luck matches the local laws of physics. Living for a second that way has a probability that makes the Ackermann function sweat.
2. Existence itself is undefined for these metaphysical realms. Existence is the things that we can observe directly or indirectly. Nobody will observe your afterlife, nor will you observe anyone else's, so it doesn't even exist, how can we be talking about the more well-defined physical concepts? Worse, existence here is tied to probability – if six people saw a goose, there is probably a goose, because the likelihood of light shaped like a goose just randomly popping into six people's eyes is just incredible. Well, if the whole of your personal existence is more unlikely than that, how can anything exist in your realm?

I do believe in immortality of sorts that arises from much simpler things that have nothing to do with quantum mechanics or complex physics though:
- I think that we overestimate our personal importance, and that a person carrying out your legacy or mentally arriving at the same place as you accidentally is more than enough, and your personal uniqueness doesn't add much to that if at all, and you can share and immortalise your memories if you think they are this important.
- If you were immortal in the traditional sense, your life would start repeating itself. When it does, you're as good as dead, you'd be living the same finite thing over and over again.
- Living your life over and over is the same as living it once. Time is the natural progression from cause to effect that we observe, implying there's more to it is giving it metaphysical properties we have not observed. If the effect takes you back to the cause, that does nothing for the posterity of anything in-between, outside of our perception of time, which in the grand scheme of things is irrelevant. Been there, done that.
Your points, firstly of the non-observability of a "quantumly immortal" being by the rest of us mere mortals, and secondly of the problem of a "quantumly immortal" being's experience being dominated by improbable events, are both well taken, assuming I understood what you were getting at.

I do have problems with some of your other contentions, though. Two are worth elaborating on:
  1. It can't be used to extrapolate what happens outside the universe, before the universe or after you die from your own perspective, because those "places" haven't been observed, can't possibly be observed and are very likely to differ so significantly in nature that anything you know is inapplicable to them at all.
    I think that this view is too simplistic. Science, even quantum physics, exists only because of collaboration. There is, in any collaboration, routinely the acceptance by each party of contributions from other parties. To demand that quantum physics can only concern itself with what each individual could verify on his own, would be to strip it of the overwhelming majority of its content and to transform it into a discipline in which no progress could be made. Verification does not depend on everything being verified by each individual. Therefore, statements that apply to reality before or after a person's lifespan are not necessarily utterly meaningless to that person. Rather, they can be coordinated into the individual's personal experience, not at all dissimilarly to the way accounts of events to which the individual is not party to generally are.
  2. If you were immortal in the traditional sense, your life would start repeating itself.
    Your claim here really demands proof. Here are two reasons why your claim is not at all obvious.
    • Almost all real numbers are irrational. The decimal expansions of rational numbers eventually repeat, but those of irrational numbers do not.
    • Almost all real differentiable functions are aperiodic.
      This latter objection perhaps carries more weight than the former (which is why I even bothered to formulate a readily understandable partial proof sketch), if we assume that scientifically derived models of reality are the solutions to systems of differential equations.
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Old November 16 2013, 08:43 PM   #10
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Re: Anthropic double slit

The universe as we know is quantised, it's finite and any process can't be smaller than Planck length. That means that within a brain, there are finite number of possible combination of matter, which leads to inevitable loop somewhere along the way, assuming that's deterministic. Even if it is undeterministic and the chains of events are not repeating, your sets of possible memories are finite, so at least the things that you can remember will start repeating. That's what I mean by "traditional sense", your life goes on as it is now.

Of course, your brain can expand during your immortality, grow larger, you can become the Face of Boe first, then slowly consume the entire universe, and then you can use your perpetual motion machine to expand it even further, or you can use your Planck divisors to make your post-neurons smaller and smaller. So, yeah, immortality can make sense if everything grows in complexity in that manner. I would question if all of these things happening at once are more likely than another universe that was more complex to begin discovering your thoughts inside a simulation that happened to touch on our universe, which would still go to my point that there are substitutes for immortality that might be just as good without having to make you immortal.

As for your other point – I didn't mean the ability to verify things personally within your lifetime, that would be insane, the universe is so complex that you can't understand more than a tiny portion of it even if you're a genius, let alone test everything yourself.* I meant that you can't use the scientific method to reason about things that we can't observe at all, including your own personal quantum afterlife.

*Well, that might be an exaggeration, there are simplified ways to learn and test that don't get into unnecessary detail.
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Old November 16 2013, 10:26 PM   #11
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Re: Anthropic double slit

On the question of the "number of states" that the universe can assume, "quantized" doesn't imply finite, though. The energy levels of the hydrogen atom are discrete, but there is, in theory, a countable infinity of them.
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Old November 16 2013, 10:33 PM   #12
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Re: Anthropic double slit

Don't you still need that perpetual motion machine to reach them, though? And with it you can build new mass to expand your brain too.
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Old November 16 2013, 11:29 PM   #13
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Re: Anthropic double slit

Perpetual motion machine?!? I'm not sure what you mean.

In theory, the principle quantum number of an electron energy level in the hydrogen atom can assume any positive integer. However, the upper limit of the energy levels is the ionization energy, which is finite. So, the levels get more and more crowded together, the higher the principle quantum number is.

I don't know what the world record is, for the greatest principle quantum number ever observed in a hydrogen atom, but I'm sure it's finite.
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