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Re: [sl] Re: quantum mechanics

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  • Daniel N. Washburn
    Mike: Here is a statement by the physicist Evan Harris Walker http://users.rcn.com/wcri/wcri/ Position Statement: Members of the parapsychological community
    Message 1 of 17 , Jul 24, 2005
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      Mike: Here is a statement by the physicist Evan Harris Walker

      http://users.rcn.com/wcri/wcri/


      Position Statement:
      Members of the parapsychological community are often asked about their
      belief or skepticism about the reality of parapsychological phenomena. I
      have this to say: the phenomena are real. I have 9 reasons for this
      statement. I give them in ascending order of their importance.

      1. I have seen them happen.
      2. I have done them—made them happen.
      3. I have experimentally verified their reality in formal, reported
      experimentation.
      4. J. B. Rhine adequately verified their reality experimentally.
      5. A large number of competent experimental scientists have
      independently confirmed and expanded on Rhine’s work.
      6. The phenomena are consistent with quantum mechanical principles.
      7. These phenomena can and have been incorporated into a theory known as
      the Quantum Observer Theory of Psi Phenomena.
      8. With these phenomena included, physics provides a more complete
      scientific understanding than we would have in their absence.
      9. Careful and competent researchers have independently tested and
      verified surprising and unexpected predictions of this Quantum Observer
      Theory of Psi Phenomena.

      You can look at his Quantum theory of consciousness at

      http://users.rcn.com/wcri/wcri/Consciousness%20text%2001.htm

      Here is the paper summarizing hundreds of experiments that show that the
      direct intentions of human consciousness can alter the probabilities of
      such diverse things as radioactive emission and the fall of thrown dice.

      I hope you can be open to the truth that it empirically demonstrates.

      http://integral-inquiry.com/docs/649/intentions.doc.

      Dan

      mikebispham@... wrote:

      > Hi Dan
      >
      > You wrote:
      >
      > "Hi, Mike -
      >
      > Thanks for the link to Stenger's article - from my own popular science
      > knowledge of quantum mechanics I found it confused and unconvincing."
      >
      > I'm sure you did! Your 'understanding' of the issues has to be broken
      > before you can find a new understanding consistent with his. Bear in
      > mind: this guy is a trained and experienced physicist who, we might
      > imagine, roughly knows his stuff. Whereas you are a software engineer
      > who's read a few popular books on the topic, as well as a range of
      > mystical extensions that you find agreeable to your worldview and are
      > keen to defend. I know who I'd prefer to believe.
      >
      > "... a couple of reviews of Stenger's book The Unconscious Quantum:
      > Metaphysics in Modern Physics and Cosmology taken from Amazon. "
      >
      > Thanks, comments below
      >
      > "As to his claim that there have been no validated results from
      > parapsychology, did you read the paper on the direct intervention of
      > consciousness I posted a link to a while back. "
      >
      > No. If you would like to repost it I may take a look.
      >
      > "There have been hundreds of reproduced results showing that human
      > beings can change the
      > probabilities of things like radioactive emmissions and the throw of
      > dice."
      >
      > Are these properly validated studies? What are your references? (Sorry
      > to sound like an Old Git but unreferenced claims are utterly valueless)
      >
      > As far as I'm aware there have never been any properly validated
      > studies of suchlike. As I recall, there's a been a million dollar
      > prize waiting for several decades for someone who can show any of the
      > so-called 'paranormal' phenomena to exist - it has never been claimed.
      > If you want to argue against established physics you'll need proper
      > evidence.
      >
      > Of the reviews you've posted: first, you've been incredibly selective.
      > The great bulk of the reviewers recognise that it is the author's
      > intention to demonstrate the ungrounded nature of 'mystical' 'quantum
      > theories' and that he does a good job of doing so.
      >
      > Of your one-sided selection: the first reveals only that his nickname
      > is 'diddydoddydave' or suchlike. Why on earth we should want to
      > utilyze his critique as part of our effort to determine the truth
      > about posited relationships between quantum mechanics and 'psi' claims
      > is beyond me. The seconds _claims_ several degrees in vaguely related
      > fields. He's no quantum physicist; and his wish list reveals his
      > metaphysical interest...
      >
      > He writes:
      >
      >> "If the new age goop in the bookstores needs to be balanced by Stenger's
      >> book,
      >
      >
      >
      > The notion that the separate authorities of science and mystism can
      > somehow be 'balanced' is incredible. The idea that a febrile wishlist,
      > a spiritual comfort blanket with absolutely no real ability,
      > willingness or desire to distinguish truth from falsehood, no method
      > of evaluating statements, no judgement as whether ideas are credible
      > of not... can be compared with a multitrillion dollar, centuries-long
      > global effort to discover the possibility of truths of nature... is
      > utterly senseless. It creationism vs evolution with knobs on. It
      > reveals the typical untrained mind of a new-ager - unable to
      > distiguish between invaluable 'knowledge' and worthless 'opinion.'
      >
      > ____________________
      >
      >
      >
      > My point in all this Dan is to say the net - and the bookshops - are
      > stuffed full of contradictory information, and that only by having a
      > really good nose for both authorititive text and bullshit, and being
      > prepared to look for, and look at - and then tentatively accept - only
      > the very best evidence, can we build beliefs that will be valuble and
      > durable. If we select only those sources that comfort us and confirm
      > our pre-conceptions we are _certain_ to end up believing in conceptual
      > sand-castles.
      >
      > There are hundreds of them; and the vague web they form in your neck
      > of the woods we can characterize as 'new-age.' Their most outstanding
      > feature is that they are confused and unproveable, and are _designed_
      > to prop up some kind of 'spiritual reality'. They rely on one-another,
      > and the 'higher' (some would say that should be 'lower') forms are
      > skilled in imitating 'proper' studies. The new-ageism you are
      > (latterly) keen to defend is simply the lastest religious cult;
      > designed - or evolved - to 'impart' comforting 'wisdom' to those
      > unable to discern its fraudulence. It major proponents are united by
      > the mutual uncritical support they offer each-other, and the fact that
      > they earn a living from it. Its a business, trading on human fears.
      >
      > If and when new-age ideas manage to make an impact on 'proper'
      > studies, they will be accepted and absorbed by science - even if by
      > doing so they turn it on its head. To date that hasn't happened; nor
      > is it likely to.
      >
      > That 'quantum theories' of consciousness and generalised 'psi' events
      > are of any real value can be shown to be nonsense. Its not easy to do
      > so - you have to look for, then look at, the evidence against - but
      > you must do that. They may lead in useful directions, and we'll all be
      > very interested if they do - but the huge bulk of the claims made for
      > them are both bunkum and fraudulent; and that position is agreed
      > across the entire community of qualified persons - i.e. trained
      > quantum physicists.
      >
      > Do tell me where you think I'm wrong Dan - but please do: a) include
      > ref.s that I can track down (and critique); b) not bother quoting
      > 'opinion' in defence of your position. If you can't back it up
      > properly, I can't take it seriously.
      >
      > Cheers,
      >
      > Mike
      >
      >
      >
      > Topics suitable for discussion in this e-list can be found at:
      > http://www.luckymojo.com/sacredland.html
      >
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      > sacredlandscapelist-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
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    • mikebispham@aol.com
      Hi Dan, Thanks for the ref.s - I ll take a look around. Mike In a message dated 7/24/05 8:05:49 PM GMT Daylight Time, danw@netmastersinc.com writes: Mike:
      Message 2 of 17 , Jul 25, 2005
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        Hi Dan,
         
        Thanks for the ref.s - I'll take a look around.
         
        Mike
         
        In a message dated 7/24/05 8:05:49 PM GMT Daylight Time, danw@... writes:
        Mike: Here is a statement by the physicist Evan Harris Walker

        http://users.rcn.com/wcri/wcri/


        Position Statement:
        Members of the parapsychological community are often asked about their
        belief or skepticism about the reality of parapsychological phenomena. I
        have this to say: the phenomena are real. I have 9 reasons for this
        statement. I give them in ascending order of their importance.

        1. I have seen them happen.
        2. I have done them—made them happen.
        3. I have experimentally verified their reality in formal, reported
        experimentation.
        4. J. B. Rhine adequately verified their reality experimentally.
        5. A large number of competent experimental scientists have
        independently confirmed and expanded on Rhine’s work.
        6. The phenomena are consistent with quantum mechanical principles.
        7. These phenomena can and have been incorporated into a theory known as
        the Quantum Observer Theory of Psi Phenomena.
        8. With these phenomena included, physics provides a more complete
        scientific understanding than we would have in their absence.
        9. Careful and competent researchers have independently tested and
        verified surprising and unexpected predictions of this Quantum Observer
        Theory of Psi Phenomena.

        You can look at his Quantum theory of consciousness at

        http://users.rcn.com/wcri/wcri/Consciousness%20text%2001.htm

        Here is the paper summarizing hundreds of experiments that show that the
        direct intentions of human consciousness can alter the probabilities of
        such diverse things as radioactive emission and the fall of thrown dice.

        I hope you can be open to the truth that it empirically demonstrates.

        http://integral-inquiry.com/docs/649/intentions.doc.

        Dan
         
      • Daniel N. Washburn
        ... Yes but he is a skeptic wacko (your word) and you don t even have a pop science understanding of quantum mechanics, so you can believe whatever you want,
        Message 3 of 17 , Jul 25, 2005
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          mikebispham@... wrote:

          > Hi Dan
          >
          > You wrote:
          >
          > "Hi, Mike -
          >
          > Thanks for the link to Stenger's article - from my own popular science
          > knowledge of quantum mechanics I found it confused and unconvincing."
          >
          > I'm sure you did! Your 'understanding' of the issues has to be broken
          > before you can find a new understanding consistent with his. Bear in
          > mind: this guy is a trained and experienced physicist who, we might
          > imagine, roughly knows his stuff. Whereas you are a software engineer
          > who's read a few popular books on the topic, as well as a range of
          > mystical extensions that you find agreeable to your worldview and are
          > keen to defend. I know who I'd prefer to believe.

          Yes but he is a 'skeptic' wacko (your word) and you don't even have a
          pop science understanding of quantum mechanics, so you can believe
          whatever you want, but as an uninformed opinion it is totally valuless.
          I am the one here who has some (very small) basis for separating the
          wackos from the genuine scientists. And since you have no hesitation in
          refering to such giants as Sir Roger Penrose as a wacko, please grant me
          the same right in my estimation of Stenger.

          >
          > "... a couple of reviews of Stenger's book The Unconscious Quantum:
          > Metaphysics in Modern Physics and Cosmology taken from Amazon. "
          >
          > Thanks, comments below
          >
          > "As to his claim that there have been no validated results from
          > parapsychology, did you read the paper on the direct intervention of
          > consciousness I posted a link to a while back. "
          >
          > No. If you would like to repost it I may take a look.
          >
          > "There have been hundreds of reproduced results showing that human
          > beings can change the
          > probabilities of things like radioactive emmissions and the throw of
          > dice."
          >
          > Are these properly validated studies? What are your references?
          > (Sorry to sound like an Old Git but unreferenced claims are utterly
          > valueless)
          >
          > As far as I'm aware there have never been any properly validated
          > studies of suchlike. As I recall, there's a been a million dollar
          > prize waiting for several decades for someone who can show any of the
          > so-called 'paranormal' phenomena to exist - it has never been
          > claimed. If you want to argue against established physics you'll need
          > proper evidence.

          I have posted the paper by Braude on the evidence for Direct Intention
          of Human Consciousness and the statement by Evan Harris Walker. Here
          are some more references to Walker's work:

          http://www.parapsych.org/members/e_h_walker.html

          http://users.rcn.com/wcri/Dualism

          >
          > Of the reviews you've posted: first, you've been incredibly
          > selective. The great bulk of the reviewers recognise that it is the
          > author's intention to demonstrate the ungrounded nature of 'mystical'
          > 'quantum theories' and that he does a good job of doing so.

          I chose the ones that I thought had interesting and possibly valid
          criticisms of his work.

          >
          >
          > Of your one-sided selection: the first reveals only that his nickname
          > is 'diddydoddydave' or suchlike. Why on earth we should want to
          > utilyze his critique as part of our effort to determine the truth
          > about posited relationships between quantum mechanics and 'psi' claims
          > is beyond me. The seconds _claims_ several degrees in vaguely related
          > fields. He's no quantum physicist; and his wish list reveals his
          > metaphysical interest...


          Having metaphysical interests does not disqualify one from being a
          scientist. Newton believed in God, studied alchemy, was interested in
          hermetic philosophy, and spent more time in bible research than he did
          on physics. (He also invented the cat flap, by the way. He got tired
          of letting the cat in and out while he was working in a dark room on
          optical experiments.) Kepler was one of us -- he had a whole theory of
          the planetary orbits based on the nesting of the platonic solids. etc.

          >
          >
          > He writes:
          >
          >> "If the new age goop in the bookstores needs to be balanced by Stenger's
          >> book,
          >
          >
          >
          > The notion that the separate authorities of science and mystism can
          > somehow be 'balanced' is incredible. The idea that a febrile
          > wishlist, a spiritual comfort blanket with absolutely no real ability,
          > willingness or desire to distinguish truth from falsehood, no method
          > of evaluating statements, no judgement as whether ideas are credible
          > of not... can be compared with a multitrillion dollar, centuries-long
          > global effort to discover the possibility of truths of nature... is
          > utterly senseless. It creationism vs evolution with knobs on. It
          > reveals the typical untrained mind of a new-ager - unable to
          > distiguish between invaluable 'knowledge' and worthless 'opinion.'


          This just shows your science bias, Mike. You discount any form of
          knowledge acquisition other than the scientific method, such as inborn
          structures of human consciousness, the collective unconscious, artistry,
          empathy, psychic perception, intuition, revelation, channeling, or
          communications from extra-terrestrials, and then attack those with other
          beliefs as having untrained, new-age minds. I can show you a thousand
          instances of mystical experience of the I became one with the
          transcendent type that you cannot and will not integrate into your
          narrow scientific reality. I can even show you eye-witness accounts of
          miracles. In my estimation there are other valid ways to knowedge that
          involve turning inward. What does Jane Austen know that you don't
          know? What does Gandhi know that you don't know? What does Mother
          Theresa know that you don't know?

          >
          > ____________________
          >
          >
          >
          > My point in all this Dan is to say the net - and the bookshops - are
          > stuffed full of contradictory information, and that only by having a
          > really good nose for both authorititive text and bullshit, and being
          > prepared to look for, and look at - and then tentatively accept - only
          > the very best evidence, can we build beliefs that will be valuble and
          > durable. If we select only those sources that comfort us and confirm
          > our pre-conceptions we are _certain_ to end up believing in conceptual
          > sand-castles.
          >
          > There are hundreds of them; and the vague web they form in your neck
          > of the woods we can characterize as 'new-age.' Their most outstanding
          > feature is that they are confused and unproveable, and are _designed_
          > to prop up some kind of 'spiritual reality'. They rely on
          > one-another, and the 'higher' (some would say that should be 'lower')
          > forms are skilled in imitating 'proper' studies. The new-ageism you
          > are (latterly) keen to defend is simply the lastest religious cult;
          > designed - or evolved - to 'impart' comforting 'wisdom' to those
          > unable to discern its fraudulence. It major proponents are united by
          > the mutual uncritical support they offer each-other, and the fact that
          > they earn a living from it. Its a business, trading on human fears.
          >
          I remind you that Frithof Capra was a highly regarded phsicist and
          Deepak Chopra was a highly regarded doctor. What they are engaged in
          doing is trying to reconcile the two cultures, science and humanism. A
          noble endeavor indeed, not a 'trading on human fears'. Yes, there is a
          lot of loopy, goopy new agism around. There is also a genuine effort to
          understand the farther edges of science, such as the quantum entaglement
          experiments that show a transcendence of space and time, and reconcile
          it with psi phenomena and mystical experience.


          >
          > If and when new-age ideas manage to make an impact on 'proper'
          > studies, they will be accepted and absorbed by science - even if by
          > doing so they turn it on its head. To date that hasn't happened; nor
          > is it likely to.
          >
          You show a high level of naivete here. There is a huge bias toward
          'hard' science. I used to feel it when I was a psychologist. And
          despite its results, parapsychology has been an orphan science for years.

          >
          >
          > That 'quantum theories' of consciousness and generalised 'psi' events
          > are of any real value can be shown to be nonsense. Its not easy to do
          > so - you have to look for, then look at, the evidence against - but
          > you must do that. They may lead in useful directions, and we'll all
          > be very interested if they do - but the huge bulk of the claims made
          > for them are both bunkum and fraudulent; and that position is agreed
          > across the entire community of qualified persons - i.e. trained
          > quantum physicists.
          >
          Most of the community of trained quantum physicists have not even looked
          into quantum theories of consciousness or into psi. To do so would be
          to endanger their careers. So what you are hearing is the voice of a
          few skeptics claiming the mantle of the profession, but in reality they
          are the voice of classical physics hard science bias, the voice of
          ignorance.

          >
          >
          > Do tell me where you think I'm wrong Dan - but please do: a) include
          > ref.s that I can track down (and critique); b) not bother quoting
          > 'opinion' in defence of your position. If you can't back it up
          > properly, I can't take it seriously.
          >
          See my refererences above.

          Dan

          >
          > Cheers,
          >
          > Mike
          >
          >
          >
          > Topics suitable for discussion in this e-list can be found at:
          > http://www.luckymojo.com/sacredland.html
          >
          > To UNsubscribe, send email to:
          > sacredlandscapelist-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
          >
          >
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        • mikebispham@aol.com
          ... ”Yes but he is a skeptic wacko (your word) and you don t even have a pop science understanding of quantum mechanics, so you can believe whatever you
          Message 4 of 17 , Jul 26, 2005
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            mikebispham@... wrote:

            > Hi
            Dan
            >
            > You wrote:
            >
            > "Hi, Mike -
            >
            >
            Thanks for the link to Stenger's article - from my own popular science
            >
            knowledge of quantum mechanics I found it confused and unconvincing."
            >
            > I'm sure you did!  Your 'understanding' of
            the issues has to be broken
            > before you can find a new understanding
            consistent with his.  Bear in
            > mind: this guy is a trained and
            experienced physicist who, we might
            > imagine, roughly knows his
            stuff.  Whereas you are a software engineer
            > who's read a few
            popular books on the topic, as well as a range of
            > mystical extensions
            that you find agreeable to your worldview and are
            > keen to defend. 
            I know who I'd prefer to believe.

            ”Yes but he is a 'skeptic' wacko (your word) and you don't even have a
            pop science understanding of quantum mechanics, so you can believe
            whatever you want, but as an uninformed opinion it is totally valuless. "



            Hi Dan

             

            Stenger doesn’t come under my definition of ‘whacko’ (outside the accepted scientific consensus) as you know.  Describing him as a ‘whacko’ is ludicrous; characterizing him as a ‘skeptic’ is dishonest. (co-opting and reversing the normal meaning of the term - this I expect from Fox tv but not you).  

             

            If I did have a pop science understanding of quantum physics I still wouldn’t go arguing with experts – but I would still base my understanding on the massive scientific consensus, not the few oddballs on the edge.

             

            “I am the one here who has some (very small) basis for separating the
            wackos from the genuine scientists.”

             

            Since your understanding is the complete opposite of that of the scientific consensus I have to say that I have as much faith in your authority as a scientist – or as a judge of what constitute science - as I have in Exxon’s analysis of climate change!   

             

            "And since you have no hesitation in refering to such giants as Sir Roger Penrose as a wacko… “

             

            This misrepresents my statements completely – as I’ve already pointed out to you.  To mis-quote me once is understandable - to do it again after I've pointed out the mistake seems very much like a dishonest attempt to misrepresent me.

             

            “please grant me the same right in my estimation of Stenger.”

             

            I’ll continue to prefer the words of qualified scientists, expert in the field, addressing the very subject.  (And dismissing it lucidly.) 

             

            The difference between those who allow only validated data to form the basis of their understanding of the world, and those who allow non-validated data to do so, forms the divide between 'orthodox' or 'scientific/academic consensual' and those I described, clumsily, as 'wacko.'   I think most people know who I meant, and the point I was making.  Perhaps 'clumsy' or 'non-scientific' 'paranormalists' might describe them well enough.  ( To me the term ‘paranormanist’ already carries meanings of clumsiness) 

             

            Anyone researching the 'paranormal' within the proper methodology of science wouldn't. (I personally know one such person - a close friend.) 

             

            Stenger cannot be described as a 'wacko' according to any sensible definition as he sits firmly inside the orthodox 'science' camp. 

             

            The question is, do your citations come from people we can agree to be 'good' scientists, or 'clumsy paranormalists'?  I feel sure we can say the latter; and I’ll explain why.

             

            “I have posted the paper by Braude on the evidence for Direct Intention
            of Human Consciousness…”

             

            I’ve scanned Braude’s paper and find it hard to form any clear conclusions.  (It would help if he included all the tables he refers to in the text)  I think what most informed judges would say is that small indications (if I’ve read him right we’re talking very small) of influence sometimes occur, but these are within the range of expected errors and anomalies. 

             

            I would like to read a sober (and impartial) overview of the issues, if you come across one.

             

            “…and the statement by Evan Harris Walker.  Here
            are some more references to Walker's work:

             

            http://www.parapsych.org/members/e_h_walker.html

             

            You seem happy to base your 'knowledge' in the question of links between quantum theory and consciousness/supposed psi events on Walker's unsupported (indeed authoritatively criticized) assertions.  (You are not the only one – there are some very fine sand-castles resting precariously on Walker’s work to be found on the net)

             

            A little searching turns up the following review of Walker's book by a competent critic.  It contains a clear dismissal of the consciousness aspects of his work.

             

            A Review of The Physics of Consciousness by Evan Harris Walker
            by

            Matthew J. Donald
            The Cavendish Laboratory
            Madingley Road
            Cambridge CB3 0HE
            U.K.

             

            http://psyche.cs.monash.edu.au/v7/psyche-7-15-donald.html

             

            An extract:

             

            “At least three books struggle to emerge from this volume. One book, at the level of popular science, leads us through the development of physics, from Newton's laws to Bell's inequalities, in order to argue for the relevance of consciousness to the understanding of quantum theory. This is followed by a sketch of an interpretation of quantum mechanics. Interwoven with both is a memoir of Walker's teenage girlfriend, who died of Hodgkin's disease nearly fifty years ago. The theme which holds the volume together is Walker's insistence on the importance of looking beyond materialism.

             

            Walker attempts to tie together quantum theory and neuroscience by arguing that quantum tunnelling has a vital role in synaptic transmission. This depends upon very specific and technical assumptions about the mechanism involved, for which he refers to Walker (1977). In that paper, he claims that his theory "predicts specific results for future experimental work. Its utility will be measured by the validity of these predictions." It is disturbing, therefore, that his book gives no more recent references to work in this area, despite the fact that synaptic structure and function are among the most studied topics in neuroscience. A magnificent survey of the entire field which has just appeared (Cowan, Suedhof, & Stevens, 2001), ***certainly leaves no space for his hypotheses.***"

             

            As the links demonstrate, this reviewer seems to know what he's talking about.  His criticisms are of the English understated manner - when he says…

             

            "A magnificent survey of the entire field which has just appeared (Cowan, Suedhof, & Stevens, 2001), certainly leaves no space for his hypotheses." 

             

            …what he means is that Walker is, in this instance (his attempts to tie together quantum theory and neuroscience by arguing that quantum tunneling has a vital role in synaptic transmission) – has been shown to be utterly wrong.  End of story.  We've seen this  argued by another recognised expert in the field of consciousness studies, Susan Blackmore. 

             

            We really don’t need to spend any more time on this.  (Though you might want to read that survey…)

             

            I think my own views are sympathetic to the following review on Amazon (by nobody in particular):

             

            “I'm Sorry, What?
            What a wonderful read this was for the first 8 chapters. The amazing mysteries of quantum mechanics are well covered, if somewhat more deeply than necessary. What makes it unique though, is that it is interwoven with a concurrent story about a long-dead lover and the inherent questions that death entails. This made for some really gripping, moving reading. It's quite well written, and I was excited that the author seemed to be approaching the questions raised by quantum mechanics in exactly the same way that I had approached them myself. Then, in chapter 9, BAM - a left turn into Zen Buddhism. Not just a left turn into Zen Buddhism, which I understand has some well respected philosophical underpinnings, but a left turn into Zen Buddhism that presupposes that the reader, like the author, accepts that Zen is The Way To Enlightenment. Note this sentence at the beginning of chapter 9: "It was not until recently that I found Zen Buddhism, timeless and sparkling, hidden amid its oriental foil." Timeless and sparkling? Says who? Buddhism, like all religion/philosophy, is the product of the mind of man, and if the reader is to look at it as anything more, the reader should come to it on his own, not have it thrust upon him as if it just simply were so. This whole chapter has this air of presupposition, as if the author realizes that his audience probably knew all this about Zen Buddhism long before he did, and he is now, at long last, agreeing with them. It was so distasteful to me I was unable to finish the book. What a shame. Perhaps I will skim through it at a later date so I can find out more about Meryl. “

             

            (Back to me) 

            From these reviews we can form the view that Walker clearly knows his way around history of quantum theory, and has spent his life in pursuit of a theory that provides the means to marry it with supposed supernatural phenomena; thus satisfying his desire to make meaning from the tragic loss he suffered as a young man.  His desire to form such a theory is entirely understandable; and it is perhaps a good case study in the psychology of grief in an intelligent man. 

             

            He does – according to our competent reviewer - supply a good introduction to quantum theory - but he's overstretched his material in a deeply unscientific manner.  While many people have been (and remain) fascinated by what appears to a breakthrough in consciousness studies, a sober approach shows he does not have the support of his peers - and that's all that matters. 

             

            I think I’d like to leave this one here Dan.  We can see that in this instance you are happy to make the foundations of your beliefs not just the wilder edges of scientific hypotheses, but dreamy theories assembled in order to satisfy very understandable human desires.  In this case, a particular theory that can be seen to be comprehensively dismissed by those people qualified to judge it.  We can see how others wishing to use them for their own ends and needs seize upon such things, despite such condemnation. 

             

            I hope I’ve been able to show the list you are wrong to claim scientific credibility for this issue.  The basis of scientific ‘truth’ is peer-acceptance; and the theories of ‘quantum consciousness’ you advocate have - in my view - no such foundation. 

             

            Cheers,

             

            Mike

             

          • Daniel N. Washburn
            Hi, Mike - I don t have time to answer this with my usual laser-like logic, since I am off to Vancouver, Canada until next tuesday. Sorry bout that. Regards
            Message 5 of 17 , Jul 28, 2005
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              Hi, Mike -

              I don't have time to answer this with my usual laser-like logic, since I
              am off to Vancouver, Canada until next tuesday. Sorry bout that.

              Regards

              Dan

              mikebispham@... wrote:

              > mikebispham@... wrote:
              >
              >> Hi Dan
              >>
              >> You wrote:
              >>
              >> "Hi, Mike -
              >>
              >> Thanks for the link to Stenger's article - from my own popular science
              >> knowledge of quantum mechanics I found it confused and unconvincing."
              >>
              >> I'm sure you did! Your 'understanding' of the issues has to be broken
              >> before you can find a new understanding consistent with his. Bear in
              >> mind: this guy is a trained and experienced physicist who, we might
              >> imagine, roughly knows his stuff. Whereas you are a software engineer
              >> who's read a few popular books on the topic, as well as a range of
              >> mystical extensions that you find agreeable to your worldview and are
              >> keen to defend. I know who I'd prefer to believe.
              >
              > ”Yes but he is a 'skeptic' wacko (your word) and you don't even have a
              > pop science understanding of quantum mechanics, so you can believe
              > whatever you want, but as an uninformed opinion it is totally valuless. "
              >
              >
              >
              > Hi Dan
              >
              >
              >
              > Stenger doesn’t come under my definition of ‘whacko’ (outside the
              > accepted scientific consensus) as you know. Describing him as a
              > ‘whacko’ is ludicrous; characterizing him as a ‘skeptic’ is dishonest.
              > (co-opting and reversing the normal meaning of the term - this I
              > expect from Fox tv but not you).
              >
              >
              >
              > If I did have a pop science understanding of quantum physics I still
              > wouldn’t go arguing with experts – but I would still base my
              > understanding on the massive scientific consensus, not the few
              > oddballs on the edge.
              >
              >
              >
              > “I am the one here who has some (very small) basis for separating the
              > wackos from the genuine scientists.”
              >
              >
              >
              > Since your understanding is the complete opposite of that of the
              > scientific consensus I have to say that I have as much faith in your
              > authority as a scientist – or as a judge of what constitute science -
              > as I have in Exxon’s analysis of climate change!
              >
              >
              >
              > "And since you have no hesitation in refering to such giants as Sir
              > Roger Penrose as a wacko… “
              >
              >
              >
              > This misrepresents my statements completely – as I’ve already pointed
              > out to you. To mis-quote me once is understandable - to do it again
              > after I've pointed out the mistake seems very much like a dishonest
              > attempt to misrepresent me.
              >
              >
              >
              > “please grant me the same right in my estimation of Stenger.”
              >
              >
              >
              > I’ll continue to prefer the words of qualified scientists, expert in
              > the field, addressing the very subject. (And dismissing it lucidly.)
              >
              >
              >
              > The difference between those who allow only validated data to form the
              > basis of their understanding of the world, and those who allow
              > non-validated data to do so, forms the divide between 'orthodox' or
              > 'scientific/academic consensual' and those I described, clumsily, as
              > 'wacko.' I think most people know who I meant, and the point I was
              > making. Perhaps 'clumsy' or 'non-scientific' 'paranormalists' might
              > describe them well enough. ( To me the term ‘paranormanist’ already
              > carries meanings of clumsiness)
              >
              >
              >
              > Anyone researching the 'paranormal' within the proper methodology of
              > science wouldn't. (I personally know one such person - a close friend.)
              >
              >
              >
              > Stenger cannot be described as a 'wacko' according to any sensible
              > definition as he sits firmly inside the orthodox 'science' camp.
              >
              >
              >
              > The question is, do your citations come from people we can agree to be
              > 'good' scientists, or 'clumsy paranormalists'? I feel sure we can say
              > the latter; and I’ll explain why.
              >
              >
              >
              > “I have posted the paper by Braude on the evidence for Direct Intention
              > of Human Consciousness…”
              >
              >
              >
              > I’ve scanned Braude’s paper and find it hard to form any clear
              > conclusions. (It would help if he included all the tables he refers
              > to in the text) I think what most informed judges would say is that
              > small indications (if I’ve read him right we’re talking very small) of
              > influence sometimes occur, but these are within the range of expected
              > errors and anomalies.
              >
              >
              >
              > I would like to read a sober (and impartial) overview of the issues,
              > if you come across one.
              >
              >
              >
              > “…and the statement by Evan Harris Walker. Here
              > are some more references to Walker's work:
              >
              >
              >
              > http://www.parapsych.org/members/e_h_walker.html%e2%80%9d
              >
              >
              >
              > You seem happy to base your 'knowledge' in the question of links
              > between quantum theory and consciousness/supposed psi events on
              > Walker's unsupported (indeed authoritatively criticized) assertions.
              > (You are not the only one – there are some very fine sand-castles
              > resting precariously on Walker’s work to be found on the net)
              >
              >
              >
              > A little searching turns up the following review of Walker's book by a
              > competent critic. It contains a clear dismissal of the consciousness
              > aspects of his work.
              >
              >
              >
              > A Review of The Physics of Consciousness by Evan Harris Walker
              > by
              >
              > Matthew J. Donald
              > The Cavendish Laboratory
              > Madingley Road
              > Cambridge CB3 0HE
              > U.K.
              >
              >
              >
              > http://psyche.cs.monash.edu.au/v7/psyche-7-15-donald.html
              >
              >
              >
              > An extract:
              >
              >
              >
              > “At least three books struggle to emerge from this volume. One book,
              > at the level of popular science, leads us through the development of
              > physics, from Newton's laws to Bell's inequalities, in order to argue
              > for the relevance of consciousness to the understanding of quantum
              > theory. This is followed by a sketch of an interpretation of quantum
              > mechanics. Interwoven with both is a memoir of Walker's teenage
              > girlfriend, who died of Hodgkin's disease nearly fifty years ago. The
              > theme which holds the volume together is Walker's insistence on the
              > importance of looking beyond materialism.
              >
              >
              >
              > Walker attempts to tie together quantum theory and neuroscience by
              > arguing that quantum tunnelling has a vital role in synaptic
              > transmission. This depends upon very specific and technical
              > assumptions about the mechanism involved, for which he refers to
              > Walker (1977). In that paper, he claims that his theory "predicts
              > specific results for future experimental work. Its utility will be
              > measured by the validity of these predictions." It is disturbing,
              > therefore, that his book gives no more recent references to work in
              > this area, despite the fact that synaptic structure and function are
              > among the most studied topics in neuroscience. A magnificent survey of
              > the entire field which has just appeared (Cowan, Suedhof, & Stevens,
              > 2001), ***certainly leaves no space for his hypotheses.***"
              >
              >
              >
              > As the links demonstrate, this reviewer seems to know what he's
              > talking about. His criticisms are of the English understated manner -
              > when he says…
              >
              >
              >
              > "A magnificent survey of the entire field which has just appeared
              > (Cowan, Suedhof, & Stevens, 2001), certainly leaves no space for his
              > hypotheses."
              >
              >
              >
              > …what he means is that Walker is, in this instance (his attempts to
              > tie together quantum theory and neuroscience by arguing that quantum
              > tunneling has a vital role in synaptic transmission) – has been shown
              > to be utterly wrong. End of story. We've seen this argued by
              > another recognised expert in the field of consciousness studies, Susan
              > Blackmore.
              >
              >
              >
              > We really don’t need to spend any more time on this. (Though you
              > might want to read that survey…)
              >
              >
              >
              > I think my own views are sympathetic to the following review on Amazon
              > (by nobody in particular):
              >
              >
              >
              > “I'm Sorry, What?
              > What a wonderful read this was for the first 8 chapters. The amazing
              > mysteries of quantum mechanics are well covered, if somewhat more
              > deeply than necessary. What makes it unique though, is that it is
              > interwoven with a concurrent story about a long-dead lover and the
              > inherent questions that death entails. This made for some really
              > gripping, moving reading. It's quite well written, and I was excited
              > that the author seemed to be approaching the questions raised by
              > quantum mechanics in exactly the same way that I had approached them
              > myself. Then, in chapter 9, BAM - a left turn into Zen Buddhism. Not
              > just a left turn into Zen Buddhism, which I understand has some well
              > respected philosophical underpinnings, but a left turn into Zen
              > Buddhism that presupposes that the reader, like the author, accepts
              > that Zen is The Way To Enlightenment. Note this sentence at the
              > beginning of chapter 9: "It was not until recently that I found Zen
              > Buddhism, timeless and sparkling, hidden amid its oriental foil."
              > Timeless and sparkling? Says who? Buddhism, like all
              > religion/philosophy, is the product of the mind of man, and if the
              > reader is to look at it as anything more, the reader should come to it
              > on his own, not have it thrust upon him as if it just simply were so.
              > This whole chapter has this air of presupposition, as if the author
              > realizes that his audience probably knew all this about Zen Buddhism
              > long before he did, and he is now, at long last, agreeing with them.
              > It was so distasteful to me I was unable to finish the book. What a
              > shame. Perhaps I will skim through it at a later date so I can find
              > out more about Meryl. “
              >
              >
              >
              > (Back to me)
              >
              > From these reviews we can form the view that Walker clearly knows his
              > way around history of quantum theory, and has spent his life in
              > pursuit of a theory that provides the means to marry it with supposed
              > supernatural phenomena; thus satisfying his desire to make meaning
              > from the tragic loss he suffered as a young man. His desire to form
              > such a theory is entirely understandable; and it is perhaps a good
              > case study in the psychology of grief in an intelligent man.
              >
              >
              >
              > He does – according to our competent reviewer - supply a good
              > introduction to quantum theory - but he's overstretched his material
              > in a deeply unscientific manner. While many people have been (and
              > remain) fascinated by what appears to a breakthrough in consciousness
              > studies, a sober approach shows he does not have the support of his
              > peers - and that's all that matters.
              >
              >
              >
              > I think I’d like to leave this one here Dan. We can see that in this
              > instance you are happy to make the foundations of your beliefs not
              > just the wilder edges of scientific hypotheses, but dreamy theories
              > assembled in order to satisfy very understandable human desires. In
              > this case, a particular theory that can be seen to be comprehensively
              > dismissed by those people qualified to judge it. We can see how
              > others wishing to use them for their own ends and needs seize upon
              > such things, despite such condemnation.
              >
              >
              >
              > I hope I’ve been able to show the list you are wrong to claim
              > scientific credibility for this issue. The basis of scientific
              > ‘truth’ is peer-acceptance; and the theories of ‘quantum
              > consciousness’ you advocate have - in my view - no such foundation.
              >
              >
              >
              > Cheers,
              >
              >
              >
              > Mike
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > Topics suitable for discussion in this e-list can be found at:
              > http://www.luckymojo.com/sacredland.html
              >
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              >
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            • mikebispham@aol.com
              Hi Dan Have a good trip, Mike In a message dated 7/28/05 11:42:24 AM GMT Daylight Time, danw@netmastersinc.com writes: Hi, Mike - I don t have time to answer
              Message 6 of 17 , Jul 28, 2005
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                Hi Dan
                 
                Have a good trip,
                 
                Mike
                 
                In a message dated 7/28/05 11:42:24 AM GMT Daylight Time, danw@... writes:
                Hi, Mike -

                I don't have time to answer this with my usual laser-like logic, since I
                am off to Vancouver, Canada until next tuesday.  Sorry bout that.

                Regards

                Dan
                 
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