Nov 27 2013

A Possible Non-Supernatural Quantum Model of Precognition – Part 2

Published by at 9:49 pm under Consciousness,PSI

[Note: This is taken from a research paper I wrote in 2007.  It’s entirely possible that research since then has entirely refuted my interpretations of the Transactional Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics. This piece is being presented “as-is” or, rather, “as-was.”  I am particularly interested in feedback and discussion, as I realize I’m making some ambitious suggestions in this series.]

Part 1

Part 2: Quantum Retro-Causality

One hundred years after its initial formulations, quantum physics is no less weird. With cats that are both dead and alive, non-locality, waves behaving as particles (and vice versa), and inherent uncertainty, it would seem humanity’s folly in thinking it can “know” how the universe ultimately works has hit a brick wall. The universe is calling our bluff. The more we poke, prod, and tickle the universe to find out its secrets, the more it begins to tickle back. That quantum mechanics works is not in dispute. How and why it works, is still a matter of debate. The implications of quantum physics are astounding. To a degree, it becomes clear why some caution that quantum physics is a “loaded gun” in the hands of the laity. (Rosenblum and Kuttner, 2006, p. 3)

In order to cope with the ramifications of quantum theory, a number of interpretations have been devised. Though physicist Richard Feynman is correct in stating “no one understands quantum physics,” this has not stopped people from trying. Perhaps the most widely known interpretation of quantum theory is the Copenhagen Interpretation of Niels Bohr. This approach is essentially a “don’t ask, don’t tell” interpretation. “How” and “why” do not matter. What matters is that it works, and that it can make incredibly accurate predictions. Unfortunately, human nature tends towards the curious. Demanding that we not worry about “how” and “why” makes some people (myself included) wonder about these things even more. Fortunately for the curious, there have been a number of attempts to explain the “how” and the “why” in quantum theory, each of which offers intriguing possibilities for understanding reality.

Einstein was troubled by the implications of quantum theory, feeling it must be somehow incomplete. One interpretation that hopes to reconcile the mysteries of quantum theory is hidden variable theory. In essence, as quantum theory deals with the incredibly tiny, there may be factors involved that we simply do not know about, and cannot know about with current technology. One such hidden variable theory is David Bohm’s Implicate Order theory. Per Bohm’s interpretation, there is an “implicate order” to nature, and an “explicate order.”  Particles and objects that we observe unfold from the implicate order into the explicate order, only to be enfolded back into the implicate order later.   Another interpretation of quantum theory posits that there are multiple universes, where each moment an observation is made, another universe is created where that observation was not made. There are various versions of this theory, ranging from finite to infinite numbers of universes.

One of the more fascinating interpretations of quantum theory is John Cramer’s Transactional Interpretation. Before discussing this, some background discussion is in order. While the notion of moving backwards in time might seem counter-intuitive, and the stuff of science fiction, there is a very real possibility that time may not be as formally structured as we experience it. I outlined some of the fluidity of our subjective experiences of time in the introduction to this paper. What does “objective” science have to say, though? It turns out that backwards movement in time is not as controversial as we might think.  Richard Feynman has shown that there is no mathematical difference between an electron traveling “forward” in time, and its anti-matter equivalent (a positron) moving “backwards” in time. If this isn’t radical enough, things actually get more complex.

If a photon has enough energy, it can actually turn itself into a pair of electron-like particles (to do the trick, the E in the photon must be more than the mc² in two electrons). One of these particles is an everyday electron; the other is just like an electron, but has positive charge instead of a negative charge, and is called a positron. As ever, the equations that describe the process are symmetrical. When an electron and a positron meet they reverse the process and annihilate each other, to form an energetic photon. In a standard scenario, observed many times in experiments, an energetic photon moving from one place to another may turn into a positron-electron pair in this way. The two particles go off in different directions, and very soon the positron meets another electron and annihilates, producing another energetic photon (Gribbin, 1995, p. 100).

How often does this occur? Constantly (p. 100).

Up next: The Transactional Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics

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Sources:

  • Gribbin, J. (1995). Schrödinger’s Kittens and the Search for Reality: Solving the Quantum Mysteries. New York: Little, Brown and Company.
  • Rosenblum, B. and Kuttner, F. (2006). Quantum Enigma: Physics Encounters  Consciousness. New York: Oxford University Press.

 

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