Today’s Top Science Post: The Quantum Big Bang –“Our Universe Does Not Exist Until It’s Observed”

 

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The question is no longer whether quantum theory is correct, but what it means: for almost a century, physicists have wondered whether the most counterintuitive predictions of quantum mechanics (QM) could actually be true. Only in recent years has the technology necessary for answering this question become accessible, enabling a string of experimental results—including startling ones reported in 2007 and 2010, and culminating now with a remarkable test reported in May—that show that key predictions of QM are indeed correct.


Taken together, continue Bernardo Kastrup, Henry Stapp, and Menas Kafatos in Scientific American, these experiments indicate that the everyday world we perceive does not exist until observed, which in turn suggests—as we shall argue in this essay—a primary role for mind in nature. It is thus high time the scientific community at large—not only those involved in foundations of QM—faced up to the counterintuitive implications of QM’s most controversial predictions.

 

Over the years, we have written extensively about why QM seems to imply that the world is essentially mental. We are often misinterpreted—and misrepresented—as espousing solipsism or some form of “quantum mysticism,” so let us be clear: our argument for a mental world does not entail or imply that the world is merely one’s own personal hallucination or act of imagination. Our view is entirely naturalistic: the mind that underlies the world is a transpersonal mind behaving according to natural laws. It comprises but far transcends any individual psyche.

 

 

The claim is thus that the dynamics of all inanimate matter in the universe correspond to transpersonal mentation, just as an individual’s brain activity—which is also made of matter—corresponds to personal mentation. This notion eliminates arbitrary discontinuities and provides the missing inner essence of the physical world: all matter—not only that in living brains—is the outer appearance of inner experience, different configurations of matter reflecting different patterns or modes of mental activity.

According to QM, the world exists only as a cloud of simultaneous, overlapping possibilities—technically called a “superposition”—until an observation brings one of these possibilities into focus in the form of definite objects and events. This transition is technically called a “measurement.” One of the keys to our argument for a mental world is the contention that only conscious observers can perform measurements.

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Bernardo Kastrup has a Ph.D. in computer engineering from Eindhoven University of Technology and specializations in artificial intelligence and reconfigurable computing. He has worked as a scientist in some of the world's foremost research laboratories, including the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) and the Philips Research Laboratories.

Menas C. Kafatos, PhD, is the Fletcher Jones Endowed Professor of Computational Physics at Chapman University. He currently directs the Center of Excellence in Earth Systems Modeling and Observations. He is co-author with Deepak Chopra of the New York Times Bestseller You Are the Universe (Harmony/Random House, 2017). In February 2018, he was elected foreign member of the Korean Academy of Science and Technology (KAST)

Henry P. Stapp, PhD, is a theoretical physicist at the University of California's Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, specializing in the conceptual and mathematical foundations of quantum theory. He worked closely with Werner Heisenberg, Wolfgang Pauli, and John Wheeler, and is author of three books on the quantum mechanical foundation of the connection between mind and matter.

 

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