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Date: 2007/04/17 20:17:14, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi all,

Excuse me while I take some time to mope in my beer.
I just said goodbye to Telic Thoughts after about 6 months of posting there.

BTW, I have a BS Electrical Engineering with an MBA.  I put myself down for BS Science.

Don't get me wrong, as ID Proponents go, the TT bunch are pretty intelligent and most want to be open minded.  You see, I like to think I am pretty good at getting to the heart of issues and pointing them out (my engineering training).  I think I did a pretty good job.  I bent over backwards to put it in terms they could embrace by accepting all base ID assumptions (even Dembski's "math").  To no avail.  If it didn't support Theism it wasn't a "science" they could find acceptable.

I know better than argue with anyone about their faith, but I thought that maybe with a little open-mindedness and a firm declaration it's about science and not religion, that maybe, just maybe I could make a dent.

Oh well, pass me another beer, will ya?

Thought Provoker

Date: 2007/04/17 20:32:26, Link
Author: Thought Provoker

What you say is true.
I was able to learn a lot from them.
I enjoyed myself.
A few of them I would like to call friends.
It was just becoming obvious I had done that all I could.
It was best I just leave.

Whether it makes sense or not, I am frustrated they couldn't learn more from our exchanges.

Date: 2007/04/17 20:40:12, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Flint,

With two degrees in Science and a degree in Humanities  I would think you could figure it out for yourself.

Sorry, couldn't help myself.

Date: 2007/04/18 07:16:37, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Kristine - thank you for that very warm welcome.  You are a girl after my own heart. I too was disgusted in my schooling and did a lot of thinking for myself. BTW, my schooling started in the '60s. I am still thinking for myself though.   :)

Date: 2007/04/21 20:30:29, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi All,

I got introduced to ID and Panda's Thumb from the Dover trial.  I am not sure why an Electrical Engineer with a small company to run got hooked on this, but I did.

I have convinced myself the ID issue will be like the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand.  Is this the dawning of another Dark Age or a new age of enlightenment?

IMO, the DI people aren't stupid, they are desparate.

I agree the ignorant masses are still ignorant, but watch out when they start gathering torches and pitchforks.

Hopefully, this explains why I still keep an eye on the subject.

Provoking Thought

Date: 2007/04/21 23:11:18, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Skeptic,

You missed the point.  Even after the devastation at Pearl Harbor and losses from every other major engagement (Java Sea and Coral Sea) the Americans still had a significant carrier force for the Midway encounter when they should have had practically none.  If they lost Midway, we would have been ready for the next battle, and the next, and the next...  Eventually, one of these battles would have been the turning point of the war.  Japan simply could not win a war of attrition against the United States.

Think about it.  Tiny Japan, mostly agrarian, with remains of feudalism against the giant United States’ capitalism with all kinds of factories (consider the automobile factories alone), an extensive train system with large rivers and an obscenely long coastline.

It wasn’t “if” it was just a matter of “when” the United States was going to win. Yamamoto predicted six months.  He was right.  Considering the fact Pearl Harbor’s dry docks were left intact on Dec 7th, taking a whole six months was almost shameful for the United States.

Sorry if I stole your thunder Lenny, but I am an old-time war gamer.  Which reminds me, the United States has won Midway in any realistic replay I have participated in or witnessed.  I liked the movie too and we were, indeed, lucky to do as well as we did but it would have taken a lot of unluck to for us to lose.  Remember the Japanese had to protect their transports.  They were the ones attacking a fortified island that had guns and planes of its own.  Our two carrier task forces had surprise.

Date: 2007/04/22 00:04:22, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Lenny,
If you didn't catch my earlier hints, I am 50ish (ok, ok, I am over 50).

Have you ever had the "pleasure" of playing GDW's Drang Nach Osten and Unentschieden?

Talk about tiny cardboard pieces.  I describe it as WWII, Eastern Front with the original cast.  I forget the pilot's name, but they had a special, individual counter for him because, historically, he was such a good ace.

So, to rub it in for Skeptic, the Japanese generally lost Midway one of two ways, either the player was too aggressive and got his (no women played, we all smelled too bad) transports sunk or lost in detail by getting the lead carrier group crippled so badly it forced a retreat (as happened in the real battle).

I suppose it's possible for someone could play the Americans so poorly the Japanese would win.  There have been multiple times at conventions where the side that can't possibly lose, does.  I never played Midway at a convention and at home we were too evenly matched.

It's been fun reminiscing, thanks. :D

Date: 2007/04/22 11:47:20, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Robert,

I suspect you ran into the same thing I did.  Dr. Dembski is very good at dropping pearls of "wisdom" that hint at a substantial argument.  For example, Dr. Dembski uses terms like "Telic Properties in Nature" in situations where he needs non-religious cover.  His fingerprints are all over something called "Endogenous Adaptive Mutagenesis" that could be considered an exploration of the possibility of intelligence being embodies an all of nature.

As an engineer, I have had to deal with many PhD types.  Practically all of them have trouble putting things into terms that can be understood by a layman.  For some, it is an honest inability and requires a lot of work to help them help you.  For others, it is because they, themselves, don't know what they are talking about.  For those like Dr. Dembski, it is cleverly intentional, IMO.  He is not dumb, but even he can't maintain the subterfuge for people determined to look for substance behind the fancy words.  However, it works very nicely on people who want to believe what he is saying is true.

Rather than tell IDers they don't know what they are talking about, I provoke them into thinking for themselves and ask them to explain to me their thoughts in their own words.

Very few ID proponents can do that.  Those that do distance themselves from Dr. Dembski with the possible exception of Salvador T. Cordova.

Date: 2007/04/22 12:29:50, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank,

Now that I am done embarrassing myself about my stereotypical bias about "PhD types" I wanted to respond to something you brought up.

I probably heard of ID prior to Dover.  I vaguely remember a Seattle-based think-tank arguing that the St. Helen's volcano aftermath provided scientific "proof" supporting a young earth.  I also heard about what was going on in Kansas.  Dover provided a one-stop-shop opportunity for evaluating the latest creation-science arguments.

Yes, Dover was an obvious loss from the start (I found the verdict anticlimactic), but what struck me was that with a difference cast of characters, the creationists could have won Dover.  I will spare you the details of why I think that (unless you are interested).

The other thing I noticed was the "Big Tent".  People who normally wouldn't give each other the time of day were coming together to fight a common enemy.  Why?  Because they are getting desparate.

G.W.Bush set a new standard for ignoring "reality-based thinking" along with a disregard of ethics in government.   It is my impression, the next time the pendulum swings right it will be too late to do anything about it.  We need to negotiate the peace treaty now, while we have the upper hand.  The alternative is to annihilate the enemy completely, which I doubt we can do.

Date: 2007/04/22 16:44:01, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Lenny,
There were two main problems for the defendants in the Dover case.  One problem was that the book Of Pandas and People was obviously a creationist textbook.  The other problem was that the defendants were guilty as ####.  ;)

I believe the defense strategy was to present the Dover's school board's actions as stupid, not illegal.

A possible strategy is based around the Santorum Amendment.

"It is the sense of the Senate that- (1) good science education should prepare students to distinguish the data or testable theories of science from philosophical or religious claims that are made in the name of science; and (2) where biological evolution is taught, the curriculum should help students to understand why this subject generates so much continuing controversy, and should prepare the students to be informed participants in public discussions regarding the subject."

Senator Santorum was (is?) one of Pennsylvania’s senators.  It was entirely reasonable for Dover to respect the "sense of the Senate" and "prepare the students to be informed participants in public discussions regarding the subject."  Especially when that sense was articulated by a home state's Senator.  There is the added benefit of a controversy as to whether the amendment was binding or not.  Dover could decide to error on the side of caution and comply with the amendment.  Like it or not, Intelligent Design was/is arguably one of the more likely "evolution" subjects of which students would be unprepared "to be informed participants in public discussions."

This all combines for arguing a well-meaning board making available supplemental textbooks on the subject of ID for science students.  The purpose of these textbooks would be to understand the arguments being made, not to make the arguments themselves.

What got the Dover school board in trouble were their obvious motives and public pronouncements.  A more careful board wouldn't have distributed flyers explaining "their side" of the debate and wouldn't have got caught in their own lies.  They would have also agreed to the Science Teachers' suggested wording change in addition to agreeing to having the books in the library and optional.

The defendant’s lawyers needed to argue ID's science status was a moot point.  Per the Santorum Amendment, Students must be prepared to participate in discussions about evolution which, inevitably, includes unscientific arguments.  It is beyond a district court Judge's reach to question the "sense of the senate".

The non-activist Judge Jones might have been forced to reluctantly agree the Dover school board actions were misguided bit, lacking evidence to the contrary, weren't illegal.

I suspect there might be a lawyer or three that can explain the gaping holes in my thinking.

Date: 2007/04/22 19:00:13, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Lenny,

While I hope you are right, I beg to differ with you.

I watched the Ohio situation pretty closely (since I live there).  I would be surprised to learn it reached the inside of a courtroom.  Maybe I am wrong and please let me know if I am.

For Georgia, I presume you are talking about the Cobb sticker case.  That was mostly decided on the second plank of the Lemon Test (religious motive).

I think we should count ourselves lucky Cobb settled the case (religious organizations were begging them to take their money and continue the appeals).

Were you aware that Justice Clarence Thomas feels it would be constitutional for states to declare a state-wide religion?  Scalia is a little less radical than that, but not much. This right-leaning Supreme Court just held up a federal law banning certain medical procedures regardless of the risk to a pregnant woman's health.

Why are you so certain they would refrain from deferring to the "sense of the senate" (like they did for Guantanamo prisoners) and reject an "explain (not teach) the controversy" argument in a school board case?

Date: 2007/04/22 19:26:37, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Skeptic,

You wrote...
You can go back and read about 90% of the responses to me and see that plain as day.

Ok, respectifully, I am interested in your opinion as to the following...

The 1st amendment reads...
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;..."

Would you say it was constitutional or unconstitutional for congress to make a law declaring the national motto "In God we Trust"?

Please note the amendment says "religon" not "a religon".

Date: 2007/04/22 20:07:46, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Skeptic,

Please read the words again...

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;..."

Simple sentence deconstruction.

Did the law respect something?

What was the object of respect?
The establishment of religion in the United States.

It isn't the "establishment" that is the prohibited act, it is the "respecting".

But we don't let little things like the plain meaning of the words bother us, do we?

Date: 2007/04/22 20:35:40, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Chris...
The only way they could get what they want is to prove that evolution is less supported than other scientific theories.

Sorry, but I have to disagree.  The courts can't protect against School Boards being stupid.  If they want to teach their students that there are only nine planets and Saturn is the only one with rings around it or that PI is exactly 22/7, there is nothing the courts could do about it as long is there is no evidence of religion.

I don't know why you guys are so certain we will always prevail.  Even at Dover, with all the coverage and evidence a large percentage of people voted to retain the old school board.  We may be right, but that doesn't mean we are popular.  And, bluntly, I don't trust the current Supreme Court one bit.

Date: 2007/04/22 21:04:07, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Lenny,

A higher percentage of the US population believes that space aliens are kidnapping people from their beds, than believe that evolution is the work of the Devil.

I don't know if I believe this or not, but thanks for trying to cheer me up.

Going to bed now.

Good Night and God Bless :O


Date: 2007/04/23 10:11:24, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Skeptic,

We don't have to "go on and on" about this, you have an untenable position.  You are saying we are misinterpreting the separation of church and state by reading the 1st Amendment as it is plainly written.

In 1956, during the Red Scare, the Supreme Court gave a wink and a nod to the new Motto.  Read their opinion.  It is clear they are reading the first amendment the same way I am.  They had to use some pretty twisted rationalization to explain how the motto was neither respectful nor disrespectful, but neutral.

It was hogwash then, it is hogwash now.

However, it has allowed people like you to imply something different.  By your logic what would be unconstitutional about changing the pledge of allegiance to...

"By the grace of God I pledge allegiance to the flag..."

or better yet...

"By the grace of God, who we worship above all, I pledge allegiance to the flag..."?

Date: 2007/04/23 17:41:28, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi skeptic,

Excuse me, I was rushed at lunch when I wrote this.  What a meant to say was...

However, it has allowed people, like yourself, to imply something different.  By your logic what would be unconstitutional about changing the pledge of allegiance to...

"By the grace of God I pledge allegiance to the flag..."

or better yet...

"By the grace of God, who we worship above all, I pledge allegiance to the flag..."?

Does that help mitigate your indignation enough for you to respond now?

Date: 2007/04/30 20:50:20, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Lenny,

There are more of "them" than there are of "us".

Historically speaking, we don't have much reason for optimism.

Personally, I would rather play to our strength.  "Let's discuss this logically. How many of you believe kangaroos once lived in the Middle East?"

Provoking Thought

Date: 2007/04/30 22:28:56, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Lenny,

You wrote
Well, that didn't seem to help them much in the last elections.

It is all in how you draw your "line".  So, how many confirmed atheists were elected?

How is the federal support for stem-cell research going?

Have we amended the partial-birth abortion law to include a womens' health exception yet?

Provoking Thought

Date: 2007/09/22 23:28:40, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Steve,

When MikeGene and I get into heated discussions it is usually over what I call "Shield Bashing".

A lot of people at Telic Thoughts (including MikeGene) take the tactical position of claiming to be oppressed.  It makes it easier to complain.

Bradford takes it to an extreme.  He appears to be fairly knowledgeable but often uses that knowledge to be bombastic.

BTW, I don't know if you are aware of this.  I think MikeGene split off from the "ID community" to form Telic Thoughts because of fundamental disagreements with people running ARN.

Personally, I think there was a spark of earnest interest in doing science when Darwin's Black Box came out.  I agree with Dawkins' review that DBB was better, in this regard, than Edge of Evolution.

I suggest the ID MOVEMENT decided to go the PR route.  Behe changed his definition of IC and the one ID Hypothesis that came close to being scientific, EAM, was abandoned.

In short, I think you are pressing some hot buttons with MikeGene.  Yes, he is biased in blaming the “ID critics” for shutting down explorations but note the title bar declaration “Thoughts is an independent blog about intelligent design. Telic Thoughts is an independent blog about intelligent design.”  

The word “independent” is obviously intentional.  If there is an “ID Community”, MikeGene and Telic Thoughts don’t consider themselves part of it.

You may also want to look at their “About Us” description.

There is some history there.

Date: 2007/09/22 23:34:29, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Jam,

You wrote...
And Joy is insane.

Is that a problem for you? :D

Joy is the reason I have stuck around for a year.

She is very knowledgable and provides substantial, thought-provoking challenges.

You might also find her political leanings surprising.  (let's just say she has never been a big fan of our current president).

Date: 2007/09/23 00:07:49, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Dave,

Out of curiousity, am I still on the "moderated list" for Uncommon Descent?

Date: 2007/09/23 10:20:29, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Keiths,

You wrote...

Someone who believes that life depends on superconduction, and that there is a conspiracy to suppress information about superconductivity, is neither knowledgeable nor sane.

Joy is quite capable to defending herself.  MikeGene's rabbit threads are available to open discussions.  If someone wants to ask her something, there is a recent rabbit thread available that anyone can use. Meanwhile, I thank you for the opportunity for me to point out the use of quantum mechanics in life.

It appears photosynthesis involves quantum superposition to achieve super conductivity.

This is from Berkley Lab's Research News.  The article is titled Quantum Secrets of Photosynthesis Revealed.

BERKELEY, CA —Through photosynthesis, green plants and cyanobacteria are able to transfer sunlight energy to molecular reaction centers for conversion into chemical energy with nearly 100-percent efficiency. Speed is the key – the transfer of the solar energy takes place almost instantaneously so little energy is wasted as heat. How photosynthesis achieves this near instantaneous energy transfer is a long-standing mystery that may have finally been solved.
Electronic spectroscopy measurements made on a femtosecond (millionths of a billionth of a second) time-scale showed these oscillations meeting and interfering constructively, forming wavelike motions of energy (superposition states) that can explore all potential energy pathways simultaneously and reversibly, meaning they can retreat from wrong pathways with no penalty. This finding contradicts the classical description of the photosynthetic energy transfer process as one in which excitation energy hops from light-capturing pigment molecules to reaction center molecules step-by-step down the molecular energy ladder.

“The classical hopping description of the energy transfer process is both inadequate and inaccurate,” said Fleming. “It gives the wrong picture of how the process actually works, and misses a crucial aspect of the reason for the wonderful efficiency.”


And, of course, there is the Orch OR model of consciousness put forward by Sir Rodger Penrose and Dr. Hameroff....

In this paper we propose that aspects of quantum theory (e.g. quantum coherence) and of a newly proposed physical phenomenon of quantum wave function "self-collapse"(objective reduction: OR -Penrose, 1994) are essential for consciousness, and occur in cytoskeletal microtubules and other structures within each of the brain's neurons. The particular characteristics of microtubules suitable for quantum effects include their crystal-like lattice structure, hollow inner core, organization of cell function and capacity for information processing. We envisage that conformational states of microtubule subunits (tubulins) are coupled to internal quantum events, and cooperatively interact (compute) with other tubulins. We further assume that macroscopic coherent superposition of quantum-coupled tubulin conformational states occurs throughout significant brain volumes and provides the global binding essential to consciousness.

from the peer reviewed paper  Orchestrated Objective Reduction of Quantum Coherence in Brain Microtubules: The "Orch OR" Model for Consciousness

DNA strands are used to build artificial quantum computers.

IMO, the question gets turned around.  What makes you think life ISN'T dependent on quantum superposition and superconductivity?

Date: 2007/09/23 10:46:56, Link
Author: Thought Provoker

You wrote...
She is not knowledgeable at all in the field of biology, TP.

I agree, Joy's expertise appears to be more in understanding physics as opposed to biology.  And, yes, she does have an unusual philosophical outlook (which she admits to).

What she brings to the table is the thought that it may be time to quit treating the different scientific disciplines as separate.  Biologists can't continue to ignore General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics.

This concept is what drives Sir Rodger Penrose.  Combining General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics results in some interesting conclusions.  While many people don't like the implications, Penrose's OR quantum interpretation is testable and is being tested.  So far, it has never been falsified.  Penrose also provides verifiable equations, E=h/t may become the next E=mc^2.  Penrose is making a specific proposal for the timing of quantum superposition collapse.

It is obvious that Penrose has convinced himself (and others) of the solidity of the basic OR quantum model long ago.  Once he considered it a given, Penrose started to look in its implications.  Its implications to the study of consciousness is potentially very profound.  However, like Joy, Penrose wasn’t as strong in biology as physics.  This resulted in Penrose teaming up with a scientist who has dedicated his professional life to the study of consciousness, Dr, Hameroff.  The Orch OR model of consciousness was introduced about 10 years ago.

Joy claims to be a “professional fool”.  Sometimes listening to fools allows you to think outside artificial barriers of thinking (“outside the box”).

P.S. for those interested here is the link to

Date: 2007/09/23 12:16:44, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Thank you SteveStory for setting me straight on which Dave is which.

Hi Afdave,

I took a look at your website.  I didn't find it all that unusual or convincing.  I am not unfamiliar with discussing things with YEC proponents.  I usually enjoy my interchanges with Salvador Cordova.  I also find Walt Brown ( interesting.

As far as your question about what it would take to convince a skeptic.  I am of the opinion that if an omniscient, omnipotent and timeless being wanted me to believe in it/him/her I would.  I would have no choice.

It is obvious the God of the Old Testament is less than perfect (unless, of course, you engage in liberal interpretation).  The God of the New Testament is more spiritual.  But, for some reason, the Council of Nicaea (about 325 AD) decided to equate the man called Yeshua Ben Yosef with God.  That is your problem, not mine.  I happen to believe this traveling rabbi had interesting ideas, but he was one of many.  Chances are we wouldn’t have heard of him if it wasn’t for a Hellenistic Jew named Shaul (we know him as Paul).

For all his earnestness Yeshua’s brother, Yaakov (James) had continued the Jewish tradition of preaching only to Jews.  However, Shaul was knowledgeable of the philosophies of Socrates (no one knows the Truth), Plato (Platonic world versus real world) and Aristotle (successful political leaders accommodate the majority).  Shaul suggested the Jewish cult should start teaching GENTILES! Yaakov and his lieutenants reluctantly agreed (only Shaul’s branch of the cult was permitted to do it).

The Roman’s destroyed the Jewish Temple in 70 AD.  This was extremely disheartening for the Jews waiting for the imminent return of the Meshiach.  It was prophesized that the “anointed one” would rule from the Temple.  No temple, no Meshiach.  All the Jewish people from all the various cults (including the followers on Yeshua Ben Yosef) returned to mainstream Judaism.  This pretty much caused the collapse of all the Meshiach sects except for one. The gentiles within the followers of Yeshua Ben Yosef found themselves leaderless and unwelcome by mainstream Jews.  The gentiles continued to believe in the “imminent” return of their messiah.  They have been waiting for two millennia now.

As to what it would take to convince me to believe something, it would probably involve starting with presumptions not based on the Bible.

Do I believe that an Ultimate Observer might exist?  Yes, but I don't see empirical evidence of that (it is mostly a philosophical argument).

Do I believe than an Ultimate Engineer might have designed the Universe?  Yes, but my impression is that the Ultimate Engineer would make the Ultimate Invention that wouldn't require the engineer turning hidden cranks and pushing special buttons.

Date: 2007/09/23 12:39:54, Link
Author: Thought Provoker

You asked...

Tell me, TP, what is the factual basis for your confident assertion that this paper was peer-reviewed?

I may be wrong about this.  But this was included in the acknowledgement...

Citations to "This Volume"refer to Toward a Science of Consciousness, (1996) S Hameroff, A Kaszniak, A Scott (eds), MIT Press, Cambridge.

Also published in Mathematics and Computer Simulation 40:453-480, 1996

And the paper has been very much reviewed, and criticized, by the likes of Tegmark, Grush and Churchland.

But like I said, I may be wrong.  Maybe MIT Press and Mathematics and Computer Simulation are less particular than I gave them credit for.

Date: 2007/09/23 13:01:34, Link
Author: Thought Provoker

You wrote...
Severely. I've been banned three times, but TP keeps persisting in his fantasy that the folks at TT are tolerant.

Primarily, I've been banned for pointing out obvious ways to test their hypotheses. Most recently, I was banned for arguing with Sal about malaria.

I remember something about you being banned because you tried to use an alias after being banned previously.

Can you provide a link to the first time you were banned?

I have seen some biased use of sending comments to the memory hole (some of mine have ended up there).

I have only known of one person being banned, that was you.  Zachriel (an ID critic) pressed MikeGene pretty hard about why.  The answer was in reference to your subterfuge.

I have seen some pretty vocal critics on Telic Thoughts that didn't get banned.  Nick Matzke makes regular appearances there.  I have dared MikeGene to simply ask me to leave when the going has gotten tough between us.  He has not done so.

I am of the opinion that I would not stay where I am not welcome.

Date: 2007/09/23 13:55:06, Link
Author: Thought Provoker

Thank you for the opportunity for me to expand my understanding of Penrose-Hameroff Orch OR.

You wrote...
What Penrose omits is the fact that the evidence supporting the involvement of the ACTIN cytoskeleton is an order of magnitude greater than the evidence supporting the involvement of the MICROTUBULE cytoskeleton.

Dr. Hameroff provides an explanation for how the ACTIN in needed to support quantum isolation in microtubules.

I would be very interested in seeing a hypothesis on how actin can be a SOURCE of consciousness.

To the quote "In cat visual cortex, MAP-2 is dephosphorylated when visual stimulation occurs (Aoki and Siekevitz, 1985)."

You responded with...
Is that a cause or an effect, TP? Is this provoking any thought in your head?

The time order of cause and effects gets very interesting when dealing with quantum mechanics.  Retrocausality is practically a given.

Libet's observation of the readiness potential for conscious actions brings provides support in considering consciousness is a retrocausual superposition of quantum states.

If you are not familiar with Libet, his experiments show a half a second time period of electrical brain activity prior to a conscious decision being made.

Libet's experiments have caused a stir in the study of consciousness.  Playing professional tennis and hitting a fastball should be a physical impossibility.  One answer is that we are helpless observers watching our bodies perform while deluding ourselves with false memories.

Another is that consciousness is a result of orchestrated quantum effects interconnected in both space and time.

Dealing with time as just another dimension is a given in the study of General Relativity.

The EPR paradox has demonstrated "spooky action at a distance" for seventy years in quantum experiment after experiment.

Putting them together with the study of consciousness provides a lot of explanatory power for scientific observations like Libet's.

As to direct experimental results...  I recently found this...  
“In recent times the interest for quantum models of brain activity has rapidly grown. The Penrose-Hameroff model assumes that microtubules inside neurons are responsible for quantum computation inside brain. Several experiments seem to indicate that EPR-like correlations are possible at the biological level. In the past year , a very intensive experimental work about this subject has been done at DiBit Labs in Milan, Italy by our research group. Our experimental set-up is made by two separated and completely shielded basins where two parts of a common human DNA neuronal culture are monitored by EEG. Our main experimental result is that, under stimulation of one culture by means of a 630 nm laser beam at 300 ms, the cross-correlation between the two cultures grows up at maximum levels. Despite at this level of understanding it is impossible to tell if the origin of this non-locality is a genuine quantum effect, our experimental data seem to strongly suggest that biological systems present non-local properties not explainable by classical models."
(emphasis mine)
Nonlocal correlations between separated neural networks

BTW, the term "nonlocal" is a direct reference to "spooky action at a distance" of the EPR Paradox

Date: 2007/09/23 21:45:31, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi creeky belly,

You wrote...
Unless you're dealing with superconductors, optical qubits, ion traps, or cavity QED, there's no way to keep the quantum state from reverting to a classical state (300 ms is way too long). I think you could make a strong case that this is probably not a quantum effect they're observing.

I am going to guess what you mean by "way too long".  Max Tegmark suggested the brain so wet, warm and noisy that it would force an almost immediate decoherence.

Penrose offers E=h/t as the equation for determining timing of decoherence where E is gravitational energy, h (h bar) is Planck’s constant over 2 pi and t is time.  The more mass that is involved the shorter the Objective Reduction (OR) because when E is large, t is small.  The tubulin dimers in microtubules are small enough that they can avoid decoherence for a long time as long as they remain isolated from large mass.

Here is a paper from Hameroff discussing the timing of consciousness.  It includes discussions on Libet, cutaneous rabbit and the “color phi” phenomenon.  These scientific observations support the idea that consciousness transcends time on the order of 100s of milliseconds.  Hameroff describes how and why the quantum effects in neural microtubules organized in dendritic structures for processing could and would account for these observations.

You have mentioned multiple artificial ways for quantum effects to last 100s of milliseconds.  Is it so hard to consider that billions of years of evolution could do the same thing naturally?

Date: 2007/09/23 23:16:24, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi K.E.

Thanks for your comment.  You wrote...
You do realize that *time itself is not quantifyable and may not exist in fact. That is to say time as a physical element and that your statement is as meaningless as the Behe pseudo quantity 'irreducable complexity'?

I understand time to be just another dimension like the three spatial ones.  This is the lesson from General Relativity.  Each point in Minkowskian Geometry (Minkowski was one of Einstein's teachers) consists of four complex coordinates.

Things get interesting in Minkowskian Geometry.  For example, the shortest distance between two points isn't a straight line.  This is what happens in the Twins Paradox, it becomes a geometry problem.  The space traveling twin takes a shortcut.

All of this might be just an interesting mathematical exercise except for the scientific verification.  Flying planes East and West around the Earth shows General Relativity (i.e. Minkowskian Geometry) is reality.  Special Relativity was incomplete.  The universe has an inertial frame of reference with time just being one of the four dimensions.

The EPR paradox (which has become a given quantum property) demonstrates interconnected effects over space/time.  When merged with General Relativity, the effects cross both space and time.

If time is a “qseudo quantity” then so is length.  You may not want to know my opinion on the alleged existence of “particles”.

Bringing all the sciences to bear to the fundamental question of consciousness suggest explanations that we otherwise wouldn’t consider.  For example, interconnected effects across time and space.

Date: 2007/09/24 07:22:36, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi K.E,

You asked...  
...oh wait ,you aren't suggesting a cosmic quantum pantograph wrote the good book ....are you?

No? Those ancient scribes were dreaming....right?
Did I fail to mention that most people would consider me an Atheist in the same way Dawkins is an Atheist.  Technically I am agnostic towards God, fairies and orbiting tea pots.  These things might exist but I doubt there is empirical evidence any of them.

Where Dawkins and I are different is that I embrace Gould's NOMA.  I consider philosophical questions distinct and separate from scientific ones.  Philosophy is about searching for Truth (capital "T").  Science is about determining useful knowledge.

I believe the Oracle of Delphi was both accurate and prophetic with the proclamation that no one is wiser than Socrates.

I don't know the Truth, do you?

While the search for Truth is important, I generally find it more enjoyable, and fruitful, to discuss science.  At Telic Thoughts, I have a habit of suggesting...

Let's do Science!   :D

See my response to creeky belly for that.

Date: 2007/09/24 11:03:25, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi creeky belly,
You wrote...    
This is absurd, they would most certain couple strongly with the EM force, it would be way more dominant. If you're talking about any type of molecule, it's their electric orbitals which count. And it's waaaaay stronger than gravity. Even the microtubules would be subject to it's coupling effects.

Have you heard of Bucky Balls?  These are miniature soccer balls made up of 60 carbon atoms.  They demonstrate EPR-like effects.  The basic question is, why do Bucky Balls behave differently than normal soccer balls?  Penrose offers it is due to their mass.

By the way, Penrose and Stephen Hawking had a famous debate over this issue in 1994.  While Hawking didn't agree with Penrose, he didn't suggest Penrose's idea was "absurd".  I would be curious as to what Hawking thinks about it today in light of advances in maintaining superposition longer and with larger massed objects.

The Schrödinger's cat paradox refuses to go away by itself.   Penrose's OR quantum interpretation explains it.

Penrose has suggested an experiment named FELIX to test his hypothesis with a tiny mirror.  The mirror is would have just the right mass to be in superposition for the forward going light beam but not for the return.

Pretty much all of them do not last for 100ms, most couple to the environment after anywhere from few pico/femto seconds to a micro second. In addition, all of them require great care in keeping them from coupling when they shouldn't and safety from decoherence. How are the atoms coupled specifically to send information? You don't just get spooky action at a distance, you need a specific interaction to generate it.

You are correct that currently it doesn’t appear we are capable of developing long term quantum memory, yet (we are working on it).  However, we do know the photons can avoid decoherence for years.  I don’t know if any scientific observation like this has been done for cosmic particles other than photons.  Do you know of any?  I will look for them.

Penrose argues against Strong AI.  That is, Penrose argues the human mind can’t be a consistent formal algorithm.  And pseudorandom generators don’t help (they are algorithms).  Here is Planet Math's analysis of it.  Penrose argues that Quantum effects are non-algorithmic and non-random.  Ergo, it is extremely likely the human mind (consciousness) depends on quantum effects.

Whether or not Artificial Intelligence could have been accomplished without quantum effects has probably become a moot point since AI researchers are now designing quantum computers into their systems.

Date: 2007/09/24 11:13:44, Link
Author: Thought Provoker

I suggest the burdon of proof in this situation is yours.

Joy and MikeGene aren't any more capable of finding the comment(s) that caused the problem than you are.

You indicated that you were banned three times.  MikeGene and Joy have offered explaination as to why they automatically enforced the ban on your two aliases.

If you want to continue to try and make a case, then it is up to you to make it.  I already asked you once to provide a link to the first instance so I could judge for myself.  You have yet to do that.

Date: 2007/09/24 12:15:29, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Albatrossity2 and K.E.,

One of the things I have noticed in blogs is the tendency to engage in "Shield Bashing".  This is generally done by trying to frame the debate where the other side is expected to prove their point thus allowing the shield basher to alternate between laughing at their pathetic attempts and/or be indignant over arrogance of the presumptions.

I have been banned from Uncommon Descent and  I don't think my behavior warrented being banned in either case.  I can (and have) presented the comment that got me banned from UD with minor effort.

I was posting to After the Bar Closes a while ago but quit doing so.  Now, if I were to simply accuse SteveStory of being rude to me as the reason I quit, would it become Steve's burden to prove otherwise.

The "innocent until proven guilty" works both ways.  Telic Thoughts should be considered innocent until proven guilty.

The case needs to be made by TT's accuser, JAM.

Unless, of course, you just want to believe what you want to believe anyway.

Date: 2007/09/24 14:16:19, Link
Author: Thought Provoker

I will deal with the politics first and then with the science in another comment.

You wrote...
I have no idea when or what that first instance was, TP, except that it occurred before I was banned. Can we agree that TT is not nearly as tolerant as you have repeatedly claimed them to be?

Actually, I have loudly questioned MikeGene about whether or not Telic Thoughts lives up to its About Us declaration multiple times.  I have even pointed out the biased treatment of the Smokey verses Bradford discussions.  I felt you two were opposite sides of the same coin.

MikeGene estimates Telic Thoughts has banned a total of 10 people (7 ID critics and 3 ID supporters) in the 2.5 years of its existence.  You (with your three aliases) were apparently one of them.

Telic Thoughts is a pro-ID blog.  In case it has escaped everyone's notice, I seem to be the only one who seems to care whether or not people from After the Bar Closes choose to participate in discussions at Telic Thoughts.

Jam, it is obvious that you have a biased opinion of Telic Thoughts.  Based on your actions here, I would have to agree it would not be in Telic Thoughts best interest to reinstate your privileges.

If you actually wanted to come back, you missed an opportunity.  It would have been relatively easy to convince me that you were unfairly treated if you tried.  Had you done that, I would have tried to make the case that Telic Thoughts could use more balanced discussions. Besides, I liked "Smokey".  I might have had a chance, but now, with the way you chose to approach this, I don't see how it would be remotely possible.

As it is, it looks like the shield bashing games will continue.  After the Bar Closes will be smug in their presumption that ID proponents are arrogant and unreasonable.  Meanwhile, Telic Thoughts will be smug in their presumption that ID critics are arrogant and unreasonable.

Everyone can continue to be comfortable with their stereotypes reconfirmed.

Oh well, I tried.

Date: 2007/09/24 14:31:24, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Albatrossity2,

You wrote...
Self-fulfilling prophecy. If you act arrogant ("I don't need to back up that accusation!"), and then get deemed arrogant, whose fault is it, anyway?
It is a double-edged sword.  Jam is accusing TT of being intolerant without backing up his accusation.  You are DEMANDING an explanation.

Which side is arrogant?

And actually, we weren't asking you to try. Speaking for myself only, I am pretty sure that I was asking the TT admins to back up an assertion. I don't think you are arrogant, but I gotta admit I wonder why you would stick up for some folks who do seem to be...
Most people consider me arrogant (so do I).

To me, this isn't about taking sides.  It is about provoking thought.

Date: 2007/09/24 16:08:46, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Afdave,

You wrote...
Why do you presume that turning hidden cranks and pushing special buttons is required.  What if God likes being involved with His creation?  Why shouldn't He be?  I like being involved with MY creations.

BTW ... I've got a nice debate going with Dean Anderson at IIDB on the Documentary Hypothesis ...

Thank you for responding, but I am not interested in arguing religious apologetics.  I might have a minor interest in hearing your scientific opinion on who were the builders of Stonehenge and, much earlier,Göbekli Tepe.

I am presuming you embrace the general biblical timeline that suggests that on the 1st day of the 1st month of the 601st year of Noah's life, the only people left alive on Earth were aboard the Ark.  Making it 2344 BC.

Which is a neat trick considering Stonehenge was supposed to have been built before 3000 BC and Göbekli Tepe around 9000 BC.

Date: 2007/09/24 16:34:26, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi SteveStory,

My apologies.  I had intended on making it clear that it was a false hypothetical.

In fact, I found my welcome to After the Bar Close to be very warm (Kristine offered me "Shimmies").

As penance, I took the time to find my first post here (it was the career survey).  That turned out to be ironic, because as it happens I wasn't too happy at the time with Telic Thoughts. Here is what I wrote...

Excuse me while I take some time to mope in my beer.
I just said goodbye to Telic Thoughts after about 6 months of posting there.

BTW, I have a BS Electrical Engineering with an MBA.  I put myself down for BS Science.

Don't get me wrong, as ID Proponents go, the TT bunch are pretty intelligent and most want to be open minded.  You see, I like to think I am pretty good at getting to the heart of issues and pointing them out (my engineering training).  I think I did a pretty good job.  I bent over backwards to put it in terms they could embrace by accepting all base ID assumptions (even Dembski's "math").  To no avail.  If it didn't support Theism it wasn't a "science" they could find acceptable.

I know better than argue with anyone about their faith, but I thought that maybe with a little open-mindedness and a firm declaration it's about science and not religion, that maybe, just maybe I could make a dent.

Oh well, pass me another beer, will ya?

The interesting part was the reply by someone named SteveStory...

Telic Thoughts is a unique ID blog. Unlike all the others (UD, JoeG, FtK,...) they aren't scared to death of informed commenters. They don't ban people for being knowledgeable.

As far as I know. Which is really based on very little info. I've been to TT only a handful of times.


I decided to give Telic Thoughts another chance.

Date: 2007/09/24 18:57:22, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi K.E.,

Why limit your 'Ergo' just to one mannic mathematicians meanderings. I suggest you top it off with String Theory.

I am coming to the conclusion that the String Theory is the result of the last desparate holdout in a belief that matter is made up of something solid.

I happen to think the Universe is one giant wavefunction existing in Minkowskian space/time Geometry.  Something like a Mandelbrot Set.

Date: 2007/09/24 20:05:39, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi creeky belly,

Thank you for your reasoned responses.

You wrote...
Buckminster fullerines don't behave like normal soccer balls because their quantum wavelength is proportional to their size (deBroglie's equation). That's essentially the best way for determining whether something will exhibit quantum effects. In addition, nuclear spin quantum computers have made use of a rather large molecule (like the one that figured out that 15 factors into 3 and 5), however, there's big difference between 1 molecule of a substance and 1 mol.


E = h/t came directly from deBroglie's work.

"The de Broglie relations show that the wavelength is inversely proportional to the momentum of a particle and that the frequency is directly proportional to the particle's kinetic energy." link

Momentum and kinetic energy are proportional to mass, not size.

deBroglie's equations are...
p = hk
E = hw

When you substitute 1/t for w, you get the form Penrose uses.

I'm not here to debate with you the primary tenets of quantum mechanics;

My point is there is no such thing as a minor inconsistency in logic.  You would not be the first one to attempt to hand-wave away the inconvenient existence of "quantum weirdness".  For seventy years people have been waiting for the logical explanation to present itself.  Penrose quit waiting.  He accepted it as reality and built a consistent model to explain it all.  The final piece was consciousness.

Are you familiar with the story behind Penrose Tilings?

It started out as a mathematical curiosity.  At one time it was assumed that any effort to tile a surface (e.g. a floor) with a limited number of shapes would result in a repeating pattern.  This is known as periodic tiling.  However, attempts to prove that mathematically failed.  One day, someone proved that aperiodic tiling was, in fact, possible.  The race was on to find examples.  The first example had 20426 tile shapes.  To make a long story short, Penrose found a solution that used only TWO tile shapes (he did it in his spare time as “a hobby”).

This still might be considered just an interesting mathematical curiosity except for two things.  Ten years later, an “impossible” crystal formation was discovered.  You see it was thought that all crystals had to be made up of repeating structures (periodic).  An aperiodic crystal formation was discovered, it matched Penrose Tilings.

The second interesting aspect is that Penrose claims his solution couldn’t have been found algorithmically, i.e. Turing Machine couldn’t be programmed to find the answer not matter how powerful it was.

What I called "absurd" was ignoring the effects of the EM potentials and interactions, when they are much more dominant than gravity. You can't just handwave it away and say it will be fine, especially when the quantum computer is immersed in a electric dipole fluid along with one of the strongest ferromagnetic substances. That's absurd. All of this makes it less feasible that our brain can properly transport quantum information.

Penrose admits that he might be wrong on the details of how.  He isn't a biologist.  But it is obvious Penrose is firmly convinced he is right about the quantum physics.  The implications make others uncomfortable, but a lack of comfort doesn't hold a candle to experiment after experiment showing interconnected quantum effects are a reality.

Dr. Hameroff is convinced Penrose is right based on his experience in suppressing consciousness (anesthesia).

Date: 2007/09/24 20:23:26, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Jam,

You asked...
Do you realize how ridiculous a mention of "cytoskeletal microtubules" appears to anyone with the most rudimentary education in cell biology? Can you name an instance of non-cytoskeletal microtubules?

Here is one of many hits I found using the term "cytoskeletal microtubules" in a google search.

It was from The Journal of Cell Biology where they were distinguishing cytoskeletal microtubules from flagellar microtubules.

This is one of those situations where being quiet would have been the smarter choice.  I had presumed that "Smokey" wasn't just arguing for argument sake.  Now I am not so sure.

Date: 2007/09/24 22:05:37, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Jam,

You ask...
Are you trying to claim that Penrose was distinguishing anything from flagellar, ciliary, or spindle microtubules, or was he just adding extra polysyllabic words to his tome?

IMO, it's just part of an attempt to obfuscate his sloppy equivocation between the cytoskeleton and the microtubule cytoskeleton.

It has been suggested that I am wasting my time here.  That may be true in your case, but on the chance that others are listening in I will continue.

You continue to make reference to Penrose.  Penrose is not the biologist, Dr. Hameroff is.  To avoid confusion, let me quote from a paper written by Dr. Hameroff and NOT the physicist Penrose...

III. The neural correlate of consciousness

a. Functional organization of the brain

Most brain activities are nonconscious; consciousness is a mere “tip of the iceberg” of neural functions. Many brain activities—e.g. brainstem-mediated autonomic functions—never enter consciousness. While consciousness is erased during general anesthesia, nonconscious brain EEG and evoked potentials continue, although reduced.[xiv]


Membrane-based neuronal input-output activities involve changes in synaptic plasticity, ion conductance, neurotransmitter vesicle transport/secretion and gap junction regulation—all controlled by the intra-neuronal networks of filamentous protein polymers known as the cytoskeleton. If simple input-output activities fully described neural function, then fine-grained details might not matter. But simple input-output activities—in which neurons function as switches—are only a guess, and most likely a poor imitation of the neuron’s actual activities and capabilities.

To gauge how single neuron functions may exceed simple input-output activities, consider the single cell organism paramecium. Such cells swim about gracefully, avoid obstacles and predators, find food and engage in sex with partner paramecia. They can also learn; if placed in capillary tubes they escape, and when placed back in the capillary tubes escape more quickly. As single cells with no synaptic connections, how do they do it? Pondering the seemingly intelligent activities of such single cell organisms, famed neuroscientist C.S. Sherrington (1957) conjectured: “of nerve there is no trace, but the cytoskeleton might serve”. If the cytoskeleton is the nervous system of protozoa, what might it do for neurons?

IV. The neuronal cytoskeleton

a. Microtubules and networks inside neurons

Shape, structure, growth and function of neurons are determined by their cytoskeleton, internal scaffoldings of filamentous protein polymers which include microtubules, actin and intermediate filaments. Rigid microtubules (MTs) interconnected by MT-associated proteins (MAPs) and immersed in actin form a self-supporting, dynamic tensegrity network which shapes all eukaryotic cells including highly asymmetrical neurons. The cytoskeleton also includes MT-based organelles called centrioles which organize mitosis, membrane-bound MT-based cilia, and proteins which link MTs with membranes. Disruption of intra-neuronal cytoskeletal structures impairs cognition, such as tangling of the tau MAP linking MTs in Alzheimer’s disease (Matsuyama and Jarvik, 1989, Iqbal and Grundke-Iqbal 2004).

Actin is the main component of dendritic spines and also exists throughout the rest of the neuronal interior in various forms depending on actin-binding proteins, calcium etc. When actin polymerizes into a dense meshwork, the cell interior converts from an aqueous solution (sol state) to a quasi-solid, gelatinous (gel) state. In the gel state, actin, MTs and other cytoskeletal structures form a negatively-charged matrix on which polar cell water molecules are bound and ordered (Pollack 2001). Glutamate binding to NMDA and AMPA receptors triggers gel states in actin spines (Fischer et al 2000).

Neuronal MTs self-assemble, and with cooperation of actin enable growth of axons and dendrites. Motor proteins transport materials along MTs to maintain and regulate synapses. The direction and guidance of motor proteins and synaptic components (e.g. from cell body through branching dendrites) depends on conformational states of MT subunits (Krebs et al 2004). Thus MTs are not merely passive tracks but appear to actively guide transport. Among neuronal cytoskeletal components, MTs are the most stable and appear best suited for information processing Wherever cellular organization and intelligence are required, MTs are present and involved.

MTs are cylindrical polymers 25 nanometers (nm = 10-9 meter) in diameter, comprised of 13 longitudinal protofilaments which are each chains of the protein tubulin (Figure 8). Each tubulin is a peanut-shaped dimer (8 nm by 4 nm by 5 nm) which consists of two slightly different monomers known as alpha and beta tubulin, (each 4 nm by 4 nm by 5 nm, weighing 55,000 daltons). Tubulin subunits within MTs are arranged in a hexagonal lattice which is slightly twisted, resulting in differing neighbor relationships among each subunit and its six nearest neighbors (Figure 9). Thus pathways along contiguous tubulins form helical pathways which repeat every 3, 5 and 8 rows (the Fibonacci series). Alpha tubulin monomers are more negatively charged than beta monomers, so each tubulin (and each MT as a whole) is a ferroelectric dipole with positive (beta monomer) and negative (alpha monomer) ends.[xxiii]

In non-neuronal cells and in neuronal axons, MTs are continuous and aligned radially like spokes of a wheel emanating from the cell center. MT negative (alpha) ends originate in the central cell hub (near the centrioles, or MT-organizing-center adjacent to the cell nucleus) and their positive (beta) ends extend outward to the cell perimeter. This is the case in axons, where the negative ends of continuous MTs originate in the axon hillock, and positive ends reach the pre-synaptic region.

However dendritic cytoskeleton is unique. Unlike axons and any other cells, MTs in dendrites are short, interrupted and mixed polarity. They form networks interconnected by MAPs (especially dendrite-specific MAP2) of roughly equal mixtures of polarity. There is no obvious reason why this is so—from a structural standpoint uninterrupted MTs would be preferable, as in axons. Networks of mixed polarity MTs connected may be optimal for information processing.  

Intra-dendritic MT-MAP networks are coupled to dendritic synaptic membrane and receptors (including dendritic spines) by mechanisms including calcium and sodium flux, actin and metabotropic inputs including second messenger signaling e.g. dephosphorylation of MAP2 (Halpain and Greengard 1990). Alterations in dendritic MT-MAP networks are correlated with locations, densities and sensitivities of receptors (e.g. Woolf et al 1999). Synaptic plasticity, learning and memory depend on dendritic MT-MAP networks.

Since Sherrington’s observation in 1957, the idea that the cytoskeleton—MTs in particular—may act as a cellular nervous system has occurred to many scientists. Vassilev et al (1985) reported that tubulin chains transmit signals between membranes, and Maniotis et al (1997a, 1997b) demonstrated that MTs convey information from membrane to nucleus. But MTs could be more than wires. The MT lattice is well designed to represent and process information, with the states of individual tubulins playing the role of bits in computers. Conformational states of proteins in general (e.g. ion channels opening/closing, receptor binding of neurotransmitter etc.) are the currency of real-time activities in living cells. Numerous factors influence a protein’s conformation at any one time, so individual protein conformation may be considered the essential input-output function in biology.

Here is a diagram and video showing microtubules appearing to actively orchestrate a cell dividing.

Here is a video that makes a mockery of thinking of microtubles as passive cytoskeletal components.

They one the DNA was just for structural support.  After all, how could something made up of only four bases be important?

Date: 2007/09/24 22:43:59, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi creeky belly,
You wrote...
Another way to write deBroglie's equation is obviously:

lambda = h/p

Where lambda is the quantum wavelength. When the quantum wavelength of the object is comparable to its size (cube root of volume if you want), it will exhibit quantum characteristics.

Did you read the link I provided?

p = momentum = mass * velocity

"size" neither volume nor the cube-root of volume has anything to do with momentum.

From the career survey results, I would have thought a majority of the people in this forum would be explaining this obvious physics property to you.

Was I too polite?


Do you see the "m" in the first equation under the words "de Broglie relations"?

"m" stands for MASS!

Which does nothing to address the point that I raised...IOW: large molecule + room temperature = no entanglement

Do you see temperature in deBroglie's equations too?

Again, maybe I missed it, but what was the last experimental quantum computation paper that Penrose wrote? Penrose can have all the theory he wants (gedanken out the wazoo); it's not discomfort if it doesn't describe reality, full stop.

It does describe and explain the reality of quantum effects.

Did you happen to read Penrose's book The Road to Reality?  It came out in 2004.  It is 1100 pages of step by step explaination of his detailed view of reality.

Penrose is 65 years old.  He has been knighted.  He knows he will be proven correct.  This book should dissuade those tempted to suggest he got lucky again.  After all, Penrose was right about Black Holes and aperiodic tilings.  Why should he be correct in suggesting the obvious implications of deBroglie's equations are correct?

How do you get a ground state in a 325K person?

A tubulin dimer is 8 nm by 4 nm by 5 nm and weighs 55,000 daltons.

Date: 2007/09/25 09:43:52, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." Arthur C. Clarke, Profiles of The Future

One of the biggest obstacles to accepting ID hypotheses as scientific endeavors is their appeal to magic-like mechanisms. But what if a magic-like aspect in nature has been around so long that we don't see it for the magic it is? I suggest what we think of as randomness is, for all practical purposes, magic.

Let's take a hypothetical coin, we flip it, it comes up heads. We note that.

We flip it again, it comes up heads again, We note the pattern (two heads in a row).

We flip it again, it comes up tails.

The pattern is broken. Why? Is it "magic"?

We don't think of it that way because we are conditioned to expect flipped coins to "randomly" come up heads or tails even when we flip them in the exact same manner. The same would be true if we used a perfectly repeating mechanical device to flip the coin. Assuming the coin was perfectly balanced, the results would not be a pattern. A perfectly repeatable (deterministic) setup is impossible because quantum level effects are non-deterministic.

However, are quantum level effects random?

Before we try to answer that question, let's go back to flipping coins. This time we will flip three special coins. These special coins have an interesting aspect. They appear to respond to what is called. If "heads" is called at least one of the three coins will be heads. If "tails" is called, at least one of the three coins will be tails. After thousands and thousands of tests, the coins have never failed to do this. Further more, when "heads" are called all three coins will be heads one out of four times (not one out of eight). When "tails" are called all three coins will be tails one out of four times. At no time are all three coins heads when "tails" is called and at no time are all three coins tails when "heads" is called.

The thousands of consistent and repeatable experiments convinces even the most skeptical of scientist that the special coins are, indeed, special.

More experiments are preformed. It turns out that calling or "heads" or "tails" can be delayed until after the coins have landed (as long as no peeking is involved).

Further experiments show that three different people can flip the three coins separately. This exposed an very interesting property of the special coins. If the three people all call the same (either "heads" or "tails") then at least one of them gets what they call and, sometimes, all three of them get what they called as would be expected. However, if they don't call the same, sometimes none of them get what they call (happens one out of four times).

Once all the permutations are cataloged the special nature of the coins become even more apparent. The state of the third coin can be absolutely predicted after the first two coins are called and exposed.

For example, imagine the coins flipped and on the table with each of the three people covering it with their hands. The first person calls "heads", shows his coin, it is tails. The second person calls "heads", shows his coin, it is also tails. The third coin will ALWAYS be heads regardless of what the third person calls.

The experiment is reran, but this time the first two people call "tails" and their coins show tails again. The third coin will ALWAYS be tails regardless of what the third person calls.

Note that the third coin's state depended on what the other two people called NOT the whether the coins were heads or tails.

These special coins are special indeed. What natural explanations would explain the coin's behavior? Here are the non-metaphysical possibilities…

1. The third coin "magically" predicted the future.
2. The third coin "magically" changed state at the last moment
3. The coins are "magically" linked to people's consciousness

The magic described here is basically the reality of Greenberger–Horne–Zeilinger (GHZ) quantum states. Instead of calling heads or tails, the observers decide which quantum state (e.g. horizontal polarization) to measure. This magic-like effect has been experimentally tested and verified countless times. Its reality is not in question.

Even though quantum effects are non-deterministic they aren’t random.

You might ask what quantum level effects have to do with Intelligent Design.

First of all, it goes to show that magic-like effects can be scientific. There is also reason to believe quantum effects where instrumental to function in early life on Earth (front loaded?).

Recently, it was discovered that photosynthesis uses quantum mechanics. Photosynthesis is an extremely old biological mechanism.

DNA is being used as building blocks for quantum computers and the DNA structure and “code” is optimal for processing search algorithms. DNA/RNA defines what is or isn’t considered a living organism.

Finally, the Penrose-Hameroff Orch OR model of consciousness hypothesizes that consciousness is an artifact of quantum processing in microtubules. Microtubules are instrumental in living structures and organisms that appear to be aware of their surroundings.

Personally, I have serious criticisms concerning the apparent motives and past actions of the ID Movement, but it would be a mistake to dismiss all challenges to orthodox thinking as simply an appeal to the metaphysical because it may turn out that the magic is real.

Date: 2007/09/25 09:55:03, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi All,

When SteveStory popped in at Telic Thoughts as "Steve" and started asking reasonable, yet probing questions, I was encouraged.  I think it is good to look at things from various points of view.

Once I realized who he was and that he had started a thread discussing Telic Thoughts here, I attempted to try and inform the discussion.

SteveStory indicated he was looking for something a little more substantial than the typical creationist fluff.

I suggest that I have offered such.

However, this has caused this thread to steer significantly off-topic (which, of course, happens all the time).

I also have got to get some real work done in real life.

Meanwhile, I hope I have managed to provoke some thinking here.  And, as a bonus, I started another thread called The Magic of Intelligent Design.

It is a repost of something I had presented at Telic Thoughts.  It provoked some thinking there (both for and against).  Maybe it could do the same here.

Date: 2007/09/25 10:37:23, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Creeky Belly,

Thank you for providing the link.  It is the best description of the GHZ states I have seen yet.

I will probably use it in the future.

Date: 2007/09/25 11:40:28, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi blipey,

You asked...
Is this a joke?

A lot of serious scientists have asked the same question.

Here is a quote from the link Creeky Belly supplied...

"Those who are not shocked when they first come across quantum mechanics cannot possibly have understood it." - Niels Bohr

"Quantum wierdness" and "spooky action at a distance" are terms used by the likes of Einstein.

Even I am not too sure how seriously I take this stuff.  For example, I have added "aka Quantum Quack" to my login name when posting to science blogs.

It is reality.  Whether or not it is a joke may depend on your Theism/Atheism status.

"Hah! Let them try to figure THIS out."

Date: 2007/09/25 14:01:26, Link
Author: Thought Provoker

As C.J.O'Brien indicated, the reason quantum mechanics appears weird is because our intuition is based on our experiences in the macro world.  What if the quantum world is the one that is normal and it is the macro world that is weird?

Our intuitions perceive matter as solid objects obeying the laws of Newtonian physics operating in a universe of Euclidean geometry.  The concept of time is like a frame by frame movie with each frame containing a copy of the entire 3 dimensional universe.

In 1905 Einstein came along and started messing up this view.  I suggest the implications of what was started 100 years ago are just now beginning to fully manifest themselves.

Einstein proposed Special Relativity as a temporary, and incomplete, explanation of scientific observations.  The idea was to suggest multiple frames of reference to deal with the constant speed of light.  No one frame of reference was supreme, everything was “relative”.  Dealing with the Twin Paradox was done by mumbling something about accelerations.  This allowed for keeping the Euclidean geometry view of the universe.

General Relativity presumed a fixed, inertial frame of reference.  This model was also consistent with scientific observations.  It accomplished this by suggesting an entirely different geometry for the universe, Minkowskian Geometry (Minkowski was one of Einstein's teachers).  Space/time has four complex dimensions and is curved.  The shortest distance between two points is no longer a straight line.  The Twin Paradox is solved as a geometry problem (the traveling twin takes a short cut).

So we had two mathematical models that were consistent with scientific observations.  Which one was correct?  While General Relativity was pretty much presumed correct, when an experiment was conducted with a jet flying around the world (both East and West), no doubt remained.  Minkowskian Geometry is reality, Euclidean geometry is not.

So what is the big deal about Minkowskian Geometry?

In Euclidean geometry the change in distance (dL) can be calculated by taking the square-root of the sum of the squares.
IOW, dL^2 = dx^2 + dy^2 + dz^2.

In Minkowskian Geometry, the equation becomes dL^2 = dx^2 + dy^2 + dz^2 – dt^2.

The fourth complex dimension, time, contains the square-root of negative one.  Squaring it results in a negative.  This is how the traveling twin can take a shortcut.  Things get interesting at the speed of light.  In the case of a photon traveling from a star light-years away to a detector on Earth, the Minkowskian distance traveled is ZERO!

This brings us to quantum mechanics and GHZ states.  There is no mystery or even magic in understanding how three separate photons could be entangled in Minkowskian Geometry.  Heck, they can be thought of as the same photon! EPR paradox, superposition, etc all melt away once you combine General Relativity with Quantum Theory.  However, particles lose their identity in the process.

There are two main prevailing quantum interpretations, Many Worlds and Copenhagen derivatives.  Penrose’s OR model is a Copenhagen derivative.  With Penrose, everything is a wavefunction.  For example, a “photon” is a standing wave in Minkowskian Geometry.
Decoherence is the Objective Reduction (OR) of the wavefunction (other Copenhagen derivatives will refer to this as the waveform collapse).

Many Worlds is a metaphysical/mathematical construct that is offered to allow for the dogmatic resistance against giving up the idea that materialist particles are operating in an Euclidean universe. Richardthughes provided a link supporting a mathematical model.

Old habits die hard, but they do die...  eventually.

Date: 2007/09/25 17:00:11, Link
Author: Thought Provoker

You wrote...
TP, (Unfortunate acronym, I'm sorry)

No apologies necessary.  I don't take my anonymous pseudonym that seriously.

You wrote...
This is sort of neat in a kind of swell sort of way but I'm confused. Are you saying that Dembski (et al) isn't a crank peddling snake oil?

We are talking about dr-putting-pepper-on-boxing-gloves, right?  

I am a very vocal critic of the ID Movement.  I am appalled by how Dembski is using his intelligence to manipulate people who earnestly believe his BS.

Nothing would delight me more than to watch Dembski squirm at having a new scientific hypothesis emerge that diverges from strict "Darwinism", but doesn't support the existence of his personal God.

Chances are some ID Scientists would get some credit.  Imagine Dembski’s dilemma if that would happen. :p

Your quantum dealy is cool, fascinating and many other wonderful fabulous adjectives but relating it to intelligent design is a bit weird. I mean, how do you relate something so swell like quantum stuff with something so slimy and icky like ID?

First of all, I am an engineer, not a scientist.  I like making models.  I like figuring things out.  I got curious with ID during the Dover trial (btw, the verdict was anti-climatic for me, it was that obvious).  In some ways, Behe appeared to have a spark of an actual idea.  So I starting investigating.  I started out searching through Behe's and Dembski's stuff but quickly got banned from UD.  This is when I got hooked up with Telic Thoughts.

Joy may be insane, but she knew all this stuff.  Between internet searches and reading things from Stephen Hawking and Penrose and Hameroff, it has clicked in my engineering mind.

I have presented this on several science blogs.  Let's just say the reception wasn't conducive for furthering conversation.

Associating it with ID isn't that hard.  ID proponents have a very flexible definition of "Intelligence".  And, to them, design practically means "not random". My ideas are supportive of MikeGene's front loading.

MikeGene supports it by letting me Guest Host on Telic Thoughts.  That irritates a lot of the religious Culture Warriors (I am clearly an Atheist in their eyes). It is pro-science.

Best of all, it provokes thinking on both sides.

Why not?

Date: 2007/09/25 19:02:42, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Creeky Belly,

As to Einstein's opinion on an interial frame of reference;

From a paper titled Einstein’s Ether: Why did Einstein Come Back to the Ether?

"In (1905) Einstein constructed a relativity theory that was based on the assertion that the ether was superfluous. In 1908 Minkowski formulated the theory of the “absolute world”. The nineteenth century ether no longer existed. A new kind of ether (space-time) came into being. One could keep on maintaining the ether, and at the same time strip it of the notion of absolute rest. Einstein seemed to agree, and after 1916 he returned to the ether. In 1920 he combined Minkowski’s absolute world concept and Mach’s ideas on rotational movements..."

To my statement "The fourth complex dimension, time, contains the square-root of negative one."

You wrote...
Actually, this is a misinterpretation of the concept of space-time. There are different ways of moving through it:
time-like: t^2 >> x^2+y^2+z^2 represent objects moving within same light cone.
space-like: t^2 << x^2+y^2+z^2 represent objects in different light cones (causally separated)
light-like: t^2 = x^2+y^2+z^2 -> L=0 represents the space-time for objects at the speed of light (gravity, photons, etc)

You might want to read Penrose's The Road to Reality.

Penrose provides hypothetical geometries that could have been "real".  Using complex numbers for dimensional quantities isn't a problem.  Actually, not using complex numbers makes things unrealistic.  Otherwise, you end of trying to segment things artificially in an attempt to avoid negative square roots (like you did above).  Complex numbers are no more artificial than irrational numbers.

There is no reason to be afraid of complex dimensions.

On page 413, Penrose explains the space-like equation is...

dl^2 = -dt^2 + dx^2 + dy^2 + dz^2

He also indicates that the orientation of the complex numbers is arbitrary.  Therefore, the time-like equation is...

ds^2 = dt^2 - dx^2 - dy^2 - dz^2

...which makes it easier to deal with things that stay inside the null cones (you called them "light cones").

The value of "ds" is equivelent to a watch or a clock.  This is why the solution to the Twin Paradox (Penrose calls it the "clock paradox") is easy in Minkowskian geometry.

BTW, if you are suggesting their is no interial frame of reference, how do you explain the Twin Paradox?  The problem looks the same to both Twins.  Each twin is standing still in his/her frame of reference and the other twin is the one moving.  Why are the results different?

The GHZ game can be resolved by noting that in order to compare the states through causally separated entangled pairs (or trios) information must be exchanged which requires GR causality.

Say that three times fast.  Better yet, say it in terms the listening audience can understand.

I think they may figure out you aren't saying anything that contradicts what I said.

Date: 2007/09/25 20:30:36, Link
Author: Thought Provoker

Combining General Relativity with Quantum Theory isn't too controversial by itself.  Qetzal correctly pointed out this doesn't explain much, yet.  And blipey's question about the magic of randomness is still unanswered.

Since we don't generally zip around at light speed nor deal with things at the sub-atomic level, this isn't very disturbing, yet.  With maybe the exception of thinking about about that wave/particle distinction.

However, this is just the beginning.  The DEPAK CHOPRA EXPRESS has yet to build up a full head of steam.

Arguing about whether photons are waves or particles is practically academic since photons are massless.  The Copenhegan school of thought was that photons started out as waves and collapsed into particles when appropriate.  At the time, the alternative was to take a wait-and-see attitude.

Even when electrons where shown to exhibit wave/particle duality, they still are strange enough and small enough to accept as possible.  Ions?  Well...  Some people started to get nervous and got creative.  Everett came up with the idea of alternative realities being constantly created, the Many Worlds interpretation has born (1957)  Not many people liked the idea.  Most still held onto the Copenhegan school of thought, others continued to wait for a better explanation.

When full fledged molecules (e.g. Bucky Balls) were shown to be both a particle and a wave, the Many Worlds interpretation started getting a lot of supporters (even if they had to hold their noses to do so).

The alternative was to totally embrace the idea that there is no such thing as particles, just wavefunctions.

As an electrical engineer, this isn't that strange.  A finite electrical square pulse can be thought of as a sum of multiple sine waves.  And it is more than just thinking of it that way, a square pulse IS the sum of multiple sine waves which can be separated using electrical filters.

Once you get over the loss of particles, understanding quantum effects becomes easier.  The dual slit experiment is a piece of cake.  Two slits, interference pattern. One slit, particle-like behavior.  GHZ state?  Again, no problem.  The wave(s) are interconnected in Minkowskian space/time.  All observations and states are directly connected to each other and state changes occur wherever and WHENEVER they are needed.

Continuing this line of logic forces one to realize that ALL quantum effects are interconnected in Minkowskian space/time.  And since time is just another dimension, the interconnection occurs across all space and all time.

This makes the entire universe (space and time) one large wavefunction in Minkowskian geometry.

Think of a Mandelbrot Set.  Here is one ithat claims to be as large as our universe.  And that is just one complex dimension with a very simple function.

Are we having fun yet?

I mention the Mandelbrot Set because it illustrates something that is non-changing yet chaotic.  In the dimension of time, it would give the illusion of randomness.  I suggest there is no such thing as natural occurring randomness.

For a long time science was comfortable with Newtonian determinism.  The idea was that if the position and velocity of every particle could be known for a given time then everything could be calculated for the future and the past.

This is similar.  Things only look random because they can be extremely complicated.

I still haven't got to the ID part yet, but I think I need to break here before going on.

Date: 2007/09/25 21:25:34, Link
Author: Thought Provoker

Hearing no objections from my last comment (I waited a whole five minutes), I will presume everyone understands and agrees that quantum effects are interconnected both in space and time.

The first thing about this that starts smelling like ID is the concept of a teleological universe.

The purpose of our teleological universe is to be internally consistent.

And, yes, I said that with a straight face.

You may not consider it a very aggressive purpose, but it is a purpose and it is better than anything other ID proponents can forward without suggesting some intent of a designer or designers.

The point is that the universe must have a consistent wavefunction with no discontinuities from the beginning to the end of time, or it wouldn't exist (see Anthropic principle).

The wavefunction is purposeful design.  I don’t know who or what designed the wavefunction.  Since I embrace Gould’s NOMA.  I am of the opinion we will never be able to find out via empirical methods.

However, to those inclined to believe in an omniscient, timeless designer we will call God for a lack of a better name, this provides a mechanism by which such a designer could operate.

Whether via anthropic principle or divine whim, life may be necessary to make the teleological universe complete.  One wild idea is that life will bring an orderly end to the universe because some stupid scientists manage to create a naked singularity in their lab.

If the universe needs something to be consistent, than interconnected quantum effects will make it happen and time order isn’t a restriction.  While quantum effects are inherent in both living and non-living material, living material is inherently more flexible.

MikeGene’s front loading is essentially looking for a preponderance of clues that a future need was satisfied by a past feature.

Retrocausality would be something that interconnected quantum effects would demonstrate.

Date: 2007/09/25 21:46:09, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi K.E.

You wrote...
Yes but [photons] have momentum and maybe you could explain why they can't escape a black hole.

If you are not careful, people might get the impression you understand and are interested in this stuff.   :D

Gravity bends Minkowskian space/time.  Either that, or bends in Minkowskian space/time are what cause gravity.

Either way the photon particle/wavefunction gets wrapped up in the fold.

BTW, have you already figured out that gravity is the only thing left to possibly be considered real?

I bet you have.

Date: 2007/09/25 22:34:05, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi qetzal,

If you have heard a better pro-ID presention, I would like to know where.

I would even be interested in knowing about any that matched this one.

Ok, let's play the game...

"The purpose of our teleological universe is to be internally consistent."

This is a falsifiable statement.  It is being tested each and every day.  It the universe should suddenly quit being consistent we will know it.  Then again, maybe we won't.

"The wavefunction is purposeful design."

This follows from the first statement and the reference to Anthropic principle that you skipped over.  Your problem may be in the word "design".  I had indicated earlier that design, for all practical purposes, means non-random.

"Whether via anthropic principle or divine whim, life may be necessary to make the teleological universe complete."

You did notice the word "may", right?  I provided an example of how it "may" be necessary.

"If the universe needs something to be consistent, than interconnected quantum effects will make it happen and time order isn’t a restriction."
I posted three long comments explaining this one.

"While quantum effects are inherent in both living and non-living material, living material is inherently more flexible."

Don't like the word "flexible"?  How about more utilitarian?

"MikeGene’s front loading is essentially looking for a preponderance of clues that a future need was satisfied by a past feature."

Are you demanding citations and references to MikeGene's works?

"Retrocausality would be something that interconnected quantum effects would demonstrate."

Interconnected via space and time, means interconnected via space and time.  Time is just another dimension that extends in two directions.

Date: 2007/09/25 22:58:47, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Skeptic,

You wrote...
This one has potential.

TP, welcome and thank you for spicing up a dull evening

Thank you and you are welcome.

I sit firmly is the "no random acts" camp and if I interpret Gene correctly then life becomes inevitable as I also believe but to echo k.e., creeky, et. al. this falls well short of ID in any form.

Getting past the "no random acts" is usually the tough one.  We are agreeing more than we are disagreeing.

Even dropping "intelligent" you're still left with "design" and that means "intent".  Whether is is the "intent" of God, the Cosmic Mind or the Circle of Life doesn't matter because it is an unmeasurable property.

au contrare...  The lord of all things ID provides the measuring stick called CSI.  And, by eliminating all chance hypotheses (by eliminating randomness itself) I get a perfect score for calling this design.

At least using Dembski's definitions.

Using science to attempt to support the existence of an unmeasurable property violates NOMA in a very sneaky way.  Just because our ignorance creates the appearance of "magic" doesn't establish the possibility of other truly magical claims.  I fear you fall into the same trap as other IDers by extrapolating science outside of it's valid application.

Are you sure you are not conflating "design" with "purpose"?

I agree that I am hedging over the NOMA line a little bit to suggest a purpose.  But, gee golly, it is such a modest purpose.  At one time I played with the idea that the purpose of the universe was to exist.  But I thought that might be too cute and, besides, it amounts to the same thing as being intentionally consistent.

Other than that, I have tried to be very respectful of the NOMA line.  At TT people complain that I am the NOMA cop.

Date: 2007/09/26 07:12:22, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
I didn't have time to read the link Wesley provided.  But I suggest Dembski might be a better authoritative source for how ID defines what is meant by "specification" and, therefore, design

Here is a link to a Dembski paper on the subject.

"Since specifications are those patterns that are supposed to underwrite a design inference, they need, minimally, to entitle us to eliminate chance. Since to do so, it must be the case that
X = –log2[ 120^10 · S(T)·P(T|H)] > 1,
we therefore define specifications as any patterns T that satisfy this inequality."

Date: 2007/09/26 10:15:58, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi qetzal,

You asked...
If I eat that banana in my office tomorrow, my future hunger will have been satisfied by my past purchase of a banana. Would MikeGene consider that front loading?

My version of this is someone grabbing an umbrella when leaving in the morning because it might rain later in the day.

I think it is an example of retrocausality.  We have had discussions about this on Telic Thoughts.

I don't want to suggest what MikeGene thinks.  Personally, I think it goes straight to the point.  I think it is an example of life engaging in Front Loading.  It is such a trivial example that it is dismissed.

That was the general topic of the opening post.  Some things are so common that we take them for granted.

How are conscious decisions made?

Libet's experiments shows 500ms of electrical brain activity occurring prior to a conscious decision being made.  This has had a profound impact on the study of consciousness.  It has gotten to the point that a significant portion of the community is suggesting that the idea of conscious control is an illusion.  At best, we might sometimes get to veto our body's automatic responses.

But I digress.

I have suggested to MikeGene that the Front Loaded property of life he is looking for is that life's actions are directly coupled to interconnected quantum effects.

DNA evolved into a quantum computer, this makes for a significant link between the evolution of life and the interconnected quantum effects.

If it is established that microtubules are also quantum computers, consciousness becomes an artifact of interconnected quantum effects.

Whether or not it is microtubules, it is very likely that consciousness is directly interconnected with quantum effects because of observations like GHZ states.

Date: 2007/09/26 11:56:28, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Richard,

Thank you for your comment.

You wrote...
This origional life was seen to be "very simple", I believe.

Are you familiar with Vernanimalcula guizhouena?

I posted a comment on a Telic Thoughts' thread about it (see Yet again…older than expected). Excuse me for this rather long copy, but it is interesting to me...

While it is arguable that these are "older than expected" verses just old, the Vernanimalcula guizhouena are a significant find.

Here is a link I found…

Animals - in the form of microscopic yet complex organisms - may have existed millions of years earlier than previous estimates, according to a new study published in the June 3 [2004] edition of Science Express.

The animal in question is called Vernanimalcula guizhouena, Latin for “small spring animal” - a nod by the discovery team to the “spring” following the so-called “Snowball Earth” time period that ended roughly 600 million years ago when it’s theorized that most of the planet was entombed in ice.

Vernanimalcula guizhouena - which was about the size of four human hairs laid side by side - is thought to have survived that period of extreme cold, Bottjer said.

“It was a little button-shaped organism that probably scooted along the sea floor,” he said. “It had a little mouth, sort of like a vacuum cleaner. It was tiny, but microbes are even smaller so it probably sucked them up so it could eat them.”

Aside from a mouth, Vernanimalcula guizhouena had an anus and paired external pits that the researchers theorized it used to sense environmental conditions, such as light.

Here is the Pharyngula link that has some nice pictures.

We now know these little critters had a hormonal signaling system.

How do we know this? From the link in the opening post…"It is likely that [two types of hormone-secreting nerve cells] existed already in Urbilateria, the last common ancestors of vertebrates, insects and worms"

The Vernanimalcula guizhouena descended from the Urbilateria.

I don't know about you guys, but this kind of complexity is older than I had expected. 50 million years prior to the Cambrian we have a critter with a pair of "external pits" that were sensitive to light (can you say "eyes"?) a digestive system and a hormonal system.

It looks like this little critter could SEE!

Do you think I exaggerate?

Also from the opening post link…

"Both of the cell types studied in Platynereis and fish are multifunctional: they secrete hormones and at the same time have sensory properties. The vasotocin-secreting cells contain a light-sensitive pigment, while RF-amide appears to be secreted in response to certain chemicals."

Hormones "…secreted in response to certain chemicals." Could it SMELL and TASTE too?

Since even single celled organisms have a sense of TOUCH, I think it is safe to say our little critter probably had that too.

Alright, I will admit the Vernanimalcula guizhouena probably had to hand out "I am deaf" cards to any verbalizing organisms running around, but all and all, for it's time the Vernanimalcula guizhouena were intellectual giants. That time was 600 MILLION YEARS AGO!

As a champion of a Third Choice I will point out the challenge of this for the other two choices. First of all, what evolutionary pressures would there be to cause such a complex creature to evolve? How much complexity is needed to eat microbes? How complicated do early organisms have to get before it is admitted they just might be more complicated than expected?

To the Intelligent Designer advocates. Other than an appeal to "mysterious ways", how did this all come about? How did God the Intelligent Designer implement the plan? Some ID proponents point to the Cambrian Explosion as something significant. To these proponents the complexity shown by the Vernanimalcula guizhouena may be "older than expected" for ID, not "Darwinists".

A hypothesis that suggests consciousness at a fundamental level of living organisms would expect organisms with interacting sub-systems earlier than simple evolutionary pressures would dictate.

I wonder how many microtubules were in a Vernanimalcula guizhouena.

Date: 2007/09/26 14:10:55, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Wesley,

You asked...
I thought it was an essay. Has it actually been published somewhere?

Hey, I'm an engineer, not a scientist.  Whatever it is supposed to be called, it was something I digested and understood to be Dembski's opinion on a topic that is fundimental to ID.  It is also recent (Aug, 2005).

Date: 2007/09/26 15:22:13, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi All,

To the question...
When has anything been measured in CSI?

Dembski provided a partial analysis of a "bidirectional rotary motor-driven propeller" in the essay I linked.

See page 25.

However, that isn't material to what I was saying.  The point is that according to the Dembski's definitions what I have proposed is a "design" in the sense meant for purposes of considering it an ID hypothesis.

Date: 2007/09/26 16:01:45, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Wesley,

I am somewhat aware of your background.

I applaud your fight against the ID Movement.

As I stated earlier in the thread, I found out about Intelligent Design through the Dover trial. I think Judge Jones' opinion was inevitable based on the material presented to him.

However, not everyone who thinks of themselves as an ID proponent agrees with the definition found on page 99 of the book that was the focus of the Dover trial.

For example, I think it is safe to say that MikeGene does not.  Furthermore, I’m sure MikeGene didn’t agree with the definition before the Dover trial and actually fought against ID being taught in schools.

I consider MikeGene to be an earnest ID Scientist even though he feels that ID isn’t yet qualified to be called “science.”

While I think MikeGene would be better off ditching the baggage associated with ID, that is his choice. The ID movement doesn’t deserve him.

There is a lot MikeGene and I disagree about, but embracing Gould’s NOMA means that our philosophical differences can be set aside as long as we focus on the science.

What I have been presenting here is what I call the Third Choice.  A choice other than the status quo and an unidentified Intelligent Designer.

Many ID proponents claim ID isn’t about God.  I am giving them the opportunity to stand by their words.  Here is an ID hypothesis with scientific justification.  The reactions to it are informative.

I am helping ID Science.  I am a vocal critic of the ID Movement.

Date: 2007/09/26 16:22:56, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi OldMan and Wesley,

You can find a conversation that I had with Salvador Cordova about this essay here

Don't get too excited.  Salvador ended up retreating to his YEC stance.  Salvador gets himself in trouble because he actually tries to do the math and tries to build models.  He is an engineer.  He can't help himself.

In that respect I think more highly of him than I do Dembski.

BTW, I know Salvador quotemines horribly and, otherwise, does whatever it takes to promote ID.  So don't bother with retelling me this.

I am suggesting that, sometimes, he at least tries.

And no, I don’t know of any other examples of CSI being applied.

Date: 2007/09/26 18:37:28, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi SteveStory,

Assuming you are listening,  I hope you found this outline of an ID hypothesis a little more substantial than your usual "cotton candy".

However, it looks like things are reverting back to rehashing the Group Think approved talking points.

I had hoped to get a chance to talk about the Vernanimalcula guizhouena since Richardthughes brought up the subject of the complexity of early life.  It doesn't look like that is happening.

If anyone has any questions in the future, they can get a hold of me via my blog

My comments are open to anyone.

Alternatively, I am a frequent contributer at

Date: 2007/09/26 22:19:52, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
You are right, that was rude of me.

To those who showed an interest and asked earnest questions...

thank you.

Date: 2007/09/27 07:12:16, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Jesting aside, I wish he'd addressed my concerns with "Front Loading".

Jesting aside, I wish you had too.

Do you want to talk about Vernanimalcula guizhouena now?

Date: 2007/09/27 11:22:13, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
It sounds very advanced for a "young" organism, but I don't think it's evidence for front loading, Nor do I have the right knowledge and perhaps intellect to discuss it in detail with you. Sorry  :(

I can talk big picture, though.

Are you sure?

I am just an engineer with very little biological science training, but I can learn.  I learn by listening to people who explain things rather than telling me how and what to think.

I provided a link to PZ Myer's pharyngula for a reason.  He explains why finding Vernanimalcula guizhouena was important.  It wasn't just "a" young organism that happened to be complex.  From the pharyngula link...

The important point is that this animal possesses the rudiments of morphological characters that are going to erupt into a wide range of diverse specializations in the Cambrian, and it has them roughly 50 million years before the Cambrian 'explosion'. The phyletic innovations we have first seen so clearly in the Cambrian did not come out of nowhere, but have a solid evolutionary foundation in simpler animals.

Chen et al.'s summary of their paper:

"The morphology  of Vernanimalcula demonstrates that the evolutionary appearance of developmental programs required to generate a multilayered bilaterian body plan preceded the entrainment of the growth programs required for macroscopic body size. Furthermore, the organization of these fossils, taken together with their provenance, indicates that the genetic toolkit and pattern formation mechanisms required for bilaterian development had already evolved by Doushantuo times, long before the Cambrian. Therefore, the diversification of body plans in the Early Cambrian followed from the varied deployment of these mechanisms once conditions permitted, not from their sudden appearance at or just before the Cambrian boundary."

This sounds a lot like MikeGene talking about evidence for front loaded evolution.  Which is why I included the Telic Thoughts link where he included this about the complexity of early organisms...

In this week's issue of the journal Cell they report that hormone-secreting brain centres are much older than expected and likely evolved from multifunctional cells of the last common ancestor of vertebrates, flies and worms.

and this...

"These findings revolutionise the way we see the brain," says Tessmar-Raible. "So far we have always understood it as a processing unit, a bit like a computer that integrates and interprets incoming sensory information. Now we know that the brain is itself a sensory organ and has been so since very ancient times."

By the way I understand the last common ancestor of vertebrates, flies and worms is called Urbilateria which was the predesesor to Vernanimalcula guizhouena. However, I am just an engineer, what do I know?

Earlier, you wrote...
All of the info for the complicated future creatures would be compressed somewhere in the simpler ancestor? This origional life was seen to be "very simple", I believe.

Therefore, I thought you would be interested in discussing early life forms like the Vernanimalcula guizhouena.

As to your questions...  
one front-loaded ancestor, or many?
If many, what where the time(s) of introduction?
Was the designer aware of how future environments would  develop (so he could front load them specifically) or is it closer to NDE?
> This is important if you think of the interplay of the various species through time and environments,
Genetically, what would a front-loaded ancestor look like vs. current life?

First of all, I can only speak to the hypothesis I am proposing and not to the strawman stereotype you wish to hack up.

There is no presumption of "the designer" in the hypothesis I have presented.  There is a presumption of a universal wavefunction that is timeless because time is just another dimension in space/time geometry.

I don't know how the universe came to be, do you?

I tend to believe in Common Descent in the sense mainstream biologists refer to it.

Interconnected quantum effects are holistic from a time point of view.  Therefore, asking about "time(s) of introduction" makes no sense.

Whether this is closer to NDE or ID depends on definitions.  If you ask a typical ID proponent, NDE is totally based on randomness.  If there is no such thing as randomness then NDE falls.  I tend to be more neutral, that is why I call it the Third Choice.  Presumes neither NDE, nor an Intelligent Designer.  It wouldn't bother me to have both sides claim it.

As to what a front-loaded ancestor might look like.  It might look like a Vernanimalcula guizhouena.

Date: 2007/09/27 11:48:12, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
To C.J.O'Brien - Interesting elaboration.  Something to think about.

To Erasmus, FCD - Sarcasm is the protest of people who are weak (credit John Knowles)

Date: 2007/09/27 12:35:05, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi all,

I was aware of the quote from Shakespeare.  My choice was intentional.  Knowles was making a dispassionate observation.  "Weak" verses "weak minded". Seeking the sanctuary of Group Think is also a sign of weakness.

I was letting you know that actions like these isn't provoking anger.  Disgust and pity, maybe, but not anger.

I am not interested in attempting to trade insults.  I concede most of you appear to be much more experienced at that than I.

If you don't wish to have a discussion with me, all you have to do is ask me to leave.  Or better yet, don't participate in this thread.

Date: 2007/09/27 12:39:24, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi K.E.,

You wrote...
It's a quantum god of the gaps unless you are an atheist in which case it’s still a god.

And TP is not an atheist even if he says so.

I agree I am not an atheist since I won't say there is no god.   Of course, Richard Dawkins also concedes there might be a God.

Most people think Richard Dawkins is an atheist.  A lot of religious people think I am an atheist.

Labels aren't important, ideas are.

P.S. I like your signature line about conservatives.

Date: 2007/09/27 13:16:32, Link
Author: Thought Provoker

Is this an argument for special creation?

I doubt my Third Choice hypothesis is.

Think of lightening.  For lightening to be "created" it needs positive and negative potentials.  Is lightening pushed or pulled or both?

I suggest, like lightening, evolution might result from being both pushed and pulled.

NDE describes the pushing part.  Front loading would be the pulling part.

And, while more important for philosophical discussion, the other similarity to lightening is that the circuit must be complete.  There must be a path from the beginning to the end of time, otherwise it doesn't happen.

P.S. sorry for the delay, but sometimes I have to do real work.   ???

Date: 2007/09/27 15:04:11, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi qetzal,

I will readily admit that the Third Choice is repackaged Anthropic principle.  As to whether it is weak or strong isn't as clear.

Skeptic was right to indicate I am violating NOMA in suggesting a purpose, even if it is extremely modest.  I am not suggesting human life is key to the universe's existance.  For that matter, Earth, and all the life on it, many be a meaningless side effect of the universe being consistent with itself.

Maybe it would help if I bring up Dawkin's..."Life results from the non-random survival of randomly varying replicators."

What happens to this if there is no such thing as randomness?

Life results from the non-random survival of replicators that vary based on interconnected quantum effects that may, or may not, be needed for consistency in the universe.

Science makes the presumption that the universe is consistent.  It is a small step over the NOMA divide to say the universe MUST be consistent (i.e. is its purpose).  Note, saying the universe has no purpose violates NOMA just as much as saying it does.

With that, let me try to focus on the scientific arguments.

Hypothesis - Quantum effects are interconnected in both space and time.

Implication - All quantum effects are fixed.  There is no such thing as randomness, just the illusion of randomness in a highly complex situation.

Hypothesis – Evolution has resulted in life on Earth taking advantage of quantum computing (e.g. DNA and photosynthesis).

Implication – “Random” mutations are influenced by quantum effects interconnected to future quantum effects.

Hypothesis – The appearance of life’s awareness (i.e. consciousness) is a direct artifact of life’s use of quantum effects.

Implication - Microtubules are probably the primary mechanism for consciousness.

I will say more in a follow up comment.

Date: 2007/09/27 15:39:54, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi qetzal,

You wrote...
Regardless of the above, I don't consider your ideas to be equivalent to front loading. Here's why.

In 'traditional' front loading, all of the 'information' needed to generate every possible future organism was loaded into the first organism. Proponents generally argue that it was all encoded into the DNA, but most of it was repressed. The key point is that it was all inherent in that first organism.

You're arguing (I think) that the information needed to generate every possible organism was loaded not into the first organism, but into the universe itself. That's fundamentally distinct. You may choose to call that front loading, but it's not compatible with front loading as it's commonly understood.

I understand that MikeGene and Krauze of Telic Thoughts are credited for pushing the Front Loading meme for a long time.  I can't speak for them, but I have noticed they have rejected similar characterizations of "traditional front loading" in past comments.

MikeGene has suggested that the recA gene might be a front-loaded evolution gene.  Here is a link to a paper (essay?) MikeGene wrote in the subject (it was the one MikeGene offered when SteveStory came by on his visit to Telic Thoughts)...

RecA is truly a remarkable protein. Even though it is only about 350 amino acids in length, it carries out the multiple functions of binding multiple DNA strands, coordinating their exchange, binding ATP and hydrolyzing it, and interacting with other proteins. In fact, according to one review, the functional domains responsible for these activities closely map together and may even overlap. How is all this carried out?

I’ve left out one very important part of the story – RecA is not functional as a monomer, it only becomes functional when it forms protein fibers that wrap around the DNA.

In other words, recombination occurs because tubulin-like proteins stretch the DNA by forming a dynamically lengthening tube around it. In this way, the growing protein tube can hold onto the single stranded DNA with one “hand” while using its other “hands” to unravel double stranded DNA such that the single-stranded DNA can be used to probe the unraveled DNA for regions that are complementary.

You might have noticed I said “tubulin-like.” Is this simply because RecA forms a semi-hollow protein tube? No. There are several other features that have led one reviewer, for example, to note:

The dynamic behavior protein under conditions of ATP hydrolysis is thus conceptually similar to that of other NTP-hydrolyzing, self-assembling proteins, such as actin and tubulin.

Like tubulin, RecA formation starts slowing with a nucleation step, where a small number of monomers must form a seed that can then be extended. Once formed, like tubulin, RecA then grows at one end by the incorporation of RecA monomers bound to ATP (tubulin dimers add to one end and must be bound to GTP). Like tubulin, the NTP hydrolysis is not needed for assembly, but instead is needed for disassembly. This means that RecA, like tubulin, assembles at one end and disassembles at the other end, forming something like a treadmill. According to one team of researchers:

We argue that RecA can “proofread” the ssDNA by its own binding fluctuations. These fluctuations are similar to microtubule dynamic instability. The assembly dynamics constitute a kinetic proofreading cascade that is a “hair-trigger” sensor of DNA length. Enhancing biomolecular precision by fluctuations, which may seem somewhat counter-intuitive in a deterministic world, is presented as a natural design principle in the noisy realm of the living cell.

A microtubule-like structure is thus in charge of genetic recombination.

Finally, if RecA is an evolution gene, this would lead to an obvious prediction - removal of RecA should compromise an organism’s ability to evolve.

Could the RecA protein be another example of life taking advantage of the power of quantum computing for a key function?  I haven't found the time or resources to explore that, but MikeGene went out of his way to point out how his and my hypotheses were mutually supportive.

Whether or not the Third Choice is considered part of the rubric called "Front Loading" isn't up to you or me.  It is up to those proposing the Front Loading hypothesis.

Labels aren't important, ideas are.

Date: 2007/09/27 16:33:00, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Erasmus, FCD,

You wrote...
if that is true it further entails that either consciousness is not a property of organisms or that it is a property of matter

This approached a decent argument.

If Dr Hameroff is right, the conscious perception of time is based on the rate of conscious events.  Human have about 40 conscious events a second.  A potato (which has microtubules) would have about one a month.

The quantum effects in general matter isn’t organized to fire (massive decoherence) concurrently like living matter with microtubules are.  But suppose, for argument sake it is.  What is a rock with one conscious event a year going to do about it?

P.S. on the extreme chance you are interested in this, you may want to look up Endogenous Adaptive Mutagenesis.

Date: 2007/09/27 16:52:21, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Creek Belly,

It would have been nice of you to provide the link and quote it in context.  But this isn't about being nice is it?

Here it is in context...

Engel said one of the next steps for the Fleming group in this line of research will be to look at the effects of temperature changes on the photosynthetic energy transfer process. The results for this latest paper in Nature were obtained from FMO complexes kept at 77 Kelvin. The group will also be looking at broader bandwidths of energy using different colors of light pulses to map out everything that is going on, not just energy transfer. Ultimately, the idea is to gain a much better understanding how Nature not only transfers energy from one molecular system to another, but is also able to convert it into useful forms.

“Nature has had about 2.7 billion years to perfect photosynthesis, so there are huge lessons that remain for us to learn,” Engel said. “The results we’re reporting in this latest paper, however, at least give us a new way to think about the design of future artificial photosynthesis systems.”

It also would have been nice to think about what they were saying.  This isn't the first time nature has managed to do something that proves difficult to replicate artificially.  Are you suggesting plants operate at 77 Kelvin?

Date: 2007/09/27 17:22:53, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi qetzal,

Thank you for your comment and thank you for providing the link.  As you pointed out, MikeGene said...

"A working hypothesis has been that the first cells (uni-cellular life forms) were front-loaded with information that would facilitate the evolution of multi-cellular life." (emphasis mine)

I have noticed MikeGene is pretty careful with his words.  The word "facilitate" makes a big difference IMO.  Life's use of quantum mechanics facilitates the evolution of multi-cellular life.

In contrast, your version doesn't postulate front loading of information into the first cells per se. It postulates that the information is part of the overall wavefunction of the universe, right?

I agree that concepts are what matter, but when the same label is used to refer to two different concepts, confusion is inevitable.

MikeGene is more careful with his words than I.  If I said the Third Choice is a Front Loading hypothesis then I was mistaken.  I have asked, MikeGene has not said one way or the other.  I have my opinion, but it is only my opinion.

BTW, I am of the opinion that this is an ID Hypothesis based on the lose definitions used, but I could be wrong about that.

Regarding RecA, you're in my sweet spot now! I agree it's an amazing protein. But being multifunctional and forming nucleoprotein filaments is not evidence that it's front-loaded. Not unless you're going to claim that it's "too complex to have evolved naturally."

Whether recA is an "evolution gene" depends on what that means. It's a central player in a lot of DNA repair and recombination processes. Where there's repair/recombination, there's mutation. Where there's mutation, there's potential evolution. If that's all that's required to meet MikeGene's idea of an "evolution gene" then recA fits the bill.

I'm glad to hear from a knowledgable source.

You can read MikeGene's paper for itself.  I won't speak for MikeGene.

I look at the recA gene and, especially, the RecA protein as being in the unique position of having great influence over the evolution process in what MikeGene referred to as "deep time".  Pencils balanced on their tips could fall in any direction. I gentile breeze might not make a difference that is immeadiately noticable.  But if there are a lot of pencils over a lot of time, the pencils might be biased to tip a certain way.

I understand the RecA protein acts very much like a microtubule (I am counting on your expertise to argue this point if applicable).  That is a rather convienent coincidence.

I am not suggesting some human-like intelligence designed it that way.  Think of it as some unknown evolutionary advantage to having a quantum computer in charge of this highly important function.

And thanks for noticing the recA gene and RecA protein.  I feel my efforts weren’t wasted.

Date: 2007/09/27 19:49:20, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi qetzal,

Did you know this science stuff can be exciting?!?

The internet isn't half bad either.

One of the reasons I like arguing on blogs is it forces me to research my responses.  You wrote...
Except that you're pretty much begging the question. You've decided that quantum computers exist in biology, and you're using that to justify the hypothesis that RecA is a quantum computer. I see no evidentiary basis to do that.

The RecA protein was a surprise bonus.  It isn't key to the hypothesis.  It is just an intreguing possibility.  Life's general use of quantum mechanics, especially in DNA and microtubules is enough.  And speaking of surprise bonuses when I went looking for the latest and greatest on life using quantum mechanics, I found that a new term is being coined "bio-quantum physics."  But that is not all, those fine folk at Berkeley Labs have an update...

Like the peeling of an onion, the secrets of photosynthesis are being revealed layer by layer. Early in 2007 a team of Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley researchers identified quantum mechanical effects as the key to the astonishing ability of photosynthesis to utilize nearly all the photons absorbed by the leaves of green plants. Now a different team has found new evidence that points to a closely packed pigment-protein complex of the photosystem as the key to those quantum mechanical effects.

Green plants and certain bacteria are able to transfer solar energy almost instantaneously from light-capturing pigment molecules — for plants, the main photosynthetic pigment is chlorophyll — into reaction centers where solar energy is converted into chemical energy. The energy transfer happens so fast and is so efficient that less than five percent is lost as heat.

How nature manages to pull off this stunt was a long-standing mystery until the spring of 2007, when a study led by Graham Fleming, Deputy Director of Berkeley Lab and a UC Berkeley chemistry professor, found the first direct evidence of what he calls a "remarkably long-lived wavelike electronic quantum coherence." Quantum-mechanical effects enable a plant's photosystem to simultaneously sample all the potential energy pathways from pigment molecules to reaction centers and choose the most efficient one.

However, as is so often the case in science, solving one mystery led to another. What is the source of this remarkably long-lived quantum coherence? A second team, again led by Fleming, believes it has found the answer.

Preserving quantum coherence

"From our investigation, we conclude that the protein environment in the reaction center works collectively to keep the fluctuations of excited electronics states of pigment molecules in phase, and therefore protects quantum coherence," says Hohjai Lee, a member of Fleming's research group and co-author of a recent paper in Science describing their work. "This is a brand-new function of the protein in the reaction center."


It's no longer a question of whether life directly utilizes quantum mechanics but how and in how many ways.

I will be providing an update on DNA processing next.

Date: 2007/09/27 20:30:10, Link
Author: Thought Provoker

From a paper (essay?) titled Bio-quantum computing...

The spitting in Informational and Physical Quantum levels of Space-Time can be imagined as a gateway to a new challenge in Bio-Computing , dropping down to the fundamental quantum existence of virtual information. One of these challenges will be to utilize the above concepts and rules of bio-quantum physics to develop Bio-Quantum Computers (8). In fact, DNA gene-communication can use both: 1) the localised copy of genes and also can have 2) a simultaneous delocalized role in communicating gene information. In fact DNA, as a nano-biotechnology, can utilize two functions to communicate: 1) through transfer of quantitative localized information by near contact with RNAs to generate proteins, and 2) to diffuse qualitative information by means of working as an ANTENNA able to transmit at gene signals at a distance , using a system of quantum-teletransportation. This second method of gene information by means of simultaneous transmission is necessary to activate the co-ordination of various living functions in the cell as well as for developing the complex cellular dynamical reproduction of forms , e.g to controll the functional complex folding of DNA and proteins , and to co-organize the metabolic funtionality utill the programmed apopthosis of the cell. (9) Henceforth, following the above quantized space-time theory it is becoming evident that Bio-Computers could be made from organic materials using DNA.

From a paper (essay?) titled Quantum Algorithms and the Genetic Code...

Replication of DNA and synthesis of proteins are studied from the view-point of quantum database search. Identification of a base-pairing with a quantum query gives a natural (and first ever!) explanation of why living organisms have 4 nucleotide bases and 20 amino acids. It is amazing that these numbers arise as solutions to an optimisation problem. Components of the DNA structure which implement Grover’s algorithm are identified, and a physical scenario is presented for the execution of the quantum algorithm. It is proposed that enzymes play a crucial role in maintaining quantum coherence of the process.

Date: 2007/09/27 20:39:20, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi creeky belly,

What were we talking about again?

Oh yea!  How a "fair and balanced" view would suggest that room-temperature quantum effects might not be possible.

Excuse me while I suggest it is a pretty safe presumption that nature figured out a way.

Date: 2007/09/27 22:44:26, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Creeky Belly,

Thank you for the head's up on the latest Dr. Patel paper.

Here is a link to it.

Patel is clearly more focused on the algorithm as opposed to the computer running it.  His algorithm requires superposition...

The initial and final states of Grover’s algorithm are classical, but the execution in between is not. In order to be stable, the initial and final states have to be based on a relaxation towards equilibrium process. For the execution of the algorithm in between, the minimal physical requirement is a system that allows superposition of states, in particular a set of coupled wave modes.


Grover’s algorithm needs certain type of superpositions, and catalytic enzymes can stabilize certain type of superpositions. Do the two match, and if so, what is the nature of this superposition? The specific details of the answer depend on the dynamical mechanism involved. The requisite superposition is of molecules that have a largely common structure while differing from each other by about 5-10 atoms. I have proposed two possibilities [Patel (2001a); Patel (2006b)]:

In 2001, Patel presumed the DNA was a quantum computer.  It was the most obvious choice.  Apparently the likes of Max Tegmark insisted that room-temperature quantum computers weren't possible.  This compelled Patel to come up with a "plan B." which is a contrived superposition look alike using classical processing.

As for showing it experimentally; your Patel quote was taken a little out of context, you left off the question being answered.

Do the living organisms use Grover’s algorithm even today?
In principle, this is experimentally testable. Our technology is yet to reach a stage where we can directly observe molecular dynamics in a liquid environment. But indirect tests of optimality are plausible, e.g. constructing artificial genetic texts containing a different number of letters and letting it compete with the supposedly optimal natural language [Patel (2001b)].

This was talking about Patel's entire hypothesis, not just DNA as a quantum computer.

I suspect once Patel sees the data coming out of Berkeley Lab on photosynthesis, plan B will be quickly discarded and Patel will revert back to his original, more intuitive, presumption that superposition implies a quantum computer.

Date: 2007/09/27 23:20:10, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi qetzal,

Yea, I only skimmed the first paper.  I will take your word on it.

The second paper is Patel in 2001.

Did he improve his biology in the 2007 paper?

Date: 2007/09/27 23:57:58, Link
Author: Thought Provoker

I can empathize.  I had a week off from work with nothing to do so I decided to figure out this quantum stuff.  I had a headache for the whole week.

Your question is the classic wave/particle problem.  It gave people like Einstein fits.

Some in the Copenhagen school dealt with it by suggesting everything is a wavefunction (there are no particles).  This is what Penrose does.

Others answer the problem by saying the particle ended up in an alternate reality (Many Worlds).

I am almost inclined to believe in a God playing cruel jokes over the Many Worlds interpretation.  They are both metaphysical IMO.

Date: 2007/09/28 07:45:33, Link
Author: Thought Provoker

The Wikipedia link that K.E. provided is a good one to show you shouldn't be too hard on yourself for being confused on the issue.  It isn't an easy question to answer.

Here is a Wikipedia link discussing Wave/Particle duality.

Wave–particle duality is deeply embedded into the foundations of quantum mechanics, so well that modern practitioners rarely discuss it as such. In the formalism of the theory, all the information about a particle is encoded in its wave function, a complex function roughly analogous to the height of a wave at each point in space. This function evolves according to a differential equation (generically called the Schrödinger equation), and this equation gives rise to wave-like phenomena such as interference and diffraction.

The particle-like behavior is most evident due to phenomena associated with measurement in quantum mechanics. Upon measuring the location of the particle, the wave-function will randomly "collapse" to a sharply peaked function at some location, with the likelihood of any particular location equal to the squared amplitude of the wave-function there. The measurement will return a well-defined position, a property traditionally associated with particles.

Although this picture is somewhat simplified (to the non-relativistic case), it is adequate to capture the essence of current thinking on the phenomena historically called "wave–particle duality". (See also: Mathematical formulation of quantum mechanics.)

Alternative views

Particle-only view
At least one physicist considers the “wave-duality” a misnomer, as L. Ballentine, Quantum Mechanics, A Modern Development, p.4, explains:

When first discovered, particle diffraction was a source of great puzzlement. Are “particles” really “waves? in the early experiments, the diffraction patterns were detected holistically by means of a photographic plate, which could not detect individual particles. As a result, the notion grew that particle and wave properties were mutually incompatible, or complementary, in the sense that different measurement apparatuses would be required to observe them. That idea, however, was only an unfortunate generalization from a technological limitation. Today it is possible to detect the arrival of individual electrons, and to see the diffraction pattern emerge as a statistical pattern made up of many small spots (Tonomura) et al, 1989. Evidently, quantum particles are indeed particles, but whose behaviour is very different from classical physics would have us to expect.”

Wave-only view
At least one scientist proposes that the duality can be replaced by a "wave-only" view. Carver Mead's Collective Electrodynamics: Quantum Foundations of Electromagnetism (2000) analyzes the behavior of electrons and photons purely in terms of electronic wave functions, and attributes the apparent particle-like behavior to quantization effects and eigenstates. According to reviewer David Haddon:[12]

Mead has cut the Gordian knot of quantum complementarity. He claims that atoms, with their neutrons, protons, and electrons, are not particles at all but pure waves of matter. Mead cites as the gross evidence of the exclusively wave nature of both light and matter the discovery between 1933 and 1996 of ten examples of pure wave phenomena, including the ubiquitous laser of CD players, the self-propagating electrical currents of superconductors, and the Bose–Einstein condensate of atoms.

And while K.E. may consider it just more "psuedoscience", here are some interesting experimental results (Ashfer Experiment).

Afshar claims that his experiment invalidates the complementarity principle and has far-reaching implications for the understanding of quantum mechanics, challenging the Copenhagen interpretation. According to John G. Cramer, Afshar's results support Cramer's own transactional interpretation of quantum mechanics and challenges the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics.

So what is this "transactional interpretation"?

More from Wikipedia...
Suppose a particle (such as a photon) emitted from a source could interact with one of two detectors. According to TIQM, the source emits a usual (retarded) wave forward in time, the "offer wave", and when this wave reaches the detectors, each one replies with an advanced wave, the "confirmation wave", that travels backwards in time, back to the source. The phases of offer and confirmation waves are correlated in such a way that these waves interfere positively to form a wave of the full amplitude in the space-time region between emitting and detection events, and they interfere negatively and cancel out elsewhere in space-time (i.e., before the emitting point and after the absorption point). The size of the interaction between the offer wave and a detector's confirmation wave determines the probability with which the particle will strike that detector rather than the other one. In this interpretation, the collapse of the wavefunction does not happen at any specific point in time, but is "atemporal" and occurs along the whole transaction, the region of space-time where offer and confirmation waves interact. The waves are seen as physically real, rather than a mere mathematical device to record the observer's knowledge as in some other interpretations of quantum mechanics.

John Cramer has argued that the transactional interpretation is consistent with the outcome of the Afshar experiment, while the Copenhagen interpretation and the many-worlds interpretation are not.[3]

Sound familiar?  It sounds like a different way of describing Penrose's OR interpretation.

I consider Penrose's OR to be a Copenhagen derivative, but that is just a label.

Labels aren't important, ideas are.

Date: 2007/09/28 07:56:49, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi K.E.,

One of the things I point out to ID proponents is that it is always easier to stand on the sidelines throwing stones as opposed to suiting up and joining in the game.

As you are probably well aware, the typical ID proponent rarely annunciates an alternative, but focuses on criticizing the status quo.

While you may have the luxury of hiding behind status quo privilege for biology, you don't get the same luxury for quantum physics.  There is no status quo.

Would you care to enlighten us on your detailed view have how you suggest resolving the issues that have puzzled people like Einstein, Hawking and Penrose?

Or are you the official AtBC stone thrower?  :D

Date: 2007/09/28 11:13:15, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi K.E.,

Welcome to the playing field.

While I explained some of this before I don't mind explaining it again and expounding on it.  Because I think it is good to get this out in the open.

I don't like Dembski.


I think he is an example of the worst kind of intellectual manipulator there is.  He is trying to enable people to quit thinking about a problem and just "believe".  He says just enough to convince people that he saying something substantial but when you ask the converted to explain it, they can't.  They just believe.  To a lot of people, they are simply forced to make a choice between PhD types saying things they don't understand.

So what do you do about it?

Jumping up and down and yelling about it isn't going to convince anyone other than those who already understand the situation.

By my training and personality, I happen to be a quick learner.  I can usually get to the root cause of situations.  As an engineer, figuring out the problem gets you most of the way to a solution.

Problem - People are letting others think for them.

Solution - Provoke people to think for themselves.

Problem - People don't want to accept the Status Quo.

Solution - Provide a reasonable, thought-provoking alternative.

Problem - The 10% minority don't want to discuss alternatives.

Solution - Point out that 90% is a lot more than 10% and to the history of what has happened to troublesome intellectuals.

Unfortunately, I have to run and deal with real life.

Talk to you all later.

Date: 2007/09/28 23:55:08, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi creeky belly,

I have to admit this was one of the more entertaining seminars I've gone to (John Cramer is a faculty member at my university)... this turned into quite a heated argument amongst the theorist (mostly Cramer) and the experimentalists. Much of the criticism came from the points brought up by the wiki page, mainly the fringe visibility and the existence of true which-way information. My feeling is that this is a fringe visibility problem, from what I've read about the experiment on arxiv.

Sounds interesting.  Thanks for the story.
If every quantum theory is consistent in content with Orch-OR, then why bring this up? If Orch-OR theory really doesn't require complementarity, it's a moot point. I know you like to pick up on the traditional woo words like space-time and time-travel, but take another look at Libet's experiments. Does he really say that the brain works backwards in time, or that the brain has a buffer?

Have you figured out I am not your typical bad guy yet?  I may be a quantum quack, but I am being honest about it.  Your attempts at twisting my words isn't being honest.

I explained I see two general camps, Copenhagen and Many Worlds.  Penrose's OR is on the Copenhagen side.  Penrose OR rejects Many Worlds specifically and particles generally.  I don't suggest Penrose OR is consistent with "every quantum theory."

I also never suggested Libet said anything about time flying backwards.  Dr. Hameroff discussed retrocausal quatum effects.  Libet just supplied the experimental data point that there is a period of 500ms preceding conscious decisions.  This brings up the issue of explaining how professional tennis can be played when a half a second delay in response is too long.

BTW, did you know Libet died about a month ago?   I just read that.

Date: 2007/09/29 00:07:03, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi K.E.,

Have you decided whether you want me to quit posting or not?  (I'm not asking JAM because I suspect I already know his vote).

BTW, I liked the backwards motion Rocketboom.  It was clever.

Date: 2007/09/29 06:33:06, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi skeptic,

I agree there is a third camp.  I think of this group of people as those waiting for a better explaination.  Einstein and Schrödinger were in this camp.  The point of the EPR paradox and the Schrödinger's cat thought experiment was to point out the incompleteness of the prevaling quantum theories.

During the 1994 debate with Sir Rodger Penrose, Stephen Hawking appeared to still be in this camp.  Penrose was arguing that the EPR effect wasn't a paradox and the Schrödinger's cat thought experiment couldn't just be ignored.

I understand that Schrödinger expressed regret that he presented his thought experiment.  It became an albatross around the necks of all quantum physicists.

As an outsider with an engineering background, several pieces fit together when it is accepted that there is no such thing as solid particles and General Relativity is real.

When I see secure communication devices being build on the presumption of the reality of EPR and/or GHZ state "woo" and Berkley lab studying photosynthesis on the presumption of room-temperature quantum effects it becomes obvious that it is time to quit looking for an answer and admit you have already found it.

Of course the answer might be incomplete and will be adjusted, or even totally revamped.  We did it with Newtonian physics.  We can do it again if and when needed.

Date: 2007/09/29 06:45:31, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi creek belly,

When you put quotation marks around a multiple sentence quote, it is usually assumed it is an exact quotation.  Even more so when you preface it with "Except when you say things like...".

This is a case of you literally trying to put words in my mouth.  What you suggested is not what I said, it is not what I think.

If you rephrase your comment I will answer it appropriately.

Date: 2007/09/29 11:19:56, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Reciprocating Bill,

Thank you for your comment.

I couldn't have done a better job myself.  I understood this prevailing opinion but people get confused when I argue both sides of an issue.

You even brought in the fast ball example.

Hopefully, you will understand how I might view this as an unnecessary contrivance if, in fact, life's awareness (consciousness) can be traced to quantum effects that are interconnected over time.

Successfully merging General Relativity with quantum physics would mean the interconnectedness spans light years (which also means it spans years).  A 500ms span is nothing by comparison.

BTW, no one has brought up causal paradox yet (killing your own ancestors).  If this is holding you back from acceptance, don't let it.  The interesting part of interconnected quantum effects is that no peeking is allowed.  No causal paradox can happen because observing the quantum effect forces the objective reduction.  Unknowable quantum information is all that can travel in time.  What we would think of as normal information can not.

Date: 2007/09/29 12:35:37, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Richardthughes,

I apologize if I missed that.

If it was in the other thread I wouldn't be surprised.  It was somewhat disorganized.

Date: 2007/09/29 13:45:46, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Creeky Belly,

You asked...
is TIQM really consistent with Orch-Or? Why? How is Orch-OR a Copenhagen interpretation? That's all I want.

I consider Penrose's OR to be a Copenhagen derivitative because Penrose's "Objective Reduction" serves the same purpose as Copenhagen's "Waveform Collapse" and is generally the same thing.  However, while Copenhagen left fuzzy the possibility that the waveform of an object collapsed into an actual particleform of the object.  That was fine for photons and, possibly, electrons.  But for 60 atom molecules (Bucky Balls) it became too much of a stretch for getting matter from non-matter.

It became apparent that objective reality is either a particle or a wave, not both.  Copenhagen approach continued with the waveform.  Penrose renamed the collapse to a Objective Reduction to indicate decoherence is the reduction of the wavefunction to an objective measurement/observation or quantum gravitational collapse.

Wikipeadia says
"[Penrose Interpretation] is a variety of objective collapse theory."
and says this about the Objective Collapse Theory

Collapse theories stand in opposition to many-world theories, in that they hold that a process of wavefunction collapse curtails the branching of the wavefunction and removes unobserved behaviour. Objective collapse theories differ from the Copenhagen interpretation in regarding both the wavefunction and the process of collapse as ontologically objective. The Copenhagen interpretation includes collapse, but it is non-committal about the objective reality of the wave function, and because of that it is possible to regard Copenhagen-style collapse as a subjective or informational phenomenon. In objective theories, there is an ontologically real wave of some sort corresponding to the mathematical wave function, and collapse occurs randomly ("spontaneous localization"), or when some physical threshold is reached, with observers having no special role.

Which is essentially what I said.  I will turn the question around.  Why do you think the Penrose OR Interpretation is NOT an Copenhagen derivative?

The Orch OR takes OR and adds the implication of consciousness.  TIQM  is not equivalent to Orch OR.  However, TIQM is similar the basic Penrose quantum interpretation (just "OR"), IMO.

I reskimmed through John G. Cramer's description of TIQM

It looks like the main the elements I need for the Third Choice are here.  John G. Cramer is saying quantum effects are interconnection through space and time.  DNA and microtubules can be interconnected quantum computers just as easily under TIQM as under Penrose's OR.  It looks like TIQM doesn't have a decoherence timeout like Penrose's OR.

From the link...
"The TI avoids the conceptual problems implicit in this experiment by eliminating any SV collapse which occurs at some definite instant... Instead it employs an atemporal four-space description implicit in the transaction model..."

It looks like TIQM will allow things to remain in superposition as long as necessary.

I understand Penrose's OR interpretation better.  If you want to think of things in TIQM terms, you will have to explain to me the fundamental differences you see that invalidates what I have been saying.

P.S.  Time for real life again.  I will get back later.

Date: 2007/09/30 09:11:09, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Creeky Belly,

I gave some thought into how to stimulate more interesting conversation in this thread but I am running out of ideas.

I think you and I are getting close to understanding each other's position.  If you have any more ideas for discussion, let me know.

Meanwhile, I will discuss a few loose ends.

You wrote...
But we know things don't stay coherent "as long as necessary", that would pretty much invalidate NMR and statistical mechanics.

It is my opinion that we live in a universe were if something can happen, it does.  When I was learning about Maxwell's equations I could understand, and calculate, how a collapsing magnetic field creates an electrical field and how a collapsing electrical field creates a magnetic field.  It all made sense except for one thing, how and why did it start?

This wasn't a religious "why" (at least I wasn't thinking in those terms).  This was an engineering/scientific "why".  The only answer that made sense to me was, because it can.  In the 30+ years since then, I haven't come up with a better answer.

Therefore, when you present a quantum explaination that doesn't absolutely force quick decoherence (e.g. TIQM) I am going to presume long-term decoherence can, and does, happen.  It may be rare.  It may require very special conditions.  But nature will find a way.

Did you know they discovered laser light on Mars?

It would really be interesting if they could find something analogous to quantum error correction in tubulins, I think that would seal it for me.

The RecA protein is directly involved in finding and fixing errors in DNA.  RecA protein has the same physical structure as microtubules.

Unfortunately, this all looks great on paper, but I'd rather see some experiments.

There is the
Berkeley Lab experiments we discussed previously.

There is also the experimental work behind Patel's
Quantum Algorithms and the Genetic Code. Which we have also discussed recently.

Here is an experiment ran specifically in relation to the Penrose-Hameroff hypothesis.
In recent times the interest for quantum models of brain activity has rapidly grown. The Penrose-Hameroff model assumes that microtubules inside neurons are responsible for quantum computation inside brain. Several experiments seem to indicate that EPR-like correlations are possible at the biological level. In the past year , a very intensive experimental work about this subject has been done at DiBit Labs in Milan, Italy by our research group. Our experimental set-up is made by two separated and completely shielded basins where two parts of a common human DNA neuronal culture are monitored by EEG. Our main experimental result is that, under stimulation of one culture by means of a 630 nm laser beam at 300 ms, the cross-correlation between the two cultures grows up at maximum levels. Despite at this level of understanding it is impossible to tell if the origin of this non-locality is a genuine quantum effect, our experimental data seem to strongly suggest that biological systems present non-local properties not explainable by classical models.

Experiments are being performed, they will continue to be performed.  As you know, science is a continuing process.  Even if essentially correct, the Orch OR model will be incomplete and, therefore, inaccurate.  Even if it gains acceptance, it won't be universal.  People will continue to challenge it.  Some might even suggest it is too conservative and doesn't go far enough.

I understand this is the way of science.  I suspect other ID proponents can only wish they had the amount of scientific support for their ideas as Orch OR has (meager as it is).

Date: 2007/09/30 09:49:43, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi K.E.,

And good morning to you too.

You wrote...
With a Smörgåsbord of Quantum Queerness to choose from the Chef is cooking the menu itself not the ingredients. He's borked a few items like Dembski however his stash includes both real and imaginary quants.

Since real life interrupted, maybe he took his own threat seriously and rode off into the sunset like said he would (cue Morricone's theme to The Good The Bad and The Ugly).

But since a quantum computer the size of a human brain could out calculate any imaginable god why is it that Deep Blue could beat Kasparov at chess? .....And since he is an owner of a massive quantum one, prevented Penrose from winning a Noble Prize?

I can't argue too much that I have acted like an engineer in my attempt to piece together a consistent story.  The invention makes for a nice conversation piece, don't you think?

I am partial to the sunset exit scene in High Plains Drifter myself (it was foreshadowed and consistent that he disappear right before our eyes).

One might suspect you set this next point up for me, since Penrose made a big point about how Deep Blue played chess was evidence AGAINST a presumption of Strong AI.

Deep Blue can beat humans when the chess problem is algorithmic.  But when it comes to chess problem the requires noticing a non-algorithmic pattern, the average human beats Deep Blue.  Here is a link to the chess problem.

Humans can see the wall of pawns.  Humans can see that they are safe as long as the wall is intact.  Humans would know that a draw was the best they could hope for.  Humans would know not to break the wall of pawns for any reason.

Deep Blue didn't see that.

Deep Blue took the "free" rook with his pawn.

Neither Steve Hawking nor Sir Rodger Penrose have received Nobel Prizes for their work.  It appears that the Nobel Prize committee isn't impressed with non-algorithmic thinking.  Most people know Hawking and Penrose correctly figured out that Black Holes exist, but it was based on if-it-can-happen-it-does-happen mathematical modeling.  Some people automatically dismiss such things as "woo".

Date: 2007/09/30 10:16:14, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Reciprocating Bill,

You wrote...
Before you go, I'd appreciate your thoughts on the quoted post, above.  Including my request vis the fastball.

I'm sorry, I usually try to address comments in the order they were received.  In my confusion, I skipped over yours.  Again, sorry.

I'm not going anywhere.  I was just giving Creek Belly a heads up that I thought we were getting to a point where the arguments are becoming forced.

As for fastballs and Libet.  I just did a google search on "fastball Libet" and got a lot of good looking hits.  Try it.

I think our differences are becoming forced too.  BTW, calling me "TP" for short is fine.  I think Libet threw scientists a curve ball (pardon the pun) thirty years ago.  Think about it.  The first reaction was to deny and challenge the reality of experimental data.  Experiments were run to challenge Libet, not to support an explanation of it. Libet's results survived the challenge.  Then there was the scramble to come up with good-sounding explanations for the data that couldn't be refuted.  They come up with some.  Life is good again, books have been updated to reassure psychology students their teachers might know something.

Conservative answers are generally easier to support.  That doesn’t mean they are correct.

Date: 2007/09/30 11:44:43, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi K.E.,

You wrote...
You seem to be arguing that our brains are quantum computers. For that to be true the processing power available from such a device of that size would be orders of magnitude larger than Deep blue.

Maybe you haven't understood the magnitude of woo being presented here.  This isn’t just human brains.  Microtubules are present in practically everything we think of as living.  If Hameroff is right, quantum computers in microtubules explains why life appears to be aware if its surroundings.  From this Hameroff paper (essay?)….

To gauge how single neuron functions may exceed simple input-output activities, consider the single cell organism paramecium. Such cells swim about gracefully, avoid obstacles and predators, find food and engage in sex with partner paramecia. They can also learn; if placed in capillary tubes they escape, and when placed back in the capillary tubes escape more quickly. As single cells with no synaptic connections, how do they do it? Pondering the seemingly intelligent activities of such single cell organisms, famed neuroscientist C.S. Sherrington (1957) conjectured: “of nerve there is no trace, but the cytoskeleton might serve”. If the cytoskeleton is the nervous system of protozoa, what might it do for neurons?

Date: 2007/09/30 12:23:19, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Reciprocating Bill,

You wrote...
But your response doesn't go to my observation that new theory needs to demonstrate added value vis empirical work, which these quantum notions have not (yet) vis cognitive processing, a sense of volition, etc., before the models with which they compete can be be declared obsolete. Declaring victory out of hand in the absence of any constructive research is one of ID's worst (and most obnoxious) habits.

There have been empirical experiments performed, there will be more.  The Many Worlds quantum interpretation is a metaphysical construct and, therefore, is not a scientific answer.  We have known for a long time that there is no such thing as solid matter.  E=mc^2 shows that mass IS energy.  Particles ARE wavefunctions.  General Relativity, EPR effects and GHZ states are reality, not woo.  There is no such thing as randomness, just interconnected quantum effects.  There are evolutionary advantages for life to directly use of this feature (e.g. efficient photosynthesis).  Empirical evidence shows that life is directly using quantum effects.

There are other unanswered scientific questions.  For example the "hard" question of consciousness. Hypotheses are needed.  There is only so long that we can wait for an answer to present itself.  Mercury's unexplainable orbit was an example of this.  Sometimes a paradigm shift is needed.  I suggest it already has occurred.  It has just taken us a long time for us to fully accept how illusional our macro view of reality really is.

If you haven't figured it out by now, I am not your typical ID proponent.  It might not even be appropriate to label me an ID proponent since I am a vocal critic of the ID movement.

Labels aren't important, ideas are.

Date: 2007/09/30 13:49:16, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Reciprocating Bill,

You wrote...
I am referring to empirical investigation in the domain of neuroscience (and the issues we were discussing vis volition).

I guess it is time to take this to the next level.

It isn't neuroscience that needs quantum mechanics as much as it is quantum mechanics that needs neuroscience.

Penrose didn't just decide to meddle in biological science on a whim.  He needed to consider biological science in order to complete his understanding of quantum physics.

E=h/t is fine for unobserved phenomon.  It explains why decohence happens quickly for macro objects and not for micro objects.  It also explains why decoherence happens in messy, noisy environments.  However, quantum mechanics has its "hard problem" too.  It is the measurement problem.  And this problem is also hard.

Some people just assume the measuring device is, somehow, interfering with the results.  That is only part of the problem.  Quantum delayed measurement experiments have delayed the choice of measurement until after all of the measuring devices have taken measurements.  The choice still influences the quantum results.

Referring back to the opening post.  The three special coins are influenced by whether heads or tails are called.  In the example I gave the callers were touching the coins when the choices were made.  So to further understand the nature of the special coins the callers intentionally close their eyes and flip the coins and don't touch them while they land and settle on the table.  The callers wait before they even choose whether they call heads or tails.  Even in this situation, the GHZ "magic" still occurs.

Consciousness causes quantum collapse

Now you might understand the rock and the hard place quantum physicists are trapped between.  The Schrödinger's cat thought experiment introduced the role of the conscious observer in an attempt to show how ridiculous the implication of the Copenhagen interpretation was.  Ridiculous or not, the Schrödinger's cat experiment is still both dead and alive.  And if Penrose is correct, the objective reality of the interconnectedness of quantum effects with consciousness collapses into the state of being really real.

Date: 2007/09/30 15:10:40, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Reciprocating Bill,

I will get to Creeky Belly in a moment, but I wanted to respond to this first...
A very interesting next level, although one where the better part of valor (for me) is to allow those with more familiarity with the esoterica of quantum mechanics to push that discussion forward. I'll be an avid observer, and therefore will nevertheless determine the outcome of the discussion.

The scary part of this is that since the subject crosses multiple scientific disciplines you might be as qualified to participate in this as anyone else,  maybe even more so since you picked up on your ability to influence by quietly observing.  Do you want to guess who Salvador Cordova suggests is the "ultimate observer"?

Date: 2007/09/30 15:25:42, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Creeky Belly,

You wrote...
The article you think seems to raise more questions than it can answer. There was no waveform collapse until conscious beings evolved? Are detectors conscious? Why is the notion of decoherence with neighboring systems not enough?

Let's take them one at a time.  Penrose offers the Waveform Collapse (he calls it Objective Reduction) has a time limit.  It will collapse regardless of whether anyone is observing or not. Schrödinger's cat is dead or alive in 10^-31 seconds whether anyone is observing or not.  Actually, the fact that the cat is a conscious observer complicates things.  This is why Penrose usually uses mechanical weights in his examples (did the weight fall or not?).

Mechanical devices are not conscious, but they have mass which influences things.  Penrose's proposed FELIX experiment uses a mechanical mirror in superposition to test his decoherence calculations.

Decoherence can result from interference from neighboring mass.  That is why Penrose-Hameroff spend the effort to explain how the microtubule structure keeps tubulin dimers isolated from neighboring systems.

Date: 2007/09/30 15:42:01, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Reciprocating Bill,

See, I said you were qualified.  That was a good observation, IMO.

Once you get past the no randomness part, the rest doesn't challenge standard evolutionary thinking very much at all.  At best, it accelerates and amplifies the process.  This is why I brought up Vernanimalcula guizhouena.  You could think of it as super-charged natural selection that could allow life to be interconnected with (i.e. aware of) nearby quantum effects.  "Nearby" includes nearby in both space and time.

It isn't the label that is important, it is the idea.

Date: 2007/09/30 19:26:29, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi qetzal,

First of all, I was talking about awareness, not learning.

Two, your article was a counter balance, it made the learning point equivocal not dead.  We are talking about single celled organisms here.  Your example is the equivalent of saying it wasn't taught to play checkers because it always loses.

Here is a 2006 reference...
Previous attempts to condition a 1-celled organism, paramecium, by either classical or instrumental procedures, have yielded equivocal results. The present experiments were designed to determine whether the use of positive reinforcement provided by DC electrical stimulation at the cathode, which had previously been shown to be attractive to paramecia, could be used to train these organisms in a discrimination learning task. The results indicate that such learning did take place.

We have all seen the kind of activity that occurs in a drop of pond water.  It is hard to watch and not question how single-celled life can do what it does.

Date: 2007/10/01 08:15:54, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi qetzal,

You wrote...
I mean "awareness" as exemplified by the behavior of single-celled organisms. I don't mean to claim that human consciousness is easily explained by classical mechanisms.

We may be finding ourselves on opposite sides of the fence from the usual ID positions.  Typical ID proponents generally consider humans special; I don't (unless the idea of the evolutionary equivalent of runaway cancer makes the cancer "special").

I don't see a clear demarcation for awareness in living organisms.  Humans are aware, chimpanzees are aware, worms are aware.  Life, in general, is aware.  Some even argue that plants are aware.

My embrace of the concept of common descent is potentially another thing that sets me apart from typical ID proponents.  If awareness is an inherited trait, what is the common ancestor that first exhibited awareness?  I suggest an animal with a pair of light-sensitive pits linked to a hormonal signaling system has inherited this awareness trait and natural selection has already begun improving its effectiveness.  The Vernanimalcula guizhouena is precambrian.

I suggest human consciousness is only the tip of the iceberg of the "hard problem".

A dispassionate analysis of the situation would suggest that the awareness trait is wide spread in living organisms on Earth and, therefore, appeared extremely early on the evolutionary tree, possibly at the Origin of Life regardless of how incredulous it seems.

It would be ironic if "Darwinists" started responding with an argument from incredulity.  :O

Date: 2007/10/01 09:35:04, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi K.E.,

You asked...
What is ID?

"ID" is the abbreviation for the term "Intelligent Design".  It is a populous movement run primarily by the Discovery Institute and its fellows which includes Wells, Dembski and Behe.  It is mostly, if not entirely, religiously motivated but has attempted to present Intelligent Design as some sort of scientific concept.

The capitalization makes it a proper noun and, therefore, distinguishes it from what people would think of as "intelligent design".  The ID Movement leaders take advantage of this confusion by playing a shell game of what means what depending on the audience they are addressing.  For example, when addressing religious organizations the ID Movement leaders count on the presumption that Intelligent Design implies an Intelligent Designer which implies an Intelligent Creator which implies God.  However, when such implications would be detrimental to the movement (e.g. legal depositions), the movement leaders focus on things like innocuous questions and ID alternatives like "space aliens who seed the Earth, time travelers, and telic organizing principles in nature".

While I believe the ID movement leaders are intentionally engaging in a shell game to further their agenda that was spelled out in the Wedge document, there are ID proponents who actually and earnestly see some potential scientific value in thinking outside the status quo box.  Some of these ID proponents even disagree with the tactics employed by the ID movement leaders.  I refer to these as ID Scientists even if they, themselves, agree ID has not yet reached the threshold of being called science.

Presuming you are asking this question for the purpose of understanding my position on this...

I am a vocal critic of the ID movement.  However, I can understand and even support the ideal behind ID science.  My discussions on Telic Thoughts (this thread is a sample) hits two birds with one stone.  It forces thinking about the true motives of the ID Movement leaders since I am taking them at their word that ID isn't about religion and present a purely scientific alternative that presumes most, if not all, of their "scientific observations" and provides an realistic answer for them.

It also disarms those who claim it is unreasonable to ask ID proponents to provide a scientific hypothesis with a "pathetic level of detail" when I have provided just such an animal.

Finally, it is constructive enjoyment for me.  I like to argue.  I am a debater.  I can take either side and present realistic, non-hypocritical arguments in support.  It is constructive, because it forces me and others to research actual science.

It provokes thought on both sides of the question.

Do I believe all of this is true?  What does that matter?  I am not even a scientist by trade.

Date: 2007/10/01 09:48:05, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi K.E.,

You wrote...
Deep Blue had some special features that made it more analogous to a human brain than a general purpose computer, what were they?

Come in from off the sidelines and tell us.

Date: 2007/10/01 11:20:04, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Richardthughes,

You wrote...
Deep blue isn't a good example IMHO. It's just brute force AI / search. It doesn't "strategize" but just goes so far down the exponential tree as to see the best possible futures.

That being said, if our noggins were quantum computers, the "chess problem" would be no problem. Big search = no time. The wave function collapses and I move my pawn...

In formalized debate circles there is a tactic called a "negative spread".  The affirmative side has the burden of forwarding a proposal.  The negative side defends the Status Quo.  The negative will generally argue the proposal's disadvantages ("It is too <fill-in-the-blank>"). For example, if the affirmative is proposing a new law, the negative could argue it is too strict compared to the status quo.  The negative could also argue it is too loose compared to the status quo (i.e. promotes anarchy).  The "negative spread" tactic is to argue every possible disadvantage in an attempt to swamp the affirmative.  This usually results in the negative arguing in opposing directions.  "Too strict" AND "Too loose"

This is an inevidable outcome of debating on forums.  You are arguing the quantum mechanical brain would be too perfect while Creek Belly is arguing the quantum mechanical brain would be too imperfect without error correction.

Did the 1993 version of Deep Blue think like a human or not?

That being said, which "chess problem" are you refering too?  Penrose suggested a "chess problem" that differentiated algorithmic thinking from type of non-algorithmic thinking possible with quantum computers.

The 1993 version of Deep Blue was purely algorithmic.  Deep Blue incorrectly moved the pawn by taking the rook.  (link)

Humans can easily see the mistake using non-algorithmic thinking.  This suggests humans have built-in access to quantum computations.

AI researchers are designing in quantum computers.  Any bets this will result in the "surprising" development of human-like behavor of AI machines?

Date: 2007/10/01 11:33:12, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi K.E.,

You wrote...
I see you don't think it is a conservative culture war on anti-Strausians.

.....So fill us in, where you think Judge Jones got his facts wrong.

I was fascinated by the Dover case.  I thought Judge Jones' handling of the case was excellent.  Judge Jones' opinion was spot-on in my opinion.

As for fighting the Culture War.  I think my method has a better chance at being effective.  When 10% of the population circle the wagons, it just makes it that much easier for the 90% to wipe them out.

The proposal you promote 'quantum consciousness' seems to me at this stage to be wishful thinking the scale is too small.

I find it interesting you consider a proposal that includes three major scientific fields of study (cosmology, quantum physics and biology) and encompasses all life on Earth to be on a scale that is too small.

Date: 2007/10/01 12:17:49, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
TP: I'm no expert in these things so I don't think my musing even qualify as 'arguments'. I just thought one of the many benefits of Quantum Computing was in seemingly intractable search spaces?

For example current encryption would be useless. Of course, it's entirely possible to have an endless game of chess, so I'm not sure how search / QC would deal with that...

I think you correctly understand the general advantages of quantum computing.  It is good at performing search algorithms.  This is why Patel thought of quantum computing when he realized DNA performed complicated searches.

Quantum effects are advantageous for life when it comes to photosynthesis.  Other uses of quantum effects (e.g. quantum computing) would likely provide evolutionary advantages.

As I am sure you are aware, evolution doesn't predict perfection.  It has been pointed out that once AI starts including quantum computing, Moore's law will become a significant underestimate of the future of computational power.  The science fiction scenario of thinking machines building more advanced thinking machines will become a reality.  Human thinking may become a quant legacy.

Some religious people might be seeing this and other similar scenarios.  Do you think minor issues like ethics or the sanctity of science would get in their way of trying to stop it?

Date: 2007/10/01 12:42:08, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Richardthughes,

You asked...
Are you an extropian / transhumanist?

I really don't go for labels.  Accepting a label significantly increases your susceptibility to Group Think, IMO.

Labels aren't important, ideas are.

Date: 2007/10/01 22:47:18, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi all,

I am encouraged by most of the responses.  SteveStory came to Telic Thoughts looking for something more substantial than the usual YEC "cotton candy" (his term).

I suggest what I offered meets that description.

I am not going to be able to prove this Third Choice hypothesis is a better explaination than the Status Quo.  I don't have the training to do so.  Dr. Hameroff could offer a better defense of his theory than I.  For example, Dr. Hameroff explains what he sees as the role of actin and dendrites in papers (essays?) like this one.

My ability to cut through the medical babble to think in laymans terms is limited.  So when Dr. Hameroff says...

Actin is the main component of dendritic spines and also exists throughout the rest of the neuronal interior in various forms depending on actin-binding proteins, calcium etc. When actin polymerizes into a dense meshwork, the cell interior converts from an aqueous solution (sol state) to a quasi-solid, gelatinous (gel) state. In the gel state, actin, MTs and other cytoskeletal structures form a negatively-charged matrix on which polar cell water molecules are bound and ordered (Pollack 2001). Glutamate binding to NMDA and AMPA receptors triggers gel states in actin spines (Fischer et al 2000).

Neuronal MTs self-assemble, and with cooperation of actin enable growth of axons and dendrites. Motor proteins transport materials along MTs to maintain and regulate synapses. The direction and guidance of motor proteins and synaptic components (e.g. from cell body through branching dendrites) depends on conformational states of MT subunits (Krebs et al 2004). Thus MTs are not merely passive tracks but appear to actively guide transport. Among neuronal cytoskeletal components, MTs are the most stable and appear best suited for information processing Wherever cellular organization and intelligence are required, MTs are present and involved.

and Creeky Belly provides a link to a paper (essay?) that says....
Recent work has shown that other actin regulators might modulate the activity of RhoA and thus its effect on spine actin. Ryan et al. showed that the Rho GEF Lcf interacts with the actin-binding protein spinophilin (Ryan et al., 2005). Spinophilin is localized to actin filaments by its actin-binding domain and has crosslinking activities (Grossman et al., 2002; Satoh et al., 1998). The affinity of spinophilin for F-actin is regulated by phosphorylation of the actin-binding domain, which can be mediated by PKA and CaMKII (Grossman et al., 2004; Hsieh-Wilson et al., 2003). In neurons, Ca2+-dependent phosphorylation by CaMKII reduces the affinity of spinophilin for actin and targets the protein to synaptic membrane fractions (Grossman et al., 2004). Expression studies in hippocampal neurons showed that Lcf localizes to the cell body and the dendritic shaft, where it associates with microtubules.

It is going to take a lot of effort on my part to understand the fundamental differences between the two.

I have explained my reasoning for why, from a top-level view, the Third Choice sounds feasible.  It has backing of true scientists that I feel are ethically and honestly presenting ideas.

Sir Rodger Penrose agrees that he may very well be wrong about biological sources for consciousness.  He is much more convinced of his physics and mathematics.  His quantum interpretation, like his model for Black Holes, is too complete and consistent with reality to be easily dismissed.  His mathematical proof against Strong AI is solid (after a minor adjustment that was compelled by peer review).

The logical implication of Penrose's understanding is that awareness/consciousness is directly tied to quantum effects.  Call it a prediction.  Has this prediction been verified yet?  No, but Dr. Hameroff offers his opinion on reasons for optimism.

I find all this interesting and it provides fuel for debates in blogs and forums.  I am not suggesting this should be taught in public schools.  At least not yet.

Date: 2007/10/01 23:07:46, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi K.E.
You wrote...
When someone proposes an alternative to current understanding it may surprise you that their motive will be questioned.

It didn't surprise me in the least.  Either at Telic Thoughts or here.  The humorous part is that both sides question my motives even as I tell both sides the same thing, which I think is correct to the best of my ability to know myself.  
Here is a recent comment of mine on Telic Thoughts.

That's why I asked myself 'What's in this for TP and where is this going?'.
It then turns out TP has, shall we say, eclectic  tastes and seems to think TP's Version of ID© is valid.

Now TP's Version of ID© needs an actual material vehicle and what could be better for ID pseudoscience than  bona fide pseudoquantum science.

On the question of scale to me explaining the operation of a set of gears by the function of atomic bonds in the steel the gears are made from, is redundant to explaining the rotation and function of said gears. Or the operation of the hand by discussing the origin of calcium in bones.

Interesting but probably a diversion considering the history of the supporters.

First, I wouldn't say I think "TP's Version of ID© is valid".  That comes too close to calling it the Truth for my NOMA tastes.  I don't know the Truth, do you?

Second, a lack of a mechanistic model has made for arguing against ID like the proverbial nailing jello to a wall.  My offer of a mechanistic model tends to force ID proponents into accepting it as ID science or to rationalize why its lack of specific support for an Intelligent Designer disqualifies it.

Date: 2007/10/02 07:28:01, Link
Author: Thought Provoker

Dr. Hameroff is...
Professor Emeritus, Departments of Anesthesiology and Psychology,
Director, Center for Consciousness Studies
The University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona

This has been is the focus of his professional life.  He is 60 years old.  He is joined by other professionals like Scott Hagan, Jack Tuszynski and Nancy J. Woolf in his hypothesis concerning the role of microtubules for consciousness.

As an engineer, I approach this pretty as Penrose did as a physicist.  It makes too much sense to see consciousness connected to quantum effects.

Why should I accept your "trust me" bombastic babble when Dr. Hameroff takes the time to try and explain it in layman's terms?

Even Max Tegmark explains his objections in layman's terms.

You have made your counter argument.  I will continue my affirmative argument.  We can let the debate judges decide for themselves.

Date: 2007/10/02 10:36:25, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi K.E.,

I quoted Dembski for the purposed of explaining why I feel the Third Choice hypothesis meets the definition of "design" as outlined by a prominent ID Movement leader.

I have indicated in this thread (more than once) that I disagree with the tactics and motives of the ID Movement.

Date: 2007/10/02 11:53:25, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi oldmanintheskydidntdoit,

You asked...
What about their evidence? Do you agree or disagree with that?

Interesting question.  I tend to look at science as a logic problem based on assumptions.  The first big assumption science makes is that things are consistent.  We assume that minute by minute, day by day, there won't be any unexplainable inconsistencies.  For example, the sun won't appear to rise from the West one morning.

If you take the time to work through all of Dembski's smoke and mirrors of Upper Probability Bounds, filters and Specified Complexity he is presuming that a "fair" analysis would indicate that some things in nature are less likely than not to be due to randomness.

He then leaps to the presumption that there are only two alternatives, randomness or design.  This is how he boldly rationalizes he is offering that design is the "best" explanation.

Philosophy 101 teaches us the wise man knows he doesn't know the Truth (capital "T").

I don't know which Truth to believe, but I can solve logic puzzles.  If we take ID's presumption that randomness alone isn't sufficient to explain all observations, how would that work?

This is my suggested answer to that logic puzzle.

My belief in the basic premise is approaching 50%.  I realize it is incomplete and, therefore, inaccurate.  However, that is true of most, if not all, scientific theories.  Science is a never-ending process.

Date: 2007/10/02 12:26:03, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Rich,

You wrote...
This is the "problem of induction"

I agree and thank you for pointing it out.

Date: 2007/10/02 13:47:50, Link
Author: Thought Provoker

You wrote...
I have no objection whatsoever to hypothesizing that consciousness involves quantum mechanics. What I object to is the simplistic idea that consciousness can be reduced to quantum mechanics of microtubules.

And if it isn't obvious by now, let me state it clearly.  I don't have enough biological knowledge to know whether quantum computation comes from microtubules, actin or pixie dust.

Dr. Hameroff provides a good-sounding mechanistic model for microtubules.  If you could provide a mechanistic explanation for quantum computation via actin I would have no qualms about considering it too.  In fact, I would welcome it.

I suspect any quantum computation requires both actin and microtubules.

As for recent relevant data.  The main objection until now has been Max Tegmark's warm, wet brain issue.  The focus has been on showing room-temperature quantum computation is even possible.  Significant progress is being made there.

Sure, in the future Dr. Hameroff's attempts may be considered as bumbling and crude as you are making them out to be.  It wouldn't be the first time someone turned out to be right for the wrong reasons.

Date: 2007/10/02 14:04:18, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi qetzal,

One of the prevailing things I do when debating ID proponents is ask for their definition of intelligence.  I have several dictionary versions I quote for this purpose.

They all start out with something like "The ability to learn or adapt..."

So, did the Intelligent Designer need on-the-job training?

As you can imagine, this line of discussion makes for some interesting responses.  When pinned down, the ID definition becomes anything that isn't from "an undirected process such as natural selection."

This pretty much means that the retrocausal aspect of interconnected quantum effects is a directed process and, therefore, qualifies.

For all I know the direction could come from a metaphysical intelligence, but since the ID Movement rejects the need to identify the designer, I don't need to either.

It is weak, but no ID proponent has tried challenging that part yet.

Date: 2007/10/02 15:25:19, Link
Author: Thought Provoker

You wrote...
If you bothered to read their more recent, less crude essays, even they are walking back from it.

Do you have links?

BTW, instead of asking me leading questions like "What part of the neuron does that predict will fail to contain microtubules?" please tell me what you are saying.

You have been the one bringing up the concept of over reducing the problem.

Dr. Hameroff is talking about the whole system, actin, dendrites and microtubules included. I have also stated the presumption that both actin and microtubules are needed.

Date: 2007/10/02 19:35:53, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
MikeGene said late November

Date: 2007/10/02 20:29:17, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Reciprocating Bill,

Thank you for the data point on the chess program.

You asked...
you gonna ignore the issue of neural nets and the massive parallelism of the human brain vis these qualitative aspects of human problem solving?

I don't think so.

Help me verify some math...

~10^11 neurons x ~10^3 synapses/neuron x ~40 Hz EEG frequency.

4000 tera operations.

Blue/Gene can get up to 360 teraflops.

This tells me that we should be about 2 to 3 years from having the computer hardware that will exceed the human brain.

If Dr. Hameroff is correct, the human brain is many orders of magnetude greater than this (~10^8 microtubules/neuron).

Date: 2007/10/03 12:18:26, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi All,

In response to JAM's discussions, I have been trying to understand other points of views of the general idea of the brain using quantum computations.  In this effort, I ran across Walter J Freeman.  Here is what the scholarpedia has to say abut him...

Walter J Freeman (b. 30 January 1927 in Washington DC) studied physics and mathematics at M.I.T., electronics in the Navy in World War II, philosophy at the University of Chicago, medicine at Yale University, internal medicine at Johns Hopkins, and neuropsychiatry at UCLA. He has taught brain science in the University of California at Berkeley since 1959, where he is Professor of the Graduate School.

I would suggest these kind of credentials would make sense as someone qualified to speak on quantum effects in the brain.  While Dr. Hameroff references Dr. Freeman's research, I get the impression the Dr. Freeman is more conservative in his hypotheses than Dr. Hameroff.

Is JAM hinted at, there is support for the idea that the brain includes a quantum computer.  The Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy includes several examples of Quantum Approaches to Consciousness.  Here is the entry's intro...

It is widely accepted that consciousness or, more generally, mental activity is in some way correlated to the behavior of the material brain. Since quantum theory is the most fundamental theory of matter that is currently available, it is a legitimate question to ask whether quantum theory can help us to understand consciousness. Several approaches answering this question affirmatively, proposed in recent decades, will be surveyed. It will be pointed out that they make different epistemological assumptions, refer to different neurophysiological levels of description, and use quantum theory in different ways. For each of the approaches discussed, problematic and promising features will be equally highlighted.

Here is the entry they had for the Penrose-Hameroff model...
In the scenario developed by Penrose and neurophysiologically augmented by Hameroff, quantum theory is claimed to be effective for consciousness, but this happens in an extremely sophisticated way. It is argued that elementary acts of consciousness are non-algorithmic, i.e., non-computable, and they are neurophysiologically realized as gravitation-induced reductions of coherent superposition states in microtubuli.

Unlike the approaches discussed so far, which are essentially based on (different features of) status quo quantum theory, the physical part of the scenario, proposed by Penrose, refers to future developments of quantum theory for a proper understanding of the physical process underlying quantum state reduction. The grander picture is that a full-blown theory of quantum gravity is required to ultimately understand quantum measurement (see the entry on quantum gravity).

...Penrose suggests that a valid formulation of quantum state reduction replacing (1) must faithfully describe an objective physical process that he calls objective reduction. Since present-day quantum theory does not contain such a picture, he argues that effects not currently covered by quantum theory should play a role in state reduction. Ideal candidates for him are gravitational effects since gravitation is the only fundamental interaction which is not integrated into quantum theory so far. Rather than modifying elements of the theory of gravitation (i.e., general relativity) to achieve such an integration, Penrose discusses the reverse: that novel features have to be incorporated in quantum theory for this purpose. In this way, he arrives at the proposal of gravitation-induced objective state reduction.

Why is such a version of state reduction non-computable? Initially one might think of an objective version of state reduction in terms of a stochastic process, as most current proposals for such mechanisms indeed do (see the entry on collapse theories). This would certainly be indeterministic, but probabilistic and stochastic processes can be standardly implemented on a computer, hence they are definitely computable. Penrose (1994, Secs 7.8 and 7.10) sketches some ideas concerning genuinely non-computable, not only random, features of quantum gravity. In order for them to become viable candidates for explaining the non-computability of gravitation-induced state reduction, a long way still has to be gone.

With respect to the neurophysiological implementation of Penrose's proposal, his collaboration with Hameroff has been crucial. With his background as an anaesthesiologist, Hameroff suggested to consider microtubules as an option for where reductions of quantum states can take place in an effective way, see e.g., Hameroff and Penrose (1996). The respective quantum states are assumed to be coherent superpositions of tubulin states, ultimately extending over many neurons. Their simultaneous gravitation-induced collapse is interpreted as an individual elementary act of consciousness. The proposed mechanism by which such superpositions are established includes a number of involved details that remain to be confirmed or disproven.

The idea of focusing on microtubuli is partly motivated by the argument that special locations are required to ensure that quantum states can live long enough to become reduced by gravitational influence rather than by interactions with the warm and wet environment within the brain.
By and large, the scenario by Penrose and Hameroff represents a highly speculative approach with conceptual problems and without plausible concrete ideas for empirical confirmation. On the other hand, it is worthwhile to remember Bohr's bonmot that the question may not be whether a theory is too crazy but whether it is crazy enough.

I present this as an attempt to reaffirm JAM's suggestion the brain's reliance on quantum mechanics isn't that far-fetched considering it is receiving serious consideration.  Penrose-Hameroff may be at an extreme end of the spectrum, but I offer we shouldn't discount the idea out of hand.  Chances are all of these "Quantum Approaches to Consciousness" are incomplete in some manner.

Date: 2007/10/03 15:40:39, Link
Author: Thought Provoker

You asked...
WTF does being an anesthesiologist have to do with microtubules?

Here is Dr. Hameroff's answer...

Interview with Stuart Hameroff, MD, in Alternative Therapies (May 1997 3(3):70-79 by Bonnie Horgan).

Alternative Therapies: How did an anesthesiologist end up speaking at a consciousness conference?

Hameroff: I became interested in understanding consciousness as an undergraduate at the University of Pittsburgh in the late 60's. In my third year of medical school at Hahnemann in Philadelphia I did a research elective in professor Ben Kahn's hematology-oncology lab. They were studying various types of malignant blood cells, and I became interested in mitosis-looking under the microscope at normal and abnormal cell division. I became fascinated by centrioles and mitotic spindles pulling apart the chromosomes, doing this little dance, dividing the cytoplasm, establishing the daughter-cell architecture, and beginning differentiation. I remember wondering to myself how these centrioles and mitotic spindles "knew" where to go and what to do. What kind of intelligence was running the show at the cellular level?

My main interest was still consciousness, or the brain-mind problem. At that time, scientists were just beginning to appreciate that all cells, including neurons, contained the same structures that make up mitotic spindles, which are basically microtubules You see, for 30 years scientists had been using the electron microscope to look at intracellular structure. But the fixative agent osmium tetroxide was dissolving all the internal structure. It dissolved everything. So for many, many years the cell was perceived as a bag of water.

Alternative Therapies: The fixative that was used to examine the cell was dissolving the cell structure?

Hameroff: Yes. The cytoplasmic fine structure was erased. Finally in the early 70's electron microscopists switched to glutaraldehyde and saw order and structure in cytoplasm organized by networks of microtubules. Thanks to the anatomist Keith Porter and his coworkers it became obvious that the interior of a cell was like a tiny forest. Not only that, the forest was very dynamic. It was moving things around, rearranging itself, defining the shape, function, and structure of the cell. As it turned out, the same microtubules running the show in mitosis were running the show in neurons and other cells all the time. Each neuron was a network of microtubules. I came to think of the brain as a network of networks, forests within trees. When I finished medical school I thought about a research career, but opted for clinical work and matched for internship in Tucson, Arizona. I considered residency in neurology or psychiatry, but then I met Professor Burnell Brown, the chairman of the anesthesiology department at the University of Arizona medical center. He told me "If you want to know what consciousness is, study the mechanism of anesthetics." He also gave me a paper suggesting anesthetics depolymerized microtubules, and convinced me that anesthesiology was an excellent career choice. I signed on. When I finished residency Burnell offered me a faculty position, and here I am twenty years later.

And here we are ten years after that.

BTW, here is a link on my blog showing microtubules in action during cell division.

Date: 2007/10/03 17:09:24, Link
Author: Thought Provoker

S. Hagan, S.R. Hameroff and J.A. Tuszynski:
Quantum Computation in Brain Microtubules: Decoherence and Biological Feasibility. Physical Review E 65, 61901:1-10 (2002).

S. Hameroff, A. Nip, M. Porter and J.A. Tuszynski:
Conduction pathways in microtubules, biological quantum computation, and consciousness. BioSystems 64, 149-168 (2002).

Here is a link to over 50 papers (essays?) written by Tuszynski and various other people on this subject.

Here is a 2005 paper Hameroff wrote where he discusses microtubule's role in mitosis and possible role in cancer.

A lot of other information (presentations, interviews, etc) can be found at

Date: 2007/10/03 20:56:41, Link
Author: Thought Provoker

Do you have what you would call "data" for an alternative explaination for quantum computations of consciousness?

As I have indicated before, I'm open to the idea that quantum computations could be the result of microtubules, actin or pixie dust.  It is a detail as far as the Third Choice hypothesis is concerned.

From your reaction I am presuming that you do not consider consolidating various observations and running simulations to present results in a coordinated fashion as "publishing new data".

This isn't just Dr. Hameroff.  Consider the experiments run by Pizzi, Rita; Fantasia, Andrea; Gelain, Fabrizio; Rossetti, Danilo; Vescovi, Angelo.  The abstract included...

"In recent times the interest for quantum models of brain activity has rapidly grown. The Penrose-Hameroff model assumes that microtubules inside neurons are responsible for quantum computation inside brain. Several experiments seem to indicate that EPR-like correlations are possible at the biological level. In the past year , a very intensive experimental work about this subject has been done at DiBit Labs in Milan, Italy by our research group. Our experimental set-up is made by..."

While I am sure you will have an objection to this 2004 experiment too.  The point is that a reasonable number of people are taking this seriously.  I don't begrudge Dr. Hameroff for focusing on coordinating and encouraging other’s efforts by publishing overall analyses and lecturing, obviously you do.

If you want to suggest an alternative, fine.  I will listen.  Meanwhile, I am presuming these other people might be on to something.

Date: 2007/10/04 08:49:39, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
On October 4th, Paul Nelson and Michael Ruse are/were scheduled to have a debate for discussing what it would take for them to switch sides. Here is a link to Paul Nelson's announcement where he said "Michael Ruse and I are going to have a sort of un-debate." I am making the easy prediction of a non-outcome to the un-debate where the spin-masters on both sides will claim victory. This is my overt attempt at preempting with my un-spin to provoke thinking about the polarization that this represents. Allow me some hyperbola to illustrate the point; one extreme view would be to ask for the equivalent of the random assembly of a 747 from a pile of junk another extreme view would be to ask for the equivalent of an Intelligent Designer saying "I am" accompanied by a pyrotechnical display of local shrubbery.

In other words, the basic conflict is generally about randomness verses a designer.

There is a lot of ground between these two extremes. What would it take to convince both sides that a middle ground hypothesis that presumes neither randomness nor a designer is not only plausible but likely?

I have previously presented the concept that there is no such thing as randomness in a post titled The Magic of Intelligent Design. This post has appeared in Telic Thoughts and in After the Bar Closes. For a proposed design agency, I have offered the orchestrating properties of quantum effects generally outlined in the Penrose-Hameroff model called Orchestrated Objective Reduction or Orch OR for short.

What would it take to convince either side that quantum effects are interconnected?

How about seven decades of physicists performing experiments demonstrating non-local behavior and paradoxical behavior that can only be explained if nature is “entangled” at the quantum level?

What would it take to convince either side that life is directly dependent on quantum effects?

How about if respectable scientists at Berkeley lab reported something like…
Early in 2007 a team of Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley researchers identified quantum mechanical effects as the key to the astonishing ability of photosynthesis to utilize nearly all the photons absorbed by the leaves of green plants. Now a different team has found new evidence that points to a closely packed pigment-protein complex of the photosystem as the key to those quantum mechanical effects. …
How nature manages to pull off this stunt was a long-standing mystery until the spring of 2007, when a study led by Graham Fleming, Deputy Director of Berkeley Lab and a UC Berkeley chemistry professor, found the first direct evidence of what he calls a "remarkably long-lived wavelike electronic quantum coherence." Quantum-mechanical effects enable a plant's photosystem to simultaneously sample all the potential energy pathways from pigment molecules to reaction centers and choose the most efficient one.

What would it take to convince either side that evolution is under the control of interconnected quantum effects?

What if it turned out the DNA search function is a quantum algorithm that requires quantum-like superposition?

From Patel's Quantum Algorithms and the Genetic Code…
Replication of DNA and synthesis of proteins are studied from the view-point of quantum database search. Identification of a base-pairing with a quantum query gives a natural (and first ever!) explanation of why living organisms have 4 nucleotide bases and 20 amino acids. It is amazing that these numbers arise as solutions to an optimisation problem. Components of the DNA structure which implement Grover’s algorithm are identified, and a physical scenario is presented for the execution of the quantum algorithm. It is proposed that enzymes play a crucial role in maintaining quantum coherence of the process.

From Patel's Towards Understanding the Origin of Genetic Languages…
The initial and final states of Grover’s algorithm are classical, but the execution in between is not. In order to be stable, the initial and final states have to be based on a relaxation towards equilibrium process. For the execution of the algorithm in between, the minimal physical requirement is a system that allows superposition of states, in particular a set of coupled wave modes.

There is more support for the possibility of life's direct dependence on interconnected quantum effects for functions like cellular awareness (i.e. consciousness) as an artifact of quantum computation in microtubules. "Bio-quantum physics" appears to be an emerging science. While it is still speculative, that is not the point.

The question is… What would it take to convince ID/Darwin extremists to agree on a scientific hypothesis that supports neither philosophical agenda?

BTW, a quantum mechanical explanation can be thought of as a tool of an intelligent designer just as much as the result of a non-teleological universe that occurred “randomly” from multiple universes. However, these are metaphysical concerns, not scientific ones.

Date: 2007/10/04 08:50:43, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Excuse me for doing this to you all.  But I am starting up another thread that puts a slightly different "unspin" on this.

I want to run it in parallel to the exact same post on Telic Thoughts.

See A Voice from the Middle Ground

Date: 2007/10/04 09:25:24, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
K.E. asks...
Oh? ...another convenient tautology.

Appears so!   :D

Actually I am sorry that I am rushing this thread.  I wanted to strike while the iron is hot with the Nelson/Ruse "undebate".

I will try to respond here to continue the more detailed science discussion.  But I also want to have a discussion at the higher level of the other thread.

Date: 2007/10/04 09:35:03, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Albatrossity2,

Have I got "any"?  yes.

Do I have "enough"? it depends

I don't have enough to prove my case.  This isn't unusual.  Science doesn't "prove" anything.

Do I have enough to justify something more than an automatic dismissal?

That is root of the question.  If you are going to dismiss this with the same contempt as you would "GodDidIt" then the ID proponents are right, you are focused on protecting Status Quo thinking (scientism?).

Date: 2007/10/04 10:45:37, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi all,

Here is what I responded to Nick Matze on Telic Thoughts...

Hi Nick,

Thank you very much for your comment.

For your information I have also posted this on After the Bar Closes. If you wanted to post this on Panda's Thumb (even if to belittle it) I would appreciate that.

You see, this is my attempt at provoking thinking about the fundamentals of the ID/Darwin debate. If you are going to dismiss this with the same contempt as "GodDidIt" then the ID proponents are right. They would be wasting their time putting together mechanistic explanations backed up, partially, by scientific observations. It becomes apparent until you personally see the burning bush and witness a miracle; you aren't going to accept its possibility. And even then, you might reject it because it is outside of your status quo thinking.

As you know, in 1905 a patent clerk was trying to make a big deal about an inconsistency in Mercury's orbit and a slight red shift in sunlight. This resulted in a special-relativity-in-the-gaps rationalization. BTW, for those who don't know, Einstein's special relativity was wrong. Of course we don't say that because of its importance. We say it was "incomplete". The god-in-the-gaps like argument was that there was no inertial reference frame. Later, Einstein corrected his mistake by embracing General Relativity which is based on an inertial reference frame presumption. General Relativity has been proven correct as much as anything can be scientifically "proven".

Another example from the world of biology…

In 1951 a pair of young loose-cannons slapped together a model of what they thought was the basis of genetics. Their DNA-in-the-gaps model was laughably wrong. They were chastised and told to quit working on it. Two years later the stubborn young scientists slapped together another model based on information they "liberated" from other scientists like Rosalind Franklin. This time they got lucky. Eventually their luck resulted in them receiving Nobel prizes. Rosalind wasn’t so lucky. She died before her contribution was adequately recognized.

Nick, there is a role to play in protecting the Status Quo. But, is it possible the role might have evolved into Dr. Zaius’ dual title of “Minister of Science and Defender of the Faith”?

Yes, there is a balance to be maintained and I will speak to the other side of the balance in responding to other comments. However, I suggest there is some truth to the complaints I am hearing from ID proponents.

I will follow up with specific responses to your comments.  So far, I like what I am reading.  Thank You.

Date: 2007/10/04 12:13:11, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Keith,

From a paper titled Einstein’s Ether: Why did Einstein Come Back to the Ether?
"In (1905) Einstein constructed a relativity theory that was based on the assertion that the ether was superfluous. In 1908 Minkowski formulated the theory of the “absolute world”. The nineteenth century ether no longer existed. A new kind of ether (space-time) came into being. One could keep on maintaining the ether, and at the same time strip it of the notion of absolute rest. Einstein seemed to agree, and after 1916 he returned to the ether. In 1920 he combined Minkowski’s absolute world concept and Mach’s ideas on rotational movements…"

The Twin Paradox was a paradox for special relativity because the problem's solution was inconsistant depending on which twin's reference frame was used. If everything was relative and there was no "ether" (inertial frame of reference) then this was a problem. Minkowskian geometry explained it was a simple geometry situation where the shortest distance between two points is NOT a straight line.

Note: this is copied and pasted from Telic Thoughts

Date: 2007/10/04 16:06:40, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi All,

I will continue my running gun battle with Keiths in a moment, but first let me catch up...

Albatrossity2 wrote...
You might appreciate (or not) this quote from CM Bowra - "Scientists are treacherous allies on committees, for they are apt to change their minds in response to arguments."

Engineers are like that too.  They tend to go with what works.  Provide a mechanistic explanation that makes sense (i.e. a model) and they will run with it.  I have plenty of experience with PhD types providing lists of why a proposed design won't work.  However, when they refuse to offer an alternative we have to go with the best we got.  The funny part is when the project is successfully completed, the PhD types still maintain they were right and provide plenty or reasons why.

Penrose's quantum interpretation (OR) makes sense and answers all of the quantum observations like GHZ states.

The Penrose-Hameroff Orch OR model is a fall out of this.  Consciousness has to be tied to interconnected quantum effects.  Consciousness can't be purely algorithmic.

Dr. Hameroff takes this a provides a detailed model of how this could work.  I understand it well enough to go with its basic concept.  Do you have an alternative model?

qetzal wrote...  
In reality, much of what happens according to the TOE is decidedly non-random. The TOE merely holds (among other things) that there is no intended outcome, no external agency that guides evolution toward some prespecified goal.

Thus, I think it's more useful to say this conflict is about non-teleological versus teleological claims, or undirected versus directed outcomes.

BWE wrote...  
Teleologic/non-teleologic is more accurate.

Is the Earth "directed" to revolve around the sun?  General Relativity suggests that time is just another dimension in space/time geometry.  There is no reason that the future couldn't effect the past for similar reasons that the sun can effect the Earth.
"Teleological" becomes a metaphysical semantic game until you start talking about a designer.  To illustrate this, I talk about how the purpose of the universe is to be consistent with itself.  Skeptic pointed out this is a metaphysical statement.  I agree with him.

Besides, I have heard just about as many ID critics say this is about "God" as I have heard ID proponents talk about belief in randomness.

Are you ready to agree there is no such thing as randomness (or at least that it is a metaphysical presumption)?

To Jim - glad I can help with your insomnia

To BWE - Other than arguing against randomness, what I am saying isn't in direct conflict with the ToE.  I am suggesting an enhancement that might explain why living organisms like Vernanimalcula guizhouena are more complex than expected.

While I hesitate to speak for MikeGene, I think it is safe to say he has a similar position.  Front Loading is an enhancement, not a challenge.

Date: 2007/10/04 19:24:18, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Captain's Log, star date 2006.1004,

We are on assignment in the Alpha quadrant to study planet cluster 623.

I have ordered the navigator to make it appear the planet cluster is moving in a circular pattern relative to the ship.  Side note, I find it interesting that when the navigator does this it looks like the entire universe is spinning at the same rate, fascinating.

I have ordered Ensign Keiths to my ready-room.

Here he is now (wearing a red shirt, of course).

Ensign, we are sending down several survey teams to various planets in this cluster.  This operation will occur over two years, ship time.  The first year we will be dropping off teams the second year we will be picking them up.

However, it won't appear to be a year for you.  Since, as you know,   "...there is no absolute frame of reference..." and "...that the laws of physics are identical in all..." local frames of reference.  Based on the ship's frame of reference, you will be constantly traveling at warp 0.9.  At nine tenths the speed of light time will go slower…. err… um…  or does it go faster?  Hmmm, let's do the math...

ds^2 = dt^2 - (dx^2 + dy^2 + dz^2)
       = (1 year)^2 - (0.9 light-years)^2
       = 1.0 - 0.81
       = 0.19

ds = 0.436 years

Ah yes, that’s it.  Less than half a year.  Therefore, we will provision your shuttle to last you and your team half a year.  We will be back before you know it.

Ensign Keiths?

Do you have something to say?

Date: 2007/10/04 19:49:46, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi C.J.O'Brien,

You wrote...
[quote]I guess, in short, (and apologies: I know your dislike of labels) I sense in your treatment of these concepts what Dennett calls "greedy reductionism." IOW, just because there's a quantum reality that underlies our ordinary classical-scale existence, it doesn't mean that it's useful to try and explain every phenomenon in quantum terms.

I'd like you to rein in your theorizing, and tell me what it is a theory like this would even be called upon to explain. And don't just say "consciousness," unless you can demonstrate the bit I quoted from your post at the top, there.[quote]

I suggest the opposite of what you are talking about is compartmentalizing.  One of the things Penrose did was to merge General Relativity with quantum physics.  A complete model needs to explain both realities.  Consciousness plays into this too.  It is part of the measurement problem for quantum mechanics.  Penrose didn't ignore this inconvienient observation.  He offered a mathematical proof against Strong AI.  Here is Planet math's analysis of it.

I understand there was a time that geologists and scientists studying the sun were ignoring each other.  The geologists felt the earth was old, the scientists felt the sun was young (this was before E=mc^2).  Neither saw a need to deal with the other discipline's problem.

Date: 2007/10/04 20:06:49, Link
Author: Thought Provoker

You wrote...
I'm with C.J. on this one. WTF can you do with your model? Not that it isn't a fun topic- on the contrary, I'm trying to figure out how to test the quantum time-pull effect on my body and some 12 year old scotch I have at home as I type this- but why hook up with the ID crowd to talk about it? What's the deal with that?

My reaction to this is asking WTF did we need special and general relativity for?  We were getting along fine with Newtonian physics.

I suggest a deeper understanding of fundamentals will always come in handy.  To start with.  If Hameroff is correct, the human brain is over 10^8 times more powerful than previously thought.

As for my interest in attaching this to ID.  First of all, curiosity.  I like understanding people who think different than myself.  I am learning things about ID proponents by throwing this hypothesis out there.

I am also more concerned about what will happen when the paradigm shift happens.  I am concerned that if we continue the polarization, the majority will lose patience and we risk a repeat of 391 AD where "reality" was created by political decree (emperor Theodosius I) reinforced by the destruction to contrary scientific thought in places like the Serapeum of Alexandria (Library of Alexandria).

My answer is to provoke thought on both sides.

Besides, I think the Third Choice hypothesis has a good chance of being correct.

Date: 2007/10/04 20:43:18, Link
Author: Thought Provoker

You wrote...
LTP + a lot of stuff we don't understand yet. Folks (including me) are testing predictions.

Good, and I wish you good fortune.

Science is about predicting more than explaining. Einstein was famous because he offered testable predictions.

And Penrose has offered testable prediction based in E=h/t.  His FELIX experiments tests the predicted decoherence time of a small mirror.

Penrose/Hameroff model implies that once AI starts using quantum computation the results will be "surprisingly" human-like.

And, oh yea, the prediction that neural networks will “…present non-local properties not explainable by classical models."

Here is the link to that experiment you have assured me has nothing to do with microtubules even though the authors mention Penrose-Hameroff by name.

Date: 2007/10/04 20:56:03, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi qetzal,
You wrote...
In other words, you're arguing it's possible. But not everything that's possible is real.

This is probably a philosophical difference.  I have a strong sense that, in this universe, if it can happen it does happen.  I think Penrose has a similar philosophy.

Hawking and Penrose figured out Black Holes could happen.  They presumed Black Holes existed long before evidence was found.

Did you know natural occuring laser light was found on Mars? link

I think the trick to physics is trying to figure out what isn't possible under what conditions.  It may be the trick to biology too.

You wrote...
That's not correct. Front loading is directly contradictory to the TOE as we know it.

You might want to talk to MikeGene about his opinion on that.

Here is my comment on Vernanimalcula guizhouena.

Date: 2007/10/04 22:53:40, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi qetzal,

You wrote...
Do you realize that the first life probably arose almost 4 BILLION years ago? (Believe it or not, there are fossils of these cells.) That leaves ~ 3 billion years to go from the first cells to V. guizhouena, versus only 600 million to go from V. guizhouena to H. sapiens. I think that puts things in more perspective.

And life using quantum effects for photosynthesis occurring midway between them.

Going from V. guizhouena to humans seems trivial compared to going from basic chemicals to V. guizhouena, even at 5 times the duration.

I also find life's start on early Earth interesting.  As an engineer I tend to think that evidence of life at 4 bya means life started much earlier.  As it is, Earth was pretty hostile that early.  Added to that, the possible existence of nanobes means we might have a whole new outlook on the Origin of Life...

Nanobacteria and Nanobes- Are They Alive?
Nanobes are thought to exist everywhere! Nanobe structures have been found within organisms as well as rocks. While their existence is relatively new knowledge, some speculate that nanobes may even outnumber bacteria by an order of magnitude!

Nanobes may also exist on other planets! Martian meteorites such as ALH84001 (more info) have been speculated to contain trace fossils of nanobacteria. The softball-sized igneous meteorite shows microscopic worm-like and "ovid" nanofossils.

You seem to be applying very different standards here. For Penrose & Hameroff, mere plausibility is all you require. Is there a reason why you set the bar so much higher for poor old V. guizhouena?

Another unusual philosophy of mine.  I don't mine embracing multiple concepts simultaneously.  I think it is quite possible that V. guizhouena could have happened without help from interconnected quantum effects.

It is all a matter of percentages.  What is the percentage chance that life on Earth came from a meteor?  I use to put that pretty low.  It is getting a little higher.  My percentage chance for Penrose-Hameroff Orch OR is around 50%.

I am generally more interested in provoking thought than trying to make converts.

Date: 2007/10/04 23:06:30, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Creeky Belly,

You asked...
What was the point of the space-time calculation? What does keiths dispute that's clarified by this exercise?

Keiths was questioning my understanding of Special and General Relativity.

I offered my understanding with a story that may have helped explain at least some of my understanding.

The situation I described makes sense from a Special Relativity point of view.  But Keiths knows that in this situation the poor survey team is going to starve long before the ship arrives to pick them up.

Keiths knows this because General Relativity indicates there is an absolute inertial frame  of reference.

Keiths offered a Scientific American article on it.  I must admit, I am surprised by the number of articles trying to defend Special Relativity when it is obvious that Special Relativity is, at best, incomplete.

Right or wrong, I understand what I am saying and can defend it.  So far, Keiths isn't interested in trying to explain his answers in his own words.

Date: 2007/10/04 23:20:40, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi qetzal,

I am impressed.  Do you mind if I mention your qualified admission on Telic Thoughts?

BTW, MikeGene and I have had heated words over what I perceive as an implied presumption of a designer.

However, that was a while ago, he may be modifying his position on that.  At least he has conceded that if there is a designer, it is most likely there is more than one.

Not many ID proponents will readily admit that.

I have pulled a tail or two with the suggestion that if anything looks like a designed-by-committee job, it would be life on Earth.  ;)

Date: 2007/10/04 23:27:32, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
I will save some bandwidth in the running gun-battle with Keiths.  In case anyone is interested...
Here is the link to my response in Telic Thoughts

Date: 2007/10/04 23:49:28, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi qetzal,

You are right.  I skipped a step.  The first cell is the tough one.

Frankly a lot of time and energy could be saved if it was stipulated that evolution after Cambrian is a trivial gimme.  But, I know, I am preaching to the wrong crowd on that.

Date: 2007/10/05 10:25:26, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Another copy and paste from Telic Thoughts...

Let's see, how can I provoke Nick Matzke or someone like him to comment? I got it…

These discussions go to show the potential benefit of Intelligent Design.   :D

It isn't so much a matter of who is right or wrong, the benefit comes from a radical approach to viewing scientific questions. It wasn't my intent to belittle Einstein, Watson and Crick for the incompleteness and/or incorrectness of their initial attempts at modeling. Quite the contrary. I point to their stubbornness in the face of adversity as an example of how science makes significant advances. Sometimes we learn more by being wrong than being right.

However, the trick is that hypotheses need to be understandable enough to expose everything, including the flaws. This is one of my major criticisms of the ID Movement leaders. They appear to be purposely hiding the details of their proposal and encouraging others to do the same ("…pathetic level of detail"). It doesn't help when understandable concepts are hidden behind unnecessary complications. For example, "-log base-2 (x) > 1.0" instead of "more likely than not" as Dembski does in his definition of Specified Complexity.

ID Science has potential merit. If we could openly and honestly discuss radical scientific hypotheses, even if they have flaws, it might provoke thinking about things in a different way. Who knows? If the flaws are exposed, we might figure a work-around and come up with a better understanding of the world we live in.

What would it take to resist the ID/Darwin polarization?

I suggest honest and open discussions in a blog like Telic Thoughts.

Date: 2007/10/05 10:54:33, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Creeky Belly,
The issue is the lack of completeness and/or correctness of Special Relativity.  Do you agree or disagree with this assessment?
The question of whether general relativity is required to resolve the twins paradox has long been a subject of spirited debate. On one hand, Einstein wrote a paper in 1918 to explain how the general theory accounts for the asymmetric aging of the twins by means of the “gravitational fields” that appear with respect to accelerated coordinates attached to the traveling twin, and Max Born recounted this analysis in a popular book, concluding that "the clock paradox is due to a false application of the special theory of relativity, namely, to a case in which the methods of the general theory should be applied". On the other hand, many people object vigorously to any suggestion that special relativity is inadequate to satisfactorily resolve the twins paradox. Ultimately the answer depends on what sort of satisfaction is being sought, viz., on whether the paradox is being presented as a challenge to the consistency of special relativity (as is Dingle's fallacy) or to the completeness of special relativity. If we're willing to accept uncritically the existence and identifiability of inertial frames, and their preferred status, and if we are willing to exclude any consideration of gravity or the equivalence principle, then we can reduce the twins paradox to a trivial exercise in special relativity. However, if it is the completeness (rather than the consistency) of special relativity that is at issue, then the naive acceptance of inertial frames is precisely what is being challenged. In this context, we can hardly justify the exclusion of gravitation, considering that the very same metrical field which determines the inertial worldlines also represents the gravitational field.

While I think it sugercoats the incorrectness of Special Relativity, I understand the presentation and can agree with it.  It is a compromise.

Date: 2007/10/05 16:47:32, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Creeky Belly,

Thank you.  I can be arrogently sure of positions I am sure of, but it does get tiring when it seems like the whole world is saying I got it all wrong.

Of course that is the way of the blogs.  People rarely risk providing support.  Thanks again.

Date: 2007/10/06 19:26:00, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
In case anyone is interested.  Several people at Telic Thoughts expressed frustration that the Third Choice didn't go far enough.

This shouldn't surprise those of you here who questioned its status visa vie ID.

I have relented and have provided an updated version.  Here is the copy and paste from Telic Thoughts…

Hi All,

Is EAM an ID Hypothesis?

Is Front Loading an ID Hypothesis?

Assuming the answer is "yes" to the above, let me offer a modification to the Third Choice. Let's call it, The Third Choice, ID Version.

The Third Choice, ID version violates NOMA in my opinion. However, since I don't know the Truth, it is a valid possibility. Here are the main points…

1. There is no such thing as randomness, period. Multiverse is false.

2. The universe has purpose. At the very least its purpose is to be consistent with itself.

3. The universe has a timeless intelligence (mind) that results from the interconnected quantum effects, including the quantum effects that gives rise to consciousness at the cellular level.

4. The interconnected quantum effects are both causal and retrocausual since time is just another dimension in space-time.

5. The quantum effects are not deterministic because they are not algorithmic. Their complexity creates an illusion of randomness.

6. The universe, and the life in it, is a result of purposeful design emanating from this timeless intelligence.

7. Understanding things like choice and free will are complicated by our view of time. It is difficult to fully conceptualize timeless decision making. Are we making a conscious decision we already made based on non-local quantum information that could be from the future?

8. Don't ask who or what designed the timeless designer unless you have an answer to the inherent "turtles all the way down" yourself.

Empirical evidence of design comes from the hypothesis' predictions like expectations that conscious decisions are effected by future events (Libet)

Date: 2007/10/06 19:36:34, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi All,

Out of fairness, here is The Third Choice, Multiverse Version.  I think it violates NOMA too.

1. Our universe is a purposeless, random selection from multiple universes during its creation.

2. The universe is made up of interconnected quantum effects which have no inherent purpose.  Consistancy is just a result of physical laws.

3. The interconnected quantum effects are both causal and retrocausual since time is just another dimension in space-time.

4. The quantum effects are not deterministic because they are not algorithmic. Their complexity creates an illusion of randomness.

5. Consiousness/awareness in living organisms is an artifact of quantum effects that are interconnected to all other quantum effects.

Date: 2007/10/06 21:20:41, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi qetzal,

Third Choice, ID Version makes me think of Law and Order, SVU!

Third Choice, IDV

I like it!

Third Choice, IDV proposes the universal intelligence would be internal/inherent to the universe.  And, yes, #8 applies to the "Who designed the designer?" question.

Let me cheat and skip to the next part that was already brought up on Telic Thoughts.  It was pointed out that I "...seem to be going in circles here."  Here was my response...

The observed reality shows that going in retrocausal circles is what the universe does at the quantum level. The universe is full of interconnected feedback loops. An infinite number of circles existing in Einsteinian/Minkowskian space-time.

I am an electrical engineer. An oscillator circuit is basically a unity gain amplifier with the output feeding the input (phased shifted by 180 degrees). A feedback loop constantly "going in circles."

Going in circles in time when it is just another dimension in space-time geometry makes for a thought provoking challenge.


I am not intentionally trying to be frustrating. But when I visualize the reality of the universe as Minkowskian geometry, things that are obvious there become extremely atypical when translated into terms of thinking of Euclidean geometry progressing through time like a frame by frame movie with each frame containing a snapshot of the 3D universe.

For example, photons (which appear as particles in Euclidean space traveling at the speed of light) take advantage of the ultimate "shortcut" available in Minkowskian geometry. Because of the shortcut, the Minkowskian distance traveled by a photon is zero. This leads to the implication that all photons in the universe are simply different glimpses of the same, single photon.

But even this thought needs to be modified because "particles" are just an illusionary artifact of a Copenhagen-like wavefunction.


In the Third Choice, ID version the timeless intelligence exercises agency in the same fashion as others might think a divine trinity of all-knowing, timeless intelligence can make choices and exercise agency.

To our empirical senses, randomness (including living organisms making choices) is an illusion, solid matter is an illusion. It is possible that nothing is empirically real except gravity which is only perturbations in the Minkowskian geometry of our universe

Date: 2007/10/06 21:46:39, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi qetzal,

How would you ever demonstrate that a decision made today was affected by an event that has not occurred?

Libet's scientific observation deals with a half a second, not hours or days.

Here is an experiment I thought of...

Electrical device that periodically (once every two seconds) flashes a red light or a green light.  Which light is flashed is based on a quantum effect.  Which light is flashed is recorded and timestamped.  Also timestamped and recorded is a two position toggle switch.  The toggle switch is spring loaded for an unconnected center position.  The switch can be toggled either left or right to indicate a choice.

The test subjects are told to move the switch based on the color light they see.  They are encouraged to do this as quickly as they can even to the point of trying to anticipate which color will be shown.

The data will be sorted based on time of response.  Any time greater than a half a second will be discarded (it is longer than the Libet delay).

Statistical analysis of the responses will establish a level of confidence of a correlation between "guesses" and actual.

BTW, if anyone wants to “steal” this idea.  Be my guest.

Date: 2007/10/07 00:59:01, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Keiths,

I would expect to get some data where the toggle happened clearly before the light event.  That would be one set that I would analyze by itself.  However, I suspect that would be a violation of superluminal information transfer that could result in a potential causal paradox.  Quantum information can be superluminal and travel forward and backwards in time.  Objective Reduction turns quantum information into normal information.  It would be my impression that if the switch is actually thrown before the light is lit, then OR already happened and it is too late for the conscious decision.

I would be focusing on the data where the switch was thrown immediately after the light is lit.

It takes time for the neural signal to travel from the eyes to the brain and then to the hand.  We know that time, classically.  If there is statistical evidence the test subjects beat that time, it would suggest quantum information flow.  If that is the case, we go to step two.

We change the light pattern to be based on an algorithm function (psuedorandom number generator) instead of quantum effects.  Then we rerun the experiment.

If the quantum effects randomizer shows correlation and the algorithmic randomizer does not.  It would suggest external quantum effects were directly influencing the quantum effects of the conscious decision-making process.

This would be the prediction of the Orch-OR hypothesis.

P.S. If anyone wants to "steal" this idea, be my guest.

Date: 2007/10/07 08:22:45, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Keiths,

You wrote..
No, superluminal information transfer would not explain a case where the toggle happened before the event.  Even if the speed of light were infinite, the information transfer would be at best instantaneous.


You really don't like General Relativity do you?

Ok, even with Special Relativity, what do you think would happen if you took a quick trip to the moon and back at twice the speed of light?

Don't let that negative square-root bother you, there are ways around it (complex numbers).

Human reaction times are well below 500 ms.  Your use of the Libet delay as a cutoff is therefore invalid and would result in false positives.
Libet's observation is that the "reaction time" for a conscious decision is 500ms.  This appears wrong on its face because things like hitting a fastball and playing professional tennis require reaction times faster than that.  However, Libet's scientific observation has withstood challenge.  Those studying consciousness have had to reevaluate their thinking to explain Libet's observation.  Dr. Hameroff has a straight-forward answer that is consistent with consciousness being interconnected with quantum effects.

BTW, by adding "step two" I have made it so you have to claim the first step would be a false positive and the second step (control) would be a false negative.

When does it become dogmatic refusal to accept this would be a confirmation of a scientific prediction?

Date: 2007/10/07 09:08:41, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi all,

Here is an updated proposed experiment to test whether or not quantum effects contribute an explanation for the apparent paradox resulting from Libet's observation that there is a 500ms reaction time for conscious decisions.

Electrical device that periodically (once every two seconds) flashes a red light or a green light.  Which light is flashed is based on either a quantum effect (quantum randomizer) or an algorithmic calculation (pseudorandom generator).  The quantum randomizer will be used or the primary testing and the pseudorandom generator for the control testing.

During testing, which light is flashed is recorded and timestamped.  Also timestamped and recorded is a two position toggle switch.  The toggle switch is spring loaded to default to an unconnected center position.  The switch can be toggled either left or right to indicate a choice.

The test subjects are told to move the switch based on the color light they see.  They are encouraged to do this as quickly as they can; even to the point of trying to anticipate which color will be shown.

The data will be statistically analyzed for correlation between the test subject’s choice with the actual light.  The correlation will then be plotted against the time delta between the light flash and the choice.  The graph of the primary testing will then be compared to the graph of the control testing.

It would be expected that choices made 500ms after the light flash would correlate well, whereas the choices made prior to the light flash wouldn’t correlate well at all.  The focus of the analysis would be to determine the crossover point between correlated and uncorrelated.

If, for example, the crossover point for the quantum randomizer is 100ms and the crossover point for the pseudorandom generator is 400ms, this would suggest conscious decisions are directly influenced by quantum effects.  However, if there is no significant difference between the crossover points, then this would be a negative result to the Orch-OR hypothesis’ prediction.

If anyone wants to "steal" this idea, by my guest.

Date: 2007/10/07 13:21:21, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Creek Belly,

Now why did you have to go and ruin a perfectly good hypothetical by pointing out it is impossible?   ;)

With General Relativity and Minkowskian space-time, faster-than-light communication inherently means going backwards in time.  However, the ultimate scientific presumption is that the universe is consistent.  Even the possibility of a causal paradox would be counter to that presumption.

Therefore, it is impossible for normal information to go faster than the speed of light.  However, non-local (superluminal) quantum effects have been observed in experiment after experiment.  Quantum information doesn't run the risk of causal paradox because everything is in superposition until the whole interconnected mess collapses in an objective reduction.

Therefore quantum information can be superluminal/timeless. Based on experimental observations, quantum information flow is superluminal and, therefore, not resticted by a "flow" of time.

If you wanted better statistics, the timing should be randomized as well, so the observers can't anticipate when the light will be shown. Again, this wouldn't be a test for quantum effects, but how much more random is a pseudo-random generator than a quantum random generator to human perception.

I thought about varying the timing, but I want the test subjects to try to anticipate.  I would expect they would get pretty good at timing it, but not perfect.  I want a lot of data points in the 0ms to 500ms range.  I think my suggested setup would get that.

I find it interesting that you bring up the idea that a pseudo-random generator could somehow be "more random" than a quantum-based randomizer.  The Orch-OR prediction is that quantum effects aren't random.  We can, and would, run an analysis of our equipment to verify statistical randomness.  Pseudo-random generators aren't random by definition; they are a result of an algorithm.  It is even possible that a savant could figure out the algorithm and know the entire sequence.  This is allegedly impossible for the quantum randomizer.

That being said, I would agree that it is likely the quantum randomizer might be too crude to demonstrate what I would want it to demonstrate.  However, this is a two-way street.  If Orch-OR is right, the quantum effects are interconnected in both directions.  There would be just as much “encouragement” for the quantum randomizer to match a conscious will as there would be for the conscious decision to match the quantum randomizer result.  I think tuning the quantum randomizer’s decoherence time to 25ms (the period of the 40Hz EEG frequency) might help.

At any rate, I would offer that the classical prediction is that the algorithmic pseudo-random generators should be less random and more likely to be anticipated than a naturally occurring randomizer.  If the reverse is the case (by a statistically significant amount) I suggest it would be supportive of, at least, to the proposition that quantum effects are not truly random.  And it would come close to rationalization to suggest there is no significance to an observation that consciousness is more capable of anticipating (or manipulating) quantum effects as compared to a non-random, complex algorithm.

Date: 2007/10/07 18:16:53, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Keiths,

Thank you for providing the link.  I would going to suggest that one myself.

And thanks everyone for providing data points on reaction times.

My focus would be on the conscious decision-making process. I still think it would be suggestive if quantum randomization resulted in choices being more correct and faster as opposed to algorithmic randomization.

Date: 2007/10/08 11:48:39, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi qetzal,

You wrote...
I have to say that I get a bit frustrated with some of your posts. You tend to state things as fact when they are often merely conjecture.

This is a reasonable observation, but allow me to offer something in defense.  A lot of what I am quoting here is a copy and paste from Telic Thoughts.  There, I have gotten in the habit (bad habit?) of making provocative scientific statements in hopes of provoking others to challenge me to defend it (thus getting them to think about my explanation).  That is consistent with my obvious agenda.

It is probably less necessary here.  Getting people to challenge the science doesn't appear to be a problem. ;)

The idea of comparing a quantum random number generator to an algorithmic one seems workable. Conventionally, assuming each generates a suitably "random" sequence, subjects' responses to them should be indistinguishable.

I think that's one of those experiments where you'll almost certainly get the conventional result, but if you did see a reproducible difference in subject response to the quantum sequence, (and if artifacts and experimental biases could be ruled out), it would be very hard for conventional science to explain it.

Thank you for recognizing possible value in the experiment.  I have been trying to explain what I see as the difference between what Orch-OR predicts and standard precognition.  Precognition implies an absolute state of the light being Red or Green in the future and the absolute knowledge of the state beforehand.

Orch-OR suggests all quantum effects are interconnected in superposition until Objective Reduction.  The light is both Red and Green (ala Schroedinger's Cat) as is the interconnected conscious "observation" of it.  Quantum information is this fuzzy superposition of multiple states.  In quantum computers, qubits are both 1 and 0 until decoherence.

With this in mind, if conscious decisions are tied to this superposition choice ("left" and "right") which is entangled with observation of the superposition of a light state ("red" and "green").  The objective reduction of either would cause both to instantly (as in superluminally) collapse to a single state.

It is this non-local joint collapse that had been observed in quantum experiments  (Note, the terms I am using presume the Copenhagen interpretation.  Those ascribing to the Many Worlds interpretation would explain things differently).

A practical purpose of this in living organism would be efficiency and speed.  This is what the folks at Berkeley lab are suggesting with their observation of quantum effects in photosynthesis. link

What my proposed experiment is looking for is the possibility that quantum entanglement speeds up conscious decisions.

This experiment wouldn't test for quantum entanglements within the body (e.g. eyes to brain to fingers) but would be looking for external quantum entanglements  (quantum randomizer to test subject).

I agree, it is a long shot, but I also agree with your assessment that "...if you did see a reproducible difference in subject response to the quantum sequence, (and if artifacts and experimental biases could be ruled out), it would be very hard for conventional science to explain it."

The unlikely results would be consistent with the Orch-OR model of consciousness.

Date: 2007/10/08 11:54:27, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi keiths,

Thanks for the link.

As Wesley said, the time is task dependent.

I am looking for a reaction time that requires a more obvious decision.  Something more than responding to change.

I have noticed some on the web, but the links where broken.

If you run across one, could you let me know?


Date: 2007/10/08 17:29:07, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
H Keiths,

You wrote...
If you're serious about doing the experiment, take the Javascript code for this test and modify it so that the light starts out yellow and then changes randomly to red or green, with the subject's job being to click in a red or green square to match the color.

Ok, its done.  I used the "z" and the "/" keys to make it more responsive.

Here is the link.

Thank you for the suggestion.

Edit: I have updated the program.  However, I wasn't able to get the quantum randomizer to actually work yet, so I simulated expected results.  That is ok isn't it?  :p

Date: 2007/10/12 12:12:01, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi OldMan.

I tried to post the following but I haven't bought anything from Amazon under this name.  I suggest this wouldn't be a recycled argument and might provide for putting Behe in an interesting position to answer.  If anyone wants to copy and paste (or put it in your own words) be my guest....

Dr. Behe,

Taking advantage of the ability to comment here, I wish to publicly ask you something that has bothered me.  You have focused on the microscopic level to suggest that randomness is insufficient to explain observations.  It is obvious that you are dealing at a level of detail that involves quantum mechanical effects.  Experiments have shown quantum effects aren't random.  Why was there so little discussion of quantum physics in your book Edge of Evolution when many scientists have been linking quantum physics to life processes.  For example, Stapp, Patel and those at Berkeley lab who, this year, demonstrated photosynthesis is a quantum mechanical mechanism.

Both you and Abbie Smith could be correct.  Her observations could be correct and your analysis visa-vie randomness could also be correct.  Random Mutation would turn out to be impotent if, in fact, non-random quantum effects are fundamental to life at the microscopic level.

I would have thought you and CSC fellow, Henry F. Schaefer III, would have discussed something like this.

Date: 2007/10/12 12:45:42, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi All,

Listen to Louis, he might be on to something.

I agree with Richard Dawkins' review that Dr. Behe's Darwin's Black Box had a spark of conviction that Edge of Evolution does not.

I know I won't have a hard time convincing many people here that Edge of Evolution wasn't very convincing from a science point of view.  It appears Behe didn't even attempt to make a convincing scientific case, he offered no alternative, no hypothesis.

BTW, how many people know who Henry F. Schaefer III is?

Why haven't we heard more of Schaefer's scientific hypotheses?

I don't have access to Amazon comments.  Would someone who does please ask the question for me?

Date: 2007/10/12 13:07:39, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Tracy,

Thank you for your reply.

I'm not interested in trying to argue for or against the hypothesis in this thread.  I am more interested in what Fritz Schaefer would be telling his fellow fellows at DI and why they might not think it would be politicially correct.

Could you offer your opinion on whether Fritz Schaefer would likely agree with Patal that DNA uses quantum superposition in performing its function?

Date: 2007/10/12 14:46:34, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
To Smokey (JAM?),

I think that was an excellence comment on Amazon.

Date: 2007/10/12 15:41:19, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi All,

I managed to get my comment up (bought Battlestar Promo for $0.00).

I would appreciated it if you guys didn't vote it down.  I suggest it wouldn't hurt to have a neutral comment mixed in among the negative ones.  It might help Amazon justify leaving all the comments up.


P.S. Ok Louis, here is your chance to encourage the woo fighting (or have you already voted it down?)

Date: 2007/10/13 08:16:11, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Keiths,

In case you haven't figured it out yet, this is my method for fighting the ID Movement.

Polarizing all issues plays into the hands of ID's PR strategists, IMO.

To Louis - I will restate my understanding of the status of bioquantum mechanics on another thread.

Date: 2007/10/13 14:36:52, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi All,

Ok, we are back on the air for detailed discussions.

First a review of things from other threads.

In The Voice from the Middle Ground, we got into a discussion about Special Relativity verses General Relativity.

I think this concept is key to understanding the reality that includes cosmology, quantum physics along with biology.  Special Relativity is NOT reality.  It is incomplete.  General Relativity is the observed reality.  There is a single, inertial frame of reference.  This means our universe exhibits Minkowskian Geometry (not Euclidean Geometry).  From Einstein’s Ether: Why did Einstein Come Back to the Ether?...

"In (1905) Einstein constructed a relativity theory that was based on the assertion that the ether was superfluous. In 1908 Minkowski formulated the theory of the “absolute world”. The nineteenth century ether no longer existed. A new kind of ether (space-time) came into being. One could keep on maintaining the ether, and at the same time strip it of the notion of absolute rest. Einstein seemed to agree, and after 1916 he returned to the ether. In 1920 he combined Minkowski’s absolute world concept and Mach’s ideas on rotational movements…"

To belabor the point, General Relativity and, therefore, Minkowskian geometry is an everyday reality...
"Although the Global Positioning System (GPS) is neither designed nor operated as a test of fundamental physics, it must account for the gravitational redshift in its timing system. When the first satellite was launched, some engineers resisted the prediction that a noticeable gravitational time dilation would occur, so the first satellite was launched without the clock adjustment built into subsequent satellites. It showed the predicted shift of 38 microseconds per day. If general relativity suddenly stopped working tomorrow, the GPS control center in Colorado would know within hours; the relativistic correction to the timing is large enough to make GPS useless if it is not allowed for. Also, while it is true that GPS is not operated by the Defense Department as a test of general relativity, physicists have analyzed timing data from the GPS to confirm other tests. An excellent account of the role played by general relativity in the design of GPS can be found in Ashby 2003."link

Space-time is reality.

Calculating space-like distances ("dl") in space-time adheres to the following equation...

dl^2 = dx^2 + dy^2 + dz^2 - dt^2

Where the four dimensions are complex quantities.  Which means that a time-like distance ("ds") is just a different view of the exact same thing...

ds^2 = dt^2 - dx^2 - dy^2 - dz^2

Photons (traveling at the speed of light) have a Minkowskian distance of ZERO whether calculated time-like or space-like.  Quantum "paradoxes" like GHZ states are trivial to understand for photons since they can be anywhere and anywhen instantly.

This provides an understanding of how any and all quantum effects can be interconnected regardless of distances in space and/or time.

Hopefully, we can generally agree that quantum effects can be interconnected in space and time. The question becomes are they interconnected?

I believe they are for the same reason I believe magnetic fields and electrical fields are interconnected.  It makes for an understandable model.  Maxwell's equations would be just a mathematical model if not for the consistency it has to observations.  Penrose's mathematical model does the same thing for quantum observations.

While there may be resistance to the implications of this, the alternatives are not that attractive.  Either we continue to wait for someone to come up with a better idea (we have been waiting for eight decades) or we embrace a metaphysical concept called Many Worlds.

Metaphysics is metaphysics whether Many Worlds or God.

Once it is realized that quantum effects are interconnected, it is a short hop to realizing there is no such thing as randomness.

A lack of randomness wasn't a problem when Newtonian Physics was king.  The only possible sources for randomness are quantum effects and conscious decisions (free will).  Psuedorandom generators are not random.

If quantum effects are interconnected, their randomness is an illusion.  Quantum effects are non-deterministic but they are also not random.  This leave consciousness.

Are conscious decisions random?

Not if they are directly dependent on quantum effects.

This would explain quantum physic's measurement problem.  The observer doesn't "randomly" decide which measurement to take.  Conscious decisions are interconnected with the quantum effects being measured.

The implication of this is that the appearance of randomness in living organisms is a direct artifact of quantum effects.

Before we review the evidence of living things directly using quantum physics, we need to discuss the concept of decoherence.

The term "decoherence" harkens back to the time when scientists were arguing whether light was made up of waves, particles or both.  After many experiments the prevailing thought was that a light wave collapsed into actual particle for some to-be-discovered reason.  However, a universally acceptable reason never materialised and the term "decoherence" has morphed into a term loosely describing a process of transforming quantum effects into macro world observations.

Quantum superpositions are generally being accepted as reality.  Qubits are quantum bits that are entangled with other quantum bits whose states are both 0 and 1.  This superposition state is unstable.  Superposition can and does collapse when isolation is compromised.  Why this happens is a subject of debate.

How long can quantum states remain in superposition?

Arguably they can remain in superposition for years.  I say "arguably" because it is mostly theoretical but experiments have been performed involving things like pulsars with massive galaxies in between acting like dual-slit experiments.

For a more down-to-earth experiment NIST has shown qubit superposition lasting 7 to 10 seconds. link

Qubits demonstrate long-lasting interconnected quantum superposition is possible, but does this happen in living organisms?

Early in 2007 a team of Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley researchers identified quantum mechanical effects as the key to the astonishing ability of photosynthesis to utilize nearly all the photons absorbed by the leaves of green plants. Now a different team has found new evidence that points to a closely packed pigment-protein complex of the photosystem as the key to those quantum mechanical effects.
How nature manages to pull off this stunt was a long-standing mystery until the spring of 2007, when a study led by Graham Fleming, Deputy Director of Berkeley Lab and a UC Berkeley chemistry professor, found the first direct evidence of what he calls a "remarkably long-lived wavelike electronic quantum coherence."

While it is tempting to end the discussion here, quantum based photosynthesis doesn't explain how consciousness is interconnected to quantum effects (the final piece to solve the quantum measurement problem).

Single-celled organisms avoid obstacles and predators, find food and engage in sex.  How are they able to accomplish this?  An obvious presumption is that the cell's cytoskeleton performs the combined function of skeleton, muscle and nervous system.  The cytoskeleton is made up of microtubules and actin.  Microtubules (MTs) are made up of tubulin dimers. Dr. Hameroff offers...

Tubulin subunits within MTs are arranged in a hexagonal lattice which is slightly twisted, resulting in differing neighbor relationships among each subunit and its six nearest neighbors (Figure 9). Thus pathways along contiguous tubulins form helical pathways which repeat every 3, 5 and 8 rows (the Fibonacci series). Alpha tubulin monomers are more negatively charged than beta monomers, so each tubulin (and each MT as a whole) is a ferroelectric dipole with positive (beta monomer) and negative (alpha monomer) ends.

If the alpha and beta states of these small tubulins (8 nm by 4 nm by 5 nm) can be in quantum superposition, it would provide an explanation for how the actions of living organisms are directly interconnected to quantum effects.

It is reasonable to presume that tubulins are capable of being in quantum position since similar sized fluorofullerenes exhibit quantum behavior. link  However, this is once again a situation where something can happen but it is questionable whether it does happen.

DNA provides another possible example of life directly using quantum effects. Patel is refining the model (Grover's algorithm) of the search function inherent in the DNA...

The initial and final states of Grover’s algorithm are classical, but the execution in between is not. In order to be stable, the initial and final states have to be based on a relaxation towards equilibrium process. For the execution of the algorithm in between, the minimal physical requirement is a system that allows superposition of states, in particular a set of coupled wave modes.

The processing power that quantum superposition provides, whether for photosynthesis, DNA processing or cellular awareness could be very useful to living organisms.  Is it such a far-fetched presumption that life has evolved a method to take advantage of this useful tool?

Life's direct dependency on quantum physics becomes obvious in the case of photosynthesis.  It is also likely for DNA.  While the case for microtubules is harder to make right now, too many observations are explained by it to dismiss it out of hand, IMO.

Date: 2007/10/13 16:49:22, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Creeky Belly,

Thank you for the reasoned and reasonable response.

As to the 300 degree K situation.  I would like to direct your attention to this link where the experiment was not run at cold temperatures.  In fact, the Fullerenes (i.e. Bucky Balls) were heated to 900K.

Here is the link to The wave nature of biomolecules and fluorofullerenes  which used fluorofullerene which are 2.5 times larger than Fullerenes.  The experiment was basically the same as the one for Fullerenes.

From a 2005 Hameroff paper...
b. Decoherence

Decoherence is the disruption of quantum superposition due to energy or information interaction with the classical environment. Consequently quantum technology is generally developed in ultra-cold isolation, and physicists are skeptical of quantum computing in the “warm, wet and noisy” brain.

However biological systems may delay decoherence in several ways (Davies 2004). One is to isolate the quantum system from environmental interactions by screening/shielding. Intra-protein hydrophobic pockets are screened from external van der Waals thermal interactions; MTs may also be shielded by counter-ion Debye plasma layers (due to charged C-termini tails on tubulin) and by water-ordering actin gels (Hameroff et al 2002). Biological systems may also exploit thermodynamic gradients to give extremely low effective temperatures (Matsuno 1999).

Another possibility concerns decoherence-free subspaces. Paradoxically, when a system couples strongly to its environment through certain degrees of freedom, it can effectively “freeze” other degrees of freedom (by a sort of quantum Zeno effect), enabling coherent superpositions and entanglement to persist (Nielson & Chuang 2001). Metabolic energy supplied to MT collective dynamics (e.g. Fröhlich coherence) can counter decoherence (in the same way that lasers avoid decoherence at room temperature). Finally, MT structure seems ideally suited for topological quantum error correction by the Aharonov-Bohm effect (Hameroff et al 2002).

Attempting to disprove a role for quantum states in consciousness, Max Tegmark (2000, c.f. Seife 2000) calculated MT decoherences times of 10^-13 sec, far too brief for neural activities. However Tegmark did not address Orch OR nor any previous proposal, but his own quantum MT model which he did indeed successfully disprove. Hagan et al (2002) recalculated MT decoherence times with Tegmark’s formula[xliii] but based on stipulations of the Orch OR model. For example Tegmark used superposition of solitons “separated from themselves” along a microtubule by a distance of 24 nanometers. In Orch OR, superposition separation distance is the diameter of a carbon atom nucleus, 6 orders of magnitude smaller. Since separation distance is in the denominator of the decoherence formula, this discrepancy alone extends the decoherence time 6 orders of magnitude to 10^-7 seconds. Additional discrepancies (charge versus dipole, correct dielectric constant) extend the calculated decoherence time to 10^-5 to 10^-4 sec. Shielding (counter-ions, actin gel) extends the time into physiological range of tens to hundreds of msec. Topological (Aharonov-Bohm) quantum error correction may extend MT decoherence time indefinitely.[xliv]

Is the brain truly “wet and noisy”? In gel state MTs are in a quasi-solid environment with ordered water. As for “noisy”, electrophysiological background fluctuations show ongoing “noise” to actually correlate over distances in the brain (Arieli et al 1996, Ferster 1996).

Experimental evidence shows that electron quantum spin transfer between quantum dots connected by organic benzene molecules is more efficient at room temperature than at absolute zero (Ouyang and Awschalom, 2003). The same structures are found in amino acids (phenylalanine, tyrosine, tryptophan) in hydrophobic pockets of proteins. Other experiments have shown quantum wave behavior of biological porphyrin molecules (Hackermüller et al., 2003), and still others that noise can enhance some quantum processes (Beige et al 2004). Evolution has had billions of years to solve the decoherence problem (Section IXf).

Hameroff has been explaining this a lot longer than I have.

Date: 2007/10/13 21:17:48, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Creeky Belly,

You wrote...
Interference, like your Bucky ball experiment, has nothing to do with entanglement or computation, but rather the effect of the deBroglie wavelength on molecular structures.

I thought we were talking about 300K decoherence.
(entanglement and quantum calculations are a separate issue, IMO)

The Bucky Balls are in superposition (i.e. coherence).

I suggest the dual-split experiment is just an easy way to test for superposition and coherence.  If you get an interference pattern, you have coherence.  If you don't, you had early decoherence.

You are, of course, correct in that currently we can only demonstrate long lasting coherence at cold temperatures (7 to 10 seconds).

But, frankly, the actual decoherence time comes close to being a detail that I am willing to see worked out over time.  Penrose/Hameroff predict decoherence times of around 25ms.

Meanwhile, let's see how far we agree.  Do you...

1. Agree/disagree that it is likely life directly uses quantum effects for photosynthesis?

2. Agree/disagree that it is likely that DNA function directly involves quantum effects?

3. Agree/disagree that it is likely the cytoskeleton is the mechanism for the appearance of single-cell awareness?

4. Agree/disagree that this awareness is likely due to the direct involvement of quantum effect in microtubules?

5. Agree/disagree that cytoskeleton awareness of neuron cells plays a part in the appearance of human consciousness?

6. Agree/disagree that synchronized microtubule decoherence is likely responsible for the 40hz (25ms) EEG frequency that corresponds to state of consciousness?

Identify your level a skepticism all you want.  I just want to know where your threshold is.

Date: 2007/10/14 13:47:05, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Creeky Belly,

Here is a description of the Fullerene (i.e. Bucky Ball) experiment that is a little more readable. It includes...

"To calculate the expected diffraction angles, we first need to know the de Broglie wavelength which is uniquely determined by the momentum of the molecule...

Lambda = h / mv

...where h is Planck’s constant. Accordingly, for a C60 fullerene with a mass of m=1.2x10^-24 kg and a velocity of v=200m/s, we find a wavelength of 2.8 pm."

That is 2.8 picometers

2.8x10^-12 = 6.63x10^-34 / (1.2x10^-24 * 200)

A fullerene is one NANOmeter (10^-9) in diameter.  Fluorofullerenes are bigger yet.

I think this illustrates some main differences that you and I have in our views of this.  I consider the superposition/coherence property fundamental to all quantum effects especially in the double-slit interference experiment.  The "decoherence" question is basically how long can coherence be maintained for nanometer sized particles like tubulin dimers.

From the above link...

"The spatial transverse coherence of our source is almost negligible right after the oven. Inside the source, the coherence width is actually only of the order of the thermal deBroglie wavelength. As is true in general for extended sources with uncorrelated emitters, the visibility is then reduced by the fact that the many partial interferometers—each starting at one point in the source and forming two trajectories through the double-slit toward a point in the detector—acquire different phase differences along their path to a given spot on the screen.

After the oven, we therefore need to enlarge the spatial coherence width by about five orders of magnitude in order to illuminate at least two neighboring slits coherently."

In simpler English…
The superposition states of individual BuckyBalls aren't very far apart when they come out of the oven.  However the superpositions drift apart on their way through the experiment's two collimating slits that "improve the spatial coherence and limit the angular spread of the beam".  This allows for the individual Bucky Balls to go through the 100 nanometer grating with enough quantum superposition spread to be detectable.

Note, the experiment assumes the individual Bucky Balls remain in superposition for the entire 2.29 meter trip and don't undergo decoherence too early.  At 200 meters/second, that means this very warm biomolecule can remain in superposition for at least  11.45 milliseconds.

This experiment isolates the molecules in superposition via a simple vaccum, not via cold temperatures.

11.45 milliseconds isn't that far from the 25 milliseconds required for the Penrose/Hameroff model.

I look forward to hearing your explanations as to how I am “misunderstanding” the situation.

Date: 2007/10/14 16:15:22, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Creeky Belly,

You wrote...
1. Agree
2. Agree
3-6. Disagree

Thank you for your response.  At least we have something to work with.  Direct quantum effects for photosynthesis and DNA are ok, microtubules no.

I am presuming this means your basic focus is on the timing of coherence/decoherence based on the size/weight of the biomolecule and lack of isolation.

A tubulin monomer is about 350 times more massive than the nucleobase Guanine.

You're talking about single particle(molecule) decoherence in a vacuum. The molecule isn't affected by thermal emission from other atoms, and isn't entangling itself with photons.

At this point, that is exactly what I am talking about.  I am looking to see if it is possible for an isolated biomolecule that has a dimension of 4 nm by 4 nm by 5 nm and weighs 55K amu to remain in quantum superposition for around 25ms.

It looks like researchers are on their way to showing this experimentally.  For the purposes of our discussion, are you are willing to agree there is nothing fundamental preventing a tubulin monomer from being in a quantum superposition state for 25 ms as long as it "...isn't affected by thermal emission from other atoms, and isn't entangling itself with photons"?

And, furthermore, do you agree the internal temperature of a biomolecule isn't a factor?

I recognize there is still a long way to go even if you agree to this.  However, I think this will help focus where we disagree.

Date: 2007/10/14 17:46:14, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Creeky Belly,

As to your curiosity about Hameroff, he recently put up a blog.  I have posted a couple of attention-getting comments he hasn't responded to yet.

If he does, I will ask him and I will let you know.

Meanwhile, you wrote...
Like I've explained to you before, I think there are more direct ways of isolating things like shielding and error correction. What I think needs to be stressed with regards to the C60 experiment, is the demonstration of tranverse coherence for a single molecule. For something like quantum computation, which requires coherence across multiple molecules, this doesn't follow from the results.

I see four sub-topics here...

1. "Transverse coherence" doesn't automatically translate into qubits.

2. Still need to explain isolation

3. Still need to explain "coherence across multiple molecules"

4. The system is probably useless without error correction.

To the first point,  I wasn't overly worried about the fact the C60 experiment had a different kind of superposition.  The double-slit superposition is much harder to accomplish than having superpositioned states of the same biomolecule in essentially the same location.  Doing it is relatively easy; detecting it is the hard part.

It is the detection part that works at cross purposes with isolating it.  Having a biomolecule perform feats of quantum superposition magic is worthless if it produces no output.  However, if it produces output, it isn't isolated.  Those building artificial quantum computers have the same dilemma.

I suggest we combine questions about getting output with the isolation question and focusing on that next, if you agree.

As to the "coherence across multiple molecules".  I am probably more willing to accept that as a given based on my view of the inherent interconnectedness of quantum effects in space-time geometry.  So, I don't have a ready answer to that one.  I think we will have enough to talk about getting past the isolation question (i.e. warm, wet brain).  I suggest tabling this one for later.

As to the error correction.  Dr. Hameroff has pointed out various inherent error correction mechanisms in his view the microtubule model.  He even suggests it helps with decoherence in that the other tubulins literally prevent strays from getting out of line.  I think we will be doing great if this as our only problem.  I suggest tabling this one too, unless you feel it is essential for dealing with the isolation question.

Date: 2007/10/14 19:45:38, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi AFDave,

I see you were already familiar with Dr. Walter Brown (I had advised you to take some lessons from him in my previous post).

I think you need work harder on learning.

Your critics are right.  This is old news.

Actually, I agree that another level of OOL is going to open up if and when nanobes are classified as life.

Did nanobes come from space?

Maybe, but that will put a crimp in the ID Movement's arguments, not evolution's.  It will push back the amount of time RM + NS had to complete its work.

As for YECers.  It is just another obstacle that needs explained away.

How old are those meteorites?

Date: 2007/10/14 20:46:59, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Jim,

It was a trick question.

According to Dr. Walter Brown our solar system's asteroids where propelled by superheated steam during the flood.  And everyone knows the flood started when Noah was 600 years old.  Which was 1656 years after the 6 day miracle of creation.

In other words, 2340 BC or 4,347 years ago.

Now this might help explain Stonehenge.  You see some for the rocks didn't quite make escape velocity and if we calculate...

You get the idea.  Like I said, it’s just another minor detail that would need to be explained.

Date: 2007/10/14 22:59:03, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Creeky Belly,

You wrote...
...but decoherence times are much different for this quantum interaction than for say, spin states. I don't think you can just side-step this issue and say you're not worried, there's some real considerations that need to be made when you talk about exactly what is being entangled. Coherence times across molecules run the risk of quickly going into a mixed state (no interference), which is why not everything is connected in a quantum sense. I guess what I'm really trying to say is, I don't really care if you can accept that molecules don't have trouble staying in a coherent state, the evidence is on my side that they have short times at room temperature.

This is why I broke things up into more manageable sub-topics.  I don't understand your fundamental objection to presuming long quantum coherence times for isolated biomolecules.  Here are the two states of tublin dimers...

The peanut-shaped tubulin dimer switches between two conformations in which the alpha monomer flexes 30 degrees from vertical alignment with the beta monomer. These are referred to as open and closed states (Figure 8, Melki et al 1989, Hoenger and Milligan 1997, Ravelli et al 2004). link

Here is the Ravelli 2004 paper showing the two different tubulin dimer configurations.  Ravelli used the terms "curved" and "straight" instead of "open" and "closed".

If I am understanding things correctly.  There isn't much of a question that tubulin dimers exhibit two distinct states.  This appears to be a scientific observation.  What is being questioned is whether superposition of this bend is possible/likely if the tubulin dimers are appropriately isolated.

Not to take too much advantage of your DNA concession, but DNA superposition would be of a similar nature.  We aren't talking spinning electrons here.  We are talking about the physical orientations of biomolecules.

Just look at the pictures in the Ravelli paper.  It just isn't that big of a difference.

Bed Time.  Will comment more tomorrow.

Date: 2007/10/15 10:08:19, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Louis,

You wrote...
In all of this the first thought I have is that these effects should show up in an MRI machine. I might be wrong, but AFAIK, they don't.

Welcome to the frustrating world of Quantum Physics and its measurement problem.

In the opening post of this thread I described my version of the GHZ states (special coins) but pointed out that no peeking was allowed.  This wasn’t a trivial note.  The nature of Quantum Physics is very strict on the no-peeking rule.

Experimenters have been trying to catch particles in the act of going through two slits in superposition for decades.   They have tried every non-evasive trick in the book with no luck.  They have even tried waiting until after the particles have already gone through the slits and it didn’t work.  Google “wheeler quantum delayed choice” and browse the entries.

We are building quantum computers and secured communication devices on the presumption that superposition is a reality even though we have never had it “show up” on countless experimental attempts to get it to do so.

I will attempt in the future to provide further explanations of Hameroff’s description of how tubulin dimers are kept isolated.  However, real life is keeping me quite busy lately.

Date: 2007/10/15 13:51:31, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi qetzal,

Thank you for your comment.  You provided some very good points that will take some time for me to respond to.

You correctly pointed out that a tubulin dimer is made up of two tubulin monomers.  This makes for a total mass of 110K amu.

I am adjusting my thinking accordingly.

I will try to respond more fully later.

Date: 2007/10/15 14:41:55, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Louis,

I am not sure what you are looking for here.  Qetzal brought up the suggestion that the tubulin dimers are always in a given state when assembled as microtubules.  I am looking into that.

Is that what you are talking about?

The interference pattern of the double slit experiment is the indirect evidence of superposition.  Dr. Hameroff suggests that the gamma EEG frequency (30Hz to 80Hz) could be the indirect evidence of tubulin superposition.

I am honestly trying to understand what kind of evidence you think an MRI would be able to detect.  I understand, the existence of Gamma EEG waves correspond to the existence of consciousness (a lack of consciousness means a lack of Gamma EEG and visa-versa).  I am presuming neurologists are looking hard for the fundamental source of Gamma EEG waves using MRI along with every other state-of-the-art instrument that is available.

Is there a better hypothesis for the source of Gamma waves?

Date: 2007/10/15 15:34:05, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Jam,

"No, I'm not!"

(blame Jim Wynne)

Date: 2007/10/15 20:34:43, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi qetzal,

You wrote...
So, what we really have is a series of reference showing that tubulin can adopt curved structures when it is not part of a microtubule.

After doing some digging I have found that it is generally accepted that intact microtubules contain both configurations of tubulin.  The Alpha tubulin monomer binds with GTP.  The Beta tubulin monomer binds with either GTP or GDP.  If Beta monomer binds with GDP the tubulin dimer is curved.

A microtubule with curved tubulin dimers on the end cap will start falling apart with the curved tubulins becoming loose.  Therefore the end caps of intact microtubules have straight tubulin dimers.  However, the middle section can, and does, contain curved dimers.

Here is a fairly easy to read paper from Mershin, Kolomenski, Schuessler and Nanopoulos titled...

Tubulin dipole moment, dielectric constant and quantum behavior: computer simulations, experimental results and suggestions.

It explains the GDP and GTP binding.  The paper also includes this in its discussion section...
Regardless of whether it turns out that tubulin and MTs are purely classical systems or they have a quantum nature, the excitation and detection of the theory-suggested ’flip waves’ would be an important step towards understanding the role that tubulin and MTs can play as binary switches and networks respectively, both in naturally occurring systems such as living cells as well as in synthesized structures. Note that the energy needed for a tubulin conformational change or ’flip’ is roughly 200 times lower than a conventional silicon-based binary switch, making laser-pulse induced switching feasible. This conformational change energy is also about 30 times larger than thermal noise at room temperature, making the system reasonably resilient to thermal noise.

And its summary section...
Theoretical efforts by us and others have strongly suggested that tubulin is near the "front lines" of intracellular information manipulation and storage. Our group has performed preliminary measurements on tubulin in an effort to supply experimentally determined parameters (such as the refractive index, polarizability and dipole moment) to apply to the various models of tubulin.
We used computer simulation to calculate the electric dipole moments of the two tubulin monomers and dimer and found those to be |p?|=552D, |p?|= 1193D and |p??|=1740D respectively. We used refractometry to corroborate our previous SPR-derived result (equation(1)) for ?n/?c ~1.800ml/mg. The refractive index of tubulin was found to be ntub ~2.90 (3) and that gives the high frequency tubulin dielectric constant at ?tub ~8.41 (4). In addition, the highfrequency polarizability was found to be ?tub ~ 2.1x 10-33 C m2/V(5). Several methods were described to determine the low-frequency DC-p as well as to check for both coherence and entanglement among tubulin dimer dipole states. An experiment was suggested whereby using a perforated metal chip layered with a network of aligned MTs, and employing entangled photons in the SPR-exciting laser beam, it can be determined whether surface plasmons interacting with MTs can stay entangled and whether this entanglement can be propagated and conserved by the biomolecules.

In its conclusion...
The electric and energy-transduction properties of tubulin and the polymers it forms are important not only because of the role these play in intracellular protein interactions but also because it may well be that nature has already provided us with suitable nanowires, switches or even logic gates. Beyond the obvious benefit to the credibility or otherwise of the various "quantum brain models", determining the dipole moment of tubulin and its dynamics will further our understanding of tubulin and other similar proteins (such as actin) and will shed light on whether we can use these as the basis of biomolecular electronic circuits of even quantum information processing.
Tubulin, microtubules and the dynamic cytoskeleton are fascinating systems and in their structure and function contain the clues on how to imitate nature in artificially fabricated biomolecular information processing devices paving the way for biobits and perhaps even bioqubits.

While this paper presented a specific positive picture of the Orch OR model, it is just one of many talking about the different types of tubulin dimers that make up microtubules.  Early papers talked about one type for the ends and the other type for the middle, but it was clear it is generally assumed both types are present in an intact microtubule.

Date: 2007/10/15 22:48:06, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi qetzal,

You know I am an engineer and not a scientist, right?

That being said.  In 1951, two inexperienced young scientists put together a highly speculative model for the genetics.  The model was humiliatingly wrong.  The two were chastised and told to quit working on it.  However, they were stubborn and after "borrowing" data obtained by more experienced scientists, they got lucky and this time the model they put together resulted in them eventually being awarded the Nobel Prize.

The two scientists, of course, were Watson and Crick and the model was DNA’s double helix.

Stuart Hameroff is 60 years old.  He has been working on this for his entire professional life.  Do you think he really cares whether or not you give him "the benefit of the doubt"?

Sir Rodger Penrose probably cares even less.

Jack A. Tuszynski, Avner Priel, Arnolt J. Ramos, Horacio F. Cantiello, Nancy J. Woolf, Vahid Rezania, Michael Hendzel and others might care.  They are the ones doing the experiments.

I find Orch OR interesting for a couple of reasons.  First of all, it makes for a good hypothetical in the ID/Darwin debates.  Would either side accept this as a reasonable hypothesis?

Second, it is thought provoking both for others and for myself.

Third, it feels right.  The details aren't as important as the fact that things fit together.  Too many questions have gone unanswered for too long.  Orch OR goes a long way to answering the big ones.

Besides, SteveStory said he was looking to provide you guys with something more substantial than the cotton candy opponents you a used to dealing with.

Now if you would rather argue with AfDave....  

Date: 2007/10/16 13:26:12, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi qetzal,

Please pardon me for threatening you with AfDave but the point was to put things into perspective.  I'm just an engineer trying to make sense of things.  That, and having some fun being a quasi-troll.

You wrote...
I get the impression that you see this as partly a philosophical debate. Personally, I couldn't care less about the philosophy. I accept the ToE because it's supported by evidence and accurately predicts what we see. I reject ID because it isn't, and it doesn't.

If you show me that Orch OR accurately predicts things that conventional models don't, I'll be much more interested. Until then...

It is the "until then..." where the philosophical battle takes place.  What are the default presumptions?  I am not challenging established ToE principles, neither is Mike Gene.

What is your presumed answer for the GHZ states described in the opening post to this thread?

What is your presumed answer for the source of Gamma EEG waves?

What is your presumed answer for how single-celled organisms can avoid obstacles, find food and engage in sex?

I suggest that many have a philosophical bias towards explanations that presume solid matter is operating in a universe of Euclidean Geometry where time always marches forward like a frame by frame movie (i.e. “Materialism”).

“Materialism” is a philosophical outlook.  I think it is outdated considering what we know from quantum physics.  The Many Worlds interpretation is a desperate attempt to hang on to the security blanket of presuming solid particles actually exist.

I am not suggesting God or even Intelligent Designer(s) should be presumed.  A lot of people have complained that my philosophical leaning is “Naturalism” which, to some, is just as bad as “Materialism”.

We can’t escape our biases.  We all have them.  But I suggest in this case, you might be attempting to presume a biased position that you have no right to claim as the default ("conventional models").

I am an engineer putting together my model.  You put together yours and we will compare them.  Ok?

Date: 2007/10/16 16:10:45, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Creek Belly,

You wrote...
Materialistic in what sense? The fact that most of the universe is not in a coherent quantum state and can be treated classically?

Treating it "classically" is your philosophical bias.  Thinking of things as solid object existing in a specific location in Euclidean Space where the frame by frame movie is always moving forward in time is a biased view point.

This view isn't consistent with scientific observations.

You might as well be saying that we must treat the world as flat except under special circumstances where its "roundness" manifests itself.

The onus is on you to show through experimentation that...

I disagree, absent a default explanation, all I have to do is present a consistent model for testing.

You present your model, I present mine.  We compare.

What does your model say about single-celled organisms avoiding obstacles, finding food and engaging in sex?

Date: 2007/10/16 16:39:54, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi qetzal,

You did as I asked.  You offered an explaination for finding food.  I like your explaination better.

I learned something.


However, your GHZ states explaination wasn't as good and neither of us are neurologists.  I am looking looking into understanding gamma brain waves better than I do.

I will post what I find.

Date: 2007/10/16 17:17:31, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Creek Belly,

You wrote...
That is a fact. You can set your watch to it.

LOL  Minkowskian Geometry is reality.  You can unset your watch by it. link

qetzel did a good job on the finding food explaination.

Why don't you give a shot at explaining the GHZ states problem.

I say it isn't a problem once you accept Minkowskian Geometry's...

dL^2 = dx^2 + dy^2 + dz^2 – dt^2 reality.  Quantum effects are interconnected.

All quantum effects are interconnected, in the GHZ states the interconnectedness is detectable, in "classical" situations it is not.

That is my explaination.  What's yours?

Date: 2007/10/16 19:45:59, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
You wrote...  
Maybe I don't know understand what you mean by "interconnected". Do you mean entangled, in the same light cone? The former is certainly not true.

Quantum effects are interconnected because quantum effects are patterns in the single space-time wavefunction that is our universe.

Think of a Mandelbrot Set.  All of the Mandelbrot Set's features are interconnected.  However, the interconnection of some features are more obvious than others.

Here is a link to a Mandelbrot Set claimed to be the size of the known universe.  Note, this is a very simple function with only ONE complex dimension.  Our universe has at least four.


You can have a pure quantum state that is not entangled, and will therefore not be interconnected.  Look at the state |001> + |011>. A pure state? Yes. Entangled? No. The effect of measuring one of the bits will not affect the measurement of the others (in the same basis) which is the whole reason the GHZ game works.

At best you only mathematically described the observation and without offering an explanation.  On the other hand, you might have provided support for what I have been saying.  Quantum effects are interconnected pure states of the wavefunction existing in Minkowskian space-time.  Some are entangled, some are not.

BTW, are you still holding on to a dogmatic belief that matter has substance and there is such a thing as randomness?

It is hard to see past your own philosophical presumptions.

Date: 2007/10/18 13:39:35, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Note, even though the Amazon site says comments are disabled, they aren't.  Here is my comment to Behe's reply to Korthof...

Korthof's opening sentence is...

"Readers interested in 'Intelligent Design Theory' will be disappointed."

Korthof explains...
"But, there is no design theory in this book. There are a bunch of observations and suggestive allusions to a theory. But not a coherent treatment of design theory. Even 'nonrandom mutation', which is an important part of Behe's design claims, occurs only 3 times in contrast to 'random mutation' which occurs 171 times. Is it really unfair or unreasonable to expect in this book a coherent description of design theory after more than 10 years since his Darwin's Black Box?"

Korthof sums up nicely why my expectations resulted in disappointment when I read through the Edge of Evolution.

Dr. Behe, many times you have suggested the key to understanding is at the microscopic level. Yet you refrain from exploring the obvious non-random mechanism available from quantum physics.


Date: 2007/10/25 15:25:22, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi qetzal,

Thanks for pointing out the paper.

I am still around, but Real Life is demanding a lot of my focused attention.

A lot of things have been happening recently that suggest things are coming together of the idea of quantum consciousness.  The "warm, wet brain" dismissal is losing traction.

Date: 2008/01/04 22:07:15, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Let me start by asking for forgiveness for the length of this post.  It will take a lot to show the difference between smoke and mirrors BS and what I think it an honest attempt.

Unlike most people I think there is some room for giving the benefit of a doubt to a select few ID proponents.  Specifically, Mike Gene.

Mike and I disagree on a lot of things.  But I think he is sincerely trying to approach the ID question honestly.  I think of him as an ID scientist even though Mike doesn't claim ID is science.

My opinion of Dembski probably matches those of you who detest the ID Movement.

Here is your chance to reward sincere effort, even if you think the effort is valueless.  Listen and understand what I am presenting.  For those of you who only want to blindly defend the status quo, please don't bother those willing to think for themselves.  I wish you all the luck in fighting the Culture War against those who are your mirror opposites.  You all deserve each other.

Mike Gene's book, The Design Matrix finally came out a month ago.  I have read it.  It is not bad.  It is the best pro-ID book I have seen by far (wasn't that hard).  Mike actually presents his arguments.  They are understandable.  Discussing it isn't like nailing jello to the wall.  Mike builds to his conclusion in the last chapter (Chapter 10) which is a proposed methodology for inferring design. Please consider getting Mike's book and reading it for yourselves.  It is available for $16.47 at Amazon

"The Design Matrix is a method by which you can score a particular feature according to four different criteria to assess and quantify the strength of a design inference."

The four criteria are…

1. Analogy - How similar is the phenomenon to something known to be designed?

2. Discontinuity - How irreducibly complex is the phenomenon?

3. Rationality - How purposeful (i.e. functional) is the phenomenon?

4. Foresight - How much front loading is involved in the phenomenon?

By necessity, this is going to be an oversimplification of Mike's process. I very much encourage people to get The Design Matrix to read how Mike explains that, while subjective, this method has similarities of scoring in the Olympics along with medical and other scientific circumstances.

Mike chooses to use a system of scoring -5, -4, …, -1, 0, +1, …, +4, +5 for each criteria. In addition to matching the duck versus rabbit theme prevalent throughout the book (-5 = "looks like a duck", +5 = "looks like a rabbit") it also allows for the balanced position being "0".

Mike's first example is to test the book, itself, for a design inference.

"Since the book is perfectly analogous with other books that are known to be designed, we can give it a Analogy score of 5. As for Discontinuity, I can safely say that there is no hurricane, volcano, beam of energy, or any other non-teleological force that can substitute for me as author. As such, the writings found within are fundamentally discontinuous with anything known to be caused by non-teleological processes found in nature. The book thus deserves a Discontinuity score of 5. When we turn to the criterion of Rationality … I'll humble myself and take a mere score of 4. … I'll give myself a Foresight score of 3."

Mike's explanation for the Foresight score is longer than I wish to type. I guess you will just have to get the book if you want to know.  ;)

The resultant score for inferring the book itself is designed is 4.25, near a "strong" indicator of design.

Mike provides 6 other examples of the Design Matrix method being applied to real world situations.

"[A] pseudogene, a string of nucleotides that has no function [has a] Design Matrix score of -4.5".

"I would give the genetic code an overall Design Matrix score of 3."

In the book, Mike goes into detail as to how he arrived at these numbers.

Right away you will note Mike's approach is significantly different from Mr-I-don't-do-pathetic-details.

In 2005 Dembski wrote a paper called Specification: The Pattern That Signifies Intelligence

While Dembski has filled it with a lot of bombastic smoke and slight of hand, there is enough meat to actually understand it which I have taken the time to do.  I believe there are several critiques demonstrating the weaknesses of this paper.

However, until Mike Gene's proposal, it was the only game in town.  Asking IDists to give it up was like... well... asking them to repudiate God.

We have been having an interesting discussion over a Telic Thoughts comparing Dembski's method to Mike's.

When I couldn't shame any Dembski supporter into providing an example like Mike did, I supplied my own and used both methods to attempt to infer design.  Here is the updated version (the one in TT had some minor errors)....


Let’s play YAHTZEE!

For those unfamiliar with the game. Yahtzee is a dice game where you roll five dice in an attempt to get certain patterns. Each player gets three chances to get a pattern they need.

In the real Yahtzee game there are 13 different patterns to choose from. For this exercise, we will simplify it to four patterns. The four patterns are…

1. Yahtzee = all five dice are the some (i.e. five of a kind)
worth 50 points

2. Straight = five dice in a sequence (i.e. 1 thru 5 or 2 thru 6)
worth 40 points

3. Full House = pair and three of a kind (e.g. Two 4s and Three 6s)
worth 25 points

4. Chance = none of the above
worth the total of the dice

As in the real Yahtzee game players must score one of the patterns each turn. A score of “0” must be used if the pattern does not match. In our simple game, the maximum total score is 145 points (50 + 40 + 25 + 30). The player with the highest total score wins.

My little sister and I used to play Yahtzee alot. Being the brat she was, she would cheat if she thought she could get away with it. In this hypothetical example, I will be using the two design inference methodologies to detect cheating by my sister.

From page 21 of Dembski's paper…

X = –log2[M·N· ?S(T)·P(T|H)]

X = "context-dependent specified complexity"
M = Number of throws
N = Number of dice
T = Pattern
?S(T) = Number of T-like patterns in the Semiotic agent’s lexicon.
P(T|H) = Probability of pattern T happening according to H

The Semiotic agent’s basic lexicon is…
“Yahtzee” (five dice all the same)
“Straight” (five dice in sequence)
“Full House” (a pair and a three of a kind)

The lexicon provides for different patterns having different probabilities yet be able to fully describe any single throw. For example the “One”, “Two”, “Three”, “Four”, “Five” throw could be simplified to “Straight” whereas “Two”, “Five”, “One”, “Six”, “Four” can’t be reduced to a simpler pattern. Both throws have equal probably but one is more specified than the other.

First Turn

The practical application is a situation where my sister and I are playing Yahtzee in the livingroom. We set up the game and I go to the kitchen to get a drink. My sister rolls the dices and yells out that she got “Four”, “Five”, “One”, “Six”, “Four”, I say “fine”. Mathematically ?S(T) is 7779 (3+6^5) since the lexicon we are using doesn’t allow for a pattern reduction in this situation.

X = –log2[M·N· ?S(T)·P(T|H)]
M = 1 (first throw)
N = 5 (five dice)
?S(T) = 7779
P(T|H) = 1/7776 (five dice have 7776 permutations)

X = –log2[ 1 • 5 • 7779 • 1 / 7776 ] = slightly negative, definitely less than 1

My sister shouts, “I’m keeping the fours” and rolls the three dice then says “I got another four, a six and a two”. I say “fine”.

X = –log2[M·N· ?S(T)·P(T|H)]
M = 2 (second throw)
N = 4 (average four dice per throw)
?S(T) = 7779
P(T|H) = 1/216 (three dice have 216 permutations)

X = –log2[ 2 • 4 • 7779 • 1 / 216 ] = negative, less than 1

My sister shouts, “I’m rolling the last two dice” and rolls the pair of dice then says “I got a pair of fives, full house!”. I say “you got lucky”.

X = –log2[M·N· ?S(T)·P(T|H)]
M = 3 (third throw)
N = 3.33 (average 3.333 dice per throw)
?S(T) = 9
P(T|H) = 1/36 (two dice have 36 permutations)

X = –log2[ 3 • 3.333 • 9 • 1 / 36 ] = negative, less than 1

According to Dembski’s methodology I should not infer that my sister cheated.

What about the Design Matrix?

Analogy – this situation isn’t similar to how my little sister cheats. She usually isn’t that subtle, however I am in the kitchen. We will score it a -2.

Discontinuity – The full house evolved over three throws. Score it a -4

Rationality – Big help to my sister’s score but not the best, Score it a +3

Foresight – Full House isn’t that hard to get, doesn’t overly predict a future need, score it a 0

Average score = -0.75 Looks like a lucky duck

Both methods infer that my sister didn’t cheat.

Second Turn

After this I take my turn and notice I forgot to put ice in my drink and return to the kitchen. My sister rolls again and yells out that she got a “Three”, “Three”, “Three”, “Three”, “Three”. I respond with “I think you cheated”. This time the lexicon allowed for pattern reduction to something the Semiotic agent (me) could recognize as a “Yahtzee”. In this case ?S(T) is 9.

X = –log2[M·N· ?S(T)·P(T|H)]
M = 4 (fourth throw)
N = 3.75 (average 3.75 dice per throw)
?S(T) = 9
P(T|H) = 6/7776 (only six of the 7776 permutations are a Yahtzee)

X = –log2[ 4 • 3.75 • 9 • 6 / 7776 ] = 3.26 = greater than 1

Dembski’s method suggests Design (cheating) should be inferred

What about the Design Matrix?

Analogy – this situation is exactly how my little sister usually cheats. We will score it a +5.

Discontinuity – First roll means scoring it a +5

Rationality – The ultimate help to my sister’s score, another +5 score

Foresight – A straight is actually harder to get than a Yahtzee, but a Yahtzee is still hard and, therefore, useful for the future. Score it a +3

Average score = +4.5 Looks like a wascally rabbit (who cheats)

Both methods infer that my sister cheated.

Third Turn

Being the nice brother I am, I let my sister get away with it and we continue playing. To my utter amazement, on her very next turn she throws five ones.

X = –log2[M·N· ?S(T)·P(T|H)]
M = 5 (fifth throw)
N = 4 (average 4 dice per throw)
?S(T) = 9
P(T|H) = 6/7776 (only six of the 7776 permutations are a Yahtzee)

X = –log2[ 5 • 4 • 9 • 6 / 7776 ] = 2.85 = greater than 1

Dembski’s method suggests Design (cheating) should be inferred

What about the Design Matrix?

Analogy – my little sister has never cheated this well before, but maybe she has practiced. We will score it a -4.

Discontinuity – First roll means scoring it a +5

Rationality – This doesn't help my sister since she already has a Yahtzee, a -5 score.

Foresight – She needs a straight, this is of no future help, another -5 score

Average score = -2.25 making it a duck

Dembski’s method infers my sister cheated.

The Design Matrix infers she did not.

What do you think?

As Fox News would say “We report, you decide”


Other than mixing "Design" with "Context-sensitive Specified Complexity" I feel I have appropriately applied Dembski's method.  Please ask for clarification on either method and I will try to explain it the best I can. Like I said, I have taken the effort to understand Dembski's paper.

I don't want to get too far into trying to defend Mike's method.  My point here is to point out that Mike is making an honest effort at communicating a real idea as compared to the snake oil salesman approach of Dembski.

Here is the link to the Telic Thought thread where we are discussing it.  You might want to take a look at it.  I think some people might be squirming over the comments.

Date: 2008/01/05 01:06:33, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Copied from Telic

Hi Bradford,

Several comments ago, you asked me a curious question...
Are you being coached?

I didn't know what to make of it at the time, if I understand your meaning the answer is "No, I am not being coached."  After reflecting on its implication I am taking it as a compliment.

Yes, what you see is what you get. I have no one backing me up.  I did the research myself,  These are my actual opinions.  These are my words (sometimes misspelled).  I am an "army of one".

No one is whispering instructions in my ear.  Practically the only e-mail "Thought Provoker" gets comes from the Thought Provoker blog.  No one on either side of the ID debate knows who I am other than through these two contact points.

Now, you have contacted my Thought Provoker e-mail to setup my Guest Hosting on your blog, twice (and I appreciated that).

The only ID critic to ever directly contact Thought Provoker was Creeky Belly to question me about my thoughts concerning quantum physics.

Since day one, my clear agenda has been to provoke independent thinking.  I am not asking people to follow me.  I don't want people to follow anyone.  The cure to dogmatic thinking is discouraging group think.  You don't do that by engaging in group think yourself.

It could be argued that Joy has coached me this the past.  But all our conversations have been public.  Joy has made it quite clear that she thinks I am wasting my breath here.

She has tried to patently tell me that this is one big arena where everyone has chosen sides and will forever remain faithful to their dogma to the bitter end.

Maybe she is right.  But I am enough of a Don Quixote type that I get satisfaction out of trying my best.  People may laugh at my tilting at windmills but damn if I am going to be accused of not trying hard enough.

People on both sides are finding comfort in their group think havens.

How can you think independently surrounded by a bunch of people nodding their heads whenever you repeat the same old lines over and over?

And for your information, while I have first posted this on Telic Thoughts, I will also be posting this on After the Bar Closes.

I have presented a comparison of the two Design inference methods there also.

There is already a comment making a sweeping pronouncement that all attempts at trying to infer design are equally bogus.  This is further confirmation of the charge ID proponents make about their critics.  That is that ID critics are dogmatic in their belief in randomness.  The default position is randomness can do anything and everything.  It is randomness in the gaps.

Hey ID critics, try putting aside your dogmatic belief long enough to come up with your own ID proposal.  How would you go about testing for a lack of randomness?

Are you capable of thinking independently enough to put together a serious suggestion?

As for the ID Proponents…

It has been suggested in this thread that ID has a framework on which you are trying to build a legitimate proposal.

What framework?

Whether you want to admit it or not, I have a pretty good understanding of Dembski's inference methodology that was the subject of this thread.  Aside from a few timid questions about me personally and a suggestion my example may be a misapplication, my analysis stands and Dembski's model is found wanting.

Truth be known, Mike Gene's model is pretty weak too.  But I think it can be salvaged. The part about Foresight has potential.  However, the biggest thing going for it is that it has realistic expectations.

There is no magic bullet.  There is no absolute yes/no answer.  It you can pardon the terminology, the answer is going to be an evolutionary process if it even exists.

So, if you want to continue to have faith in an ID Movement and let their leaders do your thinking for you, don't expect much sympathy.  You will deserve what you get.

Mike Gene has put together a new framework.  A recognition that ID Science isn't about replacing Mainstream Evolutionary Theory, it is about augmenting it.  That it will take a "Consilience of Clues" to detect the answers buried in deep time.  And the answers will undoubtedly be a continuum, a mixture, of design and non-design.

This way ID proponents can tell their critics to go pound salt when they make accusations about ID being anti-science, because it won’t be.  The alternative is to do it the way Dr. Wells envisions it…

"The truth is Darwinism is not a scientific theory, but a materialistic creation myth masquerading as science. It is first and foremost a weapon against religion – especially traditional Christianity. Evidence is brought in afterwards, as window dressing.

This is becoming increasingly obvious to the American people, who are not the ignorant backwoods religious dogmatists that Darwinists make them out to be. Darwinists insult the intelligence of American taxpayers and at the same time depend on them for support. This is an inherently unstable situation, and it cannot last.

If I were a Darwinist, I would be afraid. Very afraid."


Personally, I would think both sides would rather DO SCIENCE!

Date: 2008/01/05 10:50:08, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi All,

The big banner in the upper left hand corner says "Antievolution, The Critic's Resource".  It led me to believe there might be an interest in what I had to say.

If you have no idea why the concept of "randomness" is being challenged by ID proponents, frankly you need to get a clue.

If you just sit here waiting for people to make serious presentations just so you can pontificate that it isn't good enough, you shouldn't be surprised that no one capable of offering you a challenge will post here.  By the time ID gets to the level of peer reviews and experiments, they won't have to come to you, you will be coming to them because they don't have to work very hard at all to get a following.

I happen to be a free-lance independent with anti-religious leanings.  Those more loyal to the ID Movement would be perfectly happy for you to continue napping in you Group Think induced stupor.

Date: 2008/01/05 12:44:23, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi All,

I am at work today so I can't spend much time replying.

You might want to take a look at Telic Thoughts thread.

Your mirror opposites are having similiar reactions.

How dare I try to stir up the Status Quo people are comfortable with?


Date: 2008/01/06 10:28:05, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi All,

Bob O'H wrote "How dare you teach them a third chord." accompanied by Richardthughes' "de-dur-de-...-dur-de-dur-de-dur Another #1"

I have to hand it to you guys.  At least you provide some quality entertainment.

Maybe, you are on to something.  Maybe, I've just fallen victim to thinking "even I could do better than this and I don't believe in the stuff" and then getting so carried away trying to make a convincing case, I started convincing myself.

BTW, my main focus is still bioquantum physics and the Hameroff/Penrose Orch OR model.

However, Dembski, DaveScot and their flock of well-trained followers  managed to get me riled up with their hypocritical treatment of Mike Gene and his book.

In case you missed it, here is the Uncommon Descent link to the thread I am talking about.

I am engaging in a little payback effort.

Instead of a Henry Moore sculpture, would there be interest in a Design Matrix analysis of the proverbial finding a Mount Rushmore scenario?

This has been suggested in the Telic Thoughts thread.  I could hit two birds with one stone that way.

Date: 2008/01/06 11:06:51, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Richardthughes.

You wrote, "But its not science, is it?"
Mike Gene agrees with you.

"It's arbitrary rankings."
Mike argues otherwise.

Are what Olympic judges and medical professionals do "arbitrary"?

They maybe somewhat subjective, but not arbitrary

Edit: Well... most of the time... well... it is what they are SUPPOSED to do most of the time...

I will tell you what.  You write a book and sell it for less than $20, I will buy it.  Deal?

Design Matrix is $16.74 on Amazon

BTW, I would like to make use of your "Critic's Resource" to find out what you guys have on a RogerRabbitt.

He has been around since the ARN days.

If you wish to tell me privately.  I can be reached at dfcord (at)


Date: 2008/01/06 11:35:17, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
No database hits on RogerRabbitt?

No one has a clue on who he is?

Date: 2008/01/07 10:11:14, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Slpage,

For what it is worth, I personally agree that Analogy (#1) is weak.  It shouldn't be equally weighted with the others.

I agree that Discontinuity (#2) is strong.

However, I think Foresight (#4) is as strong, if not stronger.

As an illustration, I take out a deck of cards and shuffle it.  I ask you to cut them.  I look you in the eye as I pick up the cards and prompt you to agree or disagree that they are mixed up.

I then tell you that I can predict the first five cards and tell you what they will be.  Sure enough, the cards are what I predicted.

I suggest the prediction is one of the strongest indicators that the appearence of the five cards was not the product of chance and that design should be inferred.

This example also provides a little credit for analogy.

I will explain later.

Date: 2008/01/07 17:39:05, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Doc Bill et all,

Maybe I haven't made myself clear.  I am not trying to convince you that Mike Gene's isn't valueless (i.e. "garbage").  I am just trying to demonstrate Mike Gene's method is less offensive than Dembski's <fill-in-your-choice-of-description>

Got to run, will comment more later.

Date: 2008/01/07 20:04:11, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi all,

Even if you aren't interested, I will keep my promise to explain how I think Mike's methodology would have scored my previous example.  Besides, this is supposed to be "The Critic's Resources" which means you should know shit.

As I pointed out the prediction is the major clue to realizing the card trick had more of a telic aspect than not.

One of the things Mike attempts to do is provide a continuum from chance to "design".  Nothing is absolutely totally chance or totally "design".

This is something Dembski does not do.

The significance of this can be shown in the card trick example.  It was possible that the amature magician doing the card trick could have messed up and the cards would not have come out as they did.  There was a chance the trick would have failed.  Dembski presumes design is NOT a "chance hypothesis".  This presumption exposes Dembski's presumption of a perfect design (from a perfect designer).

With Mike's method, the prediction could have been close, but not perfect, causing a minor shift of the score towards the "chance" end, not a total reversal.  It is more realistic to recognise that chance and "design" is a mixture, not an either/or.

However, in the hypothetical the prediction was spot on, causing a +5 for the Foresight catagory.

The Rationality of this is to provide entertainment.  Score it a +3 (not that good of entertainment value).

The Discontinuity was mostly null.  The card pattern didn't develop over time but the pattern looked random.  Score it a 0.

For the Analogy, even though the exact mechanism wasn't known (reversed cut?  Switched decks? Palmed cards?, etc).  The aspects of the situation had an analogous feel of other card tricks.  I had attempted to provide a slightly unusual version, score it a +4.

For a total score of 12/4 = 3.

We are reasonably sure this was "Design".

I have been putting "Design" in quotes for this comment because I agree that is a loaded word.  "Not-by-chance" would be a better term in my opinion.

Either way, it is less useless than Dembski's method, IMO.

Date: 2008/01/20 09:38:58, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
FYI, here is a follow up comment I made on Telic Thoughts.  Our discussion got the attention of a lot of old timers from the ID camp.  This gives me the impression that Dembski might be looking in on this one.

Here is the Link for those who are interested.

One of the key points that came up was a discussion of what appears to be Dembski's three or four broad categories for explaining phenomena.

1. Specified, via naturally occurring laws
2. Unspecified, via Chance
3. Specified, via Design
4. Unknown

The paper that is the subject of the thread focuses on infering category number 2 is "less likely than not".

That leaves the other three catagories.

What if the second explaination doesn't apply to any phenomenon? What if true randomness doesn't exist? Only the appearance of randomness, similar to a psuedorandom number generator.

Fifth Monarchy Man spoke like the ethical NOMA rejecting Theist he is and indicated that would be fine by him. Either a designer or a law giver, they all point to God.

On the other side, Valerie wrote…

A flipped coin and a falling coin are both deterministic events in the sense that their outcomes can be predicted, in theory, with a sufficient knowledge of their initial conditions (and assuming that quantum-mechanical uncertainty does not become a factor).

Which was a very good variation of the point I am making. I noted she talked about quantum-mechanical UNCERTAINTY, not randomness.

I suspect this was a reference to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. Which was a general description of quantum weirdness at the beginning of tbe study of quantum physics. However, it appear the uncertainty is not due to hidden local variables as many scientists were presuming back in the 1920s.

It is the lack of our ability to describe quantum effects algorithmically that makes it uncertain. Countless quantum experiments show that non-local measurements effect the outcome. Measure the linear polarization of two out of three entangled photons and you know, with certainty, the circular polarization of the third. However, measuring the circular polarization of the first two, results in the opposite circular polarization of the third. This paradox is real and is not random. So real that we are developing quantum computers based on it.

This non-local quantum interconnectness occurs regardless of how separated the measurements are in either space or time.

Any uncertainty is due to a lack of knowledge, not randomness or "chance".

IMO, there is no such thing as "Chance Hypotheses". Everything is via natural law or interconnected quantum effects.

Who or what is behind the interconnected quantum effects is as metaphysical as discussing who or what created the universe and its laws.

Some people, myself included, consider the exploration of these kinds of questions to be philosophy and not science. When it comes to philosophy, I take a page from Socrates' book and suggest it is the wise man who knows he doesn't know the Truth.

On the other hand, Creationists and people like Fifth Monarchy Man feel they do know the one and only Truth. Which is fine as long as they don't try to hide this agenda. They are entitled to their belief and even entitled to use tax-free charitable donations to do whatever research they feel is appropriate in support of their belief.

Now, one of the questions in this thread is to discuss whether Dembski provided a "sound" analysis that makes a modest scientific suggestion or is the science here just a "cheap tuxedo" disguise in an attempt to promote a belief in a "Designer", aka "Creator", aka God.

When taken as a modest scientific suggestion, Dembski's analysis provides support for something I call the Third Choice. That is that neither randomness nor God should be considered the default explanation. The obvious, experimentally supported, explanation is that interconnected quantum effects is the fundamental organizing force of the universe.

Interconnected quantum effects is the suggestion that is backed up with a positive “warrant”. Simply attacking opposing hypotheses is too easy and doesn’t provide affirmative support. Even more so, when it is done with a hand-waving flourish that it is sufficient to consider only a single hypothesis (the most likely) instead of the entire set of hypotheses AS A SET (not divide and conquer).

Date: 2008/01/20 10:23:33, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Wesley,

I wouldn't disagree with you.

That is why I hedged my description with "three or four".

It appears Dembski does like projecting more certainty than is warranted.  This is normal for people trying to lead a movement. "Hell no, we might not go" just doesn't have the appeal a movement needs.

Date: 2008/01/20 10:41:49, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi qetzal,

You wrote...
In practical terms, what does this mean? It sounds like a quantum version of determinism. Is that what you're suggesting?

Yes and no.

Would a Mandelbrot Set be considered deterministic even if its equation was unknowable?

Not "unknown", but "unknowable".

Sir Roger Penrose proposes that quantum effects are non-algorithmic and non-random.  Quantum effects are artifacts of one giant multidimensional wave function in the space-time geometry that is our universe. Think of an unknowable, multidimensional Mandelbrot Set. Here is a Mandelbrot Set claimed to be the size of the known universe.

To back up his proposal, Penrose points to the implications of Kurt Gödel's incompleteness theorems.  This, along with his background in mathematically modeling Black Holes for a living and figuring out non-algorithmic things like aperiodic tilings that showed up in quasi-crystals, makes for powerful support that if there is anyone qualified to understand this, it would be Penrose.

Date: 2008/01/20 12:43:52, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Bumped for Doc Bill

Date: 2008/01/20 12:45:36, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Bill

Let's get back to basics.

Please provide us with an objective definition of "design" and a metric or metrics with with to measure it.

As for your quantum ramblings you might want to investigate stochastic localized quantum coupling which is quasi-random, but corresponds closely with alpha and beta wave activity in the brain.

My definition of "design" is probably not the same definition that either Dembski or Mike Gene uses.  I consider the Mandelbrot Set to be not only a design, but a real world example of "design".

I have no proposed "metric or metrics with with to measure it".  However, I happen to be of the opinion that Mike Gene is at least making an honest attempt to provide a metric. Whereas, Dembski's method is more an argument than a metric or definition of "design".

As for my "quantum ramblings" and their relationships with brains and quantum consciousness.  I bumped my "The Magic of Intelligent Design" thread for you.

But I will warn you.  Real Life is still taking a big toll on my time.  I doubt I will be able to get into it heavily again.

Date: 2008/01/20 15:28:07, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Doc Bill,

Did you expect me to object to anything you said in your last comment?

Maybe you aren't aware that I am an Atheist in the same vein that Richard Dawkins is an Atheist.  Technically, I am agnostic concerning fairies, orbiting tea pots and God.

Yes, I consider a straight line "design".

Yes, I consider everything in nature "design".

Obviously, many ID proponents have the presumption that design must come from a designer, but once they allow the terms to be separated for whatever reason (ethical or not) then everything has detectable "design".

The arrangement of the stars is "design".  The arrangement of ice crystals in a snowflake is "design".  The shape of a simple stone is "design".

In my first toe-to-toe debate with an ID proponent, I asked for a definitive example of something that is not designed.  He was, of course, stumped.  It was obvious he believed everything was designed by God.  Since then it has been obvious to me that most ID proponents have the same issue.  Some are just more tenacious in avoiding the issue.

To me design is something to be discovered like existence.  Think of light.  You might question its state of existence, but once you start understanding things like Maxwell's equations and quantum physics its hard not the appreciate its design.

Note, Mike Gene is one of the few ID proponents offering examples of things he considered undesigned (more accurately "less designed" on a continuum).

P.S.  Here is an online dictionary definition for "design"...

1.  the act of working out the form of something (as by making a sketch or outline or plan); "he contributed to the design of a new instrument"  
2.  an arrangement scheme; "the awkward design of the keyboard made operation difficult"; "it was an excellent design for living"; "a plan for seating guests"  
3.  something intended as a guide for making something else; "a blueprint for a house"; "a pattern for a skirt" 4.  a decorative or artistic work; "the coach had a design on the doors"  
5.  an anticipated outcome that is intended or that guides your planned actions; "his intent was to provide a new translation"; "good intentions are not enough"; "it was created with the conscious aim of answering immediate needs"; "he made no secret of his designs"
6.  a preliminary sketch indicating the plan for something; "the design of a building"  
7.  the creation of something in the mind

I think the second definition is probably closest to what I am talking about.

As for metrics.  Can you provide me a metric for the term "existence"?  Because if it exists, I say it has the property of “design”.

Date: 2008/01/20 20:12:41, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi qetzal,

You asked...
So you're saying everything is part of a single wave function, so all is predetermined. Yes?

"Predetermined" doesn't make much sense for something that transcends space and time (no before or after).  "Fixed" might be a better term.

The web of interconnected quantum effects are fixed in the space-time geometry that makes up our universe.

And yes, this concept has implications to the subject of "free will".  However, I have gotten used the the idea.  It doesn't make any difference to my actions.  The situation from a personal point of view hasn't changed.  To us, time flows.  To the space-time universe, time is just one of multiple dimensions.

Date: 2008/01/20 22:08:21, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Richardthughes,

As it so happens, I know how Mike Gene would respond to your questions.

Here’s a skeptical response from someone on another forum who did not read the book

“What does a a score of 3 mean in terms of statistical confidence of design?”

Nothing. The Matrix does not pretend to be a statistical test.

“What's to stop different people scoring differently.”

Nothing at all. Just put your score on the table. And then explain and defend it. Complaints about the Matrix are just that – complaints. Ya either play or come up with all kinds of nervous excuses for not playing.

“Each measures equal weight in the reckoning means they are equally important. How do you know that?”

We don’t. But you have to start somewhere. The Matrix is all part of “the beginning of a journey.” We could indeed try to assign more weight to some criteria than others. Yet remember that I did not invent these criteria. All four criteria have been used by ID proponents in one context or another. And more importantly, all four criteria have been used by anti-design thinkers in one context of another. An assault on the Matrix is an assault on *both* ID and anti-ID arguments from the last 100 years.

I should have asked Mike's permission to do this, but I didn't.  You see, you don't respect him and I suspect the feeling is mutual.

As for what Mike would tell you to do with your bridge, I will leave that up to your imagination.

Date: 2008/01/20 22:24:06, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Richardthughes,

Out of curiosity, what answers did you expect to your questions?

Did you have your instant response already queued up?

BTW, in the introduction of his book Mike Gene made it clear he considers ID to be neither science nor something that should be taught in public schools.

He caught quite a bit of heat over that at UD.

Date: 2008/01/20 22:34:27, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Richardthughes,

You wrote...
I actually expected you to dodge, so kudos for play, but the answers were poor.

Mike's answers were honest.

Thank you for at least a little recognition of the earnest attempt.

Date: 2008/01/20 22:38:53, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
To Doc Bill,

Frankly, I don't care what you expect.

And while I don't expect you will do so, I suggest you take your own advice about expending energy towards maturation.

Date: 2008/01/20 22:41:08, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Richardthughes,

Those were Mike's words.

I copied them without his permission.

Date: 2008/01/20 22:57:59, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Richardthughes,

First of all, I wouldn't have copied it if I thought the quote would hurt Mike.

Either you or I do not understand the situation.

Mike Gene and Telic Thoughts are fairly independent of the Discovery Institute and Dembski.

While they are not enemies, I have reason to believe Mike's tolerance for giving voice to critics of the ID movement (e.g. Zachriel, Raevmo and myself) hasn't gone over very well.

And Mike's book received a very cold reception at Uncommon Descent.  This was more than simple competition.

If you think evidence of Mike's independence and honesty is damaging to him... I said, either you are or I am misunderstanding the situation.

Date: 2008/01/21 11:16:40, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Richardthughes,

So what was the purpose of you asking questions concerned the finer points of something you consider equivalent to "javelin catching"?

You didn't ask just once, but twice.

Was it just so you could mock?

Of course it was.

How you choose to respond to those with opposing view points influences the perceptions of their followers.

It is of little wonder as to why people like Dembski and Wells are able to sustain the ID Movement.  There is no benefit in making honest attempts.  In fact, it is detrimental to their cause.  All they need is to show is that the only choices are to reject your science or reject their God.

And they don't have to work very hard, since your actions make it all too obvious this is the case.

The truth is Darwinism is not a scientific theory, but a materialistic creation myth masquerading as science. It is first and foremost a weapon against religion – especially traditional Christianity. Evidence is brought in afterwards, as window dressing.

This is becoming increasingly obvious to the American people, who are not the ignorant backwoods religious dogmatists that Darwinists make them out to be. Darwinists insult the intelligence of American taxpayers and at the same time depend on them for support. This is an inherently unstable situation, and it cannot last.

If I were a Darwinist, I would be afraid. Very afraid.

Around 400 AD, there was a movement lead by people like Cyril and Augustine.

The scientists of the day included people like Hypatia of Alexandria who taught...

“Fables should be taught as fables, myths as myths, and miracles as poetic fancies. To teach superstitions as truths is a most terrible thing. The child-mind accepts and believes them, and only after great pain and perhaps tragedy can he be in after-years relieved on them. In fact, men will fight for a superstition quite as quickly as for a living truth – often more so, since a superstition is so intangible you cannot get at it to refute it, but truth is a point of view, and so is changeable.”

For those not familiar with the history, Hypatia and other scientists from the Library of Alexandria were labeled pagans and/or heretics and killed.

Cyril and Augustine were sainted by the victors.

History has a nasty habit of repeating itself.  I would rather not have my children and their children suffer through another Dark Age.   Paying off our national debt should be punishment enough.

Date: 2008/01/21 13:16:18, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Did that make you feel better?

Date: 2008/01/21 14:02:36, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Doc Bill,

So did it help your self-esteem and maturation to correct me?

Personally, I think of people who deal with applied mathematics and astronomy as being more than just a scholar.

But I have never been big on worrying about correct terms.  Are her ideas or my point any less valid because you think her appropriate label is "scholar" instead of "scientist"?

However, if your intent was simply to engage in an ad hominem logical fallacy, you succeeded.  Which is pretty funny (the "ha ha" kind) considering I am an anonymous non-person.


Which version of reality do you think you live in?

Do you embrace the Many Worlds quantum interpretation?

Or do you think quantum physics exists in a totally separate realm that you can safely ignore when engaged in what you think of as real science?

Date: 2008/01/21 14:51:32, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi oldmanintheskydidntdoit,

I am surprised that it there would be confusion over whether or not I support either Dembski or Wells.

I do not support them.

I think they are potentially dangerous.

The potential goes up the more you force an either/or choice.

As for concern over international conferences, I am more concerned over international conflicts when a country will support an obviously incompetent leader just because he (or she) has the "right" beliefs.

Bush claims to have used God's guidance in executing the war in Iraq.  What if the next nut uses God's guidance in deciding what to do with our nuclear missiles?

Date: 2008/01/21 18:10:54, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
First of all, I am not Mike Gene.

Of course you have no way of really knowing that.

Any more than I could really know if trilobyte is actually Dembski dissing Mike and his book.

I guess you will have to make a subjective judgment based on the logic and consistency in my presentations both here and on Telic Thoughts.

It doesn't matter.  Most of you guys are going to believe what you want to believe regardless.

However, I have noticed a few of you have found some of my blatherings interesting enough to explore.

It is equally interesting how few of you are independent enough to march to your own beat in the face of the Group Think that holds court here.

For example, how many of you really do think I am Mike Gene now that it is becoming a group decision to think so?

And if you don't agree, why would you be afraid to say so?

Something to think about.

Date: 2008/01/21 23:52:35, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Richardthughes,

You asked me about "Bible code" and mentioned intellectual lightweights.

Something called "Bible code" wouldn't interest me.  I probably wouldn't have had any interest in Mike Gene's book either had I not been posting at Telic Thoughts.

Personally, the type of book that interests me and one I think other people should try to read is Penrose's book...

The Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe

It is over a thousand pages the takes you step by step through the math needed to understand our universe.  It isn't for "intellectual lightweights".  By the time you are done, you actually understand the significance of General Relativity and space-time.

A lot of people think of the Special Relativity answer to the Twins Paradox when they hear "relativity" or "space-time".  That version is so incomplete that I consider it wrong.  Did you know our GPS satellites automatically adjust for General Relativity?  If they adjusted for Special Relativity they wouldn't keep time accurately.  Special Relativity was a stop gap calculation that was known to be wrong by Einstein when he proposed it.

I think the main reason for the prevalence of this incomplete/incorrect concept is that it is easier to explain and understand.    The complex, non-Euclidean geometry of Minkowskian space-time isn’t something you try to introduce in a high school physics class (Minkowski was an Einstein contempory, actually one of his teachers).

The point of this wandering comment is that it is difficult for me to sympathize with your complaints about books that target “intellectual lightweights” when I see everyone picking and choosing where to focus their energies.  Are you in the position to discuss the finer points of General Relativity?  For example, could you explain the geometry behind the Twins (or Clock) Paradox?  (hint; the traveling twin takes a short cut).

I think Mike Gene’s book has the potential of provoking independent thinking in individuals that would otherwise be in mind numbing awe of Dembski’s smoke and mirrors mathematics.

Don’t you see the difference between suggesting an incomprehensible analysis reaches a specific conclusion verses encouraging people to apply an understandable method themselves to reach their own conclusions?

I understand you think the search is useless and the method is bogus.  But I see it as a start, a glimmer of hope.  Maybe if ID proponents start thinking for themselves they might start looking to better methods and stronger evidence.  Who knows, they might work their way up to understanding General Relativity and perform actual scientific experiments.

P.S. to Doc Bill - get a dictionary and define "design" for yourself

Date: 2008/01/22 12:26:11, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Nerull,

In his book Penrose explains the Twins Paradox (i.e. Clock Paradox) is a geometry problem.

He demonstrates how using the Minkowskian geometry of General Relativity ALL BY ITSELF solves the paradox.  Note, a generalized Twins Paradox problem doesn't include gravity.

People feel more comfortable saying and thinking of General Relativity as just a minor upgrade to Special Relativity.  You can even find lots and lots of people with impressive credentials saying just that.

If you are absolutely intent on saying I am wrong by modifying definitions and equations to separate Special Relativity and General Relativity just so you can recombine them, you can probably do that.

May I suggest reading this piece titled The Inertia of Twins?

"It is fundamentally misguided to exercise such epistemological concerns within the framework of special relativity, because special relativity was always a provisional theory with recognized epistemological short-comings. As mentioned above, one of Einstein's two main two reasons for abandoning special relativity as a suitable framework for physics was the fact that, no less than Newtonian mechanics, special relativity is based on the unjustified and epistemologically problematical assumption of a preferred class of reference frames, precisely the issue raised by the twins paradox. Today the "special theory" exists only (aside from its historical importance) as a convenient set of widely applicable formulas for important limiting cases of the general theory, but the phenomenological justification for those formulas can only be found in the general theory."

The title is a play on words.  The term "Special Relativity" and its role in the Twins Paradox continues because of the social inertia powered by people not wanting to let go of it.

Date: 2008/01/22 16:33:10, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Since I am on a roll.  Let me offer you something sure to cause a loud howl from the Group Think mentality that holds court here.

The reason for the introductory lesson in Minkowskian geometry and General Relativity is to awaken you to the reality of shortcuts in space-time.  You see the Twin Paradox shows that shortcuts exist.  Things moving at the speed of light take the ultimate shortcut, instantaneous travel.  Once you realise this, it logically follows that all quantum effects could easily be interconnected in both space and time.  I suggest it not only can happen, it does happen.

Here is something from Stuart Hameroff that I just posted on Telic Thoughts in a comment.  It mentions "Intelligent Design" by name...

The evolutionary origin of centrioles, cilia and flagella (which have the same basic structure of nine microtubule doublets or triplets arranged in a larger cylinder, but with additional motor proteins) is unclear. According to the endosymbiotic theory,57 our eukaryotic cells arose from symbiosis, an invasion of simple bacteria-like prokaryotes by mitochondria which supplied energy, and by flagellates (e.g. spirochetes) which brought cytoskeletal proteins providing structural support, compartmentalization and internal organization, movement and perhaps intelligence and eventually consciousness. The origin of flagellates is unknown.

There is some question as to whether centrioles, cilia and flagella (i.e. flagellates) could have evolved purely by natural selection, as they are said to exhibit “irreducible complexity”.58 Darwin said in The Origin of Species:

“If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.”

Innumerable small, randomly chosen steps of incremental changes in proteins to form tubulin, and tubulin to form microtubules, and microtubules to form centrioles, cilia and flagella would seem to offer no advantages “along the way”. Consequently centrioles, cilia and flagella have been suggested as examples of “intelligent design”.58 Designed by what, or by whom? This question leads some to “Creationism”. But there is also the view that intelligent design reflects the type of Platonic information embedded in the Planck scale suggested by Roger Penrose.59,60 If so, then via quantum states living systems are in touch with a deeper reality. Does this imply that quantum information devices, for example, would also be “alive”? Not necessarily, as only organic molecules and cytoskeletal protein lattices may have the inherent flexibility to harness ambient energy for quantum coherent states, interact with the Planck scale via quantum gravity processes, and utilize photons as phase-ordered matter.
link (warning, long download time)

Date: 2008/01/22 20:26:39, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
I guess I should be honored.  Louis AND SteveStory!

You are right Steve.  I am not a scientist, just an interested bystander.

I am more comfortable with quantum physics than biology.

As for "nonsensical accusations of groupthink", I have reason to believe the peer pressure might be a little more oppressive at AtBC than you suggest.  I have had more than one person quietly e-mail interesting articles in support of my quantum quackery.  Some have even asked me for futher explainations of my ideas.  These people were from AtBC.  People at Telic Thoughts don't have to hide their interest.

I am not suggesting that I have special insight to the ultimate Truth.

I have been honest and open both here and in Telic Thoughts.  As for answering questions, I attempt to do so.  However, I explained I had no interest in trying to defend Mike Gene's method.  I also am not interested in defending the ID Movement, quite the opposite.

I explained all this when I provided a definition for "design" but, of course, that was ignored.

If what I am saying is truly worthless, I suggest the best thing to do would be to be to ignore it.  Let those who might be interested ask questions or make constructive suggestions.

Or is everyone conditioned to second and "thirded" anything that smells like it might challenge the Status Quo?

Date: 2008/01/22 21:08:35, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Albatrossity,

As I explained before, I consider the term "design" to be a property of everything that exists.  The design of light can be understood by understanding Maxwell's equations and quantum physics.

I also think "design" is a loaded term exploited be the religious-based ID Movement to hide their agenda of promoting a belied in a "Designer", aka "Creator" aka God.

As for experiments people like Jack Tuszynski have been doing quite a bit.  Others are looking into quantum effects in biology like Patel.  And then there is Berkeley labs...

“We have obtained the first direct evidence that remarkably long-lived wavelike electronic quantum coherence plays an important part in energy transfer processes during photosynthesis,” said Graham Fleming, the principal investigator for the study. “This wavelike characteristic can explain the extreme efficiency of the energy transfer because it enables the system to simultaneously sample all the potential energy pathways and choose the most efficient one.”


Date: 2008/01/22 21:39:21, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Henry,

What does the "supporting evidence" of quantum experiments that demonstate Greenberger–Horne–Zeilinger quantum states tell you?

You have a limited number of choices...

1. Ignore evidence that has been repeated by countless experiments.

2. Assume a metaphysical construct of your choice (you might as well say "God did it").

3. Recognize General Relativity and Quantum Physics combine to provide a complete, if disturbing, explanation.

All quantum effects are interconnected in Minkowskian space-time.

Date: 2008/01/22 23:40:20, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Henry,

Ok, so you are of the opinion Quantum Mechanics is weird.

In a way I have the same opinion (hard not to).  However, Quantum Mechanics makes quite a bit of sense as long as you constrain your study to only Quantum Level effects.

In other words, Quantum Mechanics can be thought of as normal, and it is the macro world that is "weird".

In the Macro World,  the time dimension flows in only one direction, how weird is that?  It's like saying we can only go North and not South.

I find it telling that combining Quantum Mechanics with Cosmological things like Black Holes is easier to model and explain than simple decoherence.

Why do BuckyBalls exhibit superposition but baseballs don't?  Why is the Schrödinger's Cat puzzle so difficult to solve?

Of course the peanut gallery following I seem to be accumulating isn't going to be impressed with just questions.

But it is late and I have to get up early tomorrow.

So let me offer that Sir Roger Penrose has a hypothesis for decoherence that is testable and is being tested.

It is a derivative of the Copenhagen Quantum interpretation called Objective Reduction.

Other people have similar Copenhagen-like quantum interpretations by other names, but basically they all presume quantum effects are artifacts of waves in space-time.

The main opposing theory is held by people unwilling to give up on the existence of particles.  So much so, they are willing to embrace the constant generation of multiple universes containing all the different possibilities.  It is called the Many Worlds Quantum Interpretation.  Personally, I think it is more metaphysical than simply claiming "God works in mysterious ways".

The other option is to ignore it and hope someone will come up with a more acceptable explanation.  I suggest it is obvious that we have waited long enough considering we are starting to build encryption devices and computers based on the reality of Quantum Mechanics.

Even though it is "weird" it is time we accept it.  We have an explanation that isn't metaphysical.  The problem is that accepting it will greatly disturb the Status Quo in many scientific fields, including Biology.

Date: 2008/01/23 11:23:10, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Albatrossity et al,

Excuse me for the brief reply but I want to take advantage of the opening Keiths made for me.

I had provided a definition for "design" back on page 2 of this thread, but it was ignored....

Here is an online dictionary definition for "design"...

1.  the act of working out the form of something (as by making a sketch or outline or plan); "he contributed to the design of a new instrument"  
2.  an arrangement scheme; "the awkward design of the keyboard made operation difficult"; "it was an excellent design for living"; "a plan for seating guests"  
3.  something intended as a guide for making something else; "a blueprint for a house"; "a pattern for a skirt" 4.  a decorative or artistic work; "the coach had a design on the doors"  
5.  an anticipated outcome that is intended or that guides your planned actions; "his intent was to provide a new translation"; "good intentions are not enough"; "it was created with the conscious aim of answering immediate needs"; "he made no secret of his designs"
6.  a preliminary sketch indicating the plan for something; "the design of a building"  
7.  the creation of something in the mind

I think the second definition is probably closest to what I am talking about.

As for metrics.  Can you provide me a metric for the term "existence"?  Because if it exists, I say it has the property of “design”.

Of course this is a side issue for what I am suggesting. I am not Mike Gene.  I am certainly not Dembski.  If you want to know their definition of design you will have to ask them.  The idea I have been presenting is that...

"All quantum effects are interconnected in Minkowskian space-time."

I will, and have, answered any questions of my definitions and why I think this is true.

Even the main point of the provocative Stuart Hameroff quote wasn't about "design".  It was suggesting...

" molecules and cytoskeletal protein lattices may have the inherent flexibility to harness ambient energy for quantum coherent states, interact with the Planck scale via quantum gravity processes, and utilize photons as phase-ordered matter."

On the Group Think situation.  It wasn't whether Telic Thoughts or AtBC is more or less accepting of my ideas (believe me, there are plenty of TTers who do NOT like it).  It was the differnce in the effectiveness of peer pressure.  Frankly, I was surprised that some people from AtBC were actually afraid to approach me publicly and chose to do so privately.

Of course there are others who are independent and strong willed enough to overcome the pressure and have shown their interest publicly on AtBC.

Now on to Keiths.

Date: 2008/01/23 11:47:24, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Keiths,

Thank you for your comment.  It provides me an excuse to repost something I think will help explain things I want explained.  You see, Zachriel was trying to deflect the point of my Star Trek based story with his.  Here is mine...


Captain's Log, star date 2006.1004,

We are on assignment in the Alpha quadrant to study planet cluster 623.

I have ordered the navigator to make it appear the planet cluster is moving in a circular pattern relative to the ship. Side note, I find it interesting that when the navigator does this it looks like the entire universe is spinning at the same rate, fascinating.

I have ordered Ensign Keiths to my ready-room.

Here he is now (wearing a red shirt, of course).

Ensign, we are sending down several survey teams to various planets in this cluster. This operation will occur over two years, ship time. The first year we will be dropping off teams the second year we will be picking them up.

However, it won't appear to be a year for you. Since, as you know, "…there is no absolute frame of reference…" and "…that the laws of physics are identical in all…" local frames of reference. Based on the ship's frame of reference, you will be constantly traveling at warp 0.9. At nine tenths the speed of light time will go slower…. err… um… or does it go faster? Hmmm, let's do the math…

ds^2 = dt^2 - (dx^2 + dy^2 + dz^2)
= (1 year)^2 - (0.9 light-years)^2
= 1.0 - 0.81
= 0.19

ds = 0.436 years

Ah yes, that’s it. Less than half a year. Therefore, we will provision your shuttle to last you and your team half a year. We will be back before you know it.

Ensign Keiths?

Do you have something to say?

I wrote this in response to your claim that...

I think the problem is that you're confusing the concepts of absolute vs. inertial reference frames. Special relativity says that there is no absolute frame of reference, but it most definitely does not say that there are no inertial frames, as you claimed. In fact, special relativity recognizes an infinite number of inertial frames and holds that the laws of physics are identical in all of them.

BTW, I never claimed there were "no inertial frames" and defy you to point out where I did.

The paradox in the Twin's Paradox is in choosing which frame of reference to use.  You say it doesn't matter.  I say it does.

The interesting part of your and Zachriel's "lecture" is that you were arguing in exactly the opposite directions.

Here is how I ended the off-topic discussion...

Hi Zachrial and Keiths,

It looks like Zachriel rejects the Math Page article and keiths thinks the "…author of the Math Page article confirms that special relativity resolves the Twin Paradox."

This has become too much of a distraction.

For the record, I reject Zachriel's, Keiths' and Lasky's suggestion that Special Relativity is complete enough to explain the Twin's Paradox without an implicit or explicit preferential choice of reference frames. I embrace the Math Page article's assessment…

"As mentioned above, one of Einstein's two main two reasons for abandoning special relativity as a suitable framework for physics was the fact that, no less than Newtonian mechanics, special relativity is based on the unjustified and epistemologically problematical assumption of a preferred class of reference frames, precisely the issue raised by the twins paradox. Today the "special theory" exists only (aside from its historical importance) as a convenient set of widely applicable formulas for important limiting cases of the general theory, but the phenomenological justification for those formulas can only be found in the general theory."

If we continue to disagree, we continue to disagree. However, hopefully by now you understand my position even if you don't like it.

So Ensign Keiths, have you figured out how to explain things to a captain thinking he can use his frame of reference and only Special Relativity?

Date: 2008/01/23 12:18:01, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Time for a show of hands...

How many people think our universe is totally without any kind of absolute reference frame?

How many people think our universe has a reference frame that is the non-Euclidean geometry formulated by Minkowski?

How many people want to ignore this as unimportant to understanding our reality?

From the a paper titled Einstein’s Ether: Why did Einstein Come Back to the Ether?  (Warning, long download time)
"In (1905) Einstein constructed a relativity theory that was based on the assertion that the ether was superfluous. In 1908 Minkowski formulated the theory of the “absolute world”. The nineteenth century ether no longer existed. A new kind of ether (space-time) came into being. One could keep on maintaining the ether, and at the same time strip it of the notion of absolute rest. Einstein seemed to agree, and after 1916 he returned to the ether. In 1920 he combined Minkowski’s absolute world concept and Mach’s ideas on rotational movements…"

Date: 2008/01/23 13:32:22, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Keiths,

If that was your best shot I am quite comfortable with leaving that decision up to those in the listening audience, most of whom appear to have reasonable reading comprehension skills.

So, tell everyone one more time...

"Special relativity says that there is no absolute frame of reference [but] recognizes an infinite number of inertial frames and holds that the laws of physics are identical in all of them."

And then, Ensign Keiths, explain why your captain must work the problem from a specific frame of reference in order to arrive at the correct conclusion.

Wouldn't it be easier, and more correct, to recognise the existence of the single, absolute reference frame General Relativity describes?

You might arrive at an approximately correct answer if you use Special Relativity.  You could also end up with a totally incorrect answer if you choose the wrong reference frame.

General Relativity gives you the correct answer because the universe is, in fact, the "absolute world" Minkowski described when he formulated the non-Euclidean geometry Einstein eventually embraced and has been successfully used by physicists like Hawking and Penrose.

BTW, Penrose has a whole chapter is his book,The Road to Reality, that is dedicated to explaining Minkowskian geometry and how it applies to things like the Clock Paradox (aka Twin Paradox).

You might want to consider reading it.

Date: 2008/01/23 14:58:58, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Mr Christopher,

I am somewhat familiar with AFDave and less familiar with Vmartin.  I don't know about skepti, but from your reference I could give a good guess.

At this point, I probably could claim the earth is round and have it taken as a creationist argument.

I am just curious as to how long you guys will let me play the straight man to your taunts.  I have an audience.  I am on solid ground with what I am suggesting.

General Relativity and Minkowskian Geometry properly solves the Twin Paradox because Minkowski's "absolute world" model of our universe was correct and has been substantially verified.

Do you really think taunts and comparisons to creationists will make my arguments any less valid?

It's my hope and expectation that at least some people will be provoked into some internal re-evaluation in the face of this continuing ridiculousness.

General Relativity is real.  Special Relativity was a temporary stop gap that has outlived its usefulness.

This is a creationist argument?

Date: 2008/01/23 15:13:56, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Keiths,

I see you have finally posted what you should have long ago.

Occam tells us what to do with superfluous hypotheses.

Now, would you agree that the Twin Paradox is a geometry problem and that the traveling twin takes a short-cut in the non-Euclidean space-time geometry?

Or would you like to complicate it to make it less understandable?

Date: 2008/01/23 15:26:37, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Creeky Belly,

Thank you for stepping forward.

I did enjoy and read what you sent me.  Thank you again.

As you know, Sir Roger Penrose doesn't agree with your understanding of what causes decoherence.

As to the ramifications of this.  We will get there slowly assuming this line of discussion continues.

First things first.  

Minkowskian space-time geometry is the appropriate model of our universe, not Euclidean geometry.


Minkowskian space-time geometry easily allows for the interconnection of things that travel at the speed of light.  It practically forces it.

As uncomfortable as it might make you, would you agree to that too?

Date: 2008/01/23 16:53:08, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
...quantum information can be transmitted faster than the speed of light, I think that was a corollary of Bell's experiment. However, classical transmission of information faster than the speed of light is still forbidden.

On this we agree.

Quantum information is not "classical transmission of information".  Therefore, it can not result in a causal paradox.  Quantum information can travel forward and backwards in time along with instantly traveling to anywhere in the universe.

In other words, quantum information can propagate to any point in the universal space-time geometry from the Big Bang to whatever happens at the end (Big Crunch?).

Penrose's OR hypothesis suggests that not only can quantum information propagate everywhere and everywhen, it does.  All the quantum information (i.e. quantum effects) are just exposed parts of one giant wavefunction that is our universe.

What things like Bell's experiment and Greenberger–Horne–Zeilinger states show us is that whenever any quantum information is exposed as classical information, the entire universal wavefunction (past and future) is forced into consistency with that exposed information.

However, the wavefunction only needs to be dynamic if the choice of what gets exposed is random.

Newtonian physics is deterministic.  It doesn't generate randomness.  The only apparent true source of randomness appears to come from the decoherence of quantum effects.

I suggest the game is rigged.

Of course this opens up some curious ramifications to the concept of free will and consciousness.

Date: 2008/01/23 18:08:29, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Keiths,

Did you read the Lasky article?

I read it the first time you presented it to me and I told you then that I disagreed with it.

Do you finally understand why you are wrong to claim that special relativity cannot resolve the twin paradox?

It doesn't matter whether you or Lasky can twist Special Relativity into a form where it might resolve the Twin Paradox.  You finally admitted that...

4. General relativity also resolves the twin paradox.

Special Relativity is superfluous.  General Relativity is a complete explanation.  Special Relativity no longer needs to be a consideration.  Occam's razor suggests we should discard it.  That is what I am doing.

Minkowskian space-time geometry is the appropriate model of our universe, not Euclidean geometry.

Minkowski's concept of a single reference frame and "absolute world" has been shown to be correct.

If you want to quibble about semantics, be my guest if that will help your ego.

Meanwhile, I suggest the ramifications of Minkowskian space-time geometry is rather interesting in its explanatory power.

Date: 2008/01/23 18:51:12, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Jim Wynne,

I have no idea what you are talking about.

I suspect it is just gibberish.

Was this a test?

Date: 2008/01/23 20:44:34, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Doc Bill,

Yes, it does sound cool.  Dangerous, but cool.

My training is as a glorified grease monkey, an electrical engineer.  In the '70s our professors struggled to explain the physics behind tunneling diodes much less the more intense stuff.

I had some interest in physics and showed enough promise that one of the professors from the physics department tried to convince me to change majors.  I went for the money instead (microcontrollers).

So, besides doing my usual over simplification, would you agree that I am presenting Penrose's OR hypothesis reasonably accurately?

I am not asking you if you agree with Penrose, I am interested in how well you think I am understanding it.

BTW, thank you for the explaination about who Henderson and Darling are.

Date: 2008/01/23 20:55:34, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Erasmus,

Thank you for your comment.

...some physics to make ordinary folks feel plumb ignernt.  YouknowhutImeanTP.

Yes I do.  ;)

Do you have any idea how hard it was to struggle through 1000 pages of Roger Penrose level math when you have been out of college for over 30 years?

I am trying to explain my understanding as well as I can.  I get the impression I am not too far off, but I can't know for sure.

Obviously my explaination is incomplete.  I am just trying to figure out what I have got flat out wrong.

Is there anything in particular that you would like me to try an explain better?

Date: 2008/01/23 22:15:58, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Erasmus,

Thank you again for your comment.

I don't want to convince you.  I want you to decide for yourself.

Part of my provocative style is so if people come to see things the way I do, they will do it in spite of my arrogance.  I want people thinking for themselves.

As for data...
Here is something interesting from Berkeley Labs...

"We have obtained the first direct evidence that remarkably long-lived wavelike electronic quantum coherence plays an important part in energy transfer processes during photosynthesis,”

Date: 2008/01/24 07:34:17, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Keiths,

Thank you for your response.  I think it helped me with my presentation, a lot.

The difference between you and Zachriel is that Zachriel approaches his discussions like he would a military maneuver.  He is careful not to over-extend.

You may yet win the battle of convincing people I made a semantic mistake in my use of the term "General Relativity" but it may cost you the war in that you end up demonstrating that my efforts are honest and rational.

Page 422 of The Road to Reality is part of Chapter 18 which is titled "Minkowskian geometry".

Starting at the top of Page 420...
"In passing from [Euclidean geometry] to [Minkowskian geometry], there are also changes that relate to inequalities.  The most dramatic of these contains the essence of the so-called 'clock paradox' (or 'twin paradox') of special relativity. ... if we accept that the passage of time, as registered by a moving clock, is really a kind of 'arc length' measured along a world line, then the phenomenon is not more puzzling than the path along which this distance is measured.  Both are measured by the same formula, namely [integral of ds], but in the Euclidian case, the straight path represents the minimizing of the measured distance between two fixed end-points, whereas in the Minkowski case, it turns out that the straight, i.e. inertial, path represents the maximizing of the measured time between two fixed end events (see also 17.9)." [emphasis Penrose's]

Penrose goes on to explain how in the shortest distance between two points in Euclidean geometry is a straight line and how that is not true for Minkowskian geometry.

This is why I say the traveling twin took a short cut.

Page 421 has some pictures explaining all of this.  Penrose also explains why this is NOT due to accelerations and is purely a geometry problem.

Continuing on page 422...

"It is frequently argued that it would be necessary to pass to Einstein's general relativity in order to handle acceleration, but this is completely wrong.  The answer for the clock times is obtained using the formula [integral of ds] (with ds>0) in both theories.  The astronaut is allowed to accelerate in special relativity, just as in general relativity."

Penrose was trying to explain a concept using terms people understand.  I was focused on Penrose's concept.  If you want to claim victory over semantics, be my guest.

As for how to "fix" your chart.  Simply re-label the chart to read...

Traveler's clock as seen by Homebody

Traveler's clock

Homebody's clock

You and Lasky are handwaving a preferential choice of a frame of reference.  What is the basis of this choice?  Acceleration?

I suggest that is why Penrose was trying to explain that worrying about acceleration was "completely wrong".

The Twin Paradox is a geometry problem.

And it doesn't matter whether you want to mouth the words "Special Relativity" or "General Relativity" in the process of figuring out the arc lengths.

The traveling twin took a short cut.

Date: 2008/01/24 19:03:37, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hmmm, it’s gotten quiet all of a sudden.

Hi Henry,

Thank you for your comment.

I had put together the Star Trek example in anticipation of the standard "changing inertial frames" argument.

It is the landing party that is going out and back, not the Captain on his ship.  At least from the Captain's frame of reference.

You are using acceleration to choose a preferred frame of reference.

Now if the ship was orbiting a gravity well, the Captain and his ship wouldn't experience acceleration.  Oops, special relativity breaks down and then the hand waving begins.  Why make exceptions for an antiquated concept that has outlived its usefulness?  Nostalgia?

Did you understand what Penrose was talking about with "'arc length' measured along a world line"? Minkowski brought Einstein and physics back to the "absolute world" of a single, non-Euclidean reference frame. The integral of ds is the summation of the path taken by the respective twin.  The path taken by the traveling twin is shorter in the single, "absolute world" that is our universe.

The traveling twin takes a short cut.

Date: 2008/01/24 21:09:18, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Nerull,

You wrote...
You've made it quite clear you understand neither SR, GR, or QM.

All I can do is my best.

ds = sqrt(dt^2 - dx^2 - dy^2 - dz^2)

For homebody; dt = 2 years, dx = dy = dz = 0

Homebody's clock = sqrt(2^2) = 2 years.

For traveler; dt = 1 year, dx = 0.8 light years (trip out)
                  dt = 1 year, dx = -0.8 light years (trip back)

Traveler's clock = 2 x sqrt(1^2 - 0.8^2) =  1.2 years.

No acceleration, no preferential frame of reference.

Date: 2008/01/24 21:31:12, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi swbarnes,

Like I said, all I can do is my best.

I'm an engineer.  Maybe if you presented some easy to understand equations that don't imply a preferential frame of reference, I would understand better.

Date: 2008/01/24 22:10:14, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Henry,

That was a couple of comments too late.

I have done it both ways.

The Star Trek example exposes that special relativity only works for "special" situations.

For the typical twins paradox I calculated the two arc lengths.  The traveler's arc length (ds) is shorter than homebody's.

The traveling twin takes a shortcut.

Date: 2008/01/24 22:47:19, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Creeky Belly,

Ok you got me.  I made a stupid mistake.  I should have used the Penrose quote Keiths pointed out....

"It is frequently argued that it would be necessary to pass to Einstein's general relativity in order to handle acceleration, but this is completely wrong.  The answer for the clock times is obtained using the formula [integral of ds] (with ds>0) in both theories."

Of course Penrose might be totally wrong that all we have to do is calculate the arc lengths.  And what kind of name is Minkowski anyway?  Einstein was probably just being polite and pretending that he agreed with his old teacher's "absolute world" silly idea.

I don't usually like resort to sarcasm, but it is getting a little irritating that those who understand this better than I aren't stepping up and explaining it in terms we all can understand.

It is a whole lot easier to set back and throw stones from the sidelines, isn't it?

Date: 2008/01/25 07:08:04, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi all,

As for picking up textbooks and trying to figure this out for myself.  That is what I have done.

As for trying to get help in my understanding, that is what I am doing.

As for humbly accepting other people's understanding as correct without understanding it myself, that is what I am NOT doing.  If I don't understand it, I don't know it.

All I can do is my best.

What I see is that if curved space is a reality, then we should be able to calculate paths through it.  We could (and would) do this by summing up the arc length segments that make up the path.

For four dimensional space-time, the arc lengths (ds) would be a function of dt, dx, dy and dz.

It is my understanding that the arc length function that matches experimental data like GPS satellites is...

ds = SQRT( dt^2 - dx^2 - dy^2 - dz^2)

It is my understanding that clocks are a kind of Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) for curved space.  Clocks measure the path lengths through space-time.  The more accurate the clocks, the more accurate our measurement.

I have managed to understand how this concept relates to Newtonian Physics in that Newtonian Physics is a limited, special case where dt is much, much larger than dx, dy and dz.

To me, this makes things like velocity and acceleration just interesting mathematical artifacts that fall out of the fundamental reality of a more complete view of curved space-time.

I consider it a good thing that my understanding is consistent with Newtonian Physics, because if it wasn't my understanding would be obviously flawed.

To me, the traveling twin takes a short cut because the calculated path through space-time is shorter than the calculated path of the homebody.  This has been confirmed experimentally with the space-time measurement devices commonly known as clocks.

To me Special Relativity, like Newtonian Physics, is limited to only "special" situations.  I consider it an unnecessary detail when we have a more comprehensive solution that is easy to apply.  The traveling twin takes a short cut in space-time.  QED

I am all too aware of how easy it is to make simple things complicated.  As an engineer, I am generally trying to see the root causes and/or requirements of things.  I work with plenty of people with PhDs who more often than not tend to worry about unimportant details and side issues (e.g. semantics) when we are attempting to get our hands around a particular problem.

If I let PhD types do my thinking for me, we would never get anything accomplished.

So, in plain simple words this glorified grease monkey can understand...

Do I have a correct, if crude, understanding that space-time is curved and that some paths in its non-Euclidean geometry are shorter than others?

And, furthermore, the path taken by someone traveling only along the time dimension is NOT the shortest path?

In other words, is the idea that the traveling twin takes a short cut wrong or not?

Thank you.

Date: 2008/01/25 09:28:54, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Keiths,

In one sense an ORBITING spaceship doesn't experience force because of the gravity well it is in.  Therefore, it doesn't experience acceleration.

It is my understanding the concept of "centripetal acceleration" is an artificial explanation for dealing with the reality of curved space.

That is what I meant about my understanding matching Newtonian Physics.  It also exposes the limitations of "special" relativity (i.e. only works in special cases).

As for my "lecturing", why on earth would you consider an anonymous non-person to be an authority on anything?

All I have are my arguments.  I think they are valid.  I think they might help others re-think what they do and don't really understand.  My provocative style forces people, like you, to defend their understanding.

If you are successful, it helps me.  If you are not, it helps others.  Either way, it makes for a positive development.

It causes people to think for themselves.

Date: 2008/01/25 12:52:22, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Creeky Belly,

Do you honestly think I don't know how to do vector math if we assume our universe is Euclidean three dimensional space?

Whether you believe me or not, I have spent years developing computerized models that deal with the non-linear equations inherent in real-world six-degree of freedom situations.  This not only included force, acceleration, velocity and position vectors in both absolute and relative frames.  I also had to deal with moments of inertial and quaternians with matrix transfer functions.

When I said "I work with plenty of people with PhDs" I meant it.  You can feel sorry for them now, because I have been the interface between them and turning their concepts into reality.

I am good at understanding things well enough to explain it to management and programmers.

But first I have to understand it.

I understand what Penrose is saying.

It makes sense to me.

It is logical, consistent and provides answers to all of the problems presented (GPS satellites, Twin Paradox, orbiting space ships, red-shifted sunlight, etc).

I am too old to start over in academia and begin sucking up to the established prima donnas by presenting everything in their terms pretending I think they are absolutely right while gently modifying the definition of terms to make a more consistent world view.

I am sorry but asking people to explain why in their terms only results in them telling me to trust them because they know more than I do.  I have long learned that letting others think for me does not work.

Tell me that I am misunderstanding Mankowskian Geometry, and I will try to understand it better based on your suggestions.

Tell me that I am misapplying Penrose's equations, and I will listen (and probably ask for an example of a proper application).

If you tell me I have to go back through the tortuous path of using outdated concepts and outdated terms just to prove I am worthy of the privilege of thinking for myself, then I am not interested, especially since I have already done that.

When someone tells me they understand Penrose's viewpoint well enough to point out the "inarguably contrary implications of Henderson-Darling oscillation and reciprocal inversion", I know I am not far off in my understanding of Penrose’s viewpoint.  However, I will look into this so I can understand it, because I suspect the answer will provide me a deeper understanding.

Creeky Belly, you have been reasonably supportive of me, especially in the e-mails.  I sense that you are earnestly looking for a better understanding yourself.  Let me ask you some probing questions.

Do you view the universe as a three-dimensional Euclidean Geometry that clicks by frame-by-frame as the time passes?

I suspect that is how most people think of the universe.

If you do too, how does that correspond with the concept of curved space-time, gravity wells, Black holes, etc?

Do you accept that time is one of four complex dimensions?

I am presuming you understand the Euclidean arc segment of…

dl = SQRT(dx^2 + dy^2 + dz^2)


Presuming you don’t have a problem with complex numbers then dt could (and would) have a SQRT(-1) factor.  Coming up with the arc length segment of the four dimensional space results in…

dl = SQRT(dx^2 + dy^2 + dz^2 – dt^2)

So far so good?

Penrose calls this ”space-like”, but that is just his convention.  Another convention he uses is to flip the complex dimensions to the perpendicular orientation.  Resulting in a “time-like” arc length segment of…

ds = SQRT(-dx^2 - dy^2 - dz^2 + dt^2)


ds = SQRT(dt^2 - dx^2 - dy^2 - dz^2)

Which is the equation I used to solve the Twin Paradox.

Final question, do you understand and accept truly four dimensional space-time, or are you really thinking a 3+1 modification of Euclidean Geometry because you don’t want to let go of familiar concepts?

Date: 2008/01/25 15:10:17, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Mr Christopher,

You wrote...

Seriously, stop arguing your idiotic points and start asking intelligent questions.

Ok, seriously.

What is your understanding on the significance of Minkowskian goemetry?

Did I misapply this equation Penrose presented in The Road to Reality?  (chapter 18 is titled "Minkowskian geometry")

ds^2 = dt^2 - dx^2 - dy^2 - dz^2

Is curved space-time truely a four dimensional geometry, or is it just three dimensional geometry with time being limited to frame-by-frame snapshots of the 3-D geometry?

Finally, if curved space-time is truely a four dimensional geometry, doesn't that mean the traveling twin can and does take a short cut compared to the homebody twin?

Date: 2008/01/25 22:00:31, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Doc Bill,

Feeling encouraged by your admission that I'm giving at least a Vanity Fair treatment of this subject.

I have started another thread.

Date: 2008/01/25 22:00:46, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
In the other thread it was pointed out that I had strayed completely off topic.  There was even an implicit remark that this was dishonest.  Therefore, I am starting this thread.

For those that haven't been following the situation, allow me a quick recap...

I had presented my thoughts on the comparative strengths and weaknesses of Mike Gene's and Dembski's methods for inferring design (I feel Mike Gene's is a more honest attempt even if it is weak).

This, of course, engendered pejorative remarks about me personally and repeated inquiries about things like who I am (Mike Gene?), my definitions, my opinions and what books I have read.

I eventually acquiesced to these requests by indicating Penrose’s The Road to Reality is the type of book I like to read and explained some of my general thoughts.  One of which is that I consider the Twin Paradox to be a geometry problem that is explained by understanding the traveling twin takes a short cut.

The last comment (from Doc Bill) was questioning the relationship of this topic to a Biology Forum.  It is at this point that I decided to start this thread and answer that.

As some of you know, I am of the opinion that it is possible life is the result of an evolution of living organisms making direct use of interconnected quantum effects be it for photosynthesis (see recent Berkeley Lab discoveries), DNA processing (see A. Patel) or quantum consciousness (see S. Hameroff).

The reason I feel quantum effects are interconnected is generally based on the Copenhagen quantum interpretation concerning waveforms and specifically due to Penrose’s derivative interpretation called Objective Reduction (OR).

And one of the things that ties it all together is the geometry of our universe.  If the distance in four dimensional space-time is appropriately described by the Minkowskian geometry equation…

dl^2 = dx^2 + dy^2 + dz^2 – dt^2

or in a rotated complex dimension view…

ds^2 = dt^2 - dx^2 - dy^2 - dz^2

Then it becomes apparent there are different path lengths between two points in four dimensional space-time and the shortest distance is NOT a straight line.

The homebody twin takes the straight line path along the time dimension (2 years)…

ds = SQRT(2^2 – 0^2 – 0^2 – 0^2)

ds = 2

The traveling twin takes a path out and back (1 year, 0.8 light-years both ways)…

ds = SQRT(1^2 – 0.8^2 – 0^2 – 0^2)
      + SQRT(1^2 – (-0.8)^2 – 0^2 – 0^2)

ds = 1.2    [Edited to correct mistake made in rush]

The traveling twin path is shorter.

The traveling twin takes a short cut.

Things that travel at the speed of light take the ultimate short cut in space-time, the path length is always ZERO.

This trivializes the explanation of quantum experiments involving Bell’s inequality and Greenberger–Horne–Zeilinger (GHZ) quantum states, at least for light.  The quantum effects are interconnected because the space-time path length between them is zero.

To me, this starts to tie everything together, as in “life, universe and everything”.

And, yes, that includes Biology.

Date: 2008/01/25 22:13:26, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Creek Belly,

In the other thread, you wrote...
I understand Minkowskian geometry, moreover I know when it's applicable. When you gave your example of the traveling twin, I showed that the solution came from both accelerating to +0.8c and -0.8c, you can show that the traveling twin enters a non-inertial reference frame and thus the conflict is resolved. The fact that you're still arguing about physics from special relativity is telling, you need general relativity at least to have any knowledge of gravity.

Here's the catch with Minkowskian geometry: space-like separated events are not causally connected in the classical relativistic picture. If you want to argue that they are, you can perform some experiments to test this. The fact that you can flip signs around doesn't mean anything unless there's a physical effect that we can measure.

Look, I've been reasonably supportive to the point where I'm genuinely interested in the physics research you present. However, when you say things that are demonstrably false, and chide people for holding on to outdated scientific dogma, I get a little annoyed. You complain that we're arguing from authority (I'm not, I'm arguing from the principles of physics), then you turn around and do exactly that. Man up and show me you know what you're talking about.

First point, I agree that I haven't filled in details for things like gravity (which I also view as a geometry problem)  But I think I am starting with a firm foundation of a four dimensional view of space time.  So before we progress to gravity, let's address your other points.

As far as showing things are "causally connected" in space-time with experimental data, I give you Quantum Mechanics and countless Bell inequality and GHZ experiments.  Quantum Mechanics and Cosmology do not exist in separate realities.

This gets back to the fundamental question of whether or not you truly embrace four dimensional space-time.  If four dimensional space-time is real, than the calculated distance is real too.  If the distance is zero, there is no separation.

You say I said something that is demonstrably false.  Besides possibly misapplying terms and my stupid "no acceleration" comment what is demonstrably false about saying the traveling twin takes a short cut?

Date: 2008/01/25 22:15:14, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Lou,

Thank you for asking.  I think we can close up the other thread.  I copied Creeky Belly's comment here.

Date: 2008/01/26 10:09:58, Link
Author: Thought Provoker

Some other nut on the internet wrote...

Historically, physicist R. P. Feynman first pointed out the fact that the Green functions of Schroedinger equations are given as path integrals [2]. Later, he used it as a fundamental tool for quantum electrodynamics, and had a resounding success.  We find the nice exposition of the “physical meaning.
Let “Minkowski path integral” refer to the usual path integral; integral over paths on ‘real’ space-time, interpreted as a Minkowski space. It is known by physicists that when calculating usual path integrals, the formal replacement of the time variable t by “imaginary time” T = it has good effects, e.g. the degree of divergence is reduced. The procedure of replacement is called Euclideanization. This suggests that the Euclideanized path integrals are more likely to be given a mathematical foundation. The history seems to have proven that.
However I remark the fact that Euclidean path integral is not ’realistic’, and Minkowskian path integral is the only ’realistic’ path integral, where paths are in the real space-time. In my opinion, the final form of physics should be in Minkowskian formulation. Although mathematical foundation of Minkowskian path integral is an extremely difficult problem, the significance of it must not be underestimated.

Date: 2008/01/26 19:26:48, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Jim,

It is interesting that you chose the Pythagorean Theorem in your attempt to make your point because it was a situation involving this theorem that helped shape the way I approach learning.

I was in advanced placement math classes back in the dark ages when I was in High School.  I was surrounded by the straight-A know-it-alls on their way to PhD status.

One day the class went on a short field trip to a nearby university having a “math day”.  One on the activities was what passed as a multi-media presentation of Euclidean geometry where it was explained how Euclid would have demonstrated (A + B)^2 = A^2 + 2AB + B^2 with rectangles and squares instead of numbers.

The next day the class resumed the study of trigonometry and was given the in-class assignment of proving the Pythagorean Theorem.  The presumption made by the teacher and the rest of the class was that this was to be done using the tools presented in the current chapter.  But the current chapter was basic TRIG which is based on the Pythagorean Theorem.  I was the only one in the class who used Euclidean geometry to do the assignment.  Here we were getting exposed to base foundations and while the know-it-alls could mouth the proper words, work the proper formulas and get the As they really didn’t UNDERSTAND what they were doing.  I did.

My mental defect is I am lopsided towards the analytical.  I can solve puzzles quickly.  I tend to be able to debug software systems based on the symptoms alone.  I see the holistic picture.  I understand it.  This ability is at the expense of bypassing irrelevant details, like proper semantics.  I know why and how to do Fourier Transforms but I still have to look up how to spell it.  

This is the reason why I went down the path of engineering instead of academia.

But back to the point at hand, you feel that I am not demonstrating a complete enough understanding of the subject in order to suffer carrying on a serious discussion with me on it.

I will tell you what I am looking for.  I am looking for the weaknesses in the basic understanding I do have.  Am I trying to see the holistic picture enough to make sense of things.  I am not in the position to make a detailed presentation of the mathematical foundation tying together Cosmology and Quantum Mechanics while proposing an explanation for decoherence.  If I could do that, I would probably mathematically model Black Holes for a living, engage Stephen Hawking in debates, discover patterns for aperiodic tilings as a hobby and get knighted for my accomplishments.

No, you aren’t arguing from authority, you are arguing from repetition.  You, and others, are restating over and over that I am ignorant and I am wrong without saying where specifically my logic breaks down or what specific assumptions you disagree with.

From your comment in the other thread about Henderson-Darling oscillations and reciprocal inversions; I suspect you are familiar with Penrose’s hypotheses even if you disagree with them.

What I am trying to provoke, politely ask for and/or beg is to get a critique of how well I understand Penrose’s hypotheses, even it is at a very crude level.

For example, a critique could go like…
“While Penrose does posit a single wavefunction in space-time his connection, his concept of decoherence is dependent on the existence of quantum gravity which you haven’t addressed.”

Date: 2008/01/26 21:29:21, Link
Author: Thought Provoker

Your comment makes me curious.

Do you think I am lying and/or exaggerating?

If so, about what?

That I am an engineer who is good at solving problems?

That the Pythagorean Theorem can be understood with Euclidean geometry?

That Sir Roger Penrose was knighted and discovered Penrose Tilings in his spare time?

If I am lying about Penrose's view of the universe and Quantum Mechanics, that is what I am trying to get people to tell me.

What am I misunderstanding?

Date: 2008/01/26 23:31:45, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Blipey,

You wrote...
The guano is the part about not needing to understand the basics.

But understanding the basics is what I am doing.  It is the base foundations that I look for, the supporting walls, the pillars.

Take your acting as an example.  Surely, in acting you run into the type of people who can tell you the names of all the different techniques and maybe even have been schooled in them, but still don’t understand them.  Going through the motions and mouthing the words does not mean you understand them.

Yes, the riggers of training is important for the practitioners, be they actors or scientists.  I am neither an actor nor a scientist.  But that doesn’t keep me from understanding and appreciating either or both.

As an actor, would you try to convince me that I am incapable of understanding the need for an actor to be believable just because I don’t know the details of acting techniques?

I don’t think I am relying on intuition, I am relying on understanding.  Of course I can only understand what I know.  I know GPS Satellites must adjust their clocks because four-dimensional space-time is real.  I know quantum effects interact non-locally in three dimensional space (e.g. Bell’s inequality, GHZ states, etc).  I know there are different path lengths between two points in four-dimensional space-time.  It is my understanding that the space-time path lengths correspond to varying perceived clock times.  I deduce that the different clock times in the Twin Paradox is due to different path lengths in space-time.  Which is why I think…

…the traveling twin takes a short cut.

Does my understanding become “guano” because I might not know the proper terminology or I fail to appreciate all the subtleties and techniques needed to reach such a conclusion?

Date: 2008/01/27 11:44:28, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi all,

Actually Keiths you are correct on two fronts, in that I now understand Minkowskian geometry is generally considered to be flat not curved and, therefore, is mostly a reformation of special relativity. And you are right in that I will call it a semantics problem because I have been thinking in terms of a flexible Minkowskian geometry that could be either flat or curved.

This is something I have come to understand better because of our recent exchanges and why I changed my tune to admitting that you might have caught me misusing the term "General Relativity".

Here is something from a CalTech web page titled  What is General Relativity?

We've described the Euclidean (or Euclidean-Mesopotamian :-) metric in two space dimensions:
dL^2 = dX^2 + dY^2
and we've discussed at some length the complications that arise with the addition of time to space to give the Minkowski metric (shown here in just one space and one time dimension):
dS^2 = c^2 dT^2 - dX^2
What else can we do to our spacetime distance function to make life more interesting (and hopefully solve the problem with Newtonian gravity discussed in the last section)?
What if we play around with the form of the Minkowski metric? It turns out that if the spacetime metric is arranged in the right manner, we can get something called spacetime curvature. And that is what the General Theory of Relativity is all about.
For example, suppose we add some extra space and time dependence to the Minkowski metric to make a new spacetime distance function
dS^2 = gTT(T,X) c^2 dT^2 - gXX(T,X) dX^2
Using differential geometry, taking the right combination of first and second derivatives of gTT(T,X) and gXX(T,X), we could calculate the what is called the curvature tensor Ruv for this choice of spacetime distance function. The subscripts on Ruv are called tensor indices and refer back to the coordinates used in the above metric. The Minkowski metric corresponds to the choice gTT = gXX = 1 and it has Ruv = 0 for all values of the tensor indices. This is why the Minkowski metric is known also as flat spacetime - because the spacetime curvature calculated from this distance function is zero.

Now I may be wrong, but from the type of responses I have gotten from the less vocal viewers, I suspect some don't have enough understanding to know which clock runs faster; a clock floating motionless in free space away from any gravity wells or a clock sitting on a planet size chunk of rock which is floating motionless’ in free space (not even rotating).

I can use my crude, semantically incorrect view of Minkowskian geometry to realize that a curvature in four-dimensional space-time is going to be described by a matrix simular to how a two dimensional curvature would be described by...

Gxx, Gxy
Gyx, Gyy

Accept instead of 2x2 it would be 4x4.

So when calculating path length segments (ds) in curved space-time something that would otherwise traveling straight along the time dimension where...

ds = SQRT(dt^2)

...ends up with cross products from the matrix multiplication with something like...

ds = SQRT(0.99999*dt^2 - 0.00447*dz^2)

So things in gravity wells are like the traveling twin taking a short cut.

Therefore, the clock sitting on the rock appears to be running slower compared to the clock floating motionless in free space.

Isn't a good thing that the general level of understanding is being increased?  Even though I may be the only one learning something new here (which I doubt).

Date: 2008/01/27 19:42:04, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi All,

FYI from the crypt.

Starting with standard Minkowskian geometry...

ds^2 = dt^2 - dx^2 - dy^2 - dz^2

Converting Cartesian to polar
( dx to r*d(phi) and dy to r*sin(phi)*d(theta) and dz to dr)

ds^2 = dt^2 - (r*d(phi))^2 - (r*sin(phi)*d(theta))^2 - dr^2

Allowing for curved space...

ds^2 = Gtt*dt^2 - (r*d(phi))^2 - (r*sin(phi)d(theta))^2 - Grr*dr^2

In flat space, Gtt = Grr = 1

In generalized curved space, Gtt = 1/Grr, therefore...

ds^2 = Gtt*dt^2 - (r*d(phi))^2 - (r*sin(phi)d(theta))^2 - dr^2 / Gtt

The sharper the curve, the smaller the Gtt.

In my crude, incorrect semantic way of looking at things, I would have called this curved Minkowskian geometry.

However, if Gtt is calculated to be equal to...

Gtt = 1 - 2 * G * M / r

...where M is mass and G is the gravitational constant I understand this becomes known as Schwarzschild Geometry.

ds^2 = Gtt*dt^2 - (r*d(phi))^2 - (r*sin(phi)d(theta))^2 - dr^2 / Gtt

I offer that this equation combines aspects of General Relativity (gravity) with aspects of Special Relativity (flat Minkowskian geometry) in one equation.

And we are still calculating paths through four dimensional space-time.

So, even if it involves gravity and acceleration, the traveling twin still takes a short cut.

Date: 2008/01/27 21:11:06, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Ian,
Seriously, are you THAT good at doublethink?

And I suppose you think that is double-ungood right?

If it isn't obvious by now, I am not concerned about proper terminology and am focusing on ideas, especially thought provoking ideas.

Do you accept the reality of four dimensional space-time?

If time is truly just another dimension (albeit complex), wouldn't you agree that paths through it would be of the form...
ds^2 = A*dt^2 + B*dx^2 + C*dy^2 + D*dz^2
...where in non-curved space-time A, B, C and D are either 1 or -1 depending on the orientation of the real and imaginary planes?

If the four dimensional geometry is real, doesn't that make the paths real too?

Do you disagree that whether you calculate it in Cartesian or Polar, with or without curvature due to gravity, it looks like a clock measures the path length of four dimensional space-time?

Now you might be able to reformulate things to map into Euclidean geometry and other assumptions made by Newtonian Physics (e.g. acceleration) but only under "special" circumstance.  Does this detract from our ability to understand and calculate varying path lengths in space-time?

Do you doubt the traveling twin takes a short cut?

If so, why?

If not, then we can move on to the thought provoking implications of things traveling at the speed of light taking the ultimate short cut in four dimensional space-time.

Date: 2008/01/28 13:03:00, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Olegt,

Thank you for that simple explanation.

I agree, I didn't think it was that difficult.

The traveling twin takes a short cut.

Would you also state it is obvious that the path length of things moving at the speed of light is ZERO in spacetime with a (+,-,-,-) metric signature?

ds^2 = dt^2 - dx^2 - dy^2 - dz^2

Date: 2008/01/28 13:52:33, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Thank you again olegt.

Now that we finally got that squared away, hopefully we can see how the apparent interconnections of "non-local" photons in quantum experiments (e.g. EPR, Bell inequality, Greenberger–Horne–Zeilinger (GHZ) states, etc.) isn't that mysterious once it is recognized that this all happens in four dimensional space-time.

Is this another obvious statement?

Date: 2008/01/28 20:05:18, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Lou,

This thread has only 33 replies but 20 times as many views.  Significantly more interest than the thread about baseball (which has 35 replies).

I laid out the connection to biology in the opening post.  I hope you aren't going to pull the plug just when someone steps up and starts engaging in a discussion.

That being said, I will try to keep things moving.

Thank You

Date: 2008/01/28 20:40:01, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi oldgt,

Thank you for your comment.

I agree that classical information can't propagate faster than the speed of light.  But quantum information can't result in causal paradoxes so there is nothing inherently preventing it for freely traveling anywhere and anywhen in space-time.

I noticed you referenced the wavefunction of the quantum effects.  Does this mean you lean towards the Copenhagen quantum interpretation?

Penrose uses the term quanglement to be short for quantum entanglement.  The interconnection of quantum effects.  I consider his OR interpretation to be a Copenhagen derivative.

I agree that quanglement occurs in situations other than light.  I find quantum experiments that demonstrate Greenberger–Horne–Zeilinger (GHZ) states less fuzzy and when done with light I think it provides a good introduction to understanding "quantum weirdness".

In GHZ experiments, two measurements force the state of the third and the logic of third state flips depending on the measurements.  It is clear (at least to me) that the three quantum effects are interconnected.

I'm confused as to why you seem to resist considering quantum information traveling the paths of spacetime.  As things approach the speed of light (from the classical viewpoint) the space-time path gets shorter and shorter.  The wavefunction for light is compressed in a spacetime path of zero length.

To me, this means the classical view of three GHZ quantum effects being separate yet connected is explainable by embracing the reality of four dimensional spacetime.

So I consider the relativistic aspect very relevant to understanding Quantum Mechanics.  It is the nonrelativistic decoherence that is the tricky part.

Are you aware of Penrose's opinions on quantum gravity?

Date: 2008/01/29 08:52:15, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi olegt,

Thank you for replying.  Excuse the quick response, but I am at work.  I will do a longer response later.  For now I wanted to ask something in reply to...
TP, all current interpretations of quantum mechanics are equivalent as far as experimental consequences are concerned.  So there is no physical reason to prefer one interpretation over another.

Do you consider the Many Worlds interpretation as having a PHYSICAL justification?

I think it is metaphysical.  As metaphysical as saying "God works in mysterious ways."

Is "God does it" a legitimate quantum interpretation?

BTW, I think Ken Miller comes close to saying just that when justifying his Theistic Evolution view.

P.S. Thanks for the link to the textbook.  I will try to address that later.

Date: 2008/01/29 16:29:55, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Keiths,

Such emotion.  Did you notice my pseudonym includes the word "Provoker"?

You wrote...
The idea is to use your opponents, who actually understand physics, to winnow your ideas for you.

Guilty as charged.  Of course, that is kind of what I have been indicating all along.

While I appreciate your (and other's) help in educating me on some of the details, the title of this thread is The Traveling Twin takes a Short Cut.  I consider this concept key to my understanding of Penrose's OR and Orch OR (the latter being a joint Penrose/Hameroff hypothesis).

Now that the concept of short cuts through space-time seems to have survived the gauntlet, we are moving on to other aspects of Penrose's OR.  For example, that all quantum effects are just exposed parts of a single, multidimensional wavefunction in space-time.

To me, that implies that all quantum effects are interconnected.

But if you feel you have a better understanding of Penrose's OR or Orch OR, by all means, please feel free to correct me.

Date: 2008/01/29 17:35:18, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi olegt,

I feel that Penrose's opinions on quantum gravity are  quite relevant to a discussion on decoherence.  Here is something I found from Notes for a brief history of quantum gravity


Penrose introduces the idea of spin networks, and of a discrete structure of space controlled by SU(2) representation theory. The construction exists only in the form of a handwritten manuscript. It gets published only in 1971 [24]. The idea will surprisingly re-emerge 25 years later, when spin networks will be found to label the states of loop quantum gravity.
Penrose suggests that the wave function collapse in quantum mechanics might be of quantum gravitational origin [63]. The idea is radical and implies a re-thinking of the basis of mechanics. Remarkably, the idea may be testable: work is today in progress to study the feasibility of an experimental test.

Here is something in Penrose's own words

Will try to expand comments later.

Date: 2008/01/29 22:31:25, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi olegt,

Thank you for your comments.  I am sorry to hear you are dropping out, especially after I read through the textbook's contents and excerpts.  I noticed it had the parathetical "(Non-relevistic Theory)" and came from the "USSR Academy of Sciences".  I was uncomfortable that this was a typical textbook, so I went to Amazon and found a textbook that was highly recommended.  The third chapter was titled "All is not well with Classic Mechanics" (link)

As for explaining quantum information I thank you for the motivation.  While I think defining "quantum information" is similar to trying to define "information", I think I should have a better definition than I do.

From Quantum Mechanics as Quantum Information...
Until we can explain quantum theory’s essence to a junior-high-school or high-school student and have them walk away with a deep, lasting memory, we will have not understood a thing about the quantum foundations.
So, throw the existing axioms of quantum mechanics away and start afresh! But how to proceed? I myself see no alternative but to contemplate deep and hard the tasks, the techniques, and the implications of quantum information theory. The reason is simple, and I think inescapable. Quantum mechanics has always been about information. It is just that the physics community has
somehow forgotten this.
Quantum entanglement has certainly captured the attention of our community. By most accounts it is the main ingredient in quantum information theory and quantum computing [64], and it is the main mystery of the quantum foundations [65]. But what is it? Where does it come from?
The predominant purpose it has served in this paper has been as a kind of background. For it, more than any other ingredient in quantum mechanics, has clinched the issue of “information about what?” in the author’s mind: That information cannot be about a preexisting reality (a hidden variable) unless we are willing to renege on our reason for rejecting the quantum state’s objective reality in the first place. What I am alluding to here is the conjunction of the Einstein argument reported in Section 3 and the phenomena of the Bell inequality violations by quantum mechanics. Putting those points together gave us that the information symbolized by a |?> must be information about the potential consequences of our interventions into the world.

Well it is late, if you change your mind I would like to continue.

Thanks again.

Date: 2008/01/31 16:18:47, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Please excuse my brief absence.  I had some non-blog reading and correspondence to catch up on.

My daughter is well on her way to earning her PhD.  She briefly mentioned my wild ideas to her mentor.  He asked for more information.  What follows is the letter I am sending to him.  I am interested in hearing his reaction.

Dr. [name withheld],

[My daughter] tells me that you are interested in hearing about the subject of my internet debates concerning the timing and source of consciousness. If you want to simply jump into the deep-end of the pool take a look at and start reading Dr. Hameroff’s numerous publications. However, if you want a less abrupt introduction, I will attempt to give you the benefit of my general understanding.

Dr. Hameroff is a sixty year old Professor Emeritus at the University of Arizona where he is the Director for the Center of Consciousness Studies. Dr. Hameroff indicates he has always been interested in the study of consciousness and that was the main reason he studied Anesthesiology. He figured the best way to understand consciousness was to study the details of what causes unconsciousness. It was this line of investigation that led him to suspect that the microtubules in neurons had a key role in consciousness.

In 1982 Stuart Hameroff, along with R.C. Watt, presented a paper titled Information Processing in Microtubules where they laid out how the tubulin dimers that make up microtubules can act like on/off bits in a computer. This wasn’t exactly a new idea, other people had considered the possibility that a cell’s cytoskeleton (which is made up of microtubules and actin filaments) might act as a kind of nervous system for the cell. However, Hameroff was going beyond that to suggest that not only does anesthesia disrupt the tubulin processing but that the processing is quantum, not classical. Bluntly put, Hameroff is suggesting that each neuron contain multiple quantum computers working in concert to give rise to consciousness.

Hameroff has an anesthesiologist background; Watt came from the department of Electrical Engineering. These are hardly the credentials needed to be taken seriously in the field of Quantum Mechanics. Besides, all they were saying at this point was that the brain has significantly more processing power than generally thought. Instead of a processing bit per neuron, Hameroff was suggesting a processing bit per tubulin.

Enter Sir Roger Penrose.

Roger Penrose worked with Stephen Hawking (the guy in the wheelchair) in mathematically modeling Black Holes. Penrose and Hawking are peers from different schools of thought that trace their roots back to Bohr and Einstein. Penrose and Hawking have jointly written at least one book and held a debate in 1994 which was hyped as the modern equivalent of the old Bohr/Einstein debates. The debate was generally about what are fundamentally real foundations verses what are simply observations yet to be understood.

In Quantum Mechanics several things show a dual nature. For example, light can be thought of as both photons and light waves. There are many more startling examples of this, including a single particle being in two places at one time. There are mathematical models that explain this and modern physicists no longer hesitate of talk about superposition (two or more quantum states existing simultaneously) and Qbits (quantum bits that are both “1” and “0”).

Bohr, Penrose and most adherents to the Copenhagen School generally consider the superposition nature to be fundamentally real. The term “waveform collapse” is used to describe the event of multiple states resulting in a single observed state. The general thought was that the collapse was caused by the observation and that the final state was random (constrained by permissible states). Einstein and Schrödinger were on the opposite side of the debate. It was in this context that Einstein exclaimed “God doesn’t play dice.” Einstein was convinced that, like Newtonian Physics, Quantum Physics had to be deterministic. The general argument was that a more complete quantum theory would be figured out someday and it would provide a logical explanation for the observations. Schrödinger posed a thought experiment for the purpose of challenging the Copenhagen School. If a cat’s life was directly tied to a quantum effect in superposition, would the cat be both alive and dead at the same time? Schrödinger eventually regretted posing this intractable puzzle since it plagued physicists on both sides. Schrödinger’s Cat was very much a relevant topic in the 1994 Penrose/Hawking debate (although Hawking tried to downplay its significance).

Penrose has developed a Copenhagen like hypothesis he calls Objective Reduction. However, rather than multiple waveforms collapsing he suggests that the universe is one large wavefunction in four dimensional space-time and quantum states are exposed parts of this single wavefunction.

By now, you might be asking what all of this has to do with consciousness.

While Penrose worked out quite a bit including gravity and general quantum theory, there was still the “measurement problem” of Quantum Mechanics. This plays into the Schrödinger’s Cat thought experiment. Penrose had an answer to why large things don’t appear in superposition (the more the mass, the faster to Objective Reduction (OR) due to gravitational energy), but he didn’t have a ready answer for why observations caused OR. What interconnects observations to Quantum Mechanics? Could it be the consciousness of the observer?

Penrose is very much the mathematician. Not only does he mathematically model Black Holes, he solves extremely difficult math puzzles in his spare time. In the 1960’s it was mathematically proven that you could tile a surface without having the pattern ever repeat. They called it non-periodic tiling and the race was on to figure out who could find the least number of tile shapes that could be used for non-periodic tiling. The number started out with over 20,000 tile shapes which was quickly reduced to 104. In 1974, Penrose had reduced it to six tile shapes. Shortly after that, he identified non-periodic tiling was possible with just two tile shapes.

Penrose maintains that his solution to non-periodic tiling could not have been found via an algorithmic process. Ergo, his brain is not an algorithmic computer. He formalized this by claiming strict algorithmic artificial intelligence (Strong AI) was impossible. Penrose wrote several books that revolved around this theme. He also generalized that the quantum wavefunction is not algorithmic. So even if “God doesn’t play dice” quantum effects are not deterministic, in the sense that it isn’t a lack of knowledge that is preventing us from being able to fully characterize them, quantum effects can’t be fully characterized, period.

Since Quantum Mechanics is the only known source of non-algorithmic information, Penrose suggested that consciousness must be directly linked to Quantum Mechanics. Penrose wrote The Emperor’s New Mind and Shadows of the Mind. These books caught the attention of Dr. Hameroff and in 1992, the two of them started collaborating on a model of consciousness based on Orchestrated Objective Reduction.

An interesting piece of evidence Penrose offers is that the timing of OR events is based on the gravitational energy inherent in mass. According to Penrose, it follows the equation of E=h/t where E is the gravitational energy and h is plank’s constant and t is the time of self OR collapse. It turns out that the mass of roughly 1011 tublins would result in OR event taking 25 ms. This would correspond to the gamma brain wave frequency of 40 Hz which Hameroff offers corresponds well with attention and consciousness.

This completed the circle. Conscious observations cause quantum OR because consciousness is directly connected with the orchestrated, interconnected quantum effects that occur in our universe.

Enter Benjamin Libet and his consciousness studies.

You may have heard of Libet since his experimental data has caused quite a bit of a shake up in your field. As far as I know, Libet was never directly involved with either Penrose or Hameroff. However, Hameroff has referenced Libet’s work quite a bit. If I understand correctly, Libet has shown there is up to a half a second of “readiness potential” prior to a conscious recognition of an event. I understand this was very unexpected to Libet and others in the field. The delay is significant enough to make it difficult to explain everyday activities like hitting a fast ball or playing professional tennis.

One explanation is to say that we fool ourselves into thinking we are making conscious decisions in these circumstances. Another is to argue that we can consciously veto automated responses. I won’t dwell on all the alternatives because I am sure you have better access to the appropriate information than I. Hameroff offers that the Orch OR model provides a simple answer. The “readiness potential” of consciousness is direct evidence of quantum processing in action. Orchestrated quantum effects are all in super position sorting out all the possibilities until that system collapses into the final state and a final conscious decision.

I recommend Hameroff’s paper Consciousness, neurobiology and quantum mechanics: The case for a connection. It provides a fairly readable explanation of all of this.

Arguments against Orch OR generally focus on Penrose’s timing calculations and the perceived difficulties of having quantum processing occurring in a warm, wet and noisy environment like a brain. Penrose’s timing explanation makes sense to me and most of the arguments against it are either simple incredulity or suggesting it isn’t universally accepted (which it isn’t). Penrose has indicated that while he may have doubts about microtubules, he is convinced that he is right on the basic physics. I am not in a position to effectively argue that Penrose doesn’t know what he is talking about. Dr. Hameroff provides his rebuttals of the warm, wet brain argument in the above paper and in other papers available on his web site.

As you can imagine, this sounds too close to mysticism for a lot of people. In fact, the route I took to come to understand occured while I was chasing down the details of the religiously motivation Intelligent Design Movement. If you didn’t hear about it, there was a trial in Dover Pennsylvania late in 2005. It centered on the actions of a religiously motivated school board and a book that was clearly about creation science relabeled as “Intelligent Design”. I found the trial interesting and was intrigued by hints of the possibility that a scientific argument could be made in support of Intelligent Design. Since I like a good argument and this had learning potential, I investigated further.

I ended up at a web site called While a lot of the blog’s participants are clearly religiously motivated the blog is above average in tolerating contrary, anti-religious opinions like mine. One of the blog’s moderators steered me to Hameroff’s web site.

If you go to you will find this letter (with names removed) posted with links to the various web sites and other details I mentioned.

Feel free to leave anonymous comments or questions there. Alternatively, you can contact me at dfcord (at)

Thank you for your interest, I hope this has been informative.

[name withheld]

Date: 2008/01/31 18:27:59, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Mr Christopher,

Seriously, the main purpose of THIS thread was to test my understanding.  A trial by fire.

I think there are some well-rounded intelligent people here who would gladly point out where I got things flat out wrong.

In the past, my provocative babblings have produced very constructive counter-arguments.  For example, qetzal provided a fantastic counter explanation to how single-celled organisms find food without the possibility conscious processing in microtubules.

I do think the key to fighting the ID Movement effectively is engaging them with science, not rhetoric.  Come up with a better ID hypothesis than they have.

Obviously, I think I have a good candidate.  Whether it is correct or not, it is better than the intangible jello most ID proponents have.

Date: 2008/01/31 20:30:33, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Mr Christopher,

Test your understanding?  What exactly does that mean, TP?

I don't know what it "exactly" means theoretically.

In practice, it means I describe some details of my overall hypothesis and people make pejorative remarks that occasionally provoke me into figure something new out.

There are some notable exceptions.

Date: 2008/01/31 21:00:28, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Blipey,

You asked...

It is your contention that the best way to fight the ID movement is to come up with an ID hypothesis?

I think there is a difference between the ID Movement and an honest search for hints of an orchestrated properties in nature.

The ID Movement is about promoting a belief in God.

While it is rare, there are people willing to suppress their philosophical/religious bias to ethically engage in earnest outside-the-box exploration.

But if the rare person is punished for his or her honesty, it just gives ammunition to the Dembskis and Wells of the world.

Date: 2008/02/01 16:40:57, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Lou,

Allow me to quote from a book I happen to have in my possession.

"The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction; jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully."

For those who don’t recognize this, it is the first sentence in Chapter 2 of Dawkins’ The God Delusion.  I was looking through the book in a bookstore when it first came out deciding whether or not to buy it.  When I came across this passage I laughed out loud and did something I hardly ever do, buy a hardcover book.

The rest of the book could not maintain the standard set by the one sentence.  I felt most of the book was mostly obviously true or simply Dawkins voicing his philosophical opinion like on page 31 where he said “I am agnostic only to the extent that I am agnostic about fairies at the bottom of the garden.”

My philosophical outlook happens to match Dawkins’ on this specific subject.  There are other opinions that Dawkins has that I disagree with, but I am willing to respect his ethical attempts in trying to defend them.

Lou, your comment surprised me in a couple of ways.

First, in your presumption that I was starting with a conclusion there is a God.  You even put it in quotes as if I actually said it.

I have noticed that one of the more provocative things about me is that I am who I say I am (even though I am anonymous).  People get frustrated looking for the pretense.  There is none.

I can understand and even sympathize considering how common the pretense tactic is in the Culture War.  Note that you are not alone in suspecting my motives, quite a few ID proponents accuse me of pretense even when I tell them I am very much a critic of the religious movement embodied in the actions of the Discovery Institute and Uncommon Descent.

However, even though I understand it, I was taken aback by the apparent certainty you expressed.

The other thing that surprised me was your metaphor that I was "...walking around kicking some very good people in the cajones".

I consider After the Bar Closes to be the equivalent of bare knuckles fight club.  Not a place for the likes of Dr. Geoff Simmons who recently (yesterday?) complained during a debate when P.Z. Myers said he was ignorant of the various intermediate whale-like fossils.

Is there a logic fallacy similar to "argument ad whining"?

While the tone here is a little rougher than I would generally like, I figured that drawing some blood and kicking some “cajones” was just part and parcel to the debating style needed to get respected around here.

Sorry, but I am not the type of individual to fall in line and follow anyone's lead, regardless of title, experience or popularity of the one doing the leading.

Another way of looking at it is that I want to, and can, learn (I consider myself a quick learner) but I refuse to be taught.

I think I am doing more good than harm.  If I force people to re-evaluate what they thought they knew, great.  Whether they change their minds or gain a better understanding of what they already knew, this is a plus.

If I frustrate and humble some people resting on larels, it helps them see that they are, in fact, resting on larels.

If my bumbling around amuses those that see my bumbling for what it is, I am providing entertainment.

Frankly, I am somewhat confused by the appearance that you consider me dangerous.

I consider the continuation of the Culture War stalemate to be dangerous.  Eventually something is going to have to give.  If it comes down to forcing society to choose between believing in the divine and trusting in science, I am afraid science will lose, badly.  Maybe as bad as the last time this happened around 400 AD.

I don't want that to happen.  Not so much for me, but for my children and grandchildren.

Date: 2008/02/01 18:09:05, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Shirley,

What can I say? I R a inginear.

As for going elsewhere, apparently I am an entertaining train wreck.

Either than or I am a cajones kicking bully in a place known for its no-coddling attitude.

As for me bluffing, please call me on it.

In my letter to my PhD-bound daughter's mentor did I say anything you would consider flat out wrong?  Or, for that matter, misleading?

Or are you just presuming I am lying because that is what you want to believe?

Date: 2008/02/01 18:13:36, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Mr. Christopher,

You wrote...
You're not dangerous, TP.  You're clearly mental.

Let me ask the questions you asked me...

Please explain the purpose of this comment.  

What exactly does it mean?

Date: 2008/02/01 18:27:11, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Lou,

You wrote...
I'm gonna hold the ropes open for ya'.

Climb on in there, Champ.

Thank you.

I hope you don't mind that I will take advantage of this invitation because I have had a minor concern that patience was wearing thin and the plug might be pulled.

I told you I would try to keep this thread moving, but since you engaged in the back and forth, I felt it would be ok to respond accordingly.

Meanwhile, was there anything in the letter I send to my PhD bound daughter's mentor you felt was flat out wrong?

Failing that, was there anything you felt was misleading?

Date: 2008/02/01 19:28:38, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Creeky Belly,

You wrote...
Except if it's Hameroff or Penrose.

I was wondering who was going to take advantage of that obvious opening.

I am not surprised it was you.

Actually, there are multiple things I disagree with Hameroff on.  Believe it or not, I think he has over-reached in multiple areas.

quatel and others have pointed out multiple areas where Hameroff's certainty is unjustified and probably flat out wrong.

As for Penrose.

Another book I happen to have lying around is The Nature of Space and Time.  The last chapter in the book is a debate between Penrose and Hawking.

It is interesting because it is understandable.

Have you read it?

As it is with most people, I didn't recognize the name Penrose as readily as Hawking.  While I knew there was a schism in Quantum Mechanics, I didn't fully understand the details.

There is a lot that all sides agree on.  QM data is difficult to ignore or dispute.  Penrose's OR offers an answer that Hawking could only disagree with, not dispute.  His disagreement was to suggest OR solves a problem that doesn't matter.  From Hawking's opening remarks talking about Schrödinger's Cat...

"But that doesn't bother me.  I don't demand that a theory correspond to reality because I don't know what it is.  Reality is not a quality you can test with litmus paper.  All I am concerned with is that the theory should predict the results of measurements.  Quantum Theory does this very successfully."
 page 121

This tells me that there isn't a blatant hole in Penrose's explanation or Hawking would have pointed it out.  All Hawking was arguing is that Penrose's explanation isn't necessary.  Penrose argues that explaining everyday observations is necessary.

I am not wedded to Penrose's interpretation.  I would really like to hear someone actually defend Many Worlds interpretation.  The best I get is that it is just as good as anything else because it predicts that results of measurements.  Whoopty ding dong, I know plenty of ID Proponents that will happily provide a hypothesis that predicts the results of all experiments.

An explaination needs to make sense.

Penrose's explanation makes sense.

Do you have an alternative that you feel is better?

The last one you offered didn't conflict with Penrose's OR.  It was a subset.  It wasn't as complete.

Date: 2008/02/02 09:00:49, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Jim,

It is interesting that you bring up narcissism.

I was asking my daughter about that the other day.

She explained  arrogant behavior is just one symptom of many that make up a diagnosis of narcissism.

While I am egocentric, arrogant and stubborn, she indicates I am not narcissistic.

The reason can be found in Blipey's obvious deduction that I am a loner.  I am willfully independent.

Think about it, have I come across as someone who is overly sensitive to insults and disapproval?  If I were, posting to AtBC would not only be insane, it would be incredibly stupid.

Saying that I am narcissistic makes as much sense as saying I have an inferiority complex.  Feel free to accuse me of either or both.

Another interesting accusation you made is that I am "neurotically skeptical" while simultaniously thinking I can "overthrow a large body of knowledge".

I am just a Monday morning quarterback talking about the game.  Penrose and his Felix experiment is what might overthrow the dogmatic, laurel-sitting thinking you are become comfortable with.

More on this in following comments.

Date: 2008/02/02 09:31:32, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi olegt,

I see we cross posted.

Are you familiar with Cramer's Transactional Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics?

Here is a link to a recent paper.

Cramer points to the Afshar experiment as supporting evidence.

If I understand correctly, the Afshar would also be supporting evidence for Penrose's OR.

The point is that I am interested in looking at alternatives.

Do you have a quantum interpretation similar to Penrose's or even Cramer's that attempts to make sense of everything?


P.S. to blipey, I am not interested in engaging in a dictionary debate with you.  If you want to think I am narcissistic, go ahead.

P.P.S. I have to run an errand.  I will attempt to get to the FELIX experiment later.

Date: 2008/02/02 11:36:47, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
In an attempt to keep the thread moving...

So far we have managed to come to a less-than-smooth agreement that four dimensional space-time provides for short cuts.  We even managed an uneasy truce that there exists an ultimate short cut in space time by calling it traveling along the "null geodesics".

However, when I attempted to suggest this ultimate short cut could be used to explain the existence of quantum entanglement (or as Penrose would say "quanglement") we hit a road block.

Many times I have been accused of misunderstanding and/or misrepresenting Roger Penrose.  This puts me into a kind of paradox, since I am trying to verify my understanding by putting things in my terms.  Of course I could be misunderstanding/misrepresenting Penrose, that is what I am trying to find out.  It does me little good to simply parrot back Penrose's words if I am trying to test my understanding.  Thus the paradox.

However, to help us get over this hump, on page 603 of The Road to Reality Penrose writes...
"23.10 Quanglement
I must make it very clear than I am not trying to give support to the idea that ordinary information can be propagated backwards in time (nor can EPR effects be used to send classical information faster than light; see later). That kind of thing would lead to all sorts of paradoxes that we should have absolutely no truck with (I shall return to this kind of issue in 30.6).  Information, in the ordinary sense, cannot travel backwards in time.  I am talking about something quite different that is sometimes referred to as quantum information. Now there is a difficulty about this term, namely the appearance of the word 'information'. In my view, the prefix 'quantum' does not do enough to soften the association with the ordinary information, so I am proposing that we adopt a new term for it:

There is no way to send an ordinary signal by means of quanglement alone.  This much is made clear from the fact that past-directed channels of quanglement can be used just as well as future-directed channels.
As far as I make out, quanglement links are always constrained by light cones, just as are ordinary information links, but quanglement links have the novel feature that they can zig-zag backwards and forwards in time, so as to achieve an effective 'spacelike propagation'.

It makes little difference to me if the quantum effects are interconnected ("quanglement") throughout spacetime because the quanglement links zig-zag forward and backwards in time or because spacetime geometry collapses around the "null geodesics" since I consider them to be effectively the same thing.

The usual response to my demonstrating Penrose's concepts is to question the experimental support.

I already mentioned the Afshar experiment, but I need to understand it further.

Experiments demonstrating Greenberger–Horne–Zeilinger (GHZ) quantum states coupled with demonstrations involving C60 and C70 fullerenes("BuckyBalls") make for some pretty hard evidence to explain.

Penrose's OR does that.

One of the more frustrating things about Penrose is his aversion to supporting free internet access to his scientific papers.  However, I found one where he was one of the co-authors of a paper describing Penrose's FELIX experiment.

Towards quantum superpositions of a mirror

In 1935 Schrodinger pointed out that according to quantum mechanics even macroscopic systems can be in superposition states [1]. The quantum interference effects are expected to be hard to detect due to environment induced decoherence [2]. Nevertheless there have been proposals on how to create and observe macroscopic superpositions in various systems [3, 4, 5], and experiments demonstrating superposition states of superconducting devices [6] and fullerene molecules [7]. One long-term motivation for this kind of experiment is the question of whether unconventional decoherence processes such as gravitationally induced decoherence or spontaneous wave-function collapse [8, 9] occur.

From the conclusion...
We have performed a detailed study of the experimental requirements for the creation and observation of quantum superposition states of a mirror consisting of 10^14 atoms, approximately nine orders of magnitude more massive than any superposition observed to date. Our analysis suggests that, while very demanding, this goal appears to be in reach of current technology. It is remarkable that a tabletop experiment has the potential to test quantum mechanics in an entirely new regime. Preliminary experiments on components of the proposal are currently under way.

There is more to talk about on this, which I hope we get to in follow-up comments.  I note with interest that it appear there are experiments that show superposition of objects consisting of up to 10^5 atoms.

If anyone knows what experiments this paper was referring to, please let me know at dfcord (at)


P.S. to olegt - I will be creating a response to your Afshar request shortly.

Date: 2008/02/02 13:48:36, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi olegt,

You are getting ahead of me.  First Afshar, then GHZ.

I found out about the Afshar experiment by way of Cramer's TIQM while I was debating someone on Telic Thoughts.  Here is the Wikipedia description of TIQM...

The transactional interpretation of quantum mechanics (TIQM) is an unusual interpretation of quantum mechanics that describes quantum interactions in terms of a standing wave formed by retarded (forward-in-time) and advanced (backward-in-time) waves. The interpretation was first proposed by John G. Cramer in 1986. The author argues that it helps in developing intuition for quantum processes, avoids the philosophical problems with the Copenhagen interpretation and the role of the observer, and resolves various quantum paradoxes.[1][2] Cramer uses TIQM in teaching quantum mechanics at the University of Washington in Seattle.

The existence of both advanced and retarded waves as admissible solutions to Maxwell's equations was proposed by Richard Feynman and John Archibald Wheeler in 1945 (cited in original paper by J. Cramer). They used the idea  to solve the problem of the self-energy of an electron. Cramer revived their idea of two waves for his transactional interpretation of quantum theory. While the ordinary Schrödinger equation does not admit advanced solutions, its relativistic version does, and these advanced solutions are the ones used by TIQM.

Suppose a particle (such as a photon) emitted from a source could interact with one of two detectors. According to TIQM, the source emits a usual (retarded) wave forward in time, the "offer wave", and when this wave reaches the detectors, each one replies with an advanced wave, the "confirmation wave", that travels backwards in time, back to the source. The phases of offer an confirmation waves are correlated in such a way that these waves interfere positively to form a wave of the full amplitude in the spacetime region between emitting and detection events, and they interfere negatively and cancel out elsewhere in spacetime (i.e., before the emitting point and after the absorption point). The size of the interaction between the offer wave and a detector's confirmation wave determines the probability with which the particle will strike that detector rather than the other one. In this interpretation, the collapse of the wavefunction does not happen at any specific point in time, but is "atemporal" and occurs along the whole transaction, the region of spacetime where offer and confirmation waves interact. The waves are seen as physically real, rather than a mere mathematical device to record the observer's knowledge as in some other interpretations of quantum mechanics.

John Cramer has argued that the transactional interpretation is consistent with the outcome of the Afshar experiment, while the Copenhagen interpretation and the many-worlds interpretation are not.

I have learned to take things from Wikipedea with a grain of salt which is why I added the qualifier "If I understand correctly...".

And since you and others are loudly proclaiming I understand nothing, that should have been a dead giveaway.

If you read this description of TIQM it sounds very similar to OR.  But instead of "quanglement" going backwards and forwards in time, TIQM has advanced and retarded waves.

Penrose changed the term from "waveform collapse" to "objective reduction" for a reason.  I suggest it is because OR doesn't posit a wave-form collapsing into a particle-form.  It's all waves.  Or more specifically, it's all part of one, giant wavefunction that is our universe.

Chapter 21 of Penrose's The Road to Reality is titled "The quantum particle".  It contains figure 21.10 on page 523 that was very revealing to me as an electrical engineer.

As an electrical engineer I am comfortable with looking at things in time domain and frequency domain.  A single spike in the time domain is a sine wave in the frequency domain and a single spike in the frequency domain is a sine wave in the time domain.

Penrose explains this is what is happening with the Heisenberg uncertainty relation with position states and momentum states taking the place of time and frequency domains.

Please note that Penrose didn’t refer to time and frequency domains.  That is my way of thinking of it.  It became clear to me there is no such thing as solid particles, just standing waves in spacetime.

I did some more digging into the Afshar experiment and found there are a lot of people questioning the validity and/or significance of this experiment which I’m not prepared, at this time, to parse out.  So, for now, let me modify my statement to be..

“If my understanding is correct, the Afshar experiment supports Penrose’s OR hypothesis just as much or as little as it supports Cramer’s TIQM.”

Which get us to GHZ states…

As I am sure you know, there was a time that physicists where presuming the existence of hidden, local variables that would, someday, become understood.  There was hope as long as there was no direct logical inconsistency preventing it.  Bell showed the inconsistency.  But even so, there was room for doubt because experimental data still relied on probabilities.  To me, GHZ state experiments removed all doubt.

For the listening audience…

There is just no way to explain the GHZ states without presuming quantum entanglement across space or time or both.

To me, superluminal communication in four dimensional spacetime inherently means communicating backwards in time as explained in the Penrose quote I provided in the precious comment.

At this point, if you are willing to except GHZ state experiments support the validity of Penrose’s quanglement or visa versa, that is good enough for my purposes (leaving Penrose's OR for later).

We can then move on to Penrose’s view of the universe as a single, multi-dimensional wavefunction.

Date: 2008/02/02 15:29:19, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Creeky Belly,

This is a perfect example of speaking as an authority and then completely undermining your argument. The Fourier transform of a delta-function (spike) is not a sine wave, it's a constant.

This is an interesting development.

You see, to this glorified grease monkey a single line (spike) in the frequency domain means a pure sine wave at the given frequency in the time domain.  And a constant in the frequency domain means all frequencies are present in the time domain.  We would call that "white noise".

Now I wonder what a pure sine wave in the frequency domain produces in the time domain.  (start the Jeopardy theme song).

I take it you don't have Penrose's The Road to Reality.  Obviously Keiths does but I doubt he would be interested in confirming the contents of page 523 for me.

And as much as you would like to ignore it, Penrose has done a great deal of investigation into gravitational effects and quantum gravity.  Remember, this is the guy who modelled Black Holes for a living.

EDITED: I see you retracted your point.  Thank you.

Date: 2008/02/02 20:21:17, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi olegt,

Ok, I will concede the Afshar experiment lacks support of Penrose's OR (at least until I understand it better).

And since you seem to be more comfortable with me quoting Penrose I will do that after a minor side trip.

I sense something that is on the fringes of "standard QM".  That is whether or not there is a common agreement on the existence of a hard threshold for coherence/decoherence.

From the Penrose co-authored paper Towards quantum superpositions of a mirror

In 1935 Schrodinger pointed out that according to quantum mechanics even macroscopic systems can be in superposition states [1].

With the citation...
"[1] E. Schrodinger, Die Naturwissenschaften 23, 807 (1935)."

During the Hawking/Penrose debate, Hawking seem to imply no hard decoherence threshold but, instead, referred to various environmental effects causing the collapse in the Schrödinger's Cat situation.

Here is what is said by BuckyBall experimenters in a paper titled Quantum interference experiments with large molecules

B. Coherence and which-path information
We might believe that coherence experiments could be spoiled by transitions between the many thermally excited states. Obviously, this is not the case, as has been shown by our experiments. But why is this so? No matter what we do, we can only observe one of these qualities in its ideal form at any given time. If we tried to locate the particle during its passage through one of the two slits, say by blocking one of the openings, the interference pattern would disappear. This rule still holds if we do not block the slit, but manage to obtain which-path information for example via photons scattered or emitted by the molecules. Sufficiently complex molecules, in contrast to the electrons, neutrons, and atoms used so far, may actually emit radiation41,42 without any external excitation, because they have stored enough thermal energy when leaving the oven. According to Bohr’s rule, the interference pattern must then disappear if the molecules emit a photon with a sufficiently short wavelength which enables the experimenter to measure the location of the emitting molecule with sufficient precision. According to Abbe's theory of the microscope, the photon should have a wavelength shorter than twice the distance between the two slits.
What actually saves the experiment is the weakness of the interaction. The wavelength of the most probably emitted photons is about a factor of 100 larger than the separation between two neighboring slits. And the number of light quanta that actually leak into the environment is still sufficiently small—of the order of one, up to potentially a few photons—and cannot disturb the interference measurably. Therefore, even if the fullerene molecule emits a few photons on its path from the source to the detector, these photons cannot yet be used to determine the path taken by the molecule. In other words, the photon state and the molecule state
are not, or only very slightly, entangled because the two possible photon emission states from either path largely overlap. In a sense we may say that the fullerene has no ‘‘memory’’ along which path the emission occurred

Is this the standard QM explanation?

Let's hear from Penrose starting on page 851 from The Road to Reality...

[The uncertainty of separated mass] directly leads, via Schrödinger's equation, to an absolute uncertainty E in the energy of the superposed states under consideration.  The next step is to convert this expression for E into another (equivalent) mathematical form, which we can interpret as:

E = gravitational self-energy of the difference between the two mass distributions in the states |x> and |q>.
So what are we to do with our fundamental 'energy uncertainty' E?  The next step is to invoke a form of Heisenberg's uncertainty principle... [where] the average lifetime T having an inbuilt time uncertainty, is reciprocally related to an energy incertainty, given by h/2T. ... According to this picture, any superposition like |Y> would therefore decay into one or the other constituent states, |x> or |q>, in an average timescale of

T = h/E

Which means that massive objects do not stay in superposition as long as less massive objects.

olegt, at this point I'm not sure where our disagreements are.  You confirmed my understanding of the Traveling Twin's shorter path through spacetime.  While you balked at my use of quantum information, you appeared comfortable with Penrose's quanglement.  I didn't get into the single wavefunction because it was obvious you would view that as just philosophical shading of standard QM like TIQM.

So now, I am expecting you to say something about Penrose's OR hypothesis needing experimental support.

I will respond to that after you do so.

Date: 2008/02/03 11:01:38, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Olegt,

Thank you for responding and thank you for the summary.

I realize that my terminology isn't standard and causes friction.  For example, to me "quantum information" and "quantum entanglement" and "quanglement" are all the same thing.

Of course, that means I appear oblivious to subtle details and shades of philosophical differences that is important to those who hold them.

Yes, I nod my head when I realise you are arguing distinctions I don't find important.  However, I thank you for the external view point and your patience.

As to experimental data for Penrose.  Again, here is the link to Penrose's proposed FELIX experiment.Towards quantum superpositions of a mirror

The brings us to to justifying the default position or, as you say, "Standard QM" while we wait for experimental confirmation.  What is the "Standard QM" explanation for why BuckyBalls exhibit coherence but baseballs don't?  If the quote from the BuckyBall experimenters is any indication it comes down to assuming there is unexplainable magic behind Heisenberg's pronouncement.

So, by "Standard QM" could an isolated planet-size rock in an isolated part of space be in superposition as long as there is no chance anyone could measure both position and momentum?

Penrose has a logical explanation.  Mass, whether in superposition or not, curves space.  The larger the mass, the steeper the curve.  Ergo, coherence is time limited for objects with mass, the larger the mass, the shorter the time.

Coherence of massless photons can be maintained forever.

Coherence of very light electrons have a long time limit.

Coherence of heavier atoms have shorter time limits.

Coherence of BuckyBalls is too short to do much more than interference patterns.

Coherence of Baseballs is so short as to be undetectable.

It's not like Penrose is suggesting an unidentified Designer using an unspecified mechanism to keep his magic hidden.

So, can you summarize your interpretation as to why BuckyBalls exhibit coherence and baseballs don't?

Date: 2008/02/03 20:02:40, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Henry,

Thank you for your response.

Your answer is somewhat similar to what Creeky Belly has said earlier except he was more adamant that Penrose is wrong.

Your description isn't as directly in conflict with Penrose's.

Momentum includes both mass and velocity.

You also leave open the possibility that the threshold isn't abrupt.  As in there is a gradual transition between things that can be maintained in coherence and things that can not.

If I understand correctly, the precision limit to momentum is tied to Planck's constant. So it would be reasonable to suggest that the coherence threshold is tied to Planck's constant.

And if the threshold is gradual and not abrupt that it would make sense that the closer you got to the threshold the harder it would be to maintain coherence for long periods of time.  The time would get shorter and shorter.

Penrose's time estimate is based on Planck's constant over the gravitational energy due the the amount of mass involved.

Penrose also used the "approximately equal to" symbol.  This can be found on page 851 of The Road to Reality.

Date: 2008/02/03 20:09:58, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Ian,

From page 603 of The Road to Reality...


I am talking about something quite different that is sometimes referred to as quantum information. Now there is a difficulty about this term, namely the appearance of the word 'information'. In my view, the prefix 'quantum' does not do enough to soften the association with the ordinary information, so I am proposing that we adopt a new term for it:


At least in this book, I shall refer to what is commonly called 'quantum information' as quanglement.  The term suggest 'quantum mechanics' and it suggests 'entanglement'. This is very appropriate.  This is what quanglement is all about.

Date: 2008/02/03 20:19:48, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi blipey,

So it bothers you that this glorified grease monkey thinks he is so cool?

Am I really that intimidating?

There are people here who understand this much better than I.  However, they are leaving me to bumble through, misspelled words and all.

I don't mind.

I also don't mind if you are convinced I am narcissistic.  Are you sure you don't want to add in a charge of inferiority complex too?

Date: 2008/02/03 20:23:31, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Ian,

For what it is worth, I have decided using the term "quantum information" is more trouble than it is worth.

I am going to try to use "quantum entanglement" and "quanglement" from now on.

See, I can learn.

Date: 2008/02/03 22:05:52, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Olegt,

Thank you for that reply.  It was informative.

It also helps explain where Max Tegmark got his numbers for his arguments against Penrose/Hameroff.

So, if I got this right, most people agree that decoherence has a time limit.  Even Penrose agrees that decoherence can happen because the "object is getting wacked by the environment."

So the trick is to isolate a large object, say a mirror, and see if it's decoherence time matches Penrose's prediction.  Which is what Penrose is proposing in his FELIX experiment.

Of course, that wouldn't prove it was due to gravity, but I would think it would open up the question to more people.

BTW, do you know anything about Organic Quantum Wires?

Here is a paper titled Macroscopic coherence of a single exciton state in a polydiacetylene organic quantum wire.

Here we show that a single exciton state in an individual ordered conjugated polymer chain7, 8, exhibits macroscopic quantum spatial coherence reaching tens of microns, limited by the chain length.

If I am understanding correctly, these carbon-based polymer chains remain in superposition for up to 90 picoseconds.

And I am still trying to get my arms around why the calculation for decoherence time is proportional to square-root of temperature.  As in the higher the temperature the longer the decoherence time.

But thanks again for your help.

Date: 2008/02/04 07:00:36, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Keiths,

I have an idea.  Why don't you create an anonymous login at Telic Thoughts so you can continue to argue with me over there?

Maybe you could use a female name like "Valerie" to further hide your identity.

Then you could lecture me in both blogs about my lack of honesty.

Date: 2008/02/04 12:16:33, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Henry,

You wrote...
It's bound to have a relationship to temperature, since the faster nearby molecules are moving, the more often one of them whacks the entangled particle(s).

Excuse me for allowing myself to get distracted by Keiths but I wanted to address this when I had more time.

I would agree that the logical thing would be that the relationship between temperature and coherence time should be inversely proportional.  That is why I am confused by references where it seems the opposite is being suggested.  

The paper on organic quantum wire suggested the time INCREASED according to the squareroot of temperature.

Max Tegmark also calculated his coherence time using the following equation...

time ~ SQRT(mkT) / (Ngqpn) ~ 10^-20 seconds

... in his argument against Penrose/Hameroff's calculations.  Temperature "T" is in the numerator.
(see equation 13 of this paper)

A quick internet search of scientific papers resulted in me finding this...

Long coherence times at 300 K for nitrogen-vacancy center spins

Is a value around 50 us the ultimate time possible for NV2- at room temperature? Consideration of what limits the phase-memory in the present experiments leaves unclear whether somewhat longer times may be possible. The discussion can be divided into sources of the decoherence involving the NV- centers themselves and other sources.
The ultimate limit for phase memory is the spin-lattice relaxation of the NV- itself. Spin-lattice relaxation is strongly temperature dependent but this is moderated in diamond by the high Debye temperature and small spin-orbit interaction. An EPR measurement found T1 to be 1.2 ms for T = 80 K and B = 0.3 T.

Like I said, I am still trying to get my arms around how temperature relates to coherence times.

Date: 2008/02/04 17:45:20, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Creeky Belly,

Thank you for that explaination.

The reason I looked into the paper was because "I am still trying to get my arms around how temperature relates to coherence times."

I had read the entire paper three times.  I will read it again in light of what you said.

By chance, did you read (see Max Tegmark paper)?

Do you agree with his method for calculating decoherence times?

It seems that he is indicating the decoherence times increase as the temperature increases (of course assuming no state changes like solid to liquid).

Date: 2008/02/05 08:47:18, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Keiths and Creeky Belly,

Keiths wrote...

That's it?  That's the sound of the train wreck everyone has been waiting for?

I long ago realized Creeky Belly has better access to research material than I do.  I could only find the abstract to the paper he mentioned.  Keiths, you did notice that Creeky Belly took the time and effort to upload the chart to image shack so he could post it, didn't you?

While it is obvious this took a little more effort than a "cursory glance" on Creeky Belly's part, I'm not complaining.  In fact, I appreciate the effort and information he has provided.

Thank you, Creeky Belly.

Now, let's see if we can put together a better sounding train wreck, shall we?

I think we are coming to the end of this thread.  Therefore, in appreciation of Lou's patience and for the support and interest others have shown, I am planning on putting together a summary of the lessons learned here, including some worked out examples.

I would also like to provide a summary of the reaction I get from my daughter's mentor.

This may take a few days to put everything together, so I hope the patience can hold out a little longer.

Thanks and Regards,
Thought Provoker

Date: 2008/02/06 13:24:06, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi All,

Please excuse the tease because I still haven't finished putting together the summary.

I just found out who Olegt is and I want to re-emphasize my appreciation of the time and patience he took with me.

I also wanted to throw this out.  I still need to look into it further, but if anyone wanted to comment on it, I would appreciate hearing other views...

Excerpts from "A Delayed Choice Quantum Eraser"

To the physicist, the results "are all consistent with prediction." To the layperson, the results should be shocking. Let us review the course of the experiment as it unfolds, beginning when the incoming photon from the laser generates an entangled pair at the crystal.

Time 1. The entangled pair leaves either region A or region B of the crystal. The signal photon heads off to detector D0, and the idler photon heads off to the interferometer.

Time 2. The signal photon is registered and scanned at detector D0 according to its position. This information (the position of the signal photon upon "impact" at D0) is sent on its way to the Coincidence Circuit.

Time 3. The idler photon reaches the first pair of beamsplitters, BSA, BSB. There, QM makes a choice which direction the idler photon will go – either to detectors D3, D4; or to the quantum eraser BS and on to detectors D1, D2.

Time 4a. If the idler photon is shunted to detectors D3, D4, it is detected with which-path information intact. Then and only then do we know which-path information for its twin signal photon that already has been detected, scanned, registered and recorded at D0.

Time 4b. If the idler photon passes through to detectors D1, D2, it is detected with no which-path information (the which-path information having been "erased" at BS).

Time 5. The Coincidence Circuit correlates the arrival of a signal photon at detector D0 with the arrival of its twin at D1, D2, D3, or D4. If the correlation is with an idler arriving at D3 or D4, then we know (after-the-fact) the which-path information of the signal photon that arrived earlier at D0. If the correlation is with an idler arriving at D1 or D2, then we have no which-path information for the signal photon that arrived earlier at D0.

Time 6. Upon accessing the information gathered by the Coincidence Circuit, we the observer are shocked to learn that the pattern shown by the positions registered at D0 at Time 2 depends entirely on the information gathered later at Time 4 and available to us at the conclusion of the experiment.

The position of a photon at detector D0 has been registered and scanned. Yet the actual position of the photon arriving at D0 will be at one place if we later learn more information; and the actual position will be at another place if we do not.

Ho-hum. Another experimental proof of QM. This is the way it works, folks.

Date: 2008/02/06 14:43:31, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Wesley,

Thank you for the link to your website.

I was going to post your link on Telic Thoughts but then thought I would give you the opportunity to veto that, or better, let you post it to Telic Thoughts yourself.

Here is the link to the topical thread on TT.

Date: 2008/02/13 19:34:30, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Please excuse me for taking so long, but my daughter’s mentor got busy so I quit waiting for him and then I got distracted.  But I promised you guys a train wreck so…

Probably the most significant lesson I learned was what the phrase “Jumped the Shark” was all about.  I knew about the Happy Days episode, I probably even watched it.  I hadn’t made the connection.

Now on to the other stuff.

We started with Special Relativity, Minkowskian geometry and the Twins Paradox.

Here is what Penrose had to say on page 420 of The Road to Reality.

In passing from [Euclidean geometry] to [Minkowskian geometry], there are also changes that relate to inequalities.  The most dramatic of these contains the essence of the so-called 'clock paradox' (or 'twin paradox') of special relativity. ... if we accept that the passage of time, as registered by a moving clock, is really a kind of 'arc length' measured along a world line, then the phenomenon is not more puzzling than the path along which this distance is measured.  Both are measured by the same formula, namely [integral of ds], but in the Euclidian case, the straight path represents the minimizing of the measured distance between two fixed end-points, whereas in the Minkowski case, it turns out that the straight, i.e. inertial, path represents the maximizing of the measured time between two fixed end events (see also 17.9)." [emphasis Penrose's]

The path (or arc length) is calculated from the relation…

ds^2 = dt^2 - dx^2 - dy^2 - dz^2

Which means the traveling twin’s path is shorter.

olegt said it simply as…
…a zigzag path in a spacetime with a metric signature (+,-,-,-) has a shorter length than a straight line.  Duh!

However this assumes flat spacetime, which is a “special” case.  To be more complete, we need to take into account gravity and curved space.  Once we start talking about curved spacetime, references to Minkowskian Geometry confuses the issue.  However, we can show that  curved space time can be seen as modified flat Minkowskian Geometry.

If we designate “dz” as the up direction in a Earth orbit the spacetime curve will effect the path length calculation as…

ds^2 = Gtt * dt^2 - dx^2 - dy^2 - dz^2 / Gtt

…where the steeper the curve the smaller Gtt.  Gtt = 1 for flat space.

Schwarzschild determined that…
Gtt = 1 - Rs / r
Where Rs, the Schwarzschild Radius, is 8.87 millimeters for Earth.

A GPS Satellite in geosynchronous orbit is traveling at 0.0000129217 times the speed of light.
So in one second, the satellite travels 0.0000129217 light-seconds in distance in the X direction.

Calculating the path length for flat space results in…

ds = SQRT(1^2 - 0.0000129217^2 – 0^2 – 0^2)
   = 0.999999999916515 seconds

Calculating the path length for r = 2.656175×10^7 of (geosynchronous orbit)
and Gtt = (1 – 0.00887 / 2.656175×10^7) = 0.99999999966606115937391173397837

ds = SQRT(Gtt * 1^2 - 0.0000129217^2 – 0^2 – 0^2 / Gtt)
   = 0.999999999749545 seconds of GPS Clock time (slower)

A clock on Earth’s equator is traveling at 0.0000017737252 times the speed of light
So in one second, the clock travels 0.0000017737252 light-seconds in distance in the X direction.
Calculating the path length for r = 6.3781363×10^6 of (Earth’s radius)
and Gtt = (1 – 0.00887 / 6.3781363×10^6) = 0.99999999860931162603094574821175

ds = SQRT(Gtt * 1^2 - 0.0000017737252^2 – 0^2 – 0^2 / Gtt)
   = 0.999999999303083 seconds of Earth Clock time (even slower)

Comparing this Earth Clock to the GPS clock results in

Ratio = 0.999999999749545 / 0.999999999303083  = 1.000000000447

Which matches GPS timing observations.

The point being that four dimensional spacetime is real and detectable whether it is a modified Minkowskian Geometry or Schwarzschild Geometry expressed in Cartesian coordinates.

The spacetime path length is zero at the null geodesics  (edge of light cone).

I understand this is fairly uncontroversial as long as we are careful with the terminology.

It gets more controversial when General Relativity is merged with Quantum Mechanics.

If 4D spacetime geometry is real, than it is just as real for quantum particles and wavefunctions as it is for traveling twins.

Quantum experiments have demonstrated non-local behavior.  Wheeler’s delayed choice and quantum erasure experiments have become so common, they can be done at home inexpensively (thanks Wesley).

One way to describe quantum non-local behavior is to discuss some kind of quantum information communication.  But I have learned that the term “quantum information” is too misleading and controversial.  Quantum entanglement might be better.   Sir Roger Penrose coined the term quanglement.

From Penrose’s book The Road to Reality…

As far as I can make out, quanglement links are always constrained by the light cones, just as are ordinary links, but quanglement links have the novel feature that they can zig-zag backwards and forwards in time, so as to achieve ‘spacelike propagation’.  Since quanglement is not information, this does not allow actual signals to be sent faster than light.
page 603

Now where was I going with this?

Watch out for the curve in the track!

Screech, rumble, crunch, crackle. BOOOOOOM!



Thank you for all the help and entertainment.  I am sorry I didn’t focus as much on this summary as I had intended.

Date: 2008/02/24 18:45:19, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
On UD, Granville Sewell wrote...
In fact, that is the problem, everyone says, the problem can’t be this simple, but it is. If only I could figure out a way to use some advanced mathematics in the story, maybe people would take it seriously.

I know I shouldn't be surprised, but I find this to be an extremely ironic comment on Dembski's blog.

Dr. Dr. Rev. Dembski is the mathematician who uses -log2(~) > 1 rather than simply saying < 50% for the main ID thesis (definition of specified complexity).

Date: 2008/04/06 00:02:20, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hey Ceiling Cat,

Isn't that off topic?  Sal wrote that in a Telic Thoughts thread not UD.

Does that mean I can talk about the traveling twin taking a short cut again?   :D

Date: 2008/04/07 14:39:37, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Kevin,

Something I would like to emphasize for you to address.

Do you understand Glen's point that eugenics clearly preceded Darwin?

The Spartans threw deformed babies off a cliff for the purpose of improving the quality of their soldiers.

Is this the kind of implied "Darwinism" you are painting the Nazi's with?

How are you so certain Nazism was influenced by more than simple the eugenics practiced by Spartans and dog groomers for centuries when Hitler made no reference to Darwin or his research?

Date: 2008/04/07 15:10:42, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
For what it is worth, I apologize for not giving more credit to others for the...

Eugenics DOES-NOT-EQUAL Darwinism

...point.  While I'm partial to my Spartans throwing babies off cliffs example, I can see that many people have pointed this out to Kevin which he has ignored.

I suggest Louis may have the best approach, recognize a troll as a troll.

Date: 2008/04/07 18:57:02, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Mr. Christopher,

You got my attention with banned/burnt Darwin books.

I made the effort to find Nick's Panda's Thumb post on this.

It provides evidence Darwin's ideas were banned by Nazis (which is telling enough).

Do you have any further evidence that Darwin's books were actually burnt?

The irony in the ID/Darwin wars never ceases to amaze me, not matter which side you look at it from.

Date: 2008/04/12 17:16:54, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
I will go on record as suggesting Beasley's submission is a joke.

Dembski isn't dumb.  He often let's his arrogence get the better of him, but this is too much.

Date: 2008/05/07 10:08:47, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
[Graffiti moved to Bathroom Wall. -Admin]


There was a programming language based on RPN called FORTH

It was an interesting language to program in.

Something only an engineer could love.

Date: 2008/07/19 23:58:21, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Keiths, I am all too glad to provide you entertainment.

Thank you Wesley for the back-handed compliment.

We will see what happens.

Hopefully, some of you can see value in maintaining the existence of a semi-neutral blog like Telic Thoughts.

No, TT is not perfect.  Far from it.  But I think it releases some pressure and allows for some reasoned discourse to get through to both sides.

Besides, haven't you been asking for a more worthy opposition coming from the ID camp?

Date: 2008/07/20 11:56:56, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
I will take it as a compliment that I might be a Bradley Monton sock puppet (or visa-versa).

I'm not Bradly Monton.

I don't mind denying these kinds of accusations because I'm not a sock puppet.  My anonymity is mainly to protect my private life and my business.

Oleg is correct.  I am an engineer.  My blogging activity is a hobby that allows me to expand my knowledge base into areas I wouldn't otherwise explore.

I consider myself to be a good debater and a quick learner.  My main motivation is embodied in my handle. That is to provoke thinking in myself and others.  I also enjoy debating.

The altruistic motivation is that I can act as reasonable middleman.  I have anti-religious leanings yet I do not recoil at the thought that God might exist.  In fact, I think it would be cool if it turned out that our universe was some kind of supernatural science fare project.

I can appreciate that the ID debate has more direct monetary and philosophical importance to others than to me.  However, I do worry about what this conflict might mean to my grandchildren if allowed to continue to escalate.

There are billions of people who want to believe in miracles and history shows us that many times pragmatic intellectuals end up being "dead right".

Maybe a little Socratic exploration isn't such a bad idea.

Date: 2008/07/20 14:04:02, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Keiths, nice recall about my attitude towards "PhD types".

However, "bigot" might convey incorrect connotations if you consider my attitude toward "Engineer types".

I R a Inginear.

We all have our roles to play.  "PhD types" write lengthy papers and use fancy words and use fancy words to analyze things in nuanced detail.  As a result, "PhD types" tend to write well.

"Engineer types", on the other hand, reduce things to sketches and power point slides with as few words as possible.  Whatever it takes to make things work in the least amount of effort.  As a result, the writing of "Engineer types" tend to flow poorly, often with misspellings.

I enjoy interacting with "PhD types".  The feeling isn't always mutual.  Many get frustrated by my oversimplication of their very complex ideas.  However, there are some "PhD types" who enjoy my style and even encourage it.

Date: 2008/07/20 16:52:23, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Keiths,

No backpeddling is needed.  I am quite comfortable (almost proud) of the examples you found.

These are from my analysis of Dembski's infamous mathematical explanation of Specified Complexity.

Two of the quotes you found came from the same comment of mine where I was responding to ChuckZ coming to Dembski's defense.  Here it is in full...


Hi chunkdz,

Concerning the equation on page 21 You wrote…

"I think that what you find on page 21 is not the completely developed algorithm."

Now you are sounding like PhD types when engineers put them into embarrassing situations. "When I said that it would take years to do what you did in two weeks I hadn't completely developed the algorithm yet."

Dembski's algorithm on page 21 was developed enough for him to use it for his The Da Vinci Code/Swiss Bank example.

It was developed enough for Dembski to use it as his fundamental support to convert this context-sensitive Specified Complexity (page 21) to its final form by switching the context to that of the observable universe, thus simply replacing M*N with 10^120. Then with a flourish of PhD babble concerning sets he ended up providing his fully developed conclusion on page 31.

"Suppose, further, that the specified complexity associated with each of these chance hypotheses, that is, χi = "“log2[ 10^120 · Ï•S(T)·P(T|Hi)], is strictly greater than 1. In that case, we've eliminated all the chance hypotheses that might explain the occurrence of E (where E conforms to the pattern T). The inference to design is now immediate….once specified complexity has rendered all relevant chance alternatives inviable, chance as such is eliminated and design can no longer be denied."

Dembski is boldly claiming that we can discount an entire set of hypotheses because each element is improbable no matter how many potential hypotheses there are.

Dembski protects his design hypothesis from the riggers of his algorithm by making it the default. He does this by presuming the design hypothesis isn't a chance hypothesis.

Only perfect designs are immune from a chance of failure

Rockets designed to go to the moon have a chance to blow up on the launch pad.  Dr. Dembski's analysis demonstrates that he presumed a perfect design (and, therefore, a perfect designer).

This "Engineer type" was pointing out what this "PhD type" was saying in "PhD babble" by translating it to simpler Engineering babble, misspellings and all.

Date: 2008/07/20 17:01:09, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
I suggest Joy has more depth of character than you give her credit.

She does have a temper that gets in the way at times (an understatement).

However, I find her crazy-like-a-fox personna (she calls it being a "Professional Fool") interesting and challenging.

I have found our association rewarding.

Date: 2008/07/20 19:17:19, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
You got it backwards.

Joy was the one suggesting Orch OR as a possible ID hypothesis long before I arrived on the scene.

And as Keiths pointed out by quoting me, my interest and respect for her has been consistent for a while.

There was another religious commenter that had a short visit on Telic Thoughts.  His name was DanteDanti.  He was probably certifiably crazy.  He definitely had a unique way of looking at things.  I enjoyed talking with him and seeing things from his unique perspective.  While he and I disagreed on a lot of things, I came to respect his point of view.

There is value in understanding different points of view, especially those that seem crazy and improbable at first glance.

Frankly, I don't understand why people would hang around blogs and/or forums with people who all agree.

Date: 2008/07/20 19:21:27, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Keiths,

Sorry, but you are getting repetitive and boring.

If it makes you happy to call me a PhD bigot, then go and be happy.

Date: 2008/07/21 14:36:14, Link
Author: Thought Provoker

First of all, I am very much a critic of the movement created and supported by the Discovery Institute.

I make a distinction between the ID Movement and ID Science.

There have been many discussions on Telic Thoughts as to pros and cons of using the ID label.  I think Telic Thoughts should disassociate themselves from the movement and focus more on science.

However, I am but one voice with limited influence.

I am aware of Joy's emotional responses to the holocaust to which she attaches significant blame on runaway science.

She and I disagree on how significantly Hitler was influenced by the modern eugenics program as opposed to historical references such as the Spartans.

If you are interested, you can review our exchanges in various threads on Telic Thoughts.

However, like it or not, there is some merit in being concerned about the dehumanizing effects of certain scientific endeavours.  A cry for "never again" is understandable.

Date: 2008/07/21 19:40:08, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Steve,

I have to admit that was a good one.

Thanks for giving me a reason to smile. :)

Date: 2008/08/16 11:59:42, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Oleg wrote...

I didn't even know who Rickover was until last night.  Still don't know how this is relevant to my explanation of what health physics is and where and by whom it's taught.

As an engineer, I am disappointed (but not surprised) you aren't familiar with the significance of how the U.S. Nuclear Navy came to be.

You see Rickover was one of those people who mixed "ignorance and arrogance" which you dislike.  He made the bold assumption that it was possible to build a nuclear powered naval vessels.  More than that, he decided whether or not it was possible, the US needed to do it.

Assumptions were made (read "arrogant guesses").  Models were built.  Testing was done.  Mistakes were corrected.  There was no room in "Rickover's Navy" for nay-sayers.  Rickover wasted little effort worrying about brusing egos of those who thought their academic degrees or policial positions warranted respect.

Because of her age, knowledge and attitude I strongly suspect Joy was a product of this effort.

Are you familiar with the term "Skunk Works" as it applies to engineering projects?

There are times when the best course of action is act based on bold assumptions rather than wait on "PhD types" being scientifically modest out of fear of making mistakes.

Skunk works is about more than just bypassing red-tape.  It is about intentionally taking the risk of doing something wrong.

A Skunk Works project might be wrong about getting promised funding.  It might even be wrong about the feasibility of completing the whole project.  Skunk Works projects attract a certain personality type.  Those who can be arrogant in the face of ignorance due to a knack for overcoming adversity.

Like all things, there are multiple sides to the issue.  Boldness also has its downside.  I suggest the Yin/Yang conflict provides balance most of the time.  No one view is the Ultimate Truth.

Joy's view has merit as does yours.

Date: 2008/08/16 13:25:35, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Wesley,

I was in the middle of typing a long response when I lost it. Here is a shorter version...

I suggest Joy presented her position on the state of the scientific evidence when she wrote...

Intelligent Design *is not* a theory, though I do think it's a compelling explanation. As yet not quite formulated in testable terms, but tending in that direction. Those will all still be sub-hypotheses to be tested, the question is what "ID" means as a challenge.

It can't "defeat" evolution because it's not in competition with evolution. I've got no problems with the idea that life forms change - and demonstrably complexity - over deep time. Never did have a problem with it.

The conflict is in something Joy calls "dueling metaphysics".

"Randomness did it" on one side.

"God did it" on the other.

Joy was the one who pointed out Penrose/Hameroff's Orch OR model to me.  I suspect she considers this to be a potential ID hypothesis.

I suggest both God and Randomness are metaphysical constructs.  The evidence from Quantum Mechanical experiments show quantum effects are interconnected in both space and time.  Why do we presume true randomness exists?

Orchestrated quantum effects would be a challenge to Status Quo thinking.  Whether it is called Intelligent Design or not is just semantics.  At least to me.

Joy tends to rather intolerant of nay-sayers (aka "ID critics").

EDIT-minor changes

Date: 2008/08/16 13:32:25, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Oleg,

Which is why Orch OR and ID are not scientific theories.


Date: 2008/08/16 20:54:03, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi All,

Thank you for the reasoned and reasonable responses.  I will try to return in kind.

Albatrossity2 asked…
Doesn't it bother you at all to constantly have to point out that this isn't science?

Actually it does bother me.  Which is why I pester the folks at Telic Thoughts with...

"Let's do Science!"  :D

If ID proponents focus on the science it addresses two birds with one stone.  They could possibly contribute something useful (if nothing else, provoking introspective re-evaluation) and it detracts from the ID Movement as envisioned by Dr. Dembski and the Discovery Institute.

Albatrossity2 continued with…
That it offers no explanation, but is "tending" toward being able to do that? Don't you realize that if it is not "formulated in testable terms" yet, it is not likely to ever reach that hopeful tendency? Can you explain how it can be a "compelling explanation" without being testable? Why not "witches and warlocks designed the world'?

I disagree with your characterization that things like Orch OR offer “no explanation”.  It potentially offers quite a bit of explanation for the existence and characteristics of consciousness.  For example, it provides a simple explanation for the “Color Phi and cutaneous rabbit anomalies” along with Benjamin Libet’s experimental data showing up to a half a second delay in conscious recognition of events. (link)

The easy and straight forward explanation is that the same natural process occurring in quantum experiments like Wheeler’s Delayed Choice is happening in consciousness.  But the implications of accepting that explanation as seriously plausible is too risky for cautious “PhD Types”  exercising scientific modesty.

BTW, Dr. Hameroff and Sir Roger Penrose both have PhDs.  However, I don’t clump them into my stereotypical “PhD Types” because they go out of their way to try to explain their ideas in laymen’s terms and aren’t afraid of being ridiculed for doing so.

But bringing this back to Albatrossity's question.  Yes, I wish more ID proponents would provide hypotheses and models.

Oleg wrote...
In a nutshell, TP, because it's the only game in town.

In a nutshell, I disagree.

I believe Dr. Hameroff and Dr. Penrose disagree too.

While you may still want to interpret Dr. Penrose's universal wavefunction as dynamic and truly random, I think it is obvious that it is fixed similar to a set of pseudorandom numbers or, more appropriately, a Mandelbrot Set in four complex dimensions of space-time.

"Randomness did it" verses "God did it" is mostly about which default gets to be presumed.

I think there is merit in questioning the "Randomness did it" presumption.  A potential positive aspect of the few honest ID proponents is that it might cause this presumption to be questioned.

Please note, I do not want to replace it with "God did it."

I am leaning towards "orchestrated quantum effects did it".

I think there is some scientific evidence to back this up.  Granted, the evidence is currently weak.  But it is getting stronger, IMO.

Date: 2008/08/16 23:05:26, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Wesley,

You wrote...
OK, I thought that there might be something of substance at issue in talking about "views"...

I doubt anyone who knows even a little bit about you believes for a minute you actually thought something new and substantial came from an ID proponent like Joy.

Please, don't get me wrong.  I understand your motivations.  At least I think I do.  I suspect we have similar goals, just different methods.

Do you remember the first time we "met" on the internet?

I had just started commenting on Telic Thoughts when Uncommon Descent suddenly disappeared from Google searches which resulted in a flurry of accusations and counter-accusations.

I commented on Telic Thoughts these kind of activities were counter productive.  Their response was to dare me to post on Austringer, which I did (link).

I was pleasantly surprised that my comment was unmoderated and your response was reasonable.

One of the things I have noticed over the intervening couple of years is the circle-the-wagon attitude from both camps.

Also, both sides use the tactic I call "Shield Bashing" (using a "defensive" shield as an offensive weapon).  It is similar to small children saying "but he/she started it" as an excuse for bad behavior.

It doesn't matter who started it.  If both sides continue to argue politics instead of the science, science will lose.

I know I am probably simply wasting bandwidth by offering my "view", but there it is.

By the way, I do appreciate the respect you and others of shown me, especially in these recent comments.  Maybe there is hope for open dialog after all.

Date: 2008/08/16 23:10:02, Link
Author: Thought Provoker

When you said...
It also appears to partake liberally of false dichotomy.

I agree.  That is why I call my musing "The Third Choice" on Telic Thoughts.

Orchestrated quantum effects is neither random nor divine.

Date: 2008/08/17 00:18:22, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Oleg,

Thank you for providing the link to the Mandelbrot Set I was too lazy to do.

As to your questions.  From page 179 of Penrose's The Road to Reality...
"Up to this point, we have been considering spaces of only one dimension.  The reader might well be puzzled by this remark, since the complex plane, the Riemann sphere, and various other Riemann surfaces have featured strongly in several of the previous chapters.  However, in the context of holomorphic functions, these surfaces are really to be thought of as being, in essence, of only one dimension, this dimension being a COMPLEX dimension..."

Here, Penrose is explaining that a complex dimension is still a single dimension.  This is at the start of Chapter 10 where Penrose starts laying the foundations for understanding Chapter 18, Minkowskian geometry, where he describes the observable universe as being four COMPLEX dimensions of space-time and how the "clock paradox" is a geometry problem that ceases to be a paradox when recognized as such.  This eventually leads to Chapter 23 titled The entangled quantum world.  While Penrose doesn't argue for orchestration in this chapter, he is clearly indicating quantum effects are interconnected (i.e. "entangled").

As for the Mandelbrot Set.  If we can forgo semantic concerns, I am trying to convey the concept of a wavefunction in four complex dimensions.

When you realise that Mandelbrot Set is the result of a very simple formula of only one dimension (albeit complex) it helps communicate what a four dimensional version would be like.

The Mandelbrot Set demonstrates a combination of apparent chaos and patterns.  A four dimensional version would do something similar.  If one of the dimensions was time, some parts would be indistiguishable from random chaos but there would also be patterns.

A question for you...

If time is a property of the four dimensional universe, how could the universe's wavefunction be anything but static?

Date: 2008/08/17 14:16:21, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Jeffox,

Thank you for your response.

Based on your background with the 688, I take it you are familiar with Mk48 and Mk48 ADCAP torpedoes?

Did you know there was a Mk48 production facility in Cleveland, Ohio (around E185th street)?

I spent over 10 years in the R&D division there.

And, yes, I am familiar with the concept that, to a submariner, every vessel on the surface is presumed to be a target and every vessel below the surface is presumed to be an enemy.

I especially liked your insight from inside a nuclear sub because it further confirmed my perceptions.

As to "Rickover's Navy"…

On August 9, 1945 the US dropped an atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan.  That totally exhausted the US nuclear capabilities at the time.  There were no more atomic bombs.

Seven years later, the Nautilus' keel was laid.  Three years after that the Nautilus was "Underway on nuclear power."  In ten years the US nuclear weaponry went from the equivalent of two sticks of dynamite to a battle tank.

1955 was the year the Nautilus started its history making journeys that included logging 60,000 nautical miles before sailing under the Arctic Ice cap in 1958.

The point is that the US pulled off a monumental engineering feat under Rickover’s leadership.

For good, or for bad, Rickover did not wait for scientists to work out all of the details before proceeding.  When bold endeavors succeed, they are applauded and presumed to have been executed with appropriate caution.  When bold endeavors fail, it is dismissed as an unwarranted mixture of “arrogance and ignorance”.

1961 was the year the USSR's first nuclear sub, K19, set sail for the first time.  During its maiden voyage a coolant leak in the reactor forced K19's captain to order crewmembers to break its containment to effect repairs (a suicide mission).  The contaminated K19 was towed back to port.

Rickoff and his very large team (personally handpicked by Rickoff) succeeded, the Russians failed.

I’m not suggesting it was luck, quite the opposite.  Rickoff worked hard to justify his arrogance.  I have no doubt that in the 1960’s, especially aboard an US Nuclear Attack Sub, that few would say Rickover took unwarranted risks in the face of unknowns.

However, I strongly suggest a decade or two prior to this the general opinion of Rickoff was quite different.  From an old Times article

In 1946, Captain Rickover, still a sharp, square peg confronted by polished, rounded holes, learned that the Bureau of Ships had decided to send a captain and four junior officers to Oak Ridge to study nuclear energy. He got the job. (No other qualified captain applied.) Nuclear physics in those days was something to scare even brilliant officers.

Since his decision to go to Oak Ridge, Rickover's life has been a battle to get the Navy and the atom together. It was a battle of a type that has been fought before—between the necessary conservatism of a military organization and the equally urgent necessity to keep it up to date.

Engineer Rickover freely concedes that the reactor of the Nautilus will not be the best conceivable. "Sure," he says, "the scientists can think up thousands of reactors. But the Navy wanted a nuclear submarine, and it wanted one fast. We picked a simple type of reactor that we knew a lot about already. If we'd waited for the scientists, we'd still be fooling around."

The simple reactor of the Nautilus is not simple by normal standards. Its official name is STR (Submarine Thermal Reactor), because the neutrons that are its "fire" are slowed down to the "thermal" speed of molecules in everyday matter. Basically, it is a "core" containing enriched uranium,† cooled by ordinary water that is kept by high pressure from turning into steam. The water comes out of the reactor hot and radioactive. Tightly shielded against radiation, it goes through a "heat exchanger" (a kind of boiler), where it turns a second batch of water into high-pressure steam. The steam. which is not radioactive, runs a turbine that turns the propellers.

Zirconium. The STR, designed by Argonne National Laboratory and Westinghouse Electric Corp., was a staggering exercise in pioneer engineering. One enormous problem was the material for tubes and other structural parts in the reacting core. It must resist corrosion, and it must not absorb too many neutrons. The answer was the rare metal zirconium, then a laboratory curiosity. Its metallurgy was shockingly difficult, but Rickover pushed it so hard that he called himself "Mr. Zirconium."

Pumps to circulate the high-pressure, radioactive water had to have perfection never demanded before. The shield to enclose the radioactive parts was a formidable problem. So was the control system whose function is to keep the reactor from destroying itself and the submarine.

My point is the Status Quo needs an occasional “sharp, square peg” confronting its “polished, rounded holes” to provoke needed change in thinking.

Date: 2008/08/17 15:41:34, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Wesley,

You wrote...
...there has been a long-term, well-funded, determined effort to intrusively insert narrow religious views into public school curricula. There really is a public policy issue at the center of this, whether you choose to acknowledge it or not. Those of us who prefer that the government stay out of the preaching business but remain in the science instruction business "circle the wagons" because the Indians really are on the warpath. (That's your unfortunate choice of metaphor, not mine.)

As I suggested earlier.  Our motivations are similar, it is out methods that differ.

I am very well aware of what the Discovery Institute's goals are.  I often quote the Wedge document on TT whenever someone suggests the ID Movement isn't religious.  I also have some quotes from Dembski and Wells clearly showing their motivations in their own words.

It is no accident that Telic Thoughts rarely tried to defend the Discovery Institute or Uncommon Descent any more.  Telic Thoughts is generally trying to maintain its independence.

It is my understanding Mike Gene and Telic Thoughts broke away from ARN over the issue of teaching ID in school. Those at Telic Thoughts opposed it.  Mike Gene’s forward in The Design Matrix included…

“I should make it explicitly clear from the start that I did not write this book to help those seeking to change the way we teach science to our kids. I do not argue that design deserves to be known as science.  At best, Intelligent Design may only be a nascent proto-science and thus does not belong in the public school curriculum. Nor does this book argue that evolution is false and deserves to be criticized in the public school curriculum. If the truth is to be told, I oppose such actions.” (pg. xi)

I won’t be surprised if you express suspicion and doubt.  But it matters little for my purposes whether or not those at Telic Thoughts are being 100% truthful as long as they stand by what they say.  I help encourage this by pointing out conflicts between the ID Movement and ID Science.  I am a vocal critic of the ID Movement.  I tend to be supportive of the stated goals of ID Science.

Of course, I now expect to hear something like…
There is no difference because there is no such thing as “ID Science”.

Ironically, I hear similar comments from ID proponents (although they just stop at “no difference”).

My agenda, my method, my goal is to provoke thinking.

I am offering an ID Hypothesis with some logic and evidence to back it up.  This puts ID proponents in the position of arguing a hypothesis that is at least as good or arguing against mine.  At least it is an argument about science.

Telling a group of people they are stupid and should shut up will only motivate them to ignore you.  It will also justify their presumption that it would do them no good to try to understand, to try to think.

Then they get elected to school boards.

I offer the Telic Thoughts is different from Uncommon Descent.  Even if you think the difference is insignificant, it wouldn't hurt to recognise that it is different in a positive way.

Unless, of course, it is your intent to force the different indian tribes into uniting against a common foe.

You shouldn't mistake mostly polite discussion for respect.

I don't and didn't.

Date: 2008/08/17 16:56:16, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Jam,

There are times I miss Smokey.  I thought the Smokey/Bradford debates were classics.  However, I can easily understand how debating Bradford can be...  well... frustrating.

BTW, I like your "Like a rock, only dumber" Bushism.

You wrote...
Doing science (something you are afraid to do) involves lots of mistakes. If a biologist gets 1 of 10 experiments to work, she's doing great. If an engineer gets 1 of 10 designs to work, he's fired.

I would love to do science but they pay me better for being an engineer.  You see, I have the knack and experience to quick grasp complicated systems and make 9.9 out of 10 designs to work the first time.  And we do it on time and within budget.

However, someday I plan to attempt the Wheeler's Delayed Choice Quantum experiment for myself.  In an earlier comment, Wesley pointed out a Scientific American article showing how quantum experiments can be done with readily available laser diodes and filters.

Evolution isn't random. Never has been, never will be.

And ID doesn't require God to be the designer.

The phrase "random mutation and natural selection" generally presumes mutations are random with respect to selection.

Not all "ID critics" agree with that.  Not all "ID proponents" presume God is the designer.

I'm the one suggesting there is middle ground between the two positions.  The Third Choice presumes neither God nor Randomness.  If you agree then welcome to the club.

You will have to excuse me for not exponding very much on my open and honest responses to Albatrossity's questions.  If he/she wants further explanation of what I mean by "PhD Types" I will give it.  Hint: I have run across many "PhD Types" who don't have PhDs.

As for the predictions and experiments surrounding Penrose/Hameroff's Orch OR here is a link to a 1998 paper that includes...

Appendix 2. Testable predictions of the Orch OR model

Here major assumptions (bold) and corresponding testable predictions (numbered) of the Orch OR model are listed:

Neuronal microtubules are directly necessary for consciousness

1. Synaptic sensitivity and plasticity correlate with cytoskeletal architecture/activities in both pre­synaptic and post­synaptic neuronal cytoplasm.

2. Actions of psychoactive drugs including antidepressants involve neuronal microtubules.

3. Neuronal microtubule­stabilizing/protecting drugs may prove useful in Alzheimer's disease, ischemia, and other conditions.

[B}Microtubules communicate by cooperative dynamics of tubulin subunits [/B]

4. Laser spectroscopy (e.g. Vos et al, 1993) will demonstrate coherent gigaHz Frhlich excitations in microtubules.

5. Dynamic vibrational states in microtubule networks correlate with cellular activity.

6. Stable patterns of microtubule­cytoskeletal networks (including neurofilaments) and intra­microtubule diversity of tubulin states correlate with memory and neural behavior.

7. Cortical dendrites contain largely "A­lattice" microtubules (compared to "B­lattice" microtubule, A­lattice microtubules are preferable for information processingTuszynski et al., 1995)

Quantum coherence occurs in microtubules

8. Studies similar to the famous "Aspect experiment" in physics (which verified non­local quantum correlations­­Aspect et al., 1982) will demonstrate quantum correlations between spatially separated microtubule subunit states a) on the same microtubule, b) on different microtubules in the same neuron, c) on microtubules in different neurons connected by gap junctions.

9. Experiments with SQUIDs (Superconducting Quantum Interference Device) such as those suggested by Leggett (1984) will detect phases of quantum coherence in microtubules.

10. Coherent photons will be detected from microtubules.

Microtubule quantum coherence requires isolation by cycles of surrounding actin­gelation

11. Neuronal microtubules in cortical dendrites and other brain areas are intermittently surrounded by tightly cross-linked actin gels.

12. Cycles of gelation and dissolution in neuronal cytoplasm occur concomitantly with membrane electrical activity (e.g. synchronized 40 Hz activities in dendrites).

13. The sol­gel cycles surrounding microtubules are regulated by calcium ions released and reabsorbed by calmodulin associated with microtubules.

Macroscopic quantum coherence occurs among MT in hundreds/thousands of distributed neurons and glia linked by gap junctions

14. Electrotonic gap junctions link synchronously firing networks of cortical neurons, and thalamo­cortical networks

15. Quantum tunneling occurs across gap junctions.

16. Quantum correlation occurs between microtubule subunit states in different neurons connected by gap junctions (the microtubule "Aspect experiment" in different neurons)

The amount of neural tissue involved in a conscious event is inversely proportional to the event time by E=hbar/T

17. The amount of neural mass involved in a particular cognitive task or conscious event (as measurable by near­future advances in brain imaging techniques) is inversely proportional to the pre­conscious time (e.g. visual perception, reaction times).

An isolated, unperturbed quantum system self­collapses according to E=hbar/T

18. Isolated technological quantum superpositions will self­collapse according to E=/T. (Preliminary discussions of such experiments involving superposition of crystals have begun between Roger Penrose and Anton Zeilinger.)

Microtubule­based cilia/centriole structures are quantum optical devices

19. Microtubule­based cilia in rods and cones directly detect visual photons and connect with retinal glial cell microtubule via gap junctions.

A critical degree of cytoskeletal assembly (coinciding with the onset of rudimentary consciousness) had significant impact on the rate of evolution.

20. Fossil records and comparison with present­day biology will show that organisms which emerged during the early Cambrian period with onset roughly 540 million years ago had critical degrees of microtubule­cytoskeletal size, complexity and capability for quantum isolation (e.g. tight actin gels, gap junctions; see Hameroff, 1998b).

Date: 2008/08/17 17:14:32, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Wesley,

You wrote...
So if you are directing that quoted aspersion at me, I'm expecting either an example or a retraction to follow.

I have long ago learned to use passive voice in making controversial statements (yes, I participated in dial-up modem BBS too).  It wasn't an accusation, but I will still retract any possible implications and apologise if it offended you.

Let me point out that in two years of participating on Telic Thoughts the concept of teaching ID in public schools has generally been met with discouragement for the rare times it came up.

I suggest this is a noticable difference between Telic Thoughts and Uncommon Descent.  Here is a link to how the crowd at Uncommon  Descent reacted to Mike Gene's more moderate opinions concerning teaching ID.

Date: 2008/08/17 17:51:40, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Oleg,

You wrote...
Penrose's 4-dimensional complex space is the twistor manifold, not the spacetime.  The two are related (you can use twistors to describe light rays in Minkowski space) but they are not the same.

Chapter 18 of Penrose's Road to Reality is titled Minkowskian Geometry.  It includes the following on page 414, "...referring to the complex space C^4, which we may regard as the complexification CE^4 of E^ the same as the complexification of CM of M"

From this point on Penrose treats Minkowski space (M) as having four complex dimensions.  The four complex dimensions was also used in Penrose's treatment of the clock paradox.

Twistor space wasn't introduced until Chapter 33.

Multiple people are asking me to explain what I mean by "PhD types".  Thank you of helping me with an example of what I am talking about.

Please don't take it wrong.  I understand why it is important in your line of work to be precise in terminology and formulation.  But, to me, arguing about whether we are dealing in Minkowski space or Twister space isn't important to the overall concept.

It's like saying something is only possible in a polar coordinate system, not Cartesian.

Date: 2008/08/17 18:15:29, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi dhogaza,

Thank you for your comment.

I am not certain of exactly how long it would have taken for another atom bomb to be build.  I thought it was weeks if not months.

I will look it up now that you brought it to my attention.  Excuse me for hoping you are wrong because I understand a long lag time was an excuse we used for explain why we had to actually kill so many people instead of simply demonstrating our ability to do so.

Hiroshima was somewhat defendable (our lack of confidence the bomb would work and pay back for Pearl Harbor).

The only excuse for Nagasaki was to bluff the Japanese into believing we would mercilessly bomb a city a week until they surrendered unconditionally.

Bombing an unpopulated area would have demonstrated Hiroshima wasn't a fluke.

I would rather Nagasaki to have been a desperate bluff than to have been heartlessness on our part.

Date: 2008/08/17 19:35:59, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Henry,

You wrote...
If this isn't a silly question, what goals does "ID Science" have that are independent of the politics?

AFAIK, the goal of a proposed scientific hypothesis is to explain some repeatable and verifiable pattern of observations of the thing being studied. Without that pattern of observations, there can't be a scientific goal.

I agree with you with some caveats.

Obviously, I am not in a position to speak for ID proponents in general.  I have even argued that the name "Intelligent Design" is misleading and carried too much negative baggage.

That being said, I have been encouraging others to be more forthcoming with models and hypotheses.  At this point I see three categories...

1. A consciousness continuously designs and manipulates life.

2. A consciousness designed and frontloaded life in the past.

3. A combination of the above two.

Number 1 is problematic since it is difficult to distinguish from the current Evolutionary Theory.

Mike Gene (and others) suggest that evidence of foresight would provide evidence of a challenge to the status quo.  So they have focused on trying to find "A Consilience of Clues" (The Design Matrix' subtitle).

At this point, the goal of ID Science is to look for what you called a "pattern of observations".

Personally, I like to have a more solid framework (a model).  I believe Quantum Mechanics provides such a framework.  I understand that even Ken Miller has suggested God could work through quantum effects.

There has been some interest in this.  Yes, there is still a lot of religious motivation behind it, but at least it is starting to focus on the physical instead of the metaphysical.

One more caveat.  We already have a situtation where "repeatable and verifiable pattern of observations" can be complicated by the observation itself.  That is in Quantum Mechanics.

The "Observer Problem" isn't due to instrumentation (although there are some who still argue the opposite).  Quantum evidence suggests observation changes reality.  In some sense observation creates reality.  Which reality manefests itself in the dual slit experiment is based on how it is observed.

This shouldn't be an insermountable problem unless critics demand not only repeatability, but repeatability regardless of how it is observed.

Date: 2008/08/17 22:09:28, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Keiths,

You wrote...
From what I've seen, it appears that your goal is to prop up your sagging ego.

I love it when someone suggests I have some underlying problem of an inferiority complex or somehow question my self worth.  My wife and co-workers hate it, but I find it rather amusing.

You deride "PhD types" to make yourself feel better about your own lack of education.

Do you know my level of education?

You denigrate terminological precision to make yourself feel better about your own sloppiness.  You pretend that all engineers are inarticulate and bad at spelling to excuse your own deficiencies in those areas.  You call yourself "Thought Provoker" when the truth is that you're more of a Correction Provoker.

No comment

If you want to feel better about yourself, TP, then try improving yourself rather than simply posturing on the Internet.

What do you suggest?

How about catching up on something outside my field of expertise?

Maybe reading and understanding a 1000 page book written prominent physicist?

How about pouring through multiple scientific papers covering complex topics in Biology and Quantum Mechanics?

Of course I have to do this in my spare time, because my work keeps me quite busy.

Believe it or not, I post on the internet as a method to help keep my ego in check at work and home.

A way to get it out of my system.

Date: 2008/08/17 23:03:52, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Oleg,

I had started to write personal account behind my term "PhD type" but I changed my mind and deleted it because it would have been misunderstood.

The quick version is that over the last four decades I have worked with many very smart people who happened to have PhDs.  My endeavors involved testing Advanced Capability Torpedoes, JSF jet engines and Patriot Missiles.

My value was and is organizing teams to gather up all the complicated loose ends the very smart people though up and "make the planes land" as expected, on schedule and within budget.

In short, I make complicated things simple…

…and I am good at it.

Hopefully, you recognize that I value what you and others like you do.  I especially appreciate the time and effort you have spent in trying to help me understand.  I am a little saddened that you didn't hang on to Penrose's book but at least you took the time to review it.

Thanks again

I am sure we will discuss this again.  At which time you can try to explain how I am misunderstanding that Penrose is using his Twistor mathematical model to predict the existence of real world “quanglement” similar to how he used mathematical models to predict the existence of real world black holes.

Date: 2008/08/17 23:33:33, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Oleg,

And after jeffox suggested I wasn't a troll...

Here is a link to a 2008 paper on Twistor Space.  At least someone thinks Complexified Minkowski space corresponds to "spacetime"....

The basic correspondence between twistor space and spacetime is:
|PT                           | CM
|complex projective  | line point
|point                       | alpha-plane
|intersection of lines | null separation of points
Complexified Minkowski space CM can be thought of as the moduli space of complex projective lines, while (projective) twistor space PT can be thought of as the moduli space of a-planes.

P.S. Sorry, but its gotten too late.  Creeky Belly by all means post or repost whatever you feel is appropriate.

Date: 2008/08/18 10:06:29, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Jeffox,

Thank you for your response and recognition.

Unfortunately, it looks like the troops are circling the wagons again.

Yes, I was aware for the submarine in the desert and was even tempted to mention it in my previous comment because it goes to show how incredably quickly the "Rickover Navy" got things going.

I understand there is also a battleship in the desert somewhere too.  Some of the navy guys had interesting stories about that too.

Date: 2008/08/18 10:29:29, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Creeky Belly,

I appreciated you taking the time and effort to download the paper I didn't have access to and loading the picture up to imageshack so you could provide it to all.

I suspect it took more than five minutes, but that is all the more reason to thank you for it.

Yes, understanding decoherence is complicated, but I am betting Penrose's E=h/T and suggestion about macro-level decoherence at room temperatures is going to become accepted.  It explains too much (e.g. Buckyballs).

However, that is a different subject for a different time when I'm not as swamped with real work.

It looks like Penrose's Twistor Space is gaining in popularity.  When I have the time, I suspect I will be finding a lot more scientific papers clearly summarizing the implications of Penrose's ideas.

Will the summaries match my perceptions?  

If yes, I get more bragging rights.

If no, then I will have learned something in the process.

I can be patient.

Either way, I thank you for your interest and efforts.

Date: 2008/08/18 10:40:31, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Keiths,

You wrote...
You must be as naïve about psychology as you are about physics if you think that someone who blusters and swaggers can't possibly suffer from feelings of inferiority.

But that is the irony.  Yes, I have feelings of inferiority and I am proud of that! :D

Feelings of inferiority compels a lot of human actions.  For example, some people will go out of their way to try to ridicule others who appear to feel good about themselves.

Date: 2008/08/18 10:48:21, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Oleg,

You wrote...
He's still talking about shortcuts in Minkowski space, Mandelbrot sets, and interconnected photons in spacetime.  And this after pages and pages of conversations both here and at TT!  Get a life, TP.

You're preaching to the choir, Oleg.

I have long ago learned that I can't let others do my thinking for me.  I need to understand things for myself.

Telling me I am wrong is of no help.

Show me.

Give me a better model I can understand.

If you feel it would be a waste of time, then ignore me.

Otherwise, you are just preaching to the choir.

BTW, let me thank you again for putting me on to the recent interest in Penrose's Twistor Space.  I have been finding lots of good scientific papers on it.  I look forward to reading them in detail when time permits.

Date: 2008/08/18 12:01:42, Link
Author: Thought Provoker

Here is something I found during lunch...

As is well known, twistor theory is an approach towards
a geometrical quantization of space-time, originally proposed
by Penrose [1]. In the twistor program, the twistor
space is regarded more fundamental than space-time.

We have geometrically constructed a supertwistor theory
based on the SUSY Hopf map. The basic variables
are different from those of Ferber’s original supertwistor;
fermionic momenta are newly introduced by geometrical
reasoning. The new super incidence relation is naturally
derived based on the arguments of the celestial supersphere.
The super space-time matrix becomes superhermitian
and relates the Minkowski superspace and the supertwistor space nonlocally in the sense: a point in
Minkowski superspace is transformed to a supersphere
in the supertwistor space, and a point in the supertwistor
space is transformed to a super light ray in the
Minkowski superspace.

Got to run

Date: 2008/08/18 15:51:21, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Another 2008 paper I found (when I should have been working)...

1 Introduction
Twistor methods were originally introduced by Penrose with the aim of providing a mathematical
framework which could lead to a synthesis of quantum theory and relativity [P].

Date: 2008/08/18 18:45:12, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
And yet another paper...

We consider quantum field theory in four-dimensional Minkowski spacetime, with the position
coordinates represented by twistors instead of the usual world-vectors. Upon imposing canonical
commutation relations between twistors and dual twistors, quantum theory of fields described by
non-holomorphic functions of twistor variables becomes manifestly non-commutative, with Lorentz
symmetry broken by a time-like vector. We discuss the free field propagation and its impact on the
short- and long-distance behavior of physical amplitudes in perturbation theory. In the ultraviolet
limit, quantum field theories in twistor space are generically less divergent than their commutative
counterparts. Furthermore, there is no infrared–ultraviolet mixing problem.

Twistor theory [1] offers an alternative description of the four-dimensional spacetime in
which spinors are regarded more fundamental than world-vectors.

Still at work, will talk later.

Date: 2008/08/18 23:37:50, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Time to catch up...

Keiths wrote...
It's possible to think for yourself without refusing to learn from others, TP.

I learn a lot from others.  Usually by arguing with them.

Wesley wrote...
Knowing that you are wrong means you can get on with figuring out what is right.

Knowing that I am wrong would help, especially if I knew exactly where I was wrong.  However, I don't know I am wrong.  What I know is some people are claiming I am wrong.

JAM wrote...
Interestingly, I just got an email from a collaborator telling me that the revision of our paper on synaptic plasticity was accepted by what most biologists consider the top biology journal. It involves the cytoskeleton, but not microtubules (the cytoskeleton of dendritic spines is actin-based).

Congratulations.  I hope it works out well for you.  I mean it.  It wouldn't bother me in the slightest to be wrong about how the cytoskeleton coupled with Quantum Mechanics in support of consciousness.

At one time I got the impression you agreed with the plausibility of QM being involved with consciousness (just via actin, not microtubules).  Is that still the case?

Oleg wrote...
One needs, at the very least, to know quantum mechanics at the level of a two-semester undergraduate course: canonical quantization, operators, wave functions, that sort of things. I still don't know whether you have that knowledge.

I don't have the patience or the time to still through actual classes.  However, I am getting motivated to look for some on-line courses and possibly text-books.  I would like to understand these Twistor String papers better.  Not everyone explains things as clearly as Penrose did in The Road to Reality.

Creeky Belly wrote...
If you read that thread for comprehension, you would have remembered that the decoherence of the Bucky Balls occurred in a VACUUM, not a thermal bath at 300K. We've been over this all before (as documented in the threads I linked to).

You will have to excuse me, but I'm not interested in arguing about the details of decoherence at this specific point in time.  However, I am sure we will get back to it in the future.

Oleg asked...
Are you trying to make a point, TP?

My point was that "Twistor methods were originally introduced by Penrose with the aim of providing a mathematical framework which could lead to a synthesis of quantum theory and relativity".

In The Road to Reality Penrose was clearly laying the foundation for synthesizing Quantum Mechanics with space-time relativity.  It was the basis behind his term "quanglement", the entanglement of quantum effects via four-dimensional complex geometry.  A geometry where things that "travel" at the speed of light collapse to a single point (e.g. photons entangled at the same point in Twistor space).

Skeptic wrote...
Wait a minute TP, I thought we only had facilities in Idaho and SC, where is the battleship?

Ok, you caught me.  I don't remember the details of conversations I had 25 years ago.  That, or maybe I just made up a stupid falsehood.

You have my permission to believe whichever helps your self esteem more.

Creeky Belly wrote...
And yet another paper with mathematical gymnastics. Did you read it? They create a set of canonical operators which commute locally, but are non-commutative globally. This has the effect, as they say, of fuzzing out the position and momentum measurements as the distance between points grows. Much like Penrose found, it's a fun sandbox for a special set of functions, which may or may not be useful in the long run. And your point is....

Penrose is a mathematician whose other "fun sandbox" predicted things like Black Holes.

I hope you are aware of how this thread's discussion involves multiple levels.

The lowest level is deciding whether or not I am a stupid ignoramous lacking any usable skills and incapable of learning any.

"Deciding" is probably not the right term.  The activity is more of an attempt to frame and spin that perception.

The next level of framing is that I am stick-in-the-mud stubborn and will never be persuaded of anything different than my unsupportable preconceptions.

At some point accusations of narcissism set in.  (Keiths has already had accused me of compensating for a "sagging ego").

A more charitable level of framing is recognition that I am earnestly trying to learn, but I have sadly missed the mark.  My interpretations are so completely off that no knowledgeable person would have come to the same mistaken conclusions I have.

Then there is the framing in the face of evidence that maybe there are people out there who share my opinion (e.g. Dr. Hameroff).  But, hey, it’s the internet.  You can find someone supporting just about any crazy idea.  All that means is framing the perceptions of the those people too.

Then there is the framing in the face of evidence that not-so-crazy and very knowledgeable people share some of the ideas (e.g. Sir Roger Penrose).  Well, this tends to require more diplomatic handling, often patronizing.  Something similar to calling them bold ideas requiring further support, etc.   That, coupled with a good sounding statement like “appeals to authority aren't scientific.”.

Then there is the framing in the face of evidence of popular support.  A useful tactic here is to label it “mathematical gymnastics” which may or may not be useful in the long run.

I would be quite content to understand these “mathematical gymnastics”.  Maybe with the LHC the run won’t have to be that long.

BTW, I liked your Einstein's Idiots.  Thank you for linking to it.

Date: 2008/08/19 00:33:49, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Skeptic,

Please accept my apologies then.  Sarcasm (or the lack thereof) is difficult to detect on blogs.

I honestly don't remember where it was, if I ever knew.

Maybe someone else knows.

Date: 2008/08/19 15:07:53, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Oleg and Creeky Belly,

Just to let you know, I have reacted to both of your suggestions there is more to this than just simple geometry (if complexified four dimensional geometry can be considered "simple").

In fact, I specifically re-read Penrose's Twistor description with this is mind back when Oleg got a copy of The Road to Reality.

Even if I don't fully understand the details, I recognize the bigger significance to Penrose's Twistor Space is quantization.

I hear you, Oleg, "Quantum physics is not born from geometry, it is married to it."

And, I won't skimp on the homework.  Which is one of the reasons I was saddened that you didn't keep The Road to Reality, I was hoping to get help on some of the exercises Penrose provided for his  readers.

And thanks to the forum moderators for tolerating this off-topic wandering.

Date: 2008/08/25 22:15:48, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Jam.

Did you notice...
"...this electronic edition was derived from the original 1987 print edition with permission from Elsevier Science Publishing ... the main body of this text should be essentially identical to the original."

Yes, 1987 research was recent in 1987.  It is also understandable why 1996 research might be overlooked 21 frickin' years ago.

Date: 2008/09/01 22:14:21, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
To Liz Lizard (or alternate),

If you are here.  My compliments on your comment to UD.  I agree it was destined to get you banned but it was a very well presented point.

It shows that candid talk about religious motivations is an absolute "no no".

Saying something like "me thinks UD doth protest too much" is undoubtedly too much an understatement, especially in this thread.

Welcome to the very long list of those banned from uncommon descent.

P.S. It looks like I need to modify this.  The discussion that followed on UD did attempt to address it.  Having a code of ethics can be a pain at times.     :(

Date: 2008/09/13 16:52:12, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Oleg,

While I appreciate you offering my comment increased visibility, I would like to point out I wasn't responding to Bradford's post, but Island's post on another blog.  Here is the paragraph I was referencing...

The two equations, E = mc^2 and E^2 = m^2 c^4 …are only different if there is a physical meaning to the negative mass and negative energy values, where the second equation allows for both positive and negative mass-energy solutions. The expression arises from the fact that the magnitude squared of the momentum four-vector is given by, m^2 c^2 = p^2 - E^2 / c^2 . In the case of a body at rest, p=0 , which leads to, m^2 = E^2 / c^4. The concept of negative mass arises by analogy with electric charges, where the formula for the energy of a relativistic particle, E^2 = m^2 c^4 - p^2 c^2 derives that a particle with a certain positive energy but no momentum could theoretically have a positive or negative mass!

from this link

I haven't completely verified what Island was saying here.  I would be interested in your opinion as to what, if anything, is clearly in error.

P.S. You also wrote "String theorists have a different model, but that's another story.".  I presume you would also agree the Twistor String Threory is also another story.

Of course, I expect you to continue to suggest its all mathematical abstractions. So when did Penrose's Black Holes move from mathematical abstractions to reality?

Or is that transition still occuring?

Date: 2008/09/13 21:02:06, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Oleg,

I have a BSEE so I know something about P-type and N-type semiconductors and why transitors and diodes work the way they do.

I also suspect my training is why I am generally willing to accept mathematical abstractions as reality.  Power equals voltage times current.  Voltage is current times resistance.  Ergo, power is the current squared times resistance.

This is as real to me as a blown 1/4 watt resistor.

Date: 2008/09/14 12:34:23, Link
Author: Thought Provoker

Would you object to my copying the last part of your comment on Telic Thoughts so Doug can see the answer?


Date: 2008/09/25 21:14:52, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
I wonder if Biden knows the date when the Founding Fathers put "under god" in the pledge.

oh... oh... I know.

It was in 1956.

McCarthy was a founding father wasn't he?

Date: 2008/10/28 15:57:53, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
For what it is worth, I suggest Dembski is mostly focused on using ID as a wedge.

He expends too much energy on non-profitable efforts for it to be greed based.

While some of it is probably to boost his ego, I think the following quote suggest his true base motivation...

"The problem is not that evolution implies God does’t exist. The problem is that if God does not exist, then evolution is the only possibility."

At the time, I thought it was a rather startling admission by Dembski and said so on the forum.  Apparently Dembski thought so too, because the quote was immediately modified to allow for ID alternates that doesn’t require the existence of God.

In summary, I suggest Dembski knows exactly what he is doing and why.

Date: 2009/03/27 13:27:16, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Zachriel,

My immeadiate reaction when I first saw this was to notice the lack of Zeus' Thunderbolts.

And the "pink unicorns" should be "invisible pink unicorns".

I suspect this was lifted from somewhere else and Chuckdz simply put your name on the top.  It isn't very tailored to your comments.

Date: 2009/03/27 16:56:15, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Oleg,

I'm sure you have figured this out already, but Joe is very much in denial and has a blind spot about what he means when he says something contains information.

I had tangled with Joe in 2006 challenging him to a debate on a "level playing field".

I attempted as you did to get Joe to qualify his definition of "information content".

I am interested in having Joe expound on his term "information content". Can non-living things have "information content"? For example, does a simple rock contain information (e.g. weight, mass, dimensions, etc)? If that is the case, do two rocks contain more information than one rock (not necessarily double, just more)?

Joe simply refused to even acknowledge my request, much less answer it, even though I asked it multiple times.

In case you are interested
here is the link to the thread.

Date: 2009/03/28 23:38:33, Link
Author: Thought Provoker

I sent Joe a comment asking him once again about the "information content" of a rock compared to two rocks.

It will be interesting to see how he reacts to all this attention.

Date: 2009/03/30 21:48:22, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi ERV (Abbie),

I doubt Bradford makes a habit of checking AtBC.

I would find it amusing if you replied directly on Telic Thoughts.

Barring that, would you mind if I pointed out (and linked to) your comment on TT?

Date: 2009/03/31 08:35:34, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Thank you Abbie.  I posted the link.

Date: 2009/05/08 17:05:09, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Joy is posting in "the swamp"?!?!

Has anyone checked the temperature of hell recently?


At any rate, it's nice to see people getting along.

Now, I have to decide how to react to Fifth Monarchy Man declaring that I am "an IDer".

Date: 2009/12/13 22:44:47, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi JupiterXY,

I did notice you had been commenting since around Thanksgiving.

For all I know, you could be Keiths trying yet another alias.  (If you are, your restraint is improving).

It doesn't matter.  I still think Bradford's actions were inconsistent and let him know that.

I think I know one thing, I'm not JupiterXY.

Or am I?

Date: 2009/12/19 11:01:18, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Thank you Zachriel,

I appreciate the help.

May I have your permission to post this link to TT?

BTW, I'm curious are you on a permanent or temporary leave of absence from TT?
(I don’t blame you either way)

Date: 2009/12/19 11:40:50, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Thanks again.

Am I mucking up your experiment?

I wasn't planning on staying long.

I will be getting back to work after the New Year.

Date: 2009/12/19 13:11:29, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
So I AM spoiling the experiment.

That Bradford comment did pop out at me so much I had to give an immediate reaction.  I didn't even worry about the truth of the underlying data.  It was illogical on its face.

I am debating whether or not to react to Daniel Smith's GodDidIt argument in the Climate Change thread.


I can think of a lot of things to do with it, but they would all probably spin the thread off into yet another religious fight.

Date: 2009/12/20 08:15:42, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
If I were egotistical, I might claim to have doubled the interest in Telic Thoughts (up 100% since I started posting again).

Seriously though, I would agree that even Uncommon Descent benefits from anti-ID commenters.

The pro-ID position isn't known for its positive arguments.  "It was a miracle" doesn't lend itself to detailed analysis.

I just noticed the number of comments at Uncommon Descent are rather pathetic lately.

Have you guys been avoiding it too?

Date: 2009/12/28 00:16:32, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Did you know that ID Guy is Joe G?!?!?

Ok, so you already knew.

I suspected it a while back.

But ID Guy's latest tactics are practically verbatum to old threads I had with him on his web site.

And yes, Bradford, this comment is so I now know you know that I know.

Or something like that ;)

Date: 2009/12/28 11:15:15, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Thanks for having this thread Lou.

At the risk of appearing lost in hero worship...

I have noticed Penrose has been having some interesting ideas lately on the origins of the Big Bang.

Here is a video of a recent lecture...

As I understand it, the short version is that because of the discovery of Hawking Radiation the presumption is that near the end of the universe there will be nothing left but evaporating Black Holes.  And once the last of the Black Holes totally evaporate all that will be left is photons traveling along the null geodesics which literally means the end of time.

Again, if I am understanding correctly, Penrose is suggesting this null-time state matches the Big Bang state.  Therefore, another Big Bang occurs and another universe is started.

Penrose is suggesting that this idea might be supportable by analysing the Big Bang echo for ripples corresponding to point sources of photons.  Similar to ripples in a pond caused by raindrops.

I welcome the opinions of others (especially Oleg).

Date: 2009/12/28 14:16:54, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Alan,

Thank you for the recognition and the information about Rock.  I, too, found Rock to be entertaining and a lot more astute than casual observation would suggest.

If Bradford traded Rock for ID Guy he messed up big time.

You might be right, ID Guy has turned out to be an effective weapon.  If not against ID as a whole, certainly to Telic Thoughts.

Date: 2009/12/28 15:58:59, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Fnxtr,

I expect Oleg to jump on me with both feet any time now (I say that with all due respect).

Therefore, I will try not to make too much a fool out of myself.

Sir Roger Penrose wroteThe Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe.  It is around 1000 pages long.

In it, Penrose walks the reader through thinking about the geometry of the universe and Quantum Mechanics as he, a mathematician, looks at it.

About half way through the book, he gets to Minkowskian geometry.  This is the space-time concept we learned in school.

Most people think of the universe similar to a movie but in 3D.  Each 3D frame being a slice in time as time marches on.

This concept does not match observations.  Minkowskian geometry has time as a fourth dimension and it mathematically explains things like the Twin Paradox (Special Relativity).

But is this reality or just a mathematical trick?

Even Oleg has indicated Minkowskian geometry has become so accepted that it is much more than just math.

At this point in his book, Penrose starts the process of combining General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics into a single reality.  The result, Twistor space.

In Twistor Space, null geodesics are single points.

To me, this has explanatory power for Quantum Experiments where photons seem to interact with each other even when separated in space and time.  They are the same point in Twistor Space.

By this view, if all that’s left in the universe is photons then the universe has no volume in Twistor Space.

But is Twistor Space just a mathematical trick or is it real?

Twistor Space is providing explanatory power to modern string theory.  I suspect it is also helping Penrose picture how the Big Bang may have worked.

Oleg may have a different opinion.

Date: 2009/12/29 11:14:23, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
As you can see, I have posted a sign off message on Telic Thoughts.  I will be surprised if I ever go back to commenting there again.

I'm not as sure I will be able to resist keeping tabs on the train wreck, even though it is predictable and repetitive.

For the record, I thank Zachriel, Oleg and others (even Keiths) for their help in keeping things interesting.

I will probably drop by here to comment on my Quantum Quackery once and a while.

Date: 2009/12/30 09:45:57, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Oleg,

Bradford, the de facto ruler of the blog, gripes about Obama, liberals, and atheists.  He is egged on by the rest of the gang.  And with Joe G as Chief ID Scientist, there is not much left to do there except ridicule them.

And there is not much left for them to do except complain about how everybody but ID proponents don't understand ID.

They are getting to the point where they are even complaining about some ID proponents like Rock.

How long do you think it will take before they start tea-bagging Bilbo for being too open minded?

BTW, I mentioned you in ATBC science thread. but feel free to ignore it if you wish.

Date: 2010/02/09 23:21:20, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
It's enjoyable reading threads where Joy is commenting in good form.

While I may be more anti-religious than she, I can agree with the wisdom of avoiding having faith in absolutes.

Quantum Mechanics brings into question any absolute declaration of a separation of reality and consciousness (i.e. "purpose").

If Behe and the ID Movement in general were truly interested in finding evidence of "telic organizing principles in nature" I would think they would seriously explore things like EAM and Quantum Consciousness.

However, it is rather obvious they would rather engage in Joy's "dueling metaphysics" and try to convince people to bend knees for their religion.

Date: 2010/02/11 17:03:55, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Utunumsint's thread rekindled some thoughts over differing views of reality.

The Born-Einstein letters include Einstein saying…
“Quantum mechanics is certainly imposing. But an inner voice tells me that it is not yet the real thing. The theory says a lot, but does not really bring us any closer to the secret of the ‘old one’. I, at any rate, am convinced that He is not playing at dice.”

This has been paraphrased as a simple declaration “God does not play dice.”

I have notice most of the “dueling metaphysics” revolves around the placeholder for unknown causes.  Can randomness be a cause?

To be clear, by “randomness” I mean a result with no deterministic cause.  The individual digits of PI are not random.  A pseudo random-number generator is not random.

What about the results of a die roll?

Under pure Newtonian physics, it would not be random.  The actions and reactions might be too complex to be easily measured but if they could be, the result would be predictable (i.e. deterministic).  However, we now know reality includes Quantum Physics with its built-in uncertainty principle.

The causes behind quantum effects may forever be unknown. Does that mean we should presume these causes are random?

Should we presume they have a purpose?

This probably depends on one's definition of "purpose".

Is life and consciousness a necessary precondition for purpose?

If so, it would lead to a metaphysical presumption that somehow life is more than just a collection of material and chemicals.

If not, purpose could possibly be ascribed to the universe itself.

As for the cause of the universe, my metaphysical presumption is to believe in an endless series of cycles.

Think of a plot of tan(x) where “x” is the equivalent to a concept of time (call it cosmic duration) which is outside of space-time.  The Y-axis relates to entropy and perceived time.

Think of us as being around x=0.  If we extrapolate back, we consider the universe as starting pi/2 cosmic duration ago and having increasing entropy ever since.  For pi/2 into the future see increasing entropy until everything has collapses into Black Holes which completely evaporate via Hawking Radiation.

At pi/2 the whole thing starts over again.

What “purpose” could we presume with such a universe?

Well existance is an obvious possibility.

Another purpose could be to cause the next universe to exist.

I included the words “a discussion” in the title of this thread to indicate that I am not planning on engaging in a debate.  I am honestly interested in hearing what other people’s thoughts are on these subjects.  I suspect just about everyone has a placeholder, a presumption, to make sense of things until more and better information comes along.

In the past, I would have posted these ramblings on Telic Thoughts.  However, they have become too similar to Uncommon Descent for my tastes.

I appreciate being permitted to post here, and I will try not to abuse the privilege too much.

Thought Provoker

Date: 2010/02/12 12:00:21, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Thank you for replying to my post.

Quote (fnxtr @ Feb. 11 2010,17:33)
I've just got to the point in "The Road to Reality" where Penrose is talking about complex number polar co-ordinates.  Maybe it isn't a sine wave, TP, maybe it's a helix.

I'm glad to hear you are still making your way through the book.  Trust me, Penrose has only begun bending, folding and otherwise warping reality.  Minkowskian geometry is tame compared to Twistor Space.

Quote (fnxtr @ Feb. 11 2010,17:33)
Purpose?  Maybe the whole universe is a spandrel.

Then I ask why isn't everything considered a "spandrel" including your decision to comment?

I suggest there is no such thing as true randomness.

A counter argument is there may be no such thing as true purpose.

Date: 2010/02/12 15:41:16, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Thank you for replying to my post.

Quote (qetzal @ Feb. 11 2010,17:45)
Even if we somehow concluded that life and consciousness are required for whatever purpose the universe is supposed to have, I don't see how that supports a metaphysical presumption that life is more than just a collection of materials. Maybe the purpose of the universe is to entertain the outside intentional agent, and he is only entertained if the universe contains life and consciousness. In that case, why would life need to be more than matter?

What I was attempting to point out is the repercussions of concluding life and consciousness is required for any claim of purpose, period.
I suggest humans are inherently prejudiced to think of themselves as being something special.

“I think, therefore I am” has arrogant connotations.

It is a presumption of self existence with an implied sense of consciousness.  This generally leads to a biased view of what is capable of intent and, therefore, purpose.

In many games (e.g. World of Warcraft) there are AI objects programmed with the “intent” of killing player characters.  A similar example is a Windmill with the “intent” of pumping water.  Do these things only qualify as having purpose because a special clump of matter imbued the non-living thing with this special characteristic?

This comes close to the “specified complexity” meme forwarded by the ID Movement.  Do you really want to go there?

I suggest it could be argued viruses demonstrate intent and purpose even though most people presume they lack consciousness and may not qualify as life.

I will end this comment here with a reminder this thread is mostly about presumptions with a sprinkling of semantics.  What do we presume is meant by “purpose”?

I will get into more substance with my reply to Joy’s comment.

Date: 2010/02/12 16:02:20, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Joy,

Quote (Joy @ Feb. 12 2010,14:08)
I think I see the connection you're making, but will disagree (because I'm so disagreeable! §;o) I get the feeling that Penrose really does believe there's such a thing as 'noncomputability' when dealing with consciousness. Which is sort of like uncertainty in non-conscious events. Noncomputable doesn't mean random OR deterministic.


...does that make sense?

Yes, but you cheated because of our many conversations in the past.

I agree that Penrose is claiming consciousness is simultaneously non-deterministic and non-random.

Penrose/Hameroff is suggesting the most logical (and maybe only) source of something that is both non-deterministic and non-random is Quantum Mechanics.  Ergo, it is extremely likely that consciousness is a macro expression of quantum effects.

If the term “purpose” is defined as basically a non-random, non-deterministic effect, then quantum effects may have purpose by definition.

This thread with probably end up discussing free will.  If it is an illusion, I don’t see how a person can have any intent fundamentally different than rivers intending to flow to the sea.

This comes down to metaphysical presumptions and their logical repercussions.

Date: 2010/02/12 17:11:48, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Albatrossity2,

Thank you for your input and the picture.

I agree animals are funnier when they do it and I suspected some people would find the conversation uninteresting.

However, it appears you were interested enough to attempt to disuade others from joining in the conversation.

So, did you act with purposeful intent?

Or was the feeling of making a choice, simply an illusion?

What is your presumption?

Date: 2010/02/12 19:20:45, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Oleg,

I will add my two cents to what Joy said.

I started Junior High in 1967.  Our textbooks were hand-me-downs from High School.  It was not unusual to see the names of a dozen students who previously had our books (i.e. twelve years old).

Being part of the baby boom meant our schools were overcrowded with class sizes of 30, our more, students.

Generally, the teachers presented the facts verbatim from the books.  Some of them all but read to us.

The test questions came directly from the book (end of chapter), because the teacher's edition had the answers.

In High School, I had to explain to the physics teacher why the Lissajous patten on the oscilloscope changed when I moved the amplified microphone closer to and further away from the sound source.

And she was one of the better teachers, because she was actually interested in learning new things.

In short, our science text books were a joke and the teachers didn't know enough to augment them.

Date: 2010/02/12 19:47:38, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi qetzal,

To my statement...

"If so, it would lead to a metaphysical presumption that somehow life is more than just a collection of material and chemicals."

You responded with...
As written, it sounds to me like you are actually claiming that the first statement logically implies the second. If so, I disagree. However, if your point is only that many people arrogantly assume that life is more than material, then I agree.

Assumptions are logical givens.  I treat presumptions as a placeholder until something better comes along.

It was my intent to suggest the first statement (purpose requires living consciousness) would lead to a presumption living consciousness is something special.

It would be a logical default position, IMO.

FWIW, I doubt that "purpose" really exists in the sense that most people seem to mean it. That is, people may (or may not*) have intent, but I doubt that people (or anything else) have a purpose in the sense of some duty or goal or expectation that has been established for them by some outside intentional agency (e.g. God).

Personally, I am too egocentric and internally motivated to presume anybody or anything can give me purpose.

"I think, therefore I am".

God may exist.  He/she/it could be a supernatural kid with a chemistry set that created me, but that doesn't mean I will submit and worship the creator.

My thoughts, my motivations, my morals, etc are primary.

It may mean I am considered arrogant, but God shouldn't complain.  He made me that way.  ;)

Date: 2010/02/12 20:01:15, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Reciprocating Bill,

Thank you for joining in the conversation.

To my...
'A similar example is a Windmill with the “intent” of pumping water. Do these things only qualify as having purpose because a special clump of matter imbued the non-living thing with this special characteristic?'

Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Feb. 12 2010,17:31)

Much fog can be lifted, IMHO, by recognizing that what human beings do is "purposing" and "intending," rather than "having purpose" and "having intentions." People engage in purposing. Windmills and AI characters clearly do not.

I was not trying to engage in equivocation.  It was my intent (pardon the possible pun) to ask if AI and windmills were doing "purposing" and "intending".  You answered in the negative.

Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Feb. 12 2010,17:31)

Further, I would argue that a sine qua non of purposing is the abilty to represent. Purposing entails (I would say by definition) creating and manipulating representations of desired outcomes. Windmills do not represent. Nor do AI characters. To the extent that they "have a purpose," that reflects their origins in the activity of an agent capable of this particular form of representation.

Is this a "sine qua non of purposing" or is it a sine qua non of consciousness and it is consciousness that is a requirement for "purposing" and "intending"?

Date: 2010/02/12 20:16:49, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Albatrossity2,

I didn't want you to feel left out.

Yes, I agree this thread could arguably be called mental masturbation or as Doc Bill might say, "bullshit".

And to you Louis,

I consider it an honor that you joined in the fun.

Most of the time, I'm not sure whether you are being insulting or not.  Either way, your comments are fun to read.

Date: 2010/02/12 20:34:51, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Doc Bill,

Quote (Doc Bill @ Feb. 12 2010,18:31)
Let's get down to bullshit, shall we?

First, I recommend highly the book by HG Frankfurt, "On Bullshit" in which he addresses this very point.

It does look like a book I might enjoy reading.  I will look into it.  Thanks.

Quote (Doc Bill @ Feb. 12 2010,18:31)
Second, why are you here TP?  I mean on the planet, not this thread. Easy.  You're here because every organism in your direct line of ancestry survived.
That's why you are here.

I presume you are correct.  More than that, I pretty much assume it is correct.

Quote (Doc Bill @ Feb. 12 2010,18:31)
You want purpose?  I'll give you purpose.  Your purpose is to help perpetuate our species.  Your purpose is to raise and teach and be kind to children.  Your purpose is to do no harm and to be a good steward of the land.  Your purpose is to leave the world a little better than you were given it.  Your purpose it to live an honorable, charitable life.

How are you doing so far, TP?

I think I am doing fairly well but, then again, I might be a little biased.

I have raised four children to be independently minded and self sufficient.  They all seem destined to help others.  My third youngest is a gay rights activist even though she, herself, isn't gay.  I could do better in the carbon footprint department, but we reuse our grocery bags and generally recycle.  I think charities have our number on speed dial.  My wife is a sucker.

I try hard to be a straight shooter.  Although the temptation to become sarcastic is very strong at times.

Quote (Doc Bill @ Feb. 12 2010,18:31)
Now, I'm the first to admit that all the purpose stuff is bullshit, but it's my bullshit and I like it.

That is what I was looking for in this discussion.  An investigation of unsupported presumptions people have.  This is sometimes called a "bullshit session".

Date: 2010/02/12 22:43:58, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Recipricating Bill,

Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Feb. 12 2010,20:45)
If representation is necessary for consciousness, and consciousness for purposing and intending, then representation is necessary for purposing and intending. Whether it is sufficient is another, interesting question.

That said, any definition of "purposing" that I can recognize as such requires representation in the sense I describe above - representation of desired outcomes.

Excuse my desire to keep coming back to consciousness but, to me, an ability to represent isn't very significant.

For example, many years ago I was in charge of a simulation project for the investigation of various torpedo verses target scenarios.

The software stored representations of multiple objects in memory and applied six-degree of freedom motions to them resulting in the creation of a physical, tangable product in the form of graphs and charts. Does that mean my software was doing "purposing"?  

As you indicated sufficency is another issue.

Whether we call it an additional requirement or an expansion of definitions, I suggest you would agree there is something more.

Please take a look at this chess problem

Date: 2010/02/12 22:56:04, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Joy,

Quote (Joy @ Feb. 12 2010,21:17)
I'm checking out
<big snip>

Actually, I don't think they have been too bad on this thread.  Then again, I have always been more understanding of testosterone driven chest thumping.

I hope you will change your mind.

Either way, I will probably see you around.

Date: 2010/02/12 23:16:14, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Doc Bill,

Quote (Doc Bill @ Feb. 12 2010,21:22)
But, I'm a reductionist.  All is chemistry and physics, ultimately physics.  I believe I have free-ish will in that I appear to be able to make certain choices governed by physics, chemistry, my psychology and the physical world (all of which are chemistry and physics).

"free-ish will" ?!?!?

How wimpish is that?

You and I probably agree on the reductionist part.  Especially, the reduction down to physics.  Quantum physics to be more exact.

One of the things I have taken away from my research into all things Penrose is that he is focused on combining everything into one reality.  He is attempting to merge relativistic space-time into Quantum Mechanics and vice versa.  Then there is the everyday macro world.

The only way the total puzzle fits together for Penrose is if consciousness is a macro expression of quantum effects.

Quote (Doc Bill @ Feb. 12 2010,21:22)
But, I don't think I'm predestined to have Special K for breakfast tomorrow.  In fact, I'm going to have Cheerio's just to mess with the Cosmos.


Quote (Doc Bill @ Feb. 12 2010,21:22)
Where's my beer?

Here you go...

Date: 2010/02/13 10:39:38, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi fnxtr,
Quote (fnxtr @ Feb. 13 2010,01:39)
(shrug) Some would say it is. "Since everything is but an apparition..." etc.

That is a presumption some people have.

Is that your presumption?

Quote (fnxtr @ Feb. 13 2010,01:39)
Everything in moderation, then? (Or maybe just a moderate number of things in moderation, everything in moderation seems a bit extreme)

:D I like it.

Quote (fnxtr @ Feb. 13 2010,01:39)
There are limits to all freedoms, aren't there?

As far as I can tell, I can choose which shirt to wear but I can't choose to teleport to work.  

Quantum indeterminacy has limited probabilites, dunnit?

Does that mean you are presuming quantum indeterminacy might be involved in choosing shirts?

Or at least consider it a possibility?

Quote (fnxtr @ Feb. 13 2010,01:39)
I see a tendency in the posts above to conflation of "purpose" in the sense of "function" (i.e. windmill) with "purpose" in the sense of "will", as one would use the phrase "on purpose".

I will try to be more careful about that.

Quote (fnxtr @ Feb. 13 2010,01:39)
This smacks a bit of grade 10 chess club conversation, so I may shy away from it.  Unless Louis dives in again.

As you can see Louis did dive in with some insightful comments.  Whether you continue to participate is up to you.  Either way, I thank you for the conversation because it is a lot more interesting to talk to someone else than to continue talking only to myself.

Date: 2010/02/13 11:14:20, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Reciprocating Bill,

Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Feb. 13 2010,07:10)
I took you to be saying that to insist that something like human consciousness and self-awareness are required for purposing reflects a humancentric perspective "that leads to a biased view of what is capable of intent and, therefore, purpose."

Being biased is a human condition.  I am biased in that I think consciousness is a special characteristic.  However, I am less "humancentric" in that I think more than just humans are conscious.  "livingcentric"?  I also think quantum computers will someday be capable of consciousness. "quantumcentric"?

Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Feb. 13 2010,07:10)
I would say, of course, that your software did not engage in "purposing," even as it employs representations (although these have only "derived intentionality," borrowed from your own capacity to represent, in the same sense that windmill pumps have only "derived" purpose.) As you argue, "something more" is needed - something very like the human capacity for representation and perhaps consciousness.

So, are you arguing that to insist upon something like human consciousness is humancentric arrogance and bias, a bias that inappropriately causes us to withhold an ascription of purposing from other agents - from viruses and windmills, for example?

Or are you arguing that something like human consciousness IS requisite for purposing and intention?

Usually, I engage in debates where I try to argue a given position.  When I do that, people complain that I am arrogent and dishonestly sound like I have expertise that I don't.

I thought I would give this "discussion" thing a try.

Personally, I think consciousness IS a requisite for what you are calling purposing and intention.

However, at this time I am not arguing it, I am exploring how other people resolve these inconsistancies. What presumptions do they make?

Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Feb. 13 2010,07:10)
The key question is: Can these extremely rich and embedded human ascriptions of "intention" and "purpose" be generalized from this originating context to other settings and agents, or to the natural world generally? To viruses?

Perhaps so. The notion of "work" had origins in our sense of human labor, effort, fatigue, later agumented by animal labor, but has since within physics been given a much more abstract formulation that leaves behind the connotations of human labor. Perhaps "intending" can be given such an abstract formulation as well.

I like this.  One of the main things I continually pointed out to ID proponents is that their abstact definition of purpose and "design" pretty much means everything is designed.

I was going to say "has purpose" but that has been a source of confusion in this thread.  Frankly, most religious people think humans can do "purposing" and "intending" only because God gave them purpose.  Much like we would give a windmill purpose.

Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Feb. 13 2010,07:10)
But perhaps not - perhaps "intention" and "agency" are deeply and contingently textured, given how intimately they are woven into our ancient ascriptions of human agency to one another. I'm more inclined to that position.

Thank you for this.  However, do you think other living things are capable of "intention" and "agency" besides humans?

Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Feb. 13 2010,07:10)
(BTW, vis the chess position: My freeware chess software (Sigma Chess) chose to eschew taking the rook after pondering the position for a minute or so. It projects a draw-like indefinite shuffling of the white king. Has my MacBook attained consciousness?)

Thank you for taking the effort to do what I have not yet.

I was curious as to that myself.

In case your question was not rhetorical; no I don't think your MacBook is conscious.

Date: 2010/02/13 11:35:09, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Quack,

Quote (Quack @ Feb. 13 2010,08:30)

Free with respect to what?

Quote (Quack @ Feb. 13 2010,08:30)

Free will or just 'shit happens'?

Good questions.

What are your answers to them?

Personally, I presume our free will is wrapped up in interconnected quantum effects where cause and effect relationships can be reversed.

Did we choose which shirt to wear or did the future shirt state cause our decision?

I presume it is neither and both making free will as paradoxical as Quantum Mechanics.

Date: 2010/02/13 12:13:56, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Louis,
Quote (Louis @ Feb. 13 2010,08:59)
I find the whole notroversy over evolutionary biology to be hilarious. The contortions that IDCists et al will go to to avoid something they don't like are genuinely funny. Please don't disappoint me and retort that "well the scientists do just the same" because to be blunt, they don't. I disagree with Joy that this is a mere matter of duelling metaphysics for both "sides" (yuk, hack, ptui) in this "debate" (cough, spit, bleaurgh), in fact I'd go further, this is Joy projecting her attitudes onto others. An all too common affliction.

Hopefully, I won't disappoint you.  The reason I tended to post at Telic Thought is that I like to argue.  It is less interesting to argue with people you agree with.

I disagree with Joy concerning her presumed attitudes of scientists and she knows it.  I think religious organizations and movements (e.g. ID Movement) are far more dangerous than people focused on obtaining scientific knowledge.

I do think there is a culture war going on, i.e. "dueling metaphysics".  Especially in the United States (yes, I'm an American).

I see this as more than a "notroversy" over evolutionary biology.  It is apparent to just about everybody the Discovery Institute also sees it as something bigger.  Just read the wedge document.

Quote (Louis @ Feb. 13 2010,08:59)
Despite being an atheist, i.e. I lack a belief in any form of deity, and a professional scientist (not just someone who plays one on the internet) I actually have no dog in the hunt so to speak. If it turns out that the course of evolution really is teleological and there is a god then, regardless of any further implications, we will have discovered something new and wonderful about the universe. I know there are other people who don't understand that attitude. Science doesn't care what you claim is true, it cares how you claim it to be true. It's about what you can establish to be the best, most coherent, parsimonious, evidence based explanation for a series of phenomena. IDC and sundry creationisms simply don't manage to do this in any sense. Despite all the handwaving and special pleading.

It is nice to hear a kindred spirit.  I honestly think it would be neat if it turned out there was a God.  The universe might be a supernatural science fair project.  If it is, I hope we get first place.

Quote (Louis @ Feb. 13 2010,08:59)
I don't remember if you are an American or not, but from outside the USA this "debate" is largely seen for what it actually is: a faux controversy manufactured by a specific series of religious sects. Of course, as usual huge public apathy and a natural human tendancy to (often falsely) attribute the "truth" to the mid point between two opposed camps covers a mutitude of sins, but the claimed controversy simply doesn't exist in anything like the same way outside the USA.

That's as I understood it.  Glad to hear more confirmation.

Quote (Louis @ Feb. 13 2010,08:59)
As for the title and thus topic of the thread, I think it's a false dichotomy, a complete category error. It's the wrong question to be asking.

I was wondering when this would come up.  It is also my presumption this is a false dichotomy and neither exists.

While unsubstantiated presumptions are all but worthless to scientists, they end up effecting voters and , therefore, public policy in the United States.

Besides that, I feel better if I have an internally consistant worldview I feel comfortable enough to expose to criticism.

Date: 2010/02/13 12:32:33, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Albatrossity2,

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Feb. 13 2010,09:32)
Quote (Thought Provoker @ Feb. 12 2010,20:16)
Hi Albatrossity2,

I didn't want you to feel left out.

Thanks for the concern. I wish I thought it was sincere.

Oh, it's sincere but not necessarily in a positive way.  You may have noticed I am in the habit of responding, in turn, to all who comment.

It was easier to include you in then risk whatever you would do if you felt left out.

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Feb. 13 2010,09:32)
And it is duly noted that you failed to defend your misstatement about my intentions being to "dissuade" others from commenting here. Ironic, isn't it? You can't accurately detect motives from a written comment here, and yet you expect us to think that you can detect motives elsewhere in the universe.

It's duly noted that you duly noted my lack of chasing an off topic subject.  ;)

I do not expect you to think anything specific.  This is not a debate, it is a discussion about unsubstantiated presumptions people have.

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Feb. 13 2010,09:32)
As Louis so eloquently pointed out, if you can show us the evidence for teleology or a telic entity, and if that evidence is objective, and if it leads to testable predictions that can be validated, scientists will accept it.

More than that, some people would be glad we "...discovered something new and wonderful about the universe."

Would you?

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Feb. 13 2010,09:32)
But if the evidence is question-begging nonsense, or quantum woo-speak, which seems to be the case thus far, it won't find wide acceptance.

I'm not trying to make a case.  This is a discussion.

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Feb. 13 2010,09:32)
But if the Blathering about on an online forum is also probably not a good way to find that evidence, but if it feels good to you, then please continue to make yourself feel better.

Actually this thread is going better than I had expected.  So, yes, I am feeling good about it.

Thank you.

Date: 2010/02/13 17:56:37, Link
Author: Thought Provoker

I was going to attempt to say something funny about people thinking you were part of the "conservative element" but I see you are on a roll.

I think I will step back and watch. :D

Welcome back

Date: 2010/02/13 18:11:50, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Kahn,

Quote (khan @ Feb. 13 2010,17:55)
You can't win this Culture War with mean-spirited Evangelical Atheism.

WTF are you talking about?

Reality is not evangelical.

Please, excuse me for butting in but I think I can address this.

While I am technically an agnostic, most people would classify as an Atheist.

I have even been very vocal about how the "under God" phrase in the pledge of allegiance is an obvious and egregious abridgement of the constitution.

However, I also ascribe to NOMA principles.  And beyond that, I hold that no one gets to claim the Truth for all.

To me, science is about knowledge, not truth.

When Atheists argue against NOMA and attempt to interfere with parents teaching their children their Truth, then it becomes evangelical, IMO.

Date: 2010/02/14 14:14:02, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi fnxtr,
Quote (fnxtr @ Feb. 13 2010,14:28)
Quote (Thought Provoker @ Feb. 13 2010,08:39)

Quote (fnxtr @ Feb. 13 2010,01:39)
(shrug) Some would say it is. "Since everything is but an apparition..." etc.

That is a presumption some people have.

Is that your presumption?

After much contemplation I have come to the conclusion that I don't know. It's a possibility, I know of no way to verify it.

I understand this is what Descartes was dealing with when he came up with "Cogito, ergo sum" which translates into "I am thinking, therefore I exist".

We have to make assumptions in order to operate.  For example, we assume the earth will continue to exist at least until tomorrow.  This may or may not be true, but we rely on the assumption.

Whether we admit it or not, we presume our conciousness is more than an apparition, otherwise what's the point?

I argue there is a way to attempt to test this presumption, the Turing Test for Artificial Intelligence (AI).

I argue Quantum computation will be required for an AI to pass this test.

BTW, do you presume I am human and not an AI?

Quote (fnxtr @ Feb. 13 2010,01:39)
If someone could should how quantum indeterminacy ... er... determines... which of my neurons are more likely to fire in a given circumstance, I'd consider it. At the moment it doesn't seem likely.  And yes I think we're purely physical creatures, but calling that "just chemistry" misses much sublime richness.

Fair enough.

For what it is worth, it doesn't matter to me how consciousness occurred.  I am more than willing to presume evolutionary forces are powerful enough to make it happen.  What I am interested in is how it is possible at all.

I agree it is more than "just chemistry".  I presume it is more than a complicated von Neumann algorithm.  I presume consciousness has to transcend logic because we can understand illogical concepts.

Can scientists trace the connection between Quantum Mechanics and consciousness?  Not yet, but many are working on it.  For a long time, we couldn't determine the capillary connections between veins and arteries, but the connection had to be there in order for things to make sense.

To me it is clear consciousness plays a role in Quantum Physic's observation problem, see Schrödinger's cat (or dog?).  If consciousness is connected to quantum effects, it is likely to be bidirectional.

Date: 2010/02/14 14:50:14, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi qetzal,
Quote (qetzal @ Feb. 14 2010,13:47)
Quote (Thought Provoker @ Feb. 12 2010,19:47)
It was my intent to suggest the first statement (purpose requires living consciousness) would lead to a presumption living consciousness is something special.

It would be a logical default position, IMO.

Special? I wouldn't say that. All it means is that living consciousness is essential for purpose. (And from my perspective, that's really just a matter of definition anyway.)

It wouldn't imply that living consciousness is somehow 'special' as far as the universe or a hypothetical god is concerned, if that's what you're suggesting.

It probably comes down to semantics and stating the obvious.  If consciousness is required for intent then consciousness is a special quality because it is required for something to have intent.

I did not mean in-the-image-of-God type special.

To reiterate, I believe many living things are conscious.

Monkeys, cat, dogs, etc demonstrate an ability to have intent, IMO.

I would suggest most people would agree rust does not have intent whereas humans do.

Where is the threshold between the two extremes?





Or is the ability to have intent reserved exclusively for humans and, maybe, close relatives e.g. monkeys?

Date: 2010/02/14 21:41:48, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Alan,
Quote (Alan Fox @ Feb. 14 2010,14:24)
Try "real". Then anything not amenable to scientific study is imaginary!

Have you read any of Terry Pratchett's books?

His books are based on a weird alternate reality that has many parallels to our own.

For example, their version of Santa Clause is called Hogfather which is a mythical being (half hog, half human) who brings toys to the good boys and girls throughout diskworld.

Death is the typical tall, dark, immortal being carrying a sickle but in Pratchett's universe Death is more supportive of humanity than typical.  Here is a scene were Death is explaining things to a human named Susan...

Death: Humans need fantasy to *be* human. To be the place where the falling angel meets the rising ape.

Susan: With tooth fairies? Hogfathers?

Death: Yes. As practice, you have to start out learning to believe the little lies.

Susan: So we can believe the big ones?

Death: Yes. Justice, mercy, duty. That sort of thing.

Susan: They're not the same at all.

Death: You think so? Then take the universe and grind it down to the finest powder, and sieve it through the finest sieve, and then show me one atom of justice, one molecule of mercy. And yet, you try to act as if there is some ideal order in the world. As if there is some, some rightness in the universe, by which it may be judged.

Susan: But people have got to believe that, or what's the point?

Death: You need to believe in things that aren't true. How else can they become?

I generally don't like it when people try to create their version of reality, especially when it involves worshipping deities.

However, every now and then, I realize that believing a lie or being overly optimistic is exactly what is needed.

Date: 2010/02/15 15:25:44, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi fnxtr and qetzal,

Thank you both for humoring me in this admitted BS session.  I hope it has been at least entertaining if not thought provoking.

Quote (fnxtr @ Feb. 14 2010,16:39)
Consciousness is probably a continuum, rather than binary.  Heck, there's a range of consciousness levels in the humans I know, let alone the rest of Animalia.

Quote (qetzal @ Feb. 15 2010,10:56)
OK, but I still don't know why you say that consciousness is a special quality. I get the impression that your use of "special" implies more here than simply "required for something to have intent." If so, could you please elaborate?

Personally, I presume consciousness is "special" like the boiling point of water is special.  While it can be argued there is a continuum of how energetic the boiling is, there is a definable threshold defining boiling verses not-boiling.

But that is an opinion, my default presumption pending more data.

To elaborate on the dichotomy I see, we have a choice between presuming consciousness is algorithmic or not.

If it is algorithmic, someday a computer program could become conscious and have intent.  It could even be a product of evolution but for this discussion I don't care how it happens, just that it does.

I would argue, under this presumption, we already have AI entities which qualify as having intent.  A World of Warcraft monster intends to kill player characters.  While mostly predictable, it does make random moves. Its "metaphorical kite string" is very short compared to humans but it does make decisions and, therefore, has intent.

The contrary presumption is that consciousness (i.e. ability to have intent) is more than just a complex decision-making algorithm.

This is the presumption I make with an eye towards Quantum Mechanics.  Those more religious than I make this presumption with a belief in the divine.

Then there is the I-don't-wish-to-speculate crowd.  The interesting part is when this crowd speculates on what doesn't have intent or purpose.

Before I looked into the ideas surrounding Quantum Consciousness I would have said consciousness is algorithmic and, therefore, if humans can have intent software can, and does, have intent also.

So, do you presume consciousness (the ability to have intent) is algorithmic or not?

Date: 2010/02/15 19:17:46, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi midwifetoad,

Thank you for the tip to look for "Brains in Silicon"

It is a fascinating site.  I would agree that if it works it would invalidate my presumption.

If my presumption is correct then until they incorporate quantum computation (or organic material) their efforts will be the equivalent of Cargo Cults.  They can perfect the emulations but the "special" spark of consciousness just won't appear.

For the record, I still presume my individual consciousness will not survive my physical death.  However, I am fairly agnostic on this.  It might be possible.

Date: 2010/02/15 22:02:59, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Reciprocating Bill,

Thank you for the very well reasoned and thoughtful comment.

I don't see anything I could seriously argue with.

IMO, it makes for a good final word.

However, if anyone else wants to continue, please do.

Thank you all for your indulgence and participation.

Date: 2010/02/18 15:51:05, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Excuse me for belaboring my quantum quackery but I suggest if there is such a thing as "free will" it is non-deterministic and non-random.

After all the fancy semantic exercises are finished, unless there is an appeal to the supernatural, quantum uncertainty and/or some true random source the bottom line is “free will” is a complicated algorithmic system that gives an appearance of free will, similar to an AI using a random number generator for an illusion of unpredictability.

My bias is towards a presumption Free Will is based on macro expressions of quantum effects.  Even if God is behind it all, he/she/it would have complete control through the manipulation of Quantum Mechanics.  I will leave it to the theologians to explain how and why an omniscient, omnipotent God granted man the ability to act outside his/her/its direct control.

While I suspect most people wouldn’t consider a random source the key to Free Will, it could give that appearance.  Most things could be logical and deterministic but every now and then a random neuron fires and the next thing you know we move a highlighter or make veggie lasagna.

But back to one of Alan’s main questions, yes, I believe this is a main issue in the ID/evolution debate.  People want to believe they are special.  They want to believe they have Free Will.  They will use that Free Will to reject uncomfortable evidence and readily accept an alternative that is consistent with feeling special.

Date: 2010/02/19 13:47:16, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Richardthughes,
Quote (Richardthughes @ Feb. 19 2010,13:21)
People fools themselves often with notions that seem to be 'self evident'. Some things are counter-intuitive. While we all use abductive reasoning daily, "having a feeling" wont cut it here. It goes down great on ID boards, though. Any fool can see... etc etc.

Is it "self evident" that science gives you insight into reality?

Do you have a "feeling" that matter is more than just wavefunctions in the nothingness of space-time?

We all make leaps in logic.  We all have to start with metaphysical presumptions.  An example of a big one is that reality must be logically consistent.

Another big one is "I think, therefore I am".

Questions about Free Will challenges this assumption.

Which assumption do you hold most dear?

That you exist or that your logic isn't faulty?

Let me add my voice into saying Free Will doesn't automatically lead to dualism.  Quantum Consciousness may allow for dualism but doesn't require it.

Kind of like Evolution allows for no God but it doesn't require it.

Date: 2010/02/19 15:38:43, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Tom Ames,
Quote (Tom Ames @ Feb. 19 2010,15:00)
...many creatures we'd normally not think of as having conscious or free will do in fact punish cheaters...

It is not my intent to jump on your comment here.  There appears to be many people who share this view.

I honestly do not understand it.  How can an animal make decisions and CHEAT yet have it be presumed it isn't conscious and/or doesn't have Free Will?

The only thing that makes any sense is that humans are so prejudice they discount everything that isn't human-like as being inherently inferior.  IOW, humans are "special".

EDIT - I see bfish beat me to it.  It sucks to have work get in the way.

Date: 2010/02/19 15:49:36, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Richardthughes,
Quote (Richardthughes @ Feb. 19 2010,15:44)
And the guy spinning the outer arm of a large space station knows what gravity is... except it is centripetal acceleration.

However, since space-time is curved the only diffence is one is moving in the space dimension and the other in the time dimension.

Making it essentially the same thing.  ;)

Date: 2010/02/19 17:21:09, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Tom,

At least one thing has gotten cleared up.  It isn't that you think humans are conscious and have free will but animals don't, you are arguing there isn't such a thing as consciousness and/or free will.

Or at least there is insufficient empirical evidence to support the claim.

This takes us back to the basic metaphysical assumptions.

I suggest you have the following assumptions...

1. reality in inherently logical.

2. there is only one reality

3. science is an instrument by which the one and only reality can be known

Not everyone makes these assumptions.  For example...

1. My reality is what I understand reality to be

2. Other people can, and do, understand things differently than I do

3. Science is like a game with rules.  It is a helpful tool in generating commonality between different people's realities.

The only thing I KNOW is real are my thoughts.

My body may be a Matrix-like illusion.  You all may be in on a wide conspiracy to test my resolve.

I continue to play by the science game rules because they have been helpful in assisting me in creating my reality.  My presumption that others are like me is also helpful as long as I guard against letting them do my thinking for me.

Because if I no longer understand what and why I think what I do, I am no longer me.

While this is hyperbole, it gets to the crux of the problem.  If everything we think is an illusion, then reality is an illusion for all practical purposes.

Date: 2010/02/19 19:24:29, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Tom,

Ok, I'll bite.

What would constitute evidence of free will?

The ability to think and act illogically?

An aversion to constantly responding the same way to the same stimulus and acting on it?  (getting out of the rut)

An inability to falsify the hypothesis with even a simple example of Artificial Intelligence?

I suspect you are requesting evidence of a mechanism.

Predictably, I am going to suggest evidence exists for macro expressions of quantum effects in living entities.

Furthermore, I suggest that Quantum Mechanics is the only known mechanism where two mutually exclusive "realities" can exist at the same time (quantum superposition).

If Free Will exists, it has to be able to be illogical, otherwise it would be deterministic and algorithmic and, therefore, not "free".

I suggest there is plenty of evidence of life thinking and acting illogically.  Quantum Physics would be the obvious source for non-deterministic yet non-random effects.

Date: 2010/02/20 20:07:14, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Quote (Lou FCD @ Feb. 20 2010,14:29)
I just got my acceptance letter to UNCW. I'm kind of tearing up. It's dumb I guess, but there you go.


Date: 2010/02/21 11:59:07, Link
Author: Thought Provoker

Quote (BWE @ Feb. 20 2010,03:32)
Quote (Thought Provoker @ Feb. 19 2010,17:24)
Furthermore, I suggest that Quantum Mechanics is the only known mechanism where two mutually exclusive "realities" can exist at the same time (quantum superposition).

But wait... Isn't that exactly what they don't do is exist in multiple realities at the same time? I thought that you had to choose whether you want to look at them in space (position) or time (momentum) and that the reason you couldn't get both is because they don't do both simultaneously.
I'm probably wrong. I just learned Schroedinger's equations and Feynman diagrams last year and I'm miss-applying them all over the place,

Yes, I'm still around.  Excuse me for not responding to you earlier.  I didn't want to head down a off-topic trail.

But what the heck!

While I enjoy provoking though by making bold statement about Quantum Mechanics, I am really just a "physicist wannabe".  That being said, the sense I get from trying to understand how Roger Penrose sees reality is that the apparent quantum superposition actually exists until Objective Reduction occurs.

A simple example is a qubit.  from Wikipedia...

"A qubit has some similarities to a classical bit, but is overall very different. Like a bit, a qubit can have two possible values—normally a 0 or a 1. The difference is that whereas a bit must be either 0 or 1, a qubit can be 0, 1, or a superposition of both."

Initially, the presumption was that superposition wasn't real.  As you said "...they don't do both simultaneously".  However, after nearly 100 years of experiments, "spooky action at a distance" still confounds general acceptance.

Penrose coined the term Quanglement.  Here is a reasonably sounding summary I could conveniently cut and paste...

"In quantum theory, one of the most paradoxical issues is the entanglement of multiple particles in superposed states, which Schrödinger illustrated with his cat and which Einstein considered a reductio ad absurdum of quantum mechanics. Penrose calls quantum entanglement quanglement (2004, p. 407). ... The problem with quanglement is that almost every particle in the universe may be quangled with innumerable others. Quanglement may even create the classical surface of our phenomenal reality. Although physical reality may contain infinities of possible worlds, the fact remains that all we see is a unique classical world. That may be because we quangle with anything we touch and thus force it to join our world (Aczel, 2001)."

What this reviewer sees as a "problem", I see as a likely explaination of reality.  That is that quantum effects are quangled with innumerable others in space-time (IOW in both space and time).

With quanglement, future causes can create past effects.  This is a parsimonious explaination of Delayed Choice Quantum Eraser experiments (link).

We tend to instinctively reject such retrocausality because of causal paradoxes (e.g. killing ones ancestors).  However, with quanglement classical paradoxes are prevented from happening.

With "spooky action at a distance" the answer is either faster than light communication or retrocausality.  Frankly, it is a matter of semantics because they mean the same thing in Minkowskian geometry.

The metaphysical argument of Many Worlds has been offered but, to me, you might as well argue GodDidIt.  It is just as valid a possibility and has the advantage of extreme popularity.

As an attempt to make this topical, when the reviewer talks about "anything we touch", it really is anything our conscious mind perceives.

This is why Penrose has been very interested in the possibility of Quantum Consciousness.  It is necessary in order to complete his view of reality.

As for Free Will being a separate issue from Consciousness (h/t Tom Ames), I suggest if consciousness is directly linked to creating reality and vice versa, it is pretty much a moot point.  We think, therefore we are…  so is the universe.

And if you want to call me a Quantum Quack for thinking this, go ahead.  You won’t be the first.

EDIT - I see Joy and I posted at the same time.  Now you can compare and contrast Joy's beautify prose verses my crude engineering ramblings.

Date: 2010/02/21 13:44:12, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Quote (BWE @ Feb. 21 2010,12:21)
I'm pretty sure (I'm a wannabe too so no worries there) that the dual nature of position/momentum are not modeled successfully as particles which they need to be in order to have both at all times. I think that we hit a technical issue there.

You would not be the first person to argue we just don't understand the logical solution but, someday, we will come up with a sensible answer.

I don't know if you meant it or not, I think you hit the nail on the head with your use of the word "particle".

For the longest time, science has been looking for the fundamental piece(s) of solid matter from which everything is made.

Even String Theory has the connotation of something tangible that can only be in one place at one time.

Penrose makes it clear he is comfortable with the idea that "particles" are nothing more than artifacts from wavefunction effects in the nothingness of relativistic space-time geometry.

Here is a link to a presentation on Twistor Space I have only begun to understand.  

The first slide is reasonably clear as to how Penrose sees "particles".

While Penrose's view is internally consistent with observations, it is too woo-like for Tegmark and others.

Especially when it is clear consciousness has to play a direct role in order for it to be complete.

To poke a stick at a bee hive, there is some merit in the ID proponents’ claim a materialistic bias exists.

The funny part is when they accuse me of being a materialist, especially if it is clear they believe Jesus (Yeshua ben Yosef) PHYSICALLY ascended to heaven.

Date: 2010/02/21 14:39:32, Link
Author: Thought Provoker

I don't understand how you can continue to argue with "ID Guy".

Whether his first name is Jim or Joe, he is clearly the author of the (un)Intelligent Reasoning blog.

Occasionally, I suggest a first name for people to call me by.  The only time I recall using "Dave" was with Joe/Jim.  He tried to be cute and use it as something that would bother me.  It only confirmed my suspicions.

I gave up posting on his blog a long time ago when it was clear he couldn't keep his own story straight.  I am not surprised he would want to change his identity when he started to post on Telic Thoughts in earnest (get rid of past baggage).

Zachriel, you have indicated in the past you are mostly talking to the listening audience.  However, there comes a time when even the listening audience will think it is foolish to continue to respond to him.

Please excuse my venting.  I made the mistake of taking a peek at TT.

It's obviously up to you what you do with your time.

Date: 2010/02/21 15:22:14, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Joy,
Quote (Joy @ Feb. 21 2010,14:04)
Hahaha!!! [wipes eyes]. Well, if you're 'beginning' to understand it, you're light-years ahead of me!

We all have are strengths.  You can write pretty and I can think like an engineer.

I humbly submit I'm rather adept at figuring out solutions to problems.  Sometimes, I don't even know how I do it but I do.  One of the keys is to presume the solution will be as simple as possible (which still can be quite complicated).

Penrose strikes me as someone who thinks similar to this.  Of course he is doing it at a much higher plane.  He has indicated the previously standard String Theory doesn't make sense to him.  From a Radio Interview...

"...the way string theory requires all these extra dimensions and this comes from certain consistency requirements about how string should behave and so on. Now twistor theory is something quite different. It’s an approach to understanding how spacetime and quantum mechanics might fit together in some way. The basic theory in twistor theory is not to add extra dimensions. In fact, it is only crucially only three space dimensions and one time dimension. It’s the the number of dimensions we experience. But instead of adding extra dimensions, it’s a reformulation of spacetime as we understand it."

Date: 2010/02/21 16:05:23, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Zachriel,
Quote (Zachriel @ Feb. 21 2010,16:01)
The struggle against ignorance is to the end of time. But it is said that if you die in tard, you will be reborn in Tardhalla.

:D lol

As long as you have a good attitude about it.

Date: 2010/02/22 14:59:26, Link
Author: Thought Provoker

I'm glad you like the thread I started.

No, I can't really do the twistor math.  I can barely understand it but I am trying.

I looked at Wikipedia's summary of Freedom Evolves the first time you recommended it.

My differences with Dennett would probably be mostly semantics.

I look at the universe similar to a 4D space-time fractal.  While I think of it as non-changing that doesn't make practical sense because we perceive it as changing with respect to time.

So is our future pre-determined?

I suggest yes and no.  It isn't deterministic because the future is more than unknown, it is unknowable.  Not even a Laplacian Demon can know the resolution of qubits in superposition since quanglement occurs across time (including from the future) as well as space.

As to the subject of this thread...

I say there is no such thing as true randomness and the only possible "purpose" is keeping the universe consistent with its 4D space-time fractal wavefunction.

As to the question of Free Will...

A question I often ask in religious discussions is "How does an omniscient and timeless God make a decision?"  How can God decide to not do what he already decided to do?

With Quantum Consciousness decisions are in superposition until Orchestrated Object Reduction (Orch-OR) occurs.

This makes our decisions non-deterministic, yet non-random.

Date: 2010/02/22 15:31:33, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
I had to see it for myself.

Here is the link

EDIT - I see Sledgehammer beat me to it.

Date: 2010/02/23 13:40:33, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
And to think, I was going to try to warn you about what Joe G means when he wants to "debate".

At the time I was banned on Uncommon Descent (2006) I was having what I thought was a reasonable discussion with "Joseph".  He was complaining about a double standard in the ID/Evolution debate.  I was truly looking for a serious one-on-one debate with someone claiming to represent the ID side.

From my first comment on his blog...

One of the biggest double-standard that exists envolves defining the terms of the debate (what is "science", what is "Intelligent Design", what is "Evolution")

For the record, I am more the happy to debate this topic on a level playing field.


His response...
Deal. I will start a thread that aks "What is evolution?"

Without going into the gory detail (you can read it for yourself), Joe's idea of a debate was for him to define all the terms and demand answers to his questions without answering his opponent's.

The series ended with Joe saying...
...the ONLY position I am willing to debate against is the materialistic anti-ID position which is "sheer-dumb-luck", ie the blind watchmaker.

If anyone ends up starting a debate with Joe, I suggest they take advantage of my previous efforts and include the following in their conditions...

We can go around and around on this. Here are your "level playing field" choices...

1. We make our own definitions.

2. We choose definitions from our respective sides (I choose Dawkins' definition of Evolution).

3. We choose definitions for the other side (I choose Pandas).

You can rant and rave all you want, but this is what happens when you truly take away a double standard.

With me, Joe rejected these conditions.

Date: 2010/02/23 15:13:37, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Ok, I'll take a shot.

I would have agreed with Stephen about the "555" indicating it is random.  But the even distribution is too...  even.

So with OgreMkV's hint and Louis' "Benford's Law", I will go with A being designed.

Date: 2010/02/23 15:43:42, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Here is another 47 random digits...

9080277001561472452 311999086807361424001558253

Richardthughes, I wasn't sure whether or not you were agreeing the three digits in a row was evidence of it being random.

The fact it easily happens in random numbers is the point.  People have a tendancy to avoid repeating digits when creating their version of "random".  People also tend towards even distribution.

The above isn't very evenly distributed.

Date: 2010/02/24 11:15:38, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Last December Bradford banned someone named "Jupiter" for no other reason than he thought he MIGHT be a sock.

Bradford didn't even have a suggestion as to who it was or if the person was previously banned.

I took the time yesterday to review the circumstances surrounding Joe G alias ID Guy.  What I found was that the last time Joe G commented on Telic Thoughts as "Joe G" he ignored Krause's warnings to stay on topic and continued his usual nonsense.

Krause isn't known for his patience.  I strongly suspect "Joe G" was banned and was never heard on TT again.  It was at this time "ID Guy" appeared (for the first time) and continued with the exact same nonsense.

Several people immediately noted the obvious connection and clearly identified it.  However, since they were ID critics their observations were ignored.

There have been several instances where ID critics have been immediately banned when exposed as a sock regardless of whether or not their comments had been appropriate.

Between noon yesterday and early this morning neither "ID Guy" nor "Joe G" made any comments on TT or AtBC.  This morning they both suddenly have a lot to say on the respective blogs.

It is clear by now to the key players that "ID Guy" is a sock for "Joe G".  This includes TT's Bradford.

I am curious what Bradford will do about the situation.  I suspect he still periodically checks in here to reinforce his excuses for discriminating against ID critics.  If someone wishes to quote or link this on TT, feel free to do so.  However, I suggest you wait for a while to give Bradford time to think about his response.

I have no curiosity as to what Joe G (aka ID Guy) will do.  Anyone arguing against the existence of Free Will could use him as a case on point.

Date: 2010/02/24 11:50:42, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
On June 16th, 2006 Dembski posted on UD the following...

The problem is not that evolution implies God does’t exist. The problem is that if God does not exist, then evolution is the only possibility.

He later added a qualifying parenthetical after the logical implications were pointed out on TalkOrigins forum.

Here is the UD link to the modified statement.

While I think you are wasting your time arguing with Joe G (aka ID Guy), I thought you might like to have this in your hip pocket in case someone tries it claim the Wedge is no longer applicable to Dembski's version of ID.

Date: 2010/02/25 16:20:47, Link
Author: Thought Provoker

While I agree with a lot of what you are saying in the opening post, there are some things I would like to challenge.  For example, the sentence...

"Any modeling process is algorithmic." assuming a conclusion (i.e. "Begging the Question" fallacy) if it is being used to arguing against non-algorithmic presumptions.

The theistic worldview is a non-algorithmic model.

Declaring this is an invalid model or employs an invalid modeling process results in another logical fallacy, “No True Scotsman”.

It is quite possible I am misunderstanding what you mean, but it seems to me you are arguing for the affirmative to the thread topic Is empiricism a natural part of pattern recognition?

One of the most significant patterns I have recognized is that we live in a universe where if something can happen, it does.

When I was in college learning about Maxwell’s equations  I could understand how the equations fit together but I was troubled that it didn’t make sense as to why electromagnetic waves happened at all.  It was then I noticed someone wearing a T-shirt that read…

It was an AH-HA moment for me.

No, I didn’t run to the nearest church and pray.  Instead, I laughed out loud at the realization light exists because it can.

Can a blind man know light exists?

Do you think Roger Penrose needed empirical evidence before he was convinced Black Holes existed?

Like it or not, Godel’s Incompleteness Theorems show it is possible the Universe can exist beyond the limits of algorithmic modeling.  More than possible, pattern recognition suggests it is a certainty.

My consciousness may, or may not, be more than a complex computer program capable of pattern recognition.  However, I presume non-algorithmic processes exist and are involved in the process of consciousness.  If a non-quantum based computer can be built that is indistinguishable from the living equivalent then, my presumption will have been falsified.  If the field of Quantum Biophysics continues to grow and includes the brain, then my presumption will have significant supporting evidence.

If both happen, then we will have a new Culture War involving thinking machines verses thinking biologicals.

Date: 2010/02/25 20:12:29, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Thank you qetzal,

Both for your response and the politeness by which you gave it.

Quote (qetzal @ Feb. 25 2010,17:30)
I realize this doesn't really matter for your overall point, but yes, Penrose needed and had empirical evidence before he was convinced black holes existed. He needed evidence about the behavior of matter and gravity.

Everything in science is based on empirical evidence. Even when someone postulates something that has never been observed, it's still based on things that have been observed.

I thought of that as I was typing my previous comment but decided to let it go and respond to the inevitable challenge.

As I see it we all start out with some necessary presumption beginning with existence.

To most people, it makes sense to think they and others exist.

As babies, it makes sense to presume those hands we control are ours.

My “it makes sense” is similar to BWE’s pattern recognition.

We can change our presumptions but it is disconcerting and bothersome.  It bothers us enough we work hard to avoid having to make changes.  Some attempt to avoid changing presumptions by embracing those which can’t be disproven (i.e. supernatural).  Others withhold judgment until the presumption passes direct rigorous empirical tests multiple times.

I’m the type who makes presumptions on how best to piece the whole puzzle together.  I find it unacceptably frustrating when there are obvious pieces not fitting together.  I suspect Roger Penrose has a similar attitude.

I realize it borders on blasphemy to say this in a roomful of scientists but I am much more impressed when the math works than I am by scientific experiments.  My bias in this has undoubtedly been influenced by an experience I had in college.

It was one of my first lab assignments.  It was supposed to show us about kinetics and momentum.  To make a long story short, the data I had obtained “demonstrated” momentum wasn’t conserved.  Unfortunately, the response of the lab proctor was to simply give me an “F” with no exploration or opportunity to figure out what I had done wrong.  The object lesson I took away from this was I needed to know the answer before running an experiment.  To me, this made experimentation, at best, a simple reinforcement of what I already knew.

I understand why scientists need to have repeatable experiments.  Without them, it would be too easy for BS and Group Think to take over.

Personally, I would rather have a fuzzy model of a whole picture than multiple disjointed hypotheses backed up by competing experiments.

Date: 2010/02/26 09:02:24, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi qetzal,
Quote (qetzal @ Feb. 25 2010,21:39)
It's never about knowing the answer before you run the experiment.

I'm not surprised by your response.  However, using the words "never" or "always" is generally risky.

Did we not "know" Black Holes existed before we performed experiments to detect them?

Let me concede the scientific method is a feedback loop of hypothesis begetting experiments which beget more hypotheses which...

Empirical data that does not make sense is all but valueless except as motivation to make sense of it.

I have a though experiment.  What if, one day, the sun rose from the West and set in the East?  Then the next day and subsequently the sun went back to its normal routine.

It's a sad commentary I suspect a majority of people wouldn't notice or care until the media told them (either sad the I am overly cynical or sad because it is likely to be true).

Only slightly more disturbing would be the religious people declaring it proof of their particular belief.

I use this thought as an example of something that would cause me severe doubts about my philosophical outlook (i.e. "shake my faith").

I suggest most of us would end up rejecting this empirical evidence.  Oh, we would come up with excuses like "mass hallucination" or "ET trickery" because...

it has to make sense for us to "know" it is true.

EDIT - added an "e" to "sever" = "severe"

Date: 2010/02/26 12:44:28, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Kudos to Bilbo. At least he is trying to be even handed.

"ID Guy" ignored Bilbo's warning just like he ignored Krause' warning when he was "Joe G".

Bilbo banned him from the thread.

And I don't believe Bilbo ever banned an ID critic just for being a sock like Bradford does.

Date: 2010/02/27 13:52:41, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Over at TT, Sal provided links to Glenn Beck's Glen Beck's CPAC speech.

I forced myself to watch to this.  While I can find Rush Limbaugh, O'Reilly, etc entertaining, Glenn Beck is disturbing to me.  All of these people are sputtering nonsense but Glenn Beck seems serious about his intent.

It is the emotion, not the veracity, of his words which creates his dangerous mob of followers.

If you can't stomach to watch the whole thing, I suggest watching the last part (6 of 6).

His take-away message and biggest applause line is " will be that way if we CHOOSE to believe that; I CHOOSE NOT TO BELIEVE THAT." (7:25 mark).

It is obvious Glenn Beck has no problem believing what he wants to believe even if he has to twist or ignore facts to do it.

Most of this last part of his speech deals with Beck's fabricated history behind the Statue of Liberty.  He started by telling his followers to "look this up" (highly doubtful they did or will).  I did because I wasn't that familiar with the origin of "Give me your tired, your poor..."  It turns out the poet who created this was an American influenced by the Russian mistreatment of Jews.  Neither the French nor the Europeans had anything to do with it.  The plaque was added as an afterthought in 1903 (the statue was dedicated in 1886).  What Beck chose to believe isn’t at all consistent with actual history.

I know this won't come as a surprise to most of you here.

Thank you for allowing me to vent my frustrations.

Date: 2010/02/27 14:11:07, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
I see ID Guy (aka Joe G) is ignoring Bradford's warning. link

I wonder if Bradford will ban him from the thread like Bilbo did?

Or maybe ban ID Guy altogether because he is a sock circumventing his previous ban by Kause?

Or maybe not.  ???

Date: 2010/02/27 21:53:15, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Over at TT the ID proponents are attempting some historical revision concerning Galileo.  Just like the inquisitors of old, the revisionists are focusing in on Galileo's theory that the tides are caused by the earth orbiting around the Sun instead of the moon.

The reason I am bringing this up in this thread is that it reinforces my thoughts concerning empericism.

From this link
Galileo’s theory of the tides shows that Galileo found the Copernican heliocentric theory so persuasive that he supported it even when observations did not agree with its predictions.

To Galileo, the Copernican heliocentric theory made sense whereas the Ptolemaic geocentric theory (with its epicycles) did not.

The puzzle pieces (Venus' phases, Jupiter's moons, etc) of the big picture were coming together for Galileo.

The Ptolemaic theory matched empirical data because it was forced to do so.  However, it didn't make sense.

The Copernican theory made sense but didn't quite match experimental data (because of factors unknown at the time).

This is how I view the state of Quantum Mechanics today.  Roger Penrose's OR model makes sense combining relativistic reality with quantum reality.  Penrose's twistor space is getting some traction in string theory in that it doesn't need all those extra dimensions.  The four dimensional space-time is good enough, thank you.

A missing piece needed to complete this puzzle is Quantum Consciousness (Orch OR).  The powers that be find this concept threatening to their philosophical outlook that consciousness is just an algorithmic property of matter and chemistry and nothing more.

Instead of "E pur si muove"

I would say "E pur si pensa"  (And yet it thinks)

Date: 2010/02/28 11:41:55, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Quote (midwifetoad @ Feb. 28 2010,09:25)
The powers that be find this concept threatening to their philosophical outlook that consciousness is just an algorithmic property of matter and chemistry and nothing more.
Perhaps they see no compelling reason to multiply entities beyond necessity.

It's nice to discuss things with people who have reasoned and reasonable arguments.

"entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem"

Occam's razor isn't just a suggestion that "simpler is better" otherwise GodDidIt wins all (although Last Thursdayism could challenge it).

Consider the 19th Century scientists studying the age of the Sun.  From this link...

"The energy source for solar radiation was believed by nineteenth-century physicists to be gravitation. In an influential lecture in 1854, Hermann von Helmholtz, a German professor of physiology who became a distinguished researcher and physics professor, proposed that the origin of the sun's enormous radiated energy is the gravitational contraction of a large mass. Somewhat earlier, in the 1840s, J.R. Mayer (another German physician) and J.J. Waterson had also suggested that the origin of solar radiation is the conversion of gravitational energy into heat.1

Biologists and geologists considered the effects of solar radiation, while physicists concentrated on the origin of the radiated energy. In 1859, Charles Darwin, in the first edition of On The Origin of the Species by Natural Selection, made a crude calculation of the age of the earth by estimating how long it would take erosion occurring at the current observed rate to wash away the Weald, a great valley that stretches between the North and South Downs across the south of England. He obtained a number for the "denudation of the Weald'' in the range of 300 million years, apparently long enough for natural selection to have produced the astounding range of species that exist on earth."

The powers that be (e.g. Lord Kelvin) saw " compelling reason to multiply entities beyond necessity."  They presumed Darwin must have been wrong.

Are we in a similar situation today?

EDIT-added link and used Occam's razor on an unnecessary passage.

Date: 2010/02/28 14:08:28, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Thank you both for your reasoned and reasonable replies.

Quote (midwifetoad @ Feb. 28 2010,13:13)
You must be thinking of a different Lord Kelvin. The one I'm familiar with adjusted his estimates to the evidence as it came in.
In 1897 Thomson, now Lord Kelvin, ultimately settled on an estimate that the Earth was 20–400 million years old

I have little doubt Lord Kelvin adjusted his original 20 million year old estimate in 1897 the year after Becquerel discovered radioactivity.  However, 30 years before that he was arguing against Darwin's suggestion that the earth must be older.

Quote (midwifetoad @ Feb. 28 2010,13:13)

Asserting that we don't understand the entire function of human brains is not a call for invoking unexplainable magic processes. Not when we haven't finished analyzing the things that are available for observation and emulation.

Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Feb. 28 2010,12:37)
I don't see that Darwin introduced any additional explanatory entities vis the age of the earth.  

Rather, he reported and interpreted observations that had to be regarded as anomalous within the framework of 19th century physics.

The mainstream presumption, and the fate of that presumption, is more pertinent to Thomas Kuhn than William of Occam.

I would agree this is pertinent to Kuhn’s paradigm shift.

Similar to Galileo and Darwin, Penrose isn't claiming total understanding.  He is just indicating what needs to be in order to make sense of the big picture.

If Penrose is right, the powers that be will adjust their positions and shortly after that scientists will treat Quantum Consciousness as trivially obvious with 20/20 hindsight.

Date: 2010/02/28 14:49:10, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Since it looks like Joe G isn't providing entertaining BS, let me have a go at it.

Something I have discussed in the past on Telic Thoughts and a subject I feel is pertinent to understanding ID proponents and, lately, conservatives like Glenn Beck.  This is…

In my opinion many of these people engage in unethical activities via moral rationalization.

Combining morals and ethics allows for creating or bending facts if done for a good cause.

As always, definitions are important for meaningful discussions.  First, how many people see a distinction between the terms “ethics” and “morals”?  I see “ethics” as an internal code of conduct which focuses on honesty and keeping promises whereas “morals” is an externally imposed code of conduct.

To me, an ethical prostitutes and ethical thieves are not oxymorons.

Your thoughts?

Date: 2010/02/28 15:25:42, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi midwifetoad,

Yes, I saw your link on the Brains In Silicon project and enjoyed it.  Thank You.

I would be interested if you have a reference where Penrose assumes brains are digital.  Most of Penrose's statements I have seen on the brain is that he doesn't know much about it.  He has even stated the Orch OR model he presented jointly with Hameroff could easily be wrong in that microtubules may not be the mechanism.

However, he is convinced that some kind of Quantum Consciousness must exist.  Along the same lines Galileo was convinced the solar system was heliocentric.

Penrose is as much of a pioneer of Quantum Physics as Darwin was of Biology.  Darwin needed the earth to be old in order for his Biological theory to make sense.  Penrose needs consciousness to be tied to quantum effect in order for his Quantum Mechanical theory to make sense.

Date: 2010/02/28 15:32:42, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Reciprocating Bill,

As suggested in my response to midwifetoad, I doubt Penrose could or would attempt to explain the functions of the brain any more than Darwin could explain the age of the Sun.

Date: 2010/02/28 17:39:26, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi midwifetoad,

Quote (midwifetoad @ Feb. 28 2010,16:11)
I hardly think Penrose has anything equivalent to the phases of Venus.

The "phases of Venus" data point was incorporated into the geocentric meme by Tycho Brahe (see Tychonic System).

To remain topical to the thread, I will point out that if one relied only on empiricism the Tychonic System fit the data better.

To me, Penrose’s offers an understandable explanation (Objective Reduction) for the repeatable results of the Delayed Choice Quantum Eraser.

The alternative explanations are either much worse than epicycles or an IOU stating someday science will figure it out.

Quote (midwifetoad @ Feb. 28 2010,16:11)
My problem with Penrose is that productive research continues along conventional channels.

Defenders of the status quo could have said the same thing to Darwin and Galileo and probably did.

Quote (midwifetoad @ Feb. 28 2010,16:11)
Are you (and Penrose) suggesting that even tropisms are quantum rather than chemical or electrochemical? What about eye spots? brains with only a few neurons?

Again, Penrose makes it clear he isn't a biologist.  However, since I can be thought of as an internet troll espousing quantum quackery, allow me to copy and paste the following from a paper titled
Quantum entanglement in photosynthetic light harvesting complexes

The last section presented numerical evidence for the existence of entanglement in the FMO complex for picosecond timescales { essentially until the excitation is trapped by the reaction center. This is remarkable in a biological or disordered system at physiological temperature. It illustrates that non-equilibrium multipartite entanglement can exist for relatively long times, even in highly decoherent environments. While the length scales over which entanglement was shown to persist were small, we expect that such long-lived, non-equilibrium entanglement will nevertheless also be present in larger light harvesting antenna complexes, such as LH1 and LH2 in purple bacteria. This is because they contain the key necessary ingredient; namely, moderately strongly coupled chromophores that can lead to significant coherent delocalization of electronic excitations. In fact such delocalization has been observed and studied recently in connection to superradiance and ultrafast radiative decays in molecular aggregates [13, 35]. In larger light harvesting antennae it may also be possible to take advantage of the ability to create and support multiple excitations in order to access a richer variety of entangled states.

While this doesn't necessarily mean Heliotropism or Phototropism (or any other tropism) are quantum based, it is an interesting data point.

Date: 2010/02/28 19:32:40, Link
Author: Thought Provoker

Date: 2010/03/01 09:10:48, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Quote (sledgehammer @ Feb. 28 2010,23:39)
Morals is how others tell you to behave.
Ethics is how you behave when nobody's watching?

Basically, that is how I look at it.

However, the details get mixed up when it comes to honesty and general veracity.

I come from the school of thought lying to others ends up causing you to lie to yourself.

When Dembski quotemines scientists, I offer he ends up fooling himself into thinking there really is a hidden broadbase scientific support for ID.

Date: 2010/03/01 11:13:56, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Quote (Cubist @ Feb. 28 2010,21:17)
You sure about that? GodDidIt only wins if you assume, up front, that God is necessary. Absent that presupposition, I honestly don't see how GodDidIt can possibly beat ItJustIs.


Date: 2010/03/01 11:25:40, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi midwifetoad,

I'm not sure whether or not you are being sarcastic.

Furthermore, I don't know which is worse, you just being snarky or we actually failing to communicate.

In case it is the latter, let me try again...

In order for Darwin to make sense of reality, he needed the Sun to be older than 20 million years, even if he had no direct empirical evidence supporting that.

In order for Galileo to make sense of reality, he needed the earth to be moving, even if he had no direct empirical evidence supporting that.

In order for Penrose to make sense of reality, he needs consciousness to be tied to quantum effects, even if he has no direct empirical evidence supporting that.

Date: 2010/03/01 11:37:29, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Oleg,

On the other thread you were arguing Joe G was being entertaining on Telic Thoughts.

I'm forced to agree with you.

Next he will start arguing about frustrated magnets with you.

Date: 2010/03/01 12:12:46, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
With respect to the larger culture Einstein's view of God and dice is a colorful reference to a non-scientific concept to make a philosophical scientific point even if it was subsequently shown erroneous.


I've got to quit looking at TT.

Date: 2010/03/01 16:11:17, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Quote (midwifetoad @ Mar. 01 2010,13:33)
And in order for Behe to make sense of evolution he need mutation to be tied to the machinations of an invisible designer.

Out of politeness, I overlooked the first time you mentioned Behe but since you insist...

Is this AtBC's version of Godwin's law?

If all else fails, claim it sounds like something Behe or Dembski would say?

Quote (midwifetoad @ Mar. 01 2010,13:33)
Where is Penrose's edge of consciousness? Does he have a cutoff beneath which consciousness does not exist? What's the cutoff? How many neurons are required for consciousness?

Once again, Penrose doesn't claim expertise in neurology.  However, Stuart Hameroff is the director of the Center for Consciousness Studies at the University of Arizona (Curriculum Vitae).  He has quite a bit to say on the subject.  I think I know enough to summarize his position as needed but I don't want to stray off topic too much. So just let me drop this tidbit of information from a recent Nature article...

"Here we present two-dimensional photon echo spectroscopy10, 11, 12, 13 measurements on two evolutionarily related light-harvesting proteins isolated from marine cryptophyte algae, which reveal exceptionally long-lasting excitation oscillations with distinct correlations and anti-correlations even at ambient temperature. These observations provide compelling evidence for quantum-coherent sharing of electronic excitation across the 5-nm-wide proteins under biologically relevant conditions, suggesting that distant molecules within the photosynthetic proteins are ‘wired’ together by quantum coherence for more efficient light-harvesting in cryptophyte marine algae."

Date: 2010/03/01 16:46:24, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Quote (sledgehammer @ Mar. 01 2010,14:38)
All that is required to make sense of "Delayed Choice Quanntum Eraser" experiments is to discard/ignore the particle-like aspect of  photons (and/or matter in general).  A clue is that only entangled photons exhibit the "weird" behavior.
 Like most (but not all) of the "quantum weirdness" experiments, it is the particle assumption that creates the cognitive dissonance. By treating everything as complex-valued wavefunctions, it all makes causal and mathematical sense.
 Like the commenter in the link you provided says:            
Comment: To the physicist, the results "are all consistent with prediction." To the layperson, the results should be shocking....Ho-hum. Another experimental proof of QM. This is the way it works, folks.

 With all due respect to Penrose , I don't see where "quantum conciseness" is needed, or plays any role,  

Thank you for your comment.

Assuming there is no such thing as particles and everything is a wavefunction only gets us part of the way there.  Penrose suggest a "photon" traveling at the speed of light is a wavefunction in space-time that transforms into a single point in Twistor Space.

To us, it looks like a "photon" can be in multiple places at the same time (superposition) where future causes can create past effects.

At some point, the superpositions resolve themselves to a single answer.  Why?

Penrose suggests superposition resolution ("Objective Reduction") occurs automatically after a period of time.  The length of this timeframe is based on the system mass (i.e. quantum gravity).  The larger the mass, the quicker the resolution.  This is why buckyballs exhibit superposition but baseballs don't.

However, there is the problem of that darn Schrödinger's cat (i.e. quantum measurement problem).  For some reason measurement choice by a conscious observer affects and causes Objective Reduction.

One way to make sense of this is if conscious choice is part of the superposition system at the quantum level.

I hope this helps explain how and why I see this as I do.

Date: 2010/03/01 18:24:08, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi sledgehammer,

Quote (sledgehammer @ Mar. 01 2010,17:18)
You yourself admitted that the consciousness of the "observer" is immaterial to the outcome of the quantum experiments.

I'm sorry but I don't know what you are talking about.

Could you provide a link?

Date: 2010/03/01 18:28:08, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
To Moderators.

I would like some guidance.  I feel we are definitely straying off topic for this thread.  I would start a new one, but I'm worried about abusing the privilege.

Please advise.


Date: 2010/03/01 19:13:18, Link
Author: Thought Provoker

This should safely be within the thread's topic.

Quote (BWE @ Mar. 01 2010,16:48)
TP earlier claimed that not all modeling is algorithmic. Then claimed religion as a non algorithmic model.

Um.. Yes it is. The symbols are inputs with forces and manipulated over time.

I am not convinced that there is such a thing as a non algorithmic modeling process. The question Penrose raises has to do with whether our brains are actually modeling at their root or whether that is a process done as a result of a different process.

"God works in mysterious ways" is algorithmic?

I believe in letting people define their own terms,  but if you define "model" to include only things that are algorithmic then postulating "Any modeling process is algorithmic" is redundant.

Quote (BWE @ Mar. 01 2010,16:48)
My question from the OP is whether science is a method analogous to Godel numbering new axioms.

You might have to bear with me on this because I'm not quite sure what you are saying.

As I see it, if science is a simple input-process-output model then empirical data is king.  All one has to do is put the facts in, process them and out comes a model.

I'm arguing this isn't always the case.

Darwin and Galileo had to deal with conflicting inputs yet came up with an intuitive answer that was correct.

Penrose believes this is the kind of non-algorithmic process he employed to discover his Penrose Tilings.

Here is a slide from a presentation Penrose gave.

Clearly, Penrose is suggesting Godel's theorems apply equally to consciousness as it does for mathematical understanding (especially in context of the whole presentation).

This doesn't make him right.  But I believe Penrose's perspective conflicts with what you are suggesting.  If not, then maybe we aren't in disagreement either.

Date: 2010/03/01 19:42:49, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Quote (sledgehammer @ Mar. 01 2010,19:23)
I misread your comment.  I see now that you, in fact, do buy into the "What the Bleep Do We Know", new-age woo, that the presence of consciousness in an observer has a material effect on the outcome of a quantum experiment.
 I remember thinking at the time  "well maybe he's not so far out in left field after all."
I was wrong.
My sincere apologies, and condolences.

Oh yes, I am a quantum quack.

For what it is worth I think Hameroff overreaches at times.  So maybe I haven't reached the status of "full fledged quack" yet.

Here is the end of a 2009 interview with Roger Penrose I pretty much agree with (link)...

In your book The Emperor’s New Mind, you posited that consciousness emerges from quantum physical actions within the cells of the brain. Two decades later, do you stand by that?

"In my view the conscious brain does not act according to classical physics. It doesn’t even act according to conventional quantum mechanics. It acts according to a theory we don’t yet have. This is being a bit big-headed, but I think it’s a little bit like William Harvey’s discovery of the circulation of blood. He worked out that it had to circulate, but the veins and arteries just peter out, so how could the blood get through from one to the other? And he said, “Well, it must be tiny little tubes there, and we can’t see them, but they must be there.” Nobody believed it for some time. So I’m still hoping to find something like that—some structure that preserves coherence, because I believe it ought to be there."

When physicists finally understand the core of quantum physics, what do you think the theory will look like?

"I think it will be beautiful."

Date: 2010/03/01 20:01:21, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Curse you Oleg,

Not only did you compel me to look a TT.

Now I am tempted to comment on Bilbo's thread.

There might actually be some independent thinking occurring there.

However, I think I will try to resist.  I am sure you can handle it.

Be gentle.

Date: 2010/03/02 12:13:58, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Quote (midwifetoad @ Mar. 02 2010,08:30)
Consciousness is a gap. We do not understand everything about how brains work. I ask what the simplest instance of consciousness might be, because I'm curious whether quantum consciousness is required for organisms having only a few neurons, or perhaps organisms like sensitive plants, where there is behavior but no neurons.

Quantum consciousness seems to be a stand-in for the soul. At what point in the history of life did this soul  evolve?

At what point in the history of life did awareness evolve?

Here are some artistic renditions of vernanimalcula guizhouena...

This small animal (between 0.1 and 0.2 mm across) existed pre-Cambrian.

It had organs. A mouth, a digestive system and an anus. It could smell, taste and feel. It had the beginnings of a nervous system and brain center.  It also had two light sensitive pits exactly where you would expect eyes to be.

I suggest this animal had already evolved an awareness of its surrounding.  We have direct evidence of life incorporating beneficial Quantum Mechanical properties.  What could be more beneficial to life than awareness?  Once quantum biophysics got its foot in the door, evolutionary forces would inevitably propel its use to the max, up to and including sentient beings.

Midwifetoad, you may want to use loaded words like "soul".  And, yes, there are those who take this concept to that extreme, but it isn't needed.

If microtubules are, in fact, miniature quantum computers then a lot of living things have this built in processing capability.  That doesn't necessarily mean there is soul.  It doesn't even necessarily mean quantum effects are connected (I happen to think they are).  All that needs to happen, is that it is beneficial to the organism.

Date: 2010/03/02 19:18:22, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi midwifetoad,
Quote (midwifetoad @ Mar. 02 2010,14:23)
So if I'm understanding you correctly, you are asserting that quantum effects are "essential" to awareness, all the way down.

Not just as triggers to chemical processes, as with photons and light sensitivity, but somehow facilitating communication between bits of a cell, or even between cells.

Is Chlorophyll "essential" for converting sunlight into energy?

No (e.g. photocells), but it is very helpful to living things.

Depending on definitions it could be said that litmus paper is aware of the presence of acids or bases.

Quantum effects aren't essential for awareness, but they are very helpful to living things.

I suggest awareness evolved into consciousness.  I presume quantum effects ARE essential for consciousness (again, depending on definitions).

A potentially more interesting question is whether or not quantum effects are a fundamental aspect of DNA-based life?

"The factorized quantum search algorithm locates the desired item in an unsorted database using O(log4 N) queries, which is a factor of two improvement over the best search algorithm for a classical sorted database.
It is too tempting to overlook a fundamental biological process that works in this manner, i.e. replication of DNA. (As a matter of fact, biochemistry is full of assembly processes which synthesize desired objects out of their components by pattern recognition oracles.) The DNA alphabet has four letters, i.e. the bases A,T,C,G.
The fact that this process takes place at the molecular scale and uses an alphabet of four letters raises a highly provocative thought. Could it be that the evolution of life sensed the advantage of a quantum algorithm, and opted to organize the genetic information in DNA using four bases? Note that classically just two bases (one complementary pair) are sufficient to carry the genetic information."

Quote (midwifetoad @ Mar. 02 2010,14:23)
And when you speak of quantum effects, you are speaking of something like entanglement, not anything covered by conventional chemistry?

Entanglement and quantum processing, yes.

Date: 2010/03/03 16:41:42, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
I have been looking into Siegelmann's published papers.

Thank you BWE, they are very interesting.

I was having trouble finding a specific disagreement between Siegelmann and Penrose but I finally found this...
Our model may also be thought of as a possible answer to Penrose’s recent claim Penrose (1989) that the standard model of computing is not appropriate for modeling true biological intelligence. Penrose argues that physical processes, evolving at a quantum level, may result in computations which cannot be incorporated in Church’s Thesis. The analog neural network does allow for non-Turing power while keeping track of computational constraints, and thus embeds a possible answer to Penrose’s challenge within the framework of classical computer science.

It seems Siegelmann is relying on the analog part of "analog neural network" to get to her AI nirvana.  This doesn’t make a lot of sense to me because, as an Electrical Engineer, I work with analog-to-digital conversion with precisions approaching electron charge.  Penrose is a mathematician.  Reducing digital precision by orders of magnitude is still digital precision.  Penrose can be wrong, but I don’t see how analog verses digital changes anything in our quantum-based reality.

Let me cut to what I see as fundamental differences.  I suspect most of you would agree it is possible life evolved to use quantum effects but you may argue it is just not required and, therefore, can be simulated "...within the framework of classical computer science."  

This gets into the discussion about "sources of true randomness" postulated by sledgehammer.  If quantum effects is the fundamental source for all true randomness then it becomes a metaphysical free-for-all.

Is it truly random?

Is it orchestrated quantum effects in spacetime?

Is it God working in "mysterious ways"?

Date: 2010/03/03 20:12:17, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Quote (BWE @ Mar. 03 2010,17:17)

The thing about Penrose's hypothesis that makes it a side issue is that AI research is not hampered by it.

I suggest Penrose's hypothesis is not a "side issue" for understanding Quantum Mechanics.

Quote (BWE @ Mar. 03 2010,17:17)
The direction for now seems clear in AI research and snags thus far aren't appearing.

Personally, I hope AI research continues at a brisk pace because I suspect it will eventually bring to light what Penrose has been saying.

Quote (BWE @ Mar. 03 2010,17:17)
Also, mathematical continuums are fundementally not the same as physical continuums. A physical continuum, no matter how good your measurement system, always has the problem of measurement where at some point, A=B, B=C and A<C. Zeno's paradox is answered in a physical continuum because at some point achilles ends up at B.

This is a major difference between digital and analog signal processing.

The difference between a mathematical, digital continuum and a physical, analog continuum is noise.

Or putting it another way, uncertainty... in quantum uncertainty.

In electronics there are these things called "tunneling diodes".  Electrons manage to go from point A to point B without travelling in-between.

Achilles can win a foot race with a tortoise because he teleports moment to moment.

Quote (BWE @ Mar. 03 2010,17:17)
It doesn't even need to invoke 'true' randomness, whatever that is.

A pseudo-random number generator is just a complex digital calculation.  The question is whether or not a purely digital machine is capable of AI consciousness.  From what I read of Siegelmann and other places, it is probable AI researchers are already giving up on what Penrose calls “Strong AI”.  The researchers are looking at quantum computations or analog signals with built in quantum noise.

Date: 2010/03/04 11:50:21, Link
Author: Thought Provoker

I'm enjoying our conversation.  I hope you are too.  I'm trying not to be too frustrating but I want to explore our differences.  That usually involves a little provoking.  No offense intended or taken on my part.

Quote (BWE @ Mar. 03 2010,20:40)

Quote (BWE @ Mar. 03 2010,17:17)
Also, mathematical continuums are fundementally not the same as physical continuums. A physical continuum, no matter how good your measurement system, always has the problem of measurement where at some point, A=B, B=C and A<C. Zeno's paradox is answered in a physical continuum because at some point achilles ends up at B.

This is a major difference between digital and analog signal processing.

The difference between a mathematical, digital continuum and a physical, analog continuum is noise.

That is a ridiculous statement. No offense intended but if you think the only difference between the map and the terrain is noise you are going to need to take several steps backwards to get back on track.
or putting it another way, mathematical continuums are in no way whatsofuckingever the same as physical continuums. One is the map the other is the landscape.

It may be appropriate to bring the following into the conversation...

For those unfamiliar with this famous painting...

When is it the model of reality and when is it reality itself?  The Matrix movies explored this meme.  If Strong AI wins the day, then a conscious algorithm running inside a digital computer is just as real as a consciousness running inside an organic computer.

If this digital computer also runs mathematical algorithms simulating reality, then for all intents and purposes it is a form of reality itself.

Quantum Mechanical experiments pretty much show that our universe is a plank scale digital computer.  There is no such thing as particles, everything is a wavefunction (i.e. mathematical algorithm).

So what differentiates this mathematical, digital continuum from the physical, analog continuum?

You guessed it, noise in the form of quantum uncertainty.

Date: 2010/03/07 18:22:00, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
I really should quit looking at TT.

Defense attorneys would love their circular logic claim.

Your honor, the DA is using circular logic.  Yea sure, my client was shown to be in the area during the time of the burglary and his finger prints match those at the scene but the DA is assuming my client is guilty to prove he is guilty.

The DNA "fingerprints" match species which are geologically and chronologically connected and don't when they are not.


Date: 2010/03/09 21:57:32, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Quote (Paul Flocken @ Mar. 09 2010,20:35)
I think ethics is an academic discipline that attempts to make a code of conduct that is internally consistent.  Morals are tools that one group of people try to use to justify the rules they wish to impose on a second group of people.

Hopefully I am not being too patronizing but I'm impressed.

Most people I talk to about this subject appear to be clueless as to even the possibility of a difference.

Is this an atheist thing?

Do we see the usefulness of ethics as being something different than the often arbitrary morals?

Date: 2010/03/11 09:31:41, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
This is getting downright funny.

About the only people left who don't know "ID Guy" is "Joe G" are those who have never heard of them.

Date: 2010/03/13 13:31:09, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
I agree it seems unusual for the Blog to be staying as open as it is.

I'm glad "our" side seems to be keeping the name calling down to a minimum.

Unfortunately, Robert stepped into it with this comment.

As bad as the "Does fire create fire?" was, the AGW versus GW was a wild goose chase which could only end up distracting the conversation.  (IMHO)

Oh well.

Date: 2010/03/13 14:47:23, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
So, what do you think of my God Hypothesis?

Edit - added link

Date: 2010/03/13 19:25:05, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Off topic - What happened to the forum?  D.O.S. attack?

Date: 2010/03/13 19:55:28, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Just what you wanted to do on a Saturday afternoon, right?


Date: 2010/03/15 12:06:26, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Excuse me, while I post this here in case it "accidently" disappears.

Dr. Hunter, may I suggest this for a blog entry (or we can continue it here if you like).

A God Hypothesis.

Premise – There is an omnipotent, omniscient, benevolent being who created the universe and man. Furthermore, mankind is the primary focus of this being’s benevolence.

For ease of reference, this being is called “God” which may or may not correspond to he who the Jews called ????.

God, by definition, would control the fabric and deflections of space-time which is our universe. By necessity, such a being would be timeless.

Since Quantum Mechanics informs us there is nothing material which exists outside of space-time wavefunctions, God is in direct control of all things we think of as material.

God’s benevolence towards mankind would likely include concern for mankind’s continued existence. Another probable act of benevolence would be the allowance of mankind to have Free Will.

There very well could have been a Garden of Eden approximately 6,014 years ago and Eve chose, for all mankind, to obtain the knowledge of good and evil. For all practical purposes, it doesn’t matter because God could have either instantly created a whole new reality complete with millions of year-old fossils and billions of year-old stars, or he could have known what Eve’s choice was going to be and honored it by taking billions of years to create Eve’s requested reality. Time doesn’t matter to a timeless being.

However, the premise presumes it does matter to God whether or not mankind survives. In the movie Matrix it was noted mankind would reject a utopian reality. If mankind does not struggle against adversity, its spirit dies. Man is also intelligent enough to see through a faux simulation of adversity. The adversity has to be real. This would include an inherent doubt of God’s existence. For man’s own good, God made it so his existence could never be known as a certainty which included providing scientists a difficult but consistent set of clues suggesting his existence was unnecessary.

Early on, God provided hints. The parting of the Red Sea was a piece of cake; “Brownian Motion, shift left and right”. The great flood wasn’t that much more difficult. God showed off a little with the Sun standing still trick, but give the guy a break, being a timeless being has got to be somewhat boring.

Currently, God’s plan is working perfectly (as if there was any doubt). Over 3.5 Billion people believe he exists but can’t be certain. Science is moving along at a good clip. We even managed to keep from blowing ourselves up (probably with God’s unseen help).

BTW, a scientific falsification of this hypothesis would be if mankind ceased to exists. I’m sure it would be enough to convince any E.T. scientists “nope, they weren’t God’s chosen”.

In conclusion, I suggest scientists, including Evolutionary Biologists, are just as likely doing God’s work as televangelists, maybe even more so.

Date: 2010/03/15 16:00:06, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Albatrossity2,

That is impressive.  Thanks for sharing it.

At the risk of being overly cynical, why wasn't this discovered earlier?

Was it because prevailing thinking assumed there weren't any natural bacteria which would eat plastic?

Is this a case of someone successfully doing something because he didn't know it couldn't be done?

Date: 2010/03/15 16:56:56, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
OH MY GOD!!!!!

(I ask forgiveness from the atheists in the room)

From the DARPA solicitation Albatrossity2 mentioned...

Recent research on biological sensor systems such as photosynthesis, magnetoreception, and olfaction, has uncovered tantalizing evidence that they operate using “manifestly” quantum effects.  The Fenna-Matthews-Olson (FMO) complex forms a portion of the photosynthetic apparatus of purple bacteria.  It was shown that at low temperatures and upon photon absorption, the excitons in the FMO complex migrate via quantum coherence.  Recent evidence indicates that this coherence still exists at physiological temperatures.  Whether it is of biological relevance is still an unanswered question.  One of the prevailing theories for magnetoreception in birds invokes long-lived interconverting singlet/triplet excited states of the cryptochrome protein.  There is strong evidence that the cryptochrome is involved in the magnetoreception in insects but the nature and mechanism of that involvement has not been fully established.  Finally, it has been speculated that odor receptors use phonon-assisted tunneling to sense the vibrational spectra of odorants.

For the purposes of this BAA, “manifestly” quantum effects are defined as those that are intrinsically quantum mechanical in nature, and novel and surprising for a biological system to exhibit.  Examples include quantum coherence, superposition, the quantum Zeno effect, and entanglement.  Excluded are expected effects such as chemical bonding involving orbitals or van der Waals forces.

The funny thing is that I'm a part owner of a small engineering company that has been subcontracted on a successful DARPA project in the past.

Except for the fact we have no relevant experience in Quantum Mechanics or Biological Engineering it is right up our ally </sarcasm>

I guess I could see if a team could use some data acquisition and computer modeling experts.

I will have to look into this.

Albatrossity2, I don't know whether to thank you or curse you.

I guess I can do both.

Thank you  (I reserve the right to curse you later).

Date: 2010/03/16 13:05:41, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi BJRay,

Thank you for coming for a visit.  The guys and gals around here have been getting bored lately.  My Quantum Quackery trolls barely even get nibbles anymore.

Assuming you find this comment among all the others.  Allow me to quote from Dr. Dembski's expert testimony at the Dover trial...

How, if at all, does quantum mechanics challenge a purely mechanistic conception of life? The intelligent design community is at the forefront in raising and answering such questions.
there is now growing evidence that consciousness is not reducible to material processes of the brain and that free will is in fact real. Jeffrey Schwartz at UCLA along with quantum physicist Henry Stapp at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory are two of the key researchers presently providing experimental and theoretical support for the irreducibility of mind to brain.

Since that time, there have been remarkable discoveries in Quantum Biophysics.  Sir Roger Penrose is among the most notable scientists proposing the ideas Dr. Dembski wrote about (Penrose/Hawking mathematically modeled and predicted Black Holes).

Why aren't Dr. Dembski and the rest of the ID crowd " the forefront in raising and answering such questions" about Quantum Biophysics?

Could it be they are more interested in manipulating public opinion than doing science?

Feel free to tell Dr. Dembski that Thought Provoker says "hi".

Date: 2010/03/16 15:28:41, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Quote (Amadan @ Mar. 16 2010,13:56)
TP, you are mistaken!

Allow me to quote from Dembski's testimony at Dover:

You are right.

I should have said it was from Dembski's expert witness report which was excluded since Dembski dropped (was dropped?) as a witness.

Date: 2010/03/19 14:12:44, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Rossum,

I liked your link.

I don't suppose Dembski or any other big name ID proponent offered a rebuttal to this did they?

Date: 2010/03/21 10:40:33, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Ok, which one of you is Harpy666?

It looks like Dr. Cornelius Hunter has stepped in it big

Lately, Hunter has been ignoring my comments and continuing as if nothing happened.

He may do it again if too many negative comments are made.  I should probably have restrained myself but I couldn't help it.

So, yes, I am being hypocritical to suggest you guys/gals look, but don't touch, but that is what I am doing.

Let's see if this gets interesting.

Edit - modified for readability and gender neutrality

Date: 2010/03/22 15:41:03, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Happy Birthday Kristine.

Even though we don't often act like it, I suspect a lot of us are much older than you.  Me, for instance.

Enjoy your cake.

Date: 2010/03/27 11:33:34, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
In case anyone doesn't know what Ogre was referring to...


It is ironic religion provides the solution in the end, a la the "Holy Hand Grenade".


Date: 2010/03/27 12:24:41, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
To any of Dr. Dembski's students who happen to read this,

From the syllabus...

(4) 3,000-word record of interactions with contrary websites, totaling at least 10 posts and giving URLs for posts — 10 percent positive. Due by last class meeting. This is where you get to mix it up with people on the other side of the debate over faith and science. It will open your eyes.
(5) Active class participation — up to 10 percent negative.

If it were possible, I would have like to have joined in this class.  I would have enjoyed discussing Francis S. Collins in light of the SCIENCE of Intelligent Design.  The question is, would I have received a negative 10 percent in class participation.  Or, more likely, asked to leave.

I have an Intelligent Design hypothesis that involves Quantum Mechanics.  Dr. Dembski himself said...
How, if at all, does quantum mechanics challenge a purely mechanistic conception of life? The intelligent design community is at the forefront in raising and answering such questions.
there is now growing evidence that consciousness is not reducible to material processes of the brain and that free will is in fact real. Jeffrey Schwartz at UCLA along with quantum physicist Henry Stapp at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory are two of the key researchers presently providing experimental and theoretical support for the irreducibility of mind to brain.

While some people here are mostly focused on discrediting the Intelligent Design Movement (and I agree the movement is worthy of being discredited) most of these scientists would be happy to discuss the science.

And, yes, anyone making extraordinary claims will be subjected to extraordinary critisism to force them to back up their claims.

You can look back at the threads I have authored on this forum to see what I mean.

Since all the Dr. Dembski's students are required to read and understand Francis S. Collins' The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief I think it would be a good idea to start a thread on this subject in case there are any who seriously want to test their ability to argue with religious skeptics.

Hopefully, someone else would be willing to moderate a  Francis Collins thread.  If not I will start it tomorrow (Sunday) assuming there are no objections.

In short, until you are ready to provide serious arguments for your claims, you leave us no choice but to make references to Monty Python and other entertaining activities; if for no other reason than to break up the boredom.

Here is a hint, don't try to change our attitudes or philosophical/religious outlook.  Either try to make your scientific case or be prepared to be frustrated.  Chances are you will be frustrated either way but you stand a much better chance making an impact on scientists by arguing science.

EDIT-minor cleanups

Date: 2010/03/27 14:41:36, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
I had remembered hearing about an atheist being convinced of God's existance by a frozen waterfall, I just didn't remember it was Francis Collins.  It was in his book.

I will admit to being somewhat surprised Dr. Dembski chose to focus on Francis Collins, a Theistic Evolutionist who argues Common Descent is well supported by the evidence.

I am suspicious that Dr. Dembski might be presenting this to his students as representative of the opposition.

One of the stated goals of the class is to teach his students " write critical reviews appropriate to the debate between science and religion."

I can see the essay question on the exam now; write a critical review of Collins' arguments concerning common descent, defend your position "...with special attention to issues relevant to Christian truth claims."

It's right out the syllabus.

The interesting part about Collins' conversion process is that it manipulated theology more than science.

Please read the two pages out of Collins' book I can't copy and paste (starting with "Evidence Demanding a Verdict").

A belief that Yeshua ben Yosef (aka Jesus) is God was not universally a Christian tenet until after 325AD when the first Nicene Council met.  The biblical justification for this tenet is weak, at best.

Matthew 19:16-17
16And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
17And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

So Francis Collins' assumption that Jesus had to be either God or the Devil was based on him accepting a popular Christian tenet, not independent thinking.

For example, Islam holds the bible is correct (but interpreted via the Koran). Therefore, Muslims generally agree Jesus will return during the time of the Apocalypse.  However, they do not suggest Jesus is Allah (aka God).

Is the Islamic version of Francis Collins just out of luck?

Date: 2010/03/27 15:05:35, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
oooh neat.

Thanks for the information.

It is more like a confirmation of what I have been understanding from reading Penrose's stuff.

Date: 2010/03/28 09:56:58, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
I am providing this thread in an attempt to provide an outlet for a (semi-)serious debate over the stated topics of Dr. Dembski's course, Christian Faith and Science

I ask everyone to restrict their comments to things directly relating to this syllabus and Francis Collins' book, The Language of God (a major focus of the course)

From the syllabus...
STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES In this course the student will:
- Understand the main strategies for relating science and the Christian faith.
- Be able to summarize the main scientific challenges to the Christian faith.
- Learn to write critical reviews appropriate to the debate between science and religion.

While I don't have the ability to directly enforce the requested rules of this thread, I might be able to encourage self compliance by pointing out this is an opportunity to show off your understanding of the above topics.

I dare say most of the commenters in After the Bar Closes probably feel they are as close to experts in antievolution issues as one can get.

If both side can leave their complaints about "tone" and complaints about complaining to the other Phil:4483 thread, I would appreciate it.

This thread will also be a (hopefully) detailed review of The Language of God.  Dr. Dembski's students should have no excuses of an inability to talk to this subject.  A review of this book is supposed to be worth 30% of their final grade.

Here is the table of contents...
Chapter 1: From Atheism to Belief
Chapter 2: The War of the Worldviews
Chapter 3: The Origins of the Universe
Chapter 4: Life on Earth
Chapter 5: Deciphering God's Instruction Book
Chapter 6: Genesis, Galileo, and Darwin
Chapter 7: Option 1: Atheism and Agnosticism
Chapter 8: Option 2: Creationism
Chapter 9: Option 3: Intelligent Design
Chapter 10: Option 4: BioLogos
Chapter 11: Truth Seekers
APPENDIX The Moral Practice of Science and Medicine: Bioethics

I have found a version of the book that I can copy and paste from.  It has 272 pages with the appendix taking up 38 of those (which we may or may not want to address).  It looks like a reasonably easy read.

I will be going through chapter by chapter with a summary.  I am hoping this will inspire some of Dr. Dembski's students to engage in meaningful conversation because I am going to look foolish if this ends up with me as the only one talking.

Date: 2010/03/28 10:59:04, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Introduction: Francis Collins', Dr. Dembski's and mine.

I have a confession to make about an ethical dilemma.  The copy of Francis Collins; book I found is obviously in violation of copyright law and Collins' implied agreement with me.  I have little doubt we will get into how and why an atheist would be worried about ethical issues like this.  However, I am.  My resolution to this dilemma is to only post review-like snippets which is in keeping with the copyright agreement.  I will also spend the $15 necessary to download a legitimate copy even though I don't need one.

Dr. Dembski chose a very interesting quote for his introduction on the syllabus...
What you believe to be true will control you whether it’s true or not.
–Jeremy LaBorde

This is a multi-edged sword that generally goes to the heart of many philosophical discussions.  If a belief in God is good and necessary what difference does it make "whether it’s true or not" just as long as we believe it?

I doubt Dr. Dembski would openly admit to this, but it is rather obvious he feels a moral obligation to "...replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God..." regardless of the truth of the matter. link

Francis Collins' introduction can be summarized with this quote from his book...
So here is the central question of this book: In this modern era of cosmology, evolution, and the human genome, is there still the possibility of a richly satisfying harmony between the scientific and spiritual worldviews? I answer with a resounding Yes! In my view, there is no conflict in being a rigorous scientist and a person who believes in a God who takes a personal interest in each one of us. Science's domain is to explore nature. God's domain is in the spiritual world, a realm not possible to explore with the tools and language of science. It must be examined with the heart, the mind, and the soul—and the mind must find a way to embrace both realms.

This is pretty much a restatement of Stephen Gould's Non-overlapping magisteria (NOMA)

Dr. Dembski is doing his students a disservice if he doesn't at least mention Gould's ideas.  I noticed Gould is not on the required reading list.

I happen to embrace NOMA but that is probably a subject for later discussions.

Date: 2010/03/28 11:58:01, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Chapter 1: From Atheism to Belief
This chapter started with...

And ended with...
...the evidence of God's existence would have to come from other directions, and the ultimate decision would be based on faith, not proof. Still beset by roiling uncertainties of what path I had started down, I had to admit that I had reached the threshold of accepting the possibility of a spiritual worldview, including the existence of God.
For a long time I stood trembling on the edge of this yawning gap. Finally, seeing no escape, I leapt.
How can such beliefs be possible for a scientist? Aren't many claims of religion incompatible with the "Show me the data" attitude of someone devoted to the study of chemistry, physics, biology, and medicine? By opening the door of my mind to its spiritual possibilities, had I started a war of worldviews that would consume me, ultimately facing a take-noprisoners victory of one or the other?

It is an unsurprising conversion story with the obligatory wise minister (this time he was a Methodist) giving just the right sagely advice (this time it was reading C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity) to get the ball rolling.
The informative part, for me, is that it appears Collins really didn't struggle with his philosophical outlook until late in life.
I practiced a thought and behavior pattern referred to as "willful blindness" by the noted scholar and writer C. S. Lewis.

I have struggled with my philosophical outlook for many years.  I am still struggling with it.  One of my main philosophies is to question my beliefs and motives by testing them.

One of the many religious people I have talked to in the past was a Jewish co-worker who I respected.  He said something odd during a religious discussion we were having.  It was something along the lines that my intelligence makes it much harder for me to come to the belief in God. He was sincere and genuinely sympathetic with my difficulty in understanding his faith in God's existence.

I don't have a problem with Francis Collins choosing to take a leap of faith any more than I would have a problem with him deciding to become a survivalist in a cabin in a wilderness.  Either can be seen as a form of escape.  While I get a little nervous that Collins wrote a book on it which could be interpreted as trying to force his belief on others, I take some solace in that Collins' says near the end of the book...
Each person must carry out his or her own search for spiritual truth. If God is real. He will assist. Far too much has been said by Christians about the exclusive club they inhabit. Tolerance is a virtue; intolerance is a vice. I find it deeply disturbing when believers in one faith tradition dismiss the spiritual experiences of others. Regrettably, Christians seem particularly prone to do this.

In short, while Collins' own life story isn't that compelling of an argument, I can hardly fault him for providing his readers with background information.

Date: 2010/03/28 14:08:44, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Albatrossity2,
Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Mar. 28 2010,10:11)
It's possible that by providing an alternative to superstition and woo, science is seen as a "challenge" to Christianity. But that is not specific to Christianity; rational alternatives to superstition are a threat to all religions.

I agree, that is a good point.  There may be challenges unique to Christianity but since Muslims also generally believe Jesus was/is something special than just about any scientific challenge to Christianity would also be a challenge to Islam.

Let's see if any of Dr. Dembski's students are brave enough to respond to this.

EDIT - I think it would have been more appropriate for the syllabus to read...

"- Be able to summarize the main scientific challenges to the Christian faith [and vice versa.]"

Unless, of course, Dr. Dembski thinks there is nothing Christianity can challenge science with.

Date: 2010/03/28 14:29:57, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Skeptic Reborn,
Quote (skeptic reborn @ Mar. 28 2010,11:22)
You've brought me out of my self-imposed exile, TP.  I will follow this thread to see where it leads.  I'm guessing it will rehash earlier discussions of NOMA, which I have advocated in favor of, but it will be interesting to see if 3 years has brought on any changes.  I doubt I will post from here out but I wanted to let you know that you're not posting to empty air.

Thank you for speaking up.

At the risk of starting an off-topic discussion I think recent developments in Quantum Biophysics has the protential of illuminating a definitive barrier between that which is deterministic and that which is not.

I suspect even Dr. Dembski is aware of it (since here mentioned it in his Expert Witness Report).  As I indicated, his class would be woefully incomplete without a discussion of Gould’s NOMA.

If none of Dr. Dembski's students are confident enough to discuss NOMA, please consider doing so.
Sure, it might be a lot of rehash, but at least we can keep each other company.  :)

Date: 2010/03/28 14:56:05, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi OgreMkV,
Quote (OgreMkV @ Mar. 28 2010,13:15)
from the syllabus...
What you believe to be true will control you whether it’s true or not.
–Jeremy LaBorde

This quote is fine for philosophy and morality and ethics (up to a point).  But in reality, it cannot apply to science.

When PE came out, I dearly wanted it not to be true.  Still, the evidence mounted up and PE is more supported than not.

I can believe that my next check will have my bonus on it, so maybe I'll go spend some money. However if my belief is unfounded (and since the announcement of the bonus in January, so my belief has been unfounded in every paycheck so far), then I will be a bit of trouble come rent time.

What you believe should not be used to 'control' or as an excuse for a lack of control.

I wish Dr. Dembski's students would hurry up and get here.  They are missing a good opportunaty to try out their developing skills in writing "...critical reviews appropriate to the debate between science and religion"

For example, PE = Punctuated Equilibrium, right?
It goes toward the argument with science it is supposed to be evidence, not philosophy, which controls what inferences to make and what experiments to run.

To be fair, I don't know how much the LaBorde quote is indicative of what Dr. Dembski is teaching.  Let's find out what his students have to say.


Date: 2010/03/28 18:30:20, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
In the continuing tribute to Judus, from the Rock Opera, Jesus Christ Superstar here is Judus in the opening scene...


EDIT - here is the Last Supper scene

Date: 2010/03/28 20:33:42, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
CHAPTER TWO - The War of the Worldviews

Starting with...
IF YOU STARTED THIS BOOK as a skeptic and have managed to travel this far with me, no doubt a torrent of your own objections has begun to form. I certainly have had my own: Isn't God just a case of wishful thinking? Hasn't a great deal of harm been done in the name of religion? How could a loving God permit suffering? How can a serious scientist accept the possibility of miracles?

The chapter deals with each of these four questions.

Collins argues God isn't the result of wishful thinking because it would be doubtful anyone would wish for the type of God we allegedly got.

Ironically, Collins made a statement in his first chapter that supports the idea God could be wishful thinking.  He wrote "I grew up with the general sense that you had to be responsible for your own behavior and your choices..."
This is hard work.  It is much easier to externalize responsibility (i.e. a form of escape).

As to the second question, unpleasant conclusions don't make the conclusion invalid.  IMO, arguing that religious doctrine is inaccurate because its bad is just as unpersuasive as arguing the doctrine is accurate because it is good.

This gets back to trying to control reality with beliefs.

No religious conversion would be complete without at least trying to deal with the problem of evil as Collins does in his attempt to answere his third question.  He didn't say anything very definative or unusual.

In another thread I came up with something I thought was an interesting concept for explaining how both a benevolent God and evil can coexist.

In the movie Matrix it was noted mankind would reject a utopian reality. If mankind does not struggle against adversity, its spirit dies. Man is also intelligent enough to see through a faux simulation of adversity. The adversity has to be real. This would include an inherent doubt of God’s existence. For man’s own good, God made it so his existence could never be known as a certainty which included providing scientists a difficult but consistent set of clues suggesting his existence was unnecessary.

I don't know how persuasive it is, but it’s about as persuasive as anything else I have heard, including Collins' version.

As for miracles (the fourth question) Collins relegates them to being very rare; nearly impossible but not totally impossible, only to be used on special occasions. If I didn't already know Collins thinks Common Descent is scientifically supported, this would have been foreshadowing that conclusion.

Date: 2010/03/29 11:46:17, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Quote (midwifetoad @ Mar. 29 2010,09:35)
Assertion lacking experimental evidence.

Quote (fnxtr @ Mar. 29 2010,10:36)
Also, terms not defined.

Both are valid critisisms and though I would like to explore this further, the thread is supposed to be about Dr. Dembski's class and Francis Collins' book.  Please excuse my weakness in bringing it up in the first place.

Date: 2010/03/29 12:40:35, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
PART TWO - The Great Questions of Human Existence
CHAPTER THREE - The Origins of the Universe
MORE THAN TWO HUNDRED YEARS AGO, one of the most influential philosophers of all time, Immanuel Kant, wrote: "Two things fill me with constantly increasing admiration and awe, the longer and more earnestly I reflect on them: the starry heavens without and the Moral Law within." An effort to understand the origins and workings of the cosmos has characterized nearly all religions throughout history, whether in the overt worship of a sun god, the ascription of spiritual significance to phenomena such as eclipses, or simply a sense of awe at the wonders of the heavens.
Was Kant's remark merely the sentimental musing of a philosopher not benefited by discoveries of modern science, or is there a harmony achievable between science and faith in the profoundly important question of the origins of the universe?

In God and the Astronomers, the astrophysicist Robert Jastrow wrote this final paragraph: "At this moment it seems as though science will never be able to raise the curtain on the mystery of creation. For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries."

While I don't agree with some of what he wrote, I think Collins presented his arguments fairly and well in this chapter.  As an example of fairness, he wrote "...any assumption that a conspiracy could exist among scientists to keep a widely current theory alive when it actually contains serious flaws is completely antithetical to the restless mind-set of the profession"

Apparently, at one time he had studied to be a physicist.  Therefore, he has a reasonable understanding of Quantum Mechanics (as much as it is possible for anyone to have a reasonable understanding of it).

I highlighted the Robert Jastrow quote, because its sentiment is one of my favorites.  I have noticed religious proponents quoting it and/or having the saying posted on their work cubical walls.

I don't know about others, but I smile at the thought that somehow this idea would be seen as a negative for those skeptical of religion.  Sure, one can avoid reading a mystery novel by just peaking at the last chapter, but what is the value of that?

Date: 2010/03/29 16:15:03, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
It looks like I might have touched a sensitive spot.

While my distrust and distain for organized religion approaches loathing, I really would think it kind of neat if it turned out there is a supernatural scientist (God) who created our universe.

It wouldn't bother me in the slightest to have the faithful claiming "I told you so" because they know and knew nothing.  A belief in something which happens to be true isn't knowledge.

A five year old girl could be taught to say "The more precisely the position is determined, the less precisely the momentum is known in this instant, and vice versa."  Should a trained physicist be disturbed by this?

So far, Francis Collins hasn't gone too far out on a limb.  He is stating his opinion that God exists is based on little more than personal feelings.  He admitted this took a leap of faith.  In other words, he doesn't know God exists he is assuming it as a philosophical truth.

We know the waterfall event was the defining moment when Collins took his leap but that is in the final chapter.  In chapter 3 we are still discussing the possibility of some kind of supernatural force creating the universe.

It is often assumed the Big Bang is the one God-in-the-gap argument which can never be explained by science.  Collins has pretty much made that argument.  I disagree with him.  I think Roger Penrose would too.

Date: 2010/03/29 17:29:21, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Careful Louis, if you are too nice it might hurt your reputation.   ;)

Anyway, thank you for commenting.  The argument that needs to happen is surely not happening here.  It's pretty sad if I'm what passes for a religious proponent.

Even Francis Collins isn't a very persuasive advocate for believing in God.

I'm a little disappointed that it appears to be more of the same-old, same-old but I guess I shouldn't have been surprised.

On the positive side, I wasn't aware C.S.Lewis was the creator of the "Lord, Liar, or Lunatic" trilemma.  At least I learned something new.

On the negative side, and definitely not a surprise, it doesn't look like anyone is willing to put their religious philosophy to the test.

However, I am the type who likes to finish efforts once started.  Maybe I will be pleasantly surprised by one of Dembski's students.

P.S. I really like your signature line.  I think it applies to much more than just science.

Date: 2010/03/29 20:11:27, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
CHAPTER FOUR - Life on Earth (Of Microbes and Man)
Starts with...
THE ADVANCES OF SCIENCE in the modern age have come at the cost of certain traditional reasons for belief in God. When we had no idea how the universe came into existence, it was easier to ascribe it all to an act of God, or many separate acts of God. Similarly, until Kepler, Copernicus, and Galileo upset the applecart in the sixteenth century, the placement of Earth at the center of the majestic starry heavens seemed to represent a powerful argument for the existence of God. If He put us on center stage, He must have built it all for us. When heliocentric science forced a revision of this perception, many believers were shaken up.
But a third pillar of belief continued to carry considerable weight: the complexity of earthly life, implying to any reasonable observer the handiwork of an intelligent designer. As we shall see, science has now turned this upside down.

Ends with...
Evolution, as a mechanism, can be and must be true. But that says nothing about the nature of its author. For those who believe in God, there are reasons now to be more in awe, not less.

This chapter strengthens my suspicions that Dr. Dembski might be using this book as an example of opposition.

For the most part, the chapter was a science lesson setting the reader up for the next chapter (I peeked).

I suggest it is close to something Ken Miller might have written.

Date: 2010/03/29 20:53:55, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi Doc Bill,

To answer your questions...

Yes, really.

Yes and no, i.e. Semi-seriously.


No - don't know how to take care of a unicorn and... <gasp>...  I don't drink beer (especially American beer)


Might be handy

Not really

It's not a wish, it is an opinion.

Answer A - Because I like my cake made the old fashion way, especially if it is chocolate

Date: 2010/03/29 21:25:23, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Hi John,
Quote (JohnW @ Mar. 29 2010,18:30)

What if we freeze the aardvark?

I broke out laughing so hard I had to try to explain it to her.

I think I failed miserably.

I still think it was a great comment.

Date: 2010/03/29 23:12:58, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
CHAPTER FIVE - Deciphering God's Instruction Book (The Lessons of the Human Genome)
Darwin could hardly have imagined a more compelling digital demonstration of his theory than what we find by studying the DNA of multiple organisms.

In the mid-nineteenth century, Darwin had no way of knowing what the mechanism of evolution by natural selection might be. We can now see that the variation he postulated is supported by naturally occurring mutations in DNA. These are estimated to occur at a rate of about one error every 100 million base pairs per generation. (That means, by the way, that since we all have two genomes of 3 billion base pairs each, one from our mother and one from our father, we all have roughly sixty new mutations that were not present in either of our parents.)

Most of those mutations occur in parts of the genome that are not essential, and therefore they have little or no consequence. The ones that fall in the more vulnerable parts of the genome are generally harmful, and are thus rapidly culled out of the population because they reduce reproductive fitness. But on rare occasions, a mutation will arise by chance that offers a slight degree of selective advantage. That new DNA "spelling" will have a slightly higher likelihood of being passed on to future offspring. Over the course of a very long period of time, such favorable rare events can become widespread in all members of the species, ultimately resulting in major changes in biological function.

In some instances, scientists are even catching evolution in the act, now that we have the tools to track these events. Some critics of Darwinism like to argue that there is no evidence of "macroevolution" (that is, major change in species) in the fossil record, only of "microevolution" (incremental change within a species). We have seen finch beaks change shape over time, they argue, depending upon changing food sources, but we haven't seen new species arise.

This distinction is increasingly seen to be artificial.

As you may have noticed, I have summarized most of the previous chapters starting with the opening paragraph and then the closing.  This chapter didn't lend itself to that.  Here Francis Collins seems to be writing like the geneticist he is.  He only occasionally relates it back to God and then it comes across as a forced afterthought.

Collins makes it clear he has no doubts evolution is well established scientifically.

He didn't say it, but I get the impression he would be among those who simply can't envision God mucking around with such an elegant system.  It simply wouldn't do to mess with the "Language of God" even by God himself.

EDIT - minor

Date: 2010/03/30 06:48:03, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Quote (Louis @ Mar. 30 2010,05:38)
After all, if TP doesn't drink his share then the burden falls to others, like me, to pick up. Brothers, Sisters, I beseech you, is it fair to ask me to drink his sha....

....Oh. Wait. Nevermind.


lol :D

Date: 2010/03/30 14:47:28, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
PART THREE - Faith in Science, Faith in God
CHAPTER SIX - Genesis, Galileo, and Darwin

The chapter ends with...
Unfortunately, however, in many ways the controversy between evolution and faith is proving to be much more difficult than an argument about whether the earth goes around the sun. After all, the evolution controversy reaches into the very heart of both faith and science. This is not about rocky heavenly bodies, but about ourselves and our relation to a Creator. Perhaps the centrality of those issues explains the fact that, despite the modern rate of progress and dissemination of information, we still have not resolved the public controversy about evolution, nearly 150 years after Darwin's publication of The Origin of Species.

Galileo remained a strong believer to the end. He continued to argue that scientific exploration was not only an acceptable but a noble course of action for a believer. In a famous remark that could be the motto today of all scientist-believers, he said: "I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use."

Keeping that exhortation in mind, let us now explore the possible responses to the contentious interaction between the theory of evolution and faith in God. Each of us must come to some conclusion here, and choose one of the following positions. When it comes to the meaning of life, fence sitting is an inappropriate posture for both scientists and believers.

I think Collins is being as reasonable as a theistic believer could be in this chapter right up until the last sentence.

"I don't know" is a very appropriate posture for a pure scientist, IMO.

Collins is framing the debate by attempting to force people to choose between meaningless life versus life having definite meaning.

What is wrong with "life may or may not have meaning, we just don't know yet"?

Anyway, this chapter sets up the following chapters where Collins considers various common postures concerning the big questions of the meaning of life.

Are ANY of Dembski’s students reading this?

If so, at least send me a PM, thanks.

Date: 2010/03/30 20:34:24, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
CHAPTER SEVEN - Option 1: Atheism and Agnosticism
(When Science Trumps Faith)


Some have divided atheism into "weak" and "strong" forms. Weak atheism is the absence of belief in the existence of a God or gods, whereas strong atheism is the firm conviction that no such deities exist. In everyday conversation, strong atheism is generally the assumed position of someone who takes this point of view, and so I will consider that perspective here.
Dawkins's arguments come in three main flavors. First, he argues that evolution fully accounts for biological complexity and the origins of humankind, so there is no more need for God. While this argument rightly relieves God of the responsibility for multiple acts of special creation for each species on the planet, it certainly does not disprove the idea that God worked out His creative plan by means of evolution.
"The second objection from the Dawkins school of evolutionary atheism is another straw man: that religion is antirational. He seems to have adopted the definition of religion attributed to Mark Twain's apocryphal schoolboy, "Faith is believing what you know ain't so."4 Dawkins's definition of faith is "blind trust, in the absence of evidence, even in the teeth of evidence."
5 That certainly does not describe the faith of most serious believers throughout history, nor of most of those in my personal acquaintance.
Dawkins's third objection is that great harm has been done in the name of religion. There is no denying this truth, though undeniably great acts of compassion have also been fueled by faith. But evil acts committed in the name of religion in no way impugn the truth of the faith; they instead impugn the nature of human beings, those rusty containers into which the pure water of that truth has been placed.
The major and inescapable flaw of Dawkins's claim that science demands atheism is that it goes beyond the evidence. If God is outside of nature, then science can neither prove nor disprove His existence. Atheism itself must therefore be considered a form of blind faith, in that it adopts a belief system that cannot be defended on the basis of pure reason.

Upon reading this chapter I read all the chapters concerning options to see if Collins was at least balanced in his unfair criticisms.  Nope, Collins' critique of Atheism and Dawkins is uniquely contrived and harsh.

Collins starts off by framing the argument as to force Atheists to prove a negative and then unsurprisingly beats up Dawkins for trying to do just that.  However, this requires Collins to completely ignore all of Dawkin’s references to fairies, teapots, invisible unicorns, spaghetti monsters, etc.   Dawkins makes it quite clear he does not hold that “God is outside of nature” and subjects it to the same scientific investigation as everything else.  God may exist but, by God, theists must provide evidence justifying their beliefs (excuse the pun).

The worst Dawkins’ quote Collins could find was a discussion about “faith” as a meme.  And, even then, he had to put it in juxtaposition with a Mark Twain quote to imply Dawkins said something that he didn’t.

I suspect this situation may be similar to how ex-smokers are among the most obnoxious critics of smoking.

BTW, I think Collins could have made a reasonable argument challenging Dawkin's NOMA stand instead of erecting a strawman out of non-existant strawmen.

The term "agnostic" was coined by the colorful British scientist Thomas Henry Huxley, also known as "Darwin's bulldog," in 1869.
Most agnostics, however, are not so aggressive, and simply take the position that it is not possible, at least not for them at that time, to take a position for or against the existence of God. On the surface, this is a logically defensible position (whereas atheism is not). Certainly it is entirely compatible with the theory of evolution, and many biologists would put themselves in this camp. But agnosticism also runs the risk of being a cop-out.

It was a so-so history lesson.  As an argument, it was downright pathetic.

Date: 2010/03/30 21:10:47, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
CHAPTER EIGHT - Option 2: Creationism
(When Faith Trumps Science)

Over the past century ... the term "Creationist" has been hijacked (and capitalized) to apply to a very specific subset of such believers, specifically those who insist on a literal reading of Genesis 1 and 2 to describe the creation of the universe and the formation of life on earth. The most extreme version of this view, generally referred to as Young Earth Creationism (YEC), interprets the six days of creation as literal twenty-four-hour days and concludes that the earth must be less than ten thousand years old. YEC advocates also believe that all species were created by individual acts of divine creation, and that Adam and Eve were historical figures created by God from dust in the Garden of Eden, and not descended from other creatures.
Thus, by any reasonable standard, Young Earth Creationism has reached a point of intellectual bankruptcy, both in its science and in its theology. Its persistence is thus one of the great puzzles and great tragedies of our time. By attacking the fundamentals of virtually every branch of science, it widens the chasm between the scientific and spiritual worldviews, just at a time where a pathway toward harmony is desperately needed. By sending a message to young people that science is dangerous, and that pursuing science may well mean rejecting religious faith, Young Earth Creationism may be depriving science of some of its most promising future talents.

But it is not science that suffers most here. Young Earth Creationism does even more damage to faith, by demanding that belief in God requires assent to fundamentally flawed claims about the natural world. Young people brought up in homes and churches that insist on Creationism sooner or later encounter the overwhelming scientific evidence in favor of an ancient universe and the relatedness of all living things through the process of evolution and natural selection. What a terrible and unnecessary choice they then face! To adhere to the faith of their childhood, they are required to reject a broad and rigorous body of scientific data, effectively committing intellectual suicide. Presented with no other alternative than Creationism, is it any wonder that many of these young people turn away from faith, concluding that they simply cannot believe in a God who would ask them to reject what science has so compellingly taught us about the natural world?

I'm not well equipped to critique this chapter.

<calling Dr. Dembski's students...  ANY student...  hello?>

Oh well.

I think Collins did a good balance between science and faith in this chapter.  He didn't waste his time making detailed scientific arguments (they would be either not necessary or not accepted).  He was just matter of fact; accepting Creationism means rejecting science.

Date: 2010/03/30 21:55:45, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
CHAPTER NINE - Option 3: Intelligent Design
(When Science Needs Divine Help)

Starts with...
THE YEAR 2005 WAS A TUMULTUOUS ONE for Intelligent Design theory, or ID as it is commonly known. The president of the United States gave it a partial endorsement, by stating that he thought schools should include this point of view when discussing evolution. His comment was made as a lawsuit against the school board of Dover, Pennsylvania, over a similar policy was heading to a much-ballyhooed trial.


The emergence of ID coincided with a series of judicial defeats to the teaching of creationism in U.S. schools, a chronological context that has caused critics to refer to ID uncharitably as "stealth creationism" or "creationism 2.0." But these terms do not do justice to the thoughtfulness and sincerity of ID'S proponents. From my perspective as a geneticist, a biologist, and a believer in God, this movement deserves serious consideration.
The Intelligent Design movement basically rests upon three propositions.

Proposition 1: Evolution promotes an atheistic worldview
and therefore must be resisted by believers in God.
Thus, while ID is presented as a scientific theory, it is fair to say that it was not born from the scientific tradition.

Proposition 2: Evolution is fundamentally flawed, since it cannot account for the intricate complexity of nature.
...the main scientific argument of the ID movement constitutes a new version of Paley's "argument from personal incredulity," now expressed in the language of biochemistry, genetics, and mathematics.

Proposition 3: If evolution cannot explain irreducible complexity, then there must have been an intelligent designer involved somehow, who stepped in to provide the necessary components during the course of evolution.


...Intelligent Design fails in a fundamental way to qualify as a scientific theory. All scientific theories represent a framework for making sense of a body of experimental observations. But the primary utility of a theory is not just to look back but to look forward. A viable scientific theory predicts other findings and suggests approaches for further experimental verification. ID falls profoundly short in this regard. Despite its appeal to many believers, therefore, ID'S proposal of the intervention of supernatural forces to account for complex multicomponent biological entities is a scientific dead end. Outside of the development of a time machine, verification of the ID theory seems profoundly unlikely.

Core ID theory, as outlined by Johnson, also suffers by providing no mechanism by which the postulated supernatural interventions would give rise to complexity. In one attempt to address this, Behe has suggested that primitive organisms might have been "preloaded" with all of the genes that would ultimately be necessary for the development of the complex multicomponent molecular machines that he considers irreducibiy complex. Behe proposes that these sleeping genes were then awakened at an appropriate time hundreds of millions of years later, when they were needed. Setting aside the fact that no primitive organism can be found today that contains this cache of genetic information for future use, our knowledge of the mutational rate of genes that are not being utilized makes it highly improbable that such a storehouse of information would have survived long enough to be of any use.
Behe cites Darwin's famous sentence to support the arguments of irreducible complexity: "If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down."5 In the instance of the flagellum, and in virtually all other instances proposed for irreducible complexity, Darwin's criteria have not been met, and an honest evaluation of current knowledge leads to the same conclusion that follows in Darwin's next sentence: "But I can find out no such case."

Collins goes on to explain why ID is bad theologically because it is "God in the Gaps".  However, I don't think I need to go into this since it doesn't look like there are many theists expressing interest in this thread.

While most people at AtBC might think Collins went too easy on ID (including me), his description of the situation is fairly accurate.

Date: 2010/03/31 07:01:25, Link
Author: Thought Provoker

Good comment, thanks.

Quote (JLT @ Mar. 31 2010,02:57)
Does Collins really say that without god, life is meaningless?

I did a quick search and found something that comes close to this in the next chapter (Chapter 10).  While Collins doesn't specifically say this, he frames the debate is such a way it is the only conclusion left to the reader.

Quote (JLT @ Mar. 31 2010,02:57)
IMO, that's pure BS. For one thing, no atheist (that I know of) thinks his life is meaningless but what I really want to know: What special meaning does faith give to your life? Even if humans were specially created a few thousand years ago, how would that on its own give meaning to anyone's life? We still wouldn't know WHY god created us. To worship him? Because he was bored and we are his daily soap opera? That's not much of a meaning. Or is the meaning of life for Christians to die and go to heaven or what.

Honestly, I've never understood how belief in the christian god is supposed to give your life meaning or purpose.

Very good point.  Now, if we only had someone to argue the opposing view.

<Calling Dr. Dembski's students...  hello?....  Bueller?>

Date: 2010/04/01 15:15:51, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
Oh I am sure...

"The findings could have massive implications for treating the growing number of people who fall wide-eyed for sensationalist media reports."


Date: 2010/04/01 15:45:13, Link
Author: Thought Provoker
CHAPTER TEN - Option 4: BioLogos
(Science and Faith in Harmony)

Starts with...
AT MY HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION, an earnest Presbyterian