Brent Allsop (allsop@swttools.fc.hp.com)
Tue, 29 Jul 1997 15:04:24 -0600

John K Clark <johnkc@well.com> gave a great summary of the everett

As you know, from our previous discussions with the subject:
"upload", I'm very much interested in studying conscious perception
and it's philosophical implications. This subject obviously overlaps
in this area of quantum "collapsing wave functions" by conscious
perception or whatever. I've always had many questions about some of
this that I've always wanted to ask of an expert like you on this
topic. Perhaps you (or anyone) can help me out a bit with answers to
some of these?

You described the experiment:

> A conscious quantum computer shoots electrons at a metal plate that
> has 2 small slits in it.

First off, could you define what this "conscious quantum
computer" is and is not? In particular, how must it sense and
represent information?

> The quantum mind has detectors near each slit so it knows which slit
> the various electrons went through.

As we discussed before in the other thread, when WE
consciously "detect" things, it is done via a complex cause and effect
sensing process that ultimately results in a conscious model or
awareness of the event sensed in our brain or conscious mind. Our
conscious sensing mechanism could be spofed by something like
directly stimulating the optic nerve producing an indistinguishable
conscious awareness, even though the awareness was of nothing real and
we, in fact, might not have an eye or sensor at all.

Please describe what you mean by "The quantum mind has
detectors..." How must this perception process work? Could the
causal connection between the "detectors" and the conscious
representations in this "quantum computer" be similarly spofed in an
indistinguishable way as our conscious perception process can be? In
other words would it work if you, in fact, had no sensors, but feed
the identical information that would have come from the sensors to the
quantum consciousness?

> In the Copenhagen interpretation when the results of a measurement
> enters the consciousness of an observer the wave function collapses,
> in effect all the universes except one disappear, so you get no
> interference.

So, if I removed my eyes, cutting the optic nerves, (rendering
me blind yet keeping them operational) and configured them to sense
such an event and I recorded the data coming from the optic nerve of
these removed eyes and never consciously observed this data for many
years... then I created a virtual reality simulation of the experiment
in the distant future which directly stimulated my optic nerve that
was long ago separated from the eyes with the recorded data in such a
way that the data going to my consciousness was indistinguishable to
what would have gone to my consciousness at the time of the actual
experiment had I not cut the optic nerves before they observed the
event... what would happen? Would the wave function of this event
not collapse until I consciously represented the event in my mind many
years in the future? Can you see the problem I have with all this? I
find such extreme enduring "superimposed states" all very absurd.

Why is it that the representational nature of our
consciousness and the completely separate and arbitrary relationship
between what our "detectors" detect and the awareness that eventually
causally results always completely left out of any of this kind of
reasoning about consciousness collapsing of quantaum waves in spite of
it's critical importance to this topic? It's as if everyone that
talks about this has never thought or read about what the perception
process is or must be and I find it all troubling and very hard to

Surely any old physical "macro" event, any computer (quantum
or not) that records and represents the information, or even the
information traveling up the optic nerve or a rod or cone neuronn in
the retina firring... can do just as much to "collapse" a wave as
phenomenal conscious representations can. Occam's razor says this
must be true. What reason is there for attributing the collapse to
something causally so far away from and so arbitrarily associated with
the actual quantum event being "detected"?

Brent Allsop