Quantum Entanglement

This was posted at Yahoo's Teilhard de Chardin Study and Discussion Group.

From: MurrellB@...

Date: Fri Sep 13, 2002  3:55 pm

Subject: Quantum Entanglement  beatrix91910


Written yesterday by a Net friend from New York City, Matt has given me permission to present it on this List. --B.

In the beginning:

All physics was unseparated from metaphysics. Analysis of physical events

and the structure of the universe directly corresponded to the metaphysical

views of the day. Heavenly matter ascended. Earthly matter

fell. Relationship to God described many physical phenomena. Then...


The apple falls:

Isaac Newton was perhaps the greatest scientist of all time. He invented

an entirely new form of mathematics to analyze the universe more thoroughly

than ever before. The result was a set of unbreakable rules for the way

matter behaves. And since in his view all the universe was made of matter,

then all that happened in the universe happened according to a set of

unbreakable rules determined by mass and motion. This gave rise to the

metaphysical view of God as "the great clockmaker," a God who was somewhere

else and had built the universe and set it in motion forever according to

his rules. Free will was a problem here since Newton left no room for

it. Descarte "solved" the problem with a metaphysical meat cleaver,

separating mind from matter and creating the view that mind and matter do

not interact at all, except mysteriously in the human brain. Things were

rigid and unsatisfying until...


The relativist:

Albert Einstein showed that matter was energy and vice versa. This opened

the door for a bit of metaphysical questioning about the source and motive

of all this energy, but not much. Because, like Newton's, Einstein's

universe was completely deterministic. Everything, matter and energy,

still moved according to preset laws. If you knew the "initial conditions"

under which the universe was created, then supposedly you could predict

everything that would ever happen. So once again, no free-will. AND,

Einstein made a deterministic universe more lonely. Information, energy,

and matter could not travel faster than 186,000 miles per second, meaning

that it took billions of years for light to cross the universe. How could

an all-encompassing God even think a thought, if thoughts only travel at

the speed of light? In truth, Einstein was less of a revolutionary than he

was made out to be, which means the world needed...


The real revolution:

Werner Heisenberg, Neils Bohr, Erwin Schrodinger and others built Quantum

Theory (QT) into the most successful physical theory of all time. No

prediction it has made has ever been disproven. QT runs every solid state

device, computer, stereo, or pacemaker that exists. It runs the sun. And

Einstein hated it. QT says that when you look deeply enough, both in very

small slivers of time, space, and energy, there is NO THING left to look

at. All reality dissolves into a foam of probability and seeming

randomness, and talking about a single piece of matter, or wave of light,

becomes meaningless. Out of this quantum foam, particles (and universes?)

can spontaneously arise and disappear, beyond any ability of science to see

them. And, as part of the theory, particles that interact become

"entangled", that is, share quantum characteristics such as "spin" or

energy, and affect each other even after the particles have separated. All

of the mechanics of this are more than inaccessible to examination, they

actually don't exist - there is no mechanism. So Einstein proposed...


The counter revolution:

Einstein could not abide the "mystical" (his word) nature of QT, and in the

1930's, he and Podolsky and Rosen came up with a thought experiment called

the EPR Paradox. Suppose you have two particles, atoms, whatever, that

originated together and thus share quantum entanglement. Suppose they

travel a billion light years apart. Now suppose you interact with one of

them. According to QT, the other one, a billion light years away, will

INSTANTLY change its behavior. But relativity theory said that no signal

could travel faster than the light, so how would the second particle know

to change, since a signal from the first would take a billion years to get

there? Quantum entanglement must be wrong, or at least only localized,

said Einstein, and he and most scientists believed this for decades. What

was needed was...


Someone to decide the issue:

John Bell was an Irish physicist specializing in QT. In 1964 he came up

with an exceedingly simple and elegant equation regarding entangled

particles called Bell's Inequality. The derivation of the equation

involved only simple arithmetic and no new assumptions, so its validity was

uncontested. If in an experiment, the equation was satisfied, then

Einstein was right, and quantum behavior could not "communicate" instantly

over all distances, and particles did not entangle. If the equation was

violated, then QT is right, and all particles which ever interacted are

still somehow invisibly connected. During the 70's, 80's, and 90's,

technology advanced to the point where doing a test of Bell's Inequality

was possible. A series of single photons (light particles) is polarized,

and split in two to go off in opposite directions. Measurements of the

polarization are made on one side in specific ways that would change the

measurements of polarization of the entangled particles on the other

side. If the change in behavior from one particle to the other travels

faster than light speed, and if the particles really are entangled, then it

will show up in Bell's Inequality being violated. The results are in, and

all of the experiments show that Bell's Inequality IS violated, and that

quantum entanglement is real.


So what:

Two very big metaphysical issues now arise. First of all, any particle

that splits in two or more pieces, or simply interacts with another

particle, is forever entangled. Obviously on one level, all of us, and all

of everything, are made of particles. Thus, entanglement could and would

affect them all. But beyond that, physicists agree that in the Big Bang,

the universe erupted out of the quantum foam as ONE particle, and proceeded

to explode, split, and multiply. That means that a fundamental

entanglement includes ALL matter in the universe, since it was all

descended from this proto-particle. Even this universal entanglement,

however grand, would only be a simple physical phenomenon except for that

pesky little free will thing. You see, a fundamental result of QT is that

the particles emerging from the quantum realm do not even exist in a

specific way or place, until they are consciously observed. Note the

"consciously". So in the experiment above, it is the conscious observation

of a particle that affects the existence of another particle a billion

miles away. The role of consciousness in QT was the object of some vicious

debates, and lots of weird theories were proposed to get it out, but John

Von Neumann at the Institute for Advanced Study, and others, showed that

consciousness would not go away here. All of a sudden, we've got a

universe where not only we, but the atoms themselves, have free

will. Descarte was wrong.


The final link:

There are lots of models and theories of brain function proposed through

the years, but they have failed to explain the aspects of conscious

behavior that are not deterministic, which is most of them. Such human

traits as creativity, intuition, free will, and the sheer contrariness of

human behavior, all seem to belie a simple deterministic brain. Recently,

researchers have begun noting that the synapses of the brain work in ways

that can favor quantum randomness, and that is possible that the brain

accesses the quantum foam in some way. This would mean that certain

aspects of consciousness may originate from the quantum realm which is

observationally off limits. Researchers at Princeton and elsewhere have

verified the ability of human thought to affect quantum random number

generators, most recently during the 9/11 attacks, when a greater number of

human minds were focused on one traumatic event than ever before, causing

random number generators around the world to change their behavior.


So, we are left with a verification of universal Quantum Entanglement, and

the ability of human thought to interact with and even be partially

generated by the quantum domain. These two facts give a physical and

scientific grounding (however nascent) to a metaphysical view that includes

Universal Mind, the connectedness of all things, and the primacy of

consciousness as the creative force.


Newton and Einstein may be turning over in their graves at these events,

but that is what dead scientists are supposed to do.


Some quotes to leave you with:


"The stuff of the world is mind-stuff." - Sir Arthur Eddington, Nobel



"There is no matter as such! All matter originates and exists, only by

virtue of a force which brings the particles of an atom to vibration... We

must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent

mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter." - Max Planck, Nobel Physicist


"The universe begins to look more like a great thought than a like a great

machine. Mind no longer appears as an accidental intruder into the realm

of matter; we are beginning to suspect that we ought rather to hail it as

the creator and governor of the realm of matter - not of course our

individual minds, but the mind in which the atoms out of which our

individual minds have grown exist as thoughts. -- Sir James Jeans, Nobel



"Mind is, by its very nature, a singulare tantum. I should say: The

overall number of minds is just one. -- Erwin Schrodinger, Nobel Physicist


"Matter is derived from Mind, not Mind from Matter." -- Tibetan Book of

the Great Liberation


"You are not a physical being having a spiritual experience; you are a spiritual being having a physical experience.” -- Teilhard de Chardin