Garret Moddel | Quantum Mechanics Does Not Explain Psi… So Far

What makes us think that age-old questions can be explained best by the latest fashionable theory? In particular, is psi explained by quantum mechanics? Consilience of quantum concepts with those in various disciplines can have value, and careful invocations of quantum in psi research have used quantum as an analogy. Often, though, it has crept in as more than that.

The quantum observer effect has been used to explain psychokinesis. We act as if the Von Neumann-Wigner quantum observer interpretation that consciousness is required for wave function collapse is accepted quantum mechanics. It is not. Innovative work such as Cramer’s transactional interpretation explicitly excludes the need for a conscious observer, and instead invokes advanced (retrograde) waves. We don’t need a conscious observer effect for quantum mechanics (but we might need retrocausation).

Beautiful experiments that make use of participants focusing their attention on a double-slit apparatus to reduce fringe visibility might be interpreted to show that consciousness collapses the wavefunction. Do they indeed show that? No, they simply show that participants focusing their attention on a double-slit apparatus can reduce the fringe visibility. The influence can work on any randomness/noise in the system.

Similarly, quantum entanglement cannot explain telepathy. Quantum entanglement provides correlation but not information. When a mother wakes up in the middle of the night and cries, “oh no, my son has been hurt,” because she senses that her distant son has just gotten into an accident, information was obtained. That is not just correlation.

We don’t even need quantum mechanics for some quantum concepts. Uncertainty is a principle of wave-like systems – no need here for quantum mechanics. Quantum mechanics doesn’t explain quantum healing, or quantum consciousness, or even quantum mechanics itself.

What we know is that intention can influence a system having randomness, whether quantum or otherwise. Psi understanding will advance more effectively with well-defined models that are verifiable rather than with grand speculative theories.

Bio: Garret Moddel is a professor of Electrical, Computer, and Energy Engineering at the University of Colorado. Along with developing new energy conversion technologies, his research group investigates psi phenomena. Currently he is serving as SSE Vice President, and was the organizations previous president, and prior to that, president & CEO of Phiar Corporation, a high-tech start-up company. Garret earned a BSEE degree from Stanford and MS and PhD degrees in Applied Physics from Harvard.

Recorded at the Society for Scientific Exploration Conference in Broomfield, Colorado 2019.

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Published on February 21, 2020