FRONTIERS OF TIME: Retrocausation - Experiment and Theory
863(2006); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.2388744View Description Hide Description
Advanced electromagnetic potentials are indigenous to the classical Maxwell theory. Generally however they are deemed undesirable and are forcibly excluded, destroying the theory’s inherent time‐symmetry. We investigate the reason for this, pointing out that it is not necessary and in some cases is counter‐productive. We then focus on the direct‐action theory in which the advanced and retarded contributions are present symmetrically, with no opportunity supplement the particular integral solution of the wave equation with an arbitrary complementary function. One then requires a plausible explanation for the observed broken symmetry that, commonly, is understood cannot be met by the Wheeler‐Feynman mechanism because the necessary boundary condition cannot be satisfied in acceptable cosmologies. We take this opportunity to argue that the boundary condition is already met by all expanding cosmologies simply as a result of cosmological red‐shift. A consequence is that the cosmological and thermodynamic arrows of time can be equated, the direct action version of EM is preferred, and that advanced potentials are ubiquitous.
863(2006); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.2388745View Description Hide Description
In the first part of the paper we present the transactional interpretation of quantum mechanics, a method of viewing the formalism of quantum mechanics that provides a way of visualizing quantum events and experiments. In the second part, we present an EPR gedankenexperiment that appears to lead to observer‐level reverse causation. A transactional analysis of the experiment is presented. It easily accounts for the reported observations but does not reveal any barriers to its modification for reverse causation.
Multiple Interaction‐Free Measurement as a Challenge to the Transactional Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics863(2006); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.2388746View Description Hide Description
Cramer’s analysis of interaction‐free measurement in terms of his Transactional Interpretation is critically reviewed. Next we attempt to apply it to some varieties of IFM that have been devised during the last decade, pointing out the challenges posed by such attempt We then discuss the possible bearings of these experiments on the Transactional Interpretation as well as on the nature of spacetime.
863(2006); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.2388747View Description Hide Description
A straightforward extension of quantum mechanics and quantum field theory is proposed that can describe physical systems comprising two interacting subsystems: one subsystem evolves forward in time, the other, backward. The space of quantum states is the direct sum of the states representing the respective subsystems, whereupon there are two linearly independent vacuum states, one each for the forward and the backward subspace. An indefinite metric is imposed on the space of quantum states such that purely forward (respectively, purely backward) states have positive (respectively, negative) norms. Hamiltonians are self‐adjoint operators with respect to the metric, such that interactions/transitions between the subspaces can be accounted for. Given suitable definitions of input and of output states at the two ends of a time interval, input and output states separately have positive norms such that probability is conserved, and hence S‐matrices are unitary. A discussion of the physics entailed in the proposed formalism is undertaken. Then as an application, a simple model of a relativistic quantum field theory is proposed. In this model, the expected vacuum energy (thought to be associated with the cosmological constant) almost vanishes uniformly for times in an interval due to cancellation of the energies of the forward and backward vacuum states; this cancellation holds whatever be the input vacuum state at the ends of the time interval. A model is advanced wherein magnetic monopoles live exclusively in backward‐evolving states, and interact with forward‐evolving electric charges in a certain way. Proposals for further research, particularly concerning the possible detection of advanced gravitational waves, and a conjecture on the physics of dark matter and dark energy, conclude the report.
863(2006); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.2388748View Description Hide Description
Although experimental evidence for retrocausation exists, there are clearly subtleties to the phenomenon. The bilking paradox, in which one intervenes to eliminate a subsequent cause after a preceding effect has occurred, appears on the surface to show that retrocausation is logically impossible. In a previous paper, the second law of thermodynamics was invoked to show that the entropy in each process of a psi interaction (presentience, telepathy, remote perception, and psychokinesis) cannot decrease, prohibiting psi processes in which signals condense from background fluctuations. Here it is shown, perhaps contrary to one’s intuition, that reversible processes cannot be influenced through retrocausation, but irreversible processes can. The increase in thermodynamic entropy in irreversible processes — which are generally described by Newtonian mechanics but not Lagrangian dynamics and Hamilton’s Principle — is required for causation. Thermodynamically reversible processes cannot be causal and hence also cannot be retrocausal. The role of entropy in psi interactions is extended by using the bilking paradox to consider information transmission in retroactive psychokinesis (PK). PK efficiency, η PK , is defined. A prediction of the analysis is that η PK ⩽ H/H 0, where H is the information uncertainty or entropy in the retro‐PK agent’s knowledge of the event that is to be influenced retrocausally. The information entropy can provide the necessary ingredient for non‐reversibility, and hence retrocausation. Noise and bandwidth limitations in the communication to the agent of the outcome of the event increase the maximum PK efficiency. Avoidance of the bilking paradox does not bar a subject from using the premonition of an event to prevent it from occurring. The necessity for large information entropy, which is the expected value of the surprisal, is likely to be essential for any successful PK process, not just retro‐PK processes. Hence uncertainty in the communication process appears to be a necessary component of retrocausation in particular, and of PK in general.
863(2006); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.2388749View Description Hide Description
A new event is defined as an intervention in the time reversible dynamical trajectories of particles in a system. New events are then assumed to be quantum fluctuations in the spatial and momentum coordinates, and mental action is assumed to work by ordering such fluctuations. It is shown that when the cumulative values of such fluctuations in a mean free path of a molecule are magnified by molecular interaction at the end of that path, the momentum of a molecule can be changed from its original direction to any other direction. In this way mental action can produce effects through the ordering of thermal motions. Examples are given which show that the ordering of 104–105 molecules is sufficient to (a) produce detectible PK results and (b) open sufficient ion channels in the brain to initiate a physical action.
The relationship of the above model to the arrow of time is discussed.
863(2006); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.2388750View Description Hide Description
The thermodynamic arrow of time is directed by the second law of thermodynamics. In the last ten years, over two dozen theoretical challenges to the second law, many of them laboratory testable, have cast serious doubt on the law’s continued universality. In this paper we review a representative challenge and consider the possibility that the thermodynamic arrow might be reversed on local or global scales. Experiments are proposed to test the connections between retrocausation and a reversed thermodynamic arrow.
863(2006); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.2388751View Description Hide Description
Stable neuronal assemblies are generally regarded as neural correlates of mental representations. Their temporal sequence corresponds to the experience of a direction of time, sometimes called the psychological time arrow. We show that the stability of particular, biophysically motivated models of neuronal assemblies, called coupled map lattices, is supported by causal interactions among neurons and obstructed by non‐causal or anti‐causal interactions among neurons. This surprising relation between causality and stability suggests that those neuronal assemblies that are stable due to causal neuronal interactions, and thus correlated with mental representations, generate a psychological time arrow. Yet this impact of causal interactions among neurons on the directed sequence of mental representations does not rule out the possibility of mentally less efficacious non‐causal or anti‐causal interactions among neurons.
863(2006); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.2388752View Description Hide Description
For more than 100 years scientists have attempted to determine the truth or falsity of claims that some people are able to describe and experience events or information blocked from ordinary perception. For the past 25 years, the authors of this paper – together with researchers in laboratories around the world — have carried out experiments in remote viewing. The evidence for this mode of perception, or direct knowing of distant events and objects, has convinced us of the validity of these claims. It has been widely observed that the accuracy and reliability of this sensory awareness does not diminish with either electromagnetic shielding, nor with increases in temporal or spatial separation between the percipient and the target to be described. Modern physics describes such a time‐and‐space independent connection between percipient and target as nonlocal.
In this paper we present a geometrical model of space‐time, which has already been extensively studied in the technical literature of mathematics and physics. This eight‐dimensional metric is known as “complex Minkowski space,” and has been shown to be consistent with our present understanding of the equations of Newton, Maxwell, Einstein, and Schrödinger. It also has the interesting property of allowing a connection of zero distance between points in the complex manifold, which appear to be separate from one another in ordinary observation. We propose a model that describes the major elements of experimental parapsychology, and at the same time is consistent with the present highly successful structure of modern physics.
863(2006); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.2388753View Description Hide Description
The possibility of retrocausation has been considered to explain the occurrence of anomalous phenomena in which the ostensible effects are preceded by their causes. A scrutiny of both experimental methodology and the experimental data is called for. A review of experimental data reveals the existence of such effects to be a serious possibility. The experimental methodology entails some conceptual difficulties, these depending on the underlying assumptions about the effects. A major point is an ambiguity between anomalous acquisition of information and retrocausation in exerted influences.
A unifying theory has been proposed, based upon the fundamental randomness of quantum mechanics. Quantum mechanical randomness may be regarded as a tenacious phenomenon, that apparently is only resolved by the human observer of the random variable in question. This has led to the “observational theory” of anomalous phenomena, which is based upon the assumption that the preference of a motivated observer is able to interact with the extant indefinite random variable that is being observed. This observational theory has led to a novel prediction, which has been corroborated in experiments. Moreover, different classes of anomalous phenomena can be explained by the same basic mechanism. This foregoes retroactive causation, but, instead, requires that macroscopic physical variables remain in a state of indefinite reality and thus remain influenceable by mental efforts until these are observed. More work is needed to discover the relevant psychological and neurophysiological variables involved in effective motivated observation. Besides these practicalities, the fundamentals still have some interesting loose ends.
863(2006); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.2388754View Description Hide Description
The principle of cause and effect is deeply rooted in human experience, so much so that it is routinely and tacitly assumed throughout science, even by scientists working in areas where time symmetry is theoretically ingrained, as it is in both classical and quantum physics. Experiments are said to cause their results, not the other way around. In this informal paper, we argue that this assumption should be replaced with a more general notion of mutual influence — bi‐directional relations or constraints on joint values of two or more variables. From an analysis based on quantum entropy, it is proposed that quantum measurement is a unitary three‐interaction, with no collapse, no fundamental randomness, and no barrier to backward influence.
Experimental results suggesting retrocausality are seen frequently in well‐controlled laboratory experiments in parapsychology and elsewhere, especially where a random element is included. Certain common characteristics of these experiments give the appearance of contradicting well‐established physical laws, thus providing an opportunity for deeper understanding and important clues that must be addressed by any explanatory theory. We discuss how retrocausal effects and other anomalous phenomena can be explained without major injury to existing physical theory. A modified quantum formalism can give new insights into the nature of quantum measurement, randomness, entanglement, causality, and time.
863(2006); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.2388755View Description Hide Description
If the human nervous system operates exclusively according to conventional causal assumptions, then one’s physiological status before exposure to a randomly selected stimulus should not depend on the nature of that stimulus. However, if meaningful dependencies are observed it would suggest that some aspect of the nervous system is sensitive to the future, implying a possible retrocausal effect. To test this idea, a series of double‐blind experiments were conducted to investigate whether pre‐stimulus physiological measures were meaningfully related to post‐stimulus responses. Skin conductance levels of individuals were recorded before, during and after exposure to randomly selected calm or emotional pictures. Results showed that pre‐stimulus skin conductance levels prior to the stimuli showed a differential response (131 participants, 4,569 trials, p = 0.00006, two‐tailed), consistent with a retrocausal phenomenon. In another experiment, participants viewed a randomly determined light flash or no flash while their brain electrical potentials were being monitored. Slow cortical potentials in 13 females differentiated significantly before stimulus onset (p = 0.007, two‐tailed). Numerous conventional explanations for these observations were examined and rejected as implausible, and these experiments have been successfully replicated by several independent investigators. Collectively these studies challenge the assumption that human psychophysiology can be adequately modeled solely by unidirectional causal processes.
863(2006); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.2388756View Description Hide Description
The conscious observer stands as a central figure in the measurement problem of quantum mechanics. Recent experiments by Radin involving linear Markov chains driven by random number generators illuminate the role and temporal dynamics of observers interacting with quantum mechanically labile systems. In this paper a Lagrangian interpretation of these experiments indicates that the evolution of Markov chain probabilities can be modeled as damped harmonic oscillators. The results are best interpreted in terms of symmetric equicausal determinism rather than strict retrocausation, as posited by Radin. Based on the present analysis, suggestions are made for more advanced experiments.
Empirical Research on the Radical Subjective Solution of the Measurement Problem. Does Time get its Direction through Conscious Observation?863(2006); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.2388757View Description Hide Description
In a number of experimental studies we explored the so‐called ‘radical subjective’, and rather controversial, solution of the measurement problem. This solution posits that an interaction with a conscious entity is required to complete the measurement. Thus the collapse of the wave packet is assumed to be causally linked to a conscious observation. Under the assumption that the brain is sensitive for the difference between observing a quantum (superposition) state and a classical state this radical solution can be tested. A radioactive source was used to trigger beeps that first were delayed for 1 second and then were observed by a (final) observer from whom a continuous recording of brain activity was made. In about 50% of the events, another (pre) observer got feedback of this quantum event before the final observer. In those cases, presumably the pre‐observer’s observation resulted in collapse of the wave‐packet while in the other half of the cases the final observer was ‘producing’ the collapse. The brain signals of the final observer for the two types of events were compared. The ambiguous results of the studies will be discussed. If consciousness is the crucial ingredient for ‘collapse’ to occur, then this might also give a new anthropocentric hypothesis with regard to the ‘arrow of time’. The projection postulate implies a irreversible process of reduction and hence can be seen as one of the few non time‐symmetric processes in physics. If consciousness is required to have a collapse then it might follow that consciousness introduces time asymmetry into physics. New neuro‐cognitive models of consciousness suggest that the neural correlate of conscious experience (rather than non conscious processing) is the occurrence of massive parallel recurrent (i.e. non linear) neural activation. Thus the collapse of the wave packet would become associated with a strong non‐linear process. This fits, at least in a metaphorical sense, with the theoretical results where an introduction on a non linear term in the Schr̈odinger equation results in an ‘objective’ reduction of the wave packet.
863(2006); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.2388758View Description Hide Description
We examine an 8‐year archive of synchronized, parallel time series of random data from a world spanning network of physical random event generators (REGs). The archive is a publicly accessible matrix of normally distributed 200‐bit sums recorded at 1 Hz which extends from August 1998 to the present. The primary question is whether these data show non‐random structure associated with major events such as natural or man‐made disasters, terrible accidents, or grand celebrations. Secondarily, we examine the time course of apparently correlated responses. Statistical analyses of the data reveal consistent evidence that events which strongly affect people engender small but significant effects. These include suggestions of anticipatory responses in some cases, leading to a series of specialized analyses to assess possible non‐random structure preceding precisely timed events. A focused examination of data collected around the time of earthquakes with Richter magnitude 6 and greater reveals non‐random structure with a number of intriguing, potentially important features. Anomalous effects in the REG data are seen only when the corresponding earthquakes occur in populated areas. No structure is found if they occur in the oceans. We infer that an important contributor to the effect is the relevance of the earthquake to humans. Epoch averaging reveals evidence for changes in the data some hours prior to the main temblor, suggestive of reverse causation.
863(2006); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.2388759View Description Hide Description
This paper discusses experimental findings from the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research project supporting the existence of retrocausal information flow. Possible alternative explanations to retrocausation are examined for each experiment. In each case it can be shown that retrocausal information flow is either a parsimonious explanation, or the only currently available explanation, for the observational data. Gedankenexperiments are then examined to demonstrate that regardless of observational effect size, empirical phenomena of the type seen in these experiments cannot produce time paradoxes.
The theoretical discussion pursuant to the experimental data covers some of the basic problems in the physical representation of time. Human perception of time incorporates a dichotomy: the past is known but cannot be changed, the future is presumed to be indeterminate and hence controllable but unknowable in advance. Physical formalisms have difficulty in representing this dichotomy, arriving in the most extreme case at the completely deterministic Einsteinian block universe view of spacetime. Strict physical determinism, however, currently seems implausible due to apparently essential indeterminism at the quantum scale.
Retrocausal phenomena attack the dichotomy on empirical rather than theoretical grounds, since if past events can be causally influenced by future events either the past is malleable or the future is knowable. This approach allows a resolution of the past/future dichotomy by additional approaches other than strict determinism: the past may be indeterminate, or both past and future can contain a mixture of deterministic and indeterminate events.
863(2006); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.2388760View Description Hide Description
The paper presents an experiment that is a conceptual replication of two earlier experiments which demonstrate entanglement correlations between a quantum physical random process and certain psychological variables of human observers. In the present study button‐pushes were used as psychological variables. The button‐pushes were performed by the subject with his or her left or right hand in order to “control” (according to the instruction) a random process that could be observed on a display. Each button‐push started the next random event which, however, in reality, was independent of the button‐pushes. The study consists of three independent sets of data (n = 386) that were gained with almost fee same apparatus in three different experimental situations. The first data set serves as reference. It was an automatic control‐run without subjects. The second set was produced mainly by subjects who asked for taking part in a para‐psychological experiment and who visited the “Parapsychological Counseling Office” in Freiburg especially for this purpose. Most of them were highly motivated persons who wanted to test their “psi ability”. In this case the number of runs could be selected by the subjects before the experimental session. The third set of data (of the same size) was collected during two public exhibitions (at Basel and at Freiburg) where the visitors had the opportunity to participate in a “PK experiment”. In this case the number of trials and runs was fixed in advance, but the duration of the experiment was dependent of the speed of button‐pushes. The results corroborate the previous studies. The specific way how the subjects pushed the buttons is highly significantly correlated with the independent random process. This correlation shows up for the momentarily generated random events as well as for the previous and the later runs during the experimental session. In a strict sense, only the correlations with the future random events can be interpreted as non‐local correlations. The structure of the data, however, allows the conclusion, that all observed correlations can be considered as entanglement‐correlations. The number of entanglement‐correlations was significantly higher for the highly motivated group (data set 2) than for the unselected group of the exhibition participants (data set 3). The latter, however, where not completely unsuccessful: A subgroup who showed “innovative” behavior also showed significant entanglement‐correlations. It could further be shown, that the structure of the matrix of entanglement‐correlations is not stable in time and changes if the experiment is repeated. In comparison with previous correlation‐experiments, no decline of the effect size was observed. These results are in agreement with the predictions of the “Weak Quantum Theory (WQT)” and the “Model of Pragmatic Information (MPI)”. These models interpret the measured correlations as entanglement‐correlations within a self‐organizing, organizationally closed, psycho‐physical system that exist during a certain time‐interval (as long as the system is active). The entanglement‐correlations cannot be considered as a causal influence (in the sense of a PK‐Influence) and thus are called “micro‐synchronicity”. After a short introduction (1.), the question is discussed how non‐local correlations can be created in psycho‐physical systems (2.). In chapter (3.) the description of the experimental setting is given and the apparatus (4.) and randomness test of the random event generator (5.) are described. Additionally, an overview of the structure of the data is given (6.) and the analysis methods are described (7.). In chapter (8.) the experimental hypotheses are formulated and the results are reported (9.). After the discussion of the results (10.) the conclusions (11).) of the study are presented.
863(2006); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.2388761View Description Hide Description
Evidence for retrocausation in the field of psychophysical phenomena is to date questionable. Associated successful theoretical formulations would have to make accurate predictions and the purported evidence would have to be independently replicated. It is shown here that purported evidence for retrocausation within the field of psychophysical phenomena, such as the hypothesis of micro‐PK —that the statistical distributions of random processes are mean shifted by thought alone— can find more satisfactory descriptions. Those do not necessarily invoke transfer of information backward in time, while they provide mathematically structured formulations and allow for clear predictions. They refer to a two‐state Markovian process characterized by equal self‐transition probabilities, p=q>50%. This Markovian behavior introduces persistence and clustering of like binary states leading to a broadened scatter of statistical averages of individual micro‐PK tests about their theoretically expected mean, namely 50%, corresponding to that of an unbiased process. The origin of this broadening mechanism is currently unclear. It is, therefore, argued here that an established theory of mind‐matter interaction should precede the investigation of the validity of retrocausation within psychophysical phenomena. Thus the correct theory can be decided among alternatives.
863(2006); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.2388762View Description Hide Description
Interest in retrocausation has its roots in anomalous human experiences of precognition in which an event in the future appears to change human cognition or behavior in the present. Subsequently backed up by rigorous laboratory experimentation, the retrocausal nature of precognition first engaged philosophers and later physicists. Drawing on major collections of reports of precognition, and working within an evolutionary context, this paper addresses a number issues that are likely to have bearing on any comprehensive physical theory of retrocausation, including whether cognition is necessarily involved, how much information might be transferred, and whether one can intervene to “prevent” a foreseen future.