Morphic Pilot Theory: Toward an Extension of Quantum Physics that Better Explains Psi Phenomena

Morphic Pilot Theory: Toward an Extension of Quantum Physics that Better Explains Psi Phenomena

Ben Goertzel Novamente LLC 1405 Bernerd Place Rockville MD 20851 June 24, 2010

Abstract
While the empirical data supporting the existence of psi phenom-
ena is now quite strong, the search for a theoretical understanding of
these phenomena has been much less successful. Here a class of exten-
sions of quantum physics is proposed, which appear broadly consistent
both with existing physics data and with the body of data regarding
psi phenomena. The basic idea is to view “subquantum uctuations”
as biased randomness, where the bias embodies a tendency to convey
physical impulse between parts of spacetime with similar pattern or
form. In a Bohmian interpretation of quantum physics, this biasing
would take the form of a “morphic pilot wave,” with a bias to move
in directions of greater “similarity of patternment” (or more colorfully,
“morphic resonance”). In a Feynman interpretation, it would take the
form of a biasing of the measure used within path integrals, so as to
give paths in directions of greater morphic resonance a greater weight.
Theories in this class could take many possible equational forms, and
several such forms are displayed here to exemplify the approach.
1 Introduction
The empirical data supporting the existence of psi phenomena { such as
certain types of precognition, extrasensory perception and psychokinesis { is
now quite strong. A reasonable survey of several parts of the literature may
be found in [?]. While there is still considerable skepticism in the scienti c
1community regarding the validity of these results, my own attitude is well
summarized by saying that I empathize with the following statement by
physicist and psi researcher Dean Radin [?]:
“After studying these phenomena as a scientist for about 30 years, I’ve
concluded that some psychic abilities are genuine, and as such, there are
important aspects of the prevailing scienti c worldview that are seriously
incomplete. I’ve also learned that many people who claim to have unfail-
ingly reliable psychic abilities are often delusional or mentally ill, and that
there will always be reprehensible con artists who claim to be psychic and
charge huge sums for their “services.” These two classes of so-called psychics
are the targets of celebrated prizes o ered by magicians for demonstrations
of psychic abilities. Those prizes are safe because the claimed abilities of
these people either do not exist at all, or they’re much weaker than sincere
claimants may wish to believe. There is of course a huge anecdotal literature
about psychic abilities, but the evidence that convinced me is the accumu-
lated laboratory performance by people who do not claim to possess special
abilities, collected under controlled conditions and published in peer-reviewed
scienti c journals.
“There is ample room for scholarly debate about these topics, and I know
a number of informed scientists whom I respect who have reached di erent
conclusions. But I’ve also learned that those who assert with great con dence
that there isn’t any scienti cally valid evidence for psychic abilities just don’t
know what they’re talking about.”
But, although the data supporting the existence of psi phenomena is
impressive, the search for a theoretical understanding of these phenomena
has been much less successful. Recent data correlating the strength of psi
phenomena with Local Sidereal time are fascinating in their suggestion of
a possible connection between performance and the orientation of the psi
experiencer, the earth and the xed stars [?]; but even if correct these data
lead us only a very short way toward an explanatory theory.
It is not entirely clear whether the extant psi data is consistent with
currently accepted physics theories. One of the many subtle points involved
here is the fact that currently accepted physics theories are not wholly con-
sistent with each other; e.g. general relativity has not yet been reconciled
with the Standard Model (of the electromagnetic, weak and strong forces)
in any generally accepted way. A large variety of uni ed eld theories has
been proposed, in attempt to remedy this situation, and it’s not entirely
clear which would be compatible with psi phenomena. Also, the quantum
theory of measurement is still a subject of signi cant dispute among experts.
A number of theorists have suggested that psi phenomena may be as-
2sociated with macroscopic quantum phenomena [?], and it is hard to deny
the conceptual resonance between psi and quantum peculiarities such as
nonlocal correlation. However, quantum physics does not provide any clear
explanation of why psi phenomena would occur; and a careful consideration
of the likely implications of quantum physics for brain dynamics render it
rather unlikely-looking that a purely quantum-theoretic explanation of psi
could succeed [?]. The perspective underlying the present paper is that,
while a purely quantum-theoretic explanation of psi is not ruled out by our
current understanding of quantum physics, it seems more likely that an
extension of contemporary quantum physics is needed to account for psi.
Burns [?, ?] has promoted a similar perspective, and has proposed that
psi involves the interaction of quantum dynamics with an additional dy-
namic, outside the scope of currently recognized physics, that orders micro-
scopic uctuations that quantum theory considers random. She has then
carefully explored how it might be possible for a biasing or patterning in
quantum-level uctuations to give rise to psi phenomena via an impact on
brain activity. According to her calculations, roughly 4,000 molecules must
have their uctuations ordered to initiate a physical action in the brain.
Based on this, she has has proposed a model by which various psi phenom-
ena could be produced by the ordering of quantum uctuations. Within
Burns’s framework, the hypothesis presented in this paper may be viewed
as a more speci c theory of how the “ordering” of quantum-level uctuations
may occur.
Another source of inspiration for the present ideas is Rupert Sheldrake’s
[?] notion of a “morphic eld.” According to Sheldrake’s view, psi is related
with a “morphic eld” that causes forms or patterns in one part of the
universe, to bias the formation of other forms or patterns in other parts
of the universe. This biasing is proposed to occur in a manner that does
not depend on distance in the same way that known physical forces do,
and that is consistent with observed psi data. The idea is conceptually
appealing, and harks back to earlier philosophical notions such as Charles
Peirce’s “tendency to take habits” [?]. However, in Sheldrake’s work the
laws of behavior of the morphic eld are not speci ed, nor is the relation
between the morphic eld and the known physical forces { limitations that
make the morphic eld hypothesis very dicult to rigorously test.
In this brief, speculative conceptual paper, it is suggested to explore ex-
tending quantum physics in a manner that supports the biasing of quantum-
level uctuations according to morphic- eld type dynamics. The idea is only
sketched here, and requires much more elaboration and calculation before it
can be considered a precise physics hypothesis. However, at a coarse level,
3the idea appears consistent with existing physics data, and also provides
a conceptual explanation for many aspects of the body of data regarding
psi phenomena. The basic idea is to view “subquantum uctuations” as
biased randomness, where the bias displays properties roughly similar to
Sheldrake’s “morphic eld,” { i.e. a bias to convey physical impulse between
parts of spacetime with similar pattern or form. In a Bohmian interpretation
of quantum physics, this biasing would take the form of a “morphic pilot
wave,” with a bias to move in directions of greater “morphic resonance.”
In a Feynman interpretation, it would likely take the form of a biasing of
the measure used within path integrals, so as to give paths in directions of
greater morphic resonance a greater weight. Theories in this class could take
many possible equational forms, and a few such form are displayed here for
sake of concreteness; however, the main point of the paper is not to propose
a particular equation, but rather to identify a promising-looking class of
theories.

read more

http://goertzel.org/dynapsyc/MorphicPilot.pdf

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