(I) The Kelvin -Planck statement:
It is impossible to construct a heat engine, operating in a cycle, which produces no other effect than absorption of thermal energy from a hot reservoir and the performance of an equal amount of work.
II): The Clausius statement:
It is impossible to construct a cyclical machine that produces no other effect than to transfer heat continuously from one body to another at higher temperature.
These are often generalized in another form to read:
“The entropy (degree of disorder of a system) increases in all natural processes”
Thus, for example, gasoline once burnt in your car engine cannot be captured from the exhaust gases and used over again.. Also, any energy process will also have a large part of any energy produced coming off as unusable waste energy. There is no way, or any process that can deliver 100% usable energy.
In terms of biological -organic systems it means that death is the highest entropy state. This means that once one is dead he remains dead. There are no "Lazarus-type" resurrections. Once one's life is extinguished it remains so. In other words, if one adheres to the laws of the natural world there can be no personal afterlives, i.e. peculiar to the individual which are contingent on a lower entropic state (e.g. dream ideation or experience) that pre-existed the person's demise.
However, the supernaturalist doesn't adhere to physical- natural laws, so of course, he is at liberty to invent "afterlives" - even eternal, or "timeless ones". No biggie. He can even invent "heaven" and "hell" plus "purgatory" - if he happens to be Catholic.
The point is, that unless one is a supernaturalist, he cannot invoke a timeless state contingent on a "dream state" condition that had to involve a particular energy regime associated with synapses in the brain. In other words, a "natural afterlife" which demands indefinite preservation of a synaptic state pre-brain death, must be as much nonsense as perpetual motion machines.
Let's delve into this further.
According to Bryon Ehlmann, a proponent of this "theory":
The natural afterlife is timeless. Again, it is the final moment of your NDE. It is like a paused movie scene and the feelings and memories you have at the exact point at which the movie was unknowingly paused. Since it is timeless, no further events happen within the dream. You, however, are never aware of this and that your dream was not just “paused,” but actually stopped since you too were “stopped.”
Now consider: He at once invokes the presumption this "natural afterlife" is timeless. But what must happen in terms of the 2nd law, i.e. to be "timeless"? The answer is that the entropy of the dream- sustained system - whatever it is- must be zero. However, the natural afterlife proponents decline and indeed reject nonlocal consciousness (e.g. of the Stuart Hameroff or Bohmian type), which means they are hoist on their own petards. This means they are left with explaining a "dream state" system they invented that has arrived from a higher entropy state to a lower one, something completely disallowed for closed systems. (Wherein the entropy must always increase, unless it can avail itself of external energy, i.e. green plants in terms of sunlight).
Consider that in the instants preceding actual death, and possibly with an NDE in train, successive brain states evolve leading to one final state:
Where Tr denotes the trace (of diagonal elements) of the corresponding density matrix.
This means, using our model from the previous blog post, that synaptic function must begin to slow, i.e. as neural transmission and efficiency begins to recede. The person is headed toward a maximum entropic state as are the specific portions of the brain which create the ideations, dreams, thoughts a person has.
The entropy then will be the total aggregate of accessible states:
In other words, the process must be one for which any change in the defined state Ã tends to zero , given there can be NO further entropy change. However, the natural afterlife bunch are asserting there is a change from what would be maximum entropy (at death) to a defined zero entropy ("timeless") state, post death, i.e. in their NED (never ending dream scenario). Hence, they are postulating a major contradiction of the 2nd law of thermodynamics.
If one agrees that the synaptic cleft dimension (see last post) is scaled to allow application of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle (as Physicist Henry Stapp has shown, i.e. in his 'Mind, Matter and Quantum Mechanics') then it is feasible to obtain a rough estimate of the final energy state potential just before death. I.e. let us imagine the last workable synapse firing to generate an ideation. For this estimate we will allow a 2τ time indeterminacy or:
So one half joule is available - which means for the end state to be sustained this energy must also be sustained, e.g. in the alleged "timeless" state. This is roughly equal to the energy given off by a half-watt bulb (say in a small flashlight) for one second..
This would be the total number of bits in the final ideation (dream state) that would need to be sustained in the timeless state. (The only assumption made is that any given 'f
dream image contains information, it cannot be content or information free, or it doesn't exist - especially to the person allegedly experiencing it.) Thus persistence of the dream image/content cannot be done without energy, any more than a paused TV image can be sustained without electrical energy. But where is it coming from? The natural afterlifers reject non-local consciousness as even remotely possible, indeed they dismiss consciousness entirely! This leads one to believe they are making the error first identified by Prof. Daniel N. Robinson (op. cit., p. 6):
"The claim 'I am conscious of the rabbit in the garden' is different from the claim 'I know there is a rabbit in the garden'. There is a difference between being conscious of and being conscious. The former is always subject to error. Being conscious or aware is to be the possible subject of an experience, the self."
He also expands on the notion of self-reference, and takes to task those who believe it to be merely an epiphenomenon of the brain, by way of the 'Mary' problem.
All of this means, again, that the only "natural afterlife" plausibly (albeit improbably) on offer or even remotely feasible based on physical laws, is the one described in the previous post to do with de Broglie waves.
Bryon Ehlmann writes:
But this really says nothing, not anything a physicist can hang his hat on, i.e. in terms of energies available, entropy, neural thresholds etc. So whether the 'natural afterlife is relative" is roughly like whether one million angels can dance on the end of a pin, or one thousand. Others "know you are dead" - ok, fine, but if they have sense they will have an EEG attached at the last instant to see if any mercurial action potential causes wave spikes that might indicate a final dream state. (Better yet, keep the EEG attached over time to see if any tiny wave forms re-appear - after all a 0.5 J end state in stasis ought to be detectable electrically!)
Bottom line: a dream state or dream, final or not, must have energy to support it as I showed. It can't persist indefinitely in a metaphysical vacuum, following death, no matter how many words (or clever analogies) the natural afterlife crew churns out. (See A.J. Ayers' Language, Truth and Logic). Those interested in seeing Ehlmann's detailed responses to an earlier blog post of mine on the after life can go to this link.
Then make your own decision!
"The deBroglie wave afterlife is described using phrases such as “de Broglie waves,” “essential energy associated with the microtubules disperses out from the brain and becomes ‘entangled’ in a larger, undifferentiated whole,” “quantum coherence,” and “quantum wave states are stored in a multitude of microtubules” as well as by numerous mathematical equations. The complexity is enough to make one’s head spin!"
Is really irrelevant. He mixes up the use of precise language (which any serious person ought to strive to employ to avoid ambiguity), with constructs that others have invoked. Thus, the terms "de Broglie waves", "quantum coherence" and "entanglement" are all well known within the context (QM) in which they apply. Their use doesn't make for 'complexity' but rather exactitude in referencing and distinguishing elements of a hypothesis related to the underpinning physical theory - something Elhmann would do well to attend to more.
"Undifferentiated whole", likewise, is merely another term (synonym) for quantum nonlocality - which again is basic to discussing anything to do with quantum mechanics. Since de Broglie waves encompass quantum mechanics, it is natural for this term to appear. That doesn't mean the basis is "complex", only that the person approaching it from a more generic (anecdotal) perspective hasn't adequately done his homework.
Where the complexity actually arises is in the use of "micro-tubules" (an added structure of the brain inside neurons) but which is really due to Hameroff and Penrose, not me. Technically, the de Broglie wave hypothesis requires no special additional structures since these decay anyway at the time of death - the only thing really left are wave forms, i.e. the de Broglie waves themselves. NO unheard of violations of natural law are required here, unlike the violations of the entropy law by the NED team.
Ehlmann maintains he is a "skeptic" and he: "will wait until (my) theory of de Broglie waves is published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal". Of course, this is ridiculous. I make no claim to having a "theory" that is in any way significant enough to qualify to be published in a journal. I only offer the de Broglie wave hypothesis as a scientifically plausible, albeit improbable, explanation for a possible afterlife scenario. I offered it as part of two blog posts- because I maintain the 'natural afterlife' proposition of Ehlmann et al isn't plausible at all.
Let me also again clarify that my own POV is that death means the end of whatever had previously existed, including ALL formerly conscious states, ideations and any residual derivatives of them. That means I implicitly accept the scientific world view of entropy as defining the "arrow of time" (at least in the classical realm) and that death means one has reached a maximum entropy condition. This maximum entropy automatically rules out any "timeless state" embodying any kind of ideation, or "dream" - since such state would have entropy zero. Others can go along with the natural afterlife if it makes them feel better, but I believe they will only be fooling themselves.