On an interpretation of Quantum Physics

PhiAlpha
PhiAlpha
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Topic 191135

Dear all,

I very much enjoy reading all posts in the science section and I am a keen fan of the project. I would like to ask about your opinion on a topic which may be slightly away from the project goals as it is my impression that most the people who post remarks here have deep knowledge in quantum mechanics. Recently, I read the following:

"As it is well known from Quantum Physics, the result of any scientific research platform and observation experiment, depends exclusively on the Observer in that experiment and its relative position and research definition. This means that the world which is being observed by a specific Observer, is quite different from the world, which is not being observed by the same Observer, and may become even “nonexistent� (in terms of the definition for “existence�) when no Observer exists, who could conduct an observation of that world!
This simply means that the Observers and their Definitions play primary roles for the state of being of the world, “such as we know it�, and the potential for change of the same world is locked in the ability for transformation of these Observers and Definitions! This is a THEOREM of irrevocable validity and extraordinary existential proportions for each and everyone of us, simply because we are the “Observers� in the individually visible world (or rather worlds) of our own lives, whatever the depth or multi-dimensionality of that “state of being� of ours may be! Furthermore, the Observation Definitions, so vital for the resulting “state of being� of our world, are nothing else, but exactly “OUR DEFINITIONS� of this Entity of Ours, whatever the depth, width and height, or other levels of dimensionality this Entity of ours may encompass!"

The complete text is at http://www.institutet-science.com/inste.htm

Since my knowledge is very superficial, I would like to ask what your thoughts about the passage are. Is this indeed the scientific position?

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." A. Einstein

Mike Hewson
Mike Hewson
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On an interpretation of Quantum Physics

Quote:

Dear all,

I very much enjoy reading all posts in the science section and I am a keen fan of the project. I would like to ask about your opinion on a topic which may be slightly away from the project goals as it is my impression that most the people who post remarks here have deep knowledge in quantum mechanics. Recently, I read the following:

"As it is well known from Quantum Physics, the result of any scientific research platform and observation experiment, depends exclusively on the Observer in that experiment and its relative position and research definition. This means that the world which is being observed by a specific Observer, is quite different from the world, which is not being observed by the same Observer, and may become even “nonexistent� (in terms of the definition for “existence�) when no Observer exists, who could conduct an observation of that world!
This simply means that the Observers and their Definitions play primary roles for the state of being of the world, “such as we know it�, and the potential for change of the same world is locked in the ability for transformation of these Observers and Definitions! This is a THEOREM of irrevocable validity and extraordinary existential proportions for each and everyone of us, simply because we are the “Observers� in the individually visible world (or rather worlds) of our own lives, whatever the depth or multi-dimensionality of that “state of being� of ours may be! Furthermore, the Observation Definitions, so vital for the resulting “state of being� of our world, are nothing else, but exactly “OUR DEFINITIONS� of this Entity of Ours, whatever the depth, width and height, or other levels of dimensionality this Entity of ours may encompass!"

The complete text is at http://www.institutet-science.com/inste.htm

Since my knowledge is very superficial, I would like to ask what your thoughts about the passage are. Is this indeed the scientific position?


This is all somewhat old news, trees falling in forests etc...
It is valid, if you like, within the confines of it's parameters. Uses quite a few 'quotation marks' for my liking! Some cute word plays, but suggests the author doesn't distinguish between syntax and semantics.
The core of science is indifferent to this really - you theorise, predict, measure and adjust accordingly - always iterating the cycle. What most people seem to miss about science though is encapsulated in the phrase 'logical positivism'. This means that you can always disprove or adjust or supercede theory, based on evidence.
The observer bit is a true red herring though and particularly can confound understanding with quantum mechanics. Originally it was simply used as just a lazy mental shorthand for 'what would a measurement be of this quantity at this time and at that place over there'. It is a great way of visualising say a three dimensional vector field ( a time varying arrow at each point in space ). In that sense even a humble electron is an observer. Alas this basic idea of doing measurements all around the vicinity has been anthropomorphised to consciousness, choice and other stuff not intended. Hence confusions arose. Schroedinger's Cat is actually in some certain state, but the walls of the box limit interaction and prevent measurement of that - no real surprise there, eh?
Of course any actual measuring device is going to interact with the object of study and truly becomes part of the system of interest. Your definition of that system now enlarges to include that, and thus is distinct from the case when the device wasn't present. It becomes a parameter in the predictions too. The LIGO's are an example of that to an extreme, as they are inside the thing they are measuring ( time & space ). They definitely come with lot's of noisy stuff we have to account for and subtract away to find the effect we're looking for ( wiggling time & space ). Fundamentally that's not a problem for the principles of science but makes enacting measurements very messy sometimes.
Basically all science measurements must revert to human scale along some chain(s) of cause and effect - so that we can sense it and continue the iteration of the scientific method. The further you look away from everyday scales ( in times, sizes, energies, masses .... ) the messier that process gets.
The quoted excerpt above is typical of alot of 'self centred' opinion, which appears to imply that if one stops observing then the universe ceases to exist etc... so what happens when they go to sleep? Does it disappear and then re-create each morning, and in a fashion consistent with the previous version? From the author's viewpoint why not?
Science goes well beyond that using it's other oft ignored principle - reproducibility. This doesn't mean that the same results repeat all the time, doh! It means that the same principles ( laws if you like ) can be discovered by repetition. That then, by fiat, requires 'laws' thus found to be consistent across observers, locales, times etc..... so that we can find the continuities in nature that are persistent regardless of observers, locales, times etc.... It is fine to delineate special cases but then any conclusions are qualified by such speciality. The theories of Relativity are an excellent example of this. Einstein actually wanted to title his papers 'Invariant Theorie' to emphasise the constancy ( speed of light ) that he was proposing! Alas with time 'relativity' has degraded with usage to 'anything goes, depending on your viewpoint'....
Cheers, Mike.

I have made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it shorter. Blaise Pascal

MarkF
MarkF
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Mike as usual has responded

Mike as usual has responded thoroughly. I would suggest the following substitution. When reading anything about quantum theory wherein the author uses the term observer replace that word with interaction.

PhiAlpha
PhiAlpha
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Hi Mike and Mark, Thanks

Hi Mike and Mark,

Thanks for the response. It was my impression as well that the author's view is not very much in line with the scientific view but rather is a subjective view. Still it may be an exaggeration to say that such opinions are in the twilight zone between science and religion. Roughly the same impression I got from the movie "What the bleep do we know?". Perhaps you have watched it as well. I have read a number of very reserved opinions in the Internet. Even one of the professors being interviewed in the movie complained that his interview had been manipulated by cutting parts of it which is already something bad.

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." A. Einstein

Mike Hewson
Mike Hewson
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RE: Hi Mike and Mark,

Message 29378 in response to message 29377

Quote:

Hi Mike and Mark,

Thanks for the response. It was my impression as well that the author's view is not very much in line with the scientific view but rather is a subjective view. Still it may be an exaggeration to say that such opinions are in the twilight zone between science and religion. Roughly the same impression I got from the movie "What the bleep do we know?". Perhaps you have watched it as well. I have read a number of very reserved opinions in the Internet. Even one of the professors being interviewed in the movie complained that his interview had been manipulated by cutting parts of it which is already something bad.


Personally I'm relaxed with regard to allowing expression of such views. The trouble is that many speakers readily stride across domains of knowledge without even realising it. Each of those domains were constructed with assumptions, that are often too implicit, and at the end of a walk you're in another 'shire' altogether. Then the assumptions are not relevant or valid or even meaningful. You then wind up with, well, animal poo - but with a certain cachet that is not deserved. Would you use a manual for submarine operation as a guide to flying a jet airplane? Of course you wouldn't because it is obviously wrong, but one could come up with a linked argument to justify it. The trouble is that a lot of such explanations are not obviously wrong, and some are constructed with malignancy in mind. There's politics encapsulated right there! Probably the warning sign with this example is the opening 'As it is well known from Quantum Physics...' which sort of hints that the author needs some authoritative anchor for the waffle that follows.
Cheers, Mike.

I have made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it shorter. Blaise Pascal

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