09 November, 2011

The Red Herring of Observation

I have received much criticism from the YouTube brigade on my Double Slit animation, for not fully addressing the role of the observer / quantum erasers et al. This was never my intention with the work, which was addressing how electrons could build up an interference pattern in the Double Slit, without the need for resorting to probability distribution, which I see as a mathematical "trick" to get the right answer. I hope the following papers will help to clarify my position on this aspect of Quantum Physics.


  1. Ok, I read your explanation and frankly you are just saying that you don't want to explain observer's effect and instead trying to put the burden on those asking the question by accusing that they're only interested in equations.

    First all, this is one of the most dishonest ways of 'conducting' science I have ever seen; while I do not doubt your sincerity to seek the 'why' - if refusing to account for what is being observed all together and coming up with a why explanation that frankly does not explain all the observations is the alternative - I'd rather stick to the equation even if it doesn't answer why right away. The weakest attempt you have made at explaining the observer effect is the wave in empty photon pavement that a geiger counter might make and in order to counter that, let me present to you the well known fact: just having a geiger counter does not collapse the wave function. Having it at a place where it actually *performs a measurement* collapses the wave. It has no effect what so ever otherwise in umpteen other positions - kinda too fishy don't you think for the explanation?

    Secondly, NO - quantum mechanics is more than just one equation which you like to relegate it to in order to avoid answering a serious flaw in your hypothesis (i am not going to call it a theory anymore). The explanation that there is no particle just a probability distribution IS an explanation. That our brains equipped to understand the world only in classical terms find it somewhat revolting when we encounter this explanation for the first time is not a good enough reason to reject it. There are a lot of folks who're doing a lot of serious research in understanding and explaining the implications of "there is no reality unless measured". And as far as we know, there is not a single - I repeat, not a single experiment, that disproves this assumption.

    And here you are with a hypothesis that is frankly just a repeat of the ether hypothesis of space with serious flaws and trying to put the burden of proof on a theory that has been wildly successful. It would be prudent to give up the theory of quantum mechanics and it's other worldly assumptions should there ever be another successful simpler explanation. But I am sorry, your 'explanation' is not it.

    Not saying to discourage you, just pointing out the obvious flaw in your hypothesis and then the obvious flaw in your logic in trying to defend a flawed hypothesis.
    Finally, I hope you do realize that being part of the systems ourselves - it is very possible that a why explanation may not be within our grasp (that easy anyway). And that mathematical equations may be the only way we have right now to try to 'explain' the system from within.

    I respect your philosphy, but please don't masquerade it as a theory. It's not !!

    1. Some days ago I decided to reply to your various comments on YouTube, and drafted a series of points to put up in response.
      Then, I came across your much longer comments on the SHAPE Blog.
      It changed things somewhat!

      I now have in front of me two detailed responses.
      The first is my initial, carefully-reasoned reaction, and the second is more like your own – opposing things firmly point by point.
      And I am wondering which to publish!
      If you feel that you have finished with my contributions, and will not be looking at them again, then perhaps it will be the “mirror of your counter arguments, point-by-point, that I will publish for the benefit of other interested visitors.
      If, on the other hand you are likely, in some respect, to continue to see what I am putting out, and perhaps continuing the online debate, then I will gladly publish the less combatative version, and look forwards to a continuing debate.
      What should I do?

      P.S. Parallel with these discussions I am in the midst of a proposed Special (for SHAPE Journal) on The Philosophical Ground of Modern Science, which you might also think to be worthy of your responses.
      Finally I will certainly be replying to your last point on the effects of “observation” with a recent paper entitled
      Muddy Boots in Scarcely Rippled Pools.

      (223 words)