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Clarification of 'observe'

  1. Jan 14, 2006 #1
    I would appreciate if someone could clarify or give me a definition of 'observe' in respect to quantum physics.

    I originally thought that when a particle is not being 'observed' it is not in contact with other particles of photons etc. but a recent book seemed to imply that 'observe' means to enter consciousness.

    Clarification of this point would be helpful.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 14, 2006 #2

    The question you ask must be clarified first .
    Is your question about Observation Definition? or About Observation machanism ?

    If you mean the definition i think your question have the answer included .
    But if you aim to the mechanism . We must ask about the sensing mechanism of the observer 1st .
  4. Jan 15, 2006 #3
    Consciousness is irrelevent

    Observation has absolutely nothing to do with consciousness or human agency or even with measurement (which implies human agency). Even the linguistic term 'observation' is outmoded, privileged, semantically overloaded, and no longer used by people versed in quantum theory.

    The way I understand it, in order for a particle to get realized, it does not have to be observed. All it has to do is pass information (on the variable of interest) to the environment. This is as simple as an atom emitting a photon (which is entangled and hence cohered with the atom). Once this photon strikes the environment, such as a molecule that happens to be in its path, and the ***information is transferred*** decoherence happens, the wavefunction will collapse, and the particle is realized. Please see Zurek, lanl.gov, "Decoherence and the Transition from Quantum to Classical - Revisited". See in particular last half of page 21.

    Those who are pushing a consciousness explanation are religionists and mystics whose god has been historically kicked out of its top perch, and now they are attempting to find him in lowly photons as a last resort. These obfuscators who are trying to get a free ride on quantum paradoxes and quantum non-classical behaviour, at the cost of scientists and those who tirelessly abide by the difficult and no-nonsense methodology of science, generally have a very dangerous anti-enlightenment philosophico-polical agenda which they are unconsciously (what irony) pushing.

    Beware of such anti-science moments and do not give credence to such mystical obscurantist interpretations.
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