Understanding in the meaning you use is not the task of science. It is the task of mapping (intersubjective) experimental results to a predictive model of how stuff works and minimizing the number of false predictions. Of course many want to "understand" the meaning at a deeper level. This is, however, a philosophical question, not a scientific one and it is good practice to keep this difference in mind.Then look at Len M's last post, to see the necessity of philosophy in science-- if one's goal is to understand one's science. Of course, if one is a "shut up and calculate" type, then that is the only time one can place a firewall successfully between physics and the philosophies that invented physics. But frankly, I've met many who claimed they believed in "shutting up and calculating", but none who ever really did. We all want to understand our calculations.
Your tornado example is a classical one. Entropy is clearly more important in a scenario where a system having one state is linked to a system having many degenerate states of the same energy (like an excited atom and the vacuum).Yes, and that's exactly what I'm talking about. Shannon entropy is about information, and information is very much in the mind of the physicist. That is the path for seeing how closely connected is the whole concept of entropy, and the way we process information.
Does it? To be honest I do not really care. As long as the predictions are ok, the physics is ok, too. By the way I also feel pretty bored by the constant discussions whether CI, MWI, BM, Ithaca or any interpretation of qm is better than the other. As long as the predictions do not differ, that is not a scientific question. I see the point that some people may get some inspiration from one certain interpretation and that is fine. However, I do not see any scientific importance beyond that.And even more than that, I mean that the whole concept of a "system" that could be in an eigenstate in the first place is an idealization of our conscious minds. We have chosen what we care about, and found a way to predict it, but reality would have to see what we are doing as hopelessly naive.
One can discuss that. But I doubt that was really the question asked in this thread. I think the question was indeed simply whether a human looking at a detector makes a difference. Nothing else.That's where it started, and you answered that already. I'm saying that if we are going to talk about the role of consciousness in quantum mechanics, writ large, we must go beyond the simple issue of whether there is a human looking at the detector or not.
If you take your position seriously then it will apply to any field of science. There are not even simple things like tennis balls, but just our perception of it. It is just more puzzling in qm.That is a valid objection, but I can answer it. I do feel there are analogs in other areas of science, like entropy in thermodynamics. But the problem is never as central as it is to quantum mechanics, because quantum mechanics has a formal evolution that is unitary, which leads to things like interfering wavefunctions, but experiments show nonunitary outcomes, like individual photon counts and decoherence in general, any time one particular outcome is perceived out of all the possible ones.
I still doubt that the role is fundamental in physics. It can be fundamental in philosophy, but physics is indeed "shut up and calculate". Of course many people are interested in areas beyond physics, but imho things are much clearer if you keep the dividing line clear.I'm pointing out that the fundamental weirdnesses associated with two-slit experiments are fundamentally about the role of the consciousness, for the simple reason that only a conscious being can perceive a nonunitary outcome. Without the need to explain that perception, quantum mechanics works just fine treating everything as a superposition-- it's only a question of how large the closed system is.
I agree that philosophy had influence on the development of physics and science in general like developing falsifyability (is that a word? hmm) as a criterion to distinguish between scientific and other theories. But apart from that I really vote for keeping the physics part "shut up and calculate" and taking all other issues to philosophy.