Will [Should Not] Mindfuck You [All That Much]: The Double-Slit Experiment.
The link above features a video narrated by “Dr. Quantum” about the Double Slit Experiment, and a new variation of the experiment by A. Wheeler.
Using those as evidence, the writer proposes:
…there is something NOT quite logical or scientific about this universe. The mere act of observation can completely change the outcome of an event!
When a camera observed the electrons, they acted as particles. However, when the no equipment was used to observe the electrons, they acted as waves and particles simultaneously.
So what’s the reason for this? Does the electron somehow know that it is being watched? That was the only “logical” reason that scientists could come up with so much skepticism and controversy followed.
That is not true, or just poorly phrased. A particle’s ‘sentience’ was not a “logical” reason proposed by scientists to explain this phenomenon. Competing theories about wave-particle were.
The experiment is well-known in the science community and has been widely explored since ~ 1801 — TWO CENTURIES! — but somehow it’s still boggling the general public’s minds in all the wrong ways.
The information is misunderstood and misconstrued, leading to this kind of thing in the comments section:
- This is proof that we can affect our lives!
- This is proof that God exists and scientists don’t understand anything!
- This is proof that everything is conscious energy!
- …And other new-agey garbage.
(The double-slit experiment is not proof of any of the above.
And though some things can’t be ruled out since we don’t know for certain, it doesn’t mean that all’s equal — we do know how nature works to an extent, and some theories have a greater probability of being true than others.)
The reason I concern myself with this so much is that, not knowing any better, I used to believe some similar ideas. I’d read some things by people who sounded like they knew what they were saying, watched “What the Bleep Do We Know?, etc.
…and then I accessed the giant library that is the internet and found that those ideas were misguided at best, even if well-intentioned.
A few problems with the “implications” listed by the author:
- The term observation in quantum physics does not mean the same thing as it does for us in our daily experience, as the poster above illustrates.
- It doesn’t necessarily follow that “macroscopic events” can be influenced in the way the author means — our human events do not directly translate to Nature’s language. We must attempt to understand that, no matter how much we’d like it to be the case that we can influence our lives with quantum mind power.
- More of a question, and the real reason I’m posting this: (it would be great if anyone could contribute answers) —
If we must disturb a particle to observe what it did, and the author claims that the experiment was designed so that the particle would not be disturbed until after it “decided” to act as wave or particle… how do we know that it decided to be a [particle] at all?
I’d love a better explanation of Wheeler’s variation on the double-slit since I don’t really understand how it works, but don’t trust that this particular author has the right idea about it.