Friday, September 19, 2008

Continuing Bastardization of Quantum Mechanics

Maybe I should have turn this into a series. But who knew that the news media would report this much crap on QM?

So if you haven't been following this blog, I've had already several posts on how people and the media have bastardized QM. They took what they read (usually out of some pop-science source) and somehow able to extrapolate whatever pathetic little knowledge that they gained into something completely unverified, unscientific, and worse still, completely wrong. All because they thought they understood QM.

This is the latest example. I'm guessing that this is a rather famous soccer player in the UK (I don't know, I don't follow soccer much).

His epiphany came after reading about a famous experiment in quantum physics known as Schrodinger's Cat.

"It was all about the idea that an observer can change the world just by looking at something; the idea that mind and reality are somehow interconnected," Wilkinson explained.

"It is difficult to put into words, but it hit me like a steam train."

He continued: "I came to understand that I had been living a life in which I barely featured. I had spent my time immersed in the fear of not achieving my goals and then spent my time beating myself up about the mistakes I made along the way. Quantum physics helped me to realise that I was creating this destructive reality and that all I needed to do to change it was to change the way I chose to perceive the world.

Sounds familiar, doesn't it? In fact, the book "The Secret" made use of the same bastardization.

So here's something most of these people seem to have ignored. I'm staring at a pencil right now......... Now I'm staring at it again ......... and again ........

How have I changed the pencil? How have I changed "reality"? None? Bingo! In the classical world, which is the world we live in and most familiar with, the quantum rules are not observed. A cat is either dead or alive, not a superposition of dead and alive. A pencil can only be at one place at a time, not simultaneously spread out over various locations, etc... etc. What does this tells us? That there is a distinct difference between the rules of the classical world and quantum world. Where do they meet? No one knows, and that is still a subject of constant research to know at what point the quantum and classical world merges. We don't even know if this is a smooth crossover or an abrupt transition.

The point in all of this is that extrapolating the rules that govern quantum system into classical world has no justification. We have no scientific research that you can change reality simply by thinking about it in the SAME way that an act of measurement affects the outcome of a quantum system. NONE. It is a bastardization of QM to do so.



Anonymous said...

Likewise my comments on your blog, a series. If someone says that I'm smart, then says that I'm stupid, is that the same as stupid, then smart? Are observations on my character commutative?

I think Soccer Player was commenting on his Psychological State, not on his Pencil. OK, he's a soccer player, there are soccer wives, maybe I'm wrong. He read a book. Maybe not a wholly bad book. If he had read a different book first, he might not have come to the same idea.

Whatever it was, it looks as if Soccer Player noticed a discrete event. Hey, it must have been caused by a particle. Maybe it was the God particle? OK, now I'm just winding you up.

There are disanalogies, of course. Planck's constant. Also, it would be good to identify the DoFs and the constraints on Soccer Player's psychological state. Being quantitative in any way would be good. Soccer Players are better than Physicists at moving balls.

JC said...

Rugby, not soccer.

Rugby is a real sport, soccer is now little more than an entertainment industry.

I think wilkinson was trying to find an analogy, it was a pretty terrible one.

I thought the experiment with the cat was a bastardisation itself used to illustrate a point? Blame schrodinger for this one.