posted on Jun, 14 2008 @ 08:58 PM
Originally posted by Lecter
Originally posted by boredguy
its like that ol saying
if a tree falls in the forest and noone is around does it make a sound?
I never understood why this even is a question, there is air in the forest and as the tree hits an object like ground it transfers the vibration
through the air therefore making a sound. So.... why is this asked?
This problem is only loosely related to the Schrödinger's Cat problem insofar as it highlights the role of observer in the physical event. The tree
falls, the air vibrates but where is the sound? Surely sound is only created when the vibrations displace the auditory hair cells of a conscious
In other words, the concept of sound involves the concept of perception.
Philosophical questions arise about how conscious the observer has to be. Was it only a sound if a human heard it? Doesn't a bird count? What about a
worm that could only feel the vibrations? When we say a worm feels something, do we mean it is in some sense conscious of feeling? Isn't
"unconscious feeling" a meaningless concept? etc.
You can try to get around this by using the classical science definition of sound as nothing more than "mechanical vibrations travelling through some
medium" - as if it could exist in isolation of any means of detecting it - be it ear, microphone or whatever. Classical science isolates the physical
from the subjective in this way but quantum mechanics teaches this only gets you so far.
Schrödinger's thought experiment bridged the gap between the subatomic and macroscopic, bringing the absurd paradox of quantum superpositions from
the realm of the very small into the previously mundane observable world of living or dying cats. Both he and Einstein believed this showed there must
be something wrong with the understanding of quantum weirdness as it was formulated at that time. However, although there are several interpretations
of how superstates collapse or decohere, quantum weirdness is something scientists have had to learn to live with.
As someone mentioned earlier, Schrödinger's Cat is only a mental excercise, not a practical experiment - quite apart from the cruelty, a cat or any
other living thing could not be isolated from the universe as the experiment would require. For one thing, infrared photons and gravitons would
transmit information about the cat's physical state through the box.
examined the experiment from the point of view of the cat.
Question - what kind of quantum superposition was the universe in (if any) before the first conscious observer evolved?
[edit on 15-6-2008 by EvilAxis]