Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Quote Of The Day: Does Consciousness Collapse The Wave Function?

There are so many purveyors of woo-woo out there that it's enough to drive an atheist mad. One of the most common claims is that the famous double slit experiment shows that consciousness collapses the wave function because it seems that observing the quantum particles changes their behavior from waves to particles. This is often used by spiritualists and theists as evidence that there is a soul, because, it is argued, physical reality seems to exist only when we're looking at it, and so the soul must be fundamental.

But most working physicists will tell you that consciousness has nothing to do with wave function collapse, often described as decoherence. Here's a quote from an actual physicist David Simmons-Duffin on what really collapses the wave function:

Decoherence occurs whenever a quantum mechanical system interacts with another system with a large number of degrees of freedom (like a human, or a house cat, or a chair). It has absolutely nothing to do with consciousness, and can be described rigorously from the Schrodinger equation without any extra axioms.

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