The Cat Knows…

Warning! This post contains a pretty “nerdy” subject. Those who got bored or fell asleep during Science class should probably wait for a less cerebral article. But for those who enjoy brain-teasers, please read on.

This is about a famous experiment carried out by a man named Schrödinger and his “cat.” He really didn’t have a cat, this was just a “thought experiment” he carried out in his mind.

Essentially it was this… place a live cat in a box along with a tiny bit of something  radioactive. Over the course of an hour, there’s a 50 / 50 chance that one of the atoms in the radioactive substance will decay. If it does, that will cause a vile of something really bad like hydrocyanic acid to be released thus killing the cat.

I know, I know, why a cute little kitty? Why not a snake?

Anyway, the point is that after this hour is over, to anyone outside the box, the cat is both alive AND dead. According to Schrödinger, before you open the box to peek at the fate of the feline,  it simultaneously exists in two different quantum states – alive and deceased.

Before you look, the cat is nothing more than “waves” of probability. It’s the act of you observing that “collapses” the wave function and reveals the physical world of either a live or dead cat.  It’s YOU, your consciousnesses, that creates whichever reality is presented after you open that box. In other words, what you believe has everything to do with what you’ll see.

These days many people are trying to use this to imply that you’re consciousness has a direct effect on your reality, that your reality is being created by you.  So the next time you’re eating at a restaurant and someone runs a stop sign,  smashes into your car while it’s sitting in the parking lot, remember, that was your fault. You made that reality happen according to Schrödinger.

Hmmmm? I’m not so sure.

What about the cat? The cat knows if it’s alive or dead.  The cat is also an observer and  would “collapses” the wave function long before anyone had a chance to open the box. The people outside the box may not be privy to that information but the kitty sure is.

In a way, to the folks outside the box the cat is indeed both alive and dead. But their knowledge of the cat’s fate doesn’t alter the real reality that’s taking place inside that box. That reality is happening whether the people outside the box know it or not.

It’s sort of like buying a Lottery Scratch off. Is that ticket in your hand both a winner and a looser at the same time? No, it’s either one or the other.

That ticket has a predetermined reality. Whether you’re aware of it or not doesn’t alter that reality. It’s physically there, it’s real, it’s not just a “soup” of probabilities. It may seem like it to you, but that’s because you don’t know which one it is, winner or looser.

If it takes consciousness to collapses the wave function and create the physical world we exist in, then how did humans come about? What consciousness was there to “observe” us into existence? The dinosaurs?

If so, then what consciousness  “observed” the dinosaurs into existence? For that matter, what consciousness was even around to “observe” the Earth into existence? God? Probably so, it’s the only answer I can come up with that fits the “facts” as I understand them.

If that’s the case, then God has already observed everything from the beginning of time to it’s inevitable end. That means every wave function has already been or will forever be collapsed by no one but the almighty.

In my world, God has already created this wonderful reality we know as the universe. I don’t believe our thoughts create it as we go, not in the physical sense. It’s already there for us to explore and marvel over.

To me, discovery is not creation. Uncovering new knowledge is not what caused it come into existence.

This was also Einstein’s position, who to his last breath, wouldn’t except some of these “wild” ideas being postulated about Quantum Mechanics either. On one occasion he remarked “God doesn’t play dice with the universe.”

I agree.