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Old 01-03-2012, 05:06 PM
Giraffe Giraffe is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2000
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDeth View Post
And of course, the thought experiment *IS* ridiculous, as the cat is a observer.
The cat is not the observer, in the wavefunction-collapsing sense. The cyanide capsule is the observer, as it couples to the radioactive decay in a way that distinguishes between the decayed and non-decayed states. The cat is merely an unfortunate bystander.

And Schrodinger's Cat pisses me off. Because it's well known, way too many people believe it's true. It's not. As others have pointed out, it's just a complicated way of looking at randomness. Replace the cat and cyanide with a pair of dice: are dice in a superposition of all possible rolls before you open the box? No. Quantum observation is not about knowledge, it's about interaction: if you interact significantly enough with a quantum system in a superposition, that forces a collapse into a single state. It doesn't matter if a person or a cat or a cow learns the result of the interaction, any more than trees falling in the woods fail to make sound if people aren't around. And it doesn't scale up.