I’m reading Schrodinger’s Kittens and the search for Reality by John Gribbin. In his prologue, he speaks of a problem titled “the daughters of Schrodinger’s Cat.”

Here’s the general gist of the problem (quotes directly taken from the book with some skippage): “Imagine two kittens, each living in a space capsule linked by a narrow tube. In the middle of the tube there is a box which has an automated sliding partition across its middle which contains - you guessed! - a single electron. Each of the two space capsules contains the usual diabolical device which will kill its respective cat if an electron emerges from the tunnel into the capsul. Remember that as long as nobody looks the elctron’s probability wave fills the box uniformly. When the sliding partition in the middle of the box divides it into two halves, there is a 50 percent probability that the electron is on one side of the particion and a 50 percent probability that it is on the other side. So when the two ends of the box slide away, the probability wave will spread out into each capsule evenly.

Now, with the two capsules separated, automatic rockets can fire to propel the two craft in opposite directions through space… Eventually, one of them reaches a distant planet where there are conscious observers. Curious to find out what is inside the capsule, the intelligent observers open the hatch and take a peek. At that moment, the wave function collapses. It ‘decides’ whether or not the oridinal electron entered the capsule that is being studied. If it did, the cat dies, orrather, once the observation has been made, the cat was dead all the time. Alternatively, the aliens may open the capsule to find a live cat In which case, their act of observation has consigned the other cat to its fate.”

OK, so here’s my problem. This doesn’t to me seem to be Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle in effect. Like in the original single cat problem, we’re to believe that the act of observation creates the reality of the situation. That without observation, the cat can be both dead and alive at the same time.

But what’s being shown in both is a simple probability problem. There’s a 50% chance of the cat (or cat A) being alive and a 50% chance of the cat (or cat A) being dead. That we don’t know which is which shouldn’t influence the result.

Imagine you walk into a room and there’s a playing card facedown on the table with a note that says “guess which card.”

In a fair deck, there’s a 1/52 chance of it being any particular card. But we don’t say that it’s every card simultaenously. Picking up the card and looking at it doesn’t change its reality. Though there’s no possible way to prove it, the card it is what it was before we picked it up.

I guess this long ass OP boils down to this: We hypothesize that observing quantum particles collapses their functions down to a single reality. Also, there’s no way to observe something before it’s being observed. So how do we know? How do we prove this? Why do we say that sometihng is both X and Y simultaneously rather than that there’s a 50% of X occurring upon observation and a 50% chance of Y occuring?