Friday, November 26, 2004

The Double Slit as Explained To Me by Chris Granger
This is the article being referenced.

Hahahaha, I don't know why people continue to overlook a much more intuitive explanation regarding this experiment. I had an epiphany several months ago where I came up with an intuitive, no nonesense explantation of what's happening, and I now believe I have a clear and simple view of what is going on. Bear in mind, clear and simple are relative terms and this is a revolutionary science that requires revolutionary thinking.

Like I was saying before in the previous email, the photon doesn't travel through both slits, the photon that we observe is actually bumped off course by photons that exist outside of the collapsed wave function that we perceive through a process called quantum interference. I will explain the jargon terms later. This is not my idea and not what I had the epiphany about. And it IS actually hard to explain beyond the jargon, but I've been told that I'm good at dejargonizing and I relish any opportunity I have to do it for the enlightment of others. Of course, I haven't slept in a long time so I'll prob suck at it now.

Another way to say it is that the photon we observe is bumped off course by photons in other universes. THis is Deutsch's explanation, but it is still misleading. I've actually explained this to two people before (Alhaji and my sister :) and both understood, but it's much easier to do in person - even though this sounds really funny, the hand gestures I use really help :) ). This is where my epiphany comes in and I think it's a good concept to help further understanding of this - and it's simple once you can wrap your head around it. The problems we face as human observers or the limitations we are sewn into lie in the way our brains operate, i.e. consciousness exists within a stream of collapsed wave functions, i.e. a sequence of discreet collapsed wave functions that are we percieve as being tied together in time. This however gives us only the SLIGHTEST (almost an infinitesimally small) view of the true nature of the universe. The universe, in reality, is a big fuzzy mass of probability. Again, the double slit experiment amid other compelling evidence (including the very physical structure of the universe) proves this. A "collapsed wave function" is just a term scientists use to explain why the universe seems the way it does to us. E.g. physicists say that when you're not looking an electron exists in a fuzzy probability cloud and when you are looking an electron exists as a discrete particle. What the fuck does this mean??? Well, this is because the observer "collapses" the wave function (they collapse that cloud of probability into one discrete location in which the electron exists) because we (humans or more precisely our brains) operate within collapsed wave functions, whatever they may be. Even when we're not looking, our brains are "collapsing wave functions" :)

OK, hold up your finger and look at it. You see your finger in one location, sitting there stably (unless you've had a little coffee like me and you're getting a little jittery). In "reality" your finger is a wave, it's in several places nearby all at once. In fact, you are too. This is the God's Eye view of you (so to speak). At the same time, within that wave exist discrete locations of where your finger can be (depending on what physical laws permit happening). This is evidenced by the fact that it dovetails with our experience. In "reality" though your finger exists in this probability cloud where it can be a half a millimeter up, half down, someone can walk into your office right now and cause you to put your hand down all together, or they may not. It's a game of dice, right? But, we can intuitively discern that our brains don't operate at this meta-discrete quantum level - unless you're having an acid flashback, your finger should not look like a wave right now. No, our brains are not moved by a probability cloud of neurons firing or maybe firing or not or whatever. We experience a distinct "choice" in what happens. A probability cloud of electrons doesn't strike your retina causing you to see a blurry blob of where something might be sitting in a wave-like state - no, a distinct path is taken, the wave function is collapsed, either you experience the electron hitting your retina here, or maybe there, or maybe missing it all together. This is what is meant by "collapsing the wave function". And, so even though you experience your finger being where you see it now, in another collapsed wave function, "another you" exists and that space twin version of you ends up observing your finger as being in a different location. Quantum mechanics says that Einstein was wrong - God does in fact play dice and I hear he has a serious gambling habit. Does that make sense? I'm doing really badly but bear with me. So, we only get to see a small piece of the action. A small snippet of the universe at any one time. Only one set of discrete states per discrete unit of time. Oh yes, time is quanitized too. It flows like a computer processor, stop and go between discrete states.

Then, and this is the even more interesting part, and the message that "What the BLeep Do We know?" tried (and failed on behalf of those without some prior knowledge of this subject, judging by all of the reviews I read) to convey. Who makes the decision regarding how the wave function collapses as experienced by us. God? Is it random? Or... do we have some say in the matter? Of course, the movie hints that the latter's probably true. And they may be right to some extent. Can we really shape how events unfold? Is this what we experience as free will?


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2:25 PM  

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