Shimon Malin Phd. Professor Emeritus of Physics at Colgate University
"Suppose a measurement of an electron's spin component along some direction is being measured. The result can either be "up" or "down". The result of the measurement is automatically communicated to a printer that can either print "up" or "down". If human consciousness is what causes the collapse to the observed state, then the collapse would only occur when someone read the printout, and not before. Now suppose that the printer has just enough ink to print "up", and not enough ink to print "down". Furthermore, if the printer runs out of ink, a bell sounds in a secretary's office. If the secretary hears the bell, a collapse to "down" has clearly occurred before the bell sounded. If the secretary does not hear the bell, a collapse to "up" must have occurred--and no human interaction was necessary at all."
Here is the thing:
The presence of path information anywhere in the universe is sufficient to prohibit any possibility of interference. It is irrelevant whether a future observer might decide to acquire it. The mere possibility is enough. - from http://arxiv.org/pdf/1206.6578v2.pdf
Shimon Malin does not understand that wave function collapse occurs as soon as there is merely "the presence of path information anywhere in the universe". Before anybody looks at the printed out paper or hears the bells, if the information is already present and available to conscious observers anywhere in the universe, the collapse takes place. So he is right in a sense that "no human interaction is necessary" but he is wrong if he concludes that "measuring devices cause the collapse". The which path information has to be available to conscious observers
, being only available to measuring devices and then erased so that no conscious observers will ever have the possibility to obtain the information does not collapse the wave function.
JosephPalazzo, If you don't like the phrase, "cause wave collapse," then I will use, "prohibit the interference pattern."
I am confused as to what you guys think prohibits the interference pattern. It is undeniable that the cause is "the presence of which-path information in the universe" but what does this mean? That a measuring device can have this information? Or a conscious observer?
We can present a case:
P1) An "observation" prohibits the possibility of an interference pattern
P2) Obtaining or merely having access to available which-path information constitutes an "observation"
P3) Once an observation is made, the prohibition of the possibility of an interference pattern is permanent
P4) Measuring devices that record and then erase their which path information do not permanently prohibit interference patterns
C1) Per P3 and P4, measuring devices cannot be said to be making an "observation"
Premise 3 is the one you may call into question. Here is the explanation:
Once an Observation is made, it is permanent. If the which-path observation becomes available to a conscious observer (EVEN FOR A SECOND) it's too late. It's done. The interference pattern will be prohibited permanently and there is no way to get it to reappear after that. No matter what you do after an observation is made, the interference pattern wont come back EVER! Therefore, a True Observation PERMANENTLY prohibits the interference pattern.
However, If the which-path information becomes available to an unconscious measuring device, it can erase that which-path information LONG AFTER THE MEASUREMENT, and behold, the interference pattern reappears
just as if no "observation" had been made. (this is because indeed no "observation" was made) Therefore, unconscious measuring devices do not make "Observations."This should show that "which path information being available to an unconscious measuring device" does not itself prohibit the interference pattern, and therefore cannot be a true "observation".
What hangs you up is that a measuring device is required in order for any conscious observer to ever obtain the which-path information, you therefore argue that the measuring devices measurement is prohibiting the interference pattern, not the conscious observer. It is a well established fact that what prohibits the interference pattern is the ability to obtain which-path information. The question is, "the ability for what to obtain which-path information? Measuring devices or conscious observers?"
When a conscious observer obtains which-path information, the interference pattern is permanently prohibited. Even if that which-path information is obtained only for one second and then erased, the interference pattern will never reappear. On the other hand unconscious measuring devices can obtain which-path information (which should prohibit the interference pattern) but if they erase the information the interference pattern reappears. (this should not happen if the measuring devices were making true "observations") One can only conclude that a True Observation only takes place when which-path information is obtained or available to a Conscious Observer. Measuring devices can relay this information so that it is "observed" or than can erase it so that it is "not observed" but the measuring devices themselves are doing any "observing" themselves.
I am very open to being wrong. I am not dogmatic about this. But no one is providing any argument to the contrary. What is the argument for measuring devices as true observers? I have been presented no good reason to believe that "which-path information becoming available to an unconscious measuring device prohibits the interference pattern."