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Sascha VongehrRSS Feed of this column.

Dr. Sascha Vongehr [风洒沙], physicist and philosopher, studied phil/math/chem/phys in Germany, obtained a BSc in theoretical physics (electro-mag) & MSc (stringtheory) at Sussex University... Read More »


The following is my email correspondence with Joy Christian. It shows how seriously he took my bait and how he quite agreed with my main point, namely that the “Quantum Crackpot Randi Challenge” should be earnestly attempted.

Why does local realism being wrong imply that non-local reality is true? Such is widely opined to be the only sober solution because it conserves good old reality, the scientists’ fort that is to be defended against the onslaught of magic.

However, reality with “spooky actions at a distance” is not non-magical either. Nevertheless, the issue is known as “non-locality in quantum physics”, never as “non-reality in quantum physics”. How about keeping localism and instead accepting that realism is a god of the gaps in retreat? Don’t like it? Well, how about at least not being so sure about it for starters?

Let us try to model the experiment described in “Disproving Local Realism” with help of tennis balls. 800 pairs of tennis balls are each prepared, say some instructions are written on them, and then split. One ball is always thrown to Alice on the left; the second flies to Bob on the right.

Every of the 800 trials starts with the preparation of a pair. When the left going ball is about half way to Alice, Alice randomly rotates a setup, called her “crystal”, either so that it is at an “angle” a=0 or a=1.

Modern physics has disproved direct realism: There is no locally realistic description of our world possible. Although I have already explained this differently at several places, for example by refusing 'real stuff' as being a good explanation for what is ‘at the bottom’, it is worth to prove it once rigorously. Let me present the simplest established proof in the simplest possible version that I can come up with. Everybody claiming interest in the interplay between science and philosophy should have gone through this proof at least once and I did my utmost to make it as easy as possible: Only three angles are considered and probabilities almost completely avoided by instead talking about natural numbers like 50.

Time to reveal the solution to the cat killing mystery introduced in “If Schrödinger's Cats All Die, Do the Alive ones go to Hell?” and further explained in “Rotating Schrödinger's Cat to Death”. The solution is a huge letdown for all cat haters. Instead of being send to hell or at least into a parallel universe where they won’t bother no more, the cats stay right here in our lab! (See Nina – I am not as bad as you think.)

You may suspect the beating of a dead horse by now, but the problem is actually that the animals in question are still alive. As was discussed, the alive cats expect to see something when the box opens.

If we interact with the Schrödinger cat superposition state inside the otherwise isolated box so that we will only have dead cats result, what do the alive cats see? There must be a place into which those cats can jump. However, it cannot be the room where the experimenter observes them, since the experimenter only observes dead cats after having applied the ‘rotation’.