Essay:Rebuttal to the "Calming the Storm" essay

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The Calming the Storm essay suggests an attempt to promulgate a spectacular ignorance of how quantum mechanics works and how "wave function collapse" works. If Schrödinger, Heisenberg, and the others had used as their model the essay's interpretation of the "Calming the Storm" passages from Matthew, Mark, or Luke, they would have gotten the wave function collapse completely wrong. Any earlier scientists attempting the same thing would have fared even worse.

In quantum mechanics, a "system" (photon, electron, cat, lake) has a wave function in a Hilbert space. Any observations that one might make (position, momentum, alive/dead, calm/stormy) corresponds to an operator on that space. In accordance with various theorems about Hilbert spaces and Hermitian operators, the operator has eigenvalues and eigenfunctions. The wave function is a linear combination (superposition) of those eigenfunctions. The squares of the coefficients of that linear combination add up to one, and are the probabilities that an observation will yield that eigenvalue.

Prior to an observation, all that is known is that the wave function is a superposition of eigenfunctions, and that the squared coefficients are the probabilities of observing the various eigenvalues. For example, a photon in a double slit experiment has a certain probability of going through the left slit, and a certain probability of going through the right slit.

Once an observation is made, it yields one of the eigenvalues, with a probability equal to the square of that coefficient. So the result must be, however it is quantified, "it went through the left slit" or "it went through the right slit".

The phenomenon of wave function collapse is this: Once the observation is made, the wave system's function becomes that eigenfunction. The corresponding coefficient becomes one and all the others become zero. This means that all subsequent observations will yield the same result as the original observation. In the double slit example, once the photon lands on the photographic plate, there is no longer any uncertainty.

So the fundamental principle is this: Once an observation is made, and the wave function collapses, all subsequent observations will yield the same result.

In the case of the "calming the storm" Bible passage, the people in the boat observed the storm and reported it to Jesus. So an observation had been made. No subsequent observation could have changed that. There are other ways in which the storm could have subsided, but wave function collapse is not one of them.