Originally Posted by spinFX
What? Quantum physics doesn't tell you that... are you misunderstanding the observer effect? That has more to do with measurement results than completely obliterating things from existence.
You tell me.
For everyone else reading, I should probably clarify before I get right into this -- I'm equating the typical definition of human observation to the real, physical one. In experiments, the observation itself affects an outcome because we can't invent a measuring device that doesn't. I believe scientists generally agree that this not only because we can't invent a measuring device that doesn't impact results -- but rather, because unobserved matter doesn't exist (as matter) until observed. And it's important to remember that the definition of "observed" or "measured" here, is not the typical one -- it's the kind of measurement particles perform on each other, which just so happens to also be the kind of measurement your eye performs to enable your vision.. even if you don't typically think of it that way.
So when the particles in your eye are capturing light from a star that existed 80 billion years ago, it stands to reason that the photons themselves would never have been emitted from said star if not for the fact that you looked into the night sky, 80 billion years later.
I'll admit, it's a bit of a fantastical way of explaining it -- but I don't see any misinterpretation of the observer effect in there.. unless you want to argue that photons are still photons despite not being observed. I'd argue that a good example of "photons" that will never become photons are those on the event horizon of the Universe, and then we could argue about whether or not they can really be considered photons. I haven't found much scientific literature on how to define a particle that hasn't been and theoretically never can be observed, such as light moving into the vacuum of space at the edge of the Universe.
But anyway, to tie that back in -- the fact that there's an unsettled argument about whether or not matter exists until it can be observed, by my logic, means that I can say the photons you
see from an 80 billion year old star never would have existed if not for you having "looked" at (measured/observed) them. So I'm subscribing to the Copenhagen interpretation, here.
Maybe you can dissuade me of that.
Edit: This is a good video on the Bohr-Einstein debate about it, for those interested.