Postmodernism Undone!


Warning...heavy scientific content. (Hat tip: Instapundit)


In the latest issue of Nature News, Postdoctoral Fellow Nadav Katz explains how his team [took] a "weak" measurement of a quantum particle, which triggered a partial collapse. Katz then "undid the damage we'd done," altering certain properties of the particle and performing the same weak measurement again. The particle was returned to its original quantum state just as if no measurement had ever been taken.

Because theorists had believed since 1926 that a measurement of a quantum particle inevitably forced a collapse, it was said that in a way, measurements created reality as we understand it. Katz, however, says being able to reverse the collapse "tells us that we really can't assume that measurements create reality because it is possible to erase the effects of a measurement and start again."



Okay gang, I'm no quantum physicist, but based on what I know about the subject, this is a pretty big discovery and not just scientifically, but philosophically. The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle states that you can know an electron's position, or you can know an electron's momentum, but you cannot know both at the same time; by measuring one, you change the other. Philosophers took this theory and ran with it in the form of Postmodernism. Dave Kopel explored this in 2002:




But as Marxist sociology professor Stanley Aronowitz (City University of New York) has argued in his book Science as Power: Discourse and Ideology in Modern Society, Heisenberg's work also seems to legitimize the whole postmodern project. Because of physics' reputation as the most rigorous and neutral of all the sciences, the work of Heisenberg and his colleague Niels Bohr seem to supply the definitive proof for postmodernism's skepticism about truth and universal values. If, as Aronowitz and other postmodernists argue, Heisenberg showed that even science didn't have objective truth, then literature and the humanities certainly could not.

More could politics or morality. Same famous postmodernists in history: Pol Pot, Ayotollah Khomeini and Jean-Paul Sartre. Get the picture? So now what we may have is a debunking of the impetus of an entire philosophical movement. Heavy stuff, I know, but damned interesting.