The Second Quantum Election?

In a blog post in mid-February, I introduced my (mostly tongue-in-cheek) theory that the Franken-Coleman election for the U.S. Senate seat from Minnesota is the very first “quantum election.”

Even while that contest’s recount goes on (and on and on), we may now be experiencing our second quantum election–the 20th Congressional District in New York.

At this point, although it’s still very early, it looks like yesterday’s vote may very well prove to be inconclusive, with ongoing disputes about absentee ballots and other voting irregularities. Once again, perhaps, the winner of this election will be determined eventually by whatever official body takes the final snapshot. As long as additional snapshots are being taken (e.g., recounts, court cases, appeals, etc.), the outcome will change on a somewhat random basis, as predicted by the probability cloud of voters.

In a comment on my previous post about quantum elections, Erik offered a critique of my theory.  Although I feel unqualified, as a philosopher and epistemologist, to argue with this critique, I must reiterate my belief that there is no “true winner” in these elections.  The “winner” is randomly determined at the moment the observer makes the observation.

If this trend toward quantum elections continues, the next round of national elections in 2010 will be a mess.

Perhaps some of the techniques that high-energy physicists use to better understand quantum mechanics can be applied to political science.  Here are two suggestions:

1)  The large hadron collider accelerates particles (e.g.  protons) around a big circular track and then bangs them together.  The results of the collisions provide valuable evidence that can be used to test various quantum theories.  What would happen if we accelerated two politicians (perhaps  a Democrat and a Republican) around the outer edge of the Capitol’s circular Rotunda and then collided the two politicians?  Perhaps this would knock some sense into them.

2)  And here’s another application of quantum theory to politics:  It’s a thought experiment called “Schrodinger’s Supreme Court Nominee,” based on the well-known thought experiment referred to as Schrodinger’s Cat. In this experiment, a Supreme Court nominee is locked in a box, along with a geiger counter and a tiny radioactive sample.  During this one-hour experiment, the nominee is both confirmed and rejected at the same time.  The nominee’s political fate is smeared out in a probability cloud.  (In the cat experiment, the cat is both alive and dead at the same time.)

At the end of the hour, the box is opened.  Only at this instant will the nominee “collapse” into a final state of either “confirmed” or “rejected.”  This procedure is just as effective as, and much faster than, today’s confirmation process for dealing with a nominee to the Supreme Court.

Any other ideas?

Published in: on April 1, 2009 at 4:16 pm  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Thanks for a wonderful post, l ve been looking for such information, I will join jour rss feed now.

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