Cheating Heisenberg

William Abernathy ’88 concludes (“Cheating Heisenberg," Reed, June 2015) that we do not know how William of Ockham would account for the qubit measurements of Kater Murch ’02. But we do know that Libert Froidmont, a 17th-century scientist and theologian, coined the phrase “Occam’s Razor” as an insult. He claimed that Ockham used it to “cut away and scrape off all distinct entities, leaving only a plurality of names,” when we ought to posit faculties of intellect and will distinct from the rational soul as Aquinas did. Ockham disagreed about what distinctions to posit in the human soul. And I’m inclined to think that he might also have held that we need not suppose that future states cause present ones in order to calculate a radiation value based on the states before and after a target we cannot measure directly. Whether the math is simple or not, this supposition seems to involve fewer inconsistencies. But, then, I may not understand what’s up, since it’s clear that Abernathy has simplified the situation radically. With thanks for the article about Murch’s work.

—Rega Wood ’66

Bloomington, Indiana