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Jul 19

Shcrodinger’s Rapist: You’re WRONG.

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Okay. There’s this article. It’s called Schrodinger’s Rapist, and it endeavors to explain to men that women don’t know whether or not a strange man is a rapist until… well, he rapes her. It uses the popular thought experiment of Schrodinger’s Cat to illustrate this.

Let me just say, it’s a great article and should be required reading for anyone trying to get their Feminist Card.

HOWEVER.

People. You need to stop using Schrodinger’s thought experiment in vain. I’ve seen it happen a lot, and it’s wrong and stupid. The point of Schrodinger’s Cat is not “We don’t know if the cat is alive until we prove it.” That’s kind of exactly the opposite of the point.

Okay. I’ll explain. In very simplified terms.

You take a box. Into it, you put a cat. Then you insert a device (into the box, not the cat) which, every hour or so, has about a 50/50 chance of killing the cat. Then you close the box and wait a while.

The punch line is that, according to physics, until you open the box and observe the result, the cat exists in a state in which it is both alive and dead at the same time. Opening the box alters that state and allows us to observe the new state that cat has achieved, post-box, but opening the box is not the point of the experiment. The point is not, “We don’t know.” We don’t know is not science. We don’t know is what causes science. Science is knowing, and the wacky mind-bending conclusions that must be reached in order to understand how the universe works.

So. You saying a man is Schrodinger’s Rapist does not imply that you don’t know whether or not the man is a rapist. (Who the fuck would make up a thought experiment about not knowing shit? That’s not a thought experiment; that’s a boring story.) You saying a man is Schrodinger’s Rapist implies that the man exists in a state in which he is simultaneously a rapist and not a rapist, which is not true, is not science, and is also really, really insulting to men.

Do you get it now?

3 comments

  1. Jared

    The point of the Schrodinger’s Cat thought experiment is to show that the Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum physics is stupid by showing it leads to the ridiculous situation of the cat being trapped in some superposition of being simultaneously alive and dead.

  2. b

    I have an idea. Here it goes.

    Every woman I see from now onwards is a Schrodinger’s Whore. You may or may not be a woman who has sex for money.I won’t know for sure unless you ask for money after we have sex. I can’t see inside your head, and I don’t know your intentions. If you expect me to trust you—to accept you at face value as a nice sort of girl—you are not only failing to respect my reasonable caution, you are being cavalier about my money.

    1. PeanutBee

      @B

      Okay wow. No. Nope. That’s not a comparable example at all, unless you were raised from birth to be terrified of prostitutes violently taking your money and then murdering you, and it was generally accepted that if that happens it’ll mostly be your fault because you didn’t do X Y and Z to defend yourself.

      I’m not defending the original article, because I don’t 100% agree with it–at least I don’t agree with phrasing it that strongly. There always is and will always be some amount of weariness when I meet a man for the first time, but I also don’t go around calling men potential rapists in my head, or even really consciously thinking about rape. But keeping myself safe is something that is constantly in the front of my mind–and the minds of all women–if I’m around men that I don’t know really, really well.

      Because, honestly. If I meet a guy in a bar, he seems amazing and nice, I let him walk me home, and once we get there he pushes his way into my apartment and rapes me, what are people going to say? “What are you doing inviting strange men into your apartment? Of course you’re going to get raped. Don’t act like a whore.” (This happened to a friend of mine.)

      If I’m walking late at night in halfway bad neighborhood and I see a well-dressed guy who makes eye contact and smiles politely at me, and instead of putting a little more distance between himself and me, I smile back, and he grabs me, drags into a shady corner, and rapes me, what are people going to say? “Why were you walking alone in that neighborhood that late? What were you wearing? What else did you expect to happen here?” (This happened to another friend of mine, although she escaped. The well-dressed man chased her two blocks shouting about how she’s a fucking whore, before another man interceded and gave her time to get away.)

      On the other hand, if you meet a nice woman in a bar, flirt with her for a while, and she after a while she tells you a price, what are people going to say? (Prostitutes don’t wait until after sex to negotiate money, BTW.) “That whore!” –which would be fair–and probably a lot of other aspersions on her character, appearance, and worth as a human–which would probably not be.

      You see the difference between risk and expectation between our two examples? It is unfair that genuinely nice guys have to prove themselves to be trustworthy instead of bad guys proving themselves to be untrustworthy, but that isn’t an unfairness you should take out on women. We’re just trying to stay safe in the face of the society we’re in. Take it out on the people who created that society. Strive to make it unnecessary for women to be scared of every man they meet, instead of blaming women for being frightened after they’ve been raised in an environment that is constantly trying to harm them.

      Please?

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