I have seen lots of critique targeted at Tom's work and I have often felt there's something logically or semantically wrong about the criticism and that it's on the very surface, right in front of my eyes but I couldn't quite grasp what it is.
And then it came to me.
It's because people are using words "measurement" and "observation" as synonyms in the context of physics experiments. I have seen both these words being used interchangeably in many scientific studies, papers, student books. Even Wikipedia says so:
In science, observation can also involve the perception and recording of data via the use of scientific instruments.
English is not my first language, so I might be wrong here, but this sentence screams at me: It's wrong!
Yes, observation is (conscious) perception of data, but observation is not the same as recording of data (i.e. measurement)!
People who use these words as exact synonyms are imposing their attitude on others and strengthening the idea that the "observer effect" shouldn't be studied separately from the measurement process because they are both the same thing. In my opinion, this misuse and mixing of both terms is one of the main causes of misunderstandings and arguments about the nature of Tom's experiments.
In my opinion, measurement is only the process of gathering of information using tools - voltmeters, scales etc. etc. and also our eyes and nerves. Data goes in, data goes out. It just transforms data.
Observation is becoming aware of the data gathered by measurement. Observation is what extracts information out of the data, e.g. voltage value out of pixels on a digital voltmeter. It's entirely separate process and it is a feature of a conscious entity who has enough mental power and intelligence to be aware of the information.
A cat watching a voltmeter might be aware of some animation going on on the display, but a cat cannot be aware of the information and know the meaning of it. Only the person with enough knowledge can obtain the results of measurement and become informed about it.
What do you think? Am I right or am I missing some even simpler than this?