Physics Enters the Obama Transparency Dodge

by Jerry Richardson   10/23/14

You would never believe, without documented proof, what the latest excuse given by the President’s spox person, Josh Earnest, for the Obama Administration NOT being as declared: “…the most transparent administration in history.”

Try not to yuk it up too much!

At least pause for explanation and give credit for new creative heights of excuse-making from Josh Earnest.

In the White House October 22th press conference, Josh Earnest invoked the Heisenberg principle as a “reason” for not allowing the press to attend Q&A sessions that President Obama conducts with donors.

The Heisenberg principle?  Surely I must have misread that?

No, I read and heard it correctly, but unfortunately Josh Earnest confused the Heisenberg principle of uncertainty with a somewhat similar effect in quantum physics called the observer effect.  Or to the Hawthorn effect which isn’t a principle of quantum physics, but a sociology principle.

The Heisenberg uncertainty principle, sometime shortened to just the Heisenberg principle, is a measurement limitation that is observed in quantum physics that results from the fact that a precise measurement of a particle’s position and momentum cannot be obtained at the same time.  The more exact a particle’s position is known, the less exact will its momentum be known.  The more exact a particle’s momentum is known, the less exact will its position be known.

The observer effect in quantum physics is that the act of observing small (sub atomic) particles will affect the behavior of those particles due to the fact that such particles as photons (or others) must interact with the particle in order for it to be observed.

The Hawthorn effect refers to the phenomenon where individuals modify their behavior due to their awareness that they are being observed.

This is probably the lame excuse that Josh Earnest was trying to use.

Here’s the documentation:

“Why doesn’t that transparency extend to the Q&A sessions with the donors which would be a great interest to all of us?” Knoller asked.

“The goal of those Q&A sessions is to foster a more candid and open dialogue where you have donors who are expressing their views,” Earnest said.

Earnest also pointed to the Heisenberg principle to explain why the White House doesn’t allow reporters to fully cover high-dollar fundraisers.

“The Heisenberg principle,” Earnest said. “That the fact of someone observing something necessarily changes what is actually being observed. And I think that’s at play in a dynamic like this when you have a relatively small group of individuals who are seeking to have a conversation with the president of the United States.”

(Editor’s note: Earnest was referring to the Hawthorne effect, not the Heisenberg principle. The Heisenberg principle addresses uncertainty in quantum mechanics.)
The Heisenberg Principle Transparency Dodge

Most transparent and intelligent President EVAH!

Try not to yuk it up too much!

©2014, Jerry Richardson

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2 Responses to Physics Enters the Obama Transparency Dodge

  1. GHG says:

    The Pelosi quote about having to pass the bill before we can know what’s in it encapsulated very nicely all we need to know about Obama and transparency, not to mention his personal history which is still … shall we say, rather opaque.

  2. Timothy Lane says:

    The observer principle can be considered an explanation for why the Heisenberg uncertainly principle works. As for Josh Not-So-Earnest (like Jay Blarney before him), my term for his occupation is “spokesliar”. That’s what his job involves.

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