This question was asked by a friend of mine on Facebook.
The answer depends heavily on which side of the fence you are when considering the problem.
If one looks from the inside of his conscience and is aware of his own limitations – nobody ever had at his disposal all pertinent information about anything and, anyway, nobody is able to use ‘perfectly’ whatever meager information he is able to amass, for various reasons – one realizes that his representation of the universe, his universe that is, is indeed dependent on ‘observation’.
If, instead, one mentally transports himself on the outside of his conscience – assuming that there actually is anything outside his conscience – then the universe becomes somewhat independent of observation. I say ‘somewhat’ because any action performed on something, and ‘observation’ is an action, transforms – no matter how minutely but it does – the object on which that action has been performed.
So my answer would be ‘Both yes and no depending on which side you are when considering the matter‘ but we have to keep in mind that the (relative) independence that becomes apparent when looking from the outside of our individual conscience (?!?, 🙂 ) ‘depends’ heavily on the huge disproportion between each of us and the Universe.
See also: Politics, a dangerous profession, https://nicichiarasa.wordpress.com/2014/07/02/politics-a-dangerous-profession/
Heisenberg, the Uncertainty Principle, http://www.aip.org/history/heisenberg/p08.htm