Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Quantum Gods Don't Deserve Your Faith

I seldom read New Scientist, because they tend to go for the outrageous, speculative aspect of physics and presents it as if it is fact. But this book review hits it right on the spot. It is a book review of Vic Stenger's "Quantum Gods: Creation, chaos and the search for cosmic consciousness". If you recall, Stenger created quite a buzz with his previous book "God: The Failed Hypothesis". So you can already get an idea on the nature of his latest book.

Still, I think this book appears to be a bit more focused. He is trying to debunk the misuse of quantum mechanics, which has been used to justify the existence of "god" and spirituality.

In this much-needed book, physicist Victor Stenger isolates and then debunks the claims of two kinds of "quantum belief". One he calls "quantum theology" because it offers quantum physics as a way for God to act in the world without violating natural laws. The second is "quantum spirituality", which is rooted in the even vaguer notion that quantum physics connects the human mind to the universe, allowing us to create our own reality.

I'll probably get this book, because it seems to be an issue that I also have been dealing with. Many of my entries on the bastardization of QM in this blog deal directly with this, where people who have no clue what QM is other than what they read in pop-science articles think that they understand it enough to use it to justify whatever belief they are selling. You will also note that in my entry on why Quantum Mechanics is so difficult, the very fact that most of these crackpots do not understand the underlying mathematics of QM, most of the consequences of QM will appear to come out nowhere. This somehow gives these people the license to simply make things up to suit their needs since it appears to them that phenomena in QM can do this.

As I've said many times, imagination without knowledge is simply ignorance waiting to happen.


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