How to spot quantum quackery - interview with Lawrence Kauss
By ALAN BOYLE - COSMIC LOG - MSNBC
Added: Tue, 21 Sep 2010 15:24:19 UTC
Thanks to sdando2000 for the link
Bruce Rolff / FeaturePics.com
Some argue that the same quantum processes seen in the universe around us have an effect on consciousness as well, but physicist Lawrence Krauss says that's highly debatable.
Alan Boyle writes: Can the weirdness of quantum mechanics make you well, or make you wealthy? Presentations ranging from "The Secret" to "What the Bleep Do We Know?" suggest that science allows you to capitalize on quantum possibilities, but theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss says it's just a load of bleep.
Krauss has dealt with factual and fictional weirdness for decades — as the author of "The Physics of Star Trek," as the head of Arizona State University's Origins Project, and as the author of a "Quantum Man," a soon-to-be-published biography of pioneering physicist Richard Feynman.
"I begin the book with a quote from Feynman that says, 'Reality takes precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled,'" he told me. "I think the point is that Feynman realized that people can be fooled, but nature can't."
Krauss worries that a lot of people can be fooled by appeals to the admittedly weird world of quantum physics — a world in which particles are said to take every possible path from point A to point B, in which the position and velocity of particles are necessarily cloaked in uncertainty, in which the mere act of observation changes the thing being observed.
In the last of a series of columns written for Scientific American, Krauss says "no area of physics stimulates more nonsense in the public arena than quantum mechanics." His list of "worst abusers" includes inspirational author Deepak Chopra, the best-selling book "The Secret" and the whole field of Transcendental Meditation. So what constitutes quantum quackery? Krauss discussed his criteria ln our interview last week. Here's an edited transcript:
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