Slate article on quantum consciousness

There’s an excellent article on Slate about the abuse of quantum mechanics in pop culture. Author Matthew R. Francis does a great job exposing the flimsy arguments people use to connect quantum physics and consciousness. Along the way, he provides clear explanations of concepts like quantum entanglement, which are often hijacked by New Age proponents and twisted beyond recognition.

“Maybe there’s room for some small quantum effects in the brain, but I sincerely doubt those will be directly relevant for consciousness. That’s because almost anything involving individual quantum states requires isolation from environmental interference for the weirdness to show up. For example, most particles aren’t entangled in any meaningful way, because interactions with other particles change their quantum state.”

We’re used to quantum nonsense from pop culture gurus like Deepak Chopra. Francis points out that a few of the culprits are genuine physicists. He blames it on age, but every field has a handful of qualified PhDs who gleefully reject the consensus opinion. I’d guess that the number of physicists who believe in quantum consciousness is about the same as the number of biologists who reject evolution.

The cartoon accompanying the article is priceless. This is a must-read.

Posted in: Reason and Magic

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