“Stop Heisenberg Abuse!”

The latest issue of Skeptical Inquirer magazine has an excellent article about the misuse of quantum physics in pop culture. If you’re familiar with New Age media like The Secret or What the BLEEP Do We Know, you’ve seen how quantum theory gets twisted out of context to support everything from ESP to cancer therapy.

Author Dale DeBakcsy confronts the problem head-on by examining some of the most common misconceptions about quantum mechanics. For instance, in the pop culture version of quantum theory, your consciousness determines the state of electrons and other particles to create any reality you desire. According to DeBakcsy, it’s just the opposite. Quantum theory allows random selection from a limited number of very precisely defined states, and only on a very tiny scale.

Unfortunately, most physicists look the other way while pop culture celebrities manhandle their discipline. Only a few, like Dale DeBakcsy, bother to put up a fight. As he puts it, “Electrons have done a lot for us, why not return the favor?”

Posted in: Reason and Magic

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