Posts Tagged 'Quantum Mechanics'

Don’t say “quantum” when you mean “I don’t understand”

There are so many things that I don’t understand
There’s a world within me that I cannot explain
philosopher-musicians Daft Punk

Panel from Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal by Zach Weinersmith.

Panel from Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal by Zach Weinersmith.

I admit: I can be a bit curmudgeonly sometimes about people making elaborate claims based on errors. That grumpfyness gets amplified when it’s someone who should know better: a famous physicist saying that climate change can’t be all that bad (contrary to the work of nearly the entire climate science community), or a neuroscientist claiming that the answer to consciousness may lie in some very unlikely areas of physics.

Intellectual cross-fertilization between disciplines can be very fruitful, but it has to be done through understanding — and preferably with collaboration, not as a lone wolf. If you charge into someone else’s area of expertise with limited knowledge, you’re almost certainly going to get it wrong, and end up looking like a jerk in the process. I think it’s important to get this right, so I wrote a bit of a rant for Slate on the topic.

Yet the mysterious aspects of quantum physics and consciousness have inspired many people to speculate freely. The worst offenders will even say that because we don’t fully understand either field, they must be related problems. It sounds good at first: We don’t know exactly how some things in quantum physics work, we don’t know exactly how to go from the brain to consciousness, so maybe consciousness is quantum.

The problem with this idea? It’s almost certainly wrong. [Read more…]

Thanks to my editor, Laura Helmuth, for letting me rant away, and to Zach Weinersmith for letting us use one of his Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal comics.

 


Please Donate

DrMRFrancis on Twitter

  • RT @samswey: Chicago police kill Black people at a rate 22x higher than white people and kill Latinx people at a rate 6x higher. This is th… 1 hour ago
  • RT @m_older: I'm not going to rt the actual tweet because when it unfolds there's a photo and I don't want that comemierda's face anywhere… 1 hour ago
  • formally charged with a crime followed by trial by a jury of your peers, unless a cop wants you dead, in which case… twitter.com/i/web/status/1… 1 hour ago
  • it's only one small step below "police shouldn't murder anyone with legal impunity", but this is somehow too much t… twitter.com/i/web/status/1… 1 hour ago
  • I feel the *minimum* requirement of policing should be "don't murder children", but that somehow makes me an unhinged, dangerous radical 1 hour ago

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: