16 of 44 people found the following review helpful
Pseudo-science masquerades as the real deal
, April 21, 2011
This review is from: Quantum Enigma: Physics Encounters Consciousness (Paperback)
From the beginning of the book and throughout, the authors keep insisting that their treatment of quantum mechanics is "undisputed" while only the "implications" of the theory of quantum mechanics is-- this is simply untrue. From what i've been able to read of the book here on amazon, the authors utterly neglect to mention Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle when mentioning physic's "skeleton in the closet". The authors shamelessly promote the notion that observing reality "creates reality" and try to pass it off as if this is what quantum mechanics itself says if taken to its logical conclusion. One can clearly see the conclusion of the book just from looking at the title of the last chapter. Of course the authors have also failed to account for the most widely held explanation of what consciousness actually is, which is simply that it is an emergent property of matter in much the same way the certain states of matter e.g. solids, liquids, and gases are simply emergent properties of matter (atoms are not themselves liquid, but taken together enough of them can produce a property we call liquid, and sometimes "consciousness", again, despite the atoms themselves not sharing this particular property), and instead chalk it up being an "enigma" just like the measurement problem is an "enigma" and therefore concluding that these two enigmas must somehow be related.
This simple piece of fallacious reasoning is really, truly, very astonding to see in a book claiming to be academically and scientifically sound. The "measurement problem" is not a problem because physicists are still stuggling to understand what it implies, but it's a problem in the sense that it serves as a barrier or impossibility (at least for now, since science is always tentative) of allowing everything about a quantum system to be measured. In other words, the "problem" in the popularly (mis)used term The Measurement Problem is a problem insofar as it's impossible to measure the precise position and velocity of a quantum system simultaneously. In other words... The Uncertainty Principle. It's a problem if you want to know everything about the state of a quantum system. For those unaware, the Uncertainty Principle was first formulated by Werner Heisenberg and is usually expressed as "The more one knows about a particles position, the less one knows about its velocity, and vise versa". It more general terms, it insisted that it is impossible to measure all parts of a quantum mechanical system simultaneously; that measuring one part of a quantum system forces you to give up being able to measure another part of the system. In effect, the Uncertainty principle a.k.a. the measurement problem, has NOTHING to do with "creating reality" whatsoever.
I saw no mention of Wolfgang Pauli and his Exclusion Principle either which is just as crucial and important in explainging many of the fundamental features of the quantum world as forumlated by quantum mechanics.
This book appears to be nothing more than another pseudo-scientific, pseudo-religious attempt to contrive and hijack quantum mechanics (a REAL science based on verifiable, demonstrable, empirical experimentation and observation) for their own (spiritual?) purposes. Even the writing of the book itself shows---displays---the fact that the authors not only uneducated and ill-informed (in other words: ignorant) about the subject of quantum mechanics and science in general, but have a third-rate analysis and even worse philosophical method for creating a sound argument as to what the "implications" of quantum mechanics ultimately say about the nature of reality. One of the worst lines I read in the book said something about how physicists (the one who actually KNOW the theory and use it) aren't necessarily qualified to make conclusions about the "implications" of quantum mechanics... as if they are best left to people like the authors.
I would say just the opposite.
Do NOT buy this book. Have fun Mystery Science Theater-ing it here on amazon, but don't, sweet Niels Bohr, DON'T buy this book. It's a crack pot.
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