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Author unqualified by own admission, obviously confused
on March 4, 2006
The author begins telling us why he wrote it and asking why we should read it. Good question, and the answer is that we shouldn't, and he shouldn't have either.
Oh sure, Jim Baggott has got his equations down pat, but alas, from the opening page he gets hopelessly lost in matters he clearly doesn't understand. Get a clue, Jim; Schrodinger's Cat was a REDUCTIO AD ABSURDUM, a "jumping out of the box" so to speak, showing that the word "consciousness" does not belong in a discussion of quantum theory, unless perhaps in a chapter on the the early history of this subject when everyon was confused. Even Von Neumann went out on some pretty wild limbs when this whole flap started, though he certainly came off of them before his famous axiomatization of quantum mechanics. Furthermore, in case you missed his sequels, he would later advance the concept of "strong" artificial intelligence, which minimally agrees with modern cognitive science that consciousness is a high order function in which the quantum scale of things appears to be utterly irrelevant (and visa versa.)
How about this for a metaphor? This book is much like an otherwise excellent "biology in a nutshell" chapbook, but one which also has a few sprinklings and maybe a chapter or two on scientific creationism and intelligent design, delusions which clearly have no place in modern science.
Such is it with "quantum quackery," the notion that uncertainty gives us carte blanche to impose our metaphysical fantasies on the univerese. Intermixed with genuine erudition, to be sure, this book provides a basic groundwork for all the pseudoscience and mysticism that are the current rage in new age circles. Sadly, the author has done such a fine job with those components of quantum theory thathe actually does understand, that this seems to legitimize the rubbish with which he has filled his knowledge gaps.
In short, this book flirts with the notion of being intellectually dangerous. I'm apalled that Oxford would publish such drivel. Whatever happened to peer review?