Measured Against Reality

Friday, September 14, 2007

Why do cranks love Quantum Mechanics so much?

From a Bad Science post about homeopathy I found this interesting quote, from Peter Chappell.

"Modern quantum physics is confirming resonance works on all levels of existence."

First off, why do quacks love Quantum Mechanics so much, and why do people buy it? I guess it's developed this mythology as being completely unintelligible and mysterious, as well as complicated, bizarre, and counterintuitive. People are used to hearing about tunneling, the uncertainty principle, and other concepts that are perfectly comprehensible and mathematically precise, but they they don't understand. These things come down from high and seem to be magical, and so they get the feeling that QM is all about strange results that sound like magic. So when someone selling snake-oil that can only work by magic justifies it with QM, it just makes sense!

Besides all this, the people who actually understand quantum mechanics (physicists and determined intellectuals) are the kind of fuddy-duddies who just rain on parades, and no one listens to them anyway (incidentally, this is infuriating). So all these quacks can get away with peddling their bullshit and the people who can call them on it don't get listened to (besides Bad Science, is there any other weekly newspaper column dedicated to debunking bullshit? There's that Penn & Teller show, but that's all I know about).

Secondly, QM is all about the small. Its effects disappear on the large scale, otherwise it wouldn't be so weird. So how on earth could anyone make the statement that "resonance works on all levels"? You don't need to know anything about QM except that it works only on small scales, the most trivial thing to know about it, to debunk this ludicrous statement. But people fall for it. And this is without going into the rest of the statement, which is new-age word salad.

It's so depressing to see that crap like this actually works, that people are really that uneducated, uninformed, incurious, and gullible. All the more justification for better skeptical education

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