Quantum flapdoodle

Quantum flapdoodle
A comic book image (ΡΊ) of quantum flapdoodle, i.e. a woman, enraptured some new age book, e.g. Fred Wolf, who tells her new potential mate, that he can’t be sure he is the one for her, because they are reacting in a quantum world, governed by the uncertainty principle.
In terminology, quantum flapdoodle is objectionable nonsense, generally of the ontic opening variety, argued or reasoned in the name of quantum mechanics.

In 1994, Murray Gell-Mann, in his chapter “Quantum Mechanics and Flapdoodle”, opens to the following: [1]

“While many questions about quantum mechanics are still not fully resolved, there is no point in introducing needless mystification where in fact no problem exists. Yet a great deal of recent writing about quantum mechanics has done just that. Because quantum mechanics predicts only probabilities, it has gained a reputation in some circles of permitting just about anything. Is it true that in quantum mechanics anything goes? That depends on whether events of very, very low probability are included. I remember as an undergraduate being assigned the problem of calculating the probability that some heavy macroscopic object would, during a certain time interval, jump a foot into the air as a result of a quantum fluctuation. The answer was around one divided by the number written as one followed by sixty-two zeroes. The point of the problem was to teach us that there is no practical difference between that kind of probability and zero. Anything that improbable is effectively impossible.”

Gell-Mann then goes on to discuss John Bell and his so-called photon "awareness" experiments, and how this led to quantum-based ideas on paranormal phenomena and precognition. In the years to follow, this chapter led many to begin to refer to new age people, such as Deepak Chopra, who use quantum mechanics to argue for nonsense, be but quantum flapdoodle promoters.

Quotes | On
The following are quotes on quantum flapdoodle:

“From this fact, some philosophers and scientists argue that perhaps these random and indeterministic atomic events associated with quantum mechanics might trigger the random firing of neurons in the brain, leading to indeterminant mental states. Perhaps, they suggest, this is where free will arises. This argument was critiqued by one of the leading quantum physicists, Nobel laureate Murray Gell-Mann, who derisively called it quantum flapdoodle. Quantum effects cancel each other out at the macro level in which everyday events (like human thought) occur. Is it really possible—we might ask rhetorically in an analogy with the uncertainty principle—that the orbit of Mars, like the orbit of an electron, is scattered randomly about the sun until someone observes it, at which point the wave function collapses and the planet appears in one spot? Obviously not, any more than we might think that the moon ceases to exist until it is observed (someone once actually proposed that the moon does not exist until observed). Quantum effects wash out at large scales.”
Michael Shermer (2004), The Science of Good and Evil [1]

Murray Gell-Mann coined the term ‘quantum flapdoodle’ to describe abuses of quantum mechanics to support extraordinary claims.”
Julien Musolino (2015), The Soul Fallacy [3]

1. Gell-Mann, Murray. (1994). The Quark and the Jaguar: Adventures in the Simple and the Complex (§: Quantum Mechanics and Flapdoodle, pgs. 167-). Owl Book.
2. Shermer, Michael. (2004). The Science of Good and Evil: Why People Cheat, Gossip, Care, Share, and Follow the Golden Rule (pgs. 122-23). Publisher.
3. Musolino, Julien. (2015). The Soul Fallacy: What Science Shows We Gain from Letting Go of Our Soul Beliefs (foreword: Victor Stenger) (pg. 124). Prometheus.

TDics icon ns

More pages