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Faith and Quantum Theory

John on June 20, 2007 at 2:55 pm

Physicist Stephen Barr has an article outlining the philosophical significance of quantum theory. If you’ve never explored this territory, his piece is an excellent place to start:

Quantum strangeness, as it is sometimes called, has been a boon to New Age quackery. Books such as The Tao of Physics (1975) and The Dancing Wu Li Masters (1979) popularized the idea that quantum theory has something to do with eastern mysticism. These books seem almost sober today when we hear of “quantum telepathy,” “quantum ESP,” and, more recently, “quantum healing,” a fad spawned by Deepak Chopra’s 1990 book of that name. There is a flood of such quantum flapdoodle (as the physicist Murray Gell-Mann called it). What, if anything, does it all mean? Amid all the flapdoodle, what are the serious philosophical ideas? And what of the many authors who claim that quantum theory has implications favorable to religious belief? Are they on to something, or have they been taken in by fuzzy thinking and New Age nonsense?

The article was published in the always excellent First Things magazine back in March. It has just recently become available to non-subscribers.

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