Quantum theory proves … or, not!

Richard Petty, an English doctor, now living and working in the USA writes an informative and entertaining blog covering just about everything. One of his latest pieces, Quantum Flapdoodle caught my attention. In it he bemoans the overuse of ‘quantum’ explanations for all sorts of things in the alternative therapy/medicine field.

Since I have a vested interested in one area of complementary therapy, EFT, I found the article particularly interesting. I’ve noticed complementary therapy practitioners dropping in ‘quantum theory shows’, and ‘Einstein discovered’ in their descriptions of what they do, and how it works. I usually find this rather annoying.

My first degree was in Chemistry, as part of that I had to do a course in quantum thermodynamics. Real quantum theory – I hadn’t a clue what it was about! I understood the words ‘it’, ‘the’, ‘and’, the rest of what the lecturer was saying was waaaay over my head; judging by the expressions on my fellow students faces, I wasn’t the only one struggling to get to grips with it.

So now, when something esoteric is explained by reference to quantum physics (and a lot of hand waving), I’m deeply suspicious. Richard Petty’s article does a fine job of cataloguing the misuse of quantum theory as a pseudo-scientific explanation for things we don’t yet fully understand, EFT included.

He goes on to say:

Does any of this matter? Shouldn’t we just let people say anything they want to? In general, of course they should; nobody wants some kind of thought police telling people what they can and cannot write. But the difficulty comes when people move out of their intellectual sandpit and use false information to give advice on how you should run your life or care for your health.

Probably not a comfortable read if you like your ‘quantum explanations’ but worth it.

About Andy

2 Responses to “Quantum theory proves … or, not!”

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  1. Dear Andy,

    Thank you so much for your comments.

    We are clearly of one mind: this type of legerdemain helps nobody. And you are quite correct in saying that it particularly applies to the tapping therapies. It’s a matter of public record that I went to California to debunk Roger Callahan and TFT, and instead became a firm believer, first in TFT and now also in EFT.

    There was once a disucssion on the TFT listserve. Someone announced that they had “discovered” the mechanism of TFT. Naturally, the explanation involved quantum something or other and yet more hand waving.

    On the one hand he was so happy that he had “solved” the problem, that I didn’t really want to burst his bubble. On the other hand, if the hypothesis isn’t tested, then the development and evolution of TFT, and by extension EFT, is going nowhere. I felt a bit like the small boy in the tale of the Emperor’s New Clothes when I asked, “How have you solved the heat problem?”

    “What’s that?” was the response. “Err, the way in which most quantum effects wash out in the brain’s heat sink.”

    The reponse to that was that I was being too critical.

    But I feel that someone sympathetic to novel methods of treatment has to be.

    Kind regards,

    RP

  2. Dear Andy,

    Thank you so much for your comments.

    We are clearly of one mind: this type of legerdemain helps nobody. And you are quite correct in saying that it particularly applies to the tapping therapies. It’s a matter of public record that I went to California to debunk Roger Callahan and TFT, and instead became a firm believer, first in TFT and now also in EFT.

    There was once a discussion on the TFT listserve. Someone announced that they had “discovered” the mechanism of TFT. Naturally, the explanation involved quantum something or other and yet more hand waving.

    On the one hand he was so happy that he had “solved” the problem, that I didn’t really want to burst his bubble. On the other hand, if the hypothesis isn’t tested, then the development and evolution of TFT, and by extension EFT, is going nowhere. I felt a bit like the small boy in the tale of the Emperor’s New Clothes when I asked, “How have you solved the heat problem?”

    “What’s that?” was the response. “Err, the way in which most quantum effects wash out in the brain’s heat sink.”

    The response to that was that I was being too critical.

    But I feel that someone sympathetic to novel methods of treatment has to be!

    Kind regards,

    RP

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