Apparently the above quote “You can safely ignore any sentence that includes the phrase’ according to quantum mechanics” is used by Robert P. Crease and Alfred Scharf in their upcoming book The Quantum Moment: How Planck, Bohr, Einstein, and Heisenberg Taught Us to Love Uncertainty.
Picked up this on Twitter – cute:
Thanks to Peter Prevos (pprevos).
Book review: In Search of the Multiverse by John Gribbin
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Allen Lane (August 27, 2009)
These days when people talk about the “multiverse” they usually mean the idea that our “universe” is just part of a larger, perhaps unending, collection of “universes.” And that these different universes may have different characteristics, different values of physical constants, for example.
So, I was a little surprised to find John Gribbin beginning his book with the “many worlds’ idea of Hugh Everett. The idea that the different possibilities inherent in quantum-mechanical descriptions leads to formation of many words as events lead to multiple quantum-mechanical choices. A little disappointing as I wanted to learn about the origin of multiple universes in inflationary “big bang” theory. He discussed this only in the second half of the book.
Posted in belief, book review, creationism, evolution, philosophy, religion, Science
Tagged Books, Giordano Bruno, many worlds, multiverse, philosophy, Philosophy of Science, physics, quantum loop gravity, quantum mechanics, Roman Inqisition
Book Review: The Crucible of Consciousness: An Integrated Theory of Mind and Brain by Zoltan Torey
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: The MIT Press; Reprint edition (June 30, 2009)
The scientific study of the mind, of human consciousness, is a recent development. Obviously it isn’t easy as the mind is both the instrument and object of study. For a long time scientists ruled consciousness “out of bounds”, as not open to such rational investigations. And mystical or religious interpretations exerted too much influence in this area. The explanations and models have inevitably been mythical or simplistic – because of the reliance more on subjective feelings than empirical evidence. Dualist models have usually predominated – even though their justification has been religious rather than empirical.
These models and ideas have not helped the study of the human mind. They have, if anything, been a diversion. Zoltan Torey, author of Crucible of Consciousness, stresses that we can only make progress in this area when we have an empirically based model to work with.
Posted in book review, Dennett, evolution, science, Science, supernatural, superstition
Tagged brain, consciousness, evolution, Mind, Murray Gell-Mann, quantum mechanics, scientific method
Posted in book review, diversity, philosophy, religion, science
Tagged Biocentrism, Bob Berman, double slit experiment, Erwin Schrödinger, philosophy, Philosophy of Science, physics, quantum mechanics, Robert Lanza, Subatomic particle
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In discussions with religious apologists we often hear the claim that “there are different ways of knowing!”
This is often used as a counter to science. It amounts to claiming knowledge which is not based on evidence and not testable against reality.In many cases it’s a defensive argument, a retreat. It’s claiming a logic or justification for the theist belief without allowing the normal checking that should go with knowledge claims. That’s OK – if it is just personal justification. We all do that from time to time.
However, sometimes religious apologists will go on the offensive with this argument. They use it to justify a knowledge claim that conflicts with scientific knowledge. In fact, they will use it to claim they have access to knowledge which is more reliable than scientific knowledge.
Posted in agnostic, agnosticism, atheism, belief, creationism, evolution, faith, god, intelligent design, religion, science, supernatural, superstition, theology
Tagged Christian apologetics, evolution, Frank Wilczek, Hugh Ross, Johnson Philip, Nobel Prize, philosophy, Philosophy of Science, physics, quantum mechanics, Russell Humphreys, theology, Wedge strategy, William Dembski
Book Review: Quantum Gods: Creation, Chaos, and the Search for Cosmic Consciousness, by Victor Stenger
Published May 12, 2009
There’s something about modern physics, especially quantum mechanics, which attracts magical thinking. Perhaps this isn’t surprising. Someone once said that because quantum mechanics is so counter-intuitive, because no one really understands it, it’s easy to fall into the trap of using it to “explain” anything else we don’t understand. Consciousness is a prime example.
Posted in agnostic, agnosticism, atheism, belief, Bible, book review, culture, diversity, faith, religion, science, supernatural, superstition, theology
Tagged Michael Shermer, Murray Gell-Mann, Philosophy of Science, physics, quantum mechanics, religion, Roger Penrose, Stuart Hameroff, theology, Transcendental Meditation
It’s hard to beat a good book. I enjoy books but find reading from a computer monitor difficult. There’s something about words on paper.
Mind you, computers and the internet do provide a beautiful compliment to books. I have often found that after reading a book I can go on line and find other material by the same author. In some cases I can also find video and audio material – lectures given by the author, documentary programmes based on the author or book, and interviews from book tours.
Sometimes I actually find out about new books and authors from web sources and this encourages me to go out and get the book. Podcasts like The Brain Science Podcast have been invaluable sources of new reading material.
Recently I came across two interesting books discussed on the Blogging Heads podcast site. This usually has two people discussing a subject and is available as both video and audio. I don’t bother with most of them but these two were fascinating.
In The Artistic Animal John Horgan discusses the new book The Art Instinct: Beauty, Pleasure, and Human Evolution with its author Denis Dutton. One review of this book describes Dutton as an “aesthetic philosopher” who “sets out to do for art what Steven Pinker and others have done for psychology, language, and religion: consider it from a Darwinian standpoint.” Dutton’s contribution to this podcast was certainly fascinating and I look forward to reading his book.
In the other podcast, Entanglement untangled, Lousa Gilder and George Johnson discuss Louisa’s new book. Entitled The Age of Entanglement: When Quantum Physics Was Reborn the book gives the story of quantum mechanics. She comes far closer to the present in her discussion than most histories do and also utilises an unusual creative tool for science histories – “constructed dialogues” between the scientists involved. These dialogues are based on papers, journals and letters. Sounds fascinating and I will definitely look out for it.
Posted in book review, Darwin, evolution, New Zealand, science, tradition
Tagged art, coherence, entanglement, evolutionary psychology, quantum mechanics, spooky action