The Follies of the Wise

As Canadian newspapers go, I must admit that (from the few editions that I have read), the Victoria Times-Colonist is better than average. It is generally even-handed and well-written. Whereas the newspaper in the city where I grew-up seemed inclined to publish the paranoid, fundamentalist ramblings of any old idiot who submitted to them (it published my letters no fewer than two dozen times), the Times-Colonist publishes letters by writers who know how to argue their points well, even when I disagree with them. Moreover, it did not endorse Stephen Harper in the most recent Federal Election* (or anyone else for that matter, but beggars can’t be choosers). That said, however, it is still quite capable, apparently, of producing the occasional royal, steaming stinker.

Case in point.

Egad. Where do I even start with this thing? The author is listed as being a member of MENSA, so it seems likely to me that he’s fallen victim to the common smart-person pratfall of assuming that he is qualified to write articles on subjects that he does not remotely understand**. And rest assured–Mr. Radford does not understand quantum physics. For example, he claims in the text that the famous E = Mc^2 equivalence between energy and mass is a feature of quantum mechanics; any second-year physics student at the undergraduate level could tell you that this result falls out of Special Relativity, which has nothing to do with quantum mechanics***! Based upon his discussion of ‘quantum holograms,’ and his insistence that quantum theory allows you to influence reality with your mind, I feel reasonably confident in tracing most of his ‘research’ back to a particular seminal work of sham quantum physics: Michael Talbot’s The Holographic Universethe book which tortured poor David Bohm’s already much-maligned ‘nonlocal’ interpretation of  quantum theory until it could be used to support all manner of nonsense and witchcraft.****

I’m not even going to touch the bizarre theology espoused by the article; for those of you possessed of a more atheistic bent, I think that PZ Myers has a nice takedown on his blog; I shall say only that, whereas I hardly consider myself to be an expert, the idea of using faith as a tool to acquire material power over the physical world hardly sounds like any Christian theology that I’ve ever heard of.


*Here’s a fun game you can play: count-up the percentage of Canadian daily newspapers who endorsed the Conservatives, measure that against the percentage of voters who actually supported the conservatives, and then ask yourself whether you think that the culture and values of the media reflect those of the electorate in any meaningful way. And then, the next time you hear someone whining about left-wing bias in the mainstream media, you can tell them to go punch themselves in the throat until they are physically incapable of ever again despoiling the air with their lies.

** In deference to modern pop-culture, we shall call this “Sheldon Cooper Syndrome.”

***Although I should note that both special relativity and quantum mechanics have since been incorporated into a more fundamental framework known as “Quantum Field Theory.”

****It’s been many years since I read that book, and I have long since given it away; if anyone feels like buying it for me, I will gladly write a very detailed review.


About thevenerablecorvex

I have the heart of a poet, the brain of a theoretical physicist, and the wingspan of an albatross. I am also notable for my humility.
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4 Responses to The Follies of the Wise

  1. Pingback: What Quantum Theory is Not « voxcorvegis

  2. Lindsay says:


    It seems like this guy is also falling into a misunderstanding of what “energy” is, in a physical/chemical sense. I see this in New Age/neopagan contexts as well; the idea that thoughts and feelings are “energy” that can go out and do physical work in the world if you think/feel them earnestly enough, or whatever. While there would be a tiny amount of energy involved in thought, prayer or meditation (mental activity of any kind = neurons “firing” = change in potential difference across neuronal membrane), it would be so small that even if some way to translate that energy out of the brain and into the world, the most it could do is maybe push a couple of air molecules around.

    • Besides of which, it seems to me that the information content of a thought is independent of the magnitude of energy expended in thinking it.
      (Although…now that I think about it…if we think about thoughts in terms of conveying specific information, doesn’t that mean that we can talk about them in terms of entropy, which *could* be related to the energy expended in thinking? I’m probably being stupid right now…)

  3. Pingback: Back to Haunt Me | voxcorvegis

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