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A "HuffPo runs mystical pseudo-science" story is news in the same sense that a good dog-bites-man story is news. Still, it might be a good idea to get this rapid-response Science Matters jump-started with a diary, however trivial.

Today's   HuffPo Living lede is the latest in their long physics-shows-we're-all-one series. The twist today is that since it's possible that string theorists may be on the track of a theory unifying gravity and the other fundamental forces (electroweak and chromodynamic), then we must all be part of a universal consciousness. Therefore if you think hard you can stop remote crimes from happening, etc. No, I'm not making this up.

Is it necessary to even write the criticism of this? The path from the fundamental equations of physics, including speculative future string equations, to elaborate phenomena like consciousness is not short or direct. It trickles through 4 billion years of twisty evolution. There is not a shred of evidence or theoretical argument for the remote linkages between consciousnesses that these guys are claiming. Quantum entanglement, often mentioned, is indeed the weirdest thing we know about the universe, but the quantum field is not an organized thought. Violations of the Bell Inequalities (i.e. the breakdown of local realism) are thoroughly confirmed. That does not mean or even hint that the universe is about us, which is the real lesson that the mystics like to draw. It's the same lesson that they drew before there was any systematic knowledge of physics and when every new advance occurred.

Perhaps a more interesting question is why HuffPo, a generally eclectic site, has such a systematic narrow goofy take on science.

Originally posted to docmidwest on Thu Feb 17, 2011 at 08:38 AM PST.

Also republished by Science Matters.


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