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Disappointed with the irrelevancies
on 1 June 2013
I was disappointed with this book. It has good information about how scientists in the early 20th century struggled with Quantum Theory but there appears much the author does not to understand. In the Introduction (page viii) he states:
"But there remains one area of science that cannot be entirely rationalized using everyday language, or explained in simple, easily digestible concepts and sound bites. I refer not to any speculative, half-baked idea based on some pseudo-scientific arguments such as ESP or, worse still, astrology."
Why, oh why, denigrate two subjects about which he appears to have little evidence to back up his argument?
I am not defending these two disciplines, just asking whether you these comments are relevant to the subject discussed in the book and based according to scientific methods and principals as one would hope.
One aspect that cannot be denied is that Quantum Mechanics was developed by people who were thinking the unthinkable. Every new advance was in spite of everything that they held to be true. Not only did they have to think of these new concepts, they also had to go against convention. It was only when the results of careful experimentation showed that their new 'ridiculous' incomplete theories were seen to be better explanations of reality that they could be used with some confidence.
So why be contemptuous of people who, confused with something in their lives, are searching for some understanding?
As my Dad said, many years ago, "Don't knock the opposition. Explain the good points of your own product."
The discovery of bacteria causing stomach ulcers was delayed because the idea was ridiculed, so scientists do need to be careful of unscientific behaviour, especially in a science book!
I thought that the descriptions were often laboured, the examples introduced too many complications and, if having some knowledge of the subject, the author's description of how perplexing the new concepts and his reassurances are distracting and, on occasion, very annoying. The structure of the first few chapters were not consistent. It was not: chapter title + author, the the chapter.
And chapter 3 talks about horoscopes! Talking about a train or bus timetable, or when a TV programme is expected to appear, would have been a better introduction to foretelling the future. It is something that more people do with more certainty than looking at horoscopes or weather forecasts for that matter!