A comic book image (ΡΊ) of quantum flapdoodle, i.e. a woman, enraptured some new age book, e.g. Fred Wolf, who tells her new potential mate, that he can’t be sure he is the one for her, because they are reacting in a quantum world, governed by the uncertainty principle. |

Overview

In 1994, Murray Gell-Mann, in his chapter “Quantum Mechanics and Flapdoodle”, opens to the following: [1]

“While many questions about quantum mechanics are still not fully resolved, there is no point in introducing needless mystification where in fact no problem exists. Yet a great deal of recent writing about quantum mechanics has done just that. Because quantum mechanics predicts only probabilities, it has gained a reputation in some circles of permitting just about anything.Is it true that in quantum mechanics anything goes? That depends on whether events of very, very low probability are included. I remember as an undergraduate being assigned the problem of calculating the probability that some heavy macroscopic object would, during a certain time interval, jump a foot into the air as a result of a quantum fluctuation. The answer was around one divided by the number written as one followed by sixty-two zeroes. The point of the problem was to teach us that there is no practical difference between that kind of probability and zero. Anything that improbable is effectively impossible.”

Gell-Mann then goes on to discuss

Quotes | On

The following are quotes on quantum flapdoodle:

“From this fact, some philosophers and scientists argue that perhaps these random and indeterministic atomic events associated with quantum mechanics might trigger the random firing of neurons in the brain, leading to indeterminant mental states. Perhaps, they suggest, this is where free will arises. This argument was critiqued by one of the leading quantum physicists, Nobel laureate Murray Gell-Mann, who derisively called itquantum flapdoodle. Quantum effects cancel each other out at the macro level in which everyday events (like human thought) occur. Is it really possible—we might ask rhetorically in an analogy with the uncertainty principle—that the orbit of Mars, like the orbit of an electron, is scattered randomly about the sun until someone observes it, at which point the wave function collapses and the planet appears in one spot? Obviously not, any more than we might think that the moon ceases to exist until it is observed (someone once actually proposed that the moon does not exist until observed). Quantum effects wash out at large scales.”— Michael Shermer (2004),The Science of Good and Evil[1]

“Murray Gell-Mann coined the term ‘quantum flapdoodle’ to describe abuses of quantum mechanics to support extraordinary claims.”— Julien Musolino (2015),The Soul Fallacy[3]

References

1. Gell-Mann, Murray. (1994).

2. Shermer, Michael. (2004).

3. Musolino, Julien. (2015).