Discussion in 'Pseudoscience' started by Buket, Jun 30, 2016.
Yeah that's him, I couldn't recall the name at the time. Thanks.
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So this can not have a scientific background, right? I hope it doesn't..
Why does a scientist (Fred Alan Wolf) claim such things like one single mind ? Are they charlatans? Do they really believe in such things?
The skeptic in me says, "To sell books to the gullible." But I don't know, maybe he really does believe his own garbage.
Possibly. But the guy is 81. A lot of scientists go a bit weird when they get really old. Consider Fred Hoyle, Linus Pauling or possibly even Stephen Hawking. Or Schroedinger.
Scientists are people, and like everybody else they are not perfect.
Some scientists are experts in a very specialised area of science. Just because they are experts in that field, it doesn't follow that they are experts about anything outside that particular field.
There are quite a lot of examples of scientists who have done good work in a particular field at one time, but who have later (or even at the same time, in some cases) taken up with all kinds of pseudoscientific or mystical nonsense.
There's no reason that a scientist can't decide to make money by making claims that they know are false (or dubious), and a few choose to do that. Some even make a reasonable living out of it. However, I think it is probably more common in the case of trained scientists that their wishful thinking gets the better of them and they start to believe in stuff that is actually not supported by real science.
One last point: there are a lot of groups out there who like nothing better than to have a few people trained as scientists who will give support to their fringe ideas. In some cases, such groups even award cash prizes and honours to scientists who are willing to support their causes. Scientific credentials can give the aura of legitimacy to many a dodgy claim.
Because he and his group of associates are more or less the Magical Realists of physics. They like to believe that quantum mechanics' weirdness opens the door to all kinds of transcendental possibilities. They think that it makes the universe a far more amazing place than it might otherwise be.
Wolf and his quantum-mystical associates were already doing this back in the 1970's. It was a fascinating thing, "cafe-physics" literally conducted in San Francisco cafes in the style of French existentialism, basically a case of physics students and recent graduates getting mixed up in the 'hippy' movement, taking LSD, and becoming fascinated by things like ESP. I was a philosophy student (at San Francisco State) at the time, moved in similar circles, hung out at the same North Beach cafes, and even though I didn't know them personally, I certainly knew of them. Everyone did. Even then, they had a reputation in mainstream academia for crankery. There were connections to Timothy Leary and to people like Uri Geller. But the word was that they were occasionally brilliant, if more than a little loony.
They had some influence. A number of them had PhDs from prestigious universities and knew people. Fritjof Capra, author of the best-selling The Tao of Physics, was a member of their group. They helped persuade the CIA to undertake its ESP and remote-viewing experiments conducted at the time.
In the photo below, Fred Alan Wolf is the one seated to the lower right. The one standing on the left is Jack Sarfatti, the leader of the group, the prototypical cafe-physicist. The one in the background in the upper right is Nick Herbert, who has also written (much better in my opinion) popular works on quantum mechanics.
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Here's more on Jack Sarfatti, their leader and muse:
The group is the subject of the books, 'How the Hippies Saved Physics', and 'Groovy Science' by MIT historian of Science David Kaiser. I'm personally inclined to think that their influence on conventional science is exaggerated. (No, they didn't invent the currently popular information-theoretical interpretations of QM and they didn't pioneer the idea of quantum entanglement.)
https://www.amazon.com/Groovy-Science-Knowledge-Innovation-Counterculture/dp/022637291X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1466301309&sr=1-1&keywords=groovy science kaiser
But... if you're a fan of thinking outside-the-box, their vision of counter-culture physics has to be attractive.
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Ah OK thanks for the background. Evidently I was being too kind to Wolf. Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!
Here's the seminar room where they scrawled equations (when they weren't too stoned) and speculated shamelessly when they were. (Don't tell Paddoboy!)
It wasn't/isn't a stranger to all sorts of creative stuff. It was where the 'beatniks' of the 1950's hung out, Alan Ginsburg, Jack Kerouac and company, and hence was one of the places where Zen Buddhism was popularized in the West. And it's where Francis Ford Coppola (who lived right down the street) wrote the screenplay to 'The Godfather'. Many internationally famous artists from the San Francisco Art Institute hung out there at various times. These days the place seems to mostly be populated by a mix of tourists and those fascinated by trendy French theorists.
This kind of expresso-fueled intellectual aesthetic is what I think motivates MR. It continues to attract me. I think that it's more appropriate for philosophy and art than for mathematical physics, though.
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It is kind of unfortunate that popular layman's level books on quantum mechanics are disproportionately influenced by these people. The Tao of Physics, The Dancing Wu Li Masters, and Fred Alan Wolf's massive list of publications all reflect these people's views, as does the film What the Bleep Do we Know?
But it wasn't all crankery. Nick Herbert's 'Quantum Reality' remains one of the best layman's introductions to quantum mechanics and its interpretations in my opinion.
The most respectable of the Fundamental Fysiks Group people was John Clauser, then a postdoc at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, who seems to have been the first experimentalist to verify Bell's Theorem. It's described in this exerpt from How the Hippies Saved Physics.
Elsewhere in an American Institute of Physics interview, he describes the Fundamental Fysiks Group participants as divided between the physicists and the "nuts" and "kooks", each on one side. He sounds a little embarassed to have been associated with it.
Clauser has won Israel's Wolf Prize for that work and has occasionally been touted as a Nobel Prize possibility.
From your characterisation of that epoch I would be tempted to think it was drug-fuelled rather than caffeine-fuelled. There is an argument for seeing quite a lot of ideas and cultural artifacts from the 60s and 70s as influenced by a sort of metaphysical haziness and/or rebellion against precision, due to drug culture. A lot fun no doubt, esp. if one was stoned, but as for enduring intellectual contribution, well.......
they would be subject to the same criteria as any other theory....?
I do think though that objective science may be over reaching itself when (if?) it attempts to stray into the social sciences. Annoyingly it does have applicability even there but it is futile to suppose that human appreciations and experiences can be in principle completely analysed in an objective way.
If it could it would be a dismal reality.
Indeed. Hence this discussion. Wolf's wilder notions have, quite rightly, gained no serious traction.
I am not sure about "science overreaching" as such. I think some social studies academics, like some economists, overreach by trying to reduce study of society to a science, when it isn't wholly amenable to that treatment, being too complex a system with far too many uncontrollable variables.
One does not have a body of blokes in white coats looking at a map and thinking, "There's a new world for us to conquer". What one has, rather, is a collection of seedy lefties at a bad university (usually) trying to project their political theories onto society by mean of spurious scientific rationale Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!.
(I exaggerate, but perhaps not that much - I have read The History Man Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!.)
Do any of you believe in this claim ?
Leaving aside the quantum field theory aspect, the claim is "that our minds are projections from one single Mind".
I don't believe this claim. Not because it is impossible, but because I am not aware of any evidence that tends to support it. It seems like a problematic claim to me in a number of ways. For example, what kind of projection would we be talking about? How would the projection actually work? Where would the "single Mind" be located? Or is it supposed that all minds are somehow linked? If they are linked, what is the nature of that linkage? How do individual minds communicate? By radio waves? By "telepathy" or some other unknown method? And if everybody is connected, why does it not seem like that? At least, it doesn't seem that way to me.
I asked you earlier whether you feel like your mind is a projection of a single bigger mind? And I also asked you how you think you could tell the difference between that and your mind just being your own mind and nobody elses?
What do you think?
To be honest I do ask the same questions you ask to myself. This claim seems weird to me. In order this claim to be true all minds should be connected to each other. I don't believe that's the case. However the owner of this claim is so sure of himself that it confuses me and say to myself 'what if ' Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!
All kinds of people are sure of themselves. That doesn't make them right, or even reasonable.
Beware of what is called "quantum woo". It is very fashionable at the moment, using the fact that quantum theory predicts quite a lot of unintuitive behaviours in microscopic matter to bamboozle people into accepting all kinds of nonsense. This Chopra fellow we mentioned at the start is one of the worst, but there are lots more out there.
I would put Fred A Wolf (aka Dr Quantum) on the list of Quantum Quacks too.
Personally, I like the idea of a "universal mind". I just don't see any evidence for it.
Each of us have different structured brains. How can it be possible that there is a unified mind.. It is not reasonable..must be quantum woo which is irrational
If all minds were connected,that would have to include all types of mind ,from the worm upwards,I would guess.
Then supposing by some scientific advance we are actually able to physically connect two minds it might represent something like a short circuit in the system -or maybe it might be like a mental wormhole.
It might work in the SF section.
On the other hand ,maybe it is a truism to say that all minds are connected -just that they are connected at a remove (along the lines of 7 degrees of separation)
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