Quantum Chicanery

QUANTUM CHICANERY….Chad Orzel asks:

What’s your favorite example of quantum chicanery?

By “quantum chicanery,” I mean somebody using the language of quantum theory to make wildly unrealistc promises of magical results. Examples abound — Bob Park got several months’ worth of “What’s New” out of some guys who claimed to be able to generate free energy by putting hydrogen in “a state lower than the ground state.” My personal favorite was a guy I heard on a talk show (I was stuck in an auto repair place) claiming that the secret to eternal life was to simply concentrate on measuring yourself to be healthy and happy, which would collapse your wavefunction into that state.

Well, does Penrose’s view that consciousness is a result of quantum mechanics count? If not, there’s always the movie What the Bleep Do We Know? It at least deserves a mention. And don’t forget Deepak Chopra, surely one of the front runners in the contest for greatest quantum charlatan of all time.