- CRITTER TALK
His personal favorite is the word ‘quantum’, much to the chagrin of actual physicists. To quote Inigo Montoya, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
He relies on the fact that most people are utterly baffled by the world of quantum mechanics to sell his particular brand of snake oil. He understands that your average person knows that quantum is a word used by scientists and nothing more. As such he knows that if he throws it and other equally exotic sounding words around, he can convince the credulous of anything.
Recently, in a short interview by Richard Dawkins for his documentary Enemies of Reason, Deepak Chopra took his hijacking of the scientific terminology to an even greater depth of depravity. During a segment , Chopra claimed that:
“the aficionados in the world of quantum physics have somehow hijacked the word for their own use”
This is a rather amazing feat by physicists considering that the word first entered the scientific literature in 1841, 105 years before Chopra’s birth. Apparently quantum theorists have mastered time travel in their spare time.
The word quantum was first used by Julius von Mayer in a letter on the formulation of the first law of thermodynamics. The word comes from the Latin “quantus” for “how much”. It is generally used as a short hand way of writing a ‘quantum of energy’, meaning a single unit of energy. A good example being how a photon is a single quanta of the electromagnetic force.
The term quantum has since gone on to refer to the area of physics that involves the very small. It is renowned as being an area of science that is both counter intuitive and hard to grasp. This was summed up perfectly by Richard Feynman when he stated “If you think you understand quantum mechanics, you don’t understand quantum mechanics”.
This quote, along with the myriad bizarre concepts of the quantum realm have fed an ever growing number of charlatans who profit off the ignorance of the general public when it comes to the various fields of advance science. They know that such words as quantum lend an air of respectability to their otherwise meaningless ramblings. In doing so, they further mislead the public away from the discoveries of science, not to mention out of their hard earned cash.
Despite sounding authentic and wise to laymen, Deepak Chopra and his ilk earn nothing but ire and perpetual face palms from the scientific community. His stance on ‘quantum’ can be summed up by this clip from the ever poignant Futurama: