In trying to understand the atom, physicists built quantum mechanics, the most successful theory in science and the basis of one-third of our economy. They found, to their embarrassment, that with their theory, physics encounters consciousness. Authors Bruce Rosenblum and Fred Kuttner explain all this in nontechnical terms, with help from some fanciful stories and anecdotes about the theory's developers. They present the quantum mystery honestly, emphasizing what is and what is not speculation.
Quantum Enigma's description of the experimental quantum facts and the quantum theory explaining them is undisputed. Interpreting what it all means, however, is heatedly controversial. But every interpretation of quantum physics involves consciousness. Rosenblum and Kuttner therefore turn to exploring consciousness itself - and encounter quantum mechanics. Free will and anthropic principles become crucial issues, and the connection of consciousness with the cosmos suggested by some leading quantum cosmologists is mind blowing.
Listeners are brought to a boundary where the particular expertise of physicists is no longer the only sure guide. They will find instead the facts and hints provided by quantum mechanics and the ability to speculate for themselves. In the few decades since the Bell's theorem experiments established the existence of entanglement (Einstein's spooky action), interest in the foundations and the mysteries of quantum mechanics has accelerated. In recent years, physicists, philosophers, computer engineers, and even biologists have expanded our realization of the significance of quantum phenomena. This second edition includes such advances. The authors have also drawn on many responses from readers and instructors to improve the clarity of the book's explanations.
As a theist looking for accurate information on quantum theory to better understand the arguments of the New Atheist movement, this book delivered. The authors (both quantum physics professors) are clearly unbiased, scientifically literate, and philosophically grounded. They don't take a position on theism, but present the science fairly, warts and all, thoroughly addressing the philosophical dilemmas quantum theory implies. I highly recommend this book.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Narrated well, and as complex as this topic could be they wrote this in a way the lay person could understand.
8 of 10 people found this review helpful
Even thought over a decade old I am intrigued and excited that this information and journey into the coexistence of life and mater continues even to this day. Though we can witness a flock swarming in unison or a massive school of fish moving as if they were one mind, we can see how consciousness is linked, it still makes me wonder why atheists still exist amongst us in a truly remarkable world. Listening as audio enhances my wonder. Recommend highly. And not being a major in chemistry, physics, or microbiology, still believe some ancient metaphysical truths that by design what makes us different than pure animal is ego, individuality, free will, competing for our existence. I believe that without religion, which provides certain ethics and moral compasses, we would would be extinct today while half of the worlds population is marching backwards toward enslavement, and half are moving forward towards freedom, enlightenment, and more godly things, like unconditional love, giving, and sharing.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
One of my favorite physics books so far... Step by step explanation into quantum physics and the impact of consciousness. Highly recommended
6 of 11 people found this review helpful
Rosenblum and Kuttner did a great service by engaging the enigma. The only criticism I have is the last chapter where more could have been developed, especially the strong anthropic principle. Like most physics and cosmologists, the authors dismiss the God hypothesis without serious consideration. I don’t mind their dismissal as much as the fallacious way it is often dismissed. Most often given is that they would be put into an infinite regression or, as here, the “ultimate observer” should not have to tinker along the way. Instead, we created ourselves? The authors forget that a probabilistic universe would indeed need fine tuning and tinkering. This would give theologians headaches but it isn’t it less problematic than the inherent self-contradictory nature of we being the observers that collapsed the universe wave function? As our understanding of the quantum world grows, we should expect it to be increasingly “weird.” Once we discovered the universe had a beginning, logic dictates that our reality would have had to arisen from another reality, one totally other. At this point, nothing should be off the table. I suspect this is often more about our loyalty to a worldview than intellectual honesty.
Classical physics makes no assertions about consciousness, free will, or any matter beyond objective reality. To label it deterministic, is at best presumption. There is no measurable relationship between consciousness and physical reality in spite of how many times one can cite the double slit experiment in a single book. The entire book is a waste of paper, bandwidth, and space-time. 1+1=2 needs no interpretation, and grants no deep epistemological insight. Why then, should any other equation.
7 of 64 people found this review helpful