Today’s Rule of Thumb

If anyone brings up Quantum Mechanics (QM) as evidence for their argument, you can safely assume that they have no idea what they are talking about.

More often than not references to QM really amount to little more than “QM is weird and doesn’t really make sense. [My idea or philosophy] is weird and doesn’t really make sense. Since QM is true, that means [my idea or philosophy] must be true too because it’s just like QM.”

Rule of Thumb #1

If you understand something better than everyone else, than chances are pretty good that you don’t understand it at all.

Physicists are often approached by amateurs that claim to have proven that Newtons Laws of Motion are wrong, or that in fact E ≠ mc2. Heck, I’m no physicist and I’ve been approached by other amateur “scientists” who know me as a science buff with similar claims. In the vast majority of cases the person is simply misunderstanding some key point in the science, and in a large portion of those cases any attempt to correct that misunderstanding simply results in the claim that I and the entire scientific community are the ones misunderstanding it.

Yes, it’s theoretically possible that every other human being on the planet somehow missed this idea of yours that completely changes our understanding of the universe. It’s theoretically possible that no one ever considered the physical results of a person throwing a baseball far from any other gravitational body. It’s theoretically possible that every calculation ever done based on the known scientific laws were only right because every scientist before now was willing to “fudge” the result to make it fit with what they already knew to be true anyway. And yes, it’s theoretically possible that you understand something better after a few hours of study than other people do after a lifetime.

It’s just not very likely.