Thursday, August 23, 2012

Why Quantum Physicists Don't Get Fat

Yep, that's the title to a book I've just finished reading.  My wife stumbled across it in the free e-reader books for the day. 

First, I'm glad it was free.
Second, I'm glad it was short and that I didn't spent too much time having to read it.
Third, I'm really skeptical about the premise of the book.

The guy who wrote the book tries to apply quantum mechanics to weight loss management.  He argues the current weight loss industry is built upon old, Newtonian science.  He argues, almost solely based upon his own experience, that a shift in how we approach weight loss is necessary.

Frankly, I can sum it up very quickly: try to have a positive attitude about everything you do to help you lose weight.  Convince yourself you are enjoying exercise.  Convince yourself you are happy eating fruits and vegetables and lean meats.  Believe whatever diet program you are undertaking works, and you will see results.

The author bases much of his understanding on the idea if we believe something, then we will see it.  Now, I've used that maxim when it comes to faith more than once.  For when it comes to seeing God active in the world, you won't see Him unless you believe in Him.  Under the guise of quantum physics, the author tries to apply such thinking to weight loss.  If you believe you will see results in a weightloss program, you will see it, and see it fast.

Your's truly is skeptical--mainly because I believe the author takes quantum mechanics to the extreme.

He uses Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle to discuss reality.  The principle states that we do not know where a given electron will be when we are not observing it.  There are a range of probabilities where it could be, and when we finally observe the electron, then we will see it in a given place. 

Some have extrapolated this into the larger reality we call the world saying that our brains create reality.  We expect certain things to happen and be there, and they happen in that fashion or are found where we expect them.  If we just believed strongly enough, we could literally shape the world differently. 

Now.  Go ahead.  Try it.  Believe with all your heart you can stick your finger in a light socket without getting shocked (assuming the light socket is attached to an electrical current).  Believe you can leap off a 10 story building without a parachute and not get hurt.  Believe all you want that you can play the lottery with the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and win every time.  See what happens.  Have all the positive beliefs in these things you want and see if they come together for you.  Tell me if it works.

Our perceptions may shape the way we see reality, but they are not reality itself. 

Furthermore, one must realize even quantum physics is incomplete.  Quantum physics describes very well the way the microscopic world works.  As of yet, (and probably never) quantum physics has not been able to describe gravity and interactions between large objects.  The author of Why Quantum Physicists Don't Get Fat time and again says that quantum physics is the most accurate science we have, but he's wrong.  

In more than one way.


Anonymous said...

Hello Kevin,

This is Greg, the author of Why Quantum Physicists Don't Get Fat. I want to thank you for reviewing this book and sharing your thoughts. I enjoyed reading your review and your feedback is helpful and meaningful to me.

I won't quibble with your assertions because I certainly don't expect every reader to "love", nor even agree, with the book. I will say that the science is sound and, yes, quantum physics is the most accurate science yet created - there is no body of science that's proven more reliable through research and testing.

There is much current research which shows us exactly why it has (until recently) been nearly impossible to "see" quantum effects with the naked eye. Yet, if you read the research, our naked eye in no way negates the quantum world, nor its properties.

I'm not trying to debate you (I suppose it must seem like it though). I respect both your opinions and your feelings about the book.

Thank you for your review - I appreciate that you invested your time to write about Why Quantum Physicists Don't Get Fat.


Kevin Haug said...

Hey Greg,

Thanks for commenting. I did enjoy reading your book even though I quibbled with it a bit. :-)

It's rare that I will actually wade all the way through any diet/exercise book, but I did yours partially because I am interested in losing those few extra pounds that refuse to come off and because of a love of science, mathematics, and philosophy.

I hope your book does help people get healthier in their approaches to life, diet, and exercise. Whether or not I or others totally agree with everything you put forth is secondary IMO if folks accomplish what you seek to help them accomplish.

Keep up the work, and I look forward to seeing further work including a collection of success stories.