Quantum Physics Fallacy Summary

(also known as: appeal to quantum physics)

Description: Using quantum physics in an attempt to support your claim, when in no way is your claim related to quantum physics.  One can also use the weirdness of the principles of quantum physics to cast doubt on the well-established laws of the macro world.

Perhaps the greatest mind in quantum physics, Richard Feynman, once said, “I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics,” and he is probably right.  People recognize that this is perhaps the most bizarre, paradoxical, and incomprehensible area of study, that is also a respectable science.  So, if you can manage to connect the truth of your argument to quantum physics, it would be unlikely that there would be many people who know enough about quantum physics to assert that your connection is invalid. Thus your argument gains credibility out of ignorance.

The mysterious nature of quantum physics is a breeding ground for superstition, religious claims, “proof” of God, universal consciousness, and many other unfalsifiable claims. 

Logical Form:

Quantum physics supports the idea that X is Y.

Therefore, X is Y.

(although quantum physics supports no such thing)

Example #1:

Depook: Quantum physics provides evidence that a cosmic consciousness exists.

Sam: ???

Explanation: Sam knows nothing about quantum physics, so really cannot respond, yet Depook did not establish an argument as to how it provides evidence, he just made the assertion. 

Example #2:

Depook: Quantum physics is the language of God.  It has been shown that quantum particles contain information that can instantly communicate information over any distance, anywhere in or outside the universe.

Sam: ???

Explanation: Sam knows nothing about quantum physics, so really cannot respond.  Depook did expand on his assertion here, relied on the argument by gibberish in order to make what sounded like scientific claims which, in fact, were not.  According to everything we know about quantum physics, information cannot travel faster than light — otherwise, it could create a time travel paradox.

Exception: Making a scientific claim about quantum physics, using the scientific method, is not fallacious.

What Now: Pick up an introductory book on quantum physics, it is not only a fascinating subject, but you will be well prepared to ask the right questions and expose this fallacy when used.