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BALMES, Abegail S.

PHYS 3 E-1L
A Reaction to articles written by Jaime Licauco entitled
Quantum physics, eastern mysticism, and ESP (lifestyle.inquirer.net June 3, 2014) and
A larger truth about quantum physics (lifestyle.inquirer.net August 5, 2014)
Much can be said about Jaime Licaucos articles published at Lifestyle Inquirer, nevertheless, the words accurate and
factual cannot be one of those. In his article entitled Quantum physics, eastern mysticism, and ESP published on June 3, 2014,
he painstakingly tried to show how Quantum Mechanics - a branch of science which according to him is a branch of science
which puts a semblance of rationality on things that seem to be completely irrational - can explain Eastern Mysticism and ESP
(extrasensory perception). Along with this, he named a few physicists, quoted them and ended the article with an invitation to
attend a seminar which will be conducted by him and a professor, which he described as an expert in Physics. However, Dr.
Jacqueline T. Romero of the School of Physics and Astronomy of the University of Glasgow seemed to be dissatisfied at his way
of explaining things which led to another article entitled A larger truth about quantum physics where Dr. George Weissman,
his co-speaker at the seminar, replied to Dr. Romeros comments on Licaucos article. After reading this exchange and
researching on the concepts being debated upon, it can be said that Licaucos way of interpreting quantum mechanics in his
article was done in an intolerably distorted manner and that the whole premise of quantum mechanics being used as a way of
explaining eastern mysticism and ESP is, as a whole, flawed.
In order to understand why this premise is flawed, the concept of quantum mechanics, mysticism, and ESP should first
be clarified. According to Freddy Davis (2007), mysticism originated from the Aryan people (1500 BC) who moved to Indus
Valley in northwestern India. Aryans, being believers of sacrifice, started the concept of priesthood and polytheism. As time
went by, their religion became more philosophical and so from being polytheistic, they simplified all the gods into a single
pantheistic principle that universe is god and god is universe - the main gist of eastern mysticism. Eastern Mysticism revolves
on the idea that the ultimate expression of reality consists of an impersonal life force. This worldview does not distinguish
between secular and divine. It teaches that the ultimate fate is to have no self-conscious existence at all and life force exists as a
part of a large impersonal mass. The goal of each person therefore, is to be united with the main body by escaping the cycles of
reincarnation in the physical world. On the other hand, quantum mechanics is a branch of science that explained and described
diverse phenomena such as the behavior of atoms and light through experimentations. One of the most popular and enigmatic
topic included in this branch is the duality of light as both a wave and a particle and how it manifests depending on what you are
trying to perceive. Lastly, ESP (extrasensory perception or sixth sense) is the procurement of information using our minds. It was
first adopted by Duke University psychologist J.B. Rhine. Some abilities categorized under ESP are telepathy, clairaudience,
clairvoyance, and precognition.
In the article, Jaime Licaucos way of presenting the topic is, as a whole, fallacious and inaccurate. First and foremost,
he chose to generalize that since eastern mysticism and ESP is rationally impossible, then it can be explained by quantum
mechanics which deals with irrational phenomena. This way of interpreting things is an example of a hasty generalization. Even
though quantum mechanics can explain irrational things, it is still not right to conclude that all sorts of irrational things can also
be explained by quantum mechanics, since, as a branch of science, all theories must first be proved by numerous scientific
experiments before it can be declared as true. Nevertheless, Licauco is already implying this premise by supporting his
arguments through the usage of quotations from famous physicists which, if not inaccurate, was used in such a way that its true
meaning became distorted already. An example of this is: I think it was the British physicist Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington who
said, The universe is beginning to look more like a great thought than a great machine.. In this quote, he claimed that Sir
Arthur Stanley Eddington was the one behind this saying when in fact, it was Sir James Jeans in his book entitled The
Mysterious Universe (1930) p. 137. This is an example of a fallacy of false attribution (Matthew effect) where a quotation is
often attributed to someone more famous than the real author. This leads to the quotation being more famous, but the real author
to be forgotten.

Another example is Neils Bohrs statement saying that: Everything we call real is made up of things that cannot be
regarded as real. If quantum mechanics hasnt profoundly shocked you, you havent understood it yet. which Licauco shortened
to Everything we call real is made up of things that cannot be regarded as real. This shortening led to the distortion of what
Neils Bohr is really implying that quantum mechanics studies things (specifically atoms, and everything related to what makes
up matter which is invisible to the naked eye) which we would think as non-existent, and yet, makes up everything around us.
Nevertheless, quantum mechanics only describes and predicts observable physical phenomena; it does not describe the inner
reality of physical matter. (Du Won Kang). This practice of quoting out of context, sometimes referred to as "contextomy", is a
logical fallacy and a type of false attribution (appeal to authority) in which a passage is removed from its surrounding matter in
such a way as to distort its intended meaning. In this case, it was done in such a way that misrepresented the authoritys stand.
Lastly, James Licaucos premise of quantum mechanics being used as a way of explaining eastern mysticism and ESP is,
as a whole, flawed. Since quantum mechanics has been successful in explaining these apparent irrationalities, many believers of
mystics and ESP try to use this concept as a way of justifying their beliefs which also remains unexplained by any branch of
science. One example of this is Licauco. Nevertheless, the fact that Quantum Mechanics can explain unusual irrationalities, such
as why atoms exist, does not necessarily mean it can explain subject matters like ESP and mysticism. During the 1800s, it was
conclusively shown that light was composed of waves, but in 1905, Einstein demonstrated the photoelectric effect which shows
that light is also a particle, resulting to the conclusion that light is both a particle and a wave depending on the type of
experiment. These discoveries led to the discovery of Heisenbergs Uncertainty Principle (1927), which states that it is
impossible to determine at the same time and with high accuracy pairs of physical properties dealing with space-time and energy.
(e.g. momentum and position). This limitation is not due to the restrictions of technology but because it is an inherent limitation
of nature. Thus, precisely predicting the future of a particle will never be possible which, in a way, limits what we know about
the universe.
Non-locality, one of the inconsistencies of quantum mechanics, is one of the widely used theory by believers of quantum
mystics to support their holistic view of the universe that everything is interconnected and all parts communicate at infinite
speeds. According to Novella, Non-locality is the ostensible transfer of information at superluminal (faster than light) speeds,
something that Einstein's theory of relativity, and countless experiments, tell us is impossible. This, they explain, is how psychics
can instantly know things that happen on the other side of the country or the planet. This may seem to be a reasonable and
sound explanation since in the phenomena of non-locality, two particles away from each other seem to be communicating at
some point (e.g. experiment of quantum entanglement). Nevertheless, this is a misunderstanding since any theory consistent with
relativity or quantum mechanics proves this impossible. Novella stated in his published journal that: It has been shown that if a
faster than light communication device were set-up using non-locality, each observer would only see random signals without
anything comprehensible. Therefore, even though our brains can operate non-locally, they would not receive any usable
information. The violation of locality only occurs within our macrosopic description of the quantum event. Thus, quantum
mechanics cannot be used to explain phenomena such as extrasensory perception and even mysticism.
In Licaucos article, these misinterpreted concepts were used in order to encourage people to attend their seminar on
Quantum Mechanics, ESP, and Mysticism. This is potentially detrimental since they are propagating data based on fallacious and
highly modified bodies of knowledge which were manipulated in order to concur with what they are promoting. Instead then of
people being rightly informed, what they do is to promulgate erroneous facts which then would lead to misinformed citizens.
Thus, if ever those people would choose to pursue a branch of science specifically Physics they would base their information
on this flawed prior knowledge. Therefore, people with no complete knowledge and expertise on a subject area must try to avoid
topics which would require them to elaborate on these since it almost always results to fallacious statements and misinterpreted
concepts which can mislead other people who are also ignorant to the topic and irk those people who are competent and
knowledgeable on the area.

References:
1. F. Davis, A Basic Understanding of Eastern Mysticism, (2007) Retrieved from: http://www.marketfaith.org/nonchristian-worldviews/a-basic-understanding-of-eastern-mysticism/
2. R. Novella, Quantum Confusion: Does Modern Physics Support the Psychics?, The Connecticut Skeptic Vol. 2 Issue 3
(Summer 97) p. 3 Retrieved from: http://polyticks.com/psi/novella.htm
3. Extrasensory Perception, Retrieved from: http://www.williamjames.com/Science/ESP.htm
4. Du Won Kang, Three Fundamental Limitations and their Common Issues, Retrieved from:
http://www.pureinsight.org/node/1882
5. J. Licauco, Quantum Physics, Eastern Mysticism, and ESP, Philippine Daily Inquirer 03 June, 2014 Retrieved from:
http://lifestyle.inquirer.net/161966/quantum-physics-eastern-mysticism-and-esp#ixzz3FsanH9Lq
6. J. Licauco, A larger truth about quantum physics, Philippine Daily Inquirer 05 August, 2014 Retrieved
from: http://lifestyle.inquirer.net/167704/a-larger-truth-about-quantum-physics#ixzz3FsaYuNwg