Saturday, January 14, 2012

Mundane thermal equilibrium not quantum exotica

Advocates of the highly speculative notion of "quantum biology" like to invoke the case of superconductivity as a "proof of principle" that macroscopic quantum effects can play a role in biology.

In 1994, Phil Anderson wrote a devastating critique of Roger Penrose's book Shadows of the Mind: A search for the missing science of consciousness. Anderson's review was entitled Shadows of Doubt, and contains the following relevant paragraph:

The review is also reprinted in More and Different. The preamble states the Penrose Fallacy: "all problems too difficult to be solved by the great brain of the author must be identical." (p. 186)

BTW: a review of the book by David Mermin just appeared in Physics Today.

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