LinkedIn and Bad Science

Another day, and another LinkedIn post from a well-meaning consultant using “science” to support their argument. This post links to a YouTube video about business leadership and makes a perfectly reasonable point about how much interconnectedness there is in the world. The author could support the argument using ideas from Systems Thinking, for example.  However, they invoke, and mangle, the idea of entanglement from quantum mechanics; a favourite subject for purveyors of woo.

Entanglement states that the way sub-atomic particles interact means their quantum state cannot be described independently regardless of physical location. In other words, a change in the spin of one entangled particle will be replicated in the other no matter how many light years separate them.    Now, this might be OK if entanglement was limited to an analogy, but we are urged to believe that this long-distance connection between sub-atomic particles explains some mystical connection between all humans because, of course, we are all made of atoms!

Logically, this is the equivalent of stating that humans are born from clouds because we mostly consist of water and, you guessed it, water comes from clouds too!

The principles of the scientific method are to test hypotheses to find out if they stand up.  The assumption is that most hypotheses will be replaced by better ones as we learn more. Sometimes they withstand testing and experiment sufficiently well to become a theory that provides a robust explanation of something significant.  A good example is the theory of evolution.  Non-Scientists often misunderstand the meaning of the word theory in a scientific context.  The misunderstanding is given away by statements such as: “Evolution? It’s only a theory”.

Free speech is important so, by all means, everyone should be free to post any idea that crosses their mind, but if you don’t understand the science you want to cite, please use a quote from Chris Morris’s “Brass Eye” and state: “…there’s no evidence for it, but it’s a scientific fact”.  At least then we’d know you were only joking.

 

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