Selected by Ben Best
"...contemporary physicists come in two varieties. Type 1 physicists are bothered by EPR
and Bell's Theorem. Type 2 (the majority) are not, but one has to distinguish two subvarieties.
Type 2a physicists explain why they are not bothered. Their explanations tend either to miss the
point entirely (like Born's to Einstein) or to contain physical assertions that can be shown to be
false. Type 2b are not bothered and refuse to explain why."
"I think it is safe to say that no one understands quantum mechanics. Do not keep saying
to yourself, if you can possibly avoid it, ' But how can it be like that?' because you will go 'down
the drain' into a blind alley from which nobody has yet escaped. Nobody knows how it can be
"Bell's theorem dealt a shattering blow to Einstein's position by showing that the
conception of reality as consisting of separate parts, joined by local connections, is incompatible
with quantum theory... Bell's theorem demonstrates that the universe is fundamentally
interconnected, interdependent, and inseparable."
"And let no one use the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen experiment to claim that information
can be transmitted faster than light, or to postulate any 'quantum interconnectedness' between
separate consciousnesses. Both are baseless. Both are mysticism. Both are moonshine."
"Bell's theorem...proves that quantum theory requires connections that appear to resemble
"...in mathematics you don't understand things, you just get used to them."
—John von Neumann
"Modern science should indeed arouse in all of us a humility before the immensity of the
unexplored and a tolerance for crazy hypotheses."
"Niels Bohr brainwashed a whole generation of theorists into thinking that the job
(interpreting quantum theory) was done 50 years ago."
"The difference between science and religion is that the former wishes to get rid of
mysteries whereas the latter worships them."
"The desire to know the truth is as old as the human race, and this desire must thrust aside
any feeling of caution over the possible loss of the security provided by customary concepts."
"...to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting
myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the
great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me."
"It is true that many scientists are not philosophically minded and have hitherto shown
much skill and ingenuity but little wisdom."
"...the physicist cannot simply surrender to the philosopher the critical contemplation of
the theoretical foundations; for, he himself knows best, and feels more surely where the shoe
pinches...Physical conceptions are free creations of the human mind, and are not, however it may
seem, uniquely determined by the external world."
"From the outset, however, this whole controversy has been plagued by tacit assumptions,
very often of a philosophical rather than a physical character..."
"What we observe is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning."
"...physics is the study of the structure of consciousness."
"Our intellect does not draw its laws from nature, but it imposes its laws upon nature."
"But some of these theories are so bold that they can clash with reality: they are the
testable theories of science. And when they clash, then we know that there is a reality; something
that can inform us that our ideas are mistaken."
"Unless a thing can be defined by measurement, it has no place in a theory. And since an
accurate value of the momentum of a localized particle cannot be defined by measurement it
therefore has no place in the theory."
—Richard P. Feynman
"Quantum mechanics, however, regards the interactions of object and observer as the
ultimate reality. It uses the language of physical relations and processes rather than that of
physical qualities and properties. It rejects as meaningless and useless the notion that behind the
universe of our perception there lies a hidden objective world ruled by causality; instead, it confines
itself to the description of the relations among perceptions."
—R. Eisberg & R. Resnick
"The treatment of the indeterminacy principle as absolute and final can then be criticized
as constituting an arbitrary restriction on scientific theories, since it does not follow from the
quantum theory as such, but rather from the assumption of the unlimited validity of certain of its
features, an assumption that can in no way ever be subjected to experimental proof."
"Is the world ruled by strict laws or not? This question I regard as metaphysical. The
laws we find are always hypotheses; which means that they may always be superseded, and that
they may possibly be deduced from probability estimates. Yet denying causality would be the
same as attempting to persuade the theorist to give up his search; and that such an attempt cannot
be backed by anything like a proof..."
"The discontinuous 'reduction of the wave packets' which cannot be derived from
Schroedinger's equation is ... a consequence of the transition from the possible to the actual."
"But it is certainly not possible to insist on one hand that the formalism is complete and to
insist on the other hand that its application to 'the actual' actually demands a step which cannot be
derived from it."
"Today, after endless repetition, a dual nature of matter may seem as obvious and
indisputable to the experts as the immobility of the Earth seemed to Galileo's learned colleagues
who refused to look through his telescope because it might make them dizzy."
"It is not intuitive ease I am after, but rather a point of view which is sufficiently definite
to clear up some difficulties, and to be criticized in rational terms.
(Bohr's complementarity cannot be so criticized, I fear; it can only be
accepted or denounced — perhaps as being ad hoc, or
as being irrational, or as being hopelessly vague.)"