Author Topic: "Quantum Biology"? Is this book legit?  (Read 128 times)

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Online Sawyer

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"Quantum Biology"? Is this book legit?
« on: August 07, 2015, 05:11:22 PM »
I noticed this book on Amazon's editor recommendations for this month, and the title sticks out like a sore thumb:

http://www.amazon.com/Life-Edge-Coming-Quantum-Biology/dp/0307986810/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

I'm not in the mood to investigate this right now but I've seen this book pop up in several different places.  Is this a serious science book, or some washed up has-beens trying to cash in on pseudoscience?  I can't possibly see how biologists can be getting anywhere close to linking quantum effects to physiology at this point.


Offline estockly

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Re: "Quantum Biology"? Is this book legit?
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2015, 06:04:52 PM »
I noticed this book on Amazon's editor recommendations for this month, and the title sticks out like a sore thumb:

http://www.amazon.com/Life-Edge-Coming-Quantum-Biology/dp/0307986810/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

I'm not in the mood to investigate this right now but I've seen this book pop up in several different places.  Is this a serious science book, or some washed up has-beens trying to cash in on pseudoscience?  I can't possibly see how biologists can be getting anywhere close to linking quantum effects to physiology at this point.

The authors seem legit. 


Amazon.com: Johnjoe McFadden: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle
http://www.amazon.com/Johnjoe-McFadden/e/B001HMKD0M/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_book_1

Amazon.com: Jim Al-Khalili: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle
http://www.amazon.com/Jim-Al-Khalili/e/B001HD1W88/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_book_2
Your mileage may vary.

Online Anders

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Re: "Quantum Biology"? Is this book legit?
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2015, 02:46:48 AM »
Quantum biology is a legit field.

"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please" - Mark Twain

"You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality" - Ayn Rand

Offline fuzzyMarmot

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Re: "Quantum Biology"? Is this book legit?
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2015, 02:48:05 PM »
I saw a review of this book in The Economist a couple months ago, and I had the exact same reaction as Sawyer. I'd love to see the rogues' take this on.

From what cursory browsing of the literature, it seems like it is possible that quantum effects play some role in photosynthesis and in animal magnetic navigation. This comes with several major caveats, though. The experimental evidence is highly preliminary. The modeling work is completely legit, but, as is often the case with mathematical modeling, the connection to reality is tenuous. Furthermore, even if there are quantum effects in these processes, it does not mean that they are important. It seems more likely that, even if these effects prove true, they will end up more as interesting trivia than a revolution in our understanding of biology.

Nonetheless, there is real, respected, peer-reviewed work in this field. The thing that worries me is the hype surrounding it. I cringe when I see Ted talks and mass market books getting out ahead of the science. Maybe the scientists should focus on laying the foundations for the field first, and then do the marketing second.

 

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