David Deutsch

David Deutsch - Physics Ox

David Deutsch, Ph.D.

David Deutsch works at the Centre for Quantum Computation at the Clarendon Laboratory, Oxford University.

In the autumn of 2001, he denounced a fellow quantum physicist, Brian Josephson, for suggesting that quantum physics might lead to an explanation of “processes still not understood within conventional science such as telepathy”. Deutsch asserted: “It is utter rubbish. Telepathy simply does not exist.” (The Observer, September 30, 2001)

Josephson, a Nobel laureate, made his comment about telepathy in a booklet issued by the Royal Mail about an issue of stamps to mark the 100th anniversary of the Nobel Prizes. Deutsch said: “The Royal Mail has let itself be hoodwinked into supporting ideas that are complete nonsense”.

But Deutsch embodies a curious double standard about the need for scientific evidence. He is a proponent of a theory that there are billions of parallel universes to our own, expounded in his book The Fabric of Reality: The Science of Parallel Universes (1997). He also speculates freely on time travel. There is no evidence for either of these phenomena.

Deutsch highlights the remarkable way in which evidence-free speculation in some areas of science can coexist with dogma in others, while legitimate evidence is dismissed or denied.


Department of Physics, Oxford University

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