I can’t quite believe I am writing this, but the HuffPo religion section actually has not one, but two, good posts up. The first is from Victor Stenger talking about some of the daffier misapplications of quantum mechanics. It makes a nice follow-up to Monday’s post about Michael Shermer’s essay.
In short, a physical object isn’t either a particle or a wave. These are just two alternative descriptions of the same object. You do not have to measure one property or the other exclusively. Observing a beam of light with appropriate apparatus, you find that localized photons are always present. The wave-like property of the light beam is found only in the statistical distribution the large number of photons it contains.
In the meantime, reductionism in physics has never been more firmly established. By the time The Tao of Physics was published in 1975, the standard model of elementary particles and forces had reduced all of familiar matter to three types of particles: the electron and two types of quarks. That model has agreed with all observations for over three decades.