[This is my answer to a question on a website that others answered also.] Many of the answers to your question express the view that quantum physics is a mathematical theory that can be verified by experiment. Of course, this is true. However, some of the answers suggest that if the person discussing quantum physics is not writing math equations or reporting on experimental results, they’re talking woo. This is not true.

Many populizers of quantum physics, such as Brian Greene and Stephen Hawking, are themselves physicists. When they address lay audiences, they usually do not write math equations. They may or may not report on the details of experimental results. They are attempting to communicate the theory of quantum physics and important implications to a lay audience.

While a lot of the math of quantum physics is understood by physicists and a lot of experiments have been done, there is a great deal more to know about both. This is an evolving science; more is being learned every day. In such a situation, it is premature to say that we understand what can be said legitimately about quantum physics and what is woo.

Theoretical quantum physicists do math and attempt to interpret the math and the experimental results so that they can envision new experiments. This has been the role of important physicists like Einstein and John Bell. Theoretical interpretations allow quantum physics to progress just as experiments do.

Currently, there are many different theoretical interpretations of quantum physics. They mostly SOUND like woo. For example, the Many Worlds hypothesis proposes that innumerable universes are created be quantum events. The Bohmian approach proposes that every event is connected with every other event in the universe, thus explaining quantum entanglement.

Yet, serious physicists propose these kind of hypotheses and work on math regarding them. These are the easiest ones to describe—other interpretations are as weird when you get down into the details. And I’m including the Copenhagen (orthodox) interpretation as being weird because it depends on a very weird view of what reality is. That’s why Einstein challenged it for decades. “Weird” here does not mean woo and does not mean wrong. It simply means unfamiliar to us who live in the world of chairs and tables and don’t deal with electrons and photons on a daily basis.

It is easy to attack people who rely on quantum physics for some of their far-out philosophies. But when quantum physicists, themselves, propose Many Worlds or universal connectedness, one wonders who is calling the kettle black.

So, bottom line, I don’t think there is a way to distinguish between woo and serious physics without a heavy background in math and physics. Not yet. Quantum physics is currently an anarchy of interpretations, with each physicist either turning away from any interpretation at all or supporting their own preferred view. This is not a good time to make fun of someone else’s interpretation or of a philosophy based on an interpretation that one isn’t familiar with and, therefore, one supposes could not possibly have scientific support.

he answers to your question express the view that quantum physics is a mathematical theory that can be verified by experiment. Of course, this is true. However, some of the answers suggest that if the person discussing quantum physics is not writing math equations or reporting on experimental results, they’re talking woo. This is not true.

Many populizers of quantum physics, such as Brian Greene and Stephen Hawking, are themselves physicists. When they address lay audiences, they usually do not write math equations. They may or may not report on the details of experimental results. They are attempting to communicate the theory of quantum physics and important implications to a lay audience.

While a lot of the math of quantum physics is understood by physicists and a lot of experiments have been done, there is a great deal more to know about both. This is an evolving science; more is being learned every day. In such a situation, it is premature to say that we understand what can be said legitimately about quantum physics and what is woo.

Theoretical quantum physicists do math and attempt to interpret the math and the experimental results so that they can envision new experiments. This has been the role of important physicists like Einstein and John Bell. Theoretical interpretations allow quantum physics to progress just as experiments do.

Currently, there are many different theoretical interpretations of quantum physics. They mostly SOUND like woo. For example, the Many Worlds hypothesis proposes that innumerable universes are created be quantum events. The Bohmian approach proposes that every event is connected with every other event in the universe, thus explaining quantum entanglement.

Yet, serious physicists propose these kind of hypotheses and work on math regarding them. These are the easiest ones to describe—other interpretations are as weird when you get down into the details. And I’m including the Copenhagen (orthodox) interpretation as being weird because it depends on a very weird view of what reality is. That’s why Einstein challenged it for decades. “Weird” here does not mean woo and does not mean wrong. It simply means unfamiliar to us who live in the world of chairs and tables and don’t deal with electrons and photons on a daily basis.

It is easy to attack people who rely on quantum physics for some of their far-out philosophies. But when quantum physicists, themselves, propose Many Worlds or universal connectedness, one wonders who is calling the kettle black.

So, bottom line, I don’t think there is a way to distinguish between woo and serious physics without a heavy background in math and physics. Not yet. Quantum physics is currently an anarchy of interpretations, with each physicist either turning away from any interpretation at all or supporting their own preferred view. This is not a good time to make fun of someone else’s interpretation or of a philosophy based on an interpretation that one isn’t familiar with and, therefore, one supposes could not possibly have scientific support. It’s always good to keep in mind those who mocked and vilely threatened poor souls like Galileo who believed outlandish theories like the earth travels around the sun.

However, it’s an exciting time to try to understand as much as possible of the math, experimental results, and theoretical interpretations. With enough study, one can begin to draw one’s own conclusions about what is woo and what has theoretical, mathematical, and experimental support.