From Goo To You via Woo

The Huffington Post while critical of american right wing movement also plays host to some of the most amazing woo merchants in the form of Deepak ChopraBruce Lipton and Gregg Braden whose recent forays into the depths of pseudoscience have produced the idea of spirituality based science.This idea is a mix of religiously evocative ideology mixed in with science to give precedence to their metaphysical nonsense.

For instance Gregg Braden’s article evokes the idea that the world is ending based on our decisions. No it’s not. What’s happening is a shift in our energy considerations where we need to focus more on alternative and long lasting sources of power. If Needs Be then we need to utilise nuclear power because not everyone can afford building millions of windmills to power their nations. Every previous generation has had the same decision making process as we do to improve the world, it’s just that we are seeing the improvements now as we speak in greater fuel efficiency and better green technology that’s coming through.

It then goes into a spiral of lunacy stating that Spirituality linked with science gives meaning to our lives. Which it really does not. What he is describing is a pacifier. A way of shutting up a child, not a way of truly utilising your brain. But that’s not the best bit. It’s this paragraph.

The spiritual traditions that I’m describing are the core principles of ancient and time-tested understandings — principles now confirmed by 20th century science that include the interconnected nature of all things, the power of the human heart to positively influence the magnetic fields of the earth and all life, and the cyclic nature of life, climate, civilization and change. The spiritual traditions of our ancestors got these principles right and embodied them at the core of their lives in their time. It’s the marriage of these holistic principles with the best science of today that helps us to tip the scales of life, balance, and peace in our favor.

This is the point where we should slap the writer and take away his pens. This isn’t science this is industrial strength nonsense. Yes stuff is connected in nature and we know that. But nowhere has the spiritual traditions of our ancestors had any idea on how to utilise the environment ethically because IMHO most of our ancestors were kind of stupid by our standards. Just like their ancestors were kind of stupid. It’s a continuing trend by our civilisation to improve our knowledge and be less stupid that is the driving force of progress. Not spiritual balance principles.

Bruce Lipton continues the woo where Braden leaves off grasping at greater depths of unscientific knowledge and pseudo-science. He has seen the challenge laid down by Braden and has stepped up to prove that he is the true master of pseudo-science limbo starting with this lovely gem.

New science revises four fundamental beliefs that shape civilization. These flawed assumptions include: 

Are you holding onto your seats?

1) The Newtonian vision of the primacy of a physical, mechanical Universe;
2) Genes control biology;
3) Evolution resulted from random genetic mutations; and
4) Evolution is driven by a struggle for the survival-of-the-fittest.

Newtonian physics works fine as a model for us, since applying quantum mechanics to everything really is daft when we behave in a newtonian fashion. But that’s not my forte. You should not take my word on it, I may be (and quite possibly am) wrong on this subject.

No I wish to point out that points 2,3 and 4 are pretty much misunderstandings of basic biology. Genes do control biology. It’s not even an issue. It’s not a theory it’s law since the proof is seen when we tinker around with DNA causing massive changes to biology. Evolution however is due to changing allele frequency driven by the survival of the fittest concept. However the problem is people keep assuming that fittest means strongest and brawniest forgetting that fitness solely means “ability to survive”. Those that survive the best pass on their genes more than those who do not. If your genes produce a survival mechanism then you survive more. If humanity were like deer, I would not survive as I wear glasses. However since we are the badass tool builders of awesome that we are, I survive solely through my intellect rather than my ability to run fast and  detect leopards.

The article then goes into complete overdrive with this gem.

The exciting new science of epigenetics emphasizes that genes are controlled by the environment, and more importantly, by our perception of the environment. Epigenetics acknowledges that we are not victims, but masters, for we can change our environment or perceptions, and create up to 30,000 variations for each of our genes.

Epigenetics is the science of genetic expression based on non genetic principles such as control mechanisms such as methylation and histones.  We are still reliant on our genes and cannot do anything to change them the way this person thinks.

Also where does he get the 30,000 variations idea. It’s just such an arbitrary number.

Finally we come to Deepak Chopra whose metaphysical woo is phenomenal. In it he fails to understand consciousness. Consciousness is a by product of having a brain. It is the idea that the neuronal configuration leads to our personality and that is a product of our upbringing. Adventurous parents will have adventurous kids. Protective parents will have shy kids.

Consciousness is proven to be a transient state since it can be altered via drugs such as alcohol, marijuana, ecstacy and LSD producing different states ranging from extroversion, introspection and euphorias. In a more permanent sense we see the mental scarring caused by disorders such as PTSD where are conscious thought process is broken due to a traumatic event. We further see physical disruptions caused by head injuries and strokes that lead to altered consciousness.

What Deepak Chopra is trying to sell is the modern interpretation of the soul. The ability to control something out of our control (The biochemical process of our body) dressed up as consciousness.

There is no alternate world view in science that encourages this kind of thinking. There is just pseudo-science and the attempt to sell a whole bunch of books. It’s an attempt to give evolution a spiritual meaning that it does not possess and an attempt to delude people into believing a lot of pseudo science that Chopra and his ilk sell under the guise of science.

I am with Dr. PZ Myers on this one. The Huffington Post should know better than to give these people a platform and encourage their nonsense.

Evilution I – The Dawkinator

All Power to the Hypno-Dawkins


Part one of today’s posts consists of wailing on the Washington Post’s very own Jordan Sekulow, Lawyer and someone who Just Does Not Get Atheism. Which is perfectly fine, not everyone gets it. It’s a choice to not get it, just like it is a choice to correct his misconceptions with how atheism, evolution and the world works. [Read more...]

It’s Not Empowerment, It’s Quackery

Prior to the Obstetric/Gynaecological adoption of abortion, it was one of the most riskiest procedures out there. Abortions historically have had some of the worst mortality rates and were generally a practice of last resorts.

We turned it into an outpatient procedure with an incredibly low mortality rate. There are different indications for abortions and what procedure needs to be done depending on the health of the mother and the gestational age of the foetus.

There is a large amount of quackery aimed at women that is aimed almost exclusively under the notion that it is feminist. It’s not. The adoption of medical abortion empowered women far more than the quacks. However doctors are rarely part of the dialogue, so you instead saw a massive movement to push the notion that medicine is anti-female. And many women believe in it.

Medicine doesn’t seem to have time for the patient because most doctors have massive queues of people who wish to see them. People are busy and so have to juggle patients. Not so in the private sector and indeed the Alt/Med brigade where the demand is low so they can see you for 15 to 30 minutes knowing full well there is no one being put out by the long consult.

I read this on Miri’s blog whiich lead me to the original post. And it made me bloody mad. [Read more...]

Evilution

Kentucky is back on the frontlines of the Creationism push for religion in schools, with this time a variety of points raised by parents and lobby groups to encourage teaching the controversy. Mainly because Kentucky is seeing the effects of stupidifying education. Of not teaching science and teaching fantasy instead.

There is no controversy with regards to evolution. It’s widely accepted fact much like the notion that the Earth is spherical and orbits the Sun. In teaching a faux controversy Kentucky and many other states ended up with a dearth of adequately educated children who would go on to become biologists. So the new standards bring back academical rigour to the classroom.  [Read more...]

An Idiot’s Guide To – Tetanus

This is a project I wanted to do for a while.

Basically? Anti-Vax vs. Vaccination is a major problem in a large part of the developing world. Quackery movements in general are meshed together. And as I always say, the best ammunition against them is education.

So I figure we should discuss some common diseases. Just “Stuff” about how they really are. [Read more...]

SSA Blogathon – Marvelous Medicine

There are often some rather impressive things in medicine. For too long medicine has stagnated in achievement mainly because the new stuff that medicine needs to achieve is “hard”.

Hannah Warren is a Korean toddler. She was born with tracheal agenesis which is a rare and normally fatal birth defect. For 2½ years she lived without a windpipe. She was unable to breathe, swallow, eat or drink unaided and lived in a neonatal intensive care unit in Seoul. [Read more...]

Piano Black – Women in Science

[important]Piano Black is my co-blogger and general minion (yes. I have a FTB Minion). She’s new to blogging and to the atheism, skepticism and freethought malarky that we engage in. She’s currently a high school student and soon to be college student from Texas. She may or may not like ponies.[/important]

It’s a subject that I feel is not talked about enough. As time goes on, women are becoming a force to reckon with in the science world. But where did it all start? And with who? Sadly, I cannot name the great number of women who contributed to science and give the individual homage they deserve. However, I believe this pays homage to the past women, present women, and future women who choose a life of science or anything productive in society.   [Read more...]

TrueU – Because Education challenges Superstition

Focus on the Family’s got a new plan.

Basically? University and College is pretty poor for “faith” in dogmatic religions. There is little to no onus to keep going to a church and you are suddenly thrown into a mixing bowl of people who are nothing like the small groups you are used to and all this broadens your horizons. [Read more...]

Deepak Chopra, TED and Game of Thrones

Am I the only one who wishes the SI unit for “bullshitting about science” to be measured in Deepak Chopras?

Here is the thing. Simply being liberal doesn’t mean you should move away from what people consider as “big pharmacy”. Pharmacy is entrenched in “Big Business” which is benefitted by the low taxes and reduced controls when it comes to profit. However the reason why “Big Pharma” works is because they are entrenched in actual fucking science. The correct response to Big Pharma is “Proper Testing and Control” not “Witch Doctors”.

And Huffington Post should remember that before they give Deepak Chopra a platform.

Deepak Chopra is the very essence of pseudoscience. He utilises words that people are aware off to flog eastern pseudoscience and medicine in scientific terms that simply “don’t mean anything”. Quantum for example is a word he absolutely loves! [Read more...]