1. says

    I had done a “review” of this piece of garbage recently…

    Imagine if you took a reasonably intelligent person, who knew NOTHING AT ALL about a specific subject, and taught them a mixture of real information they did not understand, and some information which was just plain wrong, and then asked them to make a movie about this topic. Ok, now stop imagining, because this has happened, and the result is “What The BLEEP Do We Know?”.

  2. says

    I laughed throughout What the Bleep Do We Know? because it satisfied all the requirements for a screwball comedy. I recall dirty looks from some of the others in the movie theater who were perhaps offended by my giggling reaction to JZ Knight’s “Ramtha” scenes. Recalling that many people took the movie seriously really took the edge off my amusement, however. Seriously, people are nuts.

  3. says

    When you say “Man, that was a bad movie,” do you mean “lousy” bad, or “Alan Quartermain and the City of Gold” bad?

  4. says

    “Man, that was a bad movie.”

    And one which had more of an impact than ‘Expelled’. About 50% of the time when I tell people that I’m a physicist, they immediately ask if I’ve seen ‘BLEEP’.

  5. says

    Ye gods, that was a terrible movie. I actually suffered through it twice (screenings were about a year apart, I think), since I wanted to go back and take notes. Gave me a bit of sympathy for Alex de Large.

  6. Mena says

    I was kind of wishing that someone would do a good evolution movie, with good science and with good special effects since CGI is usually the only thing that all movies are about these days, but I really doubt that there would be a bigger audience for that than there was for Expelled. People who need to hear that message are just so adamant about not hearing it and making excuses about how wrong it is when they do hear it that it just isn’t worth the effort. Something like that and stripped down a bit to show in schools (again, the home schoolers would be left out) would probably have some effect though.

  7. says

    You mean “Alan Quatermain“, don’t you? There’s only one “r” in the surname of H. Rider Haggard’s fictional hero.

    Quatermain is probably the most misspelled name in English fiction (including in the credits of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, the unsuccessful movie pastiche that included Sean Connery as Alan Quatermain).

  8. maureen says

    David Attenborough and the BBC are currently working on a series entitled Evolution.

    Now is is time for all you USAians to start fighting for the right to hear it with the original soundtrack and not overdubbed with drivel as an earlier series was!

  9. buckyball says

    Although I have yet to watch the movie, in the meantime, I have some questions for you, PZ (or anybody that can answer).

    1) Can morals change over a person’s lifetime or are they “hardwired” into a person’s biology? Or is it combination of both?

    2) Are chemicals responsible for morals? If so, is anybody researching which chemicals?

    3) Are there chemicals responsible for love, anger, logic, etc.? If so, could a person take a pill someday that would improve their logic ability?

    4) Could a pill be developed someday to alter a person’s morals? How about their integrity?

  10. Laurel says

    I almost came to blows with a college professor over this movie once. She thought Dr. Emoto had made an amazing discovery.

    I’m an English major. If I hadn’t had a basic interest in science I might have gulped the “conscious water” right down like the rest of the class.

    The PhD-level class.

  11. Janine ID says

    buckyball, for fun, try reading Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? by Philip K Dick. You might enjoy the Penfield Mood Organ.

  12. says


    I’m not an expert, but:
    1) The nature vs nurture debate has been around for quite a long time, and while it may not be over yet, it’s fairly obvious that the truth is some mix of the two.

    2) It would depend on wehat you mean by chemicals. Alcohol can obviously affect a person’s actions, but does it allow them to overcome (or ignore) their personal morals, or does it temporarially change their moral code?

    3) Are there chemicals responsible for love (extacy), anger (tequilla), logic (ever seen a person acting brilliantly when high on pot… I’d say pot removes some amount of logic)

    4) Emphasis on “someday”. With a long enough timeline, almost anything is possible.

  13. JoJo says

    1) Can morals change over a person’s lifetime or are they “hardwired” into a person’s biology? Or is it combination of both?

    If I could answer this question and offer convincing proof for my answer, I’d be regarded as one of the great philosophers of all time.

  14. James says

    I saw this with a fellow English student at the time, and even we recognized what a load of drek it was. The tough part, as others have noted, was when a number of my otherwise-intelligent friends saw it later and told me it was one of the greatest things they’d ever seen, and I had to figure out how to explain to them that it was actually the worst thing they’d ever seen without making them feel angry or stupid. I failed every time.

  15. Nick Tacik says

    I only saw about two minutes of What the Bleep, but I heard at least about 10 pseudo-science buzzwords in that time.

  16. clinteas says

    @ Buckyball,No 11 :

    Should you really be interested in the subject,I suggest you get a copy of Steven Pinker’s “The Blank Slate”.

  17. says

    BAD NEWS: Mike Myers goes Woozy on Deepak Chopra.

    When asked about his model for The Love Guru, Myers references Deepak Chopra, “not only a huge influence on his life but an encyclopedia of knowledge referenced by many of the great thinkers of our time.”

    I didn’t realize comedy was so stressful.

  18. says

    OK, sure, I take the bait and walk into that quagmire. However I’ll preface it with the fact that I have a PhD in engineering and virtually no background in biology (other than high school and biomedical projects I have worked on for work)

    And also, before we start, I dont think anyone knows the exact mechanism by which the the chemical and electrochemical reactions to both external and internal (like memories, cell to cell reactions or synaptic firing thresholds, etc) stimuli nor how the billions of cells interact with each other to form higher level thinking, emotions or logic. There is also the question of where in the brain different functionalities lie, of which we have some good ideas (though the application of electrodes and stimulating different areas and other tests). We are getting there, and with evidence based medicine and science along with the tremendously powerful tools that science is giving us, we will get further and further as more time passes (clearly I hold out hope for real AI, but it will be long after I am dead).

    So to your questions:

    1) of course peoples morals can change. We know this happens, people realize things they didnt realize before. They have children and clear changes in both the mother and father happen (anyone with kids will be able to relate to that), and so forth. Life experiences, that ultimately get ingrained into the brain, creates changes in our outlooks, and we are back to how internal groups of cell to cell reactions end up being morals. Further, clearly our brains change physically with age, so the answer is a combination of both.

    2) chemicals and electricity at the most fundamental level are responsible for morals. However, its also important to understand what is going on at a higher level. How the interactions between groups of cells affect other groups of cells, and things like that. Our brains have had many millions of years to get this complex. By that timescale, we have only known we even have brains for what would pass as the blink of the eye.

    3) this is the same question as #2 and #4. We already have pills that change our perceptions and the way we feel. In fact, we have pills that remove a non-existent ‘reality’ and return reality to truly sick people (i’m talking schizophrenia here). We remove or reduce depression and other emotions that make a person non-functional in a community. But with respect to the complexity of the workings of the brain we are still trying to remove bees nests with baseball bats. Its no surpise that when we adminsiter our drugs to help with these things, there are side effects that we must also deal with.

    There are also many performance improving drugs, both physical and mental. But our brains and bodies are probably not adapted to use them long term, which is why we end up with addictions, organ failure, depression etc.

    While there are probably chemically induced attributes we can impart to the the brain, it is unlikely that in my lifetime we will have such understanding of the way the brain works that we could impart the attributes you are talking about, without huge side effects. We probably won’t even have proper delivery mechanisms (although there has been many interesting studies about implantable electrodes) for quite some time.

    well thats what I know about it. As I said, there are others here who can probably do a better job.

  19. Nick Gotts says


    I lack specialised knowledge here, but I’ll have a first crack at your questions, subject to correction by experts.

    1) Can morals change over a person’s lifetime or are they “hardwired” into a person’s biology? Or is it combination of both?

    A combination. Since no other species shows evidence of morality in anything approaching the human sense (although some do show evidence of empathy and a resentment of unfair treatment), we can be sure some hard-wiring is involved. There may well also be people (sociopaths/psychopaths) who innately lack empathy and conscience, although AFAIK this has not been demonstrated; the alternative is that these pathologies are always induced by brain injury or childhood abuse.

    2) Are chemicals responsible for morals? If so, is anybody researching which chemicals?

    Neurotransmitters are involved in all mental activity, so they certainly play a part, as do many other chemicals, such as hormones, which affect their operation. However, it would be at least as accurate to say that the healthy growth of particular parts of the brain, and education into existing social norms, are responsible. The emergence of morality in the individual requires multi-level explanation, and is far from completely understood. Explaining changes in the moral code of societies involves still more levels.

    3) Are there chemicals responsible for love, anger, logic, etc.? If so, could a person take a pill someday that would improve their logic ability?

    Love and anger (or more accurately the emotional aspects of them), certainly (oxytocin and adrenaline respectively, although I’m sure many others are involved). However, I believe there is research showing that if you (say) inject someone with adrenaline, it will arouse emotion, but whether this is anger, fear, or excitement will depend on the circumstances.

    Logic is, strictly speaking, a domain of knowledge or a tool of reasoning, rather than anything mental or psychological. If you mean ability to reason logically, then any drug which aids concentration will help: caffeine, nicotine, ritalin, modafinil. If you mean tendency to think logically or rationally, then alcohol and many other psychoactive drugs will diminish it; I can’t think of any that increase it but I see no reason why they should not exist.

    4) Could a pill be developed someday to alter a person’s morals? How about their integrity?

    To make them more or less likely to follow social norms, yes. Ritalin is used for this purpose in children, and IIRC experiments in prisons have shown that improving diet, in particular ensuring that it includes a full range of micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids) greatly reduces levels of violence. To influence what norms they adopt – I doubt it. I’m not sure quite what you’re meaning by distnguishing “integrity” from “morals” – can you expand on this?

    I have a most amusing SF novel, “The Futurological Congress”, by Stanislaw Lem, in which a whole range of drugs with weird effects is postulated, including both christendine and antichristendine, which have the effects the names suggest, algebrine, which gives you knowledge of higher mathematics, and dantine, which makes you believe you wrote The Divine Comedy. However, even within the novel, the existence of these drugs may be part of a hallucination – it’s hard to tell. My favourite is LTN (Love Thy Neighbour), a gas which induces instant agape, and remorse for any wrongs done. The police attempt to use it to put down a political demonstration, but the gas blows back on them, with (from the authorities’ point of view) unfortunate results – they hand their clubs to the demonstrators, and demand to be beaten.

  20. says

    Gaaaawd MORALS, what a hoax.

    The RULE is that people’s morals change constantly depending on the situation.

    Fr’instance, I’m an Adbusters kinda anti-consumerist type. Now I work in Retail Store (as the mechanic/maintenance). There are so many mind control things going on in a retail environment, it is FAR worse than I had imagined.

    I love the job, and my co-workers, so I had to ditch my moral objections to manipulating consumers to buy more junk, and many of the repercussions down the line

    Shifting morality and cognitive dissonance are the rule. I’d say it occurs 5 or six times a day on the micro level, and at least 10 times a life on the really basic fundamental values.

    One could write a hieararchy of influences that big-brain apes use to direct their actions, with:
    SURVIVAL at the top and something like
    COMFORTABLE SHOES near the bottom.

    Morality is down there with comfortable shoes whenever real decisions are made.

    We create the illusion that morality is near the top of the list, by constantly redefining it, so it keeps a high ranking.

    If you doubt this, consider paying taxes since vietnam, through the Latin American interventions, to the Gulf War slaughters.

    Who do we think paid for that shit? Me and the rest of the taxpayers. That does make us killers doesn’t it?

    So why do we pay taxes?

    Very inconvenient not to.

    Morality, I chuckle every time some guiltsucker utters that word.

  21. Giffy says

    1) Both. There is a decent amount of evidence from the study of both humans and primates that shows that we have a certain about of innate ‘morality’. Mostly things like fairness, reciprocity, kinship, etc and that we judge such things both when we are a part and when we are not a part of what’s going on. From these basic moral ‘building blocks’ one can argue that we form more advanced notions of morality.

    2) Sort of. But that’s like asking is a computer program based on particles in the hard drive and if so which ones. Like a computer our brain has rules, memories, and algorithms that allow us to make decisions. Some think we can control these with what might be termed free will and others do not. The debate is still on going and spans disciplines from biology to philosophy.

    3) Emotions, most certainly. That’s pretty well established. The more interesting question is what triggers the release of those chemicals. Why do some people get uncontrollably angry when they are cut off in traffic, while others shrug it off.

    4) A pill, no, at least not in the way you’re thinking. But if we developed the technology to arrange particles as we wanted, we could rewire a brain just as we could rewire a computer. However that might be somewhat impossible given the complexity invloved and issues of Uncertainty.

    Neuroscience is a new discipline and there are still tons of questions left to answer. But that is the wondrous thing about science/ How boring would it be to have all the answers found and all the debates settled.

  22. Noam says

    I’m actually quite happy and thankful about that movie. My ex-girlfriend really bought into it at the time (mostly through her father) and convinced me to see it. It was a wake-up call for my scientific and skeptical outlook to develop and form consciously. So it had at least one positive outcome, though probably not the one the filmmakers intended :)

  23. Patricia says

    #19 – Emmet Caulfield – Thanks for recommending the talk by V.S. Ramachandran. When people ask me what killed gawd for me, I give a rather wiseass answer, not what – but who – Ramachandran delt gawd the death blow. Too bad this talk isn’t shown in schools. :)

  24. says

    I took my nephew to see it when he was seventeen, and then we went for coffee and dissected it.

    Of course, we were already unfavourably disposed to it, as my crazy-yet-rich aunt in Texas sunk a disgusting amount of money into JZ Knight’s dopey Ramtha cult.

    She’s much better though. Now she’s into John of God.

  25. Eli says

    Oh, yuck, I remember that. A good family friend recommended that to me, saying that because I’m so interested in philosophy and physics, I’d love it.

    I fricking hated it. I mean, the Native Americans couldn’t see the ships on the horizon because they’d never seen big ships before? BULL!

    That thing is completely crap… it was described to me as “the layman’s Brian Greene”, but I think that “The Elegant Universe” is the layman’s Brian Greene. What the Bleep Do we Know knows nothing.

  26. peter says

    this was a terrible movie. the only entertaining thing about this movie for me was seeing it in the same theater that it was shot in. looking up at the screen then turning around wondering if someone was behind you. bizarre experience.

    (for those who want to know, the theater bits were shot at the Bagdad theater on Hawthorne St, in Portland Oregon. a lovely place to see a movie btw, one of the great pizza and beer movie theaters all over that city…)

  27. Patricia says

    #29 – Oh, cripes, I had the two mixed up in my ‘brain’. The Beyond Belief talk is the one where he explains god.
    I did go watch the first link. Thanks, that was a great talk too!

  28. Rawley says

    Man, Elegant Universe is a masterpiece. It actually got my girlfriend so interested in physics that she’s starting school over this summer to study physics (she already has a BA in Fine Art). I think that’s cool, she’s a great writer too, I can envision her bridging a gap between science and the mainstream in some fasion effectively.

  29. Steve says

    They don’t seem to understand that “possible” doesn’t mean “probable”. You can imagine anything, doesn’t mean it will happen.The two-slit experiment is fascinating, though.

    There are a few gems in this. You can, to some extent, rewire your brain by encouraging neurons to fire together. By doing this, you can give yourself an improved outlook if you are depressed or anxious.

    That, and it had some great shots of Portland. And Marlee Matlin…

  30. says

    David Albert was my philosophy of science teacher (no, he’s not usually that pale), so when I saw he was in Bleep I thought it might actually have room for a dissenting voice. No such luck. It was weird hearing him say things which made it sound like he agreed with the woo, while at the same time having some idea (from my classes with him) what he was actually talking about. Check out Time and Chance.

  31. andyo says

    First of all, NOW I have got to see this movie.

    Secondly, I love Brian Greene’s books. I think he explains things far better for the layman than, say, Hawking (though he’s great too for us non-physicists). Respect for the Hawk-man though has gone way up recently since he publicly bashed politicians there over some stupid funding decisions, and that he rejected knighthood twice!

    So, now to hear that people bring up The Elegant Univers in the same breath than this kind of tripe, just show how those people never read or understood whatever Greene was writing about.

  32. andyo says

    This bloggingheads was particularly an interesting discussion, also dealing with string theory, and so on and so forth…

  33. me says

    I remember seeing this movie years ago with a friend who is alot more open to woo than I. I don’t remember much about the movie, except that I didn’t mind the first little bit, and then was annoyed and amused by the rest.
    How does this non-informative shit garner such wide appeal? Why do people need to tag their conciousness conjectures as ‘science’?
    Do some real research. Don’t slap together some groovy effects, edit the hell out of talking heads and call it a documentary about string theory. Gak.

  34. rob says

    I must admit I was bamboozled by Bleep. I thought it sounded fascinating and dragged my girlfriend to it in the theater. Luckily we chose a theater that serves huge plastic cups of beer on your way in. For about the first half of the movie I was having my mind blown all over the place. At the end I stumbled out with my girlfriend. She was extremely bipolar, and had just found a cocktail that had let her go nine months without having to quit school because of an episode, so this kind of anti-pharmaceutical propaganda made her absolutely livid. She looked at me and said, “Did we just join a cult when I wasn’t paying attention? Because if we did, I want to know which one, so I can go brew up some Kool-Aid for them.”

  35. Doug says

    I’m glad this subject came up. Some guy is coming to town and giving a lecture on how you can “use the techniques of quantum mechanics” as mentioned in Bleep to get what you want from life. I look at it and had a big WTF moment.

  36. Hypocee says

    Eh, I enjoyed it. I thought the drama about subjective perception well-written and -acted, and I guess I never realized that I was supposed to take any of the hippies seriously. I thought they were comic relief.

  37. craig says

    Brownian, my brother-in-law is dying of a cancer that was initially treatable. He chose “John of God” over treatment.

    He’s in his last months now, and this “John of God” motherfucker has soaked him for thousands and put his family deep into debt.

  38. says


    David Attenborough and the BBC are currently working on a series entitled Evolution.

    Really? excellent. David Attenborough series are always of the highest quality. I just finished rewatching Lost Worlds Vanished Lives, he’s got a knack for storytelling science.

  39. Pandragon says

    I fricking hated it. I mean, the Native Americans couldn’t see the ships on the horizon because they’d never seen big ships before? BULL!

    The consensus appears to be the this is a horrifyingly garbled distortion of the La Perouse-Tlingit encounter described at the beginning of Cosmos episode XIII.

  40. inkadu says

    Bleep! was hilarious. It took me 5 hours to watch it, because me and my friend would pause it everytime they said something stupid to discuss how stupid it was.

  41. Wowbagger says

    I saw it and thought it was interesting but a little too woo-heavy – I’m neither a scientist nor a wooist of any stripe. Still, I think I’d prefer the gullible to be basing their lives on this nonsense rather than the invisible sky-daddy kind. They’d cause less harm that way, wouldn’t they?

  42. says


    Less harm, like convincing their friends and family to not take proven treatments for diseaes and instead just wish their cancer away?

    Bullshit is bullshit, and should be treated as such.

  43. Wowbagger says

    Hey, I’m not saying woo of any kind is good – but it’s a matter of scale. As far as I know it those who subscribe to astrology aren’t claiming that the stars are telling them to honour-kill their daughters for looking at the wrong man, or bash lesbians and upload the video on YouTube.

  44. says

    But the same dumb-asses who follow this type of shit are the same idiots who take homeopathic (i.e. nothing but water) to ward off maleria,
    or tell their children to think harder to overcome real psychological problems,
    or encourage people to wish for their cancer to go away instead of taking chemo,
    or pressure congress to increase spending on these “remedies” that have no evidence to back up thjeir claims, and no realistic methods by which they could work, and take away funding from REAL potential evidence based cures….

  45. Wowbagger says


    I see your point and agree with you; that sort of garbage needs to go the same way as religion – I’m against unsupported, unscientific rubbish of any kind – it’s just that I think the less-institutionalised variety is the (slightly) lesser of two evils.

    Should we able to get rid of both with one fell swoop then I’d be happy.

  46. jase says

    Originally it was titled ” What The Fuck Do We Know” to be edgy and hep, but the bleep was substituted in order to advertize the film for mainstream audiences. It has to be the most unintentionally ironic title ever…

  47. aaron says

    Hey, but it had that lady from ‘dancing with the stars’ in it so it must be good right?…right?

    Actually, watched this movie a few years ago for some reason, don’t remember much other than it sounded like a bunch of hokey new age tripe, and it pretty much sucked, and it starred the deaf lady from one of the seinfeld episodes (who later was on DWTS as a ‘star’).

  48. arachnophilia says

    “what the bleep do we know?” made me wish i lived in one of the quantum parallel universes where i HADN’T just wasted two hours of my life watching such pure and unadulterated nonsense.

    i mean, that was some high-grade bullshit, right there.

  49. arachnophilia says

    oh, i should note that it’s not “new age.” it’s “postmodern.” sadly, there are whole schools of academia where this sort of nonsense is pretty standard. those school just aren’t in the physical sciences department.

  50. Militant Agnostic says

    I heard David Albert was pissed off about how they edited what he said.

    My favourite bit was where the kid who threw the baseketball said the “electrons build up a charge and repel each other” – the electorons always have same charge.

    The scene near the end with the woman tossing her anti-depressants was typical altie-woo irresponsitbility – a lot of psych meds have signifcant withdrawal symptoms, so stopping aburptly is not advisable even if someone does not need the med.

    JZ Knight made no sense at all – but then what do you expect from someone who was too flaky for Shirley MacLain.
    JX Knight’s Ramtha cult was involved in funding the film.

    All in all – a complete crapfest.

  51. Mary Talley says

    This seems like the right place to ask this question; is Candace Pert full of crap too? I have her book ‘Molecules of Emotion’ and enjoyed it, but as I don’t have a degree the sciences, I don’t know whether to accept what she says as plausible.

  52. Aquaria says

    One could write a hieararchy of influences that big-brain apes use to direct their actions, with:
    SURVIVAL at the top and something like
    COMFORTABLE SHOES near the bottom.

    COMFORTABLE SHOES is nowhere near the bottom of what directs my actions. It’s waaaaay up there, mostly because I’m on my feet at work all night.

    Oddly, just below COMFORTABLE SHOES is ITALIAN SHOES Obtaining a pair of Pradas, and justifying that by finding places to wear them, directs a lot of my actions.


  53. David Marjanović, OM says

    If I could answer this question and offer convincing proof for my answer, I’d be regarded as one of the great philosophers of all time.

    I don’t see where philosophy comes into it. The science of behavior — ethology — is a branch of biology, and so is neurology of course.

  54. says

    … “What The Fuck Do We Know” … has to be the most unintentionally ironic title ever.

    In those stakes I think it’s a close run race with Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.

  55. negentropyeater says

    Hadn’t seen this movie, so checked the introduction on youtube.

    It seems it has suffered much “hagelinification”.

    As soon as saw John Hagelin there, I thought, wow this is going to go into some sort of transcendental meditation woo-woo misinterpretation of reality or something like that.

    I don’t know, do I need to watch more, or is this going to be a movie about Marahashi-reiki-yoga-budhism-zen-woo-woo-let’s-mix-everything-together kind of stuff ?

  56. podrock says


    The producers of What the Bleep have a new flick out: Water. I actually went to see it. Even more laughs per minute than Bleep.

  57. Glenn says

    Went to see Bleep with my partner, who’s not exactly religious but certainly more open to “spirituality” than I am. As we left, I deliberately kept my mouth shut, until finally he said, ok, you can tell me what you thought. I exploded in a stream of what utter bullshit the movie was, which led to some iciness for a little while. (We got over it.) But be careful who you see it with. It’s laughable if you’re with someone who’ll appreciate the joke.

  58. negentropyeater says

    The way I look at it, this seems more like a deliberate piece of propaganda made by some ill intended pseudo-scientists to induce the gullible minds into believing that “quantum mechanics teaches us, that by putting ourselves in the right mental state, we can change the world around us”.

    Who are these pseudo-scientists, and why would they want to do this, well we should make lists. John Hagelin and his Maharishi Mahesh Yogi cult immediately comes to mind.

    Afterall he’s only been 3 times candidate to the presidency of the United States.

  59. negentropyeater says

    BTW John Hagelin now shows some equations from string theory in his presentations and pretends that the mind can control the vibrations of the strings and like that, explains why by transcendental meditation, you can jump higher on a matress…
    And they all think he’s a genius because he pretends to understand the equations of string theory.
    What a bunch of gullible idiots.

    So far he doesn’t seem to very dangerous as he claims to be a strong advocate of peace and love and all the nice words, but what would happen if people would give up traditional religious beliefs and start believing in this kind of stuff ?

  60. Ouchimoo says

    Wow, a month back my boyfriend and I was at a friends place. Our friend had another one of his friend’s show up. This friend was the kind of guy who is too afraid to see Harry Potter because the Catholic League told him so. He whipped out ‘What the bleep’ and wanted us to see it so badly and was raving about it. Matt and I shot each other glances and made excuses to leave. A few days later our friend filled us in on that movie. He apparently was awestruck with how awesome the science was yeatta, yeatta, yeatta. Telling us about how they were writing special words on slides and seeing that they had different crystal patterns on them. Which we were like, well did they have a control? Did they repeat the study numerous times? DID other people repeat the study etc etc. Yeah, guess what kind of response we got.
    Nooo. With a sheepish look of well don’t I feel stupid.

  61. negentropyeater says

    Water !

    seeing some of the CVs of some of the “scientists” they have in the “cast” sounds it is going to be fun !

    Like this guy :

    He was the first Founder Chairman of Alternative Medicine in 1962, and had an 18 year long collaboration with Zoroastrian College, Mazdayasnie Monasterie, and All India Shah Behram Baug Society (for Scientific & Educational Research) books, and Scientific Research collaboration. Using Ancient Mazdayasnie Cosmic Wisdom, Inyushen found the method by which the Life Force Spiral could be restored to contaminated Water.

    So, he’s been studying life force spirals and zoroastrian cosmic wisdom so what do you expect, water must be something completely magical !

  62. rob says

    “In Hilbert space, no one can hear you scream.”

    and after that crappy bleep movie, you’ll want to scream–Munch style.

  63. lytefoot says

    Gawd, What the BLEEP… my mom bought it (for 50 cents, at a rummage sale, so it’s not too bad). It’s the kind of thing that really impressed me when I was 10 and knew a tiny little bit about quantum physics and a lot more about new-age mumbo jumbo.

    We watched the first 15 minutes or so together, with me saying, “That’s a misunderstanding… that’s not true… I don’t know where they heard that… THAT’s true, but it doesn’t have that consequence…” and she looked at me and said, “So it’s all nonsense then?” “Yeah.” “Okay. We don’t have to watch any more of this.”

    Some of the effects are very pretty. At least it’s a better piece of film making than the Ben Stein tragedy.

  64. Josh says

    The movie is pretty universally terrible, however there is one thing that I appreciated about it. Their animation explaining the two slit experiment was fairly approachable for the common person, though it is a travesty that they then go off and interpret observation as implying that human cognition shapes reality or whatever crap it was talking about.

    I think the advancement of science would benefit from producing little five to ten minute animated, approachable clips trying to introduce various concepts. For example, with evolution we can point people to dozens of websites where skeptics can read hundreds of pages trying to convey that evolution isn’t “man came from monkeys”, but a quick little video presented in an approachable way would be far more effective at initially catching people’s attention and getting them interesting in breaking the mold their moral authority pressed them into.

  65. Kseniya says

    That film set off my “quantum abuse” alarms after about five minutes.

    One thing in the movie I found interesting, and observationally supportable, was the notion that people tend to get addicted to certain emotional states, regardless of the positive or negative nature of those states. I can’t vouch for the accuracy of the claims made in the film with respect to the physiological reasons for that tendency. I’d have to review all that…

  66. GlassMask says

    Y’know, I actually enjoyed this movie. I’ve even got the extended version, with lots of extra stuff. I know it’s 90% wrong, but most movies are. I don’t believe it’s all true; I treat it like a bizarre piece of performance art and just assume it’s how my brain would work if I took all the drugs I’ve ever been offered. . . As long as nobody’s dumb enough to take it seriously, we’re okay, right?

  67. says

    More awesomeness from the website for Water:

    This film is about water, the most amazing yet least studied substance.

    Hear that, grad students? Water is the least studied substance! No need to wet your lips spitting into a petri dish; you can write a thesis on what happens when you turn on the ‘Hot’ and ‘Cold’ taps!

    You know what else is ‘amazing’ yet ‘least studied’? The whole of human knowledge from the perspective of these morons.

  68. CosmicTeapot says

    I remember a different film called “water” in the 80s.

    Actually, I don’t remember the plot, just the certification at the start, which read

    “This is to certify that water has been passed …”

  69. Kseniya says

    This film is about water, the most amazing yet least studied substance.

    Well, of course it’s the least studied, what with it being so rare and all…

  70. libarbarian says

    Maybe I misunderstood what the movie makers were saying, but I want to address this:

    The first was the claim that when Columbus arrived in the West Indies, the natives were literally unable to see his ships. Why? Because they had never seen ships before, so ships did not exist in their reality.

    I gave them the benefit of the doubt and thought they were making a limited claim regarding the ability to see ships far off at the horizon.

    It is a well-known fact that, when on a ship at night, if you try to focus directly on a faint spot of light in the distance then it will literally disappear from your vision. Instead you look next to it and use your peripheral vision and you can keep it in sight. Its not mystical mumbo-jumbo but a function of our brains – no different than any other optical illusion.

    A person who is used to ships might be able to see and recognize a far-away mast and sail whereas a person who has never seen them before might not actually “see” them at all – ie. be unable to differentiate the mast and sail from the background sky and water.

    I know I’ve had similar things happen when I’ve looked at objects in twilight or other suboptimal viewing conditions. On the other hand, once I knew what the object was then I had no trouble recognizing it again.

    Anyways, when I saw the movie thats how I interpreted this – not as a statement that the natives literally didn’t see massive ships anchored right off the beach.

    Perhaps I was wrong to give them that much credit.

  71. says

    The first was the claim that when Columbus arrived in the West Indies, the natives were literally unable to see his ships. Why? Because they had never seen ships before, so ships did not exist in their reality.

    In a similar vein, observers at Kitty Hawk in 1903 watched Orville Wright somehow leap 120 feet while lying in a prone position. Why? Because they had never seen airplanes before, so airplanes did not exist in their reality.

  72. Kseniya says

    It’s an utterly ludicrous claim. By that logic, nobody would have been able to perceive a locomotive, an aeroplane, a blender, or anything else they had never before seen – ever. EVER! If you can’t see something because you don’t know what it is, how do you ever see it? Only after someone points it out to you and explains what it is? (And how did that person figure out how to see it?) Kee-royst, what inanity! How did the first European figure out that his companion had been flattened by an elephant, or eaten by a tiger, rather than by a large, invisible rampaging or ravaging thing? With the help of a See-And-Say? It’s beyond stupid.

    Now, if they want to claim that people may be inclined to misperceive or misidentify a thing they’ve never before seen, well, that’s another matter entirely. But that’s not the claim.

  73. says

    By that logic, nobody would have been able to perceive a locomotive, an aeroplane, a blender, or anything else they had never before seen – ever. EVER!

    Well, that would explain my awkward groping and fumbling on graduation night, however.

  74. Quine says

    I’ll echo those above on all the bogus content of the movie. I still meet people I have to talk out of the whole “emotionally sensitive water” thing and the quantum computing capability of microtubules. However, as others have noted, there were a few short clips of good visual representations, and I really liked the way they did the cartoon animation of brain chemicals and the laughs in the whole wedding reception part.

  75. Kseniya says

    Well, that would explain my awkward groping and fumbling on graduation night, however.

    You mean, you’d never seen a cap and gown before?! Geez. I hope you didn’t drink too much beforehand…

  76. libarbarian says

    Now, if they want to claim that people may be inclined to misperceive or misidentify a thing they’ve never before seen, well, that’s another matter entirely. But that’s not the claim.

    This looks like quibbling over language a little bit. People speak all the time of failing to “see” things that a camouflaged. We don’t say we “misperceived” it. We say we didn’t “see” it.

    Now, given that these people appear to have pulled this “Fact” out of their asses, or someone else’s ass, it appears that I was probably mistaken in giving them the benefit of the doubt and assuming that they were making a limited point about how people can fail to “see” unfamiliar things in some circumstances (like where the ship is a dot on the horizon that might be recognizable to a person from a sea-side town but not even “seen” by others who do not even see a dot to misperceive). It now seems that they were just making stuff up and that makes me think that they might well have been making the grander claim regarding “invisible” boats anchored a few hundred yards away.

  77. says

    Hmm. The polynesian islanders in the Pacific Ocean definitely saw & recognised & went out to the large sailing ships that visited them, like Cook’s ones.

    Was that supposed to be because they already used fairly large outrigger-style boats, developed from, presumably, much earlier rafts &/or canoes? Did the coastal native Americans not have knowledge of canoes? Certainly inland ones used them on rivers and lakes. Is the difference supposed to be just in size, or because of sails?

    I’ve had problems perceiving things I haven’t seen before, but I do see something, I just either don’t recognise it & have to figure it out, or start by seeing it as something else & gradually have to adapt my perception.

  78. says

    Bleep was the last movie that I was able to choose for our “family movie night.” I chose it because it sounded quirky and different; but everybody (myself included) laughed all the way through it. You’d think they would’ve given me points for providing such humor-rich entertainment, but, no, I’m not allowed to pick our movies anymore :O

  79. Kseniya says

    This looks like quibbling over language a little bit.

    Indeed, no. Did you see the movie? The claim was pretty specific, and consistent with the wildly wooful content of the film in general.

  80. ajani57 says

    An article in my local paper, lifestyle page, this week, as in the year 2008:

    Headline: Ray holding free seminar in Tucson (80 miles NW of us)

    “The Secret of Attracting the Life You Want” is a free event being held… James Arthur Ray is the president and CEO… multi-million dollar corporation dedicated to teaching individuals to create wealth in all areas of their lives… Toastmasters award… Ray will discuss how every single thing in your life… is your own personal creation.

    By the end of this seminar, you will walk away with: A specific plan to achieve exactly what you want out of life (every single time) using quantum physics strategies as discussed in the movies What the Bleep Do We Know? and The Secret: A deep understanding of how you’ve created the life you have, and how to easily change it into the life you truly want.

    I want to be rich (I’m a teacher, single income family, Arizona is 49/50 for education dollars, bleh) so I go to the website for Million Dollar Mindset where I learn there are six (6) secrets to becoming rich.

    Mr. Ray says he doesn’t “want anyone who desires to be wealthy and willing to make a reasonable effort to get there to have a financial excuse for missing out on this.

    So, the investment for this one-of-a-kind program, including six one-hour CDs and a comprehensive workbook (remember it’s all meat and no fat), is only $79.95! And it’s an incredible bargain at that.”

    Eighty bucks for six copied CDs. It is always about the money. Whoever was saying that this bunk is better than religion might have a point in that these people don’t lean towards using guns and bombs to kill people. They do, however, increase their chances of survival over others by bilking them of hard earned dollars that could be better spent on medical treatments, reality based education, paying the heating bill, etc.