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Bruce Lipton: Quack, Creationist, Buffoon, PhD

July 6, 2012

In the previous post on Dr Bruce Lipton, I dealt with the first segment of his short video series Beyond Darwin. Lipton shared his belief that global ecological catastrophe is being caused people’s acceptance of Darwinian evolution. Even more curiously, the solution he proposes is, of all things, his specific form of cancer quackery. 

Really. Don’t take my word for it. Check the previous post!

Anyway, here is my take on the second (and final) part of the talk. I have transcribed Lipton’s words in their entirety, exactly as spoken, because that is easier than trying to edit his appallingly scrambled and inarticulate diction. Thankfully, the talk only goes for two minutes.

… 

He begins:

Every organism is put in place with every other organism to balance some part of the environment…

Put in place by whom?

….Lipton, it turns out, is a creationist. He’s not the highly politicized Christian fundie type, but he clearly believes in some kind of pantheistic Intelligent Designer. No doubt the majority of the world’s population believe something similar, but Lipton has a PhD in cell biology. He should be able to at least make a coherent case for his position. 

But most importantly, the fact that Lipton is a creationist will make things easier for those who are sincerely curious about the truth or falsehood of Lipton’s claims. There’s a wealth of excellent and highly accessible material from biologists explaining evolutionary theory, as well as outlining the reasons why science let go of creationism 150 years ago. Such material is highly relevant to the errors that Lipton incessantly makes. (See footnote.)

Bruce Lipton: Leading expert in the new science of being a leading expert

But for now let’s keep wading through Dr Bruce’s never-ending sentence:

…so when organism A comes into let’s say a pristine environment and then, um, organism A, um, pollutes the environment with waste products like, you know, waste product B…

Lipton hopes that expressing balance as some kind of equation will sound really sciencey. But unfortunately, Dr Lipton doesn’t know how to write an equation. Why assign an “A” to an organism if the thing he is distinguishing it from is a waste product? Why not just say “An organism produces a waste product”? There’s no need for an equation.

But if he really wants to use an equation, the waste product should also be assigned an “A” and not a “B”, because it’s the first element in a new set: the set of {waste products}. This is nitpicking I know, but fuck it — Lipton’s got a PhD and this is 8th grade math and set theory. He’s just trying to make it sound more complicated than it is. And in doing so he’s become so confused that he’s completely screwed it up.

…then all of a sudden the environment starts to get out of tilt and what will happen is that nature will bring in another organism that will use the waste product B and then balance that off…

And that other organism would have been Organism B if he hadn’t screwed up that equation. Sheesh….. And how exactly will nature “bring in another organism”? Will it issue an executive order or hand out travel coupons?

…and the point is that every other organism that comes into the environment is used to balance…

– used by “nature”, or the Intelligent Designer or God, call it what you will…. Or how about we call it Divine Entity C !!!

….and as you go up the evolutionary scale the power of the balance is more focused you know…

No, I’m afraid I don’t know. “Up the evolutionary scale” is just as meaningless as the balance being “more focused”.

…or sort of like on a see-saw that if you’re on one end of the see-saw the other end of the see-saw is hard to maintain balance but if you get in the middle of the see saw you can flip the balance very quickly…

You’re lucky, Dr Bruce, that everyone already knows what you’re trying to say here, because you completely screwed up that explanation as well.

…and that humans are part of a, a biosphere, that we’re really near that peak and what we’ve misunderstood is our relationship to the planet and as a result of misunderstanding that, we are destroying the underground, ha ha, that keeps us here… 

There’s that strange nervous laugh again that we also heard in Part 1. Why start giggling at the mention of global destruction or (as in part one) terminal cancer? I suspect it’s an unconscious attempt to distract people from the gravity of these topics. Lipton, remember, sells positive thinking, and like all the other positive thought teachers, he preys constantly on people’s fears.

Negative thought “causes cancer and global destruction” so watch out. Negativity and critical thinking will kill you. But he doesn’t want to appear negative while he’s arousing fear or criticizing others: Hence the snickering at the mention of catastrophes. I also notice his constant giggling in just about every photo of him on the web. That’s his idea of “being positive”, while saying extremely negative things.

A commenter on the previous post, who has cancer, reported being given a Bruce Lipton video “by someone who gave me a massage…They somehow thought I was negative… Now I know why – they presumed that was why I had cancer.”

… 

Quiz: A complex molecule, or the syntactic structure of a Bruce Lipton sentence? 

… 

Hells bells, we’re only a minute into this video! One minute, and he’s only just finished the first sentence. (Just try making one sentence last a full minute!) So my hope of keeping this post under 1000 words is up the spout. I’ll try and move a bit faster through Lipton’s next sentence. (I’m starting to understand why so few scientists have been willing to write critiques of this fellow.)

So this is a new biology that has nothing to do with Darwinian theory…

You can say that again.

…or the survival of the fittest…

A science lesson for Dr Bruce: Slow, incremental evolutionary adaptations over thousands or millions of generations is the very thing that produces the apparent balance of ecosystems in the first place!!! And one of the most profound discoveries of modern biology is that humans are related to every freaking goddam life form on the planet. Comprehending that leads to exactly the experience that New Agers are always prescribing for others: a paradigm shift.

…or, ah, the genes, that’s all, that’s all wrong, that information…

Bruce! How can you be such a deranged pig ignorant smug stupid cackling dickheaded fuckwit? Genetics is “all wrong”? So the last 100 years of medical advances, cloning, reading the genome of fucking goddam Neanderthals and so on…. That has all been an illusion???

…so it’s a very exciting time and that’s why we need to have a new understanding so people begin to know who they are.

– And what has Dr Bruce discovered that has been overlooked by conservative narrow-minded scientists?

The movie The Matrix is a great story…

The Matrix. Holy Heck.

…that says that what they’re creating is a, a world where they turn people into batteries, units of power…

Excuse me, but what the fuck has that got to with anything?

…and what we really have to recognize is that we are creators ourselves…

So modern science is not creative enough for Dr Lipton’s tastes. Next month we’ll be getting ground reports from the surface of Mars…..

How the “Curiosity” Rover will be lowered to the surface of Mars (see link above for a stunning 5 min video about this!)

[UPDATE Aug 6 2012: Video of successful landing!]

…but Dr Bruce Lipton is more impressed with The Matrix.

…and we’re all powerful except for our belief systems which undermine our power and we’ve all been programmed to believe that we are less powerful than we are and as a result, ah, we manifest, ah, this and as an unfortunate point now we’re victims of our own belief systems….

Let me rephrase that. Lipton’s followers are victims of his stupid belief system. Victims.

…and that’s why there’s this great upheaval right now because new beliefs are entering from every area of science right now…

It is revealing, isn’t it, that Lipton sees science as merely a set of beliefs.

…and it’s just being held back by the people that don’t want to see the change.

The Dark Ages lasted a long, long time. Creationists like Bruce Lipton are doing their best to bring on the New (Dark) Age.

Footnote:

As mentioned above, people looking for information on exactly where Lipton has gone wrong can easily find it in critiques of Intelligent Design Creationism. For example….

This lecture by Ken Miller outlines the case against Intelligent Design which Miller presented to the court in the case against the Dover School Board. According to Lipton, everything presented in this lecture is “all wrong”. Okay Liptonites, the comments are open. Start explaining.(Ironically, Miller is a Catholic and opens the lecture with a prayer, but his presentation of the science is unpolluted by his religious beliefs.)

Here’s a lecture by Neil Shubin about his discovery of a 400 million year old species of fish with arms and legs. He explains the science behind his expectation of being able to discover such a species in a particular outcrop of Devonian rock near Greenland. Shubin explains how the history of this great transition is still written in our own anatomy. According to Lipton, Shubin has a wrong understanding of his relationship to the earth and its creatures. As I say, the comments are open for Lipton fans to set the record straight. After you’ve done that, there are another few hundred million other questions you need to clear up too. I will be waiting.

Update: For a more thorough critique of Lipton’s teachings, see Motivational Biology with Dr Bruce Lipton, Cancer Quack.

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139 comments

  1. [...] See also Part Two — Bruce Lipton: Quack, Buffoon, PhD Like this:LikeBe the first to like [...]


  2. Why are you so in denial of an intelligence greater than your own limited scientific paradigmatic thinking. Actually, this so called mainstream science is unscientific and more akin to a perception tunnel with a mental fundamentalism to back it up at ALL costs. I too have a few hundred million questions to ask of the Bruce Lipton detractors. Maybe we could begin a forum dedicated to the most intelligent questions. My first question is “how do you write out of history the fact that Darwin himself realised the flaw in his theory, later in his life?” He realised and openly stated so, that he greatly underestimated the influence the environment had on species.


  3. I would like to add, a respectful dialogue about the implications of accepting or rejecting Bruce Lipton’s views would be welcome. Spirituality itself is a loaded word. Bruce is a mystic in part as I am. That is a preferable term. Mysticism is at its simple essence an acknowledgement that there are realities beyond the purely physical or biological. This acknowledgement is not a theory but rather experiential. Mysticism (or spirituality) is not an excuse…it’s a explanation.


  4. Thanks for commenting….

    Why are you so in denial of an intelligence greater than your own limited scientific paradigmatic thinking.

    Please see the comment policy (in the sidebar). I explicitly ask commenters not to assume that I am threatened by their spirituality and then criticize me for it. You don’t know what motivates me, nor do you know what my background in spirituality is, so you also have no way of knowing whether I am in denial about anything.

    Actually, this so called mainstream science is unscientific and more akin to a perception tunnel with a mental fundamentalism to back it up at ALL costs.

    If you understood how science works, you would not have said that. The things that can be backed up, are backed up. The things that can’t yet be supported are held as provisional hypotheses, (like the higgs particle, for eg.), and the things which are wrong are discarded. That’s why science works. That also why it’s safe to fly in an airplane, why we can read our own genome, etc — rather than just speculating and asserting like Lipton does.

    I too have a few hundred million questions to ask of the Bruce Lipton detractors. Maybe we could begin a forum dedicated to the most intelligent questions. My first question is “how do you write out of history the fact that Darwin himself realised the flaw in his theory, later in his life?” He realised and openly stated so, that he greatly underestimated the influence the environment had on species.

    If something like that was written out of history, then where did you get that information? Darwin’s life,as it happens, is the best documented biography in all history. He kept everything, documented all his transactions and undertook voluminous correspondence, most of which we still have. It’s been thoroughly researched. See for example, Janet Brown’s excellent two volume biography. All his correspondence, all his notebooks, and all his work (in all editions) are online. You are completely and utterly wrong to accuse anyone of a cover up.

    He “realized the flaw in his theory”? There were lots of flaws in his theories, and he openly stated them because – unlike you, and unlike Lipton – he wanted to get it as right as possible, regardless of his personal wishes and career interests. He was doing exactly what you criticized science for: Wanting to back up that which can be backed up!

    And he didn’t retract the essence of his theory, but it wouldn’t have mattered if he did. Science does not work by an appeal to authority. It works according to what works. And evolutionary theory works, as you will find out if you check the resources I linked to.

    This is why I suggested that readers check the anti-creationist literature. Your objections are all ones that are made by creationists and answered, and re-answered and answered again. I’m notz insisting that anyone agree necessarily, but at least become familiar as it is presented.

    And you will not understand evolutionary theory if you use Lipton as your source. Bruce Lipton does not understand it either. That is why his criticisms of it are meaningless and irrelevant. That a lay person like me can correct him on points of pure comprehension should be embarrassing to him.

    As to mysticism, fine with me. But you and Lipton are giving mystical explanations for things which have already been fully explained.

    I am perfectly happy discuss things, and I thank you for your sincere intentions in commenting here….

    ….But before commenting here again, I ask that you demonstrate you have understood the topic of discussion. I ask you for a clear explanation of what evolution is and how it occurs – one short paragraph at least. Otherwise no reasonable discussion will be possible.


  5. …And I forgot to add, once you’ve done that, explain how this definition is destroying the world…


  6. It’s unfortunate that you shut down dialogue Yakaru with your intense argumentative style of communication. Otherwise this is a great topic for discussion and an important one. I like Keith’s response.


  7. Yakaru didn’t shut down the dialogue. This is an argument, so one would expect people to get argumentative. Skeptics aren’t in the business of coddling ideas for the sake of someone’s feelings and ego. That way leads to harmful deceptions. The truth is what matters, and if we’re wrong about something, we don’t want you to hold back or try to bluff and bluster your way through. We criticize because we care about people more than we care about avoiding conflict.

    Keith was a horrible example of how to discuss the topic. He immediately went on attacking the person instead of the content. I’d be okay with it if he was attacking both, since it’s at least touching the issue. Keith didn’t do that. He made false presumptions about Yakaru’s motives and badmouthed scientific methodology without bothering to explain where its alleged shortcomings are or how they subvert the process. He even ended up contradicting himself over science being resistant to change or admitting mistakes and the scientist, Darwin, finding his mistakes in formulating the early theory of evolution. Those mistakes are a big part in why we’ve continually revised it into the modern synthesis of evolution over the course of 150 years. From what I’ve seen in those two comments, he registers just another hit-and-run cynic who’s just here to trash talk. He isn’t thinking about what he’s saying, he’s just got a checklist of prejudices to rehearse.

    The theory of evolution didn’t start and end with one man. Biology professors don’t assign The Origin of Species to their students, they assign modern textbooks that come out in multiple editions. The only interest I’d have in reading Origin would be about the history of science, to see how the theory got started, not to learn about the current theory of evolution. There is no sacred, final authoritative book on evolution just like there is no single authoritative scientist about evolution. Science is inherently anti-authoritarian in its methodology. Authoritarianism leads to stagnation.

    Darwin was just the guy who got some of the initial broad strokes down with natural selection. Discovering discrete genetics as the basis of heredity was the next set of broad strokes. Statistics and population genetics added greater detail. Scientists have been working on finer and finer details since then. Engineers and software designers have successfully applied the principles of evolution to genetic algorithms. This is how science works and grows: The first big ideas explain a lot, make connections that went unseen, and generally make sense out of the chaos. This earns the first scientist great fame, but these infant theories have mistakes because they don’t yet cover the nuances. Later experimentation and observation finds all those unexpected anomalies, exceptions, and so forth. Scientists who research these seek to explain them and make accurate predictions to modify the base theory and with it, its predictions so that they conform more closely to reality. Science changes because we’re always looking for new mysteries and solving them.

    If the scientific community ever thought it had everything right, all the research scientists would be out of a job, and there would be no more research grants. Research is the process of discovering and correcting mistakes and oversights. Scientists don’t get grants or fame from proving what we already know, they get their kudos by figuring out stuff that we didn’t know. The fact that scientists are still conducting experiments, collecting data, and updating theories is a result of knowing that we never have 100% certainty. Fundamentalists don’t do research.


  8. Thanks, for your support Bronze Dog {scratch behind the ears}. Important points too, that you raised.

    @lbmiller,
    I think I was more polite to Keith than he was to me. I thanked him twice for his comments and explicitly said I would be happy to discuss it with him. I also answered the question he asked me, before I asked one back. I think that’s a reasonable way to maintain a dialogue, personally.

    Comments are open and unmoderated (as your comment demonstrates), but I will ask people to stay on topic. (Your comment was off topic BTW.)


  9. @ Yakaru honesty I just got through listening to an interview with Bruce Lipton and found it interesting and worth looking into. Yet as I expand my views I read your point of view which maybe valid but I can’t read beyond your attack on him personally. As a scientist I would imagine you should stick to the facts and leave it all up for discussion. Instead you just validated his point of view more. So I agree with some of the below comments that you may need to back of from your approach. It takes away from what your trying to say. Actually it makes you look like your jealous and have no class. Not someone I’d look up to for scientific facts. This is just my opinion as I see how passionate you are on the topic . I find it fascinating and welcome all discoveries and hope we can all work together to reveal all possibilities . Happy researching.


  10. Thanks for your views and feedback, Steen.

    Despite appearances, I do actually think quite carefully about how much of my subjective reactions to include in posts like this, and I sincerely take note of your response.

    Different readers of course, react differently. Some react like you ; others feel a sense of relief at seeing a clear expression of their own their own shock and anger at Lipton’s disgraceful activities.(See for example the comments on the previous Lipton post.)

    Lipton is a cancer quack who uses his specialist knowledge and PhD status to befuddle the unwary. He sells hope in the form of fake science to the desperate and needy. He is a danger to his customers.

    My tone reflects my estimation of the extent of Lipton’s errors. He is both extremely wrong, and, depending on the situation of his his readers, either a complete waste of their time, or potentially deadly.

    My challenge to those who are unhappy to read such invective, is for them to argue that it’s unjustified. That is, not just say they personally don’t like such talk, but to show where my analysis of Lipton’s errors is factually wrong!


  11. Hi Yakaru, I’ve just subscribed to your blog and thank you for your entertaining and important articles (I’ve only read these two on Lipton so far). I admire your no-nonsense approach, being open about your level of expertise, and rightly exasperated that even a relative lay person can destroy anti-scientific propaganda like Lipton’s without breaking into a sweat. I’m confident you’ll have got the Poe-ish joke of my other response to part one (Poe-etic justice!).

    It was only after posting a reply that I watched the video of Dr (uh?!) Lipton. I began to think you’d misjudged him. I thought he might be talking in lay-friendly, dumbed-down terms about evolution and ecosystems. It was, at first, just imaginable. There are examples in both parts. For instance, you correctly point out that evolution through natural selection is precisely what creates ecological balance, and it’s quite common for biologists knowingly to use forms of speech that superficially attribute agency or purpose to nature or parts of it: maybe that’s what he meant by “Nature brings in…” etc. In a VERY colloquial sense, nature does KIND OF “bring in another organism to use the waste product B”. There was a moment when I even thought he was criticising the widespread lay conception of evolution as adversarial, never involving symbiosis or altruism. But it soon became clear that he was indeed pretending (or perhaps believed) that the mainstream scientific community made that stupid mistake. Yes, he’s presenting baseless Creationist nonsense. I loved the analysis of his sentences and the A…B…maths.

    I usually find myself trying to weigh up whether such people are basically honest, but deluded, stupid or blinkered, or whether they are charlatans deliberately peddling crap to make money or a name for themselves. If Lipton actually got a relevant degree and did relevant postgraduate work, it is pretty hard to imagine the first case applies, but it’s just possible that he somehow split himself into the poor downtrodden student having to churn out the party line to get into the system while he secretly nourished his spiritual view to unleash on the world when he qualified.

    I believe there are sad individuals who nail their colours to the mast too young, with some radical hypothesis they are too sure will eventually change the world, only to spend the rest of their lives digging a deeper and deeper hole of delusion and conspiracy theory as the evidence fails to stack up – Sheldrake is probably one such. As I just quipped elsewhere, it’s ironic that Morphic Resonance still hasn’t caught on.

    BTW, you said he believed the world would end on a specific date in 2012, but either I missed that in his talk, missed the link, or missed the point altogether. I’ll have a dig about. Cheers,


  12. Thanks — I really appreciate reading all that. Yeh, I “got” your previous comment!

    Regarding 2012, the ad at the end of the previous Lipton post has “2012” in huge print in the middle of it. If you’re not looking for it, you could easily think it’s the date of a conference or something. It’s not — it’s actually the title of a lecture series — “Transforming through 2012, the new global paradigm”.

    He’s on board with all the others. His special offer is teaching people how to “evolve” during the window of opportunity that the Mayan calendar identified.

    Here’s the original page it came from

    http://www.tt2012book.com/BonusProducts/

    It’s all based on the popularity of the Mayan Calendar, though i haven’t heard him specifically mentioning it.

    In any case, he thinks that evolution is something that individuals can “do” by changing their beliefs. I’m sure he believes much of what he says – the errors about evolution are certainly common enough in academia, but I also think he carefully maintains the necessary level of self deception in order to keep the cash rolling in.

    PS the crack about morphic resonance not catching on has been noted and might reappear in the future (with acknowledgement, of course).


  13. Many thanks. I spent a bit of time on one site helping refute the 2012 nonsense, before deciding to just wait. It’s true, there’s a big shift coming, at least for anyone with the ability to change their mind, when virtually nothing interesting happens! With Lipton, I’ve no idea whether the deception is self- or just opportunistic lies, but jumping on the 2012 bandwaggon would be a great career move financially. Look out for my own book coming out next year, When’s The Next Doomsday/Ascension Then, Numbnuts?


  14. You’ll be able to keep reprinting that book every few years too!

    I think there’s always a good deal of self deception going on with things like this. Making money and gaining status all help to maintain it too.

    That said, I’ve been shocked to discover how much there deliberate, calculated lying and deception goes on in the self help industry too, though it’s rare that they get explicitly caught out. (James Ray is one, if you click around on this site a bit)

    I think with Lipton there’s also a lot of very foggy and confused thinking, as well as self deception.

    I don’t mind being harsh on him, because he should take more responsibility for what he says in public. I notice his fans hold me to higher standards of evidence than they do him, and he’s the trained professional!

    The fact that he’s selling this stuff to cancer sufferers doesn’t make me feel like cutting him any slack either.

    I’ll be covering more of his material soon. He packs so much insane hysterical gibberish into each sentence it’s had to know how to deal with it all without getting bogged down.

    Anyway, I appreciate your interest and the fact that you are checking up on my claims too.


  15. You simple thing …your mind works in one way …its w out the ability to let go and process …alas you say….such a foolish person …let’s go ..I tell u our mind let’s go in the process of SEEING …there is ..well an understanding ….I.D. is easy to disprove if you look through the scope of your own mind ..I’m not an I.D. FUTURE at all but really ….there I s no process to this ….you are a dumb person ..and I mean that in the nicest way ….and trust me ….I’m well versed in thugs you only think about …grow up ..


  16. This is strange. You don’t seem to have understood his teachings at all. But okay, I’ll defend Dr Lipton against your devaluation of his work.

    He says that it’s NOT a matter of people like me needing to go through the kind of paradigm shift you are talking about. You’ve got that completely wrong. What he says is that it’s a matter of straight science. He has hundreds of studies which establish the foundation of his teachings. But these studies, he says, have been excluded from the text books and not allowed into mainstream circulation.

    It is these studies – and not some mystical paradigm shift or different way of “seeing” – that form the basis of his teachings. He’s got the hard evidence, the facts, to back up his theories. Anyone who reads and understands these studies will see the world differently – just as with any solidly grounded science. That’s what HE says.

    Other commenters — supporters of Lipton — have also stated that here, just as plainly. Why do you need me to point this out to you? Bizarre.


  17. You mean to say you parsed something out of mandella73’s stream-of-consiousness piece? I thought it was a submission for a poetry contest, possibly Vogon.


  18. That’s a very astute observation. And it’s a matter of record that humans are indeed capable of producing poetry worse than the Vogons….At peak moments anyway. So it’s entirely possible that she got confused and forgot which site she’s posting on.

    Liptonites only have two arguments, and she clearly wasn’t making the one about the evidence being suppressed, so I assumed it must be the other one. But since your comment, I’m starting to think maybe I should send her a prize instead. It’s very good for that genre.


  19. I recently came across the concepts defined by Mr. Lipton. I feel he extrapolated a few steps too far but some of the foundational points are interesting. I am a scientist and the hardest thing for scientists, I believe, is to be able to constantly consider the alternatives and not become dogmatic around “proven theories”.

    I disapprove the liberties Mr. Lipton takes with Quantum Physics concepts and Fractal models. I can see how they are natural frameworks for what he is trying to prove (and trying so hard to explain) however, superficiality and big words can easily be mistaken for “trying too hard”.

    By the same token, Yakaru, I would say your passion and argumentation style make you the perfect complement to a person like Mr. Lipton. The supporting data you provide to your position is at best wikipedia level and so, like Mr. Lipton, your superficiality and (by contrast to his misplaced complex words/theories) your colloquial presentation style make your position similarly suspect to the impartial. In other words “You complete him” and jointly make a nice Zero. I don’t think that is what you intended.

    It seems you started this blog as a hobby and somewhere along the way you came to take yourself too seriously in your mission to help the World see some light. You are getting yourself in it way too deep for what seems to be your abilities. Funny you can do, so stick to that while referring to an analysis done by Bronze Dog for example.


  20. Listen here you idiot. If you had have bothered to read the “About” page before trying to tell me why I started this blog, you wouldn’t have needed to waste everyones time speculating about it.

    And your comment about my writing being “wikipedia level at best” is even stupider. Thanks for the unintended compliment, but my writing is nowhere near the standard of a wikipedia entry on any aspect of biology, nor does it pretend to be.

    What’s more, if you had have looked at the first post in this series before commenting here on the second, you would have seen this statement: “I have no relevant training, so I will deal with a fairly straight forward talk, and consider its merits.” So you’re wasting everyones time there too. I’ve already said I’m not qualified.

    And that is the whole point of the post. Lipton is a “Dr” (not a “Mr” BTW) and he makes such atrocious howlers in his own field of expertise that he can be called out by a complete outsider with a modicum of reading. Real scientists wouldn’t touch him with a barge pole.

    And you — just like all the other wart-brains who crawl in here to try and defend Dr Bruce — have utterly failed to deal with the criticisms I made. Instead you imported your own criticisms and then excused him of those! It’s hilarious.

    Not a word from you admitting Lipton is wrong in the areas I pointed out. Not a word about his disgraceful and deadly cancer quackery. You have utterly failed to deal with any of the fundamental aspects of this post, and decided instead to try and land a few smarmy insults on me. Pathetic.

    Should you decide to comment here again, please address the topic of the post. I also refer you to the comment policy, which you obviously didn’t read before.


  21. I didn’t call Bruce Lipton “Dr.” for a reason. I do not subscribe or accept his ideas but I did read one of his book to get a better understanding of his mistakes, hence my comments that go a bit more in depth regarding his trespassing (his use of quantum theory and fractals).

    After investing the time in reading his first book, I was looking for a good, rational voice who took the right stance to refute his ideas. I came across your blog with hope. The return on the time invested in reading it was less that the negative return from reading Lipton’s book.

    There is no point in dealing with your criticism, it defeats in both depth and form the purpose of unravelling Mr. Lipton’ misguided conclusions. The only relevant asset you (and implicitly your arguments) have is a bag of invectives which you combine with poor grammar and spelling to desperately create some relevance for your life. In a Darwinian context, this is the last attempt to survival of a bag of substandard genes.


  22. As I point out in the post, Lipton advocates a form of Intelligent Design Creationism. Despite the fact that no serious scientist has dirtied their hands with Lipton as yet, a serious refutation of Intelligent Design will also refute Lipton’s errors. In the footnote I have linked to two highly accessible deconstructions of ID creationism.

    Readers who who have pursued one of those links will be better equipped to recognize the errors that I have pointed out in the post, as well as noticing the fact that no Lipton supporter has even attempted to refute my criticism. Of course, just like you, they also overlook the fact that Lipton is a dangerous cancer quack, and fully deserving of being publicly ridiculed.

    I would encourage any scientist who has relevant training to speak out publicly against this dangerous quack.


  23. LOL. Can’t wait for the reply!


  24. Oh, I was 6 minutes late. What a disappointment! Yakaru, this kind of level-headedness isn’t what I don’t pay you anything for!

    My response @axiomatic:

    1. If you were concerned about “returns on time invested” you’d have STFU by now.

    2. The concept of “substandard genes” doesn’t belong in evolutionary theory.

    3. Accusing someone of having substandard genes because they didn’t provide the essay you seek is despicable.


  25. @lettersquash,

    I let him have a few free shots at me because I’d called him an idiot. I like to offer special deals like that sometimes.

    And anyway, you’ve done a much better job of responding to that rather disgusting insult than I could have done, and put it more succinctly.

    At least it’s now clear why he didn’t want to address my criticisms of Lipton: he doesn’t understand them. That insult reveals a stunning lack of understanding of the subject. I now see I’m wasting my breath recommending biologists to him. He’s not interested. He probably only wants to discover connections between quantum physics and biology, and is wondering why there’s so little material from biologists on the subject!


  26. Yakaru, your reply (that is before lettersquash of course) is something I can work with. I had no intention in refuting your criticism because I did not see the criticism sufficiently substantial. Look, you are incensed by outrageous claims and a position that is difficult to reconcile with sufficient factual evidence (like I said, he simply tries to fit a revelation to whatever framework has enough flexibility for it). That is fine but you have not provide a criticism that would make the reader give it reasonable, rather than visceral reaction.

    We are in sync in two areas: 1) I do not believe in BL’ theory, 2) I would hate to see people deceived by it.

    My approach was: OK, let’s assume his axiom is correct. Can one prove his theory. I failed hence my doubts. But I wanted to search for others who tried. I found your anger in your post and your replies troublesome, especially for someone who clings to the scientific ethos.

    I understand you are on a mission. Good. If you want to leave a mark, make the difference you want to make (as stated in your manifesto), take a different tack, bring more concrete information, make it interesting. You criticize his presentation style when one could quote Luc de Clapiers: “Clarity is the counterbalance of profound thought”. And again, this is not an argument in support of BL but of the downfall of your argumentation. Change the nature of your criticism and you will have a conversation. Otherwise you will find an audience of just a few angry people … and lettersquash of course.

    Look, do with this whatever you may, including hurling a few more nice qualifiers. Let me close with a follow up to your last comment: Few years back, the concept of quantum computing was laughed at. Not anymore and there is a lot of material on the subject authored by computer scientists and information theoreticians. I am a physicist not a biologist hence my discomfort with the free use of Quantum theory by Mr. Lipton.

    Good luck.


  27. I am surprised by this statement: “I had no intention in refuting your criticism because I did not see the criticism sufficiently substantial.”

    I don’t see how my criticism could have been any more substantial. What did I miss out?

    It seems to me that you have not even begun to understand the criticisms I made.

    I accused Lipton of misrepresenting evolutionary theory–
    * Evolution is not random – only mutations are. He wrongly left out the whole of natural selection, which is not random.
    * Evolution is not “aggressive” as he portrayed it, and I explained why.
    * Evolutionary theory does indeed include co-operation, and he was wrong to say that it doesn’t.

    So, what did I miss out? He based the whole talk on those false assumptions. I invite you to back up your assertion that this criticism is insufficiently substantial.

    The fact that I called him an irresponsible dickhead as well does not make my argumentation any less valid, as you mysteriously argue. I have my reasons for using invective against Lipton, many reasons. And I would support anyone else who publicly confronts a dangerous and gibbering cancer quack with a Ph.D. Life should be made uncomfortable such parasites.

    “Change the nature of your criticism and you will have a conversation”

    There are things I am willing to have a conversation about. Whether or not belief in evolution is going to make the world end; and whether this can be prevented through cancer quackery, is not one of them. I am trying to end that conversation by bringing in the relevant facts and challenging believers to prove me wrong or shut up. You must have some weird conversations, though.

    “Otherwise you will find an audience of just a few angry people …”

    Like you?

    “Few years back, the concept of quantum computing was laughed at. Not anymore”

    So that’s why you’re commenting here: to pull a Galileo Gambit. It’s completely irrelevant to my post.

    “I am a physicist not a biologist hence my discomfort with the free use of Quantum theory by Mr. Lipton.”

    Lipton publishes books which are fraudulently wrong and spread disinformation about your chosen field, but you feel more discomfort about a very minor blogger who calls people dickheads. Lipton’s quackery kills people, but you feel more discomfort with me because I’m impolite and have a poor writing style. You have a funny set of priorities.

    I disagree with your values.

    And also your insult to me above is the nastiest piece of invective anywhere on this blog, by the way. So congratulations, but it makes your harping about politeness seem rather hypocritical.


  28. Yakaru, I was looking for some constructive critisism and discussion on BL’s work, well i did not find it here. I would rather smoke bath salt’s than read this blog again. Have a nice life.


  29. It’s always an idea to quickly scan the comments to see how many others have already tried to pull your trick, and failed. You didn’t bother doing that, so here we go again — yet another commenter who was “looking for constructive criticism”, and failed to notice it staring them in the face in between the white bits.

    As I pointed out in the post, and in my comments to all the others who left your comment, I have constructively criticized Lipton along several lines:

    Lipton misrepresents evolutionary theory–
    * Evolution is not random – only mutations are. He wrongly left out the whole of natural selection, which is not random.
    * Evolution is not “aggressive” as he portrayed it, and I explained why.
    * Evolutionary theory does indeed include co-operation, and he was wrong to say that it doesn’t.

    I also pointed out that criticism of Intelligent Design Creationism will also provide all the information one needs to correct Lipton’s misunderstandings. See the footnotes.

    If you want constructive criticism of the argument that cancer quackery will stop the world from ending on December 21 2012, I’m afraid you’ll have to do that yourself.

    Have a nice life. Read a book some time.


  30. Yakaru, thank you for exposing the nonsense this quack spews. I was raised by an “alternative medicine” practitioner (*hint* the term starts with ch), who worships people like Lipton while withholding valuable information from his children and bullying them into supporting his views. I’m not a genius, but fortunately (with the aid of the Internet, I was eventually able to see through his conservative, creationist Christian (and New Age) nonsense after the years of scare tactics about vaccines, medication, antibiotics, and negative thinking. I had to be the unfortunate one in the family with a lot of medical problems, so I was taken to numerous alternative quacks after the “body healing itself” and chiropractic didn’t pan out. When the treatments didn’t work, I was blamed for “not believing (which was actually inaccurate at the time).” Disciples of Lipton and his ilk are threats to their families, their communities, and the pursuit of truth.


  31. Well said! Chiropractic appears to be an especially dangerous modality too, complete with its one-size-fits-all ideology that is curiously labeled “holistic”, combined with the threat of serious physical injury or death through spinal manipulation. And, like Lipton with his Phd, they also have a credible facade, sufficient to fool anyone trusting enough to take people at their word.


  32. Why do Yakaru, Bronze Dog and others seem to be the same person.. I think what we have here is a Narcissistic Personality Disorder don’t you think, Yakaru


  33. Well that’s new one, Alex. So I’m sock puppeting. I guess you know how stupid and easily disproven that accusation is? And did you really think that no one would notice that you — like all the other Liptonites on this thread before you — have completely failed to address ANY of the serious criticisms I’ve made of this dangerous cancer quack.

    Would you like to have another pathetic attempt at commenting?

    If so, please address the topic, and this time read the comment policy first, for heavens sake.


  34. Oh, that’s funny, and classic trolling. Do you jump to such conclusions any time two people agree about something, Alex?

    Do you think it’s that implausible that I’d have similar feelings when faced with casual anti-skeptic bigotry?

    Do you think it’s that implausible that I’d also point out the simultaneously vicious and evasive nature of using ad hominems instead of addressing the meat of the argument?

    Do you think it’s that implausible that I’d hold a similar view about Darwin’s role in the development of evolutionary theory?


  35. Hey Mr. Debunker with your snazzy insults and added/unnecessary words for Lipton like “uh” or “and and”, you should probably realize he’s been a lecturer for a great deal of his life and just like any other person who isn’t trained or a “natural” in lecturing but still does it a lot, he has developed unintentional and habitual speech patterns. The only reason you added it in was to make him sound unnecessarily ridiculous. It’s a tactic and I’m very aware of it in blogging. Any serious writer would have omitted such drivel, as it is not an uncommon habit for people to have.

    Secondly, you should probably do more research. I’m not going to sit here and say Lipton is right about EVERYTHING, just like no other sane person would say any other person is right about EVERYTHING. Humans are always subject to their own beliefs, but that does not dispute the FACTS of Lipton’s findings about how genes don’t control our health, and that beliefs and perceptions are playing a huge hand in what turns on certain genes.

    Just a few months back, there was a team of 400+ government-funded researchers from all over the world who came to the same conclusion that Lipton has been saying for the last few decades: that genes are activated by environmental switches, and that most of the previously thought “genetic disorders” are actually not so genetic after all.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/06/science/far-from-junk-dna-dark-matter-proves-crucial-to-health.html?_r=2&hp&

    If you want to strut around like some prophet who is “debunking” “frauds”, then you should probably try being a bit more objective in your writing. Just because someone says some off-the-wall shit you don’t agree with, does not automatically mean everything they say or do is false. Get a grip, do you honestly believe there is nothing about your own life and beliefs that someone somewhere out there doesn’t agree with?

    I would also like to add that the cancer gene was not a CAUSATION. It was a CORRELATION. Which means there still needs to be something to “flip the switch” to activate it. That something could be stress, it could be bad food, or it could be something we don’t know yet.

    I would encourage anyone reading this to be skeptical of skeptics like this blogger. These people are just as fanatical and ridiculous as those who they try so hard demean. Anyone with an inkling of objectively and rationale would not take you any more seriously than you deserve.


  36. I also want to add that you and any other person skeptical of Lipton should check out his FREE (but I thought he only wants to make money) 2,5-hour lecture on YouTube called “The New Biology: Where Mind and Matter Meet) on what his actual findings are, as well as a full explanation of them and why science has refused to believe him, and everything. I have a feeling that if you do watch it, you’ll probably turn it off in ten minutes due to his speech patterns and lack of creative segways between topics, completely dismissing the actual facts he presents. Get well soon.


  37. Thanks for your comment Travis.

    There are many reasons for the tone of these posts on Lipton. For example, to give an indication of just how disgracefully stupid his claims are, and how dangerous. I take cancer quackery very seriously, and I don’t know why you ignore it.

    Thank you for the link to the NYT article, but Lipton’s claims bear absolutely no relation to the recent controversy about “junk DNA”. Just because there is some controversy in an area which Lipton also talks about, does not automatically vindicate his speculations. Nor has Lipton contributed to the debate. The only thing he ever seems to have published (apart from a few Hay House publications) is a badly written article on the Huff Post, which largely repeated the errors I mentioned here.

    Thanks too, for the suggestion of the lecture. I have been considering writing a longer review on Lipton’s teachings, and will follow it up.

    Should you decide to comment further, I ask that you address the actual topic of the post(s), namely the specific errors that I pointed out; and the fact that his teachings are both dangerous (the cancer quackery) and insanely stupid (that his quackery can prevent the world from ending next month).

    Also, please read the comment policy concerning your attacks on my character and motivations.


  38. I appreciate the polite response. I will not be able to comment on anything you “disproved” here because there was nothing to disprove. It’s your belief vs. his belief, and he is more qualified than you. I’ve also done extensive research on him to make sure he’s not a quack. I have yet to find any legitimate claims against him aside from bloggers such as yourself and a few writers who also are not qualified.

    I do agree it’s good to be wary about people who talk about cancer. However, riddle me this. How many people do you know of that have died from using Lipton’s advice (directly), as opposed to those who die from using the mainstream recommended treatment of radiation? I think we all know the answer to this, and I would venture a guess that you could probably find many former cancer patients that are thankful for finding him as he is still gaining popularity and as I mentioned, has not had any credible people disprove his theory (in fact they are now beginning to agree with it, regardless of whether you see it in that article posted–that research and those conclusions are nearly exactly what Lipton has been saying all along and in the 2009 lecture I recommended you to watch, with some very slight and irrelevant differences). Perhaps the reason they don’t accredit him is simple; they did the research and were properly funded by those who also are responsible for releasing the data to the mainstream and the public. Of course it’s only a theory and I can’t prove it, but it’s entirely plausible.

    Furthermore, why has nobody attempted to file suits against him for fraud? For pedaling such unmistakably false information that even a simple everyday blogger could disprove (without ever doing the proper research first)?

    Nothing about his message is sketchy really. He advocates living a super healthy life, being happy as much as possible, helping others, and avoiding medicines. Where is the bad advice? Where is the money-making? And about the whole money-making thing, I realize there are people out there who take advantage of the cult scene and use it to market their own stuff, but do you realize that this happens in every aspect of life? We live in a capitalist society and we are bombarded by consumerism every day, is it really that much of a stretch to believe there are people out there who–while totally legitimate in their studies–simply would like to make some money as well? Note that Lipton does not push any product in that lecture, although the lecture itself is available on DVD for $30. A bit pricey yes, but like I said, it’s not necessarily bad to want to make money from what you spend your life studying, and it’s not expected to be a multi-million-selling DVD, so his profits are limited and irrelevant.

    I will end this by explaining exactly why there are no credible ways to disprove his findings and why anyone who searches for it can’t find it: in order to disprove it, it would require the use of the Scientific Method as well as an empirical study, which is not possible since beliefs and perceptions and unknown environmental factors are not capable of being studied under the current conditions of science. Also, the placebo effect strongly enforces his theory, or findings, whatever we wanna refer to them as.


  39. By the way you once again diverted and attacked his character irrelevantly with your comments about him thinking the world was going to end next month. Not only is that completely off-topic from what the facts state, but it is idiotic. It would be the equivalent of me saying the only reason you are fighting so hard against him is because you don’t believe the world will end next month. Not only that, but if you actually did some research aside from a 2-minute clip, you would know he in fact does not believe the world is going to end and it is the exact polar opposite–that the people of earth are finally going to wake up and stop being so selfish and disrespectful to nature.

    The evidence he is speaking of regarding the 6th extinction is global warming/global cooling/solar cycles or whatever the hell is going on with the climate both here and on the other planets in recent years. Perhaps you have been living in antarctica for the last 10 years, in which case I apologize, however my point remains nothing he stated was error and virtually everything you stated was opinionated, irrelevant nonsense. Ironically, it is you who is being fraudulent.


  40. Wish there was an edit button, hate to keep commenting, but I’m sleepy as hell and should clarify that I don’t agree with him that I don’t believe the world will end next month, and I don’t agree with New Age too much either (although as an open-minded adult I realize both scenarios could be true). You see, it’s totally possible for me to disagree with him about certain–irrelevant–things, because I am being realistic.


  41. Travis, you wrote:
    “I will not be able to comment on anything you “disproved” here because there was nothing to disprove. It’s your belief vs. his belief…”

    Nothing to do with belief. This is straight forward knowledge of the subject matter. I pointed out the following errors:

    Lipton misrepresents evolutionary theory–
    * Evolution is not random as Lipton has it. Mutations are random within certain parameters, but natural selection is non-random. It’s a common error repeated by Creationists and people who don’t understand the subject.
    * Evolution is not “aggressive” as he portrayed it, and I explained why.
    * Evolutionary theory does indeed include co-operation, and he was wrong to say that it doesn’t.

    Note that this is not about the truth or falsehood of evolutionary theory. It’s purely about what the theory IS. This is about reading comprehension and recounting of information, and Bruce Lipton is wrong.

    After making that error, he claims that darwinism is the cause of global destruction (which is absurd, not only because he doesn’t understand the theory), and links this specifically the year 2012, as I pointed out in the first post on Lipton. Again, this link is merely asserted by Lipton and presented as fact, using the weight of his PhD. And of course in the meantime he managed slide his cancer quackery somehow into the mix.

    “I would venture a guess that you could probably find many former cancer patients that are thankful for finding him…”

    Venturing a guess is just about all one can do, because cancer quacks don’t keep statistics or records of their failures.

    Merely not having been systematically debunked by credible authorities (yet), and not yet having been sued, as you point out, is probably the best anyone can say for him.

    The next part of your comment is very revealing:

    “I will end this by explaining exactly why there are no credible ways to disprove his findings and why anyone who searches for it can’t find it: in order to disprove it, it would require the use of the Scientific Method as well as an empirical study, which is not possible since beliefs and perceptions and unknown environmental factors are not capable of being studied under the current conditions of science.”

    I could argue that neurobiology seems to me to have already progressed to a point where one can track the effects of specific neurochemicals on the the rest of the metabolism, and claims like those Lipton makes could easily be investigated. But instead, I will point out that you are arguing here that Lipton cannot claim any support from mainstream science for his ideas.

    Fine by me. We can leave it at that, and not flip back to claiming he’s supported by science or that he’s done any science.

    “Also, the placebo effect strongly enforces his theory, or findings, whatever we wanna refer to them as.”

    Lipton shares your confusion about the placebo effect. The simple way of putting it is the placebo effect is the competition. It’s the result of doing nothing. You’re supposed to try and be better than it.

    Your next comment deals with pretending that Lipton doesn’t believe in all the 2012 stuff. It’s all there in the first post, where I quote him in full. He claims that the earth is a living being, draws an anology between the 6th extinction and cancer, and claims that we need to be confronted with his erroneous criticisms of evolutionary theory to cure the earth’s illness, just like a cancer “goes into remission” when a sufferer is confronted with the truth. I also posted an ad for him appearing in a “2012” bandwagon production. He is dressing up this idiotic woo by calling it the “6th extinction”, which he talks about, incidentally, as if it is somehow pre-ordained.

    http://spiritualityisnoexcuse.wordpress.com/2012/04/13/bruce-lipton-phd-quack-ignoramus/

    Comments on that thread are still open, so if you want to defend/distance yourself from Lipton, it would be best to do it there.

    Your third comment in a row complains about there being no edit button, which isn’t my fault. (Incidentally I fixed a minor typo in your previous comment, and my email adress is on the site if there are any problems.) (BTW please don’t leave long strings of comments. It’s best to make one point and wait for a response. Then move onto the next point.)

    You finish with:

    “You see, it’s totally possible for me to disagree with him about certain–irrelevant–things, because I am being realistic.”

    In fact what you’re doing is ducking each criticism by either saying it’s irrelevant; it’s supported by science; it can’t be supported by science; or you don’t agree with that point anyway.

    To recap, the most pressing and clearcut error of Lipton’s, which is the core of these posts, is in bold at the top of this comment. That is the place to start, should you wish to respond.


  42. I think you have a legit reason to criticize him about these particular videos, because they go against what you believe, and you are also misunderstanding him (which I admit is his own fault by only having short clips and not being clear with his words)…he’s referring to SOCIAL Darwinism though, not the actual evolution theory, when he’s talking about how Darwin theory is causing problems within humanity, which is totally true.

    Everything I pointed out as being irrelevant, was irrelevant. I’m sorry I had to say it so much, but it’s true. You can’t prove him wrong about 2012 because it’s a theory (aside from you still misconstruing his actual beliefs). You can’t disprove earth is a living thing. You can’t disprove that cancer patients experience spontaneous remissions. The only thing you are doing is disproving his beliefs with your own, or the mainstream ones.

    He may be wrong about these semantics, but you may be as well! I’m done here because it’s obvious you have some type of personal vendetta against him, or perhaps you’re just getting kicks off of this.


  43. And the fact you discredit him for being a creationist and claiming science let go of creationism 150 years ago, as well as your assumption that he isn’t aware of random mutation parameters, makes it painfully obvious you have no clue what you’re talking about


  44. Bravo Travis :) Well said


  45. Outside of controlled settings, the placebo effect is about belief, genius


  46. @Travis,
    I think you have staked out Lipton’s position very clearly and accurately. As you point out, there is no scientific support for his theories, and he operates entirely outside the realm of scientific inquiry. I’m glad that is cleared up.

    I’m genuinely surprised at your insistence that he is talking about Social Darwinism, and not evolutionary theory. If that is the case he has indeed explained himself dreadfully poorly. In the coming days I will watch the lecture you recommended. I will be very curious to see how it squares up with what you are saying.

    As to being “irrelevant”, I wrote this post based squarely on Lipton’s statements. Any irrelevancy is not my fault.

    @dcskateshop,
    Like you and contrary to @Travis, I also think that Lipton was indeed attempting to criticize evolutionary theory in the above talk.

    However, I did NOT argue that he was unaware of the parameters of random mutation. Rather, that he misrepresented evolutionary theory as holding that evolution is a random process. He ignored natural selection which is not random. So he is wrong claiming that the theory holds that evolution is random. Just as he is wrong in saying it’s not co-operative. Travis distanced himself from these errors by insisting that Lipton was talking about Social Darwinism. You seem to be unaware that you disagree with him on that point.

    Please also note that I did not describe Lipton as a Creationist, rather that he holds a form of Intelligent Design. The reason I pointed this out was to note that the same criticisms that hold for ID also apply to Lipton’s views.

    (Your apparent support for Creationism is way off topic, so I will ask you not to raise it here again, at least until you have familiarized yourself with the material I linked to in the footnotes.)

    Your second comment about the placebo effect is also revealing. There is an accepted medical definition of it, and perceived (or even real) improvement due to the belief that one “must be getting better” is one aspect of it. Other aspects, like normal fluctuations in things like pain, improvement due to the normal cycle of an illness (like a cold improving), and statistical “artifacts”, are also included in the definition. I don’t see how you can reasonably claim that outside of a controlled setting these all suddenly count as being due to belief.

    And again, even granting that, the placebo effect is still the measure of success you can expect from doing nothing. Treatments are supposed to try and be better than that.

    So that leaves us with Lipton having no scientific support and operating completely outside the realm of science; and his cancer treatment having nothing more to offer than the placebo effect.

    Other ideas like the earth being a living organism and the 2012 stuff are indeed unfalsifiable (as @dc points out), and therefore can claim no support from science either.

    I’m a bit surprised that the above three commenters sound so satisfied with those positions, and I suspect Lipton might feel a bit miffed at his inability to convince some of his supporters that he indeed has the “hundreds of studies” that he claims support his position. I will post something soon about the lecture @Travis kindly referred to, and consider what on earth is going on here.


  47. I think Lipton’s “theory” is one of those cases where there’s a certain amount of tenuous support from well-established science (I’d agree with Travis that the placebo is one such – others are that it’s good to take exercise, relax, try to be happy, etc.), but he appears to stretch these, manipulate them and shoehorn them into a bigger idea, which is dangerous. A very quick sketch would be like this: health has been shown to be related to beliefs in some way; therefore, if you’re told you have cancer, DO NOT accept orthodox treatment, but instead “manifest” your cure (and if you don’t know how to do that, or you’re clearly failing because you’re still suffering/dying, buy his book, DVD, etc.).

    @Travis, I noticed this: “How many people do you know of that have died from using Lipton’s advice (directly), as opposed to those who die from using the mainstream recommended treatment of radiation?”. These numbers are almost impossible to discover exactly, since we can’t know whether someone died from taking his advice or having orthodox treatment or NEITHER – i.e. of the cancer, but your question is pointing in the wrong direction. There are, highly educated people doing complicated, on-going research to estimate these sorts of numbers (orthodox treatment against complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) against doing nothing), and the stark fact appears to be that if you’re diagnosed with cancer, your best bet in terms of increasing your life expectancy is taking the orthodox treatment, by years or decades of difference. CAM can be useful mostly in supporting your quality of life through that treatment.

    Orthodox treatments are also rapidly improving, so that cancer is now very often successfully cured, or put into remission for a very long time, and radiation is used much less than it was, chemotherapy of various kinds taking over. In coming years, we can expect orthodox medicine to find even better cures, possibly right up to complete eradication of most types of cancer. Believing different things from what you now believe – well, it’s hard to see how that’s going to affect things that much.

    Of course, we might all know of people who had cancer and have died, having had radiation therapy – but that doesn’t mean they died of radiation, which your question implies!

    Of course, around all this extreme pushing of his theory, there are sensible pieces of advice. If we all believed that a better diet and exercise was a good idea, we’d all eat a good diet and get more exercise, and untold lives would be improved and extended.

    Thanks for the tip about his lecture. I’ve watched the first part of it, and this response is largely based on that. I am highly sceptical of some of his biological arguments leading up to the conclusion “Beliefs are what control genes” (and just about everything), and I also see him setting the scene for shoehorning some sort of theory of divine power (“who you REALLY are, not your body…”, that kind of malarcky) into the equation without good cause.

    His physics is appalling. He presents normal (bad) science as based on Newtonian mechanics, which he says doesn’t include energy, only matter…but now we have quantum mechanics…! This is just ridiculous newage pseudoscience. Newtonian mechanics does involve energy. He’s made the false dichotomy of matter vs energy, when the physicalist position of science includes both, as physical realities we can measure (Einstein showed they were interchangeable, but that’s by the by). The kind of energy I’m expecting him to start shoehorning in to the picture in part two is – you know – “spiritual energy”, the type we can’t find any evidence of anywhere. The duality he wants us to accept, I think, is matter and mind, the latter being linked to God. But mind has shown little sign of being a separate ontological category so far in careful studies. It never seems to exist except where there’s a working brain.

    So the big idea Lipton and so many others would love to sell us – dualism, with Mind, or the Divine as the controlling Truth – is much much further from solid ground than they’d like us to believe. They want to twist science so as to get us all back in church of one kind or another. Whether that’s the Anglican or the Law of Attraction, they don’t care as long as you’re on your knees and putting money in the collection box.


  48. On Newtonian physics and energy: I took high school physics, AP chemistry, and I’ve got some college credits in the same.

    In physics, we had do a lot of energy calculations to figure out how much potential energy there was in a suspended object before it fell (thus converting it to kinetic energy) and from there figure out how far the mini Goldberg device would throw something down the line. I remember tricky ones that involved energy stored in a spring.

    Energy was particularly big in chemistry, since we often had to calculate the amount of heat energy generated or absorbed by a chemical reaction based on the change in chemical bonds between the reagents and products. We also had to calculate the change in entropy a lot and see how it added up with the change in temperature to figure out if a proposed reaction would be spontaneous under the given circumstances. If we were wrong in those calculations, it would throw off the detective work we had to do to figure out what chemical was dissolved in our mystery solution.

    One big problem is that science fiction has popularized the idea that energy is some vague fluid-like ether that makes up super-evolved energy beings, energon cubes, and off-label light sabers. Energy isn’t mystical phlebotinum, it’s a well-understood physical concept. It’s hard for me to see energy as mystical when I’ve acted as an accountant for it in high school.


  49. Yeah, BD, and you’d kinda think Lipton would have come across energy in all that biology and biochemistry he did.


  50. Back on the quackery, I think I should mention a blog post I did on one of his articles for the sake of people defending him. From what I’ve seen, he equivocates a whole lot, intentionally or unintentionally, and he jumps to grand theories based on minor odd events. He also seems to be a fan of shoehorning everything into one or two root causes instead of accepting multiple causes.

    On a different subject, there’s one commentator I see on some of my blogs named daedalus2u, who strikes me as a bit weird. A lot of the time I see him, he makes reasonable skeptical commentary. But on medical subjects, he quite often finds a way to bring up nitrous oxide and how it relates to the issue.

    I’m not a biochemist, so I don’t know how big an influence NO really has on metabolism, but it sticks out. I suppose it could be a lot, since it’s made of two common elements and it’s a simple diatomic molecule. As far as I know, it might just be like PZ’s thing for squid, and he just enjoys doing experiments that manipulate NO levels and finding out what happens.


  51. I am slowly going through that lecture of Lipton’s and transcribing everything he says. That is why it’s taking a while. Just taking notes and summarizing his points won’t work, because his thoughts are so chaotic and scrambled that summarizing it would involve completely rewriting it.

    Re-reading Bronze Dog’s article which quotes him extensively, makes me want to bet lots of money that he has a ghost writer who is well versed in that NLP style copy writing that all new age products use these days. Listening to him live is probably a lot like taking a hit of nitrous oxide.

    I don’t know how I am going to present a review of it though. Lipton misrepresents mainstream science to an unbelievable extent. Should I add footnotes everywhere quoting entire textbooks? Should I precede it with a series of posts dealing with his transparently farcical version of mainstream science?

    And then his own teachings are horrifyingly simplistic and stupid and very easy to debunk. Once one has sifted out the grade 9 cell biology (which he presents fairly well), one is left with a simple analogy (the cell is a microcosm of the body; the body has a soul, therefore the cell has a soul). He does provide some argument for that, which I will recount after I’ve stopped laughing.

    So the coming review of Lipton will either be a magnum opus or as short as the preceding paragraph.


  52. You’re a star, Yakaru. I’ve been making notes and thinking I should transcribe everything, but I can’t afford the time or mental damage that might ensue. I’m guessing there’s something in that NLP technique that says you should start on a high note, as if bringing glad tidings of great joy having just defeated several dragons and battled through the gates of the evil empire, and then scream louder and louder from thereon.

    I’m thinking I might do something on it on my blog, but I’m not likely to do it very in-depth, just critique various things I’ve spotted. I really value your combination of incisive, throwaway satire and insightful critical thinking. Don’t stray too long on the dark side. Take breaks. Use the force.


  53. Thanks… Yes, breaks are important. Two minutes back on the job, and I come across this — Bruce explaining the difference between correlation and causation:

    Correlation means associated with some there’s a connection between things. Genes are correlated with your body. That’s a fact. Causation is the act or agency that produces an effect. Genes do not cause anything. That’s the error.

    Anyone who says I quote him verbatim just to make him look stupid is invited to rewrite that statement using their own their words.


  54. I am very interested in some of what Bruce Lipton says with regards to cell activity with regards to DNA but am now very skeptical. As soon as I hear creationist rhetoric or smell any new age hippy shit I want to run for the hills. The Cancer quack thing gets to me as well, but is there anything in this lecture that is backed up by science/peer review: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjj0xVM4x1I

    I will do my own research of course but would love your insight. Many thanks,

    James


  55. Thanks for commenting, James. The short answer is no. Lipton’s teachings are not backed up by any science whatsoever.

    The slightly longer answer is: Nothing in science backs up Lipton’s teachings; pretty much everything in science directly contradicts Lipton’s teachings; and what tiny amount of actual evidence that Lipton himself offers consists of no relevant studies at all.

    What he does, is offer grammar and syntax as causal connections, instead of biology. For example, he uses a (poor) metaphor like comparing the cell to a person: they both have internal organs, they both detect things in their environment,etc. But then he suddenly starts claiming that all the qualities a person has, a cell must also have.

    So suddenly we find the activity of a cell is relabeled “behavior” and equated with human behavior; cells detecting chemicals is relabeled “perception”. Our perceptions influence our behavior, therefore a cell’s “perception” must influence a cell’s “behavior”. Our perceptions are affected by our beliefs, therefore, a cell must also have “beliefs”.

    He ramps it up even more by insisting (idiotically) that our entire reality is determined by our belief systems. Therefore if we change our beliefs we change our reality. So a cell has “belief systems” which it change, and therefore change its reality.

    And that’s what his cancer quackery consists of. He thinks cancer occurs when cells drop out from cell society and become pissed off and negative with everything. These cells need to be bossed around and told to change their belief systems, and that cures cancer.

    Sadly, I’m not kidding or exaggerating. That’s what he says, and in that kind of language, just with some fancy terms and the standard attacks on science thrown in to muddy the waters. And people try to cure their cancer with it.

    I covered this in more depth in this post, http://wp.me/pLvZm-1eJ which is based on a similar lecture to the one you linked to. Hope that helps in some way. I also recommend having a look at this lecture series from a real biologist. This starts with a good overview of the way real biology sees human behavior. (It’s a lecture series by Robert Sapolsky. Just look long enough to compare how a scientist talks to the way a cancer quack talks.) http://bit.ly/VqaiDQ

    I’ll take a closer look at the lecture you linked to, James, and I’ll be posting more on Lipton soonish.


  56. I think it’s worth saying that while there may be no scientific support for Lipton’s weird notions, he often refers to the range of effects the mind can have on the body, and there is good evidence of that.

    He’s using the mind-body connection, placebo, etc., as leverage to preach his religious belief. His thesis seems to depend on what is widely thought of as a deep mystery – how our minds influence our health. Now, for this to be a mystery at all requires a dualist assumption (mind and matter being two distinct kinds of stuff). For a physicalist, although mental activity and conscious experience may be puzzling, there is no theoretical problem – mind is entirely a property of matter, not a separate dimension of reality, and matter influencing itself is a non-mystery. If we held the assumption that living organisms were entirely different kinds of stuff from non-living matter, we might be perplexed as to how a person can hold a pencil.

    So Lipton presents himself as having solved that ancient mind-body question, with some vague fuzzy answer about cells having a kind of consciousness and even atoms emitting and receiving “vibrations” that he appears to equate with communication. The world is a-buzz with meaning and intention. The dualism he wants us to accept has Mind in ascendance, apparently, and from other things he says, this is probably also “Spirit” or “God”. It’s all too fuzzy to be sure.

    This is not to say that physicalism is right (although it’s what I believe), I’m just pointing out that a dualist position is what he is arguing badly for. Now, if he argued for it honestly and scientifically, he would state his dualist position clearly, followed by a plain explanation of the evidence. But he doesn’t, as yakaru has analysed. He talks in parables and anecdotal lessons, making lateral connections between things rather than real causal ones…at least he does beyond the science and into the pseudoscience.

    This is actually how he sells his message. It’s a common tactic in the world of woocraft – tell people lots of things they know are true, or at least they think are true, which appear to support the new information you want them to swallow. It is true that your hopes and fears can affect your physical health. It is true that masking symptoms instead of dealing with an underlying illness can be a dangerous mistake. There is a lot of evidence for that kind of thing, just not his conclusions…as far as anyone can tell what they are.


  57. Thank you so much for your replies to my question guys. I was interested in what he said about a cell surviving for a while when the DNA is punched out of it (pardon me I am paraphrasing here) and how the cell works with regards to it going to the DNA when it receives new environmental stimulus, but I have to confess I watched one talk and did not really hear all the ‘this can cure cancer and validate creationist perspective’…..Good job really or else I would not have sat through it!


  58. I’ll risk a preliminary answer to that before I have to dash off to work.

    On Lipton’s account, biologists believe the nucleus is the “brain” of the cell. “So what happens (he asks his audience) when you remove the brain? The person dies. But when you remove the cell nucleus, the cell doesn’t die. Therefore, biologists are wrong when they claim the nucleus is the brain of the cell!”

    But biologists don’t believe the nucleus is the brain of the cell. (Lipton explicitly claims they do, in that lecture.) And the main role that DNA plays is in cell duplication, and not the general functioning of the cell. So if Lipton had have found cells duplicating after the DNA had been removed, he would have had something.

    He has only disproven a version of biology that doesn’t exist.

    He does that ind of thing all the way through that lecture – setting up a strawman of biology, attacking it with irrelevant facts couched in technically intimidating language, and insisting that he’s right.


  59. That makes a lot of sense. Strawman…..the oldest trick in the book……..Still the point may still be of use to hone in on how a person thinks and environmental influence on Gene expression (epigenetics) perhaps? A point well made by Robert Sopolsky and Gabor Mate very often…….unrelated question, what are your thoughts on Steven Pinkers book ‘The Blank Slate’? I have not read it yet but would be interested to get your insights. Thanks for the discussion.


  60. I lack the background in biology to really want to engage him too deeply. I also mainly write this stuff aimed at people who are genuinely interested, or starting to have doubts, but don’t quite know where to begin. I’m not necessarily trying to shut Lipton down or ruin his business. (I’d certainly like to, but I don’t have the means.)

    I’ve read Pinker’s book, and thought it was excellent (bit long winded in places, excellent). I’d certainly recommend reading it!


  61. Thanks for the recommendation of the book. I will give it a read. I think you may find this lecture interesting on human behavior: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vMC3TPuOOo Again, it would be great to get your feedback….if you have time. Thanks.


  62. I’m no biologist, so take my speculation with a grain of salt, but I’d expect that a cell could continue living for a while if you carefully removed the nucleus. All the molecular machinery is still there, but it’ll eventually run down because the replacement proteins and such will run out. There might be some remaining RNA sequences that’d continue to be used in protein production, but RNA is less chemically stable than DNA. Once the RNA codons break down, no more replacement proteins. The cell continues living until the gradual wear and tear becomes fatal.

    I know less about how cells respond to stimuli, but I think I’d also expect a de-DNA’d cell to become less responsive to changes in its environment. If stimuli trigger the cell in some way to activate gene sequences, it’ll get the biomolecular analog to a 404 error and probably maintain course with whatever it’s got.

    Back on the worrying psychological speculations I have about Lipton, I’m starting to wonder if he takes analogies literally. The nucleus can be likened to a brain, since it’s contains the information for all the cell’s various tricks, but it’s not a brain. It’s much, much simpler than a brain.

    It’d probably be more accurate to say that the brain is the nucleus of a multicellular organism, since it plays a central role in determining overall behavior. Even that analogy is flawed, since brain matter isn’t directly involved in reproduction, merely a facilitator that gets the reproductive organs where they need to be.

    On the topic of reproduction, a cell and a human are very different. Individual cells typically reproduce by 50/50 split, and neither of the two cells produced cells is the distinct parent, they’re halves of the original whole, and they inherit whole organelles. Meanwhile, some humans form an internal chamber for their offspring. The offspring grows inside the chamber, producing its own organs from raw chemicals donated from the parent, rather than inheriting half the parent’s organs (we lack backups for a lot of them). After birth and separation, the parent remains a distinct, mature human, capable of producing more offspring. And, for another obvious kink, our cells usually reproduce on their own, creating clones, while humans need another human to give or receive a genetic donation to produce an offspring with a unique set of genes.


  63. Hi James, I have to admit ignorance on much of those genetics details. I agree with yakaru’s point about the strawman “brain of the cell”, but had a different take on it – he says the cell continues to operate for months, which (a) means that it doesn’t continue indefinitely, and therefore is required for cell behaviour, almost the opposite of what he’s claiming, and (b) animals’ bodies continue to “behave” in all sorts of ways for some time after the brain is removed or dies (chickens are well known for running around for a while without their heads, deceased people have spasms, and there are probably a lot of low-level chemical “behaviours” going on for some time), so if there is a difference, it is only in the length of time the larger body continues to “behave” after the smaller part has been removed.

    But I’m ignoring the fact that it’s a strawman and refuting the argument anyway. And then, not only do scientists not say that the nucleus is the brain of the cell, Lipton sets up the whole correlation between organism and cell himself, which he stresses throughout (again, not something proper biologists tend to do), which smuggles in the assumption that a cell has a “brain” in the first place. Another idiotic lateral connection is, “Proteins are like miniature people.” (yep, that’s a quote), because they have things that are structurally supportive, like “backbones”!

    I’m perfectly ready to accept that the cell membrane controls certain functions of the cell, but it’s not a brain either. More to the point, as far as I’m aware, it doesn’t construct proteins. The genes construct proteins, in the nucleus. Nothing in the cell can reproduce or construct any new molecule except the genes, IIRC (please correct me if I’m wrong). The membrane of the cell is more like “skin” or “mucous membrane”, if anyone wants to exercise Lipton’s childish anthropomorphism about cells. It has certain gatekeeping and excretory functions. It certainly doesn’t think, and its closing and opening of doors to molecules is hardly computationally complex, certainly compared with DNA. But I imagine it would be news to Lipton that the significant function of a brain is thinking. :D

    But I must say I like your attitude, wanting to ascertain the truth about some of the claims behind the talk. You’re reminding me there was a specific claim about some cells reproducing in vitro when they were not expected to, which I intended to look into further. He put the paper on the screen, The origin of mutants, John Cairns, Julie Overbaugh and Stephen Miller, Nature 1988. – Bacteria in petri dishes that had defective lactase, given only lactose as food, should not live according to orthodoxy, he says, because the cells would not divide, because they have no food (so don’t have energy for division), yet the colonies grew, spontaneously changing their DNA to be able to metabolise lactose. The editorial that ran with it, A Unicorn in the Garden, objected to this paper, he says. Science reported this as A Heresy in Evolutionary Biology (bacteria can choose which mutation to produce).

    Now if anyone has looked into that, I’d love to know more about it, and if I happen to find out first, I’ll post again. I’m usually stumped by not wanting to buy access to papers.


  64. @James,
    Thanks for the link. It’s nice to get some proper science mentioned in this thread!

    @BD,
    “I’m starting to wonder if he takes analogies literally.”
    — I can assure you, after transcribing every stupid blithering word of that lecture on the other post, that that is exactly what he is doing. I don’t even think he realizes he’s doing it. It looks to me like he just gets carried away on a wave of hyperventilation, and then rigorously does not check his work.

    At one point in that lecture from the other post, he tries to explain how perceptions can be fooled. (I think it’s around the 49 minute mark.) It’s revealing because he’s trying to explain something that’s very straight forward, non-controversial, and easy to demonstrate. But he screws it up so badly that it’s obvious he hasn’t even got a clue about that. Most people would an optical illusion to make the point, but for some reason he decides to use maps of the world. He thinks that the Mercator projection fools the senses because it makes India look proportionally smaller than it really is.

    @LS
    I think that a semipermeable membrane is probably quite a good analogy for Lipton’s brain.


  65. Calling a cell a brain is a huge semantic leap of faith. There is an interconnection between things for sure and to things can be similar but that does not make them the same. Producing metaphors and similes for things like this does not bode well scientifically. It is the same problem with the douche bags who only understand the word ‘theory’ to mean ‘guess work’ rather than understand what it means in a scientific principal…..and what do we get? Huge amounts of misunderstanding that leads to stupid and ill informed conclusion. (apologies for the rant. Semantics is one of my bug bears)

    The study you are referring to was referenced in an amazing book by Richard Dawkins called ‘the greatest show on earth-the case for evolution’ and if memory serves me correctly there was a mutation that has to correlate with another mutation to increase the bacteria in the dishes as they then were able to live on another substance in the petry dishes ( I think it was lime). All it showed as far as I can recall is that random mutations occurs and those mutations are either selected for or not by the environmental circumstances. As I said I could be really wide of the mark here but none the less it is a fricking great book. Probably get it for free on pirate bay. :D


  66. Thanks, James. The abstract in Nature for The origin of mutants says: “Nucleic acids are replicated with conspicuous fidelity. Infrequently, however, they undergo changes in sequence, and this process of change (mutation) generates the variability that allows evolution. As the result of studies of bacterial variation, it is now widely believed that mutations arise continuously and without any consideration for their utility. In this paper, we briefly review the source of this idea and then describe some experiments suggesting that cells may have mechanisms for choosing which mutations will occur.” It is of course the last bit that caused such a stir and which Lipton considers true.

    I then found this http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC451643/ on Adaptive Mutation in E. coli, in which Patricia L Foster relates work in collaboration with John Cairns into what I understand is called “directed mutation”. The paper is far too technical for me, but I think I gleaned from it that they conclude that mutation does not appear to be directed. The bacteria adapt to be able to metabolise lactose very quickly through the stress of starvation causing increased rates of mutation, perhaps in some sub-populations rather than the general population, and what is happening is just adaptive evolution (as you describe, through selection). So more evidence that Lipton just sees what he wants to. In this case, he froze the news when in 1988 it appeared to be world-shattering, and put his fingers in his ears when it was found to be “mechanistic” again by about 2004.

    Of course, I may have misunderstood it – most of it is in Klingon – but it’s hard to misunderstand this: ‘Fairly early on in our studies, Cairns and I eliminated the hypothesis that mutations were “directed” toward a useful goal.’. So, despite what Dr Lipton says, and actually according to the scientists he incorrectly cites as supporting him, cells don’t choose what mutations to make.


  67. Was there not a claim by Lipton that cells go to the DNA to use certain genes to adapt to environmental stimulus? If I remember correctly his point was that if the information was not present in the gene then the cell ceases to be able to function. Because it’s particular mutations were not fit for the environment. This is a product of lazy research on my part in this particular comment I readily admit as I am working from a very shagged out and clunky memory on this one. :D


  68. @James, I don’t remember that claim. It seems at odds with most of what he was saying in the lecture I’m referring to, but I have to stress that what he says is so confused and often self-contradictory that it’s hardly surprising if I missed it. One of the effects of confused, self-contradictory presentations is that we all interpret the meaning differently and pick up on different details – unlike the Robert Sapolski lectures yakaru linked to, where everything is precise and unequivocal, even when it’s about being subtle and complex in your thinking. Thanks for that, yakaru. I hope to watch the whole series, if I can stop watching these freak shows.

    Speaking of which, has anyone seen the sweet little self-congratulatory chat between Lipton and Sheldrake? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXpndnjHvqw – or there’s a 10-part version if you prefer your prophetic messages in manageable chunks. It’s quite entertaining and psychologically interesting, the rock-star welcome, the appeals to urban myths as though they were hard science, the lies about hard science, the jokes about diarrhea…


  69. Don’t wait too long, it’s nearly Chrismageddon. I’m actually thinking I would LOVE to debate with Sheldrake or Lipton, with a bit of notice and a research assistant. Preferably Sheldrake – at least he tries to follow the rules of logic and talk in sentences. The more I look at some of the claims they chuck about the more I want to shove the facts in their faces. EVERYTHING I research, they have twisted, turned upside down, or is just an urban myth! I just watched another video in which Sheldrake talked about the flocking behaviour of birds, sequeing into this from the obvious usefulness of telepathy in groups of animals. “It happens too quickly to explain just in terms of normal visual information, looking at neighbours and responding to them” (why? I would ask, gesturing as if to hit him in the face so that he blinks – do you know how fast the brain of a bird can compute the required motion from normal visual information? Light moves pretty quickly, and neural activity isn’t sluggish either.), “The best and most up-to-date computer models of this treat the whole flock as a field”. (No, they don’t, they give each individual simple rules to follow, and flocking behaviour emerges very impressively – so says wikipedia at least, not mentioning fields once). “…and it’s really a field phenomenon” (Is it? Is there even the slightest bit of evidence of these fields you’ve been banging on about for decades?) “…I think the whole group has a morphic field…” (Ah, you THINK it has one.)

    Anyway, I’m off topic. But I’d wipe the floor with him. You can flush his head down the toilet after I’m done. :)


  70. Just for the record, lettersquash is referring to a comment I posted and then deleted shortly afterwards, obviously while he was in the process of writing the above. I deleted it because it didn’t say anything of substance, but did include a fantasy about inviting Sheldrake to stick his head in the toilet and flush it. I had second thoughts and deleted it.

    Sheldrake makes fairly straight forward factual errors, and does appear to be in possession of a normally functioning brain, so debating him would be at least theoretically possible. But he’d roll out the statistics and argue about where the cut off point for statistical significance is. So anyone debating him would need to have a good knowledge of statistics and the the way he derived his.

    Lipton on the other hand is just like a drunken New Ager at a party who starts blithering and never shuts up. I’m not sure it would be possible to debate with someone like that.


  71. On the topic of flocking, I remember some discussion about emergent behavior that cited flocking and a computer simulation of flocking that looked pretty realistic to me. Complex behavior rising from simple rules.


  72. And local rules of each organism. Again it is gone through in dawkins excellent book ‘the greatest show on earth’


  73. Oh, yeah, I remember that, now. I’ve dug the book back up, and I’ll try to finish it during the Decemberween break.


  74. Yep, it’s in the chapter on embryology. The scientific “problems” Lipton claims to be solving simply don’t exist.


  75. Science cannot prove what it doesn’t understand because in itself is a mind-made method/formular, which is entirely controlled by whoever created it. We, who can think beyond the scope of darwin, newton etc are not trapped in there world of limited thinking. Conventional science is simply refering to the minds of these man, making you a robotic thinker. Lipton went beyond those limitations and is not bound by his PhD. Use your mind.


  76. @Seem,
    You — like every other Lipton fan posting on this site — have failed to address the criticisms of Lipton that I made in the article.

    Lipton criticized mainstream science, but while doing so, demonstrated that he doesn’t understand even the basics of what he was criticizing. I pointed that out very clearly in the article, yet you didn’t say anything about it. And your unfounded assertions about science are not even relevant to Lipton’s unfounded assertions about science.

    If you would like to have another try, I request that you at least attempt to make your comment relevant to the post.

    P.S.
    Your understanding of science has clearly been swallowed indiscriminately from idiots like Lipton and other self-serving New Agers who have a product to sell. Ph.D or not, they have given you false information and you are repeating it in public without double checking any of it. Not so smart. Go on – start by checking up on my corrections to Lipton’s errors. That doesn’t even have anything to do with his overall teachings. Just check it and see if Lipton really made the factual errors I said he did. Go on, off you go. Do that instead of telling me to “use my mind”.


  77. It’s difficult to take your claims seriously when you’ve based an argument on a 3 minute Youtube video, while highlighting quotes (from an interview, not prose) and breaking them down, and even nitpicking words to alter the context into your own rationalism. There’s an ethical philosophy also known as ‘rational egoism.’ Your debunking is sort of one-sided, if that. Also, nowhere does Lipton claim the Universe was created by some supernatural, intelligent force, but you claimed he did, because your talent for taking post-content tidbits and altering them into a religious belief is unrivaled. Congratulations on making already-skeptics, skeptics.


  78. I find your comment rather insincere. So you were skeptical of Lipton and I swung you back the other way by criticizing him unfairly? Okay, if you really insist, then I’ll believe you, but that’s a very strange breed of skepticism you’re keeping.

    Also, I likened Lipton’s claims to Intelligent Design Creationism because I felt that the critique of that is relevant to Lipton’s teachings. ID, incidentally, also doesn’t — officially — believe in a divine creator, so even if Lipton doesn’t believe in one as you assert (without giving any reference) it doesn’t make any difference to the relevance of a critique of ID to Lipton’s views.

    Further, Lipton’s factual errors and misconceptions are in many ways identical to creationist errors and misconceptions. So what is your point — that I shouldn’t have mocked him for not knowing the basics of a subject he has a PhD in, and then turning it into an absurd but dangerous form of cancer quackery?

    Okay, different people get offended by different things. I don’t like cancer quacks selling potentially deadly teachings to people who are desperate. You seem to get upset by bloggers who mock cancer quacks for talking rubbish, selling false hope and risking killing people. A rather strange set of priorities.

    Or do you think that I made a mistake about Lipton’s factual errors? If so, what did I get wrong?

    Lipton misrepresents evolutionary theory–
    * Evolution is not random – only mutations are. He wrongly left out the whole of natural selection, which is not random.
    * Evolution is not “aggressive” as he portrayed it, and I explained why.
    * Evolutionary theory does indeed include co-operation, and he was wrong to say that it doesn’t.
    * Evolutionary theory did not cause the end of the world in 2012, nor is it causing environmental destruction, and none of that is analogous to cancer, which can’t be healed by the change in mindset that Lipton advocates.

    Finally I wrote a much more extensive demolition of Lipton’s ideas from a lecture. None of his fans — nor any of those who appear on this thread claiming not to be a fan but just felt like defending him anyway — have complained about that yet, so why don’t you read it and be the first?

    http://spiritualityisnoexcuse.wordpress.com/2012/11/25/motivational-biology-with-dr-bruce-lipton-cancer-quack/


  79. Debunking is supposed to be one-sided. That’s the nature of debunking.


  80. One huge problem we have as a culture these days: This widespread notion that there’s always two equal sides to a story, and that we have an obligation towards balance, rather than fairness. As I see it, balance is about giving opposing sides equal time without regard for logical or evidential merit. Fairness is the opposite of balance: Positions with merit get the spotlight, and positions without merit get ignored, shunned, criticized, and/or ridiculed.


  81. Well said, Bronze Dog.

    I’d like to see a link to this blog post on Bruce Lipton’s Wikipedia page. In the interest of “balance” of course. I wonder how long it would stay up. Non-quacks have no problem with “criticism” and “opposing views” on their Wikipedia pages. Anyone good at editing Wikipedia want to see if Dr. Bruce minds having a more balanced view of things on his page?


  82. That’s very true!

    The defining element of the New Age is the total shutting down of all forms of criticism. It is utter hypocrisy to complain that critics are one-sided.

    It’s even more ironic that they take the liberty of using my blog as a platform to analyze my supposed personal faults, while complaining that I’m not presenting a “balanced” view. A sense of entitlement is one of the other defining qualities of the New Age!


  83. You’re making a complete fool of yourself. Your attitude on your remarks clearly show how short minded and unscientific you are. You are not representing science. You’re only representing yourself, which by the way, is not interesting at all.


  84. @You need not know, “represent” science? One either has a scientific approach or one doesn’t. Your rude comment here doesn’t even make sense.

    Yeah, darn that Yakaru for anonymously representing his own self on this blog, and not even trying to make any money in the process! Unlike the quacks and scammers he exposes! (Who don’t “represent” science! Ha!)


  85. YNNK, what’s so unscientific about Yakaru’s post? Why do you voluntarily self-censor yourself down to blustering uselessly and rehearsing prejudices? Why not actually try to have an argument in good faith by actually raising points to discuss?


  86. @YNNKSYWDIA,

    Well at least that’s got all the insults out of the way. The next thing to do would be to tell me what I actually got wrong in the post, and what Lipton got right. If you can’t do that, then just leave the comment space blank, okay?

    And by the way, @YNNKSYWDIA, as I point out in the comment policy, if you can show that I got something wrong, I will fully acknowledge the error and print a retraction. And in this case, where I have included a some heartfelt insults, I would also include an equally heartfelt apology.

    Note for everyone else: I’ve had no internet for the last two weeks thanks to the incompetence and disgraceful customer service of Deutsche Telekom and O2. (And I guess, incidentally, the pissweak consumer protection in Germany.) Hopefully by the end of next week I’ll be able to start posting again.


  87. […] science of genetics and misinformed the public. He is supported in this position by a group of commenters here on this blog, who point to numerous research articles in peer-reviewed […]


  88. Quote by you: ” So you’re wasting everyones time there too. I’ve already said I’m not qualified.”

    Enough said. Commenting on a 2 minute video the way you have about someone that was performing stem cell research back in 1969 and has a phd is ridiculous.
    His opposition to Darwin is relevant in his context not yours.


  89. @Ben,
    I don’t know what you mean by “His opposition to Darwin is relevant in his context not yours.”

    His opposition to Darwin is irrelevant to Darwin. He doesn’t understand the most basic aspects of evolutionary theory in the ways that I outlined in the post.

    And why do you think his having a PhD excuses his ignorance?


  90. #Ben

    Now that you’ve got that off your chest you might like to pop over to Lipton’s site and let him know that it is morally reprehensible to criticise Richard Dawkins. Dawkins holds at least 12 doctoral degrees compared to Lipton’s one.

    Further could could you ask Lipton why he clings so tightly to his PhD when he is such a vehement opponent of the science with which he earned it.


  91. I was enjoying the debate in the original post but I stopped reading when the abuse started. The f word…over and over again. What a bore. It always clouds what could be valid arguments. Young man, clearly, suffering from arrogantitis. Suspiciously angry with Dr Lipton. Methinks the gentleman doth protest too much.


  92. What a useless, arrogant comment.


  93. @Olivia,
    Okay, I used the F word four times in a short space. Maybe that was a bit much to throw in unexpectedly….

    But there need be no “suspicion”, however, about the cause of my anger. Lipton is a cancer quack who is cashing in on his PhD status. Considered on merit, his teachings are fully deserving of the ridicule I have subjected them to. You seem to imply that my “anger” (and “arrogance”) have clouded *your* ability to consider his teachings on merit.

    You are one of numerous commenters who have tried to pull that trick — half-realizing that Lipton is a quack, but not quite being able to admit it to yourself ; wanting to defend Lipton somehow, but not quite knowing how — so you find some excuse why I have stopped you from considering the issue.

    I find such comments — yours included — dishonest and insincere.


  94. It sickens me when woos are so dismissive of anger. They speak as if anger is an inherently illegitimate emotion, and use it as “evidence” to dehumanize people who actually give a care. They also use it as an excuse to dismiss the legitimate concerns that anger was born from.

    They might as well tattoo “troll” onto their forehead, since it shows that they refuse to take the argument seriously and are just in it for shits and giggles. Either that, or they’re oxymoronically militant apathists who think people should never ever care about stuff.


  95. I agree with Olivia, the underlying issues for me with the phrasing of the comments/dialectic are that:

    stray “adjectives” (or are they stray gerunds ?) do not promote lucidity in explanation of one´s reasoning

    anger is a negative emotion (as opposed to compassion as a positive emotion) and anger is one of the seven deadly sins (for what that is worth, I agree with Catholics on most issues)

    In my experience I seldom become angry, the last time was in [February 2012] the time before that was in [May 2010], and my life is for the better in being calm (& trying to live away from large concentrations of humans in confined spaces). I am not sure, but I think I seldom make other people angry, or I try not to, although a tiny minority of the few people I fraternise with can quickly be brought to anger by me (unintentionally on my part, I think their anger is a learnt behaviour to use in reaction to perceived criticism, I am motivated to correct them, they can´t accept any criticism without seeing it as an attack and usually there is no legitimate defence against a criticism I make of someone else).

    I think one can be compassionate and caring without using anger to show you care. (Compassion would not work with treating/fighting Nazis though.)


  96. @Donald,
    I will be completely honest with you: I find the dates when you were last angry to be completely uninteresting. I don’t know why you post personal things like that. It contributes nothing to the discussion. I appreciate your comments, but please try to keep them relevant to the topic. You seem to have a lot to say, and I suggest you start your own blog and use that as a platform for your personal ideas.

    Secondly, I see anger differently from you, and I am prepared to use it rhetorically for particular effect. I will continue to do that on my blog, and whether it’s right or wrong to do that is not up for discussion.

    Thirdly — and relevant to this piece specifically — people who are suffering from cancer and have been confronted with Lipton’s ideas, have commented here that they been glad to find their own outrage echoed in my tone.

    Fourth, Lipton’s ideas are so utterly stupid that they deserve nothing but scorn and ridicule. Do you seriously expect me to respectfully analyze the idea that the world was going to end last year because of darwinism?

    Fifth, my anger was sincere, but between feeling it and writing it, I made a string of decisions about if and how I wanted to express it. I made the decision to express it like that, consciously and carefully, with an eye to the effect on the reader, rather than as a catharsis for me. There was also a strong element of (intended) humor, which takes the sting out, I think.

    Sixth, it has had exactly the desired effect. Readers like Olivia and all the others who have left the same comment would have just ignored the post and disappeared without thinking about it further. That’s what they have done with that lengthy calm analysis I posted. I said at the time that such people would never comment there, and they haven’t. They just switch off and run away.

    Seventh, by provoking comments from people like Olivia, I demonstrate the hypocrisy and toxicity of the mindset that accepts Lipton’s quackery. They’ll take the time condemn my swearing, but not the torture that Lipton’s quackery can subject sick people to.

    Eighth, New Agers have been told that their anger is negative and will give them cancer. Consequently, they don’t know how to defend themselves against poisonous ideas. It shocks them to see me do it. It makes them angry, and they have to try and deal with their own anger at me, while denying that they’re angry. It confronts them with their own hypocrisy.

    Ninth, anger is an appropriate and healthy response to repeated transgressions against ones personal boundaries. We have adrenal glands and the neurological equipment to get angry. It’s important to know how to use it in a way that serves us. Mistakes will be made. I am prepared to take that risk on this blog.

    Tenth, if Lipton or anyone else can show me the criticisms I made are wrong, I will print a prominent retraction, and leave the erroneous text on the record, with a big black note attached to it. If that text happens to be an angry rant, then I will will feel extremely embarrassed, and I don’t want that. By expressing myself unequivocally and with occasional anger, I am sticking my own neck to add weight to the statement. No one is put in any personal risk by my words here, and the only serious threat to anyones reputation is to my own.

    The above is to be taken as a policy statement for this blog, and not points for discussion. Please ensure that any further comments are directly related to the post.


  97. @Bronze Dog,
    YES.


  98. I have noticed that in various the Hitchens debates on Youtube about science and religion, it is the Christians in the audience who are sometimes caught by the camera with anger in their facial expressions. Hitchens himself does not get angry, he remains calm as he insults or irritates some of his opponents and detractors.

    I am sure anger is not healthy. In Indonesian there is a word amuk, it refers to a person who gets angry and goes around killing and smashing things.

    The crusades were a bit like countries going amuk. The Nazis were able to maniuplate anger and hatred to commence wars and ethnic cleansing.

    When I get angry, afterwards I remember it for a long time, and I regret it. It is a mistake.

    There is a saying “Don´t get mad get even.” One is more likely to get even in a way one can live with oneself afterwards by remaining calm and deliberate.


  99. Lipton is a quack, creationist buffoon! Ph … :D


  100. Donald, “don’t get mad, get even” is a pure vindictiveness and revenge. I will not have any of that on this blog, so don’t try it.

    I’ve explained my approach to –simulated– anger on this blog, and the matter is closed. I will delete any more mention of it from your future comments. I will also delete any more of these tangential expositions of your personal philosophy. They don’t belong here and you’re hogging the platform. Stop it,


  101. @Bronze Dog- Double Yes!

    In my experience, woos and Christians deny anger as a legitimate emotion, which is unhealthy in the extreme. I recall during my Christian days, the pastor would simply dismiss atheists because they are “angry” and I went along with it. Of course now I know that it is illogical to dismiss someone’s point on the assumption that they are angry!

    I am very angry that there are people out there selling quack cures and methods and mind sets to people who are dying of cancer. This is wrong.

    @Donald T- I find your thoughts on anger most unhelpful.

    @Yakaru- Perfectly stated!


  102. @Yakaru- I agree that “don’t get mad, get even” is pure vindictiveness. How about,”Oh, you’re angry? Ok, let’s figure out how to honestly deal with that perfectly normal emotion!”


  103. I agree “Don´t get mad get even” is a vindictive expression, I am sorry I was being careless and facile, I should have typed “Don´t get mad, stay calm, polite and respond rationally.”


  104. @Donald T, that came through in what you said, but it’s not what the expression means. And it’s not helpful, and a dishonest way of viewing anger.


  105. We disagree. But I am part of a lot of disagreements.
    And I can be vindictive (which is bad, but makes me feel good, albeit only temporarily, after which the feeling changes to feeling bad or guilty).
    There are also the elements that if you stay calm while others get angry, in my experience or in my opinion you are both more likely to behave humanely, and less likely to make mistakes, or less likely to worsen the situation. (Nazis are still an exception.)


  106. The topic of anger is now closed on this thread. Subsequent off topic comments will be deleted.


  107. Would love to know who you are and what your background an pedigree is. Lipton’s pedigree is public knowledge, however can you point me where on this site it gives us your background, degrees, research etc. Otherwise you just one of those internet muppets spewing sh1t in my eyes. Maybe you the Spanish Inquisition, just born 800 odd years to late and frustrated.


  108. You need to learn some manners if you want me to share any personal details.

    You also need to learn the basics of communication. You did not say what you thought was wrong with my criticism of Lipton, nor did you say why you think Lipton is right. Why did you even bother to comment?

    If you want to have another try at commenting, here’s a summary of what you need to deal with:

    Lipton misrepresents evolutionary theory–
    * Evolution is not random – only mutations are. He wrongly left out the whole of natural selection, which is not random.
    * Evolution is not “aggressive” as he portrayed it, and I explained why.
    * Evolutionary theory does indeed include co-operation, and he was wrong to say that it doesn’t.
    * Evolutionary theory did not cause the end of the world in 2012, nor is it causing environmental destruction, and none of that is analogous to cancer, which can’t be healed by the change in mindset that Lipton advocates.


  109. How rude.

    It baffles me that someone who would speak out against cancer quacks would have to put up with such rudeness on their blog.

    Keep up the good work, Yakaru!


  110. That’s something woos don’t understand about science: authority is not based on degrees. Science isn’t a religion. Lab coats are not priestly vestments. A degree is not an ordination.

    Yakaru was citing basic knowledge of evolution. I picked up a fair bit of it just listening to biologists, including a big name with a blog. Lipton, however, gullibly buys into a smattering of myths about evolution.


  111. @Mariah,
    It is kinda weird isn’t it. The nastiest and most ridiculous insults always seem to come from the most “positive” people. I’ve been called a Nazi before, because I live in Germany and criticise modern spiritual beliefs, but this is the first time I’ve been accused of actually wanting deep down to torture someone.

    @Bronze Dog,
    Thanks for identifying a topic for that “things New Agers don’t know about science” series. I’d forgotten about that one. Last month a Liptonite kept sending me emails demanding to know my qualifications. I also keep on hearing from New Agers that they are studying such and such to “scientifically verify” X type of woo. It’s a bit like selling cheap watches with the word “Rolex” stamped them.


  112. @ Shaun, PZ Myers described Lipton as “A totally fruit loops goonybat”. Myers is a Professor of Biology at Minnesota University. So according to your logic you can not disagree with this assertion as you are not Myers’ academic peer. This means that you must agree, holding that an academic qualification is both a necessary and sufficient condition to establish the truth of a statement.


  113. @Andy,
    Yeh, the only qualified biologists or MD’s I’ve ever heard mention Liptonhave all been simply backing away slowly and shaking their head. I also recall PZ describing an interview with Lipton as being “a place where reason goes to die”.

    And come to think of it, I now remember that I got this comment here from a person with a degree in biology:

    Thank you for writing this. I was given a book by Bruce Lipton and found it completely bananas (I am a biologist). Then I looked up the reviews and wondered how people could be that ignorant and why nobody calls this guy out on his quackery. And here you are, someone who does.

    by Mona May 16, 2013 at 08:57

    http://spiritualityisnoexcuse.wordpress.com/2012/04/13/bruce-lipton-phd-quack-ignoramus/comment-page-1/#comment-2312

    The email and IP checked out with the biology department of a well known university. So that’s the argument from authority more than covered. Two to one against Lipton! (Dear Liptonites, that was a joke.)


  114. I am wondering by what scientific method did you conclude that “mandella73″ is a woman? Or did you just reveal an underlying sexist streak? I checked the link, no indication of any identity or gender whatsoever.

    In the 21st Century of “get over it science” your sexism is insulting to intelligent women, rendering anything more you have to say utterly time wasting. It’s impossible for me to take you seriously when you still spend time crawling on all fours like a Neanderthal.


  115. Pat,

    You are right. Mandela73 could well have been a man. I should have written “he or she”. It was his or her tone, not the content that made me think it was a woman. In fact I am very surprised that anyone would even come upon the idea that my criticism might reflect a sexist bias, and I doubt your sincerity.

    If you read through the thread, you’ll see just as many men as women have left equally ridiculous comments, and been challenged by me to back up their claims, regardless of their gender or other irrelevant criteria. However, if you can show other instances on this website or find comments anywhere by me which betray a sexist bias, I will retract them and reconsider my attitude.

    Otherwise, your comment was completely off topic and extremely insulting as well as extremely stupid. I do indeed share some DNA with Neanderthals, but they did not walk on all fours. I accept the association with them without shame.


  116. I do not need to show other instances of how your comments make you appear as a sexist. Once is enough for anyone to see the black and white of it.

    I am glad you were as insulted by my comments and found them stupid. Now you know how your work reads! Job done. Yakagone.


  117. One has roughly a 50/50 chance of guessing someone’s gender in a general conversation. When the subject is woo and quackery, unfortunately the odds of a commenter being a woman increase dramatically, given that there are more women following these charlatans than men. Sad but true.

    I’m trying to figure out if Pat is straw-manning here or if this was just a run of the mill ad hominem. Either way, using “she” when the gender is unknown does not automatically make a person sexist.

    Ok, I had to school back to comments made over a year ago to see who this mandella person is. Usually people who defend quacks just tell the debunkers they are angry or resentful, they don’t usually make up claims of being sexist. Pat, watch your logical fallacies.


  118. @Mariah,
    “Pat” wants to defend Lipton but doesn’t know how — just like all the other Liptonites in this thread.


  119. Hang on, is the habit of using masculine pronouns when the gender isn’t known sexist? Is it sexist that many men feel awkward and perhaps offended when someone incorrectly guesses they are female and uses feminine pronouns, but women are supposed to be male until proven otherwise? Is it sexist to divide people up into male and female (there are many intersex people who would say so)?

    Anyway, thanks Pat, very entertaining. I’m off to swing through the trees like an Egyptian.


  120. @lettersquash,
    I missed a trick there. I should have scolded Pat for that ad hominid insult !


  121. Try watching him in the Axiom conference with Sheldrake.
    It gives greater clarity about his theories than the 2min. video you’ve provided to so quickly dispel his notions.


  122. I will look it up soon. (A link would have made it easier, BTW.) In the meantime, how about reading this more thorough demolition of Lipton’s idiotic and dangerous teachings —

    http://spiritualityisnoexcuse.wordpress.com/2012/11/25/motivational-biology-with-dr-bruce-lipton-cancer-quack/


  123. Hi Harry, I think that’s one I watched. The rest isn’t a rant at you, just I have this hair trigger when the name Sheldrake comes up.

    Yes, if you pay attention, that talk gives us great insight into Lipton and Sheldrake. Sheldrake, for instance, who rails against the taboo against studying psychic phenomena, although people have been studying it for centuries (and finding nothing).

    The ‘taboo’ is boredom, the boredom some of us feel when someone tells us enthusiastically their house is haunted or they saw a spaceship land on their lawn last night or they know their dog can understand everything they’re saying. We’re bored by the naive hopefulness of the gullible.

    And if you pay attention, Lipton’s garbage does give a deeper picture of what he thinks, how he thinks, or whether he thinks at all.

    Other than the dubious credentials, these two are actually just like a couple of dope-head kids weirding out on “amazing!” ideas, like, you know, imagine if you go out in the universe and all the galaxies become like the subatomic particles of another, bigger universe, and the Milky Way is actually, like, you know, part of my left ear or something. Shit, yeah, I bet that’s what it’s like!

    The difference is they’re old men who have spent their fucking careers failing to disprove their stupid ideas because they’re dishonest and emotionally invested in those ideas. They may be deliberately, knowingly dishonest, or “at some level”, “in denial” kind of dishonest. But they misrepresent science all the time, and they misrepresent their findings, and other people’s findings to support some vague spiritualism.

    Here’s a thought: if the taboo against psychic study was of any concern, it must be because it somehow stops us all finding out what Sheldrake asserts is true, but if that’s the case, he must have been stopped from ascertaining it with any degree of confidence. He PRETENDS that what he means is he has ascertained it with great confidence but some mental block stops the world listening to him and getting it. The irritating irony of this situation is that anyone who actually does really engage with his work realises what a bunch of teenage twaddle it all is. It’s only those wide-eyed and spiritually-hopeful who think how awful it is those pesky scientists aren’t listening, and how lovely it is anyway that we’re on the cusp of a perfectly wonderful world when they finally get it, and in the meantime we can “expand” and “heal our genome” or whatever bollocks is being churned out.

    Sheldrake invites people, amateurs, to do rough science. Just get on with it. Collect some data. Post it online. That’ll do. That’ll improve science. That’ll help us discover that he was right all along. He’d love to hear about when your puss showed psychic powers. But not about when it didn’t. It’s like he’s taunting those who spend long hours writing to him about the cognitive biases in his work. Rough amateur science is pseudoscience’s bedfellow. It is exactly the kind of science a pseudoscientist wants to promote. It IS pseudoscience.

    And then there’s the small matter of being a fucking Anglican. I’m sorry, but behind all the “they’ve got all these scientific dogmas they stick to no matter what” (which is a lie), he’s a man who believes in a sky god who came to earth to save us from our sins! The irony of the religious calling science dogmatic is priceless.


  124. stay on vacation you are telling us shit here that is called ignorance.


  125. Well said, lettersquash.

    The ‘taboo’ is boredom — exactly.

    I don’t have time to google it at the moment, there was a study a few years back by someone called Bem which returned statistically significant evidence for pre-cognition (i.e. psychic powers) which was published in a respected journal and covered widely in the mainstream media. When another researcher repeated the experiment and did not replicate the results, that same journal refused to publish it, and the media ignored it.

    Another example is of course the Neutrino incident, where a result that would have overturned much physics received massive coverage.

    Lipton and his fans have two strategies:
    1) arguing that the studies have been suppressed; and
    2) claiming it’s an accepted part of mainstream science which the media hasn’t understood. Lipton switches between both claims from minute to minute.

    http://spiritualityisnoexcuse.wordpress.com/2013/05/19/dear-bruce-lipton-fans-commenters/

    And of course @albert einstein demonstrates a third option frequently used by commenters here — accusations fo ignorance without quite being able to bring themselves to write anything but insults.

    @albert einstein,
    The comment box will actually expand if you keep writing in it.


  126. The ‘taboo’ is boredom, the boredom some of us feel when someone tells us enthusiastically their house is haunted or they saw a spaceship land on their lawn last night or they know their dog can understand everything they’re saying. We’re bored by the naive hopefulness of the gullible.

    Thumbs up to that. Once upon a time, I thought a lot of woo was exciting, but it didn’t stay that way for long. No progress. No advancement. No revelations. No solutions. Over the years, I saw the “science” of the paranormal standing still while all the real sciences were steadily marching on. Mysteries were to be collected like baubles and shown off to your friends to prove you’re hipper than they are, instead of being definitively solved. There wasn’t any intellectual stimulation or curiosity.

    Then I discovered skepticism. Aside from being consistent and well-reasoned, it was also much more interesting.


  127. Just posted a few more thoughts about lettersquash’s rant above. It’s here —

    http://spiritualityisnoexcuse.wordpress.com/2013/10/20/there-is-no-taboo-on-studying-psychic-phenomena-just-boredom/


  128. To all of you …..one question …all your knowledge came from things you read about..things you already know…and that’s NOT MUCH…how do one talk about things that have NOT YET been discovered..?
    It’s like someone in 1230 A.D talking about i phone’s ios 7 VS andriod…
    total waste of time by YAKURA…ignorance comes in various pakaging…your’s interesting.


  129. I think you didn’t understand the post, Francis. Lipton doesn’t understand evolutionary theory. He doesn’t know what it is. And the evidence he presents does not support his ideas.

    If you say exactly what you think I got wrong in post, I might be able to answer you more clearly.


  130. @Francis- good question. How DO you talk about things that have not yet been discovered? If they haven’t been discovered yet, we can only hypothesize and imagine.

    I disagree with your assertion that we (as humans living in the year 2014) do not know much. We know many things our ancestors did not know (like how to make smart phones!) and we are discovering more all the time.

    It’s possible that you personally don’t know very much. But collectively, our knowledge is immense.


  131. We pretty much have all the broad strokes down about our universe. What’s left are the finest details and the emergent nuances of complex interactions. We’re past the time when a lone genius could make the big, ‘easy’ discoveries on his own. As our scientific knowledge increases, we have to research increasingly subtle things, which are more prone to error and confounding factors. Science is even more of a team sport these days because scientists need to constantly check each other for those errors.

    When it comes to evolution, Lipton doesn’t even seem to understand the consensus, much less have a convincing argument for changing it.


  132. I’ve researched some of the papers which Lipton is citing in one of his lectures and I think, that these papers are quite interesting. it is very difficult to bring together scientific findings and to make bigger conclusions on that base. therefore it’s quite possible that Lipton is wrong regarding many issues. nevertheless I think that his ideas are inspiring…

    what I dislike about this blog is the dismissive ciriticism of f.e. bringing together quantum physics and biology etc..
    there is a recent paper in nature physics! on quantum biology:

    http://www.nature.com/nphys/journal/v9/n1/abs/nphys2474.html

    it’s all preliminary but fascinating.

    of course many ppl without a scientific background try to explain different phenomena with quantum physics, which brings about a lot of justified criticism from the scientific community; but there is interesting research going on as shown in the above link

    epigenetic changes occur in response to environmental exposure. therefore from my point of view I think, that it is very interesting to assume that beliefs have an impact on this influence. studies in psychology tell us that our beliefs or assumptions influence our decisions, perceptions etc.. which in turn could mediate the influence of the enviornment on epigenetic changes.

    I think it’s sad that there is hardly any serious scientist to promote the implications of epigenetic research. scientists in general don’t have time to do so as they are busy with their research; and it’s a tough and competive field…


  133. Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Piotr.

    Lipton is not speculating about anything. He is telling cancer sufferers that they can cure their cancer by changing their thoughts. He’s a dangerous cancer quack.

    And while there is plenty of interesting work going on in the fields of genetics and epigenetics, Lipton is not a part of it. It’s not that his ideas are outlandish or unusual; it’s that his ideas are extremely stupid.

    Extremely stupid.

    I’ve gone into more detail in this post about his basic ideas

    http://spiritualityisnoexcuse.wordpress.com/2012/11/25/motivational-biology-with-dr-bruce-lipton-cancer-quack/

    And if you take the time to read it, you will see that his ideas are indeed extremely stupid. None of his fans have commented there because anyone who reads that article can see exactly what he is doing to make his extremely stupid ideas sound “inspiring” (as you put it) rather than extremely stupid (which they are!).

    Please feel free to correct me on anything I have gotten wrong about Lipton (here or at the above link). But please make comments specific to Lipton’s ideas in the article.


  134. I read this post and without supporting Lipton I have to say that if someone seem to need to start swearing to make his point, like in this post, then I immediately believe there is some hurting truth in the opposite viewpoint.
    If it is further necessary to try to win points by even criticizing the way your opponent speaks, then why will I try to listen to you?
    I ask, “Is it remotely possible that you have any scientific approach to your argument or do you believe something and try to prove you are right by entering in a shouting match?”
    I want to stress again, I do not yet support or oppose Dr Lipton, but I will not form my opinion based on your emotional attack.


  135. Thanks for your comment.

    As noted in the footnotes, there is a much more detailed and carefully written piece (by me) here–

    http://spiritualityisnoexcuse.wordpress.com/2012/11/25/motivational-biology-with-dr-bruce-lipton-cancer-quack/

    Basically, his whole argument is driven by analogies. He makes analogies between things like parts of a cell and various bodily organs; then extends these analogies into the functions of each. And then he claims that you can use these analogies to cure cancer. He claims, on the authority of his PhD, that science confirms all this. Yet he doesn’t understand the most basic elements of his field, which is why I was laughing at him and challenging his fans to defend him and his quackery. (Which they don’t, but they always find time to challenge me for my rudeness in poking fun at him.)

    If you read through these comment threads, you’ll see that many others have posted comments virtually identical to yours.

    What is it with you people??? My swearing upsets you enough to comment about it, but you don’t feel moved to comment on the central accusation of this piece — that Lipton is preying on desperate cancer sufferers, and using his PhD to promote his dangerous and ignorant quackery. You don’t even mention it. I find your behavior strange and disturbing.


  136. I’m also mystified by the all-too-common fixation on swearing. It’s often used as a style over substance fallacy. It’s often an excuse to play amateur psychologist or make insinuations about a speaker’s intelligence, as if swear words where innately inferior vocabulary, rather than words that can be used to bring emphasis and convey intense emotion that other words would fail to do.

    One thing I’ve been tempted to do is make a distinction between two ideas I refer to as “politeness” and “courtesy.” I think of the word “politeness” as referring the stifling mores that shut down conversation, often by declaring complaints as innately impolite, often no matter how they’re expressed, either by taboo, impossible standards, or fixating on minutiae to the point of distraction from meaningful issues. Politeness is an excuse for privilege and the status quo because it’s so easily invoked to dismiss any sort of challenge. It values the most superficial features of civility more than actual civility.

    “Courtesy,” in contrast, makes me think of actual helpfulness, what really matters. Sometimes, that means having thick skin and allowing a person to complain profanely about a problem so that it’s out in the open.


  137. The word nice has an interesting etymology:

    nice (adj.)
    late 13c., “foolish, stupid, senseless,” from Old French nice (12c.) “careless, clumsy; weak; poor, needy; simple, stupid, silly, foolish,” from Latin nescius “ignorant, unaware,” literally “not-knowing,” from ne- “not” (see un-) + stem of scire “to know” (see science)….


  138. Yakaru, thanks as always for speaking out against cancer quacks. I have a very smart friend who recently discovered she had cancer. She’s doing quite well in the care of her oncologist, and has specifically asked her friends to check out “cancer cures” before passing them on to her. I can only imagine how frustrating it would be to be bombarded with quackery so soon after receiving the shocking news that one has cancer. Cancer quackery is something that is so wrong that swearing is called for, IMHO!

    Bronze Dog, I like the way you think!

    Let’s play a game called “which is worse?” Which is worse– a)swearing or b) lying to people with cancer (and their loved ones)?

    If you think it’s “a” then you might want to examine yourself to see if you have an ounce of compassion.


  139. Hi Mariah, Nice to hear from you!

    I guess I will have to go to my grave with the knowledge that I wrote the word fuck on my website…. But I was young…. It was a blunder… I misspoke….



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