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Bruce Lipton’s ‘Biology of Belief’ – Annotated With Facts: Part 52 (Lipton states his case and contradicts himself)

April 18, 2019

Welcome back to this glacial stroll through Dr Bruce Lipton’s deadly “scientific” cancer quackery book The Biology of Belief. We reached a watershed moment in the book last time: Lipton finally stated a factual claim that is central to his cancer cure, having until now only vaguely hinted at what it might be.

It will be easier from now on to detect and ignore the scientific smoke bombs he sets off to baffle and overwhelm his readers, and to evaluate them in terms of their relevance to the central thesis he has now clearly stated. (Until now it has been difficult to know why he is suddenly babbling about cyclic adenosyne monophosphate, for example, and whether or not it will turn out to be relevant at some point. Now that we know his central thesis, we can measure the relevance of such babble more easily.)

And what was this central thesis? Here it is again from last time:

The brain controls the behavior of the body’s cells.

This is why in the previous post he was babbling so excitedly about the activity of cyclic adenosyne monophosphate in globules of slime. Cyclic adenosyne monophosphate is a chemical that facilitates communication between cells, allowing individual cells that are floating freely in a glob of goo to communicate, form communities, and according to Lipton consciously decide to commit themselves to courses of action that are mutually beneficial.

Cells in the human body also use cyclic adenosyne monophosphate to communicate. It all sounds so complicated and scientific.

Therefore…. This is how….

The brain controls the behavior of the body’s cells.

….Gulp….

…Yup…. This is the central claim of the book. This is how the brain can tell those cancerous cells to stop being so goddam cancerous.

This is the delivery system by which Louise Hay-style affirmations can penetrate cancer cells and convince them so tenderly to change their ways.

But Louise Hay simply asserted it is so. But her understanding of science is derived from the Bible and sees all that occurs under the surface of the skin as a mystery. Now the esteemed cell biologist Dr Lipton explains how science proves what Louise Hay already intuitively knew:

The brain controls the behavior of the body’s cells.

From here we can begin to build up a clear “Liptonian physiology” of the human body. It will have some kind of communicatory pathway that leads somehow from “the brain”, and maybe even from some specific part of the brain, to “the cell”.

On Lipton’s account, “the brain”, all 100 billion cells of it, has a direct line of communication to each of the 37 trillion cells in the human body.

This spectacular anatomical network of

3700,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 pathways

threading their way through the entire human body, along with the

7400,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 connections

each anchored in cell membranes, has so far evaded detection of anatomists.

This is getting rather far-fetched, don’t you think, Dr Lipton?

But this is not the only problem. This claim, one of the more extraordinary in the history of pseudoscience, is in fact contradicted by everything that Lipton himself has so far claimed about cells.

Cells, according to Lipton, are sentient beings:

You may consider yourself an individual, but as a cell biologist I can tell you that you are in truth a cooperative community of approximately 50 trillion single-celled citizens. Almost all of the cells that make up your body are amoeba-like, individual organisms that have evolved a cooperative strategy for their mutual survival. Reduced to basic terms, human beings are simply the consequence of “collective amoebic consciousness”. (p.26)

So how does Lipton square this absurd notion with the idea that these little automatons are not autonomous after all and are instead controlled externally? Who knows? Maybe he will try…

….And maybe he is such a freaking moron that he hasn’t even noticed the contradiction. Time will tell, but I know what my bet would be.

Added to all this is the problem that Lipton has also already claimed that cells have their own brains too: the membrane.

Some might recall the hilarious experiment that Lipton used to demonstrate this point and wound up unwittingly disproving it instead. He claimed that biologists think the nucleus is brain of the cell — which itself is a flat-out lie: biologists do not claim that. Then, by removing the nucleus of a cell and showing that the cell didn’t die as biologists would supposedly expect, he claimed he had demonstrated that the nucleus could not be the brain of the cell. But biologists even have a term for such cells: enucleated. And what they actually predict is that the cell would not replicate, as it lacks chromosomes. And cells don’t necessarily die either, if you remove the membrane — so by Lipton’s even own logic, this disproves his already ridiculous idea that the membrane is the cell’s brain.

The problems are mounting up for Lipton, and he has already lined up a series of further contradictions of the contradictions of the science he has already gotten completely and utterly wrong.

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Two Modes of “God”: the Sticky Label & as Anaesthetic

March 28, 2019

Science and religion do in fact have one thing in common: both are very effective means of closing down subjective conscious experiencing of our inner world. Science can do it by denying that consciousness even exists, or by limiting itself to the study of its appearance in others instead of direct first hand experience (which admittedly can anyway not be shared with others). In any case, the wonder of consciousness, surprise at one’s own existence, and the uncomfortable awareness of complete aloneness and fact of mortality operate mostly in the subconscious, and anyone who denies these things affect their behaviour simply hasn’t looked very hard.

Religion, on the other hand, (and I include its soft core version found under the label ‘spirituality’ here), can shut down this awareness by immediately declaring the whole territory of ‘the inner’ as already well known and in the private possession of some entity called “God”.

This goddy tendency is ubiquitous among humans, and for me personally (an atheist of pseudo-buddhist orientation), quite baffling. Awareness — consciousness — is all we have. Why switch it off and label it? And why then start yelling at or killing anyone who tells you you’ve been hasty and you’re missing something? Why assume that anyone who stops using that word is shallow?

Whatever the reason, I identify here the two main ways in which the “God”-word seems to me to be used:

  1. as a kind of sticky label with the word “God” written in it that the believer wants to stick onto some part of their private subjective experience; and
  2. as a kind of anaesthetic, which is administered through vague words and soft priestly intonations that are designed to be so fuzzy around the edges that no one even tries to pin down to any specific meaning. It is especially used at times of crisis in the attempt at switching off pain.

(There is of course, a third, in which belief in “God” is a supposedly rational conclusion, derived only through reason — usually with the words “I didn’t have enough faith to be an atheist.” It usually amounts to either an argument from design, or the insistence that the resurrection of Jesus was a historical event attested to by eye witnesses, so we are compelled to believe it. I find this argument so utterly fatuous that I can only assume it is rhetorical and insincere, and only masks a belief in 1 or 2 above. The idea that such a creator has any interest in humans or exists in any way comprehensible to humans no doubt sounded a little better when people thought the earth was the center of the universe. It sounded slightly better until 1925 when we thought there was only one galaxy and our sun was the centre of that. But now that we know the size and age of the universe it is just absurd to use that argument, regardless of whether it is is given a fancy title like ‘The Anthropic Principle’ or not.)

The Sticky Label Theory of God

So you were born, and everyone was already using the word “God” as if it means something, and you didn’t know what it meant. You probably thought you were the only one in this boat, so you tried your best to know what it means. It means ‘authority that can’t be questioned’, or ‘big power that created the universe’, or — even more mysteriously — ‘love’: that much is clear; but what exactly IS it? Or HOW is it?

In any case, you’ve got this word written indelibly on a metaphysical label, and everyone else seems to have stuck it somewhere. They say they have stuck it onto the most valuable and precious location in their inner world that they can find.

So what about you? Well?

…A limited number of possibilities are apparent at this point.

You can stick it somewhere and it feels right — and good luck to you!

You can say you’ve stuck it somewhere and occasionally toss the word into conversation, often enough to keep the mullahs or the annoying uncle with the fake smile off your back; but the whole things seems a bit weird and pointless, but you’ve got other more pressing concerns in life.

You can try out as many different places as possible to stick it, and agree that this label could, in principle, be stuck in many places, so they all must be “God”. This is a popular one these days, especially among academics and anyone who for whatever reason wants to avoid making waves, but couldn’t be bothered to take any clear position.

….Or you could say the label was already peeled off by someone and handed to you by default, and you don’t see any point in sticking it anywhere.

This last option seems to upset everyone who has stuck their label onto something, and even enrages the aforementioned group who think that in principle you should have stuck it somewhere. All seem to think that you deny the existence of whatever it is they stuck their label onto: that which is most valuable. How could you, you unfeeling cad. Ha — you don’t believe in yourself! Etc.

In fact all you have done is declared your inner world an unexplored continent open to no one else. You might find it has rocks and trees and deserts and rivers, and places you can fall to your death into if you’re not careful; or if you are just unlucky.

But that “God” label stops that exploration. It’s too loud, and too meaningless. Too burdened with other people’s meanings, that they only guessed at and asserted in the first place. And always — ALWAYS — that sticky label you were given has some fine print that indicates who you are indebted to, and which agents can collect that debt.

Perhaps worst of all, having stuck the label somewhere, it means that all the rest of you is not “God”, and therefore unclean. For fanatics and those terrified from birth by fanatics, it often means that another label called “Satan” has been stuck onto other parts. (The wonderful comedy duo Garfunkel & Oates wrote a nice song for repressed puritanical teenagers on this topic, called F*ck me in the Ass Because I Love Jesus. “Careful not to touch Satan’s doorbell.”)

This dissociation from and denial of one’s mammalian origins and nature has pointlessly blighted humanity with incalculable misery.

The Word “God” as an Anaesthetic

This usage of the word “God” tends to see God as an external and benign force. It is used to switch off thought, discussion, and inner exploration. The whole point is that the words don’t mean anything. Their fuzzy edges are supposed to dull sensation, not to clarify or locate a source of pain. In an utterly hopeless or extreme situation, I can understand trying it, but unfortunately it is used routinely by priests and theologians. (New Age spiritual teachers use it too, but they usually intersperse it with concepts from quantum physics in the place of Jesus.)

The danger here is that it may also distract one from locating a source or cause of pain, and debilitate one from finding a solution to it. But pointing out the meaningless nature of such intonations, or that the accompanying behaviour (the smirking and stooping of popes and Dalai Lamas) is insincere and fake, makes the critic appear “not nice”, and a spoil sport, at best.

Despite what proponents of this approach say, it chews up a lot of energy to generate the desired neurochemicals associated with these pious words. Just because others don’t share the addiction to these substances, doesn’t mean that they don’t also use or value those same neurochemicals, perhaps in a different manner.

Eschewing all of this doesn’t make an atheist or non-theist a klutz who sees no mystery or wonder in the universe. Rather, it leaves doors and gates in the inner world open or unmarked. Although this does make it harder for such people to talk about their experiences, it does mean that when they do, they are forced to develop their own terminology to describe what they experience. Those more accustomed to the use of the “God” label will find such words glib or baffling, but if they took the time to ask any of their co-religionists what exactly they mean by the “God” word, they would find it just as glib and baffling.

Posted by Yakaru

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What Spiritual People Don’t Know About Science – Part 7: “Science doesn’t know everything”

March 5, 2019

(This series has lain idle for a few years. Earlier posts can be found by scrolling through the ‘science’ category on the right sidebar.)

One of the most common and most pointless criticisms of modern science is the accusation that “Science doesn’t know everything.” It is popular both among fans of modern esoteric spirituality as well as among spirituality oriented academics. The latter especially should know better – the mere idea is entirely alien to science and scientific method.

Scientists are usually baffled as to why this banal statement of the obvious is being so triumphantly hurled in their direction. They are equally miffed as to how best to respond. Agreeing with it appears to the accusers like a meek back down, and any talk of provisional truths or falsifiability is interpreted as a capitulation.

A classic exchange runs something like this:
Scientist: Humans evolved from earlier life forms; we are African apes.
Spiritual person: Who are you to tell me what I am? Explain to me then how life began.
Scientist: We don’t know how life began, but we’re working on it and have found some fascina-
Spiritual person: Ha! You see? Science doesn’t know everything.

There are several threads to follow when seeking the origins of this accusation. One is an incident around 1894 when physicist Albert Michelson apparently stated that we were on the verge of knowing everything about matter. Shortly afterwards, x-rays were unexpectedly discovered, surprising physicists and ruining any illusion of being on the verge of completing the science of physics.

Three things are to be noted here:
1. This merely shows that in the 1890s some small number of scientists thought they might soon solve all mysteries;
2. the discovery which overturned this belief was made by other scientists; and
3. this discovery was immediately accepted by scientists.

Furthermore, 1894 is rather a long time ago. Why then, are people still criticising scientists for it? But this is the nature of spiritual culture: once an idea has taken root – that is, become a hit with the fans — it never gets discarded regardless of how out of date it has become or how often it has been disproven. The selfish meme simply keeps reproducing.

Another source of confusion is the fact that science does indeed do something which can look a lot like some kind of absolutism or finality: it disproves ideas. Once an idea has been conclusively disproven it is discarded with the kind of certainty that to many spiritual folk appears positively fundamentalist. But this too is a misunderstanding. It is just the nature of reality that a single fact inherently excludes an infinite number of hypotheses.

When I was still harbouring spiritual beliefs a decade or two ago, I thought that evolution might be driven by some kind of ‘transgenerational will’ by which an entire species somehow responds creatively to its habitat in order to survive. I thought that scientists would never discover this, as their commitment to seeking only material causes like genetic mutation and natural selection precludes them from even looking for such a force.

Unfortunately for my theory, scientists suddenly developed the ability to read entire genomes. Such a ‘transgenerational will’ would have left its fingerprints all over the genome of every individual. But instead of revealing the kind of genetic superhighways that would appear if my theory were true, all that was revealed was the usual crooked paths of mutation, in accordance with the known mutation rate. So my theory was sunk. It took me a moment or two to digest this when I realised it, but I survived without sustaining any serious injuries.

(Anyone wondering what on earth ‘transgenerational will’ actually means, join the club. Or ask Rupert Sheldrake to come up with something.)

Another great source of indignation among spiritual folk is the way scientists dismiss vitalist (life force) theories without even taking a second glance. This looks, of course, like biologists thinking they already know everything. But what spiritual folk don’t realise is that scientists have already spent at least 300 years searching for such a life force. Every conceivable avenue of research was explored, and nothing was found.

Ultimately the concept wasn’t so much discarded as exhausted. It just didn’t bear fruit. Spiritual folk, especially the academics among them, would realise this if they took the time to explore that great repository of modern pseudo-science and popular spirituality, the history of science.

They would also discover that throughout history these supposedly materialistic dogmatic scientists have also discarded an even higher number of entirely materialistic theories and ideas, not just spiritual ones – all for the same reason: the ideas didn’t lead anywhere, didn’t work, and didn’t provide any useful framework for understanding natural processes.

Another origin of the idea that scientists “think they know everything” is probably the fact that at their core, most spiritual traditions effectively make exactly this claim for themselves: that they effectively know everything, or at least possess the golden key that unlocks the secrets. Thus, any encroachment on their territory by unexpected disproofs is inevitably interpreted as someone else trying to “know everything” instead of them.

Here we encounter the great divide: between, on the one hand, those who think the world was created and revelation is the key to understanding, and on the other, those who want to try to understand nature without recourse to such appeals to divine authority.

This broadly recapitulates the historical argument between Plato and Aristotle. Spiritual people usually prefer to link their ideas to Buddha or ‘eastern’ traditions, but they don’t realise how much they in fact derive their ideas from Plato.
And while Plato himself wasn’t as dismissive of the natural sciences as many spiritual folk today are, he did invent a philosophy that says that the ultimate knowledge can only be gained through revelation. And as always, revelation presupposes a creator whose divine laws can be revealed.

Through Christian theologians (borrowing extensively from Plato), and the occasional Christian mystic, and to a degree through sufism – itself profoundly influenced by Neoplatonism – modern spiritual folk have taken on board two grand ideas: (a) that scientific knowledge is merely non-essential ‘lower’ knowledge; and (b) the idea that their own intuition is an inside track to understanding those laws by which the demiurge created the things of the world.

Scientists therefore have merely turned their backs on their own inner path that would have led them to higher knowledge were it not for their materialism. They are unimaginative, narrowminded plodders, following Aristotle into the mud of the earth to study earthworms and innards of reptiles.

Thus the apparent snootiness of many spiritual folk when encountering science: they have the golden key to the laws of creation, whereas all scientists have is a blunt tool for second-guessing our shadowy three dimensional world.
Enticing and convincing as this accusation may appear, it should be noted that scientists are the ones flying about in space ships, sequencing Neanderthal DNA, and curing polio.

Spiritual people could learn a little humility and realise that they haven’t progressed a single step since the time of Buddha. But they could also learn a little pride too, and realise that spirituality in fact cannot progress. Meditation can’t be passed on the way scientific ideas and tools can be. The meditative path is a narrow one, as Basho said. Each person has to start from the start, and no one else can even take you that far.

And simply living and staying awake and aware is already more than enough to go on with, without trying to outdo science as well.

Posted by Yakaru

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Another Louise Hay Fan: manipulation

February 27, 2019

I am in fact careful about referring to comments from people in a blog post. I do want people to assume that if they post a comment, they will be engaged in the comment,s and not on the (somewhat) larger platform of a blogpost. I want the comments to remain a forum where people can put out their ideas spontaneously and in unpolished form. Writing is a tool for self-reflection, of emptying out the contents of ones thoughts and occasionally getting a horrid or pleasant surprise. The current culture of the internet doesn’t allow for this anywhere near enough.

So I do consider whether or not the risks outweigh the benefits in this light. In this case, I have decided to post a brief comment that I perhaps would have written a line or two in answer to in the comments, but there is in fact a lot in it that is worth unpacking. And I want to emphasise that the subject here is how Louise Hay has manipulated people into not only feeling an extraordinary degree of product loyalty, but expressing it publicly as well. And all this to such a degree that trumps normal human empathy.

In my post Speaking Ill of a Dead Cancer Quack, I highlighted an earlier comment from a man who had lost his wife to cancer:

Thanks to her unshakable belief in the teachings of this lady, and her refusal to follow a real treatment, which repeatedly drove a wedge into our happy married life, my beloved wife died last month, age 47. I miss her tremendously.

The commenter today reacted to this in the following manner:

Louise hay was never against medicine to cure. She believed God worked through medicine as well . I don’t see why this man is blaming her for the death of his wife .

The final sentence, of course, works perfectly as a statement of fact. The reason why she doesn’t see this is because Louise Hay has trained her not to.

Instead of feeling even a little sympathy for this man who lost his wife, the commenter feels compelled only to displays loyalty to the product Louise Hay sells. I defy anyone to read that man’s statement and not feel at least a twinge of his pain, even if they feel his anger at Hay is misplaced. Yet somehow Louise Hay has circumvented this person’s emotional responses at a surprisingly deep level.

This is what manipulation looks like. The commenter is no longer acting in her own interests, with her own priorities, but instead has unwittingly allowed Louise Hay in under her normal defenses, until she no feels her own feelings, but instead feels compelled prioritise Hay’s interests over even her own (I can only assume) feelings.

This manipulation has several strands. One of them is the way Hay weaves deeply personal details of her life (being raped – she claims – when she was five, for example) into her promotional material. This switches her sales pitch from the commercial to the personal, making anyone who questions her claims appear impolite. Hence the indignant if not positively outraged tone her fans adopt with me simply for doubting her statements.

In this case, instead of attacking me, she attacks a man she really knows nothing about except that he lost his wife: that is, she attacked what, underneath it all, probably touched her the most.

Instead of feeling her immediate feelings, she saw only a threat to Louise Hay’s status.

I won’t say much about the other two sentences beyond noting that Hay has also convinced this person to put her product on the same footing as medical science – God works through medical science, just as he works through Louise Hay. I don’t know of Hay explicitly saying this either, but it is interesting that this is the impression she elft with this commenter. Hay dropped her overtly Christian Science teachings in favour of New Age jargon and marketing strategies. But just as the Law of Attraction is prayer, only with quantum physics instead of Jesus, Louise Hay’s product is old fashioned religion from biblical times, only with ‘negative thought’ and cancer instead of sin and divine judgement.

Posted by Yakaru

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Bruce Lipton’s ‘Biology of Belief’ – Annotated With Facts: Part 51 (The Grand Central Lie. This is really stupid.)

February 23, 2019

When I first starting writing about Lipton, his fans complained that I was only covering his public lectures, which they admitted were somewhat garbled. His book, they insisted, was real science. That is why I decided to look at his book. But free to roam on the open page, Lipton becomes even more insane than he is in a lecture theatre.

However, today we finally get somewhere. Today, we finally get to the grand central factual error of the book. Lipton sums it up, at the end of a dull clod of his signature copy-and-paste lecture notes, in a single sentence.

And it is by some distance, the stupidest sentence in the entire book; possibly in any book.

We have reached a truly odd point in Lipton’s argument. We are nearly 130 pages in, and Lipton still hasn’t made the case he wrote this whole book about: that you can use the mind to heal cancer. As we saw last time, he suddenly started babbling about why you –can’t– use the mind to cure cancer and it’s not his fault if you die trying. This is, he says, because the subconscious is entirely negative and “millions of times more powerful than the conscious mind”. And inexplicably he blames people themselves for this supposed cause of their “failure” to get their tumor to shrink by telling it to. But he has the solution. And he will tell people in Chapter 7 if his readers stay alive long enough to get there.
But of course, the subconscious is not only negative and not necessarily “millions of times more powerful”, but Lipton himself placed this hurdle in his own way. Okay, fine. He’ll have to jump that one now as well…. As well as explaining how to overcome the fact that it is mammalian physiology that precludes mentally bossing about certain aspects of cell growth.
But he won’t be trying to jump that hurdle now. In the meantime, his readers can:
–be aware that there is hope even for those of you who used positive thinking and failed miserably.–

And now he suddenly switch topics and scurry off down the next elephant sized rabbit hole. Now it is time to talk about the evolutionary history of slugs.

Mind Over Body

Let’s review what we know about cells. We learned in earlier chapters that the functions of cells are directly derived from the movements of their protein “gears.”

Lipton repeats a whole heap of complicated stuff about cells that he has already babbled about and then left hanging once before. This copy-and-paste of his lecture notes goes on for three or four pages.

I will post the whole screed and merely highlight the sudden intrusions of pseudo-science. We see the same manipulative techniques he always combines with his copy-and-pasting of his lecture notes. Inverted commas appear around metaphors and then disappear as the metaphor transforms itself into fact.

We learned in earlier chapters that the functions of cells are directly derived from the movements of their protein “gears.” The movement generated by assemblies of proteins provides the physiologic functions that enable life. While proteins are the physical building blocks, complementary environmental signals are required to animate their movement. The interface between environmental signals and behavior-producing cytoplasmic proteins is the cell’s membrane. The membrane receives stimuli and then engages the appropriate, life-sustaining cellular responses. The cell membrane operates as the cell’s “brain.” Integral membrane receptor-effector proteins (IMPs) are the fundamental physical subunits of the cellular brain’s “intelligence” mechanism. By functional definition, these protein complexes are “perception switches” that link reception of environmental stimuli to response-generating protein pathways.

Seasoned Lipton-watchers will recall his hilarious failed attempt at demonstrating that the cell membrane is a brain. (He claimed that biologists think the nucleus is the brain of the cell, which they don’t, and claimed that they believe the cell will die if you remove the nucleus — which they also don’t. In fact they have a term for a cell without a nucleus (enucleated) and routinely use them in experiments. Then he claimed that the membrane must be the brain because if you remove the membrane the cell will immediately die, which it also doesn’t. Lipton is very proud of this utterly stupid logic, not realising not only is reality against him, but even his own utterly stupid logic disproves his own utterly stupid idea.)

Next we see how by removing the inverted commas from the word “perception” causes cells to sprout the ability to have perceptions in their brain. (The human brain of course has 300 billion cells, but Lipton thinks the membrane of one is enough.)

Cells generally respond to a an assortment of very basic “perceptions” of what’s going on in their world. Such perceptions include whether things like potassium, calcium, oxygen, glucose, histamine, estrogen, toxins, light or any number of other stimuli are present in their immediate environment. The simultaneous interactions of tens of thousands of reflexive perception switches in the membrane, each directly reading an individual environmental signal, collectively create the complex behavior of a living cell.

A cell’s “behaviour” is, of course, not complex. It is the very definition of a stimulus-response mechanism.

For the first three billion years of life on this planet, the biosphere consisted of free-living single cells such as bacteria, algae and protozoans. While we have traditionally considered such life forms as solitary individuals, we are now aware that signal molecules used by individual cells to regulate their own physiologic functions, when released into the environment, also influence the behavior of other organisms.

This is stupid from Lipton. By definition stimulus-response mechanisms when placed together will influence each other. But Lipton makes his next graceless leap, claiming that these singles cells somehow “coordinate” their behaviour with each other.

Signals released into the environment allow for a coordination of behavior among a dispersed population of unicellular organisms. Secreting signal molecules into the environment enhanced the survival of single cells by providing them with the opportunity to live as a primitive “community.”

Lipton’s thorough-going failure to understand evolution is on display here. Amoebas did not hold a committee meeting and decide to team up.

And bear in mind that on the previous page he was talking about affirmations healing cancer. Now, it’s slime mold. And note how the inverted commas have disappeared granting slime mold communalism.

The single-celled slime mold amoebas provide an example of how signaling molecules lead to community. These amoebas live a solitary existence in the soil foraging for food. When available food in the environment is consumed, the cells synthesize an excess amount of a metabolic byproduct called cyclic-AMP (cAMP), much of which is released into the environment. The concentration of the released cAMP builds in the environment as other amoeba face starvation. When secreted cAMP signal molecules bind to cAMP-receptors on the cell membranes of other slime mold amoeba, it signals them to activate a swarming behavior wherein the amoeba congregate and form a large multicellular “slug.” The slug community is the reproductive stage of slime mold. During the “famine” period, the community of aging cells shares their DNA and creates the next generation of offspring. The new amoeba hibernate as inactive spores. When more food is available, the food molecules act as a signal to break the hibernation, releasing a new population of single cells to start the cycle over again.

This is the kind of thing Lipton fans have been referring to when I covered his incoherent lectures. They insisted his book is better, and he really has the science to prove that affirmations can heal cancer. Well this is it, folks.

And having developed communal living, these minuscule globs of goo now develop not only awareness, but collective awareness.

The point is that single-celled organisms actually live in community when they share their “awareness” and coordinate their behaviors by releasing “signal” molecules into the environment.

This is how Lipton is going to try to make the leap to affirmations curing cancer. E coli bacteria have brains, live in communities, and communicate with each other through their shared awareness. Therefore you must also be able to communicate verbally with your cancer tumor. It’s science. It’s the New Biology, confirmed by quantum physics.

Cyclic AMP was one of evolution’s earliest forms of secreted regulatory signals that control cell behavior. The fundamental human signal molecules (e.g., hormones, neuropeptides, cytokines, growth factors) that regulate our own cellular communities were once thought to have arisen with the appearance of complex multicellular life forms. However, recent research has now revealed that primitive single-celled organisms were already using these “human” signal molecules in the earliest stages of evolution.

He’s got this exactly backwards — humans use the same chemicals that cells have always used.

I will simply post the next block of copy-and-paste lecture notes, crudely describing cells forming colonies and becoming lager organisms. Biologists often use clumsy language which seems to imply agency on the part of animals that evolved certain traits. In Lipton, the confusion is both genuine and a successful sales technique. It’s a dull part of his attempt to argue that we can communicate our thoughts to individual cells in our body and have them respond. By sending his audience to sleep, Lipton will to shield his readers from the sight of him pole-vaulting over things he won’t be able to explain.

Through evolution, cells maximized the number of IMP “awareness” proteins their membranes could hold. To acquire more awareness, and therefore increase their probability of surviving, cells started to assemble, first into simple colonies and later into highly organized cellular communities. As described earlier, the physiologic functions of multicellular organisms are parceled out to specialized communities of cells forming the body’s tissues and organs. In communal organizations, the cell membrane’s intelligence processing is carried out by the specialized cells of the organism’s nervous and immune systems.

It was only 700 million years ago, recent in regard to the time frame of life on this planet, when single cells found it advantageous to join together in tightly knit multicellular communities, organizations we recognize as animals and plants. The same coordinating signal molecules used by free-living cells were used in these newly evolved closed communities. By tightly regulating the release and distribution of these function-controlling signal molecules, the community of cells would be able to coordinate their functions and act as a single life form.

This unremarkable account suddenly spirals off into insane assertion. Suddenly, slime mold has a mind….

In the more primitive multicellular organisms, those without specialized nervous systems, the flow of these signal molecules within the community provided an elementary “mind,” represented by the coordinating information shared by every cell. In such organisms, each cell directly read environmental cues and personally adjusted its own behavior.

….And a personality.

However, when cells came together in community, a new politic had to be established. In community, each cell cannot act as an independent agent that does whatever it wants. The term “community” implies that all of its members commit to a common plan of action.

This idea, that slugs commit to a plan of action, is indeed a central part of Lipton’s thesis in this book.

In multicellular animals, individual cells may “see” the local environment outside of their own “skin,” but they may have no awareness of what is going on in more distant environments, especially those outside of the whole organism itself. Can a liver cell buried in your viscera, responding to its local environmental signals, make an informed response regarding the consequence of a mugger that jumps into your environment? The complex behavior controls needed to ensure a multicellular organization’s survival are incorporated within its centralized information processing system.

As more complex animals evolved, specialized cells took over the job of monitoring and organizing the flow of the behavior regulating signal molecules. These cells provided a distributed nerve network and central information processor, a brain. The brain’s function is to coordinate the dialogue of signal molecules within the community. Consequently, in a community of cells, each cell must acquiesce control to the informed decisions of its awareness authority, the brain.

Having successfully argued that a liver cell is not capable of evading a mugger, Lipton makes perhaps the stupidest statement of the entire book. Part of me would love to laugh in his stupid face about this, but really it’s just sad.

The brain controls the behavior of the body’s cells.

Factual error. No it doesn’t. This is where the whole thing goes to hell and takes its readers with it.

This is a very important point to consider as we blame the cells of our organs and tissues for the health issues we experience in our lives.

As the poet said–

There’s a killer on the road
His brain is squirming like a toad…

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Bruce Lipton’s ‘Biology of Belief’ – Annotated With Facts: Part 50 (Telling your tumor to shrink…without flunking)

February 17, 2019

Lipton has just vaguely hinted at the idea that the mind can affect physiology more strongly than cholera, the AIDS virus, and cancer. Even though this is the central argument of his book, he still hasn’t made any clear argument to support it. All he has done so far is vaguely implied that somehow — he doesn’t say how — the mind has greater power over human physiology than cholera, AIDS, and cancer. He has dropped lots of hints about waves and frequencies being somehow – he doesn’t say how – ‘stronger than chemicals’, and suggested that quantum physics somehow – he doesn’t say how – may hold the key to understanding these effects. But he hasn’t really said what exactly these effects are, either.

Despite this abstention, he decides that now is the time to look at limits to this as yet vague and entirely hypothetical effect.

You can, he insists, “flunk” positive thinking. Again, he doesn’t quite say how. All that’s clear is that if your cancer gets worse, it means you’ve flunked. And the worst consequence of this is not needless suffering or death, but that this might cause the victim to give up on “mind-body remedies”.

Apart from the utterly disgusting ethics Lipton employs here, the whole idea of Lipton telling anyone they’ve flunked anything at all is hilarious. Lipton has flunked everything flunkable. Everything from not knowing the difference between a homologue and an analogue (a distinction that was clear 2500 years ago in Aristotle’s biology and has only gotten clearer since), to even flunking a demonstration of the most simple optical illusion (where he claimed a Mercator’s projection map is an optical illusion and a Peter’s projection isn’t).

Anyhow, having just talked of cholera, a new subheading suddenly appears out of nowhere:

When Positive Thinking Goes Bad

Before I go on to discuss the incredible power of our minds…

It is worth emphasising again that we have made it all the way to page 126 and we’re still waiting for him to explain this ‘power of the mind’.

…and how my research on cells provided insight into how the body’s mind-body pathways work…

Lipton’s published research deals only with processes within individual cells. He has done no research whatsoever into “the body’s mind-body pathways” because this field of study dropped out of vogue in the late 1600s, when scientists like Thomas Willis, among many others, realised that none of the proposed ‘pathways’ could be found. Brain anatomy turned out to be very different from that imagined by Descartes (and unwittingly still followed by Lipton, regardless of what Lipton claims about it). Today, neurophysiology studies the nervous system, but hasn’t found any neuro-anatomical bridges that lead off into empty space to join with the disembodied dualistic mind that Lipton believes in.

Leaving that aside for the moment….

I need to make it very clear that I do not believe that simply thinking positive thoughts always leads to physical cures.

Well, that’s a relief. But in fact he hasn’t even shown a single case where such healing has clearly happened anyway. Not one. He has dropped hints that he believes it has done – once in the 1950s when someone thought to be suffering from an incurable skin condition reportedly got better, and once in the 1800s when a man supposedly drank poison and didn’t die. Apart from that, he’s dropped a few vague general hints about what he means.

You need more than just “positive thinking” to harness control of your body and your life.

And he still hasn’t said what “harness control of your body and your life” might mean, let alone what “more” you need to do. Will he ever explain this?

It is important for our health and well-being to shift our mind’s energy toward positive, life-generating thoughts and eliminate ever-present, energy-draining and debilitating negative thoughts.

Again, this is too vague to even mean anything. Same with “negative thoughts”.

This is not nitpicking. Many people think that thinks can be inherently or qualitatively ‘positive’ or ‘negative’. Many, like Rhonda Byrne (probably No. 2 to Lipton in the stupidity stakes) thinks it’s related to positive and negative electrical charges, not realising that even there the plus and minus are just labels (i.e., there is nothing emotionally “negative” about a “negative” charge).

But, and I mean that in the biggest sense of “BUT,” the mere thinking of positive thoughts will not necessarily have any impact on our lives at all! In fact, sometimes people who “flunk” positive thinking become more debilitated….

Let’s stop this sentence right there and call this what it is: blaming the victim. Lipton’s victims who try to cure their cancer or cholera with his ‘positive thinking’ technique but only get sicker, are themselves to blame for not doing it properly. It’s not his fault for pushing a fake product. Nope, you ‘flunked positive thinking’ har har har har.

It is worth noting that Lipton gets this pre-emptive accusation out of the way before he even tells us what exactly his positive thinking product is.

This shifting of the blame then turns from pathetic to disgusting.

….because now they think their situation is hopeless—they believe they have exhausted all mind and body remedies.

This is what he means by ”flunking positive thinking” — giving up on ‘mind and body remedies’. In other words, thinking that maybe all this stuff is bullshit.

What those positive-thinking dropouts…

Emphasising this atrocious blame-shifting again…

What those positive-thinking dropouts haven’t understood is that the seemingly “separate” subdivisions of the mind, the conscious and the subconscious are interdependent. The conscious mind is the creative one, the one that can conjure up “positive thoughts.” In contrast, the subconscious mind is a repository of stimulus-response tapes derived from instincts and learned experiences. The subconscious mind is strictly habitual; it will play the same behavioral responses to life’s signals over and over again….

This is a very strange tack for Lipton to take. How the heck is it the fault of those who “fail”, if they do it because their subconscious is so powerful?

And he’d better have a good technique for overcoming this seemingly infinitely powerful subconscious. He has set up this hurdle himself here. He will have to provide a clear method for overcoming it, or he fails even according to his own standards. (Something which he has achieved several times in this book already!)

And the conscious mind is positive and subconscious is negative? This distinction makes absolutely no sense. Dreams, for example, are subconscious, but they’re not all ‘negative’.

How many times have you found yourself going ballistic over something trivial like an open toothpaste tube?

(Or an insanely stupid book you’re reviewing?)

You have been trained since childhood to carefully replace the cap. When you find the tube with its cap left off, your “buttons are pushed” and you automatically fly into a rage. You’ve just experienced the simple stimulus-response of a behavior program stored in the subconscious mind.

Go on, Dr Bruce.

When it comes to sheer neurological processing abilities, the subconscious mind is millions of times more powerful than the conscious mind. If the desires of the conscious mind conflict with the programs in the subconscious mind, which “mind” do you think will win out?

What???? “Millions of times more powerful???? How did he calculate that? And if we grant that it’s true, then the situation is really hopeless, then isn’t it. How can your ‘positive’ conscious mind win out over this raging beast that is millions of times more powerful? (Especially when he hasn’t even shown that even if it does win, it can cure cholera or cancer. Hell, try commanding your finger nails to stop growing. It can’t even do that!)

How is Lipton going to get out of this hole he has dug for his own techniques?

You can repeat the positive affirmation that you are lovable over and over…

Inasmuch as affirmations might be useful, it is foolish to try to believe that you “are lovable”, as that ties your self-worth to the whims of others: self-defeating.

…or that your cancer tumor will shrink.

Oh man…..I’m sitting in a cafe and trying to keep my facial expressions under some kind of control. It’s not easy. (Now there’s a two year old child hiding behind a table-leg nearby and peering intently at me, fascinated and a little concerned.)

….So now, on page 126, for the first time in the book, we discover what Lipton’s technique for curing cancer is: telling your tumor to shrink.

But if, as a child, you heard over and over that you are worthless and sickly, those messages programmed in your subconscious mind will undermine your best conscious efforts to change your life.

No Dr Bruce. It’s because mammalian physiology hasn’t worked like that for the previous 200 million years and is not going to start now.

Remember how quickly your last New Year’s resolution to eat less food fell by the wayside as the aroma of the baking turkey dissolved your resolve?

This is insane. He is equating telling a cancer tumor to shrink with telling yourself not to eat too much. I repeat, this is insane, and this really is what he is doing. This is not a mistake.

And, I repeat, how does Lipton propose we get over this appalling hurdle of the mega-powerful subconscious he has set in his own way?

We’ll learn more about the origins of self-sabotaging subconscious programming in Chapter 7, Conscious Parenting, and how to quickly rewrite them.

Chapter 7???? We’ve already read 127 pages to find this out!

But for the moment, be aware that there is hope even for those of you who used positive thinking and failed miserably.

Keep digging, Dr Bruce. And what is this hope for those who have “failed”?

A new section starts, titled “Mind Over Body”. Maybe this will reveal how Lipton is going to try to scramble out of this hole. (And maybe not. Maybe it will be about the 3 billion year evolutionary history of the slug. Yes, in fact, that it is what we will jump to next.)

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Commenter: I will get cancer because I criticised Louise Hay (Fear as a marketing tool)

February 13, 2019

I will highlight yet another comment from a Louise Hay fan. It’s short, but revealing.

On my post titled Speaking ill of a dead cancer quack, Twila writes:

Yak-whatever.

As I mentioned previously, Yakaru is my spiritual name. I don’t know why this person feels compelled to mock it. I imagine they must be very angry with me.

Nevertheless, Twila has some advice for me:

You would benefit from anger management study.

Of course — it’s me who’s angry, not her.

So let me clear a few things up. I have indeed written plenty of angry words on this website, but I have always done it consciously, or deliberately, and for a specific purpose.

When people have developed an unhealthy loyalty to a spiritual teacher it shocks and angers them, to see someone undermine the elevated status they have granted to that teacher. And, often, it frightens them too. I’ve noticed clearly in personal interactions over many decades with followers of various sects and cults and teachings. They think it’s all love and light and outsiders just don’t understand, but they don’t see any connection between the feelings they feel when a (supposed) outsider criticises the boss, and the teachings of that boss. No no, those teachings are all nice and positive.

In fact, and this will come out clearly below, Louise Hay’s teachings are based on fear every bit as much as they talk of love and light. Above all, Hay was a fanatical Christian. She just switched from threatening people with hell for their misdeeds, to threatening them with cancer. Think a negative thought (about Louise Hay, for example) and you will get cancer.

This is what Louise Hay triggers in her followers: fear.

And this fear drives their anger when they see her being criticised.

It is people like you who are full of misdirected anger that get cancer.

Twila is angry enough with me to ridicule my name — a pointless personal attack that has nothing to do with the issue — and angry enough to tell me I will get cancer because of my misdeeds (I would bet she has never suffered from it herself nor had anyone close die of it)….

…..but somehow she has decided that it is only my anger that is negative. Her anger must be positive. She is defending poor dear Louise, so her anger is well-directed and won’t cause cancer. This is what Louise Hay does to her customers: criticise Ms Hay and you get cancer; defend Ms Hay’s product and you’re safe. It’s a form of psychological colonisation.

Louise Hay died from old age. She was a sweet and dedicated woman who believed in peace, love and light.

And customer loyalty.

Loyal customers who have all learned to repeat the same lines of defense when the product (the teachings) is being criticised. This is why I could already write my comment policy specifically asking Louise Hay followers not to leave their stereotypical defenses. It means I can just copy and paste instead of typing the same thing each time one of them shows up here.

From the comment policy:

…Also, before commenting about your “positive experiences” with a particular teacher, please ask yourself if it really in fact addresses my criticism. Unless I have explicitly argued that no one has ever had any positive experiences with a teacher, then your comment is likely to be irrelevant.

I also ask people please not to–

Attempt to analyze my motives rather than addressing my criticism

Judge me for being “judgmental”

Leave negative comments about me being “negative”

Criticize me for being critical

Assume that I am ignorant of- or feel threatened by spirituality and then criticize me for that

In other words, please don’t leave exactly the same comment that all the other angry Louise Hay fans have already left.

Twila continues:

My message is for anyone reading this who thinks…

And maybe I should add another one to that list, because they’ve pulled that one before here too.

Do not use the space I provide for your comment to talk over my shoulder in order to lecture those reading here. It is impolite. Comments are to respond to my article how ever you see fit, or to answer other commenters directly (as long as its on topic). It is not a platform for you to promote the product I was criticising.

My message is for anyone reading this who thinks you “have a handle” on life and living, because I feel strongly that you definitely do not.

I did not give out any such advice in that article. Rather I handed out a long list of substantial criticisms, and Twila ignored every single one of them. But still felt entitled to comment anyway.

Just guessing, but you probably have no sense of fairness either so if you delete my message it won’t bother me, but hopefully will bother you because you’ve read it.

Twila, you have used the comment space on my blog to mock my name, tell me I will get cancer, tell me about character deficiencies you think I have and assume you know how to fix them, talk over my shoulder to readers, and then lecture me about fairness.

Where exactly do you get this feeling of entitlement and superiority? Why do you think it is that you have just left the same comment that several dozen Louise Hay fans have also written?

Do you think it might be because you have all been taught to by someone, whose teachings are all directed at evading criticism and recruiting customers to promote the product to others? –And promote it so unconsciously that you all come out with the same sales pitch to defend it.

You are welcome to comment further, Twila, but I will give two conditions:

1. read the comment and fairness policy (side bar top right under Website: Comment & Fairness Policy)

2. respond to the criticisms of Louise Hay from the article this time.

Posted by Yakaru