Bruce Lipton’s ‘Biology of Belief’ – Annotated With Facts: Part 32 (Lipton gets confused and starts promoting Newtonian physics)

March 17, 2018

Back to Lipton.

It may surprise Lipton’s readers to learn that Lipton’s working definition of the term “quantum physics” is: a system which is bafflingly complex. I’m not being sarcastic. He tries to make it look as if he is referring to the actual quantum physics that appears in a physics text book. But as soon as he has to be specific, he switches to using it as a metaphor for a way of thinking, before switching back to pretending he is talking about real quantum physics.

He does not mention mathematics at all. That should already be a red flag for his audience, but there is an entire industry of New Age “quantum physics” that keeps away from math entirely. They can read any number of thousand or more such books without ever encountering any real physics…. But Lipton gets even this New Age version wrong.

And of course, just being bafflingly complex does not make something quantum physics. And the level of complexity that baffles Lipton is far less complex than a bus timetable.

To avoid any miscomprehension or pure disbelief at how ignorant and above all utterly stupid he is, Lipton supplied his readers with two diagrams. I will repeat them here from the previous post.

He accuses biologists of being stuck in “linear” thinking — even though biology largely consists of studying the interrelationships between complex systems.

And for some reason he thinks this “linear” thought is a result of their being mired in Newtonian physics — which they aren’t. And if they were (which they’re not) it wouldn’t have anything to do with Newtonian physics, which is not “linear”.

And the “complex” thinking that he accuses biologists of being incapable of is of course something they do routinely; and, even more of-coursely, has nothing whatsoever to do with quantum physics

This (below) is the kind of thinking that he thinks was impossible until the advent of quantum physics. I have no idea why he thinks this.

Bafflingly complex Liptonian Quantum thinking

We continue boring into these compacted layers of factual errors.

Biomedical scientists have been particularly confounded because they do not recognize the massive complexity of the intercommunication among the physical parts and the energy fields that make up the whole.

Factual error #1: The study of biology, and especially biochemistry, consists almost entirely of the study of the way complex systems interact with each other.

Factual error #2: “Energy fields”????? It may be true that not very many biologists study the laws of physics at the subatomic level while studying, say liver function, but why on earth should they? Lipton gets lost each time he tries to switch between scales. And this is what Nobel Prize winning physicist Steven Weinberg says about quantum physics in biology:

“It’s difficult enough to use the equations of quantum physics to calculate the strength of the binding of two hydrogen atoms in the simplest hydrogen molecule. The special experience and insights of chemists are needed to deal with complicated molecules, especially the very complicated molecules encountered in biology, and the way they react in various circumstances.”
(Dreams of a Final Theory, Chapter 1.)

Lipton continues:.

The reductionist’s perception of a linear flow of information is a characteristic of the Newtonian universe.

Factual error.

Not even Newton limited himself to “linear thinking”.

In contrast, the flow of information in a quantum universe is holistic.

Factual error.

Lipton has got this exactly backwards — quantum physics is the ultimate in reductionism. And he’s got it doubly wrong, as he also thinks relativity theory — which very unholistically obliterates “absolute” space and time — is quantum physics.

Newtonian physics, on the other hand, demonstrated that the heavens and the earth are governed by the same physical laws. And the Newtonian universe presupposes very nice holistic absolute values for space and time.

He then continues to ridiculously describe all the “complex pathways” in his stupid diagram (see above) of “holistic” “quantum” “physics”.

I wanted to skip over the following explanation of what that second diagram illustrates — it is a dull hypothetical example of the kinds of thing that biologists are supposedly baffled by, and can only be comprehended by those who have mastered “quantum physics”. But unfortunately he builds another layer of non sequitur stupidity on top of it, which explains why he is doing all this.

Lipton explains:

Cellular constituents are woven into a complex web of crosstalk, feedback and feedforward communication loops (see illustration [above]). A biological dysfunction may arise from a miscommunication along any of the routes of information flow. To adjust the chemistry of this complicated interactive system requires a lot more understanding than just adjusting one of the information pathway’s components with a drug. If you change the concentration of C for example, it doesn’t just influence the action of D. Via holistic pathways, variations in the concentration of C profoundly influence the behaviors and functions of A, B, and E, as well as D.

Are any of Lipton’s readers really honestly so dumb that they don’t realize that biology routinely deals with stuff as complex and far more complex than that? Or are they just too mentally exhausted from the previous 103 pages to emit any howls of rage or derision?

Lipton follows that utter rubbish with a non sequitur that exposes exactly what his game is with all this “quantum” stuff.

Once I realized the nature of the complex interactions between matter and energy….

Why is Lipton speaking as if that diagram and his description has anything at all to do with “energy”?

(Sadly, we already know why he is doing it. He knows that Relativity Theory mentions “energy”, and he thinks that Einstein was talking about the “subtle energies” that esoteric people are always talking about. And of course, he thinks that relativity is part of quantum physics.)

In other words, Lipton has graduated from making erroneous claims about the current state of biological knowledge, to making erroneous statements about one of his own (already erroneous) diagrams.

Factual error #1: Nowhere in that diagram or that explanation is “energy” represented.

Factual error #2: Nowhere in that diagram or explanation is an interaction between “energy” and matter represented.

Factual error #3: And if by “energy” he is referring to the kind of energy field from actual quantum physics, he is wrong to represent it as a single point in Newtonian space.

…Once I realized the nature of the complex interactions between matter and energy, I knew that a reductionist, linear (A>B>C>D>E) approach could not even come close to giving us an accurate understanding of disease.

Factual error #1: Lipton seems to be saying here that any chain of causality that only uses elements made of matter is “linear” and Newtonian; and that by including elements of “energy”, it now becomes “quantum” and “holistic”. But the explanation of the diagram doesn’t mention “energy”. So what on earth is he talking about?

Factual error # 2: There is nothing inherently or exclusively “reductionist” about a linear chain of causality.

Factual error #3: And of course, his supposedly “holistic” diagram of supposedly “complex” interactions is just as reductionist as the linear one.

While quantum physics implied the existence of such interconnected information pathways…

Factual error #1: Why is Lipton talking about “information pathways”? That term comes from genetics and relates to the flow of genetic “information”, i.e. sequences of DNA code inscribed in chemical structures. He isn’t talking about that here. Or is he? Who knows? (Lipton certainly doesn’t.)

Factual error #2: Nothing whatsoever in quantum physics “implies” the interconnection of “information pathways”.

Quantum physics is all about fields and wave functions. It is Newtonian physics that is all about fixed points and trajectories. Lipton is a goose.


Religious Education vs Religious Instruction

March 4, 2018

I guess everyone knows why religious leaders try to get access to children as early and in as many ways as possible: to convince children they “belong” to a church — in other words, that they are owned by the church; to allow the church to seep into their identity to such a degree that the idea of leaving will feel like losing a limb.

When priests and other holy folk gain access to school children, they also have the opportunity to get children used to “religious talk” as a mode of communication — with its own social customs and unwritten rules. Children learn that when adults suddenly start speaking in hushed tones, usually beginning with a rising intonation, which soon descends into the calming tones of reassurance as holy knowledges descends to earth through the mouth of the preacher (or ersatz preacher), the polite thing to is to remain silent and passive. Don’t, with a dubious sidelong glance, ask “Um, is that really true?” Or even worse, “How do you know that?”

Thus, when they grow up into adults, the preachers can still talk to them in these ponderous tones with the same intonation about all the things that God is, and God isn’t, without the adults asking “Hey, what happened to your voice just then? Do you talk like that all the time?” Rather, this special tone barely registers as weird anymore with most adults. It is simply accepted, even by the non-religious, that when we hear priests and popes talking in these hushed tones, we remain silent and look at our shoes rather than allow any involuntary “WTF???” to reveal itself publicly on our face.

Do to otherwise would be impolite, and a sign of poor character.

It’s difficult to go against social customs, when everyone else in the room is carrying on as if it is normal for a pope to be given fawning media coverage. I can understand why Catholics do it — they’ve been brainwashed into not applying normal ethical standards to their Church leadership; but why the hell do non-Catholics do it too?

Social pressure? Lazily accepted custom? Unquestioned habit?

Or do they subconsciously fear that God will strike them down for not fawning? Possibly; especially if they learned in school to fearfully display the required submissive signals in the presence of a holy person.

Another aspect of the religious infiltration into schools can be that teachers who otherwise have a highly developed idea of what “education” means, acquiesce to allowing “religious instruction” into their classrooms.

Instruction of course implies that there is only one way of doing it. And the “instructor” knows what this way is. And the “instructor” has done it (or is doing it) successfully himself. It is an open secret that there are other religious “instructors” who teach completely contradictory things, but it is impolite to notice this, and would be inflammatory to comment on it. Children are insulated from hearing such stating of the obvious. They learn to mirror the acquiescent behavior of the adults, until any the recognition of the obvious is automatically dismissed from consciousness.

Alongside this subtle conditioning, and in perfect accordance with it, the ideas which children will encounter during their schooling will be unwittingly controlled by adults so as to avoid any expression of doubt. The idea that it is anything other than normal to “belong” to a religion; that religion is the only possible entrance to the realm of the profound or tragic; that religious leaders by their very nature speak from this exalted realm; will not appear in the normal course of schooling.

Never will they seriously confront the possibility that there are no gods, no heaven, or that none of the priests who routinely claim positive knowledge are being truthful.

Why is this?

Again, politeness, laziness, conformity, habit?

Religious “instruction” of course also implies an authoritarian power structure. And as such it grants a power and authority to the instructor immeasurably greater than what such a person can plausibly claim to know. But again, children’s conditioning for politeness in the face of grotesque absurdity is maintained. those who wear certain clothes are allowed to speak in certain tones and claim to know things without anyone having the right to expect a few qualifiers. “Perhaps”, “maybe”, and “I am speculating” are terms that are utterly alien to spiritual discourse. No one bothers to wait for them, and no one even notices that we gave up even expecting them ages ago.

To rewrite any of those nice priestly intonations about the nature God, but with qualifiers inserted would be impolite. No one would even dream of doing it mentally during a sermon, as it would swiftly render any church service intolerable.

No one would ever dream of giving it as an exercise for school children. The parents would rebel, and the children possibly placed in grave danger of being thenceforth incapable of suspending incredulity long enough to get through a religious upbringing without disowned or worse by their parents.

Education about various religions is of course perfectly in order, as long as it is treated as any other subject. I would however, argue that it should not merely be an uncritical look at the world’s religions. It should, especially in later classes, deal with problems and difficulties that arise as a consequence of religion.

Here are a few thoughts in this direction.

* Religion should not be presented as something that “everyone has”.

* Religion is often a matter of cultural identity, rather than a bunch of claims about facts. It is normal for people to identify with a religion while not believing all the finer details that a religion posits as fact. (Understanding this can later help protect people from domination by a priesthood.)

* Cultural identity linked to a religion allows a degree of conscious choice about which cultural aspects to follow and which to reject.

* Cultures change, and all religions change over time.

* The word “God” means not only vastly different things across various religions, but also within religions. Children can be made aware of the fact that two people from the same narrow sect might talk about “God” with each other every day for decades, and might one day discover they both mean something vastly different by it.

* Children can also be directly informed that no one who claims to know something about God really knows it. They may sincerely believe they know it, but they don’t. God is green and is surrounded by creatures whose bodies are covered in eyes, according to John the Revelator; has a long white beard and a particular set of genitals, according to other traditions; and is entirely free of attributes according to others. Everyone has the perfect right to say or believe what they want, but it would be polite to speak more reservedly about it in public, or not at all.

* Religious freedom is — and should always be — a universal human right. Anyone looking for “common ground” between various faiths, or science and various faiths can start right there. And it’s probably better to stop right there too, rather than piss everyone off by proclaiming all religions are “ultimately different visions of the same truth”. If you want to contradict the basic teachings of nearly every religion and form of belief that ever existed, fine, but do honestly — don’t stumble into it unwittingly by granting yourself the right to define all their core beliefs, while claiming to know all their contents better than their adherents. Don’t do that. It isn’t nice — it’s just dumb and arrogant.

* Do teach about evolution from an early age. Teach it as a fact first, without any tricky explanations. That way, no one will be shocked when they discover that there is a reason why we look and behave the way we do.

* Do not tell anyone that “evolution does not contradict your religious beliefs”, as the US’s National Committee for Science Education does. It’s arrogant and deceitful to claim such knowledge — it may or may not be in accord. But most probably it is not. Claiming it is, is most likely setting people up to either not fully understand evolution, or setting them up for a shock if they ever do fully understand it. You don’t want to wind up tricking people into losing their faith like that.

* Just teach about evolution without mentioning anyone’s religion, and let people figure out the implications for themselves. They’ll manage better without you.

Posted by Yakaru


Religion, Spirituality and the ‘Inner Hierarchy’

February 25, 2018

This post is a collection of thoughts that starts suddenly in the middle of nowhere and then wanders off somewhere else. It is not especially coherent, but it is supposed to mean something. I am still clearing up the ideas involved in it. It might be interesting, dull, utterly inscrutable or mundanely obvious.

Humans, like other mammals and primates, have a more or less pre-programmed ‘inner hierarchy’. We automatically size up other people we encounter, to determine whether or not we feel dominant or submissive to them, and adjust our behavior accordingly. Much of this is learned and socialized of course, but there is also a substructure of automatic behavioral patterns that automatically kick in, especially if the dominance or submission is clear cut.

In other words, humans have a kind of map for sets of behaviors for each level of a hierarchy. Clearly, a similar set of psychological conditions accompany these.

These behavior patterns sit deep in the psyche, often largely beyond conscious awareness or control. these are triggered by certain signals — body posture, certain types of language use, adornment, etc. I assume anyone reading this has experienced a situation where they were shocked at their own behavior in some kind of unexpected response to such signals: too submissive to an authoritarian, or maybe nasty to someone who signaled submission.

I am arguing that we automatically place ourselves somewhere on a scale of dominance/submission, according to a kind of ‘inner map’, which also contains behavioral patterns which are triggered according to where we place on this scale.

Everyone tends to go a little weak in the knees when encountering an especially high status person. (There are of course good evolutionary reasons for an instinctive tendency to express submission to highly dominant individuals.) But it’s not just crass power games involving survival or receiving favors. Our sense of awe when encountering an extraordinary landscape, or a wild animal, or work of art, etc., probably comes from this same aspect of our psychology.

We are carrying, in other words, a complete program for how to act, and how to feel for each status level of this inner hierarchy.

So people can feel genuine awe for “God”, regardless of whether or not there are any gods, if they happen to stumble into that part of the brain where the feeling of awe for a higher power is located.

Mystics, especially outside the three dominant monotheisms, report feeling like they themselves have been transported to this higher status position, without feeling dominant over others, but more like they are observing themselves and everyone else as if from a great height or distance.

The existence of this ‘inner hierarchy’ makes humans very susceptible to religion. The notion of an ultimate alpha male is close enough to deep seated mammalian instinctive feelings and behaviors. We are at the utter mercy of external factors, regardless of whether they’re due to random chance or deliberate intention of a “higher” being. It’s not easy to live with that fact, and it is easy to feel stress related to powerlessness.

The biologist Robert Sapolsky has argued persuasively (using research o primates including baboons and humans) that stress is most closely associated with lower status. In fact merely occupying a lower status position is itself a cause of stress.

We can also note that under stress (aka lower status in relation to some stressor) or who feel helpless, are more likely to trust an authority figure.

All this makes it quite easy for priests to convince people that “God” is up there on the top step, and that there are steps descending downwards towards us — the hierarchies of seraphim and cherubim, the angels, a few saints, and then splashing out into physical reality, the popes, cardinals and bishops, down a few more stairs to the priest who is standing before you, one step up. You can see the stairs leading upwards, maybe the last visible step being some magnificent church, before it disappears into the clouds.

And that priest is at the immediate end of all that power, right in front of you.

Some religions and sects (and cults) are very particular about the status its sheep are allowed to occupy. They use ideology to prevent people from moving up the scale on their own ‘inner hierarchy’ as it exists in their psyche. They even define humanity in a way that denies the very possibility of such inward mobility.

Humans are guilty of original sin, or do not belong to a lower caste, etc. The whole thing is framed to keep followers stuck in one position on their ‘inner hierarchy’. (This is why religious authorities are unfailingly opposed to the idea of evolution. It loosens their grip on their power to define humanity, and therefore loosens their ideological control over their subjects.)

Should a subject feel themselves being tugged upwards, they should immediately dismiss it as hubris. The fear of falling even further downwards can be used as a constant threat over them.

Gautama the Buddha said “be alight unto yourself”, implying, I suppose, that humans are in fact free to move upwardly in this ‘inner hierarchy’.

The dissolution of the illusion of self — so surprising at first, and maybe a little shocking too — is a key to this. A ‘self’ can be fixed at one level on the inner hierarchy, and held there until its future Day of Judgment, where this single unified ‘self’ will be condemned or redeemed, according to its acts.

For this reason, mystics who preach the illusory nature of the ‘self’, have never been tolerated by any authoritarian religion. The practice of meditation is also treated with immense caution at best (and seen as a subset of prayer); and usually without outright condemnation. They don’t want people locating themselves at many different points on that inner hierarchy, or maybe, all points and nowhere on it, simultaneously. That ‘self’ is the thing that authoritarian religions hold power over.

(It is instructive to note here that despite appearances New Age esoteric spirituality is also guilty of this. They have carried over the Platonic/Christian view of the “soul” as something unitary and immortal. Thus the stakes for salvation are just as high as in Christianity, and the power of its priesthood just as great — though without any moral strictures for priestly behavior. This is bad for actual spirituality, but great for marketing.)

As a small child, I accidentally discovered this myself. I used to lie awake at night looking for who “I” refers to. I couldn’t find it, yet there was still consciousness, somehow, without any “I”, just bubbling up out of nowhere like a slow, happy fountain. I used to just lie there, completely astounded by this experience. As a teenager I once remembered that I used to be able to do it, but when I tried I couldn’t get there anymore. Too much inner turmoil.
Conscious awareness is a tiny little window onto the present moment, like a little piece of sky, with clouds swirling in and out of view. It is surrounded by a wall of words and thoughts about hopes and dreams, tied together ultimately, by emotions. Emotions resulting from the pain of loneliness and the fear of death or dissolution.

It does seem to me that it is possible for the frame of this window to expand or disappear, and reveal the vast empty sky — a sky of consciousness, which is just there: it is, by its nature, aware, but it doesn’t do anything.

Posted by Yakaru


Bruce Lipton’s ‘Biology of Belief’ – Annotated With Facts: Part 31 (Liptonian Quantum Physics — in two diagrams)

February 16, 2018

Having spent the last ten pages or more attacking and ridiculing biologists and medical practitioners for their supposed ignorance of quantum physics, and failure to use it, Lipton is about to finally tell us what he thinks it is and how it should be used.

At this point, we can probably guess this is not going to go well for Lipton. However, even I was not prepared for the two diagrams that Lipton used to clearly and succinctly sum up his views.

We pick up the action on page 103 where he continues his clueless attack on modern medicine:

In seeking knowledge of how the body’s mechanisms are “controlled,” researchers have focused their attention on investigating a large variety of physical signals, classified into discrete chemical families, including aforementioned hormones, cytokines, growth factors, tumor suppressors, messengers and ions. However, because of their Newtonian, materialistic bias, conventional researchers have completely ignored the role that energy plays in health and disease.

Factual error #1: Lipton, having failed each of his five attempts at saying “E=mc2”, is now claiming that E=chi (or life force).

Factual error #2: Likewise, he is claiming that E=chi is what Einstein really meant when he said that E=Ec2, or E=m (where M=matter), or E=(mc)2, or whatever that very nice thing Einstein said about Energy was.

Factual error #3: Lipton is claiming (or would attempt to if he was capable) that mass times the square of the speed of light plays a role in health and disease. What does that mean?

Factual error #4: Lipton is also therefore claiming that things like homeopathy or acupuncture “work” because chi equals mass times the square of the speed of light.

Factual error #5: Lipton thinks E=thingy is part of (or all of?) quantum physics.

Factual error #6: He is also claiming that “conventional researchers” are ignoring whatever it is he is talking about because they don’t know quantum physics. If they were ignoring it, it would be because they found no evidence for any such thing after 250 years of looking.

Factual error #7: Researchers have most definitely not “completely ignored” the idea of the life force. If anything they are far too indulgent of it, given the aforementioned history. Here in Germany, as with elsewhere in Europe, it is difficult to find a GP who doesn’t practice homeopathy or some other form of evidence-free ideological medicine.

Factual error #8: Medical practitioners do not seek knowledge about how the body’s mechanisms are “controlled”; rather they try to understand how they function, and what influences their function.

Factual error #9: Medicine does not have a “Newtonian” bias. They routinely use quantum physics in medical imaging and diagnosis. And incidentally, Lipton’s hatred of supposedly “mechanistic” medicine explains why he never uses the term “quantum mechanics”.

In addition, conventional biologists are reductionists who believe that mechanisms of our physical bodies can be understood by taking the cells apart and studying their chemical building blocks.

Factual error #1:

Darwinian evolution — the great fact at the heart of all biology and the defining characteristic of life itself, is most certainly not reductionist. Evolution is only visible when one takes a step back from the details and views the interacting systems of a whole ecosystem. (The term ecosystem was coined by the great Darwinian biologist Ernst Haeckel in the 1870s.)

No one would ever have found natural selection by looking only at the smallest details. Even genome research would only have revealed networks of commonalities, but would have been unable to discover the cause.

Factual error #2:

Reductionism is in fact what Lipton was doing with all that nonsense about cells being a computer.

They believe that the biochemical reactions responsible for life are generated through Henry Ford-styled assembly lines: one chemical causes a reaction, followed by another reaction with a different chemical, etc.

Factual error.

Biologists don’t believe this. Life would never have arisen at all if chemical reactions were a production line. Life requires imperfect copying of a replicating molecule, or no variation (and hence no evolution, and no life) could arise.

The linear flow of information from A to B to C to D to E is illustrated on the following page.

Here is the first of Lipton’s two diagrams. This is what Lipton thinks modern medicine is.

Modern medical conception of physiological functioning, according to Lipton

This reductionist model suggests that if there is a problem in the system, evident as a disease or dysfunction, the source of the problem can be attributed to a malfunction in one of the steps along the chemical assembly line.

Factual error. A huge and utterly disgraceful one.

Modern medicine does not work anything like this. This is just stunning ignorance.

Ignorance and utter hypocrisy.

Lipton will soon be appearing at a chiropractic conference. Chiropractic assumes that all diseases have a single cause: a misaligned vertebrae. He is published by Hay House — Louise Hay thinks all diseases have a single cause: negative thoughts. the kinds of quackery that makes his money by supporting are nearly always based on a spurious “hitherto undiscovered” or “discovered and suppressed” single cause for diseases.

This linear approach is also why quackery is easy to sell; and also why it fails so atrociously.

By providing the cell with a functional replacement part for the faulty element, by prescribing pharmaceutical drugs for example, the defective single point can theoretically be repaired and health restored.

Factual error.

Sometimes illnesses do in fact have a single cause. And sometimes providing a functional replacement can be life saving or crucial to daily life. Does Lipton use glasses? Or brush his teeth? Would he get a hip replaced if he couldn’t walk?

And anyone whose doctor has suggested a dietary change or more exercise will know that Lipton is flat wrong about the rest of it.

Now we get to his second diagram. I am not kidding. Lipton thinks this is quantum physics!

Liptonian Quantum Physics

Really dude? That’s it???? That is what you’re selling???

Factual error #1:

“Quantum” means the exact opposite of “holistic”.

Factual error #2:

That diagram has nothing whatsoever to with any part of quantum mechanics at all.

However, the quantum perspective reveals that the universe is an integration of interdependent energy fields that are entangled in a meshwork of interactions.

Factual error #1:

Quantum physics has to do with interactions between particles at the atomic or subatomic level, which it predicts to the most insane levels of accuracy. It has nothing to do with a few randomly chosen elements interacting randomly with each other at an undisclosed level, and then projected onto undisclosed medical occurrences.

Factual error #2:

Entanglement in quantum physics refers to specific particles under specific circumstances. It does not refer all things in the universe collectively; nor does it refer to anything that gets tangled.

Factual error #3:

Interactions immeasurably more complicated than this stupid diagram drawn up by this extremely stupid man can easily be dealt with not by using quantum mechanics, but rather with plain boring old math, or maybe calculus — invented by Newton.

Factual error #4:

Lipton is seriously claiming that his hypothetical chart is only made possible by quantum physics. He is, effectively, claiming that getting of an underground train and catching a bus is only possible thanks to quantum physics.

Factual error #5:

Lipton is seriously claiming that medical science can never come up with something like this:

Functional mapping of genes and proteins (Source)

Factual error #6:

He is of course still claiming that the reason biologists can’t come up with this kind of work is because they are all ignorant of quantum physics.

Lipton has so far kept his perfect record, of getting every single thing that he claims to be a fact important to his argument hilariously and unbelievably wrong.

I’m up to 31 posts from just the first 103 pages, and there are still 100 pages to go. I keep hoping that his mistakes will start repeating and I can skip through it quicker, but so far he just keeps on bringing out new an extraordinarily rich compounds of compacted errors.

Plus, I keep finding errors I hadn’t thought of initially. Like the fact that his beloved Lamarck believed in pre-formationist embryology — which would exclude all possibility of his beloved epigenetics.

I will try to get through the next 100 pages a bit more quickly, but I don’t know how. Stuff that looks irrelevant suddenly emerges again later as part of an argument, and summarizing his ideas requires not only putting his ideas into some kind of logical order, but then also trying to convince readers that he really did say that.


Bruce Lipton’s ‘Biology of Belief’ – Annotated With Facts: Part 30 (The attack on modern medicine begins)

February 13, 2018

Lipton is going to use quantum physics (or what he thinks is quantum physics) to attack modern medicine (or what he thinks is modern medicine), which he thinks is based on Newtonian physics (or what he thinks is Newtonian physics).

His version of history has physicists in the early 20th century opening their minds to a new universe with the advent of quantum physics (which he wrongly equates with relativity theory); while all biologists (except for him) continue blindly along the same track that Newton supposedly set them on 350 years ago.

His attack on modern medicine is going to be extremely stupid and, unfortunately, extremely dangerous.

Worst of all, Lipton will be tapping into the bizarre, often fanatical loathing many spiritual people have for modern medicine. Many such people will gleefully cite Lipton’s Ph.D status, but absolutely none of them — literally none — will ever explain exactly what Lipton’s ideas are. This is, of course, because none of them have ever been able to make head or tail of anything Lipton says, apart from “I have a PhD.”

The attack begins:

The awareness that such profoundly different mechanics control the structure and behavior of matter should have offered biomedicine new insights into understanding health and disease.

Lipton seems completely unaware that medical technology already uses quantum physics in medical imaging. This has revolutionized the way many diseases are both diagnosed and treated. I don’t know why he hasn’t noticed this.

He has mentioned previously that a physics professor in 1893 had arrogantly said that physics was nearly complete. Had he read a bit more widely than just Gary Zukav, he might have learned that the first discovery that woke physicists from such complacency was the discovery of X-rays in 1895. X-rays were of little practical consequence to physics, but the resulting technology had a vast impact on medicine. Does Lipton really not know this, or has he just failed to think long enough about it?

…even after the discoveries of quantum physics, biologists and medical students continue to be trained to view the body only as a physical machine that operates in accordance with Newtonian principles.

There are a lot of assumptions packed into that; all of them wrong. As this kind of claim is extremely popular among spiritual folk, I will try to unpack at least part of it.

The idea that medical practitioners treat the body as a machine is widespread among spiritual people. There is some real historical background for this, but I am not sure where Lipton got the idea of blaming Newton for it.

The ‘mechanical philosophy’ of Rene Descartes did indeed see all living organisms (except humans) quite literally as machines. Although Descartes granted humans a soul, (making them machine-body + soul), some of his followers later discarded it and saw humans as mere machines.

For this they were roundly criticized. Apart from being just intuitively repellent, the ‘mechanical philosophy’ didn’t even attempt to address the question that Descartes’ contemporaries were beginning to seriously posit: What exactly is life?

From the 17th to the 19th century it was quite reasonable to suspect that life itself might be the product of a life force, similar to the newly discovered forces of magnetism or electricity. Vitalism, as this view came to be called, was eventually discarded, not because it didn’t fit with “mechanistic dogma”, but because the concept failed to produce any useful or meaningful results.

(It is always worth noting that not only was the vitalism, so beloved of spiritual folk discarded, but so too were thousands upon thousands of mechanistic ideas discarded for the same reason. There was no witch hunt in science against non-mechanistic ideas.)

Furthermore, it was never common in biology to consider the body as a machine in such crass terms, and the mechanical philosophy remained a relative outlier from the time of its inception.

Descartes’ work did, however, lead to significant advances in the study of anatomy. It was the first time that the body had been conceived of as a largely self-contained, autonomously functioning purely physical system, acted upon by naturalistic forces rather than supernatural ones.

As it happened, this approach eventually combined very nicely with an idea from alchemy, conceived of by Paracelsus 150 years before Descartes, which conceived of the metabolism as being something like an alchemist’s laboratory. This idea would have seemed alien and mystical to Descartes, but it is closer to modern biochemistry than the clunky mechanical physics that Descartes believed in.

Oddly (or rather, stupidly), Lipton seems to be ascribing Descartes’ mechanical philosophy to Newton. Lipton has gotten this completely wrong.

Descartes thought particles interact only by bouncing off each other; the various actions and reactions of chemicals being caused by the odd shapes of the particles. The particles themselves were inert. It is inconceivable that such ball-bearing-like atoms (in Lipton’s terminology) could organize themselves into complex forms.

Descartes had, therefore, postulated that the whole universe had been created and set in motion by a (ultimately Platonic) demiurge (whom he identified as the Christian God). All particles are simply clunking and cannoning their way about, having been wound up like a clock by God.

(It is true that some of Descartes’ later followers excluded the ‘god’ part of this equation, but came up with no alternative answer about how it all started.)

Newton’s universal law of gravitation, on the other hand, had gravity acting at a distance, without contact. This disturbed those enamored of the mechanical philosophy, and has baffled plenty of others since; but the math worked.

Thus, it was not quantum physics but Newtonian physics that contradicted, and eventually overturned the ‘mechanical philosophy’.

In any case it is this the “ball-bearing universe” of Descartes that Lipton thinks biologists believe in. But it was never widely held by scientists — not even in the 1600s, to say nothing of today.

Furthermore, the “ball-bearing view of atoms” was ultimately demolished by chemistry long before quantum physics. In particular, the notion of atoms being dynamic substances, capable of combining to make new substances, is an idea originating in alchemy. Chemistry, of course, developed out of alchemy, with alchemist-chemists like Robert Boyle freely considering, testing, and rejecting or transforming its mystical, fanciful and speculative ideas.

But where biology discarded the ball-bearing model of atoms, Lipton and many spiritual believers today are still using it!

They still consider it baffling how atoms can organize themselves into an orderly fashion complex enough to embody life. (This is exactly the objection that was justifiably leveled against Descartes in 1650.) It can’t just be random chance, they implore. There must be a higher organizing principle.

And indeed there is — it’s called the laws of physics and chemistry.

Modern science, including biology and medicine, happily accepted ideas from alchemy where these bore fruit. Spiritual believers and alt med practitioners who attack science as “materialistic” and “mechanistic” have instead clung to the original ideas like those of Paracelsus, and refused to accept that some of these were adopted and developed by science. 

It is weird to see people demanding that science consider ideas that science has in fact already considered, thoroughly investigated and in many cases even adopted. It is even weirder to see the same people denying that the original ideas that appear so spiritual today did in fact make important contributions to science and human well being.

Such people complain about biologists not keeping up with quantum physics, but they haven’t yet made it out of the 1600s thhemselves.


Bruce Lipton’s ‘Biology of Belief’ – Annotated With Facts: Part 29 (Lipton gets confused: is it E=Ec2, or E=m [where m=matter], or E=mc and then squared?)

February 5, 2018

New Age spiritual people use the word energy, and so do physicists. So New Agers think they are all talking about the same thing. Only they think they can do it better because they can use their intuition. (If it’s fancy cryptic symbols you want, there are enough of those in alchemy.)

We are about to pick up the action again, immediately after Lipton has just surprised Trekkies by claiming that energy signature is a term from quantum physics — not sci fi, and then picked up by New Agers and filtered through a marketing and promotional department (before being declared ancient mystical wisdom that smells of incense).

There is no matter, they say, only energy. Matter is an illusion.

In the previous post, when I was trying to elucidate the problem with that idea, I wrote the following:

“The air is also invisible, but we can feel it when it moves. But no one would say that the wind is an illusion just because you can’t see it.”

I must now admit that with this, I made a factual error.

It turns out that there is indeed one person in this universe stupid enough to say that the wind is an illusion because you can’t see it.

That person now continues:

If it were theoretically possible to observe the composition of an actual atom with a microscope, what would we see? Imagine a swirling dust devil cutting across the desert’s floor. Now remove the sand and dirt from the funnel cloud. What you have left is an invisible, tornado-like vortex….

Factual error.

What you have left is air; not an “invisible tornado-like vortex”, but a real tornado made up of real air molecules. Time to stop mowing the lawn.

A number of infinitesimally small, dust devil-like energy vortices called quarks and photons collectively make up the structure of the atom.

Factual error.

Again, Lipton’s peculiar use of “energy” is a clue that the term “energy vortex” is not likely to turn up in a physics text book or any of the long list of academic references at the end of his book. Nor will you find one, even, in a hadron collider. The best place to find one, it seems, is Arizona.

These friendly Sai Baba followers explain.

“The vortexes in Sedona are swirling centers of subtle energy coming out from the surface of the earth. The vortex energy is not exactly electricity or magnetism, although it does leave a slight measurable residual magnetism in the places where it is strongest.”

Lipton compounds his error when he tries to describe what you would see if you could see an atom:

You would see nothing. In fact, as you focused through the entire structure of the atom, all you would observe is a physical void. The atom has no physical structure — the emperor has no clothes!

Factual error.

Atoms have a physical structure, at least in terms of physics. Or what does Lipton mean by “physical” here? And again, he messes up an analogy — what he is actually saying is that there is no emperor, only clothes.

Remember the atomic models you studied in school, the ones with marbles and ball bearings going around like the solar system?

This will be a revelation for those beastly linear thinking reductionist biologists — the universe is not made out of ball bearings.

….atoms are made out of invisible energy….

Factual error #1 atoms have mass, not merely “energy”.
Factual error #2 if atoms were made of invisible energy, those photons Lipton just mentioned would not do anything visible, would they now?

But the sentence isn’t done yet.

….not tangible matter!

Factual error #3: atoms, if you can get a few of them to stick together, are tangible. If you can get a few to explode that can also be tangible.
Factual error #4: By any sensible definition of matter, atoms are made in part of matter; i.e. particles that take up space.
Factual error #5: Even by an extremely stupid definition of matter, like the one Lipton is about to use below — equating it with mass — matter is tangible.

So in our world, material substance (matter) appears out of thin air.

Factual error.

I think readers can be trusted to spot this one unassisted.

Matter can simultaneously be defined as a solid (particle) and as an immaterial force field (wave).

Factual error #1: “solid” is a meaningless word here. Is a photon, having no mass, solid?
Factual error #2: there can be a wave of matter, but matter cannot be defined as nothing but a wave.
Factual error #3: “matter” is not “immaterial”, because it is, surprisingly enough, matter.

When scientists study the physical properties of atoms, such as mass and weight, they look and act like physical matter.

Factual error.

Well, admittedly the scientists do indeed look and act like physical matter, as the sentence literally says; but being true, it is not what Lipton meant. (He does have a proof reader, but I can forgive her for being a little dazed by this point.) 

Lipton meant of course, that weight is a “physical property”, which it isn’t. It is, rather, a measurement of the force exerted by gravity on something. But at least this is proper high school physics he is getting wrong here, rather than advertising material from Sai Baba followers.

The fact that energy and matter are one and the same is precisely what Einstein recognized when he concluded: E = mc2.

Factual error. An incredibly stupid one even by Lipton’s standards.

Had Einstein wanted to say that energy and matter are one, he would have stopped at E=m. No one makes this mistake… Okay, obviously Lipton just made it. But no one else. Ever.

Simply stated, this equation reveals: Energy (E) = Matter (m, mass) multiplied by the Speed of Light (c)….

Factual error #1: that is not simply stated; it is wrongly stated.
Factual error #2: m stands for mass, not matter; not even if you capitalize the M in matter. Does any other scientist apart from Lipton not know this?

And the sentence isn’t finished yet.

….and then squared.

Factual error #3: if you multiply m by c and then square it you get the wrong answer.

Lipton dedicated this book, incidentally, to Albert Einstein.


Bruce Lipton’s ‘Biology of Belief’ – Annotated With Facts: Part 28 (The illusion of the illusion of matter)

February 3, 2018

Onwards. It starts with a new subheading.

The Illusion of Matter

Once I finally grappled with quantum physics…

Given that Lipton has a PhD, and seriously believes he is contributing to a new science of biology, we are entitled to take him seriously here. “Grappling” can only mean sitting down with a university level physics text book and plowing into it. Maybe he will also be attending some lectures and talking to colleagues in the physics department…..

….Nope. Instead he starts this section by quoting a 1980s book, The Dancing Wu Li Masters, by the New Age author Gary Zukav, who never even studied physics. I’m not having that. So let’s start this section again.


Once I finally grappled with quantum physics…

I’m calling that a factual error.

Under no sane rules of grammar or syntax does reading a book by Gary Zukav equate with “grappling with quantum physics”.

Correction. “Grappled” not grappling. The past tense indicates that Lipton has ceased grappling and now thinks he understands it.

So I think we also need to go right back to the start, to that subheading, and pull the emergency brake right there. It is already clear which cliff Lipton is aiming for, so we can just go straight to it on our own without all his detours.

The Illusion of Matter

The reason that physicists don’t talk like this is the same reason why biologists don’t get into arguments about whether or not horses are big. It’s the same reason why chemists don’t have a column in the periodic table for “invisible”, or “smelly”, or “yikes”.

Saying that matter is an illusion does not mean anything scientifically. It assumes that human perception as an objective measure — an idea that predates the “outdated” Newton by about 2000 years, incidentally. Lipton really needs to keep up.

Furthermore, just because “matter” is made up of atoms, and we can’t see atoms, does not make matter an illusion. I can feel the pressure of my body against the seat I am sitting on. Is that an illusion? (Just as I can feel the regular slapping of my palm hitting my forehead while I am reading this book. Is that also an illusion?)

The air is also invisible, but we can feel it when it moves. But no one would say that the wind is an illusion just because you can’t see it. So why would anyone say that about matter?

More importantly, what does Lipton mean when he refers to “matter”? It’s not a scientific term. Scientists are either very specific about which particles they mean, or they use a term like “stuff” to refer to anything that you are likely to find drifting about on its own or in a clump anywhere in the universe. It could be a subatomic particle or a cloud of dust.

But were someone to say that “stuff is an illusion”, it would immediately be apparent that they are talking nonsense. Which I guess is why Lipton has gone with “matter”. It sounds like it’s scientific; it sounds like it refers to some level of reality; and if you say it is an illusion, it seems to mean something.

And now back to the book. Lipton says that Gary Zukav says that in 1893 a professor of physics said something wrong. Having thus demolished the dominant paradigm, he says that by the early twentieth century:

physicists abandoned their belief in a Newtonian, material universe because they had come to realize that the universe is not made of matter suspended in empty space but energy.

Boom. There it is. So that’s why he is using “matter” — to set it up as a polar opposite to “energy”. (Or maybe a “straw-polar-opposite.”) Matter is made up of atoms, but atoms can be taken apart into ever smaller particles. So there is no matter, “only energy”.

By this logic, we can say that people who learn about bricks cease to believe in buildings.

And need we note that E=mc2 does not say that everything is energy? If it did, it Einstein would have just said E.

Where is Lipton heading with this non-definition of “energy”? All he has said is that energy is not “matter”. He continues:

Quantum physicists discovered that physical atoms are made up of vortices of energy that are constantly spinning and vibrating…

There is something missing there, isn’t there. You might find a vortex in a body of water, that is traveling at a certain speed. That speed could be referred to (and measured) as “energy”. But Lipton is referring to “energy” as if it is the thing in which the vortex is to be found.

I know it is dissatisfying to say that we don’t know what atoms are made of, or particles are made of, or ultimately anything is made of. But deciding to call it “energy” instead of “matter” doesn’t solve anything. Instead it adds a problem. Energy is mass and velocity. Lipton has just left out mass.

As always, having made this kind of error, Lipton has now earned the right to add another one to it, which he promptly and efficiently does.

….each atom is like a wobbly spuming top that radiates energy. Because each atom has its own specific energy signature (wobble)….

Factual error.

Lipton’s definition of energy signature is unusually specific by Lipton’s standards. But Lipton, despite being in some admirable company in using this concept, is the only one using this particular definition. And this is not the only respect in which he is the outlier.

Figure 1 (see below) shows a kind of energy signature for the term “energy signature” — in this case, the frequency of its usage.

Fig. 1 Energy signature frequency (Source)

Here is one usage sample from the relevant literature:

“It appears to be a highly focused aperture in the space-time continuum. Its energy signature matches that of the temporal fragments we observed earlier. However, it is approximately 1.2 million times as intense. I believe this may be the origin of the temporal fragmentation.”

To state it completely clearly, this concept that Dr Bruce Lipton Ph.D has been “grappling” with does not come from quantum physics, but rather from Star Trek.

The concept was further developed in the 1970s and 80s, making intermittent appearances in shows like Stargate and Star Trek TNG, until it was advanced enough to make the transition into the promotional literature of New Age people who read auras.

I suppose that is where he got this idea from.

And now he is trying to insert it into quantum mechanics. To be honest, I don’t think this is going to work very well for him.

….assemblies of atoms (molecules) collectively radiate their own identifying energy patterns. So every material structure in the universe, including you and me, radiates a unique energy signature.

Factual error….. Or something…..

Maybe I need to figure out a new category for this kind of mistake. I wasn’t expecting it. I really don’t know where this is headed. And we are not even half way through the book yet.