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 It assumes that human perception as an objective measure — an idea that predates the “outdated” Newton by about 2000 years, incidentally.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.


  1. Stop it, ma sides canny take any moor, Captain!

    Lipton has been grappling with QM like these guys studied the historical documents. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wXDnJt3cUI

  2. Hi Yakaru, I think the phrase you are looking for in the last paragraph is “Not even wrong” courtesy of Wolfgang Pauli. https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Not_even_wrong

  3. @lettersquash,
    Ha– Galaxy Quest is probably closer than anything else to what Lipton is doing!

    I just checked Lipton’s extensive list of references. the only physics book is that popular physics book by Pagels, and he only read that sitting on a plane. He must have gotten all his “physics” from New Age magazines and Zukav.

    Thanks — that’s probably where this lands. I once used ‘fractal wrongness’ for Lipton (from rational wiki– “the state of being wrong at every conceivable scale of resolution”), but this one seems to have transcended even that!

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