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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.

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5 comments

  1. It’s a bunch of twaddle, innit? I think any persuaded readers are just reacting to those trigger words – holistic (good), reductionism (bad), quantum (transcendent), linear (bad), energy (good, spirit, unless it’s negative energy) – and building on prejudices they’ve already absorbed. As long as he keeps sounding like he’s saying “It’s okay, kids, we have the keys to the Matrix; everything is accessible to your mental control; Scientism is falling at last!”, they don’t bother about the meaning of the sentences. I wonder how many come to New Age after rejecting organised religion. I guess just on a random selection of people, it’ll be high. And then I suspect anyone who has really grasped the power of actual science, particularly evolution (which is tougher to get right, even the basics, than most people think), New Age isn’t likely to have much appeal. I suppose some might just get turned off by the ‘meaninglessness’ of it all.

    Anyway, 32 parts in and I’m still loving this well-deserved academic crucifixion, although I can’t help feeling sorry for the twat. I’m starting to contemplate that free will might be an illusion, in which case it’s not his fault!

    I remember commenting on a youtube video of his (or maybe an article of yours about that, I forget) on this Newtonian physics didn’t know about ‘energy’ bullshit. Newton apparently calculated kinetic energy wrongly, as mV (mass x velocity) instead of (mV^2)/2, so I’m pretty sure he was using the concept of energy. But yeah, the verification of chi/xi/prana subtle energy had to wait until Einstein and Bohr…and of course Chopra.

    I keep thinking I want that Quantum – Holistic pentagram thing on a teeshirt. I just can’t decide what to put on the back.


  2. What bothers me more than the misinformation Mr. Lipton creates is the severe waste of time the idiot is creating. For every chunk of bullshit a he pulls from his asshole it takes a lot of energy to get things back on track again.

    He’s either an opportunistic predator or amazingly stupid. Gee, I wonder which one it is?


  3. @misterzippyblog–

    My bet is on Lipton being partially unwittingly a predator, who is partially unwitting because he is amazingly stupid.

    When I started this series, I expected to learn some science myself while correcting him. But he even gets the erroneous New Age version of science wrong, as well as gravely misrepresenting his own completely wrong ideas.

    @Lettersquash–

    You wrote:
    “he keeps sounding like he’s saying “It’s okay, kids, we have the keys to the Matrix; everything is accessible to your mental control…”

    There’s a reason he keeps sounding like that. Here’s Lipton in 2012:

    “The movie The Matrix is a great story that says that what they’re creating is a, a world where they turn people into batteries, units of power, and what we really have to recognize is that we are creators ourselves, and we’re all powerful except for our belief systems which undermine our power and we’ve all been programmed to believe that we are less powerful than we are and as a result, we manifest this and as an unfortunate point now we’re victims of our own belief systems and that’s why there’s this great upheaval right now because new beliefs are entering from every area of science right now and it’s just being held back by the people that don’t want to see the change.”

    I confess to finding this a wonderful compliment — “well-deserved academic crucifixion”. Someone had to do it. And there are only another 97 pages to go…

    “although I can’t help feeling sorry for the twat.”

    You are more compassionate than me. I don’t feel anger or frustration anymore more, so much as a deep existential incredulity.

    “I’m starting to contemplate that free will might be an illusion, in which case it’s not his fault!”

    I do accept that free will is an illusion, and see the brain as a sensitive ecology that needs to be handled with care. And I see Lipton as someone who is spewing toxic waste into people’s brains, coded into the letters of the alphabet.

    I was worried about dealing with his ideas on quantum physics because I’m still at the ‘pendulums and balls rolling down a slope’ stage of comprehension. I wasn’t expecting to be dealing with a pentagram of fixed points in euclidean space.

    Didn’t Newton work with the idea of force or something? Or was that Galileo?


  4. Yes, and you’ve given me an idea for the back of my teeshirt – “Lipton: the SI unit of farce”. The only problem being that this unit is so enormous, most human-scale farcical phenomena, like Trump tweets, will be measured in micro-Liptons at best. Over time, I suggest, this should replace older, local units, like the Asian Chopra, or the (little used) imperial Sheldrake.


  5. Maybe scientific ideas can be measured in Anti-Liptons — particles that cannot exist in the same dimension as a Lipton.

    I’m having my third or fourth run at the next post. After trying to march through it more rapidly, I am now remembering why it was that I decided to end this post half way through a sentence. Like thinking you’re stuck in mud, and then realizing it’s quicksand.



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