Bruce Lipton’s ‘Biology of Belief’ – Annotated With Facts: Part 37 (Modern medicine and Newton’s inverse-square law of gravity)

May 28, 2018

So far we’ve covered 109 pages (just over half the book) in 36 posts — a rate of slightly more than 3 pages per post. In 3 pages, Lipton writes about 950 words. In one post, I write about 1500 words. That means that just to correct his errors, I am exceeding Lipton’s word count here by about a third. That’s not too bad, given the extraordinary number of compound errors that, like hornets nests, lie in wait for the unwary reviewer to kick their foot into.

But now I am going to have to double back and pick up some issues that I didn’t think worth dealing with last time. I try where possible to skip over any tangential stupidity that Lipton’s stream of consciousness has randomly tossed up, but they often turn out to be central to his argument after all.

Last time I skipped some things that are utterly irrelevant to his case. But I now realize that his readers will think supports his case. So I will need to back track one page.

Luckily, however, thanks to Lipton’s chaotic “quantum” approach, continuity is not going to suffer. This is on page 108, before the passages dealt with in the previous post.

Though I stress the need to apply the principles of quantum mechanics in bioscience. I’m not advocating that medicine throw out the valuable lessons they have learned using the principles of Isaac Newton. The newer laws of quantum mechanics do not negate the results of classical physics. The planets are still moving in paths that were predicted by Newton’s mathematics.

What on earth is Lipton talking about here? Comments are open for people to school me on how Newton’s inverse-square law of gravitation influenced modern medicine. Last time it was “invisible forces” (including visible light) “profoundly impacting” your metabolism; now it’s modern medicine learning “valuable lessons” from Newtonian cosmology.

The difference between the two physics is that quantum mechanics more specifically applies to molecular and atomic realms while Newtonian laws apply to higher levels of organization, such as organ systems, people or populations of people.

Factual error. I think. Lipton should be talking about the laws of chemistry or biochemistry, not gravitation, for heaven’s sake. This shows just how absurd his dichotomy between “Newtonian” and “quantum” medicine is.

The manifestation of a disease, such as cancer, may show up at a macro level when you can see and feel a tumor. However, the processes that instigated the cancer were initiated at the molecular level within the affected progenitor cells.

Lipton of course is implying that if only the medical establishment had embraced modern physics, we might have technology for early detection of cancers — which of course already exist, because contrary to Lipton’s claims,  modern medicine has embraced modern physics. And also maybe treatments like chemotherapy — which of course already exists because contrary to Lipton’s claims modern medicine has embraced modern physics.

In fact, most biological dysfunctions (except injuries due to physical trauma) start at the level of a cell’s molecules and ions. Hence the need for a biology that integrates both quantum and Newtonian mechanics.

Lipton is doing a good job here of promoting Newtonian mechanics for modern medicine, but I fear his pleas will fall on deaf ears. The traditionalist, materialist mechanist reductionist medical establishment is still struggling to integrate Galileo’s studies of balls rolling down a slope.

There have, thankfully, been some visionary biologists who have advocated this integration. More than forty years ago the renowned Nobel Prize-winning physiologist Albert Szent-Gyorgyi published a book called Introduction to a Submolecular Biology. [Szent-Gyorgyi 1960] His text was a noble effort to educate the community of life scientists about the importance of quantum physics in biological systems. Unfortunately, his traditional peers, who considered the book to be the ravings of a once brilliant but now senile old man, merely lamented the “loss” of their former colleague.

Factual error #1: The implication that Szent-Gyorgyi was talking about Liptonian quantum physics is false.

Factual error #2: The idea that Szent-Gyorgyi was ignored, or dismissed as senile is untrue. What did happen to him, however, is that a wealthy patron who had been sponsoring his research in his later years died, and he refused to submit the necessary paperwork to apply for government grants. He work dealt in part with the spurious notion that vitamin C (which he won his Nobel Prize for isolating) can cure cancer. 

And what was Szent-Gyorgyi’s book about anyway? Lipton doesn’t say a word about it, other than to imply it supports his thesis, which it clearly does not. It is not even on the topic of his thesis.

Biologists in the main have still not recognized the importance of Szent-Gyorgyi’ s book…

Factual error. All I can do here is quote the rapacious if not extortionate and very mainstream academic publisher Elsevier, offering to sell you a copy and advising:
This publication is a good source for biochemists, biologists, and specialists aiming to acquire basic knowledge of submolecular biology.”

…but research suggests that sooner or later they will have to because the weight of scientific evidence is toppling the old materialist paradigm.

Factual error. Lipton’s dichotomy of a “quantum paradigm” and a “Newtonian/materialist paradigm” is, as frequently noted, entirely bogus. Modern medicine has of course embraced quantum physics.

You recall the movements of protein molecules that are the stuff of life? Scientists have tried to predict those movements using the principles of Newtonian physics, to no avail. By now, I bet you can guess why: in 2000, an article by V. Pophristic and L. Goodman in the journal Nature revealed that the laws of quantum physics, not Newtonian laws, control a molecule’s life-generating movements. [Pophristic and Goodman 2001]

Factual error. None of this supports Lipton’s thesis. Furthermore, it further confirms that quantum physics is being integrated into biology as the discoveries roll in. Lipton is merely irritated by the fact that biologists don’t leap onto a bandwagon and throw out their entire supposed “paradigm”.

Reviewing this ground-breaking study for Nature, biophysicist F. Weinhold concluded: “When will chemistry textbooks begin to serve as aids, rather than barriers, to this enriched quantum-mechanic perspective on how molecular turnstiles work?” He further emphasized: “What are the forces that control the twisting and folding of molecules into complex shapes? Don’t look for the answers in your organic chemistry textbook.” [Weinhold 2001]

Again, none of this supports the case Lipton is trying to make. And, again, the fact that this call for integration of new research into text books is published in Nature demonstrates that this is all normal fare for scientific progress.

Yet organic chemistry provides the mechanistic foundation for biomedicine; and as Weinhold notes, that branch of science is so far out of date that its textbooks have yet to recognize quantum mechanics. Conventional medical researchers have no understanding of the molecular mechanisms that truly provide for life.

Lipton’s concept of “life” is a vitalistic one, of the kind which was researched and searched for by scientists for 300 years. Ultimately the idea was discarded because no one found anything like a “vital force” in the manner of electricity or magnetism. Unlike the latter two, the concept bore no fruit whatsoever for biology.

Most importantly, to repeat the point, none of this supports Lipton’s case — which is not that quantum physics needs to be integrated into biology and which is happening anyway; instead, Lipton is in fact claiming that quantum physics contains no math, includes relativity theory (which he also gets entirely wrong), and simply refers to anything slightly complex. This is the “New Biology” that Lipton imagines himself to be heralding.


  1. Hi Yakaru,

    ‘Comments are open for people to school me on how Newton’s inverse-square law of gravitation influenced modern medicine. Last time it was “invisible forces” (including visible light) “profoundly impacting” your metabolism; now it’s modern medicine learning “valuable lessons” from Newtonian cosmology.’

    I’d be glad to bring you up to speed on this. Newton, as everyone knows, discovered gravity when an apple fell on his head, which, due to the high concentrations of vitamin C soaking directly into the brain, gave Newton the mental agility to figure stuff out that nobody had before. By a long, complicated web of events you don’t need to worry about, this also eventually led to the important medical saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”…and a lot of apple-scented shampoos.

    It is said that if you threw an apple hard enough it would come around and hit you in the back of the head, which would be a stupid thing to do, but demonstrates the deep connection between apples and gravity. Also, it’s the fruit of the tree of knowledge.

  2. Thanks @Lettersquash. These insights have now been immortalized above the line in the next post.


    My only reservation about the possibility that this is what Newton was thinking, is that this level of reasoning would have been far too complex for such a linear thinker as Newton. This looks to me more like quantum-holistic thinking, which has only been possible since 1905. But I guess it would become possible if we conceive of time as circular. His biographers certainly describe him as the kind of person who would use apple-scented shampoo.

  3. ‘This looks to me more like quantum-holistic thinking, which has only been possible since 1905.’

    Well spotted. This involves some of the web of complex events I didn’t want to confuse you with. “Newtonian” refers to linear thinking, reductionism and using the scientific method, and is righly an insult these days. No progress in human culture could take place without its opposite, quantum-holism.

    But the advent of quantum-holistic thinking in 1905 ushered in relativity, uncertainty and worm-holes in the spacetime continuum, and it seems likely that Newton received his unusual powers of insight through such a worm-hole, from the post-Einstein period. The same is probably true of all rare geniuses, from Archimedes (who may have used apple-scented shampoo in the bath) to Robert the Bruce (no relation), inventor of spiders.

    Hope that helps.

  4. Ah, I should have thought of that. It is true that the ancients already knew the whole of modern science. And Lipton has already said that the ancient Chinese knew quantum physics. I guess it all slipped back out through the same cosmic wormholes it had come through, until the era of Einstein and Zukav.

  5. Yes, you were on the right track with circular time. I think Lipton would agree that the biblical story of the Fall is a metaphor for the first major loss of quantum-holism from the world, introducing the knowledge of good and evil, i.e. linear thinking (and is literally true). Although yin and yang are a pair of opposites, they spin into each other in the yin-yang symbol, representing quantum entanglement. If more proof were needed, see Niels Bohr’s coat of arms. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niels_Bohr#/media/File:Coat_of_Arms_of_Niels_Bohr.svg What goes around comes around. Fruit flies like a banana.

  6. Well Bohr would have used Lipton’s holistic quantum hexagram for his coat of arms had he lived long enough to see it!

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