Archive for the ‘Bruce Lipton’ Category

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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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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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Bruce Lipton’s ‘Biology of Belief’ – Annotated With Facts: Part 49 (The whole of science is an anomaly that Lipton ignores)

February 11, 2019

In the previous post had presented us with an anomaly that scientists “ignore” — a single, poorly documented case from the 1950s which scientists didn’t ignore. They just didn’t have enough data to know what happened, and the “miraculous” healing couldn’t be reproduced by anyone, even the person who initially supposedly performed it.

He is about to follow that with an even vaguer case from the late 1800s where someone drank water laced with cholera and didn’t die. But before rejecting the entire germ theory of disease, he is about to attack science again.

Unfortunately, scientists most often deny rather than embrace exceptions.

It is laughable on two counts that Lipton says scientists “ignore anomalies”: they don’t; and Lipton does. And the anomaly which Lipton ignores is the whole of science.

My favorite example of scientific denial of the reality of mind-body interactions relates to an article that appeared in [the journal] Science about nineteenth-century German physician, Robert Koch, who along with Pasteur founded the Germ Theory.

Before we go any further, let us note a few things about Robert Koch (1843-1910). His achievements include discovering a way to isolate pure bacterial cultures, having already discovered the necessity of isolating them to better research infectious diseases. He successfully identified the anthrax bacillus — linking for the first time a specific microorganism to a specific disease. He discovered the cause of tuberculosis, correctly identifying the bacterium. His proposed cure failed (disastrously) but could at least be used as an effective diagnostic tool. He discovered the bacterium that causes cholera, traveling to Egypt and India, of course at great personal risk. Anyone who has not had any of these diseases probably has Koch to thank for it.

But instead of telling his readers any of that, Lipton laughs at him for ignoring “body-mind interactions”.

The Germ Theory holds that bacteria and viruses are the cause of disease. That theory is widely accepted now, but in Koch’s day it was more controversial.

Widely accepted”? How about universally accepted by all those people who either don’t want to die, or who don’t want to watch their patients die. It is rejected by many alternative medicine practitioners who don’t like the idea that a bacilli affect everyone indiscriminately, commoners and kings, alcoholics and teetotalers, atheists and New Age people who are allergic to cell phones and microwave ovens.

One of Koch’s critics was so convinced that the Germ Theory was wrong that he brazenly wolfed down a glass of water laced with vibrio cholerae, the bacteria Koch believed caused cholera.

Factual error: Koch didn’t “believe” this, rather he had done the work to demonstrate that this pathogen is indeed the cause of cholera — whether you believe it is or not.

To everyone’s astonishment, the man was completely unaffected by the virulent pathogen.

I have no idea who this man was. Lipton doesn’t say, and the article cited is behind a paywall. (Dr Bruce, don’t do this if you’re writing a popular science book!) Koch certainly had his opponents and detractors, and maybe this incident happened. Something along these lines seemed to have happened. The only case I can find of anyone drinking water laced with cholera was Koch himself doing it, to try to give himself a mild case of the disease before he’d discovered the cause. I don’t think this is what Lipton means, but he has made far stupider mistakes than that, so who knows?

The Science article published in 2000 describing the incident stated: “For unexplained reasons he remained symptom free, but nevertheless incorrect.” [DiRita 2000]

The man survived and Science, reflecting the unanimity of opinion on the Germ Theory, had the audacity to say his criticism was incorrect? If it is claimed that this bacterium is the cause of cholera and the man demonstrates that he is unaffected by the germs. . .how can he be “incorrect?”

This is what I mean by the whole of science being an anomaly for Lipton that he ignores. It is odd for someone with a Ph.D in science to be acting like this. Firstly, the science saying cholera is caused by this bacterium is good. If there are exceptions, let’s see them! And if you think there are real exceptions, and, let’s say, you have a Ph.D in cell biology, then why don’t you study these and PRESENT them? Instead, Lipton prefers to present his work to Hay House Publishing rather than peer reviewed journals.

Instead of trying to figure out how the man avoided the dreaded disease, scientists blithely dismiss this and other embarrassing “messy” exceptions that spoil their theories.

Their “theories” that have saved 100s of millions of lives, including, probably, Lipton’s stupid undeserving ass as well.

Remember the “dogma” that genes control biology?

Remember, that this is a dogma that is entirely invented by Lipton, which is why the phrase itself (genes control biology) is vague and meaningless.

Here is another example in which scientists, bent on establishing the validity of their truth, ignore pesky exceptions. The problem is that there cannot be exceptions to a theory; exceptions simply mean that a theory is not fully correct.

Again, for Lipton the whole of science is an anomaly that he ignores. Read any science paper. Exceptions are the bread and butter of science.

Lipton equates “theory” with “dogma” — which is exactly what his theories are. But in science, theory doesn’t only mean hypothesis. Aerodynamic theory is not ‘the theory that planes can fly’, but rather how best to make a plane fly, or why a bird’s wing takes a particular shape, etc.

Lipton thinks he has a better way of dealing with cholera than the World Health Organisation currently has its disposal, but instead of saying any more about this signature claim, we get this:

A current example of a reality that challenges the established beliefs of science concerns the ancient religious practice of fire-walking.

This is exactly the logic that Lipton is serving up his readers in this book: If you can walk across hot coals, you can also drink cholera infected water and not die.

Seekers gather together daily to stretch the realms of conventional awareness by walking across beds of hot coals. Measurement of the stone’s temperature and duration of exposure are enough to cause medically relevant burns on the feet, yet thousands of participants emerge from the process totally unscathed.

Factual error #1: hot coals are not stones.

Factual error #2: their temperature at the point of contact is not hot enough to burn the feet, which is makes this a nice party trick, as long as you get the right kind of wood, and make the path no more than about 10 meters, then everything is fine. Wrong kind of wood and people burn their feet. (I’ve seen that happen in Australia.) Add a few meters to the path with the right kind of wood and even experienced and very mind-over-mattery-people burn their feet too.

Before you jump to the conclusion that the coals were not really not that hot, consider the numbers of participants who waver in their beliefs and get scalded walking across the same bed of coals.

Factual error: the physics is well understood and not mysterious at all. Radiant heat can be very hot; but direct contact with the wood itself doesn’t transmit so much at all, as long the contact is brief. Again, the science is an anomaly that Lipton ignores.

Similarly, science is unambiguous about its claim that the HIV virus causes AIDS. But it has no conception as to why large numbers of individuals that have been infected with the virus for decades do not express the disease?

Factual error #1: nitpicking, but genes are or are not expressed. Lipton is trying to use fancy terminology and gets it wrong.

Factual error #2: there is no mystery here. At least as far as I understand it, it depends on how the immune system is affected, and which pathogens a sufferer comes into contact with.

Lipton is implying that ‘mind over matter’ plays some kind of a role, somehow, but couldn’t be bothered saying how.

More baffling is the reality of terminal cancer patients who have recovered their lives through spontaneous remissions.

Note the wording, making it sound as if the patients somehow managed to cause their spontaneous remission.

Because such remissions are outside the bounds of conventional theory, science completely disregards the fact that they ever happened.

Factual error. there are plenty of studies. A moment’s thought helps one realise that it’s difficult to get data accurate enough to be used in a proper study. Estimates of frequency vary wildly, reflecting this obvious difficulty.

Spontaneous remissions are dismissed as unexplainable exceptions to our current truths or simply, misdiagnoses.

Factual error. See studies in the above link.

Lipton has not even bothered to make a case for mind over matter in any of these cases. Yet that is the subject of his book.

That is a rather serious deficit here isn’t it, Dr Lipton.

And that deficit only gets worse, as we will see in the next post.

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Bruce Lipton’s ‘Biology of Belief’ – Annotated With Facts: Part 48 (Lipton switches the laws of physics for the laws of grammar)

February 6, 2019

And so, back to Lipton. Sigh. Sharp objects removed from table.

We left Lipton flailing about in the 17th century and inviting us to join him. He continues:

The reality of a quantum universe reconnects what Descartes took apart.

Nope. As we saw last time, Descartes argued that the soul was non-material but could act directly upon the (material, physical) body, by transmitting its will to the pineal gland. That is, Descartes in fact argued that the two are indeed *connected*. That was the whole point of his philosophy here.

Yes, the mind (energy) arises from the physical body, just as Descartes thought.

No. Descartes explicitly did NOT think that. In fact he staked his life on NOT thinking that — in order to avoid the Inquisition.

Moreover, NO ONE in the 17th century thought anything like that! Lipton is a fucking idiot.

And even more moreover, he is on the wrong track completely with his unsupported assertion (as usual stated bluntly as if it has already been established as a fact by someone or other), that the mind is “energy”. This is a simple straight forward categorical error. If anything, mind is information — dependent on the way matter is organised — not energy. What the brain DOES involves energy, but the subjective experience involves information — the particular *configuration* of that energy. Otherwise your fingernails growing is also a mindful experience.

(The distinction is important. Energy can’t be destroyed, but ‘information’ in this sense can be increased, deleted, altered without being conserved.)

However, our new understanding of the Universe’s mechanics shows us how the physical body can be affected by the immaterial mind.

No it does not.

Thoughts, the mind’s energy…

Rather a lot of things, which have already been conflated with other things, are now being conflated with each other here.

Two sentences ago Lipton conflated the mind itself with energy. Now thoughts are that energy, and are connected to this mind, not by the laws of physics as Lipton claims he can manage, but by the laws of grammar — in particular a possessive pronoun.

So the ‘non-physical’ mind (some kind of non-physical energy) ‘has’ thoughts (some kind of sub-order of energy or something)… Okay, what about it?

Thoughts, the mind’s energy, directly influence how the physical brain controls the body’s physiology.

Well, um, we now the brain does control many aspects of physiology — the pineal controlling sleep patterns, the pituitary controlling a bunch of other glands, etc. But does thought “directly influence” this? And if so, in what ways, when? Or, WTF is Lipton talking about exactly?

Thought “energy” can activate or inhibit the cell’s function-producing proteins via the mechanics of constructive and destructive interference, described in the previous chapter.

God’s Third Law of the Divine Possessive Pronoun has now decreed that it is the thoughts themselves that “have” the energy. Ok, I’m fine with that. Did Einstein say something about that? Or was it Lamarck…

And it “activates or inhibits” the “function-producing proteins” of a particular cell. And what are function-producing proteins? This video will explain it every bit as well as Lipton does. (Joke.)

That’s right — it’s another Lipton-invented term masquerading as a “believe me — I have a PhD and this is real science” term. He offers absolutely no evidence for whatever the fuck he is talking about here. And it’s a central claim of this book. He is selling this to his readers as a cancer cure. He has offered many dozens of citations: often extremely complex biochemistry papers to support irrelevant points. He offered quantum physics and gave us grammar. He offers a cancer cure and doesn’t even bother to give anything at all.

Despite the discoveries of quantum physics, the mind-body split in Western medicine still prevails.

And he even gets this completely wrong, even journeying all the way back to the 1700s to do it.

Scientists have been trained to dismiss cases like the boy above who used his mind to heal a genetically “mandated” disease, as quirky anomalies.

A baseless, unsupported, absurd, slanderous and hilariously stupid and ignorant assertion. It demonstrates that Lipton was paying as little attention in his biology classes as he was when he was trying to read Ryle, or that poor physicist Heinz Pagels whose book “changed his life” when he completely misunderstood what it said.

I believe, on the contrary, that scientists should embrace the study of these anomalies.

Every research paper ever published is concerned in one way or another with studying an anomaly. It is not an understatement to say that Lipton has entirely misunderstood the entirety of science.

Buried in exceptional cases are the roots of a more powerful understanding of the nature of life— “more powerful” because the principles behind these exceptions trump established “truths.”

Fine, but “exceptional cases” are useless to science unless the raw data has been accurately and rigorously collected. A badly reported anecdote of a case in 1950 is of little to no scientific value. Is that all Lipton has got? Yep. That and the magical grammar of possessive pronouns…. And of course the usual assertion-as-fact method of frauds everywhere:

The fact is…

Nope. Let’s reword this to accurately reflect what Lipton has actually offered up here.

“The assertion-presented-as-fact, and only supported by a cheesy anecdote from 1950 is…”

…that harnessing the power of your mind can be more effective….

CAN BE? CAN BE? He hasn’t even established that!

…than the drugs you have been programmed to believe you need.

Are Lipton’s really duped into believing what he wants them to believe here? That there is precisely as little evidence for “drugs” as what he has just presented in support of his case?

Clearly they are duped by this, though they were put to sleep first while having each trigger word or buzz word whispered into their ear with not-so-subtle product placement.

Of course, it is Lipton who programs his readers to believe they don’t need modern medicine because their thoughts send energy waves that amplify or inhibit the waves that emanate somehow from their “function-producing proteins”.

Maybe not quite certain how this sounds to his readers, Lipton assures them:

The research I discussed in the last chapter found that energy is a more efficient means of affecting matter than chemicals.

No — it asserted that just as stupidly as done here, and didn’t bother to even try to explain how “thoughts” “also” “affect” the supposed “energy waves”.

After bucket loads of irrelevant technical bluster, either totally wrong, totally irrelevant, or both, Lipton has given up and is just making blunt, stupid assertions. His case is collapsing, or rather, not even being made. Worse, he doesn’t seem to know what his case would be if he did try to make it.

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Bruce Lipton’s ‘Biology of Belief’ – Annotated With Facts: Part 47 (Lipton gets wrong spiritual ideas wrong again)

January 19, 2019

I really do have some posts on other subjects in the works which will be up “soon”. I just noticed that this post is my 200th post here. It is also, I’m a little embarrassed to note, the 47th on Bruce Lipton. In my defense I can note there is no other critical coverage of this dangerous quack beyond the occasional single post from skeptics who rarely get past a cursory glance and statement that his work is flawed, before backing away from it slowly and then bolting for the exit.

Again, we will only get through a couple of sentences today. Unfortunately Lipton gets himself in such a muddle that I will have to step in and explain the idea that I think he is trying to explain, before turning to the string of bizarre and baffling statements he makes on the issue.

Lipton wants to say that in the 17th Century, Descartes declared that the body is a machine. Humans have a soul that exists in a divine realm that is entirely non-material. Animals, having no soul, are mere machines, and nature is a realm that is utterly separate and alien to the divine. Similarly, Newton’s theory of universal gravitation conclusively demolished the old Aristotelian idea that the heavens were governed by different laws than those on earth. Such explanations made it possible to conceive of a universe where God played no active role in the day to day running of things. They had effectively banished God, or ‘the divine’ from nature.

From there it was but a small step to deny the existence of God or any divine or supernatural forces altogether.

It was not that the existence of divine beings or ‘supernatural’ forces had been disproven by science, but rather, there was simply no place for them in the world conception wrought by Descartes and Newton. The instruments of science are simply too blunt, it is argued, to detect the presence of anything divine.

That is what Lipton, as far as I can tell, has been trying to say.

And now, to his attempt to say it. I will quote the next passage, and then go over it step by step by misstep by pole-vault from the back of a motorbike into toxic sludge.

The non-physical mind envisioned by Descartes was popularly defined as the “Ghost in the Machine” by Gilbert Ryle fifty years ago in his book The Concept of Mind. [Ryle 1949] Traditional bio-medicine, whose science is based on a Newtonian matter-only universe, embraced Descartes’ separation of mind and body. Medically speaking, it would be far easier to fix a mechanical body without having to deal with its meddling “ghost.”

Lipton displays a truly remarkable gift for conciseness here. Few people — and I mean this sincerely — could manage to pack so much error and confused misunderstanding into such a tightly worded statement.

But Lipton is also doing something really weird here. Ryle did indeed publish The Concept of Mind in 1949, and did indeed coin the term “ghost in the machine” to describe Descartes’ conception of the soul. But Ryle argued that this conception was wrong. In other words, that mind and body are not separate. And medical science seems, in general, to have agreed. In other words, medical science did not “embrace Descartes’ separation of mind and body” as Lipton weirdly claims. And nor, as Lipton implies, did Ryle.

Having wrongly stated that medical science embraced Descartes’ ghost in the machine, in the very next sentence, he says medical science rejected it.

I’m tempted to write “Go figure”, but that would be a lazy capitulation. Instead, I will make the assertion that Lipton is simply babbling randomly about half-remembered ideas that he has picked up from somewhere.

Then he accuses medical science of rejecting this idea (which they also embrace) purely out of laziness and dogma. Coming from a lazy, dogmatic and irresponsible numbskull like Dr Lipton, this is really a bit much.

The second sentence:

Traditional bio-medicine, whose science is based on a Newtonian matter-only universe…

We can calmly note here:

Factual error #1: the ridiculous term “traditional bio-medicine” is meant sarcastically by Lipton — he means to imply it is based on dogmatism. (Of course, if it really was based on tradition, like Chinese Medicine, he would be praising it.)

Factual error #2: Newtonian physics was not “matter only”; at least not in the sense Lipton means it. It was Descartes, not Newton, who had a theory of matter that saw atoms as being kind of “matter only”, like billiard balls cannoning randomly off each other; all reactions depending on the dynamics of direct contact. But Newtonian gravitation occurs without any need for direct contact of the kind prescribed by Descartes. For this reason , this ‘spooky action at a distance’ was roundly rejected by adherents of Descartes’ physics.

Moreover, in what ways does Lipton think modern medicine is “based” on Newtonian physics? Does he mean medicine is based on gravity? I’d count that as a plus, personally. Does Lipton object to the wave theory of light, or the use of calculus? (Or maybe the reflecting telescope has upset him — who knows?)

Newton was also a fanatical Christian, at least in private, and thought that God intervenes in the universe to give the solar system a push or a knock when it starts to get out of whack. In short, Newton used a ‘God-of-the-gaps’ to take care of the anomalies in his calculations for planetary movements. I doubt Lipton would object this approach, given how often he uses it himself.

And the sentence isn’t finished yet:

…[traditional bio-medicine…] embraced Descartes’ separation of mind and body.

This is especially stupid from Lipton. Firstly, Descartes’ did not talk about ‘mind’, but rather, a disembodied, non-material and immortal *soul*. Descartes designed his entire system to accord with Catholic philosophy, while also trying to keep a door open to science in a manner that wouldn’t get him burned at the stake. I really don’t think Lipton means to imply that modern medicine believes that the soul is immortal. But this is what he has wound up saying.

Medically speaking, it would be far easier to fix a mechanical body without having to deal with its meddling “ghost.”

Does he mean that medicine accepted the existence of this ghost and then decided to ignore it? He clearly hasn’t bothered to check anything or even to try to get his story straight before starting to babble.

All I can do here is just repeat that science did not embrace Descartes’ dualism; rather it demolished it. And quite swiftly. Descartes said that the pineal gland is supported by fine threads, which enable to buzz and vibrate according to the ‘winds of the spirit’, a little, perhaps, like a spider in the middle of its web swaying in the breeze. But anatomical studies had already demonstrated that the anatomy of the pineal is not like that at all. Descartes just hadn’t been keeping up with the research, and was a poor anatomist himself.

Likewise, Descartes said only humans have a pineal and therefore only humans have a soul. Had he looked a little more carefully he would have found what others swiftly detected: many animals have a pineal gland.

Furthermore, the conception of billiard-ball-like atoms cannoning randomly off each other was quickly supplanted by the foundational ideas of modern chemistry. Atoms were found to be not inert and reactive as Descartes imagined, but possessing forces and properties of their own — an idea whose origins could be found in alchemy.

It is in fact Lipton who has adopted not only the mind/body split inherited from Descartes, but even the atomic theory of Descartes, that was never widely accepted, and was swiftly rendered untenable by science at least 300 years ago.

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Bruce Lipton’s ‘Biology of Belief’ – Annotated With Facts: Part 46 (In which I click publish before thinking of a title)

January 11, 2019

I really do have some other posts in the pipeline; some good ones, even. But for now, it’s back to Lipton Central.

Incredibly we’ve made it to Chapter Five. This is an average of about two and a half pages per post, with each post being about 1500 words. This adds up to about 65,000 words, or a book of about 270 pages. That includes the quotations from Lipton, but he has only written 33,000 in his entire book so far. I have written probably two thirds more just correcting the worst and stupidest errors, than he has so far.

We are on page 120, but the book actually started on page 10. The first ten pages were filled with acknowledgements. I decided not to burden readers with any of these, but I will note now that it includes the following:

The Muses of Science: I am indebted to the spirits of science, for I am fully aware that forces outside of myself have guided me in bringing this message to the world. Special blessings to my heroes, Jean-Baptiste de Monet de Lamarck and Albert Einstein, for their world-changing spiritual and scientific contributions.

Lamarck does not deserve Lipton’s blessings. He suffered enough in his life. And Lipton did him the insult of mistakenly attributing some of Darwin’s ideas to him. As for associating himself with Einstein, we recall that Lipton’s four or five attempts at saying what E=mc2 means (in the simplest of terms) all failed.

As for the “external forces” that guided Lipton in “bringing his message tot he world”, all I can do is ask them what exactly his message is. I can’t make head or tail of it, and I hope they think a little more carefully before they do something like this again.

And with a deep breath, we dive into the foaming sludge that is Chapter 5: Biology and Belief.

We can quickly skip through the opening story. In 1952 a certain Dr Albert Mason used hypnosis to treat a boy who had warts. The warts went away, and then Mason heard that the boy had been suffering from an incurable genetic condition called ichthyosis.

Everyone was excited, and Mason gained an entire career out of it, but he couldn’t cure anyone else suffering from it; nor from anything much else. Lipton explains his subsequent failure as being due to expectation creating a different attitude, which doesn’t work for healing incurable genetic illnesses. He does not consider the freaking goddam obvious, that the boy’s initial diagnosis had been mistaken.

But let’s be generous and allow the hypothetical miracle to stand. What advancements followed from it? Zip. Zero. Nada. Why not? Nobody in the alternative health industry — not a soul — has even bothered to try to find out. They have been too busy babbling about their one success. Who needs proof, after all, when you’ve got a good marketing department instead?

By reversing the symptoms using “only” the power of the mind, Mason and the boy had accomplished what had until that time been considered impossible.

But it is still considered impossible, as no one bothered to check if that’s really what happened, or even granting it was a remarkable cure, how exactly it worked. This does not occur to Lipton who is still too busy babbling about it 50 yeas later to even think about that.

How is it possible that the mind can override genetic programming, as it did in the case above? The New Biology suggests some answers to those questions.

Ah, I stand corrected! This book is supposed to be the foundation stone of the New Biology, so what’s he got?

We saw in the last chapter that matter and energy are entangled.

Factual error #1: we did not see that in the last chapter.

Factual error #2: they are not entangled.

The logical corollary….

….of a stupid pig-ignorant error will be further stupid pig-ignorant errors. To wit:

….is that the mind (energy) and body (matter) are similarly bound…

Okay, I was wrong. Lipton has thrown in a few extra pig-ignorant errors that are not logical corollaries.

Let me just take a moment to say something out loud and transcribe it here: what a fucking idiot this Lipton is.

He refers here, clearly and specifically and unequivocally and non-metaphorically to “energy” — the concept from physics. And he equates it with mind. Let that sink in.

His equally stupid and dangerous but less educated colleague Rhonda Byrne thinks that gravity and love are literally the same things. Now Lipton thinks that mind and energy are the same things.

What an idiot. What a stupid idiot. What a fool.

And the sentence is still wobbling on down the track.

…though Western medicine has tried valiantly to separate them for hundreds of years.

What does Lipton mean by this? Modern science would perhaps be better characterised as trying to unify body and mind, surely.

In the seventeenth century, Rene Descartes dismissed the idea that the mind influences the physical character of the body.

Excuse me? What? I haven’t read Descartes closely. Maybe he has some writings about this, but Lipton doesn’t mention any.

I can only assume that Lipton has completely misunderstood Descartes, who actually said the complete opposite of this. He did have soul and body separate, and saw the body as a machine, in a quite literal sense. He also indeed saw the soul as entirely immaterial and separate. But he claimed the soul could influence the body via the pineal gland, which he believed was anatomically suspended on fine threads, and so could resonate with the subtle winds of the spirit.

The anatomy of the pineal gland reveals no such threads, and the search for the ‘seat of soul’ in the brain continued for a few hundred years more. (Indeed some serious neuroscientists are still looking for it.)

Funnily, however, the idea of the pineal gland was attractive and marketable enough for it to be picked up by Madam Blavatsky in the mid 1800s and adopted into the canon of theosophy, where it was associated with the 6th chakra. It is still popular today in New Age spiritual teachings as well, despite being derived from the hated materialist, Descartes.

Descartes’ notion was that the physical body was made out of matter and the mind was made out of an unidentified, but clearly immaterial substance.

Yep. A passably factual statement. Goodness me.

Because he couldn’t identify the nature of the mind, Descartes left behind an irresolvable philosophical conundrum: since only matter can affect matter, how can an immaterial mind be “connected” to a material body?

Completely wrong. Descartes proposed a very fancy and complicated psychology for the nature of the soul and how it converts non-physical thoughts into physical actions. (See above.)

Lipton seems to be making this up. And why the hell is he even talking about Descartes anyway, for god’s sake? The problem of how the mind influences the body arises for anyone who rejects the idea that the mind arises from the brain, and assumes it is separate.

Scientists spent very many centuries looking for parts of the brain that are sensitive to the influence of the soul: from Galenic/Arabic thinkers who thought the soul resides in the brain’s ventricles, to modern neuroscientists like John Eccles, who thought it was the cerebrum.

If Lipton wants to reject dualism, he’d be better off picking a more recent proponent than Descartes.

But does this horribly confused lunatic even intend to reject dualism? He seems to be advocating it, and arguing that two separate entities — mind and matter — are tangled up with each other.

We’ll have to take another run at that sentence.

Because he couldn’t identify the nature of the mind…

Lipton forgets that he also can’t identify the nature of the mind. Or, rather assumes or implies that he has the answer, and that his answer evades the inevitable dualist conundrum.

Lipton as we just saw, thinks the mind “is energy”, and thinks that this statement not only means something, but means something that is somehow “implied” by quantum physics.

I think that for Lipton’s readers, the term “energy” is a bit like the term “God” for Christians. It means whatever you want it to mean, and as long as we just stick to using the word without saying what we actually mean by it, all will be well. But that is not science.

Descartes left behind an irresolvable philosophical conundrum…

It is only irreconcilable if you assume that mind is independent of the body and acts upon it as an external agent.

…since only matter can affect matter, how can an immaterial mind be “connected” to a material body?

Lipton’s mistake here is that he implies that modern science does not accept that “energy” can affect matter. And that science therefore rejects the idea that “mind” (which Lipton thinks “is energy”) can affect the matter of the body.

The reason for biologists making this supposed error, is because they supposedly reject quantum physics, which would have told them that mind/energy are ENTANGLED with matter/body.

As he said at the end of the previous chapter, he is prepared to drag biologists “kicking and screaming” into the new quantum era. There they will apparently be forced to consult the physics text books and read up on entanglement, and learn that mind and body are ENTANGLED.

There, I have summed up one of the main arguments in this book. {Makes first movement of patting self on back but gives up before hand leaves table.}