Respectful Insolence

Your Friday Dose of Woo: H2Ooooooommmm

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: There’s a reason that I don’t get seriously into blogging about politics that much, and this week reminded me why bigtime. For one thing, political bloggers are a dime a dozen, meaning that you have to be really, really good to distinguish yourself from the chattering hordes. (Or you have to be rabidly right or left wing.) Also, I like to think that I’ve carved out a nice unique niche in the blogosphere for myself in the world of skepticism, critical thinking, and the debunking of quackery. Were I to wander too far astray from those topics that my audience, carefully cultivated over nearly two years, would likely start to evaporate. To be sure, I occasionally subject my readers to my personal peccadillos and warped sense of humor, such as the Hitler Zombie or EneMan, but for the most part I’ve managed to stay true to the original vision for this blog.

This week, though, I strayed from the vision a bit. In doing so, I even got the big ScienceBlogs dog PZ busting my chops for what I posted here and in the comments of Pharyngula regarding the Military Commissions Act of 2006, even though I linked to a scathing satirical piece about it imaging what could happen if Hillary Clinton were elected President and got to use this law according to the worst interpretation of what could happen. I merely pointed out one thing that was actually in the text of the act that seems to have been widely misrepresented in the lefty blogosphere.

Just one thing.

I tell ya, even when I drift “left” (whatever that means) of my usual political inclinations and end up mostly agreeing with the Kos crowd on an issue, I just can’t seem to stay out of trouble. (At least the Advice Goddess still seems to like me.) And, to top it off, I’ve acquired a troll spewing anti-Semitism hither and yon throughout two different threads.

All of this is just my traditional long-winded introduction leading up to my pointing out that I need a break from politics. Bad. I need to get back to my blogging roots, so to speak. Fortunately, it’s Friday, and that means, as always on Fridays, it’s time for an escape from the ugly reality of today, in which our President can set up military commissions to imprison noncitizens virtually indefinitely for nearly any reason and, if we let him, might try to extend those powers to apply to you and me. What will provide this escape from reality, you ask?

Why only the finest water woo, of course! Admit it. It’s just what you needed, too.

Yes, this week, it’s time to look at some truly tasty water woo. I know I’ve dealt with water woo a couple of times before, but it’s a huge topic. (There’s so much there that I could do a long series of posts on it if I were so inclined.) The last time I dealt with water woo, it was to discuss a guy who claimed to be able to add more electrons to your water, thus infusing it with–of course!–all sorts of amazing healing properties.. And, of course, there’s always homeopathy, the ultimate water woo, the granddaddy of all water woo, particularly the truly amusing variant known as quantum homeopathy, which served as the very first Your Friday Dose of Woo. Indeed water woo is an incredibly common altie obsession, seemingly going along with the altie obsession with “detoxifying.” Another reason is that, after all, you and I (and everyone else) are made up of around 70% water. We need it to survive. Water is good (unless, of course, you’re drowning in it). Because water is good, it must be part of all sorts of “natural” cures, right?

Right.

But, for all the various water scams and woo that I’ve encountered, I don’t think I’ve ever encountered water woo quite like H2Om before. What, you ask, are the benefits of H2Om? Well, let Dr. Masaru Emoto, the discoverer of H2Om, tell you why you should be interested:

We must pay respect to water, and feel love and gratitude, and receive vibrations with a positive attitude. Then, water changes, you change, and I change. Because both you and I are water.

The profundity of the above statement humbles me. Truly. I mean, wow. It’s so deep, man. Like, we’re all–you know–water! And, like, the vibrations, man! The water can receive them from us!

Unfortunately, I fail to see what any of the above has to do with his water having any special properties. Don’t worry, though, Dr. Emoto can’t resist explaining. Like all good water woo, Dr. Emoto’s water must be treated with a special process. In this case, he boasts of a special “infusion” process used to make it H2Om the spiritually delectable refreshment that we all crave:

Let us begin by saying that everything in the universe contains a vibrational resonance or frequency. There are several distinctive energetic frequencies that are infused in each bottle of H2Om. We employ the power of intention through words, thought, music and human interaction.

Does this mean the bottling plant workers speak, sing, and play music at the water?

The First is the vibrational frequency of the label. The use of words, symbols and colors on the label. Each bottle contains the symbol of the Absolute ” Om “. It also contains the vibratory word “Love” or “Perfect Health” written on the label in many of the world’s languages. A specific color vibration has also been chosen for each bottle, this color coordinates with the corresponding chakra.

Wow. I’m getting tingly all over already just thinking about this water. It must be H2Om’s energy interacting with my chakra from 2,500 miles away. Who knew you could infuse water with so many special properties just with a label and specific color “vibration”? Certainly not me.

The next energetic frequency is introduced to the water through the power of sound and music. After the bottling process is complete, we charge the water in the storage facility with sound and music with intent.

Sound and music with “intent”? What the hell does that mean? Does that mean you just think your intent at it? And then…what? What does it mean to have one’s “intent” alter the water?

The final energetic frequency is the power of thought. The consumer’s ability to connect to the water and literally, “Drink” the vibration inspired and supported by the words on the label. This not only reverberates in their body, but out into the world as well. It also brings about an awareness that connecting with your food and water is a sacred grateful act.

Does this mean I’m “drinking” the thoughts of some worker in Dr. Emoto’s water bottling plant whenever I take a drink of H2Om? Or maybe the thoughts of Dr. Emoto himself (a scary thought). I wonder: Does Dr. Emoto himself show up to think at each new lot of water before it goes out for distribution? Inquiring minds want to know! More importantly, what is Dr. Emoto doing to make sure his workers are happy and in a proper state of mind to imbue the water with a happy, healthy “intent.” I mean, wouldn’t it be a a major bummer, man, if one of his workers came in after having had a really, really bad day, putting him in a really, really bad mood? What would happen to his “intent,” then? What if his had wife left him the night before? His “intent” would be full of negative energy! He could pollute whole batches of water with his negative “intent”! Is it possible to reverse the process if somehow a whole tank of H2Om water is ruined with nasty, negative thoughts?

Clearly, Dr. Emoto hasn’t thought through all the implications of his “theory.”

So what’s the evidence for all these grandiose claims? Well, there’s a nice little video on the front page of the website that tells us how “recent scientific studies have shown that water is receptive” and that it can receive the vibrational energies around it, quoting someone named William Tiller, Chairman of Scientific Studies, Stanford University from the Wall Street Journal, as saying, “Water can indeed have its properties effected and hence its structure changed rather easily.” (Funny, Dr. Emoto forgot to mention that Dr. Tiller is also the founding director of the Academy of Parapsychology and Medicine and The Institute of Noetic Sciences and is deeply involved with woo.)

And, of course, there is Dr. Emoto’s research into the power of words to alter the very “crystalline” structure of water, with happy words like “love” resulting in beautiful crystals and negative words like “you make me sick” producing ugly crystals–or no crystals at all:

REIKO: You mentioned in your book how you would type out words on a piece of paper and paste these written words onto a bottle, and see how the water reacted to the words — what kind of crystals were formed from the words. From your research, are you able to discern whether the reaction of the water came from the vibration of the actual words that were pasted onto the bottles, or whether the intention of the person who was pasting the words onto the bottle influenced the experiment in any way?

DR. EMOTO: This is one of the more difficult areas to clarify. However, from continuing these experiments we have come to the conclusion that the water is reacting to the actual words. For example, for our trip to Europe we tried using the words ”thank you” and ”you fool” in German. The people on our team who took the actual photographs of the water crystals did not understand the German for ”you fool,” and yet we were able to obtain exactly the same kind of results in the different crystal formations based on the words used.

REIKO: Have you found that distance made any difference when people were praying over water? For example, if people in Japan were to pray over water in Russia, would this be different from people praying over water that is right in front of them?

DR. EMOTO: We have only experimented once with that in the book. But from that experiment, distance did not seem to matter. The intention and prayers of the person still influenced the water. We have not yet tried further experiments from a long distance. However, my feeling is that distance would not make much of a difference. What would make a difference is the purity of intent of the person doing the praying. The higher the purity of intent, the less of a difference the distance itself would make.

REIKO: Have you seen any difference between one person praying over water versus a whole group of people praying over water?

DR. EMOTO: Since the water reflects the composite energy of what is being sent to it, the crystalline structure reflects the composite vibrations of the group. So one person praying reflects the energy or intention of that one person. In terms of how powerful the effect can be, if you have one person praying with a deep sense of clarity and purity, the crystalline structure will be clear and pure. And even though you may have a large group of people, if their intention as a group is not cohesive, you end up with an incohesive structure in the water. However, if everyone is united together, you will find a clear, beautiful crystal, like one created by the prayer of a single person of deep purity.

In one of our experiments, we had some water on a table, and 17 participants all stood in a circle around a table holding hands. Then each of the participants spoke a beautiful word of their choice to the water. Words like unity, love, and friendship. We took before-and-after shots and were able to obtain some beautiful crystalline structures as a result of this. I have some slides that I will be showing of these crystals in my upcoming European tour.

Yes indeed. Speaking at the water changes its structure and the way that its molecules “cluster.” I wonder how the water knows what language is being spoken. I guess it must understand all languages. Something to do with “intent,” I guess. Maybe the water can read minds. But if that’s the case, then why bother to speak at the water at all? Why not just think at it?

And, of course, Dr. Emoto has “scientifically” tested the effects of treating the water this way. Besides showing many pictures of water crystals supposedly altered by prayer or words, he also shows pictures of how the power of prayer supposedly changes the structure of water. And it has amazing properties:

REIKO: If we could imbue water with the energy of various words, for example, with the word, ”health,” could we then use the water that has that vibration in it and use it to do things like grow food, water plants, etc?

DR. EMOTO: We have not tried this, but some people who have read the book are experimenting with bottling tap water and taping words like ”love” and ”appreciation” on the bottle and using that water to water their plants, or to put cut flowers in. They are finding that their cut flowers are lasting much longer, and that the plants in the garden are much more radiant.

The odd thing is, for all this talk of prayer, nature, chakras, and imbuing the water with “intent,” Dr. Emoto uses pretty standard industrialized processes to extract and bottle his mountain spring water:

The cold spring water is first drawn into a stainless steel holding tank, where it is sanitized with ultra violet light and then transported to our bottling plant. It is then pumped, through FDA approved lines, into several pristine storage tanks.

The spring water is twice filtered before it is energized with Oxygen3 (Ozone) to further sanitize the water. Ozone is a very potent and thorough sanitizing agent, and, unlike Chlorine, it naturally breaks down to simple oxygen in a few hours and leaves no traces, residues or aftertastes in the water. Additionally, Ozone eliminates any present and potential bacteria 3,200 times faster than Chlorine. The process is considered to be the finest available in the industry.

After the Ozone purification process, the spring water is piped into clean and modern bottling areas where the bottles are filled capped and inspected. The residual ozone in the finished product sanitizes the plastic bottles as well as the water, ensuring the water to be pure, and completely bacteria free.

Apparently it’s as empty as the minds of people who buy into these claims. After all, Dr. Emoto is clearly not stupid. He makes all these grand claims about “vibrational energy” and “intent” and implies that his water has great effects on human health, but he never comes out and makes any actual explicit health claims for his product beyond vague promises of making you “feel better” and giving you “energy.” Very clever. He’s also pretty clever in that he’s never done a blinded study to show that words like love cause beautiful crystals to form, while negative words either fail to cause crystals to form or result in ugly crystals. As Skeptico pointed out:

The third example was the work of Masura Emoto, who tapes words to bottles of water. The water is chilled and forms into crystals descriptive of the words used. For example, if the word “love” is taped to a bottle, beautiful crystals form; if the words “you make me sick” are used, ugly images appear.

What the film makers didn’t say is that Emoto knows the word used, and looks for a crystal that matches that word (biased data selection). To demonstrate a real effect, Emoto would need to be blind to the word used. James Randi has said that if Emoto could perform this experiment double-blinded, it would qualify for the million dollar prize. (He has never applied.) Such a protocol would show there is no correlation between the words taped to a bottle and the crystals formed within. These experiments have not been performed to a scientific protocol and have never been independently replicated.

Of course, water like this can only come from one place. Yes, you guessed it. It’s sold in Southern California, in places like RAWvolution in Santa Monica or Aunt Vi’s Garden in Los Angeles. Not surprisingly, a number of people “who care about health, love, and preserving our planet” who “believe that intention is everything,” who “believe in the power of positive thinking,” and who “understand that the universe is made up of vibrations and even the vibrations of a single thought can effect our world” (in other words, gullible celebrities) are drinking H2Om, including Darryl Hanna, Jenny McCarthy, Ed Begley, Jr., and Paige Davis (I wonder if the “positive intent” was what allowed her to put up with so much on Trading Spaces for all those years). Heck, Gregory Itzin is even drinking it! And if the actor who played the weasely and law-breaking President Logan on 24 endorses it, you know it must be good!

But really, are celebrity testimonials enough? Of course not. Not if you’re Dr. Emoto. Indeed, Dr. Emoto has gotten an endorsement from one of the grandest of grand documentaries of woo, that über-popular movie of utter credulity, that clarion call to arms to the woo brigade. Yes, I’m talkinbg about What the Bleep Do We Know!?. Not surprisingly, Dr. Emoto is featured prominently (and favorably) in a segment of this “documentary.”

That alone tells me almost all I need to know about him and his claims. Excuse me now, while I go think nice thinning thoughts at a nice, cool six pack of Newcastle Brown, allowing me to drink it over the course of the weekend without having its calories add any pounds to my frame.

Now there would be a real use for Dr. Emoto’s “science”!

ADDENDUM: I found this on the JREF Forums, and just had to “borrow” it:

i-fc16d9c0a12a4f9bbf216dd3a903ce02-MsgWater4-poster.jpg

Comments

  1. #1 quitter
    October 6, 2006

    Orac,
    Have you ever discussed the obsession with hydrating as woo?

    I’m not exactly sure where this idea came from that it’s super healthy to down water all day, even if one is not thirsty, but I seem to be surrounded by people who believe if they’re not constantly drinking water they’re going to die of cancer or something. I somehow doubt there is a ton of science backing up all these hydration claims. The stuff I see after a little bit of pubmed searching isn’t very convincing, and some of it looks like total BS such as “Microclustered water and hydration” which sounds similar to the woo you were talking about here. Only one good review seemed to have relevant information and it was mostly about effects of pretty significant dehydration after heat exposure and exercise (not exactly equivalent to sitting at a desk all day).

    I’m of the belief that you should just drink when you’re thirsty and all this emphasis on hydration is an excuse to sell bottled water. Am I being a hydration denialist? Or is this some BS.

  2. #2 KeithB
    October 6, 2006

    Well, if the label really had anything to do with it, then Dr. Bronner’s Soap would probably explode when you opened it:

    http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a3_386.html

  3. #3 Blake Stacey
    October 6, 2006

    Am I the only one thinking. . . .

    “Mandrake, water is the source of all life. Seven tenths of this Earth’s surface is water. Why, do you realize that seventy percent of you is water? And as human beings, we need fresh, pure water to replenish our precious bodily fluids.

    “Mandrake, have you ever heard of a thing called fluoridation, fluoridation of water? . . . ”

  4. #4 Fragano Ledgister
    October 6, 2006

    I note with interest that you say “I fail to see what any of the above has to do with his water having any special properties.” I would just like to point out that, traditionally, to speak of some person’s water is actually to speak of their urine, which takes us into another area of woo entirely. Keep up the good work!

  5. #5 anonimouse
    October 6, 2006

    Well, I’ve read that you need 8 glasses of water a day.

    I don’t believe it has to be supercharged ionized water, though. Or Dr. Buttar’s filtered urine, either.

  6. #6 Opiwan
    October 6, 2006

    Ye gods… maybe I need to get Emoto to help me with my materials development projects. All I’d need to do to get perfect material properties is to tape words to the mill jars for my ceramics! YES! And to think I had all these experiments and data analyses to… silly Opi, brains are for kids!

    I love how these “Save the Planet” types are stupid enough to drink bottled water in the first place, one of the absolute WORST polluting products in the world. Take something you can get from the ground outside your house and filter right at your tap with a Brita, but instead pump it, drive it to a factory, do all sorts of crap to it, bottle it in plastic made from fossil fuels, ship it again, and then sell it. The idiocy is just staggering… all that carbon released into the atmosphere for no reason when you could have just got it from a well or reservoir without all the extra processing.

  7. #7 Melissa
    October 6, 2006

    After a scary, scary bout several years ago with what I’m pretty sure, in 20/20 hindsight, was hyponatremia, I’m done with forcing myself to drink water all day.

  8. #8 ebohlman
    October 6, 2006

    8 glasses of water is the typical daily requirement for most people, but that’s water from all sources; a large percentage of the food we eat is actually made up of water, for example, so food consumption helps fulfill the requirement. The woo mutation of this is that it has to be 8 glasses of plain water not mixed with anything else; woos don’t think that milk or juice or soft drinks or sports drinks or Koolaid or the like contribute to hydration, because they aren’t pure water. It seems to involve some sort of ancient taboo about mixing things (like the verses in Leviticus about multiple crops and multiple fabrics).

  9. #9 Ahistoricality
    October 6, 2006

    I find it particularly interesting that he uses Ozone to purify the water, claiming specifically that it has no effect on the “quality” of the water…. this directly contradicts the “supercharged” water sellers’ claims.

    These guys gotta get their stories straight.

  10. #10 Laura
    October 6, 2006

    This is nuts if water is so sensitive to intent and vibrations how can Emoto guarantee that the water hasn’t been corrupted by the time it is purchased. Aside from the bottling plant what about delivery drivers and even the sales person could they not corrupt the water?

  11. #11 Blake Stacey
    October 6, 2006

    This will take me a little while to explain, so sit back. Last month, the science-fiction writer Greg Egan got “gobsmacked by the level of scientific illiteracy” in the magazine New Scientist, and particularly about their article on Roger Shawyer’s “Emdrive”. Like the Dean drive and countless other propulsion schemes before it, the Emdrive has a fatal flaw: it’ll only go if momentum stops being conserved. An inventor proposing such a machine is not so unusual; the interesting — one might say “deplorable” — aspect of the situation is the pseudoscientific gobbledygook which New Scientist printed to justify the non-conservation of momentum.

    Egan wrote a letter about this, which you can read here. Eventually, after the magazine received enough e-mails because of this, they opened a blog thread to discuss it (kicking off with a self-excusing note from the editor). When PZ declared an open thread over at Pharyngula, I posted a note about this whole business, because I wanted to hear what more biology-inclined people thought about New Scientist, having really only heard physics types talk about it before. A commentor in that thread pointed out that last April, New Scientist ran an article about — and here’s the moral of the story — “Water: The Quantum Elixir”.

    Between frequent gulps of the life-giving elixir, those initiated into its secrets talk reverently of the work of Masaru Emoto, who is said to have proved that water responds to the emotions of those around it. They describe how Emoto has demonstrated that ice crystals made from water blessed by a Zen monk look so much more beautiful than those exposed to messages of hate. Many have bought his best-selling book detailing his findings, and many more have seen his claims covered in last year’s New Age hit movie What the Bleep!?.

    I don’t have a subscription, so I can’t divulge any more of New Scientist‘s reportage. Still, I would like to hear what the Respectfully Insolent folks hanging out here have to say on the issue.

  12. #12 MJ Memphis
    October 6, 2006

    I had a professor (engineering, natch) who was a big Emoto fan. He put little labels on his bottles of water with “love and gratitude” or something like that on them. Before class started, he would tell us early-arrivers about Emoto’s “research”. Given that the professor is a pretty sharp guy, I was amazed at how he could compartmentalize part of his brain to accept this load of BS.

  13. #13 Abel Pharmboy
    October 6, 2006

    Hmmm…I just tend to put a label that reads “55.5M sterile ddH2O” on my lab water bottles and no one seems to mess with them because they think it’s some kind of special stuff.

    Welcome back to woo, doc…leave that politics stuff alone.

  14. #14 Brian
    October 6, 2006

    Thanks to an episode of “The Day the Universe Changed” by James Burke, I can tell you that “water cures” have been around since Victorian times. When it was discovered, and proved, that washing/hygience/cleanliness greatly reduced the incidence of disease, the upper classes to it like ducks to, erm, water! It’s where the Victorians got their “healthy body, healthy mind” attitude from, and there’s a great scene where he shows what kind of extremes the Germans of the time would go to to get more and more water into and onto their bodies.

    The wiki article on Hydrotherapy might be a good starting point: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrotherapy

  15. #15 Blake Stacey
    October 6, 2006

    @MJ Memphis:

    I’m sure that PZ Myers would tell you that your professor’s brain compartmentalization — one part for engineering, one part for BS — is the same thing which lets scientists be religious. . . .

    (Just killing time until my previous comment makes it out of the spam queue!)

  16. #16 Orac
    October 6, 2006

    Uh, Blake. I hate to tell you this, but I accidentally hit “delete” instead of “not junk” while perusing the junk mail filter. Sorry. This is the first time I can remember doing that. Please post again if you can remember.

  17. #17 Blake Stacey
    October 6, 2006

    Ha! It’s at times like this when I like to reflect upon the wisdom of HAL 9000: “This sort of thing has cropped up before, and it has always been due to human error.” The substance of my post, now forever consigned to electric entropy, was something like the following. And sit back, because it’s a bit of a lengthy story by Internet standards.

    Last month, New Scientist magazine incurred the irritation of science-fiction writer Greg Egan, who wrote a letter saying he was “gobsmacked by the level of scientific illiteracy” in that magazine’s coverage of Roger Shawyer’s “EmDrive”. Like the Dean drive and countless other propulsion schemes before it, the Emdrive has the fatal flaw that it can only scoot forward if momentum is not conserved.

    So it goes, as Kurt Vonnegut might say. Claims of exotic spacedrives which violate fundamental physics are, sadly but understandably, about a ruble a dozen. The aspect of the affair which was truly disturbing — indeed, reprehensible — was the way New Scientist provided an article full of pseudoscientific gibberish to justify how the Emdrive can violate momentum conservation. (Their argument really was absurd, too: you can’t invoke Einstein’s relativity to escape conservation laws when relativity has those laws built into its mathematical fabric.)

    Enough people wrote comments to New Scientist that the magazine opened a blog thread to discuss the issue, opening with a self-exusing note from the editor (which, it appears, has satisfied no one). I would link directly to that thread, but the SB filter would stop this post too, and I’d rather that didn’t happen! You can find it easily enough by scrolling to the bottom of the page I linked above.

    I heard lots of physics people commenting about this, but of course physics is only part of what New Scientist covers. In order to sample other viewpoints, I posted links to the relevant pages on a Pharyngula open thread. (Again, I wish I could link directly; please forgive me and blame the spam filter instead.) A commentor there, “Lab Cat”, pointed out that New Scientist ran an article last April about — and here’s the moral — “Water: the quantum elixir”. I don’t have a subscription so I can’t summarize the whole piece, but here is a bit from the introduction:

    Between frequent gulps of the life-giving elixir, those initiated into its secrets talk reverently of the work of Masaru Emoto, who is said to have proved that water responds to the emotions of those around it. They describe how Emoto has demonstrated that ice crystals made from water blessed by a Zen monk look so much more beautiful than those exposed to messages of hate. Many have bought his best-selling book detailing his findings, and many more have seen his claims covered in last year’s New Age hit movie What the Bleep!?.

    Anyone who can snag the whole article might want to gauge its overall tenor; that’s a bit of reseach I’m not willing to pay my own money for. (-;

    So, I’m curious: what do the Respectfully Insolent folks who hang out in this neighborhood think about New Scientist?

  18. #18 Sastra
    October 6, 2006

    Er, did they change the original magazine title? Wasn’t it supposed to be “New Age Scientist?”

    I do know some people who sincerely believe Emoto, and they’re convinced his research is rigorous and valid. What really disturbs me most though is the attitude accepting such tripe fosters towards genuine scientific research.

    If Emoto is right, his theories are candidates for Most Important Scientific Finding Ever. They would literally blow the lid off of current research, and suggest major paths of study and exploration. We’re talking Nobel Prize, easy. But even people who think Emoto is a real scientist know that he is being ignored by the mainstream community.

    How do they account for this? Scientists are close-minded. Science is close-minded. All the wonder and enthusiasm and genuine curiosity in the world seems to have ended up in one small group, Masuro Emoto and his admirers. Not to mention most of the humility.

    Don’t they know how science works? Don’t they know what drives the majority of scientists? Innovation. They would be as likely to ignore a genuine major breakthrough like “the power of intention” changing the structure of crystals as gamers would be likely to ignore a device which turned computers into holodecks.

    Believing in Emoto — and thinking this means you’re now part of an elite group which is not afraid to accept real science — fosters delusions of grandeur.

  19. #19 David Harmon
    October 6, 2006

    Well, the basic hydration issue is complicated by the point that many soft drinks are in fact designed to keep you thirsty, by way of too much sugar and salt. Similarly, don’t the fats and proteins in milk require a fair bit of water for hydrolysis?

    In any case, drinking water instead of sugary stuff (including juice!) will certainly help your diet, and if you’re exercising or the weather is hot, you’ll need more water than you might expect. Aside from that sort of thing… well, you’re the doctor, you’d know better than me if there’s a general problem with people underhydrating themselves. (What would the consequences of that be?)

    IIRC, ozone in water yields hydrogen peroxide, which might well make the water taste more “alive”. Long ago and far away, I heard that putting a couple of teaspoons of OTC peroxide in a quart of orange juice, will make it “taste like fresh squeezed”. Not having grown up on fresh-squeezed OJ, I never bothered to actually test that one.

  20. #20 edwin
    October 6, 2006

    Submission for a future dose of woo: http://www.matrixenergetics.com/

    I mean, how can you resist?

    “based on the laws and expression of subtle energy physics and the concepts and laws of quantum physics, superstring theory and Sheldrake’s Morphic Resonance.”

    With lurid “Polycontrast Interference Photography” pictures to prove it works!

    It can even *prevent airline workers from striking* at a distance, apparently: http://www.matrixenergetics.net/showflat.php?Cat=0&Number=4453&an=0&page=0#Post4453

  21. #21 Orac
    October 7, 2006

    Submission for a future dose of woo: http://www.matrixenergetics.com/

    I already have the next two weeks’ victims lined up (although not written yet). However, I could be persuaded to change the order.;-)

  22. #22 Inquisitive Raven
    October 7, 2006

    I’ve got a copy of Emoto’s book The Hidden Messages in Water on my desk. Let me assure you that it’s concentrated woo, and inconsistent woo at that. For example:

    Water in a river remains pure because it is moving. When water becomes trapped, it dies. Therefore, water must be constantly circulated.

    My first thought on reading that was, “This guy hasn’t gotten a good look at the Mississipi River has he?” And of course, the Missouri River isn’t known as the “Big Muddy” for nothing. Having grown up in St. Louis, I’m familiar with both.

    Anyway, later on he blathers about water’s marvelous properties as a solvent, making it sound like it’s the only one in the world. Then he comments on how difficult it is purify water and keep it pure. But didn’t he claim in the prologue that moving water is always pure? FSM, can’t the guy make up his mind? And that’s before he gets around to invoking Sheldrake’s “morphic resonance.”

    Okay then, can anyone here figure out how people can buy into this BS?

  23. #23 James
    October 7, 2006

    Some people have no critical reasoning skills, assuming of course he does in fact beleive what he writes.

    Sastra: “Believing in Emoto — and thinking this means you’re now part of an elite group which is not afraid to accept real science — fosters delusions of grandeur.”

    Paranoia and delusions of grandeur are two sides of the same coin. To beleive that one is the target of a vast conspiracy, one must beleive that one is important enough to be the target of a vast conspiracy. Most people just aren’t that important.

  24. #24 Alison
    October 8, 2006

    Now I’m confused – if it has to be moving to be pure, doesn’t that mess up the stuff he puts in bottles?

  25. #25 Warren
    October 9, 2006

    Seems to me this isn’t significantly different from, say, an ex-Nazi in a funny hat praying over water (in corrupted Latin) to sanctify the “spirits” of babies, or purge possessing “demons”.

    And let’s not get too heavily into the way the Ganges is considered sacred … so much so that you can actually buy bags of water from the river for whatever sacred purposes you might have in, say, California.

  26. #26 Inquisitive Raven
    October 10, 2006

    Allison: I said it was inconsistent woo, didn’t I? Yeah, I’d think bottling it would mess it up if it has to be moving, but hey, we’re charging it so that’s all right then.

  27. #27 Thursday
    October 13, 2006

    Well, okay, so long as you don’t talk about politics.

    Or sex, which has gotten all political, what with gay rights and women’s stuff and all that.

    Or the enviroment or enviromental science, because that’s all “Left vs. Right” nowadays.

    Or paleontology, because, well… you know.

    And good god, keep away from evolution. And God, for that matter. If there’s one thing God can’t abide, it’s scientists.

    In fact, if you could leave that whole “science” thing out of your blog too, that would probably be safest.

    And please don’t even think about anything that politicians (in or out of government) are doing to the nation you live in, or what effect those actions might have. It’s just safer that way.

    So… What’s Paris Hilton up to nowadays, anyway?

  28. #28 Thursday
    October 13, 2006

    Yes, I’m kidding in the previous post – but seriously, why on earth would someone criticise you for posting on what is arguably the most corrosive piece of legislation ever produced in your country? Sure, you’re going to get a response to it, but it’s not like that little item (the Military Commissions Act) is a non-issue! Anyone capable of thought should be concerned with it, pro- or con-, and by startling coincidence you happen to have a forum to speak in.

    Anyhow, nice encapsulation of the hydrawoo (cut off one head and two more appear…) that is Emoto. The bad news is that What The *Bleep* went and produced a sequel.

  29. #29 Travis
    January 24, 2007

    As an admitted “doctor of woo”, I approach this comment with some trepidation…

    There is certainly a lot to criticize about Dr. Emoto’s “research”, but it seems to me that using his contention that “intent” can change physical matter should not be the basis for his dismissal.

    Consciousness changing matter is certainly an anomaly, but there is a lot of evidence that this is possible. Consider the 27 year run of the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research Laboratory. Dr. Jahn designed millions of experiments that are significant and reproducible.

    Orac, from what I’ve read, it seems you do a great job of breaking down woo based on poor research practices, but I’d like to think that respectful criticism will respect anomalous ideas when supported by research.

    Or is “woo” anything that sounds strange and doesn’t fit in conventional belief systems?