Respectful Insolence

A while back, I coined a term for woo so irrational, woo so desperate to masquerade as reason and science, that it could be spewed forth into books, the Internet, and the blogosophere by only one man.

The man is Deepak Chopra, and the term is Chopra-woo, examples of which can be found here and here.

I had thought that there was no man quite as capable of producing such concentrated woo cloaked in the language of science (well, except perhaps for the DNA Activation guy or the guys at Life Technology, but their woo is so utterly over-the-top that I have a hard time accepting that they actually believe in it). Chopra makes you think he really does believe in his woo, as he mangles evolution, quantum theory, and neuroscience to argue that science shows that the universe is “conscious” and that we are the manifestation of that consciousness. No one, I thought, could match that combination of bad logic and bad science.

Until now.

Meet Avatar Singh, who, not surprisingly, blogs at Deepak Chopra’s group blog, IntentBlog. This time around, he tries to out-Chopra Chopra with a woo-fest entitled When Science Becomes Religion or Pseudoscience.

You knew I’d hate it just from the title. It’s just begging for a loving application of Respectful Insolence™. It’s one of the oldest, tiredest canards pseudoscientists love to push, that science is just another religion, and it irritates the hell out of me. You know it’s going to be a load of fetid Dingo’s kidneys when it starts out like this:

The purpose of science is to reveal the universal reality. Knowing this reality helps improving not only the material quality of life but also achieving fulfillment of being human. Even if science is not able to prove or describe the ultimate reality in measurable terms, it is expected that its theories may be able to extrapolate or point to the universal reality in terms that are comprehensible to the human mind. Has science met its objective? Is it capable of ever revealing the ultimate reality – the Theory of Everything?

No, no, no, no!

The purpose of science is not to “reveal the universal reality” whatever that means. Science is a method of thinking, a systematized method of investigation that is inherently self-correcting. Even if science ever did come up with a “theory of everything” (something that has been eluding physicists for decades), it would not do or be what Singh seems to think it would. But first, get a load of his characterization of the state of science:

One of the most serious outcomes of existing and widely accepted theories is the meaninglessness of the universe and life in it, thus making science itself meaningless. Mainstream science is still far apart in explaining the observed universe and, hence the success of science has been only global and not universal. The flagship theories of science namely Newtonian theory, relativity theory, and quantum mechanics suffer from unresolved inconsistencies among them that prohibit a generic representation of the observed universe behavior. These theories may explain results of countless individual experiments, but fail to predict observations at universe scale. Such failures raise serious doubts if these theories represent the universal laws accurately and completely as the mainstream science claims.

Excuse me a minute while I vomit.

The very nature of science is that theories to describe how the universe works are always incomplete, always tentative. They are always subject to revision as new evidence is found, new observations made, and new experiments performed. Even the most accepted and seemingly most airtight theories (the theory of evolution or the theory of relativity, for instance) have gaps, and it is the job of science to try to fill in these gaps. Singh doesn’t appear to understand this and indeed can’t resist the pseudoscientist’s whine:

However, for most people science means the one and only mainstream science. It is common (mis)understanding or mindset that whatever is not agreed upon or approved by the mainstream science is pseudoscience.

Uh, no, it’s not a “misunderstanding.” Pseudoscience is nothing more than ideas put forth as science that are not actually scientific. The hallmarks of science and scientific theories are empirical measurability, consistency (as demonstrated by replication), and, most importantly, falsifiability. Moreover, theories must actually be useful in predicting how nature behaves. Finally, skepticism is an absolute requirement in science; no result or assertion is to be taken on faith. “Show me the evidence!” is the mantra of science, not “Om.” Everything must be questioned. Indeed, the characteristics of science are nothing like those of religion, where faith is the highest value, and dogma is regarded as inerrant truth, not to be questioned.

Singh then goes on to characterize three different “alternative pursuits of science,” what he calls “holistic science,” “science of matter, or ‘mainstream science,'” and “metaphysics, or metaphorical science.” In the process he laments “the limitations of experiments to measure only the manifested reality” and the “ignorance of reality in any other form than matter,” while laying down howlers like this (quoted in full, that you may marvel at the woo):

This science, also known as the mainstream science, reveals only the material part (4%) of the overall reality. In a way, materialism is the religion of the mainstream science and the materialistic experiments its rituals. The countless experiments (rituals) that are performed to validate the mainstream theories are nothing but to worship the goddess of matter. The material benefits of the mainstream science are considered to be the Prasad or the holy gift from the goddess of matter. Like an orthodox priest preaches the belief in God, a mainstream scientist propagates his/her religion of materialism and belief in the goddess of matter. It is not even funny when the mainstream science boasts about its objectivity, which is confined to the sole and literal subjectivity towards the objects of matter – the particles and things. It is ironic that the great theories of motion – Newtonian or quantum mechanics are unable to explain what caused the very first motion in the universe.

This is evidenced by the fact that the mainstream science can predict only 4% of the observed universe in the form of the visible matter. Rest 96% of the universe is unknown or explicitly immeasurable and unexplainable dark energy and/dark matter. Because of the serious incompleteness or missing physics of the non-material reality (consciousness) from the mainstream scientific method and theories, it not only unable to explain the observe universe, but remains full of several serous unresolved paradoxes that kill the purpose and meaning in the universal existence and life itself.

The enemies of science are within – the materialists who have clipped its wings (consciousness) to imprison it in its golden cage of matter. These very enemies have also killed the purpose in the universe and life by squeezing away consciousness or life from it. The universe of the mainstream science (quantum mechanics) is a dead universe inhabited by mindless particles of inanimate matter or anti-matter running around with no purpose at all in the ocean of nothingness and filled with evolutionary uncertainty, complexity, and destiny of an ultimate demise into the oblivion. What an achievement and productive use of the resources of humankind?

I tell ya, Deepak ain’t got nothin’ on this guy. What a load of twaddle!

All his complaint against science basically boils down to is the usual lament of those who don’t like science because it isn’t sufficiently servile to religion or spirituality that science “robs meaning” from the universe. It’s the same complaint of creationists who don’t like the idea that humans evolved from lower creatures, rather than being created de novo apart from the animal kingdom. It’s echoed in the constant refrain of creationists that they can’t believe or accept the evidence that “random chance” mutations could result in the diversity of life and in their constant use of the epithet “atheistic evolutionist,” spit from between clenched teeth. And it’s heard here, with Singh’s ridiculous metaphor of scientists as priests worshiping “materialism” and the “goddess of matter.” True, when our experiments didn’t work during my time as a graduate student, we would sometimes joke about “sacrificing a goat” to the gods of molecular biology, but I assure you that we were joking.

Most of the time, anyway.

More amusing is Singh’s proposed “solution”:

The good news is that there is a common root cause paralyzing the mainstream science and it is within our reach to eliminate this cause. This root cause is the ignorance of the inherent consciousness or the observed spontaneity in the universe.

The Holistic Relativity (HR) mathematical model proposed in references [1] thru [5] integrates the observed spontaneity with a simplified model of general relativity, which is shown to provide resolution to many of the questions and paradoxes above. HR is not a philosophy or pseudoscience, but a simplified general relativity applied to the spontaneous decay of particles – a phenomenon ignored in the past by the mainstream science. The HR formulations enhance the status of the mainstream science from a pseudoscience to a Holistic Science as defined above since it allows the material reality to absolve into the universal reality. The proposed HR model demonstrates that a common set of universal laws govern the behavior of the matter, mind and consciousness. Consciousness or the spontaneity in nature is shown to be a physical phenomenon and not an epiphenomenon. Its existence is a physical reality and not a metaphysical myth that can be excluded from a rigorous scientific theory.

How grandiose can you get? Just like a good crank. Particularly amusing is his “both religion and science will hate this” bit that he concludes his article with. (Read it for yourself.) Read the comments, too, particularly this one (#84), where Singh whines about criticism and puts impossible conditions on any critiques he will consider. Hilarious!

Quite frankly, I was so singularly unimpressed by the “holistic” blather of this article that I had no desire to look up the articles referenced by Singh, nasty materialist that I am. Of course, if Singh could provide some of that nasty, materialistic evidence that we scientists crave so that actually supports his statements, I might start to change my mind. It would have to be compelling evidence though–compelling enough to make me want to stop the interaction between my consciousness (more specifically, my lack thereof) with the matter of my pillow.

In the meantime, Chopra had better watch his back. There’s a new woo-meister in town, and he’s gunning for the title of One Woo To Rule Them All.

Comments

  1. #1 vlad
    May 15, 2007

    Wow woo on the quantum level. I’m curious do these people actually believe this or are they just smoking really good stuff.
    I personally believe there is something beyond here and now and I would be all for it being added to science as soon as some one finds a way to observe the unobservable. Beliefs are not a bad thing but to attempt to charecterize them as scienec is a crock. When quantum physics becomes to complicated some people start mixing in religion. The mix is about as safe as elamental sodium and water with an oxygen rich propane atmosphere.

  2. #2 Jon
    May 15, 2007

    4% seems a remarkably precise figure. Do they show their calculations ;)

  3. #3 Bronze Dog
    May 15, 2007

    I recently got the line about science being a ‘priesthood’ in an emailed doggerel suggestion. It just really goes to show that woos don’t know anything about how science works.

  4. #4 Blake Stacey
    May 15, 2007

    “The spontaneous decay of particles” has been ignored by mainstream science? Well, harrumph! I suppose that means all my textbooks which mentioned radioactive decay were actually fringe publications, that the entire field of particle physics is not mainstream science and that the giant facilities built to hunt for proton decay were funded by homeopaths. (Kamiokande did require very, very pure water.)

  5. #5 JS
    May 15, 2007

    4% seems a remarkably precise figure. Do they show their calculations ;)

    I think this is a reference to dark matter – the proposed kind of matter that does not interact electroweakly, only gravitationally.

    Of course the claim that dark matter is ‘immeasureable’ is bunk. Dark matter was introduced because of the need for extra gravitational mass beyond what the light matter could account for. Needless to say, if the gravitational interaction between dark matter and the rest of the universe was immeasureable, it would fall to Ockham’s razor in an eyeblink…

    – JS

  6. #6 S. Rivlin
    May 15, 2007

    If Singh did his measurements accurately and came up with the figure of 96% non-material universe and 4% material, I would like the null hypothesis of his, how those measurements were done, what instruments were used, which mathematical calculations were employed, if any, and most importantly, can we see the records of his experiments (measurements)?

  7. #7 S. Rivlin
    May 15, 2007

    Should read “I would like to know his null hypothesis…”

  8. #8 Blake Stacey
    May 15, 2007

    I recently wrote about dark matter and dark energy, here (with links for further reading).

  9. #9 Kevin W. Parker
    May 15, 2007

    I assume that the 4% figure comes from the WMAP results, summarized in this pie chart, which concludes that the universe is 74% dark energy, 22% dark matter, and 4% baryonic matter (the kind we’re familiar with).

  10. #10 Bronze Dog
    May 15, 2007

    Materialists find dark matter, and now the woos are trying to steal the credit.

  11. #11 did
    May 15, 2007

    I believe the 4% figure comes from the percentage of the universe that is “stuff” – i.e. stars, planets, dust, etc. The remainder is “dark matter” and “dark energy” which are sort of placeholder names for observed but not yet well understood phenomena. See http://www.preposterousuniverse.com/ for Sean Carroll’s excellent tutorials…

    did

  12. #12 Blake Stacey
    May 15, 2007

    Bronze Dog:

    Materialists discovered quantum mechanics a century ago, and look what the woos did with that!

    Seriously. The big problem which motivated people like Max Planck to move towards quantum physics was understanding what colors a lump of matter will glow when it’s heated up. (There were also the photoelectric effect, the specific heats of gases, the instability of Rutherford-style atoms, etc., but the blackbody radiation problem was a big one.) Why does a lump of iron glow red under low heat and yellow-orange as it is warmed further? This sounds like a problem more relevant to a smith than to a shaman!

  13. #13 Thony C.
    May 15, 2007

    4% seems a remarkably precise figure. Do they show their calculations ;)

    WOO-MASTERS don’t calculate figures they intuit them;)

  14. #14 Ginger Yellow
    May 15, 2007

    If Singh did his measurements accurately and came up with the figure of 96% non-material universe and 4% material, I would like the null hypothesis of his, how those measurements were done, what instruments were used, which mathematical calculations were employed, if any, and most importantly, can we see the records of his experiments (measurements)?

    So do I, given that in the very same sentence he claims it is immeasurable. How stupid do they think their readers are? Unfortunately, in a lot of cases they’re not wrong.

  15. #15 jotetamu
    May 15, 2007

    You sacrificed a goat? No wonder things went wrong. You should have been waving a dead chicken.

  16. #16 Ahistoricality
    May 15, 2007

    Orac, I think you went way to easy on this twit.

    The inherent contradiction — one might even say hypocrisy — in dismissing “mainstream science” and then using its results as holy writ — the 4% figure — just screams “I am making it up as I go along and I don’t care who knows it!”

  17. #17 Lucas McCarty
    May 15, 2007

    These kinds of people seem to exploit the blurred areas where philosophy ends and science begins. Examine every material element in all creation and you won’t find a single molecule of truth, justice, charity etc, but these are things most people believe to exist even if they are invented ideals. Scientists are assumed to be materialist because science has no way of testing concepts which have no physical evidence of existing because they are simply ideas, but ideas widely accepted as true. Truth by definition of course has to be true even if it supports itself on a cycle.

    I think Christ understood this and tried expaining it with his question “What is Truth?” but this has since become distorted. He was drawing attention to the fact that ideas like truth, justice and charity whilst true meant something different to different people. Everybody has different personal criteria for what they accept as truth, what us just and what is kind. He was on trial at the time and the issue of truth came up, he could have argued his defense on points such as what is just and kind but knew these wouldn’t matter unless the Romans knew what truth itself actually is.

    Jesus seemed to actually be quite a critical thinker, if you leave aside the son-of-God and miracle working bits. This is precisely the issue that the woo-eists are not being honest with, what is Truth? There is a reason why Jesus did not argue in his defense; he’d have to bring himself down to his accuser’s level unless his judge actually took a real interest in the truth. I think both science and philosophy turn on Chopra-esque; science says he’s wrong, philosophy says he’s a liar.

  18. #18 Bronze Dog
    May 15, 2007

    My view on some of that:

    1. Truth with a capital T is an exact description of the universe. Without the capital, it merely has to be accurate.

    2. Justice is our (neurochemically based) ideas about how we want the universe to be. Lot of contradictions suggest that there isn’t a Platonic ideal upon which it’s based, though similarities can be explained as a result of the processes that led to the evolution of our brains and minds.

    3. Charity is a natural result of the survival instinct of reciprocation. Life tends to be easier if everyone likes you.

    We now return to your regularly scheduled woo bashing.

  19. #19 V
    May 15, 2007

    He can cure cancer by compassion

    “I wager that anyone with the courage to display actual love, sympathy, and kindness would rocket into public favor.”

    – Deepak Chopra

    http://www.intentblog.com/archives/2007/05/the_cure_is_com_1.html

    ***

    If compassion were the cure for cancer,
    for the cure of all ills in the Iraq war,
    and the display of actual, not phony love,
    real but not unreal sympathy,
    and kindness, heartfelt, not superfluous
    were all and all,
    would then a quantum guru from India,
    now rolling in gold in the West,
    who has real compassion, real sympathy
    and heartfelt kindness, not soar
    like a rocket into the public favor?
    Or perhaps he has
    as he can cure cancer by compassion.

    ~White Wings
    http://whitewings.sulekha.com/blog/post/2007/05/he-can-cure-cancer.htm

  20. #20 Cj
    May 15, 2007

    How about giving one of these clowns a Velikovsky Award for the nonsense of the month?

  21. #21 Carolina
    May 15, 2007

    You guys should read the comments the original post is getting. They are hilarious! (Although I see that this post has gotten a few funny comments too.) For instance:

    **
    Dear Mr. A. Singh,

    Hope you enjoyed your vacation! I could use one.

    I imagine you already know that the Fundy’s will and do
    see HS, HR and HQR* as the work of the devil.

    Your ‘consciousness’ is the missing God, and that will not suffice.

    Therefore, all atheistic approaches will be demonized
    as godless, and would best be left alone.

    From the point of view of the Unitarian Church,
    Shiva represents the Hindi’s main God and was
    a myth or story long before the word
    ‘consciousness’ came forth.

    Do they not mean the same thing today?

    To get a larger audience you may have to humanize
    your techniques with anthropomorphic resonance.

    ‘What you worship is your god’ is a truism in many peoples eyes.

    And to equate 96% of the Universe as dark is asking for trouble, indeed!

    Btw, are you sure we’ve had time to find all that matter(s)?

    Simplicity demands balance, and 50/50 ‘sounds’ a lot better to me.

    Have a good day all. Keith~

    **

    Aloha Avtar

    Are you familiar with the theroy of The Electric Universe? In essence what they are saying is at one time our skies, solar system was different than the sky, solar system we see today. What validates their theory is the percise rock art through out the different cultures of world. The rock art is the image of palsm discharge. The Saturn theory is that Saturn was at one time twenty times larger than the moon. Myths were created around the planets. And the solar system became unstable we became fearful of space and time. Here is a wonderful image of how Saturn could have looked: http://www.thunderbolts.info/forum/phpBB/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=67

    love patty

  22. #22 Coin
    May 15, 2007

    What… what is “palsm discharge” supposed to be? Palsy discharge? Psalm discharge? Are psalms a fundamental particle now?

  23. #23 Beam
    May 15, 2007

    This one on Medicine from the same place.

    “Dimethyltryptamine (DMT), a major constituent of Amazonian ayahuasca, is a powerful entheogenic substance that exists naturally in the mammalian brain. If it exists within us naturally, is really an intoxicant to be avoided? Dr. Rick Strassman doesn’t think so. He believes that endogenous DMT in humans play a significant role in the production of spontaneous or induced altered states of consciousness. DMT is a close analogue of the neurotransmitter 5-hydroxytryptamine, also known as serotonin. Strassman hypothesizes that DMT stimulates the pineal gland to create such spontaneous psychedelic states as near-death experiences.”

    “As the science of investigating consciousness changes, studying methods as meditation, yoga, monastic retreat, and sensory deprivation, perhaps it will become self-evident that Buddhism is the pure and natural psychoactive Dharma drug.”

    http://www.intentblog.com/archives/2007/05/the_dharma_drug.html

    More Medicine, which flies over my head, in Comment #8

    ” Are you also aware of the work of Dr. Charles Grob @ UCLA/Harbor Medical with psilcybin as a treatment for anxiety in end stage cancer patients?
    See:
    http://www.maps.org/research/
    Grob has prepared a study investigating whether anxiety in the dying can be significantly reduced by the appropriate administration of psilocybin. Any attendant reduction in pain will also be measured. Participantse have undergone experimental sessions and psilocybin was well-tolerated in these individuals.
    THey are looking for end stage cancer patients who qualify:

    http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct/show/NCT00302744?order=1

    then there is Dr. Vollenweider and colleagues in Zurich studying the neural correlates of consciousness and the effects of psilocybin on visual perception, attention, working memory, and time perception. Other studies will use EEG or positron emission tomography (PET) imaging. Several published reports describe research findings, and other reports are forthcoming.

  24. #24 Beam
    May 15, 2007

    This one on Medicine from the same place.

    “Dimethyltryptamine (DMT), a major constituent of Amazonian ayahuasca, is a powerful entheogenic substance that exists naturally in the mammalian brain. If it exists within us naturally, is really an intoxicant to be avoided? Dr. Rick Strassman doesn’t think so. He believes that endogenous DMT in humans play a significant role in the production of spontaneous or induced altered states of consciousness. DMT is a close analogue of the neurotransmitter 5-hydroxytryptamine, also known as serotonin. Strassman hypothesizes that DMT stimulates the pineal gland to create such spontaneous psychedelic states as near-death experiences.”

    “As the science of investigating consciousness changes, studying methods as meditation, yoga, monastic retreat, and sensory deprivation, perhaps it will become self-evident that Buddhism is the pure and natural psychoactive Dharma drug.”

    http://www.intentblog.com/archives/2007/05/the_dharma_drug.html

    More Medicine, which flies over my head, in Comment #8

    ” Are you also aware of the work of Dr. Charles Grob @ UCLA/Harbor Medical with psilcybin as a treatment for anxiety in end stage cancer patients?
    See:
    http://www.maps.org/research/

    Grob has prepared a study investigating whether anxiety in the dying can be significantly reduced by the appropriate administration of psilocybin. Any attendant reduction in pain will also be measured. Participantse have undergone experimental sessions and psilocybin was well-tolerated in these individuals.
    THey are looking for end stage cancer patients who qualify:

    http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct/show/NCT00302744?order=1

    then there is Dr. Vollenweider and colleagues in Zurich studying the neural correlates of consciousness and the effects of psilocybin on visual perception, attention, working memory, and time perception. Other studies will use EEG or positron emission tomography (PET) imaging. Several published reports describe research findings, and other reports are forthcoming.

  25. #25 DuWayne
    May 16, 2007

    Beam –

    The problem with using psilocybin in that fashion, is the same as the problem with using LSD. While some patients (probably more with psilocybin) would find it comforting and an effective way to deal with the pain, others could have quite the opposite reaction. The negatives can be greatly reduced by controlling set and setting but the results cannot be fully controled for.

    Those who have an adverse reaction, can have an extreme reaction. Consider what it might be like to feel every tiny part of your body and the extreme pain that it is enduring. Being extraordinarily aware of every pain, every discomfort – being hyperfocused on your newfound sensory awareness. Endlessly anylising every feeling, every second feeling like hours.

    I have used a lot of psilocybin. I have had a fairly decent aray of sensory experiences while on it (acid as well). While I usually went for more pleasurable experiences (the sex, for example, can really rock), I have also endured less pleasant sensations. After having tried it on LSD and found it effectively nuetralised the pain (actually made it feel kind of ticklish), I was sprayed with mace while on psilocybin. It was not such a grand experience – it felt like it was literaly melting my face. It was a supersensory moment as well, unfortunately. I believed that I was actually feeling individual skin cells and tissue cells, bursting as they melted.

    I just cannot buy into the notion of giving hallucinagens to someone who is dying a brutal and painful death, unless they have a lot of previous experience with such substances and feel that it will definately make their passing easier.

  26. #26 darius
    May 16, 2007

    So did anyone else notice that all of Avtar’s references are his own works? Mostly presented at woo conferences?

  27. #27 Ginger Yellow
    May 16, 2007

    This is evidenced by the fact that the mainstream science can predict only 4% of the observed universe in the form of the visible matter. Rest 96% of the universe is unknown or explicitly immeasurable and unexplainable dark energy and/dark matter.

    Mainstream science measures dark matter.

    And anyway, the whole point about dark matter is that it is a prediction of “mainstream science”. It started as a way of explaining the observed behaviour of galaxies, which were not behaving as the “mainstream science” models would expect if only normal matter existed. There would be no reason to expect dark matter without “mainstream science” – indeed, one way of solving the dark matter+energy problem is to change the “mainstream science” model. He’s got it completely backwards.

  28. #28 Ginger Yellow
    May 16, 2007

    This is evidenced by the fact that the mainstream science can predict only 4% of the observed universe in the form of the visible matter. Rest 96% of the universe is unknown or explicitly immeasurable and unexplainable dark energy and/dark matter.

    Mainstream science measures dark matter.

    And anyway, the whole point about dark matter is that it is a prediction of “mainstream science”. It started as a way of explaining the observed behaviour of galaxies, which were not behaving as the “mainstream science” models would expect if only normal matter existed. There would be no reason to expect dark matter without “mainstream science” – indeed, one way of solving the dark matter+energy problem is to change the “mainstream science” model. He’s got it completely backwards.

  29. #29 BS
    May 16, 2007

    Avtar Singh
    Responds to criticism of
    Orac at Scienceblogs
    and Bronze Dog at
    rockstarramblings.blogspot.com/2007/05/quick-lets-hide-in-fog.html

    Comment # 92, Reposted from Intentblog:

    Thanks for your comments and opinions. All opinions are welcome and valuable. Please keep in mind that to make a constructive impact, any opinion must include the validating backup evidence. Otherwise, an opinion is just an opinion – a shot in the dark and nothing more. Please make sure that your opinion adds and enhances a positive value to the dialogue and not merely gets wasted and thrown away in vain.

    Five years ago, my opinions coincided well with your expressed opinions, when I considered the material-only science as the ultimate panacea. However, as a scientist I was embarrassed with the shockingly poor track record (96% failure rate to explain the observed universe) of science and cosmology. I was ashamed to learn that the best theory of physics (quantum mechanics) is 120 orders of magnitude off in predicting the vacuum energy or dark energy, or cosmological constant. I was not and have never been fully confident in the ever-assumed self-correcting claim of the mainstream science as also expressed by Stephen Hawking below:

    “It is a tribute to how far we have come in theoretical physics that it now takes enormous machines and a great deal of money to perform an experiment whose results we can not predict.”

    And I have been equally disappointed in the demonstrated loss of purpose in the scientific universe as expressed by the famous cosmologist Steven Weinberg, who says

    – “The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless.”

    I have always believed in the extraordinary potential of science to replace the so-called woos of religion. My own views have coincided with your expressed views and I have always felt that the so-called woos have been able to get away and dwell upon the existing incompleteness and weaknesses of science, eradicating which was the focus of my HR efforts.

    Sorry, I disagree with you in that my view of science’s potential and mission is much more broader than your expressed view – ” …. Science is a method of thinking, a systematized method of investigation that is inherently self-correcting. Even if science ever did come up with a “theory of everything” (something that has been eluding physicists for decades), it would not do or be what Singh seems to think it would.” I am a supporter of a strong science all the way improving all aspects of life that is not limited to the material aspects alone.

    I have been and am much more optimistic than the prevailing mainstream pessimism you have expressed. I have always believed that science could be raised to the level wherein it not only improves material life but also can totally replace the dogmatic religion with well-founded physical explanations for all universal phenomena that are currently considered to be outside the domain of science. I sincerely believe that a completed science or Holistic Science is achievable without loosing its simplicity, grandeur, and comprehensibility.

    So, I started looking into out-of-the-box solutions to what was paralyzing science. My approach may be more radical that you may like. This led me to the inclusion of the phenomenon of the spontaneous mass-energy conversion during the spontaneous decay of particles without altering the original formulations of the relativity theory but enhancing it with the application to the spontaneous decay. Such a straightforward and pure application fetches an additional equation that provides a mechanistic description of the mass-energy convertibility during the spontaneous decay. The original relativity theory lacks this capability leading to the black hole or big bang singularity. This feature allows extrapolation of relativity below Planck’s scale and beyond the distances of the observable universe. These capabilities then provide what has been missing from the existing relativity theory to explain the remaining (96%) universe as detailed in the references of this post.

    The Holistic Relativity theory retains all the original formulations to predict the behavior of matter as observed during experiments. It does not at all take away or eliminate the existing original strength of the relativity theory; it only adds on the spontaneous decay mass-energy equivalence feature to the theory. All processes and phenomenon in the universe are treated as physical phenomena, and represented in mathematical terms with no supernatural or metaphysical representations. Hence, all materialist claims as well as experimental validations remain intact in HR. Materialists need not worry an iota for any of the original features taken away from the original relativity formulations that stay intact in HR. Reference 1 listed in the main post is purely a technical and mathematical thesis with comparison against the universe observations. It is not woo stuff filled with fluff and metaphors. Any metaphysical interpretations are after the fact of the mathematical and scientific rigor. It would be grossly premature and utterly unfair to label and drag HR into the woo world.

    The central premise of HR is based on exact mathematical formulation of the physical phenomenon of spontaneous mass-energy equivalence or conversion, which is already a well-recognized phenomenon in physics such as the wave-particle complimentarity. There is no “Magic Man”, Creation, and Design stuff, which I hate as much you do as nothing but pseudoscience. The benefits and value of this HR enhancement to the relativity are tremendous as explained in my detailed thesis described in the five references to this post and listed below:

    1. Explains the observed behavior of the universe and other scientific experimental data.
    2. Resolves the existing paradoxes of science (relativity and quantum mechanics), cosmology, and physics theories that I have listed in #30.
    3. Validates the experiences of the spiritual masters as described in the essence of their teachings.
    4. Consistent with the correct or validated parts of the partially correct existing theories of science – relativity and quantum mechanics, howsoever incomplete.

    The responsibility to raise the credibility and solidify foundations of science to its utmost potential lies with those who are practicing it and not the woos of religion or pseudoscience. So, I plead to you and other guardians of science to take on that serious responsibility with an open mind and out-of-the-box thinking. Especially, in the interest of advancement of science, please do not prejudge anybody’s out-of-the-box ideas or proposed thesis (provided in documented references) without first reading thru and evaluating it with an open mind. Opinions based on preconceived prejudice are no different than the faith and beliefs of the woos and the last things science needs to achieve its utmost potential and objective.

    Thank you for your input, efforts, and valuable time you have spent to participate.

    And, now a humble request. If possible and if you like, and in the spirit of professionalism of fairness, please post this response of mine as a follow up on your earlier posted articles on science-blog websites on the subject matter as I would like to convey this message to all audiences who are interested in the advancement of science to its full potential.

    Peace and Cheers
    Avtar

  30. #30 Voice O'Reason
    May 17, 2007

    References:
    [1] A. Singh, The Hidden Factor: An Approach for Resolving Paradoxes of Science, Cosmology and Universal Reality, AuthorHouse, 2003.

    Most of the important scientific breakthroughs throughout human history have been published by AuthorHouse…

  31. #31 Skeptisch
    May 18, 2007

    “Woos” vs “Brights”, or the natural and the supernatural.

    A bright’s worldview is free of supernatural or mystical deities, forces, and entities. A woo’s worldview is full of all of them.

    The bright’s laws of physics are full of elegance, simplicity and beauty, a woo subscribes to faith, pretension and chaos.

    Brights need reason, evidence and reality, woos have no such need.

    A bright is into science and exposes pseudoscience, a woo talks about uniting the two.

    Brights like Dawkins, Dennett and Harris attempt to explain the world in words and terms everyone can understand, while woo preachers do the opposite. Their presentations are done in a chaotic word salad and are often so absurd that no serious scientist will attempt to disprove them.

    The philosopher Bertram Russell coined the analogy of the Celestial Teapot. It was intended to refute the idea that the burden of proof lies upon the skeptic to disprove unfalsifiable claims of religions and new age doctrines.

    The woos are the target audience of the new age preachers. The woos have very little scientific knowledge and are often naïve and gullible, in short, a perfect environment to spread woo woo.

    If you want to give truth, reason and rationality a chance, have a look what the guys below have to say. You will end up with fact not fiction, knowledge not believe and you won’t be asked to abandon well-established laws of physics.

    However, a word of caution, you will not learn how to bend spoons with your mind.

    Richard Dawkins
    http://richarddawkins.net/home

    Sam Harris
    http://www.samharris.org/

    Daniel C. Dennett
    http://ase.tufts.edu/cogstud/incbios/dennettd/dennettd.htm

    Carl Sagan
    http://www.celebratingsagan.com/

    The Brights
    http://the-brights.net/

    If you want to become a woo, read the following contributors:

    Chopra, Singh and Matai
    http://www.intentblog.com/

  32. #32 Orac
    May 18, 2007

    Although I like the sentiment, you realize, of course, that the term “Brights” sets my teeth on edge. I absolutely detest the word when used that way. It’s about the worst marketing for the nonreligious or “free-thinkers” that I’ve ever heard. Come to think of it, the term “free-thinker” sets my teeth on edge, too, albeit not as much as “Brights.”

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