Respectful Insolence

I don’t know if I need to get out the infamous paper bag or–even worse–the Doctor Doom mask out yet. As you may recall (if you are a long time reader, anyway) is that the mind-numbing stupidity of certain MDs has driven me to want to hide my face in utter shame at the embarrassment caused by my fellow physicians. Most frequently, it has been everyone’s not-so-favorite creationist neurosurgeon with dualist tendencies, Dr. Michael Egnor. So bad was he that I compared him one time to Deepak Chopra.

Damned if P.Z. hasn’t led me to another highly embarrassing physician woo-meister. Worse, it’s not just a physician woo-meister, but apparently a reasonably well-respected physician-scientist; that is, when he isn’t laying down swaths of napalm-grade burning stupid woo that easily rivals that of Deepak Chopra. So break out the Doctor Doom mask yet again, it’s time to take a look at just how much nonsense a physician can lay down.

Guess where he is. That’s right, his name is Dr. Robert Lanza, and he’s got a blogging gig at–where else?–The Huffington Post. The first post of his that got my attention is entitled What Happens When You Die? Evidence Suggests Time Simply Reboots.

I take that back. Dr. Lanza might be able to out-woo the master himself. At least it’s a diversion. I’ve been a bit too serious lately.

Still, on paper at least Dr. Lanza has an incredibly impressive-sounding CV:

Robert Lanza is considered one of the leading scientists in the world. He is currently Chief Scientific Officer at Advanced Cell Technology, and a professor at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. He has several hundred publications and inventions, and over two dozen scientific books: among them, Principles of Tissue Engineering, which is recognized as the definitive reference in the field. Others include One World: The Health & Survival of the Human Species in the 21st Century (Foreword by President Jimmy Carter), and the Handbook of Stem Cells and Essentials of Stem Cell Biology, which are considered the definitive references in stem cell research. Dr. Lanza received his BA and MD degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, where he was both a University Scholar and Benjamin Franklin Scholar. He was also a Fulbright Scholar, and was part of the team that cloned the world’s first human embryo, as well as the first to clone an endangered species, to demonstrate that nuclear transfer could reverse the aging process, and to generate stem cells using a method that does not require the destruction of human embryos.

Wow! All he lacks is the requisite multiple nominations for the Nobel Prize.

Still, a brief trip to PubMed to peruse Dr. Lanza’s publication record is nothing to sneeze at, with a respectable number of publications in the peer-reviewed scientific literature (not all of the ones in the link are his; “R. Lanza” is a not uncommon name). It did rather irritate me to se him calling himself a “professor” at Wake Forest on HuffPo, given that his own website describes him as an adjunct professor. A relatively minor point, but the title of “professor” implies a full academic affiliation with Wake Forest University with tenure, while, in medical schools at least, the title of adjunct professor is usually only given to part-time faculty who do not hold a permanent position. Still, it’s just the sort of thing that HuffPo readers with a penchant for the kind of “science” that Dr. Lanza lays down would be likely not to know.

Here’s what I mean. Get a load of the introduction to Lanza’s post:

What happens when we die? Do we rot into the ground, or do we go to heaven (or hell, if we’ve been bad)? Experiments suggest the answer is simpler than anyone thought. Without the glue of consciousness, time essentially reboots.

Oh, no! I think I know what’s coming. It’s going to be a bunch “universal consciousness” nonesense similar to the sort that Deepak Chopra loves so much. Time “reboots”? How on earth would he know? What “experiments” have shown that this is likely to be true? Inquiring minds want to know! So I donned my Doctor Doom mask, complete with a new feature (a clothespin to hold my nose), and I dove into this mass of woo-ey-ness to find out what this fantastic evidence is. Let’s read a long:

The mystery of life and death can’t be examined by visiting the Galapagos or looking through a microscope. It lies deeper. It involves our very selves. We awake in the present. There are stairs below us that we appear to have climbed; there are stairs above us that go upward into the unknown future. But the mind stands at the door by which we entered and gives us the memories by which we go about our day. Everything is ordered and predictable. We’re like cuckoo birds who appear through a door each morning. We fancy there’s a clockwork set in motion at the beginning of time.

But if you remove everything from space, what’s left? Nothing. The same applies for time — you can’t put it in a jar. You can’t see through the bone surrounding your brain (everything you experience is information in your mind). Biocentrism tells us space and time aren’t objects — they’re the mind’s tools for putting everything together.

Deep. So deep that I immediately regretted not donning my hip boots as I waded into the intellectual equivalent of the muck and worse. Dr. Lanza takes a trivial fact, namely that we humans can only experience the universe and time through our senses, and boards the crazy train with it. You think I’m being too harsh? Think again. Lanza piles woo upon woo, stealing liberally from Deepak Chopra and other masters of “quantum consciousness” to argue not just that the senses are the only way that human beings can experience the universe but that human beings create the universe through their consciousness. In Lanza’s view, when we die, our universe dies with us and then reboots. Seriously. You can’t make stuff like this up. He also regurgitates arguments that would make Deepak Chopra blush in the service of this concept:

In fact, it was Einstein’s theory of relativity that showed that space and time are indeed relative to the observer. Quantum theory ended the classical view that particles exist if we don’t perceive them. But if the world is observer-created, we shouldn’t be surprised that it’s destroyed with each of us. Nor should we be surprised that space and time vanish, and with them all Newtonian conceptions of order and prediction.

Yes, Einstein showed that time is relative to the observer, but he’s probably doing backflips in his grave at this abuse of his theory. Just because the passage of time changes depending on your frame of references, slowing down as you approach the speed of light, does not mean that time is meaningless or that it “reboots” when you die. Quantum theory did not end the view that particles exist if we don’t perceive them. At least, I never learned that when I took quantum mechanics, both in my physics classes and my physical chemistry classes.

I have to wonder if Lanza is confusing the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, which states that position and momentum, cannot simultaneously be known to arbitrary precision by an observer. In other wors, the more precisely one property of an object or particle is measured, the less precisely the other can be known. Or perhaps he’s riffing on the paradox of Schrödinger’s cat, which illustrates the principle of superposition in quantum theory. Basically this is a thought experiment in which we place a living cat in a steel chamber with device containing a vial of hydrocyanic acid. In the chamber, there’s also a very small amount of a radioactive substance. If even a single atom of the substance decays during the test period, a mechanism will trip a hammer, which will then break the vial and kill the cat. Because the observer cannot know whether an atom has decayed, the observer can’t know whether the vial has been broken and thus can’t know whether the cat is alive or dead. Since we can’t know, the cat is both alive and dead, which is analogous to a quantum superposition of states. It’s only when the box is opened and observe the cat that the superposition is lost and the cat becomes either alive or dead. This is sometimes called the observer’s paradox, where the observation affects an outcome and the outcome does’t exist until the measurement is made. More specifically, there is no single outcome until it is observed.

None of which means that the cat doesn’t exist if we’re not observing it, which is what Lanza seems to be “arguing.” I really did think I was reading Deepak Chopra! Oh, wait! I could have been! Chopra and Lanza teamed up back in December. Like a fusion reaction, putting them together resulted in a nuclear fusion explosion of woo. In any case, his sole “evidence” for his amazing concepts? An anecdote about using a steel trap to capture a woodchuck and a man who told him to capture dragonflies and then later made him a metal dragonfly.

I kid you not.

Still, Dr. Lanza goes far beyond this. Apparently he has come up with a whole new theory of woo. I know, I know. I shouldn’t use that word for this. You’re right. So I’ll call it a hypothesis of woo, namely “biocentrism.” In brief, this idea claims that life has primacy in the structure of the universe and that therefore biology is the most important science. Basically, in biocentrism, life creates the universe rather than the other way around, and, according to biocentrism, current theories of how the physical world works don’t work and can’t work until they account for consciousness and that which manifests it, namely life. Of course, Lanza’s written a book about his ideas, but the shorter version (albeit still Orac-length wordy) explanation of biocentrism was posted last year on MSNBC.com in the form of an article entitled å. It’s completely a “theory of everything.” With woo. As I read it, there were parts where I once again had a hard time identifying whether I was reading Deepak Chopra or Robert Lanza:

Consciousness is not just an issue for biologists; it’s a problem for physics. There is nothing in modern physics that explains how a group of molecules in a brain creates consciousness. The beauty of a sunset, the taste of a delicious meal, these are all mysteries to science — which can sometimes pin down where in the brain the sensations arise, but not how and why there is any subjective personal experience to begin with. And, what’s worse, nothing in science can explain how consciousness arose from matter. Our understanding of this most basic phenomenon is virtually nil. Interestingly, most models of physics do not even recognize this as a problem.

Of course, consciousness is a fascinating scientific question. However, its existence does not mean that the mind somehow creates the universe. It does not mean that space and time are products of consciousness and do not exist outside of the observer, which is what Lanza argues. Because our understanding of consciousness is not comprehensive does not give Lanza a legitimate opening to hang whatever pseudoscience he wants to drop on it. Not that it stops Lanza from bringing up one of the hoariest canards favored by creationists everywhere, the Anthropic Principle:

The world appears to be designed for life, not just at the microscope scale of the atom, but at the level of the universe itself. Scientists have discovered that the universe has a long list of traits that make it appear as if everything it contains — from atoms to stars — was tailor-made just for us. If the Big Bang had been one part in a million more powerful, it would have rushed out too fast for the galaxies and life to develop. Result: no us. If the strong nuclear force were decreased two percent, atomic nuclei wouldn’t hold together, and plain-vanilla hydrogen would be the only kind of atom in the universe. If the gravitational force were decreased by a hair, stars — including the sun — would not ignite. In fact, all of the universe’s forces and constants are just perfectly set up for atomic interactions, the existence of atoms and elements, planets, liquid water and life. Tweak any of them and you never existed. Many are calling this revelation the “Goldilocks Principle,” because the cosmos is not “too this” or “too that,” but rather “just right” for life.

Of course, creationists invoke the anthropic principle in order to argue that “God did it,” that the reason life exists couldn’t have been due to random events billions of years ago but rather must be because a “creator” or, of course, “intelligent designer” must have “designed” the conditions that would allow life to arise. Lanza takes a different view, heaping scorn on the “God did it” use of the anthropic principle favored by creationists but putting in its place–well, let Dr. Lanza tell the tale:

At the moment, there are only four explanations for this mystery. One is to argue for incredible coincidence. Another is to say, “God did that,” which explains nothing even if it is true. The third is to invoke the anthropic principle’s reasoning that we must find these conditions if we are alive, because, what else could we find? The final option is biocentrism pure and simple, which explains how the universe is created by life. Obviously, no universe that doesn’t allow for life could possibly exist; the universe and its parameters simply reflect the spatio-temporal logic of animal existence.

Note the very same argument from incredulity favored by creationists. Life couldn’t have possibly arisen by chance! But Dr. Lanza can’t settle for the “God did it” option, and he doesn’t like a more careful consideration of the anthropic principle. The weak, or planetary, anthropic principle is simply a statement of the obvious, namely that the particular universe in which we find ourselves possesses the characteristics necessary for our planet to exist and for life, including human life, to flourish here. This is pretty obvious and requires no great insight. The “strong,” or cosmological, anthropic principle goes beyond that and posits that every aspect of the universe, its physics, its physical constants like the gravitational constant, are custom-designed to lead to human beings. It’s sometimes stated something like this: Because the universe is compatible with the existence of human beings, the dynamics of the initial conditions of the universe and the elementary particles that existed then must have been such that they influenced the fundamental physical laws of the universe in such a way as to result in human beings.

So if God didn’t do it as far as leading to the evolution of human beings, then what did? Well, the usual explanation is that we wouldn’t be here if the laws of the universe weren’t such that they allowed us to exist. Not to Lanza. Lanza explains this not through God or gods or “designers” but rather by making each and every one of us a god who creates our own universe in our consciousness. Sure it’s a fun (and, most of all, ego-gratifying idea), but it has no basis in science.

Basically, in order to put each and every person (and in particular himself) at the center of his own personal universe that exists because his consciousness exists, that dies when he dies, and that “reboots” again after death, Lanza abuses the cosmological anthropic principle to claim not that we wouldn’t exist if some creator or “designer” hadn’t designed the universe so that we would come to exist but rather to claim that we created the universe. It’s like the Strangers creating and modifying the city of Dark City at will, only Lanza doesn’t think this is science fiction. In the end, this is simply a variation of Deepak Chopra’s quantum consciousness woo, but with a twist. Chopra argues that the universe creates consciousness and that we are the manifestation of that “cosmic consciousness,” our own consciousness sharing in that of the universe. In contrast, Lanza reverses things. Our consciousnesses are prime.

What a massive ego Lanza must have!

Time for me to get out the Doctor Doom mask again. It reall is difficult to go out in public when I know such fellow physicians are flooding that wretched hive of scum and quackery (HuffPo) with more wretched nonsense.

Comments

  1. #1 KWombles
    June 15, 2010

    Oh, Orac,

    The fun you have missed over the last six months or so!

    The last post I wrote on Lanza is linked through my name. Lanza apparently doesn’t appreciate my perspective on him that nothing I write as a comment on his posts at Huff gets on, not even a simple “rubbish” So bad is Lanza, so ridiculous is he with his vague, meaningless, and often repetitive woo, that he warranted one of his posts being critiqued in my freshman comp class in the spring, right behind Ullman. :-)

  2. #2 Rene Najera
    June 15, 2010

    This sounds like a take-off from Schrodinger’s Cat. It’s not real until someone makes it real. A better, more humorous explanation of that physics concept here:

    http://io9.com/5528321/how-smart-do-you-need-to-be-to-collapse-a-wave-function

    But a time reboot? Seriously? I’d be more inclined to believe in a multiverse than in that crap.

  3. #3 Dianne
    June 15, 2010

    It’s shaping up to be a bad week for doctors acting like fools. It seems that Rand Paul invented his own board rather than take recertification with the American Board of Ophthalmology. There are lots of reasons why physicians might let certification lapse, but letting certification lapse and inventing your own board? Smacks of incompetence and inability to recertify. I wonder if he’s affiliated with any hospitals.

  4. #4 Dianne
    June 15, 2010

    As for Lanza, Kurt Vonnegut said it first and said it better. (And didn’t mistake his fantasy for fact.)

  5. #5 SLC
    June 15, 2010

    Quantum theory did not end the view that particles exist if we don’t perceive them. At least, I never learned that when I took quantum mechanics, both in my physics classes and my physical chemistry classes.

    Actually, this isn’t as dumb as it appears. The late physicist John Wheeler once speculated, expanding on the theory of quantum entanglement, that if it is taken to its logical conclusion, then the universe itself doesn’t exist unless there are living beings around to observe it. I don’t know if he actually took this speculation seriously or if he was just pointing at one of the many conundrums of quantum theory.

    If the Big Bang had been one part in a million more powerful, it would have rushed out too fast for the galaxies and life to develop.

    This is actually incorrect as it is now known that the expansion of the universe is dominated not by the force of the big bang but by the density of dark energy.

  6. #6 T. Bruce McNeely
    June 15, 2010

    You’re stoned, man…

  7. #7 Jojo
    June 15, 2010

    His woo reminds me of some of the ideas I had when I was really little. I used to wonder if people didn’t actually exist at all, but that we were all in god’s imagination. Therefore, there really wasn’t anything real or solid in the universe, we just thought there was because god dreamed it up. This led me to wonder if anyone else even existed, or I just thought they did because god made me think so.

    Then, when I was seven, I got into books about horses, and abandoned that silly nonsense.

  8. #8 AnonymousCoward
    June 15, 2010

    Obviously, no universe that doesn’t allow for life could possibly exist; the universe and its parameters simply reflect the spatio-temporal logic of animal existence.

    Which is precisely why ideas like relativity and QM are so intuitive and easy to teach.

  9. #9 jay.sweet
    June 15, 2010

    My message to overly-credulous non-physicists:

    RELATIVITY != RELATIVISM

    At the risk of spoiling my otherwise pithy comment, I also want to point out that even if we accept his dubious assertion that time and space only exist if there is a consciousness there to perceive, and that therefore the universe ends when our mind dies — why would it then reboot? Even if that line of reasoning were valid, it seems to me it would only lead to the conclusion that time ends, not that it reboots. But I suppose that wouldn’t carry the chipper faux-optimistic New Age-y feel-goodedness that HuffPo readers have come to expect…

  10. #10 Ahistoricality
    June 15, 2010

    Oh, he’s reinvented solipsism! How… sad.

  11. #11 Denice Walter
    June 15, 2010

    I expect that his meanderings have a *certain resonance* among the esoterically-based, reality-challenged *free spirits* of the seventies and their like-minded progeny (having had observed them at close range in their native habitats of Woodstock,NY, Sebastopol,CA, and Nederland,CO and being a bit of a *connoisseure* of this sort of thing).I think I can venture a translation: “When the *fabric of your mind* encounters the *organisational matrices* of highly unique biological *essences*(you-know),*prepared _exclusively_ for you by Nature Herself*,a *serendipitous* *synchronicity* unlocks the *doors of perception*,arising like rosy-fingered dawn on your event horizon.Cosmic Bliss ensues.Better living through chemistry”.It’s “Stoner” science.(Thanks Orac,this is a good exercise for me as I’ll soon travel to NoCal: I need to prepare myself ).

  12. #12 jay.sweet
    June 15, 2010
    Quantum theory did not end the view that particles exist if we don’t perceive them. At least, I never learned that when I took quantum mechanics, both in my physics classes and my physical chemistry classes.

    Actually, this isn’t as dumb as it appears. The late physicist John Wheeler once speculated, expanding on the theory of quantum entanglement, that if it is taken to its logical conclusion, then the universe itself doesn’t exist unless there are living beings around to observe it. I don’t know if he actually took this speculation seriously or if he was just pointing at one of the many conundrums of quantum theory.

    I’m not sure about Wheeler — some of the great minds behind the development of quantum theory went off on some rather woo-y interpretations, if I recall correctly some even embracing the Consciousness-Causes-Collapse interpretation — but the majority of the time, when physicists talk about these sorts of things, the point they are making is that we must be missing something either in the theory or in the interpretation, because conclusions like that just don’t make sense.

    I’m told that a popular snarky saying among philosophers is “One man’s modus ponens is another man’s modus tollens”. I suppose this is a case of that.

  13. #13 knotfreak
    June 15, 2010

    I don’t think his CV is all that impressive. It starts with a quote from Newsweek–is that the best he could do? The rest of it continues to drop names rather than accomplishments. He seems to have been on a lot of “teams”. Why would anyone with real qualifications publish on HuffPo? It’s fine for politics and celeb trash, but what doctor in his right mind would want to be associated with all that woo?

    I for one have never cared about all the supposed “big questions”. Who cares “why we are here”, “what happens after death” and so on. Basic science explains it well enough for me and beyond that, what’s the point of asking these things? I’m no more anxious to die than anyone else, but that doesn’t make me start inventing theories that allow me to think that I will somehow “continue on” or “reboot”. What is wrong with the Chopras and Lanzas of the world? Is it a neurological problem?

  14. #14 Adam_Y
    June 15, 2010

    Quantum theory ended the classical view that particles exist if we don’t perceive them. But if the world is observer-created, we shouldn’t be surprised that it’s destroyed with each of us. Nor should we be surprised that space and time vanish, and with them all Newtonian conceptions of order and prediction.

    Butchering basic quantum mechanics. An observer doesn’t have to be alive. All that is needed for something to become an observer is information (Spin,momentum,energy)from the system needs to be transferred to the new system.

  15. #15 MikeMa
    June 15, 2010

    This smacks in an oblique way to the airport locker scenes in the Men in Black movies. Of course those were just movies.

    I cannot imagine what sort of evidence this wacko has for time reboots. It is classic woo when you have to die in order to get to the next step. Really, really hard to disprove that sort of crazy.

  16. #16 Vicki
    June 15, 2010

    None of this even seems new. An extension of the anthropic principle to acknowledge that observers in a quantum mechanical sense don’t have to be human or even intelligent is no big deal. I think it was back in the 1970s that I read a suggestion that the need for an observer to collapse the waveform is no big deal because a photon can qualify, since it would be affected by which way things collapse.

  17. #17 Jojo
    June 15, 2010

    Denice @11

    a *serendipitous* *synchronicity* unlocks the *doors of perception*,arising like rosy-fingered dawn on your event horizon.

    I’m impressed. That’s some high quality woo-speak. I think you just earned your quantum merit badge. You’ll have no problem blending in with the natives of NoCal.

    Hey, I wonder if you could publish in HuffPo? That would be an awesome Poe.

  18. #18 Jordan
    June 15, 2010

    If my mind is indeed creating the universe, it’s doing a really piss poor job of it. It’s mostly unhabitable and filled with things I don’t understand, sometimes even when experts in their respective fields explain them to me. Also, why am I creating all these fundamentalist religiots and pseudoscientists eager to prey upon the uninformed masses?

    I think I’m in need of a reboot myself.

  19. #19 Roger Rains
    June 15, 2010

    I can understand contemplating this sort of thing. College sophomores are famous for it. But I’ve never understood why anyone would bother to publish it. If you actually believe this sort of mush, then the universe you inhabit is all within your own mind, including the people you are supposedly publishing the article for. The theory you are espousing says there is really no one there but you. Publishing the article is therefore the ultimate form of mental masturbation.

  20. #20 Vicki
    June 15, 2010

    Can anyone braver/tougher than I am (and who has actually read this thing) tell me whether he explains “reboot” in this thing? Does Lanza think the entire universe restarts every time someone dies, and if so, what species qualify? Does the time restart with the death of every sparrow? Or does everyone have a separate timeline? Or is this bog-standard reincarnation disguised in vaguely tech-sounding talk?

  21. #21 Denice Walter
    June 15, 2010

    @ Jojo.*Merci beaucoup*.When I was a student,someone(named “Joe”, coincidently)suggested that I give a series of lectures(and do “private consultations”) that used airy-fairy,New Agey,woo-tastic parlance but *actually* involved EB guidelines from my graduate studies/training(that’s not ethical!)that would be relevant and realistic:he would be my manager(@ a 10% fee) and I would get to wear lovely, flowing outfits.I didn’t do it.(About the Californians,for some reason that I can’t exactly fathom, they embrace me as a “sister” *and* they similarly accepted my late father- possibly it’s something about appearance or that neither of us had obtrusive East Coast accents.)

  22. #22 Daniel
    June 15, 2010

    What does “one of the leading scientists in the world” mean, anyway? Wouldn’t one at least expect that to be in some *field* of science?

    OK, kidding, I am very aware that the quoted phrase simply means “arrogant dipsh*t”. :-)

  23. #23 rob
    June 15, 2010

    i have Ozzy in my head screaming

    “All aboard…hahahahahahahahaha”

  24. #24 Donna B.
    June 15, 2010

    I don’t want a reboot. I’m not complaining about my life, but I wouldn’t want to live it over again. What I want is a larger faster hard drive, a better operating system, and some really cool peripherals.

  25. #25 Mike Mike
    June 15, 2010

    What gets me is that he’s really just some sort of neo-phenomenologist, but he’s parading his ideas about consciousness and philosophy around like they are new, and are going to change something when he publishes them, even though they didn’t change much the other ten-thousand times they were published by other people.

  26. #26 Nick
    June 15, 2010

    You guys need to give northern California a break. Besides the bay area, the rest of the northern part of the state is actually really conservative. The county I live in votes like Idaho, Utah or the Mid-West. Nor Cal really doesn’t live up to the hippy image (or the surfer image for that matter).

    In fact, I imagine you are far more likely to find hard right creationists here than a woo-loving quantum homeopathy nut.

  27. #27 Daniel
    June 15, 2010

    @Donna B.: Very much agreed. :-)

    But have you thought of this: I am personally quite convinced that “our self” is just stored in the RAM of our brain computers, thus, following a reboot (taking the Lanza woo from granted), who are we?

    I came to a similar point when discussing the Eastern/Buddhist “rebirth” thingy. If you cannot remember who you were in your past life, if nothing of you is left after being reborn (or, according to Lanza, rebooting time and creating a new all-personal universe), what is the point? Your old “you” is still gone forever, just like if you were to rot in the ground.

    The whole thing is ridiculous.

  28. #28 dogmatichaos
    June 15, 2010

    I’ve totally experienced this via a surrogate. Everytime Mario dies when I’m playing Super Mario Bros, time seems to simply “reboot” for him.

  29. #29 Arabidopsis
    June 15, 2010

    I couldn’t even read what he wrote. Admittedly, I’m a little sleepy, but I couldn’t seem to find enough substance in anything to produce a coherent thought about it.

    @22 It took me a minute to realize why that was such a weird introduction. I’ve never heard that phrase used without a field of some sort indicated. Geez. Even Nobels are awarded in fields.

  30. #30 bluemaxx
    June 15, 2010

    Ok..I read his “treatise” on death/life/rebooting/a blacksmith and the butterfly.

    Methinks Dr. Lanza has been in group practice with Dr. Timothy Leary perhaps, and Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.
    What gibberish. and… WHAT RESEARCH exactly are we doing on what happens after death? Where do we get the control group?

  31. #31 Pareidolius
    June 15, 2010

    Biocentrism? Lanza’s stuff sounds vaguely familiar. Where have I heard this before . . . (cue echo-y harp music and swirling flashback pattern)

    When I was a teenager, I was introduced to Jane Roberts’ Seth Materials by a relative. Before this watershed event, my dad and I were always gently poking fun of my mom’s penchant for promoting the “works” of Edgar Cayce and Ruth Montgomery. “Really” I thought, “who could possibly believe that crap?” But Roberts books would prove to be my gateway to years of woo.

    Cleverly written and full of seeming self-doubt, skepticism and homey spirituality, they were based on “channeled” quantum pseudoscience provided by a very likeable, allegedly non-corporeal smartass called Seth. This was exactly the kind of just-sciency-enough woo to attract a smart, creative, existentially anxious teenager away from critical thinking for a decade or so. It also provided a great platform for my rebellious years that were beginning, right on schedule, at 15. I mean, how else do you rebel in an atheist family except by going to Wooville?

    Needless to say, I got better. But the more I read of Lanza’s stuff, the more it seems to be cribbed verbatim from Roberts’ The Nature of Personal Reality.

    Denice Walter: If you’re in the Sebastopol/Santa Rosa area, let me know, Lord Draconis says he’d love to have you for lunch.

  32. #32 DayOwl
    June 15, 2010

    The implied message is that they have discovered the nature of reality therefore no further thought on the subject is needed. Just follow the guide provided and your spiritual quest will be complete.

    This is far more disturbing than the particular brand of nonsense they spout.

  33. #33 Donna B.
    June 15, 2010

    #27, Daniel — Of course! I want more ram too!

  34. #34 MikeMa
    June 15, 2010

    …and built in blu-ray!

  35. #35 Bronze Dog
    June 15, 2010

    Rene Najera:

    This sounds like a take-off from Schrodinger’s Cat. It’s not real until someone makes it real. A better, more humorous explanation of that physics concept here:

    http://io9.com/5528321/how-smart-do-you-need-to-be-to-collapse-a-wave-function

    But a time reboot? Seriously? I’d be more inclined to believe in a multiverse than in that crap.

    Left a comment over at the link, but thought I’d ask here, in case someone here knows more about physics than I do.

    I’ve tended to take the view that the device that tells which of the double slits a particle passes through ends up “nailing it down” as being in that location, collapsing the wave function. Essentially, I thought measuring the electron forced it to pick one slit, but if you can get the same effect after it passes through, you’ll get the same effect. Does “nailing it down” after the slits retroactively affect the paths it took, since it restricts all the possible paths the electron takes to the back wall to just those paths that pass through one slit?

    dogmaticchaos:

    I’ve totally experienced this via a surrogate. Everytime Mario dies when I’m playing Super Mario Bros, time seems to simply “reboot” for him.

    And that takes me to something that might have helped inspir me to think of that quantum speculation.

  36. #36 Otto
    June 15, 2010

    “Methinks Dr. Lanza has been in group practice with Dr. Timothy Leary perhaps”

    Nah, Tim rejected solipsism. He was a supernaturalist and cosmic-minder.

  37. #37 diatom
    June 15, 2010

    On the topic of quantum physics and interpretations of reality, in the NY Times book review this weekend Graham Farmelo reviews Manjit Kumar’s “Quantum: Einstein, Bohr, and the Great Debate About the Nature of Reality”.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/13/books/review/Farmelo-t.html

    I am fascinated by Farmelo’s anecdote “In the late 1970s, I had the pleasure of talking with John Bell about the Bohr-¬Einstein debates during a train journey from Oxford to London. Every seat was taken, so we had to stand. Pressed against me by sullen commuters, Bell summarized his apparently reluctant conclusion as we pulled into Paddington station: “Bohr was inconsistent, unclear, willfully obscure and right. Einstein was consistent, clear, down-to-earth and wrong.”

    I also found this interesting: “Kumar cites a poll about the interpretation of quantum mechanics, taken among physicists at a conference in 1999. Of the 90 respondents, only four said they accepted the standard interpretation taught in every undergraduate physics course in the world. Thirty favored a modern interpretation, laid out in 1957 by the Princeton theoretician Hugh Everett III, while 50 ticked the box labeled “none of the above or undecided.”

    As Orac mentioned, most undergraduate physics courses fail to mention any quantum mystery. In “Quantum Enigma: Physics encounters consciousness” by Rosenblum and Kutner, the two physicist authors bemoan the fact that the quantum enigma is generally glossed over in university classes and they seem to be bucking the trend in their teaching.

  38. #38 diatom
    June 15, 2010

    My apologies to Fred Kuttner for the misspelling.

  39. #39 Prometheus
    June 15, 2010

    Lanza was brilliant and rational for many years. His sister was killed in a car accident and he began flailing about for anything from multiverse conjecture to extrapolations from thermodynamics to memory voltages.

    It is extremely depressing. His latest bent is a combination of “The Secret” quantum physics flap doodle and a “Warty Bliggens” point of view.

    warty bliggens, the toad

    By Don Marquis, in “archy and mehitabel,” 1927

    i met a toad
    the other day by the name
    of warty bliggens
    he was sitting under
    a toadstool
    feeling contented
    he explained that when the cosmos
    was created
    that toadstool was especially
    planned for his personal
    shelter from sun and rain
    thought out and prepared
    for him

    do not tell me
    said warty bliggens
    that there is not a purpose
    in the universe
    the thought is blasphemy
    a little more
    conversation revealed
    that warty bliggens
    considers himself to be
    the center of the same
    universe
    the earth exists
    to grow toadstools for him
    to sit under
    the sun to give him light
    by day and the moon
    and wheeling constellations
    to make beautiful
    the night for the sake of
    warty bliggens

    to what act of yours
    do you impute
    this interest on the part
    of the creator
    of the universe
    i asked him
    why is it that you
    are so greatly favored

    ask rather
    said warty bliggens
    what the universe
    has done to deserve me
    if i were a
    human being i would
    not laugh
    too complacently
    at poor warty bliggens
    for similar
    absurdities
    have only too often
    lodged in the crinkles
    of the human cerebrum

    archy

  40. #40 Ian
    June 15, 2010

    @diatom

    It doesn’t matter what people’s opinions or personal beliefs about reality might be. It’s not a democratic issue. We don’t get to vote and say “the majority of people think that Elvis isn’t dead, therefore he’s alive.” It’s also interesting that the majority of the sample don’t agree with either the undergraduate definition (which is probably more simplistic than PhD physicists understand) or whatever it was Everett said – if opinions did matter, the answer would still be complicated.

    None of that says anything about whether “quantum mystery” or “quantum enigma” is anything more than an absurd solipsism. The reason it isn’t taught at the undergraduate level is because there’s no evidence for it. It’s just one idea among a million others. Being a physicist doesn’t grant you magic powers of insight into consciousness; it grants you non-magic powers of insight into physics.

  41. #41 Richard Smith
    June 15, 2010

    What gets me may be pretty obvious to those of a non-woo persuasion, but it strikes me as a very serious paradox that the universe is created by its observers since, without the universe, what exactly is there for observers to observe? Not to mention what they might breathe, eat, drink, stand/sit/float in/on, or even use to develop sensory organs with which to perceive or neurons with which to cogitate?*

    I suppose such hypotheses involve the self/spirit idea but, again, how can something like that exist without the framework of a universe to give it, for lack of a better term, operating parameters? Yet another pretty idea ruined by ugly facts.

    @Jojo (#17): Given the nature of some of the “essences” hinted at, it would be a definite Huff-Poe.

    ——————–

    *Of course, people who come up with such woo hypotheses do seem to demonstrate the ability to generate their own little universes due to a seeming deficiency in (or possibly complete lack of) such faculties.

  42. #42 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    June 15, 2010

    In the beginning there were consciousnesses. And there was nothing to do. The consciousnesses got bored. Really bored. The consciousnesses decided to observe and become observers. And once observed, there was stuff. Unfortunately, the stuff precluded the existence of consciousnesses and observers so the whole system fell apart. The consciousnesses then decided to only observe stuff that would lead to the existence of observers and that was much better.
    And on the eighth day, they had a barbecue.

  43. #43 jfb
    June 15, 2010

    @Daniel:

    But have you thought of this: I am personally quite convinced that “our self” is just stored in the RAM of our brain computers, thus, following a reboot (taking the Lanza woo from granted), who are we?

    This is somewhat close to my thinking, except that I see the “self” and consciousness as more like instances of multiple running programs (processes) on the hardware of the brain (the mind is not a single monolithic entity, but a collection of many different entities running in parallel, sort of like daemons in *nix-speak, and yes, this is a horrible analogy). Those processes only exist as long as the hardware is powered up; allow the hardware to shut down completely (i.e., die), and those processes simply cease to exist altogether.

    Even if it were truly possible to “reboot”, the new consciousness would be a wholly distinct entity from the previous consciousness, even if there’s enough residual state to create a faithful copy of the original (sort of like reloading a program from disk and restarting, and again, this is a horrible analogy); the original consciousness is gone forever.

    In short, my view is that the mind is wholly inseparable from the meat; the mind is a product of the meat. The Universe? It really doesn’t care what you think.

  44. #44 Prometheus
    June 15, 2010

    “What has rightly been called the “hard problem” of consciousness—how it arises from brain activity—has yet to be solved. But the shortest answer anyone can give to a dualist who hopes this leaves wriggle room for minds or souls is this: hit someone hard enough on the head, and a mental function regularly correlated with the resultantly damaged part of the brain will be lost or compromised. That covariance is enough to render profoundly unpersuasive any of the reasons offered in support of dualism.”

    AC Grayling 26th July 2008

  45. #45 superdave
    June 15, 2010

    A minor nitpick
    The purpose of Schrodinger’s Cat paradox was to show that quantum effects can have macroworld effects. The cat is both alilve and dead but not because we do not know it’s state. It is alive or dead because it has been poisoned by radiation from a material which may or may not have decomposed based on it’s quantum state. There is a 50 50 chance the material has decomposed and will not kill the cat. Therefore, the life of the cat has been tied to a quantum event. By observing the cat, we collapse the wave function of the radioactive isotope, not the cat.

  46. #46 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    June 15, 2010

    @superdave,

    That’s one interpretation. It was also an attempt by Schrödinger to show the ludicrous interpretations that the “Copenhagen interpretation” of quantum mechanics lead to.

  47. #47 Donna B.
    June 15, 2010

    #43, Prometheus — a person I dearly love suffered a massive closed head injury. While the love remains the same, he “awoke” with a completely different personality. “Awoke” is in parentheses because the process took somewhere between six to eight months.

  48. #48 vic
    June 15, 2010

    Orac wades through the muck so we don’t have to.

    Wonder which part of the brain keeps the universe moving along when someone is asleep (or comatose).

  49. #49 Blake Stacey
    June 15, 2010

    Quantum theory ended the classical view that particles exist if we don’t perceive them.

    So, if we all ignore Lanza, will he go away?

    (I should never have called Mark Chu-Carroll’s attention to him, back in 2007.)

    One of the continuing themes of modern quantum mechanics research is that you can leave out the extra postulate about the “collapse of the wavefunction” and still get something which, to the entities existing inside the quantum world, looks like wavefunction collapse. What exactly this implies is still somewhat up in the air; if we were to imagine a future textbook called Making Sense of Quantum Physics, an educated guess would be that “decoherence” figures prominently in the first couple chapters, but the later ones are as yet un-outlined.

    Of course, it’s not like Lanza, Chopra or any of their ilk know — or care — about the mathematics of quantum decoherence. They get their knowledge third-hand, cribbing from bastardizations of vulgarizations of the science. Most of what they say is outright fabrication, decorated perhaps with a few garbled, out-of-context quotations from people who lived a long time ago, when we knew much less about physics than we do today.

  50. #50 Jon H
    June 15, 2010

    “An extension of the anthropic principle to acknowledge that observers in a quantum mechanical sense don’t have to be human or even intelligent is no big deal.”

    I should think that, basically all that’s needed is an interaction with something else. Could be a neutron flying through space. Could be a gravitational field.

  51. #51 Denice Walter
    June 15, 2010

    @ Nick: It’s all in loving jest,tongue firmly in cheek(you’ll notice that I also include NY and CO hippie towns).I adore the entire bay area, think of it as a “home away from home”, and may possibly live there some day.I have also visited more conservative and agricultural counties in CA.In addition,I have great fun with our commenter from Sonoma and his lordly pal.

  52. #52 Blake Stacey
    June 15, 2010

    Quoth Lanza:

    In fact, all of the universe’s forces and constants are just perfectly set up for atomic interactions, the existence of atoms and elements, planets, liquid water and life. Tweak any of them and you never existed.

    So, why is the proton decay rate at least twenty orders of magnitude smaller than necessary to support life?

    Preliminary work suggests that complex chemistry (and thus, potentially, life) could arise in universes with unbroken supersymmetry. This would imply a whole slew of extra particles — quite a different subatomic zoo than what we see in our Universe. However, the pattern they’d fall into would be mathematically nicer, by some standards, so scientists in Moduli Space World might have an easier time figuring out what’s going on.

  53. #53 Mojo
    June 15, 2010

    I’m looking forward to Friday.

    If Orac can afford to squander this on on a Tuesday he must have something really impressive lined up for the Friday Dose of Woo.

  54. #54 jj
    June 15, 2010

    You guys need to give northern California a break. Besides the bay area, the rest of the northern part of the state is actually really conservative

    I’ll agree and disagree. It seems we have either ultra-hippies or ultra-conservatives. If you head east (i.e.Redding)you get the conservatives, head west you get more hippie. I have a buddy who grew up in Corning (between Chico and Redding) and the town is 100% conservatives. So I guess the best breakdown is I5 = conservative, US 101 = Liberal. Although I do beleive many of the pot farmers up in the hills are actually more conservative than Liberal (libertarian more likely)

    I live in Santa Cruz, a place known for it’s hippie ways (the saying goes “to get to Santa Cruz, go to Berkley and take a left), but we have our fair share of right-wing nuts as well up in the mountains. If fact it’s said that the town was heavily conservative until the University was built, which was an extremely liberal University for a long time (still is, but now they actually assign grades)

  55. #55 kb
    June 15, 2010

    He was also a Fulbright Scholar, and was part of the team that cloned the world’s first human embryo, as well as the first to clone an endangered species, to demonstrate that nuclear transfer could reverse the aging process, and to generate stem cells using a method that does not require the destruction of human embryos.

    Wait, so he cloned the first human embryo, which *if that actually happened* would have required the creation of hundreds or thousands of short-lived embryos that were destroyed by his own tampering, but then he also generated stem cells that did not require the destruction of human embryos? Within the same sentence, we have two competing moralities. How do you put both of those on a CV?

  56. #56 kb
    June 15, 2010

    Also, I was under the impression that human cloning was illegal.

  57. #57 Michael Ralston
    June 16, 2010

    “part of the team that cloned the world’s first human embryo”

    I know how that is intended to read, but it is much funnier to read it as implying they were either engaging in archaeology, or else sent it back in time afterwards.

  58. #58 homostoicus
    June 16, 2010

    Ah, phooey! I thought I thought up biocentrism all by myself (when I smoked my first joint).

  59. #59 Anirudh Kumar Satsangi
    June 16, 2010

    In Bhagavad-Gita Lord SriKrishna says to Arjuna:
    “I taught this immortal Yoga to Vivasvan (sun-god), Vivasvan conveyed it to Manu(his son), and Manu imparted it to (his son) Iksvaku. Thus transmitted to succession from father to son, Arjuna, this Yoga remained known to the Rajarisis (royal sages). It has however long since disappeared from this earth. The same ancient Yoga has this day been imparted to you by Me, because you are My devotee and friend, and also because this is a supreme secret”.
    At this Arjuna said: You are of recent origin while the birth of Vivasvan dates back to remote antiquity. How, then, I am to believe that you taught this Yoga at the beginning of creation? Lord SriKrishna said: Arjuna, you and I have passed through many births. I remember them all, you do not remember.
    1. Radha Soami Faith was founded by His Holiness Param Purush Puran Dhani Huzur Soamiji Maharaj on the prayer of His Holiness Huzur Maharaj who later on became second Spiritual Head of Radha Soami Faith. The prime object of the Radha Soami Faith is the emancipation of all Jeevas (Souls) i.e. to take the entire force of consciousness to its original abode. There is a tradition of succession of Gurus or Spiritual Adepts in Radha Soami Faith. I am one of them as is evident from the following facts or ….
    “My most Revered Guru of my previous life His Holiness Maharaj Sahab, 3rd Spiritual Head of Radhasoami Faith had revealed this secret to me during trance like state.
    HE told me, “Tum Sarkar Sahab Ho” (You are Sarkar Sahab). Sarkar Sahab was one of the most beloved disciple of His Holiness Maharj Sahab. Sarkar Sahab later on became Fourth Spiritual Head of Radhasoami Faith.
    Since I don’t have any direct realization of it so I can not claim the extent of its correctness. But it seems to be correct. During my previous birth I wanted to sing the song of ‘Infinite’ (Agam Geet yeh gawan chahoon tumhri mauj nihara, mauj hoi to satguru soami karoon supanth vichara) but I could not do so then since I had to leave the mortal frame at a very early age. But through the unbounded Grace and Mercy of my most Revered Guru that desire of my past birth is being fulfilled now.”

  60. #60 Anirudh Kumar Satsangi
    June 16, 2010

    A news appeared in various news papers that Craig Ventor had created artificial life. He was working over project this since very long along with his team mates. You may also have heard that Johnjoe McFadden has given a Electromagnetic Field Theory of Consciousness/Mind. We all know that Physics describes four fundamental forces in the universe. They are Gravitational Force, Electromagnetic Force, Weak Nuclear Force and Strong Nuclear Force. They are responsible for the creation of particles, subatomic structures, atomic structures, molecules,elements etc. For natural things (life etc.)to be created, natural forces (God Forces) act in natural ways. When man operates and manipulates these forces and creates some new things or old one it is said ‘artificial’. For me everything is natural. Since man is the part of nature so everything created by him, in-vivo or in-vitro, using Forces of Nature is also natural and not artificial.

    I have given a theory of consciousness and mind as below:

    “Gravitation Force is the Ultimate Creator”, I presented this paper at the 1st Int. Conf. on Revival of Traditional Yoga, held at The Lonavla Yoga Institute (India), Lonavla, Pune in 2006. The Abstract of this paper is given below:

    “The Universe includes everything that exists. In the Universe there are billions and billions of stars. These stars are distributed in the space in huge clusters. They are held together by gravitation and are known as galaxies. Sun is also a star. Various members of the solar system are bound to it by gravitation force. Gravitation force is the ultimate cause of birth and death of galaxy, star and planets etc. Gravitation can be considered as the cause of various forms of animate and inanimate existence. Human form is superior to all other forms. Withdrawal of gravitational wave from some plane of action is called the death of that form. It can be assumed that gravitation force is ultimate creator. Source of it is ‘God’. Gravitational Field is the supreme soul (consciousness) and its innumerable points of action may be called as individual soul (consciousness). It acts through body and mind. Body is physical entity. Mind can be defined as the function of autonomic nervous system. Electromagnetic waves are its agents through which it works. This can be realized through the practice of meditation and yoga under qualified meditation instruction. This can remove misunderstanding between science and religion and amongst various religions. This is the gist of all religious teachings – past, present and future.”

  61. #61 Otto
    June 16, 2010

    “But through the unbounded Grace and Mercy of my most Revered Guru that desire of my past birth is being fulfilled now.”

    You and your guru: Are you the same, or different?

  62. #62 Mu
    June 16, 2010

    I think it’s a try at proof by contradiction: If woo can be found that makes Lanza sound brilliant and reasonable, Lanza’s stuff isn’t woo.
    I don’t think that works in philosophy so.

  63. #63 viggen
    June 16, 2010

    Or perhaps he’s riffing on the paradox of Schrödinger’s cat, which illustrates the principle of superposition in quantum theory.

    Your description of the Schroedinger’s Cat paradox is good, but it needs one additional contextual element that most non-physicists tend to leave out.

    Schroedinger used that thought experiment to point out how ridiculous the idea of state superposition is at a macroscopic level. The overall point he was using the thought experiment to make is that “Dead” and “Alive” do not boil down to eigenstate absolutes–you need to sit down with the math to know what I mean by how absolute an eigenstate is. There are a huge number of observables that are needs to describe “a cat alive” versus “a cat dead” and there is a continuum of intermediate states or even homologous substates, as opposed to the idea of an eigenstate, which is an absolute entity specified by a single observable quantum number. For instance, “the cat wounded” is not an allowed outcome since it is not either “alive” or “dead” since the only allowed states are “vial broken” versus “vial unbroken” where you can’t have “vial broken” but “cat still alive”. Taken out of context, this thought experiment says something that seems totally different from how it was intended to be used.

  64. #64 viggen
    June 16, 2010

    you need to sit down with the math to know what I mean by how absolute an eigenstate is

    I’m keeping clear of a discussion of degenerate eigenstates, BTW. (This is where you need more than one quantum number to uniquely identify an eigenstate)

  65. #65 Alisha
    June 16, 2010

    Anthropocentrism regards humans as center of earth, and biocentrism says that humans and plants and animals should be equal.

  66. #66 k
    June 16, 2010

    Orac, how about a Bill Gates mask? Lanza’s postulate sounds more like “Windows is The Matrix, and we Ctrl-Alt-Delete into a new reality”. OMG! a Knoppix or Ubuntu disc STAT!

  67. #67 Anirudh Kumar Satsangi
    June 16, 2010

    Thank you Otto for your querries.

    As I have mentioned in my comments that His Holiness Maharaj Sahab (Pt. Brahm Shankar Mishra Sahab) is my Guru of my previous life (Sarkar Sahab, Shri Kamta Prasad Sinha). Physically we were different. But according to belief of Radhasoami Faith when Guru is departed from this world the Cuurent of Almighty Lord Functions through His chief and most beloved disciple for the emancipation of the entire creation.

  68. #68 Anirudh Kumar Satsangi
    June 16, 2010

    Of course, the Emancipatory Current of Almighty Lord is the same in Guru and later on in His Disciple

  69. #69 Eric
    June 17, 2010

    What Prometheus said. I have no idea what drives other woomeisters, but I actually feel some pity for Lanza–if you go through some of his other HuffPo pieces it’s pretty obvious he’s flailing around trying to understand why his sister died and to forge some kind of meaning out of it. The recurring theme in “Biocentrism” when you look at things in that context isn’t so much the abuse of quantum mechanics or focus on the strong anthropic principle, but really the implication that Lanza’s sister is somehow still alive in some kind of cosmic sense.

    I don’t know if I would lose my mind if something happened to my sister, but I can understand it.

    That said, pity is no reason not to give Lanza’s nonsense the thrashing it deserves. A foolish idea deserves to be treated as foolishness. But it does temper what I might say about Lanza. The poor bastard has allowed grief to trump rationality, a situation that compounds sorrow.

    Anyway, just wanted to throw that out there. Thank you for another great analysis, Orac.

  70. #70 Zetetic
    June 17, 2010

    Alisha @ #65:

    Anthropocentrism regards humans as center of earth, and biocentrism says that humans and plants and animals should be equal.

    And this is relevant to it’s being scientifically unsupported and illogical how exactly? Just because it would be nice if Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy were real doesn’t make them any less fictitious. Besides you seem to be implying a Straw-Man argument there.

    As to it putting all life at the center of focus, while that sounds nice, it’s just excuse making. The baseless assertion of time “rebooting” when you die strikes me as being highly self-absorbed to the point of being solipsistic.

    If you want to argue in support of “biocentrisim” don’t just tell us that you think it’s nice, or why you think it’s nice. Try giving us some actual logic and evidence that supports it’s position.

  71. #71 Zetetic
    June 17, 2010

    Eric @ #69:

    The poor bastard has allowed grief to trump rationality, a situation that compounds sorrow.

    True. If what is said to have happened to Lanza is correct, it is very tragic. He wouldn’t have been the first though, nor is he likely to be the last. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle being taken in by Spiritualism comes to mind (among others).

  72. #72 Prometheus
    June 17, 2010

    I had meant to post this link to a case by case rational and critical disassembling of Lanza and Chopra. It would be remarkable and interesting in its observations if it were not reacting to a particular work which is what makes for good critical writing.

    http://nirmukta.com/2009/12/14/biocentrism-demystified-a-response-to-deepak-chopra-and-robert-lanzas-notion-of-a-conscious-universe/

  73. #73 JF Fortier
    July 8, 2010

    It is easy to bash what goes against what the latest century has defined to be the common sense. But you better get used to the idea that Consciousness is uncreated and expresses itself individually through us…

    You’ll see more and more of that woo woo endorsed by people with PhD because they are learning to look objectively at what produces subjectivity, i.e.: without the dogmas of scientism that claim that only science can provide true knowledge…

    An opposite always triggers its opposite. Scientism was a response to the magical/religious atmosphere of the latest centuries. We thought that the case was closed, that science showed without a doubt that consciousness arose accidentally from matter. But it looks like a new story will replace the old ones…

    Good luck…

  74. #74 Chris
    July 8, 2010

    Do you want some dressing for your word salad?

  75. #75 Binkky
    July 12, 2010

    er, if we put Schrödinger’s cat in a glass chamber the whole thing falls apart. once again proving that the medium is the message. ho ho ho.

    anywhoo i prefer not to think of cat sacrifices in the name of anything, let alone thought experiments.

  76. #76 Nathan Prophet
    July 21, 2010

    All you Lanza bashers; you quantum consciousness skeptics; you stupid dolts. I can see you all in the crowd discussing the ridiculous notion of a heliocentric solar system. “What woo Copernicus has come up with this time. Why he had so little confidence in his “breakthrough” theory that he gave instructions to publish it only after his death. We all know that God placed the Earth in the center of the universe and that it is stationary, or else we would all fall off. “The Earth revolves around the Sun.” How ridiculous! Ptolemy and the Church experts have told us the truth about the cosmos and the truth about everything. These so-called natural philosophers should just while away their time with their meaningless little experiments and that toy thing called the telescope.” All you Lanza bashers; go ask your priest, pastor, mullah, and rabbi to tell you the truth about nature and reality if you really want some woo.

  77. #77 mr brinkman
    July 21, 2010

    @76

    “But the fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright Brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown. ” –Carl Sagan

  78. #78 JHQ
    July 31, 2010

    @ Nathan Prophet

    WOW! Like, belief in heliocentrism was backed with solid, forensic evidence, like the earth’s shadow on the moon, for instance. What about biocentrism? If wishful thinking constituted forensic evidence, then ALL of the belief systems would be true, including Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, divine vaginaism, etc.
    But alas, wishful thinking does NOT constitute forensic evidence, and thus, all belief systems, including the biocentrism, is nothing but pure tosh.

  79. #79 truthspeaker
    August 4, 2010

    Copernicus delayed publication not for lack of confidence, but because he feared the wackjob religious authorities – people like Lanza – who ruled his society would imprison him and use harsh interrogation techniques to get him to repent.

  80. #80 John Wilson
    August 20, 2010

    The tone of the comments match the clumsy inept ‘view’ of Dr. Lanza’s book. It all reads like a second rate spate of envy and sophomoric scorn, mixed with an ego filled lack of comprehension.
    Thanks for absolutely nothing.
    I won’t be back.

  81. #81 max jukes
    August 25, 2010

    Although I understand Lanza’s writing is problematic, could someone on this thread with more actual scientific knowledge and understanding of the particle experiments he discusses (and upon which his biocentric theory revolves) tell me if they are accurately portrayed? In these experiments particles “act” or take on one form or another depending upon the viewer. Is there any truth to this? (I apologize for my lack of knowledge on this, I’m not in the scientific field, obviously.) I don’t agree with the statements on this page stating he presents a creationist point of view–only that life on earth exists because we happen to be the right distance from the Sun, etc–a common enough observation; Carl Sagan pointed this out as well. So what I’d like to know is 1) are these experiments accurately portrayed, and 2) if they are accurate, what (other) explanations exist for particles changing their form based on the viewer? Again, forgive my ignorance on this, but I really would like to know.

  82. #82 John Lodge
    September 4, 2010

    It would have been nice to see one piece of scientific evidence that shows Lanza’s theory is incorrect instead of just a very long ‘this is stupid woo’ argument. Can you give one reason why the experiments described in his book do not logically lead to this theory being a possibility.
    I suppose any theory could be argued to be ‘complete woo’ but its not much of an argument is it.

  83. #83 Orac
    September 4, 2010

    How about you or Dr. Lanza providing one piece of scientific evidence showing that Lanza’s hypothesis is correct? Seriously.

    Lanza completely abuses quantum theory, as I explained briefly here. His stuff is such utter nonsense that it doesn’t really need anything more than the sort of dismissive deconstruction we reserve for, say, homeopathy.

  84. #84 Chris
    September 4, 2010

    Mr. Lodge, sure… just as soon as you prove to me that I don’t have a dragon in my garage.

  85. #85 Bronze Dog
    September 4, 2010

    I’m late to the thread, but wow. The sheer cynicism, defeatism, and non-constructive attitude of these Lanza supporters just wallops me. And I’m surprised it still does. I guess I just have too much hope for humanity’s potential to ever become completely jaded to such egotism and childishness.

    Are we going to get into “You live in your mom’s basement! The fact that you disagree with me, the paragon of human imagination, proves it!” soon, or did I just not scroll up far enough?

    Here’s a hint, fellas: Projecting your envy and other psychological shortcomings onto us doesn’t win the argument. Whatever alleged shortcomings we have do not constitute a single jot of evidence for biocentrism. It just tells us that you think the world revolves around your ego. Grow up. Your fetish for changing the subject to psychobabble just shows that being dismissive is actually prudent.

    If you don’t want someone like me to be dismissive, try showing something that’s not boring or self-defeating, like actual evidence. The psychobabble ad hominems are old hat.

  86. #86 John Lodge
    September 5, 2010

    Hi Orac,
    I am not saying Lanza’s theory IS correct, but you haven’t given one actual reason why it isn’t. And ‘its stupid woo’ isn’t a reason. Lanza has produced evidence to back up his theory in his book which I don’t suppose you have even bothered to read. If he really has abused Quantum theory as you state then it shouldn’t be too hard to disprove.

    And to Chris, your argument reminds me of the old teapot in space argument. I completely agree, nobody has any responsibility to disprove Lanza’s theory. However if your going to take the time to write a whole blog about how stupid the theory is, then it would have been good on a site like this to see just one actual scientific reason. Which I have not seen.

  87. #87 T. Bruce McNeely
    September 5, 2010

    John Lodge:

    Orac did provide at least one clear scientific reason why Lanza’s gobbledegook is stupid – his mangling of quantum theory. Orac explained why it’s nonsense. It’s not up to him or the rest of us to bring you up to speed.

  88. #88 John Lodge
    September 5, 2010

    Yes I see that he has said Lanza has mangled quantum theory, but he hasn’t stated how. I’m not just asking to be difficult, its just that I have read Lanza’s book and now I would like to know which bits are wrong.
    In particular I would most like to know where he is wrong with his quantum theory.

  89. #89 Vicki
    September 5, 2010

    John–

    Yes, it is rather like the teapot in space thing. So it would be your, or Lanza’s, responsibility to show us the bleeding teapot. Not ours to do blink comparator searches, after which you might point out that maybe it’s too small for our search, or we missed 3 percent of the celestial sphere, or something.

  90. #90 John Lodge
    September 5, 2010

    It seems to me that he already has shown us the teapot. Now if someone could just tell me why its wrong. Or is it acceptable to write a blog insulting someone and their ideas without even being able to argue the point.
    As I said before, i’m most interested to know where he is wrong with his quantum theory.

  91. #91 Vicki
    September 5, 2010

    He hasn’t shown us a teapot. He has said “I wish I had a cup of tea. We know there is such a thing as tea, because we have drunk it before. Therefore, there must be an infinite teapot, from which I will be able to drink tea even after I die.”

    That he can’t believe that there is no teapot doesn’t mean there is one; my cat can’t believe that there’s no more whitefish, but that doesn’t fill my refrigerator with fish.

  92. #92 Chris
    September 5, 2010

    Here, Mr. Lodge, some reading that might help you: some biology and some physics. I’ve run out of links, but you might want to also check out the chemistry book. The subjects are all inter-related, but not the way you want it to be.

    As far as a dragon in my garage, you should catch up on the works of Carl Sagan, who coined the phrase. He also said extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

  93. #93 John Lodge
    September 5, 2010

    I’m getting the feeling nobody here has actually read the book. And I’m also getting the feeling nobody here has any idea what’s wrong with Lanza’s quantum theory.

  94. #94 Chris
    September 5, 2010

    What book? You only said “his book”, so we are only going on the HuffPo piece this article is about. Did you miss that?

    Also, since we have not even heard of the book, describe one of the experiments that would make his claims valid.

  95. #95 John Lodge
    September 5, 2010

    The book i’m referring to is biocentrism, which the article is taken from.
    And since your not even aware of which experiments his theory is based on I think its amazing you have all come to the conclusion he does not understand quantum theory.
    Perhaps you should try and understand something before attempting to mock it.

    Since your obviously basing your comments on this one article, and not the theory itself, I find the conclusions you have come to a little odd.

    And I have also noticed that this whole time nobody has pointed out to me the flaw in his understanding of quantum theory, I don’t think there is one.

  96. #96 Chris
    September 5, 2010

    Just to let you know, I have no intention of reading a Lanza book based on the above article. So you really need to describe the experiment you think would do the best to prove whatever point you are trying to make.

  97. #97 Chris
    September 5, 2010

    Richard Feynman:

    I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics.

    And really, you ought to read the review of the book.

  98. #98 T. Bruce McNeely
    September 5, 2010

    John Lodge:

    Yes, Einstein showed that time is relative to the observer, but he’s probably doing backflips in his grave at this abuse of his theory. Just because the passage of time changes depending on your frame of references, slowing down as you approach the speed of light, does not mean that time is meaningless or that it “reboots” when you die. Quantum theory did not end the view that particles exist if we don’t perceive them.

    Here you go. Orac’s take on quantum theory coincides with mine, based on my reading and what my physics and phyical chem classes in university. No, I’m not going to try to read Lanza’s book. I got enough of that stuff from Fritjof Capra and Chopra. It makes my brain hurt.

    BTW, is this you? http://www.johnlodge.com/

  99. #99 Bronze Dog
    September 5, 2010

    One thing that just stands out to me with this biocentrism stuff: It’s essentially arguing that time exists to serve humans, rather than humans, like other living things, evolved to use time.

    I generally prefer humble answers over the arrogant ones. Once you’ve taken a world view that strokes your ego, it gets easier to ignore the fallacies you have to perform to defend it and biases you against any alternative that doesn’t give you implicit permission to be selfish.

  100. #100 John Lodge
    September 5, 2010

    Hi Chris, the main experiment used is the classic double slit experiment, in particular Wheelers delayed choice version of it. The quantum theory he bases his theory on is actually the known and accepted theory which is why its so odd that you all seem to think its wrong.

    T.Bruce McNeely, if you were to actually read Lanza’s theory, and not just an excerpt of it that Orac has selectively quoted, then you would see that Lanza calls into question our perception of space and time as a logical conclusion of quantum mechanics. By the way, that little quote you quoted from Orac, does not actually show any reason WHY its wrong, again its just Orac saying its wrong.

    Also I have read the review, I notice you point out one of the few negative reviews although the majority are positive.

    I can see that i’m not actually going to get an answer as to what is wrong with Lanza’s understanding of quantum mechanics, and i’m realizing the reason for this is that you are misinformed about his understanding because you are basing your views on a few selective quotes from an insulting person.

    By the way, Max Jukes, to answer your question, yes the experiments are accurately portrayed

    Oh and no, I am not a rock star!

  101. #101 Chris
    September 5, 2010

    Ooooh… the double slit experiment actually shows the wave behavior of light and electrons. Which makes sense to this structural dynamicist (I understand sound waves). Not much for biology!

    You need to do better.

  102. #102 Bronze Dog
    September 5, 2010

    Whee. The double slit experiment. Old news. We already accept it.

    And note: The fact that the observation changes the outcome doesn’t say anything about human consciousness. Observation is not a passive act. To observe something, you have interact with it in some fashion, which changes it. With tiny particles at quantum energies, any interaction is going to cause a change.

    I’ve seen countless woo trolls who just casually assume that humans are magically separate from the universe so that they can pretend to be amazed when a human activity like observation changes something.

    Given what I know now, I should be shocked and amazed if someone comes up with a passive way to observe things as tiny as photons or electrons.

    Humans are not transcendent gods. We’re a part of this universe, cut from the same cloth. The particles we are made of are no different from the particles in the experiments.

  103. #103 John Lodge
    September 5, 2010

    I don’t think there is any point in arguing when none of you have actually read, let alone understood the theory.
    I did not intend to convince you the theory is correct anyway, I just wanted someone to explain to me why you think Lanza’s understanding of quantum theory is wrong,which none of you have been able to do.
    Chris, I do not need to do better, its not my problem to convince you of the theory. Here’s your understanding of it though… ‘This theory is stupid because its…stupid.’

    However I have quickly understood the tone of this website…
    Bring up a topic you don’t fully understand, quote a few small extracts, act insulting and arrogant and then refuse to defend the insulting claims in any kind of scientific manner.

    I think i’ll go somewhere a little less childish.

  104. #104 T. Bruce McNeely
    September 5, 2010

    John Lodge:

    The link that Chris supplied was not supplied simply as a negative review, it explained two large errors that Lanza made in physics and relativity. Read it again. If you do not understand this explanation, you may need to read up on some basic physics. It`s not anyone`s responsibility here to spoon feed you (as I was told many times in my classes long ago).

  105. #105 Chris
    September 5, 2010

    Hence the big hint with the two suggested books!

  106. #106 AnthonyK
    September 5, 2010

    This theory is stupid because its…stupid.’

    Yup.

    However I have quickly understood the tone of this website…

    Idiot surpised. Colour me – orange (it’s my favourite)

    I did not intend to convince you the theory is correct anyway, I just wanted someone to explain to me why you think Lanza’s understanding of quantum theory is wrong,which none of you have been able to do

    You really don’t understand anything important, do you?

    Please don’t have kids…

  107. #107 ildi
    September 6, 2010

    The same applies for time — you can’t put it in a jar.

    Dr. Lanza has merely been listening to a Lot of Jim Croce lately:

    If I could save time in a bottle
    The first thing that I’d like to do
    Is to save every day
    Till Eternity passes away
    Just to spend them with you
    If I could make days last forever
    If words could make wishes come true…

  108. #108 Sauceress
    September 6, 2010

    Scientists have discovered that the universe has a long list of traits that make it appear as if everything it contains — from atoms to stars — was tailor-made just for us. If the Big Bang had been one part in a million more powerful, it would have rushed out too fast for the galaxies and life to develop. Result: no us. If the strong nuclear force were decreased two percent, atomic nuclei wouldn’t hold together, and plain-vanilla hydrogen would be the only kind of atom in the universe. If the gravitational force were decreased by a hair, stars — including the sun — would not ignite.

    Soooo…Ye cannae change the laws of physics
    Or can you?

  109. #109 squirrelelite
    September 6, 2010

    Sauceress,

    I’ve been listening to some of my older Astronomy Cast podcasts and this episode a few months ago presents a more science-based discussion of possible multiple universes with different laws of physics.

    http://www.astronomycast.com/astronomy/cosmology/ep-166-multiverses/

    It’s pretty much sheer speculation at this point, but Dr Pamela Gay’s comment midway in the show presents some possibilities.

    And even more to the point is that many scientists are very uncomfortable with the idea that we live in a special place, that we live in a special time, how is it that we live in a special universe that is capable of generating life? And so one of the things that we have is what’s called the anthropic principle which says we live in a universe that seems to be finely tuned to life. And there’s three basic escape routes from fine tuning… one is that it’s actually fine tuned… there is a God… we can’t prove this… move on, science loses. This is an uncomfortable one. None of us like anything we can’t test, so we move on. The second part of the anthropic principle is that there is some sort of underlying physics, some set of equations that if we only know that set of equations then the entire universe makes sense. We haven’t found it yet. And we hope that when we do, that set of physics that’s so perfectly fits together that there could be no alternative also says that we have to live in a universe that just happens to have life. Still uncomfortable! The third solution that gets us out of the “how did we end up in a finely-tuned universe” is to say that we’re just one of a whole lot of universes, perhaps even an infinite number of universes. And if you roll the dice enough times, every possibility comes into existence somewhere. And while the majority of the universes out there may lead to death or at least lack of life, the fact that we live in one that does allow life to occur is just a fluke of being the tail end of the number distribution.

  110. #110 Sauceress
    September 6, 2010

    Well I don’t know squirrelelite….
    I’ve thinking that there are most likely some rebels out there who are deviating from this mass consciousness which supports the foundations of the fine-structure constant….and if they don’t stop it…well it’s goodbye universe!

  111. #111 R. Wheeler
    September 12, 2010

    I’ve been looking for the blog of 2-bit quantum wannabes, and Google sent me here. Reading the comments here I believe I’m in the right place.

  112. #112 Travis
    September 12, 2010

    Wheeler, I sure hope the comments that make you think that are those of John Lodge, and other likeminded people. They are the real wannabes. People who want to use QM without knowing anything about it, to whom QM is just a nebulous platform to justify their beliefs. There is more to QM than waving your hands around.

  113. #113 Bernie Fremerman
    September 13, 2010

    I’m in the process of reading Lanza’s book Biocentrics. Much of it is fascinating — but his chapter on “bubbles” seems to come from out in left field… It seems to take away from the subject without adding any value.

    Does anyone have any idea why this chapter was included?

  114. #114 S. Larkin
    September 21, 2010

    Wow..

  115. #115 Jonson
    September 21, 2010

    Mayority of you don’t understand Lanza’s Biocentrism. The observer is NOT personality if we define it (personality) as “thinking, emotional and physical being”. Observer is beyond known “reality”. Thoughts, emotions and body changes all the time, but why then we are aware of ourselves? Because observer is a fixed point of identity and beyond personality.

    So personality dissappears at at the time at death occur. Death means the end of personality. But the “I” or the observer still remains and continues to exist..now as new created personality.

    So from the perspective of observer “time reboots”.

    But who is then the observer or the consciousness? And from what kind of matter is consisted? Probably from so called dark matter or dark energy …

    Lanza is great thinker. But he must be correctly understood. Mayority just don’t understand him. That’s all.

  116. #116 squirrelelite
    September 21, 2010

    @sauceress,

    Clara Moskowitz from Space.com has an interesting summary of the recent experimental measurement of the fine structure constant by looking in different directions in space which is posted here on livescience:

    http://www.livescience.com/space/fine-structure-constant-varies-space-100915.html

    The results need to be confirmed by other observations but seem to show a variation from place to place, but not in time.

    If true, that could have major implications for our understanding of the structure of the universe.

  117. #117 Bronze Dog
    September 21, 2010

    Jonson:

    Thoughts, emotions and body changes all the time, but why then we are aware of ourselves? Because observer is a fixed point of identity and beyond personality.

    And your evidence for this is… what, exactly?

    But who is then the observer or the consciousness? And from what kind of matter is consisted? Probably from so called dark matter or dark energy …

    What’s your evidence?

    And what makes you think dark matter and/or dark energy can do anything remotely like that?

    Oh, and I’m pretty sure that the hypothesis that consciousness is a *process* of our gray matter, not a distinct entity, is a far more parsimonious explanation.

    “Fire” isn’t a distinct object, either. It’s a process, and yet we can talk about a flame as if it were a fixed object. Am I supposed to believe that every flame has some kind of eternal component because we attach an illusion of continuity to it?

  118. #118 Jonson
    September 22, 2010

    BronzeDog:

    I don’t have evidences. Just hypothesis for better understanding of Lanza.

    Science also deal with hypothesis. That means: not yet evidences. But still we can use our mind to think out of boundaries.

    Also, there are not evidences for dark matter and energy, but still scientists assume that there must be something, so our picture about universe can be more accurate.

    We still don’t have evidences that consciousness arise from our brain. But still we believe in it. It could be right, but also it could be wrong.

    We can also assume that the reason we still don’t have evidences for consciousness is because we look for it in wrong place: in the brain.

    The fact is that we don’t know much. We know something, but not everything. Also we know just parts and we don’t see the bigger picture. Because of that it can happen that we wrongly assume from that part, because we miss the relationship of that part with bigger picture.

    Lanza has different view and I can say it is very interesting.

    Problem is that people deny everything what challenges their stable point of view. Life is more vast that our mind can understand it. We must be open minded. That is the correct relationship of scientists toward life they try to understand.

    Also I have experienceed the “I”. I can not prove it. We don’t have instruments to prove my experience. But I know what I experienced. And Lanza’s hypothesis is going that direction as I experienced “I”.
    Lanza also uses known facts and verified experiments to support his hypothesis.

    Should I deny my experience since we don’t have instruments to prove it? Well, hell no. Life is a great challenge and I intend to take it boldly. Thats the fun part of life.

    People should read Lanza’s book and just be open minded, but not like this: criticize without reflection.

    With great respect to all of you… ;)

  119. #119 squirrelelite
    September 22, 2010

    Jonson,

    I don’t think you quite grasp the difference between science and belief. You can believe anything you want to. But, until you can test that belief against reality to see if it is true or false or you just don’t know, that belief is not science. This is where you need evidence.

    You stated

    Science also deal with hypothesis. That means: not yet evidences. But still we can use our mind to think out of boundaries.

    Also, there are not evidences for dark matter and energy, but still scientists assume that there must be something, so our picture about universe can be more accurate.

    In science, a hypothesis is a possible explanation for evidence, especially evidence that does not quite match or is not well explained by existing theory. It is more than just speculation.

    Consider dark matter and dark energy. These are currently just place holder names because we don’t have a good idea what they are. But, we do have evidence that they exist. For instance, if we look deep into space we can observe the motions of distant galaxies and see evidence that they are being attracted to or otherwise interacting with something that has mass but which we cannot directly observe. This is what we call dark matter.

    And if we look at distant galaxies we see that most of them are moving away from us and the further away they are, the faster they are moving. Thus, the universe is expanding. And, more recent and careful measurements show that these objects are not just moving away at a fixed velocity. Their velocities are increasing. They are being accelerated by some force! Since it requires energy to accelerate an object, we call this force dark energy.

    This is different from the sort of philosophizing about a nonmaterial consciousness that Lanza and others write about. Until they find evidence for such a consciousness that is not just as well explained by tested theories or make predictions that can be tested and demonstrated to be false or conditionally accepted as true, their ideas are not scientific.

  120. #120 Bronze Dog
    September 22, 2010

    Jonson:

    We can also assume that the reason we still don’t have evidences for consciousness is because we look for it in wrong place: in the brain.

    We do have evidence for consciousness: Many, many observations of conscious behavior in humans. We also have evidence that damage to the brain can reduce or stop the conscious behavior of a human.

    Quite frankly, I’m mystified by the fact that people are still mystified by consciousness. What’s the mystery? The only mysteries I know of about consciousness are about working out the fine details. What parts of the process happen in which parts of the brain? We know lobe X does Y, but how does it do Y? I don’t see how it’s much different than my ignorance of how my laptop works on the transistor level.

    You act as if neurology has accomplished absolutely nothing.

    The fact is that we don’t know much. We know something, but not everything. Also we know just parts and we don’t see the bigger picture. Because of that it can happen that we wrongly assume from that part, because we miss the relationship of that part with bigger picture.

    That’s the eternal state of human knowledge: There’s always more to learn. The problem for you, however, is that the more we learn about the small parts, the less wrong (more accurate) our models about the big picture become.

    The problem with these people proposing magical consciousness is that they never get anywhere. It always seems to boil down to “Consciousness is mysterious because I say so! Ooga-booga!” Then they try to attach it to whatever the current weird and poorly understood (whether it’s misunderstood by scientists, or just laypeople) section of science they think they can get away with. All this does is apply a fresh coat of paint to useless ideas. They did it with electricity (in the vague Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein sense, not real world electricity), with radiation, and quantum mechanics. You seem to be recycling it with dark matter and energy. That’s a well-traveled road, and I’ve only ever seen it go in a very tight circle.

    Lanza has different view and I can say it is very interesting.

    I really don’t see what you like about it. It strikes me as just another boring idea that doesn’t predict or explain anything. About the only “problem” it seems to solve is one fabricated by human ego.

    Problem is that people deny everything what challenges their stable point of view. Life is more vast that our mind can understand it. We must be open minded. That is the correct relationship of scientists toward life they try to understand.

    Science is designed to accept challenges because its fundamental premise is that people make mistakes. Science is what we do to keep making sure that we aren’t fooling ourselves. For a challenge to be successful, it needs stuff like good evidence, explanatory power, and the ability to make verifiable predictions.

    Quite frankly, people like you strike me as very closed-minded. You won’t accept what we do know by observation and experimentation.

    Also I have experienceed the “I”. I can not prove it. We don’t have instruments to prove my experience. But I know what I experienced. And Lanza’s hypothesis is going that direction as I experienced “I”.

    Should I deny my experience since we don’t have instruments to prove it?

    1. No one is asking you to deny the experience. Experiences are real, even if they are neurological illusions, like dreams. Dreams themselves are real events, even if the events depicted in them aren’t. Just because I’d be the sort to point out that a scene in a movie was manipulated by illusory special effects doesn’t mean I’m asking you to deny the existence of the movie.

    2. You can prove it. You’re just too closed-minded and defeatist to try thinking of a way. It’s commonplace for woos to be indoctrinated into “impossible” things.

    We can observe conscious behavior in others. How do you think people are able to tell the difference between spambots, chatbots, and other humans? All it takes is some effort to make some unconscious methods of measurement we naturally employ more explicit. Good intuition is just logic that you aren’t aware that you’re employing.

    Lanza also uses known facts and verified experiments to support his hypothesis.

    Such as?

    And before you tell me to buy the book, why should I invest money in what’s shaping up to be yet another boring cookie-cutter dualist book? What makes it different from all the other false promises bandied about for centuries?

    Oh, and on the topic of dark matter and energy:

    You don’t read much astronomy news, do you? They found strong evidence for dark matter a few years ago in the form of two galaxies that collided and had their stars move in a manner consistent with having two lumps of mass that don’t interact with non-gravity forces. Dark matter is what scientists called a hypothetical form of matter that has mass, exerts gravity, and has little or no interactions through electromagnetic (hence it’s ‘dark’: invisible to light), strong, or weak forces. It happens to describe the behavior of those two galaxies quite well. Scientists are now testing hypotheses about what kinds of particles it’s made of. Last I heard, some were trying to pin it down as one of the neutrino types.

    Last I checked, those who preferred the hypothesis that gravity changes over galaxy-sized spaces are having a hard time coming up with an alternative model for that event.

    Dark energy is the placeholder name for the force that’s causing the universe to expand at an accelerating pace. I don’t know nearly as much about it. I think it’s causing the emptier spaces of the universe to expand faster than the spaces with matter. The expansion itself has been observed and is being observed.

  121. #121 Vicki
    September 22, 2010

    Neurology is the elephant in the living room for all the “consciousness is mysterious and always will be” hand-waving. Consciousness is a thing the body does (in the same sense that walking and singing are things the body does). Chemicals can change it, short- or long-term. (That’s not just fancy psychopharmaceuticals: everyday drugs that change consciousness include caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, sugar, pseudephedrine, and antihistamines.) Time changes it. Injury can change it.

  122. #122 Jonson
    September 23, 2010

    BronzeDog:

    Where do you see mystery? If it it something unknown, than why do you see it as mystery?

    The only difference between two sides is that one thinks that consciousness arises from brain and other thinks that consciousness is independent from brain.

    I don’t see here nothing mysterious. It’s you who see it and mirror it on others who think differently.

    I see another hypothesis based on facts and experiences. Such as near death, out of body and meditation experiences.

    Those experiences confirm the hypothesis that consciousness is independent from brain.

    This hypothesis also base on observation on different state of consciousness during transcendental meditation.

    I already prove it, but only for myself in meditation. I can repeat it, but that evidence is not good enough for others, because it is not visible to others and if someone don’t know how to meditate (transcendental meditation) than the evidence could not be interdependently repeated.

    Oh, and I didn’t mean that you MUST read Lanza’s book I wanted to say that if someone (and this article is about that) criticize someone’s hypothesis than should read it first and not criticize it a priory. So if you want to know on which experiments Lanza base his hypothesis you should consider to look at his book.

  123. #123 Jonson
    September 23, 2010

    squirrelelite:

    Thank you for your explanation.

    This is same with out of body experiences and near death experiences. And also transcendental meditation. Those experiences were being observed and documented.

    So these observations leads toward hypothesis that consciousness is independent from brain.

    You said: “This is different from the sort of philosophizing about a nonmaterial consciousness that Lanza and others write about. Until they find evidence for such a consciousness that is not just as well explained by tested theories or make predictions that can be tested and demonstrated to be false or conditionally accepted as true, their ideas are not scientific.”

    No, consciousness is no nonmaterial! Nobody claims that. I didn’t read anywhere that Lanza speaks about nonmaterial consciousness. It’s you who think so, but unfortunately you assume wrong. Lanza never stated that consciousness is nonmaterial. That’s why I propose that since we speak about biocentrism we should first read about it, so we are informed correctly what Lanza have to say.

    It’s the same like no evidences for dark matter, but only observation. So, no evidences for “consciousness independently from the brain”, but only observations on known experiments (Lanza base on).

  124. #124 squirrelelite
    September 23, 2010

    Jonson:
    Perhaps I misstated Lanza’s ideas. Since I haven’t read his book, that is quite possible. Perhaps you could explain what he means in these quotes from orac’s article.

    Biocentrism tells us space and time aren’t objects — they’re the mind’s tools for putting everything together.

    Quantum theory ended the classical view that particles exist if we don’t perceive them. But if the world is observer-created, we shouldn’t be surprised that it’s destroyed with each of us. Nor should we be surprised that space and time vanish, and with them all Newtonian conceptions of order and prediction.

    Does this mean that there were no particles in the universe until there was a consciousness to perceive them?

    And where did that consciousness come from?

    Also, what is your best source of evidence for out of body experiences and near death experiences?

  125. #125 Scott
    September 23, 2010

    Quantum theory ended the classical view that particles exist if we don’t perceive them.

    This in particular is strictly false. Quantum says that the act of observation affects the system; it most emphatically does NOT say that the system does not exist if not being observed! That would in fact be completely inconsistent with experiment.

  126. #126 Bronze Dog
    September 23, 2010

    Where do you see mystery? If it it something unknown, than why do you see it as mystery?

    The unknown is a mystery. We want to solve it so that we can understand it and bring it into the realm of the known. Is simple curiosity a sin, now?

    I’ve seen this rather defeatist attitude among a lot of woos: They treat mysteries as if they were useless baubles they can parade around to impress their friends at how “deep” they are. Woos treat the solving of a mystery as if it were vandalism.

    I treat mysteries as something to be explored, not locked down. Solving a mystery is a good thing that can work towards the betterment of our lives, even if it just leads to, “Oh, that was interesting.”

    The only difference between two sides is that one thinks that consciousness arises from brain and other thinks that consciousness is independent from brain.

    The repeated observations of brain damage causing the reduction or elimination of conscious behavior is a big point in favor of the brain hypothesis.

    I see another hypothesis based on facts and experiences. Such as near death, out of body and meditation experiences.

    All of which are explainable by the brain’s capacity to fool itself. Humans are not infallible gods incapable of making mistakes. These sorts of experiences have been repeatedly replicated artificially by manipulating the brain in various ways. Those sorts of experiences are on par with dreams. James Randi once had an out-of-body experience when he was sleeping at a friend’s place. Of course, IIRC, it turns out the cat spent the night out, unlikely to end up in the spot where Randi saw him. When you can get something along the lines of OOB experiences that actually involve reliably retrieving information the person hasn’t seen awake, I’ll be interested. Until then, you’re not bringing anything new to the table.

    This hypothesis also base on observation on different state of consciousness during transcendental meditation.

    Unsurprising for the same reasons why the others are unsurprising.

    I already prove it, but only for myself in meditation. I can repeat it, but that evidence is not good enough for others, because it is not visible to others and if someone don’t know how to meditate (transcendental meditation) than the evidence could not be interdependently repeated.

    You’re being rather reckless with those negatives. There’s a reason I consider “impossible” to the woo’s favorite word. Of course, you can report what you experienced, but I fail to see what’s so extraordinary or unexpected about those sorts of experiences.

    I certainly don’t see how they support a non-brain consciousness. Few woos ever get around to explaining that part, by the way. They expect us to just swallow the “My perceptions are infallible” enthymeme (hidden premise).

    Oh, and I didn’t mean that you MUST read Lanza’s book I wanted to say that if someone (and this article is about that) criticize someone’s hypothesis than should read it first and not criticize it a priory. So if you want to know on which experiments Lanza base his hypothesis you should consider to look at his book.

    1. Don’t endorse a culture of money grubbing. Why doesn’t he publish this to something like a scientific journal where it’s much more accessible? My guess: He cynically blames other people’s agenda for his sloppiness. It’s a repeating pattern. Speaking of which…

    2. Ever heard of pattern recognition? Repetition of old fallacies and poor evidence doesn’t make for a convincing argument. You haven’t shown me anything I don’t already know something about, and you have given me no good reason to expect Lanza to be any different.

  127. #127 Vicki
    September 23, 2010

    Jonson–

    Meditation no more proves that consciousness is outside the brain than long-distance cycling proves that movement is outside the body.

    Nobody is denying that consciousness varies: we are awake or asleep, sometimes dream while sleeping, and so on. That focusing on your breathing can change your consciousness is interesting; it doesn’t mean that consciousness is non-physical, any more than the effects of stimulants prove that.

  128. #128 custom usb flash drive
    September 24, 2010

    Does this mean that there were no particles in the universe until there was a consciousness to perceive them?

    And where did that consciousness come from?

    Also, what is your best source of evidence for out of body experiences and near death experiences?

  129. #129 custom usb flash drive
    September 24, 2010

    Does this mean that there were no particles in the universe until there was a consciousness to perceive them?

    And where did that consciousness come from?

    Also, what is your best source of evidence for out of body experiences and near death experiences?

  130. #130 Gramj
    October 1, 2010

    Though I can see why the material in his post would be appealing to a skeptic, is it necessary? Having a different foundation for thought on consciousness shouldn’t be a threat to people. Everyone is welcome to choose what fits them best and watch for new ideas that the want to incorporate or adopt. I didn’t realze there were awards for skeptical blogs now.

  131. #131 Bronze Dog
    October 1, 2010

    This isn’t literary interpretation. This is science. We deal with facts and theory (the actual scientific definition of theory, not the wishy-washy common parlance). The argument over the nature of consciousness is a scientific one, thus we want to discuss it.

    And you’re certainly welcome to have your opinion. You are NOT welcome to immunity from criticism if we find some logical holes in your position, or if we know of evidence which contradicts your position. We’re free to express our opinions about your opinions and, where necessary, back them up with evidence.

    Oh, and last I checked most ideas coming from outside neurology aren’t new. They’re ancient ideas with a new coat of technobabble paint. One of the reasons I give tongue lashings is because I’m bored, not threatened by your ideas.

    I think it’d be super-nifty if good evidence was found for the existence of souls. It’d make for a whole new field of science. I reject the idea because the people who sell it have, to date, always been sloppy about trying to prove it. And when we point out the sloppiness of their work, they go all milquetoast as if criticism is inherently destructive, even when we’re telling them what it’d take to convince us.

  132. #132 Ik
    October 8, 2010

    It’s amazing how much speculation >2500 years of recorded human history holds. Likewise, it is amazing how much speculation I find on this web page alone.

    Speculation is nice, but it isn’t theory. Only a complete, consistent, and unfalsifiable theory will end this debate.

    Peace,

    Ik

  133. #133 Todd W.
    October 8, 2010

    @lk

    Only a complete, consistent, and unfalsifiable theory will end this debate.

    Only an unfalsifiable theory will end this debate? Uh…so you’re saying only non-science will end this debate, since falsifiability is kinda required. Examples of something that is unfalsifiable include:

    * God exists
    * God does not exist
    * I have an invisible fire-breathing dragon in my garage that can fly but does not give off any heat or radiation of any kind and does not produce any wind from its wings.

    In other words, there’s no real point to discussing an unfalsifiable theory in the context of science. If there is no way to test it, then no conclusions can be drawn. If you can test it, then it isn’t falsifiable.

  134. #134 Todd W.
    October 8, 2010

    Err, that should’ve read “If you can test it, then it isn’t unfalsifiable.”

  135. #135 Scott
    October 8, 2010

    Wow. Take a gander at lk’s link. Truly, it would be good for an entire year’s worth of Insolence. Bottom line, he claims to have solved every problem in every field of human endeavor (not just science, but epistimology and religion, among others) via The Unity.

    Pure grade-1 lunacy here.

  136. #136 Ik
    October 8, 2010

    Scott, no, not lunacy. Truth. Try to falsify my theory. It is simply not possible.

    I am a theoretician with the correct model of reality. There is no other statement that is true.

    Todd W. is not a theoretician. Were he, he would know that for an unfalsifiable theory, any empirical test will indubitably be consistent with the theory. In other words, all evidence will, by definition be accounted for by the theoretical framework.

    Oh, and by the way, Todd W., I do exist. And I now have theoretical proof – so I can finally end this debate once and for all.

    Peace,

    Ik

  137. #137 T. Bruce McNeely
    October 8, 2010

    Ik:

    Whooooaaahhh dude, I want a hit of that!

    We should lock Ik and Happeh (http://www.sciforums.com/encyclopedia/Happeh) in a cage and see who wins.

  138. #138 Chris
    October 8, 2010

    Theory of what? How to stay out of the county psyche ward? Or how to use lots of copyrighted images on a web page?

  139. #139 Chris
    October 8, 2010

    While compiling from THE THEORY, I discovered that I was the carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorous, and sulfur (CHNOPS) in the molecules in my body.

    You left out calcium, iron, sodium chloride, potassium, nitrogen and a few other elements. I guess that means your “theory” is incomplete. Come back when you finish.

  140. #140 Ik
    October 8, 2010

    Hi Chris, indirect ad hominem attacks are nice and I clearly enjoy them, but – with that scientific, critical, skeptical Mind that I, Chris, have – I might try to understand or falsify the model.

    However if it is easier for Me, Chris, to simply reject because I do not want to try, well then, so be it, this is My choice.

    I guess I’ll return to the ad hominem attacks. Those are so rich with meaning. And, more importantly, they’re fun.

    Peace,

    Ik

  141. #141 Scott
    October 8, 2010

    Scott, no, not lunacy. Truth. Try to falsify my theory. It is simply not possible.

    So you admit that your made-up BS makes no predictions, then? After all, if it did, then those predictions could be falsified. And if it doesn’t, then it can’t actually answer any questions and is therefore useless. Oops.

    I am a theoretician with the correct model of reality. There is no other statement that is true.

    Alternatively, you’re a loon with delusions of grandeur, who probably ought to seek professional help.

  142. #142 NJ
    October 8, 2010

    lk @ 140:

    I guess I’ll return to the ad hominem attacks.

    Hey, you’re nothing but corn soaked in lye, so you’re wrong!

  143. #143 W. Kevin Vicklund
    October 8, 2010

    I, too, have an unfalsifiable* theory, lk. I call it QSS theory. Here it is. It is impossible to falsify.

    What was, was.
    What is, is.
    What will be, will be.

    Utterly unfalsifiable. Utterly useless to science. Cue the sappy music.

    *”You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

  144. #144 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    October 8, 2010

    @Ik – You’re either using the term in a very odd way or have a fundamental misunderstanding. While it’s certainly possible that a theory be entirely consistent with all actual observations, it is not possible that a useful theory would be consistent with every conceivable set of observations.
    As an example, the theory of universal gravitation (as modified by General Relativity) has been observed to be supported by all empirical tests to date. Every test, every observation supports this theory to extremely high precision. However, it is certainly conceivable that tomorrow someone could find a test result which was NOT consistent with current gravitational theory, requiring some form of rethinking. This theory is falsifiable because you can make predictions with it; if those predictions were shown to be inconsistent with observation then the theory would be false (at least in some part).
    An unfalsifiable theory would predict any and every set of conceivable results. You predict red and observe green? Hey, that agrees with the theory! You predict up and observe down? That’s in there too! There’s no point it doing the test because – by definition – the results will be consistent with the theory!
    Unfalsifiable theories are typically uninteresting and not useful, even if possibly true.

  145. #145 Chris
    October 8, 2010

    lk, I did not use ad hominem. I did not say you were a loon, and therefore your theory is crap. I gave an insulting observation that you are a loon and have stolen images on your site. Which I would rate at about 2.5 Time Cubes.

    Plus, I pointed out that you left out many elements that are actually in your body, and so your theory is missing some basics, like protein (which needs nitrogen).

    And, yes, your word salad is more in line with someone who perhaps should be under the care of a real psychiatrist.

  146. #146 Ik
    October 8, 2010

    Thanks for all the comments and letting me know that I am wrong and deluded.

    Back to the regularly scheduled Lanza debate, already in progress.

    Peace,

    Ik

  147. #147 Dave Eave
    October 23, 2010

    Dude… its called spell check, and its built into practically every application on any modern computer

    Look into it while you try and get all serious

  148. #148 BH
    November 11, 2010

    Sorry folks, you need to stop and smell the java. He is sooooooooooooo correct in his theory. But don’t worry, most people can’t comprhend this theory so you are not alone.

  149. #149 Chris
    November 11, 2010

    Dear Mr/Ms BH Necromancer, perhaps you can start explaining. But first prove to us that you actually know what “quantum” means. You can do that by explaining to us what that word comes from? Hint: it is derived from “quantity”, so something was being counted. What was that?

  150. #150 Scott
    November 12, 2010

    Is it just me, or has there been a LOT of threadomancy lately?

  151. #151 Composer99
    November 12, 2010

    Scott:

    It certainly seems to me that, since September, there has been an uptick in people coming along to spark new, er, unlife, however temporary, in threads, sending them shuffling off in search of brains.

  152. #152 Chris
    November 12, 2010

    One Necromancer claimed that he did not know about more recent discussions when he stumbled on an over year old article. His excuse was that he was new to the Internet. Either he is only ten years old, or is an older person whose grandchildren gave him a computer.

    To those who are “new to the Internet” here are some basic rules before commenting on a blog or forum:

    1) If you find an article through Google, before commenting go to the first page and see what is under discussion.

    2) Get to know the place, lurk for a while.

    3) Become familiar with the writing style, especially in how issues are discussed. Especially what level of evidence is required (argument by blatant assertion does not go far here).

    4) Actually read the article and the comments before commenting.

    5) Try to proof read your comments (okay, we don’t all do that).

    6) If you think you want to bring a subject up to the participants’ attention, please use the search box on the upper left side of this page to see if it has been discussed before.

    6) If you get an error when posting a comment, before posting again open another window to see if it was actually posted.

  153. #153 Mickey Mouse
    November 13, 2010

    His woo, your woo, we all woo togeher.
    Getting up in the middle of the night
    Wooing one another

  154. #154 Pyotr Patrushev
    November 29, 2010

    The universe is the biggest Rorschach test that ever existed. Consciousness is an evolutionary continuum, from simple protozoa to giant panda. Even if someone (something) encompassed all the living collective consciousness and all the historical collective consciousness in one brain, it would give you only a infinitesimal, partial, and DNA-bound glimpse of “reality”.

    Which brings me to a joke:

    About a century or two ago, the Pope decided that all the Jews had to leave the Vatican. Naturally there was a big uproar from the Jewish community. So the Pope made a deal. He would have a religious debate with a member of the Jewish community. If the Jew won, the Jews could stay. If the Pope won, the Jews would leave. The Jews realized that they had no choice. So they picked a middle aged man named Moishe to represent them. Moishe asked for one addition to the debate. To make it more interesting, neither side would be allowed to talk. The pope agreed.
    The day of the great debate came. Moishe and the Pope sat opposite each other for a full minute before the Pope raised his hand and showed three fingers. Moishe looked back at him and raised one finger.

    The Pope waved his fingers in a circle around his head. Moishe pointed to the ground where he sat.

    The Pope pulled out a wafer and a glass of wine. Moishe pulled out an apple. The Pope stood up and said, “I give up. This man is too good. The Jews can stay.”

    An hour later, the cardinals were all around the Pope asking him what happened. The Pope said: “First I held up three fingers to represent the Trinity. He responded by holding up one finger to remind me that there was still one God common to both our religions. Then I waved my finger around me to show him that God was all around us. He responded by pointing to the ground and showing that God was also right here with us. I pulled out the wine and the wafer to show that God absolves us from our sins. He pulled out an apple to remind me of original sin. He had an answer for everything. What could I do?”

    Meanwhile, the Jewish community had crowded around Moishe. “What happened?” they asked. “Well,” said Moishe, “First he said to me that the Jews had three days to get out of here. I told him that not one of us was leaving. Then he told me that this whole city would be cleared of Jews. I let him know that we were staying right here.”

    “And then?” asked a woman.

    “I don’t know,” said Moishe. “He took out his lunch and I took out mine.”

  155. #155 Johnny Williams
    December 16, 2010

    That was an excellent joke!

  156. #156 Corinne Belanger
    December 28, 2010

    Science over time enters a period where it becomes stagnant, frozen almost within its own borders of logic, and then someone comes along and at the risk of ridicule from his peers, ventures outside the perimeters of the acceptable and usually it takes another period of time before his work is truly appreciated for the contribution it has made to our understanding of our world. Lanza will be one of these individuals and we will thank him. I’m just surprised how many just don’t get it now. But then we do tend to ridicule what we don’t understand. Lanza is a risk taker and pushes the borders and his kind are the ones history will remember.

  157. #157 Chris
    December 28, 2010

    Except, Ms. Belanger, Dr. Lanza is missing one key ingredient: being right. Something you don’t seem to get.

  158. #158 Corinne Bélanger
    December 29, 2010

    “When a true genius appears in this world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.” – Jonathan Swift

  159. #159 Scottynuke
    December 29, 2010

    I’ll see your Swift and raise you one:

    “If a man would register all his opinions upon love, politics, religion, learning, etc., beginning from his youth and so go on to old age, what a bundle of inconsistencies and contradictions would appear at last!”

    What’s your point anyway?

  160. #160 Chris
    December 29, 2010

    And they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.

  161. #161 Corinne Bélanger
    December 29, 2010

    My point is I don’t understand why there is so much ridicule of Lanza. And history has shown many of the mavericks of the science world have been laughed at only to be praised years later for their discoveries.
    @Scottynuke: I would hope there wold be a bundle of inconsistencies. I certainly do not think the same as I did a decade ago spiritually, politically, etc. It’s called growth and really your words just add to my point. Don’t be so quick to dismiss a relatively new theory. You may find yourself looking back in a few years from a different viewpoint. I thought scientists had open minds but it would appear many are like atheists. As fundamental as the right wing Christian.
    @ Chris: A list few scientists scorned in the past: Fritz Zwicky, Peyton Rous, George Zweig, Galileo … the list goes on.

  162. #162 NJ
    December 29, 2010

    Corrine Bélanger @ 161:

    A list few scientists scorned in the past: Fritz Zwicky, Peyton Rous, George Zweig, Galileo … the list goes on.

    And each of them proposed physically testable ideas. Which were tested and found to be correct. So, what physically testable idea do you (or Lanza) propose? And how do you propose testing it?

    Here’s a hint: The Galileo gambit only works when the person you defend is actually Galileo!

  163. #163 Albert Einstein
    January 4, 2011

    “Now he has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. That means nothing. People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”

  164. #164 tychocrater
    January 13, 2011

    Just an update, @KWombles… critical comments apparently still don’t fly at huffingtonpost. So far as I know, poking holes in pseudoscience is not offensive speech, but somehow there is nothing but universal praise for Lanza in the comments section. My posts are inexplicably absent:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-lanza/biocentrism-theory-provides-glimpse-o_b_808144.html

  165. #165 Edgar Cayce
    January 24, 2011

    I hope I never come across this site again. So much elitist bullshit, I can barely wade through it. Universal consciousness is our modern day version of round world/flat world debate in the 15th century. Stop thinking you have learned everything there is to know because your degrees and SAT scores make you feel superior. Who knows how much of the things you hold dear, your superior knowledge of ‘facts’ that you hold onto so tightly, will be dismissed as child like ideas in the future. Only the most ignorant imbicile would think he/she has all the answers.

  166. #166 Todd W.
    January 24, 2011

    @Edgar Cayce

    Only the most ignorant imbicile would think he/she has all the answers.

    Which no one here thinks, except, apparently, you.

    As to your round/flat world bit, since ancient times, we’ve pretty well known that the world is round(ish). About the only real scholarly debate was the size.

  167. #167 Calli Arcale
    January 24, 2011

    And even the size was pretty well known in the 15th century, and had been since about 240 BC. (Math and persistence can get you a long ways!) Columbus only thought he could make it to India because of a (then) recent suggestion popular among some fringe academics of the period that Eratosthenes had been wrong about the size of the Earth.

    That’s right, not only was there no round/flat debate in the 15th Century, but the debate over the size of the Earth was mostly between a fringe and the mainstream — and is an example of the fringe ultimately being proven wrong.

  168. #168 Calli Arcale
    January 24, 2011

    Correction: this lead me to re-read some stuff about Columbus and the whole flat-earth myth, and there wasn’t even a fringe belief that the Earth was smaller. It was a straight-up unit confusion: Columbus was confusing Italian and Arabic miles.

    Seriously compounding this, he was accepting the most optimistic estimate possible (and one which *was* a fringe estimate in the period) for the position of Asia’s eastern coast relative to Europe’s western coast, and then doing some creative math to extrapolate the position of Japan, which he claimed was reachable by going west, though the math using the best numbers of the day actually said “you’re gonna starve less than halfway there, idiot”.

  169. #169 Scott
    January 24, 2011

    though the math using the best numbers of the day actually said “you’re gonna starve less than halfway there, idiot”.

    And just because it bears repeating (you did say so earlier), said math was right and Columbus was wrong. He just happened to get lucky enough that the Americas stopped him first.

  170. #170 Composer99
    January 24, 2011

    Please, people, let the thread rest in peace (or at least in pieces). Stop coming along and re-animating it for another kick at the can.

    More seriously: Edgar:

    - It may well be the case that some of the currently-accepted knowledge will be overturned in the future.

    - That an idea has been overturned or discarded does not make it childish or foolish out of hand. Phlogiston and luminiferous ether were not necessarily bad ideas when they were first proposed. The empirical evidence ultimately demonstrated that they were incorrect.

    - For an idea to overturn the existing body of scientific knowledge on a subject, it needs to generate empirically-testable hypotheses which can be verified or falsified.

    - Thus far, Lanza’s conjectures have not been able to satisfy this requirement.

    I think you will find that almost no one who is a practicing scientist or a passionate and ardent defender of the sciences will actually claim that they, personally, know everything there is to know about any subject. In particular, scientists will gladly go on at length about how much more there is to learn in their fields.

    That is not the same, however, as saying we know nothing (as a species, we actually know a lot) or that poorly-constructed conjectures about the nature of the universe, incorporating long-discredited notions (vitalism), are up to the task of unseating current astrophysics, quantum physics, and biology.

  171. #171 Jack Spratt
    February 18, 2011

    Always wondered, though. Anyone ever explain what effect the CAT’S OWN “observation” has on it’s fate in Schrodinger’s box? If we accept the cat as an conscious observer (which anyone who has lived with one would do) hasn’t he observed the whole process way before we start deciding whether he’s dead or not? Isn’t that Lanza’s whole schtick, too?

  172. #172 Gilbert Albans
    March 1, 2011

    I can certainly grant that ideas are not falsifiable, but neither is a material world that exists independent of an observer. In principle, there is no way to falsify this idea. There is no way to test it, since any test would have to involve a conscious observer using instruments, like us human beings who do tests. Experiments involve someone to perform the test and to interpret the tests. The experimenter and the theoretician who interprets the data that resulted from the test.

    Other minds are also unfalsifiable, since there is no test to peek into other peoples minds. But say that you do peek into someone elses mind; this would in no way show that they have another mind, since it would still be in your mind.

    One of the most interesting posts was that of John Wheeler taking QM entailment to its logical conclusion. The problem seems to be that people have a problem when we take things to their logical conclusions and it leads to things that we don’t like. Our feelings of the conclusion of logic is irrelevant to the truth of falsity of something.

    Seems most of the comments are based on beliefs that are themselves unfalsifiable and make commitments to metaphysical beliefs themselves.

  173. #173 Gilbert Albans
    March 1, 2011

    What I find very interesting is people bringing up falsifiability as something special, while overlooking the flaws of it. No theory, or hypothesis, is strictly falsifiable. Each hypothesis, or theory, has bundles of auxiliary hypothesis. Thus when you falsify a theory, you have not falsified it independent of other theories. You have only shown that one of the auxiliary hypothesis is false, and it is practically impossible to find where the problem is.

    Here is an example, and link is given at the end of this post: “Imagine using radiometric dating (based on the decay of uranium-238 into lead-206) to estimate the age of a rock. The test suggests and supports the hypothesis that the rock is 3.8 billion years old. This might seem to be cut-and-dried, but in fact, there are many other hypotheses hidden within this test, including that:

    * The half-life of uranium-238 is 4.5 billion years.
    * This half-life has been constant through time.
    * The sample rock has not been contaminated by external uranium or lead since the rock originally cooled from magma.
    * Neither uranium nor lead has leached out of the rock since it formed.
    * The equipment that we have accurately detects the amounts of uranium and lead in the rock.”

    http://undsci.berkeley.edu/article/bundle

    This is a small example. The French physicists Pierre Duhem pointed out this problem a long time ago, and it is one that shows that you cannot strictly falsify a theory, and can always create other auxiliary hypothesis to save it from falsification.

    Science is just a language-game that we play with mathematical symbols, and conventions that we implement in how to play our language-game. We just create abstract symbols and deus ex machina to try to describe what is going on.

    There is another logical problem, which is that science is one giant “If…Then” machine. If such-and-such conditions are met, then we shall observe such-and-such. If X, then Y. As pointed out with the auxiliary hypothesis, that X has many other assumptions hidden within it like If X (and A and B and C and D and E…etc), then Y. So by observing that the consequent does not happen, Not Y, does not show Not X. The logical problem also comes down to we can have many different antecedents that have the same consequent. If A, then Y; If B, then Y; If C, then Y; If D, then Y; and etc. And all of these would have their own auxiliary hypothesis.

    There are literally uncounted amount of abstract models that can account for what we observe, and make more predictions. The human mind, being finite, does not have the ability to handle of these possibilities through social pressures pick one of them to use and work with.

  174. #174 Antaeus Feldspar
    March 1, 2011

    Summary of Gilbert at 172 and 173:

    Absolute certainty doesn’t exist!! Film at 11!!

    Seriously, Gilbert, what you’re talking about is not new. Hell, it’s not even the ultimate result of that line of thinking; that would have to be Hume’s technically correct observation that we can deduce nothing at all without placing faith in a principle that we can never prove in any non-circular fashion: the principle of cause and effect.

    Where you seem to be making a mistake is assuming that the proposition “falsification is trickier than it seems” leads automatically to the proposition “falsification is nothing special and really proves nothing at all.” That is the sort of proposition that comes from spending long amounts of time contemplating an imaginary model of the world and very little time comparing the results to observations of the real world.

    In reality, even though we can always generate a plethora of hypotheses which can explain whatever evidence we have gathered, these hypotheses will not be equal in plausibility. I find it both amusing and dreadful at the same time that you’re trying to lecture us on the “flaws of falsifiability” when one of the “flaws” you think you can illuminate is “I can always apply special pleading!” Sorry, that’s not the way it works; if you want to say “I don’t think that rock is 3.8 billion years old; instead I think that something altered the half-life of uranium-238 over time,” and you can’t demonstrate any evidence that a radioactive half-life can be altered, you’re just wasting everyone’s time.

    The truth is that science is not “just a language-game” but that seems a good description for your understanding of science.

  175. #175 Gilbert Albans
    March 1, 2011

    Summary to Antaeus at post 174

    I didn’t have to bring up cause and effect, or the principle of uniformity, because they are not scientific, since they are not falsifiable. They are just metaphysical principles that we use to guide the way that we perform science. It is not new to me, or did I even have to bring up absolute certainty. I already know that they are not, since empirical statements are not certain. They are just guiding principles in how science operates, not what is true or false.

    We can contemplate our observations all we want, but they provide us with nothing. The physicists Pierre Duhem also brought this up, because observations are meaningless by themselves. They need to be interpreted, and the models are what we use to interpret what we observed, which is the data. Data is meaningless till it is interpreted, and then it becomes information. What we use to interpret it is a model.

    Your mistake seems to be that all the different hypothesis are not equal in plausibility. They all account for the observations, but they give a different interpretation to the observations. There is no difference besides the interpretation. That is why it is just a language game, since they use a different language to interpret the observations. There is no difference between them but the interpretation. Neither interpretation is more right, or wrong, than the other since they all account for the same exact observation. They are not equal in plausibility is just a saying of faith that is unfounded in reality.

    I wish that I did apply special pleading, but I just pointed the obvious facts of reality. What you did was apply special pleading when you brought up “these hypotheses will not be equal in plausibility.” There is nothing to back up this statement except for wishful thinking. They are all equally plausible since they all account for what was observed. They are not considered plausible when it goes against what you believe to be the case, even though all account for the same thing.

    A die is a perfect example. There are six sides, and each side is just as likely as the other. Each side is a different model, and each model accounts for the same thing. So they are equally plausible. It is equally plausible that I will roll a 1 or a 6. You might think that 6 is more plausible, but this is not based on fact or logic. It is not even based on rationality. It is based on our psychological feelings of what we think it should be.

  176. #176 Antaeus Feldspar
    March 1, 2011

    Neither interpretation is more right, or wrong, than the other since they all account for the same exact observation. They are not equal in plausibility is just a saying of faith that is unfounded in reality.

    If that is your understanding of science, it confirms that your understanding of science is limited and confused. It’s not the case in actual science, where “observation” is not artificially limited to the observations of the current situation of the current moment but includes all previous observations. A hypothesis which depends upon a phenomenon which has never once been observed to occur is just simply not as plausible as a hypothesis which has no such dependencies. Period. Try to claim that they are actually equally plausible and you will just confirm that you are talking about some airy realm of theory and not the real world.

  177. #177 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    March 1, 2011

    A hypothesis which depends upon a phenomenon which has never once been observed to occur is just simply not as plausible as a hypothesis which has no such dependencies. Period. Try to claim that they are actually equally plausible and you will just confirm that you are talking about some airy realm of theory and not the real world.

    Actually, that gives “theory” a bad name. It’s really the realm of speculation.
    Now, that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily wrong – simply that it has no proof behind it.

  178. #178 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    March 1, 2011

    And conceptually, falsifiability is not that hard.
    - Does the hypothesis make testable predictions?
    If it makes testable predictions that match all pertinent observations, then it’s falsifiable but not falsified.
    If it makes testable predictions that do not match observations, it’s false to some extent.
    If it makes no predictions, the predictions cannot be tested, or any observation can be said to meet the prediction, then it’s not falsifiable.

  179. #179 damon
    March 27, 2011

    Too many people here seem incapable of conceptual thinking, biocentrism does not pin existence on a single observer, and the reboot is not meant as literal as most seem to be taking it; if time is an illusion and then you could possibly go back to the beginning of your experience (birth) at death, I tend to think otherwise but any legitimate scientific debate is not “if” we don’t view time correctly but how and why our perceptions are wrong.

  180. #180 compprof
    May 8, 2011

    You guys are a riot! For all the egocentric huffing and puffing in the rush to prove how clever and rational you are in debunking Dr. Lanza’s ideas (my favorite is the ridiculous disparagement of his status as an adjunct professor, as if being part-time somehow made him “less” of a professor than a full-time tenured phony stuffed-shirt, of which there are indisputably many), no one is addressing the obvious point that you simply DON’T KNOW, and apparently have no inclination to seriously inquire about, the nature of consciousness itself.If Lanza’s main point is that there is no “us”, or reality, without consciousness, why are we diddling around trying to find out how big the universe is, instead of trying to find out just what, exactly, WE are? Why is any serious inquiry into this stuff dismissed (in the most juvenile fashion, without a doubt) as “woo”? I find that to be cowardly, anti-intellectual in the extreme, and the most authentic example of a devotion to “pseudo-science” that one could imagine.
    In your sophistry, you are entertaining – I’ll give you that.

  181. #181 Narad
    May 9, 2011

    no one is addressing the obvious point that you simply DON’T KNOW, and apparently have no inclination to seriously inquire about, the nature of consciousness itself.If Lanza’s main point is that there is no “us”, or reality, without consciousness, why are we diddling around trying to find out how big the universe is, instead of trying to find out just what, exactly, WE are?

    Now, this is a good one. No “us,” but “WE.” See: Pig Iron Works, Swedenborgian.

  182. #182 compprof
    May 9, 2011

    Uh… I think I said “no us, or reality, without consciousness”. As there IS consciousness, that is the “WE” I was referring to. See: Reading Plain English, Shnurgalurgian.

  183. #183 Antaeus Feldspar
    May 9, 2011

    Why is any serious inquiry into this stuff dismissed (in the most juvenile fashion, without a doubt) as “woo”?

    If I tell you that the moon is made of green cheese, and you say “That’s preposterous and absurd,” am I justified in pompously denouncing you as “dismissing any serious inquiry into lunar composition”?

  184. #184 Vicki
    May 9, 2011

    Compprof–

    What you may not be aware of is that a lot of work is being done on the nature of consciousness. Much of it is being done by neurologists, of course; some is being done by philosophers and even computer scientists. Oliver Sacks has written quite a bit about this, and Daniel Dennett has written about the ways that the different things that go on in the brain are assembled into a unitary-seeming narrative, one which does not always match the order in which data are processed or actions taken.

    Disclaimer: I am not an expert on this, and am a few years out of date. I don’t know all of what’s going on here: but people are curious, and we are learning. “Lanza is wrong about how this happens” does not mean “nobody knows what’s going on.”

  185. #185 JayK
    May 9, 2011

    Vicki: Cognition and evolutionary psychologists are probably the only ones you missed. Noam Chomsky, Ulric Neisser, etc etc etc. Lanza is just one more amongst a sea of researchers into cognition, and Lanza isn’t special, he’s a fringe dweller with an ego far too large, and it appears he has his disciples.

  186. #186 compprof
    May 10, 2011

    >>If I tell you that the moon is made of green cheese, and you say “That’s preposterous and absurd,” am I justified in pompously denouncing you as “dismissing any serious inquiry into lunar composition”?<<

    Well, if you really equate the hypotheses being advanced by Lanza with a statement like “The moon is made of green cheese”, then I respectfully suggest you are not really interested in a serious discussion of his ideas, or, possibly, you haven’t read his book. He states his premise and presents his correlations, just like any other scientist. It’s OK with me to criticize his reasoning – it either stands up under scrutiny or it doesn’t. The guys who first proposed continental drift were, for a time, the laughing stock of geologists. But it’s one thing to disagree with the guy; it’s another to make specious comparisons that reveal, at best, a poor grasp of critical thinking.

  187. #187 Viveka Weiley
    June 22, 2011

    What a pathetic tissue of paper-thin denunciations of patently misunderstood ideas.

    I happen to be a materialist myself; I figure that while there is no way to logically demonstrate that the universe exists objectively, we may as well treat it as though it does. So I’m not terribly interested in Lanza’s ideas. However I’m seriously unimpressed with the sophomoric blather that you lot seem to think constitutes a rational scientific response.

    Lanza’s essential argument is epistomological; it’s logic and philosophy, not science. It contains untestable postulates. So yeah, Not Even Wrong. Got it. Logic and philosophy however *underpin* science, and they’re worth thinking about.

    The useful bit of what he’s saying is that what we call “the universe” is just that – it’s what we *call* “the universe”. The idea of the universe, the ideas of space and time, are something we came up with, as a model of whatever the hell is really going on, from our own perspective as conscious living beings. They are bound to be skewed by that perspective.

    This much of the argument is logically sound. It’s not woo to question the nature of objective reality. You can argue that it’s pointless, but it does not defy logic.

    He’s not, for example, claiming that you are creating the actual universe with your mind. He’s claiming that you construct *your idea of the universe* with your mind. I’d have thought that was pretty uncontroversial.

    I’m no fan of the other Lanza quotes cherry-picked for ridicule above. Clearly he’s said something objectionable about Einstein, which I think is awful because the fuzzy-haired old genius is beloved to my memory. Good on you all for agreeing with me on that one.

    Just… just think a bit more. The fact that something has been decried as woo by a blogger you respect is not *in itself* evidence of anything much. You’re under no obligation to read Lanza. But if you haven’t, and all you have to go on is a third-hand misconstruction of his central argument, then you are going to look a little foolish when you use that misconstruction as the basis for your complaint about other people being unscientific.

  188. #188 Lucas Kondowe
    June 30, 2011

    I’m no scientist, but there are many questions that science and scientist have failed miserably to answer. I have read and listened to Dr Lanza with an open mind. His Biocentrism theory is “interesting” I have read and listened to many of the Lanza bashers, their arguments are also “interesting” 500 years ago when Galileo argued against popular belief that the earth was flat and the center of the universe they called for his head. We all now know he was right. I’m not ready to discount Lanza’s theory. Don’t just bash Lanza offer sensible alternative explantions to the question science has failed to answer.

  189. #189 Chris
    June 30, 2011

    Mr. Kondowe, you should really educate yourself more on basic science. And history. Most educated people knew the planet was spherical since the ancient Greeks. Even the leaders of the Church who were prosecuting Galileo.

    Now go watch this video. Pay attention to these words:

    “Well, science doesn’t know everything.” Well, science knows it doesn’t know anything, otherwise it would stop … But just because science doesn’t know everything doesn’t mean you can fill in the gaps with whatever fairytale most appeals to you.

  190. #190 Lucas Kondowe
    July 1, 2011

    Thought this a site for sharing ideas, debating with open mind with mutual respect knowing that no matter how knowledgeable/intelligent one thinks they are, we always learn new things everyday. It however appears it’s a site full of bloated egos and megalomanics that would rather attack a person than argue on facts/share ideas in a decent manner.

  191. #191 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    July 1, 2011

    Mr. Kondowe – what brought that on? I thought you were treated with respect in the one reply to your post. However, having an open mind does not mean immediately accepting anything regardless of evidence. It’s clear that many people who post here don’t believe Dr. Lanza’s position is consistent with known facts. You clearly disagree, but have presented no particular reason.
    So why the insults?

  192. #192 Lucas
    July 9, 2011

    Agreed, science doesn’t know everything, does that also mean if nothing has been proven using the existing body of knowledge in science then it doesn’t exist? Life or consciousness is one of the things that has puzzled science ever since. Others believe it’s just a random occurrence along the development and evolvement of the universe. I have read a lot on this subject but there’s nothing convincing that I have seen. I find the random argument even more difficult to believe. Happened to have attended the body show in Arlington, VA. I was amazed at how complicated and organized the human body is. I just think there must be something more complicated than random evolvement that we probably don’t understand with the existing knowledge. I look at a car, an aircraft e.t.c. it took science to bring these amazing machines into being. But a human, by all means more complex that these machines developed randomly? Help me understand this.

  193. #193 Militant Agnostic
    July 9, 2011

    Lucas – anyone who tells evolution is a completely random process is lying to you via a straw man fallacy. Natural selection (favourable mutations tend to get passed on while unfavourable ones don’t) is not random.

  194. #194 Marry Me, Mindy
    July 9, 2011

    Agreed, science doesn’t know everything, does that also mean if nothing has been proven using the existing body of knowledge in science then it doesn’t exist?

    Of course there are things that have not been detected by science that still yet exist. Thankfully, because that is why I have a job.

    But it’s not clear what that has to do with anything?
    Everything we _know_ that exists is known by scioence. Yes there are things science doesn’t know, but that doesn’t mean that you can just assert them to be.

    Your examples of life and consciousness don’t make much sense, because these are absolutely things that are known to exist scientifically. Alt0hough there are still gaps in our knowledge about the mechanism by which they work do not mean that they are not known.

  195. #195 Krebiozen
    July 9, 2011

    Lucas,

    I look at a car, an aircraft e.t.c. it took science to bring these amazing machines into being. But a human, by all means more complex that these machines developed randomly? Help me understand this.

    I suggest you do a bit of reading about evolution and natural selection, starting with ‘The Blind Watchmaker’ by Richard Dawkins, which should help you understand this. It attempts to answer the question you ask. You can download an electronic copy of the book here, the first link on the page.

  196. #196 TK
    September 5, 2011

    This article was embarrassingly poor.

    And you humiliate yourself every time you use that childish “woo”

    If you are an atheist, why do you care what other people believe anyway? It’s silly and pathetic.

    According to Atheism/Materialism there is no actual “existence”, merely the illusion of it. None of us are really here…..so why are you so worked up about what others believe? :)

  197. #197 Chris
    September 5, 2011

    TK:

    According to Atheism/Materialism there is no actual “existence”, merely the illusion of it.

    What? Please show evidence of this some kind of text that atheists all follow.

    Also, please try reading the over a year old article for comprehension. Show us that the “science” proclaimed by Lanza is supported by actual evidence.

  198. #198 TK
    September 5, 2011

    This rubbish about Dawkins and his “blind watchmaker”

    It is based on logical fallacy. It actually works against his own argument but he is so busy frothing at the mouth he doesn’t realize it.

    Evolution can only occur by DNA (and RNA) making a *conscious choice* in the process of natural selection, and in the process of MUTATION, creating new genes.

    DNA clearly makes a conscious choice.

    Consciousness clearly exists before the evolution of the human brain and without it there wouldn’t be evolution.

    Not only that but in the world of physics, the fathers of Quantum Theory, Neils Bohr et al, already established the idea that consciousness is essentially the ground of all being itself.

  199. #199 Orac
    September 5, 2011

    Ah, the necromancer tone troll, resurrecting a comment thread that died out nearly two months ago. Why are you so worked up over what I said over a year ago if my article was so “embarrassingly poor”?

    Yawn.

  200. #200 Chris
    September 6, 2011

    TK:

    Evolution can only occur by DNA (and RNA) making a *conscious choice* in the process of natural selection, and in the process of MUTATION, creating new genes.

    Prove it. Show us the scientific literature that gives the evidence that the chemical changes in DNA replication are a conscious choice.

    Unless you provide supporting documentation we will assume that you are pulling those statements out of thin air.

  201. #201 TK
    September 6, 2011

    Chris

    It is a basic reality that if atheism is correct, then no human has any real existence. You would only have the *illusion* of existence.

    According to atheism/materialism, there is no actual “you”, or your existence, only the illusion of it.

    On *this* Dawkins and his gang are absolutely correct!

    Lanza is basing his ideas on the original interpretation of Quantum Mechanics, the standard interpretation, that of Neils Bohr, Erwin Shrodinger, Werner Heisenberg, etc. That nothing has any objective reality, and that consciousness creates the world around us.

    Also, this idea has been extended further by Prof Roger Penrose who has propounded the idea that the wave function = mind.

    Prof Penrose is an atheist and even he believes that.

    I would recommend “The Emperor’s new Mind” by the above.

    regards

  202. #202 TK
    September 6, 2011

    LOL.

    Sorry Orac.

    The article was shit.
    :)

  203. #203 Ken
    September 6, 2011

    When you die you’re dead. Survival of consciousness after death has never been proven and never will.

  204. #204 TK
    September 6, 2011

    @Chris

    “Prove it. Show us the scientific literature that gives the evidence that the chemical changes in DNA replication are a conscious choice.

    Unless you provide supporting documentation we will assume that you are pulling those statements out of thin air.”

    Not sure where you studied biological sciences, but it is a basic fact, and clearly demonstrated by the DNA molecule itself. It is sometimes referred to as the “mysterious” factor.

    Only someone who lacks the basic knowledge on how evolution actually works would come back with “prove it”. It is patently obvious.

    regards

  205. #205 TK
    September 6, 2011

    @Ken

    “When you die you’re dead. Survival of consciousness after death has never been proven and never will. ”

    All the evidence appears to be to the contrary.

  206. #206 Chris
    September 6, 2011

    Okay, you have pulled every thing you said out of thin air. Nothing you posted is objective, just subjective. All you have proved is that you are full of hot air.

  207. #207 Chemmomo
    September 6, 2011

    TK

    Only someone who lacks the basic knowledge on how evolution actually works would come back with “prove it”. It is patently obvious.

    Well, TK, actually, we’re asking you to demonstrate that you have that basic knowledge. We each already know what our own knowledge base is. We’d like some insight into yours. And on this forum (certain commenters notwithstanding), it’s customary to know what you’re talking about and back your ideas up with sources.

    By the way, do you know what a Hamiltonian is? How about a wave function?
    Once you get back to me on those, we can talk Quantum Mechanics.

  208. #208 herr doktor bimler
    September 6, 2011

    Prof Roger Penrose who has propounded the idea that the wave function = mind.

    Then it should not be difficult to quote his actual words.

    the standard interpretation, that of Neils Bohr, Erwin Shrodinger, Werner Heisenberg, etc. That nothing has any objective reality, and that consciousness creates the world around us.

    The “Copenhagen Interpretation” is nothing like that, you unsurpassed nimrod. And your claim to know what you are talking about is undermined by the easily-verified fact that Erwin Schrödinger never accepted the Copenhagen Interpretation.

    My first degree being in mathematical physics, I get grumpy when mendacious gobshites try to co-opt physics for their personal cargo cults.

  209. #209 Krebiozen
    September 6, 2011

    TK,
    Have you actually read ‘The Emperor’s New Mind’? Just curious.

    “I don’t like it, and I’m sorry I ever had anything to do with it”.
    Erwin Schrödinger on quantum physics

  210. #210 herr doktor bimler
    September 6, 2011

    …the DNA molecule itself. It is sometimes referred to as the “mysterious” factor.

    I was unable to find any of these references on the WWW and am hoping that TK will provide us with more details.

  211. #211 müzik dinle
    September 7, 2011

    Others believe it’s just a random occurrence along the development and evolvement of the universe. I have read a lot on this subject but there’s nothing convincing that I have seen. I find the random argument even more difficult to believe. Happened to have attended the body show in Arlington, VA. I was amazed at how complicated and organized the human body is. I just think there must be something more complicated than random evolvement that we probably don’t understand with the existing knowledge.

  212. #212 Justin
    October 19, 2011

    I suggest you do a bit of reading about evolution and natural selection, starting with ‘The Blind Watchmaker’ by Richard Dawkins, which should help you understand this. It attempts to answer the question you ask. You can download an electronic copy of the book here, web hosting the first link on the page.

  213. #213 polished concrete
    October 19, 2011

    I agree with A hypothesis which depends upon a phenomenon which has never once been observed to occur is just simply not as plausible as a hypothesis which has no such dependencies. Period. Try to claim that they are actually equally plausible and you will just confirm that you are talking about some airy realm of theory and not the real world

  214. #214 TBruce
    October 20, 2011

    I just think there must be something more complicated than random evolvement that we probably don’t understand with the existing knowledge.

    A tip: evolution isn’t random.

  215. #215 Salon
    October 25, 2011

    Is R. Lanza’s thesis that we’re all stuck in our personal lifelong rerun of “Groundhog’s Day?” If time resets, does that mean I’m taking the same ride again? Is this the 20th time I’ve been through the year 2011? I still have so many questions for you, Dr. Lanza.

  216. #216 Business Ideas
    October 25, 2011

    This my take and my view so don’t blast me for having an opinion on this as many here love doing. I agree with A hypothesis which depends upon a phenomenon which has never once been observed to occur is just simply not as plausible as a hypothesis which has no such dependencies. Period. Try to claim that they are actually equally plausible and you will just confirm that you are talking about some airy realm of theory and not the real world

  217. #217 Baby Games
    December 31, 2011

    But have you thought of this: I am personally quite convinced that “our self” is just stored in the RAM of our brain computers, thus, following a reboot (taking the Lanza woo from granted), who are we?

  218. #218 Lucas Kondowe
    January 11, 2012

    Was in Las Vegas last weekend and decided to see the Bodies Exhibition for the second time. I had seen the show three years ago in Arlington, VA. If one pays attention to the complicated detail of the human systems, one can only marvel at how such a perfect complicated system can be put together. Now I know this forum has folks from various backgrounds and beliefs. I can only say, it’s amazing!!!!!!

  219. #219 Prometheus
    January 11, 2012

    Those who feel that “random” evolution can never explain the complexity of macroscopic animals (like ourselves) need to wrap their over-evolved brains around a few points:

    [1] Based on the available fossil record, life has been evolving on this planet for over 3.6 billion years. I know that large numbers are hard for some people to grasp, so let me put it in some perspective – 3.6 billion seconds is over 114 years. A lot can happen in 3.6 billion years.

    [2] Evolution isn’t random – the mutations are random, but the environment “selects” the mutations. “Bad” mutations die out, neutral mutations accumulate and “good” mutations lead to more offspring. The selection isn’t random – selection gives beneficial mutations a “boost”.

    [3] Complexity actually supports evolution because much of the complexity of macroscopic animals is redundancy. Things have evolved multiple times in multiple ways and there are many bits of complexity (such as the “backwards” arrangement of mammalian retinas) that are, well, “bad engineering”. No intelligent being would put a quadruped spine into an animal that walks on its hinds legs, but that’s exactly the kind of spine we have.

    Prometheus

  220. #220 AdamG
    January 11, 2012

    Lucas-

    It’s true that “this forum has folks from various backgrounds and beliefs.” However, we are unanimous in our acceptance that the absolutely beautiful process known as evolution via natural selection is responsible for producing not only the complicated system known as the human body, but also every other complex biological system, from the smallest bacterium to the largest cetacean. I’ve devoted my life to the study of this process and I too “can only say, it’s amazing!!!!!!”

  221. #221 Lucas Kondowe
    January 16, 2012

    Does the evolution process predetermine death? i.e. is death a random event?

  222. #222 alison
    January 17, 2012

    Lucas, as Prometheus implied, our bodies definitely aren’t perfect – something that supports evolution but not the idea of a ‘designer’. After all, why would a designer do such a ham-fisted job?

  223. #223 Industrial Floors
    February 10, 2012

    This is a great post with interesting comments, I really enjoyed reading it. I must say that the subject matter is well discussed and I will definitely coming back for more. I’m gonna bookmark and share this to my friends. Thank you for this!

  224. #224 wally barker
    March 4, 2012

    The poster is, as Dr. Lanza would recognize, trapped within his own paradigm and unable, or unwilling, to let go of it to consider new ideas. Actually, these ideas are not new – the book Biocentrism is – but Dr. Lanza stands on some prestigious shoulders. Dr. Lanza gives solid scientific support for his position which is not uncommon in certain circles. Sure – his position threatens many – especially physicists – but his views are scientifically unassailable. He also has unchallenged personal integrity and scientific credentials which would be the envy of most of his detractors. Which would you rather – go down yet another theoretical rabbit hole complete with strings, knots and hundreds of imagined Universes or utilize the evidence of your own personal experience?

  225. #225 Chris
    March 4, 2012

    Mr. Barker, was there any particular reason that you dropped your incomprehensible word salad comment on this almost two year old article?

  226. #226 Bafa
    March 14, 2012

    “So I donned my Doctor Doom mask” :-)
    Indeed, for this kind of crap, it’s much needed.

    Thanks for the laugh.

  227. #227 Dolton
    April 30, 2012

    Well i am not a physician but i would stop at this elements.

    1 )Space

    2 )Universe

    Let’s start with space that is defined as infinite. It means that never ends.Anyone can really perceive that?Something that never ends …never?!!!
    When the space and universe gets infinite and i mean infinitely big i tend to not really perceive that.
    Then again if we think of an end at some point ,the question is, what is it after that end?!!!!!

  228. #228 Chris
    April 30, 2012

    Dolton, did you ever take calculus? Infinity is more of a concept, and it helps to learn about it by brushing up on some mathematics.

    Some reading suggestions:

    Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea by Charles Seife

    In Pursuit of the Unknown: 17 Equations That Changed the World by Ian Stewart

    When Least Is Best: How Mathematicians Discovered Many Clever Ways to Make Things as Small (or as Large) as Possible by Paul Nahin

  229. #229 Bronze Dog
    April 30, 2012

    On the topic of the “edge” of the universe: If space had a positive curvature, it wraps around to the other “edge.” Go far enough in one direction and you’d end up returning to your point of origin.

    But, IIRC, space has an overall negative curve for a “saddle shaped” universe, but I don’t know the implications for that.

  230. #230 Dolton
    April 30, 2012

    Chris ,if i judge by maths then i would say:
    1) Universe is a function of space
    2) Materia (everything materialistic) is a function of space
    3) even life is function of space too
    and when space goes to infinite then all of this elements go to infinite too. So i would say there should be infinite way of life rather than ours in the universe.Maths makes it simple for us to accept aliens exist for example.
    On the other hand if we are in architecture we say:
    Space is imagination :)

  231. #231 Narad
    April 30, 2012

    and when space goes to infinite then all of this elements go to infinite too

    That’s not quite how a “function” works.

  232. #232 Chris
    April 30, 2012

    Dolton, you need to work on your calculus a bit more. Since it is estimated that the observable universe is estimated to have about 1080 atoms, you might rethink your assumptions.

    And to start with some pre-calculus concepts like how functions work and how to use “limits.”

    You might also wish to acquaint yourself to the definition of the word “alien.” It is a person or thing that comes from another country, place, government, etc. A person who comes from Korea to study in Canada is a “resident alien.” A plant that is transplanted from South Africa to England is an alien plant. Zebra mussels from Europe are considered an alien invasion in North America.

    There may be life on another planet, but since they are not here (it is just too far between here and any other star system): there are no living aliens from other solar systems on this planet.

    I am trying to sincerely answer your off topic question, but if you are going to turn it into a joke and go off into silly tangents I will no longer waste my time.

  233. #233 Dolton
    May 2, 2012

    Narad i didn’t quite define how a function works.
    Simple function f(x) = 2x + 5 linear line. When x goes to infinite then f(x) goes to infinite.
    On the other hand f(x) = 1/2x for example is a different story coz f(x) goes to 0 when x goes to infinite. There is a connection between space , universe, materia and life. Thinking with probability the bigger the space gets the bigger the other elements get too.

  234. #234 Chris
    May 2, 2012

    No. You should also learn some basic trigonometry. Cosine is periodic, it only has values between -1 and 1.

    There is no reason to discuss anything with someone if they refuse to learn the basics.

  235. #235 Dolton
    May 2, 2012

    Chriss sincerely thx for your time and for trying to answer my question. I appreciate your references and is really interesting working on the concept more.I know i have to learn a lot for sure . The more i know the more i learn that i don’t know.
    My sincere question was about imagining an endless space and universe really and physically in your imagination.
    Now talking about Cosine that is periodic and trigonometry.
    Well you know about the trigonometry circle ….let me remind you…it is a circle(limited space)….no matter that you give to an angle an infinite value you are just biting around this circle with radius 1. Of course you would get values between -1 and 1. I don’t claim to have any functions between space and the other elements so i agree i judged by probability but i would never bet on a cosine function .
    You had to go to zebra muscles to define what alien means as a word lol and yet you understood perfectly what i meant, i can see you don’t have time to waste.
    Don’t get me wrong Chris i value your opinions but sometimes don’t jump to the conclusions too fast.

  236. #236 Chris
    May 2, 2012

    You can start by learning high school algebra. The take some geometry, then the advanced high school algebra, followed by trigonometry, then pre-calculus subjects, followed by calculus, including infinite series.

    Once you have finished those in about four years, we can continue this discussion.

  237. #237 Dolton
    May 3, 2012

    Ok Chriss :) as you say. I am not here to show off or anything and once again i had a honest question. By the way i used to be really strong in maths , not because i studied a lot but just coz i could get it fast.I have to say that is quite a while i don’t practice maths though.I give it to you about one thing… you didn’t fall for the ” zebra muscles” so you had to come and define what ” mussels” word means and how is spelled:).That was a “huck” to try and understand if you were a periodic person and a mediocre one that comes to the same point now and again :). And you are not.
    As i said before i value your knowledge. I hate to say this but i think you didn’t really get deeply my original post.
    I wasn’t even “biting around the bush” or ” went to silly tangents” when i said space is imagination in architecture.
    I was talking about perception. I think humans have a very limited perception.I am not arguing about the numbers you have given me example “how many atoms has an universe”.Can you realize that’s like how many millimeters a meter has said in basic terms?Who has really measured the universe?Who really knows what infinity of cosmos ( let me use this phrase better) has. We can study it to a point based on our limited abilities and then we have to use our imagination.I wasn’t trying to talk about just physics and maths as i said ” i am not a physician” … i was talking about perception.Once again don’t make statements about my education level and let me give a reference to you ( The more i know the more i learn that i don’t know).Try and get out of the box Chriss.

  238. #238 Lucas
    May 10, 2012

    The style of debate by some folks here is appalling, to say the least. Megalomaniac, is the word I have in mind. No one knows everything. If anyone thinks they are so smart why not make money from that “smartness” invent something, come up with HIV cure that the best brains have struggled with for over three decades. Find a unifying theory of the universe, instead of debating on other peoples concepts.

  239. #239 Kelly M Bray
    May 10, 2012

    “No one knows everything.” well you made your own point, at least in your case. Sometimes being “smart” is simply warning someone not to step in front of an oncoming car, instead of building a car proof suit.