18 May 2008

Quantum mechanical ... healing!

The misuse of science for achieving one's goal has been always been practiced by many. However, nowadays, anybody can get instant information on any scientific subject, just by googling or wikipeding a term they've heard.

And some people make real money from bogus science...

I'm especially amused by the "use" of Quantum Mechanics: it appears to have entered the realm of psychotherapy. Here are a couple of examples:

First, there is some Sandra Anne Taylor, who has published a book called "Quantum Success". In it, she claims that

Through quantum physics, we know that reality isn’t separate from the observation of it, and the same is true for our own lives. What we experience in the real world can’t be separated from our perception of it. In fact, the study of biomechanics reveals that the brain isn’t even capable of distinguishing the difference between reality and memory.....

When people understand the human application of quantum physics, they can see that their consciousness, energy, and intention carry great power in the consequences of their lives. But when it comes to success, most people want to know, “What’s love got to do with it?”

She explains, however, that:

... The Law of Magnetism. Love is the single most magnetic energy that you can project.

Sandra Anne Taylor has, obviously, no understanding quantum physics or magnetism. She just makes money by selling her products to people who are fascinated by the mystique of grandiose scientific words.


Here's another example (I learned this from Shallit's blog):
Dr. Richard Bartlett D.C., N.D., makes money with his Matrix Energetics. He goes around and charges 500+ dollars for each "seminar" in which he makes participants attain the Quantum Field at their fingertips, make instant physical, observable changes, create quick observable changes with no waiting and no running energy...

Here is a most funny quote of Dr. Richard Bartlett D.C., N.D.:

"There’s something called the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. What that says, essentially, is you cannot observe a system without entering into that observation and therefore changing it. Scientifically, this means that if you look at something and attempt to measure its velocity, you lose track of its actual location. If you try and track its location, you lose the ability to measure its velocity. You can never actually measure both at the same time; you can observe one and change the other."


But the use of science is not restricted to psychobogustherapy. It is also used for religious purposes. And not by people who have no understanding of science, but by scientists themselves. I really don't mind much about simpletons (?) like Taylor and Bartlett when they "use" quantum physics" for "healing" purposes: they just take advantage of sick people who are willing to pay money to be quantumphysicallyhealed. They just (ab)use the rules of free market. But it disturbes me greatly when I find out that a scientist uses science to prove bogus concepts. More about that in my next posting...


  1. Could you attack with some scientific comments? Sorry for my ignorance, the quotations about quantum mechanism in fact make sense to me. Because your purpose is to promote of rigour and rationality, I wish to learn from the demonstrations in your arguments. So far I can only see one belief attacks another, one passion attacks another.

  2. It's quantum mechanics, not quantum mechanism. Quantum mechanics is part of physics and, unless one understands it (mathematically), one cannot use it. Plainly, neither Taylor nor Bartlett know any mathematics, so they can't, really, claim to be using quantum physics. It's absurd. It's like claiming to know how to play the piano but, instead, you play recorded piano music. The latter is trivial: anyone, even Taylor and Bartlett can do it. The former is tough.

    Specifically now, since you say that the quotation makes sense to you, apparently you know what the Heisenberg principle is. It is a mathematical inequality that involves, in its right-hand-side, a constant which is irrelevant at large scales. Therefore, the inability to simultaneously observe position and velocity (momentum) does not apply to objects visible by naked eye; only to particles at the size of atoms or less. I doubt that any of these people have the technology to deal with such scales. The concluding statement of the quote is "you can observe one and change the other". This is nonsense. There is no such thing in the aforementioned inequality.

    What else make senses to you? Maybe that "love is the single most magnetic energy that you can project"? As far as we know, no science can measure or quantify love, just as no science can quantify justice or stupidity. But more to the point, we know very well what magnetism is and, as can be checked e.g. in the laboratory, or in theory (see, for example,
    Landau and Lifschitz
    ), love is not part of magnetism.

  3. Thanks for your explanation. You explained the mathematical and physical meaning of Heisenberg uncertainty principle, but not its philosophical implication. I had a check in Wikipedia and found this sentence "Heisenberg did not focus on the mathematics of quantum mechanics, he was primarily concerned with establishing that the uncertainty is actually a property of the world". It also mentions observer effect. Since Heisenberg uncertainty principle was established, many philosophers are trying to understand its philosophical implication. It seems that the observed objects can not be separated from the observer. This is probably where their concluding statement comes from. It is controversial. They do not separate their understanding of the implication of Heisenberg uncertainty principle from scientific explanation of Heisenberg uncertainty principle. They have flaws but are not total nonsense.

  4. We can have an endless discussion about the meaning of Quantum Physics. Actually, to this date, there is no proper understanding of Quantum Physics. It only becomes useful through its mathematical theory and, of course, because of the fact that it agrees with experiments. There is no reason that the mathematical model of a physical reality conform to our macroscopic senses.

    You are quoting issues that have bothered many philosophers and philosophers of science. They try hard to make mathematical theories of physics understood.

    But no decent philosopher claims he or she can use Quantum Mechanics for psychotropic holistic (add your new age adjectives here) healing. The latter has nothing to do with science or philosophy. It is nonsense.

    By the way, of course Heisenberg wanted to understand the theory he created. Moreover, he would have liked his theory to have a larger domain of applicability. This is scientific ambition. Any scientist wants the same.

    Taylor, Bartlett or a spoon-bending con artist (Uri Geller for instance) for that matter, are mere charlatans.

  5. I confess that I do not have enough knowledge to argument about neither Quantum mechanics nor new age stuff. But it does not mean I can't say anything about it.

    I respect rigour and rationality. It is because with rigour and rationality we have better chance to make a better world that everyone wants to belong to. What I do not agree is that rigour and rationality end in themselves, is that some scientists put science at a sacred height.

    One scientist who probably belongs to the group you despise said that he spends his late half life to train a rocket scientist to a human being.

    I understand that it is important to keep the teritory of science clear. This is the most secure knowledge we human possess and build on. But nothing sacred about it. It itself is built on a set of axioms which are only beliefs.

    I support your promotion of rigour and rationality for the goodness of society and people. I only hope that you can hold human warmth when you do so. This is sure way to reach people. Religious people understand it, New age scientists understand it, I can not see why a sincere scientist does not.

  6. I don't see what your comments have to do with the posting about the nonsense quantum healing. I will reply briefly:
    1. You digressed a lot.
    2. I'm not going to reply on your comments on human warmth, because I never tackled this issue (which, incidentally, I embrace, despite your presumption that I do not).
    3. Your comment on religious people is wrong: some religious people do care about society and some (e.g. quite a few millions in the U.S.) do not. Proof: George Bush is religious. So was Sadam.
    4. There are no new age scientists. Quantum healers and the like are by no means scientists. They are con artists.



What measure theory is about

It's about counting, but when things get too large.
Put otherwise, it's about addition of positive numbers, but when these numbers are far too many.

The principle of dynamic programming

max_{x,y} [f(x) + g(x,y)] = max_x [f(x) + max_y g(x,y)]

The bottom line

Nuestras horas son minutos cuando esperamos saber y siglos cuando sabemos lo que se puede aprender.
(Our hours are minutes when we wait to learn and centuries when we know what is to be learnt.) --António Machado

Αγεωμέτρητος μηδείς εισίτω.
(Those who do not know geometry may not enter.) --Plato

Sapere Aude! Habe Muth, dich deines eigenen Verstandes zu bedienen!
(Dare to know! Have courage to use your own reason!) --Kant