Wednesday Woo

Wednesday Woo #4: Quantum Woo

For last weeks Wednesday Woo, click here.

“What one man calls God, another calls the laws of physics.”

Nikola Tesla

Quantum mechanics has shown us an entirely different and counter-intuitive physical world that can be conflated into the wildest ideas by those who speculate and misconstrue its findings. There is the variety of folks who claim that it is proof of god, since its spooky action seems almost like what is described in their religious books.

Hebrews 11:3 “By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.”

This idea is even offered in quote mines from the founding fathers of this branch of physics:

Waren Heisenberg: “After the conversations about Indian philosophy, some of the ideas of Quantum Physics that had seemed so crazy suddenly made much more sense.”

Erwin Schrodinger: “This life of yours which you are living is not merely a piece of this entire existence, but in a certain sense the whole; only this whole is not so constituted that it can be surveyed in one single glance. This, as we know, is that sacred, mystic formula which is yet really so simple and so clear; tat tvam asi, this is you. Or, again, in such words as “I am in the east and the west, I am above and below, I am this entire world.”

While this seems like great proof for the idea that the ancient ideas of reality have been revealed through quantum mechanics, it’s nothing more than wishful thinking. It’s true that some of the great minds who made discoveries in this field of science were familiar with the ancient texts of the vedas, as well as the bible, but this doesn’t mean their discoveries proved them. There also tends to be no real way of conveying the message of these scientific phenomena to the masses without taking a romantic and familiar approach. Granted, some of them may have followed such magical thinking, while some did not. Einstein expressed himself with the romantic antics of the spiritual, while maintaining a form of deism – which lacks a personal god.

Some of them actually seemed to have a god belief, like Werner Heisenberg, who claimed, “The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you.”

There is also Erwin Schroedinger, who in the spirit of the Vedas expressed, “In itself, the insight is not new. The earliest records, to my knowledge date back some 2500 years or more… the recognition ATMAN = BRAHMAN (the personal self equals the omnipresent, all-comprehending eternal self) was in Indian thought considered, far from being blasphemous, to represent the quintessence of deepest insight into the happenings of the world.”

One thing that must be considered when going through all of these quotes and ideas of quantum mechanics is that not all of those who study physics are theists. Victor Stenger , a renowned particle physicist and author, is atheist, as are Sean Michael Carroll, and Lawrence Krauss. So which is it? Natural science proves god, or doesn’t it? If it truly proved the god-claim, surely all of those who gain an understanding of it would alter their belief accordingly. It just goes to show that mere quotes are not real evidence of anything. It also demonstrates that even when a scientist thinks they have proven the mystical realm, further experimenting may reveal they have not.

“So which is it? Natural science proves god, or doesn’t it?”

Since the double-slit experiment has made it into the mainstream era of spiritualism, it has been attached to the claim that the “non-duality” function of particles shows the yin-yang attributes of reality, and that the physical world is guided by consciousness because particles seem to change when observed. Some will even go so far as to say that reality simply doesn’t exist at all. Therefore, magic is real, and we are merely consciousness experiencing itself. We = god, right? Not exactly…

Experiments at the quantum level behave differently because they are being done at an atomic and subatomic level. It’s difficult to imagine such a world on our much larger scale, simply because our perspective differs. If we were 2 dimensional beings, it would be quite strange to experiment with a 3D world. Such is the same with the realm of the very small. Although, there have been experiments created that demonstrate what occurs at the quantum level for us to see.

As was demonstrated above, the actions at the quantum level do not prove that reality doesn’t exist. The moon is still revolving around the earth, even when you’re not looking.

Now to get to this “observer” phenomenon. An observer, as defined by quantum physics, differs from the layman idea of observation; much like the definition of the word “theory” differs from how we utilize it in daily life. An observer in physics is what interacts with the particles in an effort to find measurements and obtain data. Since the quantum world is much, MUCH smaller than what we are accustomed to interacting with, any measurement of it can interfere with behaviors seen. It has nothing to do with consciousness, since it can be seen occurring even without a conscious, human observer.

So how about that duality function of particles, eh? It’s rather funny, since I know a bit about duality in terms of its spiritual connotations. According to woo-woo, duality is an illusion caused by ego: the I -vs- other dynamic. In the philosophy, the “I” doesn’t exist, and all that exists is “One”.  I’m not sure how the particle-wave duality has anything to do with this other than the label “duality”. I am sure there are people who will stretch their logical faculties pretty far to make the connection, but in truth, there is none.

Why would the spiritual woo-woo and god-botherers claim that science proves consciousness is magic? For one, it fills up their community with credulous believers who will fall for any sort of claim they make. Such communities make for great sales, since word-of-mouth recommendations travel faster than the speed of any debunking. Do a quick google search for quantum healing, and you will be flooded with everything from magic jewelry to reiki. Apparently this is a very lucrative prospect. Check out the nano wand from China.

Wand

There was a stretch of time were I believed that quantum mechanics was some sort of proof that our reality is directly connected to consciousness and god. In fact, it took me a while to come out of this ideology. It wasn’t until I became open-minded to being wrong about these notions that I found the truth: I was being lied to. I fell for it, hook, line, and sinker – posting the Werner Heisenberg quote about finding god at the bottom of the glass of science over and over again. It was not fun to set aside my ideas about reality, but once I discovered I was wrong, and opened myself up to new evidence, I found much relief and wonder in the truth. I began watching a youtube channel called “Martymer81” where I found a skeptic who truly challenged my thoughts on this subject. I started researching things he said, and reading books from credited physicists like Lawrence Krauss and Stephen Hawking. Come to find out, I was dead wrong when it came to this subject. I had abused physics, used it, and conflated it all because I wanted to find comfort in a reality that seemed confusing, cold, and too rational. But since then, I have discovered the rational world to be one of curiosity as opposed to coldness. There’s so much more to find in science, and to close the door on that for a belief in woo or god is the ultimate closed-minded prospect. If all explanations point to the divine, then what is left to be curious about?

Here’s Martymer81’s take on quantum physics abuse. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

Wednesday Woo

Wednesday Woo #2: Psychics, Mediums, and Channelers

For last weeks article on Synchronicity, click here.

“But Abraham, you mean I’m supposed to make stuff up!?!?
You are creators, you make stuff up all the time!”
― Esther Hicks

Make up stuff, indeed! Ever watch the episode of “Family Guy” where Peter becomes a psychic? (S 8 Ep. 12) If you have yet to see it, I suggest you check it out. Not only is it hilarious, but it points out some of the flaws of those who claim to have such abilities in a very pointed way. Folks will go to a psychic out of desperation, then after the medium tells them what they want to hear, it instills a belief in them that’s difficult to shake. All the psychic has to do is make one or two correct guesses, and the believer will see it as a successful reading, while ignoring the mountain of things they got wrong. Remember the concept of confirmation bias? It works very well here, too.

The techniques used by mediums and channelers are always the same. They utilize cold reading as a way to obtain information through verbal and non verbal cues, clothing, gender, etc…, they then guess which direction to take the reading indicated by responses the subject gives. They throw questions at the subject very quickly, to emphasize the hits, and draw attention away from the misses. There is also warm reading, where they make general statements that could apply to virtually everyone. “Something difficult has happened to you recently,” would be a good example of warm reading. Lastly, hot reading is quite the creepy and sly technique where the psychic actually investigates their subject before a reading by listening to phone calls, talking to friends and family, or merely giving them a google.

Here’s an example of just how many hits and misses a medium can have. It’s rather long, but not only amusing, but very revealing.

If you’re pressed for time, there is also this short clip of James Randi discussing just how devastatingly wrong Sylvia Browne is on a special by Anderson Cooper.

There are other varieties of channelers, who claim to possess the ability to make contact with aliens, people from the future, or spirit guides. This particular brand of medium usually offers platitudes or wise-sounding anecdotes in order to astound and comfort those in their company. Again, it can seem harmless, but it is charlatanism that claims to sometimes make predictions of the future, as well as sometimes fuel conspiracy theories that are dangerous to mental health.

Here’s Bashar talking about “chemtrails” and how to use gold to control the climate. Yes… GOLD.

Ester “Abraham” Hicks charges around $500 ($225 workshop fee, and $250 at the door) for events, not to mention book sales and special appearances. What a racket! Now it may feel good to listen to these folks, but at those prices I think you would be better served taking a spa day or going fishing.

When I was into my woo-woo phase, I practiced channeling myself, and can safely assert that what came out of me was absolute junk mail from my subconscious mind. Rather like a dream that doesn’t reflect reality – a jumbled mix of nonsense that had no value of predictability or virtue. In fact, some of it was just scribbles of symbols.

Junk

It took years trying to develop my “intuitive skills” for that scribble, not to mention all the money I spent on books.

Now, apparently I’m no psychic, and cannot know for sure the intent of others, but charging large amounts of money to offer the distraught absolutely nothing is a scam. I have known a lot of folks to claim to channel, typically for free (though some of them do charge), and they express their intent as an attempt to help others connect with the spirit world in an effort to guide their lives during times of confusion. That seems noble on the surface, but is misguided in itself, and is a lot of responsibility. They give readings suggesting they leave or stay in relationships, move to a different area, quit their job, and all sorts of big life decisions that they would normally make themselves if they hadn’t placed all their trust in the medium. The question is rarely asked: what if they are wrong? Making reasonable choices is difficult, especially in times of stress, but it’s something we must all learn to do as adults. It may actually be easier to be an adult if you refrain from wasting your money on a psychic.