MD, PhD, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd

Yesterday, I received this email from my favourite source of misleading information.

Here it is

Dear Friend,

We wanted to tell you about an unprecedented event that you won’t want to miss: the world’s largest Peace Intention Experiment that’s ever been conducted, webcast FREE on GAIA TV from September 30-October 5. It’s being hosted by Lynne McTaggart. You may know Lynne as the editor of WDDTY as well as books like THE FIELD, THE INTENTION EXPERIMENT, and her new book, THE POWER OF EIGHT. But she’s also architect of The Intention Experiments, a series of web-based experiments inviting thousands of her worldwide readers to test the power of thoughts to heal the world. Lynne has run numerous Peace Intention Experiments around the world – all with positive effects – but this time, she’s targeting America, in hopes of lowering violence and helping to end the country’s polarized society. These webcasts will be broadcast around the world, and best of all, they’re FREE for anyone to participate in. You’ll be joining tens of thousands of like-minded souls from around the world taking part in a LIVE Intention Experiment, and a team of prestigious scientists will monitor the effects…

END OF QUOTE

I must admit that I have been worried about world peace in recent months. One lunatic with nuclear power is enough to scare any rational thinker – but it seems, we currently have two!

After reading about Lynne’s experiment, I am not less but more worried.

Why?

Because, as far as I can see, she always gets things badly wrong.

36 Responses to Lynne McTaggart and world peace – something to worry about!!!

  • Dr. Ernst, I have been hoping that you would not discover the energetic areas of the power of emotion, thought energy, heart field energy, prayer, and intention, particularly in their application to healing, as they will cause you much annoyance and distress. These areas do not fit into the pervasive, mechanistic Newtonian worldview.

    Demonstrating the power of intention is now old science. Demonstrating its effect on peace and healing are also old. I doubt if anyone still demonstrates the Maharishi Effect, for example, as it has been done so, so many times. Distance healing with intention is ancient knowledge in fact, and modern science is now catching up with the advent of quantum science discoveries.

    A lot of research has been going on, certainly since the year 2000, and including by the US / Russian / Chinese Military, on the power and effect of human consciousness (thoughts, intentions, etc.) on reality, including at great distances. Indeed, the effect has been shown so often over the years that there seems to me to be little point of doing any more such experiments. Lynne McTaggart is just one of many people in this area.

    If you like what some of your readers will call “robust science”, then look up the work of Dr. William Tiller (https://www.tillerinstitute.com/) who has shown how intention can do remarkable things even at great distances.

    “For the last four hundred years, an unstated assumption of science is that human intention cannot affect what we call ‘physical reality.’ Our experimental research of the past decade shows that, for today’s world and under the right conditions, this assumption is no longer correct. We humans are much more than we think we are and Psychoenergetic Science continues to expand the proof of it.” Dr. Tiller

    Nowadays, many people have a mechanistic worldview which excludes energy, so they cannot accept the effect of consciousness on reality, even though they experience it. As for myself, I have seen and taken advantage of its effect so many times that I don’t need any “robust” scientific experiments to prove it to me. It’s a part of everyday life.

    • What a very sad post! It seems that ‘Psychoenergetic Science’ is a term that replaces worn out old bromides about ‘psychic phenomena’, ‘parapsychology’, ‘psychokinesis’, ‘the paranormal’, ‘spiritualism’ and many more. Just how much reality checking does it take for people to accept that our minds fool us into imagining all sorts of delusions: that we should not automatically trust the evidence of our subjective senses because they are remarkably easy to fool.

      Peter McAlpine solemnly tells us “A lot of research has been going on, certainly since the year 2000, and including by the US / Russian / Chinese Military, on the power and effect of human consciousness (thoughts, intentions, etc.) on reality, including at great distances.” He’s obviously never read Jon Ronson’s The Men Who Stare At Goats (just for starters) to see the hilarious irony of this claim. It’s not just since the year 2000 this sort of research has been going on, for Pete’s sake (pun intended)! It dates back well into the 19th century and probably earlier, and the fact that the military has wasted a shedload of public money on it is evidence that the term ‘military intelligence’ is an oxymoron. There’s a simple problem: it’s all been research without any measurable or definable outcome, because the concept of ‘mind over matter’ (to call a spade a spade) is pure tripe.

      “I doubt if anyone still demonstrates the Maharishi Effect, for example, as it has been done so, so many times.” Please provide plausible evidence to support this contention.

      McAlpine links to the website of William Teller, who has “shown how intention can do remarkable things even at great distances”. Yet the link leads to a website seemingly devoid of “what some of your readers will call ‘robust science’”: just videos from a totally deluded individual. Mr. McAlpine, you really need to learn what ‘evidence’ is all about. “As for myself, I have seen and taken advantage of its effect so many times that I don’t need any “robust” scientific experiments to prove it to me.” Yes, that’s self-evident from your comment: you’re expressing a firmly held belief; one that’s been debunked so many times I’ve lost count.

      Please, if you’re going to join in a conversation with grown-ups, will you resist the temptation to cite “quantum science” in a comment. You’re lowering yourself to the level of people like Deepak Chopra who persistently throw around ‘quantum woo’ in support of their absurd beliefs. Your “pervasive, mechanistic Newtonian worldview” is also known as ‘reality’. Quantum physics and general relativity — and, for that matter, “energy” in its proper sense — form part of that reality, but they represent aspects of knowledge that are clearly at a higher altitude than your vivid imagination.

  • I like this blog in a morbid sort of way, at least for now. It seems to be inhabited by some people with a firmly closed mind, particularly to the invisible side of reality; who clearly don’t want to find out if perhaps they are not aware of some knowledge about the world and indeed the universe; and who have a propensity to insult others who have a different viewpoint.

    Frank, you should feel ashamed of yourself that you have to call me by inference a child and a fanciful thinker lacking intelligence. just because I, from experience, and science, from discoveries, are aware of something, which you are not. To use your words, “What a very sad post!”

    • @PA: It is fantastic, perhaps a miracle (?) that some contributors like yourself have access to the “invisible side of reality”! My God I’ve been searching for you my whole life!! Finally I can let go of the Bible, Dianetics, the Koran and Mein Kampf !!
      Just keep posting I have a lot of questions apparently only you will be capable of answering.

    • …just because I, from experience, and science, from discoveries, are aware of something, which you are not.

      Please post this evidence and I’ll delight in being made aware. Please also note that your original post suggests you don’t have a clue what constitutes evidence.

      PS: don’t cop out by saying folk who comment here “would rather be rude, insulting, or sarcastic instead”. Rudeness and a feeling of insult are subjective, and sarcasm is a legitimate response to people who make ridiculous claims (that’s the source of the verb “to ridicule”). Provide some form of objectively verificable evidence and I’ll be the first to nominate you for the Nobel Prize.

  • It seems that I have arrived at a Forum where people have no idea that reality is more than what they can touch and see, or what a corporation sells. A forum where people have never heard about the energy emitted by thoughts or the heart, or by intentions, feelings, and emotions. But more than that, a forum where people have no interest in knowing about this or learning something new, and would rather be rude, insulting, or sarcastic instead. Hence my morbid interest in this Forum – for now.

    • I hope it’s not just ‘for now’!
      you are priceless!!!

    • Adult human brain energy is circa 20 joules per second, 20 watts. Yes, this is the energy consumed by, and emitted by thoughts, intentions, feelings, emotions, and dreams. Most of the energy falls within the long-wavelength infrared region of 10 μm; frequency region of 30 THz; individual photon energy level in the region of 120 meV. The main source of its energy is glucose. Of course, the brain controls muscles therefore thoughts can, indirectly, generate a mechanical power output of several hundred watts.

      • Some of this information is factual. Don’t know about the values supplied, but yes, the main source of energy is, of course, glucose.

        How do you think the brain controls the muscles?

        • It’s all factual and the ballpark band-centre values are correct. The power output from the brain which is used to control muscles is very small. Muscles are amazing ‘power amplifiers’: their feedback and control system is pulse rate modulation, which gives the system a high level of immunity to external interference from electric, magnetic, and electromagnetic fields — the opposite of linear systems such as audio amplifiers, analogue radio and television. IOW, the system is immune to the undetectable ‘energy’ claimed by the pedlars of woo.

          • Zounds…! Yes, indeed. For a moment there, I was filled with encouragement that Peter McAlpine had access to such factual information and I wondered what kind of misunderstanding he had in his mind, provided this information usually stems from genuine experience in the relevant fields.

            But… no. It was not Peter, it was Pete! Haha, I am sorry Mr. Attkins, I was so dumbfounded with the beliefs of Peter McAlpine that I missed the difference in the post name after the first couple of letters. Of course, my post was addressed to Peter McAlpine and not to you, so I apologize, mostly for using the word “think” there.

            I assume you refer to pulse frequency modulation, right? Yes, this is a majestic mechanism that evolution has ended up employing. The problem with people without a slight background, even in simple physics, electromagnetism, and/or some biology, listen to “energy emitted by thoughts etc.” and begin to imagine things. I think a distinction has to be made at this point. It is a well established reality that some effects can be sensed even at incredibly small “amplitudes”, such as the magnetic field of the earth or a very small electrical potential. And in all of these cases, we are talking about sensory perception. This means that the external stimulus does not cause anything other than a sensation. Sharks are EXTREMELY sensitive to small changes of electric potential (see Ampullae of Lorenzini), for example. But even that effect-from-a-distance does not have any special effect on their bodies other than simple perception. No healing involved!

            This is to say, to Peter McAlpine, that the reality is that this “energy” of thoughts generates, at best, enough of an effect for a nearby (or even faraway) shark to know that you are there swimming. This is as close as the power of intention (mediated by “brain energy”) can bring you (provided of course that you don’t do anything but stay put and think) with respect to an effect at a distance. The Maharisi effect is, of course, plain wishful thinking

          • No problem, James.

            I prefer the term “pulse rate modulation” to “pulse frequency modulation” because, in the areas of applied science with which I’m most familiar, the term frequency definitively means: the fundamental periodic frequency of a rotating phase vector, measured in hertz (Hz). Examples: the carrier frequency of a radio station; the musical note A above middle C has a fundamental frequency of 440 Hz (using Stuttgart pitch). Whereas, pulse repetition rates are measured in units of pulses per second, and pulses are not a rotating phase vector per se.

            I agree with you that animals have sensors — some of which are extremely sensitive, such as eyes, ears, and the electric field sensor array of some sharks — and the output from the sensors produce sensations in the brain. We also know the result of applying an external field which has sufficient field strength to affect the body of the animal: an electric eel can heel a fish, but not heal a fish 🙂

            It is extremely easy to fool people who do not have a thorough understanding of science and mathematics from first principles, simply by using science-y sounding rhetoric combined with less-than-obvious logical fallacies, especially, the obfuscated deployment of the fallacy of division and the fallacy of composition. Here’s an example…

            Electroencephalography (EEG) uses very sensitive electrodes to record electrical activity of the brain. These signals are tiny, therefore, the brain uses, and is sensitive to, tiny electric fields. The subtle energy used in Reiki etc. likewise influences the body and mind of the client.

            It’s difficult to argue against that unless one is familiar with the process that produces the EEG signals on the scalp. Each electrode is detecting the highly-attenuated, integrated, non-equally weighted summation of vast numbers of neurons. This process is non-reversible! For the same reason that y=a+b+c can be used to generate y from the values of a,b,c, but for any given value of y, it is impossible to generate meaningful values of a,b,c.

        • So Pete, you’re claiming that human brain energy (thoughts, intentions, feelings, emotions, dreams, muscle control) is detectable and measurable. You’re also claiming that the feedback and control system for muscle control has immunity to external interference.

          How about thoughts, intentions, feelings, etc? Same immunity?

          • jm, I wasn’t claiming anything; I was explaining some of the science using the internationally-agreed SI units of measure. Unlike pedlars of woo, I do not twist the meanings of mathematical and scientific terminology to make a point or a counter-argument.

            Please read my reply to James on Monday 18 September 2017 at 11:07 because it sets the foundation for the following…

            My intention is to type the letter “t” enclosed in double quotes. The readers can clearly see the empirical evidence that my brain did indeed translate my intention into a sequence of operations, which it loaded into my motor cortex; that I did not exercise my power of veto during the narrow time window between the loading and the execution of those operations; and that the feedback and control system of the appropriate muscle groups carried out the sequence of operations with sufficient accuracy to complete the task.

            The mechanism from which my intention arose, the mechanism by which that intention was surfaced from my subconscious mind into my conscious mind as a thought, and the mechanism by which that was translated into muscle movements, are electro-chemical processes and mechanisms. Therefore they generate electrical signals which can be measured either, directly using invasive electrodes, or indirectly and much less precisely using non-invasive electrodes. Furthermore, the approximate brain regions used for the task can be mapped using fMRI.

            Hopefully the readers will understand from the above that an intention does produce measurable electrical activity and measurable changes in blood flow (fMRI) in the brain. And that an intention and/or a thought results from the same underlying processes and mechanism. But terminology and semantics are crucially important to understanding and communication. E.g., to say that an intention or a thought is electro-chemical activity is a category error because there are so many examples of electro-chemical activity which do not produce intentions or thoughts. E.g., switching on an electric kettle does not cause the kettle to think about the steps required to boil water.

            Pedlars of woo rely heavily on semantic filibustering, category errors, and other forms of misdirection including the usage of dictionary definitions of words instead of the internationally-agreed definitions of terminology.

            The International System of Units initiative began in 1948 and was first published in 1960. At the macroscopic scale, the unit of energy is the joule, at the microscopic scale it is the electronvolt (~1.6E−19 joules). Energy has fundamental relationships with other quantities: frequency; wavelength; mass; charge; momentum; temperature; time; distance. And of course, it cannot propagate faster than the speed of light.

            Whenever we see a claim along the lines of “Well, science doesn’t know everything…” then we know for sure that it is the claimant who does not, and doesn’t want to, understand science and mathematics from first principles.

          • Pete said that the feedback and control system was immune to external electromagnetic fields.
            Obviously thoughts etc are not immune to influences external to the brain. Those influences originate in and are mediated by physical processes.

            Wishing people would think and behave the way you would like them to behave isn’t going to make it happen all by itself. There’s no external energy involved in mere wishing. To experience and to communicate a thought requires energy. Real energy, not the imaginary kind, which is nothing but wishful thinking.

            Ah, I see that Pete replied whilst I was writing this…

          • Pete,

            When you said “which gives the system a high level of immunity to external interference from electric, magnetic, and electromagnetic fields” it was in connection to muscles. I was simply asking if you were just using that as an example, or if the same mechanism applied to everything else you were talking about.

            I used the word ‘claim’ because I have no interest in verifying what you’re saying. I’ll happy to take your word for it. I should have chosen a different word, because just typing the word ‘claim’ seems to influence your thoughts, feelings, and emotions. 😃

          • Leigh,

            Totally agree with you. Not sure why you brought up ‘wishing’ and ‘imaginary energy’. I have no interest, nor did I mention, either. It seems that you were wishing I was talking about things imaginary, but your wishing doesn’t seem to have edited my comment. Maybe try wishing harder…? 🙂

            Assuming that Pete is accurate, he did a really nice and clear job of explaining qi (and some other traditional concepts) and how to measure it (them). But, that’s if you use the agreed upon traditional understanding of the terms. Not the fanciful, magical definitions used on this site. Other sites too – I don’t mean to imply that this site has the market on magical thinking. It’s much easier to stick with ‘magic’ than to do the work necessary to understand the terms.

            And, understanding traditional terms apparently isn’t necessary to evaluating research. So why waste the time and effort?

          • Wishful (imaginary) energy is McTaggarts trade. That’s what this thread is about.

            The claim that the traditional meaning of the term “qi” is identical to the modern term “energy” as defined by the unit of measurement “joule” is beyond fanciful. Farcical would be closer to it.

          • jm,

            My apologies to you, and thank you for being happy to trust my technical writing. As I’m sure you know by now, I try my utmost to avoid making technical/scientific errors, and when I do spot a scientific error in one of my statements or calculations then I post a comment with the correction.

            The high level of immunity to external interference I wrote about applies to the neurological systems of the body: brain; nerves; sensors; motors (muscles); and the autonomic nervous systems: the sympathetic nervous system; the parasympathetic nervous system; and the enteric nervous system. I think it fair to say that these systems pretty much determine how we think, feel, and act. The whole system generates in our conscious mind our extraordinarily convincing sense of “self”: the “me, myself, I”; the master of ceremonies who orchestrates our focus of attention, our thoughts, and our actions. The neurological systems also generate our emotions, but emotions are generally either not controllable by our “self”, or very difficult to bring under control.

            Of course, there’s far more to living entities than just neurological systems — plants don’t have neurological systems! So, do the biological systems within the entity also include mechanisms that have a high level of immunity to external interference from electric, magnetic, and electromagnetic fields? The answer seems to be a resounding “Yes!” when we delve into their microscopic-scale inner workings using the discretized domains of quantum mechanics, rather than the continuous domains of classical mechanics. Discretized domain outcomes/effects cannot be explained using classical mechanics in which the equation energy=power×time and its rearrangements are commutative within the continuous domain of outcomes/effects.

            I’ll use an analogy to explain what is happening at the microscopic scale. Suppose I throw you a tennis ball which travels at 2 mph. It doesn’t have enough energy to harm you; and if I throw you one million of these tennis balls during you life they do not have enough individual or a combined total energy to harm you physically. But, if we are hit in a vital area of our body by just one tennis ball travelling at 1,000 mph, it has enough energy to kill us, even though its energy is much lower than the total energy of one million balls travelling at 2 mph.

            You replied to Leigh: “Assuming that Pete is accurate, he did a really nice and clear job of explaining qi (and some other traditional concepts) and how to measure it (them). But, that’s if you use the agreed upon traditional understanding of the terms. Not the fanciful, magical definitions…”

            jm, I really do understand what you mean by that. However, “qi” was a prescientific concept that was, perhaps, remarkable insight in its time. Nothing I have written explains or justifies “qi (and some other traditional concepts) and how to measure it (them)”. Why? Hopefully, I have adequately explained that the relationship between qi etc. [even classical mechanics] and 21st-century science and evidence is neither commutative nor isomorphic. But if I haven’t sufficiently explained it then by all means ask questions.

            As I said to you ages ago, conducting meaningful discussions via the comments section of a website is extremely difficult and it frequently leads to unpleasant polarisations and non-productive outcomes.

          • I am sorry to ruin your version of reality jm, but qi has nothing to do with Pete’s explanation. Lest Pete wishes to correct me, that is. However, you are demonstrating an excellent example of cognitive dissonance by adapting reality (energy, chemistry and other real world constructs) to your beliefs (qi), rather than adapting your beliefs to reality.

            Don’t claim that qi is the counterpart of a scientific concept, under a different name. There is a lot of “magic” associated with it.

          • Pete,

            You did a great job (as usual) of explaining the science in layman’s terms. But in terms of ‘qi’, I think you’re missing the boat. It’s a really really general term – and includes thought, emotion, muscle control, etc., in addition to many other things. There are other, more specific terms for each of these, but ‘qi’ is the umbrella term.

            So when I said to Leigh “did a really nice and clear job of explaining qi…” I should have said “…explaining one aspect or usage of qi”. I didn’t mean to imply that you were explaining or justifying qi. But what you were talking about (and how to detect and measure) would fall under the umbrella of ‘qi’.

            For some reason, folks seem to want a single definition of qi that they can put their fingers on, put on the scale, somehow measure it. It’s not going to happen. It’s a catch all term. But you described how to measure one aspect of it.

            In another comment (typing the letter “t”), what you wrote would be a great explanation of the phrase “the yi leads the qi”. That was really nicely written up.

            And you’re right – if this wasn’t the comment section of a blog, it would be fun to discuss this in terms of ‘wind’ in Buddhist medicine systems. Similar problems (wind applies to more than thought, etc), and the specifics of biology and measurement wouldn’t change anything – but it would be interesting.

          • Leigh,

            Edzard kindly bolded “gaia tv” and “the power of eight”…so I didn’t read the post. But, I always like to read Pete’s comments. My question to him was specifically about his comment – not the original post.

            I’m also not claiming that the traditional meaning of qi is identical to the modern term ‘energy’. Most people now are just sticking with ‘qi’ rather than trying to translate it with a single English word. It’s too general of a concept, and a single word translation leads to confusion.

          • @jm

            “Most people now are just sticking with ‘qi’ rather than trying to translate it with a single English word. It’s too general of a concept, and a single word translation leads to confusion.”

            Nobody’s asking for a single word translation: just a precise definition. Science depends on precision; anything else is vague arm waving that helps no-one. Single word terms such as ‘nonsense’ or ‘bullshit’ and two-word expressions like ‘obsolete fantasy’, ‘vacuous pretension’ and ‘confirmation bias’ are very general concepts, but they can be defined accurately.

            I’m disappointed by your evident respect for ‘qi’ as a term with any sensible meaning in the real world. Your latest comments seem to be pure dissembling in support of the unsupportable.

          • Frank

            “Nobody’s asking for a single word translation: just a precise definition.” Then you’re going to be continually disappointed. The precise definition is ‘qi’. Unless you want to keep it simple. In that case, the precise definition is “breath”.

            “…anything else is vague arm waving that helps no-one.” If you want less vague, you’ll have to do the work studying. But unless you have a need for the term, why bother?

          • jm,

            Thank you for your kind words. I hope that you will take the following as just my thoughts on the subject, rather than a criticism, a dismissal, an argument…

            Science is an umbrella term therefore I can accept that “qi” is an umbrella term. Pseudoscience and quackery is the nefarious nonsense that has been piled on top of science. Pseudoscience and quackery is also the nefarious nonsense that has been piled on top of “qi”.

            If I claimed that it was science, and definitely not the ancient principles of “qi”, that led to the awesome discoveries resulting from the plethora of NASA space missions, would my claim be correct?

            Yes and no:
            Yes because all of the missions would’ve failed without the accuracy and precision of predictions made by recent scientific theories which are solidly founded in quantum mechanics; not classical mechanics; and most definitely not ancient philosophy!

            No because I have committed the fallacy of composition and the fallacy of division! There are many fields of modern science that most definitely did not contribute to the success of the plethora of NASA space missions! Exactly the same applies to the umbrella term “qi”.

            Robotic space probes need neither clinical psychologists nor Reiki masters, but they do require quantifiable energy 🙂

            In my previous comments, I failed to specifically highlight something that is extremely important in the context of ‘healing energy’. I stated the energy levels of human brains and bodies, but totally forgot the basic fact that most people do not know that all systems which operate at human body temperature (310 kelvin) are extremely insensitive to energy. Extremely-sensitive scientific measuring instruments are cryogenically cooled because this increases their sensitivity by orders of magnitude beyond anything which operates at human body temperature. Our very wide spectrum of extremely-sensitive scientific measuring instruments have never been influenced by an ‘energy healer’, therefore I think it reasonable to conclude that those who espouse ‘energy healing’ are quacks. They certainly own the burden of proof for their claims.

          • @ Framnk Odds addressing “jm”

            Your latest comments seem to be pure dissembling in support of the unsupportable.

            The word “dissembling” seems to imply willful deception, right? I think we can safely apply Hanlon’s razor to this matter. “Jm” has struggled for years with our iterated requests for her/his definition and description of Qi. The sum of these confused attempts is that (s)he has no bl—ing idea what it is but it must be ‘something’.

          • Pete,

            I agree, a lot of weirdness has been piled on top of the term. And I think we’ve talked about this before…I agree with you on Reiki masters and other energy healers. We do seem to disagree on the importance of looking for an exact measurement for a metaphor. 🙂

            And hopefully you didn’t take my comment “…just typing the word ‘claim’ seems to influence your thoughts, feelings, and emotions” the wrong way. It was meant as an “immunity to external interference” joke.

            One last thing – I’m sure you’re aware that the term qi is associated with emotions. Sometimes it’s useful to say “their qi is raised” rather than specifying anger, frustration, fear, etc. Specificity can sometimes be less clear than using an umbrella term.

            If you have any doubts that qi can be manipulated (intentionally or not) externally, just type the simple two letter word into a comment on this blog.

          • jm,

            When the UK switched from imperial units to metric units, I quickly adopted the new system.
            When the UK switched from CGS units to SI units, I quickly adopted the new system.
            When the UK adopted the decimalisation of currency, I quickly adopted the new system.

            I have never used the concepts of “qi” etc., and I never shall, because unlike you, I quickly adopt each iteration of increasingly meaningful, internationally-agreed, definitions of terms and systems of measurement.

            If an aircraft manufacture produced an aircraft fitted with airspeed indicators calibrated in furlongs per fortnight, altimeters calibrated in yards, and fuel gauges calibrated in shillings per inch, it would be more than reasonable to state that the manufacturer should not be accredited to supply aircraft.

            Now apply that to yourself and to your beliefs. If a supplier of healthcare uses the terms “qi”, “meridians”, and other appeals to ancient ‘wisdom’, it would be more than reasonable to state that the supplier should not be accredited to supply healthcare.

            There is a very good reason for civil aviation being accredited to use fly-by-wire technology and not being accredited to use fly-by-qi technology. Similarly, all of the scientific measuring instruments use at least 20th-century science, none of them rely on “qi”.

            Your attempts to translate my scientific explanations into explanations of “qi” is, to be honest, both pathetically inept and extremely lazy. James said to you:

            I am sorry to ruin your version of reality jm, but qi has nothing to do with Pete’s explanation. Lest Pete wishes to correct me, that is. However, you are demonstrating an excellent example of cognitive dissonance by adapting reality (energy, chemistry and other real world constructs) to your beliefs (qi), rather than adapting your beliefs to reality.

            Don’t claim that qi is the counterpart of a scientific concept, under a different name. There is a lot of “magic” associated with it.

            I echo his profound message to you. I shall leave you and the readers to ponder the following highly-applicable words of modern wisdom:

            There is no polite way to suggest to someone that they have devoted their life to a folly.
            — Daniel Dennett

          • Pete,

            “When the UK switched from imperial units to metric units, I quickly adopted the new system.”
            That’s a great analogy. If you talk to a machinist, I’d bet they love metric. If you tried to get a roofer to use metric…they’d laugh in your face. Imperial units are way easier for roofing proportions. Rather than being a quick adopter, I’d prefer to adopt appropriately.

            “Don’t claim that qi is the counterpart of a scientific concept, under a different name.”
            I don’t. It’s a term used in a very general way.

            “There is a lot of “magic” associated with it.”
            There really isn’t. Qi specifically means breath, and as an umbrella term is used for many different things. Magic is totally different.

            “Your attempts to translate my scientific explanations into explanations of “qi” is, to be honest, both pathetically inept and extremely lazy.”
            No translation into an explanation. You were talking about measuring the energy of thought & emotions. Thought and emotion have specific Chinese terms (思想 Sīxiǎng and 情感 Qínggǎn, according to google translate), but both fall under the umbrella category of qi. So if you’re measuring the energy of thought and emotion, you’re measuring qi.

            “If an aircraft manufacture produced …”
            If an practitioner of Chinese medicine starts talking about aether and pitta…find another acupuncturist.

            I think we have different views of pathetically inept and extremely lazy. Many commenters on this blog come to some pretty weird conclusions about terms and concepts they haven’t put in the effort to understand. It makes me wonder how much effort they’ve put into understanding current research…and how much their conclusions should be trusted.

            And as far as folly goes…trying to put an exact measurement to a metaphor would seem to fit the bill.

          • jm

            “And as far as folly goes…trying to put an exact measurement to a metaphor would seem to fit the bill.” I’d say that applying a metaphor for medical treatment is a greater folly.

            “Many commenters on this blog come to some pretty weird conclusions about terms and concepts they haven’t put in the effort to understand. It makes me wonder how much effort they’ve put into understanding current research…and how much their conclusions should be trusted.” That’s the courtier’s reply . I don’t need to put in the effort to understand the fine details of astrology: the basic concept is bunk.

          • Frank,

            “I’d say that applying a metaphor for medical treatment is a greater folly.”
            Me too. I’ve never met anyone that applies qi as a medical treatment.

            “I don’t need to put in the effort to understand the fine details of astrology: the basic concept is bunk.”
            I wasn’t talking about details – I was talking about coming to weird conclusions without understanding the basic concept. If you don’t understand the basic concept, you’re apt to say things like “applying a metaphor for medical treatment”. That would be an example of a weird conclusion.

          • Ah, jm! Words, words, words. They’re so slippery, aren’t they? I never referred to applying qi as a medical treatment, I said “applying a metaphor for medical treatment” is folly. There’s a difference, of which I’m certainly aware. The magic medical treatments you seem to support (traditional Chinese medicine in general?) are aimed at manipulating qi, right? So according to your characterization of qi (you eschew definitions) they are manipulating a metaphor. That’s using a metaphor for (i.e. in the context of) medical treatment.

            But I accept that what I wrote was ambiguous, and might have sounded as though I thought qi was itself a medicine. (I don’t think you seriously believe that from our several conversations.) Thank you for providing me the opportunity to clarify. My conclusion is in no way weird, and I most certainly understand the basic concepts. Qi and ‘energy medicine’, along with chiropractic subluxations, homeopathic potentization and acupuncture meridians, are not difficult to comprehend. All are self-evidently supernatural bunk following the tsunami of detailed knowledge of the way the body works (and fails) that has flooded our understanding of reality through science since the mid 20th century.

          • Qiing for kids (qi=breath).

            Key words: diaphragm, lungs, bronchi, alveoli, red blood cells, oxygen, glucose, carbon dioxide.

            The basic concept of the umbrella term “breath” explained.

            Courtesy of modern science.

            Basic concept of umbrella term “qi” explained courtesy of Chinese tradition?

            Anyone?

          • Frank,

            Your comment wasn’t ambiguous at all. Sorry – I should have said:

            “I’d say that applying a metaphor for medical treatment is a greater folly.”
            Me too. I’ve never met anyone that applies qi for a medical treatment.

            Whew. Glad we cleared that up. 🙂

    • Eh, Peter, have you ever read Carl Sagan’s fable about the dragon in the garage?
      It exactly describes your “energy emitted by thoughts or the heart, or by intentions, feelings, and emotions”, it exists only in your imagination.

  • Forget qi. It doesn’t exist. Energy exists. We can measure it.

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