I watched about half of What the Bleep Do We Know!? on cable this weekend. It would have taken ropes and chains to get me to watch the rest of it.
In essence, this film wants to reconcile science and spirituality. Aside from the utter nonsense you can read about at the Wikipedia article (link above), what always annoys me about the attempts to do this is that in actuality, science is tossed out the window and ignored the moment some supposed link is observed. For example, take experiments in prayer. At the moment, I'd say there is a lot of conflicting evidence pro and con concerning any value whatsoever other than psychological benefits to those participating (which could be equally matched by meditation, self-hypnosis etc.). But never mind that: let's pretend for a moment that in real double-blind tests it became obvious that prayer really works. Theists jump for joy and proclaim that science now supports their beliefs. What nonsense: even if experiments indicated true efficacy, a religious explanation is only one of a number of possible causative reasons that would need to be explored, and in fact would be seen by most scientists as the least probable. But for the "spiritual" among us, their religious beliefs would be the only foundation to support the observations.
Likewise with the nonsense in this film about our thoughts affecting our futures. I doubt there are any real physicists who believe that we can create our own reality (psychotic delusions aside, of course) but again let's pretend that we could: that all it takes is wishing and hoping to cause your lottery numbers to fall in perfect sequence. If so, what would this mean? Well, obviously there would be a lot of battling for quantum states: I'd want my lottery numbers to win and you'd want yours, and so would a few billion other people, so it would seem that unless some of us have superior capabilities in this area, it would all tend to cancel out. But wait! Some say that all possibilities are expressed, and that there are infinite universes, so in one or more my lottery numbers will win, and in another you have the winning ticket and so on. So the magic works!
No - if there are infinite universes, then you need do nothing: somewhere I'm basking in wealth and Bill Gates is serving up burgers. But so what? In the universe where I write this, I work for a living and so do most of you. I can't migrate to that other reality by wishing or praying or meditating.
I think it was the water crystal baloney that really had me pressing my fingers to my forehead and moaning. That and the idiotic assertion that native Americans couldn't see Columbus' ships. I might have watched longer without those. It's certainly true that sails could easily be misinterpreted as clouds and therefore be momentarily ignored - right up to the moment where it became obvious that they were NOT clouds, but no longer. As to the water crystal crap, well, again that would suffer from the problem of conflicting influences even if it were true.
And that's the problem with all this sort of junk: skepticism and rigorous inquiry are tossed aside. People seem to want to believe that the world is magical, that wishes affect reality, that they can achieve total control of their fate.
Keep on wishing. I mean that: if it makes you happy, if it helps you deal with reality, if it keeps you from climbing up towers with a rifle strapped to your back, by all means continue your magical thinking. The rest of us will be working on other things, but we don't have to destroy your fantasy world, do we? Nope.. just pretend you never read this. Go concentrate on those lottery numbers, or better yet, why don't you work on world peace, poverty and hunger? Pray, meditate or whatever: it can't hurt, can it? At the very least it might make you feel better, and I'm all for that. Just don't pretend that science supports any of it. That's when I get upset.
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More Articles by Anthony Lawrence © 2011-05-04 Anthony Lawrence
The idea of "work, then get paid" has been deeply ingrained in our culture by employers who want to limit their risk. Well, I like to limit my risks also. I like to get paid before I do work. (Tony Lawrence)