Thursday, February 24, 2011

The World Series of Woo?

Of late, Deepak Chopra has been heavily promoting a Hay House event called Sages and Scientists Symposium 2011: Merging of a New FutureConsciousness and Science. The actual symposium, we are told, is sold out (at $1999 a ticket), but you're in luck: All this goodness can still be yours, streamed live online, starting tomorrow (Feb. 25), for the low-low price of just $99. Your $99 entitles to you to hear Deepak "along with several of the world's other foremost leaders live from the comfort of your own home for the groundbreaking Sages and Scientists Symposium, and explore the most urgent questions facing your future and the world's evolution."

Given Deepak's involvement, we know what the "sages" will be about, and we can pretty much guess what the "consciousness" component will sound like, so I thought it might be fun to take a look at the "foremost leaders" who are representing the realm of "science."

Dean Radin, PhD is a senior scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (a name that keeps causing me major flashbacks to The Stepford Wives). Noetics is "a multidisciplinary field that brings objective scientific tools and techniques together with subjective inner knowing to study the full range of human experiences." Noetic types generally tie human consciousness to a certain divine presence with which we are all imbued. Radin
writes of his lifelong "fascination about the outer limits of inner spacethe depths and capacities of the human mind. As a pre-teen I read everything I could find on mythology, fairy tales, folklore, eastern philosophy, western psychology, and lots of science fiction. Around age 13, as my interests in science and engineering grew, I started to conduct experiments on hypnosis and psychic phenomena." These days, he says, he devotes most of his time to "experimentally probing the far reaches of human consciousness, principally psi [paranormal] phenomena." Fittingly enough he was born on a Leap Day, February 29 (like Tony Robbins).

Since a single noeticist is never enough, the symposium gives us two more: Henry Stapp, PhD, one of Radin's colleagues at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, and
Marilyn Schlitz, PhD, whose home venue is the Complementary Medicine Research Institute at California Pacific Medical Center. Schlitz is also an adviser to our old friend, NCCAM, and serves on the editorial boards of both Alternative Therapies and Advances in Mind Body Medicine. 'Nuff said?

Jim Tucker, MD is a board-certified child psychiatrist and author of a book titled Life Before Life. I could probably stop right there, but I'll belabor the obvious by noting that he spends his time investigating past-life memories and reincarnation. He also confesses on his blog that "we certainly have reason to think that mental intention can have effects," which is, of course, the core tenet of the Law of Attraction. Also: "Psilocybin [the active ingredient in 'magic mushrooms'] and ketamine [a veterinary anesthesia used by some as a recreational drug] may be doors to the same place that mystical experiences such as [near-death experiences] provide a glimpse of, which at least offers the comforting possibility that dying may not be the only way to visit there."

Stuart Hameroff, MD is a physician/researcher at Tucson's University Medical Center (which, by the way, if you click the most adjacent link, will be instantly familiar as the backdrop for all those press conferences about the day-to-day status of Rep. Gabby Giffords). He also presides over a site called Quantum Consciousness, where among other things he writes of brain function, "I have considered that ... a connection to the basic proto-conscious level of reality where Platonic values are embedded is strikingly similar to Buddhist and other spiritual concepts." The actual publications linked on his site are tough sledding for those without a deep foundation in physics and cellular biology, but the CliffsNotes version is that Hameroff is one of those who has constructed complex models to explain the interconnectedness of not just mind and body, but mind and cosmic reality.

Robert Lanza, MD is the chief scientific officer of Advanced Cell Technology. As such, he is a leading voice in biocentrism, and ... well ... I'll just let him tell it in his own words: "Biocentrism [turns] the planet upside down again with the revolutionary view that life creates the universe instead of the other way around. ... Biocentrism takes the reader on a seemingly improbable but ultimately inescapable journey through a foreign universe
our ownfrom the viewpoints of an acclaimed biologist and a leading astronomer. Switching perspective from physics to biology unlocks the cages in which Western science has unwittingly managed to confine itself. Biocentrism shatters the reader's ideas of life, time and space, and even death. At the same time, it releases us from the dull worldview that life is merely the activity of an admixture of carbon and a few other elements; it suggests the exhilarating possibility that life is fundamentally immortal."

I could go on, but ... why? I just think it would be nice if Deepak fleshed out the science portion of his program with a bit more actual science.


Cosmic Connie said...

Ha, ha. I used to be a member of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, aka I.O.N.S. -- well, "member" in the sense that I subscribed to their monthly magazine and regularly attended local (Houston) I.O.N.S. meetings and discussion groups. This was back when chaos theory was all the rage. The members of I.O.N.S. that I met all considered themselves to be cutting-edge thinkers. Most were heavily involved in metaphysical/New-Wage stuff.

World Series of Woo.... that's a good description. I have another name for mystics' orgies of that nature: Gullibalooza.

Dr Benway said...

Hameroff getting hammered:

Beyond belief clip 1

Beyond belief clip 2


Dimension Skipper said...


It's possible I could have some details wrong or that I could be mischaracterizing some bits, but on the other hand I obviously don't think so (because honestly, why would I think that?). That being said, I'll just get right to it...

I don't know if you'd have any interest in this whatsoever, but I read this review of a book titled The Healing Codes (by Alexander Loyd, Ph.D., N.D. and Ben Johnson, M.D., D.O., N.M.D.) and though I was not in turn favorably inclined toward the book in any way—Ms. Borchard does end up panning it, but not before "confessing" to what appear to me to be some highly "iffy-at-best" new age-y beliefs—I sought it out for some browsing time at my local bookstore. Mainly I was just curious what the so-called 6-minute Healing Code was. After all, if it only takes 6 minutes, how hard can it be to describe it and can it possibly take enough explanation to fill a book?

(Note: I'm not familiar with the authors myself, but I would urge anyone to read the "about the authors" by "looking inside" at Amazon [see link in next comment] where it's part of the index pages and more detailed than what's on the "back flap". The co-author Johnson "was the only MD featured on the popular DVD, The Secret." The book is ©2010, but I don't know if it's actually "new" or if it's been out a while. I noticed too that the book's main author, Mr. Loyd himself, commented under Ms. Borchard's review.)

So after some significant skimming of various parts just to try to familiarize myself with it a little and get a feel for their style and concepts, I finally got to the actual Healing Code(s) part—they can't seem to decide if it's singular or plural—at nearly the end of the book and my conclusion is that Ms. Borchard was giving a 5-star glowing review compared to what she should have said!

I'm not lying... The so-called Healing Code consists of holding your hands 2-3 inches from 4 key body points and aiming your fingers towards those parts while visualizing, meditating, whatever, and letting the energy of your hands/fingers (somehow) do its magic. The 4 body points are the "bridge" (above the nose & between the eyebrows), adam's apple, jaw, and temple. That's it. Do those moves in sequence for 6 minutes at least 3 times a day and you can apparently heal depression, ALS, cancer, and who knows what else...

Among the testimonials is a woman (I think it was, though not sure now) who accidentally stepped on a pet lizard's head, so she performed the HC on the lizard and in a couple days it was back to normal! I'm not making that up... nope, not kidding in the least, I swear. I didn't know lizards even had adam's apples!

On the last pages of the chapter before the actual HC is revealed is the warning (in big bold type) that the HC is not intended to diagnose, treat, etc... and is not approved by the FDA blah blah blah. So I guess they're covered legally. (I see by "looking inside" at the Amazon page that the disclaimer is listed on the copyright page too, though possibly in slightly different form, I can't be sure.) Of course, they'd just spent 200 or so pages "scientifically" explaining their stuff and presenting glowing "unsolicited" testimonials that seem to indicate their HC will work miracles in most cases and that when it doesn't it's because of the person not doing it right or having some other psychological / emotional / spiritual issues.

Dimension Skipper said...

Part 2...

Of perhaps even more interest to you, Steve, may be the review section of the Amazon page for the book: The Healing Code: 6 Minutes to Heal the Source of Your Health, Success, or Relationship Issue.

I see an amazing 335 FIVE-STAR REVIEWS with the top-most one being by the primary author himself (!) saying that the few pans are by people who "obviously" haven't read the book or tried the process and so therefore they are just mean-spirited jerks (of course I'm liberally paraphrasing). There are 10 one-star reviews, 8 two-stars, 10 three-stars, and 30 four-stars (393 reviews total). Question: Did you ever submit your own review of SHAM???

Oh yeah, if 6 minutes at a time is too long for some impatient folks, they also offer a 10-second "Instant Impact" exercise which will instantly (Duh!) relieve stress and make anyone feel better. That bit consists of 10 seconds of rapid deep breathing in and out. That's it. They do caution that folks should ease off a little if they feel like they're beginning to hyperventilate.

Maybe in time more 1- and 2-star reviews will roll in, but I can definitely see how it would be depressing that this sort of thing gets so many glowing reviews... And I apologize if pointing it out has that effect on you, but I also thought it would be up your SHAM alley and didn't know if it was anything significant or new that would be worth pointing out in the first place. Figured I'd just toss it to you and if it's NOT new or worth anything in a topical sort of way, you're free to ignore it of course...

Dimension Skipper said...

People have long said I need therapy...

Naked Therapy or Just Cam-Girl Soft Porn?
By John M Grohol PsyD
at "World of Psychology" / PsychCentral
(Mar 2, 2011)

I didn't check out any of the links, but apparently it's at least semi-serious. I guess she puts the "Woo" in "World Series of Woo." I suppose I shouldn't scoff without, uh, looking into it further, but come on... That can't be for real... Can it? Would anyone really think that's legitimate "therapy?"