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Our future, our universe, and other weighty topics

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Science 2.0 or Hate 2.0?

The theory of homeopathy is not one that I profess belief in, and at this time I do not recommend making crucial medical decisions based on it. But I do think it is an interesting hypothesis that might be worthy of further study. A better name for the theory might be to call it a hypothesis of anomalous aqueous traces. The idea behind homeopathy is that if you take water and put certain chemicals or medicines in it, and then dilute the water repeatedly, until no recognizable trace of the original ingredient is left, then somehow the water retains some beneficial effect from these earlier ingredients – almost as if the water somehow “remembered” what was previously in it.

To a materialist scientist, such an idea is a pure abomination. But it could just possibly be that such an effect occurs, if there are mysterious unknowns involving water that we are ignorant of. Water is a most astonishing substance which is a great example of unpredictable emergence. There are many unusual properties of water (some of them vital for our existence) that are not at all predictable from merely considering the things that water is composed of (two hydrogen atoms and an oxygen atom). Considering that fact, it does not seem so implausible that water might have some unknown abilities which we are ignorant of, including just possibly some ability to store traces of previous ingredients in some anomalous way.

There actually seems to be evidence suggesting that inanimate objects may be able to somehow hold anomalous traces of information. Such evidence falls under the category of what parapsychologists call psychometry. Psychometry allegedly involves a mysterious ability to hold some old object, and tell information about facts associated with that object, such as incidents it was involved with, or previous people who owned it. The idea seems outrageous, but significant evidence has been gathered to suggest such a thing may actually occur. For example, anthropologist David E. Jones was able to find four people who did surprisingly well when asked to provide information relevant to artifacts and fossils that they were asked to touch. In one case, three subjects were given nondescript rocks gathered from a Mayan site, and the subjects were able to describe a site and culture like those where the rocks were taken from.

The idea of anomalous invisible traces may not seem so outrageous if one considers an interesting scene from a famous movie. In the classic Alfred Hitchcock thriller North by Northwest, there is a scene where Eva Marie Saint and Cary Grant are in a hotel room. Talking on the phone, Eva writes down a number on a notepad, rips off the top sheet of the notepad, and departs. Cary needs to get that number, but it now seems impossible to do so. But it is actually possible – because of an invisible trace of the phone number. Cary takes the notepad Eva used, and fills the top page with pencil scratches. Holding that top page to a light, he sees a previously invisible trace of the phone number. It is not unthinkable that nature may have hidden within it something equivalent to that page – something that stores information on previous states of material objects. If such a thing exists (as psychometry evidence suggests), then a hypothesis such as homeopathy may not be so unthinkable.

But such possibilities cannot be conceded by the critics of homeopathy. One of these critics has recently escalated his loathing for homeopathy into a shocking new level. He has flatly stated that all those who believe in homeopathy are mentally ill. This statement was made in a recent post entitled “Homeopsychopaths.” The post was approvingly published on two web sites run by scientists, the "Science 2.0" site at Science20.com and the site RealClearScience.com.

It must be noted that this type of deplorable hate-mongering may be a serious warning sign. During the 1930's people in Germany began publishing inflammatory claims about Jews. The next step a few years later was to start smashing the windows of Jewish stores, and the next step after that was to lock up the Jews in concentration camps.

When an authority tries to punish deviant thought by claiming that all who hold such opinions are mentally ill, it almost makes me wonder whether there is any chance that this is a first step in a path that may eventually lead to enforced confinement of those who hold views that deviate from materialist orthodoxy. Think that such a scenario could never happen? It did happen in the Soviet Union. For many years one of the many “symptoms” that could cause you to be confined to a Soviet psychiatric center was the supposed “mental illness” of holding anti-materialist views.

Let's hope that if this happens in America, it never gets as bad as suggested by the following sign, which depicts a “psychiatric hospital” decades in the future.

hospital sign