Monday, January 17, 2011

No Criticism in Lanzaland

Robert Lanza has written another irritating article announcing his new "theory of everything" (no, I am not exaggerating - he calls it that). I have offered rebuttals to Lanza's "biocentrism" articles on previous occasions, only to have them deleted. I decided to try again... no dice. The following was censored:
"I would just point out what is obvious:  the claim that space-time is supervenient upon biology is self-negating, as an independent and pre-existing space-time is necessary for both abiogenesis and the evolution of creatures capable of consciousness. Therefore, space-time cannot be a construct of biological systems. 
To claim that the extancy of the universe is a product of human consciousness, is more arrogant still.  So, in "-centric," you have the right suffix to describe your theory, though I could think of a better prefix.
This is not a scientific theory, but rather a metaphysical belief system unsupported by any evidence whatever."
Apparently, the "theory of everything" cannot withstand a challenge, even one put by a non-scientist such as myself.
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Update: I returned home to notice that the comment-count had decreased on Lanza's article, which happened to be occupying another tab, unrefreshed. Below is a screenshot of another comment deleted after having been posted for four hours. The commenter's words will survive here.

21 comments:

  1. A year and a half in and I'm surprised to find no other comments here. I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who finds this guy arrogant.

    Talk about the largest example of "I have a hammer, everything looks like a nail" I've ever seen!!

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  2. I've had half a dozen of my critical comments deleted from Lanza's articles on Psychology Today, and even complained to the PT editors, but alas, no change.

    And I've seen other people's critical comments get deleted after a few hours as well. The guy just does not want to be criticized, or have an open discussion, but real science requires it.

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  3. I submit that Robert Lanza is a legend in his own mind; apparently, he is determined to found yet another idiotic religion.

    That said, if he put half the effort into Advanced Cell Technology, Incorprorated, as he does into his asinine "biocentrism" hogwash, ACTC might be trading at more that the paltry six cents a share it trades for today.

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    1. It's trading for $6 currently. Not sure about biocentrism, but I hope you bought when it was at 6 cents.

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  4. I am hugely disappointed in Dr Lanza. My personal interest is philosophical not scientific but I concur that it is hugely irritating for everyone when this happens. Agreed it is a *metaphysical* contemplation, which, had it stayed within that realm might have been of some interest. To present it as science, however, and not accept criticism isn't on. Play the game. Some of the original sources are brilliant, (Born, Gisin et al) but neither pave any real foundation for Lanza's 'leap of faith.' Born's 'Inaugural' lecture is brilliant from a philosophical perspective - Gisin's experiments, although deeply fascinating, seemingly have little if anything really to do with 'the contribution of the observer' in this sense.

    It annoys me as much as I'm sure it does the wider scientific community. At first, I was hopeful that there might be some points of interest here - but apparently not. It is a shame because it turns people off from any philosophical discussion also. I'm getting shades of 'What The F*ck Do We Know' (which is *truly* awful.) I'm interested in collaborative endeavours, not disparate ones between disciplines. Debate is fundamental to this, but cannot occur if there is no *respect* between thinkers. It is little wonder that respect is eroded if none is given to each discipline in the first instance.

    I had hoped the era of quantum woo was over... Lanza should know better but clearly he privileges a fast buck over his own discipline. Shame on you Dr. Lanza, shame on you.

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  5. Oh really and it's got nothing to do with the fact that his upsetting your much cherished materialist reductionist view?.....right:)

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    1. This seems to be a thing with pseudoscience followers, calling critics of new age woo "materialists" or "naturalists" as if they're derogatory terms. If you have a better way of explaining natural phenomena then please share it. But at the moment we can only rely on the scientific tools that we have. Stop pretending things exist that can't stand up to critique.

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  6. Oh really and it's got nothing to do with the fact that his upsetting your much cherished materialist reductionist view?.....right:)

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  7. @SnideSnob you conspicuously left all three of this entry's main points unaddressed:

    First, the impossibility of physics being supervenient upon biology. Second, that Lanza has not a shred of evidence in support of his theory. And the third and most telling point, which is that Lanza, a Medical doctor pretending at physicist, deletes challenge and criticism from his articles.

    Lastly, mock with "materialist" all you like. Being one is, after all, an imperative.

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  8. I am a paranormal investigator and I know there are some things that cannot be proven at this time. My first impression was to dismiss him. I try to be fair so I read a bit more. First I felt something was not right. Not being a scientist I couldn't argue any points there. Second I saw no evidence presented. Some of it seems to be appealing to me and fits my n personal beliefs but not something I could argue as facts to others. The most irritating part is he has a website declaring his greatness and selling a book. Now that really annoys me. Just another person selling to a certain group by telling them what they want to hear.

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  9. I am so disgusted when I hear Lanza bashing. The man helped me survive my Mother's death. And I mean, if I wouldn't have read his words, I don't know what would have happened to me. Death does appear to be final; and more than that, it incurs a feeling of such desolation and emptiness which makes one question the point of anything. Now, having said how it can make one feel, I found Lanza's logic not only redemptive, but highly rational. Lanza has inspired me to write about my experience, it is a journey of awareness and discovery of why death is only a passage; and that human beings, not the perceived "mathematical, objective reality", are truly remarkable and miraculous mirrors of something much grander and astoundingly complex than can be imagined.

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    1. @Icarus24, Lanza is a fraud, if you want to find comfort within his lies, then that is your prerogative, but don't expect real scientists not to call bullshit when they see it. Any person that does not support their theories with evidence is merely stating an opinion, and opinions are worth the paper they can be written upon. This con-artist has clearly conned you, and innumerable others, by playing to emotion, which you admitted to in your post. Scienctific theory has no room for emotion, that's why it is not part of the scientific method. If you want to believe in woo because it makes you feel better, then go right ahead no one is stopping you, but if you expect science to take this nonsense seriously you are in for massive disappointment. The only thing that can disprove science is more science not appeals to emotion.

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  10. Regarding new concepts, a quote from our old friend Arthur Schopenhauer...
    First it is ridiculed,
    Second it is violently opposed,
    Third it is accepted as self evident.
    This says it all.

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    1. How does the mere fact that something is 'ridiculed' automatically mean that it will progress through steps two and three and somehow become valid?

      Inversely, if something is NOT ridiculed, does this now automatically mean that it defers all the above mentioned steps and is subsequently written off as INVALID?

      John, if there is anything that "says it all" here, it is the obvious lack of critical thinking amongst Lanzanites and other woo-wookies of similar ilk.

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  11. Just skimming the first couple of sentences of "5 reasons why you won't die" I've already found numerous failures of reasoning. He talks about the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum physics in one paragraph (the one that includes the observer effect) as evidence for his ideas, then in the next paragraph he proceeds to use the many-worlds theory to further "support" his argument- it's important to understand that these interpretations of quantum physics are (kind of) mutually exclusive. Then he goes on to talk about how when scientists observe the double slit experiment, it changes the result, which is true, but he fails to mention that a MACHINE has the SAME effect on the experiment. That fact alone in my mind completely discredits his idea of 'bio-centrism.' These are just a few examples of the evidence against this guy that I thought of after skimming his reading for literally 1 minute.
    @John Feury- The problem with this reasoning is that Lanza's ideas while clearly worthy of ridicule, doesn't mean they are valid. And while the quote you presented is true in some cases, the last part ('Third it is accepted as self evident') is completely wrong in the MAJORITY of those ridiculous ideas. In other words, some ideas really are stupid.

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  12. Stanza seems to invoke the concepts of "solipsism" (everything is "created" by my " consciousness" in some form of "glorified dream".

    He also invokes the concepts of "reincarnation"( an unashamedly religious concept" and "parallel universes" ( which I see as a speculative concept arising from some interpretations of quantum mechanics) while simultaneously rejecting space and time as generally understood .

    Stanza's thinking has many interesting if unscientific implications.There is only "one conciousness " which exists "sequentially or simultaneously" in "parallel universes". This "consciusness " apparently represents all people( or indeed beings)who have ever lived or will ever live. Put simply there exists a "parallel universe in which "I" am "you" reading what "I" have written and thinking " what a brilliant idea/bullshit". This ( bullshit/ brilliant idea) goes even further; In yet another parallel universe "I"am my deceaced father or even my son.( Remember " space " and " time" are not what they seem to be and these is only "one consciousness".

    This may please those who want to believe in an "immortal soul" , but "science" it certainly is not (How can this idea be tested? You have to take it on faith if you are so inclined), "bullshit" it certainly is (All ideas that are NOT useful, are not testable are by definition bullshit as their " truth" or "falsity" cannot possibly be known)

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  13. Sorry I meant Lanza not "stanza" , which happens to rhyme with Lanza. I suppose it is easy to become fanciful when dealing with flights of fancy such as that foind in Stanza's.....er Imean Lanza's "work".

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  14. I know of Lanza's "Biocentrism" and have read a little of the detail. Immediately when I heard that the guru Deepak Chopra vouched for Lanza's ideas I stepped back and dismissed them.

    However (and this is not supporting Lanza) why does the old poser - If Tree fell in the forest etc etc - exist. Clearly there have been people, and there are people, who legitimately believe consciousness is not only the most important thing in existence, IT IS THE ONLY THING IN EXISTENCE.

    I am not even going to try to present my thoughts on this as they are wooly and not remotely solid, but thoughts beyond the rational occur when I think "Would the physical universe exist if there were no consciousness"?

    What do I mean"beyond the rational"? I mean inanimate (or non-conscious) things require consciousness to confirm their existence.

    Science with its rational examination of things has lifted us all out of darkness. We should be mightily grateful to science, but ........

    Be absolutely honest about it, science, there comes a point when we go beyond rationality - THE EXISTENCE OF ANYTHING AT ALL IS BEYOND RATIONAL UNDERSTANDING.

    So, who can explain that which is beyond the rational? I do not know but throughout the ages there have been individuals who have made astonishing statements - The Buddha "Our minds create the physical universe" is but one example. When we are lost due to hitting the limits of rationality, perhaps it would be a good idea to fully examine these irrational ideas.

    By the way, I am deeply uncomfortable with the "If a tree fell in the forest ....." question.

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  15. I visited this site in the hope of finding a rational critique of Dr Lanza's Biocentrism but only found comments blatantly motivated by the desperate need to maintain the artifical and empirically falsified materialist paradigm.
    It amazes me that otherwise intelligent people resort to

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  16. I just wanted ot quickly note that you are all in the matrix and are a product of my consciousness.....

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  17. Lanza has the correct approach to science. Scientists of all fields need to team up and create something spectacular as Lanza did. It is obvious that most physisists don't know how the brain works, as Lanza basically explains 5th grade science in his theory reciting that the brain simply takes information that is "out there" and makes sense of it. Even if our consciousness results from a mathematical lineage of information beginning from the big bang our "human universe" didn't begin until "human consciousness" began. The funny thing is that scientists who actually believe that there is a materialistic universe out there that is not just comprised of information are actually practicing pseudoscience. Oh the irony....

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