Last night was grant crunch time to get a truly serviceable draft to my collaborators today as promised, leaving enough time to revise it by the February 5 deadline. That means the blog has to take a hit today, which is a shame, because Joe Mercola and Age of Autism have laid down some idiocy this week that I’m just dying to take down. Oh, well, it’ll wait, and if it won’t I’m sure there’ll be new idiocy to take down (or, if I need a break, some good science to discuss) when I come up for air again. (In the case of Mercola, it’s part one of a promised three part series; so waiting until he’s pumped out the continuations might be prudent anyway.) In the meantime, enjoy this bit of Classic Insolence from almost exactly three years ago. After all, if you’ve been reading RI less than three years, it’s new to you!
I admit it.
I’m a gadget freak. I sometimes think I should have gone into radiology. If you’re a radiologist and work with MRI, CT scans, PET scanners, and numerous other cool gadgets. Of course, you also have to sit in dark rooms in the basement of the hospital and stare at films for several years to learn the basics of reading simple radiographs in order to qualify to work with the cool toys, not to that you also have to learn how to do barium enemas and other similarly unpleasant tests. Other times, I think that I should have become a radiation oncologist. Radiation oncology is a great specialty. They think like surgeons, given that their treatment modality, like surgery, attacks the local disease. Even better, they get to play with Ã¼ber-cool toys too and learn a lot of radiation physics, more than pretty much any other medical specialty. Indeed, I spent two and a half years in a radiation oncology lab doing research on antiangiogenic therapy combined with radiation. On top of that, there are few radiation oncology emergencies (acute spinal cord compression by tumor, acute superior vena cava syndrome, or cerebral edema from brain metastases come to mind); radiation oncologists tend to be very well compensated (so much so that it’s hard to recruit academic radiation oncologists because so many of them want to go into private practice); and the lifestyle is pretty mellow.
What’s not to like?
Of course, being a radiologist or radiation oncologist involves therapies and diagnostic modalities that require a fair amount of skill and have significant limitations. In the case of radiation therapy, for example, there are all sorts of potential complications, depending upon where the radiation treatment is being delivered and how much . Radiation to the head and neck, for example, has this nasty tendency to take out the salivary glands, producing the most unpleasant complication of xerostomia, and any radiation to the abdomen has the risk of causing radiation enteritis and bowel obstruction.
But if I were into woo, I could play with cool machines like the EPFX/QXCI without consequences:
The EPFX / QXCI , Quantum Xrroid Consciousness Interface. The EPFX / QXCI measures subtle electrical factors of the body. The patient is attached by the means of a head harness, ankle straps and wrist straps to a small digital box connected externally to the computer in the serial port. This small box is known as the interface box and is connected to the same port where you would normally connect the printer. By means of an automatic computer callibration, the patient’s electrical parameters are measured. This is known as the “handshake” between the computer and the patient. This provides the EPFX / QXCI with a baseline from which to begin the test. Once calibration is complete the EPFX / QXCI subjects the patient to minute electrical impulses and monitors how the patient reacts in terms of a high score. A reaction score is given to each tested item. The higher the number the more specific that item is for the patient. Once the main concerns have been established and highlighted, the practitioner can then begin a more thorough investigation of the patients current state of health. A unique feature of the EPFX / QXCI is the ability to “window in” on the main concerns of the patient.
I mean, who wouldn’t like a device that has a main screen that looks like this:
OK, OK, I realize that the interface is too busy and it has that annoying hyper-colored Windows look to it, but come on. This thing has to record a lot of information! I mean, this machine has it all! Biofeedback and even homeopathic activation! Come on, don’t you want to try it out? It’s a veritable woo controller provided to you as a Windows program to control this “quantum biofeedback machine.” (Of course, given my bias, I know the interface would look a lot better on a Mac.) There are screens to enter acupuncture data, nutrition and homeopathy, dark field blood analysis, iridology, chakra and aura “balancing,” and orgone generator. I mean, is there any woo that this device can’t accommodate? Heck, it even has a screen to enter data if a patient’s been treated with Hulda Clark’s Zapper:
Of course, all this is nice, but it’s just the computer interface for the machine. What is it? What does this machine actually do? Oh, it’s so much more than just a computer for keeping track of all the woo that a patient’s undergone. It’s quantum:
The EPFX/QXCI is a state of the art evoked potential bio-feedback system for stress detection and stress reduction, designed by a Complementary Health Practitioner, Professor Bill Nelson. See his article, “The EPFX and The Verbal Mind”.
During testing, the EPFX/QXCI device resonates with thousands of tissues, organs, nutrients, toxins and allergens for one hundredth of a second each, and records the degree to which your body reacts. This type of rapid testing is known as the Xrroid process.
The stress of living in today’s environmentally complicated world can lead to many pressures upon the body system. These stresses often result in a lowered immune system, chronic pain, low performance, depression, insomnia and emotional ups and downs. The EPFX/QXCI is an extraordinary device that can help balance the over-stressed body system. Through its approach it can tabulate your system’s adrenal level, its ability to heal, the flow of energy through your system, levels of water and oxygen in your body, as well as your cellular health. It measures thousands of different parameters of your body system including spinal energy flow and toxicity. The EPFX/QXCI can help correct underlying causes of allergies, food sensitivities, weight gain, digestive and bowel problems, stress, fatigue, insomnia, depression, arthritis, skin problems, headaches and migraines. Best of all, it can not only read these imbalances, but it can help correct them because it works on 20 separate channels simultaneously, talking back and forth with your body, making corrections as it goes. All corrections are made through the skin — nothing is internal. And it does this — not through bio-chemistry, the way of traditional medicine – but through bio-physics! This is quantum mechanics — once the physics of the body is balanced, the chemistry follows of its own accord. The EPFX/QXCI has an accuracy founded in 20 years of research in the field of biofeedback medicine. The EPFX/QXCI scans the body and assists in detailed assessment, helping to correct the body via homeopathic bio-resonance auto frequencies. The treatments and tests are noninvasive and relaxing! The program enhances clients’ general health, increases wellness through awareness, improves performance, increases energy levels, relaxes and decreases stress.
Ah, yes, I know I’m dealing with only the finest, most potent woo when the woo-meisters start invoking quantum theory, particularly when they say it’s working through 20 channels simultaneously and uses homeopathic bio-resonance.
Hey, wait a minute!
What the heck is “homeopathic bioresonance,” anyway? Let’s forget about the other woo words for a minute and think about it. Homepathic remedies imply two principles “like cures like” and the concept that a solution is made more potent by diluting it to the point where there isn’t even a single molecule of the active substance left. The only thing I can think of is that homeopathic bioresonance is meant to imply that whatever this “bioresonance” is must have been somehow diluted to the point where something (the body’s “aura” or “energy”) has some sort of “memory” of this resonance, much as homeopaths claim that water somehow retains a “memory” of the molecules that have been diluted and that this is supposedly the basis for homeopathy’s “effectiveness.” Of course, given that this is an electronic instrument, I have to wonder: If the bioresonance is truly “homeopathic,” then presumably it must be diluted so much that it is undetectable. Thus, there is no physically plausible way for this machine to detect it. So how does the machine measure it and “feed it back”? Or am I missing something?
Or is it just “quantum”? Inquiring minds want to know.
Maybe this will help me understand:
The EPFX / QXCI scans the patient’s body like a virus-scan on a computer, looking for everything from viruses, deficiencies, weaknesses, allergies, abnormalities and food sensitivities. It reports on the biological reactivity and resonance in your body and indicates needs, dysfunctions and vulnerabilities. The information provided is fundamentally different from X-rays, blood tests, etc.., as it tells us about the energetic state of your body and the direction in which the body is focusing its energy.
Nope. Didn’t help. Maybe this will help:
Once it’s measured vitamin levels, amino acids, nutrients, food substances, minerals, enzymes, natural sugars, toxins, hormone levels, muscle tone, disease, bacteria moulds, fungi, viruses and the health and balance of internal organs, it then compares these figures against a “norm”.
I didn’t know it was possible to measure amino acids, nutrients, minerals, enzymes, “toxins,” hormone levels, and so much more with a simple device with electrodes attached to the skin of the scalp and extremities. Such a device would be very handy if it worked. Not quite as elegant as a Star Trek tricorder, but pretty damned cool nonetheless. I wonder why hospitals aren’t using it. It must be that evil big pharma suppressing it. Oh, and the laboratory companies like LabCorp that make their money running blood and urine tests.
Of course, no good woo would be complete without a treatise on why it supposedly works, and this woo is no exception. Indeed, there is a link to a 261 page book on the theoretical underpinnings of “quantum biology.” Here’s just a taste of what’s in these 261 pages (no, I didn’t read it all; my mind would have cracked from the homeopathic quantum woo if I had):
What is the difference between a living being and an inorganic object? One important difference is the entropy equilibrium into which inorganic objects fall. A glass, for example, will assume whatever temperature prevails around it. When an object is dead it obeys the laws of thermodynamics, when a living organism dies it returns to the world of thermodynamics. The laws of thermodynamics are the laws of death.
A drinking glass is governed by the second law of thermodynamics, which states that everything is becoming less and less organized or concentrated– that everything is becoming homogenized. The glass may be very cold to begin with (e.g., 35 degrees F), but put it into a warm room and the coolness soon dissipates and becomes less concentrated, becoming distributed evenly in the surrounding environment.
The human body, on the other hand, will resist (to an extent) the prevailing temperature by remaining at 98.6 degrees F even if it is very cold or very hot around me. My body is now struggling to maintain a precise core temperature of 98.6 in the face of the cool (70 degrees) temperature of this room.
Brownian Motion prevails in the molecules of an inanimate object. This means that they are constantly vibrating in a random pattern. They are entropic (randomly moving), and fall under the purview of mechanistic analysis.
The molecules making up a living organism, however, are not subject to Brownian Motion, and are under quantum order. When a cell dies (due to radiation, toxins, or trauma) the molecules of the cell shift to Brownian Motion as they switch from quantum control to entropic deterioration.
Mechanism, thermodynamics and entropy are thus most relevant to inanimate objects, while quantum dynamics are most relevant to living systems. The quantum dynamics rest on factors of energetic, photonic, magnetic and vibrational elements– in addition to the chemical ones. For every shift in quantum levels photons (light) must be absorbed or released. Photon control is dictated by electromagnetic fields which become critical to life.
If we compare a cell from my toe to a cell from my cheekbone, we’ll find on gross analysis that they’re completely different cells. Yet, if we look deeper, we’ll find that the DNA of the two cells is the same. The DNA of one cell is identical with that of another cell.
Further, if we implant the toe cell into the cheekbone and wait awhile, we’ll find that it is no longer a toe cell. It enters a new bio-quantic field and slowly becomes a cheekbone cell.
Geez, this guy really doesn’t understand basic biology, does he? Cells contain the same DNA, but different sets of genes are turned on or off in different cells. The mechanisms that control this are complex and only partially understood, but there is no need to invoke quantum mechanics or “bioquantic” fields to explain them. And, by the way, when a plastic surgeon transplants a “toe cell” (whatever that is) into the cheekbone, it does not become a “cheekbone cell.” Let’s look at it this way: When a plastic surgeon transplants, for example, a muscle flap from one part of the body to another, it remains a muscle flap. The skin on it remains skin, and the muscle does not turn into another type of tissue. When a plastic surgeon uses muscle from a woman’s abdomen to reconstruct her breast after a mastectomy, it remains a muscle flap. It does not magically turn into a breast. It just looks like a breast, which is the reason these flaps are used in the first place and a testament to the amazing skill of plastic surgeons and the even more amazing ability of the human body to integrate tissues from elsewhere in the body into a new location. Basically, most cells in the adult are what we call “terminally differentiated,” which means that they cannot turn into another type of cell. The terminal differentiation of cells is one reason that embryonic stem cells hold so much promise. Not yet differentiated, they have the potential to be induced to become virtually any kind of cell in the body.
In addition, he doesn’t seem to understand basic chemistry and biology, either. Where did he get the idea that there is no Brownian motion in life? What does he mean by “quantum order”? While it’s true that it remains a mystery what the difference between non-living and living matter is, given that one second before a cell or organism can be alive and the next minute it’s dead, even though the molecular composition hasn’t changed, invoking quantum theory to claim that life is “quantum order” and death is “thermodynamics” is no little different than handwaving and saying that God did it. Indeed, if you substitute the word “magic” for “quantum theory” or “quantum order” in this book, you’ll see that the two terms are more or less interchangeable in this woo. Besides, quantum theory applies to all matter; there’s no reason or evidence to suspect that some sort of quantum “order” applies to life and that quantum theory doesn’t apply to dead organic matter. I suppose that it’s possible that quantum theory could have something to do with the difference between life and non-life, but, even if it did, thermodynamics still applies to both. Indeed energy usage by an organism can be quite well described by classical thermodynamics (and was before quantum mechanics was formalized) without any need to resort to quantum theory.
In any case, the treatise above is so chock full of woo that I’ve kept a copy around in case YFDoW ever lacks for a target. (The chapter entitled “Cancer Seen Through Quantum Theory” alone could provide considerable material.)
The beauty of this woo is that quantum theory is invoked to explain almost every “alternative medicine,” from homeopathy to acupuncture, and it’s all packed into a single volume of concentrated woo (a veritable black hole of woo, so to speak). Better, they’ve even been kind enough to write a computer program that not only keeps track of all the other woo you’ve been subjected to in your life (presumably in order to track the various woo interactions) but also “revitalizes you” somehow. Just don’t ask the manufacturers exactly how, as this is what they’ll tell you:
As the EPFX / QXCI has been devised using the principles of Quantum Physics, that question is easier asked than answered. Basically, during treatment, the EPFX / QXCI measures the body’s resonance/reactance pattern and determines what benefit has occurred in the time period since the last measurement (less than a second earlier). If there has not been an improvement, the input resonance is altered. It maintains each beneficial setting as long as it is helping and changes it as soon as it is no longer useful.
Simple, isn’t it? So obvious. (I do so love the part about how that question is “easier asked than answered.”)
You know, on second thought, after seeing this particular gadget, maybe I’d be better off sticking with surgery.
30 replies on “The miraculous quest for quantum woo”
My body is now struggling to maintain a precise core temperature of 98.6 in the face of the cool (70 degrees) temperature of this room.
Actually I understand that the human body doesn’t maintain a precise core temperature of 98.6. The original measurements of body temperature were done in celsius, and reported as 37 degrees, quite appropriate for a degree of accuracy. They then were converted into Fahrenheit and an artificial specificity was required.
I used to have massive fights with the editing team at work, who were convinced that all numbers should be reported to the same number of decimal places in a report, and thus would add in zeros if they weren’t, leading to statements like a wind farm being built 34.00 kilometres offshore. I could never convince them to round the other numbers back instead.
If you start digging, you will find an inexhaustible supply of woo on the internet. Try naturopath Robert O Young, for a start. The following gems are from
his blog, I think they speak for themselves:
“So 1000 Mexicans did not die from a pHantom Mexican Swine Flu Virus but they died from a disease I call, ‘I Ate and Drank TOO Much Acidic Crap Disease.'”
“There is no such thing as a flu virus…”
“The acids from antibiotics DO NOT KILL BACTERIA. They only force the bacteria to change. Into what does bacteria change? Into yeast and mold.”
“The stomach is NOT an organ of digestion.”
“Excess acids can also be caused by your thoughts or negative emotions which can also give rise to the elimination of these acids through various orifices, such as your eyes, ears, mouth or nose.”
“Sugar is a metabolic acid and has no value in the body. None. Zero. Zip. Nada. The brain and body does NOT run on sugar; it runs on electrons – just like every other cell in the human body.”
“Cancer is an acidic, environmental, dietary and/or metabolic liquid; it is NOT a cell and we ALL have some of it in our body to greater or lesser degree.”
“The primary site of blood production is in the crypts of the intestinal villi in the small intestine.”
“Hormones are acidic waste products of endocrine gland function.”
If you will excuse me, I need to eliminate some negative emotions though various orifices…
Just a quick comment because I have to get ready for work:
I noticed they refer to this as:
“a state of the art evoked potential bio-feedback system for stress detection and stress reduction”
The Merram-Webster online dictionary defines evoke as
” to call forth or up: as a : conjure 2a
If they can evoke this machine by “calling it forth”, why can’t they just evoke stress relief without it????
My brain started to try to shut my eyes down around the comment that bacteria change into yeast and mold, and then it simply fried with the stomach not being an organ of digestion. Luckily, my coworkers were close enough that they were able to break out an emergency brain to get me back up and running. A bit stronger warning next time, please. There’s woo, and then there’s “WTF are you smoking?” woo.
That Robert O Young blog link I gave in my previous comment doesn’t work, because I made the mistake of putting a slash on the end of the address. Sorry.
This link works.
That is great news. Where can I get me some o’ dems ‘electrons’ my body runs on? Those terrible gels and electrolyte drinks make me sick when I go for long runs.
The sad thing, though, is people stake their lives and health on what these alt-med quacks say.
Orac, are you sure this is not just a case of your blinking plastic box being envious of a fancier sounding blinking plastic box? Maybe you need a quantum upgrade? If that won’t work, maybe a snazzier user interface would perk you up.
That’s incredible, Iâm so glad you posted this. I’ve been wasting the last two years of my life working on electrical impedance imaging of breast tumors and this guy has developed a system that can not only tell you the health of each cell in your body, it can even count amino acids. At least three years ago. Well, time to go burn my thesis.
I guess itâs not a total loss. Now I can go home and follow my dream of turning my gecko into a perpetual motion machine. Seeing as how the laws of thermodynamics don’t apply to him, this should be easy.
Is reactance measurable, or merely calculable? And doesn’t quantum physics address matters beyond the mundane aspects of electrical circuits and vibrations…
If you want to have some fun, check out this page:
It’s a hoot!
I like the excerpt from the book. Apparently cold-blooded creatures like lizards aren’t alive.
Complex impedance (resistance and reactance) is easily measurable across a given volume of tissue, both in vivo and ex vivo. The trick is reconstructing an impedance map of large volumes of tissue, e.g. a breast or torso. The tissue information that you can get, particularly from a multi-frequency EIT, is actually quite remarkable. Not as remarkable as EPFX/QXCI mind you, but still pretty impressive. The biggest disadvantage right now is image resolution.
Is Xrroid any relation to hemorrhoid? Other than that Bill Nelson is clearly a pain in the ass to anyone who is capable of intelligent thought?
…Aaaand Robert O. Young makes Bill Nelson look sane. Wow. *wanders off to get some strong tea and read a book on logic*
Wait a minute, in the fifth quote, is he seriously implying that the ability to maintain a temperature different than one’s surroundings is the main difference between living and non-living things? Are snakes and other cold-blooded organisms non-living then?
Or did he explain their particular bio-quantum-electro-conscious-physics on another page?
My ex-wife is training to be a homeopath. She insisted one day I take one of her remedies. Tragically, the body is almost entirely water and I appear to have been succussed because the water in my system remembered the condition long after the remedy must have cured it.
My comment was snark aimed at the quote that the EPFX/QXCI machine measures resonance and reactance through a few electrodes using quantum physics. Your comment wasn’t posted yet.
Your research sounds pretty cool–not my area, but I imagine the problem of image resolution will be solved eventually. Going by the CompSci industry news, there are a lot of people working on it (in a more generalized fashion, of course).
“There is no such thing as a flu virus…”
What’s this then, a Big Mac?
I mean, who wouldn’t like a device that has a main screen that looks like this:
I’m a software engineer. I’ve designed interfaces for test equipment that measures way more crap than that does. That interface made me want to barf. It’s hideous. I would not want to let such an interface infect my computer unless it absolutely had to. The arrangement of the buttons is neither intuitive nor easy to read. Most are centered, while others lean to the left, making the whole affair seem extremely unbalanced, visually. The ghastly background image, while probably fine as a poster, draws the eye away from the buttons, not towards them, and makes it harder to read what is already a difficult to read interface.
So even without looking at whether it measures the right things (or measures them at all; this being woo, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s just got a random number generator behind half of those buttons), I hate it already. It looks like the kind of GUI you’d get if you hired your college neighbors’s college-age kid brother to design it. Very unprofessional indeed.
Then we go to the next screen, where it is demonstrating how you can select Hulda Clark’s Zapper method so the computer knows you’ve been treated with that. The tables on the left appear crude but useable. The pull-down menus should probably be sorted out into more categories for easier navigation, but that’s a quibble. Then we look at the colorful buttons on the right and . . .
. . . OW, OW, OW, MY EYES!!!!!
Ghastly. Truly ghastly. And people paid money for this software? Seems to me the quack got cheated by his programming team (assuming the “team” even consisted of more than one person).
Apologies, it is painful, I know. I hope you have recovered now 🙂 And I didn’t even mention how Young claims to be able to cure type 1 diabetes. If you want to explore some truly mind-numbing stuff, have a look at some live blood analysis (see how far you can get without swearing out loud), and the pleomorphism beliefs that Young mentions in his blog. It really is as if the last 100 years of science just never happened. Warning – clicking on those links may cause negative emotions to be expelled from various orifices, causing possible damage to your computer.
Thanks for the post. I now know why the stupid burns so, it’s acidic!
I think what Orac truly wants is the machine that goes “ping!”
Long live Monty Python
Scalar therepy with fractal autofocus! This could only have been brought back from the future. “Bill Nelson” indeed! He must have changed it in order to fit into our primitive 21st Century society. Bones McCoy, eat your heart out!
@15 – “My ex-wife is training to be a homeopath.”
Is there a causal relationship implied here?
I think you may find that such machines are illegal in many countries. If you find people using them, try reporting them to the FDA or your local equivalent.
Disclaimer: I write fantasy novels and short stories.
Within the context of fantasy fiction, homeopathy makes sense. You take something like the bad stuff and remove it from a solution. This creates a liquid that is magically attuned to removing the bad stuff that causes the disease. Give the liquid to the patient and it will remove the bad stuff and cure the disease.
See: it makes perfect sense.
Within the context of a fantasy story that bears no resemblance to the real world.
Coolness dissipates? Is concentrated?? So, coolness is… a substance? Hmm, I had heard about phlogiston, but this is really original. On the other hand, I don’t see why the guy bothers with thermodynamics if he holds this view, which is totally incompatible with it.
And he goes on with a glass and a… human body. Hey, there are living things that are not human, you know! Ever heard about ectothermy? And what about trying a bacteria or amoeba instead of a person?
“Coolness dissipates?… coolness is… a substance?”
Sure it is. Pop stars have it for a while, but it always dissipates. I was much cooler when I was young.
I suspect that site approaches critical mass… or maybe it will join with the other cluster of superdense wooish BS you presented us recently. (The one with ‘What skeptics believe’, Mike-something.)
Somewhat related: the ‘thing’ (I don’t dare call it ‘program’) presented in the slides is by far the most hideous piece of bloatware crap I’ve seen in ages. I’m trying hard to imagine they actually paid for it.
In fact, I’m trying hard to imagine they get paid instead of laughed at. On an abstract level I realize woo sells, but I can’t really get out of my mind the idea that it’s all a big farce, and they all–patients and ‘practitioners’ alike–play along to amuse themselves, but don’t really take is seriously. (Yes, I know: it’s called wishful thinking.)
Forget not understanding biology or chemistry, this guy doesn’t even come remotely close to understanding basic physics he uses, let alone quantum mechanics.
“The glass may be very cold to begin with (e.g., 35 degrees F), but put it into a warm room and the coolness soon dissipates and becomes less concentrated, becoming distributed evenly in the surrounding environment.”
WRONG. WRONG WRONG WRONG. “coldness” does not dissipate. The glass does not distribute its coldness to the room. The room warms the glass. The room loses some energy to the glass, and the glass gains some energy. I’m not even going to get into the simplistic picture of entropy here.
I was less than a week into my first quantum mechanics class when I heard a statement from my professor that will stick with me forever: “Anyone who tells you they understand Quantum mechanics is either lying or stupid. We’re going to teach you the ‘Sit down, shut up, and calculate’ method of Quantum mechanics, because most of the time you ask ‘why’ it will either be a meaningless question in Quantum mechanics, or one that doesn’t have an answer”.
Quantum mechanical theory is very good at predicting what happens to things on subatomic scales, and when something gets forced to subatomic scales. Anyone who tries to use it to justify anything else literally has no idea what they are talking about.
According to the site DayOwl found, http://www.energetic-medicine.net/QXCI.html, that bio-quantum-chakra-regulating-contraption costs $21,000.
The icing on the cake, however, is an innocent little link at the far end of the
galaxyQCXI Information page: 300 pages of not-even-wrong pseudoscience densely packed under the title “An Advanced Treatise in Subspace and Quantum Aspects of Biology” (12MB PDF document).