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How Does Your Water Feel?
May 11, 2005 1:51 AM   Subscribe

The Hidden Messages in Water? Masaru Emoto claims that water has the ability "to absorb, hold, and even retransmit human feelings and emotions. Using high-speed photography, he found that crystals formed in frozen water reveal changes when specific, concentrated thoughts are directed toward it. Music, visual images, words written on paper, and photographs also have an impact on the crystal structure." The theory may be suspect, but the photos are beautiful.
posted by taz (115 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Related links: A page that shows the process; article with interview; Water Crystal of the Month photo from Masaru Emoto's site; related MeFi thread on "What The Bleep Do We Know" film. And just for fun, Aqua Quackery ("Water pseudoscience, nostrums and snake oil" - brief mention of Emoto near the bottom).
posted by taz at 1:52 AM on May 11, 2005


Pretty pictures, annoying flash. Direct image links: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6
posted by quiet at 4:10 AM on May 11, 2005


Yeah, but then you lose the fun captions, like:

"Crystal of water that have been exposed with a playing of Bach's "Goldberg Variations'"

and

"Water that have been exposed to the words "you make me sick. I will kill you".
posted by taz at 4:17 AM on May 11, 2005


Ah! I see! Direct links are to the second site. Sorry!
posted by taz at 4:19 AM on May 11, 2005


There's something in the water...
posted by nthdegx at 5:10 AM on May 11, 2005


You have no idea how many people have been telling me, wdie-eyed, how legit this science is, ever since it was cross-marketed with "What The Bleep Do We Know."

That you can write "Angry" on a vial of water and little hate particles will be there if you look close enough with a microscope.

That it must be true, because there are scientific studies and everything...

Oh God please make it stop.
posted by inksyndicate at 5:48 AM on May 11, 2005


Pretty pictures coupled with bullshit so total it doesn't even deserve to be semi-dignified with the term "pseudoscience". Still, those wacky homeopaths will lap it up like megamillion-times-diluted something.
posted by Decani at 6:17 AM on May 11, 2005


Being completely batsh*t crazy must be a lot of fun sometimes.
posted by alumshubby at 6:46 AM on May 11, 2005


inksyndicate, have you asked if they drank water out of a bottle labeled idiot lately?
posted by Apoch at 6:48 AM on May 11, 2005


I can do this too!
For a small down payment we can get started right away!
I can even see the Virgin Mary in stains or Jesus in European laundry needing washed.
No, really!
Just ask James Godson at Fuckpus on the Family.
posted by nofundy at 6:50 AM on May 11, 2005


Okay, yes with the outrage, etc., but I just want one meFite with a cool microscope and a good camera to take a picture of water watching the Shower Scene in Psycho.

Is that asking too much?
posted by taz at 7:13 AM on May 11, 2005


Gorgeous pictures.
posted by orange swan at 7:21 AM on May 11, 2005


hehehe...and his name is mr.emoto...
posted by es_de_bah at 7:24 AM on May 11, 2005


I've had a lot of interactions lately with people all revved up by that god-damned movie, enough to make me want to find every copy and rip it to shreds.

Worse than their goggle-eyed faith in pseudoscience in this underlying belief that pops up in the title: That science is all equally uncertain at all times, and therefore we might as well believe whatever sounds about right or makes us feel all mystical-tingly.

That may be something, but it ain't science.
posted by argybarg at 7:35 AM on May 11, 2005


That you can write "Angry" on a vial of water and little hate particles will be there if you look close enough with a microscope.

Little hate particles? More like Little Hate Psycho Killer Dude, if you ask me.

This might be bunk, but let me tell you boy, if there's one thing I'm not gonna do, it's write "You make me sick" and tape it to any water I'm about to drink. No sir.
posted by soyjoy at 7:49 AM on May 11, 2005


Call me when you can write down a hypothesis of how a certian ice crystal will look when subjected to a certian stimuli, observe findings that coincide with your hypothesis, and can be repeated more than once.

You know.. science.

There's an old saying that goes something like, "no two snowflakes are alike, and no two raindrops are not dissimilar."
posted by Balisong at 7:55 AM on May 11, 2005


What inksyndicate said. What's worse is that it's springing forth new and even more absurd claims. I went to a seminar a few months ago where the speaker claimed that prayer and ceremony can change the Ph of liquid in the same room, or clean up pollution. No, I am not kidding.
posted by shawnj at 7:56 AM on May 11, 2005


Pretty pictures but with real, do-it-yourself science.
posted by mbanana at 7:58 AM on May 11, 2005


Here's working link for mbanana's page.
posted by taz at 10:04 AM on May 11, 2005


One can only hope that this anti-science/psuedo-science all-ideas-are-equal bullshit is but a very, very short-lived trend.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:55 AM on May 11, 2005


am i missing something? aside from the aqua quackery link which states "...the shapes of ice crystals are highly dependent on the conditions and rates of freezing, so Emoto's interpretations have no scientific validity," there is no reasoned disagreement with emoto's premise here. And even that statement is weak 'debunking' at best.

Are we just laughing at the smart kid? In the absence of true disproof, shouldn't the discussion be "what the hell does it mean that love makes a beautiful shape and hate destroys it?"
posted by sandmonk at 10:59 AM on May 11, 2005


What Balisong said, and with a control sample identical in every way exept for the 'stimulus'. Until then, this is nothing but wishful thinking.
posted by normy at 11:07 AM on May 11, 2005


there is no reasoned disagreement with emoto's premise here

I have a pink unicorn in my bedroom and my cat is really a Martian. Disprove that.
posted by normy at 11:14 AM on May 11, 2005


Are we just laughing at the smart kid? In the absence of true disproof, shouldn't the discussion be "what the hell does it mean that love makes a beautiful shape and hate destroys it?"

Are you stupid? There's no evidence that "love makes a beautiful shape and hate destroys it." There are no controls on this experiment, the experimenter is incredibly biased, there is no known mechanism for this to occur, and if it were true, it would change everything we know about physics and chemistry. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

Do you actually believe everything you're told of which you don't have "true disproof"?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 11:15 AM on May 11, 2005


uh... i didnt say i believe it. For the record, i am inclined to believe the theory is possible, whether Emoto's methods so far are scientifically sound or not.

I havent read Emoto's book or seen What the Bleep, but it seems Emoto's book is more of a presentation of a new theory as opposed to a submission for peer review (correct me if i'm wrong). It's odd that some people get so worked up trying to squelch an idea which has no accepted 'proof' that they forget to offer any 'proven' reasons why it cannot be possible. Instead we are talking about alien cats and dismissing it wholesale as 'wishful thinking.' Hypocrisy anyone?
posted by sandmonk at 11:31 AM on May 11, 2005


I bet Hume would be laughing his ass off right about now, the scientific method barely survived his "causality is a custom of the mind" BS, but it looks like he won after all.
posted by Grod at 11:31 AM on May 11, 2005


Is it wacky pseudo science? Yes. Is it pretty and fun to think about? Yes.

So sure, everybody's entitled to their opinions, but man, all you snarky jerks can shove a brick up your ass, sideways. Go actually find a thread you want to contribute to.
posted by Specklet at 11:33 AM on May 11, 2005


hi, Specklet. Cool. So, what the hell does it mean that love makes a beautiful shape and hate destroys it? (or are you just into the aesthetics?)
posted by sandmonk at 11:38 AM on May 11, 2005


all you snarky jerks can shove a brick up your ass, sideways. Go actually find a thread you want to contribute to.

I think I'll tape that sentence to a jar of water and see what happens.
posted by elwoodwiles at 11:41 AM on May 11, 2005


Why would you need a microscope?
If this were true, there would be no reason that it should only happen on a microscopic scale.
You should be able to tape the word HATE to a jar, and pour fourth your worst emotions at it, and make it boil, or turn red, or something.
posted by Balisong at 11:50 AM on May 11, 2005


You should be able to tape the word HATE to a jar, and pour fourth your worst emotions at it, and make it boil, or turn red, or something.

What, do you want Vigo the Carpathian to menace New York?
posted by COBRA! at 11:54 AM on May 11, 2005 [1 favorite]


Once again, live imitates Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Rick Moranis.
posted by Balisong at 11:59 AM on May 11, 2005


uh... i didnt say i believe it. For the record, i am inclined to believe the theory is possible, whether Emoto's methods so far are scientifically sound or not.

I guess it's also possible that electrons are made of tiny gnomes, but I'm not throwing out my physics books just yet.

I havent read Emoto's book or seen What the Bleep, but it seems Emoto's book is more of a presentation of a new theory as opposed to a submission for peer review

You don't just present new theories that have no basis in reality and no known mechanisms without taking the risk of people saying "Yeah, well, that's a dumb fuckin' theory."

It's odd that some people get so worked up trying to squelch an idea which has no accepted 'proof' that they forget to offer any 'proven' reasons why it cannot be possible.

Here is a proven reason why it's impossible: ask yourself "how does the water know that there is a mean word written on it's container? Does water speak all languages? Or instead does it detect what I like to call 'meanie particles' and 'happy particles' from the human experimenters? How is the information transmitted?"

Instead we are talking about alien cats and dismissing it wholesale as 'wishful thinking.' Hypocrisy anyone?

What? It's a dumb fucking idea that makes no sense and is only possible in some bizarro universe where we make the rules up as we go along. What else do you believe to be true? Everything? Is there no idea so dumb that you are initially skeptical of it?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 12:15 PM on May 11, 2005


Wisdom=Cubic testing of knowledge.
posted by ori at 12:42 PM on May 11, 2005


optimus chyme:
You don't just present new theories that have no basis in reality and no known mechanisms without taking the risk of people saying "Yeah, well, that's a dumb fuckin' theory.
Good point. So Emoto shouldn't be surprised that people are resistent to the concept. Galileo should have been as lucky to live in Emoto's time. He would have only had 15 minutes of censure instead of life.

Here is a proven reason why it's impossible: ask yourself...
What was the proven reason again? A bunch of questions?

Is there no idea so dumb that you are initially skeptical of it?
That all people think before speaking. Did you read my comments, or just copy/paste? I'm not a water-crystal apologist, I'm just asking the people who are so bent on requiring irrefutable scientific proof before they even think about questioning their dogma: "why not?"
posted by sandmonk at 1:43 PM on May 11, 2005


Woah! I just printed out this entire thread, taped it to my fridge door and now the ice in my freezer looks EXACTLY LIKE THE FACE OF GEORGE BUSH!

Dude!
posted by Decani at 1:57 PM on May 11, 2005


they forget to offer any 'proven' reasons why it cannot be possible

While completely agreeing with Optimus Chyme, I should perhaps point out that because of the lack of reproducible, double-blind experimentation - there's nothing to disprove. The premise is entirely too nebulous. Sure we know they taped some messages (in japanese), but we know nothing of conditions, possible external factors etc. There is no peer-review submission of methods anywhere. The only concrete thing we have is that water crystals sometimes look different. Big whoop. There's no point tearing something apart when it's made of smoke.

Pointing and laughing, on the other hand, that's always fun.
posted by Sparx at 2:06 PM on May 11, 2005


sandmonk : "It's odd that some people get so worked up trying to squelch an idea which has no accepted 'proof' that they forget to offer any 'proven' reasons why it cannot be possible. Instead we are talking about alien cats and dismissing it wholesale as 'wishful thinking.' Hypocrisy anyone?"

It's odd that some people get so worked up about a theory that they forget to provide any proof why it could be possible.

We ignore theories without proof because there are infinitely many proofless theories, and yet everyone I personally know has a finite lifespan. There's not enough time to prove every foundationless flight of fancy wrong. The burden of proof falls on the theorist. A theorist who cannot be bothered to provide proof of their theories does not deserve to be taken seriously.

But far, far, far beyond that is common sense. Keep an open mind, but don't keep it so open your brain falls out.

Besides which, you're perfectly willing to accept Emoto's theory as being viable, but you casually dismis normy's pink unicorn and Martian cat theories? Hypocrisy anyone?
posted by Bugbread at 2:19 PM on May 11, 2005


bugbread- my point about normy's comment is that people are willing to pile on because its fun, but when i pose a reasonable question: (why can this not be true?) some people use emotional, irrational, or in normy's case irrelevant 'arguments' in reply. How is that hypocritical?

"It's odd that some people get so worked up about a theory that they forget to provide any proof why it could be possible. We ignore theories without proof because..."
Nobody reading this is ignoring this theory. And nobody so far has given a reasonable explanation for laughing at it. When did this become science-filter, where if you don't have all your documentation triple-verified and OK'd by the lab-coats, you get laughed off the page? C'mon, give me a scientific reason why Emoto could not have possibly affected the shapes of ice crystals without being dishonest or disingenuous in his work, and i'll shut up.
posted by sandmonk at 2:46 PM on May 11, 2005


So Emoto shouldn't be surprised that people are resistent to the concept. Galileo should have been as lucky to live in Emoto's time. He would have only had 15 minutes of censure instead of life.

If can't tell the difference between Galileo and this schmuck, I pity you.

What was the proven reason again? A bunch of questions?

I'm enjoying spelling this out for you, really, I am: ask yourself those questions; once you realize that they have no answers, you will see why Emoto's extraordinary claims cannot be true without destroying hundreds of years of progress in the fields of physics and chemistry.

I'm not a water-crystal apologist, I'm just asking the people who are so bent on requiring irrefutable scientific proof before they even think about questioning their dogma: "why not?"

Listen, buddy, it doesn't have to be irrefutable. But there has to be some evidence. There must be some explanation, even theoretical, for these occurences. I submit that there is not, and that whether through self-deception or plain old lying, Emoto's results do not accurately reflect the way the universe actually works.

Why should we give this ridiculous theory any more credibility than martian cats and pink unicorns?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 2:49 PM on May 11, 2005


C'mon, give me a scientific reason why Emoto could not have possibly affected the shapes of ice crystals without being dishonest or disingenuous in his work, and i'll shut up.

How. Is. The Information. Transmitted. To the water. From the researchers.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 2:50 PM on May 11, 2005


C'mon, give me a scientific reason why Emoto could not have possibly affected the shapes of ice crystals without being dishonest or disingenuous in his work, and i'll shut up.

Let me offer you an analogy. Give me a scientific reason why rubbing two pieces of sandpaper together cannot cause Jupiter's clouds to form a smiley face.

Give me a scientific reason.

The scientific reason is this: There is no comprehensible mechanism which could possibly explain such an outcome. In fact, all of the findings of science to this point militate, in the strongest possible terms, against such an outcome. So, in fact, does common sense.

Now. Let's try:

C'mon, give me a scientific reason why Emoto could not have possibly affected the shapes of ice crystals without being dishonest or disingenuous in his work, and i'll shut up.

The scientific reason is this: There is no comprehensible mechanism which could possibly explain such an outcome. In fact, all of the findings of science to this point militate, in the strongest possible terms, against such an outcome. So, in fact, does common sense.
posted by argybarg at 3:03 PM on May 11, 2005 [1 favorite]


OC, he's going to dismiss that as "a question, not a reason".

Try phrasing it like this:

"The information cannot be transmitted to the water"
"The water has no perception apparatus to allow observation of the information"
"The water has no cognitive apparatus to interpret the information"
"None of the laws of physics allow for printing on a label outside of a bottle of water to affect its crystalline structure"
"The laws of physics are describe the aspects of reality that govern existence and interaction. There are no laws of physics that would allow this to be true, meaning that it is in opposition to all the laws of physics"
posted by Bugbread at 3:06 PM on May 11, 2005


Argybarg beat me to it.
posted by Bugbread at 3:07 PM on May 11, 2005


Now the question is, will he come back and admit that he was being a twit, or ignore this thread as if it never existed? Well done, bugbread and Argybarg.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 3:18 PM on May 11, 2005


heh. i'm back, and i can't figure out who is the twit.

ok. good. reasons... and i havent read emoto's book, so i can't comment on his theories about the mechanism for what he claims to do. Has anyone else here read it?

As far as the "Laws Of Physics" go, i disagree if you include quantum physics:
"The basic principles of quantum physics are relatively simple, but their ramifications are incredibly confusing. The following gross oversimplification is presented for your amusement:

Things behave differently at very small scales than they do at very large scales. In other words, none of what we previously considered the "laws of physics" apply at subatomic scales.

Energy, such as light, exists simultaneously as particles and waves.

The act of observing something happening causes a change in the thing being observed."
posted by sandmonk at 3:33 PM on May 11, 2005


Anyone else worry that as anti-scientific thought such as Sandmonk's become prevalent (witness: Kansas), we're gonna see our civilization go straight down the shitter as we lose the ability to develop new technologies?

Scientific progress does not go "Boink."
posted by five fresh fish at 3:36 PM on May 11, 2005


totally. it would suck if we became overrun by a bunch of anti-scientific thinkers like "Einstein, Max Planck, Niels Bohr, Werner Heisenberg, Erwin Schrodinger, and dozens of others." (from the rotten link above)
posted by sandmonk at 3:43 PM on May 11, 2005


I know it's not the same thing, but do any of you who believe that this is complete bunk believe in anything like Kirlian photography or Cleve Backster's studies? I'm seriously asking.
posted by Specklet at 3:44 PM on May 11, 2005


There's nothing about quantum physics that would explain Emoto's hypothesis.

And the bold part of your quote about quantum physics is common shorthand, but technically incorrect. What it should say is that "In order to observe something, it has to send information to you, either through producing or reflecting it, and doing so changes the thing which is transmitting the information". That's just a lot less catchy, so people shorthand it to "the act of observing changes that which is observed".

A simple example: you've got a single particle. You want to see where it is. To do so, it needs to be emitting or reflecting, let's say, light. If it's emitting light, it's being pushed in the opposite direction of the emission of light. If it isn't emitting light, you can bounce a light wave off it, which you can then detect somewhere. However, bouncing the light wave off also imparts energy to the particle, changing it.

Whether or not you actually observe the particle isn't important. What is important is that the energy that comes from the particle alters it.

sandmonk : "it would suck if we became overrun by a bunch of anti-scientific thinkers like 'Einstein, Max Planck, Niels Bohr, Werner Heisenberg, Erwin Schrodinger, and dozens of others.'"

I can't see the rotten link (surprise surprise, it's blocked by the work filter), but I cannot even imagine where you, or the link, whichever one it comes from, considers Einstein, Planck, Bohr, Heisenberg, or Schrodinger even remotely anti-scientific.

Specklet : "do any of you who believe that this is complete bunk believe in anything like Kirlian photography or Cleve Backster's studies?"

I can only speak for myself, but: No.
posted by Bugbread at 3:51 PM on May 11, 2005


As far as the "Laws Of Physics" go, i disagree if you include quantum physics:

"The basic principles of quantum physics are relatively simple, but their ramifications are incredibly confusing. The following gross oversimplification is presented for your amusement:
Things behave differently at very small scales than they do at very large scales. In other words, none of what we previously considered the "laws of physics" apply at subatomic scales.
Energy, such as light, exists simultaneously as particles and waves.
The act of observing something happening causes a change in the thing being observed."
posted by sandmonk at 3:33 PM PST on May 11


No shit, Heisenberg. Now that you've mindlessly parroted what the rest of us already know, do you mind formulating a method of information transmission for us? "Quantum physics" isn't a magic passphrase that allows you to just make shit up.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 3:57 PM on May 11, 2005


Sandmonk:

a) read a book on quantum physics, rather than quoting a self admitted gross oversimplification, in order to discover why your point is irrelevant to the topic at hand.

b) Neither Emoto's books (which are mostly coffee table photo books) nor his publication (in a magazine dedicated to 'alternative and complimentary medicine') on the subject presented any theories on what he claims to have observed aside from some quasi-religious hippy-speak. As I pointed out earlier, this puts the debunker in the ridiculous position of having to extrapolate something from no information in order to disprove it - which is why it's not really worth the effort. Thankfully, the entire notion is so totally bonkers that the reply 'because of all known physics' should suffice to answer the question 'why is it not so', as bugbread so elequently pointed out.
posted by Sparx at 3:59 PM on May 11, 2005


OC, I think you're being a bit harsh on sandmonk. He may be really really wrong, but he isn't being an ass.

That said:

Optimus Chyme : "'Quantum physics' isn't a magic passphrase that allows you to just make shit up."

This quote is great. I think from now on, when I don't have a reason for something, I'm just going to say "quantum physics".
posted by Bugbread at 4:02 PM on May 11, 2005


bugbread: sarcasm. the rotten article is a basic overview of quantum physics. hence the scientists' names.

Optimus: anger management please. And if you already know that "The act of observing something happening causes a change in the thing being observed," can't you allow for the possibility of Emoto causing a change in the water he is observing? Or do the laws of physics say it only work on photons in a lab at Stanford?
posted by sandmonk at 4:06 PM on May 11, 2005


Holy crap, I have to read a quantum physics book to figure out how i misspoke on metafilter? Sparx, thanks for the clarification on Emoto's lack of explanation (b).
posted by sandmonk at 4:11 PM on May 11, 2005


sandmonk: I'm sorry, I realized the sarcasm, I was just being intentionally obtuse because I don't see where the sarcasm comes from. It's like if my friend helped an old lady across the street, and I said he was nice, and someone else said, "Yeah, nice. Just like Hitler was nice." I get the sarcasm, but I don't know why it's there.

sandmonk : "can't you allow for the possibility of Emoto causing a change in the water he is observing? Or do the laws of physics say it only work on photons in a lab at Stanford?"

Close. The laws of quantum physics say it works at a quantum level everywhere in the universe (I think. I'm not so sure about singularities), so we're basically talking photons, etc. Not entire ice crystals, because they're enormous magnitudes too massive to be affected by quantum effects at a non-quantum level. And the mechanism for those effects are understood: they do not indicate any effects like those of Emoto.

It's kind of the equivalent of saying: "If you accept that gravity attracts masses, can't you allow for the possibility of love gravity pulling two people destined by fate together". The short answer is: "No, because that's not what the law of gravity says".
posted by Bugbread at 4:12 PM on May 11, 2005


sandmonk : " Holy crap, I have to read a quantum physics book to figure out how i misspoke on metafilter?"

Nope. You seem calm and reasoned, so I'm sure some folks can help you out. However, it does take time and study to understand (my knowledge is cursory at best), so realize that it's not so simple as someone pointing out a certain overlooked point.

I think the proper lesson (god, that sounds bad...I can't think of the right word right now) to be learned is "don't use something (such as quantum physics) in defense of your position if you don't understand what it is". A corollary (especially keeping in mind people like Einstein) is: "If you know a lot about a hard (as opposed to soft, i.e. math as opposed to politics, or computer programming as opposed to literature) subject, yet disagree with other experts about a single (even if enormous) point, you may in fact be right. However, if you don't know a lot about a subject, yet disagree with experts, odds are very very high that you're wrong."

I'm sorry, I'm sounding like a dick, and I don't mean to be. End of a night shift.
posted by Bugbread at 4:21 PM on May 11, 2005


well said, bugbread. If it's true, then please carry on mocking Dr. Emoto and his science-fiction ideas, everyone. This thread won't have sandmonk to kick around any more. End of my day shift.
posted by sandmonk at 4:22 PM on May 11, 2005


I think knowing something about a subject tends to help when you're using that subject in a discussion. And books help you know things about subjects (hey Grandma, bet you'd like to suck on this egg, eh?).

Otherwise you run the risk of sounding like the guy I met at a party who insisted in the face of all possibly adversity that since e=mc2, then c2 was a perfectly reasonable speed to go in this universe.

A little learning is a dangerous thing;
drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
there shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
and drinking largely sobers us again.

-Alexander Pope (1688-1744) - An Essay on Criticism .

on preview: once again with the bugbread agreement
posted by Sparx at 4:26 PM on May 11, 2005


Sparx, I swear I was going to pop in to post that Pope quote; I was thinking about it the whole drive home.

I apologize for being overly harsh to sandmonk, who obviously means well and is probably not a bad person. What gets my goat is that there are people who spend decades of their lives studying physics, and to foolishly quote some 100-level textbook to support an untenable argument is, to me, unbelievably naive and disrespectful.

(note: I do not have a degree in any branch or physics nor in any of the hard sciences, just a deep appreciation and respect for the work of those who do.)
posted by Optimus Chyme at 5:07 PM on May 11, 2005


What impresses is the virulence of the attacks on sandmonk's opinion that there may be something there (in Emoto's presentation). All that twisted emotion erupting.

Speaking of general semantics- (map is not the territory and all that) any conception you have about the world, any fact you hold in your mind, is wrong. I am postulating an infinite universe where however great your idea is it will fall short of reality. This prejudice that you have to be able to understand something for it to be true is such BS. If you can't prove it it doesn't exist. Pleeeze.

gota go eat.
posted by pointilist at 5:25 PM on May 11, 2005


I'm skeptical of this for many reasons but one is how Mr Emoto maligns heavy metal music by showing the poor water molecule as really suffering.

This is silly and obviously Mr Emoto's subjective point of view. Come on - I've heard some Shostakovitch that was more atonal and distressing than anything by Iron Maiden.
posted by Rashomon at 5:29 PM on May 11, 2005


Does anyone know of any efforts to replicate Dr. Emoto's experiments? Seems like they should be fairly easy to repeat. Hell, I've got a mind to bust out the ice cube trays and try it myself at home.
posted by ottereroticist at 5:44 PM on May 11, 2005


This prejudice that you have to be able to understand something for it to be true is such BS. If you can't prove it it doesn't exist. Pleeeze.

Ah, yes. Prejudice.

How about this: If it's patently absurd, violates all known physical laws, is unproven, and nonetheless is presented as significant, then it ought to be scorned.

Or is that prejudiced?
posted by argybarg at 6:08 PM on May 11, 2005


patently absurd
value judgement

violates all known physical laws
gravity? thermodynamics?
don't think so
posted by pointilist at 6:21 PM on May 11, 2005


OK, I think I know what's going on here.

For several years I studied Magick. Not to be confused with magic. I studied this, but really lacked the "faith" to ever put it to much practice beyond it's most base level.

Magic = 3 card monte, sawing a woman in half, and pulling a rabit out of a hat. (Doug Henning, David Blane, David Copperfield)
Magick = Using your will, and the manipulation of energies around you to cause change in accordiance with that will. (Magreggor Mathers, Israel Rigarde, Aliester Crowley)

Magick is true wizardry. Every intentional act is art. Every intentional act is a Magickal act.

You are thirsty. You use your will and the manipulation of the energies around you to get off your duff, go to the cupboard, grab a glass, go to the sink, fill the glass, and lift it to your lips. Wa-la!! Your thirst is quenched, because your will and the manipulation of energies around you magickaly work out the situation!

It works. It works because you want it to work. You have a few bariers, like the fact that you cannot change the nature of something by will alone. You can't turn Prince Charming into a toad, or a rabbit into a coffee mug, because that is not a natural form of the subject.

Several Divinatory practices work the same way. They don't tell the future, but they do help you to read your own mind. Tarot works because it gives you a half hour or so to sit down and take a fresh view of your own situation. Self therepy. Scrying works for the same reason, whether it involves "consentrating" on a ball of quartz crystal, or a mirror, or a spoon, or, in this case, a glass of water.

Now comes the Quantum Physics part.

Both Magick and Quantum physics "believe" that you create your own reality based on the fact that you cannot truly "observe" the true nature of things. The firing of neurons in your brain from external stimuli is not the real world. It is a construct "made up" in your head to represent the real world. Quantum Physics says that until something is observed, it swirls in a state of flux. Schrodinger's Cat is the classic example. Until you open the box, the cat is, mathmatically proven, to be in a wierd state of not quite alive-not quite dead. Once you look to see for sure, you close the Quantum state and make it choose, one or the other. Does the moon really exist if there is no one looking at it? Maybe. A photon acts like a wave of light until you put up a phosphor screen and make a measured observation. That closes the quantum loop and makes it decide one point on which to hit it with one photon.
So the act of Measurement is really the thing that closes the loop, not just the wave of light flashing across our eyes. In that, the act of observation actually does change the subject. It closes the quantum loop of some-in-between-state-between-all-the-possible-states into just the one observed. It forces the choice, and closes the quantum loop.

So maybe Mr Emoto IS causing the change to happen, if only in the quantum state of his own neurons firing. He is creating his own reality. He is being the wizard. He writes the ancient scrawlings that cary their own energies through countless years of use, and the emotions associated with them on the tape, Chants the sylables that resonate with these same emotions, and fixes his will to push energies his desired direction.

Or maybe it's all bullshit, I said that I could never put this stuff to practice, mainly because I lack the inherent faith needed in order for it to work.
That, and it still isn't science.
posted by Balisong at 7:03 PM on May 11, 2005


nicely done balisong
posted by pointilist at 9:21 PM on May 11, 2005


violates all known physical laws
gravity? thermodynamics?
don't think so
posted by pointilist at 6:21 PM PST on May 11


What a well thought-out and detailed rebuttal, pointilist. I think I originally read that in Physical Review D. Perhaps you can illuminate the darkness for us: by what mechanism can this possibly work?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:48 PM on May 11, 2005


patently absurd
value judgement

moss is green.

No, really, it is just as relevant.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:43 PM on May 11, 2005


pointilist writes "patently absurd
"value judgement"


Not really. Absurdity is a statement of discontinuity, and if this theory is true (laugh), a lot of physical assumptions about the world would be destroyed.

pointilist writes "thermodynamics? "

I am being slightly simplistic here, but one of the foundations of Thermodynamics is that unlikely configurations of things (atoms) will tend not to congrate. Hence why temperature distributes through out a room. If for some reason thoughts could make ice crystals form in similiar grouping, it would mean that Thermodynamics assumption of random arrangement is at the least flawed. Going further on a limb, if emotion (written or otherwise) can effect matter, then why couldn't it move heat as well as the arrangment of molecules.

See: The entropy of a macroscopic state is proportional to the logarithm of the number of microscopic states corresponding to it.

Translation: This theory imposes lower states possible if correct, and lowers entropy without expending a known energy value.
posted by litghost at 10:46 PM on May 11, 2005


balisong: what bullshit. You are taking fiction as fact, and your understanding of quantum physics is woefully uninformed.

Arguing that your story should receive any consideration as an explanation is equivalent to asking that The Little Prince be treated as historical fact.

Philosophy and science are separate realms. They are useful tools. They are not the same tool. They do different jobs.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:01 PM on May 11, 2005


And apologies that you bear the brunt of my harsh tone. It is nothing against you personally.

I am upset that we see continual movement toward mysticism in our culture. We have perfectly good facts about things like bacteria and viruses, yet rather than use science to treat a serious infection, a whole lot of astoundingly ignorant (read: uninformed) people place their trust in absurd ideas like high colonics and crystal therapy. I am upset that we have religious creeps trying to impose their lunical ideas of intelligent design on our students. It pisses me off that we are this close to incredible breakthroughs in using undifferentiated stem cells as healing tools, yet are being prevented from advancing because nitwits think it means breeding embryo farms.

Enough!

Don't get me wrong: I'm all for a good round of philosophical and moral debate. I find religious history to be fascinating. I love the Hindu creation story, and I think Christ's core message is important and under-recognized ("Be Nice."). But it all ultimately deals with things we can not touch and see: it is beyond our physical realm. It is fiction.

Just let's be sure that we never confuse all that great stuff with actual scientific progress. The only thing that has ever made it possible for the human species to survive is technology: from the very first deliberate sowing of wheat to the latest breakthroughs in pediatric cardiology, we depend on rational, factual, scientific progress.

So it is time to take a stand and be heard. To cry out "Bullshit!" when someone mixes their magic into our science and pretends it's something good. To make sure that we keep the realms of fiction and fact from being confused.

'least, that's what I think.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:15 PM on May 11, 2005


Domo harigato, Mr Emoto.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:23 PM on May 11, 2005


Well, it was amusing on preview.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:23 PM on May 11, 2005


Like I said, I studied Magick, but failed to believe. Much like studying history of communists, but not believing it as a viable system. Someone can know a lot about Nazi germany, without actually being a Nazi.

I have also done a whole lot of personal studying of Quantum Physics, Thermodynamics, Chaos theory, Systems theory, Psycology, and statistics. I guess it's the inherent scientist in me. Science is the true way, because it doesn't revolve around faith. That is why I can take full consideration of what Mr. Emoto is trying to do, and still stamp it bullshit, because it isn't science, it's faith.
posted by Balisong at 11:39 PM on May 11, 2005


" water is life" found this inscription above an irrigation siphon tunnel while tripping one day I think there is some truth to that statement.Our intentions go before us and I know that intentions have power ,we each create our futures as we live.
Perhaps human intentions cause effects on the water before the crystal begins forming .what are the quantum effects of our intentions?
posted by hortense at 12:46 AM on May 12, 2005


I shudder to think. Any of you guys start making moves on my water, and it's war!
posted by taz at 2:20 AM on May 12, 2005


By the way, I was kind of amused to find an announcement for "Hado Beer": (This HADO beer is manufactured by playing to it in the process a CD that boosts the immune system and labeled with the crystal picture of "Happiness". The concept is, therefore, "let us be happy and healthy by drinking the HADO beer".)

Now, I don't think you can argue with that, can you?
posted by taz at 2:27 AM on May 12, 2005


" water is life" found this inscription above an irrigation siphon tunnel while tripping one day I think there is some truth to that statement.Our intentions go before us and I know that intentions have power ,we each create our futures as we live.
Perhaps human intentions cause effects on the water before the crystal begins forming .what are the quantum effects of our intentions?


Okay, now this thread is getting stupid.

Hortense, it's clear that you have no idea what you're talking about. A question like "what are the quantum effects of our intentions" is meaningless, nonsensical, and I am embarassed for you for asking it.

It makes me very sad that we have this very advanced science and all you people use it for is to promote some mushbrained, relativistic, New Age foolishness.

Perhaps widespread literacy isn't all it's cracked up to be. You should be left in the dark like your peasant predecessors would have been a thousand years ago; you are unworthy of the knowledge.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:47 AM on May 12, 2005


God, Optimus, you're pretty smart, but you can be such a dick sometimes!
posted by Specklet at 10:27 AM on May 12, 2005


Well, there's this anecdote: I know an older Japanese man who four years ago showed me an informal experiment he was conducting. He had read Masaru Emoto's book "Messages in Water" in Japanese, prior to its introduction to the West, and was attempting to recreate something in the book.

He had two jars of rice. On one of them he had written on a label "I love you." On the other one, he had written "I hate you. You are stupid." He said that each day for (I think it was) two months he'd say these words to the jars, and presumably attempt to feel the concomitant feelings. He brought out the jars for me to see. The "love" jar rice looked fresh. The "hate" jar rice was a big black rotten mess. So there y'go. This Japanese man is a very kind and earnest gentleman. I have no reason to suspect that he was fabricating a ruse. But... but... where's the science? Maybe when he'd speak to the "hate" rice he'd squeeze the jar harder and the increased air pressure inside would... um...

Of course there's a longstanding debate on the presence of consciousness in plant life , within which, by extension, I suppose we could include rice.

But as Mr. Stevie Wonder has articulated, "Who am I to doubt or question the inevitable being... we find inside the Secret Life of Plants."
posted by stacyhall1 at 10:32 AM on May 12, 2005


If you assume the universe is bounded then I suppose everything could be known.

I believe that in order to understand reality we must take in account that all cannot be measured. There is a level of complexity that precludes this. Anything you hold to as a "fact" can be but a partial truth. If you assume the universe is infinite this must follow.

It's been fun but it is too much work to try to point out all the logistical lapses propounded by the defenders of the faith.

litghost: wish I had the time and a quieter forum to question you further. Your wikipedia ref is over my head but it seems order is emerging out of chaos often (and however briefly). But perhaps I miss your point.
ciao
posted by pointilist at 11:02 AM on May 12, 2005


five fresh fish: "... things we can not touch and see: it is beyond our physical realm. It is fiction."
Anything beyond the physical realm (read: measurable?) is fiction? At best that's a huge leap; at worst it's willfully blind. In my experience, it's completely wrong.

"The only thing that has ever made it possible for the human species to survive is technology..."
Did you really mean to say that? If you replace 'survive' with a completely different word, then it could make sense.

Optimus: I'll be the first to agree that there's a lot of flawed, off-the-wall stuff out there. But does it make you very sad that 'very advanced science' can take years, centuries, or even forever to recognize the validity of some of the 'New Age foolishness' that happens to be thousands of years old in practise?
posted by sandmonk at 11:53 AM on May 12, 2005


Your wikipedia ref is over my head

If it's over your head, you have no business critiquing litghost's claims nor making fantastic ones of your own.

but it seems order is emerging out of chaos often (and however briefly).

If you don't know the difference between closed and open systems, then you have no business talking about thermodynamics.

It's been fun but it is too much work

I think this encapsulates your philosophical position quite well. You use the tools of reason until it requires an actual understanding of those tools; then, because of ignorance or sloth or just dishonesty, you decide that that's "good enough."

Remember when you posted that this phenomenon you're defending does not break any physical laws? We're still waiting for you to actually defend that position, instead of some three-word cop-out like "don't think so."

don't think so

Sheer fucking genius, my man.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 12:03 PM on May 12, 2005


This kinda makes me think of martial arts.
There is a thing called a Ki-ai. The "Hii-Ya!!" that gets bellowed as part of a move.
It is a drawing up of "energy" from one's "center" and thrown in a certian direction.
It works. I trained for 9 years in competition Judo, and was in the Junior Olympics. 2 1/2 hours a day for 9 years. repitition until the moves just flowed through you without thinking.
Not the Shotokan variety which is much more form and tradition. We were out to win medals. We didn't go for what was pretty, we went to win.
you could do a move 15 times and get blocked, and then try it with a ki-ai, and it was like the resistance melted away.

Is there a rational explanation for this? Is there a secret conductor of some secret energy at work? I don't know.
But it worked.

It really doesn't fall in the realm of Crystal-clinking-Bliss-ninnydom to realise that it is possible that we don't know all the forms of energy in organic structures.

But a glass of water is not an organic structure.
posted by Balisong at 12:06 PM on May 12, 2005


Balisong:

Umm, perhaps bellowing the Ki-ai convinces the person who bellows it to feel better and more confident? Perhaps using the muscles involved in vocalizing stimulate a reflex that induces greater strength in other muscle groups?

Plenty of athletes have little focusing methods. Golfers sometimes pump the handles of their clubs a set number of times immediately before their swings. Baseball players stretch one way, focus on a spot, stretch another way. These little routines seems to trigger the particular muscle memories associated with patterns of movement.

If you're talking about moves in Judo, which are dependent on very complex coordination of movements for their effectiveness, then relying on a "trigger" to activate those movements would work. The mind focuses, the pattern storage that is split among neurons, nerves and muscle fibers is put on alert.

Or perhaps that's not the explanation. But there are so many reasonable explanations possible. With all due respect, relying on "secret energy" as the best and simplest explanation seems to involve a whole lot of cluttered and wishful thinking.
posted by argybarg at 12:26 PM on May 12, 2005


And, incidentally, let me just point out a very short, sweet, three-step dance to irrational hell that several here seem to be making over and over:

1) Science is not omnipotent. We can neither know nor explain everything that happens in the universe.

(No shit. Find me a scientist who doesn't agree with this statement. This is refuting a claim that absolutely no reasoning person ever makes or believes.)

2) Therefore, everything is at an equal level of demonstrability, everything is equally plausible, and no assertions can be refuted on a scientific basis.

3) Therefore, anything I want to believe, including a lot of incoherent spiritualist gobbledegook that "feels right," is true because I say it is and you can't prove it's wrong.

I did leave out the indiscriminate use of "quantum" as an appeal to a Mystery Place Where I Can Make Up Any Assertions I Like -- but I think you get the point.
posted by argybarg at 12:36 PM on May 12, 2005


And I thought I was out of here.

Chyme: I asked for clarification. Explain to me oh optimal one. I am probably as smart as you are but without being steeped in the lingo (or the math). Open and closed systems seem apparent. So?

Water freezes pretty, water freezes ugly. I say emoto's context may effect this. What is your objection? Don't write "how's it happen?" anymore. Explain to a smart layman what falls apart in your world view if this is true. If it breaks a physical law show me. without the vitriol if it is possible.

on preview:
argybarg: I have read "Impossible!", etc., I have read alot of name calling, alot of logical fallacies but no explanations. I don't hold to your point #2. I believe assertations can be refuted on a scientific basis. They havn't been on this thread.
posted by pointilist at 1:15 PM on May 12, 2005


Anything beyond the physical realm (read: measurable?) is fiction? At best that's a huge leap; at worst it's willfully blind. In my experience, it's completely wrong.

Name something that we know to exist, that we can not measure. Now prove it to exist as a fact.

If you replace 'survive' with a completely different word, then it could make sense.

Homo Sapiens would not exist were we not tool-users and creators of technology. The very act of consciously designing a flint spearhead, planting seeds from the wheat that was best-producing, and wearing stitched furs basically define what made Sapiens more than yet another mostly-hairless ape.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:25 PM on May 12, 2005


This is going to sound hyperbolic, but one of the main reasons I'm extremely skeptical of this stuff is that when it comes down to life or death situations like say the boxer rebellion or the rebels who were with Guevera in the Congo, the mind over matter people who have staked their lives on it working have gotten slaughtered to a man. This isn't a philosophical game. Perception can certainly alter your personal reality, but it can't turn bullets. And if the full force of the belief of people willing to stake their lives on it can't do that, why should a little piece of paper saying "I love you/I hate you", carrying an absolutely miniscule fraction of the emotional force that the boxers and the mai-mai had, have any effect at all?
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 1:43 PM on May 12, 2005


domo arigato, mr. emoto!
posted by vronsky at 1:46 PM on May 12, 2005


I believe assertations can be refuted on a scientific basis. They havn't been on this thread.

I honestly cannot image what you believe would meet the standard of a scientific refutation. Honestly. Can you give me an example?

Barring that, let me give you, once again, my example of a scientific refutation. All of the known modes by which one object or energy source might affect another — phsyical contact, gravity, the weak and strong nuclear forces, the electromagnetic forces — cannot be used to account for the sorts of interactions you are describing. In fact, their nature precludes such an interaction. The nuclear forces only act over tiny distances; there is no radiation of electromagnetic forces from Dr. Emoto (or the label) to the water; gravity does not produce these effects; there is no physical contact.

The sorts of quantum anomalies you hope to use as an escape clause obtain only at distances at the scale of the quanta, and only with individual particles. When you leave the scale of the atom and you aggregate even a few particles, you return to the physics of Newton and Einstein. Quantum anomalies do not hold.

In other words, every available model of the physical universe militates against the possibility of what Dr. Emoto describes.

Now, if you want to say that there is some magical, heretofore undiscovered force; or if you want to say that our present knowledge of the forces need to be dramatically reconfigured, then it is up to you to be convincing. Put something on the table. To paraphrase Bertrand Russell, if you believe there's a purple teapot orbiting the earth, it is your responsibility to demonstrate that this rather remarkable claim is true. Otherwise, we may safely say that it is not — not that we don't know, or that we aren't sure, but that it isn't true.

p.s. You may want to read up on the Skeptics -- they effectively showed that any argument can be shown to be unprovable provided that you accept nothing as necessarily true. But the only Skeptics around are irritating freshmen in philosophy classes.
posted by argybarg at 1:51 PM on May 12, 2005 [1 favorite]


fff: "Name something that we know to exist, that we can not measure. Now prove it to exist as a fact."

Tall order. I can think of something which I know to exist (call it 'non-local awareness' for simplicity), which I don't believe 'science' has the means to fully measure or even observe completely. Proving it to exist is a matter of experiencing it, which would require an open mind.

As for the sapiens and technology, i see you were talking about one of the defining aspects of humans... and i took it as "if it weren't for technology, humans would have died long ago."
posted by sandmonk at 1:59 PM on May 12, 2005


In other words, every available model of the physical universe militates against the possibility of what Dr. Emoto describes.

still don't see this. Your previous statements were to the effect that our models can't explain it. Where do they contradict the possibility? This is, I think key.

emoto sez "here it is, the purple teapot!" you say "fake! impossible! I don't have an explaination." From here I can't say fake or no.
posted by pointilist at 2:50 PM on May 12, 2005


The prevous statements indicated that all known means by which things interact do not work in a way which would permit Emoto's results. Thus the possibility is denied (or contradicted if you prefer).

If you wish to postulate another, new force by which things might intereract, please do so. Feel free to explain why nobody had ever noticed it before and why it has had zero impact on the perceivable world until Emoto taped some Kanji to a jar. Fee free, also, to do so without recourse to magic, hand-waving, and stuff you 'just know' that anybody else could 'just know' too if only they stopped utilising anything resembling logic or knowledge. Bonus points for not misusing the word 'quantum'.
posted by Sparx at 3:40 PM on May 12, 2005


I am probably as smart as you are

It is painfully evident that you are not. You appear to have absolutely no critical thinking skills and your reading comprehension is atrocious.

Open and closed systems seem apparent. So?

I'm not here to explain thermodynamics to children. if you want to understand it, do the work yourself.

Your previous statements were to the effect that our models can't explain it. Where do they contradict the possibility?

Because the effect Emoto claims is impossible under the present model. Why do you have such a hard time understanding this? In order for the water to crystalize differently because of some accompanying emotion, the data must be transmitted from something to the water.

You have thus far been unable to provide us with a explanation of the data-transmitting medium. It is growing quite clear that you do not even understand why that is a problem.

Here is how I would explain it to a five year-old: I know when someone is mad at me when they frown. Their facial muscles contract into an expression that I detect when light is reflected from their face, through my pupil and onto my retina. My brain interprets the image as a frown; both instince and practice let me know that frown means mad or sad or both.

I trust that even you understand that explanation. Now: how does the water detect emotions? It does not see nor think. Perhaps there is some sort of thermal difference between a researcher writing down fuck this dumb ass experiment and flowers are nice; perhaps that is what causes the difference. This is tremendously unlikely. But we don't know. Why? Because these are barely experiments at all. The method is hideously flawed and improperly controlled, if at all. But rather than for us to attempt an honest investigation, people like you would rather us believe it for no reason at all and in fact take offense that we don't swallow whatever wishywashy bullshit you useless wastes of oxygen choose to believe that week.

From here I can't say fake or no.

Seriously, is there literally nothing you will be skeptical of? If you're someone's boss and they tell you they were late because aliens kidnapped them, is that a valid excuse? If you're an employee whose check bounces, and the company says it's because the bank was robbed, do you believe that? What is it like to live as pointilist, where all probabilities are equally valid, nay, where all statements are likely to be true? It is as much of a nightmare as it sounds like?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 3:41 PM on May 12, 2005


I am absolutely astounded by how completely insane some Mefi'ers are. It's frankly amazing.

And just for reference, I've carried out Emoto's experiment (I live in Japan, so even the possibility of water being incapable of reading any language other than Japanese has been factored out), and the water from the control group, love group, and hate group are all identical.

You may now all stop this discussion. The issue has been resolved.
posted by Bugbread at 4:05 PM on May 12, 2005 [1 favorite]


But Bugbread, did you believe it would work when you did the experiment? because if you didn't, then you were generating doubtons. These are small particles of doubt that will destroy the results of the experiment and make the water appear normal. Please leave science to the fully credulous in the future. It's the only way to get real results.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 4:10 PM on May 12, 2005 [3 favorites]


As for the sapiens and technology, i see you were talking about one of the defining aspects of humans... and i took it as "if it weren't for technology, humans would have died long ago."

Same-same. Without those technologies, we would starve to death or die from exposure. We can't claw an animal to death, we aren't very fast, we don't swim very well, we sunburn easily, we get cold easily ... we just are not well-adapted to life without simple tools.

IMO, the rise of Homo Sapiens and the rise of technology are two sides of the same coin. Early Homo Sapiens survived because they could make tools; tools were invented so earl Homo Sapiens could survive.

As for the tall order, exactly. Whatever it is you are experiencing there isn't fact: it's personal fiction. If it were fact, it would be replicable and shareable and measurable. It isn't. No matter how much you believe it is true, it is not part of our reality.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:11 PM on May 12, 2005


Your previous statements were to the effect that our models can't explain it. Where do they contradict the possibility? This is, I think key.

emoto sez "here it is, the purple teapot!" you say "fake! impossible! I don't have an explaination." From here I can't say fake or no.


Not sure I want to seem to endorse Optimus' overheat, although I think his non-personal conclusions are correct.

The error in your thinking is in believing that there is something here that needs explaining. There is not. There are some pictures of crystals formed in water, and that's all. There's no documented phenomenon, there's no data. There's nothing worth noting. Without data we are arguing about a hypothetical claim.

Emoto has not shown us the teapot. He has, as I said, claimed that there is one. Big difference.

There is a perfect counter-example here, in the double-slit experiments that first forced physicists to develop quantum mechanics. There we had a detailed, reproduceable, well-documented experiment which, in the strangeness of its result, demanded an explanation. Physicists showed their flexibility by accepting the strangeness and adjust their theory to account for it.

Here we have nothing of the sort. To say that scientists ought to have an "open mind" and accomodate Emoto's photographs is idiotic. Show something that demands accomodation and you will have it.
posted by argybarg at 5:57 PM on May 12, 2005


Ya gotta love people who read some pop-new-agey bollocks about quantum theory which basically says:

"Ooh! Ooh! Quantum theory says there is uncertainty at the quantum level! Anything is possible! Even my pet wacky theory which I cling to because of a twisted psychological need rather than because, you know, it makes sense or anything! I am vindicated! Scientists... you are not so damned clever! Your knowledge is a handful of dust! Also, if I stare very, very hard at the back of your head I can make you turn round, HA!"

No wait... you don't have to love them at all, do you? D'oh!
posted by Decani at 7:12 AM on May 13, 2005


Optimus Chyme is my new hero. Well done, sir.
posted by beth at 8:21 AM on May 13, 2005


fff: we can agree to disagree on the homo sapiens and technology bit.

"No matter how much you believe it is true, it is not part of our reality."
That's too bad. Argue for your limitations and, sure enough, they're yours
posted by sandmonk at 9:44 AM on May 13, 2005


So what's the difference between Emoto and Troy Hurtubise?
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 9:49 AM on May 13, 2005


We can agree to disagree, for sure. I would be most interested in seeing you survive unaided in the wilderness, though. Perhaps your definition of technology isn't as broad as mine; I'd say as soon as you sharpen a stick to spear a frog, you're engaged in using technology.

As for limitations, how is that relevant to anything being discussed here? You can claim whatever supernatural powers you wish, but until such time as you can reliably, repeatedly, and measurably demonstrate them, they are fantasy. Coincidences and self-delusion are hardly the stuff by which to build a rational understanding and use of the universe!

Here's a quote for you: It's a fine line between having an open mind, and having your brain fall out.

Grab some common sense, man, and learn to think, puh-lease.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:07 AM on May 13, 2005


Limitation is (my) whole purpose for writing here. i don't understand why you call something which i have truly experienced 'fantasy'. Does that mean my house is a fantasy for you since you have never set foot in it? Would sound be a fantasy, if you and the majority of scientists were deaf? Or are you saying I am crazy? (I'm seriously asking)

Maybe we are disagreeing on a definition again (fiction/fantasy) but I say your willingness to accept as reality only that which is accepted by 'common sense' and scientific, logical thinking is an unnecessary limitation. Certainly being grounded in reason, logic, science, common sense is good, but defining that collective body of information as the beginning and end of 'reality' is dogmatism IMO.

If only the body of mainstream science can define reality (through scientific observation), then (since 'scientific progress' is always being made) mainstream science creates reality (as you accept/perceive it). And here we are back at the top of the thread.
posted by sandmonk at 10:36 AM on May 13, 2005


Would sound be a fantasy, if you and the majority of scientists were deaf?

Even your analogies are dumb.

Sound is merely vibrations traveling through a medium such as air or water or metal or the bones of your skull. You postulate an unknown type of information transfer, through an unknown medium, having unknown and possibly unknowable results, and ask us to buy it? Please.

but I say your willingness to accept as reality

Reality is what is. Science and observation are our windows to it. What you are looking at, sandmonk, is not a window, but a painting that you desperately want to believe is Real and Magical and Fantastic. Our view may not be as chaotic and fun as yours - and even that I dispute - but it's a hell of a lot more accurate.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 10:57 AM on May 13, 2005


Chyme: I'm not postulating shit about my verifiable experiences. I'm just using them as an example of something unknown to you and others just like say... the electron was to scientists 150 years ago.

Is it impossible that accepted science has more discovery ahead?
posted by sandmonk at 11:25 AM on May 13, 2005


If only the body of mainstream science can define reality (through scientific observation), then (since 'scientific progress' is always being made) mainstream science creates reality (as you accept/perceive it). And here we are back at the top of the thread.

This follows from the fallacy that science is fixed in place and in agreement, like a giant textbook or museum. Yet there is no fixed body of "accepted science." There's a hell of a lot of consensus about the basic stuff and many of the general outlines. But scientists disagree all the time, over fundamental issues (cf., string theory). They also fully recognize that science, as you put it, "has more discovery ahead."

But the real agreement in science is in what constitutes discovery. The standards are, and should be, very high. Vague premonitions, pleasingly metaphorical "explanations," spiritualist wishings and one-off, poorly documented "experiments" don't count. It takes a lot -- as it should -- to get the scientific community to acknowledge a real anomoly that demands explanation. This is the heart of the confusion of Pointilist and other here.

As I say, science is not fixed in place. You make a truly convincing case for the brand-new force that governs interactions between thoughts and water crystals, scientists will rush to found a new epoch of science. Until then, though, the mass of mutually reinforcing findings that direct scientific inquiry seems very much more convincing than some people's intuitions or personal experiences.

(And I might as well admit right now that I don't trust people who don't very strongly suggest that their own personally-generated interior models of their own experiences are largely BS.)
posted by argybarg at 12:33 PM on May 13, 2005


(And, incidentally, it might serve you well to suspect that your own verifiable experiences are less like the undiscovered electron and more like the certainty that appeasing the Sun God will make crops grow, or that electricity is the fluid medium of all living things.)
posted by argybarg at 12:37 PM on May 13, 2005


Argybarg is right on the money. The only people who believe that scientists have found all that there is are people who know little of science. I cannot imagine being able to find a scientist who would say that everything that exists has been found. After all, they're scientists, their whole job is to find new stuff. But that doesn't mean that their job is uncritically accepting random new crackpot theories.

Besides which, if this water crystal thought power ESP stuff were really true, Emoto should go collect his million dollars from James Randi. If he doesn't need the money, he can just give it to me.
posted by Bugbread at 8:35 PM on May 13, 2005


FF5-
Thanks for explaining your vehemence on the issue of pseudo science. It helps explain some of the nastiness I encountered for asking "why". I wonder how you feel this thread has addressed your concerns. As a vent session I am convinced it has been effective. Largely surrounded by like-minded folk, well able to pillar the doubting ones.

I too have been concerned by the disregard many people have for the science behind global warming and other ecological issues (as an example). I do not fear science and the benefits it has brought to mankind yet I have been called stupid in so many ways for asking questions- many very neutrally phrased questions similar to: "I don’t understand." "That doesn’t make sense to me." "Can you explain it to me?"

"In real science everything not compulsory is forbidden" seems to be the answer I’ve gotten, after I filter through all the pejorative framing. I want to tell you, I have lost respect for scientists and their supporters over the course of this thread. I don’t believe science is at the point where we can no longer expect fundamental revolutions in our view of the nature of reality.

Scientists have not been the only seekers after the nature of reality. I have met many Buddhist monks and lamas that share a similar relationship to the new age airheads you loath as emoto has to a real scientist. They are hardasses when it comes to experiencing what is real. If we only count from the historical Buddha it’s been some 4000 years they have been exploring reality. They don’t believe we can form a valid conception of the world. That the act of conceiving, of naming, of moving into the realm of ideas, moves us further away from actually experiencing reality. This seems self-evident. On reflection of my life as someone who loves ideas and thinking and word play I know it is true.

These lamas also seem to have discovered that apprehending the nature of reality brings joy. Science certainly cannot claim to have increased the amount of joy at large in the world. As with organized religion, so many of the worlds evils have been enabled by technology. The cotton gin as a low-tech example. If you are willing to question you can supply many more examples.

What this thread has illuminated for me is a blindness in the social realm of many of the defenders of science. Emoto may be a silly man with his message that love is pretty and hate is ugly but it seems socially inept to revile those willing to be believe that their inner feelings will reflect into the world. What ill comes of this? People taping "love" onto their drinking water are not the ones attacking the teaching of evolution in the schools.

I have been reviewing the issue of stem cell research. My initial impulse has been pro-science, thinking of all the good that could come of it. On a human level I would have really liked to see Chris Reeves walk. What I have realized very clearly is that the pro-science contingent has little willingness to examine potential misuse of resultant technologies. "There are facts to be discovered! " seems to be the all.

The misapplication of science is an obvious bane in this world we live in. Those that cannot see this should not be allowed to determine what is explored. Scientists and their boosters seem unconcerned, even contemptuous, with the human element as it relates to the application of science. This is damning considering the human cost of so much of the tech in the world we live in.
posted by pointilist at 8:43 PM on May 13, 2005


But the real agreement in science is in what constitutes discovery. The standards are, and should be, very high. Vague premonitions, pleasingly metaphorical "explanations," spiritualist wishings and one-off, poorly documented "experiments" don't count. It takes a lot -- as it should -- to get the scientific community to acknowledge a real anomoly that demands explanation.

Exactly. If you have any question as to what I've been meaning, read and re-read the above.
Pointilist: you're having an entirely different conversation now. The moral and ethical impact of science isn't something that is being discussed at all in this thread.

I am, believe it or not, a deeply spiritual person, even as an atheist. I absolutely reject the idea of an omnipotent/omniscient god or a creator of the universe -- but I also intuit that there is the possibility that consciousness is a fundamental component of the universe in much the same same manner as energy. My tendency these days is to suspect that energy plus consciousness gives rise to matter. As quarks become electrons become atoms become molecules become human beings, so to does the quark-equivalent of consciousness become atom-equivalent consciousness etc to human consciousness.

But that theory is all whipping cream on a bullshit sundae. Appearances don't count: it ain't science if it ain't science.

That is why this is something of a flamefeat: whatever is going on with Emoto's experiments is interesting, but it is wrong to pass it off as science.

If you'd like to shift the discussion away from what science is and is not, and toward a philosophical discussion regarding the fundamental nature of the universe, it's another thing entirely. Just don't dare pretend that it's a fact-based, scientific discussion.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:29 PM on May 13, 2005


When you would write "facts" I thought you meant "what is real". My mistake.
I have throughout been attempting to discuss the nature of reality- not Science. I never wrote "why isn't this science?" only "why is this impossible?"
posted by pointilist at 10:57 PM on May 13, 2005


There are two types of reality: physical, scientific reality, which is inescapably true for all of us; and mental/imagined/internal reality, which is true only for the individual.

On the one hand, you have things like gravity, which is a fact that all of us live with all our lives. No one is able to escape it: it is a physical reality.

On the other hand, you have things like Time Cube, which is the product of a schizophrenic's thoughts. There is not a doubt that Time Cube theory is an internal reality for Gene Ray. It sure as hell ain't physical reality for anyone.

When I use the term "facts" during a discussion that centres on science and physical reality, I use it in its strictest sense. It would be utterly foolish to do otherwise: invented realities are not scientific, physical realities, and have no place in fact-based discussion.

As for the impossibility of Emoto's claims, that has been explained in detail. Please go back in the thread and read the bits about information transfer, thermodynamics, etc.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:00 AM on May 14, 2005


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