The Crutch of Pseudoscience…

Dear Editor,

The Reader is my favorite local publication. I even read articles there that I might not normally encounter. As a result of such straying, I feel I must comment on the article in the October 26, 2017 issue, entitled “The Heart and Science of Quantum Happiness” by Suzen Fiskin.

The article’s phrase in the second paragraph “when quantum mechanics took down old-school Newtonian physics” is an oversimplification. In fact, Newtonian mechanics is an approximation to quantum mechanics that is quite legitimate and accurate within its own scope. It is alive and well in physics curricula and underlies most of what we would consider as engineering, particularly mechanical and civil engineering. This paragraph ends with “part of the paradigm of this new science is that thought affects physical reality” which seems to be an attempt to link the subject of the article’s next few paragraphs (the theories of Masaru Emoto) to quantum mechanics.

The article’s next two paragraphs focus on the theories of Masaru Emoto, who famously received his doctoral degree from a degree mill i.e. via a correspondence course from the Open International University of Alternative Medicine (India). His ‘research’ is widely debunked by scientists. His work was not published in any peer reviewed journals, but he was a prolific writer who published many popular books. Attempts to draw him into demonstrating his results in controlled, reproducible experiments were never successful. He reportedly did produce beautiful photographs, which some suspected to be cherry picked to support his theories. I would consider him a very successful promoter of his brand of pseudoscience. He has sold his very popular books and articles, gathering many followers who believe fervently in his theories. I don’t label him as a charlatan; he may have believed what he claimed. Nevertheless, his path to his ‘doctorate’ is troubling.

Although I find alternative medicine, such as promulgated by Dr. Andrew Weil, to be valid and worthwhile, the reliance on pseudoscience I find elsewhere is troubling. Alternative medicine can stand on its own two feet without the artificial crutch of pseudoscience.

Richard Sevenich

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