Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Why Lynne McTaggart is a hack.

Lynne McTaggart, for those who aren’t familiar with the name, is an “award-winning journalist” who has written a book called “The Field”. The premise-and-conclusion of this work is that the theoretical zero-point field in quantum mechanics explains why homeopathy and spiritual healing “work”. For those of you not sure what homeopathy means, it is the evolution of folk medicine into something diluted to the point of non-existence to avoid sanction by the FDA. While I fully embrace the potential value of odd amino acids and bioflavinoids and trace minerals and chemically specific lipids, a molecule of spider leg is vastly unnoticeable to the biological system of my body, and no amount of (theoretical) quantum physics is going to overcome the reality of biochemistry.

Hack: v. tr.

1. To cut or chop with repeated and irregular blows: hacked down the saplings.
2. To break up the surface of (soil).

3. Informal. To alter (a computer program): hacked her text editor to read HTML.
To gain access to (a computer file or network) illegally or without authorization: hacked the firm's personnel database.

4. Slang. To cut or mutilate as if by hacking: hacked millions off the budget.
5. Slang. To cope with successfully; manage: couldn't hack a second job.

1. A rough, irregular cut made by hacking.
2. A tool, such as a hoe, used for hacking.
3. A blow made by hacking.
4. A rough, dry cough.

Courtesy of

The definitions I am stretching here are verbs 1. and 4. It might also be appropriate to use the noun definition of a tool, such as a hoe. Quoting the web site:

“For several years I immersed myself in quantum physics and pored through hundreds of scientific papers. I then had the task of decoding what was often impenetrable work into something that ordinary readers could understand.” – Lynne McTaggart

How sad for you Lynne, that you found the work impenetrable. Did you ignore those parts, or just make up a meaning? To be fair, I do not have the mathematical background to understand it either, but I do have a mathematical background, and I have not tried for several years. The confusion of ideas here is that mathematicians express themselves in numeric formulae to be confusing or obtuse. They do so because the work requires that level of precision. Any effort to dumb down the mathematics results in generalities that render the conclusions virtually meaningless. Lynne McTaggart set out to find a connection between quantum physics and New Age health practices, and lo and behold, she did! Hardly the scientific method to use science to prove your preconceived conclusions. Lynne McTaggart hacked quantum physics into little, irregular pieces that would be unrecognizable to the authors of quantum theory, and made even wilder surmises about the nature of things than do the quantum physicists themselves.

The mutual admiration society of Lynne McTaggart and Dr. Wayne Dyer was not lost on me either.


At 8:22 PM, Blogger kalanchoe542 said...

Whether she is a generic tool or a specific hoe is of little consequence to me; what bothers me is that she uses a science that is outside the scope of many in order to plead a case for a branch of "medicine" that is equally difficult around which to wrap ones brain. My mother used to say that you eat a peck of dirt before you die. Perhaps there are curative powers in the dirt. Wonder if she ever studied that? It all sounds just a bit too self-congratulatory and pompous for my tastes.

Dammit, now I have yet ANOTHER book I have to read to find out if my knee-jerk opinion has any validity. The reading list gets longer by the day...

At 12:50 PM, Blogger breakerslion said...

I recommend skipping this book.
Check Hellbound Alleee's site. A nice coincidence, or perhaps she thought my description of homeopathy was a little too terse?

At 1:28 PM, Blogger Skull_Duggery said...

Homeopathic medicine works on the placebo effect most likely. Give a sugar pill to an (insert the specific demographic of your choice here) and they will find a reason to sing it's praises. Another example of the Emperor's new clothes?

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