Sunday, April 27, 2008

Just Because You Say It Is Based On Quantum Physics, Doesn't Make It So

So many pseudoscience are so damn quick to attach themselves to "quantum physics", as if they know what quantum physics is. I've already mentioned several instances of the bastardization of quantum mechanics by a few people who are using it to validate whatever it is that they are claiming. Well, count this one as one of them. It is the "ancient medical treatment" called Shirodhara.

I honestly don't care at all what people wish to do with their bodies. However, when they tried to justified it by saying some nonsense to the effect that it is verified by some aspects from physics, then that gets my goat.

Ayurveda, the primary health system in India, and western biomedicine, the primary system in North America, differ in their view of the body. "It needs to be emphasized that ayurveda is very much a science," Dr. Gupta stresses. "The foundation of ayurveda is based on quantum physics instead of molecules, cells and gross structure.

What the hell does that mean? And why is "molecules" different from quantum physics?

First of all, there's some inconsistencies here. This practice has been going on for "5,000 years". If it is true, how can it be "based on quantum physics", when quantum physics was only formulated in the early 20th century? Did someone from 5,000 years ago time-traveled to the time or Bohr, Einstein, Schrodinger, Heisenberg, etc. and got the knowledge about quantum physics and then got back to 5,000 years ago to form the Ayurveda medical treatment? Sure, I'll buy that!

OK, so maybe it isn't that. Does that mean that they realize that, like Chemistry, which came way before quantum physics, that what they are using can actually be "explained" by quantum physics? Really? Such as what? In Chemistry, many aspects of what is measured (as in QUANTITIVE MEASUREMENT), can be explained in terms of the formulation of quantum physics. The energy state of the hydrogen atom, the nature and strength of chemical bonds, the behavior of molecules, etc. In other words, a lot of things that were measured can be quantitatively derived from quantum mechanics.

Now I would bet you no such comparison has ever been made with this Ayurveda. Oh sure, they might bastardize various aspects of the superficial idea of "entanglement" (this seems to be a popular effect to be bastardized - refer to "The Secret"), but this is FAR from claiming that you have a foundation based on quantum physics.

What these crackpots do not realize is that to be able to say that something is based on quantum physics, one must DERIVE the effect for THAT PARTICULAR SYSTEM, using quantum physics. Start with the Hamiltonian, and use whatever means one has to drive both the QUALITATIVE AND QUANTITATIVE result that agrees with whatever it is one is trying to show an agreement of. One simply cannot use "superficial induction". Just because the phenomenon of entanglement has been shown to work in 2 photons does NOT mean that such phenomenon is valid for 2 apples! It isn't! But that is why these crackpots are doing.

I really don't know how the Edmonton Journal could have seriously published this with a straight face.


1 comment:

bertrand.martin said...

I quite agree with these remaks. The effect of Shirodhara is due to the gentle stimulation of the frontal region which produces a relaxation effect. It can be compared to an hypnotic effect and/or the effect of a deep meditation leading to mental silence by focusing the attention of the subject on one focus (here the agreeable sensation on the forehead).

Please read the scientific article by Uebaba which you can find on (scientific review) or by pastin the link below.

Nonetheless, Shirodhara is a fantastic therapy worth being widely introduced in the West.

Dr. B. Martin