Your Friday Dose of Woo on Tuesday: Alternative science for alternative medicine

I realize that I’ve said many times before that there is no such thing as “alternative” medicine. There is medicine that has been shown to work through science, medicine that has not yet been shown to work, and medicine that has been shown not to work. “Alternative” medicine that is shown to work through science ceases to be “alternative” and becomes simply medicine.

There are times when I think I might need to change that opinion.

Well, not exactly. However, promoters of various forms of alternative medicine, stymied when they try to show that their woo works through science, seem to think that they can just make up alternative science in order to “explain” their favored quackery. Some of the people who do this have rather–shall we say?–colorful imaginations, too. Remember, for example, Lionel Milgrom and his torturing of quantum physics to justify homeopathy? Or his imagining the “healer”-patient relationship as a “quantized gyroscope“? Or Milgrom’s representation of homeopathy as the “semiotic notion that the homeopathic remedy is a ‘sign’ working simultaneously in and for two different but connected meaningful contexts“? Sadly, Milgrom is not alone in just making shit up. Dr. Charlene Werner, for instance, is not nearly as imaginative or talented at making woo up as Milgrom, as her widely mocked video about homeopathy and “energy” shows. The same is true of John Benneth and his even sillier attribution of clathrate hydrates as the One True Mechanism by which homeopathy works. When science doesn’t support woo-meisters, apparently they feel free to make science say whatever they need it to say to “explain” their quackery.

And I’ve found another doozy, this time from William A. Tiller. We’ve met William Tiller before. At the time, he actually had the audacity to propose a “higher-dimensional-level substance, labeled deltrons, falling outside the constraints of relativity theory and able to move at velocities” faster than the speed of light and that acts as “a coupling agent between the electric monopole types of substances and the magnetic monopole types of substances to produce both electromagnetic (EM) and magnetoelectric (ME) types of mediator fields exhibiting a special type of ‘mirror principle’ relationship between them,” and I proposed that Tiller and Milgrom battle it out in a steel cage match to see whose woo is strongest. It’s now three years later, and Tiller is back with more ammunition to use to prove whose woo reigns supreme, and all I can say is: Wow, maaaaan! Check out the title: On Understanding the Very Different Science Premises Meaningful to CAM Versus Orthodox Medicine: Part I–The Fundamentals.

You can tell right away that Tiller is going to make stuff up by the very title! Notice how he makes a dichotomy of “very different science premises” needed to be “meaningful” to CAM. In the real world, science is science. Different disciplines of science don’t need “very different science premises” to be “meaningful” to them. The scientific method is the scientific method. There may be different ways of applying the scientific method necessitated by different disciplines and different situations, but certain core principles always remain regardless of the specific scientific discipline, principles such as hypothesis testing and falsification. Not so, apparently, in woo world! You get a flavor of this right from the abstract:

Background: In previous articles by this author and his colleagues in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, it has been shown that physical reality consists of two uniquely different categories of substance, one being electric charge-based while the other appears to be magnetic charge-based. Normally, only the electric atom/molecule type of substance is accessible by our traditional measurement instruments. We label this condition as the uncoupled state of physical reality that is our long-studied, electric atom/molecule level of nature. The second level of physical reality is invisible to traditional measurement instruments when the system is in the uncoupled state but is accessible to these same instruments when the system is in the coupled state of physical reality. The coupling of these two unique levels has been shown to occur via the application of a sufficient intensity of human consciousness in the form of specific intentions. Part II of this article (in a forthcoming issue) explores the thermodynamics of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) through five different space-time applications involving coupled state physics to show their relevance to today’s medicine: (1) homeopathy; (2) the placebo effect; (3) long-range, room temperature, macroscopic-size-scale, information entanglement; (4) explanation for dark matter/energy plus possible human levitation; and (5) electrodermal diagnostic devices. The purpose is to clearly differentiate the use and limitations of uncoupled state physics in nature and today’s traditional medicine from coupled state physics in tomorrow’s CAM.

Conclusions: Existing orthodox science provides the technical underpinnings and mindset for today’s orthodox medicine. Psycho-energetic science will provide the technical underpinnings and mindset for CAM.

Woo. Woooooo.

Notice how Tiller postulates that there is a “second level of physical reality” that can’t be accessed by “traditional” measurement instruments and that this “uncoupled state” can be coupled through human consciousness, specifically “intention.” Also note how cleverly Tiller paints scientific medicine as “today’s medicine.” It’s now, it’s mundane, it’s nothing, whereas to Tiller CAM is “tomorrow’s” medicine. Don’t you get it, you boring old drones doing science-based medicine? You’re way behind the curve. You’re the past; Tiller is the future! Fear him!

Sorry. I’ll settle down. But it’s hard. So hard. Especially when Tiller writes things like:

Today’s orthodox medicine follows the mindset and focus of today’s traditional science, which has a 400-year heritage of probing the nature of Nature!Acornerstone of that heritage, since the days of Descartes, has been the now unstated assumption that, ”No qualities of human consciousness can significantly influence a well-designed target experiment in physical reality.” Thus, science as we know it is a science wherein effects of human consciousness cannot be allowed as a significant variable in the study of Nature’s manifold expressions. Medicine has adopted this same unstated assumption, which is perhaps a useful approximation when dealing with seemingly inanimate objects, but not when dealing with living systems and especially conscious, selfmotivated humans.

A “useful approximation when dealing with seemingly inanimate objects”? What does that mean? Is he implying that it isn’t just living organisms that are alive? It sure sounds that way. That’s not all though. There’s so much more to Tiller’s “alternative” science. So much more. The woo threatens the very fabric of the space-time continuum. The first thing I notice is that Tiller recycles some of the same figures he used in his previous excursion into woo, but he has some new ones too. I particularly like this figure:


What does it mean? who the heck knows? Tiller claims that this is “An energy level diagram embracing both classical physical and ”unseen” vacuum levels of substance.” Based on what evidence? Who knows? But it sure looks pretty. I do like how Tiller calls the “emotion domain substance levels,” “magnetic monopole substance levels” and the “mind-domain substance levels” (the three of which I like to call the woo-super woo lack of substance levels”) are separated from “classical physical reality” by a “forbidden gap.” Together they make up the “vacuum reality,” which to my mind is a pretty accurate description of the space between Tiller’s neurons.

In the meantime, Tiller amuses us with all sorts of very science-y-looking equations peppered throughout the paper as though someone took a dump from 20,000 feet and let it splatter. Normally, I’d be embarrassed that I don’t understand a lot of them anymore. It just goes to show how far I’ve fallen since I last took advanced calculus. It’s hard to believe that I never got anything less than an A in any math class in my life, but that was 25 years ago and, seemingly a lifetime ago. It just goes to show that if you don’t use it, you lose it. On the other hand, I’m comforted by the fact that the math here is easily recognized as pure nonsense, but that doesn’t stop Tiller from constructing elaborate “energy-velocity” diagrams and multiple vector diagrams. Perhaps it’s a good thing that my understanding of advanced calculus has deteriorated to rudimentary. If I understood what I used to understand when I was in college, my brain might fall out of my ears from the screech of mathematics being water-boarded by a mad torturer. I shudder to ask Mark Chu-Carroll about it. In any case, as a scientist I know that mathematical models mean nothing if they have no grounding in reality, and Tiller definitely has no grounding in reality.

Of course, no woo is complete without a reference to “information.” Tiller keeps using that word. I think it does not mean what Tiller thinks it means, at least not in this context. But get a load of how Tiller abuses information theory and relativity at the same time:

However, for the past 60 years,4 it has been known that any process in Nature that increases the information content, I, will automatically decrease the entropy, S. Since the mid- 1800s, it has been known from thermodynamics that the absolute temperature T times the entropy S is comparable to the internal energy E in the over-riding thermodynamic freeenergy function, so an information wave can indeed do work if the conditions are right. Thus, Equation 2a indicates that a serious problem does now exist with relativity theory.

The soundness of Equation 2a conclusion is greatly buttressed by the presence of Equation 2b, which is perhaps the simplest statement of the ”Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle” that just ”drops out” of the same mathematical analysis. Here, Dx is the uncertainty of particle position while Dpx is the uncertainty of particle momentum in the x-direction and h is Planck’s constant.

To solve the dilemma of a massive particle traveling slower than the velocity of light interacting with a mass-wave component traveling faster than the velocity of light, I have postulated the existence of a moiety from the domain of ’emotion’ shown in Figure 2. It is labeled “deltrons”; these act as the coupler in Equation 1 (aeff) with the capability of going both slower than the velocity of light when interacting with the electric field of some substance as well as faster than the velocity of light when interacting with the ”magnetic information field” of a vacuum level substance.

Sounds like science, doesn’t it? “Sounds” is the operative word. It’s really nice to be able to make up new particles like “deltrons” as needed. Now, I bet woo-meisters will retort that physicists make up particles willy-nilly all the time. While it’s true that physicists have postulated the existence of new particles, they’ve done it because of strong experimental evidence showing an anomaly that can’t be explained any other way. Then the existence of those particles were shown to explain experimental and observational evidence. If Tiller wants to postulate the existence of particles like “deltrons,” he really needs–oh, you know–to show that there actually is a “domain of emotion” that can be coupled with “classical physical reality,” which those of us who aren’t woo-meisters call simply reality. That’s the problem with the nasty, reductionist science that we scientists practice. It constrains us, preciousssss.

Not so, Tiller.

Tiller is, however, at least honest in one way. He clearly recognizes that several CAM modalities are so incredibly implausible based on current science that it is not unreasonable to describe them as being indistinguishable from being impossible. Homeopathy comes to mind, as does reiki. For those to be true, huge chunks of very well-settled and well-supported science in multiple disciplines would have to be found wrong. While it’s not impossible for this to happen, it would require a level of evidence somewhere on the order of the evidence supporting all the areas of science that say homeopathy is impossible. We haven’t seen that yet. Tiller takes a different tack. When science says homeopathy and his other favorite forms of woo are impossible, he twists it into a pretzel, makes up a bunch of stuff, and declares science as supporting his woo thusly:

The main point that this author has been trying to make with this article is that traditional medicine and CAM build their practices on two very different aspects of science, and they both need to understand that. I and my colleague’s experimental and theoretical research of the past decade has delineated these differences: (1) there are at least two unique levels of physical substance, not just one, occupying the same general space in our physical bodies but, normally, they are minimally interactive with each other. This leads to our normal, uncoupled state of physical reality; (2) the human acupuncture meridian=chakra system, functioning in the coarsest level of the physical vacuum (in the space between the fundamental electric particles that make up our electric atoms and molecules), is at the coupled state of physical reality; (3) using intention-host devices, one can macroscopically ”condition” a space, the measuring equipment contained within that space and, to some degree, humans occupying that space to the coupled state wherein the two uniquely different kinds of physical substance begin to significantly interact with each other; and (4) the normal, uncoupled state of physical reality is the material medium addressed by most of orthodox medicine while the partially coupled state of physical reality is the material medium addressed by most of CAM.

The theoretical construct, invented by this author to understand the seemingly strange behavior of inorganic, organic, and living materials present in the coupled state of physical reality when human consciousness is utilized as a significant experimental variable, consists of two, reciprocal subspaces, one of which is space-time (D-space) while the other is a wave domain (R-space) with some level of a higher dimensional coupler substance activated. D-space is the home of positive mass and energy, electrically charged particles traveling at velocities slower than c, while R-space is the home of negative mass and energy, magnetically charged information waves traveling at velocities greater than c. When one expresses the thermodynamic behavior of the partially coupled duplex system in equation form, as in Part II, Appendix I, one sees allopathic-like thermodynamics dominating at large values of the intensive variables, homeopathic- like thermodynamics dominating at very small values of these same intensive variables and some combination of both for intensive variable magnitudes in between.

The consequence, of course, is that Tiller’s physics is so different from real physics that–of course!–randomized clinical trials and evidence-based medicine don’t work:

This is a physics and chemistry behavior quite different from that found in traditional science; it is a significant perturbation of that reality. In this world, one cannot expect (1) randomized-controlled medical trials to be a rational strategy for experimentation or (2) evidence-based medicine, gathered by traditional science-based instruments, to access all of the relevant data-streams involved in CAM practices. Today’s problem for CAM is that there appears to be only one measurement instrument available to reliably discriminate between the uncoupled and coupled states of physical reality.

And that, of course, is Tiller’s goal. All of the equations, all of the pretty pictures, all of the contortions of language, all the tables, all the made up constructs, they all serve one purpose and one purpose alone: To produce a string of gobbledygook that can persuade the scientifically illiterate that science doesn’t explain CAM, that randomized controlled trials don’t work for CAM, and that you–yes, you!–can use your “intent” to cure disease.