Archive

Archive for October, 2011

Hegde-ache!!

October 25, 2011 Leave a comment

I had earlier referred to one Professor B.M.Hegde, who writes pseudo-scientific articles to the Open Page of the Hindu. He has written another article and again he confirms he has little knowledge about what he is writing.

This time he invokes quantum mechanics to tell us that all of modern medicine is wrong. It is funny how everybody wants to prove modern medicine is wrong. I think responding in detail to the whole article is a waste of time (I already did that once. So I will just list the absurdities of the article, giving a brief comment on it). But this article is interesting on how it invokes quantum mechanics to tell us that we can cure everything with electromagnetic radiation.

Physicists have failed to inform the lay public of the purely mental nature of the universe (man included) and biologists and physicians are yet to understand quantum physics. There is a nice simple book by a Nobel Laureate biologist; Albert-Szent Gyorgyi, Introduction to Submolecular Biology. Today bio-chemistry provides the mechanistic foundation for biomedicine. That branch of science is so out dated that our researchers have no understanding of the molecular mechanisms that truly provide for life. The very word animate comes from the proteins in the genetic chain. They twist and bend like a snake to give us mobility at the molecular level right up to our movements! In truth, quantum properties of matter can influence the biochemical reactions as shown above. It is the invisible forces of electromagnetic energy that keep us alive and all those frequencies like cellphones, microwave ovens, radio frequencies and even the scalar energy affect our DNA, RNA and protein synthesis. Similarly the right frequencies of electromagnetic energy could be used for healing any cell in any organ under any circumstance. We are using such frequencies to treat killer diseases like heart attacks, brain attacks and any other damage in the cells of any organ. An added advantage is that energy signals travel at a phenomenal speed of 1, 86,000 miles per second, while chemical transmission is just one centimetre per second!! While drugs take months to get one back on one’s feet after a major illness, energy healing takes only hours to days!

The above paragraph (emphasis mine) tells us how quantum mechanics is abused by people who don’t know what it is. I don’t understand it much, but I think I can spot its misuse when I see it. Here is an interview of Lawrence Krauss, a physicist, about quantum quackery. He has this to say on quantum effects on a large scale.

We are connected to the world by many things: by light and sound and heat. We do, at subatomic scale, behave quantum mechanically. But we behave like classical objects for a reason: We’re big, we have lots of particles, they interact. All the weirdness of quantum mechanics gets washed out on the scale that we can experience. That’s why we experience a classical world.

Also, looking at Prof.Hegde’s paragraph above, there is no logical pathway from his saying that quantum effects have influence, to saying that electromagnetic waves can cure diseases. No doubt, there is radiation given to the patient in Cancer, but that does not cure her. If what he says is true, why does he not go ahead and discover a cure for AIDS or cancer?

But there are many unsupported and wrong claims in his article:

1. Atoms are made out of invisible energy; not tangible matter. Quantum physics speaks a strange language of “now you see it, now you don’t.” Each atom or molecule has its own unique energy signature. Everything in this world, including you and me, radiates our unique energy signature.

How doe he know every atom has a unique energy structure. Can he cite some paper establishing this? Even so, it is also probable that every human being has a unique body odour. So what?

2. Further studies have shown that any drug we give helps only because of the faith the patient has got in the doctor (placebo) and the drug has only side-effects! This earth-shaking discovery was made recently in a multi-centric study in the four leading universities. (Science Translational Medicine March 2011).

Every medicine is tested even for placebo effects. So I don’t see how this is possible. Moreover the statement is just stupid because it talks about any medicine, as if they have tested all the medicines known to us. Garbage.

3. Biological systems like man are redundant. This redundancy makes the same signal to be used in multiple places in the body to achieve many things economically with varied behavioural functions. This was the fallacy of our old reductionist model where we thought one defect one effect and one drug molecule to rectify it. That is why nature has just given us 25,000 genes. One gene could look after so many functions. In addition, we have trillions of genes acquired from a multitude of germs that have become a part of us over millions of years and they live a symbiotic existence, the so called human meta-genome. When we disturb the germs inside us, we fall sick! This shows how foolish our expensive search for genetic modelling and genetic engineering, including stem cell research is.

This time, he wants to completely stop genetic therapy research, including stem cell research. If so, then how does he explain this list of genetic disorders.

4. Physicists have failed to inform the lay public of the purely mental nature of the universe (man included) and biologists and physicians are yet to understand quantum physics.

“Mental nature of the universe”?? What *!#%?? Just because matter and energy are interchangeable does not mean, matter suddenly becomes mental. They both are firmly physical phenomena. I agree with the second part thought, but he should begin with educating himself on quantum mechanics.

Then on, he goes completely off rails.

5. Living organisms must receive and interpret environmental signals in order to survive. The signals reach the single cells through their antenna in the cell wall. So our connection with the outside world is through the cell wall, our true brain. The environmental signals are our true saviours, God if you like (Bruce Lipton). When this signal dies, organism dies only to enter another shell to be reborn!

There you go. Reincarnation proven in less than 100 words. Somebody nominate him for a Nobel, please.

6. Eastern wisdoms like Ayurveda, Tibetan medicine, Chinese medicine and many other systems adopted quantum physics eons ago and their ideas of energy channels in the human body are now proving to be highly scientific. We condemned the whole lot of them as unscientific mainly because of the pressures from the drug and instrument lobbies.

Oh yes, did you all get that? All the traditional medicines knew of quantum mechanics all along. I am sure they know the origin of dark matter and dark energy too, but are just kept as well-guarded secrets, to ensure that the scientists are kept employed. Moreover, the evil drug companies prevented people from understanding the true science behind Ayurveda, Tibetan Medicine and Chinese Medicine. I am surprised he left out Homeopathy.

7. Instead of understanding human physiology properly, modern medicine created the monsters of “killer diseases” which are nothing but deviations in physiology and behaviour from some hypothetical norm as unique disorders and dysfunctions. The gullible public thinks that they are all killer diseases, thanks to the 24X7-hour advertisements. Let us understand the human being and try and set the deranged cell frequencies with suitable alternatives to get man back on his feet.

If you look at his picture here, you will see that he wears glasses. I wonder why he could not restore his normal eye sight using frequencies.

The point he tries to make is simple. He is the only smart one. The rest of us are gullible idiots. It has all got to do with the frequencies. Everything else is useless. The next time, you see someone making all sorts of weird dance movements, don’t be surprised. It could probably be just Professor Hegde, who is moving his body to generate the exact vibration needed to cure his flu.

Advertisements
Categories: Medicine

One of the early brains??

October 22, 2011 Leave a comment

I recently saw this article, written by Carl Zimmer, who writes a blog called The Loom. This was about Slime Molds. These are organisms that appear to be similar to fungi. But as is mentioned in another article, they are different from Plants, Animals, bacteria and fungi. The articles themselves are very interesting and worth a read, but I wanted to share with you an interesting piece of research done on these organisms.

One type of Slime Molds is the Physarum Polycephalum. After reading the articles, and doing more googling, I learnt that these organisms are regularly used in classrooms because they are easy to study. This Physarum, is actually one single cell. As we were told in our biology class, a cell has a nucleus. But the Physarum, has many nuclei, inside its one cell. It is in essence many cells, but without cell boundaries. At the beginning of its life there will be only one nucleus inside the cell. Thereafter, it continuously reproduces, and keeps adding nuclei and thereby grows.

Physarum Polycephalum. Pic by Jerry Kirkhart(http://flickr.com/people/33466410@N00)

They are simple organisms, and so when we see one, we would not give it much respect. But would you believe that they have what could have been the precursors of  a brain. These organisms are known to solve puzzles, conquer mazes and so on. But today, we will see its capacity to remember and recollect. If you think that is not surprising, remember that it is just a single cell, without a brain or any advanced organs. The fact that have a rudimentary form of memory was discovered by some researchers in Japan. Wanting to see what they had done, I looked at the original paper they published.

Physarum prefers humid and dark areas for it to grow. So these researchers put it on a plate, and directed its growth onto a narrow lane, so that they could accurately measures its growth. They did at a temperature of 26 degrees and a humidity of 90%. These were the conditions for an hour, after which, for a brief period of 10 minutes, they reduced the temperature to 23 degrees and humidity to 60%. During these 10 minutes, they noticed that the growth of the organism had slowed down. Once the 10 minutes were over, they reverted the temperature and humidity to the original values of 26 degrees and 90% and consequently the organism too resumed its normal growth rate. After the second hour, they again changed the environment for 10 minutes and brought it back to the original values. They repeated this a third time. And all three times, the growth went down during those 10 minute intervals.

What happened next was what is surprising. At the end of the fourth hour, when the temperature and humidity should have been reduced a fourth time, the scientists did nothing. They just continued with the environment as it was. But the physarum, anticipating another 10 minute period of unfavourable environment, reduced its growth, even though the environment did not change. Think of that!! How could a single celled organism, measure the duration, remember it and anticipate a change in environment?

Not just that. After the initial three stimulations, the scientists kept quiet for 5 hours. At this stage, the physarum stopped anticipating the hourly change and continued to grow as usual even at the end of an hour. But at the end of the 8th hour, by which time the physarum had apparently forgotten the whole thing, the scientists again changed the environment. Now the physarum, with its previous experience, started anticipated this change in the 9th hour, when the scientists again stayed away from doing anything. This also showed that they could recall what they learnt previously, since with just one intervention in the 8th hour, there was no information that the scientists will again intervene after another hour. They could have got this information only from past experience.

Time What the scientists did How the Physarum reacted
End of hour 1 Change environment Reduced Growth
End of hour 2 Change environment Reduced Growth
End of hour 3 Change environment Reduced Growth
End of hour 4 Nothing Anticipatory reduction of growth
End of hour 5 Nothing Anticipatory reduction of growth
End of hour 6 Nothing Normal Growth
End of hour 7 Nothing Normal Growth
End of hour 8 Change environment Reduced Growth
End of hour 9 Nothing Anticipatory reduction of growth

This clearly shows, that they could recall what they had previously stored. But, they do not have any sort of brains the way we have. There is some speculation in the paper as to how such periodicity could exist in the cell. But, whatever the cause is, it is the result of a very basic chemistry that happens in their cells. We do not know how they do it.

More on the faster-than-light neutrinos

October 10, 2011 3 comments

I had previously mentioned the news that an experiment in CERN has suggested that some neutrinos are travelling faster than light. If you want some perspective on it, you can refer to two articles, one by Victor Stenger and another by Sean Carroll, both physicists and popular writers.

The beauty of the whole thing is that the experimenters themselves admit that they could be wrong. That is one of the strengths of science. The process involves looking at all results skeptically, and look for evidence. Ask for confirmation and re-check. Science actively works at proving others wrong and thus, what we end up with is only those ideas that have withstood numerous attempts at falsification. That is what makes it such a good method of acquiring knowledge.

Back to the topic, both the authors are saying that the result is probably the result of a systematic error, but also add that even if such a violation was confirmed to be true, it will not disprove Einstein much.  I learnt something there that I didnt know before. It seems, Einstein only says that you cannot make a particle travel at the speed of light, but if some particle is already travelling at the speed of light or more from the beginning(?), that does not violate Einstein’s equations.

Einstein’s equations fully allow for particles to travel faster than light — provided they never travel slower. Physicists have speculated about such objects for years. They are called tachyons. Many searches have been conducted, with no significant signals until now.

Einstein showed that it was impossible to accelerate a particle moving less than the speed of light (in a vacuum) to the speed of light or higher. Similarly, a tachyon cannot be decelerated to or below the speed of light. Only massless particles, such as photons, travel at exactly the speed of light.

Says Victor Stenger and continues:

So, if confirmed, the reported result from CERN or any future observation of superluminal motion will not lead to the overthrow of Einstein’s theory of relativity. Its significance will be to overthrow the distinction between cause and effect. At the worst, Einstein might be faulted for taking causality a little too seriously.

How does this happen? Let us try this simple thought experiment. Imagine that a ball could be thrown at a speed faster than the speed of light. Imagine a scenario similar to something as seen below. A is throwing a ball at B and the whole process is observed by E.

Can effects precede causes?

Let red line be the path of the ball from A to B. Since as per our assumption, the ball travels faster than the speed of light. Let us assume that this motion from A to B takes 9 seconds (note that B is very close to E).

Let the green line be the line of vision of E looking at A throwing the ball. This information needs to reach E for him to know that A has thrown the ball. Let us assume this takes 10 seconds (less than the nine seconds of the ball since the ball is travelling faster than the speed of light).

Let the purple line be the line of vision of E looking at B receiving the ball. Since B is very close to E, this information reaches E in just half a second.

Now you can see what happens. Once the ball leaves A’s hands, it reaches B in 9 seconds. The information that B has caught the ball reaches E in half a second. That is, E sees B receiving the ball in 9.5 seconds. But the information of A having thrown the ball, reaches E only at 10 seconds. So, to E, it appears that the cause, A throwing the ball, appears after the effect, B catching the ball. This is the problem with superluminal objects.

But then again, Sean Carroll, in another post, argues that even faster than light particles will not violate cause and effect relationship. Frankly, it is all over my head. But there is one thing that I firmly understand.

The universe is positively weird.

Note: For more details on the experiment, you can also look at this webcast from CERN where the scientists have presented their findings. I am yet to watch it, it is almost 2 hours long.