• Welcome to Phoenix Rising!

    Created in 2008, Phoenix Rising is the largest and oldest forum dedicated to furthering the understanding of, and finding treatments for, complex chronic illnesses such as chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), fibromyalgia, long COVID, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS), and allied diseases.

    To become a member, simply click the Register button at the top right.

Traditional Chinese medicine: Concept of Chi, efficacy etc.

zzz

Senior Member
Messages
675
Location
Oregon
Similarly, I also think the concepts of "wind," "damp" and "heat" found in Chinese herbalism as the basis for explaining diseases are complete garbage...

In particle physics (which is intimately entwined with quantum mechanics), electrons and quarks, the two main component particles of matter, have a nonzero amount of spin. The reason the word "spin" is used is that these particles have an angular momentum, just like any other body that spins. But with electrons and quarks, this angular momentum is intrinsic; the particles don't actually spin. Nevertheless, the word "spin" is used. If these particles actually spun, since the have a spin of 1/2, this means that they would have to go through a rotation of 720° to return to their original orientation. Now this (like much of quantum mechanics) makes no sense at all, and is why the term "spin" has a completely different meaning in quantum mechanics than what we're used to.

Similarly, quarks, which make up all elementary particles except electrons and the Higgs boson, come in six flavors. Needless to say, you cannot taste them. The six flavors are up, down, strange, charm, top, and bottom. These names are not quite meaningless, but they certainly don't mean what we usually associate with these terms. The top and bottom quarks originally had the alternate names of "truth" and "beauty" (the initial letters are the same), but this turned out to be a little much even for the physicists. Quarks are bound together by gluons, which despite their name, are not elementary particles of glue. Quarks and gluons also have colors: red, green, and blue, as well as their opposites. For this reason, the theory that describes the interaction of quarks and gluons is known as quantum chromodynamics (QCD).

Yet none of these names correspond to what we associate them with in our ordinary experience; for example, quarks and gluons don't have any color at all in the sense that we know color. Physicists just needed names for things that had never been described before, and so they picked these.

Similarly, the names used in Chinese medicine for various organ systems and condition may be the same words that we associate with ordinary phenomena, but that is not how they are used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Similar to quantum physics, the developers of this system had no words to describe the phenomena they were studying, so they used ordinary words that conveyed some of the meaning. But "wind" in Chinese (and Tibetan) medicine in no way corresponds to any wind that we would normally experience.

I've mentioned my friend who is currently being treated in Asia. One of the diagnoses she has consistently received is "cold kidneys". Now to a Westerner, this sounds patently ridiculous. Her kidneys are the same temperature as the rest of her body, and her doctors know that. "Cold" here means something very different from its standard meaning, and it is not easy to put into other words. Furthermore, in TCM, "kidneys" do not just refer to the organs we know as kidneys, but to a whole organ system that includes both kidneys as a single unit, as well as the ears, the sense of hearing, and the control of the bones, teeth, nervous system, hair on the head, hair on the reproductive organs, neurological tissue and the brain. So "cold kidneys" is a rather complex condition that has very little to do with the words used to name it.

Meanwhile, she's being treated for cold kidneys (among other things) and getting better, while I'm not.
...just as the European idea of disease being caused by an imbalance in the four temperaments of sanguine, choleric, melancholic and phlegmatic are garbage.

Please note a crucial difference here. The European disease model fell out of favor when a better model was found. The Chinese quickly adapted the parts of Western medicine that were not covered by TCM, but TCM and its underlying theory did not fall out of favor because they were still found to be quite useful.

in this section, "alternative", im only interested in discussing with people who feel the efficacy, of chi etc, is already established, i.e. how can get the best out of it rather than whether it even exists or not. thats not to say that i wouldn't try to answer some general questions etc, but for the most.

The best way to do this is to find a qualified practitioner who has strong control over his or her own chi. Such people are natural healers, and their treatments will generally be more effective than those from practitioners who do not have the same skill in manipulating chi. When I lived in Boston, I had an excellent acupuncturist from China. When I asked him how to find a good acupuncturist for my father in Florida, he told me that the best acupuncturists were the ones who had trained in China for many years. In my experience, I have found this to be true.

Similarly, herbal medicines are traditionally used alongside acupuncture in the treatment of conditions. So finding someone who has trained in China for many years in both acupuncture and the use of herbal medicines (and practices both) would be ideal.

On a personal level, meditation is a practice that helps develop one's own chi; one of the ways this manifests is that meditation is very good for stabilizing the mind. If one has the interest in it, a full spiritual practice is even more powerful than meditation alone. Neither of these will cure ME, of course, but they can help somewhat, and they certainly make it a lot easier to deal with the illness.
 

biophile

Places I'd rather be.
Messages
8,977
I think talk of energy fields etc can be useful when conducting certain exercises, but are old-world models of subjective explorations of the body (a body which essentially follows the laws of biology and physics). There would be processes yet undiscovered about how our body functions, but I don't think the old-world models should be taken too literally.

I disagree that if these subtle energies existed as literally defined they are inherently outside the reach of science. The limits placed on what the scientific method can investigate seem to be based on old world thinking as well.

It is important to attempt to understand the worldview that existed when these concepts or labels such as chi and prana were first developed. In ancient times, anything not detected by the ordinary physical senses were essentially regarded as beyond the ordinary physical world. However, science and technology have vastly enhanced our powers of perception and engineering into areas once deemed beyond the limit of the ordinary physical senses, and some phenomena we can detect and influence now would be considered part of the unseen or spirit world in ancient times.

I tend to think that TCM, yoga, meditation, etc, are similar in status to alchemy. Alchemists made some interesting observations with the tools and knowledge available to them at the time, but the scientific method transformed it into modern chemistry. It could be argued that alchemy also had a major spiritual component but you get the point.

Science and technology have a long way to go and I do not place strict limits on what it can explore or detect. For a long time consciousness was assumed to be beyond the reach of science and limited to philosophy, but this has rapidly changed in my lifetime. It is early days and may take centuries or perhaps even millennia for such investigation to mature, but if you look at how much the scientific method has achieved so far in other areas, you can almost guarantee that science and technology will bring a lot to the table when given enough time with the right tools and methodology.

For some people, physicalist explanations tend to take the special magic out of it. This is not helped by the fact that some physicalists are reductionists with little imagination or sense of wonder for future possibilities, and are dismissive of the goodness that can be experienced with yoga and meditation. However, for others, physicalist explanations are even more wonderful, e.g. knowing what causes a rainbow does not take away any sense of wonder and enhances it.

I guess I'm a physicalist with skeptic tendencies, but I previously spent time fascinated and exploring meditation and yoga and Eastern philosophy, finally concluding that it is in a proto state, should not be taken too absolutely, highly dependent on biology, does not really understand and cannot cure my illness, and if there is anything to it beyond subjective experience, may be within the reach of future science but a lot it would not survive unscathed in the fullness of time and proper investigation.

As for powering an LED from chi, there is a million dollars waiting for him or anyone else if they can demonstrate that in controlled conditions: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_Million_Dollar_Paranormal_Challenge .

Too 'enlightened' to use powers for fame or fortune? It's already on Youtube of all places. Prove generations of smug skeptics wrong, revolutionize science and medicine, and donate the money to charity!
 
Last edited:

Valentijn

Senior Member
Messages
15,786
This is opinion stated as fact, with no supporting evidence. Just as you would want others to show proof of the existence of chi, I think that it is only reasonable that you show proof that the demonstrations you cite are parlor tricks.
Actually the burden of proof is upon the people trying to prove something positive (that something is happening). Trying to prove the negative (that something can't or didn't happen) often borders on impossible, simply because non-scientific concepts are impossible to prove or disprove. Additionally, in a case like this, no one has access to all of the data needed to prove fraudulent behavior.

But this comes to a core problem with concepts like spirituality, chi, faith, homeopathy, and psychosomatic medicine. They do not involve aspects which can be evaluated scientifically and either be proven or disproven. Hence chi is not scientific in any manner.

This is fine and dandy. People are entitled to have their beliefs, and they often benefit from them in some ways. But when people try to claim these beliefs are scientifically valid, they are resoundingly and correctly rejected.
 

zzz

Senior Member
Messages
675
Location
Oregon
I wasn't claiming that those particular demonstrations were true; I have no idea as to their validity. I was simply pointing out that there was insufficient evidence to claim that they were false.

Hence chi is not scientific in any manner.

I would simply say that the existence or nonexistence of chi is not something that can be proven by the current methods of Western science. "Any manner" implies you know all forms of valid science, including those yet to be discovered, which is a bit of a broad claim.

Now I'll admit that homeopathy doesn't make any sense to me scientifically. There's no medicine in that medicine! And the explanations I've seen for homeopathy do not correspond with the known laws of physics, or anything that could be considered logical extensions of them. Nevertheless, I don't know what's going to be discovered in the next thousand years. So I'll be a conservative scientist here and say it's extremely unlikely (p < .000001) that homeopathy will ever found to be scientifically sound.

Of course, Lord Kelvin, who formulated the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics (among many other things), once said in 1899, "Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible. X-rays will prove to be a hoax." And he was one of the best physicists of his time. So it's good to keep an open mind in science.
 
Last edited:

zzz

Senior Member
Messages
675
Location
Oregon
Do people know that quantum mechanics requires the existence of a consciousness that is not governed by the rules of quantum mechanics (i.e., the rules of known science)? This is one of the reasons Niels Bohr said, ""If quantum mechanics hasn't profoundly shocked you, you haven't understood it yet."

Without a consciousness to observe them, particles do not have a defined existence - there is just the Schrödinger wave equation that can be used to predict the probabilities of their being somewhere when someone finally looks (And of course, they're not really particles anyway.) Einstein was abhorred by this idea (along with much of quantum mechanics), which is why he said, “I like to think that the moon is there even if I am not looking at it”. Well it is, as long as someone is looking at it. Or at least some conscious being. Otherwise, its state is defined only by the Schrödinger wave equation (which is not a material object).

Erwin Schrödinger (whom my autocorrect wants to call Scaremongerer), later became so appalled when he realized the implications of what he had wrought with his wave equation that he said of quantum mechanics, "I don't like it, and I'm sorry I ever had anything to do with it". But the Schrödinger equation was correct, and is still routinely used today. Schrödinger later decided that the fundamental construct of the physical universe was the Schrödinger wave, and that the appearance of particles was illusory. There is much evidence for this point of view, though it is inconclusive. It doesn't make quantum mechanics any more palatable, however.

Einstein was proven wrong, as with all his objections to quantum mechanics, and quantum mechanics is the most well-proven theory in all of science. Every single one of its predictions have been proven to be true. And one of the things it proves is that there is at least one phenomenon (consciousness) that lies outside its realm, and which must always lie outside its realm.

For some strange reason, many of the early quantum physicists turned to the very Eastern religions that are regarded as unscientific in this thread. A few quotes from Schrödinger (you can find many more where these are):
Nirvana is a state of pure blissful knowledge... It has nothing to do with the individual. The ego or its separation is an illusion.

The multiplicity is only apparent. This is the doctrine of the Upanishads. And not of the Upanishads only. The mystical experience of the union with God regularly leads to this view, unless strong prejudices stand in the way.

Consciousness is never experienced in the plural, only in the singular. Not only has none of us ever experienced more than one consciousness, but there is also no trace of circumstantial evidence of this ever happening anywhere in the world.

The plurality that we perceive is only an appearance; it is not real. Vedantic philosophy... has sought to clarify it by a number of analogies, one of the most attractive being the many-faceted crystal which, while showing hundreds of little pictures of what is in reality a single existent object, does not really multiply that object...

David Bohm:
Deep down the consciousness of mankind is one. This is a virtual certainty because even in the vacuum matter is one; and if we don't see this, it's because we are blinding ourselves to it.

I would say that in my scientific and philosophical work, my main concern has been with understanding the nature of reality in general and of consciousness in particular as a coherent whole, which is never static or complete but which is an unending process of movement and unfoldment...

The notion that all these fragments are separately existent is evidently an illusion, and this illusion cannot do other than lead to endless conflict and confusion.

Robert Oppenheimer:
In 1933 he learned Sanskrit and met the Indologist Arthur W. Ryder at Berkeley. He read the Bhagavad Gita in the original Sanskrit and later he cited it as one of the books that most shaped his philosophy of life.[52]

Oppenheimer was present at the first atomic bomb test. Upon seeing the unprecedented explosion, he famously and spontaneously remarked, "Now I am become Death [Shiva], the destroyer of worlds." This is a quote directly out of the Bhagavad Gita.

Albert Einstein:
The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. It should transcend personal God and avoid dogma and theology. Covering both the natural and the spiritual, it should be based on a religious sense arising from the experience of all things natural and spiritual as a meaningful unity. Buddhism answers this description. If there is any religion that could cope with modern scientific needs it would be Buddhism.

These quotes are given not to endorse any particular religion or set of religions in general, but to point out that many of the greatest quantum physicists of our time saw no conflict between these religions and their work as quantum physicists. To the contrary, their physics work often inspired them to adopt the views of these religions, which they felt was a natural extension of their work.

If anyone wants to know why quantum physics makes the existence of a consciousness not governed by its rules necessary, I would be happy to explain this in a later post.
 
Last edited:

biophile

Places I'd rather be.
Messages
8,977
As I understand it, the 'observer' in quantum physics does not necessarily have to possess 'consciousness' and can include the instrument taking the measurements. Furthermore, there are different interpretations to the implications of quantum mechanics and the jury is not yet out, and people may also define 'consciousness' differently.

If I recall, Buddhism goes as far as actively encouraging the adoption of scientific discoveries if they conflict with dogma.

Homeopathy may have an unscientific basis, but many of its medical claims can be tested. And the results have not been particularly impressive. Same goes for other alternative treatments, the results can be tested, even if the rationale cannot.
 

zzz

Senior Member
Messages
675
Location
Oregon
As I understand it, the 'observer' in quantum physics does not necessarily have to possess 'consciousness' and can include the instrument taking the measurements.

This is a common misconception. The instrument taking the measurements is subject to all quantum mechanical laws, and therefore it itself remains in an indeterminate state until examined by a conscious observer.
Furthermore, there are different interpretations to the implications of quantum mechanics and the jury is not yet out, and people may also define 'consciousness' differently.

Would you care to elaborate?
f I recall, Buddhism goes as far as actively encouraging the adoption of scientific discoveries if they conflict with dogma.

This is correct; this has been stated by the Dalai Lama, although he uses the phrase "Buddhist philosophy" rather than "dogma".
Homeopathy may have an unscientific basis, but many of its medical claims can be tested. And the results have not been particularly impressive.

This is true. It is my understanding that there are no rigorous tests proving its effectiveness, and many which cast doubt on it.
Same goes for other alternative treatments, the results can be tested, even if the rationale cannot.

This Is also true. The main difference here is that these tests are often more difficult to do then tests of homeopathy. The results of the tests also seem to be more positive than for homeopathy.
 
Last edited:

Hip

Senior Member
Messages
17,910
Do people know that quantum mechanics requires the existence of a consciousness that is not governed by the rules of quantum mechanics (i.e., the rules of known science)? This is one of the reasons Niels Bohr said, ""If quantum mechanics hasn't profoundly shocked you, you haven't understood it yet."

Without a consciousness to observe them, particles do not have a defined existence - there is just the Schrödinger wave equation that can be used to predict the probabilities of their being somewhere when someone finally looks

It is not really true to say that quantum mechanics requires the existence of a consciousness.

The idea that a quantum wave function collapse requires a conscious observer is just one out of many postulated interpretations of quantum mechanics. This conscious observer-induced quantum collapse idea is called the von Neumann interpretation of quantum mechanics.


Furthermore, there are different interpretations to the implications of quantum mechanics and the jury is not yet out, and people may also define 'consciousness' differently.
Would you care to elaborate?

Other interpretations of quantum mechanics also exist in which quantum wave function collapse does not involve consciousness. And furthermore, there are several interpretations of quantum mechanics, such as the well known "many worlds" interpretation, in which quantum wave function collapse is theorized not to happen at all.

See: Wave function collapse

There are also interpretations of quantum mechanics in which the quantum wave function can collapse all on its own, without any observation whatsoever being performed on the quantum wave, neither by a human, nor by a measuring instrument. One example is Sir Roger Penrose's objective reduction interpretation of quantum mechanics. This is a particularly interesting interpretation, because it seems to pave the way for a the long sought after joining of quantum mechanics with general relativity.

At present, it is not known which interpretation is correct.


I used to be very interested in this stuff, but ME/CFS brain fog put an end to my reading this sort of material. I did enjoy the books written by various physicists on the parallels between modern physics and Eastern mysticism.
 

CFS_for_19_years

Hoarder of biscuits
Messages
2,396
Location
USA
It is not really true to say that quantum mechanics requires the existence of a consciousness......

I used to be very interested in this stuff, but ME/CFS brain fog put an end to my reading this sort of material. I did enjoy the books written by various physicists on the parallels between modern physics and Eastern mysticism.

I think you're doing very well. You lost me a long time ago!
 

Hip

Senior Member
Messages
17,910
I think you're doing very well. You lost me a long time ago!

Don't worry. I wouldn't be able to follow this stuff either if I had not read about it before I developed ME/CFS.

Quantum wave function collapse is one of the biggest mysteries in physics.
 

biophile

Places I'd rather be.
Messages
8,977
@zzz I have to admit I am pretty rusty on all these issues, but I did not recall there being such absolute certainty over the specific role of observer and consciousness in quantum mechanics, hence my doubts. A quick search brings me here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interpretations_of_quantum_mechanics

There seems to be just as many interpretations of various aspects to quantum mechanics as there are to CFS. Without spending much more time looking into it and re-reading articles I've collected over the years, I'm not really in a position to state with confidence on issues which professional experts apparently disagree on.
 

zzz

Senior Member
Messages
675
Location
Oregon
It is not really true to say that quantum mechanics requires the existence of a consciousness.

After doing a brief review of the current literature, which I have not done in a while (guess why), I must agree. My original statement was too definitive. I would agree completely with biophile's statement directly above.
The idea that a quantum wave function collapse requires a conscious observer is just one out of many postulated interpretations of quantum mechanics. This conscious observer-induced quantum collapse idea is called the von Neumann interpretation of quantum mechanics.

Yes, I was aware of that. The reason that I wasn't more specific is that a number of the other explanations of quantum mechanics either require the existence of consciousness (see the table in biophile's article), or else have internal inconsistencies. Nevertheless, this does not cover all theories of QM, which is why I must make my retraction.
At present, it is not known which interpretation is correct.

Or even if any of them are! They are still proliferating.

Hence, one of Feynman's most famous quotes:
I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics.

Does anyone here disagree? The problem with the physicalist position is that quantum mechanics doesn't deal with anything that we would recognize as physical. This is what Bohr is referring to in the second quote in my signature, and why he said, as I quoted earlier,
If quantum mechanics hasn't profoundly shocked you, you haven't understood it yet.

An electron is not a particle, nor a wave, nor alternately one or the other. It isn't even an it. As Heisenberg put it,
..the two mental pictures which experiment lead us to form - the one of the particles, the other of the waves - are both incomplete and have only the validity of analogies which are accurate only in limiting cases.

The classical picture that people have of an atom - with electrons circling a nucleus [picture] - was invented by Bohr in 1913. By 1926 it had been discard and replaced with... what?

If you search the Internet, you can find pictures of a hydrogen atom, with the electron represented by a wave function, with different wave functions representing different excited states. But the wave function is not the electron. As for what the electron is, well, nobody knows. And that's just the hydrogen atom. For all heavier elements, the calculations are still so complicated that (at least when I last checked) it was not even possible to make diagrams. Again, from Heisenberg:
The problems of language here are really serious. We wish to speak in some way about the structure of the atoms. But we cannot speak about atoms in ordinary language.

And finally:
Every word or concept, clear as it may seem to be, has only a limited range of applicability.

So down at the quantum level, what exists is nothing that can be accurately described, other than through equations. This is why there are so many interpretations of quantum mechanics; they are all attempts to turn those equations into a reality that we can at least partially understand. The Copenhagen school is the one exception; it essentially says, "Don't even try to understand what's down there." Or as Feynman put it in his inimitable way, referring to the Copenhagen school, "Shut up and calculate."

Some final advice from Feynman:
Don't ask how it can be like that. Nobody knows how it can be like that!
 
Last edited:

xks201

Senior Member
Messages
740
It's not a complicated concept. Chi is just another name for the electrical potential of the body. You have people not generating proper electrical currents due to illness. They have measured energy disparity across the body. Read a book called the body electric.
 

frozenborderline

Senior Member
Messages
4,405
It depends more on the basis by which your form your belief system. You can be diligent, and make efforts to ensure what you believe reflects what is known and demonstrated to exist. Or you can be fanciful, and fill your belief system with whatever beliefs just happen to suit you, or whatever beliefs you personally find life affirming, beautiful, etc.

Many people do like to believe in things which suit them, rather than believe what is known and demonstrated to exist. Nothing wrong with that — after all, it's their belief system, and they can fill it with what ever they want. But it is generally futile to try to have any meaningful scientific discussion with people who believe whatever they fancy, because they have not yet developed their critical facilities, and are thus not good at separating empirical truth from fancy.

There are those who are easily impressed and easily fooled by the parlour tricks designed to make people believe in paranormal powers, like for example the famous levitation trick used by Indian yogis, cunningly devised to con the crowds into believing that the yogi can fly above the ground. Being easily fooled by such tricks is what happens if you are not good at separating truth from fancy.


So regarding vitalism — a concept which incidentally has had a long career in the West as well as China and Asia:

Is there a "vital force" like chi, prana, that permeates all living matter, as vitalism posits? Quite possibility.

Might that supposed vital force, if it does exist, play a role in the demonstrated health benefits of acupuncture? Probably not: it's more likely that the health benefits of acupuncture are mediated by its demonstrated ability to release endorphins in the cerebrospinal fluid, by acupuncture's ability to modulate the autonomic nervous system activation, by its ability to reduce pro-inflammatory cytokines, by acupuncture's ability to reduce the Th1 immune response and boost the Th2 immune response (which incidentally would be a bad thing for viral ME/CFS), and so forth.

Biomedical insight provides a much more fruitful approach to understanding acupuncture, that actually tells you something specific and useful. It tells you for example that we need to be a little cautious about acupuncture, if it has the undesirable effect of boosting the Th2 response in ME/CFS patients.

By contrast, saying something like "acupuncture clears blockages in chi" not only has no measurable empirical basis, but it does not have any practical or medical consequences either. So unless you are one of those people who believe yogis can fly, you need to use your critical facilities in order to separate the wheat from the chaff in acupuncture. Or in anything, for that matter. Biomedical science is not without its chaff either.

I'm not a big believer in New Age stuff, but I do think the debate over vitalism has been very confused for awhile. Is there some demonstrable "vital essence" which exists, that differentiates living matter from inorganic? No, we are made of the same molecular building blocks as non-living matter.

But ideas of thinking about living systems and emergence that prioritize the idea that life is something, even if not a vital essence, are often called "vitalism" even though they are not propagating the unscientific idea of a vital essence.

https://profiles.nlm.nih.gov/ps/access/WGBBKH.pdf
As Szent-gyorgyi says here, life as such does not exist. But the living state does. He speculates that this is because of electron desaturation and proteins acting as conductors due to electron desaturation, in a way that gives the living state a "subtle reactivity".

How does this tie into the discussion here? Well, I think that the idea of "elan vital" may have simply been a useful oversimplification. no such thing exists, but perhaps aspects of respiration and bioenergetics and redox chemistry create a "flow" in such a way that yogis described in their primitive models.

Maybe I'm overstepping the bounds of my knowledge though, but I like to consider the possibility that "folk concepts" are a kind of empiricism in that they are describing and extrapolating from useful experiential knowledge, but of course they are very incomplete.
 

Hip

Senior Member
Messages
17,910
I'm not a big believer in New Age stuff, but I do think the debate over vitalism has been very confused for awhile. Is there some demonstrable "vital essence" which exists, that differentiates living matter from inorganic?

One thing worth mentioning is that life on planet Earth enjoys a constant supply of negentropy, which is an ordering principle. Normally you expect everything to increase in entropy, ie, to go from order to disorder, as the 2nd law of thermodynamics dictates. But in the biosphere of the Earth, entropy actually decreases, which means that you can expect the atoms and molecules to configure themselves in ever increasing states of higher order. Without this supply of negentropy, life could never have evolved, as living forms are highly ordered collections of molecules.

The supply of negentropy on Earth arises because of the way the Earth receives high frequency visible light from the Sun, but the Earth radiates low frequency infrared light back into space. This creates a net reduction in entropy (ie, an increase in negentropy).

There is an article about this here: Evolution and the Second Law.


This is not quite the same thing as vitalism, but it does explain why life on Earth seems to have purpose and direction, evolving to ever-increasing complexity and sophistication. It's the negentropy which is driving that, as it forces an increasing ordering of the biosphere.

I remember the first time I learnt about this negentropy on the Earth I was astounded. I believe I read it in an old book by Gary Snyder, one of the Beat Generation.
 
Last edited:

frozenborderline

Senior Member
Messages
4,405
One thing worth mentioning is that life on planet Earth enjoys a constant supply of negentropy, which is an ordering principle. Normally you expect everything to increase in entropy, ie, to go from order to disorder, as the 2nd law of thermodynamics dictates. But in the biosphere of the Earth, entropy actually decreases, which means that you can expect the atoms and molecules to configure themselves in ever increasing states of higher order. Without this supply of negentropy, life could never have evolved, as living forms are highly ordered collections of molecules.

The supply of negentropy on Earth arises because of the way the Earth receives high frequency visible light from the Sun, but the Earth radiates low frequency infrared light back into space. This creates a net reduction in entropy (ie, an increase in negentropy).

There is an article about this here: Evolution and the Second Law.


This is not quite the same thing as vitalism, but it does explain why life on Earth seems to have purpose and direction, evolving to ever-increase complexity and sophistication. Its the negentropy which is driving that, as it forces an increasing ordering of

I remember the first time I learn about this negentropy on the Earth I was astounded. I believe I read it in an old book by Gary Snyder, one of the Beat Generation.

Gary Snyder's great, i think he's the only one of the beat generation that I really like much... well I like burroughs alright but Snyder writes beautiful poetry, has less self-indulgence than many of that generation, and a really interesting, austere life
 

sb4

Senior Member
Messages
1,663
Location
United Kingdom
@Hip I am not sure on what you think of Pollocks and others work on water, but that suggests that water can skirt the 2nd law of thermodynamic by becoming structured (ordered) through IR light.

If this is true it would help explain why life can exist and why it uses so much water. As far as I understand it, the number of calories we consume is way less than what it is proposed the Na+/K+ pumps use per day. I am writing this off the top of my head but I think gilbert ling said this. It is proposed the cardinal electron absorbers (?) like ATP change structured water between (structured) resting state and (bulk) excited state. So in the stuctured state water automatically uptakes k+ and in the excited state expells it and uptakes Na+. Requiring no pump and no thermodynamic breaking action.

I have also heard that the energy bond between phosphate isn't that high energy and cannot explain the reactions it's supposed to facilitate however if it's action was to change the structuring of water this would make sense.

This is the theory I'm operating under ATM. I haven't rigorously investigated this at all. I am just assuming that it is more correct than the current mainstream theory.
 

Hip

Senior Member
Messages
17,910
@Hip I am not sure on what you think of Pollocks and others work on water, but that suggests that water can skirt the 2nd law of thermodynamic by becoming structured (ordered) through IR light.

I have not come across Gerald Pollack before, but this forum thread says his research is being deliberately misinterpreted.
 
Last edited:

frozenborderline

Senior Member
Messages
4,405
I have not come across Gerald Pollack before, bu this forum thread says his research is being deliberately misinterpreted.
I think his work is unfortunately being used to shill products like "structured water" based on very speculative research that is nonetheless interesting. i think lots of science esp. in odd areas gets seized on by New Age quacks a lot of the time, but his theory and work in general is very interesting, if somewhat speculative. Ling's is too. We can't really judge every theory by its adherents
 

sb4

Senior Member
Messages
1,663
Location
United Kingdom
I have not come across Gerald Pollack before, but this forum thread says his research is being deliberately misinterpreted.
I have read the first comment but am not too impressed by the argument. I am going to push the boat even further out by bringing up Miles Mathis. He is someone that has got very fundamentally differen't views on chemistry and physics, from the mainstream, including how atoms are actually structured. I intend to read more of his stuff at a later time but I somewhat understand his problems with some of mainstream theory. Anyway, I read an interesting article by him on Pollack, where he says he is more right than wrong and in particular his observations are solid yet his theory is lacking. He points out some of the same flaws as the first poster in the link you have provided but then explains how structured water works by effectively channeling charges through H2O without needing H3O2 etc.

Anyway I understand if you think he is too far out there but as debored said, shills guna shill. If water can absorb IR to order itself and this can be used as work then life can operate far closer to 100% efficiency than standard models.