Saturday, May 20, 2006

Take your HoloCreations to the level of the ridiculous!

If you were deathly bored or confused by my quantum posts, perhaps you'd be more excited learning How You Can Use HOLOGRAPHIC CREATION to Easily Manifest Your Desires, even if you lack Visualizing Skills!

If you're a physicist who appreciated the attempt to break down the tricky but fascinating tenets of quantum, despite the fact that my lack of math knowledge was palpable, reward yourself by learning How a simple change in the way you think about time and space makes it easier to create what you want (Chapter 13), How to get yourself into the "Harmonic Zone" of Creation even when you don’t feel like it! (Chapter 12), and How to improve the lives of millions through taking your Extreme HoloCreations to the level of the ridiculous! (Chapter 11).

If you're a philosopher who's steamed that I tried to provide a clear, if simplified, lay analysis rather than waving my hands at the difficulty and ambiguity of subatomic mechanics, perhaps you'd prefer to Actually Learn how to Create Baby Holograms of your desires out of light and sound, and then learn how to send these Baby Holograms into the soil of the Universe where they will grow into Full-Size Holograms that you will meet in Physical Existence!

If you enjoy false dichotomies, you may be pleased to know that Either this is a universe with a purpose, or this is a universe without a purpose. This book is for those who know the universe has a purpose!

Yes, it appears that if you're unwise enough to send emails referring to such things as "superfluid vortices," Gmail with reward you with a sidebar ad entitled "Quantum Mechanics and You? How You Can Master Quantum Time To Gain Extreme Wealth And Success!" The word "quantum," here, is of course worse than meaningless, especially in the context of "mastering quantum time." For one thing, the difficulty of observing (let alone mastering!) quantum anything is part of the reason quantum mechanics is so fabulously slippery. For another, there's not really any such thing as "quantum time." Still, this could have been little more than a semantic quibble, just an objection to the uninitiated using technical terminology (in the same vein as "dammit, Scott Bakula was not making quantum leaps!"). But they're selling this snake oil, and it doesn't come cheap. You can get a Personal HoloCreation Consultation for $50 per half hour ($90 for a full hour), and then there's the book, priced at a very reasonable $28.19:
P.S. - I Create Reality: "Beyond Visualization" How to Manifest Your Heart's Desires With Holographic Creation will be priced at $49. I can't guarantee how long the introductory price of $28.19 will last, so act now!

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In other words, even if you have to spend 50 bucks on this miscarriage of science, you need it, because otherwise you'll never do anything with your life... oh, and by the way, join our pyramid scheme.

Orac at Respectful Insolence posted a while ago about "celebrity nutritionist" Don Lemmon, who has gotten filthy rich off of hawking "internal cleansers," "fat burners," and "glandular therapy complex" (which is just what it sounds like). In response, he got a slew of gland-addled gullibles pointing out that, in essence, "Don Lemmon is buffer than you, QED." (This is very close to one of my favorite fallacies, argumentum ad baculum -- nothing to do with Bakula this time.) And I'm sure someone could point out that this Quantum Time Master is better at Creating Baby Holograms than I am -- I certainly wouldn't argue. But whether or not the person embodies their own tenets isn't the issue. This isn't Bill Bennett's gambling problem. The issue is that these people use incomplete science as a false justification for their extortionist activities. They are literally trading on public ignorance.

It's one thing to misrepresent your activities as science-based for fun; it's quite another to do it for profit. I made a comment on Orac's post to the effect that nobody cares what nonsense you believe in your spare time; it's when you start raking in dough from the weaker-minded that science fans and rational thinkers get pissed. Just ask Penn and Teller. Is there jealousy at work here, as Lemmon's minions [m]indicate? Well, sure these pseudoscience barons are probably richer than we are; preying on the ignorant has always paid more than trying to forward the cause of knowledge. But it's not like we're actually coveting those dirty dollars. We just don't like seeing people kept ignorant just because it's lining someone else's pocket.

I don't blame Google, though. They could have linked the ad to emails about "not knowing what to do with my life" or "personal stagnation" or "too few holographic mindbabies." Instead they evidently linked it to phrases like "superfluid vortices," thus ensuring that the people who saw the ad would probably be immune to its pseudoscientific posturing. If only everyone were doing their part to make sure such travesties remain as good inside jokes for the knowledgeable, instead of money pits for the dumb.


Nick said...

If you liked that you should check out the amazing Quantum Prayer System. It will apparently, "correct any imbalanced frequencies within your energy matrix," among other things. It's fun because they make completely nebulous claims about what their "service" does, and yet they also gradually disclaim essentially any verifiable benefit. I also have no idea what this has to do with anything "quantum".

...or you could just go learn about how the Ark of the Covenant was actually superconducting.

5/20/2006 11:05 PM  
jess said...

These are FANTASTIC. Even better examples of what I was talking about than the quantum holobabies.

For anyone who doesn't want to click on the links for fear of melting eyeballs/frontal lobe, here's the short version:

The Quantum Prayer System is "The most comprehensive look inside your body/mind, using fractal interface with your superconscious...A Quantum Physics technology which uses subtle energies to communicate with you. This technology operates in the subtle/spiritual realm, connecting with your energetic matrix."

The Ark of the Covenant, because of its superconductivity, "had to be treated with kid gloves, and in fact anyone approaching it without being in 'resonance with it' (i.e. having ingested some of the ORME itself, and thus acting as superconductors to some degree themselves), they were very likely to be destroyed by a magnetic Meissner Field flux collapse." In this guy's defense, a cursory examination of his comically misdesigned site points to his being more of the "harmless crazy" type. There's a lot of pseudoscientific religious conspiracy, but he doesn't seem to be hawking books or services.

Unlike the Quantum Prayer System guys. I guess it wasn't really fair to pick on poor Mr. Mindbabies, with his $50 books, when other charlatans are doing this.

5/21/2006 2:32 AM  
NIck said...

Ok, so I can't take credit for the Halexandria site on the superconducting Ark of the Covenant. Dan D. actually ran across that site while doing research for a paper he was writing when he was talking a class on superconductivity.

I agree with what you said before, though; people can believe any damn fool thing they want, it's only when they start bilking other people out of their money and/or duping people into thinking what they're doing is science (when in actuality it bears no resemblance) that I get upset.

I hadn't noticed that price sheet for the quantum prayer system. Wow! I did notice on the testimonials page they do seem to have some explanation of what's "quantum" about this system:

"Quantum Threory

1. Everything happens in small quantities
2. There is uncertainty in these actions
3. Every electron change makes a photon change and vice versa
4. Time + Space are relative
5. Our minds can effect a quantum state"

Hmm...I don't think these are quite the postulates of quantum mechanics you'll find an any of my textbooks. :-) And they even throw in the old "affect" vs. "effect" mistake to make the heads of the English teachers in the audience explode.

5/21/2006 10:51 AM  
Laura said...

Ooh ooh! I like this new way of learning science--the nutjob bullet point method.

Evolutionary Theory:

1. There was some ooze or something
2. Little amoebas ate all the ooze
3. Amoebas became dinosaurs
4. Apes killed the dinosaurs
5. Your uncle is a monkey

I am so going to teach like this once I have classes again.

5/21/2006 1:04 PM  
jess said...

I will give them credit for one thing, and one thing only: that's actually the correct usage of "effect." Because they don't mean that we can influence a quantum state; they mean we can create one. At least that's the impression that I get.

This list actually reminds me of the Underpants Gnomes on South Park. "Step one, everything happens in small quantities. Step two... Step three, profit!" The first four tenets are not completely wrong, but they just have nothing whatsoever to do with the last one. Fallacy of juxtaposition, my friends -- just because you can put the statements near each other doesn't mean they're related.

Laura, the problem with your nutjob bullet points is that they're not supporting a nutjob theory! (Although it is a pretty good reduction of IDers apparent understanding of evolution.) In the spirit of the Underpants Gnomes, I propose this digested version of Dembski's ID:

1. Organisms adapt to their environments.
2. Some transitional fossils are still lacking.
3. Many animals have eyes.
4. God did it.

5/22/2006 12:14 AM  
Lynne said...

This is my favorite line:

"And considering the typical careful and thoughtful planning of the Knights Templar, it’s unlikely they would have relocated the Ark anywhere but in an extradimensional space-time."

5/22/2006 12:25 AM  

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