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Thread: What the bleep do we know

  1. #1

  2. #2
    That's copyrighted material, no?

  3. #3

    Re: What the bleep do we know

    Quote Originally Posted by will




    Gassho
    Hey Will,

    Thanks for the link (besides the copyright issues !).

    You had no way to know this, but that movie has been the object of my wrath for years.

    It is, first, a prime example of pseudo-science and a bit of legitimate science twisted and misused in the cause of New-Agey and so-called "Eastern" religions. Many of the scientists appearing in that movie did not know that their quotes would be used in that way, or found their comments edited to convey the wrong impression. Other "scientists" in the film have highly questionable credentials. I believe there has been litigation about it ...

    Scientists who have reviewed What the Bleep Do We Know!? have described distinct assertions made in the film as pseudoscience.[20] Amongst the concepts in the film that have been challenged are assertions that water molecules can be influenced by thought,[5] that meditation can reduce violent crime rates,[10] and that quantum physics implies that "consciousness is the ground of all being." The film was also discussed in a letter published in Physics Today that challenges how physics is taught, saying teaching fails to "expose the mysteries physics has encountered [and] reveal the limits of our understanding." In the letter, the authors write "the movie illustrates the uncertainty principle with a bouncing basketball being in several places at once. There's nothing wrong with that. It's recognized as pedagogical exaggeration. But the movie gradually moves to quantum 'insights' that lead a woman to toss away her antidepressant medication, to the quantum channeling of Ramtha, the 35,000-year-old Atlantis god, and on to even greater nonsense." It went on to say that "most laypeople cannot tell where the quantum physics ends and the quantum nonsense begins, and many are susceptible to being misguided," a situation which the authors attribute to how in the current teaching of quantum mechanics "we tacitly deny the mysteries physics has encountered."
    http://www.aip.org/pt/vol-59/iss-11/p14.html
    Also:

    http://csicop.org/si/2004-09/review.html

    http://skeptico.blogs.com/skeptico/2...he_bleep_.html

    Second, the movie was sponsored by a rather bizarre cult, fronted by the woman who appears in the film, all without disclosing that fact ... and was basically intended as a propaganda piece and money maker for that cult.


    Bleep was conceived and its production funded by William Arntz, who co-directed the film along with Betsy Chasse and Mark Vicente all of whom are students of Ramtha's School of Enlightenment. ...

    Ramtha (a.k.a. JZ Knight)

    Ramtha is a 35,000 year-old spirit-warrior who appeared in JZ Knight’s kitchen in Tacoma, Washington, in 1977. Knight claims that she is Ramtha’s channel. She also owns the copyright to Ramtha and conducts sessions in which she pretends to go into a trance and speaks Hollywood’s version of Elizabethan English in a guttural, husky voice. She has thousands of followers and has made millions of dollars performing as Ramtha at seminars ($1,000 a crack) and at her Ramtha School of Enlightenment, and from the sales of tapes, books, and accessories (Clark and Gallo 1993). She must have hypnotic powers. Searching for self-fulfillment, otherwise normal people obey her command to spend hours blindfolded in a cold, muddy, doorless maze. In the dark, they seek what Ramtha calls the ‘void at the center.’

    Knight says she used to be “spiritually restless,” but not any more. Ramtha from Atlantis via Lemuria has enlightened her. He first appeared to her, she says, while she was in business school having extraordinary experiences with UFOs. She must have a great rapport with her spirit companion, since he shows up whenever she needs him to put on a performance. It is not clear why Ramtha would choose Knight, but it is very clear why Knight would choose Ramtha: fame and fortune, or simple delusion.

    Knight claims to believe that she's lived many lives. If so, one wonders what she needs Ramtha for: she's been there, done that, herself, in past lives. She ought to be able to speak for herself after so many reincarnations.

    http://skepdic.com/ramtha.html
    Now, why does this concern me so?

    We Zen folks are in an area of Practice and philosophy that often is mixed up with "New Age" beliefs and other examples of cosmic hocus-pocus and fluff. In Zen Practice, if you can't taste it for yourself after a time, and if it really seems to go against reason ... DON'T believe a word.

    I do not think that modern science has "all the answers", and I believe that in future centuries, folks will laugh at many of our beliefs as being "quaint", just as we chuckle at folks of centuries past. I also have criticized being too reliant on modern science as the explanation for all things. I am even writing a book related to this. But, even so ...

    ... if science cannot test a proposition under the "scientific method", there is no basis to assert its truth as "supported by science" (this is the policy I am trying to follow in the book I am writing]. All manner of ridiculous claims can be made with little evidence, no testing and a great deal of wishful thinking ... and science is not about that. I am a Zen Buddhist because I believe there is nothing about our philosophy that involves anything more than new ways of looking at things that can be experienced first hand.

    One will find little room for pseudo-science, quackery, hocus-pocus, Buddhas in the Sky and other silliness around Treeleaf Sangha.

    Let me know right away if you ever do.

    This is so important a topic, that I will discuss it on the "sit-a-long" netcast today as well.

    Gassho, Jundo the Skeptic
    Last edited by Jundo; 11-24-2012 at 04:58 PM.

  4. #4
    Today's talk on "Sit-a-Long with Jundo" ties into this subject ...

    http://treeleafzen.blogspot.com/2008/03 ... -xxiv.html

  5. #5
    Reminds me of my ideas about another film 'The secret' that I've not seen but heard all sorts about. Scary people out there :?

  6. #6
    Ah, "The Secret" ... yes, that's another one ...

    I did a little talk on that one too. It will save you the price of purchase ...

    http://treeleafzen.blogspot.com/2007/05 ... -viii.html

    (pardon the pace of my speaking ... it was a --very-- mellow morning)

    Gassho, Jundo

  7. #7
    I had to watch - I love pseudoscience, its makes such great entertainment. And knowing the back story makes it even better! I wish a 35,000 year old spirit warrior would appear in my kitchen... and do the dishes. I feel profound compassion for people that fall for this stuff

    Someone needs to take a physics 101 course... observing with reflected light hitting your retina is not quite the same as measuring... IIRC it's introducing energy into the system (by measuring with some device) that causes the wave function to collapse. Interesting connection to simultaneously true perspectives though.

    I watch a fun show on Vision TV (the local pan-religious channel) called Enigma, it has all kinds of mediums, conspiracies, UFOs, crazy new-age stuff, but with a dollop of skepticism. I didn't know Houdini was the force behind revealing the mediums of the time to be a big hoax - Scientific American was on the verge of giving someone a prize for communicating with the dead before Harry outed her!!

    Skye

  8. #8
    It is, first, a prime example of pseudo-science and a bit of legitimate science twisted and misused in the cause of New-Agey and so-called "Eastern" religions. Many of the scientists appearing in that movie did not know that their quotes would be used in that way, or found their comments edited to convey the wrong impression. Other "scientists" in the film have highly questionable credentials. I believe there has been litigation about it ...
    :!: Good call Jundo :!: I could not have said it better. I had to watch and debate this movie for a reasoning and logical argument philosophy class... we 'ripped it a new one'.

  9. #9
    Ten warning signs regarding people involved in/with a potentially unsafe group/leader.

    2. Individual identity, the group, the leader and/or God as distinct and separate categories of existence become increasingly blurred. Instead, in the follower's mind these identities become substantially and increasingly fused.

    http://www.rickross.com/warningsigns.html
    :shock: Uh-oh! RED FLAG! Haha

  10. #10
    Well, the rest apply to Jundo the Guru too ... except the one about "financial disclosure" since we don't collect any money ...

    # Absolute authoritarianism without meaningful accountability.[NOTES from Jundo the Guru]

    # No tolerance for questions or critical inquiry. [This one only applies to questions from Harry]

    # No meaningful financial disclosure regarding budget, expenses such as an independently audited financial statement.

    # Unreasonable fear about the outside world, such as impending catastrophe, evil conspiracies and persecutions. [I guess I failed to mention that part. Tune in to tomorrow's netcast.]

    # There is no legitimate reason to leave, former followers are always wrong in leaving, negative or even evil. [or never seen again]

    # Former members often relate the same stories of abuse and reflect a similar pattern of grievances. [or come back]

    # There are records, books, news articles, or television programs that document the abuses of the group/leader. [soon]

    # Followers feel they can never be "good enough". [None of you are 'good enough']

    # The group/leader is always right. [I can't emphasize this enough!!]

    # The group/leader is the exclusive means of knowing "truth" or receiving validation, no other process of discovery is really acceptable or credible. [I will trade validation for cash or sex]

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    # Absolute authoritarianism without meaningful accountability.

    # No tolerance for questions or critical inquiry.

    # No meaningful financial disclosure regarding budget, expenses such as an independently audited financial statement.

    # Unreasonable fear about the outside world, such as impending catastrophe, evil conspiracies and persecutions.

    # There is no legitimate reason to leave, former followers are always wrong in leaving, negative or even evil.

    # Former members often relate the same stories of abuse and reflect a similar pattern of grievances.

    # There are records, books, news articles, or television programs that document the abuses of the group/leader.

    # Followers feel they can never be "good enough".

    # The group/leader is always right.

    # The group/leader is the exclusive means of knowing "truth" or receiving validation, no other process of discovery is really acceptable or credible.
    weeeeelllll...that about sums up the marriage to my first hubby! Except, there weren't really any books, news articles, tv programs about him but he thought they were ALL about him so we were often forced to wear tin foil crowns and hide underground.... :? :? :? (oh, you think I JOKE?? The man was a nut job...)

    OK..that might be in the TMI category.... 8)

    [TMI=too much information]

  12. #12
    Hey I heard of this show. I think. I never saw it. Isn't this the one that would use some poor unsuspecting, geeky physicist to talk about quantum mechanics and then use that to make some wacked claim.

    Poor scientist: The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle states that you don't know where a particle is and its momentum at the same time.

    Mysterious voice over: Therefore, monkeys can fly out of your ass.

    :lol:

  13. #13

  14. #14
    Those guys are hilarious, thanks for the link Rev. What gets me about this stuff is how crass and materialistic it is... yeah, getting that new bike, or more money, or whatever is really gonna make you happy... just feeds this sense of entitlement and victimhood that drives me nuts!!

  15. #15
    That youtube clip was very funny Rev R.

    Is it just me, but I can't for the life what is spiritual about just wanting lots of things :roll:

    I can guess what Bush asked for and it wasn't world peace :lol:

    Gassho, Kev
    send me all your money

  16. #16
    What gets me about this stuff is how crass and materialistic it is... yeah, getting that new bike, or more money, or whatever is really gonna make you happy... just feeds this sense of entitlement and victimhood that drives me nuts!!
    The basis is not just thoughts become things, but if you become more positive in your life, say what you want not what you don't want, your life will begin to change. Throughout the video there are many references to being happy with what you have. Being grateful for what you have. There are many references to being positive. Meditating etc.

    Anyway

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3qyb9sv28w[/video]]

    Gassho

  17. #17
    Well that's not what I saw on the parts of the DVD I watched, I saw people using their "positive thinking" to get more money, a new bike, fancy jewelry, parking spaces...

  18. #18
    Hi Will

    Well that bloke on the latest link spoke alot more sense atleast.

    Some trainiing I just went on talked about filtering and editing. We all tend to 'filter' for certain things without knowing it. We may filter to notice only the pain we have in a certain place but be oblivious to the other 95% of our body that is pain free and healthy. We get a new car that seems unique to us and then suddenly we see them everywhere.
    We can choose what we filter so we can filter for positive things if we want rather than negative. It's sort of like that old glass half full or half empty thing but we do actually have a choice of which way we want to see it.

    Also in a similar way we edit our events/days/lives depending on our out look. One minor event that upsets us can 'make' us forget/edit a whole day of live enhancing things that have happened. If we want to we can edit out the less enhancing events and see our life as very different.

    I like his take on blame/guilt. Your aren't necessarily to blame but once you realise the above ways of thinking and take responsibility for what you choose to think about a situation you can filter/edit in a posiitve way and move on.

    Don't see any real relationship to Buddhism or zazen though. I'd say in zen we are recognising all of the above situations, accepting them but not getting hung up on either the 'positive' or 'negative' . The reality that faces is us is both in whatever balance; to focus soley on either is possibly unhealthy.

    In gassho, Kev

  19. #19
    Just to add to the above that we have to be wary that things are always only from our perspective anyway (unless in a momnet of enlightenment?). We see things a based on our experience of things/life/activites others with other experiences will see it differently. Even when we think we are being objective.

    I was having this discussion with a mate in our band and he found it hard to accept until I said 'look at it this way if we both went to see a guitar band and 'report' on it, I would say blah blah blah but he, as a guitarist would describe the band/set up etc totally differently. If he went to a didge event he would not see/hear the same things as me as he doesn't have the same knowledge/experience as me in that area.'

    Even when we think we are being as objective as possible we are being only that, as objective as it is possible for us to be in that situation.

    I guess it's only the truely objective view (enlightened view) where all views are different but also one view?

    I'll stop rambling now.

    Kev

  20. #20

  21. #21
    Hi,

    The fellow on the latest "The Secret" video is obviously downplaying what the book offers into just "the power of positive thinking". We can all agree with that of course!

    But that is not the promise that is being peddled to the public in this modern version of snake oil, nor is the "secret" of "The Secret" claimed to be just "positive thinking" ... it is much more than that.

    I refer to another article from the organization I cited ... a "consumer's union" against peudo-spiritual, quack-medical and scientific frauds:

    SPECIAL REPORT
    Secrets and Lies
    MARY CARMICHAEL and BENJAMIN RADFORD

    Last year, Rhonda Byrne discovered the secret of the universe. It is based on a principle of quantum mechanics and lies in a force with direct physical effects on matter. If you’re thinking it’s odd that such a momentous discovery hasn’t been publicized—surely it deserves at least a journal article or two?—you clearly haven’t been spending much time in the self-help section of your local bookstore, where Byrne’s new book is found. Tantalizingly titled The Secret, it’s probably the most slickly marketed idea to draw on quantum physics in all of history. Alas, though, it won’t be appearing in Science or Nature. “The Secret,” it turns out, is a lie.

    Propelled by the gushing enthusiasm of Oprah Winfrey and a clever advertising campaign, The Secret has topped the best-seller lists and moved nearly two million copies to date. The book has a companion DVD film, whose “hidden knowledge” themes bear more than a passing resemblance to The Da Vinci Code and the ironically titled What the Bleep Do We Know?

    The first warning sign that something is amiss is a common one—the author is a self-appointed expert whose main source is a personal inspiration or revelation. Byrne, a documentary producer, traces her “discovery” of the “secret” to a downtrodden period in her life. Give her this: she didn’t fold. Instead, she drew on a poorly understood scientific theory, a few common-sense principles, and, most heavily, a nineteenth-century American philosophical movement with roots in quackery. She co-opted William Shakespeare, Thomas Edison, Abraham Lincoln, and other prominent people as co-bearers of her secret, then rounded up a panel of twenty-four contemporary teachers: self-help gurus and metaphysicians, a few MBAs, a feng shui expert, and two fringe quantum physicists who weren’t fully informed about her theories before the cameras started rolling. Voila: a semblance of scientific accuracy. Out of this patchwork she made a movie (available for download online for just $4.95!) and accompanying book.

    The problem is that neither the film nor the book has any basis in scientific reality. The Secret, Byrne states, lies in a New Age idea called the “Law of Attraction”: that similar things attract each other, so positive thoughts bring positive things and negative ones bring negative things. Of course, in physics, it is opposites that attract, but never mind that: according to Byrne, our thoughts send out vibrations that the universe (or some unspecified power) can somehow decipher and respond to. Therefore, goes the dubious logic, we have only to think very hard about the things we want, and we will get them. If you want to lose weight, Byrne writes, you’ll first have to accept that “food is not responsible for putting on weight. It is your thought that food is responsible for putting on weight that actually has food put on weight.”

    If that example leaves you scratching your head, author Lisa Nichols, featured in the film, explains that “Every time you look inside your mail expecting to see a bill, guess what? It will be there. You’re expecting debt, so debt must show up. . . . Every day you confirm your thoughts. Debt is there because of the Law of Attraction. Do yourself a favor: Expect a check!” Doesn’t that make sense? According to The Secret’s economic insights, the problem is not our bills or debt; the problem is that we are expecting those pesky bills! One wonders how much time Oprah spent skimming the book before agreeing to promote this half-baked twaddle.

    There’s also an ugly flipside: if you have an accident or disease, it’s your fault. There is of course a grain of truth to this: if a drunk wanders onto a highway and is hit, it’s likely his fault; if a lifelong smoker gets lung cancer, it’s likely her fault. But is everything we experience of our own making? If an airplane crashes, does that mean that one or more of the passengers brought that on himself? Do soldiers killed in Iraq simply not think enough positive thoughts?

    Some of Byrne’s supporters write off this troubling aspect by arguing that the Law of Attraction is a metaphor. It’s not; Byrne herself has said so. It is a literal statement that you are what you think. “It’s a real belief that our thought can shape, control, and direct this powerful force in the universe, that it sets in motion energies that go out into the atmosphere,” says Robert Fuller, a professor of religion at Bradley University who has studied metaphysical beliefs.

    To make the idea sound less preposterous, Byrne cloaks it in irrelevant but snazzy-sounding scientific terms. Without identifying the “observer effect”—the idea from physics that observing a process alters its outcome—she leans on its philosophical implications. She also summons up “quantum entanglement,” the little-understood theory that, at the subatomic level, particles influence each other’s behavior in ways that aren’t yet fully clear to scientists. Neither theory applies to weight loss, credit-card bills, or for that matter anything else above the scale of atoms. The book also doesn’t offer any explanation of how the universe supposedly reads our thoughts and responds to them. “She is invoking quantum physics,” says Beryl Satter, professor of history at Rutgers, “to people who don’t know a lot about quantum physics.” For all the scientific language in The Secret, then, there is very little science in it. “Very few people actually trained in scientific thought are attracted to this,” says Fuller. “But most of us aren’t trained in scientific thought.”

    None of this is to say The Secret doesn’t have intellectual roots. It does—although they aren’t in science at all. They’re in “New Thought,” a metaphysical movement with a long history of invoking science to justify profoundly unscientific claims. New Thought has its roots in the showmanship of Franz Mesmer, the Austrian physician who began experimenting with hypnosis in 1775. Mesmer’s key concept of “animal magnetism” is “very much like what Byrne is talking about with ‘attraction,’” says Fuller. The traveling doctor claimed to be able to manipulate magnetic fields within and between people’s bodies by passing his hands over them and putting them in passive, sleeplike trances. Do-it-yourself showmen started traveling through New England, imitating Mesmer and working as “healing hypnotists” themselves.

    In 1838, one of these, a young clockmaker named Phineas P. Quimby from Maine, claimed to be able to put a seventeen-year-old boy into a trance. The boy would then diagnose people’s illnesses. Quimby laid out the principles that would become New Thought, which he largely lifted from Mesmer. “He argued that there was a powerful, mighty, spiritual force in the universe—it was a little like The Force in Star Wars,” says Fuller. “If you thought negatively, you’d close yourself off from it and you would lack emotional composure, physical vitality, even economic prosperity.” Sound familiar?

    The roots of pseudoscience grow strong near the septic tank of misinformation, and the Law of Attraction has other pseudoscientific kin as well. It takes a special sort of arrogance for a layperson to proclaim that he or she is so brilliant as to have discovered a heretofore unknown law of the universe simply by inspiration, but there are plenty of people who fit the bill. Just as Byrne believes she discovered The Secret, Samuel Hahnemann “discovered” the universal “Law of Similars” in 1790 when he developed the disproven quackery of homeopathy. He concluded that “like cures like,” so that, if a drug produces symptoms similar to a disease, then taking that drug will relieve the symptoms of that disease.

    The Secret, therefore, is nothing new, nor is it a secret. It’s a time-worn trick of mixing banal truisms with magical thinking and presenting it as some sort of hidden knowledge: basically, it’s the new New Thought. New Age bookshelves are overflowing with authors who claim to know and reveal the secrets of the universe. If any of these self-help books—written in the 1800s or written today—really contained the secrets to success and happiness, the self-help industry would of course be out of business. “The buyers for these books are people who bounce from one self-help gimmick to the next,” says Terence Hines, professor of psychology at Pace University and author of Pseudoscience and the Paranormal. “It’s almost like they’re addicted to it. They buy the book and it doesn’t work, so they jump on the next pseudoscientific bandwagon.”

    The Secret will indeed bring happiness, success, and prosperity—for Rhonda Byrne, her publisher, and bookstores. If the past is any indication, those who buy her book will be the losers; after the fad and hype die away and the disillusionment sets in, most will be returning to the self-help sections for yet more easy answers.

    http://csicop.org/specialarticles/secrets.html

  22. #22
    By the way, I am so critical --precisely-- because I know the moment-by-moment magic and "ordinary" power to be found in our Zen practice and Buddhism ... more wondrous than all the snake oil, quackery and false promises. Folks allow themselves to be deceived by an endless stream of charlatans willing to cater to their gullibility, greed, envy and ignorance ... they can only see happiness in terms of some gold or diamonds that are to be found over some distant hill.

    People cannot find the treasure that is right in their hand all along.

    Here is another good site:

    http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/

  23. #23
    Well that's not what I saw on the parts of the DVD I watched, I saw people using their "positive thinking" to get more money, a new bike, fancy jewelry, parking spaces...
    OK. I lived in San Francisco for many years and while circling my block endlessly each evening I cried out to the cruel, indifferent gods to get me a parking space. That's when I learned about the Parking Genie. If you rub your dashboard and simply say, "Please parking genie, find me a space", one will open up to you within five minutes. If you are sincere, and humble in your entreaty, it will work every time.

    I don't want to go into self-help hell, but The "Secret" reminds me of a book called Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain. I read it in college and, like The Secret, it's basically about positive thinking, setting goals, etc. While that may not jibe with Zen, I really liked the book and think it did improve my life. I know it's all that new-agey 70's stuff, but if you are a manic depressive with self esteem issues I think it can help to visualize becoming the person you want to be, (happy, relaxed, outgoing, whatever) and believe you can become it. Just sayin'.

  24. #24
    I don't really take much of an issue with the self help stuff. Sure, most of it is silly. But, not really a threat to Zen or Buddhism is it? Just as long as we keep reminding ourselves that this whole "Zen thing" is not about self help.

  25. #25
    Except Zen is kind of about self help isn't it? I'm the only person that can help myself, nobody else can do the work for me :twisted:

    Spend enough time in the mist, and your robes are going to get wet...

    Skye

  26. #26
    Stephanie
    Guest
    I definitely know I'm in the right place when I see the title of this thread, think, "Oh no, I'm going to be the one coming in and criticizing this film," but then I click on the subject and the sensei has already beat me to it! :lol:

  27. #27
    I was asked to give a talk on "The Secret" at the local New Thought church in which I very kindly, gently, metaphorically ripped it in half and threw it out the window suggesting that it completely insulted everyone sitting there by suggesting that the New Thought movement saw God as little more than a big, blue genie in the sky whose sole purpose for existance was to serve us by putting us in a new Porsche. (As in "my will, not thy will, be done.") After the shock on their faces wore off and their jaws closed I actually got a standing ovation for that one.

    Honestly, there is nothing wrong with trying to get yourself out of negative thought patterns, but the only reason a lot of this hooey has got such a following is because it does work...but not for the reasons they cite. In fact, it is simply that people get hooked onto these types of hypes and begin paying attention to their lives. And, as we know from our meditation practice, when you start really paying attention and applying mindfulness to your life things do begin to change.

    The difference between our practice and the snakey stuff is that, after a time, the snakey stuff isn't distracting enough anymore. We get bored with it just like with every other flashy show and quick fix promise, and we can't sustain that attention. So, we stop working with it. And our lives go back to off kilter scenarios until we get the next latest greatest vid to try to guide us back to our lives.

    The beauty of our practice is that the work is hard, the changes are slow, but the changes are for the better, for the positive, and they last.

    Peace. 8)

  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Skye
    Except Zen is kind of about self help isn't it?
    no-self help
    ops:

  29. #29
    Thanks for that Lynn.

    Gassho

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