HotAIR - Book Review -- Subtle, Intentional, Conscious?

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AIRHEAD BOOK REVIEW--
Subtle, Intentional, Conscious?

A book you may have overlooked

Review by Leonard Finegold and Somdev Tyagi, Physics Department, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA


A book that may be subtle, may be intentional, and/or may be conscious.

Science and Human Transformation: Subtle Energies, Intentionality and Consciousness, by William A. Tiller, PhD., Pavior Publishing, Walnut Creek, CA, 1997, ISBN 0964263742, 316 pages.

This is a lovely example of why it's so hard for the average (wo)man in the street to detect pseudoscience in a book. The good news is that, as befitting an eminent solid-state engineer once on the Stanford University faculty, 50% of the book correctly recounts conventional and accepted solid-state physics. The bad news is that all sorts of hilarious extrapolations are made to, for example, belief in homeopathy (rewarded by two Ig Nobel prizes) ... and we don't have room here to tell you which 50% is good, and which 50% is of the other kind.

The Author follows in the footsteps of another eminent Stanford solid stater, William Shockley, who later in life also espoused unusual ideas in biology; his were in genetics and, put politely, have yet to be accepted by biologists. An example is where an "auric field" practitioner holds a solution of DNA in his hand, and makes it unwind. We quote verbatim from p. 222 "If such a change can occur to DNA held outside the body, imagine what is happening to the DNA of the practitioner's cells inside the body!" Yes, our imaginations ran riot.

This book can be unreservedly recommended to physicists, who will enjoy the many wonderful liberties with physics taken by the Author. Chemists and engineers will enjoy a lot of it, eg. phase transitions in spiritual matter. Balding bio-physicists will feel their remaining hairs rising at the medical claims. Alas, our (wo)man in the street won't appreciate the (technical) unconscious humor, so we predict confidently that this book will not soon become a popular best seller. However we can unreservedly recommend "Science Made Stupid: How to Discomprehend the World Around Us" by Tom Weller (Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1985).

Upon further thought, we realise that perhaps the book is a deliberate hoax, making fun of Deepak Chopra (another Ig Nobel prize winner) and his ilk-if so, we were certainly fooled, and congratulate the Author on a magnificent job.

(We are grateful to Steve Borowsky, MD, one of our engineering graduates, for bringing the book to our attention.)

The opinions expressed here are the opinions of the authors, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of those who hold other opinions.

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