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Old 07-23-2014, 09:00 PM
 
15,924 posts, read 16,850,438 times
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It's time to sit back relax and laugh seeing the science and technology used to sell us water...

Quote:
Magnets and "catalysts" for softening water, magnetic laundry balls, waters that are "oxygenated", "clustered", "ionized" or "vitalized" (purporting to improve cellular hydration, remove toxins, and repair DNA), high zeta-potential colloids and vortex-treated waters to raise your energy levels, halt or reverse ageing and prevent cancer — all of these wonders and more are being aggressively marketed via the Internet, radio infomercials, seminars, and by various purveyors of new-age nonsense.
Water pseudoscience and quackery
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Old 07-23-2014, 10:26 PM
 
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And they are getting rich doing it because the educational level of the average American is somewhere around 3rd grade.
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Old 07-23-2014, 10:55 PM
 
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
5,508 posts, read 2,590,605 times
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There probably is some truth in the claims - if you drink water instead of soft drinks you will become energised, healthier and live longer. It's just got nothing to do with the magnetized water and so on. But if it works to get people to drink water then why not? Personally, I like my water treated with hops and barley.
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Old 07-23-2014, 11:12 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
16,846 posts, read 51,301,408 times
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I looked. It is an interesting site in that it does some decent debunking but then goes off on a tangent making some erroneous claims itself. That is a classic flaw of those who believe the religion of debunking.

The coral calcium debunk it gives is pretty good. I always got a chuckle when living in south Florida that people were buying coral calcium while they were being kept out of the ocean by the coral rock under their feet, and that their tap water had passed through millions of tons of coral calcium. The marketing hype for Coral Calcium was thicker than peanut butter in Elvis's sandwiches and yet some people fell for it.

The magnet water and scale control "debunk" is handled more or less well. I've seen chillers where the difference was noticeable, and the author has the sense to simply state that the idea is in dispute. Magnets do make a difference - how, I do not know.

With John Ellis (who created an interesting and odd bit of technology) he makes some serious errors:

"The facts are that
Simple distillation eliminates all microorganisms, dead or alive, from the recondensed water;

No. It doesn't remove all the dead ones, nor is it a perfect process.
"Small molecule drugs" (and all other water-soluble contaminants) cannot "distill" with the water. (These can usually be removed with a good activated-carbon filter.)
Also not correct
The only sure way of killing all bacteria and viruses with heat requires a temperature of about 121C (which cannot be achieved in a non-pressurized vessel) for at least 15 minutes.
This is more or less correct, and a basic concept of canning - HOWEVER... even in those conditions, canned foods have a shelf life because over time spores that have survived will damage the food in some of the cans.

I have a water distiller that I use on an ongoing basis for two purposes
1. I am a kidney stone former. About 20 years ago I blew apart a ureter with an impacted stone and determined to never have another one. Drinking 24 oz of distilled water at night is a key component in my remaining stone free. There are other factors involved, but even in mainstream medical literature, flushing water through the urinary system is a way to limit formation and flush small stones before they become a problem.
2. Distilled water increases the potency of many cleaning products and insecticides tremendously. Eliminate the chlorine from tap water which rips apart bonds, and eliminate the calcium which clogs bonding sites and the difference in effectiveness is amazing. In short, there ARE differences in waters.

In using the distiller, it is pretty obvious that the water is boiling and bubbling. Water that is thrown into the steam as droplets can and do vaporize and whatever is contained in that water also goes into the steam. If I do not clean the boiler part, eventually the distilled water will taste different, burnt and unpleasant. Even with the more robust fractional distillation of vodkas, it is well known that a single distillation will leave impurities. Good vodkas are at least triple distilled and carbon filtered. The cost of such is substantial enough that distillers would skip the step if they could eliminate it.

Carbon filtration is a hit or miss process. The larger and longer the carbon bed, the longer the retention time, the more contaminants will be removed. This is an area the website misses - that of the current crop of quick filtration products relying in part on carbon blocks or granules. Some of those filtration systems are worthless.

Shauberger is mentioned. He is another odd case. If you dig enough you'll find that the beginnings of his stuff were from seeing fish make seemingly impossible leaps up waterfalls. He mis-attributed the causes of the effect, which was more to do with the flow patterns in water and simple physics than the water itself. Had he gone on a different tangent he could have done some good work relating to ships and subs.

Then we get to the two elephants in the room - homeopathy and Reich. Dig around, and you will find that homeopathy has withstood peer reviewed double blind testing. I know that when I came across that, it made me re-think the whole de-bunking culture, which takes a perverse and extreme pleasure from destroying anything beyond 19th century science. I remind you that when ether was first demonstrated as an anesthetic, the naysayer doctors booed it down with cries of "humbug!" eventually causing the developer to commit suicide.

Reich also seems to have been on to something, it is just that no one - including Reich - really understood what. I have heard from multiple sources that some of his experiments had unexplainable but very real results. However, research follows money, which follows lines of development resulting in marketable products and not esoteric scientific oddities.

The takeaway is that a healthy dose of skepticism is crucial, but that too much reliance on status quo and what is touted as "common knowledge" can be nearly as bad as having no skepticism at all. If quantum physics have shown us anything, it is that we don't know everything with certainty, and we have lots more to learn.

(FWIW, the pizzing match between Ellis and his detractors and competitors was quite entertaining a few years back, including each taking out full page ads in Pop Sci and other magazines. It made for good bathroom reading.)
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Old 07-24-2014, 06:29 AM
 
Location: Westwood, MA
3,448 posts, read 4,350,324 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post

Then we get to the two elephants in the room - homeopathy and Reich. Dig around, and you will find that homeopathy has withstood peer reviewed double blind testing. I know that when I came across that, it made me re-think the whole de-bunking culture, which takes a perverse and extreme pleasure from destroying anything beyond 19th century science. I remind you that when ether was first demonstrated as an anesthetic, the naysayer doctors booed it down with cries of "humbug!" eventually causing the developer to commit suicide.

Reich also seems to have been on to something, it is just that no one - including Reich - really understood what. I have heard from multiple sources that some of his experiments had unexplainable but very real results. However, research follows money, which follows lines of development resulting in marketable products and not esoteric scientific oddities.

The takeaway is that a healthy dose of skepticism is crucial, but that too much reliance on status quo and what is touted as "common knowledge" can be nearly as bad as having no skepticism at all. If quantum physics have shown us anything, it is that we don't know everything with certainty, and we have lots more to learn.
Homeopathy has only withstood if you allow that the peers reviewing it all our homeopaths themselves. Physical scientists (chemists, biologists) soundly reject most homeopathic claims. I'm neither a chemist nor a biologist and some am not aware of the detailed literature, so if you've got links to abstracts in reputable journals I'd be interested to read those papers.

And the takeaway shouldn't be reliance on status quo, but skepticism for anything that refutes accepted results. I think the term skepticism has a different connotation among scientists than the general public. It doesn't mean disbelief, it means that a fact won't be believed without convincing evidence. The more radical a theory, the more convincing the evidence better be. The idea is that eventually the truth will win out. And yes, conventional science is often wrong, and is occasionally hoodwinked, but something doesn't become accepted truth until it's been tested and repeated and repeated again.

Finally, quantum mechanics isn't an excuse to throw up your hands and say "it's magic". The predictions of quantum mechanics have been verified to a greater precision than any theory in the history of science.
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Old 07-24-2014, 11:24 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
16,846 posts, read 51,301,408 times
Reputation: 27668
The problem with attempting rational discussion of something that is a hot button for more conservative people is that it quickly devolves into a pizzing match where quasi-reliable sources are quoted and used behind the scenes in developing personal bias. To show you just how quickly it goes from discussion to pejorative name calling, check out this web page:
List of scientifically controlled double blind studies which have conclusively demonstrated the efficacy of homeopathy - RationalWiki

Now in all sincerity I ask you, is that a representation of rational thought or of any attempt at real considered research? It is a frikkin cartoon response that is so dismissive as to throw the credibility of the entire website into question. Most of the high hits on Google are similarly expressive of the opinions of disbelievers, discounting the opinions of believers. The discussion has more in common with religious wars than any attempt at science. One source that might be worth checking out is "Bornhoft and Matthiessen, 2011" If you intend to do any real fact checking on your own, I leave further link checking up to you. My point is not to convince anyone of anything, but of convincing people to get off their lazy duffs and think and research for themselves and not swallow the swill that passes as popular science and "established" (read entrenched) science.

Should more radical theories have to have greater empirical proof? I am of the opinion that such thinking is a trap. ALL theories, commonly accepted or not need a similar degree of empirical proof.

There are very real problems with extreme science. Ever since the "cause and effect" clause of science has been enshrined, we have come up with better and better explanations based upon cause and effect, and how impossible other answers are. It is common for those at various developmental levels to ossify "laws" and claim them to be immutable. Example: Ask a person of average intelligence "Does water obey gravity and flow downhill?" and the answer will be "Yes." Then ask "Does water always flow downhill (towards a larger mass) when gravity is affecting it?" and the answer will be "Yes." Many, if not most people will leave it at that and whenever they see water in the future will link it to the thought "it has to flow downhill." Now, with that rule firmly implanted in your mind, and with no room for doubt, and with peer pressure reinforcing it, try to parse the following statement.

I am a wizard and I can prove that colored water does not always flow downhill in response to gravity.

While you ponder that, and your visceral response to it, I'll go on to bring up another problem with extreme science that will turn your brain into guacamole. One of the theories that explains actions of quantum particles is that we are observing the interactions of wavefronts on a quantum scale, that "probability" and weird quantum effects can be explained in somewhat classical Newtonian physics. If that is in fact the case, then we rule out chance. If we rule out chance, we must accept a complete reality of predestination - that EVERYTHING that occurs in our universe can be traced directly back to the configuration of the singularity that started it. Given the complexity of such extended links of cause and effect and the utter disproving of chance, there could be no possible way to avoid the concept of an intelligent creator of the universe. That is something so antithetical to current scientific thought that it is a far greater heresy than suggesting water is weird.

Now, about water flowing uphill - put it in a pipe and use a pump to pressurize it. The force exerted by the pump will drive it uphill against the force of gravity. Or put it on a lake and wait for the wind to blow. The force of the wind will blow a "pile" of water along a shoreline. Superstorm Sandy survivors will have a hard time disputing that. What I did to obfuscate the basic fact that gravity is not the sole source of water movement is add a layer of mysticism. "I am a wizard" and the water being colored have no relation to the basic physics involved.

Otherwise logical studiers of science get bumfozzled by the mere mention of someone outside of their personal religion having a bit of fact that they have not chewed over. It can be important to remember the tale of the boy who claimed the king had no clothes.
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Old 07-24-2014, 04:44 PM
 
Location: Westwood, MA
3,448 posts, read 4,350,324 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jayrandom View Post
Homeopathy has only withstood if you allow that the peers reviewing it all our homeopaths themselves. Physical scientists (chemists, biologists) soundly reject most homeopathic claims. I'm neither a chemist nor a biologist and some am not aware of the detailed literature, so if you've got links to abstracts in reputable journals I'd be interested to read those papers.
Quote:
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
The problem with attempting rational discussion of something that is a hot button for more conservative people is that it quickly devolves into a pizzing match where quasi-reliable sources are quoted and used behind the scenes in developing personal bias. To show you just how quickly it goes from discussion to pejorative name calling, check out this web page:
List of scientifically controlled double blind studies which have conclusively demonstrated the efficacy of homeopathy - RationalWiki

Now in all sincerity I ask you, is that a representation of rational thought or of any attempt at real considered research? It is a frikkin cartoon response that is so dismissive as to throw the credibility of the entire website into question. Most of the high hits on Google are similarly expressive of the opinions of disbelievers, discounting the opinions of believers. The discussion has more in common with religious wars than any attempt at science. One source that might be worth checking out is "Bornhoft and Matthiessen, 2011" If you intend to do any real fact checking on your own, I leave further link checking up to you. My point is not to convince anyone of anything, but of convincing people to get off their lazy duffs and think and research for themselves and not swallow the swill that passes as popular science and "established" (read entrenched) science.
So in short, no. Which is fine. I don't expect you to run a literature search for an internet forum. Just don't expect me to think or refrain from stating that the issue is anything but firmly in the unproven category.

Quote:
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
Should more radical theories have to have greater empirical proof? I am of the opinion that such thinking is a trap. ALL theories, commonly accepted or not need a similar degree of empirical proof.
Commonly accepted theories are commonly accepted because there has been a great deal of peer-reviewed and laboratory tested experimental confirmation of those theories. One hundred and fifty years ago the ideas of quantum mechanics would have been thought radical and not given credence, yet now they are commonly accepted. That didn't happen overnight, it happened through tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of experiments repeated all of the world.

So when a theory is proposed that contradicts or subsumes all of those experiments, it requires substantial evidence to gain support. It would also need to have a good, descriptive reason why all of those previous experiments were wrong.

Quote:
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
There are very real problems with extreme science. Ever since the "cause and effect" clause of science has been enshrined, we have come up with better and better explanations based upon cause and effect, and how impossible other answers are. It is common for those at various developmental levels to ossify "laws" and claim them to be immutable. Example: Ask a person of average intelligence "Does water obey gravity and flow downhill?" and the answer will be "Yes." Then ask "Does water always flow downhill (towards a larger mass) when gravity is affecting it?" and the answer will be "Yes." Many, if not most people will leave it at that and whenever they see water in the future will link it to the thought "it has to flow downhill." Now, with that rule firmly implanted in your mind, and with no room for doubt, and with peer pressure reinforcing it, try to parse the following statement.

I am a wizard and I can prove that colored water does not always flow downhill in response to gravity.
Quote:
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
Now, about water flowing uphill - put it in a pipe and use a pump to pressurize it. The force exerted by the pump will drive it uphill against the force of gravity. Or put it on a lake and wait for the wind to blow. The force of the wind will blow a "pile" of water along a shoreline. Superstorm Sandy survivors will have a hard time disputing that. What I did to obfuscate the basic fact that gravity is not the sole source of water movement is add a layer of mysticism. "I am a wizard" and the water being colored have no relation to the basic physics involved.
What you've described isn't a scientific problem but rather a linguistic one. It's a riddle. Riddles are great, but don't confuse disagreement with basic theory with a cleverly incomplete description of the problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
While you ponder that, and your visceral response to it, I'll go on to bring up another problem with extreme science that will turn your brain into guacamole. One of the theories that explains actions of quantum particles is that we are observing the interactions of wavefronts on a quantum scale, that "probability" and weird quantum effects can be explained in somewhat classical Newtonian physics. If that is in fact the case, then we rule out chance. If we rule out chance, we must accept a complete reality of predestination - that EVERYTHING that occurs in our universe can be traced directly back to the configuration of the singularity that started it. Given the complexity of such extended links of cause and effect and the utter disproving of chance, there could be no possible way to avoid the concept of an intelligent creator of the universe. That is something so antithetical to current scientific thought that it is a far greater heresy than suggesting water is weird.

Otherwise logical studiers of science get bumfozzled by the mere mention of someone outside of their personal religion having a bit of fact that they have not chewed over. It can be important to remember the tale of the boy who claimed the king had no clothes.
I'm familiar with the work that I think you're referencing, which is the curious behavior of drops bouncing on oil surfaces. That work is well accepted in the scientific community and published in well-respected peer-reviewed journals (it's actually in the sub-field I did my PhD in and is really great work).

The quantum mechanical implications, however, and not accepted. They aren't outright rejected, but remain unproved. The biggest obstacle with the theory is that while it can reasonably explain certain quantum mechanical predictions, there is not yet a meaningful way of performing second quantization and thus it cannot reproduce great deal of the successful predictions from modern quantum theory. While it's possible that such a theory could be developed, until it is it will remain a tantalizing possibility. Furthermore, even if such a theory can be developed, it will either have to make a testable prediction different from the existing theory (such as some way of measuring the underlying waves or a slightly different value of some measured quantity) or it will only become a viable possibility and not generally accepted. If such a theory is developed, I would expect lots of experiments to determine which is right.

And, as I'm sure you're aware, a lack of chance doesn't imply a creator. Especially if one takes advantage of an infinite-sized universe and the anthropic prinicple.
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Old 07-25-2014, 09:47 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
16,846 posts, read 51,301,408 times
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Quickly moving backwards through your points, lack of chance (determanism) and the subsequent lack of real choice - aka "free will" is where a majority of "scientific thinkers" have boxed themselves in by following cause and effect to the extreme. More than anything, that shows to me the religion and dogma aspects of science as it is expressed in our culture. Your reliance on an infinite sized universe (or the brane variation of the same argument) to allow the existence of the preposterous concept that chance cannot exist is even more ludicrous than many of the wildest religious beliefs. In point of fact, in such a large infinity of large infinities, transubstantiation would have to be real in an infinity, dinosaurs would have to have lived with man in an infinity, and butterflies would also fly out my bumm in a small infinity of universes.

Scientists are extremely uncomfortable with the concept of chance. The fact that chance can be disproved or minimized in many situations does not eliminate it. If you believe that it can be eliminated, then we were doomed from the beginning of time to have this discussion, and since it is part of an immutably progressing universe, it has no meaning and has a predetermined outcome. Science is useless in such a universe.

On linguistic riddles - as science is utterly dependent upon models and languages are nothing more than model of various thoughts and ideas, ALL science is little more than riddles with incomplete descriptions.

On greater proofs - you missed my point. What you are unintentionally advocating is selective laziness - if an idea or theory has been around and accepted for a while, it is not worth re-examining. The current line of technology is based upon such thinking. You may point to the great and complex works of our technology as proof that this is the best way of proceeding. If you want to think so, I doubt that I will make even a dent in your thinking by showing that creativity is a blend of relying upon the status quo while simultaneously refuting it. However, I can show you an easy example of how lazy thinking has changed our present. All of our current crop of mainstream computing is based upon binary, which is itself based upon the idea of bits being either on or off. Had more thought been put into it, once the idea of computing is moved into electronics there are at least THREE basic natural states - positive charge, negative charge, and neutral charge. Even the Sumerians recognized the flaws in numerical systems and settled on base 60 as the most useful and productive. A binary system does not fit well with base 60, whereas a trinary system would.

Firstly, I do not expect anyone to not think as they do, nor do I expect them to keep silent. Again, my purpose is more to get people to think independently, and failing that to just think.
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