Angry Doctor

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Domo arigato, Mr Emoto

OK, so it's not strictly-speaking a medical issue, but angry doc just can't resist...

A post on Mr Wang's blog has prompted angry doc to look at the topic of Mr Emoto's ice crystal experiments and a study on the same topic by Dean Radin.

angry doc is unable to access the paper, but he did find this site where you can learn more about the research methodology. angry doc did not give any of the pictures a score of more than 2 (on a scale of 0 to 6). According to Dean Radin's blog, the average score of the treated sample in the study was 2.9. Do scroll through the 50 images and see what your average score is.

If the findings have convinced you that happy words and thoughts can make your water better, you may want to write happy words on your water bottle.

Alternatively, you can save yourself the trouble and just buy a water bottle with a happy word printed on it, thanks to Mr Emoto's work.



  • There are so many uncontrollable variables in that research I'm not even sure where to start. I would really want to hear the specifics, because as we all know, the devil is in the details.

    Was temperature controlled? How was the water frozen each time? Was time to freeze controlled? Pressure? Ions dissolved in the water? Background mechanical vibration, electromagnetic radiation, sounds?

    To bring this into the realm of science let's drop the aesthetics part and just determine to what extent "good vibrations" affect crystalline structure. We can classify crystal structures, we can grow them consistenly. Lets see if water grows in different crystalline shapes under the same conditions as a control based on kind thoughts or angry thoughts. Hell try it at home. Get nine petri dishes fill with distilled water. Write nasty words on three, kind words on three, and nothing on three. Put in freezer at same time. Wait overnight. Observe differences in morning.

    If this works on water why not all substances? Lets take sulphur, pump it full of good feelin' and see if it decides to stay rhombic, or amorphous instead of converting back to monoclinic structure.

    It's not that I'm not open to new mind blowing metaphysical ideas, I think they're pretty cool. But it shouldn't be that hard to confirm or deny this observation. I just hate being made a sucker. Remember that mythbusters where they hooked a lie detector up to a plant and thought bad things. This seems awfully similar.

    By Blogger Unknown, At July 19, 2007 2:09 am  

  • haha Sillyporeans don't care about science, they just care about their own intuition and emotions.

    So funny, the "Joy" water bottle is actually a bad photoshop job.

    By Blogger HanSolo, At July 19, 2007 9:43 am  

  • I kind of think the inability to think critically is linked to

    1) Total faith in alternative medicine/quackery

    2) Paranormal phenomena

    3) Nigerian scams

    4) Creationism/intelligent design

    5) anti-vaccination hysteria

    By Blogger I must be stupid, At July 19, 2007 11:00 am  

  • You could add to that List,

    Bleevers of The Secret, Law of Attraction (LOA) and TAR.

    It's as if a virus has destroyed their critical faculty and suddenly fact, reason and logic are in a state of suspended animation.

    You get to recognise them by the way they argue their case using nothing but fallacious reasoning from "post hoc, ergo, propter hoc" to "strawman sceptics" and "special pleading", "appeal to pity", "equivocation" et al.

    Oh and of course the main reason they believe? Why Quantum Mechanics and the Schrodinger Cat! :-)


    By Anonymous Anonymous, At July 19, 2007 1:08 pm  

  • I guess most people aren't trained to think the scientific way and do not understand how the scientific method works. As a result, they are easily swayed by fallacious arguments.

    More worrying is the "seer-sucker" effect. I tend to think that quackery exists because there are people who believe they work without looking at the evidence first. Lots of money is made nowadays in quackery. How many billions are made by pushing vitamins and health supplements to people who do not need such stuff?

    Btw i heard from a friend that there are TCM clinics running at camden medical centre apparantly by western trained doctors. I wonder what's the medical community's take on this.

    By Blogger I must be stupid, At July 19, 2007 3:17 pm  

  • Hi Angry Doc,

    Thanks for the link to the crystal scoring site!

    You have insightful and humorous blog. I especially enjoyed your articles about alternative medicine. I write a science blog called Fresh Brainz mainly about evolutionary biology and neuroscience.

    Would you like to exchange blog links?

    Best regards!

    By Blogger The Key Question, At July 19, 2007 3:43 pm  

  • petri,

    The Hado site I linked to in the post has a video on how they collect, freeze, and photograph the water/ice.

    I looked at the pictures, and then the average score of 2.9 for the treated sample. My feeling is that while the p-value for the difference between the difference in the scores may be statistically significant, it doesn't mean that the difference between the scores is significant in magnitude.

    As for the Mythbuster experiment, I think it is more plausible since what it actually did was to investigate the effect of sound on plant growth, and the finding (of that small study) was that sound promoted growth, regardless of the content of the recording.

    By Blogger angry doc, At July 19, 2007 5:19 pm  

  • Leng Hiong,

    I am honoured by your visit and your offer.

    Like pz, you have been doing great work over at Mr Wang's blog.

    Yes, let's link to each other, and maybe some day Singapore will have its own circle of skeptical blogs a la scienceblog. We can call it, oh, I don't know, "Mr Woo fakes good data"? :)

    By Blogger angry doc, At July 19, 2007 5:23 pm  

  • Hi Angry Doc,

    I too look forward to the day when we have our own circle of science blogs, but that will take some time.

    For now, it's my privilege to have found your blog.

    By Blogger The Key Question, At July 19, 2007 7:52 pm  

  • I looked up 'ice' on wikipedia (yes, they have a rather scientific page on ice) after watching a documentary on Nat Geo about glaciers, and then I went back and watched the video on Emoto's site again:

    Now it seems to me that the ice crystals photographed in the video are not actually formed by the water from the frozen samples, from the vapour that is in the lab (at -5 degrees) crystallising on the colder surface of the frozen samples (-25 degrees).

    By Blogger angry doc, At July 21, 2007 11:29 pm  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger palmist, At July 22, 2007 1:22 am  

  • By Blogger palmist, At July 22, 2007 1:27 am  

  • Hi Angry Doc,

    I see many have withdrawn from debate at Mr Wang's. He builds his arguments upon semantics, fallacies, misconceptions and avoiding argument A by bringing in B, etc, while generally assuming a superior air.

    Apart from perpetuating pseudoscience, the mis-use of physics by quoting stuff out of context really gets me irritated.

    I'm glad for people like you, Mr Lim Leng Hiong, etc, who try to instill some sense of critical thinking through your blogs and comments.

    Thank you!


    By Blogger Teck, At July 25, 2007 10:51 pm  

  • Thank you for the encouragement, Teck.

    I am not sure if the decrease in number of comments at Mr Wang's is due to comment moderation, or just posters giving up.

    In any case, at least he got us to blog about logic and pseudoscience, so it's not all bad after all!

    If one day we end up forming a circle of skeptic's blogs, Mr Wang can take some credit for it.

    By Blogger angry doc, At July 26, 2007 5:18 pm  

  • Teck said...

    I see many have withdrawn from debate at Mr Wang's. He builds his arguments upon semantics, fallacies, misconceptions and avoiding argument A by bringing in B, etc, while generally assuming a superior air.

    Hi Teck,

    I concur with your opinion which is spot on.

    When his errors and illogic are pointed out, he never stands corrected but goes off on another tangent.

    I am getting the impression that he doesn't really want an honest and vigorous debate but just the last word on everything.

    As Lao Tze says,

    "He who knows that he knows not is teachable. Teach him."

    "He who knows not that he knows not is a fool. Avoid him."

    The modern take is:

    "Ignorance can be cured, but stupidity is forever."


    By Anonymous Anonymous, At July 27, 2007 2:03 pm  

  • Hi Angry Doc and all,

    If you ever start a skeptics' blog, do invite me! I'll be glad to contribute in whatever small way I can. :)

    Hi PZ,

    I agree that Mr Wang isn't for a serious, vigorous debate. He is the last word and authority. But hey, it's his blog after all.

    But I don't think he's stupid. I think he's quite intelligent actually. Maybe he's just self-deluded. Or maybe not. My theory is that the fake cleverness and authoritative air is an online persona since he decided to name the blog "Mr Wang Says So".

    Or maybe that's giving him too much benefit of doubt. haha..


    By Blogger Teck, At July 28, 2007 1:00 am  

  • Teck said...

    But I don't think he's stupid. I think he's quite intelligent actually. Maybe he's just self-deluded. Or maybe not. My theory is that the fake cleverness and authoritative air is an online persona since he decided to name the blog "Mr Wang Says So".

    He believes in quackery pseudoscience, argues with flawed reasoning using pretzel logic, misunderstands Buddhism having received instruction not from Rinpoche but Wikipedia! and tells others they really don't understand it (ugh) and says he knows every topic raised by others and read every book mentioned.

    Quite intelligent? Hey, this guy has to be the Master of the Universe! And he evidently shares the same reality with that chap in the straight-jacket in a padded room of a mental institution who thinks *he* is in Nirvana.

    Meanwhile us poor blokes have to plod on in this world of Samsara that does not exist, try to practice the Noble Eightfold Path to enlightenment which is not necessary (just THINK Nirvana under a coconut tree and it becomes REALITY! So Easy!) and shake our heads at a poor deluded Master of the Universe.

    By Blogger JB, At July 28, 2007 11:51 am  

  • Teck,

    Might be a while though. :)

    There is actually a lot of quackery being sold in Singapore, but taking them on carries some legal risk, so that might be a barrier.

    By Blogger angry doc, At July 28, 2007 12:46 pm  

  • Hi jb,

    I love your caustic wit! :) Thank you for disabusing me of my mismeasure of the man's intelligence.. haha.. "Master of the universe". Indeed!


    By Blogger Teck, At July 28, 2007 10:52 pm  

  • Hi Teck,

    Thank you for the compliment.

    I am not terribly PC and believe in calling a spade a spade.

    I must take this opportunity to also thank Angry Doc, PZ and Lim Leng Hiong for doing excellent work in countering Mr. Wang's outrageous claims of his TAR nonsense.

    I agree with Angry Doc that we have to thank in that I would not have found his (AD) and LLH's blog otherwise.

    Freshbrainz and Angry Doctor are highly informative, intelligent, thoughtful, interesting and witty. A winner!

    Of course I am now a fan and regular visitor of both your blogs.

    By Blogger JB, At July 29, 2007 11:54 am  

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