Skeptophilia (skep-to-fil-i-a) (n.) - the love of logical thought, skepticism, and thinking critically. Being an exploration of the applications of skeptical thinking to the world at large, with periodic excursions into linguistics, music, politics, cryptozoology, and why people keep seeing the face of Jesus on grilled cheese sandwiches.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Brain energy frequency

If there's one thing that gets me really bent out of shape, it's people using scientific words in completely screwy ways.

After all, these days it's not hard to find definitions of words.  If you want to know what a quantum is,  all you have to do is take a thirty-second trip to Wikipedia, wherein you can find not only the scientific definition of the term, but the following wonderful paragraph:
The adjective "quantum" is frequently used in common parlance to mean the opposite of its scientific definition.  A "quantum leap" has been used colloquially since the 1950s to imply a large change, as opposed to the smallest possible change.  It is also used in a range of pseudoscientific beliefs (quantum mysticism), where the adjective is used to imply that a paranormal event is a consequence of quantum physics.
So complete misunderstanding and misuse of scientific terms is nothing more than laziness.  Which is why I read an article over at Qultura called "Energy and the Brain" while making increasingly agitated noises of barely-stifled rage.

[image courtesy of the Wikimedia Commons]

What this article claims is that your brain exists to "process energy."  And I'm not talking about the conventional, physics definition of energy (which once again, a quick trip to Wikipedia would clear up completely); they're talking about some woo-woo bullshit idea about Cosmic Connections To The Universe.  But let me give it to you in their own words:
All information is actually energy in different forms and thinking is the process of reducing energy frequency by processing that information.  Senses are designed to detect, perceive energy in different forms and evaluate the energy frequency.  Sight for example, perceives light energy, working with the right cerebral hemisphere of the brain much in the same way as your hearing perceives audio or sound energy within a certain frequency range.  Senses also differentiate between different energetic states, for example touch differentiates between energy and physical mass and matter (which is actually energy but in a much more inert state).  Even taste and smell can differentiate between different energy states.  Your sense of smell, for example, can tell when the energy within a piece of meat or in milk is of a higher frequency, and either the meat or milk is off, and you should not consume it.  Your senses provide you with sensory input, which all goes to the brain as energy or information to be processed.
Which might win some kind of world record for packing the most scientific inaccuracy into a single paragraph.  Let's look at a concise list of stupid claims in this passage:
  • Thinking does not "reduce energy frequency."  Whatever the fuck that means.
  • Sight does not "work with the right cerebral hemisphere."  The visual cortex is in the occipital lobe of both hemispheres.
  • Touch does not "differentiate between energy and physical mass."  Once again, I'm not even sure what that's supposed to mean.
  • Matter is not "energy in an inert state."  Energy and matter are not the same thing at all -- although Einstein's famous equation shows that you can convert one into the other.
  • Taste and smell are both chemoreceptors -- they work by having receptor proteins that are capable of binding to compounds dissolved in the saliva or floating around in the air (respectively).  They do not "differentiate between different energy states."
  • Spoiled meat does not have a lower frequency than fresh meat.  I'm a bit baffled as to how you could calculate the frequency of meat to start with, as most meat I've seen just tends to lie there.  (On the other hand, if your meat is vibrating, it probably is a bad sign.  And yes, I am aware that this is a double entendre.  And no, I don't care.)
  • High frequencies are not somehow better than low frequencies.  Anyone who thinks so should be required to listen for twenty minutes first to a high note on a piccolo and then to a low note on a cello, and see which they prefer. 
Then they end by stating that your sensory organs provide your brain with input to be processed, which is more or less correct.  So I guess the whole thing about monkeys typing randomly and eventually coming up with the script for Hamlet might have some validity after all.

But even this passage reads like a doctoral dissertation in physics as compared to the last bit.  Here's how the article ends:
[The brain's hemispheres are] what serve to take in energy in different frequencies from the atmosphere around you and process it in a way so as to change or reduce the frequency of the energy and project it back out into the atmosphere.  This is done constantly in different ways and collectively human beings throughout the world are a major influence on energetic frequencies in atmospheric energy.
Right!  Sure!  What?

I mean, tell me if I'm wrong, but what this sounds like is that they're claiming that you can change the weather by thinking about it.  Now, no one would be gladder than me if this were true; heaven knows I'd like to be able to conjure up a warm sunny day in the middle of an upstate New York January snowstorm.  But somehow, atmospheric energy frequencies notwithstanding, I don't think that'd work.

Or maybe I'm just not vibrating at a high enough frequency myself.  I dunno.

You might be thinking that all of this bullshit falls into the "stupid but harmless" category.  And in one sense, you'd be correct.  But as I've said more than once here at Skeptophilia, laziness becomes a habit.  If you simply assume that you know what you're talking about, and blather on without bothering to find out if you're using terms correctly or (in fact) have any idea how science in general works, you are much more likely to fall for pseudoscientific nonsense of more toxic sorts.

Much better to find out what the scientists themselves have to say.  Because, you know, they generally have a pretty good understanding of stuff.  Including "atmospheric energy frequencies."


  1. Have you seen the furor over Gwyneth Paltrow's "wellness" thing? Dr. Jen Gunter weighed in and "goop" came after her (see Gunter's blog):

  2. Paltrow also recommends "earthing" - picking up special vibrations from the earth (aka walking barefoot) to realign your cosmic energy or some such thing.