'A positive attitude does not cure cancer, any more than a negative one causes it' - Siddhartha Mukherrjee
Such a Big Problem
That scientists are often wrong is not a problem - inasmuch as they are Human beings - dynamical systems first, Human beings second, and scientists
third. It would be nice if ontology and epistemology were subjects covered on way to becoming a scientist, but alas, we live in the dark ages of Human
reasoning - where the scientist reasons without considering the conditions from which he reasons: indeed, has this state of affairs not been mediated
by crappy philosophisizing? If it was up to me, every book that offers nothing but obfuscating garbage would be burned - Friedrich Nietzsche would be
a nice place to start..
I mention the philosopher only to point out how fundamental bad philosophy is to the construction of a negative and destructive science: science
entails a Goethian approach - but alas, many scientists are caught up in the ubermensch weltanschauung - not apparently learning from the example of
Nietzsche that brash and undisciplined reasoning leads to corruption of self, body and society.
If you haven't read Thus Spoke zarathustra, or Twilightlight of the Idols, or the Antichrist, hold you tongue and leave this thread - you aren't
equipped to understand what is being spoken of. For those who have read this, or understand why books like this present a problem to scientific
progress, ask yourself: how can a discipline fundamentally based upon correlation - i.e. the "meeting up between inquiring subject and objective
process - when reason is the enemy of your thinking - that is, correlated and coherent thinking, symbolized by Nietszsche (and the ancient Greeks) by
the god Apollo? Reason is not used properly - it is not used at all, it seems, when something so trite and patently unreasonable - as spoken by the
debonairly dressed Mukherjee, passes as common sense?
What is an Attitude, but Reason and Affect?
First, to disentangle the corrosive reasoning of Mukherjees assertion, lets start with the simple question: what is an attitude? Mukherjee, like the
pretentious elites he probably spends much time with (judging by his artist wife) mind and body appear to be two separate processes. The reason for
this, as other philosophers have spent their careers trying to undo - earlier on, Spinoza, Whitehead, Begson, later on, Varela, Maturana, Noe, Kelso,
Johnson, Lakoff, Laszlo, etc - is largely due to the epistemological program established by Rene Descartes, who spoke of the mind as "res cogita" and
the body as "res extensa".
Suffice to say, Descartes was critically wrong - Spinoza being closer to the truth than Desrtes was, it would take much of the latter half of 20th
century philosophy to point out how utterly, utterly wrong the virtualism of Descartes reasoning was. And yet - how much does such a view afford -
given that it permits one to traffic in the world of occultism and mysticism, as if mind and the emergent functions it gives rise to was fundamentally
flowing up from a dynamical system - embodying within its flows meaning and metabolism, all together a singular process.
Meaning and Metabolism: Two sides of the Same Coin
Herein lies the fallacy of Mukerjees assertion: by saying attitudes cant effect cancer is akin to saying metabolism has nothing to do with cancer -
but then were brought to a fantastical and blatantly unscientific proposition: that gene aren't subject to metabolic dynamics.
This is the view being teared apart by the new science of systems biology - which ineluctably shows, and will never again unshow, that genes - nucleic
acids - arise as functional constrains upon the flow of energy through a large dissipative system. Genes, than, are large macro-molecules dynamically
tethered to the activities of lower-level metabolic activities - such as co-factors (from food) and small metabolites which interact with such
co-factors. Mukerjees view is thus complete Bull$hit, total incoherent pseudoscience, because it denies any relationship between metabolism and
cancer, or genes and the foods we eat and the environments we live within i.e. the nutritional sources which provide precursors to the reproduction of
our bodies biodynamic structure and function.
Mukherjee, perhaps without even knowing it, is trafficking in a pseudo science called "geneticism"- which proposes that "genes"control our health,
without even properly defining what genes are within the corpus of processes we call the physical world. Not to worry, however: real scientists such
as Harold Morowitz, Stuart Kauffman, Brian Goodwin and others at the Santa Fe institute have made very important contributions to Human understanding
by linking the dynamical activities in the non-living world to the way and manner cells self-organize, and their views support the view that genes are
not "permanent"realities, but macromolecules subject to the dynamism of the organisms "flowing".
Herein lies the power of belief. What is a "positive view", but the institution within your own physiology of a set of neurological higher order
constraints (cortical functions) that constrain the flow of emotion such that the person looks upon the world and reality in such a way as to maintain
a consistent state of robust feeling with the world? Mukerherkees nonsense - just like the nonsense of anyone else who parrots these views - is that a
positive feeling state isn't metabolically robust i.e. more resilient, and therefore immunologically effective in dealing with incoherence within the
Yes - pandering incoherence will promote incoherence - in mind just as in body - and don't be fooled by the gains that can be made by the
pharmaceutical industry, to which one of the 20th centuries greatest minds, Linus Pauling, described as "sickness industry". The very man who
discovered how metabolism operates and works believed that dissonant evolutionary living conditions i.e. our present society, affected how thebody
self-organized, and therefore led to what we call "disease", or what a systems scientists would regard as a "mismatch" between two systems
(environment vs. expectations of the biodynamical structure).
To finish this post, I leave you with the words of an important, though not very well known systems scientists, the late Mae Wan Ho:
"What is it that constitutes a whole or an individual? It is a domain of coherent, autonomous activity. The coherence or organisms entails a quantum
superposition of coherent activities over all space-time domains, each correlated with one another and with the whole, and yet independent of the
whole. In other words, the quantum coherent state, being factorisable, maximizes both global cohesion and local freedom. Its that which underlies the
sensitivity of living systems to weak signals, and their ability to intercommunicate and respond with great rapidity. Within the coherence volumes and
coherence times of energy storage, there is no space-like or time-like separation, and that is why organic space-time can be non-local.
The organism is, in the ideal, a quantum superposition of coherent activities over all space-times, this pure coherent state being an attractor, or
end state towards which the system tends to return on being perturbed" - Mae-Wan-Ho, The Rainbow and the Worm: The Physics of Organism, pg. 286, World
edit on 17-12-2016 by Astrocyte because: (no reason given)