Jan 01

All That Glitters Isn’t…

In Brief— A belated review of the slickly produced but potentially dangerous pseudoscientific documentary The Living Matrix. This is a reminder that the internet has lots of junk along with the good stuff.


Slick and Potentially Dangerous—

As a preamble, I must point out that it has been shown that people tend to read material that fits their belief system. As a skeptic, I will generally accept only material that holds up to the legal and scientific standard of solid, reliable evidence.

stop-pseudoscienceA friend in LA occasionally asks my opinion on material that pollutes the Internet. Racists, Islam haters and other ignorant folks circulate baloney without questioning its authenticity. Of course, most of that material is crude compared to the slickness of The Living Matrix, the subject of this piece.

Despite its pseudoscientific content, I watched The Living Matrix in its entirety…twice! Slick production and it’s clear that they know how to manipulate Google’s algorithm to get their message dominant on the Internet.

That aside, the Living Matrix documentary has more than a little pseudoscience and is, to say the least, misleading and even potentially dangerous in a variety of ways. I suggest that before you invest your time, you check out what the skeptics have to say about The Living Matrix.

Notwithstanding the ample evidence, supporters will still say that this confirms their view that I am closed-minded. Bushwa! This simply confirms my willingness to get solid, reliable evidence before I accept material that too many folks accept without question. The day I start accepting without question the nonsense believed by many is the day I realize I have gone over the edge into cloud cuckoo land.

Here are some facts about Lynne McTaggart, the woman who’s a major part of The Living Matrix. She runs the What Doctors Don’t Tell You web site and calls herself a ”pioneer of medicine.” She is not a medical doctor, but a journalist and writer. The presumed goal of her web site is to provide “independent information on medicine’s dangers and the alternatives that work.” Instead, it denigrates proven medical treatments, emphasizes infrequent side effects and uncertainties and attempts to influence readers to accept what informed experts have characterized as ”quackery”. She even advocates that group meditation alone can affect the outcomes of experiments at distant locations. In short, hers is a strange world view.

In order to get a sense of the documentary, I did a random google search on some of the individuals who appeared in The Living Matrix. I learned for example, that Dr. Eric Pearl learned his waving hands healing energy method from a gypsy who told fortunes at Venice Beach, California. Pearl is best characterized as self-deluded.

Dietmar Cimbal, a German veterinary doctor and alleged biophysics researcher claims that birds are connected to ”the field” and change direction instantaneously when flying. In fact, scientific researchers have discovered that the change of direction is not instantaneous and relies on individual birds observing the moves of six or seven other birds and coordinating their direction change according to what they see. Cimbal’s theory is bad science…it’s pseudoscience.

Peter Fraser, uses speculation instead of relying on scientific research because there has been no scientific research supporting his ”field” theory.

Rupert Sheldrake, author, biologist, parapsychology believer in telepathy and advocate for pseudoscientific ”morphic resonance” has the unique distinction of having his fluke TEDx talk removed from TED’s roster of otherwise interesting talks.

Last but not least is Edgar Mitchell, former astronaut who is noted for his belief in flying saucers and ESP. Proof that simply being an astronaut does not mean that a person does not wear a tin hat.

Well, you get the idea. The Living Matrix is populated with men who hold some really odd beliefs about how the world and the universe works. Save your money and time. Don’t buy into the pseudoscientific nonsense peddled by the slickly-produced The Living Matrix.

All that glitters isn’t gold.




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    • Arthur Ulene on January 1, 2017 at 18:17

    Happy New Year to you, Don! I am hoping that 2017 will be my year for delivering a message to you in person. It would give me great joy to just be in your presence again. I just will have to stay out of my own way to make that happen…. because I am already committed to climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro (again) in July (a story for another time)… to a trip to Ethiopia in December (an earlier trip had to be cancelled because of the civil strife there)… and PERHAPS… to writing another book (I vowed I’d never do that again, but it could be a critical element in a campaign to promote healthier aging (which has become a personal goal of mine). A visit with you is on my “bucket list”, and I will do everything I can to fulfill that wish of mine…. while I still have a bucket to my name. I look forward every Sunday to your messages. Keep ’em coming.

    Priscilla joins me in sending our love and best wishes to you for happiness and better health in the coming year.

      • Don Bay on January 2, 2017 at 10:07

      I look forward to seeing you and Priscilla whenever you can make it into this corner of the world.

      As a man of science, you surely agree that “The Living Matrix” is pure pseudo-science that sets your teeth on edge. Baloney is still baloney no matter how you slice it.

      That bucket list has room for a visit here. Not as exotic as Mt. Kilimanjaro, but certainly less taxing. Fingers crossed that 2017 is better than 2016.

    • Dave Meyers on January 1, 2017 at 19:46

    Marilyn and I also wish a HAPPY NEW YEAR! to you and your family, Don.

    I had not seen, nor had I heard of, the Living Matrix. I did, however, watch the trailer after reading your piece. It falls into the, “pay me and I’ll tell you”, category of scams, from the way it appears.

    It brought to mind a scam from many years ago (pre-internet) that appeared in the L.A. Times classified ads.
    “Send me a self-addressed stamped envelope plus one dollar and I will tell you how to make money effortlessly”. Those who could not resist, received the envelope back with a 3×5 card inside suggesting that they need only run an ad in the news paper asking for a self-addressed envelope and a dollar………

    The internet can give weight and ‘authority’ to just about any one or any absurd idea. Even the smallest endeavor can appear to be just as trustworthy as those that have earned it. And, the gullibility of the public can make it so. We’ve recently witnessed how profoundly gullible the public can be.

    Snake oil salesmen go way back in time……..there is no reason to believe that man is any smarter now than then.

    Happy New Year to all!

      • Don Bay on January 2, 2017 at 10:19

      Scams are scams regardless of how they’re dressed up. You recognized that right away. It doesn’t matter if it’s in the film, print, internet or political realm, all a scam needs is a smooth presentation and an audience of gullible people. As you point out, snake oil has been around for a long time, and as long as there are gullible humans around, that snake oil will get sold.

      Fingers crossed that 2017 will be better than 2016, but I’m not going to hold my breath.

    • Kathy on January 2, 2017 at 01:17

    This is like the propaganda used to denigrate and persecute pit bulls and their owners. All the supposed dog bite “statistics” bandied about by people who want to criminalize the owning certain kinds of dogs comes from two or three activists with an ax to grind. These people get their numbers from media reports, which are notoriously unreliable, then refuse to make their raw data available for examination by real scientists, epidemiologists and statisticians. Yet the media and the haters use these “statistics” to justify the murder of thousands of innocent family dogs

    Like every other technology, the internet is definitely a two-edged sword, both enlightening ignorance and encouraging it.

      • Don Bay on January 2, 2017 at 10:35

      As I basically said to Dave, a scam is a scam regardless of whether it’s dogs or ESP.

      Skepticism is a good arrow to have in your quiver. We know only too well that it’s the owner, not the dog, so it’s essential to look at the whole picture not just part of it. That’s true of dogs as well as “The Living Matrix.” Like everything else, the internet can provide useful information as well as tons of junk, so keep your skepticism nocked and ready.

      Thanks for pointing that out.

  1. I’m glad Dave didn’t know about the Living Matrix because as I read I thought how did I miss this. But miss it I did and I’m glad because I don’t like to encounter BS. I agree totally with you about pseudo science and nonsense. We just discovered on the internet a program about flying saucers, etc. and I was amazed that another of these things would pop up again. I wonder how people get hooked on this stuff. Maybe the nonsense caters to people’s needs to believe in something that speaks to the needs, no matter that their needs require nonsensical explanations.

    Anyway, happy new year and I wish for this year to be better for you. Keep the posts coming. They whet my attention and give us something else to think and talk about. They also connect your readers with both you and with each other and that’s a real social benefit for me.

      • Don Bay on January 2, 2017 at 10:56

      I often say that people will believe what they want to believe even in the face of contrary evidence. That’s certainly true of “The Living Matrix.” That slickly produced pseudo-science has been around for some time and, unlike many gullible people, you can count yourself fortunate that you missed it. It became a subject of my blog not only because it’s the doldrums after the holidays but it’s still lurking out there on the internet. It’s a reminder that the internet is full of junk.

      Although I’m increasingly running dry of topics, I’ll keep writing my little blog as long as I can. I genuinely appreciate your point-of-view and those of others who choose to comment not least because it keeps me thinking. That’s something I can recommend for everybody.

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