By Decoder 6.7b 

  

 

ignorance-bRecently I met Mr. F who is a retired person dedicated to Falun Gong (法輪功),  a spiritual practice, or as the statement  of  Philip Cunningham at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok  saying that its  practice “looks like a cult, smells like a cult and by any reasonable definition is a cult". (Cunningham, 2001) As Falun Gong’s teachings cover spiritual, religious, mystical, and metaphysical topics, Mr. F asserted science is not fully reliable by telling me two mystically hard-to-believe reports. One is about Plant perception (paranormal) or so-called  ‘the Backster Effect’ by Cleve Backster. Below I quote some statements  and answers from “The Skeptic’s Dictionary” and Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Plant perception (a.k.a. the Backster effect)

Plants are living things with cellulose cell walls, lacking nervous or sensory organs. Animals do not have cellulose cell walls but do have nervous or sensory organs. It would never occur to a plant or animal physiologist to test plants for consciousness or ESP because their knowledge would be sufficient to rule out the possibility of plants having feelings or perceptions on the order of human feeling or perception. In layman’s terms, plants don’t have brains or anything similar to brains. 

However, a person completely ignorant of plant and animal science has not only tested plants for perception and feeling, he claims that he has scientific proof that plants experience a wide range of emotions and thoughts. He also claims that plants can read human minds. His name is Cleve Backster and he published his research in the International Journal of Parapsychology (“Evidence of a Primary Perception in Plant Life," vol. 10, no. 4, Winter 1968, pp. 329-348). He tested his plants on a polygraph machine and found that plants react to thoughts and threats…….

Backster’s claims were refuted by Horowitz, Lewis, and Gasteiger (1975) and Kmetz (1977). Kmetz summarized the case against Backster in an article for the Skeptical Inquirer in 1978. Backster had not used proper controls in doing his study. When controls were used, no detection of plant reaction to thoughts or threats could be found. These researchers found that the cause of the polygraph contours could have been due to a number of factors, including static electricity, movement in the room, changes in humidity, etc.

It shows his curious nature, as well as his apparent  ignorance of the dangers of confirmation bias and self-deception. Backster clearly does not understand why scientists use controls in causal studies.(The Skeptic’s Dictionary, 2009, plant perception (a.k.a. the Backster effect))

In the scientific community as a whole, paranormal biocommunication has been subjected to much criticism, and is largely regarded as a pseudoscience. .Skeptics typically criticize the fact that many experiments into ‘plant perception’ are not taken in controlled conditions and that therefore their results are not verifiable evidence of its existence. More recently, the television show MythBusters performed an experiment concluded that the theory was not true. Further, the anonymous readings were unable to be repeated during their tests, and stated that “if it’s not repeatable, it’s not science some “supermen or super beings”have set up a nuclear fission reactor in Precambrian ."( Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia(2009) Plant perception (paranormal))

 

The second  mystically hard-to-believe report Mr F told me is regarding Oklo phenomenon with anti-science attitude saying that there are some “supermen or super beings” who have set up a nuclear fission reactor in Precambrian times. Below I cite some information about Oklo phenomenon:

Oklo is a region near the town of Franceville, in the Haut-Ogooué province of the Central African state of Gabon. The discovery in September 1972 of several natural nuclear fission reactors in the uranium mines situated there has fired the imagination and aroused the curiosity of scientists. .” Gabon was a French colony when prospectors from the French nuclear energy commissariat (the industrial parts, which later became the COGEMA) discovered uranium in the remote region in 1956. France immediately opened mines operated by Comuf (Compagnie des Mines d’Uranium de Franceville) near Mounana village in order to exploit the vast mineral resources and the State of Gabon was given a minority share in the company.

For forty years, France mined for uranium in Gabon. Once extracted, the uranium was used for electricity production in France and much of Europe. Gabon’s miners half-joked that it was thanks to them that France’s high-speed TGV trains could operate. Today, however, the uranium deposits are exhausted, and the mine is no longer worked. Currently, reclamation work is ongoing in the region affected by the mine operations.

There is strong geochemical evidence that the Oklo uranium deposit behaved as a natural nuclear fission reactor in Precambrian times: Some of mined uranium was found to have a lower concentration of U235 than expected, as if it had already been in a reactor. Geologists found that it had been in a reactor before — two billion years ago. At that time the natural uranium had a concentration of about 3% U235, and could have gone critical with natural water as neutron moderator.        ( Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, 2009, Oklo)

 

falun-gongThe Oklo phenomenon also has been mentioned by Li Hongzhi (李洪志), the founder and  Master Leader of Falun Gong (法輪功) saying that “Even our modern people cannot possibly create this, so when was it built then?” (Li,2000), —this also implies that there are some “supermen or super beings”have set up a nuclear fission reactor in Precambrian times as Mr F told me.— despite that

“there is strong geochemical evidence that the Oklo uranium deposit behaved as a natural nuclear fission reactor in Precambrian times: : Some of mined uranium was found to have a lower concentration of U235 than expected, as if it had already been in a reactor. Geologists found that it had been in a reactor before — two billion years ago. At that time the natural uranium had a concentration of about 3% U235, and could have gone critical with natural water as neutron moderator.”

( Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, 2009, Oklo)

 

These two mystically hard-to-believe reports in some way have lead me to think of one possible reason to “ Why people believe in God? Or become religious?”—ignorance that is “Ignorance, being misinformed, lack of education” as Titus Lucretius Carus, a Roman philosopher,  like ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus, advocated long long time ago saying that religion was a product of ignorance and fear, and that understanding the natural world would liberate people from ignorant fears (including fear of death) and superstitions.( Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia,2009, Epicurus)

 

Many people follow their ancient ancestors’ steps to put the unknown or unsolved questions with supernational explanation using God’s name—a omniscient God is needed and created. If anything that science can not yet explain the theists will fill up gaps with God. The early religious believers even regarded lightning and thunder were created or controlled by God or gods. The time has come that humans can finally use meteorology, astronomy, biology,  geology, cosmology to explain natural phenomena rather than accept the religious descriptions explained by God. In letters he wrote while in a Nazi prison during World War II, Dietrich Bonhoeffer made the term of “God of the gaps” more clearly coined: “…how wrong it is to use God as a stop-gap for the incompleteness of our knowledge….. God is increasingly edged out of the world, now that it has come of age, knowledge and life are thought to be perfectly possible without him.”( Bonhoeffer,1997) All religious experiences and phenomena could be understood as resulting from purely logical and understandable “misinterpretation, misapprehension, misjudgement or delusion”. Although as a result of modern science’s progress the realm of the role of God can play has been vastly narrowed, God – the man-made virtual God still vividly alive by permanently occupying in the faith and brain of his unshakable believers.

By Decoder 6.7b

 

References:

Bonhoeffer, Dietrich.(1997) Letters and Papers from Prison. New York: Simon & Schuster

 

Cunningham, Philp J. (2001). When does a faith become a cult? The Japan Times. Retrieved April 1, 2009 from  http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fb20010130a1.html  

Li, Hongzhi. 2000. Zhuan Falun, Qigong is Prehistoric Culture. Retrieved April 03, 2009. from http://www.falundafa.org/book/eng/lecture1.html#4

To give another example of a more remote age, the Gabon Republic in Africa has uranium ore. This country is relatively underdeveloped. It cannot make uranium on its own and exports the ore to developed countries. In 1972, a French manufacturer imported its uranium ore. After lab tests, the uranium ore was found to have been extracted and utilized. They found this quite unusual and sent out scientists to study it. Scientists from many other countries all went there to investigate. In the end, this uranium mine was verified as a large-scale nuclear reactor with a very rational layout. Even our modern people cannot possibly create this, so when was it built then? It was constructed 2 billion years ago and was in operation for 500 thousand years. Those are simply astronomical figures, and they cannot be explained at all with Darwin’s theory of evolution. There are many such examples. What today’s scientific and technological community has discovered is sufficient to change our present textbooks.

(in Chinese)李洪志在《转法轮》中讲气功是史前文化时说:

  非洲有个加蓬共和国有铀矿石,这个国家比较落后,自己不能够提炼铀,把它出口到先进国家。一九七二年,法国一家工厂进口了这种铀矿石。经过化验发现这种铀矿石都是被提炼过、利用过的,觉得很奇怪,就派出科技人员去考察,许多国家的科学家都去考察。最后证实这个铀矿是个大型核反应堆,而且布局非常合理,我们现在的人都不可能创造出来的。那么,什么时候建成的呢?是二十亿年前,它运转了五十万年。这简直是天文数字,按照达尔文进化论根本解释不了,这些事情非常多。现在科技界发现的东西足以改变我们今天的教科书了。

The Skeptic’s Dictionary(2009) plant perception (a.k.a. the Backster effect). Retrieved March 23 2009, from http://skepdic.com/plants.html )

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia(2009) Epicurus. Retrieved April 1, 2009,  from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epicurus 

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia(2009) Oklo. Retrieved arch 24 2009, from  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oklo

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