30 May 2006

Water feels emotion too, man

I was going to give some free advice from your Aunty Bee, for anyone planning to see Dr. Masaru Emoto talk about "messages in Water" in Sydney. However, the latest news just in - after researching this post - its been cancelled due to lack of bookings. Shame. (The advice was: just don't.) Above are some suggestions for non-material ways ways to spend that $75.

I have to get it off my chest: this guys stuff is the most ridiculous piece of twaddle, blatant manipulation and fuzzy headed thinking I have come across in years. There's science, there's wonder and magic, and then there's this crap. So a few quick points for the non-initiated.
  • Water is intrinsically fascinating stuff. Its is less dense when in a solid state than liquid, which is why ice floats on water. This is a feature unique among any known substance. Water droplets suspended in air can refract light forming rainbows. Everybody loves a rainbow. Water cycles through the environment and is found in solid, liquid and gaseous forms naturally. Water is an important feature of thousands of years of spiritual practice and agriculture - often intertwined.
  • Ice that forms in a hexagonal crystalline structure is called snow. Snow is also awe-inspiring. No one is actually sure how symmetrical snowflakes are created. The two major suppositions are summarised here on Wikipedia.
  • A double blind test is one where both the subject and the experimenters do not know which group of subjects have been exposed to the treatment being tested. It is a methodology important for drug testing to try to eliminate the known placebo effect and discover whether a compound does have a statistically significant effect on the test subject, greater than just random chance. That is, the person allocating drug A and inert substance B does not know which one is actually the compound being tested.
  • What our man Masuru appears to do is this (c/o Wikipedia):
  1. Place water in glass
  2. Expose to words, pictures, or music for a while
  3. Divide water into numerous petri dishes, 5 cm (2 inches) in diameter
  4. Freeze at around −25 °C
  5. Leave for 3 hours, then allow dishes to warm
  6. Examine ice grains through microscope. Crystals may form in some dishes as temperature rises. Photograph. Optional: analyze the aesthetics and quantity of crystals.
  • According to snowcrystal.com and suite 101 crystals of frozen water can be from 140 microns across (0.14 mm) up to 5 mm and are plethora of different shapes. The first also has some gorgeous photos of water crystals under light microscopes.
  • According to the good doctor, bad things make ugly patterns and good things make beautiful, symmetrical crystals. Like the words "Hitler" or "Mother Theresa" taped to jar.
  • On hearing about this snippet of a movie I assumed that punters just enjoyed the beauty and poetry of the shapes for themselves, without attaching any meaning to the messages part.. but no, apparently not. Bring it up in a beachside share house lounge room, and apparently, yes, emotional intent effects water's "molecular structure". Shrug. Of course.
  • One: they're not molecules, they're a cluster of molecules behaving in a natural way. Two: this is not a repeatable phenomenon under testable conditions.
  • So a Petri dish is 5 cm across. That leaves room for up to 333 individual crystals of 150 microns wide just across its width.
  • The researcher is free to have a good look around every sample before taking his snaps. Reckon you could find an ugly bit in a "heavy metal" sample and a pretty bit in a "blessed" sample out of more than 300? I'd be happy to give it a shot. And for AUS$75 a per head, per seminar there's a bit of motivation to do just that. Oh and US$25 per book and US$35 per one ounce bottle of "highly charged hexagonal structured" Indigo Water.
  • The emotions and water thing has only ever been published as a photo essay. It is not in a journal anywhere that is peer reviewed by qualified chemists (or qualified anyone).
  • To test that any treatment causes significant and repeatable changes to the crystalline shapes in water you need to provide the samples to the photographers without meaningful labels and then give them a standard methodology for scanning and photographing each sample (eg. randomly generated grid coordinates).
So, in summary. "Messages from Water" Pretty: Definitely. Revelatory: Maybe, if you are awed by the beautiful complexity of the earth. Mystical, healing, worth any money: No.

3 comments:

Betty Sue said...

And another thing: there is no such thing as hexagonally structured water. H2O molecules are a shallow V shape (this is why water expands as it freezes, because the shape of the molecules is not conducive to tight packing). Liquid water is a random mass of molecules. Sure, some of them may be arranged in something approcahing a hexagon, but not all of them. You can't make all of them make a hexagon shape. And there is no difference to the properties of water if the molecules are making hexagonal shapes or satanic shapes or fascist salute shapes or any other bloody shapes.

mermaidgrrrl said...

Oh how sad - I loved this theory! *sigh* In fact reading about his stuff actually inspired me to think kind thoughts toward myself more often. I'm a sucker!

BSharp said...

Oh hi Mermaidgrrl,
I don't know if you check back to comments or not...but I reckon thinking kind thoughts to oneself is all good! I think any psychologist will agree, and I try to think at least one nice thing per day. Also the art produced by this mob is wonderful and inspiring. I just get annoyed when people are selling bottles of magic potion.

Mostly that post was a way of venting frustration after sticking my foot in it terribly in the midst of a bunch of new-agers and pissing off nearly everyone in the room, without being able to build a proper defence, after being completely minced up for my sceptism. Sorry.