What the Bleep Do We Know!?


What the Bleep Do We Know!?

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In the "Publishers Weekly" article, publicist Linda Rienecker of "New Page Books" says that she sees the film's success as part of a wider phenomenon, stating "A large part of the population is seeking spiritual connections, and they have the whole world to choose from now". Author Barrie Dolnick adds that "people don't want to learn how to do one thing. They'll take a little bit of Buddhism, a little bit of veganism, a little bit of astrology... They're coming into the marketplace hungry for direction, but they don't want some person who claims to have all the answers. They want suggestions, not formulas." The same article quotes Bill Pfau, Advertising Manager of Inner Traditions, as saying "More and more ideas from the New Age community have become accepted into the mainstream."

Film critics offered mixed reviews as seen on the movie review website Rotten Tomatoes. [ [http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/what_the__do_we_know/ What the Bleep Do We Know? Movie Reviews, Pictures - Rotten Tomatoes ] ] In his review of the movie, Dave Kehr of the "New York Times" described the "transition from quantum mechanics to cognitive therapy" as "plausible", but stated also that "the subsequent leap—from cognitive therapy into large, hazy spiritual beliefs—isn't as effectively executed. Suddenly people who were talking about subatomic particles are alluding to alternate universes and cosmic forces, all of which can be harnessed in the interest of making Ms. Matlin's character feel better about her thighs." cite web|url=http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/10/movies/10BLEE.html |title=A Lesson in Harnessing Good Vibes |accessdate=2008-01-06 |last=Kehr |first=Dave |date=2004-09-10 |work=New York Times ]

New Age community reaction

"What the Bleep Do We Know!?" has been described as "a kind of New Age answer to 'The Passion of the Christ' and other films that adhere to traditional religious teachings."cite news |last=Kehr |first=Dave |authorlink=Dave Kehr |title='Bleep' Film Challenges Traditional Religion, Attracts Following |publisher=beliefnet.com |date= |url=http://www.beliefnet.com/story/154/story_15436_1.html |accessdate=2007-12-30] It offers alternative spirituality views characteristic of New Age philosophy, including critiques of traditional religion's moral values. The movie was well received at film festivals where New Age adherents are demographically strong, for example Sedona, Arizona. [ [http://www.sedonafilmfestival.com/ Sedona Film Festival ] ]

Academic reaction

Scientists who have reviewed "What the Bleep Do We Know!?" have described distinct assertions made in the film as pseudoscience.cite journal|title=Cult Science Dressing Up Mysticism as Quantum Physics|first=Gregory|last=Mone|journal=Popular Science|month=October | year=2004|url=http://www.popsci.com/scitech/article/2004-10/cult-science|accessdate=2008-02-17] Amongst the concepts in the film that have been challenged are assertions that water molecules can be influenced by thought, that meditation can reduce violent crime rates, and that quantum physics implies that "consciousness is the ground of all being." The film was also discussed in a letter published in "Physics Today" that challenges how physics is taught, saying teaching fails to "expose the mysteries physics has encountered [and] reveal the limits of our understanding." In the letter, the authors write "the movie illustrates the uncertainty principle with a bouncing basketball being in several places at once. There's nothing wrong with that. It's recognized as pedagogical exaggeration. But the movie gradually moves to quantum 'insights' that lead a woman to toss away her antidepressant medication, to the quantum channeling of Ramtha, the 35,000-year-old Atlantis god, and on to even greater nonsense." It went on to say that "Most laypeople cannot tell where the quantum physics ends and the quantum nonsense begins, and many are susceptible to being misguided," and that "a physics student may be unable to convincingly confront unjustified extrapolations of quantum mechanics," a shortcoming which the authors attribute to the current teaching of quantum mechanics, in which "we tacitly deny the mysteries physics has encountered."cite journal |last=Kuttner |first=Fred |coauthors=Rosenblum, Bruce |title=Teaching physics mysteries versus pseudoscience |journal=Physics Today |volume=59 |issue=11 |pages=14 |publisher=American Institute of Physics |month=November | year=2006 |url=http://www.aip.org/pt/vol-59/iss-11/p14.html |accessdate=2006-11-29]

Richard Dawkins, author of "The God Delusion" stated that "the authors seem undecided whether their theme is quantum theory or consciousness. Both are indeed mysterious, and their genuine mystery needs none of the hype with which this film relentlessly and noisily belabours us", concluding that the film is "tosh". Professor Clive Greated wrote that "thinking on neurology and addiction are covered in some detail but, unfortunately, early references in the film to quantum physics are not followed through, leading to a confused message". Despite his caveats, he recommends that people see the movie, stating, "I hope it develops into a cult movie in the UK as it has in the US. Science and engineering are important for our future, and anything that engages the public can only be a good thing." Simon Singh called it pseudoscience and said the suggestion "that if observing water changes its molecular structure, and if we are 90% water, then by observing ourselves we can change at a fundamental level via the laws of quantum physics" was "ridiculous balderdash." According to João Magueijo, reader in theoretical physics at Imperial College, the film deliberately misquotes science. [http://film.guardian.co.uk/features/featurepages/0,,1484925,00.html. "The minds boggle".] "The Guardian Unlimited"] The American Chemical Society's review criticizes the film as a "pseudoscientific docudrama", saying "Among the more outlandish assertions are that people can travel backward in time, and that matter is actually thought."cite news |last=Wilson |first=Elizabeth |authorlink=Elizabeth Wilson |title=What the Bleep Do We Know?! |publisher=American Chemical Society |date=2005-01-13 |url=http://pubs.acs.org/cen/reelscience/reviews/whatthe_bleep/ |accessdate=2007-12-19]

The film's central theme -- that quantum mechanics suggests that a conscious observer can affect physical reality -- has also been refuted by Bernie Hobbs, a science writer with ABC Science Online. Hobbs explains, "The observer effect of quantum physics isn't about people or reality. It comes from the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, and it's about the limitations of trying to measure the position and momentum of subatomic particles... this only applies to sub-atomic particles - a rock doesn't need you to bump into it to exist. It's there. The sub-atomic particles that make up the atoms that make up the rock are there too." Hobbs also discusses Hagelin's experiment with Transcendental Meditation and the Washington DC rate of violent crime, saying that "the number of murders actually went up." Hobbs also disputed the film's use of the ten percent myth. [http://www.abc.net.au/science/features/bleep/ What the Bleep are they On About?!] "Australian Broadcasting Corporation]

David Albert, a physicist who appears in the film, has accused the filmmakers of selectively editing his interview to make it appear that he endorses the film's thesis that quantum mechanics are linked with consciousness. He says he is "profoundly unsympathetic to attempts at linking quantum mechanics with consciousness."

In the film, during a discussion of the influence of experience on perception, Candace Pert notes a story, which she says she believes is true, of Native Americans being unable to see Columbus's ships because they were outside their experience. According to an article in "Fortean Times" by David Hambling, the origins of this story likely involved the voyages of Captain James Cook, not Columbus, and an account related by historian Robert Hughes which said Cook's ships were "...complex and unfamiliar as to defy the natives' understanding". Hambling says it is likely that both the Hughes account and the story told by Pert were exaggerations of the records left by Captain Cook and the botanist Joseph Banks. Historians believe the Native Americans likely saw the ships but ignored them as posing no immediate danger. [http://www.forteantimes.com/strangedays/science/20/questioning_perceptual_blindness.html Fortean Times]

Other critics

Skeptics such as James Randi described the film as "a fantasy docudrama" and " [a] rampant example of abuse by charlatans and cults." The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry dismisses it as "a hodgepodge of all kinds of crackpot nonsense," where "science [is] distorted and sensationalized." [http://www.csicop.org/si/2004-09/review.html Review] by Eric Scerri of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry] A BBC reviewer described it as "a documentary aimed at the totally gullible." [http://www.bbc.co.uk/films/2005/04/14/what_the_bleep_do_we_know_2005_review.shtml Review] at BBC Movies]

Journalist John Gorenfeld, writing in "Salon", notes that the film's three directors are students of Ramtha's School of Enlightenment, which he describes as having been called a "cult."cite news |last=Gorenfeld |first=John |title="Bleep" of faith |publisher=Salon|date=2004-09-16|url=http://dir.salon.com/story/ent/feature/2004/09/16/bleep/index1.html?pn=1 |accessdate=2006-11-29]

Book adaptation and sequel film

In mid-2005, the filmmakers worked with "HCI Books" to expand on the movie's themes in a book titled "What the Bleep Do We Know!?—Discovering the Endless Possibilities of Your Everyday Reality". HCI president, Peter Vegso, stated in regard to the book his company was publishing, he believed that "What the Bleep is the quantum leap in the New Age world," and "by marrying science and spirituality, it is the foundation of future thought."

On August 1, 2006 "What the BLEEP – Down the Rabbit Hole, Quantum Edition" multi-disc DVD set was released, containing two extended versions of "What the BLEEP Do We Know!?," with over 15 hours of material on 6 DVD sides.

Featured individuals

The film featured several interviewees for the documentary portion, including:

* Amit Goswami, who appears in "What is Enlightenment" magazine, authored the book "The Self-Aware Universe: How Consciousness Creates the Material World" (ISBN 0-87477-798-4), has worked with Deepak Chopra and is employed by the Institute of Noetic Sciences,cite news |last=Wagner |first=Annie |title=David Albert: ‘What the BLEEP’ Is Wildly and Irresponsibly Wrong |publisher=The Stranger |date=2006-02-08 |url=http://www.thestranger.com/blog/2006/02/david_albert_wh_1.php |accessdate=2006-11-30]

* John Hagelin, a physicist at Maharishi University of Management, director of MUM's Institute for Science, Technology, and Public Policy, and three-time presidential candidate of the Transcendental Meditation-linked Natural Law Party. [cite web | title = Faculty for the Physics Minor of Maharishi University of Management | url=http://www.mum.edu/faculty/physics.html | accessdate = 2007-06-30 ]

* Stuart Hameroff, an anesthesiologist, author, and associate director of the Center for Consciousness Studies at the University of Arizona, who worked with Roger Penrose, on a speculative quantum theory of consciousness,

* JZ Knight, a spiritual teacher who is also identified in the narrative portions as the spirit "Ramtha" that Knight is channelling,

* Andrew B. Newberg, assistant professor of radiology at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital, and physician in nuclear medicine, who coauthored the book, "Why God Won't Go Away: Brain Science & the Biology of Belief" (ISBN 0-345-44034-X),

* Candace Pert, a neuroscientist, who discovered the cellular bonding site for endorphins in the brain, and in 1977 wrote the book "Molecules of Emotion".

* Fred Alan Wolf, an independent physicist, who recently wrote "The Yoga of Time Travel: How the Mind Can Defeat Time", [ [http://www.thinkingallowed.com/2fwolf.html Fred Alan Wolf: Fred Alan Wolf Videos from Thinking Allowed ] ] and

* David Albert, a philosopher of physics and professor at Columbia University, who according to a "Popular Science" article, is "outraged at the final product," because the filmmakers interviewed him about quantum mechanics unrelated to consciousness or spirituality, and then edited the material in such a way that he feels misrepresented his views.

Other interviewees in the film include Joe Dispenza, a chiropractor, author, and a devotee of Ramtha's School of Enlightenment; [ [http://www.beyondtheordinary.net/joedispenza.shtml Dr. Joe Dispenza from "What the Bleep do we Know" - Beyond the Ordinary Dot Net ] ] Miceal Ledwith, author and former professor of theology at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth; Daniel Monti, physician and director of the Mind-Body Medicine Program at Thomas Jefferson University; Jeffrey Satinover, psychiatrist, author and professor; and William Tiller, Professor Emeritus of Material Science and Engineering at Stanford University, and employed by the Institute of Noetic Sciences.

Credits

Filmmakers

* William Arntz: Producer, Director, Screenwriter
* Betsy Chasse: Producer, Director, Screenwriter
* Mark Vicente: Director, Director of Photography

Cast

* Marlee Matlin as Amanda
* Elaine Hendrix as Jennifer
* Barry Newman as Frank
* Robert Bailey as Reggie
* John Ross Bowie as Elliot
* Armin Shimerman as Man
* Robert Blanche as Bob
* Jeff S. Dodge as Extra (on train)

Physicists

* William A. Tiller
* Amit Goswami
* John Hagelin
* Fred Alan Wolf
* David Albert

Neurologists, anesthesiologists and physicians

* Masaru Emoto
* Stuart Hameroff
* Jeffrey Satinover
* Andrew B. Newberg
* Daniel Monti
* Joseph Dispenza

Molecular biologist

* Candace Pert

piritual teachers, mystics and scholars

* JZ Knight speaking as Ramtha
* Miceal Ledwith

Visual effects

* Evan Jacobs – visual effects supervisor
* Atomic Visual Effects – brain animation
* Mr. X Inc – cells animation
* Lost Boys Studios – basketball sequence, rabbit-hole effects

Awards

* Awards given in 2004:
** Ashland Independent Film Festival – Best Documentary
** DCIFF – DC Independent Film Festival – Grand Jury Documentary Award
** Maui Film Festival – Audience Choice Award – Best Hybrid Documentary
** Houston World Fest – Platinum Remi Award
** Sedona International Film Festival – Audience Choice Award, Most Thought-Provoking Film.
** Pigasus Award – "Category #3, to the media outlet that reported as factual the most outrageous supernatural, paranormal or occult claims". [http://www.randi.org/jr/040105capitalizing.html#11 2004 Pigasus awards] "James Randi Educational Foundation"]

References

External links

*
* [http://tendencias21.net/La-Fisica-Cuantica-se-pone-de-moda_a983.html La Física cuántica se pone de moda] - "Tendencias21, Spanish" (see also the [http://www.online-translator.com/url/tran_url.asp?lang=en&url=http%3A%2F%2Ftendencias21.net%2FLa-Fisica-Cuantica-se-pone-de-moda_a983.html&direction=se&template=General&cp1=NO&cp2=NO&autotranslate=on&psubmit2.x=34&psubmit2.y=12 English translation] accessed 8 July 2007)
* [http://www.skeptic.com/eskeptic/04-10-01.html Review] by The Skeptics Society/"Skeptic" magazine
* [http://www.intuitor.com/moviephysics/bleep.html Critique at Intuitor's Insultingly Stupid Movie Physics]
* [http://e-philosopher.com/phpBB_14-action-viewtopic-topic-2640-start-30.html E-Philosopher debate on the validity of the claims put forth in the movie]
* [http://www.theconnection.org/shows/2004/10/20041014_b_main.asp Interview on radio show "The Connection"] with co-director Mark Vicente, Dr. Fred Alan Wolf and Dr. Michael Shermer, October 14, 2004
* [http://dir.salon.com/story/ent/feature/2004/09/16/bleep/index.html "Bleep of Faith"] : Dr. Albert describes his experience of being interviewed for the film, and describes how he feels he was misrepresented
* [http://www.thestranger.com/blog/archives/2006/02/05-11.php#a004212 Further comments from Dr. Albert on his involvement with the film] ( [http://www.thestranger.com/blog/2006/02/david_albert_wh_1.php Permalink] ), in "The Stranger" blog
* [http://www.empireonline.com/reviews/ReviewComplete.asp?FID=11099 Review] at Empire magazine


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