Monday, 12 October 2009

Lost The Symbol

So, just finished reading The Lost Symbol. Umm... have to say, this made me want to slap Dan Brown in a way his other books didn't.

His other books, while potentially contentious in their content (Jesus had kids? Whatever.), were at least based in some kind of reality, in which people believed severely deluded things, but still, people made statues, thought about codes, etc. Fine.

In this book, we get more of the same of that. I doubt the Freemasons will be as bothered as the Christians were, so Brown should dodge trouble there, and I also have no doubt that he got as much wrong in his interpretation as he got right. But it was his interpretation, and it's not like he was suggesting reality worked differently...

Oh, wait. There was this whole lot on Noetic Science, in which human thoughts have mass and can affect the world around us. While thoughts are neurons firing in the brain, and we can indeed change the world around us by, say, thinking about moving something and simply picking it up and moving it, this isn't what he means. The human soul can be experimented on, and psychic powers are real. He even mentions IONS and PEAR (also check out PEAR). And the scientist has done other experiments that prove all this...

Really? The hell? I'm not sure where Brown got this research from, but clearly it's more than slightly questionable. In that it's complete rubbish. No scientific evidence at all, in fact.

(I'm sure others are as annoyed by his other research, but this is what I know about.)

Noetic theory may should like a neat idea, but it doesn't hold up. Ancient texts cannot tell us about modern scientific ideas without a lot of "interpretation", at which point anything can be interpreted to what you want it to mean. You can't pick and choose which bits can be related to scientific ideas, if they get some parts "right" (ie interpretively close) and others wrong. It's just wishful thinking.

An assessment which applies to the final message in the book. It's trite and depressing, but I don't want to give details away.

No doubt everyone will read this, and we'll have the movie in a few years, but it certainly isn't winning awards for intellectual honesty...


1 comment:

ThePassionProject said...

Noetic theories do in fact hold up. If you would like to check for yourself, you can view articles published in peer reviewed scientific journals. Here is the link:
The experiments regarding human thoughts and mass are in there as well. The language used is extremely scientific and quite frankly not understandable by someone without a fair amount of background in scientific fields. However, Dan Brown simplified it as best as one could when writing for such a broad audience.
Perhaps the author of this blog should do their own research on Noetics.