So I finally caught What the (Bleep) Do We Know!?, the film about the mystical implications of modern science that's sweeping the nation.
What a #$*!ing load of #$*!. Let me count the ways ...
Not only does it misrepresent modern physics, not only does it offer a hokey half-baked version of mysticism, not only does it jumble together real science and pseudoscience, not only is it rhetorically sloppy and irresponsible — it's also bad filmmaking.
Set aside the fact that they've chopped up many of the talking heads' comments into quotes so short that they cannot say anything subtle, and you suspect they've been excerpted out of context — the comments are assembled into such a chaotic mess that it's hard to follow what argument the film is even trying to present.
Set aside the silliness of blobby computer animated anthroporphized cells as a way of conveying the idea that the mind and body are linked by hormone action at the cellular level --- this stuff is supposed to be cute, funny, and witty, when it's in fact mawkish and boring.
Set aside that half of the talking heads are obviously crazy --- they even look crazy. Which cannot have been the intention. I hope.
Set aside that the fable of Marlee Matalin as a depressed, delusional, drug-addicted photographer who stumbles through a few messages about enlightenment is just plain dumb --- it's also boring.
Maybe I missed the point, since I finally couldn't take it any more and and left about fifteen minutes before the picture ended. I doubt that it pulled itself together in the last few minutes.
Afterward, I took a look at the list of commentators in the movie from the official website. Apparently their identities are revealed at the end of the film; during the picture they just talk. Which, if you think about it, is a cheap and irresponsible trick. When someone is telling me how quantum mechanics works, in order to evaluate what they're saying, I should know whether they are a physicist from Columbia University or a woman who trance channels a 35,000 year old warrior mystic from Atlantis. After a few minutes with Google, I'm a little wiser about who we have.
JZ Knight gets a lot of screen time, and she trance channels the aforementioned ancient Atlantean, Ramtha. I didn't make that up.
David Albert is the physicist from Columbia University. He talks in little snippets about quantum mechanics in the film. Here's what he has to say about the movie:
I was edited in such a way as to completely suppress my actual views about the matters the movie discusses. I am, indeed, profoundly unsympathetic to attempts at linking quantum mechanics with consciousness. Moreover, I explained all that, at great length, on camera, to the producers of the film ... Had I known that I would have been so radically misrepresented in the movie, I would certainly not have agreed to be filmed.
John Hagelin also talks quite a bit. It turns out that he is a leader in the Natural Law Party, which is a front for the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, which is so loopy that even Pat Buchanan's fans are spooked by his attempted involvement in the Reform Party.
What it comes down to is that liberalism causes brain damage. Liberals are not just unwilling to engage in rational thought, they are, after just so long, incapable of it.
Michael Ledwith resigned his position as a monsignor in the Catholic Church, either because he started ranting about Jesus' twin brother or because he was caught sexually abusing children, it's hard to know which.
... and at that point I start to lose interest. Though it was nice to see the delightfully loopy Fred Alan Wolf, whose writing I've stumbled across before and who says the closest thing to interesting stuff in the movie.
But if that's not enough kvetching for you, Salon has an exposé on how the whole thing is an advertisement for Ramtha, and Not Even Wrong has another vigorous critique with some interesting stuff in the comment thread, The Skeptic's Dictionary has a review of the film on their entertaining page on Ramtha, and even cartoonists are making fun.