Saturday, March 10, 2007

The Secret/The Law of Attraction critiqued

"Oprah's ugly secret" at
"There Is No 'Secret'" at The Simple Dollar.
"The Secret Behind The Secret" at eSKEPTIC.
"Shame on Oprah" at Pharyngula.

Here's a quote from the Salon story, which pulls no punches on this nonsense:
Worse than "The Secret's" blame-the-victim idiocy is its baldfaced bullshitting. The titular "secret" of the book is something the authors call the Law of Attraction. They maintain that the universe is governed by the principle that "like attracts like" and that our thoughts are like magnets: Positive thoughts attract positive events and negative thoughts attract negative events. Of course, magnets do exactly the opposite -- positively charged magnets attract negatively charged particles -- and the rest of "The Secret" has a similar relationship to the truth.
Unfortunately, the author made somewhat of a hash of his statement about magnets. He should have said either that like magnetic poles repel and opposite magnetic poles attract or that like-charged particles repel each other and oppositely-charged particles attract. The effect of magnets on charged particles is the same regardless of charge (and it's not attraction or repulsion--remember the mnemonic device of making a fist with your right hand, with your thumb pointing up, representing the direction of the current from positive to negative and the other fingers showing the direction of the magnetic field?).

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