I feel crappy having to defend myself from a slanderous website but it’s what I need to do. So I’m typing this note out myself with no editors influencing it. I’m hoping this notice gets the truth out and helps with my recent problems of people reading a slander piece and presuming it to be true because it is on a legitimate-looking site.
Why am I doing this? Because I’m trying to do good in the world. And the lies about me on a website called RationalWiki.org are impeding my efforts because the website looks legit. Simply put – it is not and it’s misleading people. Many people have taken this website at face value because of how it looks. In other words, RationalWiki has found a way to cloak itself as a legitimate source of information despite the fact that it is far from legitimate. And it’s not an ordinary trolling hater site talking trash in an op-ed style. For example, if Rush Limbaugh were to slander someone using selective lies, omission and slanted arguments, it would be fine because you take it with a grain of salt knowing he’s giving opinionated information versus something you’d see in a credible encyclopedia, right? Well, RationalWiki is different. Based on its look, style, and domain name, RationalWiki looks like a legitimate encyclopedia in order to make false assertions that seem factual. But they are not an unbiased source of information. You have to look closer to see that they state that they are a collection of essays in opinion format, they openly avoid neutrality and encourage a snarky point of view.
In short, RationalWiki claims that I’m a pseudoscientist. In regard to my research, there are no math or physics mistakes in our work that warrant me being called a pseudoscientist. Rather, RationalWiki claims I am a pseudoscientist because I suspect that there is something to be discovered that relates consciousness (whatever that term even means) to the statistics of quantum mechanics in some undiscovered quantum gravity theory. This is my theory, as is the theory of many other famous scientists.
In regard to my business dealings, my company has been around 25 years and like any large company, we’ve had disagreements with regulators and customers before. This is the reality of running a successful business. It comes with the territory. Nevertheless, over the past 25 years, we have proven ourselves to have an ethical and spotless record for following the law to the “T”. The language RationalWiki mentioned about me is from documents relating to disagreements with regulators. They are not court findings. Any implication that we violated regulations are simply false. We have not.
Regarding a man from TN almost getting killed by one of our products, the claim is both ridiculous and false. We investigated the situation, which turned out to be exactly as we expected – a shakedown. This man never took us to court about this and it was simply about money.
When the complaints stacked up about 3rd party company we hired to answer phones and process orders and returns we terminated the relationship with this call center. Customers get dissatisfied and complain, it’s a part of business. We took action.
RationalWiki claims that one of our products contained an impermissibly high amount of lead. Once again, this is not true. Our products contain less lead than a California grown avocado. We’ve investigated these claims and have found the lead to be naturally occurring. Ultimately, for business reasons, we decided to label our products accordingly. They are nevertheless completely safe.
RationalWiki also mentions a public company I worked for, Omni Nutraceuticals, that didn’t file timely quarterly statements. While this is true, the claim that this company didn’t have clinical data to support a carb-blocking product claim is not. The science was solid. It usually boils down to an attorney at the FDA disagreeing with a scientist and the law firm working for us. In this case, we didn’t care. So we changed the claim. In business and life, sometimes it is better to not fight than to prove you’re right.
I’ll elaborate more on this later. But it is wrong for the RationalWiki people to intentionally disparage my reputation by implying to readers that I am unethical and that my business practices have been unethical. Outside of traffic tickets, neither myself, nor my company has been found guilty of any crime or violation of the law. In reality, RationalWiki wants to take me down because they disagree with me that there may be a connection between consciousness and physics to be discovered. I respect them for disagreeing, since I once disagreed with even the possibility. But I disrespect them for not being honest about it.
Notwithstanding RationalWiki’s bogus claims, I feel that I have an obligation to set the record straight. Therefore I have put together this response, which will be divided into two parts: (1) Background on RationalWiki.org and (2) a defense of the false claims they make about me.
Again, RationalWiki is not what they guise themselves to be. They go out of their way to copy the font style, sizes, similar URL name, color motif, geometric layout and other aspects of the world’s largest encyclopedia, Wikipedia, in order to look like a credible encyclopedia — which they are not. So what is Wikipedia and what really is RationalWiki?
Wikipedia is an open source place for anyone wanting to post articles about, well… anything. In other words, it is not a place of like-minded opinion groups such as a religious or political online forum. They have an ethical policy about slandering people as well as a good editing process, where biased information gets sorted out by the moderators and posters after an initial article is posted by someone. I frequently donate to them because they’re honest and the site is helpful.
At one point I had a Wikipedia page, but even that community understood that information about a company’s regulatory issues do not belong on an individual’s page – especially when that information has nothing to do with the individual personally. That would be like noting every public legal issue Microsoft had on Bill Gate’s page. Doesn’t make sense because he’s not Microsoft, just like I’m not any company I have owned or worked for.
RationalWiki is the opposite of Wikipedia. It claims to have the same editing policies to protect people from being slandered, however RationalWiki does not follow such policies. Many victims have tried to get them to follow these ethical policies but have failed. Having a snarky point of view is a requirement and bashing people seems to be their religion. Let’s define “religion” as a belief one has that they are so dogmatic about that they become fundamentalist zealots. They close their minds and are not interested in scientifically open-minded debate. They’re not willing to change their minds based on learning and reasoning. Like religion.
RationalWiki is a pseudo-encyclopedia if “encyclopedia” means unbiased. But, aesthetically, it looks legit. I’m more liberal in my human rights and political views. So it’s funny that I’d provide you this note from the conservative group American Thinker on RationalWiki, where they explain claims about them too are not based on any evidence.
A note on Quora.com says, “…RationalWiki is not an encyclopedia, nor is it a primary source. Rather, it is a group blog… As it is a group blog/wiki, RationalWiki fails Wikipedia’s reliable source policy.”
And “…the articles are written in extremely oversimplified language that is intended to preach to the stupid (this might be beneficial because a lot of people don’t think too hard), which oftentimes leads to the misuse of certain terminology for emotional effects. They also unfortunately have a policy called snarky point of view, in which the articles generally are supposed to be written in the most snarky tone possible. This at times leads to a deterioration of quality.”
So it’s clear this website is not a reliable source of information.
A Defense of the False Claims RationalWiki Makes About Me
The article on their site claims I’m a false scientist (pseudoscientist). Before getting into these bogus claim, let me first provide you with an honest overview of myself.
I grew up pretty poor, and I dropped out of college to begin earning money to support myself. Academia was too slow for my ADD-ish mind anyway. I hack problems. And you don’t do that by copying what others are doing. I found my way into business, which I had no formal training in other than my strong ability and desire to hack problems. I built a company from the ground up that is now worth several hundred million dollars and that now works with and supplies to customers such as Walmart, Costco and Whole Foods.
In 2009 a new passion of mine emerged. I wanted to hack the greatest problem in science – the unification of general relativity and quantum mechanics. From an early age, I’d done my best to use my free time studying these subjects. If I’d completed college, it would have been through a more organized study of physics and math. But I didn’t. I focused on building a business instead. I would describe myself before 2009 as a good-natured materialist atheist. But at that point my focus shifted from business and financial success to me wanting to do something to help the world at a high-impact level because the future was starting to look scary. I have kids, so ultimately I did it for them.
Things fell in place for me when I got together with Larry Page, Peter Diamandis, Pete Worden and about 30 other geeky people like me at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Palo Alto. Our goal was to help bring about positive change in the world using science. We formed Singularity University located at the offices there on the NASA campus. I was the first to raise my hand to commit a significant amount of my personal funds to get it started. I was all in. I didn’t want to spend any more of my life pursuing business profits. I wanted to help the world like these heroes who inspired me that day.
The next day, I walked up to my colleague’s desk and said, “Steph, I’m going to get out of business and try to discover the proper unification theory.” She told me it sounded like quite the adventure, and we’ve been on this journey together ever since.
I combined my interest in fundamental physics with my desire to engage in philanthropy. So with that new purpose I stopped being a businessman and formed Quantum Gravity Research. Today, we have over 20 PhD mathematicians and physicists working on hacking physics, and we have a lot of fun doing it. String theory is 51 years old this year. And to celebrate, it has exactly zero successful predictions under its belt. Many high level people agree something novel is needed – a radically different approach. So here we are, unconstrained by academia, and able to work on a radically different approach.
Here is a link to some of my essays and peer reviewed publications. The preprints are here available for download and to get the peer reviewed articles for the ones that are in journals, you just have to google the article names.
I’ve also started two tech companies that are in stealth mode. One is focused on an approach to topological quantum computation based on some of the mathematics we developed over the last 10 years. The other is related to clean energy production. Both would be high-impact solutions to many of the problems we are experiencing on a global scale.
For the last 10 years I’ve spent 60 hours a week working on and studying physics and mathematics with PhDs. Did the authors of the RationalWiki article say I was a pseudoscientist because I don’t have a PhD, like Michael Faraday and many others who didn’t? Did they say this because there are mistakes in our math or physics? No, they said this because of my views on consciousness, which is also why they try so hard to discredit me by insinuating I’m a fraud. The article says nothing critical about our work, even though with a little effort all mathematical physics models can be criticized. In fact, I have tried to engage and have an open dialogue with RationalWiki about my views and work, but RationalWiki has refused to participate. They are not interested in gathering the real facts.
This is where the religious level of dogma and irrationality comes in on their part. These people are hardcore zealots about the materialist point of view on consciousness. The materialist view says that it’s impossible for there to be a connection between our thoughts and the statistics of physical reality. After all, that sounds downright spooky. I get it. I spent the majority of my life with this view. I just never took it to the dogmatic religious level of these people. I remained logically open even though I had my materialist view, until arguments and experiments loosened that up.
If you talk about anything remotely close to the idea that there’s something interesting to discover about how consciousness interacts with quantum mechanics, you’ll get severely disparaged by the people at RationalWiki. It gets ugly fast. Take me for example. They call me a pseudoscientist despite the fact I am anything but that. They disagree with my point of view and research and resort to baseless name-calling and accusations in an effort to bring me down.
Let’s take score before moving on. There are no math or physics mistakes in our work that warrant me being called a pseudoscientist. I have not committed any crimes. Rather, RationalWiki claims I am a pseudoscientist because I suspect that there is something to be discovered that relates consciousness (whatever that term even means) to the statistics of quantum mechanics in some undiscovered quantum gravity theory. This is my theory. It is not a crime to pursue new scientific theory. I’ll complete my position statement to you by getting a bit deeper into this idea of consciousness and physics and how talking about it is taboo to the zealots in what could be called the extreme right wing of the population of scientists with PhDs.
For now, let’s name-drop a small fraction of Nobel laureates and other famous physicists who have similar suspicions about an undiscovered connection between consciousness and quantum mechanics.
“We do not find obvious evidence of life or mind in so-called inert matter… but if the scientific point of view is correct, we shall ultimately find them, at least in rudimentary form, all through the universe.” —J. B. S. Haldane
“Mind or something of the nature as mind must exist throughout the entire universe. This is, I believe, the truth.” —Julian Huxley
“The laws of physics leave a place for mind in the description of every molecule… In other words, mind is already inherent in every electron, and the processes of human consciousness differ only in degree and not in kind.” — Freeman Dyson
“That which we experience as mind… will in a natural way ultimately reach the level of the wavefunction and of the ‘dance’ of the particles. There is no unbridgeable gap or barrier between any of these levels… It is implied that, in some sense, a rudimentary consciousness is present even at the level of particle physics.” — David Bohm
“Was [is] it utterly absurd to seek behind the ordering structures of this world a “consciousness” whose “intentions” were these very structures?” — Werner Heisenberg
“The relevant literature [on the meaning of quantum theory] is famously contentious and obscure. I believe it will remain so until someone constructs, within the formalism of quantum mechanics, an “observer”, that is, a model entity whose states correspond to a recognizable caricature of conscious awareness.” — Frank Wilczek
Andrei Linde, co-pioneer of inflationary big bang theory, said:
“Will it not turn out, with the further development of science, that the study of the universe and the study of consciousness will be inseparably linked, and that ultimate progress in the one will be impossible without progress in the other?”
Speaking of related unbelievable physical ideas, physicist and author of Bell’s Theorem, John Bell said:
“It is likely that the new way of seeing things will astonish us.”
Warner Heisenberg said:
“Is it utterly absurd to seek behind the ordering structures of this world a “consciousness” whose “intentions” were these very structures?”
Of course, Rationalwiki will not say that any of these people are pseudoscientists because, well, frankly that would cause them to lose credibility. For people like me, they are able to attack more aggressively because doing so will not make their arguments look dogmatic and incredulous. For example, one of the most famous physicists and mathematicians in the world is Roger Penrose. Rationalwiki politely says they disagree with him. Interestingly enough, Penrose’ ideas are far more outside of the box than the mathematics and speculative questions we ask at Quantum Gravity Research about the interface of quantum mechanics and consciousness.
One final note on this consciousness stuff. I don’t know what it is. And there is not good consensus on the definition among neuroscientists and other scientists. And yet we know it has something to do with physics. Physicists call this the “measurement problem”, where the delayed-choice quantum eraser experiment is one perplexing and powerful argument that something deep and not yet understood is going on. It is known that, when an observer can become aware of whether or not a particle shot from a projector device goes through one versus another slit or hole, it will behave one way if someone can be aware of the measurement data and another way if they cannot. The delayed-choice quantum eraser experiment seems to prove that the choice of measurement and awareness of the measurement can somehow change physical reality in the past.
The fact is that there is something going on that we do not yet understand. And it relates deeply to the choice and awareness of measurements. Humans can make choices and be aware of data. I don’t fully understand yet what reality is, but neither do these people at Rationalwiki. For them to try to destroy my reputation just because I’m thinking outside the box like so many other famous physicists goes too far. Just say you disagree with someone, and leave it at that. Outside the box thinking is what has driven so many of the sticking points in physics to a breakthrough. Peter Diamandis said, “The day before something is a breakthrough, it is a crazy idea.”
RationalWiki says I “push woo,” which is another way of accusing me of practicing bad science. For example, they said:
“Having made a large amount of money from this business, Irwin has started promoting pseudoscience. He has registered an organization with the deceptively prestigious title and domain name of Quantum Gravity Research[and has begun releasing videos and articles about cold fusion, the golden ratio, crystals, and consciousness.”
Again, it’s easy to see how this trolling op-ed piece uses implication and the art of omission. I would think that if they were trying to give an overview of our woo pushing, they’d say what the bulk of our work is. Predictably, they leave out some very sophisticated peer reviewed journal work we’ve published using these woo terms. Let’s break it down for fun.
They say that cold fusion is part of our woo. It’s also called low energy nuclear reactions (LENR). But there are over 2,000 peer reviewed journal studies now showing that there is an anomalous nuclear reaction occurring. The US government (US Naval Inst., China Lake, Sandia, etc) has published many of these journal articles. Mitsubishi was granted a patent recently on a cold fusion device. There are teams at MIT and many other universities working on it. NASA is invested into the space, as is the multi-billion dollar fund, Cherokee Investment Partners. No one knows the new physics involved that might allow these reactions to occur, as they do, at low temperature. But there is ubiquitous agreement among people up-to-date on the literature that there are anomalous nuclear reactions occurring. This, too, is what we believe.
RationalWiki clearly implies that, because one of the numbers in our math is the golden ratio, we’re pushing woo. Well, again, there are over 200,000 peer reviewed physics and math papers also using this golden ratio number. We use it because it’s in the equation that expresses the only angle by which one can convert the crystallographic analogue of the E8 Lie algebra to H4 symmetry, which has powerful mathematical qualities. A crystal for mathematicians is not the thing that a fortune teller has on the table. It is an abstract periodic array of points in any spatial dimension. I will not waste your time any further defending our mathematical approach to unification physics. Sadly, RationalWiki will not waste any time engaging with us in order to really find out what we do. It’s against their agenda.
Any scientist is free to disagree with us that there is something we don’t yet understand between consciousness and quantum mechanics. But it’s not true that people, like me, putting all my time and money into trying to come up with new physical models, such as ours, are pseudoscientists. Again, thinking outside the box is not pseudoscience. This is how we progress as a society. This is what brings about change, discovery, and new scientific principles altogether.
A large number of the trolling style posts on Rationalwiki are produced by the people who run it. Unlike Wikipedia, the “articles” on RationalWiki are not truly open sourced and based on a community consensus. In reality, it appears as though few individuals control the website content.
It is sad that people would resort to such great lengths such as falsely accusing me of fraud simply because they disagree with my scientific views. I do not like drama and have waited years before finally deciding to put this notice up. I do not want to waste any more of my time having to explain what RationalWiki really is.
I know this note has been long. I appreciate anyone who reads it to the end. It was necessary for me to give you the picture of motivation for why RationalWiki is trying to damage my reputation. And that’s not easy to explain.
It is wrong for the RationalWiki people to intentionally disparage my reputation by implying to readers that I am unethical and implying to readers that my business practices have been unethical. Outside of traffic tickets, neither myself, nor my company has been found guilty of any crime or violation of the law. In reality, RationalWiki wants to take me down because they disagree with me that there may be a connection between consciousness and physics to be discovered. I respect them for disagreeing, since I once disagreed with even the possibility. But I disrespect them for not being honest about it. They can’t find fault with our math or physics. They can’t find anything unethical or illegal I’ve done. And yet, knowing that, they willingly write a gorgeously manipulative and deceptive hand-waving piece leaving trusting readers of their site to presume that I practice bad science. This is not the case.