Rod Dreher

Rod Dreher

Information, the basis of reality?

Via the physics blog on MIT’s Technology Review site, here’s fascinating news from the world of quantum physics, about the potential for using quantum principles to teleport energy. Excerpt:

Just how we might exploit the ability to teleport energy isn’t clear yet. Post your suggestions in the comments section if you have any.
But the really exciting stuff is the implications this has for the foundations of physics. Hotta says that his approach gives physicists a way of exploring the relationship between quantum information and quantum energy for the first time.
There is a growing sense that the properties of the universe are best described not by the laws that govern matter but by the laws that govern information. This appears to be true for the quantum world, is certainly true for special relativity, and is currently being explored for general relativity. Having a way to handle energy on the same footing may help to draw these diverse strands together.
Interesting stuff. There’s no telling where this kind of thinking might lead.

Hmm, that puts the opening line of the Gospel of John — “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…” — in an interesting light.

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posted February 6, 2010 at 9:49 pm

I searched on Google Scholar and found a couple of academic articles by George Lasker about Informational Medicine. Perhaps those would be of interest to you (or maybe you’re already familiar with them).
This reminds me, is the paper you wrote for your Templeton fellowship available for the public to read? It’s a fascinating topic and I’d enjoy reading more about it, especially from your Orthodox perspective.

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posted February 6, 2010 at 10:01 pm

Rod, I am simply not a man who ridicules what other people believe. I am humble (and logical)enough to know that there must be more happening in the universe (both at hand and far away) than we can yet detect or understand.
That said, when you start talking about this, my crazy alarm goes off. I think it is primarily because you offer up this man’s proclamations about his own “work” as if they are evidence. The effectiveness of placebos on people is so well demonstrated and documented that it is actually difficult for even ancient techniques like acupuncture to be verified.
I feel like you’re really out there on this topic, and it actually erodes my confidence in your other opinions. I’m just being honest. Always willing to read and hear more, but I confess that it is difficult to consider seriously.

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posted February 6, 2010 at 10:05 pm

Interesting that physicists are now adopting the language of biologists and speaking of inanimate (one supposes) objects as reacting to information. (Of course, in biology the objects are not ‘inanimate’ but are not self-aware (one supposes)). At any rate, molecular biologists have long talked about signaling pathways and that sort of thing, and of course all genetics is now phrased as ‘information’ rather than chemical reactions. In the social sciences to economists talk of prices as primarily conveying information about scarce resources, and in political science those engaged in conflict behavior are said to convey information to their opponents through their actions. Seems to me all this talk of ‘information’ is simply a handle, a convenient signifier rather the ‘the thing in itself’.

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posted February 6, 2010 at 10:16 pm

As usual, Rod, my take on this is completely the opposite of yours. 😉
All philosophical discussion aside, when are they going to build a teleport machine? If I could beam home every weekend, I’d take a job in Germany or the Middle East or anywhere I wanted.

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posted February 6, 2010 at 10:29 pm

There is undoubtedly a connectivity between minds that doesn’t depend on direct communication. Quantum explanations won’t get you there. Physics will have to forget the whole quantum idea and start over from somewhere around de Broglie’s ideas of waves and wave packets. I know the “luminiferous ether” was easily disproved, but the workable theory will end up closer to that notion than to any of the quantum formations.

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Colin Beavan aka No Impact Man

posted February 7, 2010 at 1:12 am

Hi Rod, I’m Colin Beavan author of No Impact Man and subject of film by the same title. Your email address doesn’t seem to be available either here or at the Templeton website. Would you mind emailing me? I have something to discuss with you. noimpactman [at] Thanks so much!!!

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lancelot lamar

posted February 7, 2010 at 5:29 am

Uh, Rod, If you were not “aware” this guy was working on you, how can you say this kind of healing is about “information,” which I would think would require awareness and insight?

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Rod Dreher

posted February 7, 2010 at 9:20 am

MWorrell: I feel like you’re really out there on this topic, and it actually erodes my confidence in your other opinions. I’m just being honest. Always willing to read and hear more, but I confess that it is difficult to consider seriously.
MW, I certainly wouldn’t expect you to endorse this guy’s work based on the scant information I’ve provided here. And you’re right to be skeptical. I was, until he demonstrated it on three separate occasions with me. The first time was shortly after I met him, and, not being able to understand what he was talking about when I asked him what he did for a living, he said, “Let me just show you.” I stood there in my living room wearing a bulky sweater while he “examined” me without touching me, doing some odd protocol of hand positioning. It was so strange I wanted to laugh, but didn’t, out of respect. When it was over, he told me that he detected stress on two particular vertebrae, and slight inflammation of my liver.
What he couldn’t have known, because we’d only recently met, is that I have a bad lower back in precisely those places — and that it had been flaring up, which meant I’d been hitting the ibuprofen pretty heavily, possibly explaining the inflamed liver. I was pretty impressed, and asked him how he knew that. He said that people who practice his kind of medicine believe that information about the body’s condition is in some sense present in the body itself — and that if you “ask” the body, it will tell you what the bugs are in the program. That’s what he’d done with me, he said. I thought it was completely strange, but I couldn’t deny that he pinpointed my two injured vertebrae precisely. The thing is, I knew where my back hurt, and had long hurt, but I didn’t know the name for the vertebrae. And though my wife knew I had a bad lower back, I’d never told her which side it hurt on. But he knew. That was odd.
The second time was when I went to see him to further investigate what he does. He asked me if I had any problems I wanted to work on. I told him I was having a lot of trouble sleeping at night. OK, let’s work on that, he said.
Without asking me any questions, he began silently running through the hand-position protocol over my body as I lay there in his exam room. After a while, he said, “I keep getting that there was something significant to your not being able to sleep that happened on this day exactly 11 months ago. Can you think of anything?”
I thought, and said, “No, nothing comes to mind.”
“OK, let’s keep going.”
A few minutes later, he looked at me quizzically. “I’m sorry, this is going to sound really strange, but I keep getting that it happened in utero. Any idea what that means?”
I thought, then realized, “Oh, my birthday was 11 months ago on this date!”
“Did you have a difficult birth?”
“I don’t know.”
“Well, anyway, I’m going to clear that pathway up, and we’ll see. I’m thinking there was a significant trauma there.”
He did his thing, and I left the office — again, fairly skeptical. On the way home, I phoned my mother, and asked her if my birth had been difficult. Yes, she said, it was awful; labor lasted 17 hours.
That was interesting to learn. After I got home, I was suddenly overcome with a powerful desire to sleep. I went to bed about 7:30 that night, and slept deeply, through the night. That was the end of my insomnia.
The power of suggestion? Possibly. I suppose he could have discovered my birthdate from someone who knew me. But how did he know that my birth had been traumatic, when I didn’t know it myself? If he’s guessing, that’s a pretty good guess.
The third time it happened was a Sunday afternoon. His wife phoned to see what we were up to. Julie told her I was in bed, because I felt bad, like a cold was coming on. She said she’d get her husband to “work” on me — this, even though they live 20 miles away. I didn’t know about any of this, because Julie was speaking to her on the portable phone in the backyard. What I experienced before I fell asleep was a rush of energy. I felt compelled to get up. I went into the kitchen and started cleaning up. Julie came in from the backyard and was surprised to see me up and about. I told her it was the oddest thing — I’d been lying in bed, feeling weak and put out, and suddenly I had this burst of energy, and felt fine. It was then that she told me about her conversation with our friend’s wife. Later, we verified that I’d felt instantly better at the same time he was working on me. He explained — as he has many times — that this looks like woo-woo magic stuff, but in fact (at least, in his view) this is a naturalistic technique that anyone can learn.
Oh, one more time, that really impressed me. We were visiting at their house for dinner one night, and while our attention was distracted, Nora, who was two, drained a wine glass that had been left on a coffee table. We only noticed this when she came stumbling into the living room, bleary-eyed, and clearly drunk. We were horrified, and scared; when we figured out what had happened, we knew she probably hadn’t had enough to poison herself, but we still debated over whether or not to go to the hospital. Our friend got his manual out, found a particular page, took Nora in his lap and started his procedure.
“What are you doing?” I asked. He explained that he was clearing internal pathways to speed up her body’s processing the alcohol. It took about 10 minutes, and we could see Nora’s body change as he was doing it. After that 10 minutes, she was restored. Completely restored. I can’t explain how he did that; she was so under the influence that had he not done what he did, it would have taken at least an hour to get her back to that point. As he explained it, all he did was help her body heal itself. It was uncanny.
Now, you didn’t see or experience any of this, MW, so I don’t expect you to accept it. Had someone told me about it prior to my seeing these things, I would have been as skeptical as you. But I can’t deny what I’ve seen. I find it most interesting that my friend doesn’t make any supernatural claims for what he does, nor does he claim that it’s an ability exclusive to him. I also am impressed that he’s eager to see this stuff tested in lab conditions. I hope he gets his wish. If he and those who practice this kind of healing are correct, then what they’re doing is a fascinating combination of physics and healing, and will lead to a new understanding of the body, and biological organisms as information systems whose “cloud” (you might say, though I believe Rupert Sheldrake’s idea of the “morphogenetic field” applies) can be accessed and utilized. And if not, not. But if there really is nothing to this stuff, I’d like to know it, so I can figure out how my friend does it. He’s a deeply devout Christian, and based on what I know of his character since becoming friends with him, I’d be absolutely shocked if he were faking it in any way.

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posted February 7, 2010 at 9:55 am

A book you might be interested in along the lines of your discussion is Grammatical Man by Jeremy Campbell, subtitled Information, Entropy, Language and Life. The book is old, copyright 1982, but still very relevant. Regarding information healing, might chi not be a form of information and hence practices like qigong and tai chi be a form of information transmission?

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Rod Dreher

posted February 7, 2010 at 10:08 am

Mole, I was wondering something like that last summer, which inspired my T-C project. Taoist metaphysics (the basis for Traditional Chinese Medicine) and Eastern Christian metaphysics both believe that matter is infused with energy. TCM teaches that illness usually results from the blockage of energy transfer within the biological system. This seemed to have some sort of analogue within the kind of work my friend does, with the unblocking of information passageways (as he puts it). Moreover, I was curious as to whether there is an informational component of the “divine energies” that Eastern Orthodoxy teaches infuses all of matter (panentheism) — if the Logos (translated into Chinese as “Tao”) might be understood not only as a person, but as an informational master code, in a similar way that the basis of biological life is the DNA code.
Anyway, these were my ill-informed musings. I’d like to return to that in a more considered, scientifically-and-theologically guided way for a book project one day. I don’t know enough to know if it’s a dead-end project or not.

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posted February 7, 2010 at 10:09 am

The article on teleporting energy looks interesting.
Rod Dreher quoted his healer friend saying, “sort of like debugging software to make the computer run more smoothly”
I know that’s an analogy, but here’s an important point about the nature of software and information processing. Within the domain of computers there’s no such thing as software, only different states of hardware. We call it software for our convenience, but it can be fully explained by physical processes within computers.
The proof is that it’s possible to build computers out of tinker toys, relays, gears, or valves. While they are bigger and slower than their electronic counterparts it’s possible to design them with the same architecture and run the same programs on either. However, when you see and hear a relay computer running a program the physical nature of software is undeniable.
So when your healer friend makes an appeal to debugging a computer to help information flow more smoothly, he’s really talking about a physical process. He’s actually ignorant about the nature of that process as well.

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posted February 7, 2010 at 12:43 pm

After reading the teleporting energy article it is about exploiting some of the non-local effects of quantum mechanics. These are some of the more counter-intuitive parts of reality.
I only have a superficial understanding of string theory. But as I understand it, non-local effects are an outgrowth of the tiny curled up dimensions where the particles are actually still adjacent.

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posted February 7, 2010 at 2:15 pm

Here’s the website for what Rod’s talking about, the Neuromodulation Technique:
Rod, there’s just one featured practitioner listed for Dallas. Would it be too obvious that “Dr. N.”, your distance healer, is Dr. Robert Weiner?
Why does your distance healer have to remain anonymous? He’s a public
“doctor”, isn’t he?
Is he showing confidence in you, that you won’t reveal his identity?
The only reason I can think of for the distance healer to remain anonymous is that he represents himself differently to different patients, telling them what they want to hear. For the christian patient he’s christian, for the new age patient he’s new age, etc. He can’t have the different worlds colliding by being public on this blog.
[Note from Rod: He hasn’t asked to remain anonymous; I’ve chosen to keep him anonymous out of respect for his privacy. I sometimes screw up by putting things on this blog that people thought they’d said to me with an expectation of privacy, and have had to apologize for that. As my exasperated wife once rebuked me, “For most of us, life is life, it’s not material for a blog.” I haven’t spoken with my Dallas friend in a while, but next time I do, I’ll ask him if I can reveal his identity. I doubt he would object, but I want to make sure. And no, he’s not Dr. Robert Weiner. — RD]

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