Skeptophilia (skep-to-fil-i-a) (n.) - the love of logical thought, skepticism, and thinking critically. Being an exploration of the applications of skeptical thinking to the world at large, with periodic excursions into linguistics, music, politics, cryptozoology, and why people keep seeing the face of Jesus on grilled cheese sandwiches.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Peter Gariaev, wave genetics, and the problem of being a dilettante

There's an inherent problem with skepticism, and the heart of it is that you can't be an expert in everything.

There are, in fact, damn few things that I do consider myself an expert in.  Judging by my ability to read technical, peer-reviewed papers, I can handle myself decently in the fields of evolutionary biology and population genetics (which I focused on in college, and which I teach every year) and historical linguistics (the subject of my master's degree).  Outside of that... well, I'm a dilettante.  So despite my B.S. in physics, research papers in Science on just about any topic in physics lose me after the first two sentences.  Even in biology -- a subject I've taught with (I think) at least some degree of competence for 27 years -- I am instantaneously lost in the details in scholarly papers on a variety of topics, including (but not limited to) cellular biology, physiology, ecosystem dynamics, and most of biochemistry.

Now, let me say up front that there's nothing inherently wrong about being a dilettante.  Dilettantes make good high school teachers, and my opinion is that it's more fun to be a generalist than a specialist.  Dilettantism was positively celebrated in the 18th and 19th centuries, when it was the sport of gentlemen (and more than a few gentlewomen) -- some of whom have some significant and far-reaching research to their credit.

But being a generalist does bring with it a problem, and that is that it leaves you unqualified to weigh in on topics where specialized knowledge would be required to know if the person in question was even making sense.  And the specialists aren't much better off -- because even they are out of their element in all but their chosen field.

So how, as skeptics, do we make a decision about whether someone is a groundbreaking pioneer or a spouter of bullshit -- when the field in which they are making their pronouncements is less than familiar to you?

I ran into an especially good example of this a couple of days ago, when a friend asked me what I thought about Dr. Peter Gariaev.  I hadn't heard of Dr. Gariaev's research, so I did a little digging.  And what I found left me with the same impression my friend had -- his comment was that it "sounded like a bunch of woo."

But let's face it, relativity sounded like a "bunch of woo" when it was first proposed.  So did quantum mechanics.  So, honestly, did the germ theory of disease.  None of these ideas were particularly intuitive; none gained instant acceptance; all three seemed, for a while, to be blatant nonsense.  So let's look at some of Gariaev's writing, and see if he's an Einstein or a Schrödinger -- or a David Icke or a Richard C. Hoagland.

Here are a few paragraphs from Gariaev's own website about his theory, called "Wave Genetics:"
The quintessence of the wave genome theory may be represented as following: genome of the highest organisms is considered to be a bio-computer which forms the space-time grid framework of a bio-systems.

In that bio-system, as the carriers of a field epi-gene-matrix - wave fronts are being used, which are assigned by gene-holograms and so-called solitons on DNA – distinct type of acoustic and electromagnetic fields, produced by biogenetic apparatus of the organism/bio-system under consideration and being a medium of strategic regulatory data/information exchange between cells, tissues and organs of the bio-system.

It is also vital to note that the holographic grids/frameworks, which are also the elements of fluctuating structures of solitons, are, in fact, discrete simplest cases of code-originated information, anchored in chromosome continuum of an organism...


A group of scientists headed by P P Gariaev and M U Maslov, developed a theory of so called fractal representation of natural (human) and genetical languages. Within the confines of this theory it is said that the quasi-speech of DNA possesses potentially inexhaustible “supply of words” and, moreover, what had been a sentence on the scales of DNA–“texts” “phrases” or a “sentence” becomes/turns into a word or a letter on the other scale. Genetical apparatus can be viewed as the triunity of its structure-functional organization consisting of holographic, soliton and fractal structures.

This theory allows a refined quantitative comparison of symbolic structure of any texts including genetical. Thereby a possibility has been wide open to approach a deciphering of a lexicon of one’s own gene-code, and accordingly, more accurate composition of algorithms of addressing a genome of a human with an aim of potentially any type of programming of one’s vital activity such as treatment, increasing one’s life expectancy and so on and so forth.

Empirical tests of wave genetic theory in the light of “speech” characteristics of DNA demonstrate strategically correct stance and direction of the research.
Made it through all that?  There's lots more, but it all pretty much sounds like what you just read.  Lots of use of words like "holographic" and "fractal" and "soliton;" not much in the way of data.  As far as his qualifications, Gariaev himself apparently has a Ph.D., even though nowhere could I find any mention of where it's from.  To be fair, this may just be that his biographical details aren't widely known outside of his native Russia.  So given that, is there a way we can parse his research, despite not being molecular biologists ourselves?  (Well, maybe some of my readers are, but I'm not.) 

When I run across something like this, the first thing I look for is to see where he's been published.  And when you look at his publications list, an interesting pattern emerges.  Back in the early 1990s, Gariaev was publishing in what seem to be reputable, peer-reviewed journals -- the Journal of the Society of Optical Engineering and Laser Physics, for example.  Even back then, though, you could see what appears to be a trend toward oddball interpretations of science, with his solo paper "DNA as source of new kind of God 'knowledge'" (published in the Act and Facts/Impact series, N12, pp. 7-11).  I'm just going off the title, here -- I wasn't able to find the paper itself -- but unless he was using the term "God knowledge" metaphorically, which doesn't seem very likely in a scholarly paper, I think this one already shows that he'd gone off the beam.

Since then, though, he's not had a single publication in a reputable peer-reviewed journal, with the exception of a 2002 paper in the International Journal of Computing Anticipatory Systems.  His other publications have appeared in places like the Journal of Non-Locality and Remote Mental Interactions (and lest you think that I'm being too harsh, here, a quick survey of other articles they'd published include one having to do with using "Qigong" to treat cancer, one trying to use quantum mechanics to explain telepathy, and one called "A Scientific Validation of Planetary Consciousness"). 

Other papers by Gariaev have appeared in DNA Decipher Journal -- which just this summer published a paper called "Quantum Intelligent Design in Contrast to Mindless Materialists' Evolution."

Mercy me.


So, if Gariaev is the next Einstein, why no papers in Nature or Science?

Why, too, is he cited all over -- but only in places of highly dubious reputation, like Above Top Secret and Godlike Productions?

And don't start with me about how he is a Maverick and a Pioneer and the other scientists hate him and are suppressing his work because it is too revolutionary.  C'mon, now.  How many careers were made based on the ground broken by the likes of Einstein and Schrödinger?  Peter Higgs just won the Nobel Prize, for fuck's sake.

I may not be an expert in biophysics; but I do know that if Gariaev really had shown (as he has claimed) that "genetic traits can be changed, activated and disactivated by use of resonant waves, beamed at the DNA" and that this was going to allow humans "to regrow vital internal organs, in vivo, without the requirement of difficult, dangerous and expensive surgical procedures," then he'd be elbowing Higgs out of the way to get to Stockholm.

So we can, as generalists (or as specialists outside our particular specialty) still use the principles of skepticism to come to some sort of judgment about what we read.  Fortunate for me; a dilettante I always have been, and (I'm afraid) a dilettante I always will be.  If it weren't possible for us to think through such situations, we'd fall prey to just about every crazy claim that came along.

Some of us still do, of course -- which is why it's absolutely critical to train your brain to be, well, absolutely critical.

13 comments:

  1. I think he does have a PhD. But there were frauds with PhD before, it's a far more parsimonious explanation than this whole fractal linguistic computer gibberish, to me at least

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  2. i am bioinformatics student at university of vienna, and I also stumbled on this character - at first what i read looket to me like... well it looked unsirious. but then again, everything that I red from his works had solid scientific backgound - appart from light phisics which is not my area. I will definitly turn my attention to this aspect to, because it could be very important.... there are some very interesting aspects that are reveald to me from his work, it is sometimes refreshend to learn from somebody that look like is half way lunatic :-D i apologize for my english. greetings

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  3. Good article. I can't help but think though, that perhaps you have judged prematurely. The majority of true scientists were rejected early on, many are still unrecognized (Royal Raymond Rife, Wilhelm Reich, Nikola Tesla to an extent, etc); even Einstein had an 'Anti-Einstein' foundation. Point being, just because someone is not published in 'Science' or the like, or is not openly embraced by the current establishment, certainly is not valid reason to judge the totality of their work.
    One's judgment toward a certain 'discovery', whether it be real or fictitious, depends largely upon what scientific paradigm they choose to favor. The majority of those who oppose his research are of a materialistic inclination, and the majority in his favor are of metaphysical inclination; there is philosophical bias on both sides, however this does not in itself imply that Gariaev et al are of the same philosophical 'bend' as their 'fans'.

    The Bohm model of the Holographic Universe theory is not a paradigm that has been studied as extensively as others, unfortunately, and it is this paradigm within which Gariaev performed his research.

    I believe that rather than having the scientific and lay establishments simply criticize his efforts, they should instead seek to either validate or invalidate it through experiment; this has not been done mainly because the equipment is very expensive and uncommon, however if one is capable of transmitting genetic data via encoded light-waves to induce a perfect transmutation, why not try and validate it!

    Considering the postulate that "genetic traits can be changed, activated and disactivated by use of resonant waves, beamed at the DNA", it may seem unlikely, though this does not rule out the possibility.
    The study of cymatics coupled with the discoveries of Raymond Rife have provided strong evidence that we are fundamentally oscillatory beings, in which case a resonance-based genetic regulation may appear somewhat more plausible; also considering the simple fact that music can change the way we feel both physically and emotionally, a case may certainly be made by one more qualified than I.

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    1. Good comment. Skeptics /organized/ often criticize and almost never validate or invalidate the theory which seems strange to them. In Czech Republic they dehonest publicly R.R.Rife and many other researchers which are only "sharlatans" for them.

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  4. The link below describes Luc Montagnier, a Nobel-prize winner who essentially agrees with Gariaevs main assertion:
    "The joint winner of the Nobel Prize for medicine in 2008, Luc Montagnier, is claiming that DNA can send ‘electromagnetic imprints’ of itself into distant cells and fluids which can then be used by enzymes to create copies of the original DNA. You can read the original paper here [PDF]. (Source) Montagnier also filed for a U.S. patent on the technology of detecting phantom replica of DNA in water: http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20110027774.pdf"

    "Dr. Montagnier’s breakthrough is that he copies DNA fragments, at a distance, without adding the DNA fragment into the PCR medium. What Dr. Montagnier has shown is that the shadow of DNA, where that DNA is located at a short distance away, is enough to create copies of that DNA in a PCR medium.

    Dr. Montagnier uses the PCR technique to multiply DNA in a PCR medium, not by adding DNA into the medium, but by using special light to cast a shadow of a DNA fragment onto the PCR medium. He calls it “imprinting” the PCR medium with a “phantom DNA” imprint. (See also Garaiev and Poponin’s “phantom DNA” imprint.)

    The DNA fragment is not physically in the PCR medium. This is potentially a huge breakthrough." -
    http://prof77.wordpress.com/2011/01/28/dna-replication-at-a-distance-reported-by-nobel-scientist/ - A highly recommended read.

    Consider the basic fact that our thoughts are electrical - i.e., they are purported to be the result of electrochemical processes in the brain; is it not logical to then suppose that perhaps electromagnetism is a rather fundamental aspect of our material existence?-Given that it is the facilitator of all human thought?

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  5. May the light of your skepticism (which is brilliant), Mr. Bonnet, further illuminate aspects of the truth of phantom DNA. Perhaps the truth of it is just that it is a good story. What if the truth of it is close to what Dr. Montagnier is in the process of finding? The world improves--either way.

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  6. We just got a record on clean water quantum equivalents of DNA. By this we walked a long 30 years. Our method is an analog method of L. Montagnier , but very different from his method. Montagnier's article caused a great uproar in the scientific press , because he showed something principal new ideas in biology and genetics and physics . This is what I wrote and published a lot , but the western scientific elite prefer not to notice us. The paradox is that Montagnier is in the same position. Prospects for our opening phantom DNA and their method of quantum broadcast enormous.
    I began to prepare materials for patenting of method quantum broadcast of DNA and genes. There is other way . We started joint research with the Institute of Cell Biophysics, Russian Academy of Sciences in respect of quantum programming stem cells.

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  7. Perhaps this is simply a fraud Garaiev, Article DNA- The "Wave biocomputer" he quotes a German institute of neurology, but researched the site and did not find any reference to Garayev, colleagues or Wave Genetics. Here's the link: http://www.hih-tuebingen.de/en/home/

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  8. Here's an example of LWG as it works in practice.

    https://m.soundcloud.com/the-disexists/linguistic-wave-genetics

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  9. Yes, Sir, you're an uneducated dilettante, who to discuss P. Garyaev has to study physics and biology for some good ten-fifteen years first. You try to say here something you have no idea what, at all.

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  10. Nine of his programs are on line, for free. Have anyone tried one of them by any chance ? Otherwise, what can we say ??

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  11. I read through this paper (among some others on the topic):

    http://www.invertone.com/WEBDOC/DNA-Garjajev-Poponin.pdf

    And it is definitely legitimate science.

    Note that scientific journals also publish garbage sometimes. Self-publication allows one to easily append or correct their work and avoids the peer review process, which is sound in theory but sometimes unprofessional or even corrupt in practice.

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