Episode 83: David Sereda's Claims Clip Show, Part 1
Recap: David Sereda started as a UFOlogist who became interested in "alternative" energy, propulsion, and anti-gravity. Over the years, he branched out into what most would term a general "new age" movement with quantum vibration jewelry and harmonic resonances. In this first of two parts, I discuss this evolution and go through a few of his claims. Part two will focus on many more of his claims.
Puzzler for Episode 83: This was a repeat of the Puzzler in Episode 82.
Answer to Puzzler from Episode 81: This will be discussed in Episode 84.
Q&A: There was no Q&A for this episode.
- My New Blog, "WND Watch"
- Audio Clips Used
- Logical Fallacies / Critical Thinking Terms addressed in this episode: Argument from Authority, Non sequitur, False Analogy, Affirming the Consequent, Argument from Ignorance, new-age idea of "information"
- Relevant Posts on my "Exposing PseudoAstronomy" Blog
Claim: There is no specific claim to talk about for this episode. This episode is going to be part of a case study about the man named David Sereda. Over the past few weeks, I have listened to over forty hours of interviews by four different interviewers. They've spanned nearly a decade. This episode is organized somewhat chronologically with how the man's claims have evolved over the years, and then I'm going to go into more of a clip show format, discussing a few various claims. More will be discussed in the next episode. And this would be a good time to plug the Facebook page for the podcast: I've posted several clips I've transcribed while listening to these interviews to the Facebook page, and we've had some good discussions and head-shakings over them. To join in the fun, just go to http://www.facebook.com/ExposingPseudoAstronomy.
From UFOlogist to New Age Extraordinaire
One of the reasons that I subjected myself to so much of David Sereda over the past few weeks is that the few times I had heard him before, it was all new-agey stuff. He had some, shall we say, "interesting" ideas about physics and how things work, and it was very Deepak Chopra -esque with "quantum mechanics" this and that. But, then I found out that in his earlier interviews, it was all about and only about UFOs, so I wanted to see how he had changed. I ended up taking nearly 10,000 words of notes.
The earliest interview I had of him was from 2004, when he was interviewed by Art Bell, and supposedly the interviews go as far back as 2001. At that time, his bio was this [Clip from Coast to Coast AM, June 13, 2004, Hour 2, starting 02:04]:
Wanted to be an astronaut, then in 1968 he and a friend saw a UFO with a bunch of other witnesses. After that experience, he became a UFO enthusiast, "Never living in doubt of the phenomenon that has swept the world since Roswell." Pro photographer for over 20 years, studied religion, philosophy, astronomy, science, etc. for over 25 years.
So, very clearly a UFO guy. And the focus of many of his early interviews really was on UFOs, but it diverged into how the UFO craft work. Pulling information from numerous other interviews, David claims that after his UFO incident, he was contacted while asleep by the beings in the craft, and they told him that they were from the Pleiades. They also told him how their spacecraft work -- remember he was a child when this happened. David claims that it's that that drove many of his future pursuits, including faster-than-light contact with the Pleiadians which I'll get to later, and anti-gravity and the horribly misnamed "zero-point energy."
In interviews for the first couple years that I listened to, David focused on being a UFO commentator but also getting into these other areas, claiming to support and actually conduct experiments on perpetual motion and over-unity devices as well as anti-gravity. For example, in the second interview that I listened to, Sereda was on with John Hutchison who claims to basically have figured out a method for anti-gravity. Sereda was on with Hutchison because of that link, and he shared his method that I'll get to in a bit. That's not to say that Sereda didn't misuse an expletive amount of physics terms early on, but what he told at that point was still somewhat cogent.
And I should note at this point that these are my own observations, that after every interview, I wrote a short summary.
By late 2005, Sereda was getting a lot more into his ... "interesting" ideas about physics, misusing and misunderstanding many terms. In each interview after this point, he would introduce some kind of evidence that he would use in later interviews as "proof" for various phenomena.
Two of his favorite were the water experiments by Masaru Emoto which I'll link to the RationalWiki page for. Emoto claimed that when he played soothing music to water and then flash-froze it, it looked pretty, but when he played jarring music to the water and flash-froze it, it looked ugly. He uses this to try to provide evidence for various things, such as water is mostly hydrogen, the universe is mostly hydrogen, since water can sense consciousness and react, then the universe is also somewhat conscious and has memory and that hydrogen is the storage mechanism.
His other favorite early on is an experiment by a world-famous astronomer - and he told this story many times but never could remember the astronomer's name - who supposedly did an experiment where he put mustard seeds up to the eyepiece of a telescope, attached electrodes to the seeds, aimed the telescope at the star Sirius, and in the light of Sirius the mustard seeds reacted. He used this to claim the phenomenon of "biophotons" which travel faster than light and can communicate with things faster than light and this is evidence also that plants have consciousness and various other things.
So already, he was kinda "out there," but really he seemed to be branching off from his UFO stuff still.
By 2006, his new-age claims were increasing and they were bolstered by his very poor understanding of physics and using techno-babble. He was also into the idea of a top-secret Tesla Death Ray that he claimed five years later he was offered to see it in action and that it was responsible for shooting down the space shuttle Columbia. That didn't stop him from saying on September 27, 2006, that he had started a petition to Congress to get him on the space shuttle so that he could look for evidence of UFOs.
Also around this time, pretty much every interview was him plugging a new movie he had made, such as "From Here to Andromeda" and "Singularity." By 2007, he was barely mentioning UFOs anymore. Or the anti-gravity experiments on cars he had said years earlier that he was working on to solve our energy problems. By 2008, he started to adapt his ideas to the 2012 meme. In 2009, his new-age stuff really started bringing in the quantum nonsense that, for those of us who are skeptics we know and "love." Later that year, he merged it with harmonic stuff, sacred geometry, numerology, and brought it all clearly into the 2012 meme. If you actually listen to it all, there is a fairly organic migration, though to a cynic it would seem as though he was trying to capitalize on the popular culture to push his ideas and sell his goods, such as rocks that he vibrationally charged and put into a pendant that he calls "Light Stream Quantum Vibration Jewelry" and start at $111CDN and go up to eight times that.
Again, if one were cynical, then the next several interviews throughout 2010 and 2011 really were to capitalize on disasters or memes and use those as a launching point for his ideas. For example, he was on in 2010 about the Gulf oil spill. 2011 about Fukushima and later in 2012 about Comet Elenin, though in each one, he spent little time actually talking about those subjects. UFOs didn't even come up.
With that said, David Sereda has not been on Coast to Coast AM since September 27, 2011, when he claimed to be in verbal communication with aliens from the Pleiades. During that interview, George Noory flat-out said that David either has a very active imagination or he's seeing weird phenomena. I don't know if he hasn't been on by his own choice or Coast to Coast's, but it is odd that he was on 5 times in 2011, 2 in 2010, 3 in 2009, 4 in 2008, 3 in 2007, 3 in 2006, 5 in 2005, 2 in 2004, and several before that. But none since September 2011.
Now, the reason for that - to me very brief after listening to the guy for 40 hours, but to you all probably pretty long - overview is to get a flavor for the guy, similar to what I did for Gregg Braden back in Episode 17. I think how these guys evolve their ideas is fascinating and it offers insight into whether they are true believers or just trying to make a quick buck. With that in mind, the rest of the episode is going to focus on a few different specific claims and a few different classes of claims. With the last 11 minutes of background, the next episode will focus entirely on many more claims.
Masaru Emoto's and Other Water Experiments
The first claim I want to talk about is that of the Japanese author and entrepreneur Masaru Emoto and his water experiments. I gave you the overview before: He claims that human consciousness has an effect on the molecular structure of water. Water being a liquid, meaning that the molecules have no set structure and freely move about and take on whatever shape they are contained in. In other words, from the onset, Emoto's claims violate basic chemistry and physics.
The experiments themselves were never blinded and are highly subjective. By "blinded," I mean that Emoto knew what he was doing to each water sample and he was the one conducting the analysis. By subjective, well, you can tell that from the experiments: They involved playing different kinds of music, speaking different words, and even showing different types of pictures to glasses of water. Then, he froze the water and examined the aesthetics of the ice crystals with microscopic photography. He claimed that the water shown or that listened to good stuff was beautiful and geometric when frozen, but the water that was shown or listened to bad stuff was random and chaotic.
How many subjective things can you count in that explanation?
He has sold over 2 million copies of his books, including "Messages from Water, Vols. 1 and 2," despite being pretty much universally criticized by the scientific community for subjectivity, lack of controls, lack of blinding, the premise itself violating basic chemistry and physics, not sharing details of his method with the scientific community so they could test it, and various other things.
I'm talking about Emoto's work because an entire interview in October 2008 was dedicated to Sereda's take on hydrogen and water and the book, "Water: The Great Mystery." He started out with Emoto's experiments as the basis for his evidence for what he was claiming. He used this to claim that water has memory and consiousness [Clip from Coast to Coast AM, October 5, 2008, Hour 2, starting 6:59]:
"You see the evidence in support of water having memory and consciousness is so overwhelming. And-and the arguments against it are because we don't know why and how it has memory and consciousness. And because we can't explain how it works-- he says we can't even explain how gravity and why gravity works, and yet we know gravity exists."
How many logical fallacies can you spot in that? I heard at least two: Argument from ignorance and a complete non sequitur with respect to the whole gravity part.
Later in that episode, he claimed that someone did an experiment where they poured water from one pitcher into two glasses. They separated the glasses, and then, "when you expose information to one pitcher of water, the other at a distance restructures itself according to that information instantly, using atomic clocks-- INSTANTLY!"
To put it succinctly, that's impossible. Not just because faster-than-light communication is probably not possible given what we know of physics -- it might be that we discover it is in the future somehow, but right now it would violate what we know as the laws of physics. But it's impossible because the claim itself makes no sense -- water is a liquid. It has no structure. It can't carry the nebulous idea of "information" as Sereda claims.
But Sereda is a fan of water. He was very keen on the idea that it has memory. In fact, to get one-up on the skeptics, he claimed this, referring to optical disks [Clip from Coast to Coast AM, October 5, 2008, Hour 2, starting 21:53]:
"For scientists who don't believe that water has memory, just look at ordinary plastic!" (referring to DVDs)
How about a false analogy for that one? Plastic is a solid, it's etched with pits and grooves, and those stay put and can be read. Liquid water is not a solid.
Frequencies and Faster-Than-Light Travel
If that's too tall of a glass to swallow, it's just a taste. A theme throughout the 40 hours of interviews I listened to was faster-than-light communication in some way, shape, or form. I'm not going to go into all the ways that he claimed this, but I'm rather going to focus on his claim related to UFOs. To piece this together, I'm going to use three longish clips, all from his June 4, 2005 interview. First is the HOW [Clip from Coast to Coast AM, June 4, 2005, Hour 2, starting 19:36]:
"What happens when you reduce the mass-gravity effect by wave-transforming mass is it eventually becomes translucent, then it turns to light, and then it disappears in these different spectrums of the electromagnetic spectrum that we do not see. And that is why there are SO many accounts today, for example, of these digital-- home digital cameras where these people taking photos on their vacation and download the photos and there's UFOs in them they couldn't see."
He basically is arguing that they are at a higher frequency so the craft become massless and so aren't limited by light speed. It makes no sense, but moving on ... next is his observational evidence for this [Clip from Coast to Coast AM, June 4, 2005, Hour 2, starting 10:40]:
"Where we connected is when I started analyzing the NASA UFO videos, and a lot of UFO video, and noticed this is possibly the secret to their propulsion system is that you could clearly see these waves of what appeared to be electromagnetic energy roving around the craft. And because, for example, with infrared cameras in space, the background of space is very cold and when an electromagnetic waves moves or strokes through the energy in space, the sub-atomic, you know, particles in space, you get friction and you get a heat signature. So you can actually see the waves and because of my background in working for a nuclear physicist, I could translate those waves, and they told me what they were doing, and then when I found John Hutchinson who was doing the same thing with steel and causing it to levitate, it was like 'Eureka! Oh my God!' that was the connection."
And finally is a 4-minute clip describing the alleged physics. If you're enjoying this episode at home, I recommend a drinking game during this clip. Any time he mentions "duality," take a sip. "Positive" or "negative," take a larger sip. And anything that starts with "Sing," take a tiny sip. [Clip from Coast to Coast AM, June 4, 2005, Hour 3, starting 30:47]:
- And in this paper, um, he talks about, um, all matter being born out of a singularity called 'the sea of negative energy.' See, matter-- I'll use a-- I'll use a spiritual model in order to explain how matter is born into duality and also the actual, you know, subatomic level-- keep it simple, you know, I'll keep it short and simple. You know, you go back to the garden of Eden, Adam and Eve are told not to partake of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you do, you'll surely die. Well when you take in good and evil, good and evil is at conflict, which is actually a duality. It's positive and negative energy. And [unintelligible] if you imagine the angelic kingdom in a-- in a state of singularity or oneness, there is no duality there, there is no conflict. Duality falls into a lower dimension and in that-- in that ignorant state, it becomes physical. Now, without getting too philosophical, basically what happens is that millions of people take in the knowledge of good and evil, they each define egotistically what is good and what is evil, and they're always different, so we always end up fighting. Coincidentally or not, the atom is coded with the same information. Atom, an atom, a hydrogen atom has a proton which is positively charged and an anti-proton which spins negative, so positive negative, you have an electron which spins negative, you have an anti-electron which spins positive. So it's this-- it's just like good and evil, it's duality. Now, if you can-- light, the only particle that we know of that can bounce off of the earth and escapes gravity - a true anti-gravity particle is a photon - is single. Now, Jesus says in the gospels, 'If thine eye be single, thine whole body shall be filled with light.' Coincidentally, when you end duality in matter, you become single. And that singular-- the only particle we physically know of that is single is light. Now, light has to move through an actual ether, an actual background of space which itself is a wave, so it pushes against it, it meets some resistance, and it has a limit of the speed of light. But Dirac's sea of negative energy, which is single-ly charged -- light is single-ly charged, positively charged. Imagine this sea of negative energy that's-- that-- that is single-ly charged, you know if you're single-ly charged there's NO resistance, you don't encounter inertia, entire space, uniform space permeating the entire universe, it is single, because resistance, you know inertia is born when you-- when you have two waves that are opposing each other--"
- (Art cuts him off at 33:22, remarking, "This is all quantum, isn't it?" David jumps back with ...) "It's quantum! So, Dirac's paper is-- is, you know-- is a sea of negative energy sh-shows the birth of matter from this singularity. Now if you could flip your UFO, first of all, reducing it down to zero, this is where the real zero-point is. Because it's a singularity zero, it's not a dual electric field like we have here -- you know, alternating current that Tesla invented, it's positive and negative, positive negative. Well, when you enter singularity, you-you're so far beyond the speed of light it's ridiculous. In fact, you can't even use it because everything is instantaneous because there's no resistance! But you could conquer any distance, you could go from here to Andromeda [Galaxy]--"
- (Art cuts him off again around 34:04, with "Well that would explain the quantum communication that is otherwise inexplicable." David comes back with...) "Exactly, it's instantaneous over any distance. Now, we can tap into Dirac's sea of-- and don't, don't be misconstrued by the word 'negative energy,' it's not negative spiritual energy, it's just spinning counter-clockwise, but it's singularity that I'm talking about and a lot of physicists today are looking for something beyond the dual paired-ness of this dual state of matter, and they're looking for what's called 'singularity.' And sometimes-- and some people believe they're at the end of a black hole, and the end of the Einstein-Rosen bridges, and Dirac is saying that there is a pathway into this sea of energy, and where-- this is where all matter is born from and-and it returns. And that may be philosophically what can happen when you consider the-the resurrection of Christ: He had a physical mass and he transformed it into light."
Got all that? Drunk yet? That was 43 sips you should have taken in those four minutes.
Okay, a few points ... First Paul Dirac did hypothesize that the vacuum of space can be thought of as an infinite sea of particles with negative energy. He used it to explain weird negative-energy quantum states that were predicted by the equation that bears his name - the Dirac Equation - for relativistic electrons (electrons traveling near the speed of light). He used it to predict the existence of the positron, the antimatter counterpart to the electron, before its discovery by two years.
With that in mind, it does have a place in quantum mechanics today. It's not some hidden paper that mainstream scientists didn't accept. It also has nothing to do with what David Sereda is trying to say. And if you can figure out what he was trying to say, take another celebratory drink. 'Cause I can't. But, there are a couple things to pick apart.
One is the structure of an atom. What he said about the structure of an atom wasn't a slip of the tongue: He repeats it in probably about half of the twenty interviews I listened to: He claims that the hydrogen atom is made not only of a proton and an electron, but also an anti-proton and anti-electron. Not only that, but he claims that it's the spin that's positive and negative except in the case of the proton in which case it's the electric charge. Bluntly, he's wrong. All you need for a hydrogen atom is a proton. A lone proton. You can add an electron, and then the total charge on the atom is zero because the proton and electron have the same magnitude of charge, but the proton is positive and the electron is negative.
Anti-protons do exist, as do anti-electrons which are called "positrons." But the only thing different is the charge. Positrons and electrons both have a 1/2 spin, since they're leptons which are a class of fermions which all have half-spins, and protons and anti-protons are baryons which are a class of hadrons that are made of three quarks so are also fermions and have half-spins, too. But not negative. The only thing different is the charge. And that they're made of anti-quarks instead of normal quarks.
But this whole idea of the matter and antimatter coexisting within a single atom is very, very wrong. It would self-destruct almost instantly, releasing a lot of energy.
Oh, and light is not charged at all. It's not positively charged, not negatively charged ... photons are electrically neutral.
Beyond that, it's hard to pick too much out of those clips. His bulk idea is that you can somehow make your spacecraft have less mass by vibrating at a higher frequency - and he means somehow stuff that's visible is actually vibrating at the frequency of that light. So he literally means that you vibrate at a higher frequency, changing the wavelength of light that you reflect, which is why UFOs go invisible, and when that happens you can reduce your mass to zero and so get around the speed limit of light because you don't have to accelerate any mass. Except that according to relativity, the speed of light is still the speed limit for a massless particle, you can't travel faster than it.
My point in belaboring these quotes and picking through are two-fold. First, it's the whole reason for this podcast: I think that you can learn more by understanding where pseudoscience goes wrong. Second, I'm using it to point out that David Sereda's grasp of physics and astronomy and various other things is very, very poor.
Argument from Authority and David Sereda's Own Background
I'm not trying to do that as an ad hominem attack against him personally, but rather to counter what he would bring up in almost every interview: His work with nuclear physicists as evidence that he knows what he's talking about [Clip from Coast to Coast AM, May 8, 2011, Hour 1, starting 38:57]:
"I worked with the most brilliant nuclear power plant and nuclear scientists in the history of this country; also in the field of nuclear fusion. Becuase-- I fought for ten years, uh, for helium-3 fusion with my boss, Dr. Boseman Castle Magish [not correct spelling, can't find the guy on a Google search], the inventor at MIT of that process."
In practically every interview, David alluded in similar terms to his past employment history, that he worked with nuclear physicists on research for fusion. In fact, his earlier interviews were very much based on that because he was talking about sources for energy.
Now, to me, that sounds like an argument from authority. At first, it sounds very much like, "Okay, he's giving his background, there's nothing wrong with that." And there isn't. But, when you use that background in the context of defending your outrageous claims - which he did when confronted by a caller during a 2011 interview - then it goes from, "I'm giving you my background," to, "Trust me, I worked in fusion, I know what I'm doing." It's especially important when he talks about his background and then claims something like this [Clip from Coast to Coast AM, October 5, 2008, Hour 3, starting 9:34]:
"You look at our planet Jupiter. Jupiter's made of the same stuff: It's 90% hydrogen, 10% helium. The sun is ... pretty much the same ..., 92% hydrogen, and 7.8% helium. So why is the Sun producing light and fusion, and-and-and Jupiter isn't!? And I think the answer is not in, is the temperature correct? is the-- is--are the elements correct? It has to do with the waveforms, the structure."
Remember: This is a guy who claims that he worked with nuclear fusion experiments. And he doesn't understand why Jupiter is not a star. (And for members of the audience who don't know, it's because it's not nearly massive enough to have a temperature and pressure large enough to undergo fusion.) But as someone who claims this authority, he should know it.
It's only in a single interview - one out of the 20 I listened to, maybe 30 seconds out of the 40 hours or 144,000 seconds - that he elaborated by explaining that he worked not on the science, but on finding funding.
With all that in mind, and going through just these very, very few examples, I think that's enough for one episode. So I'm breaking this into two parts, with the second part coming up in the next episode where I'll discuss more arguments from authority on things like the Tesla Death Ray, his claims about harmonic codes, sacred geometry, some quantum mechanics, and dark matter, among other things. Again, the purpose isn't to rip into a man who I'm not having on to defend himself, but rather to explore his particular claims - ones that are similar to those by other pseudoscientists - and use them to understand actual physics and astronomy by showing where they are in err.
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