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February 12, 2005

Water-enlightening doctor comes to S.C.

SANTA CRUZ — Dr. Masaru Emoto of "What the Bleep Do We Know?" fame is bringing his message of beautiful words and water to a sold-out crowd at the Rio Theatre today.

The Japanese researcher asserts that human thoughts and words can create frequencies that affect water at a molecular level.

"Beautiful words create beautiful nature," Emoto says on one of his Web sites, Hado.net. "Ugly words create ugly nature."

Gateways Books and Gifts is sponsoring Emoto’s appearance, which follows the release of his latest book, "Messages From Water, Volume III." Emoto declined to be interviewed for this article.

Events Coordinator Sarita Benn-Towle said Emoto’s books, including his latest, are among the store’s best sellers.

Other Emoto products there include a water bottle with the words "thank you," and "love" and "gratitude" — words which "Dr. Emoto says will energize your water with positive energy," Benn-Towle said.

"What the Bleep Do We Know?" became a Santa Cruz hit at the Del Mar in October and features scientists and spiritualists — including JZ Knight, the woman who channels Ramtha, a 35,000-year-old warrior, from her School of Enlightenment in Yelm, Wash. — and makes a variety of claims and speculations which link quantum physics to human emotion and spirituality.

Emoto’s photographs of water crystals and muddy, disfigured water molecules were also featured in the movie. The delicate, complex crystals, he claims, are a product of exposing the water to beautiful words. The misshapen blobs of water, he says, resulted from having exposed the water to angry or impolite utterances.

UC Santa Cruz particle physicist Bruce Schumm isn’t buying it.

"It’s nonscientifically-based spirituality," said Schumm about the film’s ideology. "Santa Cruz is a place where people love to believe this. They’re well educated, but they don’t really know what science is."

In legitimate science "you need double-blind experiments to remove the bias of the observer," Schumm said. "You need to be extremely careful in what you do. Otherwise, whatever answer you want, you can do an ‘experiment’ and get that result."

Emoto — certified as a doctor of alternative medicine from the Open International University in 1992 — recently made an online plea for prayer on behalf of the Indian Ocean’s tsunami victims.

"Through the research of the water crystal over the last 10 years, I have proven that people’s pure energy of consciousness can change the water in areas that people have prayed for," it reads.

Emoto’s Web site also claims a vibrational field has been created "by feelings of fear, grief, worry, lack of trust, anger, loneliness, and helplessness," and that field, "could energize the malevolent microorganisms that prefer this kind of environment."

Emoto’s way of looking at things "make complete sense" to Benn-Towle.

"It has to do with the energy you put behind something. It’s the whole idea of creating your own reality," she said.

Schumm realizes his skepticism/criticism might offend his own friends in Santa Cruz who "are prone to believing such things" as Emoto’s water theories. "If these same people grew up in Georgia," Schumm said. "I wonder if they would buy evolution," he said.

On the other hand, he added, "In the world of things that assault science, this is not that scary. It’s small potatoes."

Benn-Towle thought long and hard before answering questions about whether Emoto’s work qualifies as "science."

Finally, she decided that it is.

"He came up with an idea and he explored it. That’s what science is, anyways."

Contact Nancy Pasternack at npasternack@santacruzsentinel.com.


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