I stumbled upon the website Quantum Jumping from an ad for wooey pseudoscience that just seemed… too out there. But oh how I underestimate scammers! I was struck by the techniques used to trick readers into buying into the product and story, and then felt like tearing down some of the nonsense I was reading. Come join me for a hearty laugh, a face palm, and a clenched fist.
Here’s an opening quote from the site to get an idea of what they’re saying:
I would like to share with you a technique that has completely changed who I am. It has brought me everything I could have ever asked for in life – success, talent, wealth, wellbeing, happiness – you name it.
It stems from the aforementioned idea of ‘another you’ living in ‘another reality’. Whether or not this is possible will be debated for some time, and the answer may never be known, but it creates the mindset of what’s called…
The Most Advanced Creative Visualization Technique Ever Created
Now just imagine for a moment you could find a way to ‘jump’ into these alternate universes. That you could meet an infinite number of alternate versions of ‘you’…
Imagine that you could examine their ways and learn their methods, draw upon their skills, experience and wisdom, find out how they become so happy, talented or successful.
Emphasis mine. This is a hallmark of pseudoscience to rope people in with a sensational claim like the title “Quantum Jumping” and buttress against criticism with a nod to the fact that it’s “still debated”. Or, in other words, “We’ll sell you on the idea without regard for if it’s real at all.” Legitimate self-help techniques and medicine should wait for the justification through evidence before making claims like this site does!
Burt Goldman says he developed the skills of painting, photography, writing, and business through, effectively, simply visualizing himself with those skills over time. I won’t deny that this mental technique might help with motivation, perseverance, clarity, and focus. But if you don’t have the skills to paint in your head and hands already, they’re not going to be revealed to you just by meditating. There are limits that the tone and language of this site refuse to address.
What’s further agonizing about this site is the dancing they do around whether or not they claim to Actually Contact Other Universes. For example:
[A]t its core, Quantum Jumping is simply an advanced visualization exercise. You’re tapping into your subconscious mind, where are infinite number of realities and possibilities are waiting to be discovered. Anything that can be, is.
“If a universe can be imagined, it exists.” Professor M. R. Franks
“There are vibrations of many different universes right here, right now. We’re just not in tune with them. There are probably other parallel universes in our living room–this is modern physics. This is the modern interpretation of quantum theory, that many worlds represents reality.” Dr. Michio Kaku
They tap Michio Kaku, Einstein, Planck, and more for fake science credibility. The site has moments of near-honesty, but they are sandwiched by the same vague language that can be interpreted in different ways and hollow appeals to unrelated experts and testimony:
Now I hate having to burst anyone’s bubble of having adventures through space – and Quantum Jumping was made to be an out of this world experience – but no, you wont actually leave this planet.
But what does one make of the first block? Are they claiming it or not? The real answer, of course, it that they are being intentionally vague to let the reader come to the most charitable conclusion. They are mentioning science related only in “theme” to give the quick reader, the casual glancer, the illusion of a much deeper justification that simply isn’t there. It’s no coincidence that quantum physics is the single most abused science in this regard. If they were actually adhering to rigorous scientific backing, there would be no question as to their claim. They would be absolutely clear. A few measly sentences of concession in the second quote weigh nothing on a page a mile long and laden with bunk.
Just about everyone will be that “casual glancer” I mentioned, too, because while the website has polish (thanks to an endorsement by an online publishing company), they just couldn’t shy away from the classic Waaay Too Long For A Single Page technique, where I found this quote:
Quantum Jumping, uses unique guided imagery, deep meditation and years of study to train you to tap into the power of advanced dimensions of your mind – to accomplish things you once thought impossible. (Over 63,000 students can’t be wrong)
Again, consider the use of the words and phrases “tap into the power”, “advanced dimensions”, and “impossible”. A more realistic person could see those as just poetic language. But what the authors are preying upon is a charitable science fiction-y imagination. Which they foster all along the way.
Any by the way? Yes. 63,000 people can be wrong. Especially when all you have at play is wishful thinking, pseudoscience, and confirmation bias. At least maybe they’ll get a benefit from meditation, but that of course does not excuse the other bullshit and the $147 lowest price tag.
Let’s look at three more hallmarks of pseudoscience present on the site:
…First, the cure-all! Real techniques and medicine have limitations, a defined purpose. But when you’re making shit up, why stop there? Quantum Jumping can do… anything! Learn German, break 200 in bowling, find money, all without leaving your seat! The appeal is infinite, and its likelihood of being true the inverse. And, unfortunately, the potential to cause harm also rises with such broad “applications”.
Second, the association with other woo. Goldman shares his life story, mentioning “mystics”, “Qi energy”, the “metaphysical world”, acupuncture, and these “techniques”:
I went on to study the ancient Chinese system of Feng Shui, I became a Psychic, and I mastered NLP.
(NLP, which I had to look up, has this lovely line on the Wikipedia page: “[Neuro-linguistic programming] is cited as an example of pseudoscience when teaching scientific literacy at the professional and university level.” I wonder if I can thank the Guerrilla Skeptics for that!)
It’s almost never an isolated case with pseudoscience. Once the barriers of evidence, logic, and reason are lowered, the floodgates open for all sorts of nonsense. People get awash easily in how appealing these “secret” techniques and methods are if they aren’t taught the critical thinking skills to point out their flaws.
Finally, while they least they admit this:
The generally expected performance of Quantum Jumping in regards to any specific disease has not been scientifically validated and we cannot and will not make any promises in regards to any miracle cures.
It’s… in small text. Near the bottom. With bland color. Quiet.
And following it, and surrounding the whole site, is the third hallmark: tons of wonderful testimonials from people making amazing claims about the efficacy of this product and how it greatly helped them. Some wooey highlights:
I really enjoyed the quantum jumping program and it really cleared many questions to me.
Since I was a child I used to see visions of future events which could not explained neither understand it.
I have purchased the system and my life is changing before me. Health is better. My positive thinking is back with a feeling of joy. Thanks Burt. I’m making a lot of new friends and they are all me. Me, in different realities.
The Quantum Jumping website is tacitly endorsing these people’s claims by using them as primary examples of amazing responses to their product. If they cared about what were true, if they wished to be honest in the slightest, they would run a peer-reviewed study. They would analyze their testimonials with more scrutiny. They would not rely and focus upon so heavily such easily manipulated, manufactured, and faked claims. (Remember, the plural of anecdote is not data.)
And overall, if they cared about their users, they would not be a scam website, selling CDs and a workbook for nearly $200 under the veil of science it purports to be justified by, exploiting people’s naivete and trust.