New age main criticisms

3 – Full of pseudo-science like ‘The Secret’

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From a secular point of view

‘The Secret’ deception- New Age is full of pseudo-science, unintelligent and convenient.

The Law of Attraction has nothing to do with science- one cannot simply wish, think, or feel something into existence.


Rather than simply present their material as religious, New Agers often cloak their beliefs in the language of science, with constant ill-defined use of terms. Concepts like “energy”  and “vibration”, as well as a heavy doses of sham quantum physics, being probably the most common abuses.

Benjamin Radford, managing editor of the Skeptical Inquirer science magazine, said: “’The Secret’ claims to be based on science, at times borrowing phrases from quantum physics, but the premise behind the book has been disproved. According to Byrne, its author, The Secret is based on a New Age idea called the ‘Law of Attraction’. There’s a superficial logic to this material, the book’s Law of Attraction has nothing to do with science. One cannot simply wish, think, or feel something into existence.

Also in physics, it is opposites — not similars — that attract.

If ‘The Secret’ has no basis in science, where did Byrne discover it? She admits she just made it up, cobbling together ideas from quantum physics, New Age mysticism, common-sense principles, and a 1910 book called, ironically, ‘The Science of Getting Rich’. Byrne decided that she had stumbled on the key to the universe, and wrote a book about her ideas, not bothering to check for logical errors or scientific reality.

The secret to the book’s success is its slick marketing campaign, mixing banal truisms with New Agey magical thinking and presenting it as hidden knowledge. ‘The Secret’ is nothing new, nor is it a secret. For decades, New Age and self-help books like this one have offered up easy answers to life’s problems. If any of those books worked, and really contained the secrets to success, wealth, and happiness, they wouldn’t need to publish more — and there would be no need for ‘Beyond the Secret’, ‘Return of the Secret’ or ‘Son of the Secret’.”



Other comments from various forums:

‘Furthermore, on an ethical level, “The Secret” is quite deplorable. It concerns itself almost entirely with a narrow range of middle-class concerns—houses, cars and vacations, followed by health and relationships, with the rest of humanity a very distant sixth… Can it get any more self-absorbed than that? This is not about coming down on positive thinking and its place in a healthy lifestyle, rather being critical of anyone who is making money manipulating unhappy, spiritually exhausted people for profit.’

‘unintelligent, infantile, lazy, co-operative, convenient.’

For more critiques of both ‘The Secret’ and ‘What the bleep do we know?’ please read ‘The New Age Movement & Science’ written by the Centre of Inquiry Canada.