what about alchemy?

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Alejandro Rivero

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Jun 15, 2002, 11:39:11 PM6/15/02
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I wonder,

Which is the position of skeptics about alchemy?

I can see some positive points:

-Transmutation is true.
-Repeated destilation is needed for transmutation power.
-The alchemist is required to proceed experimentally.
-Internal consistency requres to the alchemist to
show a concrete experimental proof.

so it seems that while "occult", it proceeds with
scientific method and it looks for a goal which is
compatible with physical laws.

George Black

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Jun 16, 2002, 3:31:51 AM6/16/02
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"Alejandro Rivero" <ar...@wanadoo.es> wrote in message
news:3D0C085F...@wanadoo.es...
No


Martin Hogbin

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Jun 16, 2002, 7:40:45 AM6/16/02
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"Alejandro Rivero" <ar...@wanadoo.es> wrote in message news:3D0C085F...@wanadoo.es...
>
> I wonder,
>
> Which is the position of skeptics about alchemy?
>
They remain sceptics.

> I can see some positive points:
>
> -Transmutation is true.

Transmutation of elements can be achieved in some cases by
nuclear processes such as bombardment with neutrons.

This is not a cost effective way of producing elements such as
gold.

> -Repeated destilation is needed for transmutation power.
> -The alchemist is required to proceed experimentally.
> -Internal consistency requres to the alchemist to
> show a concrete experimental proof.
>
> so it seems that while "occult", it proceeds with
> scientific method and it looks for a goal which is
> compatible with physical laws.

The known physical laws tell us that the traditional processes
of alchemy, such as distillation, cannot transmute elements.

Martin Hogbin


Alejandro Rivero

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Jun 16, 2002, 9:11:45 AM6/16/02
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Martin Hogbin wrote:
>
> "Alejandro Rivero" <ar...@wanadoo.es> wrote in message news:3D0C085F...@wanadoo.es...
> > I wonder,
> > Which is the position of skeptics about alchemy?
> They remain sceptics.

:-) Good. Perhaps I should ask, better, which are the arguments
for and against alchemists' claims.

> > I can see some positive points:
> > -Transmutation is true.
> Transmutation of elements can be achieved in some cases by
> nuclear processes such as bombardment with neutrons.
> This is not a cost effective way of producing elements such as
> gold.

Nor the alchemic methods are, really, as they seem to request a
very high cost in hours-man.



> The known physical laws tell us that the traditional processes
> of alchemy, such as distillation, cannot transmute elements.

The claim is that the stones able to generate trasmutation must be
sinthetized via destilation and concentration.

To me it seems an orthodox claim: it is stricly equivalent to
separatation of isotopes.

Alejandro

Jan Panteltje

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Jun 16, 2002, 11:15:42 AM6/16/02
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On a sunny day (Sun, 16 Jun 2002 05:39:11 +0200) it happened Alejandro Rivero
<ar...@wanadoo.es> wrote in <3D0C085F...@wanadoo.es>:

>
>I wonder,
>
>Which is the position of skeptics about alchemy?
>
>I can see some positive points:
>
>-Transmutation is true.

Yep mutants everywhere.
Now with global radiation increasing soon, there will be more.
Oh, you did not mean that, ... but I did :-)

>-Repeated destilation is needed for transmutation power.

Most destilled drinks ...dunno.

>-The alchemist is required to proceed experimentally.
>-Internal consistency requres to the alchemist to
> show a concrete experimental proof.
>
>so it seems that while "occult", it proceeds with
>scientific method and it looks for a goal which is
>compatible with physical laws.
>

Having read George Soros 'The Alchemy Of Finance',
and starting making big losses after that....
He wants profit and gets it.
It is an art I would say.
His model of currency seems to hold though...
So prepare for 10 Eurocents to the Dollar.
In electronics without basic knowledge you
will not be able to even do alchemy.
Dunno about chemist,....
Superconduction at room temp was an easy
Nobel, that came close no?

Uncle Al

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Jun 16, 2002, 11:31:21 AM6/16/02
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Alejandro Rivero wrote:
>
> I wonder,
>
> Which is the position of skeptics about alchemy?

Alchemy, astrology, magnetic hernia trusses, laundry rings, social
activism... crap suckling a teat.

--
Uncle Al
http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/
(Toxic URL! Unsafe for children and most mammals)
"Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" The Net!

Leo Sgouros

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Jun 16, 2002, 11:39:16 AM6/16/02
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"Uncle Al" <Uncl...@hate.spam.net> wrote in message
news:3D0CAF49...@hate.spam.net...

> Alejandro Rivero wrote:
> >
> > I wonder,
> >
> > Which is the position of skeptics about alchemy?
>
> Alchemy, astrology, magnetic hernia trusses, laundry rings, social
> activism... crap suckling a teat.
>

Hey now..you should be thanking todays laundry detergent heroes!

Alejandro Rivero

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Jun 16, 2002, 12:38:12 PM6/16/02
to
Uncle Al wrote:
>
> Alejandro Rivero wrote:
> >
> > I wonder,
> >
> > Which is the position of skeptics about alchemy?
>
> Alchemy, astrology, magnetic hernia trusses, laundry rings, social
> activism... crap suckling a teat.

Romulus et Remus suckling. True. The Kings, the State, the
Activists, the Priests... But fighting dogma agains dogma you
can guarantee that a Dogma is going to win. So one must use
reason, and then we run into problems with the "degenerate
sciences", as they stil contain some traces of a sensate origin.

Dirk Bruere

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Jun 16, 2002, 3:35:48 PM6/16/02
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"Uncle Al" <Uncl...@hate.spam.net> wrote in message
news:3D0CAF49...@hate.spam.net...
> Alejandro Rivero wrote:
> >
> > I wonder,
> >
> > Which is the position of skeptics about alchemy?
>
> Alchemy, astrology, magnetic hernia trusses, laundry rings, social
> activism... crap suckling a teat.

That's no way to talk about your intellectual ancestors!
Actually, I am quite suprised by the current existence of alchemy. Anyway,
here's a few classics:
http://www.levity.com/alchemy/texts.html

Dirk


Martin Hogbin

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Jun 16, 2002, 5:59:22 PM6/16/02
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"Alejandro Rivero" <ar...@wanadoo.es> wrote in message news:3D0C8E91...@wanadoo.es...
> Martin Hogbin wrote:
.>

> > The known physical laws tell us that the traditional processes
> > of alchemy, such as distillation, cannot transmute elements.
>
> The claim is that the stones able to generate trasmutation must be
> sinthetized via destilation and concentration.
>
> To me it seems an orthodox claim: it is stricly equivalent to
> separatation of isotopes.
>

Isotopes can be separated by such methods but no new elements
are created.

Martin Hogbin


Alejandro Rivero

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Jun 16, 2002, 8:02:01 PM6/16/02
to
Martin Hogbin wrote:
> > The claim is that the stones able to generate trasmutation must be
> > sinthetized via destilation and concentration.
> > To me it seems an orthodox claim: it is stricly equivalent to
> > separatation of isotopes.
> Isotopes can be separated by such methods but no new elements
> are created.

On one hand you separate U235; on other hand you separate
Hg200, Hg201 and some others. You use the first radiation to
give activation energy to the Hg. It seems a feasible but low
probabilty process.

But you have raised a good point! Claims of new or misterious
elements can be classified as standard snake-oil bullshit.

Alejandro

Martin Hogbin

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Jun 17, 2002, 4:02:53 AM6/17/02
to

"Alejandro Rivero" <ar...@wanadoo.es> wrote in message news:3D0D26F9...@wanadoo.es...
> Martin Hogbin wrote:
.> > Isotopes can be separated by such methods but no new elements

> > are created.
>
> On one hand you separate U235; on other hand you separate
> Hg200, Hg201 and some others. You use the first radiation to
> give activation energy to the Hg. It seems a feasible but low
> probabilty process.
>
> But you have raised a good point! Claims of new or misterious
> elements can be classified as standard snake-oil bullshit.

Agreed, but when I said 'new' elements I did not just mean
elements that have not been discovered I meant elements that
were not present in the first place.

Martin Hogbin


Andrew Austin

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Jun 17, 2002, 4:43:05 AM6/17/02
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Much of alchemy was most probably a metaphor for spiritual transformation.
Many occult/mystical texts of the time were written in a veiled or
metaphorical way. Certainly from my own studies, there is little to
indicate that the indication that the alchemical processes were actually
physical/chemistry experiments. However non-mystical interpetation of the
alchemical process may have contributed to works reflecting a literal "base
metal into gold" into the lexicon of alchemy.

Just a thought,

Andrew Austin.
--
__________________________________
Reply address: Andrew...@nospam23NLPeople.com
Remove NOSPAM to reply.

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Alejandro Rivero <ar...@wanadoo.es> wrote in message

news:3D0C085F...@wanadoo.es...

Alejandro Rivero

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Jun 17, 2002, 9:50:55 AM6/17/02
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"Martin Hogbin" <sp...@hogbin.org> wrote in message
news:aek53c$f4u$1...@knossos.btinternet.com

> "Alejandro Rivero" <ar...@wanadoo.es> wrote in message news:3D0D26F9...@wanadoo.es...

> > On one hand you separate U235; on other hand you separate
> > Hg200, Hg201 and some others. You use the first radiation to
> > give activation energy to the Hg. It seems a feasible but low
> > probabilty process.
> > But you have raised a good point! Claims of new or misterious
> > elements can be classified as standard snake-oil bullshit.
> Agreed, but when I said 'new' elements I did not just mean
> elements that have not been discovered I meant elements that
> were not present in the first place.

Well, just this example then!

The energy in Uranium radiattion can trigger (low probability,
but it can) Hg201 goint to Pt197, which decays to Au197. With
time, it should be espectacular, as Hg201 is liquid but Au197 is
solid.

But most "public alchemists" prefer to speak of new unknown
elements or energies, because they are addressing the same
public that standard oil-snake sellers.

On the opposite side, it seems that a real alchemist will support
the scientific method. According their books, they can no claim
himselfs "masters" if they have not produced at least once the
above reaction.

Alejandro

--
Posted via Mailgate.ORG Server - http://www.Mailgate.ORG

Bryan Reed

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Jun 17, 2002, 2:21:22 PM6/17/02
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In article <3D0C085F...@wanadoo.es>,


Modern chemistry grew continuously out of alchemy. So in a sense, you
could say modern alchemy and modern chemistry are one and the same.

If you're talking about ancient alchemy, the results and methods
associated with it have long since been superceded, just like in any
field where actual progress is made.

Bryan

Mark Fergerson

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Jun 18, 2002, 10:46:51 PM6/18/02
to
Alejandro Rivero wrote:
>
> I wonder,
>
> Which is the position of skeptics about alchemy?

That it is not capable of what it
claims to be.

> I can see some positive points:
>
> -Transmutation is true.

Not as described by alchemists.

> -Repeated destilation is needed for transmutation power.

No, it isn't. Repeated distillation
(or similar methods) are used to ease
the detection and measurement of the
properties of daughter elements. Wait
long enough, and you don't need to
distill anything if the daughter
products reach a stable equilibrium (in
human timescales).

> -The alchemist is required to proceed experimentally.

Actually, success is predicted when
the wannabe alchemist follows by rote a
very special methodology, with
ill-described materials. No creativity
allowed.

> -Internal consistency requres to the alchemist to
> show a concrete experimental proof.

None has yet.

> so it seems that while "occult", it proceeds with
> scientific method and it looks for a goal which is
> compatible with physical laws.

Uh, which kind of alchemy are _you_
discussing?

Mark L. Fergerson

Gregory L. Hansen

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Jun 19, 2002, 1:08:35 PM6/19/02
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In article <ael9b2$32gq$1...@nntp6.u.washington.edu>,

Bryan Reed <bwr...@u.washington.edu> wrote:
>In article <3D0C085F...@wanadoo.es>,
>Alejandro Rivero <riv...@sol.unizar.es> wrote:
>>
>>I wonder,
>>
>>Which is the position of skeptics about alchemy?
>>
>>I can see some positive points:
>>
>>-Transmutation is true.
>>-Repeated destilation is needed for transmutation power.
>>-The alchemist is required to proceed experimentally.
>>-Internal consistency requres to the alchemist to
>> show a concrete experimental proof.
>>
>>so it seems that while "occult", it proceeds with
>>scientific method and it looks for a goal which is
>>compatible with physical laws.
>
>
>Modern chemistry grew continuously out of alchemy. So in a sense, you
>could say modern alchemy and modern chemistry are one and the same.

Modern alchemy is much like old alchemy, except they've given up the quest
for a philosopher's stone that physically turns things into gold. Modern
alchemy is a spiritual practice, and like other occult arts its theory is
poetic rather than scientific, e.g. red things associated with blood,
white with purity, etc. I think they just like mixing chemicals together,
and I can sympathize with that.

--
"For every problem there is a solution which is simple, clean and wrong. "
-- Henry Louis Mencken

Alejandro Rivero

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Jun 19, 2002, 1:24:35 PM6/19/02
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"Mark Fergerson" <mferg...@cox.net> wrote in message
news:3D0FF166...@cox.net

> Alejandro Rivero wrote:
> > I wonder,
> > Which is the position of skeptics about alchemy?
> That it is not capable of what it
> claims to be.
>

> > -Transmutation is true.
> Not as described by alchemists.
> > -Repeated destilation is needed for transmutation power.
> No, it isn't. Repeated distillation
> (or similar methods) are used to ease
> the detection and measurement of the
> properties of daughter elements.

Distillation increases concentration, which
increases yield. It is not only detection and
measure, but speed and yield.

> Uh, which kind of alchemy are _you_
> discussing?

Good question. First it seems that there are two
branchs: physical alchemy and spiritual alchemy. The
second one is the usual "illumination" bla bla; it does
not require experimental results, so it is just self-aid
literature (or worse).
Physical alchemy takes as basis encripted books too, but
it explicitly asks the practicant to get experimental
results to be able to claim "illumination". And, as you say
they restrict the tools available, but probably this is
more of an Artesany requeriment (one person must be able
to do all the process) than a "tabletop" requeriment, as
metal funditions are needed in some procedures.

This Alchemy is the one I see as "undebunkable"; it is
internally honest, and it is not claiming unphysical results.
Indeed, a person can get illumination after fifteen or twenty
years of studying, say, solid state physics. So even the
spiritual claims are acceptable.

I think that a good approach to debunk some scams could be to
attack them both as "pseudoscience" and as "pseudoalchemy", ie
not only against modern science, but also against classical
alchemy. That should be a moderate style of debunking, instead
of direct confrontation.

(It is just as grail searchs: instead of negating, one can show the
process followed by french poets creating the Mid-Age tradicion)

To close your question, let me quote a website I saw once:
http://www.metallogenesis.com/ It is the closest thing to
marry modern and old alchemy, so it is problably the kind of
thing I am speaking of. But it degenerates very fast to
pseudoscience: unprooved claims, experiments not completely done,
moner-hungry claims of secrecy... all the typical synthoms.

Yours,

Mark Fergerson

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Jun 20, 2002, 5:31:35 PM6/20/02
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Alejandro Rivero wrote:
>
> "Mark Fergerson" <mferg...@cox.net> wrote in message
> news:3D0FF166...@cox.net
>
> > Alejandro Rivero wrote:
> > > I wonder,
> > > Which is the position of skeptics about alchemy?
> > That it is not capable of what it
> > claims to be.
> >
> > > -Transmutation is true.
> > Not as described by alchemists.
> > > -Repeated destilation is needed for transmutation power.
> > No, it isn't. Repeated distillation
> > (or similar methods) are used to ease
> > the detection and measurement of the
> > properties of daughter elements.
> Distillation increases concentration, which
> increases yield. It is not only detection and
> measure, but speed and yield.

But it isn't _needed_. If you have
patience, you don't need it.

> > Uh, which kind of alchemy are _you_
> > discussing?
>
> Good question. First it seems that there are two
> branchs: physical alchemy and spiritual alchemy. The
> second one is the usual "illumination" bla bla; it does
> not require experimental results, so it is just self-aid
> literature (or worse).

Yup. Or worse, "Initiation" literature
which is designed to restrict thinking.

> Physical alchemy takes as basis encripted books too, but
> it explicitly asks the practicant to get experimental
> results to be able to claim "illumination". And, as you say
> they restrict the tools available, but probably this is
> more of an Artesany requeriment (one person must be able
> to do all the process) than a "tabletop" requeriment, as
> metal funditions are needed in some procedures.

Well, now. I'm somewhat familiar with
that kind of alchemy; the hardware
descriptions are usually fairly
straightforward, if the terminolgy's a
bit obscure (there're even pictures in
most texts). But the material
terminology is obviously _deliberately_
obscure, frinst "Dove's Blood", which
may or may not refer to what's more
commonly known as Cinnabar.

That's the main difference between
Alchemy and real science; real science
goes to great length to clarify
_everything_ in a given process to ease
replication.

> This Alchemy is the one I see as "undebunkable"; it is
> internally honest, and it is not claiming unphysical results.

If it were less cloaked in weird
terminology, I might agree, except you
simply can't change lead to gold
chemically.

> Indeed, a person can get illumination after fifteen or twenty
> years of studying, say, solid state physics. So even the
> spiritual claims are acceptable.

Not as a direct effect. There are some
who claim a "spiritual" aspect to
Quantum Mechanics, but I don't see it.

> I think that a good approach to debunk some scams could be to
> attack them both as "pseudoscience" and as "pseudoalchemy", ie
> not only against modern science, but also against classical
> alchemy. That should be a moderate style of debunking, instead
> of direct confrontation.

Er, if I considered the "physical"
type of Alchemy valid, I'd agree. But it
has not shown replicable results.

> (It is just as grail searchs: instead of negating, one can show the
> process followed by french poets creating the Mid-Age tradicion)

Please, let's not get into
sociotheology.

> To close your question, let me quote a website I saw once:
> http://www.metallogenesis.com/ It is the closest thing to
> marry modern and old alchemy, so it is problably the kind of
> thing I am speaking of. But it degenerates very fast to
> pseudoscience: unprooved claims, experiments not completely done,
> moner-hungry claims of secrecy... all the typical synthoms.

It's also extremely broken; once I
chose English, the links all returned a
"404 Page Not Found" error.

From what I could see, it's just the
same old crap in new clothes; it touts
"fluorides of superheavy elements" as
the Philosopher's Stone.

Mark L. Fergerson

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