Physicist takes apart a goop lab episode

Here we have Professor Philip Moriarty, a physicist at the University of Nottingham, taking apart one of Gwyneth Paltrow’s goop lab segments that appears to be about reiki “healing”. Dr. Phil simply vets the statements in the goop Netflix episode and, as the segment proceeds, gets angrier and angrier as he watches the statements on goop get dumber and dumber.  Moriarty is egged on by the guy behind the camera, apparently named Brady, who tries to play the devil’s advocate. Phil reminds me a lot of Sean Connery as James Bond, complete with Scottish accent.

This is part of the University of Nottingham’s Sixty Symbols Project, which makes videos about science (YouTube site is here). Here are some YouTube notes:

Moriarty watched episode 5 of the goop lab, which focuses on energy.  The goop lab on Netflix:

More videos with Phil: He wrote a blog about the goop lab —…

It’s great to see a physicist taking Gwynnie and her nonsense to pieces. Reiki, which purports to heal you by manipulating your body’s energy, even by waving hands over your body and not touching it, is a pile of horse manure.


  1. Jonathan Bown
    Posted February 21, 2020 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    I think he’s probably from N Ireland.

  2. Michael Fisher
    Posted February 21, 2020 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    Phil Moriarty has an Irish accent – nothing like Sean Connery.

    • Posted February 21, 2020 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

      Okay okay, I erred. But he still reminds me of Sean Connery.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted February 21, 2020 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

      Messers. Coogan and Brydon have earned the last word on the accent Connery:

      • merilee
        Posted February 21, 2020 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

        Hilarious, but neither one sounded like Connery to me.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted February 21, 2020 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

          I think they’re better with Michael Caine:

  3. Ken Kukec
    Posted February 21, 2020 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    “Dr. Phil” — think that sobriquet’s been used up by Oprah’s PSY majordomo and ought be retired, like the jersey number for a NY Yankee Hall-of-Famer.

  4. Posted February 21, 2020 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    Another scam. What amazes me is that Gwyneth believes that people that stupid, but of course we now they are! GROG

  5. kathy mechling
    Posted February 21, 2020 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    a common and useful measurement of human energy is the EKG. The wave forms reflect the myocardium’s electrical depolarization characteristics.
    Years ago while working in a neonatal ICU, I noted one electrode on an infant had fallen off, and the electrical recording was “flat-line” on the very alive little girl. I put the electrode on my wrist, and nothing happened. I then held her foot with the opposite hand, and her (not my) electrical recording came back on the monitor.
    Since this was kind of cool, several of us held hands in a little line, with the person at one end holding the infant’s foot, while the one at the opposite end affixed to her loose electrode. Her myocardial depolarization conducted successfully across the line, despite interference from our electric fields.
    I am not really sure what this proved, except that we had no influence on an ill infant’s myocardial depolarization despite outweighing her over 100 times.

    • sted24
      Posted February 21, 2020 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

      Great story!

      With a little tweaking you can probably sell such a machine to goop as a Give-Your-Baby-Your-Own-Unique-Energy kit.

      Attach leads A, B, C…to Baby. See most lines on the screen jump into life. Now take the last lead in your hand and grasp hold of baby’s toe. Watch that line spring into action. That’s YOU pumping energy into your infant.

  6. mikeb
    Posted February 21, 2020 at 4:50 pm | Permalink


    The dude forgets: Ignorance Is Infinite.

    Cute bloke, tho.

    • Posted February 22, 2020 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

      Wait till you hear his views on SJWs.


  7. rickflick
    Posted February 21, 2020 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    Probably about 47% of the US population believe that stuff. The same number as like tRump. A lot of overlap too.

  8. Sastra
    Posted February 21, 2020 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    New Age beliefs like “Energy Medicine” is where curiosity goes to die.

    I have friends who are staunch believers in this sort of thing, and yet none of them are interested in having well-designed scientific tests of claims which are eminently testable. None of them care about what this “energy” is or how it works if it means doing anything more strenuous or rigorous than speculation. None of them think the “energy healers” or, worse, “energy scientists” ought to care, either. They’ve “tested” it to their own satisfaction and don’t have to prove anything to their colleagues. Because that’s how science works: no curiosity.

    What goop.

    • rickflick
      Posted February 21, 2020 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

      I’ll bet they don’t read much either (other than, perhaps, pulp fiction).

    • JP415
      Posted February 21, 2020 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

      In ancient times, people used to talk explain things by invoking gods, sprits, or magic. Today, new-agers talk about energy — another catch-all phrase that explains everything and nothing. If a non-scientist starts jabbering about some kind of non-specific energy that isn’t on the electromagnetic spectrum, then he or she is probably talking bunk.

      • Bruce Lilly
        Posted February 24, 2020 at 6:43 am | Permalink

        “If a non-scientist starts jabbering about some kind of non-specific energy that isn’t on the electromagnetic spectrum, then he or she is probably talking bunk.”

        Not necessarily. For example, there are safety procedures (e.g lock-out/tag-out) that deal with (safeguards to prevent unintentional release of) non-specific energy that isn’t necessarily on the electromagnetic spectrum. To give a few specific examples covered by the general, non-specific principles, that includes mechanical, chemical, nuclear, and thermal energy.

        • JP415
          Posted February 24, 2020 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

          Oh, that’s true I guess. But I don’t think the crowd at Goop would ever get into that kind of detail. They just talk about a vague kind of energy without any measurable properties.

  9. Scott
    Posted February 21, 2020 at 5:56 pm | Permalink


    Apologies if this is already known,
    Brady Haran, “the guy behind the camera” is also responsible for the video posted several days ago about Darwin from the Youtube channel Objectivity. The man hangs out with the Head librarian of the Royal Institute. How cool is THAT!

    Brady, a former BBC journalist, has to be one of the most prolific educational youtubers ever (17 channels: 10 current) His most popular channel is I think, Periodic table of videos, produces with Sir Martyn Poliakoff. But he produces Numberphile, and numerous astronomy videos and the famous podcast “Hello Internet”.

    Any one looking to take a deep dive into the internet and loose time itself could worse than follow Brady.


  10. Posted February 21, 2020 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    Wow, he throws Sean Carroll under the same bus as the Goop Guy! Multiverse? Reiki Therapy? All the same.

    • XCellKen
      Posted February 21, 2020 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

      Moriarty also had a feud with Thunderf00t several years ago

  11. Posted February 21, 2020 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    Goop’s vagina candle is so yesterday. McDonalds now has a candle that smells like a Big Mac!

    • Posted February 26, 2020 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      I saw a candle that can become part of the Internet of Things the other day. Are any of those up with that?

      (Yes, this is a candle that you can light remotely!!)

  12. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted February 21, 2020 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    I love Brady Haran’s video work but I’m cringing just at the thought of this.

    • Michael Sternberg
      Posted February 21, 2020 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

      Fear not. Brady Haran has always been a very good interviewer, which here means playing devil’s advocate.

      • Posted February 21, 2020 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

        I thought it was very well done.

    • Posted February 22, 2020 at 5:04 am | Permalink

      He does a pretty good job by playing devil’s advocate. For example, Moriarty is standing next to a machine which he claims can visualise and manipulate atoms. Brady forces him to explain why his claim is different to the woo merchant’s claim on the Goop Lab.

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