Dr Caroline Leaf – Mind creates matter

Another day, another factoid. Dr Leaf, communication pathologist and cognitive neuroscientist, says that we create matter with our minds.


I’d like her to demonstrate that sometime … Wait, what’s that you say, she can’t do it? Of course she can’t. We cannot create matter with our minds.  We can’t just think something and watch it appear.

Dr Leaf should know better. She is a PhD level scientist after all, and the law of conservation of matter is high school level science.

If Dr Leaf can’t get the most fundamental of facts straight, then she should not be on any pulpit as a scientist, because all she’s doing is embarrassing the church, destroying the church’s credibility with anyone with a shred of scientific knowledge.

The church deserves better than half-baked pseudoscience being passed off as the real deal.  Step up Dr Leaf, or step off.


19 thoughts on “Dr Caroline Leaf – Mind creates matter

  1. Hello Dr. Pitt. As Christians, my husband and I appreciate your Christian analysis of Dr. Leaf’s theories, because everyone of us needs to be discerning especially in these current times. We have just been introduced to Dr. Leaf in our weekly Bible Study Group via our pastor who brought in one of her books, “Switch on Your Brain, The Key to Peak Happiness, Thinking, and Health,” which includes her 21 Day Brain Detox Plan. We are only just starting Chapter 4 of this book as we are watching some of her YouTube videos along with reading her book, and already red flags are appearing. While positive thinking is always beneficial, we are concerned with all her claims and how it may affect vulnerable people in our Bible Study group. How should we bring up our concerns without being disrespectful to our pastor, who is very excited by Dr. Leafs statements … and we haven’t even gotten to the brain detox part yet?

    • Hi LS. Thanks for making contact. Don’t worry about the typo’s. I’m not your English teacher 🙂 It’s all good.

      I think you’re right to have concerns about Dr Leaf’s teaching and how it might affect some of the more vulnerable people in your small group. And it’s also a challenge to try and break it to someone who’s enamoured by Dr Leaf that her teaching is seriously flawed scientifically, and very weak scripturally – especially if it’s your pastor who is enamoured.

      It’s hard for me to be too specific, but I think the blueprint set out in Matthew 18:15-17 is a good place to start. I’m not suggesting your pastor has sinned or anything, but I think privately, then privately with others, then more broadly is a good way to approach these things.

      I have lots of material on my blog, and I’ve written a book critically reviewing Dr Leaf’s first two books, including “Switch on your brain” (which you can read for free by downloading it from https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/466848 or https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/hold-that-thought/id908877288?mt=11 or on the web at http://www.debunkingdrleaf.com/hold-that-thought/).

      Though a nice place to start might be with my post: https://cedwardpitt.com/2015/07/22/dr-caroline-leaf-still-contradicted-by-the-latest-evidence-scripture-and-herself/ The issues I’ve discussed in this particular post are some of the biggest flaws in Dr Leaf’s teaching.

      If you or your pastor, or anyone in your Bible study group have any specific questions about Dr Leaf’s work or my critique, I’m very happy to answer them. But as a general guide, be gentle and respectful, and always be ready to give an answer if people want to know more.

      Good luck, and God’s wisdom to you as you stand up for the truth.

      All the best.

      • Thank you. I will do so very gently. I’ve already brought it up to two members in the group who have fallen for all of her claims, and I’ve suggested they check out reviews of her work. However, their response was to ask, (without reading any if the many pro and con reviews), what credentials do any of the “so-called reviewers have?” It’s like all common sense has left. I guess if you tell people what they want to hear, their discernment leaves them. I’m concerned as my pastor claims to have checked out some of her research references Too many “angels of light” for me. Some things Dr. Leaf states appear helpful, but others just contradict Biblical teaching. If we can seriously change our own DNA, then we become our own deity. Seems a bit dangerous to me.

      • Hi L S,

        There’s a model in psychology called the Stages of Change model (https://goo.gl/fQyKHo). It was initially developed in the context of people with problem behaviours like alcoholism, but the model applies in varying degrees to any change of any mindset, beliefs or behaviours.

        What I think is applicable to this situation is the pre-contemplator vs contemplator – the pre-contemplator is not interested, doesn’t think there’s a problem, doesn’t wasn’t to change. No matter what evidence you try and bring to them, they will always find way of deflecting or dismissing. It sounds like the people you approached the other day were at that stage. It’s ok to test them to see where they’re at, and it’s ok to offer simple short facts to them like, “The reviewer is a medical doctor, expert witness and writer.” Or if they talk about Dr Leaf’s view of “mind over matter”, then you can politely suggest that she’s always contradicting herself on that point. Most of the time, they’ll dismiss or ignore, but the main thing with a pre-contemplator is not to argue. They need to soften in their own time.

        Contemplators are the people who are interested in what you have to say, which is the best time to give them the information such as blogs or links. They may not take it all in, or agree or end up progressing to the next stage of change, but they’ll be more receptive.

        In terms of your pastor, I think Matthew 18:15-17 is still the key. Whether they’re ready or not, you may have to formally approach privately, then if he’s not willing to listen, bring in an elder or two who are neutral, and then if he is still not willing to listen, then you can take it to the wider church. If it gets to that point, I suggest do it in writing, so that no one can misrepresent what you are trying to say. And if you go there, you might have to be prepared for some flak. Challenging the status quo is usually not handled well by churches, which is sad, but it is what it is. But if you’re willing to step out, then you’re giving the truth a fighting chance.

        God’s wisdom and strength to you as you stand up for the truth. And please, feel free to keep me posted, or again, if you need any specific help with specific questions.

        All the best.

  2. Pingback: Dr Caroline Leaf and her Genesis moment | Dr C. Edward Pitt

  3. Hello Dr. Pitt. Thank you for your replies. I certainly agree about the pre-contemplator as it accurately fits that person in our study group so it’s difficult to talk with this person at all about any other views

    • Praying for you…please pray for me…my church has just been leafed! 😛

      I found this website because a friend and I feel like Elijah…The only two out of thousands in our large church that recognized something off with Caroline Leaf…

      We’re both praying about how to tell our pastors.

      The Lord Jesus bless you and bless this website!

      • Hi Nina, thanks for your comment.

        Believe me when I say, I know exactly how you’re feeling. It is very hard when something seems so obvious and yet the vast majority of the people around you can’t see through the shiny veneer to observe the cavernous fissuring underneath. As I’ve said in other comments, it’s a challenging position to be in, especially when your pastors have also fallen for Dr Leaf’s teaching. I think the blueprint set out in Matthew 18:15-17 is a good place to start. I’m not suggesting your pastor or anyone in the church has sinned because of acceptance of Dr Leaf’s teaching, but I think the model of “privately, then privately with others, then more broadly” is a good way to approach these things.

        I have lots of material on my blog, and I’ve written a book critically reviewing Dr Leaf’s first two books, including “Switch on your brain” (which you can read for free by downloading it from https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/466848 or https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/hold-that-thought/id908877288?mt=11 or on the web at http://www.debunkingdrleaf.com/hold-that-thought/).

        Though a nice place to start might be with my post: https://cedwardpitt.com/2015/07/22/dr-caroline-leaf-still-contradicted-by-the-latest-evidence-scripture-and-herself/ The issues I’ve discussed in this particular post are some of the biggest flaws in Dr Leaf’s teaching.

        If you or your pastor, or anyone in your Bible study group have any specific questions about Dr Leaf’s work or my critique, I’m very happy to answer them. But as a general guide, be gentle and respectful, and always be ready to give an answer if people want to know more.

        Praying for you to know God’s wisdom as you stand up for the truth.

        All the best.

  4. Actually mind does create matter on a quantum level. The act of observation collapses the wave functions and gives rise to solid, particle reality. Its called the double slit experiment. And you should learn about it.
    “All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter”. -Max Planck  


    • Thanks for your comment Random User. I think your take on my post is interesting. Your quote from Max Planck did talk about matter being brought together by ‘a mind’, but he never said it was our minds. I interpret Planck’s quote to be referring to the mind of God, which I agree with. Planck’s quote does not support Dr Leaf’s notion that our minds can create matter.

      You also referred to quantum physics, the observer effect and the double slit experiment, but the observer effect on the quantum level doesn’t necessarily apply to the macroscopic level, which was the point of Schrodinger’s Cat. Also, quantum physics doesn’t contradict the law of the conservation of energy. Therefore, quantum physics still doesn’t support Dr Leaf’s position that we can create matter with our minds.

      So while I’m grateful for your comment, I don’t agree with your premise. But you’re welcome to clarify you’re comments further if you like.

      Thanks for being part of the discussion. All the best to you.

      • I wasn’t sure if you’d actually reply, but since you did, ill try to explain more clearly. I’m not simply stating “my premise” on the subject. I am relaying what has been experimentally proven. Also this isn’t just the quantum world.
        This double slit experiment has been done with entire atoms and even larger objects such as buckeye balls (64 hydrogen atoms linked together). Quantum phenomena is macroscopic, not just microscopic.



        If you want, I can type out a book explaining the double slit experiment to you, or you can watch videos of various professors explaining it.


        Clip from a Nova documentary


        What happens when we shoot atoms at a board with 2 slits depends entirely on whether or not conscious observers are are measuring which slit the atom/particle went though. If no one is observing which slit the particle went through, then there is No particle It becomes a wave. A non-physical probability distribution. The atoms/particles go through BOTH slits and their probability distributions interfere with themselves on the other side, which is what creates the interference pattern of many bands, rather than just getting 2 bands if we replicate the experiment while observing which slit the atom went through. If we have not yet observed the position of the atom, then it wont manifest as a physical object.

        Our observation of these objects is what causes them to manifest period. The macroscopic world arises from the quantum world. They are completely intertwined, you cannot have one without the other. The building blocks of everything around us, the atoms and particles that make everything, are not actually solid material objects. If we shoot them and dont observe them, they cease being particle and they start being waves until we observe them again.

        This is very difficult to explain over the Internet, but don’t take my word for it. Consult the experts. There is a reason the double slit experiment is called the central mystery of quantum mechanics. We dont know Why mind creates all the matter around us. All we know is it does. And yes, our minds are what this is all about. We are the observers. Without conscious observation, the wave functions dont collapse. And until they collapse, they are just nonmaterial, non-physical probability distributions. Waves. Not particles like we thought they were for thousands of years.


      • Random User, thank you for the discussion. I find it intellectually stimulating. I admit that I’m not formally trained in quantum physics. The last formal physics training I had was my first year of medical school and that was back in 1992, and there was no quantum physics in that particular subject. So compared to a physicist, I understand quantum physics in a limited way, mainly trying to understand the concepts rather than the mathematics/proofs. Though I have done as much non-physicist style research as I can into trying to understand quantum physics, so would say that I at least understand the basic principles of the double-slit experiment. If you’re willing to engage, I’d be interested in your further clarification and opinion, although please don’t feel obliged to spend unnecessary hours throwing pearls to swine.

        Firstly, if I have interpreted your comments correctly, you’re suggesting that quanta are a non-physical probability distribution until the effect of an observer collapses their wave function, and they become particles. And since all macroscopic objects are made up of quanta, therefore all macroscopic objects are also non-physical probability distribution waves until observed and their wave functions collapse. You go on to suggest that since it is the act of a conscious mind observing the quanta that collapses the wave function, therefore our minds create that matter.

        Forgive me if that’s not what you meant and I have misinterpreted.

        To my understanding, quanta have properties of both particles and waves. Indeed, that’s the opening live from one of the articles you referenced: “One of the deepest mysteries in quantum physics is the wave-particle duality: every quantum object has properties of both a wave and a particle.” https://arstechnica.com/science/2012/03/quantum-interference-with-big-molecules-approaches-the-macroscopic/ And whether they’re behaving as particles or waves, quanta are still matter. So even if you’re correct in saying that the observer effect is solely responsible for collapsing the wave function, the observation of the mind of a conscious observer simply changes the property of the quanta from wave to particle. It doesn’t actually create the quanta, the matter, which was already in existence but just as a wave. So at best, quantum physics proves that the mind changes the property of matter, but doesn’t create matter as my nemesis suggested in her meme.

        I also take your point that there are many experts believe that the observer effect is critical for the collapse of the wave function, but not all experts agree. As per Nikolić, “there is a number of subvariants of the hard-orthodox interpretation that differ in the fundamental ontology of nature. Some of them are rather antropomorphic, by attributing a fundamental role to the observers. However, most of them attempt to avoid antropomorphic ontology, for example by proposing that the concept of information on reality is more fundamental than the concept of reality itself, or that reality is relative or ‘relational’, or that correlations among variables exist, while the variables themselves do not. Needless to say, all such versions of the hard-orthodox interpretation necessarily involve deep (and dubious) philosophical assumptions and postulates.” (Nikolić, H., Quantum mechanics: Myths and facts. Foundations of Physics, 2007. 37(11): 1563-611) Do you still think this is a valid viewpoint, or has quantum physics moved beyond this in the last decade?

        Again, many thanks for the very engaging discussion. I’d be interested in your feedback.

        All the best.

      • Tldr: schrodingers cat doesnt nullify the double slit experiment or the delayed choice quantum eraser experiment (same concept more complex)

        It is now an established fact that mind creates matter. Most people just haven’t been filled in on it yet. This is part of why einstein and bohr split on quantum theory. The person you are criticizing is actually fundamentally correct.

      • I’m glad you brought that up. Yes, Nikolics information is outdated. If you read from page 4-5 he discusses wave-particle duality. At this time, the double slit experiment had only been done with electrons and photons. We had not yet done the experiment with things Besides elections and photons (which, themselves are still waves. So it’s not unusual that they could behave as waves.)

        because the double slit experiment has, in the last 5 years, been done on atoms and entire molecules containing up to 114 atoms, we can rule out any possibility that this phenomena is reserved simply for electrons and protons. Thus voiding Nikolics conclusion that nothing is strange about wave particle duality (and even that it doesn’t exist, as he tries to conclude on p.5)

        also just to clarify quanta isnt matter. matter is solid.

        matter- that which occupies space and possesses rest mass, especially as distinct from energy.

        Quanta can be called energy, but not matter, since it doesn’t occupy a space or location. BUT once we observe it, Then it occupies a space and location, because our observation collapses the wave functions, and the Quanta becomes particles. and particles are matter because they occupy space.

        (I forgot to post this in my reply – http://www.livescience.com/19268-quantum-double-slit-experiment-largest-molecules.html)

      • Ok, fair enough.

        One more thing I’d be interested in your view on – is it observation or conscious awareness that collapses the wave function? Biologically speaking, we perceive a lot of information that we never become consciously aware of. I’m assuming that since our brain processes all of the incoming photons hitting our retinas, their wave function has collapsed, even though we are not consciously aware of them.

        Oh, and may I ask what your qualifications are? (Please don’t feel obliged to give up any anonymity by stating which university/ies but I’m interested in knowing level of education and specialty, if you’re willing to share)

        Thanks for the interesting discussion.

      • Great question, and tough to answer.

        From what I have seen, it takes a conscious organism to collapse the wave functions. So, for example, when scientists performing the double slit experiment used electrical detectors to measure which slit the atom went through, they found another twist.

        If they left the detectors on, but didn’t record any data, the wave functions didn’t collapse. Or if they had the detectors record the data, but then they deleted it, same thing. The wave functions still wouldnt collapse.

        So this phenomena seems to be tied to conscious organisms only.

        Whether they are human, a frog, a goat, etc. Living things observing things collapse wave functions. Computer detectors observing things don’t (unless we record the data and see what it is.)

        So from that perspective, it isnt a voluntary effort on our part. We dont have to consciously think “there is a tree over there” or “there are at least 20,000,000 blades of grass within sight”. If objects are within the perception of a living organism, the wave functions will colllapse, regardless of whether or not the organism is really thinking about it.

        My qualifications are just that of a researcher. But in school, I was a national merit scholar (outscored 98% of people on the SAT) and I also got a 96 on the asvab.

        I try to avoid saying anything that isnt a researched fact, especially when discussing the nature of reality. As that would be spreading lies, not truth.

        So by all means, dont trust me. Trust the qualifications of the actual professors who pioneered this information. All I am doing is trying to relay what they have found.

        Yoon-Ho Kim & Marlan O.Scully (Professors from the Department of Physics at Texas A&M University.)

        Jim Al-Khalili (Professor of Theoretical Physics and Chair in the Public Engagement in Science at the University of Surrey Jim)

        Physicist John Wheeler

        Leonard Susskind (Professor of theoretical physics at Stanford University)

        “Physical realists believe the physical world is real in itself while quantum realists believe it is generated on demand by the quantum world, i.e. a virtual reality.” -Professor Brian Whitworth

        Professor Anton Zeilinger (University of Vienna, Experimental Physics) “The path taken by the photon is not an element of reality, we are not allowed to talk about the photon passing through this, or this slit. Neither are we allowed to say that the photons pass through both slits. All this kind of language is not applicable.”

        I’m doing my best simplify a topic that really shouldnt be simplified. Because we really don’t know the answers behind quantum mechanics. It is counterintuitive to what would happen if we lived in a real, physical world.

        “If quantum mechanics hasn’t profoundly shocked you, you haven’t understood it yet.” – Niels Bohr

        All im saying is that if all of these professors were to come and review your post that mind doesnt create matter, they would all disagree. And they woulf say that matter doesnt really exist. Thats its just a constuct we perceive. And they would have the experiments to support themselves.

      • Thanks Random. Sorry it took a while to post your reply – WordPress thought it was spam, and I only discovered it in the spam folder just now.

        It’s a genuinely fascinating area of science and I appreciate you taking the time to contribute. I really appreciate polite, intelligent and well informed discussion.

        All the best.

  5. Hello, May all be well. Perhaps you could be more specific and offer details with your statements. “If Dr Leaf can’t get the most fundamental of facts straight, then she should not be on any pulpit as a scientist, because all she’s doing is embarrassing the church, destroying the church’s credibility with anyone with a shred of scientific knowledge.” She does get the fundamentals straight. Which facts are inaccurate for you? She isn’t on a pulpit. She’s sharing her knowledge which is in alignment with her job title. How does this embarrass the church? The church is strong and able to listen to many points of view. How would this information destroy the church’s credibility? It is more information that one can use to bring science and faith together. Thank you

    • Hi Daphneleah,

      Thanks for seeking clarification. In isolation, the paragraph you quoted does sound vague, but I think it’s perfectly legitimate when read in its proper context, both in the original blog and also within my body of work analysing the teaching of Dr Leaf. I’m happy to discuss both.

      So, the paragraph you quoted comes from the post “Dr Caroline Leaf – Mind creates matter”. It specifically refers to Dr Leaf’s unambiguous claim that “You create matter with your mind” though clearly we don’t. When was the last time you thought something and it magically appeared? Try it now if you like … what happens? Nothing … because we are limited by the law of conservation of matter which Dr Leaf contradicts. I respect the view of a number of physicists who believe that it is only through conscious observation that the wave function of each atomic particle collapses. Not all quantum physicists are of that opinion, but even if that’s true, the role of the observer is essentially changing the quantum state of these subatomic particles, not creating them. I’m happy for you to disagree with me if you like, but that’s what I was referring to specifically in this paragraph within this particular post.

      More broadly, Dr Leaf’s relationship with facts is extremely tenuous. You don’t have to believe me, but you’re welcome to review the extensive critique I have written over the years (read my book “Hold that thought – Reappraising the work of Dr Caroline Leaf” or review posts such as https://cedwardpitt.com/2015/07/22/dr-caroline-leaf-still-contradicted-by-the-latest-evidence-scripture-and-herself/ or https://cedwardpitt.com/2013/08/29/dr-caroline-leaf-contradicted-by-the-latest-research/ or https://cedwardpitt.com/2015/03/26/the-tedx-users-guide-to-dr-caroline-leaf/)

      Dr Leaf is welcomed to pulpits all over the world and ‘preaches’ through her self-titled TV program, books and social media. She isn’t “sharing her knowledge which is in alignment with her job title” because her job title is “Communication pathologist”. She is not a cognitive neuroscientist, medical doctor, mental health expert, dietician, quantum physicist, teacher or pastor, yet she feels compelled to lecture people in all of these areas despite no training, professional qualifications or experience. Professionally speaking, she is clearly operating outside the scope of her practice.

      How does this embarrass the church or destroy its credibility? You only need to read the comments of non-Christian scientists who inadvertently discover her to see just how damaging she is to the church (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2015/01/15/according-to-this-christian-scientist-your-thoughts-can-alter-your-dna-for-generations-to-come/ for example).

      As for the church being strong enough to listen to multiple points of view, somehow I doubt that. The church has done nothing but shun or ignore anyone who dares question Caroline Leaf’s work despite ardent criticism from a number of different scientists and health professionals and a massive body of work which clearly contradicts Dr Leaf’s teaching. Try suggesting to your church pastor that Dr Leaf’s work might be wrong and see how far that gets you.

      Again, you’re welcome to disagree with me, but I do not see Dr Leaf’s work bringing science and faith together since Dr Leaf’s teaching of both science and faith are contradictory to the fundamental tenants of both.

      I’m happy to clarify further if you’d like. Thanks for taking the time to review the blog and seek clarification. All the best to you.

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