Saturday, December 31, 2005

Doreen Virtue™

Doreen Virtue™ practices Angel Therapy™ (you can attend the introductory course for $A555, or $A777 for the advanced course for those who have demonstrated a susceptibility to this
particular form of bullshit).

It just goes to show that someone with a BA, MA and PhD can also be a complete loony, though she obviously knows where the money is.

Strangely enough, she seems to be Allison Dubois's spiritual sister.

Like The World's Only True Psychic she's too busy as "she continues to talk to God, Holy Spirit, Jesus and the angels" to conduct private readings any more.

What particularly fascinated EoR, however, was the amazing story of the car theft by two armed men. Doreen™ was
so stupid she didn't have a clue what to do until
The voice spoke to her again-it was loud, distinctly male, and it instructed her to scream with all her might. This time she listened, and her life was saved by passers-by who became alarmed and sent her attackers running.

Thank goddess for angel instructions in moments of duress.

This sounds eerily similar to EoR's mind to The World's Only True Psychic's experience:
One day when she was out riding her bike in her home neighbourhood in Pheonix, two young men attempted to entice her into the car they were driving. Allison was alone on the street, realised she didn't know the men, and was terrified and frozen with shock. She says a voice suddenly startled her out of her immobile state by ordering her to get away as fast as possible, telling her to ride her bike home as quickly as she could.

There's a pattern here. Cars. Angels. EoR can't quite work it out though.
Angel Therapy, Angel Therapy Practitioner, and Doreen Virtue are trademarked worldwide as registered terms.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Being Badgered

Via Orac EoR is depressed to learn that he is not, in fact, a rather grumpy stuffed donkey with a poorly affixed tail, but in fact a rather grumpy Badger.
Badger
What Is Your Animal Personality?

brought to you by Quizilla

Oh well. Being a fan of The Wind in the Willows he's only slightly disappointed. He can't imagine Badger countenancing any of that new fangled mystical detox aura-patting starchild homeopathical traditional mumbo-jumbo quackery and nonsense.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Detox Your Mind

The Australian Consumers' Association recently reviewed off the shelf detox kits.

Funnily enough, even though manufacturers claim the efficacy and efficiency of their kits, when approached by the ACA exactly none of them were willing to provide any evidence for their claims. In fact, the ACA state that
evidence-based research to support the testimonials was thin on the ground.

How surprising.

Most brands recommended various other supplements as well as the detox course (all handily provided from the manufacturer's own catalogue). EoR's Colonic Irrigation Award must go to Brauer, who suggest you use its product every six weeks (though at $A27 it's about half the price of the others).

The claims of these products are investigated:
They talk of how toxins accumulate in the body, and of the extra burden this places on the body’s natural detoxification mechanisms. And they point the finger at this toxic overload as being behind a host of ills including constipation, bloating, flatulence, poor digestion, heartburn, diarrhoea, lack of energy and fatigue.

Constipation and diarrhoea? And just what is the magical newage "lack of energy"?
The kits claim that their detox products "stimulate your body’s natural detoxifying functions", "improve the functioning of your digestive system", "work like an intestinal broom", "flush away potentially harmful toxins from your system" and generally give your body a "spring clean" to provide relief from these problems, improve your general health and wellbeing and leave you feeling revitalised.

What conclusion is reached?
The bottom line is that no studies have shown that a detox regimen increases the elimination of toxins.

Quelle surprise. ACA consulted dietitions (rather than holistic energy balancers) to assess the dietary advice offered by these products and, while they supported the advice to exercise and eat a sensible diet (but does anyone need to pay huge amounts of money to be told that?) they were also concerned about the unsupported and weird advice such as not mixing fruit and vegetables (why? do they explode?), not eating after 8pm, not eating citrus fruit (but lemons, appropriately enough, are okay) and avoiding table salt (though sea salt and herbal salt are permitted).

As to the contents of the supplements:
While there’s evidence for the intended effects of some of the laxatives and diuretics, the experts we spoke to thought the suite of supplements included in the kits has little or no known benefit that wouldn’t be acheived simply by following a healthy eating program. A high-fibre diet with plenty of water, for example, can have the same effect as taking laxatives and diuretics (with other nutritional benefits as a bonus).

EoR was interested to note that three volunteers tested the product, and all of them experienced "minor stomach troubles". Isn't that caused by toxin buildup, not removal?

The conclusion:
So did detoxing have a lasting impact? We checked back with our detoxers two months later, and they each noted that they now try to drink more water and eat more fruit, vegies and healthier food in general. Certainly a positive outcome, but what they learnt was no different from the advice given in every sensible diet plan (or CHOICE food article, come to that). Do we really have to spend $50+ and put ourselves through a probably unnecessary detox program before we take any notice?

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

A Light? Could It Be an Extraterrestrial Transport Vehicle Mark III?

Speaking in Tongues this week had a segment with Mary Rodwell, Australia's most famous alien abductee counsellor (she regularly features in mainstream magazines, not just the magic ghetto and is a leading light behind Australian Close Encounter Resource Network (ACERN)) who also brought along one of her acolytes. Incidentally, EoR wonders in passing if the aliens are mistakenly interested in her because they thought her name was Roswell?

This acolyte performed an aura mambo around Mr Safran, speaking in glossolaliac tongues (she was channelling 'higher frequencies' she assured us, and translating massive amounts of information) while she seemed to be alternately pulling on an invisible string holding Mr Safran's head up, and brushing invisible dandruff from his shoulders. EoR was impressed. He hasn't laughed so loudly since Second Opinion got the boot.

What really concerned EoR, however, was Ms Rodwell's proud claim that she had convinced a number of people during her counselling sessions that they had not, in fact, been sexually abused as children, but had, in fact, been abducted by aliens who then perpretrated the various intrusions into their body. So these people are being persuaded to ignore any sexual abuse that may have taken place, and any possible recovery, but are instead being offered a fantasy. EoR wonders what further counselling they will need later in life to recover from the Rodwell-programming as well as the abuse. And, of course, the real perpetrators. if any, get off without any penalty.

Ms Rodwell's 'qualifications' to perform such dangerous counselling include: being a clinical hypnotherapist, a 'professional counsellor' (where did she qualify? in what form of counselling? are her qualifications maintained?), a nurse and midwife, a 'metaphysician' (whatever that is), 'healer' and Reiki master, a 'lecturer' (fine sounding word - she is indeed a popular presenter of talks to UFO 'research' groups), a 'researcher' (another fine sounding word - with which academic institute? or does she just mean she does a bit of reading and chatting - which would make us all 'researchers'?) etc etc. EoR won't bother with all her memberships of less-than-rigourous UFO groups (again, fine sounding and impressive, but all rather pointless).

Of course, such a well qualified researcher doesn't skimp on the academic methods. She has a survey conducted by Reader's Digest on her site to support her claims. About people's beliefs about the possibility of aliens. Which, of course, makes all her wacko claims true.

Other researchers, however, take a somewhat different view of all this suggestive 'recovery' of memories:
Psychological interviews and tests conducted on the abductees reveal little evidence of mental illness, but they enjoy a rich fantasy life. When they listen to music or watch movies they often imagine they are somewhere else or part of the movie plot. The typical abductee, notes McNally, "has a longstanding interest in 'New Age' practices and beliefs such as reincarnation, astral projection, mental telepathy, alternative healing practices, energy therapies, and astrology."

He and his colleagues conclude, "a combination of pre-existing New Age beliefs, episodes of sleep paralysis, accompanied by hallucinations and hypnotic memory recovery may foster beliefs and memories that one has been abducted by space aliens."

James Gleick points out the invalid logic of the abductee 'researcher' logic:
People think they were abducted. They don't seem crazy. (And we ought to know--we're experts on mental illness.)

Therefore people were abducted.

The whole of Mr Gleick's article is worth reading. He points out the numerous absurdities of the abduction arguments (eg violative sex with dwarfs etc, always followed by a cosy chat about 'looking after the planet', aliens with
super-advanced technology but who have trouble with anaesthesia and leaving scars, and how people only 'remember' these incidents when the 'counsellor' makes suggestions under hypnosis).

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

A Banerji Footnote

Just a little bit more about the Wonderful World of 'Dr' Parimal Banerji. But first: a warning. Yet again an alternatista shows not only do they have no understanding of how to make a simple web page so people can read it, but it appears whoever created this page has deliberately used as many design mistakes as he can to make his world shattering message as inaccessible as possible. Be prepared to face blue text on a pastel green background, a really annoying large animated gif, and all the text centred on the page.

Though some people (notably Theosophists) may mistakenly believe the Life Force has been discovered, it is thanks to 'Dr' Banerji that we can now loudly proclaim the Discovery of Life-Force.
The mystery about creation of life has been solved and how life, consciousness, mind is created in our body has now been explainable by the Discovery of Source of Life-Force. A new type of energy field has been discovered on every molecule, which bears all the properties of the respective elements and compounds from which such energies are created. This energy gets detached from the molecule like a whirl of energy carrying with it some specific properties of the respective molecules, and forms the living cells. It has been scientifically proved that inside every cell of the living body such detached energies individually create all the different types of Life-Activities, consciousness, mind, etc. and then all the individual cells congruously work for the total manifestation of the life as a whole.

Wow! Science can pretty well pack up its test tubes and go home now, since 'Dr' Banerji has wrapped up everything there is to learn about the world. EoR is increasingly annoyed at these alternatistas raving in an incoherent and ill-defined manner about 'consciousness' and 'mind' in cells. Tell that to a foetus born without a brain.
After working for about sixteen years, ultimately in the year 1970 I discovered that there exists a special type of field of energy over the surface of each atom of every element created from induction by the interaction of the components of the atoms. This field of energy possesses the specificity or the properties of the element. We already knew that there is an electromagnetic field over the atom, which does not have this specificity of the element. This energy has been named by me as Anavik Shakti Avarta (ASA) from which the Source of Life-Force is generated and all the phenomena of life activities, the consciousness, mind, intellect, etc., are created.

Regardless of his 'avid' interest in physics, he can claim
When a molecule is formed, the ASAs of its component atoms are transferred from the surface of the atoms to the surface of the molecule.

EoR is confused, since he thought molecules consisted of atoms but apparently in the dream world of 'Dr' Banerji they are separate things. Atoms are atoms, and molecules are molecules, and never the twain shall meet.

These magical energy fields aren't very resilient, however, and rubbing them against water wears them off, but that's okay since they then form Super-ASA (kind of like Clark Kent changing into Superman, EoR imagines). That noise you can hear is Einstein spinning in his grave.
The research has been completed and published in a nut-shell in the form of a book "Discovering the Source of Life-Force"

Nut-house, more likely. 'Dr' Banerji gives only two references, one to his populist novel, and one to a television show. Not a trace of any scientific publication. But why does EoR not find that surprising?

Amusingly enough, this incoherent ramble concludes with a section headed "Other Places to go" which is blank. Very telling, really.

Monday, December 26, 2005

2000 Patients Cured Every Day!

A comment posted by a Paremesh Banerji extols the virtues of Dr Parimal Banerji. This 'doctor' has apparently conducted the world's largest homeopathy trial, treating 14 million cases and, in his spare time, developing a new 'scientific' form of homeopathy.

Such claims, as always, intrigue EoR, so he did a little research. 'Dr' Banerji has a website at www.parimalbanerji.com where he states how he has optimised his practice to see 2000 patients a day (though apparently he has now slowed down considerably, and only sees several hundred patients a day).
He has had an extremely high success rate in his practice and the sheer number of patients that come to him even after 5 decades of practice bear testimony to the same. This is in spite of the fact that he can barely spend more than one minute with a particular patient.

Faster than a GP! More powerful than a drug company! Able to leap tall impossibilities in a single bound!

EoR will be generous, and allow only a minute per 'consultation' (not the 'barely' more). This still equates to over 33 hours per day work. Think of the overtime!

He has also (during all his spare time) conducted 'elaborate' research into
Diabetes
Hypertension
Cancer
Renal Failure
Epilepsy
Brain Tumour
Heart Diseases
Cysts and growths of different kinds
Herpes
Renal Stones
Gall Bladder Stones
Appendicitis
Tonsillitis
Mental diseases
Sciatica
Spondylitis and Spondylosis
Constipation
Haemorrhoids
Acne
Arthritis
Ear infection
Psoriasis
Thalassaemia
Hypothyroidism
Menstrual Disorders

Actually, these just appear to be card file records of his patients (but doesn't all that writing cut into the 60 seconds?), not research at all. But wait! There's more! He's also been involved in
The creation of the Science of Advanced Homoeopathy
The identification of new causes for diseases and also some hitherto unknown maintaining causes which have so far prevented radical cures
The discovery of new management techniques for different diseases
The new side effects of allopathic medicines as well as surgical procedures and
the Homoeopathic means of addressing them
Introduction of new drugs in Homoeopathic practice
Discovery of new properties of existing Homoeopathic medicines

'Advanced' homeopathy sounds the same to EoR as 'simplistic' homeopathy, except for
The management technique would include specifying diets, clothing, postures and also the exact procedures for the withdrawal of allopathic medicines and the abandoning of their associated management advise

Right. Change your clothes. Put one leg in the air. Give up your drugs. This is scary stuff given his predilection for claiming all those cancer cures (but does he actually cure? EoR could only find lots of cases he's treated, but no claims to cure. This could be a telling point).

But that's not all!
Besides his mammoth contribution to Medicine he has also done revolutionary work in the field of Physics and Bio-physics. This has culminated in the publication of his paper ' The origin of Life'. This work of his provides a completely new perspective into exactly how life might have formed for the first time and how the phenomenon of life actually manifests itself in this world.
He has also done work in the field of Medicinal and Aromatic Plant Research and was one of the seven board member of the United Nations organisation - International Union of Forestry Research Organisations (IUFRO).

He has also 'practically' and 'theoretically' proven the existence of a
Physico-Mental-Dynamic-Plane (PMDP)

The groundbreaking effect of this discovery is that one cure can be given for all ails. Certainly saves time if you've only got 60 seconds to cure the lame, blind and insane (does not include time to fill in card file).

EoR can't help but wonder where this man's time machine is to give him all the hours needed to accomplish so much. And where's his Nobel prize. This is a supergenius! He even modestly compares himself to Newton! And a philanthropist to boot: he treats his patients for free, supports researchers, and "an estimated 100 families for several decades now".

So not only can he cure all diseases, create more hours in the day than the rest of us have, has overthrown evolution, has discovered a new plane of existence, but he also apparently has discovered the philosopher's stone and creates money out of thin air.

Oh, hang on, maybe he's interested in the money after all:
The charge for a one off [email] consultation is currently US $100

And, like any quack, he has published books 'proving' his claims, but has no peer reviewed publications in the medical literature (obviously he doesn't have the time!).

'Dr' Banerji consults via email, and will ship his 'medicines' to you. Presumably for free, from the goodness of his philanthropic heart. But how can you tell you're getting the full 60 second consultation?

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas

In the words of Tom Waits:

Don't go to church on Sunday
Don't get on my knees to pray
Don't memorize the books of the Bible
I got my own special way
But I know Jesus loves me
maybe just a little bit more

I fall on my knees every Sunday
At Zerelda Lee's candy store

Well it's got to be a chocolate Jesus
Make me feel good inside
Got to be a chocolate Jesus
Keep me satisfied

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Breaking News: Homeopathy Doesn't Work.

What do the alternatistas do when a Professor of Complementary Medicine states homeopathy is "ineffective" and chiropracty is "invalid"?

Professor Edzard Ernst of Exeter Univeristy took the job to
bring scientific rigour to the study of alternative medicines, an approach that has made him a highly controversial figure in the field

So, as usual, instead of presenting the evidence, the alternatistas take a different tack:
Not surprisingly, Ernst has been attacked by chiropractors and homeopaths who passionately defend their techniques. The latter point to studies which they say show that most patients they treat are satisfied and cite an analysis in the Lancet of 89 trials in which their medicines were found to be effective.

Ho hum. So patients are 'satisfied'? Are we really discussing medical effectiveness here, or simply a customer satisfaction survey? And how quickly the homeopaths have suddenly become blind to the Lancet metastudy showing their particular brand of witchcraft was a placebo effect, even though they're quite happy to bay like rabid dogs about it any other time.
The British Chiropractic Association told the university it would be better served by an individual who was 'genuinely interested' in complementary medicine.

'I think my peers would prefer someone who didn't rock the boat,' said Ernst.

Apparently True Believers must believe All Woo, not just some of them (since Professor Edzard seems to support herbal medicine, acupuncture and hypnotherapy).

Homeopathy. Blind to science. Blind to change. Blind to reality. Blind to criticism.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Society Admits Traditional Medicine Doesn't Cure

Frightened at the possibility of government regulation, the Australian Traditional Medicine Society Ltd has produced a Submission to the Department of Health Discussion Paper on the Regulation of Practitioners of Chinese Medicine in Western Australia.

The submission is full of anecdotal evidence eg the extremely low rate of complaints about TCM (is this because the products have no effect? or that people feel stupid about using them and don't want to make a fuss? or that people turn to conventional medicine when TCM doesn't work?), that they publish a "peer reviewed journal" (exactly - peer reviewed. ho hum), that practitioners must have a first aid certificate (can't they just use the emergency homeopathic elixir of
life?), and recourse to newspaper articles to support arguments.

The preferred method of 'control' is 'Government Monitored Self Regulation' which is seen as 'impartial' and 'independent'. Eor is not quite sure how they worked that out, but anyone who is subtle enough to locate nonexistent meridians is obviously more intelligent than him. It's certainly independent of any oversight.

Also fascinating statements (dare I call them lies?) such as TCM is virtually no-risk since no potentially dangerous substances are used, TCMers are not permitted to use any Scheduled substances, their products are registered with the Therapeutic Goods Administration (registered, not proven - there is a distinct difference), Chinese medicines do not contain dangerous substances (a recent BBC report shows just how far from the truth this is). Also common interactions of TCM and prescribed medicines are well known and well documented (at least by real doctors). And then
No intrusive techniques are used by Chinese medicine practitioners. Acupuncture, although penetrating the skin, is gentle, soft and safe when used by a qualified practitioner.

So are innoculations, but I bet they all run a kilometre at the mention of that foul practise.

Then there's pages and pages of statistics about how few complaints are made about TCM. And of course the old chestnut about how many people doctors kill vis a vis TCMers. Judging the efficacy and cost/benefit of a service simply by number of complaints made to mainstream health care complaints organisations seems
a) very narrow minded
b) ignoring the real point
c) rather belabouring one of the few points that TCMers obviously feel they can promote themselves with.

While details of the few complaints made are not explicit, it's interesting to see the number relating to sexual misconduct and bruising from massage (EoR is disappointed that it's not made clear whether the two are related to each other).

Nearly 12% of complaints resulted in a police investigation. Is this similar for GPs? Or are TCMers more criminal?

It was interesting to note that the TCMer's preferred registration process involved "Minimal educational requirements" (not "Minumum educational requirements"). EoR suspects this was not a mistake. It doesn't state whether minimal education is for the practitioner or the patient.

The society's Code of Practice includes these gems
[The practitioner] must be competent and sympathetic, hopeful and positive, thus encouraging an uplift in the mental outlook of the patient and a belief in a progression towards good health practices.

and
Practitioners must never claim to 'cure'. The possible therapeutic benefits may be described as recovery, but must never be guaranteed.

EoR may be slow, but isn't this an admission that it's all about hope and positive thinking ("Always look on the bright side of life") and never about curing?

EoR wishes governments didn't regulate 'traditional' medicine, but simply accepted that they are uncontrolled practitioners with insufficient medical training prescribing substances with untested ingredients that produce undocumented side affects and which have no basis in reality, and banned 'traditional' medicine accordingly.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Tai Chi Cures Diabetes!


PM (once a leading current affairs radio programme, now clearly following the ABC trend of dumbing down and pandering to the tabloid masses) broadcast a segment claiming "Tai Chi a promising remedy for diabetes" on 20th December 2005. The report states
A pilot study has shown a combination of the exercises, Tai Chi and Qigong, have produced a host of benefits in diabetes sufferers, after just three months. Along with improvements in their blood sugar levels, participants in the study have reported weight loss, better sleeping patterns and increased energy levels. University of Queensland PhD student, Liu Xin, is now preparing to conduct a larger clinical trial

This rather begs the question: where is the causal link? This was not a controlled study in any way. To demonstrate the high journalistic standards of the reporter you would imagine that someone qualified in diabetes would have been asked to comment on the pilot study (or even the PhD student who conducted it). But no. The best people to explain what's going on, apparently, are two of the participants.
I've had a very dramatic change. My fasting blood sugars went down almost 50 per cent over the 12 weeks, I've lost five kilograms, and I'm less depressed, my skin's glowing as opposed to looking sort of dull.

and
Qigong has taken away my cravings, the sugar cravings that pre-diabetic people often have, which is why there's a struggle with the weight because you're always craving something that really isn't good for you. So the cravings have stopped and I'm burning up more energy, because I've just got, you know, more energy to use.

No, EoR doesn't know. Define 'more energy'? Can you quantify how much? EoR wonders why further study is required when the process is understood as
There's something in it that targets the key organs to do with diabetes, I think, and that seems to be the process that's been taking place in my body and the bodies of all my classmates who all have a very similar story to tell.

First, EoR presumes that the presence of Qi, how it is measured and improved have all been studied and reported, but he just missed it in the Christmas rush, since the presumtions of the pilot study appear not to be open to question. Like, people exercised a bit, lost some weight, felt better, and improved their health. EoR finds all this plausible and, indeed, admirable. He's just a bit confused about how the Qi did it.

The University of Queensland press release claims "startling results". EoR is also a teensy bit concerned about the size of the study (11 people). Very soon the press release devolves into juju-speak:
It is believed that the 5000-year-old self-healing art helps cleanse the body of toxins, restore energy and reduce stress and anxiety.

EoR repeats ad nauseum: Don't they all.
Mr Liu, who has studied Qigong and Tai Chi for more than 30 years, said the spiral movements of the specially designed exercises could stimulate the muscles more than conventional exercises, leading to greater uptake and utilisation of glucose.

EoR wants to know "specially designed" in what way. How do Mr Liu's exercises specifically target diabetes? By what method? Could it just be that participants were motivated to maintain an exercise program for three months (the hardest part in losing weight is maintaining motivation, not shifting naughty qi), had some attention paid to them and, hence, felt better and lost weight with subsequent, already well understood, effects on their diabetes?

But magic is a far more exciting reason.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Voices Told Me to Buy This

The ideal Christmas present: a Ouija Board. Ask it profound questions like What college will accept me? Probably none, unless it's Hogwarts. Anyway, it's the gift giving season, and a Ouija Board is an ideal way of saying "I'm weird".

If you're too cheap to shell out real money for real magic, Office Diversions provide an online Ouija Board. Like all good mystical realities, it Will Reveal All
Note: This may take repeated attempts, but you must have Faith and Trust in the Power of the Ouija.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Voodoo Dolls

5 Star Psychic (self proclaimed 'real' psychic - EoR's never heard that one before) seems to have an unfortunate habit of 'discovering' haunted dolls. There's EoR's favourite, a Luzanne Porcelain Doll which seems to have an automobile fixation (it stole a driver's licence and then, presumably piqued at not being allowed to go for a drive, loosened the engine mounts) as well as financial interests on the psychic plane (5 Star Psychic once found $300 in the doll's knickers - where else?). Knowing that the only real evidence of possession would be photographic, she took two pictures which are on the site, showing 'blue orbs'. EoR had trouble spotting these, unless they're the dots all over the doll's dress. Mind you, the pictures are so poor copy and compressed that various artefacts are present. They are not, however, spirits.
Are these blue orbs surrounding Luzanne spirit manifestations of a spirit that resides within her. Or could they be the manifestations of many angels who bless her. This could be a mystery never solved or a mystery that will one day come to light.

Answer: none of the above.

The doll is for sale for $5,000.00 or best reasonable offer.

Then there's the Sleepy Baby dolls retrieved from a 'traumatic' traffic accident (what's a non-traumatic traffic accident?) with incredible powers:
I myself have experianced a strong vanillia smell since I bought this baby doll and the other one below. I've also experianced a gentle tugging on my clothes while I do dishes.

These dolls sold for $1275. P T Barnum would be pleased.

Finally, there's her treasured deceased grandfather's pipe. She tried to sell it on eBay, but her (dead) grandfather hid it to prevent this. He's obviously relented now, since it has reappeared. It's now up for purchase again (even though it's of "high sentimental value" and even though her grandfather manifested in two photos she took of the pipe - though EoR can't see this no matter how he squints at the really bad overexposed photos). A real snip at only $10,000! For a pipe! No wonder 5 Star Psychic states
Through his passing I was able to purchase a computer which is how I have survived financially since.

EoR wonders why she bothers with such small change when she can make $1,000,000 from James Randi with, apparently, no effort at all. Could it be (gasp) that she's a two-timing lying conniving fake? Could it be that she's a delusional sod sorely in need of psychiatric attention? But EoR would never believe that someone with a website and some expensive overpriced merchandise could be like that. Not a 'real' psychic anyway.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Take a Drop of Sunshine. Add a Pinch of Antimatter. Shake Well. Apply to Brain.


Via a posting on the Bad Science Forum EoR was led to a site detailing various homeopathic 'provings' (while the site doesn't put 'provings' in quotes, EoR is forced to since the use of 'provings' on the site is so deranged it has nothing to do with the root word 'proof' at all).

If anything, this site shows that there is no difference between 'homeopathy' and 'satire'.

EoR believed that a primary principle of homeopathy is that a substance which produces symptoms similar to the illness is used (though diluted so that it no longer exists) to cure the illness, but what sort of symptoms do falcons, condoms or antimatter cause? Well, presumably antimatter in sufficient quantities might cause a severe case of death.

Falcon feathers and blood were so effective, that
the first proving, [...] the patient subsequently benefited from the dose: she lost her fear, her sense of disempowerment, quit her stifling job and is currently living in her beloved Scotland where she can roam free, making her peregrinations

'Peregrinations'! Peregine falcon! Get it? Homeopaths with a sense of humour! Further claims are made that, even if you don't take the magic cure but are near someone who does, you can still be cured via the 'psychic field effect'. Why do homeopaths ever bother giving individualised prescriptions? The 'psychic field effect' should just transfer every homeopathic remedy in existence all around the world (indeed, the universe) and cure everyone of everything. Hence, illness and suffering no longer exist.

Condom Therapy is even more bizarre. The first sentence is like a acid-inspired haiku:
In a bubble not connecting, therefore uninhibited working without respite, restlessness separation from danger, therefore recklessness.

EoR is convinced this means something but he's not sure what. He is delighted to know, however, that homeopaths are at the cutting edge of disease research:
My work on the AIDS Nosode and other provings had led me to an interest in the concept of an AIDS Miasm.

As opposed to a Brain 'Miasm' which all homeopathic remedies seem to engender.

To create this powerful remedy
A grain of latex from a non spermicidal condom that had been cleaned of any traces of lubricant was cut into small pieces and triturated in a porcelain pestle and mortar with milk sugar.

These are powerful forces being toyed with here:
Within 5 minutes of beginning the trituration it was announced that the first air strikes had been made against Afghanistan.

Does this mean we can lay the blame for tsunamis, earthquakes, wars and various other disasters firmly at the feet of homeopaths? Surely the value of one condom is far outweighed by the deaths from the air strikes? Shouldn't homeopaths be jailed then as evil criminals?

But worse was to come:
I was hot and perspiring. Trembling.
The substance was hard and stubborn and my reaction was of a similar quality.
Felt a tendency to become obsessive/compulsive as I worked at the trituration.
The smell was nauseating, this went right on into the 3c trituration.
I was belching and felt nauseous, almost, but not quite to the point, of vomiting.
I had a sick head ache.
Felt that the skin on my head was tightening.
Heat in the forehead.
Felt rushed and hurried, carried away with the process.
Became aggressive and violent.
Felt so sick that I had to take two long breaks in the process.
Was clumsy and dropped and smashed things.

Homeopaths having 'hard and stubbon' reactions? Sounds familiar to EoR. Though it usually happens everytime another study finds homeopathy has exactly no effect.

Now antimatter is something EoR can accept as a universal cure.
In the autumn of 1997, while facilitating a clinical workshop in San Diego for North American students of the School of Homeopathy, I was approached by Chris Kurtz, then on our distance learning programme and just completing his PhD at the University of San Diego, offering to bring me a vial containing anti-matter. "You cannot be serious!" I exclaimed. "Quite serious." he retorted, proceeding to edify me. Naturally, I said, "Yes."

As would EoR! Rather than a vial he'd prefer it to be contained in a magnetic bottle. But what exactly is 'positronium'?
About positronium: it is formed of a positron (anti-electron) and an electron in mutual orbit; it is structured in a similar way to hydrogen, however it has almost no mass. It has been suggested that at the beginning of time the universe was largely, though momentarily composed of positrons and electrons, of positronium. It is the precursor of the hydrogen atom. Naturally, this atomic configuration is only semi-stable. In the first micro-seconds of the universe, as now, its components, electron and anti-electron annihilate each other when they get too close, when the molecule collapses. This annihilation results in a 'flash' of electromagnetic radiation. Since positronium is made up of both particle and anti-particle, it assumes a position mid way between matter and anti-matter. When it decays, it is converted into a pulse of pure energy.

Gamma radiation actually. Though EoR is pleased that homeopaths are easily doing what physicists go to great lengths to achieve.

Hell, homeopaths are so magic and in control of such amazing forces, they can carry it around in a vial. When diluted to homeopathic levels, it can even erase video tapes!
As a latter prover delved into her sensations of contraction, as if squeezed into impossible denseness accompanied by a sense of having touched pure evil, the video tape image blanked out entirely. [...] I marvelled at the phenomenon of the intense psychic field which the recounting of the proving had generated interfering with the electronics or the tape in the camcorder.

EoR marvels as well. He's just amazed that these magic phyicists can obtain their substance, dilute it, succuse it, and disseminate it all in less than 10-10 seconds before the particles annihilate. They're certainly fast workers.

EoR is also deeply concerned at the huge amount of really bad poetry all these homeopathic tinctures drive the partakers to pen.

In summary, EoR can do no better than quote from the site itself:
In short a veritable dogs dinner of homeopathic delights!

PS: Why dont psychics wear condoms?
They have crystal balls so they can see themselves coming.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Farewell Terry Lane

Terry Lane, the presenter of the National Interest (who, EoR is sad to relate, has announced his retirement) was interviewed by Geraldine Doogue on ABC Radio National on the 17th of December (listen online at www.abc.net.au).

Terry, who describes himself as a Marxist-Depressive (EoR can sympathise with this) was a clergyman who became a broadcaster and, along the way, an atheist.

During his interview he related how interviewing David Attenborough and Richard Dawkins had a profound effect on him, but he also told a tale from his clergyman student days which obviously had a deep and longlasting effect as well.

In the early 1960s the students were taken to the local mental hospital, presumably to broaden their worldly experiences (speaking as one who also once toured a mental hospital as part of his work, including the closed wards, EoR can understand how profound and shocking this experience can be). They were shown a ward of hydrocephalic children, deformed, able to communicate only minimally with squeaks, and who needed constant and total care.

Later, a doctor asked them if they still believed in a god. Terry pointed out that the fundamentalist students immediately answered that the disabled children existed so that others could show their compassion. Terry was not so quick to answer and, eventually, came to the conclusion that no sort of beneficent god could create such suffering simply so other people could show how 'good' they were (of course, this doesn't necessarily exclude a malevolent or deranged god, but then we're getting into gnostic issues).

The fundamentalist answer also shows what's wrong with fundamentalism (be it religious, alternative or whatever). There's no room for thought, doubt, or, most importantly there is no room for growth, development and change. Ideas are fixed and immutable, be they right, wrong, or completely inappropriate.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Placebo Effect Real. Alternative Therapies False. Alternatistas Jump for Joy.

Alternative Medicine and Natural Health has a posting about "Mind Over Matter for Chronic Pain" which mentions an experiment using MRI scanning where subjects were taught to increase or decrease their perception of pain.

AltHealthInfo crows
The implications of these results are quite exciting and could lend credit to alternative therapies that are based on this type of mind-over-matter techniques such as Creative Visualization.

Links are provided to a copy of the paper, as well as a news report.

While EoR has some doubts about the scientific understanding of the reporter ("functional MRI, a type of telescope that can peer deep into the inner workings of the brain") it seems the alternatistas, in their rapture, failed to even read the first sentence:
They had tried everything for their pain: prescription drugs, alternative remedies, even hypnosis. Nothing seemed to work.

Note: alternative remedies did not work. Perhaps this sentence might help their understanding:
Recent studies suggest that meditation, and even the much maligned placebo effect, may have considerable power at naturally relieving achy joints and sore muscles.

"Much maligned placebo effect"? Maligned only by the alternatistas, who insist there is no placebo effect in their magic water, their magic handwaving, their magic water filters etc etc ad nauseum.
It would be interesting to see more research into this area to see if this could be done between two people, for instance a therapist focusing on the MRI scan of a patient to diminish the chronic pain response.

Of course, the real therapists should be able to do it without the patient present, by simply focusing on a photo and adjusting the 'vibrations'.

Friday, December 16, 2005

The Lion, the Witch and the Chequebook

Christianity Today reports the joyous announcement that Narnia Will Return In New Books.
HarperCollins will also be commissioning new Narnia books. "What we wanted to avoid is what I call the Pooh situation," says Simon Adley, managing director of the C.S. Lewis Company. "In other words, exploitation of the books."

Right. A movie series. Associated merchandising. Narnia spinoff books. Not exploitation at all. Just good Christian ethics at work.

While Lewis' stepson, Douglas Gresham, has resisted all efforts to produce new Narnia books, even from charities, Lewis's biographer, Kathryn Lindskoog states
"The right to issue new books about Narnia was evidently being reserved for whoever might offer high enough financial gain to the owners of the Lewis Estate."

EoR hopes such moral fortitude is reflected in the new books, and also that certain predilections noted in Prisoner of Narnia in the New Yorker are also more prominent:
Lewis developed and craved what even his Christian biographer, Jacobs, calls "mildly sadomasochistic fantasies"; in letters to a (homosexual) friend, he named the women he’d like to spank, and for a time signed his private letters "Philomastix" - "whip-lover."

Narnia should have lots more spanking. Then the oral sex (those that have seen Monty Python and the Holy Grail will understand the reference).

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Burns as Therapy

Eden Light Retreat (that's 'retreat' as in 'retreat from logic and reason') offers Hot Stone Therapy.
Hot Stone Therapy is a fusion of Eastern and Western philosophies that combines ancient healing practices with modern therapies to create truly unique Spa Treatments. The Hot Stones used in our treatments are volcanic in origin and are composed of a unique blend of basalt, igneous rock, feldspar and dacite, all containing ferro-magnesium minerals

Far from being unique, EoR thinks this is the same old same old.
When placed on the body, the stones transmit energy that assists in the removal of blockages, the dissolution of stress, and the re-allocation of energies to balance over-stimulated areas and re-energise depleted ones. [...] There will be many reasons that people are drawn to Hot Stone treatments. For some it will be the treatments’ scientific foundations and all the physical benefits that they have to offer. For others, it will be all the profound metaphysical and spiritual possibilities that they can bring.

Various ways of sticking hot stones on tender flesh are offered, all, presumably, based on 'scientific foundations' to stimulate and address bad energy in different configurations, and force it into acquiescing into becoming nice energy. For example:
Earth Mantle $A145 The name of this treatment was inspired by the principal technique used in the treatment, the placement of hot volcanic rocks along the spine, which creates the sensation of a warm and comforting cloak. This treatment concentrates on the back of the body. It consists of the placement of Hot volcanic rocks along the spine and a massage of the back of the legs using hot Working stones. This is followed by a "Bacial" (facial for the back) which includes a deep cleanse and exfoliation with a salt and pumice scrub, followed by a clay mask infused with special oils to assist in removing impurities, rebalancing and rejuvenating the skin.

EoR is convinced that sticking burning stones on the body would, indeed, result in the transfer of energy, but whether it would remove 'impurities' or 'rebalance' anything he is, sadly, disbelieving.

While you're recovering from your third degree burns, you might like to engage in some other forms of healing (try them all, one of them might work - or at least coincide with some placebo effect): reiki (the classic non-invasive, gentle, healing crock of shit practiced by the delusional for the benefit of the deluded), spiritual healing (maybe EoR could just send along his spirit body and ask for a discount?), ear candling (what is it with these people and burning their victims? were they members of the Spanish Inquisition in a past life?) and dietary consultation (by a qualified dietition? or is it someone who tells you to avoid gluten and take more 'natural' and 'chemical free' supplements?).

One of the people behind this is Jacqueline Zoller who, while offering counselling (albeit 'spiritual' counselling) appears to have no qualification or certification to do so other than being "an accredited clinical Hypnotherapist". Oh, and "a Traditional Reiki Master and Spiritual Healer" and "a Spiritual guide and teacher". I bet she's even got the pieces of paper to prove it.

Of course, such 'unique' therapies (EoR may be a little slow, but he can't see how someone who offers exactly the same witchery as thousands of others can be even a little bit 'unique') don't come at a price. No. It's an investment.

EoR might try it one day. At least it might be nice to spend some time in the bush. Except for the noise of all the quacking.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

hceepS esreveR fo elcariM ehT ("Lets revere for an idiot")

The headlining guest on this week's Speaking in Tongues was David Oates, the inventor and purveyor of Reverse Speech.

Even though EoR often has trouble putting words together in the normal order, apparently he's also sending subliminal messages in reverse as well without any difficulty whatsoever. In a variant of EVP (the art of holding pointless conversations with the dead by listening to white noise), reversing a person's speech reveals the True Meaning behind their statements.

A number of examples were given and, as far as EoR could determine, the process involves:


  • Take a lengthy recording

  • Reverse it

  • Excerpt any short fragment that sounds vaguely recognisable as words

  • 'Interpret' this



It's the 'interpretation' stage that EoR found most interesting. Since most reverse speech produces random and surreal statements (as well as a lot of noise), Mr Oates helpfully explained how these meaningless phrases actually Revealed All.

The bemused and disbelieving look that never seemed to leave Father Maguire's face said it all.

EoR has done something similar as an easy way to interpret foreign languages (forwards only - his brain would hurt if he tried it in reverse). Don't bother translating the meaning of the words, just imagine what English words they sound similar to. For example, "Mesdames et Messieurs" is, in English, "My dams are measured." The interpretation of this is that, clearly, terrorist forces are planning an attack on a dam somewhere and caution is urged. Of course, it could all just be bullshit but why admit it when there's so much money to be raked in from the gullible and the deluded? $A125 for a five minute session. That's $A1,500 an hour! At only seven hours a day, and assuming a 40 week year, this means Mr Oates has valued his services at over $A2,000,000 a year! But Mr Oates is not motivated by money. Oh no. He has A Vision:

To promote the TRUTH for the benefit of all and to help remove fear and uncertainty that exists in society that is detrimental to humanities evolution. To move closer to love and to help mankind to all live a fully conscious life of harmony. To help uncap humanities latent abilities and to find our destiny as a species.

and A Mission to boot:

To create a synergistic network of business people dedicated to the promotion of truth and higher states of consciousness through a unique Reverse Speech process, unlike any other the world has yet seen. To adopt a C.A.N.I. model of Constant and Never Ending Improvement of business practices through a win - win situation of all those involved. To explore and face the boundaries of truth and to learn from it.

EoR respectfully requests that he "face the boundaries of truth" but suspects the money rolling in will override that.

This technique is so accurate and infallible, that some 'researchers' apply one loony theory to prove the validity of another loony theory:

Eve Frances Lorgen calls the phenomenon "the truth detector of the millennium" and says that it might place the polygraph as a lie detector. Lorgen uses reverse speech as an investigative and therapeutic tool for UFO abductees.

It has also revealed repressed memories of child sexual abuse.

If you don't believe in this, just read the IRS Court Battle case. The reverse voices prognosticated that "The girl will win" and "That boasts that we've won". And, believe it or not:

Jose's wife is free with 2 years probation. That is not totally a win as the first reversal on this page predicted, but it is close. Jose [...] is in jail now and doing an appeal through an attorney.

"Not totally a win"? The woman was found guilty and sentenced! The husband was jailed! That's about as far from a "win" as you can get (EoR is tempted to call it a "reverse judgement" but wouldn't dare). EoR can't work out whether all these Reverse Speech practitioners are totally deluded to their own failures, or whether they're all just greedy to keep the money coming in.

Scarily, Mr Oates (for a practitioner of woo, EoR is disappointed that he hasn't created any fake organisations to join so he can put lots of silly letters after his name - not even a mail order PhD) recommends diagnosing your health problems with this weirdness, detecting fraudulent insurance claims, or solving criminal trials with it (come back Alison Dubois - all is forgiven).

David has been compared to Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell and Nicola Tesla and his work described as being of Nobel calibre with far reaching ramifications is such fields as law and psychology.

EoR suspects Mr Oates, with his amazing lack of any published research, independent validation, and theoretical flimsiness, is as likely to win a Nobel prize as Bozo the Clown. In fact, EoR would back Bozo any day.

Of course, the legal disclaimer that those undergoing this witchcraft have to sign makes it quite clear that the whole thing's a con yielding no information whatsoever:
I understand that the process is inexact and subject to interpretation by the individual analyzing the tape, and such interpretation, in both the reversals identified and in their interpretation, can be inaccurate. I understand that the words documented as speech reversals can have different meanings from those commonly associated with those particular words.

You can easily become a certified Reverse Speech Practitioner over only six weekends for only $A2,864 (minimum). Training for further levels costs $A1,975 and $A2,370. A total of only $A7,209! EoR wonders how much it would cost if it actually worked. Or you could buy a cheap microphone, use some free software, and do it yourself without the excessive financial donation to Mr Oates.

Strangely, some people seem to think this is just rubbish.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

What's Worse than Cancer?

'Treatments' that will kill you quicker, that's what. When Tasmanian premier Jim Bacon was diagnosed with lung cancer the kooks came out of the woodwork, promoting their own favourite tried and tested sure-fire cure-alls, forcing the head of oncology at the Royal Hobart Hospital to issue a warning against this sort of madness.

The beauty of alternative therapies to cure cancer is that there are only success stories. Terminal cases tend not to lodge complaints (and anyway, there's always the belief that life would have been shorter but for the apricot pips, or the magic water, or the juju etc).

EoR thinks it slightly ironic that Tasmania is also famous for being the home of the now deceased Second Opinion (an example of how alternative therapies failed to keep the patient alive).

Unfortunately, for every sane voice, there's at least another rambling in the magical wilderness.

Monday, December 12, 2005

The Good Old Days

EoR is old enough to remember when aliens came to Earth to do unspeakable things with the (WASP) women of the world. These days they just seem to be student joyriders who get a kick out of anally probing some deranged loser who no one will ever believe.


More covers available at vintagepbks.com

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Footsies


Imported from Japan Footsies are innovative and powerful foot patches containing all natural ingredients developed from years of medical research in Japan. By stimulating the reflexology points and the blood circulation the Footsies program comprises one of the most proactive and convenient ways to remove toxins and heavy metals.


Apparently these are patches that are applied to the feet and cure all sorts of evils and maladies. You can choose from Tranquility ("Containing 50% tourmaline, a gem stone legendary for being able to emit far infrared rays and negative ions" - 50%? Wouldn't that be painful to walk on?), Stimulate ("containing red pepper for extra strength") or Allergy Free ("great for vegans" - what? are you supposed to eat them?). Incidentally, EoR wonders why they have names like condoms.

Now, as we all know, reflexology postulates that tickling the feet will resolve all your health issues. The foot diagram on this page amused EoR greatly. As hard as he tried, he just couldn't see a reflexology point for the feet. What a serious ommission. Though, of course, the eyes are represented. Which, as iridology informs us, represent all the parts of the body. Including the feet. Which, as reflexology informs us, represent all the parts of the body (excluding the feet) including the eyes. Which... EoR sucumbs to a recursive dimensional trap.

But thoughts can cause disease as well:
Negative emotions such as anxiety, grief, fear and worry - wide spread in modern society - will cause negative repercussions.

People in the squalour of the middle ages, people in famine affected Africa, or those in hunter-gatherer societies who are always looking for the next meal never experience "anxiety, grief, fear and worry." No. They're all happy Edenic primitives living in a state of bliss.

And even though
The reflexology doesn’t heal

(yes! honestly! they really put that on their website!)
The maintenance program (using Footsies once or twice a week) can assist the body in maintaining a balanced state and prevent the possibility of slight imbalances becoming troublesome.

So, this is bullshit. It doesn't work. But buy our product. Twice a week. For the rest of your life. Please. We need the money. Where would we be without newage suckers like you?

But who is EoR to deny the scientific proof (we all know hair analysis is the cutting edge in scientific testing - quite apart from the fact that the testing seems to have been done with an entirely different product), including brain wave images? Sadly "scientific proof" does not include any detailed studies, peer-reviewed publications, or anything that couldn't be classed as irrelvancies, advertising and misinformation. The suckers should love it.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

My Eyes Hurt! My Brain Hurts!

Luxor Light Healing is EoR's woo de jour.

Along with the usual crap about realigning and balancing chakras and energy and past lives and future lives and galactic bodies (apparently not planets, asteroids etc) and karma and multidimensions (which can all be summarised: I sit here and look a bit glazed for an hour or two, and you give me some money) EoR was interested to read that the process involves

Energy shifting in order to activate the energy field and propel the participant forward along their path

EoR feels this is something he can believe in. In fact, he'd like to demonstrate the principle to Christina using the principles of kinetic energy, a sharp push to the back, and a bus. EoR also feels his psychic powers working, and can predict the (short-term) future this would lead to.

Meanwhile, EoR moans yet again about why the alternatistas can't design websites. This abomination of pastel colour on pastel colour is screaming "I haven't got a clue about making it easy for the customer". I don't know. Why can't the voices tell Christine what colours to use. Or maybe True Believers just see the auras around the letters and it's purposely designed to deter the skeptics.

Friday, December 09, 2005

I See the Future. Sort Of.

EoR has occasionally been known to make fun of self-professed psychics (funnily enough, they never see it coming). A correspondent to the Skeptic's Dictionary (reported in the Skeptic's Dictionary Newsletter 59) makes it clear, however, that EoR has been entirely too harsh and has displayed too little understanding of these amazing people's powers.

In order to accept these abilities, it is only necessary to redefine statistical probability:

We had to mark on our paper which shape [the primary school teacher] was thinking about. I scored far, far higher than the odds of even a "lucky" guesser.

So we can ignore the Bell Curve, statisical range and single trial tests. I could toss a coin 100 times and get all heads. It wouldn't imply psychic powers, only probability in operation in the real world. Now, if every time I tossed a coin 100 times I got heads I would be more suspicious of psychic powers (or a weighted coin). I bet a few of the students also scored far worse than the odds of even a "hopeless" guesser. The significant word here is, of course, "guesser".

There are fakes out there, I can spot 'em in a heartbeat. Usually, they are the ones performing in nightclubs and they are right 98 to 100% of the time. Anybody who gets everything right is doing research and running a scam, not using psychic abilities. The real psychics, and yes, we know each other when we meet, have a lot higher success rate than simple guessing, but not perfect.


This is the Alison-Dubois-Argument: "I'm the only real psychic! Those others are just pretenders to the throne! Don't listen to them! Buy my book!" There are apparently two reasons for this less than ideal hit rate:

How clearly the messages come through depends a lot on how clear the "transmissions" are, whether or not there is any interference and how good the receiver is.

Is it cloudy? Is it sunny? Is Mars in Venus? Is the wind blowing in the wrong direction? Are the spirits calling on a dodgy ethereal line? So many excuses, so little information.

The other factor is the reason why predicting the future is not, nor ever will be 100% accurate, no matter how good the psychic doing the prediction. Our lives are not predestined. The future is not cast in stone...

EoR pauses a moment for some deep thinking, and in order to clear his head. If a psychic is accurate, that is proof that they are a fake but if they're only randomly correct (EoR uses the term "randomly" advisedly) in a general sort of sense, then they're the real McCoy. Now I understand. Oh, and anything a psychic predicts might come true, or it might not. But the psychic is really and truly channelling ESP powers. Honest.

Nothing is ever definite. Anything can happen. The future can turn on a dime.

People might also believe this self-serving mental masturbation. Sadly.

Meanwhile, the only future predictions that EoR has found which are 100% accurate are at www.crazyhoroscopes.com. EoR never goes out the front door without checking what the day holds for him.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Clown Medicine


The 6th December 2005 issue of the local paper, the Comment News includes an article headed Laughter is the Best Medicine for Local Patients. The story begins

'Cat' scans, 'funny bone' checks and 'red nose' transplants were part of the fun when Clown Doctors visited sick patients at Armadale-Kelmscott Hospital last Friday. Dr Wally and Dr Squeek played and sang their way through the hospital, to the delight of patients, families and staff.

EoR is a bit dubious as to whether he'd see the joke if he was lying sick in hospital, but never mind. The article goes on

Clown Doctors parody the hospital routine, using improvisation, play and song to lighten the serious side of the hospital. They are therapeutic as well as entertaining.

Is it just EoR, or does this sound exactly like how SCAMs work? They're certainly a parody of medical routine (particularly those who use Magic Machines to Diagnose). EoR just wishes alternative practitioners were all legally required to wear red noses, and practice under names like Dr Con, Dr Ripoff and Dr I-Can't-Believe-It's-Not-Magic.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Some Thoughts from Voltaire

Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.
Voltaire

I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: 'O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.' And God granted it.
Voltaire

The art of medicine consists in amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.
Voltaire

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Psychic Heidi and the Second Korean War

Our final psychic lady from psychic.com.au is Heidi. In Heidi's visions

The situation in the Middle East, although calm now to an extent, Psychic Heidi predicts that it will not stay quiet for all to long. The uprising will begin in October, then calm down during the winter, and then if her prediction is correct, it will start up again during the spring.

A reasonable assumption, though where was the October Uprising? Psychics even appear to have trouble dealing with the bleeding obvious.

More closer to Home, Psychic Heidi predicts that there will be some form of Political unrest, and the root of this problem will be that of the situation on Iran and Iraq.

Wow! 'Some sort' of political unrest because of the War on Terror? This sort of thing is unprecedented! Does she mean revolution in the streets? Or two anarchists handing out copies of Resistance on the street corner?

Unhappiness will lie within the [English - not British] Royal Family.

Again - this is so off the wall. This sort of thing had never happened before. Though EoR suspects Psychic Heidi is becoming more accurate when she refers to lies.

In Germany, Psychic Heidi predicts that there is some political unrest within the country. Her prediction has led her to believe that there will another party that will take over. Although there will be some civil unrest, Psychic Heidi’s Premonition shows her that it will be very minor

A prediction that has come true! Maybe Psychic Heidi is the Real Thing? Except that the election was general knowledge. And what is 'some' civil unrest? This is so unspecific it could cover a multitude of occurences every day.

Another Prediction of Psychic Heidi is that of Korea. She predicts that there will be a major conflict with America, but also added that it will not last long as the Koreans will lose interest.

This is EoR's favourite future vision: the Second Korean War. But it's okay, because the Koreans will just get bored and go home.

And finally in 2006, Psychic Heidi predicts that the current French President, Jacques Shirac will not be in power for much longer.

Incredible stuff. Come on, Heidi, don't just say 'much longer'. How long? Give us a specific date. Just ask the voices to speak up a little.

Can you believe some people think these gifted individuals are just making it all up. EoR can hardly credit it.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Psychic Diana

Returning for a moment to psychic.com.au, EoR gazes in wonderment at the predictions of Psychic Diana:

Chappelle Corby, charged with Drug Trafficking in Bali, will be released.

EoR finds Psychic Diana's timeline confusing (is this related to the three month period mentioned earlier in the paragraph, or is it one of the events happening in the 'ever present now'? Or is just that she'll be released after serving her sentence?

Following the Bombings in England, either America or Canada will be the target of the next terrorist attacks, and this will cause more unrest between America and Iraq. This will result in Australia being involved as Psychic Diana predicts that more troops will be sent over, resulting in bad vendetta over Australians. This prediction is said to come through within the next 6 to 12 months

Psychic Diana was listening to the wrong voices, and obviously missed the bombings in Delhi (India) and Amman (Jordan). Strangely enough, neither of these cities are in America or Canada.

For Australia, Psychic Diana predicts that there will be lots of rainfall in the next 2 to 3 months.

Psychic Diana demonstrates that she, like Psychic Carol, can also state the bleeding obvious. If only she could say where, and how much... And just what is 'lots'?

Psychic Diana also predicts that there will be a crowning this year, but it will be the cause of celebrations.

EoR wonders how many 'crownings' are not the cause of celebrations?

In the Area of South America, Psychic Diana predicts that there will be a huge body of water that will cause damage to many people. It is either between a flood, cyclone or tornado, but she has predicted that it will not be as bad as the Tsunami

Wow! Some sort of water related incident somewhere in the whole of South America! Sometime. I just bet this comes true, even if what she really saw was someone's basement being flooded...

In Africa, Psychic Diana predicted that there will be a lot of Famine and deaths, more than we have ever known.

Psychic Diana confuses what's happening now and is general knowledge with magic powers. She needs to get out more.

Psychic Diana also predicted that more and more Africans will urge other countries to adopt their children, and predicts that there will be a large influx of children into other more developed countries. She predicts it will be a big thing early this coming year of 2006.

EoR awaits the mass giving away of African children 'early' in 2006, but is not holding his breath.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Infinite Diseases and Money Making Opportunities

Notes from Dr R.W. mentions an article in StudentBMJ promoting Ayurvedic Medicine.

EoR is amazed and confused by the article, written by a "house officer in medicine", which makes him wonder why the author ever bothered studying conventional medicine.

First comes the claim to seniority (which, EoR notes, the great majority of SCAMs all make:

It has been practised for over 5000 years and is the oldest known system of medicine.

So is trepanning, which EoR prefers because at least he can see the practitioner doing something, and there's an obvious way for the demons - sorry, toxins - to escape at the end. And it creates that Holy Grail of the True Believers: an open mind.

Ayurvedic apparently postulates a "unique constitution" for every patient. This must at least make medicine interesting since, instead of the endless queues of cold and flu sufferers, every patient will have a different disease. But

Ayurveda describes three broad categories of constitutional type, called doshas: vata, pitta, and kapha. Each person is a unique mixture of these, but most have one dominant dosha. The doshas are described in terms of opposing qualities. For example, hot-cold, static-mobile, heavy-light.

By EoR's calculations, that's only eight different conditions, not exactly a plethora of 'unique' constitutions.

After listing a number of (perceived) problems with conventional medicine (short consultations, specialist referrals, the inability to "treat the majority of patients who come to general practitioners") the author states that Ayurveda is the way to go:

The fundamental difference is that in Ayurvedic practice the analysis of symptoms is quality based. Rather than rely solely on the empirical scientific method, or objectivity, practitioners are encouraged to develop more subjective, intuitive faculties as a tool for diagnosis.

Leaving aside the assumption that GPs never make 'quality based' analyses, this seems to mean that instead of assessing the evidence, Ayurvedic practitioners make a best guess. Very comforting. Ayurveda is also a nice little money-spinner. Where most people will only go to a GP when they are ill, or for an annual checkup,

Ayurveda describes six generic stages of disease. According to this system orthodox medicine identifies disease only at a late stage. Ayurveda can identify illness earlier, when it is only a minor imbalance, and so can correct it before serious disease develops.

This is the old 'maintenance' that all SCAMs demand. Spend your money just in case. Subtle changes are being effected. Honest. Would anyone lie about this? But what if, after spending all that money, you still get sick? Never mind,

In Ayurveda, the patient is more responsible for his or her own health and therefore has an active role in his or her treatment rather than simply receiving it.

Brilliant stuff! I treated you perfectly well, but it's your own fault you got sick! Now here's some more medicine.

The author concludes:

What more can we learn?

EoR ventures to suggest critical and logical thinking, objective evaluation of unproven claims, and how to evaluate evidence vis a vis anecdote just for starters.

Friday, December 02, 2005

I See Bad Tidings. I Think.

It's always nice when true psychics have the courage of their convictions, and make their unerring predictions public so that their amazing accuracy can be confirmed.

There are some at psychic.com.au. It must, of course be remembered that

A prediction is similar to a Precognition, but it differs in the fact that the information gathered is obtained through the divine powers of inspiration, psychic gifts, sign reading, or the altering of consciousness, and they concern the individual. However, predictions are based on Precognitions i.e. direct knowledge of the future.

The major issue surrounding predictions may be affected by the perceptions and biasness of the individual having the predictions.

A minor glitch in the system is that these predictions are hard to pint point or predict when they are about to happen, as the time is not linear but exists in an ever present now.


So, I think, that means that, though divinely inspired, and being direct knowledge, 'pint' pointing isn't accurate. Or something. Maybe they just had too much to drink before writing all that.

Anyway, there are major predictions from three lovely psychic ladies.

Carol says: in October to November 2005, north eastern Africa will have a calamity that will be 'mostly' famine. Meanwhile, in 'some parts' of China and Malaysia a flood will occur.

EoR gives Carol a 50% score. Given that north eastern Africa is permanently in a state of famine, Carol was right on with her prediction, though it could more correctly be termed an observation. As to the strange flood that stretches from China to Malaysia (and nowhere in between) it either didn't happen, or the press is suppressing the terrible news.

Carol goes further though:

Governments in general, in some parts of the world, will change their leadership style towards a more dictatorship kind of leadership

EoR feels this will come true, given that governments change all the time, and it only needs to be 'towards' the specified style.

There will be a greater support of the population from the population

Um, yes. EoR just wishes he understood that one.

One of [Bush's] people will make a mistake and it will most likely cause a huge uprising among them and they will be publicly shunned

This sounds very Biblical. Could she mean Rove, or Cheney, or Libby? Or none of these? Where's the 'huge uprising'? If only those Divine Powers could be a bit more specific...

In Israel, as more conflicts erupt, more people will die, and Carol predicted that Ariel Sharon will experience a lot difficulties

Ah, more observation of current affairs. Hardly precognition.

The President of Iran will experience some difficulty in his health, leading to his replacement.


In Russia, the City of Jorja will experience a rebellion, ultimately ending up in the Resignation of the Head of State.

The city of Jorja? Does anyone know where this is? Does she mean Georgia (though that's not a city)? Damn those incoherent divine inspirations!

Towards the end of this year, a great discovery will be made, but coverage of this medical phenomenon will be delayed until early 2006.

EoR looks forward to this one.

There will be a decline in the price of Real Estate, due to a credit card scandal, ultimately leading to a conflict of interest between Governments and the People.

EoR wonders how a 'credit card scandal' will lead to real estate prices falling.

None of these last few have come to pass yet, but there's still a month left...

There will be a natural calamity that will occur in Australia soon, but it will not be as disastrous as the previous calamities she has made predictions about.

Australia, given its size and climate, has natural calamities all the time, particularly 'less than disastrous' ones. More observation.

When it comes to the Industry of Textiles, Psychic Carol has predicted that The Chinese People will take on a more predominant role.

Observation again, not precognition. Carol's specific psychic skill seems to be "stating the bleeding obvious".

The price of petrol will go up more by the end of this year.

EoR would have been more impressed if she had predicted a fall in price, since prices have been rising since the 1970s. Does she mean on any one day, generally, or just on the last day of the year? Details! More details!

Towards the end of this year, people will have a less individualistic approach to life, and by the beginning of next year, they will have more solidarity within their lives.

EoR shakes his head in wonderment and confusion again. If only he understood what that was, maybe he could decide whether it had occurred or not.

Coming soon, the Dazzling Diana, and the Haruspicating Heidi.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Embracing the Darkness of Fundamentalist Unreason

A brief break from pyschic wonders to congratulate Lord May.

Lord May of Oxford is ending his five year presidency of the Royal Society and, in a valedictory speech, doesn't hold back in his contempt for the forces trying to destroy the principles of the Enlightenment, and to drag society back to the Dark Ages.

Climate Change revisionists, the tobacco lobby, Greens, the Catholic Church, Creationism (I'm sure he means the entirely different and not at all similar Unintelligent Design) and fundamentalism of all sorts all get a lambasting from him.

Part of his speech is quoted:

All ideas should be open to questioning, and the merit of ideas should be assessed on the strength of evidence that supports them and not on the credentials or affiliations of the individuals proposing them. It is not a recipe for a comfortable life, but it is demonstrably a powerful engine for understanding how the world actually works and for applying this understanding. [...] Sadly, for many, the response is to retreat from complexity and difficulty by embracing the darkness of fundamentalist unreason.


EoR wishes he was halfway around the world so he could go along and cheer loudly.

View the press release which also includes a link to the webcast.