Friday, June 30, 2006

More on Harriet

Harriet, who recently passed away, is to be buried.

STEVE Irwin has angered the family of an eminent naturalist with his plan to bury Harriet, a Galapagos tortoise claimed to have been the world's oldest living creature. Alongside the crocodiles that made Irwin famous, Harriet was a star attraction at Australia Zoo on Queensland's Sunshine Coast until her death last Friday of heart failure. Irwin and his wife, Terri, want a private memorial service for Harriet when the tortoise - said to have been 176 years old - is buried at the zoo this week.

The daughter of Harriet's previous owner expresses disquiet:

Ms Fleay-Thompson said she was disturbed at the prospect of Harriet being buried. "It really would be a terrible waste. She is a very interesting animal scientifically and she should be kept as a specimen in the interests of science," Ms Fleay-Thompson said. But Australia Zoo curator Kelsey Moulton said the Irwins were keen for the tortoise to be buried at the zoo. "Putting her in a museum would be like selling your grandmother for science," she said.

Who mentioned anything about "selling"? And what if your grandmother (Harriet was not Irwin's grandmother, at least to EoR's knowledge) was a unique specimen?

The news report also states that a Canberra author, Anthony Hill, is currently working on a book about Harriet, and provides some better information about the myths that have grown around her.

Contrary to Irwin's claim, Hill said several tortoises collected by Darwin in the Galapagos came from James Island and not Santa Cruz, Harriet's birthplace. However, Harriet was suspected of being one of three tortoises brought to Brisbane in the mid-1800s by government official John Wickham, who was an officer on Darwin's ship, The Beagle. Although Australia Zoo held a 175th birthday party for Harriet last year, Hill said it was not possible to determine her age. "All the DNA analysis tells us is that she was older and genetically diverse from the current tortoise population. "She could have been born in 1830 or 1870. She was a very old animal, however."

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Big Altie Pharma

AusPharm Consumer Health Watch is a website with the stated aim of

AusPharm Consumer Health Watch looks critically at the claims made by non-prescription health related products in the pharmacy marketplace, assesses the therapeutic claims they make against the existing research, looks at product safety and value for money, engages in dialogue with the product sponsor and then publishes its findings. Its primary aim is to help consumers make informed choices about these products.

Strangely, though, the Reviews page is devoid of any reviews, carrying only this message:
Some unresolved procedural issues prevented us from publishing our first review on May 18 as planned. We will publish updates on this website as they become available.

Things are made a little clearer by an article in 23rd June 2006 issue of Medical Observer Weekly:

Court Bid to Stop Drug Criticism
A long-time critic of pharmaceutical marketing practices is facing legal action from an alternative medicines company. Schwabe Pharma is trying to block publication of a report on one of its medecines it believes is unfavourable. Dr Ken Harvey, a public health researcher at Melbourne's La Trobe University, and a team of pharmacists set up a website - - to examine claims made about non-prescription medicines. Its plans to publish a critique of tinnitus treatment Tebonin (gingko extract) led Schwabe Pharma to seek a Federal Courth injunction, arguing the publication would constitute misleading or deceptive conduct. Dr Harvey said the injunction would be opposed.

Schwabe Pharma ("Mit der Natur. Für die Menschen." - With Nature - For People) describes itself as

Das Unternehmen ist der weltweit führende Hersteller hochwertiger pflanzlicher Arzneimittel [This enterprise is the leading worldwide manufacturer of high quality herbal pharmaceuticals]

So how do the alties cope when their beloved herbal producers try to suppress any information that is not complimentary to their chosen products? Did anyone really believe that the alties were proud paragons of virtue and truthfulness (apart from the alties themselves, of course)?

Strangely enough, science works by proof, and testing of that proof. Disputation is part of that procedure. Suppressing that disputation demonstrates a rejection of the scientific process in favour of a bludgeoning with the legal process. Which probably won't disturb any alties on jot.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

It Ain't Necessarily True

The lame walk, the blind see, the sick are healed. Yes, Benny Hinn is in Australia, bringing god's healing (which, presumably, is incapable of manifesting here without Mr Hinn) to the land downunder.

God touched one woman:

Hot and cold, a hot and cold feeling, you know. If you like, all of a sudden you are touched by, by - you know, all of a sudden you feel that hot and cold touch.

Another was healed of her arthiritis, though apparently she would "need the walking stick for a bit longer". A gentleman in the audience was cured of his blindness.

So why, EoR wonders in passing, does anyone have any illness anywhere? If the homeopaths fail, why can't god just cure everyone?

Monday, June 26, 2006

Mind&Body & Woo & World's Worst Psychic

The West Australian's Mind&Body supplement for 20th June 2006 continues to scale the heights of journalistic excellence (though it's obviously still stuck in the foothills somewhere).

This week we have a full page paean to homeopathy and its many miracles and wonders.

"The remedy is diluted beyond where there is a material substance left. You are working with the essence rather than the crude substance," Ms Sommerhalder said. "The advantage of the technique is that there aren't any side effects, because there is no actual substance that can build up in the body."

EoR thinks this is the most succinct and honest description of homeopathy he's yet seen. There is nothing in the product you are paying money for. Only a non-material "essence" which is undefined and undefinable. Why only that particular "essence"? Why not the polluting "essences" of the air, the container, the homeopath's germ (and "essence") laden breath, the homeopath's flaking skin and hair cells, the countless numbers of guts the material has passed through before? Who knows? Who cares, as long as the money keeps rolling in.

Mesotherapy (dissolve away all that fat without doing anything with "lipodissolve") gets a run as well, in the context of a "turf war" between plastic surgeons (mesotherapy is a con with no supporting evidence - EoR is paraphrasing slightly) and cosmetic surgeons ("I am not going to say that because it is not proven it will not work, but like many things, people have to take a chance that it will.").

And then there's EoR's favourite Real Authentic Psychic™, Anthony "I'm getting an M" Grzelka, "The Ghost Whisperer?". Questions of copyright aside (isn't "The Ghost Whisperer" some sort of televisual documentary?), at least the editor saw fit to put in that question mark. That, unfortunately, seems to be the only evidence of doubt expressed.

The subheading states

If used-car salesmen, journalists and lawyers rate highly on the list of the most distrusted professions, where do spiritual mediums rank?

This question, also, fails to be answered. Probably because psychics rate right down the bottom with all the other pond dwelling scum. Like journalists. One of which wrote this guff.

Mr Grzelka, ex-insurance salesman (another trusted profession, EoR suspects), turned his back on the humdrum life when he

interrupted two women talking at a barbecue and gave them information about their sons, who had died together in an overseas accident. "There was a stunned silence from them, they didn't know what to say or do," he said.

What's better for a psychic than testimonials? Self testimonials, that's what! EoR wonders if the stunning information he gave them was "Your sons want you to be happy" or another of the usual platitudes that seems to be all they can convey from the grave.

Mr Grzelka, however, realises that there are some conniving, manipulative individuals out there who only pretend to be psychic to rake in the money, and that these people are cruel, cynical individuals without any trace of conscience (EoR is slightly paraphrasing again).

While he admits there are only a handful of authentic mediums in the world, he insists he is one of them.

Just like all the others do. Including the fake ones.

There then follow a further two self-reported amazing cases of when he got amazing things amazingly right. Amazing.

His group readings are described which, strangely, Mr Grzelka prefers to call "shows". That wouldn't be to avoid being sued under consumer legislation for misrepresenting what he does (a performance) as something else (channelling the dead) would it?

Mr Grzelka "meditates" for 15 minutes, performs a 15 minute "introduction", and then the spirits start rolling in.

He is usually given three pieces of information - often a name (or letter), a date and the cause of death. Armed with this information, Mr Grzelka said he was guided to a part of the room where the living friend or relative was sitting.

So, in a large crowd, Mr Grzelka makes a guess about "M" who died on "8" (or was "associated" with that date, or it might be "3") and who had some sort of "pains in the chest". Bingo! There's someone there who thinks it's their beloved Margery! It's still a party trick.

There is a vague note of criticism in the final paragraphs:

Several websites are dedicated to debunking his - and other mediums' - techniques [surely not EoR's site - that's dedicated to debunking woo generally], claiming Mr Grzelka probes for more information about the dead person than he offers the living relative hoping for some news. But Mr Grzelka rejects the criticisms [what a surprise!]. "Keep in mind that I do this 15 times in one night - you'd have to be a really good guesser to keep getting it right," he said.

And have a really receptive audience that wants to believe. Oh, he's got that already. And also assuming that he does "keep getting it right", which he doesn't. Repeatedly. So he's not even a good guesser.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Get Rich Quick With Woo

EoR is delighted to find Money Reiki which blends the best of both worlds (not science and alternative therapies, but rather alternative therapies and money - which always seem to go together so naturally). Among other benefits of this scam are:

When you are attuned to the Spiritual Energy of Money, you become part of a movement to increase the vibration of money around the world to one that is more generous, cooperative, and egalitarian. You become more capable of manifesting money in your life.

EoR has always wondered why the money in his wallet is not vibrating. Perhaps this is the reason. He's also sure if he'd thought of the scheme he'd be the one manifesting money in his life.

The level one course ($27) will teach such invaluable skills as

how to use Money Reiki energies, including performing treatments, giving financial blessings, and creating a money magnet

EoR imagines a fridge magnet with small change stuck all over it. The level two course is also $27, but the level three (Grand Master) course is $54 because

At this level, you receive a powerful attunement to rewire your energy system to become a "money magnet." Money Reiki Level III is priced at twice the other courses not because of the information, but because the attunement process takes a LOT longer

EoR imagines he will now be walking around with small change stuck all over him.

You can test this magic for yourself at the Money Reiki Healing Page where, with the magic vibrations you will increase your finances, as long as you remember the golden rule:

You must also take action to better handle your personal finances in addition to working with the energy to get the full benefit.

So, if you organise your finances better they will improve. But wouldn't this happen without the magic incantations? Or is it the point of all that "working with energy" that means you'll be too busy to actually go out and spend your money?

Since the site also links directly to such stuff as The Original and Only Science of Getting Rich Network! [sic] EoR wonders how this is any different from those scams that promise wealth, love and success in exchange for a donation for various lucky "charms"? Except you don't get the charm with this one.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

RIP Harriet (nee Harry)

Harriet the Galapagos Tortoise has died at the grand old age of 176 years (or thereabouts). The news item repeats the fact that Harriet influenced Darwin's theory of evolution, though this appears to be nothing more than an urban legend, since she was of a subspecies found on an island that Darwin didn't visit.

For a slow moving animal, Harriet was certainly well travelled. Harriet was originally thought to be male, hence the name change from Harry.

During her long life Harriet failed to evolve into a higher lifeform, such as a cat or dog, thus conclusively disproving the doctrine of Darwinism.

Something Fishy

The 37th Meeting of the Skeptics' Circle is now available for perusing at Autism Diva where EoR feels something fishy is going on (or is it just that Autism Diva's starsign might be Pisces?).

Friday, June 23, 2006

Anthony Grzelka Flogs A Dead Dog

Anthony Grzelka, aka Myzadek, has been busy in South Australia solving crimes psychically (just like all real psychics do - where would all our poor overworked and incompetent police force be without them?). EoR challenges any reader to consider Bonehead solves ghost whisperer's skeleton mystery and not believe in the amazing, accurate, awe-inspiring and astonishing powers that Mr Grzelka displays. Why, he even puts Allison Dubois into the shade.

For the benefit of his readers, here's a summary of events as reported by Jack Kerr - though it's important to remember that:
Comedian Greg Fleet calls South Australia the "shallow bush grave capital of the world", and the state's largest regional centre, Mt Gambier, has so many hectares and hectares of sinkhole-riddled pine forests that it is bound to have a dark saga or two waiting to be uncovered.

Driving out to a forest that "the police have their suspicions about", at one point Mr Grzelka tells the reporter to turn left. He then tells the driver to stop and
he tells me he feels the spirit of a young bloke in his 30s called John who was found about five or ten years ago.

So it appears that the dead, even if they're not around anymore, still leave their spirits behind. Mr Grzelka continues:
I do believe this person was murdered and I feel like...either I was choked or stabbed or something around this upper area here. I do feel like there was more than one person responsible for my passing here and I feel that there was at least two people and one of these I think is somewhat known to this person. It was not a pre-calculated thing. Maybe an argument got out of hand or there was an argument that got out of hand or there was something else that happened and all of a sudden this guy winds up dead. I actually believe that this person's been found though. I don't feel like he's still here. I don't think he was (well hidden), maybe some scrub thrown over the top of him. Certainly wasn't buried. Very shabbily done.

"Something" around the upper area. Well, that would cover most murders. Very few people are murdered by having their legs broken. One of the murderers is "somewhat known". What does that mean? Known? Not known? Just met? Knew his first name? It covers a multitude of sins. The murder wasn't pre-calculated. Well, since the vast majority of murders are not premeditated, that's not even really guessing. There was some sort of argument before the murder. Again, it would be very surprising if there wasn't; most people would argue about whether they should be murdered or not. A shallow bush grave. Just like every other bush grave. It's like Mr Grzelka is giving a lecture on the most common set of circumstances leading to a body being hidden in bushland. Psychic powers - schmychic powers.

Mr Grzelka, ever the true showman, sets out to find John (who, as he's said, isn't there any more anyway, so why is he bothering?). Then comes an amazing revelation that no psychic before him would have guessed:
It's funny, because I feel like there's a signpost that would say, like, water or there would be some connection to like a water supply and that will mark the road that we need to turn down.

Come on! This is straight out of the Psychic's Cold Reading Manual, page one. Water. Or like water. Or near the road. Etc. Keep guessing.

The investigators head towards a dam, but the "feeling" gets weaker. So, not near water then? Heading back, they discover Something. An old water tank. The investigators seem amazed to find this, which just shows how little bushwalking they've done. Old water tanks are not uncommon on old land either once occupied, or used by forestry services. Things get slightly confused here, but it seems they find a well (spotted earlier) but that's not the Spot either. Then Mr Grzelka's wife nearly falls down a partially obscured 15 metre shaft (those damn spirits never warn you when you really need them).

At the bottom of the shaft they see the bones of a child's arm.

After all that wandering (in circles, no less), Mr Grzelka is still stating he knew exactly where to go:
But it's weird how we got led to this exact spot and perhaps have found some bones that could be human.

A vet identifies the bones as those of a dog.
I don't even feel the vibration (or the calling from the spirit) now, so I feel that we've go it right. It might be different if he was undiscovered. But he's been found and I just feel like I'm in the area where perhaps he was found. [...] It's just weird how it's all fitted in to place and we've got to this exact spot.

So, John, who was murdered by two or more people, and buried in a shallow grave near water, fits into place so well that he's become a dog who fell down a disused shaft. Now that's spooky! But wait... Maybe the dog's name was John... Maybe he was killed by two or more people as a result of an argument ("Fetch, John!", "No!"). Maybe it really is all true...

Or, then again, it could just be a whole series of reasonable (but not psychically inspired) guesses that all prove to be wrong, and a random discovery of an animal skeleton. Did Mr Grzelka actually get anything right here? Apart from selecting the right gullible reporter? And wasting police time as a result?

Instead of finding dead dogs, why doesn't he do everyone a service and locate the Claremont Serial Killer? Think of the fame he'd achieve by really showing how really powerful his powers are. Of course, since the whole thing is a cheap carnival act, it will never happen.

Psi Power - Dedicated to Anthony Grzelka
Grzelka Witticisms
Grzelka: Psychics Real, Skeptics Cynics
Talking to the Dead
Scams from Beyond

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Inner Vitamin C Self

EoR has been reading the Adelaide (South Australia) edition of innerSelf. Like Nova, it's pretty much the usual suspects: "Dr" Emoto, "Sir" Jason Winters, Pranic Healing is better than tired old Reiki, and letters from readers bemoaning the terrible effects of Big Pharma to suppress any and all real cancer cures (in this case, the Tronado machine, which has failed to prove its effectiveness for at least the last thirty years).

EoR was grateful, however, for the timely advice on how to "Prepare for Avian Flu!".
[Avian flu] kills more than half its victims by rapidly depleting ascorbate (vitamin C) stores in the body, inducing scurvy and collapse of the arterial blood supply. [...] Most people today have barely enough Vitamin C in their bodies (typically 60mg per day) to prevent scurvy under normal living conditions, and are not prepared for this kind of illness. (Vitamin C deficiency is the root cause of many infant and childhood deaths worldwide, and is the root cause of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome - SIDS.) The way to prepare yourself and protect your family from this influenza is not a vaccine or anti-viral drug. These actually reduce your immunity; vaccines contain many toxic components, such as aluminium, mercury and solvents and anti-viral drugs interfere with critical body processes. Historical evidence of vaccinations has shown that they actually increase the chances of becoming severely ill. Influenza vaccines in particular are notoriously ineffective and have harmed thousands of people, and there is evidence already that Tamiflu, now being stockpiled for a possible epidemic, is useless against Avian Influenza. The best way to prepare for influenza is by enhancing your immune system and increasing the amount of vitamin C in your body.

The evidence of how dangerous and ineffective vaccinations are can be seen in the worrying rise in measles cases as people avoid the deadly autism-causing jabs of fear, in order to risk their children's health with a very real disease.

In order to combat the avian flu, you are advised to: take 2000-4000mg of ascorbic acid with every meal until the point where "your body complains by giving you mild diarrhea"; take 6000mg of lysine per day; take a high potency multivitamin/multimineral tab; take a calcium/magnsium supplement; drink at least 2 liters of fluid per day (you'll need it to wash out all those excess vitamins and minerals!); stock up on l-proline and l-glycine, turmeric extract capsules, ginger capsules, garlic capsules, zinc and copper capsules, green tea extract and non-gmo drink concentrate. Remember: it's the alternative brigade that accuse doctors of just pushing more and more pills! Oh, and before you get sick, seek out a chelation or alternative health clinic to administer intravenous vitamin C.

Unfortunately, even with this best of advice based on the soundest scientific understanding of the human body, you could just possibly still fall ill. If this very unlikely event, increase your vitamin C dosage up to 200,000mg per day. Plus massive doses of l-lysine, l-proline, l-glycine, oregano, turmeric extract etc etc. Keep doing this until the illness passes (which rather guarantees that it will work).

If that doesn't work, immediately make your way to your nearest public health centre - sorry, chelation clinic - and get those intravenous doses.

Also, if you are currently on a statin drug: stop taking it. Vitamin C and lysine will naturally balance your cholesterol and protect you from heart disease (presumably, doctors already know this but Big Pharma force them to sell those nasty drugs).

There is a warning, however:
You must take the regimen above every day, consistently.

In fact, keep taking 6000mg each of vitamin C and lysine after you're better.
Use your stocks of antiviral nutrients for any illness you may encounter.

Given that most American adults (EoR imagines the results would be similar in other western countries) already consume more than an adequate intake of vitamin C, and that the best source of vitamin C is a healthy diet, he wonders about the purpose for all these expensive pills that do nothing and just waste the consumers' money (damn! that's the accusation the alternatistas keep levelling at doctors - surely there's no touch of hypocrisy here?). The Recommended Dietary Allowance is 90mg for men and an absolute maximum of 2000mg for men. After that level the consumer is risking adverse effects (damn! that's the accusation that alternatistas keep levelling about pharmaceuticals - they're all poisons!). Even a complementary medicine site like the BBC's page on vitamins warns against taking more than 1000mg a day.

The article is by Jonathan Campbell, described as a "health consultant" which seems to be one of those made up titles. Apparently, he has a "public service" website on health. EoR couldn't be bothered looking for it. He's too busy stuffing himself with vitamins and minerals faster than the alternative health shop can supply them, and wondering why, if Vitamin C is so effective, wouldn't it be more powerful in homoepathic quantities?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Piglet Banned by Bigots. Or Not.

There is a story currently doing the rounds of the press to the effect that
TURKEY'S public television TRT, controlled by the Islamist-rooted government, has barred the popular Walt Disney cartoon Winnie the Pooh from air because it has a piglet as one of its main heroes, the Turkish press reported today.
Several other cartoons featuring pigs also failed to win the green light from TRT management, according to the left-wing Cumhuriyet daily. The station initially considered scissoring the scenes showing Piglet, but abandoned the idea because the small pink-skinned character, one of Winnie the Pooh's closest friends, appeared too often, Cumhuriyet and the mass-circulation Sabah newspaper said. TRT officials were not immediately available for comment. Pigs are regarded as unclean by Muslims and Islam prohibits the consumption of pork.

However, all is not as it seems, since the next day
Turkish Radio and Television (TRT) said late Saturday media reports that "Winnie the Pooh" and other cartoons featuring pigs had been barred "are untrue and aim to discredit the institution". In a statement carried by the Anatolia news agency, TRT said it had acquired the exclusive right to broadcast Walt Disney's cartoons and movies in Turkey but added, "the Walt Disney materials have not been acquired yet... (and) therefore the cartoon 'Winnie the Pooh' does not exist in TRT records and archives". Islam regards pigs as unclean and prohibits the consumption of pork.

EoR likes how the reporter felt compelled to repeat that least sentence from the previous release (slightly rewritten to make it appear original).

So who is correct? Is an unreal, fantasy creation offensive to Islam? And if so, why aren't all cartoon characters banned, given they tend to wander around with very litte clothing on (particularly, for some reason, trousers)? Was the original claim a propaganda coup for the left wing press? Or is the repudiation accompanied by loud noises of backpedalling? EoR, not being a resident in Turkey, doesn't know, but he's amused by how quickly "facts" can be propagated by sloppy journalists and the internet. That's the way MMR scares are promulgated, and the "truth" of homeopathy and psychics.

Mind you, EoR considers the Disneyfication of A A Milne's works an abomination purely on artistic grounds alone.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

EoR Comes Out of the Closet

Tuesday's Mind&Body supplement with the West Australian newspaper brings its usual joys and enlightenments.

Homeopathic remedies (remember this is water) is a potent cure to baby ills.
Homeopathics are widely used to treat many conditions affecting babies and small children. This is often because homeopathic remedies are easy to administer, gentle on a baby's immature gut and natural therapists report quick results.

EoR agrees that water droplets are indeed easy to administer, gentle on a baby's gut, and quick resolution of a baby's gripes is probably also forthcoming. But a quick resolution is also possible without ingesting small amounts of water. Which also seems to be the opinion of the consulting homeopath, who obviously doesn't trust the power of magic alone:
Homeopath Jan Owen, of Owen Homeopathics, does not recommend that homeopathy take the place of medical care.

Meanwhile, the thoughtful readership are urged to "Declutter Yourself".
Clutter is the cause of negative energy, according to the Chinese philosophy of feng shui.

Negative energy in which way? At what spectrum? How do you measure this energy? And when has a belief that where you put the sofa will affect your soul become a full blown "philosophy"? Surely it's still just an unfounded folk belief?
Closets represent things that are hidden, unknown or unrecognised. When we fill our closets with clutter, we stifle our ability to be intuitive and insightful. Cluttered closets can indicate problems that you may not be consciously aware of but which impede your progress through life, work and relationships nonetheless. Keeping the closet door shut is not an effective solution.

EoR urges the huddled masses to come out of the closet and free yourselves and your lives. Who knows, you may never need to take another homeopathic remedy again.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Rambling Confused Post

EoR has been doing worse than slumming, he's been visiting and learning the rambling confused facts behind TBs and CBs and xtals. Bear in mind that the rest of this post may make no sense at all, since EoR couldn't find any in the subject.

The whole sorry saga of Cloudbusters (CBs - no relation to the Mythbusters apart from the fact that they'd be a suitable subject for their show) details how organite (a mixture of iron filings, resin and a xtal - that's crystal for you noobs) can break a 12 year drought in Namibia and fight the good fight against "chemtrails".
It is believed chemtrails are composed at least in part by an oil based substance of unknown content that is actually being sprayed from jets on populated areas. It has also been found that some chemtrails contain unknown biological components. There are many reports of increased diseases, especially lung diseases, in areas where there are chemtrails. Chemtrails are often seen to be sprayed by white planes with no markings. Sometimes you will see these planes give off no contrail at all, and immediately after the same kind of plane in the same area will start to leave a thick chemtrail.

Oooh. "Believed to be". Never minds evidence or facts... More lung diseases in areas where planes frequently fly (ie cities). Scary stuff. The only stuff that can save us from this is Wilhelm Reich's orgone energy. But, alas
the orgone accumulator would soon become saturated with the deadly orgone energy which in turn caused more problems for the operator.

Until Don Croft arrived like the saviour.
Don Croft, a patriot, alternative scientist, researcher, inventor and freedom fighter has succeeded in striking the first blow against the ongoing chemtrails program that is assisting in the destruction of our country and the enslavement of its citizens! . By utilizing the research of Wilhelm Reich, assisted by his partner Carol and having help from God almighty, Don has created a cheap, portable and easy to build device that consistently destroys Chemtrails and heals the atmosphere. The Reich/Croft " chembuster" is the answer to these ongoing attacks by the forces of darkness. Unlike the original cloudbuster, the chembuster actually changes the deadly orgone energy to good orgone energy and so does NOT become saturated or dangerous to the operator.

EoR's head is spinning at so much woo in so little space. What's an "alternative scientist"? Is that the same as a "non-scientist"? And has he mysterious links to the Sandanistas? Weren't they "freedom fighters"? But EoR shouldn't really make fun of him. He's got a hotline to God to help him with his magic machines. EoR is amazed how such a low tech (and low brow) device can change unmeasurable unseen nonexistent "bad" energy, and change it into unmeasurable unseen nonexistent "good" energy so effectively.

The rest of the page goes on and on, and tells you how you can make your own Cloudbuster, but EoR won't waste your time. Though the pictures are quite beautiful and worth looking at (if you like modern sculpture), and EoR at last knows the real and sinister purpose behind the Sibelius Memorial. It's one almighty Cloudbuster!

Mr Croft also details how you can make your own Holy Hand Grenade. Sadly, to EoR's disappointment, this is not the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch.

An example of chemtrails can be found here where joemichigan comments:
I like how they just HAPPEN to be concentrated over the Green Bay area.

EoR likes how joemichigan can create a conspiracy theory out of absolutely nothing, simply from the capitalised "However". Just like "I like how buses just HAPPEN to all arrive at the same time". Nothing to do with mathematics and queueing theory. It's a vast Government/Big Pharma/Illuminati conspiracy to ensure we don't get to the hospital in time.

Cloudbusters destroy black lines (EoR still isn't sure what they are or why they're black since they seem to be invisible - or, at least, only visible to the select few).
This line passed through the corner of the cellar where two nasty demonic type spirits were in residence. [...] When the CB was put on the line they changed from being like hissing alley cats into grim silence, and the last time Kelly looked they were crying , so I hope the line was the reason they were there, or the anchor for them. Also that, IMO, is another holy grail of house/geopathic dowsers, being able to remove nasty spirits (and I don't see how you can clear a house effectively without dealing with negative lines) One friend refused to go in the cellar, so not something to have in your house. [...] Kelly first discovered this on a black line in the park that a dowser had previously found, where I had dug a 3 ft deep hole and filled with high quartz pebbles, plus 4 TBs, to no effect. I also burnt my ass on it some years back when I was experimenting with psychedelics, similar to a chemical burn right through my trousers, where the trousers were unscathed apart from a flattening of the cord. I thought, first, that I had been given a metaphysical kick up the backside! Perhaps I had.

Hmmm... Visions of demons. Experimenting with psychedelics. Surely no connection there? An example of TBs (Towerbusters) can be found here where they are shown hard at work doing... Well, nothing, it seems. But they've clearly destroyed all those black lines and demons, since there aren't any to be seen anywhere.

Luckily, you can make your own Tower Busters with some handy craft material, such as paper cups, muffin trays, and crystals from WalMart.
Cbswork expounds on the benefits of overgifting, which is often required in key areas, like Los Angeles, where the satanic, occult/corporate world order had put an awful lot of stock in their Deadly Orgone Radiation generating infrastructure, not that it did them any good ;-)

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Guest Blogger

Today's guest blogger is Dr Jacob Bronowski.
Knowledge is not a loose-leaf notebook of facts. Above all, it is a responsibility for the integrity of what we are, primarily of what we are as ethical creatures. You cannot possibly maintain that informed integrity if you let other people run the world for you while you yourself continue to live out of a ragbag of morals that come from past beliefs. That is really crucial today. You can see it is pointless to advise people to learn differential equations, or to do a course in electronics or in computer programming. And yet, fifty years from now, if an understanding of man's origins, his evolution, his history, his progress is not the commonplace of the schoolbooks, we shall not exist. The commonplace of the schoolbooks of tomorrow is the adventure of today, and that is what we are engaged in.

And I am infinitely saddened to find myself suddenly surrounded in the west by a sense of terrible loss of nerve, a retreat from knowledge into - into what? Into Zen Buddhism; into falsely profound questions about, Are we not really just animals at bottom; into extra-sensory perception and mystery. They do not lie along the line of what we are now able to know if we devote ourselves to it: an understanding of man himself. We are nature's unique experiment to make the rational intelligence prove itself sounder than the reflex. Knowledge is our destiny. Self-knowledge, at least bringing together the experience of the arts and the explanations of science, waits ahead of us.

Jacob Bronowski: The Ascent of Man (1973)

Friday, June 16, 2006


EoR admits it. He's been slumming and found Mystic Board and its illuminating thread on homeopathy and cancer. Unlike the deceitful liars at Nova magazine who are trying to convince the world that Dr Royal Rife discovered the cure for cancer with a magic machine, all you need is to take some water drops to cure your cancer.

EoR also enjoyed the fact that each poster's age and starsign is given. sunshinez (age 19) advises, from the perspective of his/her worldly experience and knowledge:
There are several ways homeopathy can help cancer patients. First, there are specific remedies for various cancers. These remedies may be used whether a person has conventional treatment or not.

So no longer do you need to suffer debilitating radio- and chemo-therapy. Just keep taking the drops. Though EoR does have a sneaking suspicion that "remedies" in this context is used in the specific homeopathic sense of "something to give a person with a specific disease though it's not intended to affect that disease in any way but make them feel happy instead".

In response to a query, swetha (site admin, age 26) states
i am sure homeopathy can reduce the pain and cure to a great extent. have seen bad cases being solved. will ask the forum doc to help u out too.

sunshinez pipes in again:
I'd definitely vote for going for a homeopathy treatment. One even cant imagin to what extent is the pain reduced...

Which is probably true, since EoR can't imagine to what extent pain can be reduced by ingesting small amounts of water.

FloridaLightWorker (age 62) also responds, leaping in at the deep end:
Herpes and shingles are in the same family of viruses, and can be treated with homeopathic medicine. (The mind-pattern for shingles is being irritated at yourself for how you portray yourself in the world.) Use the color ice blue mentally, and use myrrh gum capsules, and Omega-3 fish oils that are found at the health food store daily. Also castor oil topically on the shingle areas will help.

EoR wants to know where the walking recovered-from-cancer sufferers are. Not those who "feel a bit better, thank you for asking nurse", not those in remission, but those who have been cured by little drops of H2O. Even one such case.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Naturally, An Advertisement

EoR has been browsing an advertising brochure for Roseneath Organics Pty Ltd (<-- Ooh! Look! A sign of Big Altie associations!) which explains the philosophy and benefits of herbal medicines.
In 'days gone by' most medicines and healing agents were extracted naturally from plants and other materials directly.

EoR wonders how you extract medicines "naturally" from plants. If it was natural, they'd be oozing out on their own. But it's important to get that "natural" keyword in as early and as often as possible. Never mind if it makes any sense, we want a feeling of cosiness and comfort.
Now most pharmaceuticals can, and are, being artifically mass synthesized in industrial laboratories. These new artifically contrived copies of natural compounds are very often not chemically, nor structurally, the same as the original plant compounds.

Now we can start with the fear. "Artifical". "Mass synthesized". "Contrived copies". And what's the difference between "chemically" and "structurally" the same?
The difference between natural plant derived and artificial compounds comes about because often the cost of reproducing an exact copy of the natural substance is prohibitive or simply because skilled pharmaceutical chemists don't know how to artifically synthesize natures' gifts!

Not so "skilled" after all, it seems.
In some cases the imperfect artifical copies are quite hazardous and toxic when used alone as single dose pharmaceuticals.

More scare mongering. Indeed, almost all pharmaceuticals are dangerous in certain situations, in combinatino with certain other medications, or in excessive doses. But since they use the active compound extracted from the plant, how does this make the same compound in the plant magically safe? St John's Wort, anyone? Of course, with the plant, you're also getting all those extra, unspecified compounds along with the active compound, in fairly random dosage levels. Much safer indeed.
Many of these synthetic pharmaceuticals also have shocking side effects and debilitating long term health consequences.

The same comments apply again. Though EoR is thankful the brochure shows enough restraint not to mention thalidomide. Most alternatistas would have done so by now. Maybe EoR needs to have a lie down and ingest some nice safe herbal relaxants like Deadly Nightshade. That should calm him down.
It is horrific to think that approximately 50% of current human pharmaceuticals are based on chemically manipulated, patentable synthetics or upon artificially created and imperfect copies of natural plant substances!

Are the other 50% fine to use then? And if pharmaceuticals were really trying to "copy" plants, they'd be made from the plants, just like the natural (=safe, obviously) herbal mixes being pushed here.
Unfortunately the consumer is too often the experimental laboratory rat or powerful political and social manipulations, collective and corporate greed, immoral marketing practices and the hazy dreams of multinational controlled research scientists.

Big Pharma wants to kill you! Government wants to mind control you! Resist now! Make a conscious choice! Become a laboratory rat for untested herbal supplements. Which, of course, is a political and social manipulation in itself, promoting and supporting collective and corporate greed (just in a different direction).

EoR is off to take his Dream State Insomnia Spray ("Enough pillow aromatherapay for 125 sleeps!").

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Why You Have Acne

The West Australian's Mind&Body supplement for Tuesday, May 30 provides information on the "Chinese Cure for Acne".
Traditional Chinese medicine describes the causative factors as external climatic factors, volatile emotions and improper diet that lead to internal heat in the blood, or xue.

EoR thinks that any large scale study of acne vis-a-vis these factors would quickly establish the truth of these claims, particularly since acne is most common in teenagers. He's convinced there will also be "volatile emotions", "improper diet", and there will definitely also be "external climatic factors" present. But a causal link?
During puberty the warm yang of the body is said to be exuberant and will cause this heat in the blood to move to the exterior of the body. Local stagnation of qi and xue occurs along the large intestine and stomach channels on the face, upper back and chest. [...] Emotional excess or frustration that constrains the emotions will lead to the emotions being transformed into fire. Fire and heat are said to blaze upward, giving rise to small red eruptions.

Hence, since hot air rises, the pimples appear on the head. Presumably.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Hoofbeats - The Argument for Woo

There has been an ongoing discussion in the letters column of hoofbeats magazine recently on the merits or otherwise of their rabid promotion of all things alternative (herbs, acupuncture, homeopathy, craniosacral, red penlights, dowsing etc etc) for horses.

The April/May 2006 issue included a letter condemning them for this unquestioning approach. The letter was 3 column inches. In response, one of the magazine's advertising herbalists was given 9 column inches to argue for things such as
[Some people believe] alternative therapists are unscientific because they don't have scientific evidence to support their claims.

Well said. The herbalist then goes on at length about how her ilk never diagnose, never harm animals, have lower insurance premiums than doctors, "support the recovery of homeostasis" and Big Pharma is "driven by greed and power" to limit our knowledge. She also states that it is impossible to scientifically test whether herbal treatments work or not. She concludes:
Stay away from Pseudo scientific alternative therapists. They have missed the point. We are holistic- first and foremost.

So the fake alternative therapists are a con, but the true ones are real. So how do we tell if there's no evidence, and no possibility of obtaining any evidence?

The issue also contains an editorial defending the magazine's promotion of these "alternatives".
Herbal and alternative therapies have been around for hundreds of years and some of the equine treatments are variations, or derived from, human treatments. Only a relatively short time ago, acupuncture and chiropractics were considered to be "alternative therapies" but have now been accepted into the fold of many a veterinary treatment "tool kit".

EoR considers that should be "fool kit", though he's pleased to learn that alternative therapies have only been around for "hundreds" of years, not the "thousands" usually claimed.

In the June/July 2006 issue the debate continues, with an anti-alternative letter (3.5 column inches) juxtaposed with a testimonial about the efficacy of herbs (21 column inches! - while space allocated doesn't relate to quality of truth, it does demonstrate the bias of the magazine as to what they fill the magazine with) as well as a further paragraph from the editor again defending the indefensible:
As long as a horse's health and well being are restored [...] does it really matter who helps along the way?

EoR wonders how you can tell who helped if there's no evidence? And why should you pay for all the people who aren't helping?

The lengthy reader testimonial tells the tale of a horse found standing in the paddock, shaking and sweating, unable to move and unable to lower his neck to graze. Despite consulting four (or possibly five, the letter is unclear) vets and having various tests done no cause could be found. One of the vets, visiting from England, told the reader to take the horse off bute (phenylbutazone) and put him on Devil's Claw, advising her
that in England they rarely prescribe bute as an anti-inflammatory, but rather devil's claw the herbal alternative as it is kinder on horse's guts and just as effective.

Lack of bute prescription would probably be news to English vets (but what about Welsh and Scottish vets?) - EoR keeps up with the British equestrian establishment and while devil's claw is pushed quite strongly there, he wasn't aware that vets were also pushing it, particularly since evidence for its efficacy is contradictory to say the least, and it is contraindicated where stomach ulcers are present.

Anyway, back to the reader testimonial: After two weeks of "arguing" with her vet, the reader called out a physio and a herbalist. This particular herbalist advertises in hoofbeats, and is mentioned by name in the letter no less than five times. The vets and the physio all go unnamed. EoR will preserve the anonymity of the herbalist here, to prevent any embarassment to her.

Immediately, the physio diagnosed broken withers, and the herbalist set to with various arcane "mixes". This was rubbed into the affected area twice daily. When the reader contacted her vet they "refused" to believe her and "virtually wiped their hands" of her. Since the horse was recovering so well, she took him to the vets who were "astounded" and "amazed" from what they described as (after taking spinal x rays) "the worst spinal injury they had seen in a horse still able to stand or move". Apparently he had fractured six vertebrae. Normally such an injury, they said, would warrant six months rest, but the owner could take him home and start riding him that day! His recovery was "phenomenal". Nonetheless, she opted to give him the six months rest (why? it appears he had healed almost overnight). The last third of the letter is an encomium to her herbalist, who is someone who will "work holistically with the animal, they are not just somebody you call upon in a time of crisis as with vets."

It took EoR thirty seconds to look up Veterinary Notes for Horse Owners by M Horace Hayes (a book many horse owners will have a copy of) and find the following information:
Fractures of the dorsal spinous processes in the cranial thoracic (withers) region occur as a result of trauma: for example, a horse rearing up and falling over backwards. There is swelling in the withers region and crepitus may be felt. The horse tends to stand with its forelimbs close together and is reluctant to lower its head and neck and graze. It may move in a restricted manner. The diagnosis is confirmed by radiographic examination. Treatment other than rest is usually unnecessary and the prognosis is favourable, although a specially fitted saddle may be required.

EoR is surprised that four (or more) vets failed to consider this as a possibility. He also wonders why none of the vets were contacted to provide their side of the story. He's also concerned that right near the beginning of the letter, before the miraculous intervention of the healing herbalist, the writer states
Within a couple of days he was dragging himself painfully and slowly around the yard.

So the horse was getting better even before the herbal treatment that is credited by this person as the sole reason her horse is living today.

This month's editorial loudly proclaims an alliance between the magazine and the Equine Veterinarians of Australia association. EoR wonders if they know what they've gotten themselves in to.

Strangely enough, the current issue of Nova magazine has a discussion in the letters page resulting from an article questioning the effectiveness of soy products. A reader responds about the miracle cure of her son after putting him on soy products "and made numerous other health conscious changes" (though what these are, and whether they had an impact or not, is never specified). And the editor responds
NOVA takes a position of seeking to inform our readers on many and varied issues so that we can all better make our own choices.

EoR suspects the editor of Nova is channelling the editor of hoofbeats. Or the other way around. Or they're actually the same person.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Nova Wholly Wacky

The June issue of Nova has as its theme Wholeness. This is certainly one of the better issues that EoR's seen, full of wooness to overflowing, including an interview with "Dr" Emoto on his magic water.
Emoto emphasises that his research into water is not being done from a scientific perspective, but more as an original thinker.

Did anyone believe Emoto-san's work was "scientific"? Other than Emoto-san himself? Emoto-san will be touring Australia next month, and speaking at the University of WA, Deakin University, and the University of Queensland. EoR wonders if these institutions know just what sort of madness they're sponsoring?

The article on "Taking a Guru" was also amusing, with its advice that
Paramahansa Yogananda's teachings of the Self Realization Fellowship say: "Spirituality cannot be bought in a marketplace."

Not only is Nova full of advertisements imploring people to find health, happiness and wisdom in exchange for money, the very next page after that quote is "In the Market Place", full of advertisements. Maybe the editor has a sense of humour.

EoR, however, would like to focus on "Beating the Common Cold" featuring as it does that bete noir of alternatista health, and written as it is by a MA, BA Dip. Health Sciences (but also a Holistic Kinesiologist, unfortunately). The article is an amazing mish-mash of scientific fact, scientific fallacy, woo and scaremongering. The author, Teya Skae, gives among her references at the end such works as "God's Love Manifest in Molecules" and "Healing Oils of the Bible" (both by David Stewart, PhD, DNM).

As an example, findings that electrical frequencies can be detected in the body (that's why things like ECG and EKG machines work) segues into
a person's health can be determined by the frequency of their body.

There then follows a long section totally off-topic on Dr Royal Rife and his Amazing Cure-All-Cancers Machine. His research was not wrong or wacky, but "buried".
What Rife had developed was a 100 per cent effective cure for many forms of cancer. So why do we not know about this and why are there so many cancer research foundations in existence? Put simply, it is due to the economic motives of the orthodox medical community which relies on funding for cancer research - such funding often coming from pharmaceutical companies - and whose fortunes would be damaged if a cure for cancer was found. (That is, it's OK to search for a cure but don't really find one!) This is a story that illustrates yet another grand attempt by the mainstream medical community to control the lives - and deaths - of so many milions of people today.

Damn you Orac! Taking all that funding money when you had the cure for cancer all along!

Seriously though, this is in an article on the common cold!

Ms Skae: if you have the cure for cancer why don't you, and all the alternatistas out there, use it? Why haven't the millions of believers already cured all cancers? What is your secret agenda for not doing so?

Or: Ms Skae: if Big Pharma found a cure for cancer, don't you think they could actually make a real fortune from marketing and selling it? Or didn't it strike you that that's what Big Pharma does? Sell things.

Or: Ms Skae: if Big Pharma is so powerful and so determined to suppress this "secret" knowledge, why is it all over the internet? How can a magazine like Nova even get away with publishing it? Won't people find out about it?

EoR expects Nova magazine to suddenly cease publication shortly, and Ms Skae to die in a mysterious, yet suspicious, accident.

Luckily, the article gets back on track after that, with some advice about stress in relation to lowered immune levels, the inappropriateness of antibiotics to treat viruses, the importance of hand washing to prevent hand to mouth transmission and so on. The article concludes with how to cure the common cold:
While orthodox medicine does not have the answer for colds and 'flu, nature does - and it comes in the form of pure organic unadulterated Therapeutic Essential Oils. Why? Because they are made up of very high frequency molecules (ranging from 52MHz to 320MHz) and contain nature's wisdom and power to raise the body's frequency and to assist our immune system to fight viral invasions.

EoR wonders why Big Pharma hasn't suppressed all that information as well. At least Ms Skae has provided a way to prove her argument, since her Oils vibrate at a range that includes the FM radio band. Simply place the oils next to a radio, and tune through the frequency band. EoR is sure you'll find a signal being transmitted at the designated vibrational level. Though he does wonder whether it's not mobile phone towers that cause brain cancer, but all those vibrating oils emitting radiation at all sorts of frequencies.

Part Two, next issue, promises the detail of the research on these oils' effectivness in treating colds/flu/viruses. EoR can't wait.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Science Understanding in the Media

A paper just published in Nature tells of fossils discovered in EoR's backyard (relatively speaking) which may have pushed back the estimates of when life began on earth.
Researchers say they have found "compelling" new evidence of the earliest known forms of life on Earth in ancient rock in Australia. Australian and Canadian scientists say they have found new varieties of stromatolites, rock formations left 3.43 billion years ago in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. If the researchers are right, and the stromatolites represent the fossilised remains of early microbes, this could cause scientists to revise estimates of when life began on Earth - some estimates are as recent as 1.9 billion years ago. The paper, published today in the journal Nature, also fuels an ongoing controversy about whether the formations were made by living things or chemical processes.

EoR overheard a discussion on local radio with a biologist (the name of whom he didn't catch) who stated that these fossils provided some evidence for the theory of the hydrothermal origin of life around undersea vents). The interviewer's response?
Geraldine Mellet: Is that the Big Bang Theory?


Thursday, June 08, 2006

Unnatural Horsemanship 6

To conclude this series, EoR presents a case study: Sylvia Scott.

Ms Scott at least provides a page to define What is Natural Horsemanship?. EoR summarises:
Communicating with the horse using body language
The art of working, training and riding with horses in a manner which works with the horse's behavior, instincts and personality, not against it
Using gentle guidance rather than force
Using pressure and release (of that pressure) to guide the horse to learn
A refined sense of timing of the release of pressure
A deep understanding of Prey Animal Psychology
Helping the horse to trust us and to do what we want out of friendliness, not fear
Giving the horse time to think
Being quiet and consistent with the horse

There's also some stuff about "inner" and "outer" horses, and various emotions as well, but they're part of the psychobabble of Natural Horsemanship. As an aside, here's a couple of principals [sic] from a different list of (you will note that the fundamental principles vary from trainer to trainer).
2-It's all about concepts and principals....not techniques
6-It's not about how much you can get, But how little it takes to get it

EoR isn't sure if Principal 6 is about horses, or cash flow from the gullible.

Here's Xenophon on training horses, which shows just how unoriginal Ms Scott's definition is:
The groom should have standing orders to take his charge through crowds, and to make him familiar with all sorts of sights and noises; and if the colt shows sign of apprehension at them,[9] he must teach him--not by cruel, but by gentle handling--that they are not really formidable.
On Horsemanship: II

The one best precept--the golden rule--in dealing with a horse is never to approach him angrily. Anger is so devoid of forethought that it will often drive a man to do things which in a calmer mood he will regret.
On Horsemanship: VI

The gods have bestowed on man, indeed, the gift of teaching man his duty by means of speech and reasoning, but the horse, it is obvious, is not open to instruction by speech and reasoning. If you would have a horse learn to perform his duty, your best plan will be, whenever he does as you wish, to show him some kindness in return, and when he is disobedient to chastise him. This principle, though capable of being stated in a few words, is one which holds good throughout the whole of horsemanship. As, for instance, a horse will more readily take the bit, if each time he accepts it some good befalls him; or, again, he will leap ditches and spring up embankments and perform all the other feats incumbent on him, if he be led to associate obedience to the word of command with relaxation.
On Horsemanship: VIII

The first point to recognise is, that temper of spirit in a horse takes the place of passion or anger in a man; and just as you may best escape exciting a man's ill-temper by avoiding harshness of speech and act, so you will best avoid enraging a spirited horse by not annoying him.
On Horsemanship: IX

To quote a dictum of Simon, what a horse does under compulsion he does blindly, and his performance is no more beautiful than would be that of a ballet-dancer taught by whip and goad. The performances of horse or man so treated would seem to be displays of clumsy gestures rather than of grace and beauty. What we need is that the horse should of his own accord exhibit his finest airs and paces at set signals.
On Horsemanship: XI

Ms Scott provides many many NH training tips (though most of them seem to involve buying her book), including how to become a NH trainer yourself and what method she recommends (out of the many variations that all claim to be Real Natural Horsemanship).
Part of the learning curve in this natural horsemanship field is the disillusionment at some point in finding out that those we initially looked up to out there, some leaders in this field, are actually doing things with horses that makes us uncomfortable or doesn't "feel" right when we dig deeper/learn more/see more firsthand. I see that a lot in this field. Follow your heart and you get good at this stuff. However, the best way to learn NH is to learn from many directions. Observe and discard what you don't like as you go along, plug in what you do feel is right from other directions. My own natural horsemanship training program is an eclectic blend of all I've learned from many, many directions, but that's because I studied from or with all the top masters in this field as I came up. But as I discarded what didn't feel right, I came up with my own more humane methods to replace what I didn't like from other directions.

In other words, Ms Scott's methods are better than all the other (more famous) NH trainers. In the same way all the other (famous and not so famous) NH trainers argue their own particular variation is the True Way. This is similar to the world of alternative therapies: once truth becomes debased, anything can be claimed (acupuncture is the best; no red light acupuncture is the best; no, etc etc). It's also the same gambit many alternatista testimonials follow: "I tried X, Y and Z therapies and nothing worked until I discovered W and I was cured!" Unfortunately, the variables are completely interchangeable depending on whether you land on an acupuncturist's site, or homeopath's, or a urine therapist's...

And some more psychobabbble:
What the owner is referring to there is, in horses (as in humans) they tend to use their left brain for logical, practical thinking (more rational thought and behavior processes) and the right brain for instinctive reactive behavior. A horse's fear flight response would be a good example of "right brain" behavior.

Even though NH is promoted as the superiour way to train horses, Ms Scott (and apparently Monty Roberts) states that stallions are to be avoided like the plague.
I personally feel that all stallions should be kept by expert breeding professionals ONLY. Incidentally, I noticed Monty Roberts recently came out with the same stance as well on this subject, so you should probably heed that warning.

At least non-"natural" methods can train stallions, otherwise they would all be feral. And does anyone recall the argument that NH is a "better", "more effective" way? Apparently, only in some cases.

Some final tips: the secret ways to get your horse to "bond" with you, including whistling in its nose, sticking a finger in its mouth and rubbing its tongue, sticking a finger right up underneath its tail and stroking it there (recommended by Ms Scott for a tense horse with a clamped down tail - EoR suggests doing this to a tense horse could elicit a kick, which is, to be fair, a "natural" response), scratching the horse's navel, "search touch", and scratching the horse's rump (EoR notices a certain predilection here). EoR doubts that any of these will get a horse to "bond" (in a true sense, or in the NH sense) though they might habituate it to handling.

EoR wishes to point out that he had a horse who was quite happy to have ropes thrown all over him, would wait to be extricated if he got his legs caught in a fence, was happy to have large physio balls rolled at and over him, who went on floats, who came off floats, who could be ridden bareback in a headcollar or in a saddle and double bridle, who opened his mouth to take the bit, who came when called in the paddock, who was able to attempt piaffe, who was also a bush hack and who permitted any form of handling including fairly intrusive veterinary treatments and investigations. He also never had a day's "natural" training in his life, only proper sensible handling as recommended by horsemen since Xenophon.

Unnatural Horsemanship 1
Unnatural Horsemanship 2
Unnatural Horsemanship 3
Unnatural Horsemanship 4
Unnatural Horsemanship 5

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Unnatural Horsemanship 5

The Natural Horsemanship marketing space is getting a little crowded, and it's becoming harder and harder to create your very own trademarked True Way to Horse Happiness. So why not invent something like Humanship instead? Notice the site is called "True Humanship" which implies there's already an alternative and totally wrong "False Humanship". The great thing about Natural Horsemanship is that it's endlessly extendable: change the name a bit, move the key words around a bit, imply that Those Who Have Come Before got it all wrong, and you've got your very own market niche.

This guy takes the marketing pizzazz of Natural Horsemanship, adds a bit of psychobabble, mixes in some of the Emoto-and-Chopra inspired quantum reality changing paradigm, and mixes it all up to make an unintelligible intellectual sludge.
We are in a relationship with all around us; not only people; animals and insects and the environment as well. Things, both seen and unseen. In any relationship with people we can only change ourselves. Therefore, it follows that in a relationship with things other than people, that the only thing we can change is ourselves as well. This means in our relationship with our horse, we can not change the horse directly. However by directly changing ourselves we can have an effect on our horse. If we focus change on the outside of ourselves this will set about the use of undesirable methods for building relationships; the use of force, intimidation, fear, manipulation and the like. If we boil everything in this world down to a common denominator; everything is energy; protons, neutron, electrons and photons. There is no difference between a thought in our head and an action in the horse's feet. It is all connected. It is all energy. Our thoughts, beliefs, attitudes and judgments are all stored within us as energy and are transmitted or communicated in very subtle (and not so subtle) ways by way of body language. As a horse is a body language expert at the very least, he will know exactly who you and where you are at, at any given time.

Like all good newage gurus, he offers group workshops (at $NZ400 for two days) where
As well as getting a look inside yourself from the horses view point, you will also get a view of others in their process. This can enhance the learning as you may identify with others at the time and can use this to further your own learning and understanding at that time or further down the track.

So, like the best psychics as well, if it doesn't make any sense that's not the fault of the person you're paying. It'll make sense later. No, really it will.

Or you might choose the individual tuition at $NZ450 per day.
His workshops teach better horsemanship skills, not better English:
As we move forward, letting go, so our relationship with our horse can climb to incredible new heights.

Don't get EoR wrong though, this is powerful stuff. As Ian states
I am not qualified to judge how you are doing with your horse, as the only true measure of what is happening or changing between you and your horse is between you and your horse and the relationship that you work out together. Besides, the horse can be the only judge of how it is for him and he has difficulty in holding a pen. Another aspect of the modern capitalist business world is about creating a dependency of the client to the service or product being sold. This is no different in the horse world, where many trainers create a dependency in their clients so that they keep coming back for workshops and tuition and paying them plenty of money. Add to this that they promote many products, as the only products that can be used to achieve the ends that must be met in order to fit their system. My aim is to create an independent client, who is prepared to self explore with their horse, returning when they are stuck. [...] My role is one of facilitator, observer, and to offer feedback to the client. I will allow the client to explore, not show them how to do everything. This is experiential, intrinsic learning, true learning, where the focus is on being yourself and not be like me. I like to stand back and observe the big picture of what is going on between you and the horse, look at the congruities and incongruities of the communication in the relationship. I also don’t teach you or your horse any circus or party tricks here.

So: you teach yourself; Ian won't tell you what to do (though he will watch - presumably he likes to watch) nor how to be a horseman like him; you will not need to return repeatedly except every time you get stuck (at which point he will presumably watch you "self explore" again, for a fee). EoR is pleased that, unlike other Natural Horsemanship gurus, he isn't promoting the "many products" you need to be just like him (or just like yourself, or whoever it is he's (not) teaching you to be like). Mysteriously though, he has a products page where he sells the Ian-approved required tack, such as "Progress Strings" (four colours, $NZ20 each). A certain tinge of hypocrisy (or is it just the standard newage doublespeak) also creeps into his pricing policy:
I have to put food on my table and to meet the expenses of life and the expenses of continuing the Humanship workshops.
The Humanship model is good for horses and good for people, and anything that is good for people helps make the world a better place for us all to live.
I believe in people and I know that most people do the right thing by themselves and by others. This fits into many elements of the Humanship teachings.
I know how horses have affected my life (for the better) and desire to share that with all. So price should not be a hurdle to receiving the benefits.
I know a financial transaction has to take place, so as to add a tangible cost for the participants of the workshop.

The pricing conclusion is:
You pay what you can afford.
You pay for the value that you received from the workshop.

So why does everything on his site have a price on it? And whatever happened to sanity?

Unnatural Horsemanship 1
Unnatural Horsemanship 2
Unnatural Horsemanship 3
Unnatural Horsemanship 4

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Unnatural Horsemanship 4

EoR doesn't claim that there aren't effective ideas and methods in Natural Horsemanship, only that their claim to be unique and self-discovered and new are all wrong. Natural Horsemanship is not so much a method as a reinvention of sensible horse training with a huge dose of marketing and hype.

There's nothing new under the sun, and the methods professedly used by Natural Horsemanship, such as an understanding of equine psychology, and working with horses rather than against them, has existed since at least the time of Xenophon (who wrote the earliest fully surviving treatise on horse training).

As this paper points out:
The horse is not a puppet or a machine, but an understander and only thereby a willing mover in the high school equitation. Proper training, Xenophon emphasizes, enlists the horse's understanding and will; it is thus not merely a physical but also a mental discipline for horse and rider alike.

Unfortunately, Pat Parelli also attempts to subsume Xenophon's classical methods into his particular brand (EoR uses the word advisedly) of Natural Horsemanship by mentioning him in passing in one of his books.

From the principles of Xenophon, mediated by the Renaissance, classical riding developed (its most famous and public exponent these days is the Spanish Riding School in Vienna).
Classical Riding is, at its simplest, riding your horse correctly and quietly, in harmony and in balance. This means working in partnership complementary to the laws of Nature throughout every sphere of riding. This concept is by no means innovative or new; the philosophies behind classical riding started with the Ancient Greeks

At its best classical riding utilises psychology, biomechanics and an understanding approach to training and riding horses.

It achieves everything and more that NH pretends to do but, unfortunately, without the marketing opportunities and psychobabble and merchandising that NH offers.

Of course, some people (usually trainers that have been around long enough to see the rise of this marketing juggernaut and remember how real horse training is done) hold similar opinions to EoR, but are a little more blunt.
The horse industry is almost as old profession as prostitution, yet you have no prostitutes going around telling folks that they have some new tricks. So it is with the use of horses, there are no new tricks, no new ways, but what is there a whole a lot of fools that failed to understand that which they call the old ways or the conventional ways.

Parelli is the Britney Spears of horse world, just like she is phony in her performance on stage so is Parelli's horsemanship, nothing but bullshit, but since it is highly palatable (as Britney is) everyone one wants a piece of it.

Of course as the successful business saying goes "There is a sucker born every minute", the likes of Parelli, John Lyons and such take advantage of it and sell you, the sucker, some book or tape on horsemanship, and in addition they actually reward (after a little payment) some of these fools with a certificate. This is hilarious and should I be able to go back in time to tell about it to the old horsemen of my youth they would not believe me any of it and call me a liar. Unbelievable that people can be so stupid to fall for such royal bullshit as certified natural trainers. That does not even make sense in the title it self. I guess if you fill up a donut with shit and tell people that it contains very special and exotic fruit that they have never tasted, such idiots will eat it since they've never tasted shit, providing that their sense of smell is impeded for one reason or another. People that give various demonstration and clinics on horsemanship and training resemble very much the horse traders of old days (gypsies), with some limited knowledge of horses and handful of tricks they impress the amateur public, which is in reality fairly easy. They simply prey on fools and if you cannot see it you are one of them. [...] Horse whisperers are either idiots or deceivers, or sometime even both, selling you a whole lot of crap, and the same goes for the animal psychics. As the old horseman saying goes, "It is OK to talk to horses but once when you hear them talking back to you then it's time to see a psychiatrist", or if you believe in the possibility do the same. If horses would have words they could think like us. They have been here millions of years fairly unchanged, much longer then us, would it be so that they could think like us they would have us working for them, or at least have a union. Should you be one of the unfortunate fools believing this natural horsemanship crap then you need to snap out of your animal cartoon frame of mind, really.

Or this Australian trainer:
The promotion of the various systems of NH and the creed itself has become almost evangelical and Religious in it's following and this is starting to affect the mainstream Trainers and the Horse Industry in general. Two instances of this is:

  • The break up of certain Pony Clubs because the Parelli teaching makes people think that they cannot wear bridles on their horses which has led to the a lot of Pony Club members leaving, and,

  • The effect upon Professional Trainers who may not wear the NH badge of honor, with these people now starting to lose work or be questioned about "what type of NH" system do you break a horse in with?" (my answer to that is, that non of the systems teach breaking in. They are all small parts of what is needed for a completed horse but not the full deal)

You show me an NH system that includes the full system of breaking in a horse. Yet, NH has taken the centre stage, almost to the exclusion of. let's call it, Good Horsemanship. (GH)

Or, as Richard Feynman wrote about how people can believe stuff that doesn't work:
But then I began to think, what else is there that we believe? (And I thought then about the witch doctors, and how easy it would have been to check on them by noticing that nothing really worked.) So I found things that even more people believe, such as that we have some knowledge of how to educate. There are big schools of reading methods and mathematics methods, and so forth, but if you notice, you'll see the reading scores keep going down--or hardly going up--in spite of the fact that we continually use these same people to improve the methods.

Replace "reading methods" with "natural horsemanship methods" and you get EoR's drift.

Unnatural Horsemanship 1
Unnatural Horsemanship 2
Unnatural Horsemanship 3

Monday, June 05, 2006

Unnatural Horsemanship 3

What Natural Horsemanship is really about is putting people on the Self-Help improvement treadmill, and also about the merchandise.

Steve Salerno points out in SHAM: How the Gurus of the Self-Help Movement Make Us Helpless the absurdity of the self-help movement. Even as the movement becomes more popular, and more books and seminars appear, more people are seeking self-help. If it worked surely there would be less market as its successes eliminated the market?
Failure and stagnation are central to all of SHAM. The self-help guru has a compelling interest in not helping people. Put bluntly, he has a potent incentive to play his most loyal customers for suckers. Yet it's even worse than that. Much of SHAM actively fans the fires of discontent, making people feel impaired or somehow deficient as a prelude to (supposedly) curing them. [...] They also featured a formidable, at times almost overwhelming, menu of ancillary products. Ah, the ancillaries. All major seminarists reap a substantial added windfall from their so-called ancillary products: the $10 workbooks, the $19 videos and DVDs, the $49 series of CDs and cassettes for the car, to give you that all-important motivational jolt during the commute to work. To keep the good vibes flowing once you're ensconced at your desk with your misanthropic boss hovering over you, there are the inspirational trinkets, like those $29 paperweights engraved with uplifting slogans. [...] Much the same could be said of SHAM. To a disconcerting degree, it is an $8.56 billion social crusade about nothing. It is a religion whose clerics get very, very rich by stating the obvious in a laughably pontifical fashion.

Just as the marketing aspect is overwhelming in the self help movement, so Natural Horsemanship demands constant and ongoing purchase of books, DVDs, seminars, training courses, improvement in levels and certifications, horse gear, belt buckles and all sorts of merchandising. Newspeak is also important here. Instead of a whip we have a "carrot stick". Whips have become "extensions of arms not whips". Of course, whips are associated with violence and cruelty (EoR points out that, used properly, they are never employed in a violent manner in training or riding, but simply as a reinforcement to apply cues more subtly or at a distance), and such things have no place in Natural Horsemanship. So whips are still sold, they're just coloured orange and given a funky name. "Carrot stick" means nothing different than "whip" to a horse. The name is simply designed to make the (human) buyer feel nicer.

Instead of lungeing reins, there are "savvy strings". These are a real marketing coup. As Natural Horsemanship devotees rise up through the ranks of their chosen church (make no mistake, just like religion, there are sects, breakway sects, and fanatical devotees in Natural Horsemanship) they're allowed to move further away from their horse on the long line. Rather than starting out holding the line at a shorter distance, you have to buy a longer rope every time you move up a level! Pat Parelli gets to sell the suckers a long line three times! And the suckers love it!

Monty Roberts, on the other hand, has foregone all the tedious work of actually selling overpriced stuff (though you can still buy his overpriced stuff if you want to) and is openly soliciting donations.

And, of course, if it works for horses surely it can work for dogs, school children, managers, or for behaviour management in humans. Even if it doesn't, it's a marketing opportunity.

Even in Natural Horsemanship, there are disquieting rumours about just how "gentle" such methods are. Monty Roberts has long been the subject of acrimonious accusations that his life story and achievements are not what they seem. Certainly, his method of stopping horses bucking (pass a string underneath the upper lip, attached to the saddle, so that it applies pain every time the horse lowers its head to buck) may be effective, but it is hardly "gentle" nor "nonviolent" nor "natural".

EoR has also heard people recommend, and seen demonstrated by a "natural" trainer what seems to be a standard turning aid: the rider's cupped hand is hit across the horse's eye to send him off in the opposite direction. EoR hates to think what would happen if the rider missed, but does not believe that this can be seen as in any way "natural" or "gentle".

And, if Natural Horsemanship is The New Way and so enlightened, why is it not Natural Horsepersonship?

Unnatural Horsemanship 1
Unnatural Horsemanship 2

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Unnatural Horsemanship 2

Natural Horsemanship is often defined by what it is not. Many sites state Natural Horsemanship does not use cruel or violent training methods. A recent article in the West Magazine (Perth, WA) stated
Basically, the natural approach is that horsemanship can be obtained through communication, understanding and psychology rather than mechanics, fear and intimidation. [...] It tries to teach everybody to have the same knack - to learn about feel and timing and balance.

That's very clever marketing (and marketing is what Natural Horsemanship is really about). Notice that they don't say other methods are cruel or violent. This is because they're not (certainly, some trainers may use such methods, but they are the exception). All training, to be successful, has to work with the horse, not against it. Terms such as "Intelligent Horsemanship" imply, without ever stating or justifying the implication, that other forms of horsemanship are "unintelligent". "Natural horsemanship" implies that other forms of horsemanship are "unnatural". Stating they don't use "cruel or harsh methods" implies that other forms of horsemanship are "cruel and harsh". Note that it's all implication, and all rubbish.

There's also that magic word "natural". This is a code word that marketing executives love. It makes people suddenly come over all touchy-feely and lose their cognitive faculties. It's like holistic, organic, fat-free and alternative. None of those really mean anything, and they all define themselves against what they are not rather than what they are (and therefore sell products and therapies by attacking the opposition rather than selling themselves directly). They also engender FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) which is so beloved of the politician and the marketing executive. "I never realised that the way I was riding my horses was cruel", "How could I have ridden all these years without really communicating with my horse?", "I'm such a poor rider who knows nothing. Oh, please save me mighty guru of horseness!".

"Natural" in an equine context means not riding the horse, not putting saddles and gear on it, allowing it to roam freely, not treating it for illnesses, not feeding it but forcing it to seek out its own forage, and allowing the local predators to prey on it and bring it to an early death. These are all "natural" behaviours. Of course, no one is claiming that this is desirable, but EoR's point is that what these "natural" trainers do is not "natural". The word has become meaningless in a brilliant example of Newspeak. For example, putting a tarpaulin over the horse is not, in any sense of the word, "natural". Nor is attaching ropes, putting on saddles, or riding a horse (though EoR notes that the majority of people who profess a love of NH seem to spend almost all their time on the ground "playing" with the horse and are too scared to get on it).

Natural Horsemanship devotees claim they are working with (or "respect" - another debased code word) the horse's natural behaviours and psychology. So what? asks EoR. All good trainers and riders, no matter what school they claim adherence to, do the same.

Sylvia Loch, renowned classical trainer, remarks
One of the latest fads which comes under the guise of natural horsemanship shows us just how unnatural some of this work can be. We see horses being encouraged to trail wearily about on the forehand with disconnected backs and hind legs left behind whilst everyone applauds the kindness being done to it. Riding without a bridle can indeed be a joy to behold when done by an expert but when amateurs are let loose in this way, it can cause enormous discomfort and back pain to the horse.

One clear sign of natural horsemanship, at least, seems to be the ability to wear a cowboy hat, and riding bareback is also a desirable skill. Both of these are "natural" to the horse, apparently. An attention to safety is definitely not required (indeed, trailing lunge ropes and having horses wandering along directly behind you are mandatory). Wearing a helmet is a sure sign you are an incompetent rider. Natural horsepeople never wear helmets. Do not go near any trainer who wears a helmet. Naturally trained horses never shy under any circumstances whatsover, nor do natural horsepersons ever fall off. Even if you do, natural horsepesons cannot hurt their heads by falling from a height at speed.

Unnatural Horsemanship 1

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Unnatural Horsemanship 1

Natural Horsemanship is big in equine circles, but is it all it seems? EoR investigates...

The first difficulty is in defining what Natural Horsemanship (NH) actually is, since there are many schools within NH. There are the big name players like Pat Parelli and Monty Roberts ("promoter of peace"), but there are thousands of little trainers all professing to use "natural horsemanship" methods, or using their own variants of the popular Big Name Trainers, such as Intelligent Horsemanship. The trouble is, they all seem to have different approaches and different ideas about what they are doing. It's like a religion splitting into variant and incompatible sects that refuse to talk to one another.
one of those riders who didn't 'get it' and so went out to invent a new way of riding in which *they* could excel. It's not an entirely unknown phenomenon in horsemanship, after all - in redefining the parameters the person who invented the new terminology and the new goals suddenly becomes an 'expert' because nobody can fully understand what they're talking about, and whenever someone else seems to know more about a topic, they can turn that knowledge around to accuse them
of 'not doing things in the right spirit' and thus "win" the argument.

Actually, it is a religion:
Some people call this method of riding "natural horsemanship" because you work with the horse in a natural way, not depending on mechanical devices. Others call it unnatural horsemanship, because it is not the human's natural inclination to treat the horse with respect and allow it to make choices. Both are true, and so there is a built-in tension in the human seeking to use this method. [...] Man in his natural state, or the old nature, does not do God's bidding. When presented with God's way, the true way, some find that their eyes are opened to something they had never seen before, and desire to experience it for themselves. They have a hunger for truth. [...] Just as we are attracted to the higher path of unity between horse and rider, let us continually apply ourselves to the true way--unity with the Master Horseman.

Statements that "natural" trainers do not use mechanical devices (they use ropes, headcollars, and so on) and that non-"natural" methods do not display respect (at least, that is the implication) are both false, not true.

This page provides links to some of the many variants of Natural Horsemanship, and also demonstrates how easily the natural horseperson, having accepted the magic of Natural Horsemanship, is prepared to accept any wild statement, particularly given the importance of "communication" to these practitioners (even though "communication" is important to any horse trainer or rider):
Horses have a definite communication program. No, they don't speak in audible "words" ... they communicate with body language, voice, and "telepathy". (Telepathy is a controversial subject with many. But time and time again this theory has been proven out.)

No, telepathy is not controversial. It is completely unproven. But never let facts get in the way of a good story.

All these schools and sects make it harder and harder for these salespeople to distinguish their particular brand from all the others, leading to desparate statements such as Frank Bell's
No trainer has made this revolutionary philosophy more accessible than Frank Bell. What makes Bell's approach so different? He has single-handedly taken the mystery out of the natural horsemanship movement and created a logical set of exercises that put a solid foundation underneath the horse and rider. Most importantly, it is easy to understand and implement immediately! And you do not need a round pen!

Sometimes the difference between Natural Horsemanship and Every Other Horsemanship is so subtle not even the practitioners can spot it:
The differences can be subtle and philosophical, but they seem to be clearly recognized by the horse.

Then there are the True Practitioners (usually, those who haven't yet made it big) as opposed to the Popular Practitioners:
Granted, there are self-proclaimed "horse whisperers" around, those who would shrink-wrap and package their trademarked methods for profit, in which the horse is more a pawn than a beneficiary. These marketers have gained mass-market audiences, and on the power of their self-promotion alone, they have made their names almost synonymous with "natural horsemanship" - whether or not they fairly represent its ideals.

Natural Horsemanship segues at some stage into Horse Whispering, and is often confused for it. Horse Whispering, however, is a very specific method, and has been in existence for the last two hundred years or so. As Josephine Haworth relates in The Horsemasters:
At the beginning of the nineteenth century [...] Sullivan's method, when he was called in to deal with a particularly dangerous or vicious animal, was simply to whisper a few words into the horse's ear and the animal was transformed into a model of good behaviour. Sullivan said that he learned his secret from a penniless soldier in a public house.

Wikipedia, renowned for publishing incorrect information, confuses Horse Whispering and Horse Training:
Xenophon is often cited as being the original "horse whisperer", having advocated sympathetic horsemanship in his On Horsemanship.

Xenophon was definitely not a horse whisperer. Nor is sympathetic horsemanship the same as horse whispering. But it does serve to illustrate how pervasive the marketing for NH is and how phrases become vague, meaningless and empty catchwords that are used as a sort of password but are really only weasel words devoid of any specificity.

Horse Whispering found its most famous exponent in John Solomon Rarey (who, incidentally, seems a prototype for Monty Roberts, travelling the world, writing a book, and appearing before the Queen of England), and has never really been the same since, except in the claims of those trying to distinguish their methods from the crowd.