Sunday, December 31, 2006

Guest Blogger

Today's guest blogger is H P Lovecraft, from The Call of Cthulhu:

The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

More Evidence Of SLE

Thanks to the internet the conspiracy of Self-Levitating Equines (SLE), which has clearly been suppressed by the orthodoxy, can finally be exposed.

A brave undercover agent has obviously risked the wrath of these mysterious manipulators of the truth, and posted this proof at synapticblur:

Levitating horse

Here we can see one of the perpetrators of this hidden crime in the act as he desperately tries to hide his identity. Note also that the horse is being drawn into the air without any flexion of his legs to propel himself in this direction. It can only be some exterior force that is creating this effect. Could it be the mysterious red beam that is emanating from some device held in the perpetrator's left hand? Is this related to those magical redlight acupuncture devices that the orthodoxy also don't want us to know about? Is this suppressed Atlantean technology that the hidden rulers of the world want to keep to themselves?

This tragedy must be exposed and stoppped now.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Psychic Investigators 5

This week's episode synopsis makes it sound like, after a few episodes where the psychic was irrelevant to the police investigation, that this series is now starting to scrape the desperate bottom of the psychic barrel:

As all his leads grew cold, Detective George Mazzacane consulted psychic and time walker Mary Pascarella Downey who came up with the following clues: the colour blue, the smell of garage oil, water and she stated that "blood would tell". Mary also said it would take a very long time to apprehend Penney's killer. The psychic's clues created more questions than answers. Then Mary "saw" a uniform with a name tag and she made out the letter "E", greasy hands being wiped on a dirty cloth and then she developed a terrible headache. Twenty-six years later, a fingerprint database identified garage worker Edward R Grant from Waterbury as a suspect and a blood test confirmed he was Penney's killer - blood told - and he had been in New Haven at the time of the murder for treatment for a head injury.

EoR knows of people who have accepted this series, particularly because of its placement in the Thursday evening "science" slot, as documentary proof of psychics' real powers. But it seems to EoR that psychics don't just fail to solve crimes, they make it harder by muddying the waters. They never provide solid evidence. It's always cryptic clues like "blue", "garage oil", "water" and "blood will tell" (EoR imagines spooky music, lowered lights, and thunder crashing when that phrase is spoken). Even a "uniform" and the letter "E" (the most common letter in the English alphabet!) do not provide any assistance to the police.

Even twentysix years later the psychic had still failed to solve the crime.

In fact, the particular murder featured in this episode is so far from being a success for the psychics, that it is considered a classic case of how forensic science can solve crimes.

The murder victim's sister also makes clear exactly what role psychics had in solving the crime:

In testimony before the Administrative Oversight and the Courts Subcommitte, Rosemary Serra said that analysis of DNA from a blood stained parking ticket led to the May 2002 conviction of Edward R. Grant for her sister’s murder. Police would never have found Grant, however, had a state forensic scientist and former New Haven detective Christopher Grice not matched Grant’s fingerprints -- taken after a 1994 arrest on domestic violence charges -- with one found on a tissue box in Penney Serra’s car. "If it weren’t for the fingerprint, it would have been a needle in a haystack. He would never have been arrested," Rosemary Serra said. [...] "The story could have died along with my sister if it were not for the qualified and dedicated personnel who worked on this case, or the wide spectrum of forensic science analysis available in this country," Serra said.

That's right. No psychic assistance at all. And note also that "blood" didn't tell, a fingerprint did.

The psychic who, according to this poor fictional mockumentary, was so invaluable to the police is Mary Pascarella Downey. Unlike other psychics she seems to keep a fairly low profile on the internet, but prefers radio and television.

Mary Pascarella is a radio talk show host, paranormal investigator and.... Timewalker. Mary is a gifted psychic, and has appeared on numerous television networks, including Court TV. Mary will join in the discussion of the Amityville case, and other hauntings that she has been involved with!

She seems to be associated with investigating the house featured in The Amityville Horror, where she also explains clearly what a "timewalker" is:

As a time walker, Downey goes to the point of origin of an incident and collects the facts, then tries to prove these facts as either accurate or inaccurate. Downey’s specialty falls into archaeological sites and finding old towns. "Time walkers have a string that they reach in and grab, it is like a big library," Downey said.

Strangely, EoR thought a timewalker was a fictional character in comics. Which is not actually that different from the tricks and stunts that psychics perform.

The program itself added very little. Of note only was Ms Pascarella's reiteration of the Psychics' Credo: "We don't solve crimes, we only provide clues". Cryptic, very unhelpful clues. For example, the "blue" that she saw and thought was "so important" wasn't the colour of the victim's car (it was, indeed, blue, but Ms Pascarella wasn't consulted until some months after the high profile crime had obviously been widely reported), but rather the colour of one of the floors of the carpark where the murder had happened. Unfortunately this colour coding had been discarded with years prior (so of what relevance was it to solving the crime? in what sense could it be considered a "clue"?), nor was it made clear whether it was even the floor the murder occurred on.

It was also interesting to watch the "dramatic" reconstruction of the psychic being shown the murder scene by the detective. She asked questions, and he told her where the murder occurred, what the witnesses saw and so on. This was "psychic power" in some strange surreal sense of the word.

EoR is also interested to note that the length of time between psychic revelations, and this particular dramatic "reconstruction" continues to become longer and longer. This week's episode had a gap of over thirty years between the events and their recollections.

And an amusing coda: when EoR was researching this story Google showed a sponsored link advertisement for ("Find Aussie Psychics"). Fearing finding the wrong psychic (but how would he tell the difference?) EoR clicked on it. Unfortunately, he never got to the site since Opera blocked it with a fraud warning:

The page you are trying to open has been blacklisted as fraudulent. It will likely attempt to trick you into sharing personal or financial information. We strongly discourage visiting this page.

Now, that's spooky. How did EoR's browser know that psychics perform cold reading by asking you for all sorts of personal details, and take your money off you?

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Australian HIV Denialists

EoR has been unable to determine whether this court case has been heard yet but, just as creationists have to resort to courts to air their "science", HIV denialists are doing something similar in Australia.

The Perth Group argues that AIDS cannot spread outside the original risk groups, and that antioxidants "will improve the outcome of AIDS patients".

This is proving useful to a man appealing a conviction of endangering the lives of three women who he had sex with without informing them he was HIV+. As The Australian reports:

AIDS experts have labelled claims by a Perth researcher that HIV does not exist as outrageous and dangerous nonsense. Eleni Papadopulos-Eleopulos, a medical engineer at Royal Perth Hospital, said on Wednesday that HIV was not a retrovirus and could not be transmitted by sexual intercourse. At a leave-to-appeal hearing on behalf of Andre Chad Parenzee - an HIV-positive man convicted of endangering the lives of three girlfriends and sentenced to 15 years in prison - Ms Papadopulos-Eleopulos said the existence of HIV had yet to be proved. She is a founder of the Perth Group of researchers who argue AIDS is not linked to HIV. Andrew Grulich, associate professor in epidemiology at the National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research, described the group's claims as "insane". "They have a very long and convoluted argument that has been comprehensively disproved many times," he said. A spokeswoman for the Royal Perth Hospital said yesterday that the hospital did not share the views of Ms Papadopulos-Eleopulos. She said Ms Papadopulos-Eleopulos did not work in HIV research or with AIDS patients. provides further details of the "science":

Perth-based medical physicist Eleni Papadopulos-Eleopulos, who has a Bachelor of Science and works as a medical engineer at Royal Perth Hospital, told the court that HIV was mistakenly identified by a French scientific team in 1983, which was headed by Luc Montagnier. In a 50-page Powerpoint presentation, Ms Papadopulos-Eleopulos said AIDS had nothing to do with HIV, which - if it existed at all - was not a retrovirus and not transmitted between people by sexual intercourse. Ms Papadopulos-Eleopulos argued that HIV had never been isolated, and was only identified in 1983 by a process called "reverse transcription", which is said to create retroviruses. She said the reverse transcription observed by Dr Montagnier in 1983, the so-called "discovery of HIV", was not specific to HIV. She said the main risk factors for getting AIDS remained the passive role in anal intercourse, and intravenous drug use. Ms Papadopulos-Eleopulos claimed AIDS was caused by prolonged exposure to semen, which oxidised cells, degrading them and led to numerous other serious illnesses - the AIDS-related illnesses - which end in death. Secondly, she cited numerous scientific papers that concluded that vaginal sex did not transmit HIV. Ms Papadopulos-Eleopulos cited a 1997 published paper by University of California researcher Nancy Padian that the risk of a male transmitting HIV to a female at 0.0009 per cent, for each act of vaginal intercourse. According to the Padian paper, a man would have to have sex with his wife three times a week for 27.4 years to expose her to a 95 per cent risk of passing on HIV.

A 50 page powerpoint presentation! That's enough to dull anyone's mind. And those poor quality statistics are taken nicely to task at Good Math, Bad Math.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Great Pyramid Of Lunacy

EoR remains fascinated by the believers in ancient spaceships, Atlantis and magic (all of which are inextricably linked).

Browsing through Rainbownews, a New Zealand journal of woo (there's phrenology, there's a whole article on the proper way to hug a tree, there's Masuru Emoto, there's some crystal madness about 12th and 6th dimensions and chakras running in reverse which EoR totally failed to understand, there's dowsers locating ancient Phoenician ships in New Zealand) EoR was drawn to "Spaceships of Ancient Egypt".

The argument (such as it is) is that E A Wallis Budge's classic translation of the Egyptian Book of the Dead incorrectly referred to the "winged discs" as meaning the sun, since manned flight was unknown at the time of the translation.

The evidence suggests therefore that ancient Egyptians actually meant their descriptions of 'winged discs' to be literally interpreted as UFOs.

Actually, they probably meant them to be literally interpreted as "winged discs", and metaphorically as the sun.

Passing quickly by the papyri depicting ancient Egyptian electronic circuits (no references are given), a further inference is made:

Could this then be evidence for advanced technology, including flight technology, in ancient Egypt, perhaps inherited from Atlantis and space civilisations?

From both Atlantis and space civilisations? In passing, EoR wonders why, if "UFOs" were such common technology in the ancient world, did they bother with the inefficient boats that kept grounding themselves on the shores of New Zealand only to be rediscovered millenia later by dowsers? And where are the ancient airports? The ancient fuel depots? The ancient metal machines?

The argumentem ad Wallis Budge then does some quote mining to "prove" flying saucers were a regular part of ancient Egyptian life. Various quotes from the Book of the Dead are given, such as "Heru-Behutet flew up into the horizon in the form of The Great Winged Disc", references to Osiris in his celestial "boat", "I have gone down to the Earth in the two Great Boats" and so on. Now, these are either poetic analogies made by someone familiar with boats as a form of transport, and the motion of the sun in the sky (which was also a God to the Egyptians, and both of which are images that would be everyday experiences for ancient Egyptians), or it is quite clearly a description of a flying saucer. Occam's Razor clearly has no part to play in the process of hypothesis formation here.

EoR tried to find these quotes in context (online versions here and here) but they do not appear. He does not know what version of the Wallis Budge translation was used since no references are provided by the author of the article. In fact, the whole article is very light on verifiable reference in favour of wild speculation.

The final part of the "proof" rests on even more bizarre claims: a 2200 year old wood carving of an aeroplane was discovered in a tomb in 1898, "ancient Egyptian priests were well aware of Atlantis", and various fantastic (as in the sense of "fantasy") claims made by Dr J O Kinnaman as far back as 1940.

Dr Kinnaman said that during their 1924 investigation of the Great Pyramid they located a hidden vault which contained amazing technical objects, including what appeared to be an anti-gravity machine, or parts of such a machine, and thousands of crystal prisms which they speculated may all have been brought from Atlantis.

How did Dr Kinnaman know that these "parts" formed an anti-gravity machine? EoR's not even sure he'd recognise such "parts" today since no one has ever made such a thing yet, in 1924, the amazing Dr Kinnaman apparently saw these "parts" as a functioning science fiction machine. And how exactly do you tell the place of manufacture of a crystal prism? Were they all stamped "Product of the People's Republic of Atlantis" on the base?

Dr Kinnaman also apparently believed the Great Pyramid was built in 46,000 BC by Atlanteans as a gigantic power generator "to send intense electrical energy into space from the apex through a metallic or crystalline cap. Perhaps the energy beams were used to propel spaceships through the atmosphere?". Perhaps the elves that live in camel's bottoms used the pyramid point to clean their teeth. It's just as likely. And we have evidence for the existence of camels.

Why is this information suppressed? According to an article in the Rosicrucian Digest (that esteemed archaeological journal) in July 1962 by Willi Semple:

When asked why we have never heard of this room, Dr Kinnaman answered: "Because Dr Petrie and I swore an oath to the highest government officials in Egypt and Great Britain never to divulge this knowledge during our lifetimes."

Which he was quite clearly breaking by making that statement, but never mind.

So: Atlantis, Egyptology, UFOs, pyramid power, antigravity and vast government conspiracies! This article is only a page and a half long, but it's got some of the highest-grade woo packed so tightly in it there's hardly room for anything else.

Dr Kinnaman was also an authority on biblical matters:

J. O. Kinnaman is not a name well known in contemporary academic circles. He has argued (in Diggers for Facts: The Bible in Light of Archaeology) that Jesus and Paul visited Great Britain, that Joseph of Arimathea was Jesus' uncle and dominated the tin industry of Wales, and that he himself personally saw Jesus' school records in India. According to an article by Stephen Mehler, director of research at the Kinnaman Foundation, Kinnaman reported finding a secret entrance into the Great Pyramid of Giza, in which he discovered records from the lost continent of Atlantis. He also claimed that the pyramid was 35,000 years old and was used in antiquity to transmit radio messages to the Grand Canyon. Kinnaman might not be the best figure on which to base material for a public school textbook.

Nor for anything requiring logic or plausibility, it would appear. "Jesus plays well with others, but needs to spend more time on his mathematics instead of raising the dead."

It isn't clear whether Dr Kinnaman believed what he was claiming, or whether he was just making it all up as he went along, but proof was never something he seemed to require, being gullible enough to fall for a poor hoax inluding a depiction of the Flood and Noah's Ark found in Michigan at the turn of the last century.

Nonetheless, plausibility, evidence nor the proper application of the principle of parsimony have prevented people from seeking Kinnaman's entrance to the Great Pyramid:

Many groups, scientific and lay people alike, are wondering if the predictions of Edgar Cayce, Gordon Michael Scallion, and others about the opening or revealing of the alleged Hall of Records under the Sphinx and the Giza Plateau will actually occur in 1998-99.

Answer: no. It didn't occur. Surprisingly.

Nor does it stop other people thinking hieroglyphs, because they look vaguely like (modern) spaceships and helicopters, therefore are representations of such (what EoR finds even more amazing is how ancient Egyptian spaceships looked exactly like all those spaceships in Star Wars. Could George Lucas be an Atlantean?). They don't look anything like axes, or hoes, or other common implements and tools to be found in ancient Egypt. Oh no. Not at all. They're hyperdimensional alien Atlantean crystal powered magic spaceships, dammit!

After all that concentrated layering of implausible claim on shaky evidence, time after time, EoR could only go along to the Online Hieroglyphics Translator for the following collection of images of UFOs and Atlantean power generators/antigravity machines (try squinting and turning your head to the side):

I am a lunatic

Further information:

How misinformation is misquoted out of context inaccurately: A Pyramyth.
That model airplane (or is it a bird?).
Pharaoh's helicopter, or is it a palimpsest?

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Equine Assisted Healing

EoR is fascinated by the growth of "Equine Assisted Therapy" whereby various people with or without problems "interact" with horses as a form of psychotherapy to achieve miraculous cures.

Recently, it appears a horse has managed to cure a man's longstanding blindness:

A SECOND World War veteran who was blinded in his right eye when he was hit by shrapnel can see again after being head-butted by a pedigree racehorse. [...] Dr Douglas Lozzaro, the head of ophthalmology at Long Island College Hospital, said the blow could have knocked a dislocated lens into place.

Though maybe the man's angels finally decided to channel some craniosacral readjustment via the horse...

Monday, December 25, 2006

Seasonal Wishes

Merry FSMmas!

Merry Flyingspaghettimonstermas! May your colons be clean, your chakras open, your qi not excessive, your meridians freeflowing, your auras bright, and your homeopathic remedies potent and undetectable!

EoR has imbued this posting with Benveniste inspired electronic energies. By reading this post you have automagically received healing vibrational energies.

Don't you feel better already?

Sunday, December 24, 2006

For The World Is Hollow And I Have Touched The Sky

The Times Literary Supplement recently reviewed Hollow Earth: The long and curious history of imagining strange lands, fantastical creatures, advanced civilizations, and marvellous machines below the Earth’s surface (incidentally, why do publishers insist on such unwieldy titles these days?).

The book traces the history of beliefs in hollow earths up until today when various contradictory ideas about UFOs and Hitlerian refuges continue to proliferate. The reviewer's final comments say a lot about why ideas such as these, as well as others that have no evidence or basis in reality (astrology, psychics, homeopathy - need EoR go on?) persist:

That such notions have proved so enduring should not surprise us. Their appeal is the same as it has always been, the dream of a world which is richer and stranger than our own, the hope that we are only ever a few metres away from the fantastic, the belief that there are secrets kept from us which, if uncovered, would make sense of life. It is to this spirit of daft optimism that Hollow Earth pays tribute.

Which, of course, still doesn't make any of it true.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Levitating Horses - More Evidence

EoR has previously mentioned the phenomenon of spontaneously levitating equines (SLE). Further evidence has been brought to his attention.

Levitating horse

It can be seen quite clearly that this is a horse that was resting on the ground when the strange antigravity forces took control. The horse is not leaping into the air since his legs are folded under him. Note also the number of people desperately trying to hold the horse down - something that they would not do if the horse had leapt up. Clearly they are trying to save this poor equine from an uncertain fate as his earthly connections are severed.

So, EoR wonders: how often does this phenomenon occur? Why are people so unwilling to admit to it? Is it caused by UFOs? Could this be the new "cattle mutilations"? Is the Government and BigVetPharma suppressing this epidemic? Should all horses wear heavy weights, just in case? Why is nothing being done about this tragedy?

Friday, December 22, 2006

50th Skeptics' Circle

The spirit of Carl Sagan is channelled and brings much wisdom for the world as we enter the Age of Aquarius at Humbug Online.

Psychic Investigators 4

This week's celebrity psychic is Laurie McQuary ("Voted 'Portland's Best' by Willamette Week").

The episode pretty much followed the classic Twilight Zone format: a weird, spooky story of uncanny insights by the psychic, all confirmed by the investigating officer. The sting in the tail being the mention in the final moments that the officer married the psychic over 18 years ago, so that all the evidence he provided (and remember this whole thing is a dramatic reconstruction filmed 20 years after the event) is far from independent and clearly tainted.

Suffice it to say that, as in all previous episodes, the murder would have been solved without the psychic (this is obviously the modus operandi for this show).

And yes, the psychic "knew" that the body would be found "near water".

Let's hope when Catalyst returns they will do a special on psychic powers, covering some of the themes referred to at this page on Psychic Frauds.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Woo Vs Woo

Could the message be getting through to the popular media that psychics are not real? On Tuesday, the commercial current affairs show Today Tonight featured a segment on a scamming psychic. There was the usual hidden camera footage (only a fragment, so it was used over and over and there was no sound), as well as a "Dramatic Reconstruction" of this woman's alleged technique.

It is claimed this particular psychic persuades her (seemingly often elderly and wealthy) clients that their money is under a terrible curse, but she will provide some holy cleansing ritual for the filthy lucre. Of course, she needs the money in her hands to perform this miracle. After which the clients never see the money again.

EoR wonders why the program is only exposing this psychic? Why not all the others who, while perhaps not so blatant in their money-grabbing methods, take money for "entertainment" purposes only while leading their customers to believe they truly have paranormal powers?

Of course, the real sting in the tail was the "professional" used to state quite clearly that this woman was Not A Real Psychic. Today Tonight utilised the services of an astrologer to make this holier than thou pronouncement.

Suddenly Psychic Investigators almost seems sane.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

They're Baaacck!

For those who missed it the first time around, the ABC award winning* program Second Opinion is back. Be amazed at how gullible people can be. Laugh as the aura healer wipes away that nasty bad energy. Gasp as you realise taxpayers' money went into this rubbish.

Sadly, it's on at 3AM so you might not be able to drag yourselves away from the shopping programs and the televangelists in order to wallow in nostalgia.

* 2005 winner of the Australian Skeptics' Bent Spoon for the "perpetrator of the most preposterous piece of paranormal pseudoscientific piffle".

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

AltMed Research

Calling all alternative and complementary practitioners. Here's your chance to prove your favourite woo works. The National Health and Medical Research Council is offering $5 million dollars to investigate the use and effectiveness of stuff like herbs and homeopathy (though there appears to be no limit to what they'll consider - come on all your reikiists - this is your chance to show the world that magic aura tweaking works!).

Given that the press release mentions Australians spend one billion dollars annually on alternative health treatments, EoR wonders why they need the extra government money to run their trials. Though the government supervision might at least mean better controls and protocols.

Applications need to be in by the end of February 2007. EoR hopes it's more successful than the National Center for Complementary and
Alternative Medicine
in the US.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Guest Blogger

Today's guest blogger is Robert Altman who is quoted towards the end of this Guardian obituary stating what could well be the manifesto of this blog:

Altman always denied having any particular agenda: "I research these subjects," he said, "and discover so much bullshit that it just comes out that way."

Sunday, December 17, 2006

More Naturally Safe Products

Following on from yesterday's post about the "Natural = Safe" mantra being false (or, at least, not true unless supported by evidence in specific cases), the Mind&Body supplement in the 12th December, 2006 issue of The West Australian has an article on "Are spray tans safe?". Ignoring for the moment why any newage person should be using spray tans (how natural or traditional are they?), revel in this tortured line of reasoning that spray tans are natural (from a specialist dermatologist who "produces her own skincare range"):

"The active ingredient, dihydroxyacetone, is oxidised when exposed to air, creating a brown colour that is the tan. DHA is extracted from a chemical called glycerol which is taken from sugar-based plants like sugar cane, sugar beet and, more recently, rape seeds."

So it's a nasty long chemical name, that's extracted from another chemical, that comes from a plant. Phew! Well, that's okay then.

A general manager of a spray tan company advises those who are worried about "chemicals" in their spray tan.

"Some spray tans have more than 30 to 40 chemicals in their solutions. Instead, our product comprises only three: DHA 102, natural bronzers and highly purified water."

This is the quantity rather than quality argument of chemical toxicity. More chemicals are obviously more dangerous than fewer (haven't we all seen those mad scientists on late night scifi films - they're surrounded by chemicals!) rather than addressing the specific toxicities of individual chemicals. EoR is also surpised and elightened to learn that "natural bronzers" comprise a single chemical.

The article goes on to mention a side effect or two that some people may experience with DHA: inflammation, irritation, slight to severe rash and extreme itching.

Which means that the "natural" spray tans are safer or better than the "chemical" spray tans in exactly which way? The only difference appears to be in the marketing spin applied to the products.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Shock! Natural Claims Deceptive!

Promoters of herbal medicine have certain mantras they are keen to promote (in the commercial world of multinational corporations they are properly termed "slogans").

There's the mantra that, because they are "natural", herbal remedies are safer than pharmaceutical medicines with fewer or no side effects.

There's the mantra that herbal remedies are "gentler" than pharmaceutical medicines yet, strangely, just as effective.

There's the mantra that herbal remedies work better than pharmaceutical medicines because they contain other "synergistic" ingredients other than the active ingredients.

There's the mantra that scientific studies have "proved" all of the above.

While some herbal (and other natural) substances have been proven to be effective in certain situations, that product is then isolated and the dosage controlled, and the substance becomes part of normal medicine.

For the most part, the mantras of herbal remedies are just wishful thinking, as much as commercial slogans.

One company, Menopause Institute of Australia Pty Ltd, has made such claims about its Natural Hormone Replacement Therapy Program for the treatment of menopause. Unfortunately, the company's less than realistic claims (including that it is proven to be safer than conventional Hormone Replacement Therapy, and that it reduces the risk of various diseases including cancer) have come to the attention of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has instituted legal proceedings against Menopause Institute of Australia Pty Ltd and its managing director, Dr Gary Aaron, alleging misleading and deceptive conduct in the advertising and promotion of its Natural Hormone Replacement Therapy Program for the treatment of menopause. The ACCC has alleged in the Federal Court that Menopause Institute breached section 52 of the Trade Practices Act 1974 by making misleading and deceptive representations.

As reported at Australian Doctor the company has come off fairly lightly, being required to write to former patients about the proceedings, and to put a notice on its website (located here, where the company states they have "made representations which were misleading or deceptive or likely to mislead or deceive about the safety and effectiveness" of its NHRT, though the front page link to it opens it in a popup and EoR wonders how many browsers will block this automatically?).

Friday, December 15, 2006

Psychic Investigators 3

EoR was really looking forward to the most recent episode of this fantasy series. All week the ABC have been running promos in stark black and white asking "ARE YOU A SCEPTIC?" and promising that this show could change your mind completely.

This week's psychic, Nancy Weber, makes much of her police work, even going so far as to proudly claim that "she received a police badge in 1982". Well, EoR's impressed. And, while she has a page of two references from retired police officers testifying to her amazing and ongoing consulting services to the police force, her front page states she refuses to solve a high profile murder as she hasn't actually been asked to. Shouldn't she be arrested for withholding evidence then? Further down the page she points out that psychic assistance to solve crimes is only available to those willing to pay at least $200 an hour for a telephone consultation. This is not the recommended way to solve a crime however, and she prefers to go to the scenes (presumably, cold reading is a lot more impressive when you can make reference to actual objects, roads, buildings, rivers etc) and charges $1500 for the first day and $1000 per day thereafter. EoR can only say he's flabbergasted but it's obvious that desperate people are prepared to pay such outrageous amounts.

Readers will be unsurprised to learn that there was no overwhelming evidence of psychic powers shown in the episode. In fact (and what has become the usual routine) the crime would have been solved in exactly the same way had the psychic never existed. So what was the benefit of the huge fees (which, strangely, were not mentioned at all during the program)?

Ms Weber also gave contradictory evidence at a number of points. She said she couldn't see the killer's face (psychics never can) but, when she asked to see a picture of the missing girl she "recognised" her as the girl in her visions.

Ms Weber contacted the investigating officer by phoning a policeman she knew. Later, when she went to meet the investigating officer she expressed doubts that he might not be a policeman and possibly some kook who had just phoned her up - but she was the one who first contacted him!

When the suspect went missing, Ms Weber drew a "rough" map of where he was hiding in the mountains, and said the police would catch him "soon". At that very moment a call came over the police radio to say the suspect had been captured. At his home. So, at the same time Ms Weber was "seeing" him hiding in the mountains, he was safe at home.

The amazing proof of psychic powers reside solely on a small sample of remembered visions (no false visions were mentioned but, of course, no one will ever know if these were made and ignored or not).

Ms Weber said the girl who had gone missing was dead. This was 72 hours after her disappearance, with no sightings, and her disappearance being totally out of character. That she was dead would be an assumption most people would make at that stage.

She saw the name "Michael". The killer's name was, indeed, Michael. We don't know if she saw other names and why she didn't see a surname.

The killer smelled of oil or gasoline. Indeed, he worked at a garage once. We don't know if he worked anywhere else, or why the psychic couldn't give the details about the garage itself. He wasn't working at the garage at the time of the murder.

Later, after being questioned by the police and released (this was before the body was discovered) the suspect went missing, disappearing into the hills behind his house.

Ms Weber said the police would catch him. Since this is an open ended prediction with no time limit this would be a good guess to make.

She said he was in a "bad state". Since he had been questioned by the police and they had made clear they had doubts about his story, this is basic human psychology.

She also "saw" a pair of 55 gallon drums. When he was arrested at his home there were apparently lots of 55 gallon drums around. It's unclear whether there were two or more, or what other objects were around. If Ms Weber knew he was an ex-mechanic by this stage and lived on a rural property, it would be strange if there weren't such objects around.

Yet again, Psychic Investigators only proves how gullible people are, and how much money can be paid to a person to provide a totally unnecessary service.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Scientific Woo Still Woo

There are so many "energetic" healers out there (and EoR doesn't mean the busy type, he means the ones repairing torn and worn auras) that it's a wonder there's any bad energy left to chastise. Most of these wonder-merchants babble on about vibrations, energy levels, meridians, and so on, but it's much more serious when it all becomes scientific. Which is what the ACMOS Method is all about.

Science and measurement enable interrogation at our body’s energetic level to be carried out with considerable precision. It is as a result of the considerable research and validation carried out since 1985 by RenĂ© NACCACHIAN, engineer, searcher in biophysics, a bioenergetician, Doctor in energetic medicine, sciences and molecular biology. It is an accident that has driven this interest very close to traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture in particular. It is following very committed effort and research that has lead to the light of high technology that is offered by modern science. The ACMOS Method and its extremely sophisticated equipment that it uses, are the results proven of fundamental discoveries. Today the progress that has been made in the matter of health by the application of the ACMOS Method is measurable and , from the opinions and experiences of numerous specialists around the world this is both considerable and incontestable.

There's lots of talk about the body's energy, the body's currents, the body's switches, the body's resistors and the body's fuses. In fact, the human body is a veritable switchboard with wires and electrical components all through it, apparently.

It is of great importance not to interfere with the ‘fuses’ that the body has activated and deactivated intentionally in order to maintain the balance and the symmetry of the energetic fields. On the other hand there is the need to re-establish the function of the fusible that the body cannot manage any longer by itself. This is the object of the ACMOS Method with its aim to re-establish the global energetic balance.

Okay, this explanation is really only amusing for a short while, but what EoR finds impressive are all the woo machines this method uses to "prove" all these magic energies. There's the ACMOS Lecher Antenna (how can you resist something with a name like that?) with its "periscopic antenna". It's useful, somehow (it isn't clear from the site - not that a lot is) in applying High dilution psy homeopathy. There's the ACMOS7 ("a high-tech instru-ment which identifies areas of energy blockage") which seems to be a skin resistance meter rebadged as a "Biofeedback Energy Testing Unit". There's the delightfully named Quantacmos (which appears to be yet another cheap penlight rebadged as an acupuncture point stimulator - no prices are given but EoR suspects it's priced far more than a standard penlight). And the Acmopol which detects "ambient electromagnetic pollution" (EoR already has one of those - it's called a radio and it's far more hightech than this little box of wires).

Very simple to use, the Acmopol has a buzzer which operates immediately when the pollution exceeds the tolerable level for a normal person. If the person is tired or ill, then 20 centimetres should be added to the distance indicated by the Acmopol buzzer.

Presumably, the 20cm requirement has been proven scientifically. Well, at least as scientifically as the rest of this stuff. But what really worries EoR is that the very act of holding and turning on the Acmopol means the hand is being irradiated with electromagnetic radiation! Strangely, this discrepancy is ignored. Why is EoR not surprised?

You can undertake the four levels of training ("it is not necessary to possess particular medical knowledge to attend the ACMOS Courses and training") each of which takes three days (after the first three days you're already awarded a "diploma"!). You will learn about scientifically proven concepts such as "The Marvellous Vessels", "The 34 Levels of Energy Regulation", "The 5 Element Law" and "The difference between Acmos and pathos" (very little in EoR's opinion).

For those who want to become proficient in the use of the Lecher Antenna, this site is a good starting point.

This text comes from the booklet sold with the antenna, it is more an attempt of explanation that an absolute truth. It highlights the sinusoidal way of the electrical current with bellies of tension and nodes of intensity. [...] With a generator of Gigahertz, emitting in the centimetric waves, the correspondence on the antenna of Lecher can be checked. The centimetric scale of the antenna also makes it possible to appreciate harmonies with organic resonance in the electromagnetic spectrum.

The Lecher Antenna appears to be a hightech dowsing rod. And presumably about as efficient. There's a wonderful exercise in using it to find magnetic north (EoR wonders how well this would work if the user was in a closed room and spun around beforehand to disorientate him? And that this possibility was also eliminated?). Of course, even with the most sensitive dowsing rod and the most sensitive dowser, sometimes these things don't work exactly as expected. Nonetheless, the site provides helpful hints about what might have gone wrong. Number one on the list:

Are you sure that your compass works ?

In the dowsers' world, it's much more likely that a compass suddenly stops finding north, than that the magic divining stick could possible fail. Number two on the list:

Are you sure that the place where you are is electromagnetically neutral. Indeed if it is not, the compass will give you a false direction, perhaps you were right, start again the exercise in an other place.

Which, as EoR's astute readers will note, is the same as Reason #1. Reason three is something about only accepting successes and ignoring failures, and reason four is something about accidentally finding magnetic South. But it's not the magic antenna! No, it works! All the time. Just let me try it again... Okay, best of three... Um, best of five... Best of seven...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

A Message To All Morons

Via Neatorama EoR finds some timely advice about how to correctly address some of the alties he looks at in this blog.

Ask a question. If your subject answers, they’re a moron at worst. If they don’t answer, you might have an idiot on your hands. [...] To classify [IQ] scores below 70, psychologists invented a nomenclature of retardation. Those with IQs between 51 and 70 were called morons. Morons had adequate learning skills to complete menial tasks and communicate. Imbeciles, with IQs between 26 and 50, never progressed past a mental age of about six. And the lowest of all were the idiots, with IQ between 0 and 25, who were characterized by poor motor skills, extremely limited communication, and little response to stimulus.

Not politicaly correct in educational terms any longer EoR will, however, need to be more careful identifying various 'therapists' and other true believers. For a start, antivaccination proselytisers and creationists (amongst others) would seem to qualify as technical idiots since they repeat the same statements over and over (echolalia) and show no response to stimulus such as scientific evidence at all.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Festival of Nonscience

EoR has missed some of these seminars, but they go on until May next year. The Mindd Foundation is running a series of seminars in Australia. These include topics such as Complementary Solutions for Brain-Immuno-Gut Disorders in Children featuring naturopaths and chiropracters amongst others.

Luckily EoR still has time to attend the 2nd Mindd International Forum on Children, to be held in Sydney in May. As well as a representative from Defeat Autism Now!, the keynote speakers are David and Mark Geier. Now, EoR doesn't know about the status of that particular event, but it seems most of the other seminars running beforehand are eligible for RACGP QA&CPD points for General Practitioners. For overseas readers, that means ongoing training points for family doctors can be gained by attending these sessions.

EoR wonders how long it will be before the evidence based treatments are thrown out and he walks into the surgery to undergo chelation for his ills, goes away with a homeopathic prescription, and all parents are regularly informed to avoid vaccinating their children to avoid the evil Autism Plague?

Monday, December 11, 2006

Put On A Happy Face

Via the West Australian newspaper of Saturday December 9 2006 comes this news item:

The Australian Medical Association's leading psychiatrist has warned about the dangers of a new line of cosmetics that claim to have antidepressant properties. The Smiley range by Kit Cosmetics includes perfume, shower gel, body lotion and deodorant that claim to contain two naturally occurring chemicals, theobromine and phenylethylamine, which set off feelings of excitement and euphoria and decrease stress levels. Prices range from $39 for the deodorant to $110 for a Smiley first aid kit, which contains two "therapeutic pills", perfume and other products. [...] Despite the maker claiming Smiley "offers the world's first antidepressant perfume and grooming products", Kit Cosmetics marketing manager Sophie Hopkins said the range was not aimed at people with depression. Smiley is the perfect pick-me-up to help kick-start the day," Miss Hopkins said. "Although not a cure for depression the Smiley products are the ultimate beauty treat to help lift your spirits after the rush and adrenalin of the festive season has passed."

The Kit Cosmetics website has minimal information on the product, only describing it as "psycho-tonic perfume", whatever that might be.

EoR visited the AMA website as well, but couldn't find a press release, so it might be an unofficial statement from the psychiatrist.

So, if you want to pay a huge amount of money for an "antidepressant" product that is not meant to treat depression, feel free (as long as you keep taking the regular medication or counselling).

Sunday, December 10, 2006

No Jokes About Holes In The Head. Honestly.

Supporters of altiedom often accuse skeptics of being "close minded", demanding an "open mind" as a prerequisite to accepting their beliefs. Others might argue that alties' minds are so open their brains are falling out. Yet other alties might argue that this is a good thing and set up a clinic in Mexico to turn all true believers into brainless zombies.

A long time supporter of trepanning, EoR has always believed that those who accept Deepak Chopra's world-that-does-not-exist-in-reality, the delusional chats of Anthony Grzelka with spirits, and the spoonbending of Uri Geller, should flock in droves to the trepanning clinic.

As the trepanation diagram makes clear, the scientific basis of this therapy goes something like this: the brain contains two fluids - blood and water (cerobrospinal fluid, but immediately forget this term and just think of it as water only). Blood supplies the brain with energy, water does not. When the skull sutures seal "the brain can no longer pulsate on the heartbeat". Therefore: "the arteries and capillaries can no longer expand" with each heartbeat. Therefore: "a certain amount of blood falls from the brain". Therefore: "the energy and spontaneity associated with youth diminish". Drilling a hole in the head allows this pulsation to return to normal and "a significant amount of energy, lost with adulthood, returns".

Without going into the real dynamics of sustaining pressure and avoiding gravity to maintain a blood flow to the brain, EoR can already feel a rush of blood to the head. Never mind that this leaves Crainiosacral Therapy in the dark, since that particular woo argues that the skull sutures remain able to be manipulated by those with the special touch to "rebalance" the body (and postulates a completely different "pulse" to the heartbeat), but this whole argument is, appropriately enough, full of holes.

Peter Halvorson is the man with the vision to see the whole world trepanned to increase our mental capabilites, and realise the potential of the "Mechanism of Brainbloodvolume, which describes the esoteric practices of world religions in scientific vocabulary". Like all good woos, he has established the theory, the mechanism, and the practise, and now, finally, starts to look for the "scientific proof".

The scientific investigation has now begun. ITAG provided the technologically superior Codman cranial perforator, manufactured by Johnson & Johnson, to be used there. The surgeon is highly qualified and internationally recognized.

Unfortunately, the amazing, incredible, drilling marvel of a surgeon is also irredeemably anonymous and, according to the Professional Experience & Qualifications of Doctors page, also invisible and undocumented.

On the positive side, there's a nice page of trepanning techniques and instruments.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Always Employ A Lawyer

This Australian High Court record was linked to recently in a post at Bad Science, but it really deserves much wider dissemination.

Okay, I might point out that the High Court of Australia, the legal system and I are victims of a mythological peer review organisation that does not exist and is staffed by volunteer workers of which there are none. So I am responsible for more than just proving there is another set of dividing and multiplying by zero and that it is incorrect. I have also proven in 1993 that Einstein's.....relativity is law. Now, all this data is related to, directly and indirectly related to, fusing of hydrogen which is..... I proved that the speed of light is alterable and controllable.

And that's just the beginning of this man's rant about Tesla and "superior science", fusion and the death of peer review, being warned off university grounds and proof that the universe doesn't exist, and so much more. All this by a self taught scientist who seems to embody everything altie. Quite truthfully, he can claim to be the "world authority" on his own invention of "superior science".

Strangely, this whole deranged argument is in support of an electoral petition challenging the results of an election.

It should also be noted that, regardless of this man's claims of 1200 year old conspiracies against him, he was given his right to bring a case to the High Court of Australia, make his statement of claims, and have that case dismissed (and have the record publicly available).

Friday, December 08, 2006

Other Places

Some links of interest:

Psychic Investigators 2

Bullshit bagLast night's episode of this stunning revelatory documentary real science series was even less convincing than last week's episode.

The police solved the murder through fingerprints, DNA, police records and family statements. If the psychic had not existed the crime would have been solved with exactly the same steps. She contributed nothing to the investigation.

There were some really poor guesses. The psychic told the policeman he was investigating an old case. He said "No". She said "Yes", he was. And then, only two months later he was given an old case by his boss to investigate. How incredible. It seemed he'd been sitting around for two months doing absolutely nothing until that very moment.

The psychic also "saw" the Brooklyn Bridge. EoR's US geography is a bit hazy, but he imagines that a lot of people travel across the Brooklyn Bridge.

The psychic also "saw" that the murderer was a serial killer. No evidence was raised by the police at any time to support this suggestion (not even a group of unsolved murders which, EoR presumes, would be a good start) yet the program concluded with a worrying suggestion: just how many people had this man killed? Well, as far as we know (via science and investigation): one.

The psychic further explained that psychics don't "solve" crimes, they only "assist". So what is their use? Why are they playing games? Why can they see things like "the killer's shoulder" but not his name? Could it be something as simple as the fact that they are "seeing" nothing at all? That they are not "assisting" but, in fact, wasting time, raising false hopes, and being paid money for nothing?

Psychic Investigators' usurping of the science slot on ABC TV seems to be a less than popular move. Here are some comments:

Robyn Williams (eminence grise of science broadcasting in Australia):

Polluting the Catalyst timeslot [...] Ten excruciating weeks to go...

Larissa Dubecki:

rubbish [...] entirely unconvincing

Sacha Molitorisz:

sensationalist drivel

Leigh Dayton (ABC science broadcaster):

I want to kick the ABC [...] A bunch of hocus pocus. It's completely erroneous. It's totally unacceptable.

The Mystery Investigators have their own page debunking the series, including a spooky response from the ABC claiming the series is "factual". Yes, and so is Harry Potter (that other well known documentary series).

Q: What do you call a psychic who solves a crime?
A: A suspect.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Woo World Self Treater

EoR has been hard at work in the basement bolting together all the misshapen pieces of alternative woo, creating the Woo World Self Treater which brings the finest and latest alternative therapies to one location and enables you to deal with your health concerns without the oppressive Big Pharma run Western Medical Establishment trying to kill you.

Due to boring technical issues about formatting and coding, the Self Treater has been posted to its own blogger address, but you can leave any comments about it here.

Update: It has come to EoR's notice that the angels who do all the behind the scenes work for the Woo World Self Treater do not like Firefox. The magic elves who do all the technical stuff have had their auras spanked, and are working on the problem without any supper. The WWST continues to function in Opera, IE and Konquerer (and possibly other non-Mozilla browsers).

Update 2: Heads have rolled (and been treated homeopathically). The Woo World Self Treater should now function correctly (if all the astrological alignments are correct).

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Autism Surfing

Surfing as a way of bringing children out of their autistic shell.

Unlike the Dore Program, it's not claimed as a cure-all.

For some kids it's a one-shot day at the beach; for others, the beginning of a long-term connection to the ocean and its liberating charms.

Unlike the Dore Program, it's not "scientifically proven", though there are various ideas ranging from the physical to the mental.

Though the notion of surfing as therapy for autism is so novel that no one has studied it, a number of eminent neuroscientists I talk with later are willing to venture a guess as to why it might work. 'We know that motor-skill learning has a broad-ranging impact on the nervous system,' says William Greenough, an expert on brain development at the Beckman Institute at the University of Illinois, where studies of Fragile X are conducted. 'There's increased blood flow to crucial neurons, and the reshaping of abnormal structures in the front brain. But beyond that, surfing may be a vehicle to an emotional breakthrough, a way of reaching under the mask and perhaps connecting to kids like these.' Peter Vanderklish, a neurobiologist at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, who works on the synaptic mechanisms of learning, offers a slightly more personal take. 'I've been surfing for close to 30 years, and my sense is that the sky-and-sea beauty of the sport turns the focus of these kids inside out. They're pulled out of themselves by having to live in the moment, and all their anxieties are pushed aside,' he says.

Unlike the Dore Program which virtually demands a blank cheque, the surfing teacher described in this article does it for free.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Take Some Woo. Mix Thoroughly. Sell.

EoR has discovered AcuEnergetics, the wooist's woo. It's like every altie idea about the body and health has been mixed up together to make some strange new synthesis of ultimate woo, and it makes EoR proud how well Australia is progressing at developing new and weirder woos.

AcuEnergetics® non invasive healing technique allows practitioners to accurately treat clients by opening their energetic channels and removing blockages, allowing the body to heal itself. These blockages can be held in the meridians, strange flows, chakras, pranic fields or canals that link the meridians to the chakras. AcuEnergetics® students train to be able to feel and balance these energetic streams.

While EoR doesn't know what "strange flows" are (but he has a terrible fear it might be related to "strange attractors") he is delighted to learn that all the magical energy flows of different philosophies (meridians, chakras, prana) are all linked by "canals". EoR wonders what these canals are? Are they like Lowell's Martian canals? Do they have as much substance and evidentiary support?

This is a powerful healing modality (that's like a woo cliche of course, since all woo is a powerful healing modality according to the advertising - in fact, EoR suspects that it's mandatory to make such claims before you're accepted by the woo community):

Many of these successful treatments have left doctors, physios, acupuncturists and chiropractors baffled.

Look! It baffles real medicos as well as fake ones. Though they're probably just shaking their heads, saying "I'm baffled how someone could believe all this".

If you feel like having your brain melted, there are various illogical rants on the site, such as this one:

To simplify matters even further, in the 16th century we gave God and other troublesome concepts like witches and miracle healings to the church, and opted for a Skinnerian world that was highly determined by the principle of wysiwyg or "what you see is what you get".

Ah yes, B F Skinner, that famous 16th century behaviourist... And EoR remembers with some fondness those early handcarved pedal-driven 16th century word processors... Bypassing some quantum woo, we come to:

Why aren't meridians in the standard physiology and anatomy standard texts? This is perhaps our most blatant use of the "not made here" syndrome. 4,000 years of oriental medical research appears to mean little compared to the fact that it doesn't fit in with the western approach.

No, it doesn't fit in with the fact that there's no evidence for it. None. Zero. Nada. Apart from in fiction.

When utilising such powerful, all-reaching therapies, it's always important that you pay attention to Energetic Protection.

There is a common point of view that when you work with energy you need to protect yourself from picking up the out of balance vibrations from the client. These are either emotional or mental energies that you are clearing away from the clients field or a particular vibration of illness such as a sore hip or headache that the client has and that you move for the client, only to pick up yourself. There is no doubt that this hap-pens - only why it happens and how to prevent it. The usual prevention strategy is to build an energy wall/sphere around yourself - such as a wall of gold or white light. (Please note that the the construction of spheres has the same problems as a wall.) The idea is that the bad vibrations can't penetrate the wall. In fact the wall idea is something that contributes to the problem.

Unfortunately, Mr Farrow doesn't really explain the wall building problems. Is it the trouble getting a tradesman out? Mixing the cement correctly? Or some strange attack on the quantum-vibrational plane by the FSM?

Be hollow like the proverbial flute and you will never pick up anything except the sounds of your inner harmony.

Have a completely empty head, and you will never be troubled by the annoying sounds of the logic bell ringing loudly.

Strangely, after spending so much time telling us that Western medical science is a failure, and doesn't take into account all these magical healing energies, Mr Farrow admits shamefacedly

If you are attending for a chronic health problem, it is advised that you understand what this is before you come. If you turned up with intestinal pains which you have had for a month and for which you have not sought a western medical diagnosis, the AcuEnergetics practitioner will send you to a doctor tests. While we work specifically with the energetic field, channels and chakras of the body, we do not underestimate the value of western diagnosis.

Of course not. The Western science is for the cure, the AcuEnergetics is for the cash flow.

And finally: you might also wonder why the man who has this immense amount of knowledge and power in the esoteric healing arts feels it necessary to also sell cosmetics from AcuEnergetics HQ and his book on skin care.

Monday, December 04, 2006

More Middling Science

You can't make this sort of stuff up. EoR presents without comment some of the response by Dr Clare Middle BVMS CVA Dip Hom (in the December 2006 issue of Nova) in reply to a reader's query about her pet pooch having allergies in response to the reader's daughter's "genetic disease" (unspecified) and the reader's concern that "I'm wondering if Marlee [the dog] is going out in sympathy with my girl?" Dr Middle, recall, is the vet who believes humans and animals have the same illnesses.

If we suspect certain plants are causing the allergy, I get the owners to bring in any they can think of, plus cleaning agents, the pet's food, owner's cosmetics and so on and I find out which are allergens using kinesiology. If there are many allergens, it means we need to keep on with the treatment to strengthen the immune system. If there are very few, I can reduce the dog's allergic reaction using kinesiology. This is similar to a veterinary dermatologist doing allergy testing and desensitisation injections, except the kinesiology generally picks up more individual allergens in the dog's home, and can show an emotional issue that may be associated with the allergen. For example, if Marlee is worried about your daughter, she may develop allergies to the smell of your daughter's clothes or cosmetics. Then we clear both physical allergen and the associated sentence. This will then give me the emotional theme which helps to prescribe the correct homeopathic remedy for her, which is the most important part of the treatment.

Dr Middle's conclusion:

This approach can often help make a bit more sense of the situation.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Guest Blogger

Today's guest blogger is Stevie Smith.

from How Do You See?

I do not think we shall be able to bear much longer the dishonesty
Of clinging for comfort to beliefs we do not believe in,
For comfort, and to be comfortably free of the fear
Of diminishing good, as if truth were a convenience.
I think if we do not learn quickly, and learn to teach children,
To be good without enchantment, without the help
Of beautiful painted fairy stories pretending to be true,
Then I think it will be too much for us, the dishonesty,
And, armed as we are now, we shall kill everybody,
It will be too much for us, we shall kill everybody.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Psychic Investigators

Well, EoR watched the first episode of this scientific show (it wasn't the episode EoR mentioned previously, but it seems that might be a forthcoming one).

There are a number of problems with the show, not least being that it's all a recreation or reenactment (though not labelled as such) and, even assuming the psychics are telling the truth about what they "saw" (which is not proven), they're only going to be mentioning the hits and not the misses. As Cineflix says:

These spellbinding [sic!] stories, interwoven with suspense, intrigue, and twists and turns, feature stylized dramatic reconstructions.

The episode detailed the disappearance of Jason Williams in Wales. After a lack of news his wife consulted psychic Sue Evans (or Psychic Sue as she prefers to be known). Though stating she could "feel" if someone had passed over, her initial consultation with Mrs Williams via the tarot cards only told her she was suffering from a trauma and stress (on her site she seems to tell almost everyone they're suffering stress - a likely scenario if they're driven to consulting psychics). Ms Evans knew the reason for Mrs Williams' visit and could have told her this without the stage props. In fact, anyone could have told her this. Ms Evans apparently couldn't tell that Mr Williams was dead though.

At a subsequent visit Ms Evans called in her sister (who is the remote viewing specialist) and described Mr Williams' murder by a "younger man" while an "older man" watched. Names! Dates! Places! Give us specifics!

Despite repeated pleas from Mrs Williams, the police refused to utilise the incredible services of Ms Evans. In fact, the crime was solved through doorknocking, confessions and DNA evidence, and convictions obtained, entirely without psychic evidence or input.

Calling in a third psychic (it was like a scene from Macbeth or maybe a psychic version of International Rescue) the ESP SWAT team fondled what was presumably an item of the dead man's clothing. With the increased ethereal energy Ms Evans "saw" a broken tree branch, and three celtic crosses. She said the body was near them. Again, no specifics. At this stage Mr Williams was dead, wrapped in bin bags and buried. Yet, if he could see those few details why couldn't he see others like where he'd been taken? Why couldn't he give specific directions?

Searching the Brecon Beacons Ms Evans and Mrs Williams discovered a churchyard with three celtic crosses together (though the camera failed to make clear whether there were only three crosses) but, alas, no body. Their search continues. Years later.

Ignoring for the moment that Ms Evans contributed absolutely nothing to the investigation there were two items where she appeared to spookily be in touch with the dead man.

The police discovered (non-psychically) where the body had been taken, though it was no longer there. Near there they found a broken tree root. Now, EoR isn't sure how many broken tree roots there are in the woods, though he's certain there's an awful lot of broken branches, which is what Ms Evans predicted. Yet, from now on the narrator referred to Ms Evans' accuracy in describing the broken root or, as it quickly became, the "broken tree". Call it a hit, call it a miss, call it a desperate clutching at something that might have come close to matching one of Ms Evans' guesses.

The other is her "vision" of Mr Williams' death as he was indeed killed by a young man (the partner of a woman he had been seeing) while an older man was in the room (though the two convicted people differ somewhat in the details).

While Mrs Williams was quite adamant about Ms Evans' accuracy (luckily, she never quite said "There was no way she could have known that!") as EoR has pointed out, this is a psychic claim post facto. What was really said at the time? What was said that Mrs Williams may be ignoring or forgetting because it wasn't accurate? How much is confused by trial evidence that she feels vindicated statements by Ms Evans? We are not told.

Mrs Williams is now campaigning for police to use psychics.

A psychic-free report of the incident.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Psychic Excuses

This interview with a psychic is a bit old (it's from 1998) but it's revealing about how psychics are always 100% correct and yet they can never be tested scientifically.

Psychic Scott Russell-Hill (who is pretty clear about his attitude to skeptics: "Tell them to get stuffed" - and the psychics complain about skeptics being "aggressive"!) has made many predictions. Predictions such as that rightwing politician Pauline Hanson is "in danger". Now, Ms Hanson had, due to the nature of her extreme views, received death threats. And "in danger" is a pretty vague prediction. In danger of what? Losing an election? Being assassinated? Stubbing her toe? In fact, "in danger" doesn't even require anything to happen for it to automatically be true. Though he apparently said some female with a knife would attack her (for which we're still waiting - but it could still happen).

Mr Russell-Hill's thesis is a simple one. If any predictions he made (or which appeared under his name) came true, then he made them and he was psychic. If any predictions he made (or which appeared under his name) did not come true or he failed to psychically see major events, then he did not make them (some subeditor just stuck his name on them for some bizarre reason).

What about predictions which he can't claim weren't really his in the first place, and yet which also don't come true?

(Paul Willis) And those things can be as different as predicting different winners in elections, that sort of thing?

(Scott Russell-Hill) Well that's right, and again it comes back to everyone's perception. Not all the time will you be right, you don't want them always to happen if there's something bad. You don't make predictions that are horrible in the hope that they happen. So hopefully the word gets around and the bad things don't happen, you hope only that the good stuff happens.

So if something doesn't come true (like Paul Keating winning an election which he didn't - a Russell-Hill dead cert though EoR acknowledges that many people saw that - non-psychically - as a "horrible" thing) it's because he's really truly psychic and he willed the horrible thing not to happen. Which, presumably, a true psychic would have seen, and reported correctly. But nonetheless, everything Mr Russell-Hill predicts is true. It's just that not all of it will actually happen.

This is like a query to the astrologer in the latest issue of Nova. A reader wonders why twins, born minutes apart (ie at virtually the same time, in the same location, and under the same astrological influences) can be so different. Our learned astrologer confidently informs us that these two people are expressing different aspects of their astrological doom. In which case, asks EoR, what is the use is astrology?

Scott Russell-Hill is "The World's Most Accurate Psychic", "Australia's leading authority on the paranormal" and "Australia's most renowned psychic". Though, as the Mystery Investigators point out, so is every other common or garden psychic. Though, strangely, Anthony Grzelka seems to be missing from the list.