Welcome Back, Jackson

Well, Jacksonians. I’m back.

I was back a couple of weeks ago, actually – but I took a blagging break.

I’d meant to open the New Year (happy 2010, break out the rocket boots) and new decade with a rundown of our last meeting of the decade, but… something too delicious to pass up has come by.

Our local free paper, the Jackson Free Press has gone and printed an article about – reiki.

I made a polite reminder style comment in the online edition in the hopes that anyone who read it might realize that reiki is not for medical conditions (not evident from the article). However, it appears to be in moderation hell, which is hilarious given the sort of ignorant statements that get made on the site.

So for your reading pleasure: the JFP reiki article.

And my response (for the public consumption, not the dick-joke vulgarity that passes for blagging):

I do not doubt that Jankovitz did in fact feel “more awake and …calm” after her visit to a reiki practitioner. Of course there are many ways that can happen, most of them cheaper than sixty dollars an hour and without the dubious “healing energy” involved. One can go for a walk, relax and eat a bit of fruit, do some situps, have a good beer or a cup of tea – all of these things will provide quite the benefit – especially if you load them up with your own personal meanings and significance.

What is healing energy? It cannot be measured, nor detected. Bear in mind that even neutrinos, whose defining characteristic is their near-total lack of mass and reactivity, can be detected. Even if such an energy could be detected, what does it do? There is no phenomenon for “charging” the human body, no discernible method for storing any sort of energy – other than the food that you eat and the fat that you keep. We are not machines. We do not have batteries.

Reiki has time and time again been shown to be exactly as effective as a placebo and anyone with a real medical condition should not seek it out. Healing at a distance has never been shown to work – and repeatedly been shown not to work. If it did in fact work, the world we live in, full of sickness and death, would not reflect well on the motivations and actions of distant healers.

This “body-soul” piece comes in the same issue where the editor urges people to take responsibility for their own city and well-being – and not accept fantastic claims from other people who seek to save us. If you are seeking a more relaxed, fulfilled life, you can do that without shamans and gurus – you could make honest changes to your life, instead. You’ll save some money and you might learn something real about yourself along the way.

Patrick Jerome
Jackson Skeptical Society

Were it on the blog, I’m sure you can imagine how it might sound a little different.

Your daily ORAC reading: Anti-Vaxxers vs. Free Speech.

Amusing bit for the day: Philosophy Hand Signals. These will be in play at the next meeting.

And tying into the reiki bit: are placebo treatments ethical?

Catholics vs. Reiki. The JSS agrees with the Catholic church! (which agrees for all the wrong reasons).

Ah well. I’ll talk about the meeting to everyone who wasn’t there, soon enough.

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4 responses to “Welcome Back, Jackson

  1. jacksonskepticalsociety

    Well, looks like the comments were just coming in slow over at the JFP maybe the moderator took a weekend off. The comment is up now and predictably, knickers are in bunches.

  2. welcome back. lol! you take christmas off and you call yourself an athiest. good job there chief

    but seriously thanks for speaking truth to swami worshiping homeopath crackpots. people are such lemmings…….. first of all they have no idea how science works. prove it exists and well go from there. even then if they actually attempt the scientific method they would see all this for what it really is superstition like ancestor worship. bloodletting and autourine therapy……. where are the clinical trials for that? yeah lol thats what i thought. get some university backed evidence behind it and ill reconsider. good luck proving the existence of something that doesnt exist. youd think something amazing like healing yourself with psychic powers or drinking your own urine modern medicine would be all over that but the fact it is never holds up to scrutiny because it is the stuff of fantasy not to mention the ramifications of which are truly ridiculous. for that reason alone it cant be true just think of the consequences. people are dumb enough as it is and self medication is the worst kind. seems like someones been watching too much star wars……..

    i disagree with something you said though. people are machines. we require tangible things like nutrition and oxygen and hydration to keep operating but this notion of mystic energy fields is at best absurdity and tragic at worst when people try it for themselves. and claims of the effects of emf on the human body and how it interacts with the nervous system are used to explain the unexplainable and ridiculous for those who know nothing about it. yeah lets talk about ethics. these people are a danger to themselves and a danger to society and must be combated at every turn. their ignorance is criminal. what about the granola eating hippies who wind up killing their 1 year old with honey because they want to go on an all natural diet. they can argue free speech all they want but they actually dont have free speech they have responsible speech abuse your privileges and they get taken away. either we punish them for their ineptitude or they punish us. if this were a truly rational society these people would be contained in tiny padded rooms. these people are mentally defective. this is why john holdren talks about sterilization in ecoscience and its a proven fact that since abortion has been legalized crime is actually lower in key demographics than was predicted in the 70s……. put them out of our misery. this delusional thinking is rampant. thanks for doing your part in being a witness to reason and pissing off some petty ignorant fools. like you said about cranks the world turns but they dont. they need to be shut up for good and its up to us to do that

  3. jacksonskepticalsociety

    I’ll take off whatever days I can get.

    I respectfully disagree with you on the idea that psuedoscientific people are somehow “defective.” We humans have a serious innate ability and desire to create patterns, sometimes where there are no patterns. For most of human history, the cost of identifying a pattern that was not there was significantly less than the cost of failing to identify a pattern that did exist.

    Persecution is not the solution. Relentlessly educating and, yes, making fun of people, is a much more productive step. No matter how wrong you are, you have the protection of free speech in America, I think we would do well to remember that – who is to say one day someone might want to throw people in jail for claiming reiki ISN’T real.

    I recall the exchange in A Man For All Seasons between William Roper and Sir Thomas More:

    Roper: So now you’d give the Devil benefit of law.

    More: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

    Roper: I’d cut down every law in England to do that.

    More: Oh? And when the law was down – and the Devil turned round on you – where would you hide? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake.

    I’m not for shutting anyone up. Let them talk, and other people oppose them, or no one will remember how to defend what they stand for any longer.

  4. you are misconstruing what i said in the worst way. go back and read it again. im not being militant and i didnt say anything about persecuting anyone. youre reading some latent freudian fantasy into what i said.

    first of all your little scenario about giving reiki the benefit of the law is ridiculous. in the dark ages it might have been possible but now humanity knows better especially in the west after suffering through the tyranny of the crusades the inquisition and several dynasties of popes. we are better educated in that we are actually literate. we have the internet and a strong scholastic and scientific understanding of the natural world which we just didnt have. knowledge is readily available to those who desire it. and if you could prove reiki or homeopathy or other such nonsense in a court of law that would be a threat but you cant. like you said there is no evidence for it. because there isnt. therefore your hypothetical remains just that. its never going to happen.

    and what is an atheist doing citing something referencing the devil? and how is this logic? really now.

    what is more likely is a mass of people going undiagnosed as schizophrenic or delusional or retarded or schizotypal personalty disorder or a host of other mental problems legitimate disorders and must be treated appropriately. there is a reason why diseases like autism are on the rise were getting better at it and the distinctions are becoming obvious. like you said let someone talk long enough and they will quit making sense. honestly how many of these people have you been able to reason with? as a skeptic i am constantly met with fanatical opposition. the staunch resistance to the simple truth you pointed out that there is no evidence for reiki posited in the comments on the article proves my point. i agree reeducation and humor is critical but sometimes the desired result is just not possible. lets be honest some of these people are lost causes and im sure you can think of some right now.

    and you say youre not for taking away peoples rights and that i propose something horrible and extreme again misconstruing what i said……. but this is the foundation of our legal system which you must not agree with. the reality of our society is you enjoy certain rights so long as you dont abuse them. once you abuse them like murdering your own 1 year old child because you think feeding it honey is good for it you get your rights taken away. are you saying the law is unjustified here?

    lets face the facts. its not that people have a desire to make sense of things is wrong but its that they do it and do it poorly. they are mentally ill or inept hence my defective remark and they are a hindrance to progress and a danger to the environment and their fellow humans even their own children and something must be done about them. the general public is unable to come to act on even the most obvious problems such as climate change and overpopulation and other environmental issues. with so much at stake more proactive measures arent uncalled for.

    by shutting people up what are you talking about? im talking about the silence that happens when an irrational moron has run out of ammunition. again i think youre reading your own fantasy into what im saying.

    i apologize if my ideas are unpopular or misconstrued but often so is the truth.

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