From time to time, a news article surfaces in which pseudoscience and the occult are responsible [yet again] for the death of an innocent person through "harmless alternative medicine" and the like. A famous example would be the young girl [Candace Newmaker] who was killed in 2001 in a session of "rebirthing therapy," a dangerous pseudoscience that runs on the dubious assumption that being psychologically "reborn" will "cure a child of behavor problems." FYI, the scientific community has condemned rebirthing therapy as "dangerous pseudoscience." The girl's death was more than a tragedy, it fulfilled the criteria of NEGLIGENT HOMICIDE!! The child's parents could find no solution to their little girl's behavior problems in legitimate medical science so they made the decision that would seal Candace's doom, they contacted pseudo-medical "therapists" that practiced rebirthing therapy in a desperate hope that it would cure their child. They were most likely unaware that rebirthing therapy is ineffective [as demonstrated in experiments using the scientific method that proved that it was as effective as a placebo - a placebo is a non-treatment that causes some alieviation of symptoms because the subject simply BELIEVES that they will be healed, yet these effects are usually only mild and temporary, if a treatment is no more effective than a placebo, then it is not a legitament medical practice]. The child was given standard rebirthing therapy. In otherwords her entire body was wrapped very tightly in a blanket while a 4 adults SAT on her!
Poor Candice REPEATEDLY screamed through her blanket prison that she couldn't breathe and pleaded and then begged to be let out. Not far into the therapy the 10 year old little girl began to emit hysterical shrieks, screaming that she was going to die. All the while she was being crushed by the four adults under a total weight of 673 lbs [305.9 kg]. Her desperate screams were interpreted by the "therapists" as normal behavior during rebirthing therapy.
The whole treatment lasted only seven minutes, yet by the end the end of this horrifying ritual, the girl was dead. The therapists didn't believe her cries that she was dying until finally Candace went silent. 30 minutes later interpreting the therapy as a sucess, the therapists unwrapped the girl. Only to find that she had vomited on herself and died of suffocation at some point during the "therapy."
The dangers of "New age medicine" the "Occult" and other popular pseudosciences are VERY REAL and if you engage in them, please know that you are RISKING YOUR LIFE!!!
Poor Candace. Victim of the horrors of pseudoscience. May your death serve as a lesson to others that science goes through peer review for a reason and that to reject science is to risk everything. May you rest in peace sweetheart.
I could give many more examples of tragic and preventable deaths through pseudoscience, but I will give only 1 more.
Reading through the March/ April 2010 issue of Skeptical Inquirer, I came across an article that was baffling, horrifying, and unbelievable at the same time. It was entitled "James Arthur Ray: New Age Guru and Sweat Lodge Culprit." Well... I had no idea what a "Sweat Lodge" was but the article detailed a scandal that looked quite interesting. So I searched the internet for further details.
Heaven knows WHAT inspired 60 people to pay Ray nearly $10,000 to spend a session in a crammed, superheated tent, but they did. And, typical of the insantiy of the "new age occult" the "sweat lodge treatment" didn't end until 3 people were dead and 17- 20 people had to be sent to the hospital.
I am anxiously awaiting to see if the multi-millionaire new age fraud will take responsibility for the harm he inflicted upon these people and their families. But, I don't have very high hopes. Given the fact that most "psychics" and "new age gurus" are cowardly and unaccredited scam artists, I seriously doubt he will take the blame, like he should. [Since according to the SI article, he guarded the door of the "Sweat Lodge" to make sure "no one got out until the treatment was over."]
For more information on this tragedy please consult this CBS article:
Monday, March 29, 2010
Friday, March 12, 2010
Okay. Skycomet is embarking on a quest she never was able to complete as a christian, reading the whole bible. Strangely, when reading the bible as a non-believer, i.e. without preconcieved notions about the book being holy, the stories become entirely different from how they are portrayed in church. During this quest, which will probably last for a year or more, I will occassionally post a story and comentary about it on my blog when a certain story strikes me as either absurd, scandalous [to the point of being worthy of coverage in trashy tabloids], horrifying, or wierd.
This is the first story. And after reading the story in it's entirity, I have come to the conclusion that it fits into the scandalous AND wierd categories. I can just imagine this story being on an episode of the Jerry Springer Show or on the cover of a trashy tabloid like "Globe" or "Star" or "The National Enquirer." O.o Since Christians would NEVER allow this story to be criticized in the mainstream media, I will do the honors here. Welcome to The Bible Revealed. Today's episode is entitled "Battle of the Babies" and features a scadalous marriage and breeding war in the book of Genesis that is TRULY worthy of a spot on the Jerry Springer show! Before I introduce our guests, I will go over the story briefly for those of you unfamiliar with it.
This is the story of a man with 2 wives who have way too many children to try and one up eachother.
First thing first... to introduce the guests to be on our show... I will read their histories from the bible.
Genesis 28: 1-2
"So Isaac called for Jacob, blessed him, and said, 'You must not marry any of these Canaanite women. Instead go at once to Paddan-aram, to the house of your grandfather Bethuel, and marry one of your uncle Laban's daughters." - Okay... first a comment on this... please not that Jacob is to marry one of his first cousins.... ewww.
Genesis 29:14 - 30
"After Jacob had stayed with Laban for about a month, Labain said to him, 'You shouldn't work for me without pay just because we are relatives. Tell me how much your wages should be.
Now Laban [Jacob's uncle] had two daughters. The older daughter was named Leah, and the younger one was Rachel. There was no sparkle in Leah's eyes, but Rachel had a beautiful figure and a lovely face. Since Jacob was in love with Rachel, he told her father, 'I'll work for you for seven years if you'll give me Rachel, your younger daughter, as my wife.'
'Agreed!' Laban replied. 'I'd rather give her to you than to anyone else. Stay and work with me.' So Jacob worked seven years to pay for Rachel. But his love for her was so strong that it seemed to him but a few days.
Finally the time came for him to marry her. 'I have fulfilled my agreement,' Jacob said to Laban. 'Now give me my wife so I can marry her.'
So Laban invited everyone in the neighborhood aand prepared a wedding feast. But that night, when it was dark, Laban took Leah to Jacob, and he slept with her. (Laban had given Leah a sevant, Zilpah, to be her maid.)
But when Jacob woke up in the morning - it was Leah! 'What have you done to me?' Jacob raged at Laban. 'I worked seven years for Rachel! Why have you tricked me?'
'It's not our custom here to marry off a younger daughter ahead of the first born,' Laban replied. 'But wait until the bridal week is over, then we'll give you Rachel too - provided you promise to work another seven years for me.'
So Jacob agreed to work seven more years. A week after Jacob married Leah, Laban gave him Rachel, too. (Laban gave Rachel a servant, Bilhah, to be her maid.) So Jacob slept with Rachel, too, and he loved her much more than Leah. He then stayed and worked for Laban the additional seven years."
Genesis 29: 31 - 35
"When the Lord saw that Leah was unloved, he enabled her to have children, but Rachel could not conceive. So Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben, for she said, 'The Lord has noticed my misery, and now my husband will love me.'
She soon became pregnant again and gave birth to another son. She named him Simeon for she said, 'The Lord heard that I was unloved and has given me another son.'
Then she became pregnant a third time and gave birth to another son. She named him Levi, for she said, 'Surely this time my husband will feel affection for me, since I have given him three sons.'
Once again Leah became pregnant and gave birth to another son. She named him Judah for she said, 'Now I will praise the Lord!' And then she stopped having children.
Genesis 30: 1 - 24
When Rachel saw that she wasn't having any children for Jacob, she became jealous of her sister. She pleaded with Jacob, 'Give me children, or I'll die!'
Then Jacob became furious with Rachel. 'Am I God?' he asked. 'He's the one who has kept you from having children!' Then Rachel Told him, 'Take my maid, Bihah, and sleep with her. She will bear children for me, and through her I can have a family too.' So Rachel gave her servant, Bilhah, to Jacob as a wife, and he slept with her. Bilhah became pregnant and presented him with a son. Rachel named him Dan, for she said, 'God has vindicated me! He has heard my request and given me a son.' Then Bilhah became pregnant again, and gave Jacob a second son. Rachel named him Naphtali, for she said, 'I have struggled hard with my sister, and I'm winning!'
Meanwhile, Leah realized that she wasn't getting pregnant anymore, so she took her servant, Zilpah, and gave her to Jacob as a wife. Soon Zilpah presented him with a son. Leah named him Gad, for she said, 'How fortunate I am!' Then Zipah gave Jacob a second son. And Leah named him Asher, for she said, 'What joy is mine! Now the other women will celebrate with me!'
... So that evening as Jacob was coming home from the fields, Leah went out to meet him. 'You must come and sleep with me tonight!' she said. ... So that night he slept with Leah. And God answered Leah's prayers. She became pregnant again and gave birth to a fifth son for Jacob. She named him Issachar, for she said, 'God has rewarded me for giving my servant to my husband as a wife.' Then Leah became pregnant again and gave birth to a sixth son for Jacob. She named him Zebulun, for she said, 'God has given me a good reward. Now my husband will treat me with respect, for I have given him six sons.' Later she gave birth to a daughter and named her Dinah.
Then God remembered Rachel's plight and answered her prayers by enabling her to have children. She became pregnant and gave birth to a son. 'God has removed my disgrace,' she said. And she named him Joseph, for she saqid, 'May the Lord add yet another son to my family.'"
Okay! And now on with our show!
Would all of you please give a warm welcome for our special guests tonight! Jacob and his first wife Leah, and their children Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, and Dinah! And Leah's servant Zilpah, and her children, Gad and Asher.
Let us also welcome Jacob's second wife, Rachel, and her son Joseph. And let us welcome Rachel's Servant, Bilhah and her children Dan and Naphtali!
So... without further or do!
Host: You seem to be getting a LOT of action in your marital life, eh?
Jacob: Ha! Ha! Well... I guess you could say that. But then again, it's only obvious because in my time there was no such thing as birth control.
Host: Well you certainly should be on the list for father of the year, Jacob! I mean you've got, what? 11 children?! That's pretty damn good for being in an incestious family!
Jacob: Well thanks.
Host: But, I have an important question for you Jacob.
Jacob: Sure. What?
Host: You said that you loved your wife Rachel but not your wife Leah. Is that right?
Jacob: Yes, that's right.
Host: If you didn't love your wife Leah, then why did you have more children [through single births mind you] with her, than with your other wife Rachel and both of your servant?
Jacob: Well... umm... you see...
Host: You must have gotten something out of your relationship with Leah, I mean you had to have had a TON of sex with that woman to have 7 children with her! Maybe the sex was good?
Jacob: Well, uh, Rachel was barren... and...
Host: Nevermind... it's clear that you're contradicting yourself.
Host: Now... Rachel.... you said that the reason you had only one child was because "God made you sterile for a long time as a punishment for Jacob only loving you?"
Rachel: That's right.
Host: I find that a little hard to believe Rachel. I think the more likely reason is that you have low fertility due to the epidemic of inbreeding in your family. Afterall inbreeding can do that to families. I mean... let's look at this. You're Great Uncle and your husband's grandfather, Abraham, married his sister! And then your uncle and your husband's father, Issac married his first cousin. And now your husband has followed in his fathers footsteps and married TWO of his first cousins! You AND your sister Leah! Which means, that all your children are both half-siblings and cousins at the same time. Don't you think that's kinda sick?
Rachel: Not really. My husband loves me. So what if he's my first cousin?
Host: And what about the fact that your husband has TWO wives! I thought that was illegal for moral and hygenic reasons!
Rachel: It's perfectly legal under God!
Host: Whatever! So, another question, why were you so jealous of your sister being a mother that you whored out your maid to your husband?
Rachel: I wanted to show my slut of a sister that I'm just as good as she is!
Leah: YOU TAKE THAT BACK, RACHEL! YOU BITCH!!
Rachel: YOU'RE A WHORE LEAH AND YOU KNOW IT!! YOU JUST CAN'T STOP HAVING SEX WITH JACOB!! YOU ALWAYS HAVE TO ONE UP ME!!
Leah: Rachel... you're a bitch who can't even produce more than one kid! You're a pre-pubescent bitch!
Rachel: ARGHHH!!! *Rachel and Leah get into a cat fight and Jacob, the servants, and the Host look nervous*
Host: Okay... that's all the time we have now! Thanks for tuning in and, goodnight!