Skepfeeds-The Best Skeptical blogs of the day

The New Snake Oil

Posted in Center for inquiry by Skepdude on March 4, 2009

An article in the Chicago Tribune (January 14, 2009) heralded “Doctors going alternative.” Written by Julie Deardorff, it affirmed that mainstream physicians are increasingly employing treatments like acupuncture—collectively what is called “holistic,” “complementary,” “alternative,” or “integrative” medicine.

The article quotes New Age physician Andrew Weil, whose gullibility once led him to believe Uri Geller could bend metal with “psychic” power. (See James Randi, The Truth About Uri Geller, 1975, pp. 61–86.) Weil told the Tribune, “The public has been on board for some time,” regarding integrative medicine. “The professionals are harder to win over.”


Bizarre secret cult ripping families apart

Posted in News by Skepdude on January 18, 2009

SPECIAL INVESTIGATION: WA families are being ripped apart by a self-styled cult leader whose followers believe they have repressed memories of rape.

About 20 people have become devotees of a New Age “healer”, Matthew Meinck, who owns a retreat property in Chittering Valley.

Meinck, an Australian-born former monk, believes that people retain in their bodies memories of abuse that can be retrieved during intense deep-tissue massage, regressive therapy and gruelling meditation sessions lasting up to two weeks.

The Sunday Times has interviewed eight people who were under the influence of Meinck from about 2003.

During long retreats at the property, they became convinced they had been sexually abused by parents, extended families, workmates and – eventually – each other.


Negative Energy Research

Posted in New Age, paranormal, Skeptico by Skepdude on August 22, 2008


Beware of skeptics – we wield amazing powers!

From last week’s Skeptics’ Circle and Hyphoid Logic I found this story from the St. Petersburg Times, reporting on our awesome ability to wield negative energy:

Virginia Levy walked into the library downtown to prove she was psychic. A group of doubters called the Tampa Bay Skeptics questioned the claims of people like her and had set up a challenge. Levy came to meet it. There sat a row of boxes. Could she guess which contained crystals? She was given seven chances. Seven times she failed. It wasn’t inability that did her in, she said recently, the bitterness still evident in her voice. It was the bespectacled host of the project, Gary Posner, an unbeliever who she said patronized her, creating an atmosphere filled with negative energy. She purposely chose the wrong box each time, she said, then left in a huff. [My bold.]

She also explained exactly how we do it:

“What they’re doing is using the laws of attraction,” Levy said. “They’re actually using the same powers that psychics use, except in reverse.”

Of course – we’re using The Secret. It all makes sense now.

There have been numerous claims by psychics and parapsychologists, that skeptics’ negative energy causes psi experiments to fail, but as far as I know, there has been no actual research on this subject.  This is an “anomaly” that I believe urgently needs rectifying.  So, I hereby propose a new avenue for psi research – testing skeptics’ ability to wield negative energy.

The Protocol

Here’s an idea of how it would work. We start with some standard psi tests – talking to the dead, remote viewing, Ganzfeld-type judging of target pictures (Zener cards are so 1950s), Rupert Sheldrake’s staring experiments – you name it. These tests are performed in a room in front of a one way mirror. Behind the mirror, either there is a skeptic watching the experiment or there isn’t, but double-blind controls insure none of the experimenters or subjects know which. The objective is to determine whether or not the skeptic’s presence (and therefore negative energy) influences the results of the experiment.

If the test is successful, we would move to Phase 2.  This could include answering the following additional questions:

  1. Does the skeptic still negatively influence the test if he is behind the mirror but not observing the test (he’s reading a book, say, or listening to his iPod)?
  2. Does the skeptic still negatively influence the test if he watches the experiment on a closed circuit TV on a different floor in the building?  What about is he’s across town?  Or in another city?  Does the effect stay constant regardless of the distance?
  3. What if the skeptic and his negative energy is shielded in some way – for example, inside a Faraday cage?
  4. Does the skeptic still negatively influence the test if he watches it later on a videotape? In other words, does watching the experiment on tape retroactively alter the success of the test?  (Some have claimed psi works this way.  Seriously.)
  5. What if two tests are made and taped, and only one is viewed at random by the skeptic? Will the experimenters able to predict which tape is randomly selected in the future based on the psychic’s test results in the present?
  6. If multiple psychics are performing the same test at the same time, will their combined psychic abilities overwhelm the skeptic’s negative energy?

All important questions and the answers could be groundbreaking. And if successful, it could be a legitimate way for skeptics to apply for Randi’s million, or at least receive some payment from psi researchers for taking part in their experiments.

Sheldrake, Schwartz – I’m available.