The Lower Quote, As If You Didn't Know, Is By Richard Dawkins, Son.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I Get Mail

My recent rant on reiki drew a reply from a "professional writer" named "Hurricane25" who says he is taking a reiki course. I felt I should reply to some of his concerns, so here are some bits from his comment:
As a beginning Reiki student (I am taking Reiki II this weekend), I can definitely see the impact that this ancient healing art form has made in my life. And despite all the things you mentioned, there is just one thing to keep in mind when talking about Reiki--it clears your body and chakras of energy that may be impeding regular function.
Ok, I'll bite. Please show me where these supposed "chakras" are and how you know they're there. Also, when explaining, you are not allowed to say that "sensitive" people can detect chakras but no machine can; that makes no sense. I dealt with "energy" in my post - what are you talking about when you say "energy"? Heat? Chemical? Did you read my post?

A favorite claim of the woo woos followed:
The body can rid itself of toxins naturally, however energy blocks (stemming from diet, emotional trauma, stress, etc.) don't allow the body to do the job on its own. Once those blocks are cleared, your body and organs are supported and able to do what they do best.
You'll find only the rare piece of wooish literature that doesn't invoke the "toxin" monster. What, Mr. Hurricane, is a "toxin"? It is my understanding that the old maxim, the dose makes the poison holds true for pretty much every substance. Botulinum toxin is one of the most horrific molecules on the planet, but vain mofos inject that shit into their faces to look younger. It's all dependent on the dose. Now, "energy blocks" goes back to my previous point of, what the fuck are you talking about? Stress is not well understood, but that in no way means that you should start talking about silly "energy" pathways no one can see, feel, detect, or measure as the cause of illness.

And P.S., your organs don't get "blocked" - it's not like you need some sort of somatic Liquid Plumber to get your liver to keep workin'. If I may suggest, an intro physiology course would be money much better spent than what you are planning on attending.

Then we have the "I'm on your side, but you have to admit..." fallacy:
Western medicine has its place for sure, I am not aruguing (sic) that. However it can also introduce new toxins to the system that upset the delicate balance...and who wants to take medicine if they really don't have to?
Well of course "Western" medicine introduces "toxins". To have an effect, you have to potentially have side-effects and harmful effects. Hell, vaccinations are weakened or dead versions of the actual virus it's protecting you against. Try to pay attention!

For reiki to work you have to believe in it and as I've said before: if the efficacy of a treatment is dependent on the belief of the patient, the treatment is irrelevant. If I can convince you that wearing a midget's sock around your neck for a week will cure your cough, it probably will - if you actually buy my bullshit. Mr. Hurricane is trying to use the old argument that homeopaths used when the medicine of the day consisted of no-anesthetic, no antibacterial amputations and bloodletting; obviously giving people water was better for the ol' survival than that.

He then says that he used to be sick and now he has turned his life around by doing various things, reiki among them. Good. I'm glad that he's better, but the post hoc, ergo propter hoc fallacy is loud and clear. Just because you started doing reiki and then got better doesn't mean, in any way, that reiki made you better. You are confusing cause and effect, my friend.

Oh, the non sequiturs that leap forth from the computer screen! I share:
So although you may be skeptical, there is no denying that we are all made up of energy. The possibilities for how those energy particles interract (sic) or react in certain applications is still being explored on hundreds of levels. Remember, the microwave wasn't always a common household appliance!
Ok, I'll take these in order: A) yes, I'm skeptical. Very much so. B)I will certainly deny that we are "made of energy". I would, again, ask you to define what it is that you are talking about. C)How "energy" particles interact is, indeed being studied - if you're referring to subatomic particles and the like. I doubt very much that any of the real scientists involved in that work would recognize what the fuck you're talking about and they'd probably be wiping the tears from their eyes after laughing in fits for twenty minutes. D) I have no idea what you are talking about with respect to the microwave. The microwave is based on solid, repeatable, predictive science; what you're talking is gibberish that means nothing.

And finally, the last resort of the woo woo - personal testimony! Just try it and you'll see! All that matters is anecdotes!
So the only way to really know the truth is for you to get a Reiki session done. Read all the materials you want, but the proof is in how you feel once your session is over. Peace!
No, the "proof" is not "in how you feel once your session is over." Everyone repeat after me: the plural of anecdote is not evidence. The late, great Richard Feynman once said, "The first principle is not to fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool". The scientific method is designed to eliminate as much as possible the effect of experimenter bias which is ALL Mr. Hurricane is advocating. "Just try it and you'll know the truth" - no, I'll have a personal story that means nothing. When reiki is actually put to the test, it does not do well and the more well-designed the study, the worse the results for "energy". Not a good sign.

With that, I'll leave Mr. Hurricane25 to answer.

3 Barbaric Yawps:

At 29/11/07 12:01 AM, Blogger Jim Wright said...

Remember, the microwave wasn't always a common household appliance!

You know, I think that might just be my new favorite saying. The next time some Young Earth Creationist starts in with the whole 6000 year old earth and dinosaurs on the Ark and the rest of the religious woo woo that's going to be my response.

And what the fuck is an "energy particle" anyway?

At 29/11/07 10:57 AM, Anonymous DJT said...

"The body can rid itself of toxins naturally, however energy blocks (stemming from diet, emotional trauma, stress, etc.) don't allow the body to do the job on its own. Once those blocks are cleared, your body and organs are supported and able to do what they do best."

Notice the backout position "once those blocks are cleared". This is typical of woo claims and exactly what my instructor said. Blame the victim if the Reiki treatment fails - they still had some blockages (such as emotions), however, should the patient get better than Reiki is the reason, not the usual "tincture of time".

At 29/11/07 3:31 PM, Blogger Vamp DiVerL said...

Yeah, and green M&M's make me randy....but those sweet little candies can do some blocking too, KWIM?.


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