Hey everyone. It╠s my first post here. Found you through some combination of Skepticality, Non-Prophets, PennRadio and Point of Inquiry podcasts.
Forgive me if I╠m jumping in with both feet¸but this is big news. It╠s gonna be a long one.
From Penn╠s and PoI╠s podcasts:
Asked ¤how can/will the west and the world overcome the irrationalities of society?Ë (paraphrased), Sam Harris says ¤on many fronts¸but don╠t underestimate the power of embarrassment.Ë Cites mention in Freakonomics of Superman vs The Klan (black & white 50╠s TV show). Self-appointed sleeper agent infiltrates actual Klan, then reveals secrets and passwords to writers of Superman show.
They included the actual beliefs and phraseology as bad guy dialogue. Resultant ridicule helps reduce KKK from over a million members, incl several senators and a president (!? Not identified) to current estimate of 5,000 members and fringe group status.
Can you say ¤Southpark vs ScientologyË? I knew that you could.
That╠s my frame of reference for examining what impact these two TV episodes (and others like them) could have in helping to advance rationalism is western society.
[i:238a0b22d2][b:238a0b22d2]Law & Order: CI [/b:238a0b22d2][/i:238a0b22d2]took on Spiritual Healing. [i:238a0b22d2][b:238a0b22d2]Crossing Jordan [/b:238a0b22d2][/i:238a0b22d2]body slammed irrational faith (with some hot girl on girl action as a bonus).
[i:238a0b22d2][b:238a0b22d2]Law & Order: CI[/b:238a0b22d2][/i:238a0b22d2]
Old folks with cancer victimized by a supposed faith healer. In this case, a self-proclaimed voodoo healing woman was conning money out of the terminally ill. She used
-water laced with lithium carbonate (occurs in some ¤rejuvenatingË spring waters) to give them a feeling of wellness
-licorice root, which temporarily boosted their white cell count; empirical tests bore this out.
-Puffer fish (fugu?) poison to dispose of people who were a threat to her.
She ¤laid a curseË on the cop by ¤accidentallyË knocking a candle onto the floor. He picked it up, not realizing that it was coated with poison ivy extract. Some mumbo jumbo from her and, despite his disbelief, he starts to break out.
She had duped a male nurse who then ¤helped her in her healing missionË (ie became her accomplice).
And all this was debunked within the 1 hour show.
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And if that weren╠t enough for one evening¸
[i:238a0b22d2][b:238a0b22d2]Crossing Jordan[/b:238a0b22d2][/i:238a0b22d2] (rather ironic title) vs miraculous reanimation of the dead by ¤a living saintË. Touches on dire motives of the Church and concludes with the harm that belief can cause.
Not bad for 60 minutes minus commercials.
Body of a woman is discovered buried. A cop recognizes her and crosses himself. She╠s a member of his congregation. ¤A living saintË the cop says.
This and a few other comments prompt ¤oh boy, Flying Spaghetti Monster alert. But we╠ve gotta be diplomaticË type of glances between the Medical Examiners.
What╠s her miracle?
In February, a kid was hit by a van. Knocked 20╠. Supposedly dead at hospital. Woman prays over him. He ¤rises from the deadË.
He has the whole ¤I was approaching the lightË experience. And ¤she brought me back.Ë Later, he overhears one of the lab guys (the British fella) explaining it all to the M.E. Front of van was flat, so impact was distributed and, on frigid winter day, kid went into hypothermic suspension (???). Possible? Who knows. It╠s a plot device.
Kid is instantly disillusioned. His faith is trumped by science.
Prime suspect in the murder: a Catholic Postulator (investigator of saints and miracles). The investigators first meet him when he╠s apparently burgling the now-dead miracle worker╠s apartment.
Cop╠s gun aimed at shadowy figure rifling thru dresser. Hands up, he comes into the light (yeah, another pun; sorry). Surprise! He╠s got a dog collar on (priest╠s dickey or whatever it╠s called). Detective (another Catholic, btw) says ¤don╠t make me shoot a priest.Ë A moment later, the cleric starts to reach into his jacket.
Is he going for a gun? Oooh. Shoot ╬im. (Sorry, just my thoughts).
¤For my IDË. ID (Identification, not the newer usage) is a Vatican passport.
¤She was uncomfortable with [all the attention]. She wanted me to prove she was just a normal personË said the priest. ¤I don╠t think the proof was in her underwear drawerË says Jordan. Wow, they even managed to land a pervy priest shot.
Later, British guy from coroner╠s office postulates conspiracy. ¤Alive she╠s an embarrassment to the Church. Dead, she╠s an asset.Ë
One member of congregation, regarding the ¤saint╠sË corpse remarks ¤God sucksË.
Later, his daughter ends up in morgue. Terminally ill and died. Turns out, the dad believed that the ¤saintË could have saved his daughter but didn╠t. He happens to be in the church when priest and saint meet. (Drama thrives on coincidence.) Priest leaves and locks up. Oh, did I mention that it╠s a ¤locked churchË mystery?
Victim╠s dad emerges from the confessional. and confronts her. He throws her down, she hits her head, bleeds all over the place. Supposing her dead, he buries her. She wasn╠t dead so he buried her alive.
And all because he believed she had the power and wouldn╠t save his daughter.
And check out House on Tuesday. Patient is another supposed ¤living saintË. Ten bucks says House (ie science) saves the kid and disproves the saint crap.
Looks to me like someone at the network has grown a pair.
Rationalists musts be a demographic that╠s worth braving the wrath of the Moral Minority.
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WWXD? (What Would Xenu Do?)