Sometimes I just have to keep my mouth shut
Posted: 26 February 2010 05:47 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Rant on.

One of my friends has been hospitalized for two weeks. I’d have to go back through a bunch of e-mails to list everything wrong with him, but the next on the doctors’ agenda is spinal surgery, after the antibiotics kick the infection my friend has in four vertebrae. Another friend just sent an appeal for $65 for special herbs so John of God can perform remote surrogate surgery. My friend will, of course, stay in the American hospital and has consented to modern medical practices, but he believes he cannot get through this without some charlatan in Brazil performing useless magic incantations. To top it off, another acquaintance (I will not call her a friend) is in Brazil studying with John of God and is arranging this for this quack to take someone’s money.

My wife has counseled me to not hit Reply All and tell several dozen of our friends that they are completely bonkers. I am going to take that advice, but if anyone brings it up at a party I will not remain silent.

Rant off.

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Posted: 26 February 2010 08:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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How Frustrating!! Ignorance way beyond stupid. I hate to have that feelings of helplessness when others do things like that! The money would be much better spent helping the family at home while your friend is in the hospital, or at home recovering.

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Posted: 27 February 2010 05:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I would not be able to keep quiet on that. I would reply with links to articles on people who’ve been scammed by the guy, as well as obvious reasons why prayer healing useless. Then I would suggest donating $65 to your friend’s HOSPITAL fund (for co-pays, and other incidental costs, etc.) instead of a scam artist. I would word it in the nicest possible way so that they continue reading the whole email and don’t hit delete. I’d use a tone of concern rather than a tone of “You guys are all idiots!” no matter how much I wanted to.  smile

Of course that is just me. You might want to listen to your wife on this one.  wink

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Posted: 27 February 2010 06:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Jules, I’m afraid that would not do any good. My friend wants John of God to perform this BS surgery from halfway around the world. Also, these are people I met at the Kerrville Folk Festival over the years and they have been into woo as long as I have known them. Not everyone I know from music festivals is into woo, but this particular subset of the Kerrville crowd is into it deeply. It does not matter that none of their dire predictions has come true over the years, they just blithely move on to the next bit of BS and ignore reality. Of course they consider me a bit close-minded for not following their path. The most distressing part of it is, as my wife pointed out, after the surgeons are finished and our friend gets better the woo crowd will give John of God credit for his recovery. If the worst happens the surgeons and western medicine will get the blame.

This is one reason I decided to quit going to the Kerrville Folk Festival and attend the Texas Star Party instead. I’d rather hang out with educated people.

[ Edited: 27 February 2010 06:51 AM by DarronS ]
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Posted: 27 February 2010 10:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Sorry, Darron. Believe me, I know haw hard it is to see someone you care about make crazy medical decisions and not to challenge them. Unfortunately, I think you’re probably doing the right thing. Arguing with true believers never chanegs minds, but it does stress or ruin friendships. I think it’s fair to at leats register your concern that he is being taken advantage of due to his fear and need for a sense of control over his fate that conventional medicine doesn’t give him. Sometimes if you frame it strongly in terms of your concern for a friend, at least you can get a little of the message through without too much tension.

I find the same love of woo in the folk music and Renfaire crowds I sometimes hang out with, and it’s alays a struggle not to challenge particular examples of nonsense when they arise.

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Posted: 27 February 2010 10:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I do pick my battles as to who I’ll argue with.

If I see harm being done or someone being taken advantage of financially, I’ll try my best to explain why I feel that way and provide resources and answers.

Too the average Joe at a dinner party, I’ll just say “Gee, I don’t believe in that stuff. I’m really skeptical about that sort of thing.” and then change the subject. I will never pretend to agree for the sake of conversation, but sometimes I just don’t feel like getting into an argument.

Unless the person seems like they’d be open to having a nice discussion, then I’m glad to grab a cocktail and have a friendly debate! But if they seem like a close-minded jerk, I’m not going to waste my time and ruin my evening.

Next weekend I am going to a brunch/lunch with ladies who believe in a bunch of woo. Homeopathic medicines, psychics, you name it. It’s torture for me to listen to it, and I’m very outnumbered (out of 12 ladies there I’m the only one who does not believe in psychics or homeopathy). However, other than that, we have great fun and great conversations. I volunteer with them all, and they are all caring women who mean well. They do wonderful work. But when the conversation turns to woo I politely say “I don’t believe in any of that stuff. If they try to persuade me “But such and such was healed by it!” I just firmly say while smiling “No thank you, I just don’t believe in it, and I’m not interested in that subject…. So how is your little girl, she’s starting middle school next year?”

I used to try and have a friendly debate, but when I’m the only person there arguing for my side, and the rest are clucking like a bunch of chickens about woo-woo nonsense and I feel like I’m being pecked to death, it’s useless and frustrating. They won’t listen and all feed off each other, nodding in agreement when one says she lost weight by hypnosis or another says a chiropractor can cure disease. They don’t listen to word I’m saying. So I change the subject and it’s back to normal.

It was funny though, these women who all believe in woo-woo, were all mocking one guest who believed in numerology, that one number was somehow her destiny or special. I had a laugh of it too, but I later pointed out, “How is that different from believing in the pet psychic you phoned to locate your lost cat?” “Well that’s DIFFERENT!” was her answer.  LOL

[ Edited: 27 February 2010 10:43 AM by Jules ]
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Posted: 27 February 2010 10:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Jules - 27 February 2010 10:37 AM

Too the average Joe at a dinner party, I’ll just say “Gee, I don’t believe in that stuff. I’m really skeptical about that sort of thing.” and then change the subject. I will never pretend to agree for the sake of conversation, but sometimes I just don’t feel like getting into an argument.

Unless the person seems like they’d be open to having a nice discussion, then I’m glad to grab a cocktail and have a friendly debate! But if they seem like a close-minded jerk, I’m not going to waste my time and ruin my evening.

I think that’s a good policy for dinner or light conversation. If the other person is genuinely interested and wants to talk further, you can say more.

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Posted: 27 February 2010 11:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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DarronS - 26 February 2010 05:47 PM

Rant on.

One of my friends has been hospitalized for two weeks. I’d have to go back through a bunch of e-mails to list everything wrong with him, but the next on the doctors’ agenda is spinal surgery, after the antibiotics kick the infection my friend has in four vertebrae. Another friend just sent an appeal for $65 for special herbs so John of God can perform remote surrogate surgery. My friend will, of course, stay in the American hospital and has consented to modern medical practices, but he believes he cannot get through this without some charlatan in Brazil performing useless magic incantations. To top it off, another acquaintance (I will not call her a friend) is in Brazil studying with John of God and is arranging this for this quack to take someone’s money.

My wife has counseled me to not hit Reply All and tell several dozen of our friends that they are completely bonkers. I am going to take that advice, but if anyone brings it up at a party I will not remain silent.

Rant off.

I sympathise. It is difficult to cope with this kind of superstition. But you do the right thing in keeping shtum.  First of all from what you say he is getting the full and correct medical treatment. So this other stuff just gives him comfort - for whatever daft and irrational reasons. 
We must battle the ignorance that creates this irrationality - but we must equally respect individuals who have fallen victim to it. If they feel this is important to them then we must respect that right. Our battle must not be on the personal level with people who, as I said, are already infected beyond redemption. We must promote education, rational and critical thinking across the educational system and across the media.

Your wife is both right and wrong in this. For the reasons I have set out above I see no reason to vilify specific friends. But if the topic is general then you have a right and an obligation to stand up for what is right and rational.

I really hope your friend pulls through and makes a good recovery.

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Posted: 27 February 2010 01:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Thanks for the support.

A little background on my friend in the hospital. He used to be an engineer, but about 28-30 years ago walked away from his carer to be a massage therapist and fancied himself a healer, so this psychic surgery crap is right up his alley. Eight years ago he had a seizure while at the Kerrville Folk Festival, went into cardiac arrest in the ambulance and the doctors revived him in ER. So for someone who died eighth years ago he is doing remarkably well.

A little background on my friends. They raised the $65 earlier today, receiving donations of $5 here and $10 there. I noticed the people on the e-mail list who could write a $65 check without noticing did not bother to reply. The people living paycheck to paycheck scraped together the $65.

These woo believers are mostly in their 40s and 50s, and it is too late to get through to them. I’ve been working on their children for a long time, though, and it is surprising how many reject their parents’ ridiculous beliefs. I’d like to think I played a part in that, but it could just be people’s natural tendency to rebel that made their kids turn out OK.

[ Edited: 27 February 2010 02:46 PM by DarronS ]
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Posted: 27 February 2010 02:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Ah he’s a massage therapist - that explains a lot.  smile

Where there is massage there is reikki energy healing, reflexology foot healing and all such. It’s hard to find a massage therapist who is not full of woo. Damnedest thing, as I love nothing better than a good strong massage but don’t like the woo.

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Posted: 03 March 2010 05:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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The woo keeps piling deeper. This is from the latest e-mail.

Place a bottle of water by your bed and pray to St. Ignatius…the patron saint of the Casa (or God) to bless the water. Then drink a capful of the water three times a day, asking John of God’s healing spirits to bless it for your healing, until your herbs arrive and you can begin taking them. If you drink all that bottle full, repeat the process until your herbs arrive.

After your surrogate surgery, you need to rest quietly and may need to stay in bed from one to several days, depending on how you feel. Rest for at least 24 hours, if possible.

The seventh night following the surgery you will have a revision by healing entities. If you had surgery on a Thursday, that is your first night, so your revision will take place the following WEDNESDAY NIGHT. Wear white or light colors to sleep that night. During that night, many people hear noises. If you wake up keep your eyes closed. There are good entities there to work on you and they cannot do so with your eyes open.

Before going to bed, place a glass of water at the bedside, give thanks to the healing spirits and ask them to come and remove any internal stitches during the night..

When you wake in the morning drink the water, and express gratitude to them once again. Eat lightly for 24 hours and drink LOTS of water.

I find it more and more difficult to keep my mouth shut. Fortunately I went to dinner with another friend from the same crowd. He has also known these people for 25 years, and his advice is to let them go about their weirdness. They aren’t doing any harm, and our hospitalized friend doubtless is playing this for all the attention and sympathy he can sponge off them.

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Posted: 03 March 2010 07:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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FWIW the true criminals here are the people peddling the woo. The brother of a friend of our family was dying of cancer many years ago, and apparently they sold his small company in order to afford a massive trip to Lourdes ... needless to say, the unfortunate man died of his illness, sans a lot of money bilked out of him by church quacks.

I feel sorry for the guy, but in the final analysis the problem wasn’t so much his as that of the industry around Lourdes that took his money.

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Posted: 04 March 2010 12:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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I went to my cardiologist for my periodic check-up this morning.  His office mate had recently retired and a new doctor moved in.  I had heard that the new one had been dequalified from two of the local hospitals, and I’m sure my own doctor wasn’t too happy about having this guy in his office suite.  However, I noticed today that his name had been replaced by two new doctors.  I asked the appointment clerk if he was still local or had left the area.  She said, “Oh, he moved to Texas.”  Sorry about that DarronS, but i guess he figured there were enough dinosaur believers there for him to get clients.  LOL

Occam

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Posted: 04 March 2010 09:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Posted: 04 March 2010 09:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Occam - 04 March 2010 12:40 AM

I went to my cardiologist for my periodic check-up this morning.  His office mate had recently retired and a new doctor moved in.  I had heard that the new one had been dequalified from two of the local hospitals, and I’m sure my own doctor wasn’t too happy about having this guy in his office suite.  However, I noticed today that his name had been replaced by two new doctors.  I asked the appointment clerk if he was still local or had left the area.  She said, “Oh, he moved to Texas.”  Sorry about that DarronS, but i guess he figured there were enough dinosaur believers there for him to get clients.  LOL

Occam

Here I was all happy that we finally got Don McLeroy off the State Board of Education and now we get another witch doctor in the state. Thanks a lot.

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