Re: Recovering from New Age Mumbo Jumbo
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: October 17, 2010 05:58AM

Additional discussion


Corboy note: Castaneda studied at LA Community College back in the 1950s. Dianetics, the precursor to Scientology was getting started in LA right during that time.

The young CC was an omnivorous reader and bricoleur. It is worth wondering whether Hubbard and Dianetics provided a few bits of material that CC threw into his own brew.

Thetans, 'Flyers'--gotta wonder.

Re: Recovering from New Age Mumbo Jumbo
Posted by: Stoic ()
Date: October 17, 2010 08:14PM

The commenter # myotison on the Science Based Medecine blog makes the pertinent point:

'Authors like Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra and “don” Miguel Ruiz, author of the suprisingly successful book “The Four Agreements”, are some of the more famous individuals who have managed to take Castaneda’s ideas, repackage them, and sell them to an audience that is filled with fear and longing and desperate for some kind of solution.'

Desperate for a solution to what? To the fear and longing that they are filled with or desperate for a neat, inclusive and knowable/graspable explanation for the continuing uncertainties of living? (Those uncertainties might also contribute to the fear and longing.)

There is an interesting and revealing (of L Ron) interview online from Richard de Mille, author of 'Bare Faced Messiah' relating events from the early days of Dianetics when he was a writer for and helper of L Ron.


Re: Recovering from New Age Mumbo Jumbo
Posted by: Stoic ()
Date: October 17, 2010 09:26PM

For anyone struggling with the post-modern ideas cited in Science Based Medecine article:

'The other, postmodernism, was and is the intellectual and philosophical movement originating in academia that similarly views of reality(ies) as possibly multiple.'

they might enjoy Robert Anton Wilson's ( a sci-fi writer) lucid and humorous explanation of 'reality tunnels'



My favourite Wilson quote: "God is a ridiculously small human concept compared to the coherent intelligence of universe. Everything doesn't need to have a primate Alpha male in charge to be an intelligent system"

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/17/2010 09:38PM by Stoic.

Re: Recovering from New Age Mumbo Jumbo
Posted by: alyb45 ()
Date: October 17, 2010 11:44PM

the new age mumbo jumbo is exactly that. good point.

Re: Dangerous New Age Mumbo Jumbo
Posted by: alyb45 ()
Date: October 18, 2010 12:15AM

The Anticult

Another serious problem is that the basic New Age mumbo jumbo can act like a gateway drug.
You start out with the soft stuff, and can get lured into more hardcore stuff.

Completely agree Anticult. The new age starts with one book, one dvd nicely package and 'harmlessly' marketed. You start to get more and more into it, and before you know it it seems your critical thinking skills are so far gone that you can't separate fantasy from reality.

Because she seems to have no critical thinking ability, she has gotten deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole, where will it end?

Nice point- this is the scary thing. Where does it end? For me I realized I just couldn't function in society with this new age stuff. Essentially it wrapped around my mind all the time
and I found it hard to function in the "real" world around me. I was more involved in the fantasy world convince it was all that mattered. New age mind 'dumbing" techniques really help these cult leaders establish followings. I hope this forum helps a lot of people snap out of it before they fall more into the rabbbit hole.

Blind Belief is a very very dangerous thing. Perhaps the most dangerous thing on this planet.

Again, completely agree. Anyone trying to get you to "dumb" yourself down into a passive state of positive thoughts where you can't feel any other emotion to decipher right from wrong is very scary. A cult leader would love to take all of your critical thinking skills and convince you to believe in 'fantasy' not reality. All these new age 'gurus' are using this tactic to brainwash people. I'm grateful for science and evidence. This new age bs tries to get you to deny science and proof,....take the follower away from reality. that's their strategy.

Re: Recovering from New Age Mumbo Jumbo
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: October 19, 2010 12:48AM

Stoic quoted Robert Anton Wilson


My favourite Wilson quote: "God is a ridiculously small human concept compared to the coherent intelligence of universe. Everything doesn't need to have a primate Alpha male in charge to be an intelligent system"

We could put it another way;

We dont need to be in a Dominent Submissive (D/s) power imbalance to be spiritual or feel spiritual.

Years ago, I had a notion that the very worst kind of pornography is when pornography is when we use the language of spirituality to 1) rationalize an oppressive/exploitative power imabalance

and 2) Forbid anyone to think or feel about this oppressive and exploitative power imbalance consciously and then decide if we want to stay in it or get out.

One thing about the New Age/Spirituality scene is thinking consciously about power is considered dirty and wrong and 'unspiritual' and all this does is keep everyone trapped.

Re: Dangerous New Age Mumbo Jumbo
Posted by: Penelope ()
Date: October 19, 2010 01:38AM

"This new age bs tries to get you to deny science and proof,....take the follower away from reality. that's their strategy."

The new strategy is to say they have science to back up their claims. In my job I have to take continuing ed classes to stay licensed and you wouldn't believe the nonsense that passes for real education now. I just took one a few weeks ago and all we did basically is learn how to poke our patients with our fingers along certain 'meridian lines' of the body ('acutherapy'). I was told it would change us so radically that when we went home our families might not recognize us. And here I am just touching someone "with the weight of a nickel" along imaginary lines, feeling like a complete fool (this particular class was free and I really needed the credits...)

Anyway, the instructor said it was all 'backed by science'. One student recommended a book called The Field (awful book) and the instructor agreed that it was an excellent book and proved that science is showing how a lot of these so-called new age and psychic phenomena are actually real (it didn't).

If you google people like Wayne Dyer and other Hay House-type writers that's all they talk about. The Science of Miracles, The Biology of Belief: The Science of How You Create Your Life, blah blah blah.

Oh and they like to use the word "Quantum.

Re: Dangerous New Age Mumbo Jumbo
Posted by: Hope ()
Date: October 19, 2010 11:39PM

Penelope, I'm experiencing the same BS in a program that is supposed to be "science-based". It started off based in basic science but then the woo slowly crept in. This program has infiltrated its way into Harvard Med School, which, of course, to the program facilitators means it is credible. Some of the "textbooks" include Molecules of Emotion by Candace Pert, The Heart's Code by Paul Pearsall, PhD., a couple books that include in their titles "The REAL Truth about..." (always a red flag), among others. It is funny how they disparaged science but when they want credibility, they say their BS is backed by science.

The implications for someone recovering from a destructive group or individual who goes to a doctor who is being influenced in med school by this BS is disturbing.

Re: Dangerous New Age Mumbo Jumbo
Posted by: Penelope ()
Date: October 20, 2010 07:49AM

Hi Hope,
Yes, It's really getting out of hand. There's a great blog called Respectful Insolence I'd highly recommend that's written by a surgeon/scientist; he did a piece on the problem with Harvard accepting woo into its curriculums awhile back:


There's no woo like Harvard woo
Category: Alternative medicine • Medicine • Quackery
Posted on: July 11, 2008 9:01 AM, by Orac

I'd start out by saying that here's another one for my (in)famous Academic Woo Aggregator, except that this institution is already a part of the Woo Aggregator. The only thing I can say is that Steve Novella (who's from Yale and has had to manage an influx of woo at his home institution) might get to feel a bit of schadenfreude over this, because the institution in question is Harvard University.

And boy is this a doozy. In fact, it's a $6,500 dose of continuing medical education doozy! Check out Structural Acupuncture for Physicians:

Date: 10/2/2008 -- 6/7/2009
Course #: 00292317
Areas of Interest: psychiatry, physical medicine & rehabilitation, pediatrics, pain management, internist, family practice, neurology, obstetrics, anesthesiology
Physicians $6,500.00
Location: The Joseph B. Martin Conference Center at Harvard Medical School, 60 Avenue Louis Pasteur, Boston, M
Director(s): Joseph Audette, MD|David Euler, Lic. Ac.|Kiiko Matsumoto, Lic. Ac.
Offered by: Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Department of Physical Medicine & Rehab.
Now that's some serious tuition for continuing medical education (CME). How on earth could this class cost so much? A couple of years ago, I took a course for surgical educators that was nearly a week long and included hotel and meals for only around $3,500. Even the Harvard name isn't enough for such tuition for a course of this nature. Well, maybe it is, but it wouldn't be enough for me. Let's take a look at the brochure for the course to see what woo-trainees get for their money:

This unique course provides practical, hands-on training in acupuncture. The training program is designed to bring together Eastern and Western views of health and disease into a result-oriented acupuncture style. You will learn to evaluate and treat patients using modern Japanese acupuncture techniques that link classical Chinese theory to concrete, understandable clinical diagnostic and treatment techniques. Strong emphasis is also placed on developing a neuroanatomical understanding of pain modulation with acupuncture.
"Neuroanatomical understanding of pain modulation with acupuncture"? Are they serious? Remember what the supposed basis of acupuncture is. It has nothing to do with neuroanatomy. It has everything to do with prescientific notions of "life energy" or qi, and how sticking needles in into various "meridians" is able to "unblock" the flow of qi. It has nothing to do with science or scientific medicine. Don't believe me? Take a look at the course objectives:

Integrate acupuncture diagnostic and therapeutic techniques for managing pain and other medical conditions into your clinical practice.
Apply neuroanatomical approaches to pain modulation with dry needling as an adjunctive treatment technique.
Understand the methodological problems with current clinical research in acupuncture.
Advance your clinical research skills with a solid grounding in both the practice and science of acupuncture.
Understand the methodological problems with current clinical research in acupuncture? I don't need, nor does any clinical researcher who takes the time to pay attention and learn, what the methodological problems with current clinical research in acupuncture are. I've written about them extensively, for example, here. Inadequate blinding, inappropriate placebo controls (or, all too often, no placebo controls at all, and bad design are rampant in trials of acupuncture, and the more poorly-designed the trial, the more likely it is to be positive. And, again, I ask: What on earth is the "neuroanatomic" basis of acupuncture? Even if acupuncture were effective above and beyond placebo effect, you could scratch the "anatomical" part and just call it neurological. That's because sham acupuncture in which the needles are placed in areas that are not "meridians" through which qi flows. Worse than that, neither sham acupuncture or "real" acupuncture are any more effective than placebo acupuncture, in which special retractable needles are used that fool the patient into thinking he's having acupuncture but don't actually penetrate the skin.

That it refers to the "science" of acupuncture is perhaps the most irritating part of this brochure. There is nothing that I can see that's the least bit scientific as far as the concepts underlying acupuncture. It's possible that it may have some effect as a counterirritant or through causing the release of endorphins, but the evidence supporting such concepts are fairly weak. Not that that stops Harvard:

This course will include an introduction to traditional Chinese medicine with special emphasis on developing an understanding of its practical application to clinical care from a Western perspective. Emphasis is given to "hands-on" point location and needling techniques based upon palpatory feedback, familiarization with the meridian pathways and organ pathology. The topics of this course will include the following:
Pain Control
Hormonal Imbalances
OB/GYN Problems
GI Disorders
Scar Treatments
Structural and Orthopedic
Cardiac and Vascular Disorders
Autoimmune and Autonomic
Mood Disorders
Auricular Acupuncture
Myofascial and Neuroanatomic Treatment
Yep, that's right. Even though there's no scientific basis or suggestion that meridians even exist, Harvard's going to teach about them.

If this course actually taught a skeptical, scientific, and critical approach to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) modalities such as acupuncture, I'd have no problem with them. That would be great. Unfortunately, what this course is is yet another in a line of courses taught by practitioners and credulous believers. No critical thinking towards acupuncture appears likely to be taught. After all, no one's going to spend $6,500 for a course, even if he can write it off on his taxes, to learn skepticism for woo. No, people taking this course want to learn how to practice woo, so that they can "integrate" scientifically highly implausible modalities for which there is little or no data to support them with scientific medicine.

Actually, even though I'm not at a hoity-toity, Ivy League university and medical school, I can feel a bit of schadenfreude too. While it's true that I may be at a mid-level to upper-mid-level medical school, I can now proudly say that my university has it over both Harvard and Yale in one thing.

I've yet to be able to find anywhere near as much quackademic medicine here.

Re: Dangerous New Age Mumbo Jumbo
Posted by: Stoic ()
Date: October 20, 2010 08:09AM

I think something that has become a lot more obvious of late is that even such prestigious institutions as Harvard Med school and the top universities are not above tailoring their courses to what the market demands and is willing to pay for.

A friend is a medical researcher, a professor employed by a UK government medical body and one of his gripes is the amount of research time that he has to spend chasing grant money in order to continue with any research at all. Increasingly he is having to seek commercial sponsorship as the government money becomes scarcer. Commercial sponsorship always involves an element of 'what is in it for me' ie. McDonalds won't pony up for research into influenza for example but might part with money for a project that gave them findings which they could use to sell more burgers.

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