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Thread: Distance healing on pets

  1. #1 Distance healing on pets 
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    I am going out of my mind of late trying to convince my wife that she is throwing money away on this.

    About every 5 days or so for the past year, my wife pays a sum equal to half of our weekly food shopping budget to a lady who lives 40 miles away and claims to be able to peform distance healing on our elderly cat.

    She calls up for a quick chat with my wife and gets some info for the past few days on how the cat has been. Then, she goes away and does the business for 20 minutes. Finally, she calls back to report on what "work" she has done and how the cat is feeling, along with details on any aches and pains.

    I keep telling my wife that she is throwing her (our) money down the drain and that there is no way in the world that what the "healer" claims to be able to do is possible. I feel angry at the "healer" for taking my wife (who loves the cat dealy) for a mug and ripping her off.

    She says thing like "ooh, her legs were sore this week so I've done some work on those", or "she's happy in her self but her back is aching...". I am at my wits end listing to this total cr*p!

    I would lay my life on the line and say that this woman is nothing but a con artist, along with any other human on the planet who claims to be able to do this. I find it bad enough when Reiki is performed human to human in the same room, let alone to a pet from a woman living 40 miles away.

    Not sure what I want from this post really. I just have nobody else to talk to about it, who doesn't know my wife. I try to tell her that the only reason the cat is doing well is because of the 24/7 care and attention she receives... I even suggested that when the cat passes away, she continues as usual with the "healer" who will then proceed to continue to report cr*p - this time relating to a cat that has passed away. My wife won't agree to this, unsurprisingly!

    Somebody tell me I am not the mad one here. How are these people able to operate, and more importantly, take money from vulnerable people?

    beachball


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  3. #2  
    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
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    Your post was very well reasoned and rational, despite your obvious frustration and exasperation with the situation. I have to give you credit, beachball. I respect your patience and calm.


    In short, you are absolutely correct. Your wife is being conned. This women is peddling "woo" and nonsense, and she is making money by being a charlatan. Many people are predisposed to be taken into this kind of silly scam. Just look at all of the people who called 900 numbers to speak with "Miss Cleo," or who pay money to wear magnetic bracelets in treatment of diabetes, or who use homeopathic "remedies" despite the fact that there is no active ingredient and it is nothing but water.

    However, as an objective observer, I think I can say this, and I hope you will note that I mean it as kindly as possible... but your problem is not with the thief stealing your wife's (and your) money. Your problem is with your wife. Her inability to show a certain level of intelligence and see this garbage for what it is has caused you to lose respect for her, and it has caused you to question her intelligence, her sanity, and her common sense. You are merely displacing what you feel onto the lady who lives outside of town, since being upset and disappointed with your wife causes you psychological discomfort... Mentally speaking, it's easier to be mad at the symptom rather than the cause, but the cause of your distress is your wife and her poor decision making.


    If you need to resolve this, you need to focus on your wife, not on the woo peddler. If your wife doesn't care about your concerns, or does not respond to reason and rational argument, then the choice pivots back to you and you must decide whether you love her enough to just ignore this (what I hope is a) rare example of idiocy, or if it bothers you so much that you need to make a change in your relationship with her.


    You are spot on, your read of the situation is accurate, and your wife is being ripped off by a person who is either lying or deluded or both. I don't envy your position, but I certainly wish you the best of luck.



    BTW - I'm not a doctor nor am I a trained psychologist or psychiatrist. I'm just some dude on the internet, so take my response with a grain of salt. 8)


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  4. #3  
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    Hi Beachball,
    I too am just some dude on the internet, but inow's assessment of the situation seems spot on to me. I can think of little to offer in the way of advice. Perhaps just having been able to air your concerns and get confirmation you are the sane one will have been of some help. I do wish you well with resolving the issue.
    Ophiolite
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  5. #4  
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    There is no way to control an action at a distance, as it breaks some laws of physics. Controlling and, more specifically, manipulating forces is one of those things that we simply can't do unless it's a contact thing. In order for ANYONE to heal at a distance they would have to be able to manipulate the forces of the natural world to affect whatever it is that they are healing, and this is just as possible as a person spontaneously bursting into flames and metamorphosing into a phoenix.

    If there were an easy way to break the illusion, I'd tell you, but honestly, I'd just insist to her that you take the cat to REAL vet, or, if the cat is bad enough off, just put the cat to sleep. All the woman is doing is offering hope to your wife, and if it started when the cat was sick, that would likely be the source of the constant attention to the 'psychic'. If you can offer your wife a better source of hope, ideally a free one, then you may be able to easily break her of the distance-healing-voodoo-lady

    I wish you luck on bringing a bit of rationality to the situation.


    inow - the love of her elderly cat could cause desperation, especially if the cat is known to be sick. The woo peddler is simply giving hope where, chances are, there was none before. I understand how irrational and, frankly, stupid it is to believe in this junk, but desperation can bring out that side in a normally rational person. A cheaper source of hope is probably the best solution to the problem.
    Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools, because they have to say something.
    -Plato

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  6. #5  
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    I love cats and have several older ones. I also am a spiritual person who uses life force energy on those cats. However, from reading your post I think you may have a point. I don't believe the lady is doing as well as she claims.

    Since you will never convince your wife that she is not helping, any more than anyone could convince you life force energy exists. So why don't you try this. Look in your local directory to see if there is a veterinary close that provides alternative medicine. Many vets are now using Reiki and Accupuncture to supplement their practices. You might get her to go to one of these vet where kitty can get the best of both worlds. I think kitty could get a blood test and a treatment at the same time. Over 60% of older cats die of kidney failure, and when the time comes no amount of Reiki or fluids can keep kitty come crossing over into the spirit world.

    People love their pets deeply, sometimes even more than their children, so be kind and respectful of her wishes.

    PS She may even love that cat more than she loves you.
    Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. -- George Carlin
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  7. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lekatt
    Many vets are now using Reiki and Accupuncture to supplement their practices.
    Whatever you do, beachball, don't listen to this guy. You'll be getting conned all over again. No reputable veterinarian would resort to crap treatments like "reiki" and acupuncture.

    These are crap treatments that have no effect on animals and there is no scientific basis for their use.

    Lekatt, you're free to start your own thread discussing this sort of nonsense, but this is a science forum and trolling like this in a reasoned thread where a new member is looking for reasoned advice will not be tolerated. Continue and I'll suspend your account.
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  8. #7  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    inow - the love of her elderly cat could cause desperation, especially if the cat is known to be sick. The woo peddler is simply giving hope where, chances are, there was none before. I understand how irrational and, frankly, stupid it is to believe in this junk, but desperation can bring out that side in a normally rational person. A cheaper source of hope is probably the best solution to the problem.
    That's a really excellent point. I couldn't agree more. I think my larger point is that is silly to waste money on false hope, and even sillier to give money to an obvious liar (or moron, but I suppose they're not mutually exclusive). At the very least, I feel that it's important that the hope be mature, align with reality, and come with an acceptance that the one thing all life has in common is that it all eventually ends. No amount of chakra dancing and tea leaf reading will change that, no matter how desperately we wish it to be so.

    Again though, a very good point, indeed. Beachball's wife is seeking hope and solace, and perhaps beachball can help her find both from another (non charlatan) source to resolve the frustrations he is feeling right now.
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  9. #8  
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    Those above responses are exceptionally good. These posters suppress the urge to simply dismiss phone-cat-lady as technically wrong, case closed. I think we've established this a clue to a deeper problem.

    It seems to me your wife is buying sympathy. She may rather think and say this is just about the cat, but what she surely feels from these telephone exchanges is sympathy for her concerns. We all delude ourselves so, to serve various emotional needs, and when you get down to it really the ends always prove good and true, though the means must seem irrational. Your wife deludes herself to get something she can't admit a real need for. For example after an especially lousy week your wife would naturally put a negative spin on her cat report, then the phone-cat-lady echoes the sentiment and virtually pets her just as your wife effectively asked to be petted. She needs the pretext because she can't consciously admit the subtext communication.

    No one likes to think they exchange money for affection. But knowing this transaction must always be disguised by all parties - including ourselves! - we begin to see it hidden beneath surfaces.

    I'll bet phone-cat-lady knows exactly what's going on. If so, how do we judge her? She certainly gives love to those who need it. Is that not good? Maybe it's okay only if she too acts unconsciously? Hm, another debate.

    Anyway I suggest you sit down with your wife and pet the cat together. Ask her how the cat's been feeling lately, if she thinks the cat enjoys your affection...



    That's my unprofessional crack at it. Let me know how far I missed.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  10. #9  
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    A big thank you to all that replied. What a delightfully down to earth bunch you are.

    Our cat passed away last week from liver failure and my wife is dreadfully upset - so am I; more so than I expected!

    Something good came out of it, however. 18 months ago, the cat was wrongly diagnosed with Kidney failure by a vet.

    Every week, when cat woman phoned to do her distance healing, she told my wife she could feel the kidney damage, had worked on it, etc, etc. The night before she passed away, we discovered following a full bio blood test at a different vet, that her kidneys had been fine all along - it was her liver that had been failing all this time.

    Now my wife see's that she has been taken for a ride. Cat woman is now offering to give distance healing to her direct! I bet she is, she is going to be missing out on quite a sum each month now that our cat has passed away. Needless to say my wife won't be taking her up on the offer.

    Beachball
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker
    Quote Originally Posted by Lekatt
    Many vets are now using Reiki and Accupuncture to supplement their practices.
    Whatever you do, beachball, don't listen to this guy. You'll be getting conned all over again. No reputable veterinarian would resort to crap treatments like "reiki" and acupuncture.

    These are crap treatments that have no effect on animals and there is no scientific basis for their use.

    Lekatt, you're free to start your own thread discussing this sort of nonsense, but this is a science forum and trolling like this in a reasoned thread where a new member is looking for reasoned advice will not be tolerated. Continue and I'll suspend your account.
    The suppression of uncomfortable ideas may be common in religion and politics, but it is not the path to knowledge, it has no place in the endeavour of science.
    — Carl Sagan. “Cosmos” 1980
    Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. -- George Carlin
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  12. #11  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard SkinWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lekatt
    The suppression of uncomfortable ideas may be common in religion and politics, but it is not the path to knowledge, it has no place in the endeavour of science.
    — Carl Sagan. “Cosmos” 1980
    Were it that your ideas were merely "uncomfortable" we would not be having this discussion. However, it is quite within the expectations of the proponent of baloney ideas to quote someone they think wise and profound on the subject of science, particularly when they can get in digs at their critics by making idle, albeit, dishonest accusations of "suppression," "censorship," and "oppression."

    The "uncomfortable ideas" that Sagan was referring to were those bits of genuine inquiry and testing. Which, oddly enough, proponents of crap like Reiki avoid like cockroaches scampering from the light in the middle of the night.

    So I give to you and others another quote from Sagan:

    • Wherever possible there must be independent confirmation of the 'facts'.
    • Encourage substantive debate on the evidence by knowledgeable proponents of all points of view.
    • Arguments from authority carry little weight - 'authorities' have made mistakes in the past. They will do so again in the future. Perhaps a better way to say it is that in science there are no authorities; at most, there are experts.
    • Spin more than one hypothesis. If there's something to be explained, think of all the different ways in which it could be explained. Then think of tests by which you might systematically disprove each of the alternatives. What survives, the
    hypothesis that resists disproof in this Darwinian selection among 'multiple working hypotheses', has a much better chance of being the right answer than if you had simply run with the first idea that caught your fancy.*
    • Try not to get overly attached to a hypothesis just because it's yours. It's only a way-station in the pursuit of knowledge. Ask yourself why you like the idea. Compare it fairly with the alternatives. See if you can find reasons for rejecting it. If you don't, others will.
    • Quantify. If whatever it is you're explaining has some measure, some numerical quantity attached to it, you'll be much better able to discriminate among competing hypotheses. What is vague and qualitative is open to many explanations. Of course
    there are truths to be sought in the many qualitative issues we are obliged to confront, but finding them is more challenging.
    • If there's a chain of argument, every link in the chain must work (including the premise) - not just most of them.
    • Occam's Razor. This convenient rule-of-thumb urges us when faced with two hypotheses that explain the data equally well to choose the simpler.
    • Always ask whether the hypothesis can be, at least in principle, falsified. Propositions that are untestable, unfalsifiable are not worth much. Consider the grand idea that our Universe and everything in it is just an elementary particle - an electron, say - in a much bigger Cosmos. But if we can never acquire information from outside our Universe, is not the idea incapable of disproof? You must be able to check assertions out. Inveterate sceptics must be given the chance to follow your reasoning, to duplicate your experiments and see if they get the same result.
    Carl Sagan, The Baloney Detection Kit, A Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, pp. 197-198.

    Armed with such a kit, one can hope to send the cockroaches of crap ideas scampering out of the light of science and back into the darkness of ignorance and pseudoscience.
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  13. #12  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard SkinWalker's Avatar
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    Beachball,

    Sorry to hear about your cat. It's always tough to lose a friend, even if they are the four-legged kind.
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    Off topic I guess, but as you know "cat woman" as I call her has obtained money by deception in my view. I've been trawling the net to find evidence of people successfully claiming back monies paid to such fraudsters but haven't found anything to date.

    Are they simply getting away with it? At least there's an argument to be had for reiki healing on humans by touch (not a good one, but an argument none the less), but taking advantage of a fragile human being in claiming to be able to heal a cat from a distance of 30 miles is downright nonsense.

    It makes my blood boil!

    I can't understand why the scientific community has never taken steps to put this argument to bed once and for all.

    beachball
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  15. #14  
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    Quote Originally Posted by beachball
    Are they simply getting away with it?
    Quite simply, yes. Caveat emptor.



    Quote Originally Posted by beachball
    At least there's an argument to be had for reiki healing on humans by touch (not a good one, but an argument none the less), but taking advantage of a fragile human being in claiming to be able to heal a cat from a distance of 30 miles is downright nonsense.

    It makes my blood boil!
    Check out this thread:
    http://www.thescienceforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=22543

    Reiki, too, is crap.



    Quote Originally Posted by beachball
    I can't understand why the scientific community has never taken steps to put this argument to bed once and for all.
    They have, but it continues anyway (in much the same way that people still argue against evolution or human induced climate change).

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl...stance+healing



    Sorry to hear about the loss of your friend, mate. It's sad how close we get to creatures which ultimately have such vastly shorter lifespans than we do.
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  16. #15  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lekatt
    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker
    Quote Originally Posted by Lekatt
    Many vets are now using Reiki and Accupuncture to supplement their practices.
    Whatever you do, beachball, don't listen to this guy. You'll be getting conned all over again. No reputable veterinarian would resort to crap treatments like "reiki" and acupuncture.

    These are crap treatments that have no effect on animals and there is no scientific basis for their use.

    Lekatt, you're free to start your own thread discussing this sort of nonsense, but this is a science forum and trolling like this in a reasoned thread where a new member is looking for reasoned advice will not be tolerated. Continue and I'll suspend your account.
    The suppression of uncomfortable ideas may be common in religion and politics, but it is not the path to knowledge, it has no place in the endeavour of science.
    — Carl Sagan. “Cosmos” 1980
    Carl Sagan is also credited with the "Bozo the Clown" quote that applies particularly well to pseudoscience and to utter nonsense like Reiki. Look it up sometime.
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  17. #16  
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    Quote Originally Posted by beachball
    I can't understand why the scientific community has never taken steps to put this argument to bed once and for all.
    It is easy to show that Cat Lady's service has no empirical effect. We could rate the entire personal service industry likewise: measurably, the molecules of air pushed around on stage by exotic dancers is really negligible "work done"; the cashier's smile does not in fact make your grocery bags measurably lighter, etc.

    Think about what was really being exchanged here. The nature of the service delivered requires that neither party state it explicitly. Bank tellers can't advise you of a 7˘ service fee to "have a nice day".

    Beachball, I wonder that you seem oblivious to the service your wife apparently valued. And then you come here seeking corroboration that Cat Lady provided nothing of tangible value. I'm sorry to be harsh.

    Try a little tenderness.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  18. #17  
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    Pong, there is no question that comfort was given. There was question about the empirical relevance of cat lady, not so much he comfort given. That was covered. Comfort, yes, has a use and can be good. However, in the circumstance of pissing away a veritable ****-load of money, I agree with his sentiment of bringing the situation to the attention of others so that he may gain comfort in the situation he was in. Sorry to be harsh Pong, but it went both ways, and he just wanted reassurance that he was right in his belief that the entire reiki bit was a hoax. More power to him.
    Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools, because they have to say something.
    -Plato

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  19. #18  
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    Friendly service makes us feel good and makes us more likely to do business again... what's not empirical about that? They figured stuff like this out by market research. That's empirical, isn't it?

    Performers don't claim to genuinely be something they are not nor do things that they can't. There is an explicit understanding between the service provider and the customer in that case. There should always be such an understanding. The responses they illicit are measurable even when they are purely emotional or otherwise psychological. The cost of the friendly service at your store may indeed be implicit- but implicit is some distance from deceptive or misleading. My point being that in both the explicit and implicit cases, the product is empirically measurable.

    Cat Lady is claiming, explicitly, to do something very specific. The evidence suggests she is lying or simply wrong in ignorance. In this case the implicit service, the good feelings, the feeling that something is being done, is tied directly to the customer's assumption that the explicit service is being provided. If the latter is a lie the former is just a trick.

    Not to mention that all of this may result in false hope that will be dashed, or substitute for treatments which may actually work and can be verified to do so.
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  20. #19  
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheBiologista
    In this case the implicit service, the good feelings, the feeling that something is being done, is tied directly to the customer's assumption that the explicit service is being provided.
    Yeah, you got it. The nature of the service delivered requires that neither party state it explicitly.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheBiologista
    If the latter is a lie the former is just a trick.
    In an ideal world for science all things may be taken at face-value.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  21. #20  
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    If I went abroad for 6 months and paid somebody to clean my house whilst I was away, I would expect it to be done.

    If the employed person called me each week to tell me how clean my house was looking when in fact they had done nothing, yes I can take comfort from it but I am also being ripped off.

    Whether or not my wife gained some comfort is not the issue. She was paying for a service that was not as described.

    Where this becomes damaging, in my opinion, is that all the while she thought she was doing good, using this woman, her focus was directed accordingly. Had Cat Woman not been in the picture, my wife would have been seeking help elsewhere and this might have included a second opinion from another vet who, by way of a blood test, could have correctly identified the liver issues; an infinitely more treatable condition than that we thought the cat was suffering from, which was irriversible.

    I can't believe that in this day and age we can allow mediums, healers, psychics, etc, to take money for services they simply can't provide.

    I feel alone in these thoughts because so many people seem to be believers! To me, they seem ignorant and stupid. It seems so clear to me, why is it not to them?
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  22. #21  
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    Where I am, mediums, healers, psychics etc. advertise in the same section of the newspaper as do "discreet escorts" and "massage parlours" - so it's easier to guess they're all really selling things besides what's stated. I'm not sure we can - or should - enforce frank advertising... also considering the overlap of mainstream business doing more or less the same: I mean honestly many corporate "customer care" call-centres knowingly operate no better than Cat Lady.

    What you said about damages though is a pretty good argument. If Cat Lady gives the impression that she takes the place of a veterinarian then she's inevitably harming animals / damaging property.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  23. #22  
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    When told that the cats kidneys had tested absolutely fine the day before she died, she replied; "Well, see, she did have all that healing".

    I have e-mailed the "organisation" to which cat lady belongs and have asked them if their therapy works on animals over a distance. When they reply "yes", I'll go on to ask them to explain *how* it works. Given that their website is geared towards healing hands and using your hands like magnets, their response should be interesting.

    I'm hoping to get as far as to ask if other cats in the neighbourhood might have been accidentally "healed" also.
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  24. #23  
    Moderator Moderator TheBiologista's Avatar
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    Out of interest, what is the name of the group and what is their website?
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  25. #24  
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    It's B i - A u r a (w w w . b i - a u r a . c o m)

    They were slammed by the UK Advertising Standards Authority for misleading advertising and not being able to prove their claims. Interestingly, the UK ASA is about to get new powers (I have read) to extend their reach to company websites and not just advertising.
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  26. #25  
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    I must say, thanks for not giving their website another link. Ugh, horrible people.
    Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools, because they have to say something.
    -Plato

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    Well, here's the official line from the head trainer at Bi - A u r a folks....

    Q. Could you explain to me exactly how remote healing works?

    A. "sorry that would take too long."
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    Quote Originally Posted by beachball
    Well, here's the official line from the head trainer at Bi - A u r a folks....

    Q. Could you explain to me exactly how remote healing works?

    A. "sorry that would take too long."
    seriously? wtf
    Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools, because they have to say something.
    -Plato

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    Upon further quizzing, she advised me to read these books in order to understand how remote healing works:

    - Stalking the wild pendulum by Itzhak Bentov
    - The Holographic Universe by Michel Talbot
    - The Field by Lynne MacTaggart

    Any comments?
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  30. #29  
    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
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    Ask her which specific pages of each are relevant to her claim. If she is unable, then she is FOS.
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  31. #30  
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    Quote Originally Posted by beachball
    Upon further quizzing, she advised me to read these books in order to understand how remote healing works:

    - Stalking the wild pendulum by Itzhak Bentov
    - The Holographic Universe by Michel Talbot
    - The Field by Lynne MacTaggart

    Any comments?
    The last one is, as far as I recall, considered to be a catastrophic misunderstanding of quantum mechanics on the part of Ms McTaggart. The rest is probably irrelevant too. If you want to know if a chemotherapy drug works, you don't read a chemistry book, nor a biology text. You most certainly don't read pop science books, and definitely not ones written by non-scientists such as McTaggart. You read the study which shows that the chemotherapy drug works.

    It should be no different in this case. However, I can predict the likely responses to a request for such information:

    "Scientists won't fund research into our field because it can't be patented."

    "The scietific method can't be used to test our work."

    The first is falsified by the actual body of evidence on things such as Reiki, which although it could be better, is actually rather extensive (and negative). The second is falsified by common sense. If the healing mediated by the method can't be measured, how can anyone say it is happening at all?
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