Many people look to religion for dietary guidance. Sometimes organized religion offers official guidance in the form of dietary prohibitions (no pork) or prescriptions (halal, kosher, etc.). Sometimes individuals attempt their own interpretations, with inconsistent and sometimes amusing results. One website lists the “Top 10 Christian Weight Loss Programs.” These… read more "The Hallelujah Diet"
Book review of Persevere: A Life with Cancer, by Lisa Bonchek Adams. This book is a gem. Lisa Bonchek Adams was an atheist, a realist, and a talented writer and poet. Before her recent death from breast cancer, she shared her experience and her insights with the world in the… read more "A Refreshing Take on Dealing with Cancer"
Religion will always be a controversial subject, but its impact on health is one area that lends itself to objective investigation. Do religious people live longer? Are they healthier? Prayer, laying on of hands, pilgrimages to Lourdes, faith healing, and exorcism rituals might have a role in providing subjective comfort… read more "Christianity Can Be Hazardous to Your Health"
An email correspondent occasionally sends me items of interest from the Indian press. He recently sent me two clippings about initiatives to solve all of India’s problems by studying the Vedas (for Hindus) and the Qu’ran (for Muslims). The Vedas The headline read, “For diabetes, cancer cure, Raj institute to… read more "Recent Developments in “Eastern” Science"
A review of the book God: An Autobiography by Jerry Martin. Caladium Publishing Company, Doylestown PA, 2016. ISBN 978-0-9967253-1-6. 362 pages. Jerry Martin was raised as a Christian but he had been an agnostic ever since college. Then one day God spoke to him. He was in the throes of… read more "Hallucination or Revelation?"
The “Hubbard protocol” is Scientology’s religion-based, pseudoscientific “detoxification” treatment used in its Narconon program to treat drug addiction. It was dreamed up by a science fiction writer with no medical training. Now it is being studied as a treatment for veterans suffering from Gulf War illness. Our limited public money for… read more "Taxpayers Fund Scientology Research on Gulf War Veterans"
I got an e-mail with a link to a video featuring “Dr.” Leonard Coldwell, a naturopath who has been characterized on RationalWiki as a scammer and all-round mountebank. Here are just a few examples of his claims in that video: Every cancer can be cured in 2-16 weeks. The second you are alkaline, the… read more "Answering Cancer Quackery: The Sophisticated Approach to True Believers"
Scientology has openly declared war on psychiatry and is ambivalent if not openly hostile towards the rest of medicine. Its “mind over matter” philosophy promises that attaining the “Clear” state will eliminate illness. Recently there has been a spate of exposés of Scientology, ably reviewed by Jim Lippard in Skeptic… read more "Scientology’s War on Medicine"
Is there such a thing as a miracle? Miracles are defined as unusual events that are not explicable by scientific or natural laws and that are assumed to be the result of supernatural intervention. The very concept is so fuzzy that it borders on the unintelligible. Religious believers refer to… read more "On Miracles "
I recently wrote about the health consequences of Scientology (Skeptic Vol. 18, No. 3). Scientology isn’t the only culprit. Other religions can be hazardous to health, too. I was forcefully reminded of that when a recent news article reported that 86% of holy water samples tested in Austria contained fecal… read more "Does Religion Make People Healthier?"