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 form of blogs and poems.
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 to some people; but do
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 study the Vedas.” The article
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 new love with the woman
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 research is being wasted on
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 cancer already stops. A pH
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 magazine (Vol. 18, No. 2).
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 many things as miracles: the
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 matter (holy shit!). Jehovah’s Witnesses
Victor Stenger is a fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and an accomplished quantum physicist who has written numerous books explaining physics, analyzing religious claims, and debunking popular ideas supposedly derived from quantum physics. In the foreword to Stenger’s latest book, Quantum Gods: Creation, Chaos, and the Search for Cosmic Consciousness, Michael Shermer writes, Either