Comment by Tracey, 24 Aug, 2009
Dear John, I have just read your article disputing the validity of Coley Ellison and his so called abilities. I must say that I am inclined to agree with you that this man is indeed a fraud. As a student of Naturopathy however, I was angered at the way you brandished all natural therapists with the same quackery umbrella. Many natural therapies are based on very sound scientific knowledge of anatomy, physiology, chemistry and so on. And all reputable therapists will encourage a client to stick with their allopathic (mainstream) medical health plans and will work along side them with the hopes of enhancing the healing process.
You stated in your so called "article" that herbal remedies were questionable, when in fact, it is from many herbs that the drugs used in allopathic medicine were discovered. Just look at morphine and diazapam, both opiate derivatives from what? A plant! You also denied the existance of the biomagnetic field of the human body. Not only does it exist but it is measurable. In fact many hospitals these day use magentocardiograms and magnetocephalograms along with the standard electrocardiograms and electrocephalograms to give doctors a more thorough understanding of the patient's health problems. I suggest that before you make claims, you do a more thorough investigation on the topic, as you only come off looking just as uneducated and ignorant as the people you are writing about.
FYI it was Hippocrates, the founding father of medicine who held "Vis Medicatrix Naturae" or "the healing power of nature" as fundamental to his practice and his teachings. These are the same teachings that allopathic medicine is based on!
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 25 Aug, 2009
Tracey, I agree that some natural therapies are 'based on very sound scientific knowledge', but unfortunately most aren't content with remaining linked to scientific knowledge. Most natural therapists sprinkle their explanations with scientific terms and principles, but the overriding claims that turn them into a natural therapy are the ones that put them at odds with scientific knowledge. Getting natural therapists to read books that doctors would read, such as anatomy, physiology, chemistry etc is meaningless if they then go on and promote therapies and remedies different to what doctors would promote. Regardless of how much science they incorporate into their therapies, if their overall claims are in conflict with science and if their therapies aren't being called medicine, then they aren't scientific. A building can have perfect, strong foundations, but if the rest of the structure is poorly and cheaply constructed, it will be inferior and potentially dangerous.
Furthermore, if 'very sound scientific knowledge' has shown that a particular treatment is safe and effective, then it ceases being a natural therapy and simply becomes conventional medicine. For example you mentioned my criticism of herbal remedies and highlighted plant derivatives such as morphine. But morphine is not a natural therapy, it is a conventional medicine. I agree that a large proportion of our medicines is derived from plants, and scientists — not herbalists — are testing an enormous number of compounds for curative properties. But unlike therapists pushing herbal remedies, they don't claim that a particular plant compound is effective — and safe — until they have put it through comprehensive trials. No doubt some herbal remedies may have a positive effect, but since herbal therapists don't attempt to prove which really work and which don't, and more importantly, which are safe, then it is just a risky lucky dip. Herbal therapists are not interested or prepared to run trials and it is left up to scientists to demonstrate that a particular herbal remedy is effective and safe. The public becomes incensed if doctors are shown to be using a drug that hasn't been properly tested — remember thalidomide? — and yet happily take herbal remedies that have undergone no testing whatsoever. And don't say they are different, remember you have stated that conventional medicine comes from herbs. Drugs are simply chemicals, and chemicals can cure as well as kill, whether they come from a doctor's syringe or directly from a herb. The great majority of medicines that scientists test don't work or aren't safe, and this takes years and millions of dollars, thus the few that are approved can be very expensive. And the public rightly demands this thorough testing. The trouble is that herbalists, unlike conventional medicine, can make a lot of money without having to spend any of it on testing and proving their product. Yes, some herbal remedies may work, but the vast majority probably don't, and since herbalists aren't prepared to find out which are which, it's far safer and far more reliable to go with tried and true conventional medicine.
As for the biomagnetic field of the human body, the field that I deny exists is the one that certain natural therapists, like Reiki, claim to be able to detect and manipulate with their hands etc. These are the fields associated with the silly chakras and energy pathways that natural therapists claim to feel and can not only sense when they are 'out of balance', they can restore them to peak efficiency, and with it, the body's health. It takes expensive and very sensitive equipment to detect the electromagnetic fields generated by the body that you mention, such as ECGs, and I know of no natural therapist that offers these diagnostic services. It is specious to suggest that the energy fields that the natural therapist claims to be able to feel and play with are the same as the fields that these instruments detect. You are confusing sophisticated instruments used by conventional medicine with bogus techniques claimed by natural therapists.
As for Hippocrates, while we own a great deal to the ancient Greeks, we have to remember that much of what they thought was actually wrong. It is their method of using observation and reason that we celebrate, not necessarily the conclusions they came to. For example, the Catholic Church used the claim by Hippocrates that sex was dangerous and harmful to health to justify their control of the sex lives of Catholics and the celibacy of priests. As for Hippocrates and his belief in "the healing power of nature", conventional medicine only exists because humans are not content to let nature take its course, and many know that nature is what caused them to be ill in the first place. While some health problems do heal naturally, without the need for conventional or natural therapies, many do not. This idea that nature is safe and curative is bogus. Cancer is nature, as is AIDS and botulism.
If natural therapists want to be treated with the same respect that doctors have, then they need to be subject to the same requirements. They need to prove their therapies work, and testimonials are not proof, neither is the fact that someone can get a qualification as a naturopath, homeopath or Reiki Master. Remember that there are also courses that allow you to train as a witch.
Comment by Wayne, 20 Mar, 2010
There is no Heaven. We are all doomed and you are pathetic.
Closed minded people will always be threatened by this type of healing. Grow a LIFE.
Comment by the 'Silly Beliefs' Team, 21 Mar, 2010
It's difficult to know exactly what to make of your confusing comments, Wayne. You state that there is no heaven, but what relevance this has to Ellison's bogus natural healing is unclear, and since we also agree that there certainly is no heaven, why mention this fact?
And why do you believe we are all doomed? Global warming, pollution, genetic engineering, homosexual marriages, overpopulation, a reliance on doctors rather than quacks like Ellison? And when is our demise due? Soon, or is it one of those 'Jesus is Coming' predictions where people have been waiting for thousands of years? Do you spend all your spare time standing on a street corner with a sign proclaiming: 'Repent! The End is Nigh'? And again, what has the end of the world got to do with Ellison scamming people with his bogus services?
You state that we are pathetic, and yet it is your comments that are pathetic. This arrogance that everyone that disagrees with you is closed minded is such a childish argument. You obviously expect us to take you seriously, and maybe even reconsider our criticism of Ellison and his ilk, and yet typical of believers in this nonsense you offer nothing but insults. No evidence and no reasoning supports your stance, merely insults. If you have evidence, please produce it. The world, and a Nobel Prize, awaits.
Furthermore, to believe that we challenge this sort of nonsense because we are threatened by it is akin to saying that doctors fight disease and the police fight crime because they feel threatened. Yes we feel there is a threat to society, but like disease and crime, superstitious nonsense like that pushed by Ellison is something that all rational people should be trying to eradicate. We can not let the world be dragged back to a medieval society that stagnates on superstition and ignorance.
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