Quantum intentions and prayers to deities: two sides of the same supernatural coin
by Perry Bulwer
Following my previous post on the BP environmental catastrophe and DreamHealer, the quantum quack who thinks that the collective, focused intentions of his followers will plug the hole and stop the oil gusher, I became aware of other supernatural wishful thinkers who similarly think that prayers, visualizations, intentions, thoughts, energy, light, love, etc., are what's needed to stop the oil. Here is a sample of some of the silliness I came across during the month of June.
On June 6 DreamHealer sent out another email in a series imploring his followers to focus their intentions on the gulf:
Let's optimize an extremely difficult situation in the Gulf. Change emotions of blame, fear and anger into healing intentions of light and love toward the recovery of our beautiful planet.
Visualize all of the healing energy in the Universe being pulled into the Gulf of Mexico. Saturate the waters with the healing energy of light and life.
Visualize your healing intentions rippling outward in all directions. Send streams of laser light to clean the water for sea-life to flourish again.
Remember the power of your own healing thoughts, as focused intention activates your thoughts. Assist in closing and healing Mother Earth's wound. Create a critical mass as we all send our healing intentions.
It didn't take long for Deepak Chopra to add his quantum nonsense to the mix. Thanks to PZ Meyers, the mind behind Pharyngula, who received an email from Evolutionary Leaders, a Chopra cult foundation, we get a glimpse at not only how these people think (or don't think) but also at how the words "intention" and "prayer" have become interchangeable to supernaturalists. Here's their email, without PZ's commentary, which you can read on his site at that link above:
Are you tired of sitting around while our environment is being destroyed?
Do you feel helpless, angry or powerless to make a difference as you watch millions of gallons of oil pouring into the Gulf every day with no end in sight and thousands losing their lives and their livelihoods?
Join The Gulf Call to Sacred Action!
The Evolutionary Leaders: In Service to Conscious Evolution have joined together to be a loud and important voice for all who feel powerless.
The People Need You ~ The Gulf Needs You
We begin by setting our collective intention. Join Deepak Chopra to set our powerful vision and participate in a worldwide Intention Experiment with renowned author and scientist Lynne McTaggart. Explore how our collective intention, our voice and our commitment can impact the cleanup of the oil spill. And then we will be graced by Jean Houston who will share with us why this time matters and why we matter.
Our collective prayers and thoughts have the power to cause a profound shift on the planet. Pray with some of the most powerful spiritual thought leaders -- Reverend Michael Bernard Beckwith, Joan Borysenko, James O'Dea and more. Together we discover that we have the power to change the world.
Open up and connect to the deeper heart of our planet where we hear our individual and collective call to action. Together with sacred activists Barbara Marx Hubbard, Gregg Braden, and Andrew Harvey, we will take back our power and move into powerful action that will forever change our lives and the lives of generations to come.
It is all just meaningless nonsense. In case you've forgotten, here is some of the craziness Chopra peddles:
Here is some of what Chopra, a former endocrinologist in Boston hospitals, believes and teaches.
That a person is a field of vibrating energy, information and intelligence connected to the entire cosmos.
That this view is substantiated by Ayruvedic medicine of ancient India as well as theories of quantum physics.
That all organs of the body are built up from a specific sequence of vibrations, and that when organs are sick they are vibrating improperly.
That certain herbs and aromas, when applied, can help restore proper vibrations to malfunctioning liver, heart, stomach, etc.
That certain gems and crystals can rejuvenate human skin.
That good thoughts can heal the body and reverse the aging process.
That people can levitate and that he, while sitting and meditating, has flown a distance of four feet.
That one can know God at seven different levels corresponding to physical and psychological reactions in the brain, and that miracles, including visits by angels and reincarnated relatives, occur when a person leaves the material level of existence and intersects a "transitional" level called the "quantum domain."
Chopra and DreamHealer ought to get along great, so I find it a bit curious that neither mentions the other since they both claim to be conducting scientific experiments on the power of intention, with DreamHealer going as far as claiming, on the basis of one flawed experiment, that "our intentions can change the physiology of others". Maybe DreamHealer wants to emulate Chopra's successful cult on his own terms.
Not to be out done by quantum kooks, or mere "mortals" who are actually attempting real-world solutions to the disaster, Christian politicians just had to get their two cents worth of supernaturalism into the act, blurring the already fuzzy line between church and state. On June 20, CNN reported that Louisiana lawmakers propose prayer to stop oil disaster:
While cleanup crews and technical teams continue efforts to stop crude gushing into the Gulf of Mexico, Louisiana lawmakers are proposing a different approach: prayer.
State senators designated Sunday as a day for citizens to ask for God's help dealing with the oil disaster.
"Thus far efforts made by mortals to try to solve the crisis have been to no avail," state Sen. Robert Adley said in a statement released after last week's unanimous vote for the day of prayer. "It is clearly time for a miracle for us."
The resolution names Sunday as a statewide day of prayer in Louisiana and calls on people of all religions throughout the Gulf Coast "to pray for an end to this environmental emergency, sparing us all from the destruction of both culture and livelihood."
And on June 27, the New York Times reported:
The wall between church and state came a-tumbling down on Sunday, as elected leaders from the five states on the Gulf of Mexico issued proclamations declaring it to be a day of prayer. Although days of prayer are not uncommon here — Governor Riley declared one asking for rain to relieve a drought a few years ago — these proclamations conveyed the sense that at this late date, salvation from the spill all but requires divine intervention.
In the two months since the deadly Deepwater Horizon explosion began a ceaseless leak of oil into the gulf, damaging the ecosystem and disrupting the economy, the efforts by mortals to stem the flow have failed. Robots and golf balls and even the massive capping dome all seem small in retrospect.
So, then, a supplementary method was attempted: coordinated prayer.
In Texas, Gov. Rick Perry encouraged Texans to ask God “for his merciful intervention and healing in this time of crisis.” In Mississippi, Gov. Haley Barbour declared that prayer “allows us an opportunity to reflect and to seek guidance, strength, comfort and inspiration from Almighty God.” In Louisiana, Gov. Bobby Jindal invoked the word “whereas” a dozen times — as well as the state bird, the brown pelican — but made no direct mention of God. In Florida, Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp asked people to pray that God “would guide and direct our civil leaders and provide them with wisdom and divinely inspired solutions.”
As I mentioned, the words "intention" and "prayer" have become interchangeable. The "coordinated prayer" referred to in that NYT article, is what people who believe in prayers do. They want as many people as possible to pray for the same thing, and even at the same time, if possible, and to continue praying. I guess their god is hard of hearing. But that is really no different than what those who believe in intentions do. They also want as many people as possible focusing their coordinated intentions. Collective prayers, collective intentions. Two sides of the same coin.
Another good example of that blurring of the distinction between intentions and prayers comes courtesy of Masaru Emoto, the Japanese 'scientist' who appeared in the film What The Bleep Do We Know?, promoting his belief in the supernatural properties of water. The Colorado newspaper, Post Independent, published a letter to the editor which included an email message from Emoto:
Yesterday we received a letter from Dr. Masaru Emoto, who many of you will recognize as the scientist from Japan who has done research and publications about the characteristics of water. Among other things, his research reveals that water physically responds to emotions.
Right now, most of us have the predominantly angry emotion when we consider what is happening in the Gulf. And while certainly we are justified in that emotion, we may be of greater assistance to our planet and its life forms, if we sincerely, powerfully and humbly pray the prayer that Dr. Emoto himself has proposed.
“I send the energy of love and gratitude to the water and all the living creatures in the Gulf of Mexico and its surroundings. To the whales, dolphins, pelicans, fish, shellfish, plankton, coral, algae, and all living creatures . . . I am sorry. Please forgive us. Thank you. I love you. “
We are passing this request to people who we believe might be willing to participate in this prayer, to set an intention of love and healing that is so large, so overwhelming that we can perform a miracle in the Gulf of Mexico.
We are not powerless. We are powerful. Our united energy, speaking this prayer daily ... multiple times daily ... can literally shift the balance of destruction that is happening. We don't have to know how, we just have to recognize that the power of love is greater than any power active in the Universe today.
Please join us in often repeating this healing prayer of Dr. Emoto's. And feel free to copy and send it around the planet. Let's take charge, and do our own clean up!
There is one way in which the quantum believers and the religious believers differ regarding the oil spill. The quantum believers do not appear to assign supernatural causes to the oil spill, at least not that I could find. Religious believers, on the other hand, are quick to claim that the oil spill is predicted in the book of Revelation, and that God, for various reasons, caused the oil spill as a punishment. For example, here's what the Christian conspiracy website, The World's Prophecy, has to say about it:
Is the oil spill in the bible? Yes it is:
Before you continue reading the verse below where it predicts the oil spill, keep in mind that the Book of Revelations are full of symbolism. One example would be the great whore “Babylon” is definitely not talking about an actual “whore” or “prostitute”. The beast in Revelation 13 is not exactly talking about an actual monster, but a representation of a man with the “number” 666. So when the oil spill in the verse below talks about an angel pouring it out, do not just swallow it in a dumb way interpreting the angel as BP. As you already know, it is not only BP that has the oil spill problem, but also Chevron. The “angel” is only used as symbolism.
The second angel poured out his bowl into the sea, and it became blood like that of a dead man; and every living thing in the sea died.
From Yahoo! Answers:
What color is the blood of a died man?
I’m doing a little research and I want to know what the color the blood of a died man has. sense it rots would it be black?
The colour of oxygenated blood is shiny red but after the death of a person oxygen supply will be stopped resulting de oxygenation of blood causing the colour changed to darker red and later on it will turn into brown and then black because of the absence of oxygen and due to decay.
So, there it is in black and white, or I should say, black and brown. Oil looks like a dead man's blood, so the Bible predicted the gulf oil spill. And not just the book of Revelation, but the book of Genesis too! The wing-nuts at World Net Daily are circulating a video that claims the gulf oil spill is a fulfillment of a prophecy in Genesis related to Israel:
Is there a spiritual, biblical connection to the BP oil catastrophe?
A new video on YouTube is suggesting a possible link to the disaster due to America's recent treatment of Israel, and at least one well-known Bible analyst, Hal Lindsey, thinks there's a valid correlation.
The video was produced and posted today by Carl Gallups of the Hickory Hammock Baptist Church in Milton, Fla.
"April the 19th, Israel celebrates its independence in 2010," Gallups says in narration on the video. "On April the 19th, Fox News reports that the U.S. will no longer automatically support Israel in the United Nations. The next day, on April the 20th, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explodes. Coincidence? Or the hand and judgment of God?"
The minister cites an ancient promise God made to Abraham, the patriarch of the 12 tribes of Israel, one tribe of which is Judah, from which the Jews derive their name.
In the Book of Genesis, God told him, "I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse ... ."
Referring to Israel as a "prophetic signpost," Gallups said, "It seems to me we're turning our back on Israel, and that's a very dangerous biblical or spiritual place to be."
Gallups is not alone with the sentiment America could be under a curse from God.
"I believe this is evidence that when you turn your back on Israel, especially when you've been a supporter, you're gonna see judgments come from God," said Hal Lindsey, author of "The Late Great Planet Earth."
So, some Christians believe that coordinated prayers are required to implore God to intervene and stop the oil, while other Christians believe the Bible predicted the oil spill, which obviously means the oil spill is God's will, intended as punishment for the wicked people he created. Still other Christians believe God caused the oil spill specifically to punish one wicked nation. What's a God supposed to do?
The Montreal Gazette - October 15, 2010
Desperate people blinded by online pseudo-science
By PEGGY CURRAN, The Gazette
MONTREAL - Joe Schwarcz is sick to death of coffee enemas, macrobiotic diets, Laetrile tablets, raw juices, megavitamins, salt-water cures and urine infusions.
The director of McGill University's Office of Science and Society, Schwarcz has had it up to the eyeballs with distance healers who claim they can treat what ails you by studying a photograph or looking at the whites of your eyes.
"When you are desperate, you will clutch at anything," Schwarcz says of cancer patients who find themselves "at the mercy of quacks and charlatans."
"Desperate people will do anything. So they wind up not just desperate but destitute as well, because these 'cures' don't come cheaply."
Schwarcz, known simply as "Dr. Joe" to the many Montrealers who read his Gazette column and follow his radio show on CJAD, says there's been an explosion in pseudo-science in recent years, as the snake oil salesmen of old give way to the mountebanks of cyberspace.
"There is such a proliferation of nonsense, aided and abetted by the Internet. There is so much quackery out there."
Schwarcz has been asked to be host of the Lorne Trottier Public Science Symposium at McGill, where this year's theme is Confronting Pseudo-science: A Call to Action -a fitting choice for someone who sees his mandate as "making sense out of nonsense."
The two-day forum, which is open to the public, takes place Monday and Tuesday at the Centre Mont Royal. Monday's panellists will be Ben Goldacre, the author of Bad Science and a columnist for the British newspaper the Guardian; Michael Shermer, the editor of Skeptic magazine; and David Gorski, a surgical oncologist in Detroit who has spent the last decade trying to decipher and dispense information about online remedies.
Closing things off Tuesday will be James Randi, also known as The Amazing Randi, a magician and escape artist who now devotes his time to unmasking faith healers and demystifying so-called paranormal events.
Schwarcz will offer a preview today at the Redpath Museum, where he'll discuss the growth of quackery as part of the Freaky Friday lecture series.
As someone who spends a lot of time monitoring cases of suspect science, Schwarcz is troubled by the deluge of email proclaiming that doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore have found a cure for cancer (they haven't) or the influence of New Age gurus like Deepak Chopra and Adam Dreamhealer, who are "beguiling people" while "laughing all the way to the bank," Schwarcz says.
Increasingly, he believes it is important for consumers to do a little critical thinking - to read the fine print, become scientifically savvy and show a little healthy skepticism when faced with promises of miracle cures and dietary supplements that contain nothing more than water and sea salt.
Schwarcz has no time for purveyors of alternative medicines who try to brand scientists as hidebound.
"When scientists start raising eyebrows at such mindless twaddle, the pseudo-science champions unleash their usual attacks, claiming that scientists are closed-minded and can only think in terms of limited paradigms. Nonsense," Schwarcz says.
"Science will embrace new ideas when there is sufficient evidence. But if evidence shows that an idea is not tenable, it should be tossed onto the pseudo-scientific junk heap."
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