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Old 23rd December 2010, 02:30 AM   #1
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Faith-Healer 'John of God' featured on CNN's AC360

CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta interviews Oprah Winfrey's hand-picked "skeptics" who went to see faith-healer 'John of God'

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxF8ROlrDSs

@ 3:00 in the video:

Dr. Sanjay Gupta:

"A lot of people out there claim that these types of things that John of God are doing is just quackery, just sleight of hand ... "

Dr Jeff Rediger, M.D.:

"I do believe that some of what goes on down there is sleight of hand, I also believe however, there are things that happen that cannot be explained by sleight of hand, so I have come to believe, somewhat reluctantly, and with difficulty figuring out how to accommodate this in my world view, that the world is a more mysterious place than I had understood."


I think it's amazing that in this day and age, educated people -- faced with something they can't easily figure out -- (even if from a known trickster) will automatically attribute it as possibly supernatural.

One would think that in the 30+ years that this world-famous faith-healer has been in operation, there must have been at least some degree of objective analysis of his incredible claims. But this news show seems to treat him as if he is some complete unknown who just stepped into the limelight: a newly discovered 'phenomenon' that deserves additional study.It's a shame that CNN could not find a real skeptic to go on the show opposite these two gullible people.

So, the show leads us to believe, that because this stage performer has apparently not (yet) been 100% dis-proven, his claims of paranormal ability need to be taken seriously.

Last edited by chainlink; 23rd December 2010 at 02:32 AM.
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Old 23rd December 2010, 06:21 AM   #2
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Can't the nitwit producers of these shows apply Google to the word skeptic? Almost any mouse-click would yield a better choice than the ones they put on the air.
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Old 23rd December 2010, 06:36 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Resume View Post
Can't the nitwit producers of these shows apply Google to the word skeptic? Almost any mouse-click would yield a better choice than the ones they put on the air.
They want viewers...and they know exactly what they are doing and who they are putting on the air.
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Old 23rd December 2010, 06:46 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by LTC8K6 View Post
They want viewers...and they know exactly what they are doing and who they are putting on the air.
While that's certainly true, doesn't AC360 pander a tad less than Oprah's crew?
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Old 23rd December 2010, 08:56 AM   #5
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Why would I take a medical doctor's word on whether something is sleight of hand? So stupid.
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Old 23rd December 2010, 08:59 AM   #6
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What John of God does isn't magic tricks, it's flat out ********. He jams metal objects up noses, shines lights, scrapes eyeballs, and makes incisions in a non-sterile environment. John of God doesn't have enough self-respect to learn something as cool as sleight of hand.
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Old 23rd December 2010, 01:12 PM   #7
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I was just going to post this. Why doesn't the harvard educated professor present his information in a scientific way? I mean, it should be easy to prove what powers John of God has or doesn't have. I would like to see it.

He hinted there was evidence people were being healed, but didn't show any lol.

My uncle's friend took their child to him. The child suffers from all kinds of debilitating problems from what I know. I don't know what ones exactly. But the kid was not healed or cured by John of God.
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Old 23rd December 2010, 02:15 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by skepticalbeliever View Post
I was just going to post this. Why doesn't the harvard educated professor present his information in a scientific way? I mean, it should be easy to prove what powers John of God has or doesn't have. I would like to see it.

He hinted there was evidence people were being healed, but didn't show any lol......
It is a mistake to think an intelligent educated person, even a practicing neurosurgeon like Gupta, have learned much about rational and irrational views of the Universe.

On the other hand, a physician has a dilemma when it comes to challenging false beliefs. If one is too blunt the patient will leave and fail to be helped by scientific evidence based medicine. So quite often physicians adopt the position of not challenging people's beliefs.
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Old 23rd December 2010, 02:31 PM   #9
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Remember, Gupta is also a proponent of "Facilitated Communication" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Facilitated_communication).

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Old 23rd December 2010, 02:43 PM   #10
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We can be sure it was no accident that only "woo-woo" people were picked to appear on the Oprah Winfrey show. It seems that these TV shows always manage to dredge up some doctorate-degreed kook, who can then be paraded about, as if to dress up these wacky ideas with the stamp of legitimacy.

One would think that virtually every MD would recognize such things as placebo effect, controlled studies, and the concept of efficacy - all things related to standard scientific methodologies.

But such rational thinking is alien to Dr. Jeff Rediger. Instead he spouts the nonsense of thinking "Gee, I can't figure it out -- It might very well be magic."

The sad part is that these irrational "kook doctors" like Jeff Rediger can enjoy a rich career on the TV talk show circuit, a place where any normal, level-headed MD would rarely - if ever - appear.


Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
On the other hand, a physician has a dilemma when it comes to challenging false beliefs. If one is too blunt the patient will leave and fail to be helped by scientific evidence based medicine. So quite often physicians adopt the position of not challenging people's beliefs.
Another factor is that the "alternative medicine" industry has for a long time has been filling people's heads with loud accusations that all doctors are corrupt (not just "ignorant"), and the FDA and drug companies conspire to run a scam. Many people seem to believe this, and refuse to trust the official medical establishment. And for those in the middle, MDs must be careful they don't do anything to alienate them, and push them squarely into the fold of quack medicine.
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Old 25th December 2010, 01:30 AM   #11
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Cnn Embraces Woo (John of God)

I know I shouldn't be surprised by these things. Long story short, a reporter from CNN went down to South America to witness a supposed faith healer, and appears totally smitten. I guess there really is a sucker born every minute:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4fg269kzIiE

ETA: Here is James Randi's take on the guy. I had never heard of him before today.

Last edited by HumanityBlues; 25th December 2010 at 01:38 AM.
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Old 25th December 2010, 02:49 AM   #12
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Ah, well, if you mention "God", you see, it means it is religion and not woo, right?

For example, yesterday when I switched on the telly I caught a few seconds of a children's programme explaining the origins of the Christmas tree - they said it wasn't really part of the traditional British Christmas, but was an imported German tradition, "based on a superstition".
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Old 25th December 2010, 09:06 PM   #13
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This is one reason why I no longer watch TV or cable
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Old 26th December 2010, 01:31 PM   #14
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I love this kind of "quality" journalism. The more I read about it the more disgusted I get. The thing that irritates me most about cases like this, is that so many people seem to think that they are too rational or too educated to be fooled by woo, and therefore, the BS they were fed with simply can't be woo.
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Old 26th December 2010, 01:59 PM   #15
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Dr. Jeff is not just any old psychiatrist.

Quote:
Clinical Interests: Interdisciplinary interests in psychiatry and religion
Bio: Dr. Rediger is medical director at McLean Hospital Southeast, and an instructor in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He has a Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary and publishes in the fields of medicine, psychiatry and spirituality. He is medical director of the Institute for Psychological & Spiritual Development in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

At least Dr. Sanjay isn't the current Surgeon General. Science-Based Medicine rated his book a 5 on the quackometer scale.

Last edited by Emet; 26th December 2010 at 02:00 PM.
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Old 27th December 2010, 07:12 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by HumanityBlues View Post
I know I shouldn't be surprised by these things. Long story short, a reporter from CNN went down to South America to witness a supposed faith healer, and appears totally smitten. I guess there really is a sucker born every minute:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4fg269kzIiE

ETA: Here is James Randi's take on the guy. I had never heard of him before today.
These media outlets should try harder to differentiate between entertainment (or even advertising) and news or investigation. I guess the public really wants their investigative reporting to be in the form of anecdotes, glorification of flim-flam, and supernatural explanations for ordinary magic tricks.

I know it's anecdotal but here's something written by someone on Oprah's blog:



Posted: Tue 12/14/2010 9:40 PM

wintryweather : I personally know a boy, diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer at age 11, who visited John of God twice. Both times John told him emphatically - without any hesitation or conditions - that the boy would be healed. He was not, and died this past spring at the age of 13. Do you not see that J of G has rigged it so he is always right? If someone improves, or is healed, he takes credit even if they were seeking more conventional medical treatment, as many do. If the person dies, J of G can claim that it's because they didn't do their "40%" as he mentions in the article. He's covered either way. It's a scam!



( Source: http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Spiritua...od-Susan-Casey )
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Old 27th December 2010, 08:28 AM   #17
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There appears to be two threads on this subject. Here is the other one:
http://www.internationalskeptics.com...d.php?t=195627
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Old 27th December 2010, 03:40 PM   #18
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Aargh.

I guess what bothers me is the message that 'John of God' represents a viable alternative to traditional medical care - especially for the poor. I don't see lines of wealthy people lining up, abandoning their cat scans and hospital care. Is this Oprah's personal doctor? Oh no but what a blessing he must be for those unfortunates who can't afford regular health care.

Encouragement to superstitious nonsense by those who should know better.
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Old 27th December 2010, 04:21 PM   #19
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This is the subject of Randi's latest SWIFT entry:
http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/...r-blunder.html

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Old 27th December 2010, 06:41 PM   #20
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I'm surprised that almost no one has mentioned that "John of God" is perpetrating almost exactly the same sort of quackery as his predecessor, "Arigo" or "Arigo of the rusty knife".

Yes, the very same eyeball scraping, rusty-knife incising.... Etc. All about 35 years ago when a credulous book was produced under the title "Arigo of the Rusty Knife".

His particular scam included the generation of unintelligible "prescriptions" written on scraps of paper. No one could read them...Except for his brother, the pharmacist. A few bottles filled with colored water sold for outrageous prices furnished the money aspect of the scam.
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Old 28th December 2010, 01:54 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Bikewer View Post
I'm surprised that almost no one has mentioned that "John of God" is perpetrating almost exactly the same sort of quackery as his predecessor, "Arigo" or "Arigo of the rusty knife".

Yes, the very same eyeball scraping, rusty-knife incising.... Etc. All about 35 years ago when a credulous book was produced under the title "Arigo of the Rusty Knife".

His particular scam included the generation of unintelligible "prescriptions" written on scraps of paper. No one could read them...Except for his brother, the pharmacist. A few bottles filled with colored water sold for outrageous prices furnished the money aspect of the scam.
That one faith healer guy that James Randi caught in the 70s getting info through his ear piece (can't remember his name) was back at it again like 20 years later. These things are forgotten pretty fast.

I don't know what it is about this CNN clip, but it makes me madder than hell.
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Old 28th December 2010, 04:26 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by HumanityBlues View Post
That one faith healer guy that James Randi caught in the 70s getting info through his ear piece (can't remember his name) was back at it again like 20 years later. These things are forgotten pretty fast.

I don't know what it is about this CNN clip, but it makes me madder than hell.
That would be Peter Popoff.

He sells Miracle Water now.
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Old 28th December 2010, 01:47 PM   #23
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The popular media has one simple mission - to make money. It does this by attracting readers/viewers because lots of readers/viewers = increased advertising revenues.
News editors and producers know very well that the vast bulk of the population is both supersticious, suggestible and more than willing to believe in the paranormal.
They know that the debunking of faith healers, psychics, religious leaders and such like has limited appeal.
Most people want to be astounded. Most people want to believe something's going on that boring old science can't explain. The editors/producers know this because they themselves have the same needs, or their family and friends do.
There's a saying in journalism: Know when to stop asking questions.
Standing a story up is what's important - and standing up a story that's got the ingredients to attract readers/viewers can be a matter of survival in a very compettive industry.
Finding out the truth of a matter is simply not on the agenda if it means a "good" story may fall flat.

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Old 28th December 2010, 05:49 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Resume View Post
While that's certainly true, doesn't AC360 pander a tad less than Oprah's crew?
Apparently not.
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