Tuesday, July 30, 2013

5 Things I've noticed about... Reiki Healing

Reiki healing. It is a form of alternative medicine that was invented in 1922 by Mikao Usui that many people (particularly those in the New Age Movement) believe that people can focus this energy from some supernatural source and use it to heal people.

While there are a lot of things that I've noticed about Reiki healing, there are five particular things that I've noticed about it.

So here are five things I've noticed about Reiki healing:

5. It's like faith healing without God.

Reiki healing is to the New Age Movement what faith healing is to Christian Fundamentalist: they both are using a source of energy from a supernatural power that is basically far beyond what they can really comprehend (and that they will admit to not fully understanding it) and expect it to do your bidding. Also, practitioners tend use their hands as a way to channel this energy into the "patient".

That is the basics of what both faith healing and Reiki healing is, the only real differences is that with faith healing you at least know where this energy is suppose to be coming from, where as in Reiki healing there can be multiple sources where this supposed energy is coming from (except from God... usually). And that's another thing about Reiki healing...

4. There is no set source from where this energy comes from.

Do you know where your spiritual healing energy is coming from? Well, neither do Reiki healing practitioners.

The range of alleged sources for the energy that Reiki healers claim they get this energy from to do their healing varies. Some claims it's from themselves. Some claims it's from the "patient". Some claims it's all life around us (kind of like the Force from Star Wars). Some claims it's from the Earth. Some claims it's from spirits. Some claims it's from the Sun. Some claim it's from the Universe.

In other words there is no agreement on where this alleged energy comes from. The only agreement amongst Reiki healing practitioners is that this energy is good for you.

3. It should be cheap.

According to Reiki healing practitioners, Reiki energy is all around us and/or inside of us, and if you believe them, it is an unlimited resource that can be used by anyone... theoretical speaking.

Now considering this it should be pretty darn cheap to go to a Reiki healing practitioner and have them try to heal you (hence the word "try") because they don't have to buy anything to do what they do, they're just using their own mental power to force your body to heal.

Most people would think that after considering all of these factors that Reiki healing would be cheap, except...

2. It isn't cheap.

I've done a little bit of Google searching to find some prices on what a Reiki healing practitioner charges, and one website I found that offered Reiki training (which could cost $1,600) said that on average Reiki healing practitioners made between $25 to $60 an hour.

This is of course just the average, and could in fact cost a lot more than just $60 an hour. In fact it could cost twice that much, or even over three times that much. It all depends on where the practitioner is located and how much you're willing to spend.

Even at $25 dollars an hours it does seem like an awful lot to pay for something that in reality doesn't work, and because of the fact that it doesn't actually work, it means that...

1. It is harmful.

I know, many of you are reading this and thinking "if you're not actually using any chemicals or anything like that, then how can it be harmful"?

Technically speaking in itself Reiki healing isn't directly harmful, but indirectly it is harmful because you are forgoing real medicine for something that neither works nor exists. While this isn't much of a problem if you have a cold, it is deadly if have cancer and you decide to use Reiki healing rather than proven medical techniques that could either stop a cancerous tumor, or even get rid of it.

The fact is that Reiki healing doesn't work, and not only is it a waste of your money, it is a waste of time and your health.

Friday, July 26, 2013

7 Reasons why Conspiracy Theorists get their videos and pages removed from Youtube

There are lots and lots of conspiracy theory videos on Youtube (and I mean a lot of them). These videos can range from being interesting to disturbing on multiple levels (being either because of the content in it, or the kind of conspiracy theory that is being talked about, or the fact that people can believe something so utterly ridiculous) and sometimes these videos end up getting deleted (and even whole pages).

Usually when a conspiracy theorist's video or page gets deleted they'll claim that (insert group here) are the ones whom either deleted the video or their page.

The reality is that this is never really the case, and that in fact there is usually some real, legitimate reasons why conspiracy theorists actually get their videos and pages removed from Youtube:

7. It contains copyrighted materials.

Probably one of the most common reasons why a video (or an entire page) gets removed from Youtube (and not just for conspiracy theorists, but anyone really, including skeptics) is because it contains a certain amount, or a certain type of copyrighted material that does not fall under the fair use laws, and thus is subjected to a DMCA complaint by either a single individual, or an entire group or business.

The recipient of the DMCA complaint does have a chance to get whatever material that was removed restored [example], but more often times then not they won't do this, either because it makes them look like the victim of some dark forces trying to hide the "truth", or out real of fear that if they do so then they might "disappear" after they give out the contact information that Youtube requires to begin the process of whether or not the video or page gets restored.

Of course there are those that say "screw these people, I'm putting that video back up."

6. The video contains hate speech.

Because many conspiracy theories have antisemitic undertones to them (or are blatantly antisemitic) it should be no surprise that some conspiracy theorists are antisemitic themselves, and are bigoted towards other groups as well. It should also come as no surprise that sometimes conspiracy theorists post videos that are blatantly bigoted and targets specific groups of people as well (Jewish people mainly, but other groups such as African Americans and Homosexuals as well) and contains language that can be best described as hate speech.

While hate speech is not actually illegal in the United States (although some kinds is legally questionable) Youtube does have a anti-hate speech policy, and will remove a video if enough complaints are launched (although sometimes this doesn't always happen).

5. The video encourages violence and/or other illegal activity.

Because certain conspiracy theorists believe that the government is preparing to throw certain citizens into concentration camps (or kill them) some conspiracy theorists may create videos encouraging their viewers to violently resist anyone who tries to arrest them. Other times these videos might even encourage the viewers to go out and commit acts of anti-government violence, or show you how to make something illegal, like a bomb.

Other videos might also encourage other types of destructive crimes as well, like vandalism. An example of this would be someone in the anti-GMO movement encouraging people to burn farm fields containing GMO crops.

4. The user is harassing people.

Sometimes when a person is removed from Youtube it has nothing to do with the videos they are posting, but rather it is their behavior and treatment towards others on the site.

While harassing and even threatening people isn't something that just conspiracy theorists do, it is something that conspiracy theorists do sometimes do in order to try to scare a skeptic away from Youtube. Sometimes it works, most of the time it just gets them in trouble with Youtube (and law enforcement).

3. The videos contain graphic images.

Sometimes Youtube takes down a video not because it's actually encouraging violence, or has had a DMCA complaint was launched against it. No, sometimes it's because the content in the video was simply to graphic to be allowed on Youtube, even under an age restriction.

2. They get hacked.

Many times when a conspiracy theorist's page on Youtube goes down they'll claim that their page got hacked by the government, and sometimes they are right (at least about the hacked part, not about the government part).

The truth is that conspiracy theorists do sometimes end up angering the wrong person, and said person might feel that Youtube is taking to long to take down a video or someones page (or they don't even bother to try to let Youtube handle it) and if they have enough skills and know how, they hack the page and get rid of whatever they don't like (an action in which I neither encourage nor endorse).

1. The user does it themselves.

Sometimes conspiracy theorists actually take down their own videos and then claim that Youtube told them to take the videos down, which Youtube does not do (Youtube would just take down the videos and then send a warning).

While there are probably multiple reasons why a conspiracy theorist takes down their own video, the most likely reason is that they want you to think that the government has something to hide, and thus it gets their own page more attention from other conspiracy theorists.

Monday, July 22, 2013

5 Things I've noticed about... UFOs

UFO. It's a term and phenomenon that's been around with the public for decades now and has basically the main name used when someone claims they have seen an alien spaceship.

While there are many things that I have noticed about UFOs, I've narrowed it down to five things.

So here are five things I've noticed about UFOs:

5. People use that term in contrast what it really means.

I'm sure that most people know that "UFO" means Unidentified Flying Object, but most of the time now when someone uses the term UFO they don't actually use it to describe an object in the air that they can not identify at the moment, instead it now means to most people that when a person says that they are seeing a UFO that they mean to say that they are seeing what they believe is an alien spaceship.

Even if it turns out a UFO is really a alien spacecraft, then the term UFO can not be applied anymore because the Unidentified Flying Object has in fact been identified.

4. People take horrible pictures and videos of them.

Most photos and videos of UFOs tend to be pretty bad. Many of them are blurry and don't really give much details. Some of them just look like balls of light or some other featureless object in the sky that could really be just something simple like a balloon (and yes, balloons do get misidentified as UFOs).

While there are some good photos and videos of UFOs out there that are pretty detailed, there's just one little problem with most of them...

3. The good ones are faked.

There are good, detailed photos and videos of UFOs out there that can be easily found on the internet. The one problem that all these very highly detailed photos and videos have is that they are always found out to be fakes.

UFO photos and videos have been being faked for decades now, be it either using built from scratch models used from the 1950's on up til today, to digitally altered photos and videos that have been being made since the 1990's.

People will probably continue to make these fake UFO photos and videos because they tend to get people attention, while skeptics will continue to debunk them.

2. It's big business.

Regardless of whether or not UFOs are actually alien spacecrafts, man-made objects, or natural phenomenon, UFOs themselves have become a big business.

There's numerous movies, TV shows, and video games about UFOs, and even toys designed after what most people believe that UFOs (and aliens) look like. Of course lets not forget the numerous books on UFOs too.

Lets face it, the exploitation of UFOs is a multi-million dollar, if not billion dollar industry.

1. They can be easily explained.

Many people believe that UFOs are actually alien spacecraft, but the vast majority of them can be easily explained as being either man-made objects, aircraft, natural and weather related phenomenon, or even just a trick of light (and of course outright hoaxes).

Even those that can't be easily explain right away, can be explained after some investigation. Even with the ones that can't be explained at all it still doesn't mean that they're alien spacecraft. It just means that there is not enough information to figure out what it is that was seen.

Friday, July 19, 2013

'Conspiracy theorists' sane: government dupes crazy, hostile: A flawed article about conspiracy theorists and skeptics

A few days ago I came across an article that had been published on PressTV (which is owned by the government of Iran) that was titled "New studies: 'Conspiracy theorists' sane; government dupes crazy, hostile".

The title alone made it quite clear that the article was one sided, and that it is also quite clear what the writer of the article thinks about skeptics and debunkers... and anyone else who believes the reality that the U.S. government did not stage the worst terrorist attack in history.

Let me share with you the first couple of paragraphs of this article:

  • The most recent study was published on July 8th by psychologists Michael J. Wood and Karen M. Douglas of the University of Kent (UK). Entitled “What about Building 7? A social psychological study of online discussion of 9/11 conspiracy theories,” the study compared “conspiracist” (pro-conspiracy theory) and “conventionalist” (anti-conspiracy) comments at news websites. 

    The authors were surprised to discover that it is now more conventional to leave so-called conspiracist comments than conventionalist ones: “Of the 2174 comments collected, 1459 were coded as conspiracist and 715 as conventionalist.” In other words, among people who comment on news articles, those who disbelieve government accounts of such events as 9/11 and the JFK assassination outnumber believers by more than two to one. That means it is the pro-conspiracy commenters who are expressing what is now the conventional wisdom, while the anti-conspiracy commenters are becoming a small, beleaguered minority. 

I can tell just by reading this that what this article is claiming is very flawed.

For one thing it's assuming that the majority of people making comments on an internet news article reflects the views of the majority of the people. Even on non-conspiracy theory subjects where the majority of people posting comments may seem like the overall majority, in reality they are just being the more vocal of the two groups.

The seconded problem is this "coded comments" thing. What exactly does this mean? Does it mean that the people who did this study read comments individually and were able to establish their content and context? Because of the way it was worded it doesn't sound like it to me. It makes it sound like the people who did the study actually let a computer search for certain words and phrases that are commonly used among conspiracy theorists and skeptics, which is a highly flawed way to research something like this because computers can't understand context like humans can.

This of course isn't the only thing this article claims. It also claims that those that believe what they are calling the "mainstream views" are also display more anger and hostility towards those who don't:

  • Perhaps because their supposedly mainstream views no longer represent the majority, the anti-conspiracy commenters often displayed anger and hostility: “The research… showed that people who favoured the official account of 9/11 were generally more hostile when trying to persuade their rivals.” 

I admit, sometimes skeptics and debunkers do get angry at conspiracy theorists, but actual hostility is actually pretty rare (although it this can be questionable as what some people consider to be hostility might not be considered hostility to others), and usually comes in the form of insults to the conspiracy theorist's intelligence or sanity (both of which after time becomes questionable) and rarely includes the form of threats (unless you include threats of getting banned and having your comments removed). Conspiracy theorists on the other hand engage in hostility towards others all the time, including fellow conspiracy theorists.

This paragraph is also making the assumption that just because the majority of people who comment on internet articles about the 9/11 attacks reflects the majority of the population itself. It does not. In fact the majority of the American people have never believed that the government committed the 9/11 attacks.

The next two paragraphs makes it appear that skeptics are the real conspiracy theorists:

  • Additionally, it turned out that the anti-conspiracy people were not only hostile, but fanatically attached to their own conspiracy theories as well. According to them, their own theory of 9/11 - a conspiracy theory holding that 19 Arabs, none of whom could fly planes with any proficiency, pulled off the crime of the century under the direction of a guy on dialysis in a cave in Afghanistan - was indisputably true. The so-called conspiracists, on the other hand, did not pretend to have a theory that completely explained the events of 9/11: “For people who think 9/11 was a government conspiracy, the focus is not on promoting a specific rival theory, but in trying to debunk the official account.” 

    In short, the new study by Wood and Douglas suggests that the negative stereotype of the conspiracy theorist - a hostile fanatic wedded to the truth of his own fringe theory - accurately describes the people who defend the official account of 9/11, not those who dispute it. 

This is of course another common claim and belief among conspiracy theorists in that the skeptics of the 9/11 conspiracy theories haven't done their research and just assume that the official account is correct, when in reality skeptics have done their research and have determined that the official account is for the most part correct, and that it is the claims that the conspiracy theorists make that are flawed and incorrect.

This article also makes it appear that skeptics feel like they are "rivals" to conspiracy theorists. This is completely untrue. Skeptics don't consider themselves to be rivals to conspiracy theorists because skeptics don't consider a conspiracy theorists conspiracy theory to be rival to the truth.

As it turns out this whole article is hugely cherry picked from the original article published by Micheal J. Woods and Karen M. Douglas (read here) and comes to an entirely different conclusion than what the original article did.

This article for PressTV, which was written by Dr. Kevin Barrett, a 9/11 Truther and conspiracy theorist himself, is hugely deceptive, and is nothing more than an attempt to make people who are not apart of the 9/11 Truth movement look like a bunch deluded people who live in a fantasy world, when in reality the opposite is true.

In conclusion, the article is nothing more than propaganda and dis-information.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

5 Things I've noticed about... False Flag Conspiracy Theorists

False flag conspiracy theorists are conspiracy theorist who believe that almost anytime there is some type of large attack in this country then it is most likely done by the government.

While there are a lot of things that these types of conspiracy theorists tend to do, I narrowed it down to five things.

So here are five things I've noticed about false flag conspiracy theorists:

5. They have no idea what a false flag attack really is.

Most conspiracy theorists believe that false flag attack is when a government agent disguises themselves as an enemy, and commits an attack against the public. Technically speaking this is not a false flag attack.

A false flag attack is actually a navel term for when you put up your enemy's flag on your ship in order to sneak behind them and attack them. That is what a false flag attack really is. You're not posing as your enemy in order to attack your own people, but to attack your enemy.

4. They think everything is a false flag attack.

It doesn't matter how obvious it is that an attack was done by some whack job, it doesn't matter how many people died in the attack, or even if it was someone whom killed their self and their self only, according to a conspiracy theorist, it was a false flag attack.

In fact it doesn't even matter if it was a random act of nature, or an industrial accident, or a plane crash, as long as people got killed (or even if people didn't die) according to many conspiracy theorists, they were most likely false flag attacks.

3. They think that other alleged false flag attacks prove their claims.

If you ever ask a conspiracy theorist what proof do they have that what they are claiming to be a false flag really is a false flag attack, they will usually give you a long list of other attacks that they believe to be false flag attacks.

There are two problems with this: the first one is that these other alleged false flag attacks have themselves almost always have never been proven to be false flag attack, and two, even if they could prove that any of those attacks really were false flag attacks, it's still not evidence that what they are claiming to be a false flag attack is a false flag attack.

2. They have a very low opinion of anyone who disagrees with them.

If you tell a conspiracy theorist that you believe them, or are at least willing to hear them out, then their your best friend and will treat you kindly. Disagree agree with them however, well then you should prepare yourself  for a barrage of insults and allegations.

If you tell them that you don't believe their claims of a false flag attack what will usually happen is that they will call you a sheep or a sheeple. If then continue on and actually debunk their claims, then they will call you a troll, shill, and a disinfo agent (along with other less than nice words).

1. They always think it will lead to something bigger.

One of the things that conspiracy theorists claim about false flag attacks is that it will always lead to some larger attack in the near future, and eventually Martial law, the New World Order taking over, etc., etc.

The one biggest problem with this is that rarely does an attack (false flag or not) gets followed up soon after with one that is larger in scale and lose of life. In fact the largest terrorist attack ever (and one that's still claimed to be a false flag attack, despite all the evidence that says otherwise) the 9/11 attacks has never been followed up by anything bigger in the near twelve years since the attack, nor has Martial law ever been declared nation wide since the attack either.

Friday, July 12, 2013

5 Things I've noticed about... Crop Circles

Crop circles. For decades now they've been appearing in crop fields around the world. Sometimes they're small, simple circles. Sometimes they are enormous and complex, and contain multiple different shapes. While there are many things I've noticed about crop circles, I have narrowed it down to five things.

So here are things I've noticed about crop circles.

5. They're a poor way to communicate.

If aliens really are making these geometric shapes in fields of barley and wheat as a means to communicate with humans (as what many people who still believe that crop circles are made by aliens claim) then it really has to be the worst way to communicate with another intelligent species.

Beside the fact that whomever makes these things would require the people that they are intended for to be able to fly somehow (which is of course easy for us now) it would also require those people to have an understanding of what those shapes mean. That is of course if those shapes have any meaning to them at all...

To simply put, it would be far easier and less confusing for aliens to land in a public area and start talking to people than it would to putting shapes in a field of crops.

4. It's vandalism.

Regardless of whether or not it's bored human who want to create a giant piece of art, or aliens from a distant planet trying to communicate with up in the worst possible way, it's still vandalism, and it's not only damaging a part of a person's property, it's also destroying a part of a person's livelihood, and it's destroying food.

I would think that any beings that were advanced enough to build space ships that could cross hundreds, if not thousands of light years, would at the very least know it's not nice to destroy another species food even if it was to send a message (that no one can figure out).

I would say that I would like to know what kind of species makes these crop circles, but I already know which species makes these crop circles, because...

3. We make them.

Yes, despite what many people believe, crop circles are in fact made by humans. It doesn't matter how large or complex they are, human beings (sometimes many human beings at once) are the ones who are making these things.

Not only is it known that humans make them, it's been known for over 20 years that humans make them (and it was greatly suspected even when crop circles first started appearing in the 70's that they were made by humans). There's even videos on Youtube showing how to make crop circles:

2. There are people who still believe they are made by aliens.

Despite the fact that it's been known for over two decades now that humans are the ones making crop circles (with plenty of videos and arrest records to prove it) there are still people out there who refuse to believe that groups of people can get together, go out to some farmer's crop field in the middle of the night, and make some geometric shapes in a pattern...

Besides believing that these crop circles are made by aliens, they are very adamant about their belief that crop circles being messages from aliens, often times to the point of which they become hostel towards those whom tell them that crop circles are made by humans.

1. They're very artistic.

I admit it, I think crop circles are very artistic looking and pleasing to the eyes, and the size and scale of these creations, not to mention the complexity of some of these creations, just makes these things look awesome (despite the fact that they're still acts of vandalism). Some people even say that they're a form of modern art.

This is in fact all that crop circles, art. They are not made by aliens. They are made by humans. Even the seemingly very complex ones can be easily made by humans after enough practice.

There is no hidden messages behind these things. They're just there to be look at and be admired.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

5 Things I've noticed about... Conspiracy Theorists on the Internet

Ever encounter a conspiracy theorist on the internet? Most of us have, especially if you're a skeptic like myself who has their own blog about debunking. At that point they tend to come to you.

While there are a lot of things about conspiracy theorist on the internet that I've noticed they tend to do, I've narrowed it down to five main things.

So here are five things I've noticed about conspiracy theorist on the internet:

5. They love using quotes.

Be it in their signature line on an internet forum, or in their timeline on their Facebook page, conspiracy theorists love posting quotes on the internet. Usually these quotes are allegedly from some musician, or politician, or philosopher, or just some famous person whom they think would share their beliefs. Sometimes these quotes are accompanied with a picture of the person who allegedly said it.

The problem with this is that (and this is true anytime someone quotes someone) is that the quotes can be taken out of context, the quote can be mis-quoted, or it could be something that person never said at all.

There is of course one truth about these quotes: they do absolutely nothing to back up what ever conspiracy theory they are claiming to believe in.

4. They love collages.

Go to any conspiracy theorist group on Facebook or conspiracy theorist forum and you'll usually find some collages of photo-shopped pictures along with conspiracy theory claims within the collage.

These collages are often times confusing at the least, and more times than not, disturbing looking.

Many conspiracy theorists might think these collages helps get whatever point they have across, but the reality is that they are really a turn off for normal minded people and makes them all look like a bunch of wackos.

3. They don't have a sense of humor.

Conspiracy theorists (at least on the internet) take things way to seriously, and when someone makes a joke or a sarcastic remake, they tend to go ballistic, either because they don't think you should be joking about the subject at hand, or they think you're being serious.

They also can't tell when someone (or some website) is being sarcastic either. An example of this would be Skeptic Project. On the front page of the website it says "Your #1 COINTELPRO cognitive infiltration source." To most people they are clearly being sarcastic. But apparently some people in the Infowars forums thought they were actually admitting to being a COINTELPRO website.

2. They are extremely rude.

Ever try having a conversation over the internet with a conspiracy theorist about some conspiracy they believe, and you tell them that you don't believe in it, or that it isn't true, then you have most likely been on the receiving end of one of the most logical faulty and volatile rants that you will probably ever encounter.

While this behavior is nothing unexpected (be it unwelcomed) from a conspiracy theorist on the interenet, what is unexpected is that some of them make threats (which can get them in trouble), try to take down other peoples' internet pages if they don't like what is on there, troll internet pages and spam them with their conspiracy theories, and harass people who disagree with them.

1. They think everyone whom disagrees with them is a disinformation agent.

Anyone who has a blog dedicated to skepticism and debunking, or gets into an argument with a conspiracy theorist on the internet in which you present evidence debunking whatever claims they are making, will eventually get called a disinformation agent (or a sheeple at the very least).

Because conspiracy theorists so badly believe that what they believe is real, they actually can not believe that someone would honestly not believe them, so anyone who says otherwise must be a disinformation agent, thus they can disregard whatever information is posted that contradicts what they believe to be true.

Of course being called a disinformation agent really means nothing to skeptics. Some of us even consider it a kind of badge of honor.

Friday, July 5, 2013

The Christian Right and false Patriotism

This Independence Day weekend (when did it become a weekend long event by the way) many of us will be filled with a bit more Patriotic pride, show our respect to those in military service past and present, and after it's all done continue on like any other day.

While most of us will say we have pride for our country (in varying levels) and to an extent, Patriotism, there is one group that I feel has false Patriotism: the Christian Right.

Now I have no doubt that members of the Christian Right love this country and the freedoms that we have via the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, the problem is that they think that those freedoms and rights only applies to them, and that everyone else is just secondary. A prime example of this would be their views on the first amendment, specifically the freedom of religion.

They believe that freedom of religion means only freedom of religion for Christian religious sects (and maybe certain Jewish religious sects), and only "true" Christians at that (i.e. those with views similar to their own). Every other religion, according to them, is excluded (most especially Islam and Atheism, the latter of which is falsely believed to actually be a religion rather than just a belief system, and both of which are, according to the Christian Right, Satanic). Because of this belief that the 1st Amendment excludes people of non-Christian beliefs (which it does not in any way shape or form) they believe that these other groups have no rights, and thus can be treated like second class citizens.

In fact many of the Christian Right do not even have a clue why Bill of Rights was created in the first place.

The Bill of Rights was created to give people more rights, not take them away or prevent citizens of this country from obtaining more of them.

Because those of the Christian Right do not realize this (or don't care) they believe that they can do what ever they want to with the Bill of Rights, and can pass what ever amendments they wish, regardless if it takes away a person's rights or not (i.e. the proposed amendments to ban same-sex marriage throughout the country), and because of this same self centered attitude, they believe that they don't have to respect a court's decisions, most especially the Supreme Court of the United States, at least when a verdict comes down that they disagree with.

Then there is of course voting it self.

Basically (according to them) if you don't vote for a Republican, or vote for a Democrat, you are not a Christian and you hate this country (and in that order).

That is beyond stupid and extremely insulting (not to mention fascist), as it is basically saying that if I don't vote for who they want me to then I must be a bad person who is going to Hell and wants to see this country destroyed, rather than someone who disagrees with them on how the country should be run, and who and who not should hold public office.

This is not Patriotism. This is actually fascism via intimidation and fear tactics in order to create a country that they want, and not regarding or respecting the rights of other people, people who they see as "undesirables". They do this by claiming that these groups are "destroying" America, or that by giving these rights, or at least protecting their rights, that that are infringing on the rights of Christians (which is false).

I believe these people truly believe that they are Patriotic, and that they believe what they are doing will help the country, but what they are doing is in fact wrong, and it actually hurts this country and those who live in it.

Respecting others regardless if they believe in something different from yourself, and respecting the rights given in the Constitution and what those rights stands for, and not trying to twist and pervert those rights into something that it does not mean, that is real Patriotism.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Breatharianism: One of the dumbest (and most dangerous) things of the New Age Movement

Breatharianism. It's a belief in the New Age Movement that people can live off of air and sunlight alone, and do not need food (and for some, water) to live, and that people can convert air and sunlight into prana, or life energy, with according to practitioners is all a person needs to live.

Now many skeptics are in debate about breatharianism. The debate of course isn't about whether it works or not, as all agree that it doesn't. The debate is about whether it one of the dumbest things to come from the New Age Movement, or if it's one of the craziest. The one thing that all skeptics will agree upon is that it is definitely one of the most dangerous.

No organism on the planet can live off of sunlight and air alone, be it either animal, or plant, or microbe. All lifeforms on this planet require at the very least water and nutrients in order to live. In fact for many lifeforms sunlight and air isn't even required in order to live, just water and nutrients.

Now we of course need air to live (although sunlight isn't really needed, it is a good thing to get, so as soon as you finish reading this, I recommend you go outside and get some sun) we can not live on air alone, because air does not contain any nutrients and other substances we need to live other than oxygen. Sunlight has the same problem with not having any nutrients and substances either, and thus cannot be used as a source of energy for the human body. The only the way to get nutrients and substances into our bodies that can be converted into energy is through food.

The amount of energy we can get from food (via digesting it) is measured in calories. The amount of calories a person needs is on average is around 2400 (this of course varies from person to person, depending on the person's size, how active they are, and their metabolic rate). Of course what you eat is also important as well, as a well balanced diet is necessary for a healthy life (getting 2400 calories a day in just cake and ice cream is not healthy no matter what). Air and sunlight does not contain anything that can be measured as calories, thus it cannot be converted into energy inside the human body.

Of course there is the claim that air and sunlight can be converted into prana, but there is a major problem with this claim: There's no evidence what so ever that humans can somehow convert air and sunlight into prana (or any other type of energy necessary to live). In fact there's no evidence at all that prana even exists, more or less that we humans can live off of just prana alone.

Some of you might be asking "if breatharianism is impossible, then how come some many people claim to be successful at it?" The answer is simple: they are lying, and they eat as much as we do.

Several high profile members of the breatharian movement have in fact been caught cheating (i.e. eating). Probably one of the most famous breatharians to get caught cheating is Wiley Brooks, who does admit to occasionally having a Double Quarter Pounder with cheese from McDonalds, and a Diet Coke.

One high profile member, by the name of Ellen Greve, a.k.a. Jasmuheen, actually did try to prove that a person could live off of air and sunlight alone, and agreed to do so under controlled conditions (i.e. she was being watched 24/7) after accepting a challenge from the Australian version of 60 Minutes (whom also filmed her) back in 1999. The test was stopped after four days after she began experiencing life threatening conditions due to dehydration.

Of course Ellen Greve got lucky. Many people who have tried to live the breatherian lifestyle (including followers of Greve) have either given up because they found out pretty quickly that it can't be done, or they died from severe malnutrition and/or dehydration. This of course is why so many skeptics (and doctors and scientists) consider breatharianism to be so dangerous.

People simply can not live off of air and sunlight alone. Everyone needs food in order to survive, including immobile people in vegetative states (which is why they are often times hooked up to feeding tubes). If you try to live off of air and sunlight, you are going to die.