Some notions not so nutty

Ron Herman

Although I appreciate Robert Wolke’s alert to the many schemes advertised in typical “alternative” publications (“Stalking the Nutty Notions,” SI, January/February 2008), he and we should be careful not to brand everything in the list he compiled as fraudulent. I am thinking mainly of therapeutic massage, which I’m sure we can all appreciate as a treatment that relieves sore muscles, which consequently can relieve some other pain, at least temporarily. It can also provide a time to quiet the mind, leaving the patient feeling relaxed and refreshed. Most of these therapists are well-trained in human anatomy and licensed to provide limited services within state and local laws. There are certainly a few other services in Wolke’s list–such as yoga, grief counseling, and walking meditation–that provide some benefit and may be worth the price, especially if they are free. I know that CSI researchers and authors have exposed the deceitful claims of some of the others, but let’s not use a broad brush to criticize all alternatives to drugs and alcohol for relieving mental and physical stress.

Ron Herman

Albuquerque, New Mexico

While I agree that most of Professor Wolke’s list of unscientific services fall into the realm of woo-woo, he has lumped in some perfectly mainstream, acceptable practices with the questionable ones.

Allopathic medicine? I’m willing to bet every reader of SKEPTICAL INQUIRER has visited one. This is another term for conventional medicine (albeit a term often used pejoratively by homeopathic practitioners). Allopaths are MDs.

Geriatric massage? What does he have against old people getting rubbed down? Sometimes this is the only time anyone touches them.

Grief counseling? Hospice and other fine organizations offer this for those who have lost loved ones, and I daresay most of us–scientifically oriented or not–have had some need of this.

Hot rock massage? It’s relaxing, not magic. And therapeutic massage is just that–therapy for sore muscles. None of these belong on a list that includes homeopathy, chakra balancing, soul coaching, and dowsing!

So “read ’em and weep?” Maybe for some things on this list but certainly not all.

Susan Sackett

Scottsdale, Arizona

In “Stalking the Nutty Notions,” Robert Wolke has a jolly time listing and dismissing as many of the “crackpot” advertisers as he can find in a recent alternative publication. An unmistakable tone of mockery runs through his article and Rob Pudim’s cartoon, which shows two idiotic people entering a carnival. He even puts a fat lady in the tarot booth. But condescension and mockery are not science, nor are they rational. Such an article contributes nothing to our understanding of healing, therapy, or spirituality and appeals only to readers who enjoy feeling superior.

Gregory Nissen

Staten Island, New York

COPYRIGHT 2008 Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal

COPYRIGHT 2008 Gale, Cengage Learning

You May Also Like

Did a Close Encounter of the Third Kind Occur on a Japanese Beach in 1803?

Did a Close Encounter of the Third Kind Occur on a Japanese Beach in 1803? Kazuo Tanaka Intriguing UFO-like stories written in the …

The Inner Eye: Social Intelligence in Evolution. . – New Books

The Inner Eye: Social Intelligence in Evolution. . – New Books – book review Kendrick Frazier The Inner Eye: Social Intelligence in…

South Park TV satire skewers John Edward psychic pretensions

South Park TV satire skewers John Edward psychic pretensions – News and Comment Greg Martinez Now that the Osbourne clan has knocke…

The Shrinking Filedrawer

The Shrinking Filedrawer Douglas M. Stokes On the Validity of Statistical Meta-analyses in Parapsychology It may be easier t…