Sunday, May 28, 2006

Debunking Crystal Healing

In a previous post on this blog, I discussed one of the main texts about crystal healing --- Melody's Love is In the Earth --- and showed that some of the advice presented there was actually dangerous.

Today, I'll discuss the evidence against crystal healing.

Crystal healers allege that crystals have "energy" that can be sensed. They report sensations such as warmth or tingling when a crystal is held in the hand, and that crystals can interact with energy in the body, with resultant medical effects. For example, this web page qujotes Marcel Vogel as saying "The crystal is a neutral object whose inner structure exhibits a state of perfection and balance. … Like a laser, it radiates energy in a coherent, highly concentrated form, and this energy may be transmitted into objects or people at will. … With proper training, a healer using a crystal can release negative thoughtforms which have taken shape as disease patterns."

Is there any actual evidence for this view? Although crystal healers like to call their practice "scientific", they never cite any controlled scientific studies supporting their claims. (Indeed, Melody reports that many of her claims were "channeled".)

The only scientific studies I have been able to find on the topic of crystal healing are by Christopher French and his colleagues at Goldsmiths College, University of London. These studies do not seem to be available on the web, although there is a news article here. Since they do not seem to be well known, I summarize the results here.

In a 1999 paper presented at the Sixth European Congress of Psychology in Rome, French and Lynn Williams gave a paper entitled "Crystal clear: paranormal powers, placebo, or priming?" In this paper they explored the possibility that the sensations that crystal practitioners report may be due, in part, to "priming"; that is, expecting certain sensations after being told or reading about them in reference books. They used 80 volunteers, half of which were male. The volunteers included customers from a New Age store, as well as undergraduates and non-students. Participants were given either a natural quartz crystal to hold, or a fake crystal made of glass. They were asked to report sensations such as tingling, heat, relaxation, and mood change. Those who had been "primed" to expect certain sensations reported these sensations more frequently (p = .008) than those who had not been primed. However, there was no difference in effects reported between those who handled the real crystal and those who handled the fake crystal.

French repeated the study with Hayley O'Donnell and Williams in a paper presented to the British Psychological Society Centary Annual Conference in Glasgow in 2001. Part of the motivation for the replication was that the original study was not double-blind, as the experimenter (Wiliams) was aware of which crystals were real and fake. The 2001 study was double-blind. This time, the "priming" did not have a significant effect, but once again, there was no difference in effects reported between real and fake crystals. The study concludes "...the fact that the same effects were found with both genuine and fake crystals undermines any claims that crystals have the mysterious powers which they are claimed to have. Instead, the power of suggestion, either explicit or implicit, seems to be the not-so-mysterious power that may convince many that crystals have the potential to work miracles".

I doubt these studies will convince crystal healers, any more than Emily Rosa's debunking of therapeutic touch has affected that practice.

168 comments:

CoolBeansG said...

Pat these are my thoughts also, the devil wants to destroy the world by destroying the people, and thus Gods creation, but without people to do good there will be no creative force, because the Lord is where creation and creativity happens. Satan uses Gods creations, and tries to pervert it into his evil desires. Praise the Lord for Jesus Christ has been sacrificed for our sins, and that we maybe wholly good.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

There's only one thing more pathetic than crystal healing, and that's seeing a theist try to argue against crystal healing using religion as a tool.

Swordsman said...

I'm REALLY new to the whole crystal thing... just looking things up out of curiosity. However, the experiment mentioned above strikes me as inherently faulty, given that a primary ingredient in glass IS quartz. I'm pretty neutral on the subject, but it seems to me that if you were proposing that quartz did or did not have "abilities", you'd want to eliminate it entirely from one side of the equation...?

Jeffrey Shallit said...

Glass is silicon dioxide, but it is misleading to say it is quartz. Quartz has a crystal structure, whereas glass is amorphous. Crystal healers claim that ordinary glass would not have the same healing properties as a quartz crystal, so it is this claim that is being tested.

YerbaMan said...

When I hold or wear a quartz crystal for 10 minutes I feel an unmistakable sensation that is akin to "energy" or "electricity". Maybe it does something. I doubt it is autosuggestion because the effects are very very powerful and sometimes I don't even focus on it, first I feel the sensation and then I realize it was the Crystal. I can get dizzy sometimes or feel lightheaded. Tactile sensations are powerful to the point of slight pain.

I am searching for a good explanation on the web but all I get is new age crystal book I already know all they say and nothing on the scientific side. Seems weird to me because for me the effects of quartz are clear as daylight.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

Yerba Man, your description is completely consistent with autosuggestion.

In tests, even crystal healers could not distinguish between a genuine quartz crystal and a fake made of glass. If you can do so reliably, every materials scientist in the world would be interested.

Devon said...

New Age Shop customers, students and the like may not be the best subjects out there. Then again, it is difficult to identify which are suitable, as claiming to be an expert in a yet-to-be-scientifically-proven ART (not Science) such as crystal healing does not automatically make one an expert. One doesn't also become a skilled practitioner by just buying a crystal and bringing it home to play with it.

I am a crystal user, and am incorporating its energies in my reiki practice. I cannot say for sure how effective it is, as they were not done under proper controlled conditions, but I have through empirical observations, noted an improvement in the healing time that takes place. One could argue that it's placebo...so be it. "It is all in the mind", as my skeptic friend would say, is the precise description of what goes on in these healings. Without a good visualisation technique and skill, a quartz which is to serve as a catalyst would turn out to be just as useful (or useless) as a nice piece of rock. Even the placebos of conventional medicine isn't of much help to my skeptic friend who often falls ill. I have found the "placebo" of crystal healing to keep me free from illness...so far at least.

I have no evidence (yet) for the validity of crystal healing, but I believe it's energies, inherent or focused from elsewhere to be rather real. And again, it takes some time between 30 to 60 days before a crystal user would be able to tap into its energies. At least that is what I have found to be true first hand through 2 separate quartz crystals, before reading it somewhere...thus confirming my suspicion to be true and void of placebos or autosuggestions.

To give a clearer picture, my current crystal took me about 60 days of familiarisation, after which I would always feel drowsy when holding it. This was the same experience with the previous crystal (after 30 days), and this sedative effect has been claimed by another crystal user somewhere else as well. Bear in mind, these are not scientific evidence that there is energy, just observations that bring us a step closer to the much-maligned art of crystal healing.

Who would have thought centuries ago, that laser could be emitted from a simple ruby rod crystal before Theodore Maiman discovered it in the 1960s?

That said, we could be pioneers in this field, no matter how amateur or flawed our experiments may be...

Anonymous said...

I thank God and Goddess that your ignorance blinds you from truly knowing. I'm definetly not gonna tell you the truth.

Anonymous said...

Devon wrote: "it takes some time between 30 to 60 days before a crystal user would be able to tap into its energies. At least that is what I have found to be true first hand through 2 separate quartz crystals, before reading it somewhere...thus confirming my suspicion to be true and void of placebos or autosuggestions."

Actually, this doesn't necessarily follow. It could just as easily be that 30 to 60 days is the average time it takes to condition your mind to a crystal. That is to say, the more you "use" a crystal, the more effective it becomes as a stimulator of autosuggestion.

That said, if you've placebo'd yourself into good health, don't let me put you off. Long may you remain so.

Anonymous said...

There is much that exists beyond the visible spectrum of light, and beyond the five senses. Not being able to prove the existence of something does not disprove its existence. Much is yet to be discovered. You would do better to discover it by looking outside your narrow frame of reference.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

There is much that exists beyond the visible spectrum of light, and beyond the five senses.

Medicine already uses concepts "beyond the visible spectrum of light". Ever heard of an x-ray?

Not being able to prove the existence of something does not disprove its existence.

I can't prove there are quacks on Mars, but I know they exist!

You would do better to discover it by looking outside your narrow frame of reference.

It's not up to me to prove that crystal healing works. It's up to the practitioners. So far, they haven't.

Anonymous said...

I must say that the problem these days with humanity is that they feel the need to know EVERYTHING! Dont you kinda think that there are some things that should be left sacred? I have great respect for all opinions and am able to put my mind in an open state to ponder the thoughts in ways im not used to. However I feel that crystal healing is a highly spiritual practice that should not be tainted by science. My good friend is a crystal healer and also a Catholic, I have witnessed many of her clients drastically heal many mental illnesses as well as physical. I promise to find some proof for you. I do have to ask, have you ever tried crystal healing? Because I find it completely ignorant to shun something you yourself have never tried. That being said, I will get back to you when i find some research! Many blessings

Jeffrey Shallit said...

I must say that the problem these days with humanity is that they feel the need to know EVERYTHING!

Why is it a problem?

Dont you kinda think that there are some things that should be left sacred?

What does "sacred" mean in this context?

However I feel that crystal healing is a highly spiritual practice that should not be tainted by science.

How does knowing whether it works "taint" it?

My good friend is a crystal healer and also a Catholic, I have witnessed many of her clients drastically heal many mental illnesses as well as physical.

How do you know the crystal was responsible?

I promise to find some proof for you.

I'm all ears, but be warned: the kind of evidence that I am looking for is the same kind of evidenced used to evaluate drugs: a double-blind study, preferably several.

Because I find it completely ignorant to shun something you yourself have never tried.

Have you ever jabbed a knitting needle into your eardrum? If not, I find it completely ignorant of you to sun something you haven't tried.

Anonymous said...

Honestly
There are some great points on both sides
And in reality, this discussion will never be sorted out
So in the end
Why dont you all just leave your thoughts and opinions to yourself and leave the other party of people alone
Its your opinion and not everyone will agree with it

Jeffrey Shallit said...

Anonymous:

What do you think are the "great points" in favor of crystal healing?

Like, can you provide any evidence?

GRITS said...

In my opinion we need a dictionary going here. Faith is one thing and science is another. Thank goodness science does not depend on faith but on provable, recreatable facts and experiements. On the other hand, faith is very important in that it covers those things that cannot be proven and therefore allow us to believe in things we cannot possible test scientifically(like the love of another person).
If one have faith that crystals will heal them, they probably will; if one need empirical proof, they probably won't.

I taught high school science for 25 years and tried to instill in my students the love of mystery. To me science doesn't so much try to prove things as to disprove;not so much uncover but to discover.

Jesse said...

It bothers me to no end to read some of these comments, and how people are proud of their ignorance. There is zero proof for any magical healing properties of crystals for any condition. You can give as many anectodes as you wish, and they are all irrelevant because in the end they are not facts gathered in a suitable manner for testing, but a collection of opinions, which hold no weight. I do have experience with crystals, specifically, a mother who believes they hold great power to cause good and bad. I see first hand the completely ridiculous leaps of logic and mental gymnastics she goes through to attribute any results to the crystals. This is all make- believe, and like the tooth fairy, santa and the easter bunny, you have to have faith that it works, otherwise it's just a pretty rock. If you want to believe that your god or goddess imbued tremendous power into a crystal, fine. That doesn't change the fact that it only exists in your mind, and is not real. Believers do our society a huge disservice by promoting magic and mystery where none exists. In the end, with out your belief, there is no healing crystal phenomenon, just rocks.

Kephra said...

Wouldn't arguing that any perceived benefits of crystal therapy are merely placebo mean that you believe people can heal themselves with happy thoughts or psychic powers or whatever? Well, I guess that makes more sense.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

Kephra:

You seem confused. Placebos are of no value when the illness is real and organic, but may be of some value when the illness is psychological. No one is using placebos to cure cancer.

Anonymous said...

Jeffrey, you are wrong. I've talked with several 'crystal healers' who claim they can cure cancer. If they are wrong, they are dooming their patients to death. But, I suppose that isn't too big a problem, eh?

Jeffrey Shallit said...

Anonymous:

I'd love to hear the details of who these crystal healers are.

Atar said...

Grits said:

"In my opinion we need a dictionary going here. Faith is one thing and science is another."

I don't really agree here. Mainly because of the following:

"Thank goodness science does not depend on faith but on provable, recreatable facts and experiements."

Now, I would like to point out a premis that the scientific method is based upon, the assumption, or 'belief' in the following:
That the whole of the universe (time, energy and its laws), sprang out of nothing in a single instant. Also know as the Big Bang singularity.
This assumption underlies everything that science might tell you, including evolution, physics and many other fields. Personally it reeks, nay stinks, of FAITH.


Seconly, as a small joke: you thank goodness. If you were a 'true' follower of the scientific method, you would acknowledge that 'Goodness' is a thought or meme that only seems to occur in the spectrum of the human brain. And subsequently disregarded, together with Evil :P

Whilst pondering these kinds of subjects, and the fact that I couldn't swallow God having created the universe, I have overcome my personal feelings of Duality. Which this discussion is ultimately about (US vs them. Scientist vs spirtualist).

What the realization of 'non-duality' means to me is that both groups are wrong (a little stab at the ego of both groups there ;)). And also, both groups are right!
This universe is imbued with spirit or with energies not yet comprehended by the human mind. Make note: MIND!
Imagine using crystal healing like we ride a bike. Riding a bike is quite easy once you become skilled at it, but if we had to consciously understand all the processes that are going on there we would fail Miserably (gravitational pull, centrifugal force on the wheels, neurons firing optical and balance impulses into the brain, muscle contractions and expansions, etc)
We don't _consciously_ know how it works, but I am sure that those trained in its use are able to manage all of the factors involved on levels of our subconscious mind. After all, I see people ride bikes all the time! ^_^
And whether the Crystal Healing's effectiveness is figured out in the 'real world' or in the realm of 'mind'/'spirit' is of no consequence to me, as I see them as ONE.

With love for the Earth,
Berry

Jeffrey Shallit said...

the scientific method is based upon, the assumption, or 'belief' in the following:
That the whole of the universe (time, energy and its laws), sprang out of nothing in a single instant.


You are extremely confused. The scientific method is based on no such assumption. We might discover tomorrow, for example, that the universe was created out of the remnant of a previous universe. The big bang is a deduction from observations, not an assumption.

Atar said...

It requires belief on my part to see a universe sprouting out of nothing in a single instant.

And the observations that take into account that laws of physics are not undergoing the same evolution as we are...

Jeffrey Shallit said...

Atar:

You don't really know what "evolution" means in a biological context, do you?

Anonymous said...

I think that we should stop arguing and try to bridge the gap between science and spirituality, dont you? have you read any of rupert sheldrakes or bruce liptons books? scientific men with amazing theories! can i ask, do you believe that spiritual healing is real?
janine

Jeffrey Shallit said...

Sheldrake is a charlatan. I do not believe in spirits or spiritual healing. Read Nolen's book Healing: a Doctor in Search of a Miracle.

MatterIsEnergy said...

Ok, so firstly I have to ask.. do you have ANY idea about the energy anatomy of a human being or how vibrational medicine works? And secondly what exactly, is your idea of “crystal healing”? How would you use quantum physics or einstein's theories to hypothetically answer the question of how crystal healing "could" work? Since you seem to understand the language of science maybe you can find some interesting questions to put forward of "what if we applied.. theory" instead of thinking you have all the answers.

It seems that a) you seem to be missing the whole point that humans are energy (since all matter is energy) and that anything that may have the ability to affect our electromagnetic field may just have an effect on our physicality; and that b) your quotes and references are pretty crap. Instead of using a shitty web page try using some decent reference material of someone who has a scientific background instead of someone like Melody who clearly is not going to give you scientific answers. Like try reading Richard Gerber’s “Vibrational Medicine” textbook, and look further into Marcel Vogel’s actual story and work instead of a tiny snippet of a quote on a webpage which has little more than a paragraph on the subject. Gerber’s book explains a LOT in the way of subtle energy and actually includes a whole chapter on crystals and their place in the world of health and healing (and includes Vogel's work). His book has a LOT of scientific reference. Also, I don’t know any crystal healer who has referred to crystal healing as a “science”. It is a healing art. And who says crystal “healing” is restricted to a practitioner and a client? Quartz crystals have contributed greatly to the world of science and technology in the way of electronics, laser devices, information storage, sonar, communication, time-keeping, etc. Crystals are beginning to provide human beings with the power to manipulate and transform knowledge and information in many new ways... If they have the ability to transform energy in these ways, who is to say it doesn't have the ability to transform energy in other ways? It is known that quartz crystals emit piezo-electricity when heat or pressure is applied... so when held in the hand (heat and pressure) why would that not create the same effect of being able to manipulate subtle energies through the use of focussed thought/energy since thought can also create form? Curious to hear your response once you have read Gerber's book.. next time you try and "de-bunk" something... try and find some decent material to critique.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

how vibrational medicine works

First, point me to a single peer-reviewed, double-blind study that shows that it does work.

If they have the ability to transform energy in these ways

Piezoelectricity is measurable and understood. In contrast, the claims of crystal healers have never been verified, and they are completely at odds with our understanding of physics and medicine.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the supporters of the practice of crystal healing are framing the issue in the correct manner.

Instead of calling it "spiritual practice", "sacred", or any other such word, just refer to it as "theory". The theory is that crystals can be used to heal ailments, or they can't. In this manner, it's like any other clinical drug test... you give people a fake drug, you give people a real drug, and if more people are cured by the real drug than the fake drug, you can say that the drug is effective to a certain extent beyond the placebo effect.

Similarly, if you make the claim that crystals can be used to heal certain ailments, you can perform the exact same experiment to test the "crystal theory". Either more people are cured by using the crystal, or they aren't. If crystals don't help cure anybody, then stop pretending that it's some sort of "scientific-spiritual" practice.

It seems to be, quite simply, an incorrect theory. People make incorrect theories all the time. It doesn't make a person stupid for following them... but makes them irredeemably stupid if they continue to follow them when all actual evidence points to the contrary.

Anonymous said...

I was arguing with someone that crystal healing is nonsense and came across this blog while looking for studies and research on the subject.

I'm really shocked by most of the commenters who support crystal healing but really aren't adding anything to the argument expect proving there is nothing more than a placebo effect. Or they just demonstrate that they don't know how scientific testing works. It's funny but sad.

Anywho, love the article and I'll be continuing on to the studies you referenced.

Anonymous said...

I have read almost all your comments and think that you debunk yourself with the amount of bias in all of your statements. Science is unbiased. No comment on crystal healing. I liked the article, I just find your responses to be childish and very pretentious. Science is about open mindedness and not claiming things till they have been thoroughly researched. Not saying things like "
Have you ever jabbed a knitting needle into your eardrum? If not, I find it completely ignorant of you to sun something you haven't tried." or "Ever heard of an x-ray?" and "I can't prove there are quacks on Mars, but I know they exist!" That is grade school bickering. Start writing something worth a damn in response and don't say things like "I'd love to hear the details of who these crystal healers are." when it is quite clear that you don't.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

Anonymous:

Thank you for your praise, and I'm glad you enjoy the blog.

Anonymous said...

I keep quartz on my wrist and it gives me the amazing ability to tell the time. It's a miracle

shasta may said...

Healing and medicine are two different entities. especially western medicine. . .western medicine is invasive and doesn't try in any way to work with the bodies natural healing capabilities. healing is a process that every human is able to tap into. If a crystal helps you focus that energy, why not use it. I have seen and felt things that are inexplainable by science, am i then to believe that i am crazy, delusional or, dare i say, a crackpot? the truth is, it would be neat to see some scientific evidence or explainations of what is happening, but it is clear to those of the population that are in tune with vibrational and subtle energies that there is something that happens. Science has recently proven that love energy and fear energy are very real types of energy that travel in wavelengths. to see the eveidence check out the "esoteric agenda" on youtube. it speaks alot on many topics this poticular study is described somewhere past the midpoint of this hour long documentary. the love wavelngth is slow and long while the fear wavelength is short and of high frequency. If we are still discovering ways to detect subtle energies is it not possible science as we know it may still be in it infancy in regards to these matters? I think we need both scientific understanding and spiritual awareness in life but perhaps one does not have to negate the other. if holding a crystal promotes love energy wavelengths to course through your physical and emotional self, this may induce healing. I notice at times that when seperated from my crystals physically and in need of grounding or centering - phenomenon/ feelings which i would like to see the scientific community explain - oftentimes just thinking of the crystals used in the process and evoking the properties, can be just as effective. Some may need a physical object that their faith accepts with out question as doing this for them becasue they do not see how they are truly the rsponsible party. is it not possible then that the fake crystals induced the same type of response. so in a way i agree that is may be phycosymantic. but still, isn't it neat how an object can affect us. maybe our minds are truly doing wwork that science can't explain and the crystals are simply tailsmen to focus this. if i hold a hockey stick in my hand it's much eaiser to visualize myself scoring a goal, just as if i hold a crystal in my hand it's much easier to visualize healing happening within my body on a molecular scale. science has proven thoughts have energy and our perseptions and expectations can manifest results. so would it be possible that we just don't understand yet how the powers of our energies work? no one in any community scientific or not can deny that we all are full of energies electro - magnetic, and those energies produced from hormonal and chemical type reactions with in. should a crysal be the tool that helps believers focus and use this energy, why not give them a bit of benifit of the doubt - they can't all be crazy, though many of us are.

Melissa said...

I absolutely LOVE my crystals. I have since I was a kid. My father who was a physcian actually purchased my first stones for me. I grew up to work with my father in his practice, mainly to keep me out of trouble I think because I still studied 'rocks' through a program called G.I.A. I continued in the allopathic medical field for another 25 years - continuing my education in stones, including taking a course from Melody who was mentioned earlier in this blog. With my training in the healthcare industry and my passion for stones I started really seeing what Jeffrey is talking about. I understand why there are so many questions and fears about objects that have been here longer then we have and have more then centuries of folk-lore surrounding them.

The Crystal Lady said...

the rest of my comment got cut off into cyber space...
As I was saying, although I followed my father's footsteps into allopathic medicine, I never lost my love or facination with stones and crystals. I continued my studies and had to come to terms with much of what Jeffrey is talking about. I attended classes from geological information to melody's training, all while continuing a career in the allopathic healthcare industry.
I had to come to terms with these dichotomies while moving up the ladder in the healthcare industry and watching my father die of cancer.
The drugs that my father were given, as are most cancer patients, not only killed the cancer cells, but a part of him. We have all seen them - the cancer patients with the shell shocked look that they know something else is going on besides mutant cells. These drugs are meant for curing physical syptoms of inner illness, they do nothing for the root of the illness, the very cause of the illness.
My father was a very good physician, he believed that we do the best we can and pray its enough, and that medicine was always really just damn good guess work. He also knew that patients would get better with or without any intervention if they would seek to heal the inner illness that causes the illness to manifest within the physical.
I now work as a crystal vibrational therapist. I too am concerned with the lack of standards across the industry as a whole. I too would like to see across the board standards in education requirements, philosophy reviews, practice standards, continuing education as well as many other areas that I believe this industry has shown previous weakness. However, I do believe that as we improve as an industry we will have the proof that Jeffrey wants, and deserves. As we come together as an industry the allopathic fields will see the benefit of treating the 'soul' if you will and we will no longer be tagged as lunatics.
I appreciate Jeffrey for telling us what it is he doesn't buy about what we have to say - it shows we need to find a better language, it shows we need to live up to the expectations of mainstream industry if we want to play in the sandbox.
Jeffrey, I wrote my own blog today, linked it this one, would love for you to comment!
-Melissa Mogan

Anonymous said...

The "Crystal Lady" opines: "I now work as a crystal vibrational therapist."

Oh, please. Come on... "crystal vibrational therapist"? I'd be embarrassed to tell anyone that I was gullible enough to believe in the magical healing power of a rock.

And there it is: MAGICAL THINKING.

Erin said...

Why NOT believe in magic?

I like science. It fascinates, intrigues, and informs me.

However, without a little bit of magic and mystery in my life, things would seem dull and boring.

Who decided we have to choose between the two?

Personally, I find the laws of physics completely magical! Gravity is no less magical than the possibility of a rock creating or storing vibrational energy. Matter = energy = matter = energy = matter...

And Jefferey, why are you so upset about others using a healing practice that you don't believe in? Is anyone harming you in any way? I wouldn't dare to suggest that you hold a nice big chunk of rose quartz for a while (which aligns with the heart chakra, the energy center in the human body controls emotion and our ability to deal with it in healthy ways)... That wouldn't be appropriate. ;) However, I do think you could use a nice big bear hug! And please know I mean this in a genuine and loving way, with no sarcasm whatsoever.

If we all spend our lives arguing and questioning one another's beliefs, we'd have no time to concentrate on ourselves. Perhaps some people use their cynicism and skepticism as a distraction, in order to not have to look within.

Namaste :)

Atar said...

I have posted here before and have followed this interesting discussion since then. Just this last post made me want to reply:

Erin said:
"Who decided we have to choose between the two?"

Science has a mindset discecting things, you take it apart to understand it. So science fits perfectly into the Dualistic worldview propagated by Western Materialism. I would say by entering into a discussion about crystal healing with scientists, the scientist decided we would have to choose between the two, because in my experience scientists are of the Dualistic persuasion ;)
It benefits the Ego to stay in control if there is `something else` to condemn. I would call it `They-ism`.

"I believe there are two kinds of people: Those who devide the world into two kinds of people, and those who don`t."

Berry, an ex Bio-Medical Engineer.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if I'm feeding a troll but here goes:

Atar: If you were trying to speak authoritatively: misspelling 'dissect' will overshadow any former stint as a biomedical engineer.

Atar said...

First off: Thanks for posting on my spelling mistake, I now have an oppertunity to learn the spelling of a new word and evolve further :)

Excuse me for not being a native english speaker and being born with a minor case of dyslectia due to having a lack of air at birth. The fact I made it through bio-medical enegineering school astounded most of my peers, if not my former teachers and those who tried to help me overcome my dyslectia and dyscalculia.

Still, it matters not. What is missing from the scientist mind, as you have just proven, is the ability to go into someone elses experience and feel around subjectively. Had you done that there might have been a true discussion with me. Rather than doing that you chose the way of Dualism, going `AHA! I see a spelling mistake! The poster is obviously beneath the level of compitent scientist!`.
And thus (re)creating the dichotimy that threatens our society and world so much.

I send you Love and forgive you none the less `Anonymous`.

Hugs,
Berry

ps. it might be that there is some spelling mistakes in this post as well, care to point them out so that I might learn?

Anonymous said...

May I first off say I enjoy the outlooks on both sides.

I know not if crystal energies/healing work, but I continue to do small experiments like place crystals with seedlings and plants and record their growth cycles ect.
What I have found is that Aloe Vera, the African desert plant, responds with a clear quartz crystal in a way that makes new growth from the base of the plant sprout at a much faster and elongated rate.
With that said, the one without the crystal had not made new growth in over half the others time. In regards to non desert plants, I have only recorded elongated stems in use with crystals.

Im in the middle on the belief, and I found this website and had to put in my two cents. Now, im just a community college kid thats 18, not a scientist or crystal healer. I just wanted to make or break the crystal theory with plants because they cant lie, yet, they have only but made my curiosity worsen. I will continue to fight for the truth, becuase something tells me its more then just a rock, but something else tells me it is...just a rock.

Ive noticed your all real sticklers on spelling, scientific reason, and like to jump on someones opinion quick so please just be nice to me, I mean no harm.
If we stop fighting and try to prove or disprove a lingering belief with things like X-rays, plants, and other material that dosent lie, then possibly we can either prove or disprove the other faction. All im seeing is arguing and awnsering questions with more questions.

-Kicking Bird

Jeffrey Shallit said...

What I have found is that Aloe Vera, the African desert plant, responds with a clear quartz crystal in a way that makes new growth from the base of the plant sprout at a much faster and elongated rate. With that said, the one without the crystal had not made new growth in over half the others time.

It seems really unlikely to me, but it is at least a hypothesis that one could test. I encourage you to do so! But make sure that you follow good experimental design. In particular, try to design your experiment so that the person who is measuring "new growth" cannot possibly know which plants have the crystal and which do not. Also make sure that, to the best of your ability, each plant receives exactly the same amount of light, heat, and water.

Anonymous said...

I find this to be a very interesting topic and very entertaining fight between those of faith and science. I have always fallen on the side of science however, I want to take the hypothesis that crystals have healing power to the next level of experimentation. These experiments were done on people - which I have never found to be a reliable source - and I want to know if anyone knows of any experiments done on the piezoelectricity of the gems and if a change was found on the human body or more importantly the electrical impulses in the brain?

Friska Streeter, L.M.T. said...

I'm a massage therapist who a complete skeptical when comes to "energy healing". I'm trying to find the ans myself. I felt like a fraud to sell my service as an "energy healer". So I would rather be specializing in clinical massage, at least I can educate my clients on how it physiologically works and so on. In the other hands I had felt the shift of energy when I touched certain individuals. I couldn't explain it, and so (though skeptical) I visualized white light protecting me,it worked for whatever reason. I'm not ready however to say that it was all psychic healing. With crystals, I'm also still looking for a scientific proof of how it works. My husband suggested me to add the crystal healing in my practice one day, I refused cos I couldn't back that up with logic. But being a massage therapist for years I realized one thing: never underestimate the power of the mind. Maybe I'm not open minded enough to be able to comprehend the existence of psychic energy, I just don't feel any vibrations from crystals.

Atar said...

@Friska Streeter

A relatively easy way to do more scientific research on this would be to design a controlled double blind study for your practice.
You could keep your crystals in little cloth bags and one week you use actual crystals and the other its a piece of glass the same size.
Lets say that someone you don't have contact with on a daily basis would do the 'shuffling' of the bags (not your husband, he could give off clues). So one week he shuffles the bags, gives you one at random and at the end of the week opens the bag, then writes down what it was. This repeats itself at random until you get enough quantifiable data.
Of course, you would have to keep a log on how you feel the 'bags' are helping you out and how your patients feel. Maybe make some kind of quick rating/tickoff list to fill out after every client.

Remember, if you have ANY clue about whether its the crystal or the glass your experiment can fail because it loses its objectivity. You will consciously or subconsciously start filling in forms more positively one way or the other depending on your beliefs.

If the crystals come out stronger, you've made a step forward towards proving that. If both come out equal its all in the mind and we know we can heal more effectively using 'something' as a focus ;)

Anonymous said...

A background in understanding linking correlations of energy in motion might be in order.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piezoelectricity

Move on.

Tony said...

As a student of geology at the University of Portsmouth, I spend much of my time in the mineralogy lab, surrounded by drawers containing a huge variety of mineral types. I'm hoping that my proximity to all these crystals may give me immunity to all known diseases. It hasn't happened yet as I took two days off last week with a sore throat and runny nose. Perhaps I should give some of these crystals a fairer chance and talk to them, or chant mantras instead of chopping them up into thin sections and blasting them with x-rays

me said...

I wasn't going to bother & I have nothing to do with the topic but the ignorance here just bothers me.

There is much that exists beyond the visible spectrum of light, and beyond the five senses.

Medicine already uses concepts "beyond the visible spectrum of light". Ever heard of an x-ray?

So thats it no room for anything else

Not being able to prove the existence of something does not disprove its existence.

I can't prove there are quacks on Mars, but I know they exist!
Really?

You would do better to discover it by looking outside your narrow frame of reference.

It's not up to me to prove that crystal healing works. It's up to the practitioners. So far, they haven't.

No why would it be up to anyone? If the shit works for them and theirs so be it. If you doubt it then fuck if why waste your time and energy arguing with those who do? I hate veggies don't eat them. All I eat is sugar and red meat. I am completely healthy. I'm not gonna go around trying to get people to stop eating what they eat cuz I don't. Who the Fukc cares

Anonymous said...

The danger in it revolves around someone not getting actual proven medical treatment for their illness in time, or spending money on rocks, instead of the medicine that is proven to help fight the illness in the first place. The power of suggestion may help, but it is not going to cure Aunt Lucy's cancer.. if crystals actually worked you would see them being used religiously in hospitals...medical technology is amazing and they would have discovered long ago if they were legit or not...and as far as Mr Me's comment on going around stopping people from eating what they want, who the Fuk cares?

You should care cause the obesity rate and type 2 diabetes is out of control..and guess what? Half these people dont have health insurance so we pay for their unhealthy lifestyle choices with our tax dollars when they come into the ER in Diabetic ketoacidosis and spend another week in the ICU with a big fat 100k bill Im stuck helping to pay for.

Anonymous said...

There are things that people experience that can't be explained by science. I know very little of the use of using stones or crystals for healing but I know a good bit about geology and psychology. In all the years of collecting minerals and rocks, I haven't ever experienced any transfer of energy, vibrations, or anything else. Collecting minerals and rocks eases my stress and I feel better after spending the afternoon on a rocky creek bank or hiking in the mountains. I know that handling the small smooth cobble of granite (with small specs of pink orthoclase)that I keep on my desk is something I do frequently when counseling students and I've noticed that it's easier for me to concentrate and focus when I'm doing it. Whether it's the result of some mystic energy of the stone or the fact that by handling it, my hands have something tangible to mindlessly manipulate, thus allowing me to focus more, I have no idea.

With all the crystals and rocks I have in my house from years and years of collecting, why is my back still hurting? (rhetorical question)

Paul said...

You are stuck in your own limitations, just as science is. Just because you couldn't find some scientific study to approve your thinking doesn't mean that is all a hoax. When you will realize you really have no clue about this universe then you might start to actually learn something about it. All i see is denial and negative energy probably coming from your own confusion and life frustrations. The complexity and beauty of the actual universe is uncomprehensible to the human mind & science as it is in this moment. I have met a lot of energy healers and shamans that actually healed serious diseases and they have much higher understanding of this world and it's really arrogant to deny everything just because it seems impossible to you. What I'm reading here is a medieval mind who waits for others for approval of what is and what is not. Ridiculous.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

Just because you couldn't find some scientific study to approve your thinking doesn't mean that is all a hoax.

The burden of proof is on you. Let's see some data.

What I'm reading here is a medieval mind who waits for others for approval of what is and what is not.

Oh, dear, you seem very confused. In the medieval period people believed what others told them. It was the scientific revolution that led to the realization that skepticism, not belief, leads more effectively to discerning the truth. You're using a computer developed using science, not mysticism.

Anonymous said...

Why are you starting to all your replys by saying Oh, dear, you seem very confused.

Try to be more original when answering to someone.

No one is confused here but maybe you.
Believe or not but crystal do have energy.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

A light bulb has energy, too, but that doesn't mean it's going to heal cancer or tuberculosis.

How about some evidence? I see a lot of crystal healers making wild claims here, but not a single one can give me any evidence.

Crystal healing is utter bunk.

Anonymous said...

it's pointless to debate on this issue.if somebody does not believe that every natural crystals can cure ailments,so be it.for me it's no big deal.if somebody believes that the stone is harder than the water,so be it.this argument is quite similar to those skeptics who claimed that the GERSON THERAPY don't have any proof of curing cancer patients & other degenerative diseases,because their mind was made to believed that there is no alternative medicine,and no alternative cure for cancer & other degenerative diseases.anybody can claim that the only way to kill a cat is by drowning it into a pond.for me it's no big deal either.if somebody believes that anything that is beyond comprehension and grasp of science is not true,it's because he never believe in the existence of God.The SUPREME BEING is beyond grasp of Science right?

Jeffrey Shallit said...

You're a fountain of woo, Anonymous. Gerson therapy is garbage and dangerous. You're a nutcase.

Anonymous said...

http://www.thewindofkeltia.com/crystalenergy.html There are PLENTY of scientific studies and data available.

We are energy and so is the earth but please visit the link I posted. It is of scientific studies that have been conducted since the 1800s to present.

Usually staunch Christians and/or staunch scientists think its evil or taboo to think of such things, but frankly there is nothing contradicting. If its a scientist that is debunking, then they likely will use the term pseudoscience. Its a way for them to say that these other scientists dont measure up to certain criteria, however these that name call forget that they are victims of their own self made paradigms and have lost their ability to think out of the box; trapped in their one state of thinking, and which causes them to lose their ability to progress forward.

There is also a paper written especially for all those debunkers out there who are in denial land, it is called SYMPTOMS OF PATHOLOGICAL SKEPTICISM (c)1996 William J. Beaty, its very extensive and to the point. You can easily google it and find it. Everything is energy, even crystals and stones. Everything is physics. You could learn oodles by following the Shaman Native American Elders. Its not folklore and myth, its fact. Crystal Quartz has scientific findings that show it can store, amplify, transfer and focus energy. If you drop a Quartz Crystal, they will explode due to the energy within them. A skeptic will always think that when someone holds a quartz crystal and feel energy that it is a figment of their imagination. It does take a spiritual soul to feel energy of animals, plants, children, and humanity in general, and they are called Sensitives, but even with Moldavite, even the harshest debunker usually can feel the energy.

When you enter an environment an hour after a violent situation, say at a store, or other place, you will feel it instantly, though you did not know such a thing took place, but this residual energy is imprinted in the environment. It is the same for Crystals, except when used in positive ways, you have positive results, etc.

A native american elder once wrote that you could sit under a tree with your eyes closed and have stones near you from the earth, and you can pick one rock up and hold it for a few minutes and feel its energy, and then sit it down and pick up another one and do the same thing, you will assuredly feel a different vibration of that stone from the first,and each stone is unique unto itself, just like we are, everything is about physics. NO they are not alive as you or I but not in the way you think of yourself but their energy is the same energy that Creator used to create YOU !! good luck with the skepticism.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

There are PLENTY of scientific studies and data available.

Ok, then it should be easy for you to provide one. Give us your single best scientific study proving crystal healing as it is currently practiced.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

Oh, and I have dropped many quartz crystals and none of them have "exploded". No one I know (including dozens of geologists) feels anything special when they hold moldavite.

Anonymous said...

Hi,

Regarding the study at Goldsmiths College in which volunteers failed to report any differences between real crystals and fake glass crystals, I think it's unfair to disprove that crystals can be of benefit when this experiment is really concerned with autosuggestion and the volunteers 'ignorance'.

For example if a group of volunteers were shown a painting that was supposed to be an original Van Gogh and it was a fake, just because they don't identify it as a fake doesn't devalue the original it just proves the majority of the population are naive and vulnerable to fraud/autosuggestion? There are art experts out there just as there are experts in the field of crystal healing who could probably tell from 50 paces that the Goldsmith's experiment was a joke but this doesn't disprove the physicality of such genuine experience, it only proves some people aren't experienced enough to make good test subjects.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

there are experts in the field of crystal healing who could probably tell from 50 paces that the Goldsmith's experiment was a joke

You provide the "experts", and we'll set up a double-blind test. I'm willing to wager $1000 that no expert you can find can do significantly better than chance in distinguishing two different covered crystals that supposedly give off completely different kinds of vibrations.

Kinetics said...

Hi Jeffrey,

Really enjoyed reading the article and have been looking online for "Crystal Energy Healing" studies. Of which I can find none that are scientific, independently, peer reviewed articles.

I think the biggest problem is that people don't understand what energy is. Matter does not equal energy as some imply, matter may store energy but that energy has to come from somewhere (coal and petroleum). For instance an iron bar doesn't contain energy, but if I bend it it stores the energy, from being bent, until I release it.

Anyway glad to see you are still replying after writing it almost 4 years ago. :)

Anonymous said...

I am also researching this topic to determine where I stand on it. I have found that clear quarts is said to be used to amplify what is already there. I woild be interested to see this study done with crystals that are claimed to have a specific effect such as amethyst or labradorite. Perhapse with the participants blindfolded so that the color of the crystal has no placebo effect, as colors specific effects on mood which are partially influenced by culture. I would also be interested to see this repeated with crystals that have been exposed to specific sounds such as 528 or 417 hz.

Anonymous said...

Maybe more scientists should train as crystal healers and then do research on the topic. I am neutral on the topic. Leave the mudslinging to pollititions and assholes plz synce your all so rational. :) have a nice day.

Anonymous said...

The thpught that you could ever know everything is foolish. An attempt to do so is impractical and impossible. That is her point there. You know what sacred means. If not use the dictionary synce u will get the standardized deffinition you crave so dearly. Why the fuck would you tell someone to jab a needle in their eardrum? It would have a pretty clear effect, unlike the crystals which apparently have non. Your comment is immature and out of context. Or maybe we shod perform this eardrum study on you and see if crystal healing will help to restore your hearing.

Anonymous said...

This is not true. If you actually look into it you will find that positive hinking accellorates physical healing. In a study done where men with colon cancer were seperated into two groups half used only western medicine, and half used western medicine in combination with peyote ceremonies which are known to give "sacred" experiences. The men who took peyote had 40% better results. Peyote has efects almost exclusively on the brain and is not cited as anticarconogenic in any way.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

In a study done where men with colon cancer were seperated into two groups half used only western medicine, and half used western medicine in combination with peyote ceremonies which are known to give "sacred" experiences. The men who took peyote had 40% better results.

An interesting claim, but who can evaluate it if you fail to provide any citation to the literature?

Jeffrey Shallit said...

The thpught that you could ever know everything is foolish.

Who said that? Straw man.

You know what sacred means. If not use the dictionary synce u will get the standardized deffinition you crave so dearly.

I don't know what is meant in this context, and I fail to see what it has to do with crystal healing. Either it works or it doesn't; whether or not it is "sacred" is irrelevant.

Why the fuck would you tell someone to jab a needle in their eardrum? It would have a pretty clear effect, unlike the crystals which apparently have non. Your comment is immature and out of context.

I agree entirely - you took my comment out of context and clearly failed to understand it.

My point (and I'm sorry you missed it) is that we can and do criticize health practices that we ourselves have never tried.

Or maybe we shod perform this eardrum study on you and see if crystal healing will help to restore your hearing.

Been there, done that. Look up "myringotomy" - and yes, it is extremely painful.

Anonymous said...

I dont understand all the focus on science. We arent allowed to reap the benefits of truly helpful scientific studies, like those of Tesla and Reich.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

Reich was a charlatan and achieved nothing. Tesla had many genuine achievements, but became increasingly unhinged as he grew older. Neither provided anything to think crystal healing has effects due to the crystals.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing this, and for taking the time to respond to the majority of comments on here. I doubt those that believe in crystal energy even realize that science is simply humanity's method for discovering knowledge, and is ultimately the only way to avoid arguments from authority. They do not know when they claim that they have felt energy from a crystal, that they are asking us to believe on their word alone, an argument from authority in itself. Or that they themselves surely must have some skepticism when it comes to certain claims from salespeople, politicians, or ads. Crystal believers, when someone attempts to foist their particular beliefs upon you, don't you ask for evidence? Of course you do. "But science doesn't know everything", but does that mean I can claim whatever I want in the interem and you must accept it? Of course not. Its a process and we're getting closer all the time. And finally there is STILL greater mystery and wonder in all that we've discovered and analyzed and understood in this amazing universe, billions more...than anything humans can make up in their biased minds. Only through careful reasoning, methodological naturalism, and unflinching self-honesty is our species going to survive the wall of problems we currently face. Peace.

thesouladvocate said...

The studies that you reference in your article do not prove that crystals don't have the ability to affect us vibrationally. It only proves that a sample of random people can't feel the difference between a crystal and another object. Not surprising at all to me. It would be irresponsible to claim that crystals do not have healing properties based on this experiment alone, which does not even touch on the topic at hand. Sure, science has not proven the healing properties of crystals but it has not disproven it either. I'm not sure why this debate is even going on, other than the fact that many people are very angry that other people get to enjoy themselves with things as mysterious as crystals and other spiritual tools. I would recommend bringing rose quartz into your life!

Jeffrey Shallit said...

It only proves that a sample of random people can't feel the difference between a crystal and another object.

It wasn't a sample of "random people". The sample included people who were customers at "new age" stores, and hence likely to believe they experience "vibrations" when they hold certain crystals and not others. The experiment proved they were wrong. It is, in fact, quite strong evidence that people who say they have these experiences are self-deluded.

It would be irresponsible to claim that crystals do not have healing properties based on this experiment alone, which does not even touch on the topic at hand.

You have the burden of proof backwards. It is not up to me, or other skeptics to prove that "crystals do not have healing properties". It is up to you, and other believers, to perform double-blind tests to back up your claims.

Sure, science has not proven the healing properties of crystals but it has not disproven it either.

Science hasn't disproven the healing properties of putting lasagna on your head, either. The burden of proof is on the lasagna-wearers.

There is very good reason to believe that crystal-healing is bunk. One is the studies I cited. The other is that there is no biological or medical mechanism that anyone has proposed of how a crystal would heal anything.

I'm not sure why this debate is even going on

1. Because some people are interested in truth.
2. Because crystal healers are likely charlatans who are making money from fraud.
3. Because dealers who sell expensive crystals claiming they have healing properties are probably engaging in fraud.

Roofuss said...

I've known of many advocates of crystal healing and there's always one thing in common. They tell you that it heals wounds, yet, one of those same people falls over, gets ran over gets cancer.. they go to the hospital. They don't swing a crystal at is until after the operation.

Natural Sceptic said...

I'm a natural born sceptic with hippy parents. I studied computer science and political science at university and am now a banker. I always scoffed at my parents alternative theories of nature -- including 'crystal healing'. However, when I was about 20 visiting family one time I picked up a crystal and was surprised to feel a buzzing sensation in the palm of my hand when it was suspended 2-3cm (an inch or so) above it. To the surprise of my parents I could tell them which part of my hand they where holding it over when I demonstrated this ability to them. I would love to show this ability to someone interested in debunking it.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

Natural sceptic:

You're hardly a sceptic if you can be convinced by a few trials that weren't double-blind. And surely the fact that you are claiming you can detect an effect with your hand that has somehow eluded all of science (the same science that discovered radioactivity, ultra-violet light, and x-rays) and its sophisticated measuring techniques, surely should give you pause.

I'm sure James Randi would be happy to test you. And you will fail, like all the other paranormal claimants he's tested.

Anonymous said...

There are some things that we cannot explain. Medicines can be placebo. Crystals can be placebo. So what might that say? If it's all in our head then so is reality if you think about it. Placebo says, some real effect comes from something inert, kind of. Thoughts are invisible, chemical, electrical, etc.

How does one get auto suggestion from a crystal when nothing is known about it prior to a test? It must have a preconception first. I give Joe a stone and tell him it will make him fly... So through this belief it might actually work.

When nothing is known how can you say auto-suggestion or placebo? We do not know its purpose or function. Suppose though it does have some magick spark that some are receptive to without a/s or placebo. How then do you explain it?

Where is pain actually located and how does it work, who suggested it, what unsuggests(sic) it.

Where is the tingling sensation originating from?

Please don't make assertions, assumptions without facts and also don't make it seem it is your right to correct everyone for what you obstinately believe to be the truth. My thoughts here are just that, thoughts and ideas.

Now, off tangent slightly, is the tactile sensation of my keyboard in my head?

Does the thought alone of coffee keep me awake?

Faith may make placebo work... no God needed?

Cogito ergo sum, I think therefore I am.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

If it's all in our head then so is reality if you think about it.

I encourage you to test this hypothesis by believing that gravity is not real and jumping off a tall building.

Anonymous said...

You sound like a wikipedia editor. Insult first, blame later. Did you miss the point of the users statement?

You believe in science and that works for you.

Some believe in alternative therapy, that works for them.

However the cosmos must have some constants (unchangeable) like gravity.

Some suggestion could interfere with the placebo effect.

Tell us what happens when you leap off the building, splat usually, unless your are neo.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

You believe in science and that works for you.

Some believe in alternative therapy, that works for them.


But the vast majority of "alternative" therapies don't work, as double-blind tests of those therapies prove.

People have learned things since 10,000 years ago. One is that it is very easy to fool people, and even easier to fool yourself. That's why we have developed double-blind testing, to try to guard against those kinds of common errors.

Anonymous said...

Drugs are chemicals. Water is a chemical. When the placebo effect occurs. -That is the 'lab rat' is given "medicine" that is actually water. This cures his 'disease'.

So there is nothing wrong to say a crystal or a amulet can cure or protect. This 'magick' is placebo. User purchases crystal and believes it to cure something.

Crystals are not just for healing though. They have been used for thousands of years.

So, curing a disease requires a) faith b) authority c) faith in the authority this is placebo and how drugs work.

OK - this is only a theory. Can you fully and wholly disapprove Placebo with scientific and verifiable proof?

Can you also explain why a person touches something they are not familiar with get some kind of feedback. Example- I picked a crystal and placed it on my brow (so called and non existent third eye) and from being clear headed to dazed. I phone a spiritualist and they advised me it was a bad idea (I didn't know) and was told another crystal would correct, this other crystal did it's job within minutes. (placebo?) Yes, reeks of etheric metaphysics but can you explain it as above like placebo?

Please don't be sarcastic as others have - I ask for an intelligent reply as I find it interesting.
thanks

Anonymous said...

Everything in the universe has an energy, even glass. Energy is the building block of all matter. Typical atheist, assuming science has all the answers. Intuition and direct experience have been proven time and time again to explain the nature of reality better than science and rationality can. Henri Bergson won a noble prize for that idea

Anonymous said...

I like how people try to discount the use of crystals by citing the placebo effect. Obviously, an open imagination is necessary in using crystal and science trying to prevent people from being healed by placebos is a very arrogant endeavor.

If you are so sure of your findings, why do you feel the need to defend them against people who are obviously not going to be convinced by your inquiry? You wrote an article, then proceeded to have a lengthy discussion about how you were right which really makes your own world-view questionable.

KeithB said...

Henri Bergson won the Nobel prize in *literature*.

Well, at least it wasn't the Peace Prize.

Anonymous said...

I am a crystal therapist. For my second year diploma I wrote an extended essay on 'crystal devas.' I felt a need to be able to at least speak in my own defence in response to skeptics and I saw the topic of crystal devas as the extreme and more creative side of crystal therapy. I was also addressing my own skepticism which isnt a bad thing!

I recorded all my meditations with the crystals so that I could see the value of my own creativity and did not compare my experiences concerning healing 'insights'in various books until after I had experienced my own.

I had experienced a lot of personal healing during my course and I had a very grounded, compassionate teacher whose background was in gemology and her experience led her to crystal therapy.

Because of my own experiences I genuinely wanted more people to discover the benefits of crystal therapy. I looked at Jungian Spirituality which helped me define the boundaries between my own self development and my healing practice in a very deep way.

There are many aspects to crystal healing and one of these is creative and spiritual. I extended my project and actually conceptualised pictures of 'personalised devas' to give me a sense of personal resolve in what is a multi-faceted healing modality in a multi-facted and dynamic universe. This creative aspect did not seem to me to undermine any undiscovered scientific value and complemented the findings of books such as Vibrational Medicine by Richard Gerber whose background is in Science.

I've always known the healing value of creativity but in the end that did not work for me and because of my own health issues, when I was not offered any course of treatment from doctors, I turned to self healing.

My experience of crystals and healing has been very personal yet there are universal threads of experience which are for me easy to recognise and common enough (methinks)not to be down to coincidence. It has alterned me and my life and I share it gladly with friends and family, who each experiences their own benefits.

It is not a miracle cure, we should always post disclaimers. Complementary healthcare is never a substitute but there are occasions when some of us have only ourselves and likeminded people to turn to. If people are thinking of trying crystal therapy they should seek practitioners who have studied over a period of time and have a recognised qualification. We are not helped by those who offer 'diplomas' after one day of study!

We need all sides of the discussion and not to jump to conclusions about the beliefs and experiences of others. Crystal healing is a niche market and the real nature of magic is that is which is not yet known or understood, or goes beyond dualistic thinking. It's not like anyone is asking for medical funding, and thankfully, we have regulating bodies and an abundance of free will.


Jeffrey Shallit said...

My experience of crystals and healing has been very personal yet there are universal threads of experience which are for me easy to recognise and common enough (methinks)not to be down to coincidence

But we know how avoid fooling ourselves, which is to conduct double-blind testing, where neither the experimenters nor the subjects know which is the real crystal and which is not. Until these tests are done crystal healers have no serious grounds for claiming their work is effective.

Anonymous said...

Quartz is crystalline SiO2; glass is amorphous and contains SiO2 but is not just SiO2 as quartz is.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

Anonymous:

In fact, some glasses are essentially pure amorphous Si O2 - look up "fused silica".

Anonymous said...

It is technically true that fused silica and fused quartz are glasses composed only of SiO2. However over 99.999% of materials called glasses are not just SiO2. So it is wrong and misleading to say that glass is silicon dioxide. Even moreso when the next sentence refers to "ordinary glass".

Presumably most crystal enthusiasts assume the material (SiO2) and state (crystalline) are necessary for the magic to occur. But perhaps it is just the SiO2, or maybe some short range ordering of the SiO2, which is responsible. So swordsman asked why not remove SiO2 entirely, which is a good question. Note that it is not clear from published accounts whether French used glass or plastic or whatever for his fake crystals.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

So it is wrong and misleading to say that glass is silicon dioxide.

No, I don't think so, any more than it is misleading to say that "calcite is CaCO3", when many calcites have impurities like manganese that can be 5, 10, or 12% of the total.

Note that it is not clear from published accounts whether French used glass or plastic or whatever for his fake crystals.

Plastic would not be a good idea, as the density of most plastics would give them away.

KeithB said...

And, of course, if the quartz has any color it is not pure SiO2 anyway.

Plastic is also easy to scratch, another giveaway.

Anonymous said...



"Plastic would not be a good idea, as the density of most plastics would give them away."

I am just reporting what The Telegraph wrote:
Dr Christopher French, a psychologist at Goldsmith's College, London, set out to test the effects of crystals on 80 volunteers. Half were given a genuine New Age crystal for a few minutes while mediating. The rest were asked to handle a cheap plastic fake, but were told that it was the genuine article.

Anonymous said...

"No, I don't think so, any more than it is misleading to say that "calcite is CaCO3", when many calcites have impurities like manganese that can be 5, 10, or 12% of the total. "

No, it is more like saying "steel is iron". Obviously it is a minor distinction to some people.

Anonymous said...

Jeffrey Shallit said: "But the vast majority of "alternative" therapies don't work, as double-blind tests of those therapies prove.

People have learned things since 10,000 years ago. One is that it is very easy to fool people, and even easier to fool yourself. That's why we have developed double-blind testing, to try to guard against those kinds of common errors."

Neither supporting nor debunking crystal healing here, merely pointing out that "evidence based medicine" has been revealed to be be mostly and patently false so it's not fair to apply that standard to alternative/crystal healing when it is not, in fact, applied consistently to conventional medicine.

Case in point, there's absolutely no requirement that surgical procedures be proven effective at all to be practiced on human patients.

See http://www.naturalnews.com/001107_prostate_cancer_bad_science.html
(Can't find original BJM article).

See PLOS Medicine "Why Most Published Research Findings are False".
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1182327/

See also http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/11/lies-damned-lies-and-medical-science/308269/2/

Jeffrey Shallit said...

merely pointing out that "evidence based medicine" has been revealed to be be mostly and patently false

You seem very confused. The recent discussion of research results has little to do with "evidence-based medicine". The vast majority of research findings in medicine never make it into clinical practice.

Anonymous said...

Ok, so how about this:
http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/26/medical-procedures-may-be-useless-or-worse/?_r=0

Discusses persistent use of drugs and procedures despite lack of evidence that they are beneficial.

Link to original article
http://download.journals.elsevierhealth.com/pdfs/journals/0025-6196/PIIS0025619613004059.pdf

Jeffrey Shallit said...

Discusses persistent use of drugs and procedures despite lack of evidence that they are beneficial.

Then it's not evidence-based medicine, is it?

I'm completely in favor of discarding the use of drugs and procedures if there are many studies that all reach the same conclusion: the risks outweigh the benefits, or there is no benefit above random chance.

Can practitioners of crystal healing make the same claim?

Anonymous said...

Im just surfing the net and found this blog interesting. I have double opinions on crystal healing. First, it is common sense be it science that when i rub my hands i create heat (energy) on my palms. Thats how some crystal healers "prepare" crystals for use. Then they hold it in their hands and the heat tranfers tothe rock. Rocks obsorb energy/heat. When heat is moved over the body (say a hot wet rag) or on the body the body relaxes. So rocks do play a part in the healing process physically.

Spiritually means just usong the crystals to heal physically thus mentally tbus spiriyually. Spiritual is nnormal nd natural. We mae natural occurences we cant explan to physical characteristics. Christ as Good in flesh is a great example and bread/wine
is literĂ l blood/body of christ.

Crysyal healinh is taking human body heat/energy to calm the nerves etc and that is whay heals. Crysyas hold the heat but arent in themselves heat/energu. Its common sense yht rocks are heat conductors (say core of this earth) wjy not our body's heatan rocks?

Just a thought not a sermon

Anonymous said...

Sorry for thr spelling errors im on my mobile

Anonymous said...

Also and addition to above, rocks hold jeat/energy. Mostly raw rocksfrom the earth headed by the earth and sun. Th human touch can be very sensitive to feelings of an object. Thats a fact. Try puting your flat palm over a hot stove can you feel the eat? Try at lower temp can you still feel it? Same as rocks. Gems hold less heat when they are polished.

"Spiritual" new agers, wiccans etc use this energy to heal amongst other things. Spiritual just means livinng a belief system that changes your life. For most its also an applicationn of objects say a rosary to enhance their connection to life (or some say God). Rocks and other natures tools are no exception.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

So rocks do play a part in the healing process physically.

But if it's just the heat, then it doesn't need to be a rock or crystal, does it? And all the claims that different crystals heal different illnesses are bogus, right?

Christ as Good in flesh is a great example and bread/wine is literĂ l blood/body of christ.


Except there are no gods, and bread and wine is not the "literal" blood or body of a person.

Anonymous said...

Your first question, no it doesnt need to be rocks. Rocks are one of many things people use to "cure" illnesses. Different crystals hold certain amounts of heat. For example (thinking back on my geography here) im assuming obsidean holds more heat than quartz since its a volcanic rock and black it obsorbs more than a light quartz that isnt form from volcanic elements. So different rocks can be used for different illnesses

The God thing is an exmple that people put physical even human charactristics to inanimate or invisible objects and "beings" in order to identy themselves with who/what they believe. Crystal healers wiccans put natural characterestics on inanimate obkects. Same concept one is um out there the other just facts of nature. Like hebs carry medince that treats and/or cures illneses but the herb itself doesnt treat/cure its the chemicals in it same as rocks and heat.

I never uderstood how if true God can be a human and bread an ine can be als but guess thats a completely different topic

Laters

Wheher or not crystals "cure" different illnesses is up for grabs. I cansee them as muscle relaxants nd things of that nature but not to cure cancer. More of a treatment not cure.



Mary said...

My mother is a fan of healing stones. She bought me one for my migraine. It somehow works. I do not know why but yes everything does not have to have an explanation. You just need to believe.

Miranda said...

"Different crystals hold certain amounts of heat. "
Let's say that's true. (I have no idea.) But is the difference in heat more different than the difference in heat between your bedroom and your kitchen? Maybe switching rooms would be more beneficial.

Anonymous said...

Thought everyone left...

Miranda, ii believe theres no difference. A warm rag over a would...mind yoi the rag itself doesnt heal...is just the same concept as an obsidean rock that holds more energy/heat one bcacause black obsorbs and two (spit balling here)i thinks it holds heat because of its make up.

I think crystals can treat "some" illnesses like headaches just as the hot rag can do but to heal and cure illnesses like sa cancer and epilesy is not realistic. I have epilepsy and i wouldnt trade in taking my meds for using rocks. I think rocks can help some ilnesses but not some of the ones the clm rocks cure. Most "crystal experts" will say not to stop conventinal med etc in place of rock and healing.

Most of this i think is common sense when it comes to heat/energy, what it does and how can be used

Laters


Anonymous said...

Jeffrey Shallit...
Upon reading your comments I have noticed how harsh your replies are to ANYONE who believes in the healing powers of crystals. Your so-called scientific knowledge is dripping with sarcasm. You clearly have no patience with people of a spiritual nature and what you reply actually makes for quite entertaining reading, considering you seem to lack any kind of knowledge in this particular area. Comments such as "Have you ever jabbed a knitting needle into your eardrum? If not, I find it completely ignorant of you to sun something you haven't tried" are totally ridiculous and are doing nothing for backing up your 'matter-of-opinion' claims. Surely you realise the difference between well-being and pain? Maybe not...
That said, there is not an awful lot of evidence in this area of therapy due to the fact that studies have only recently begun to take place due to the recent advances in medical sciences, and also science's desire to incorporate much more natural methods. With something that requires belief it can be difficult to produce overnight results with crystal clear (pardon the expression) evidence. However, I believe that people who have not tried something that obviously is not going to cause much damage (such as sticking a needle into your eardrum) should do so with an open mind. If it feels wrong then it will not work for you, if it works then fantastic! I should also point out that ANY practitioner who claims they can 'get rid' of all kinds of ailments probably is not qualified to do so... All aspects of holistic treatments are not intended to be used as an alternative to medicine, but to run alongside it to improve mental wellbeing... There is plenty of evidence that holistic therapies (including crystal therapy) improve well being, and plenty of evidence that a good state of well being improves physical health.
Try something before attempting to discredit it. Or even better... discredit those who make false claims... not those who give treatments such as these in good honesty. And if you are going to discredit, do so in a manner which does not discredit yourself!!

From a scientific AND spiritual person (yes there is such a thing... and no, science hasn't discovered everything. Many things remain a mystery and I think that's just great :) )

Anonymous said...

Also, stating that there are no God's... well that just goes back to belief... YOUR belief!
I personally do not believe in 'God' (I have my own personal beliefs), but I do believe that comments such as that should be left out of your scientific analyses. They are crude and uncooth, and no real scientist in their right mind comments on such things.
As I stated before... Many things are undiscovered as of yet. It is people like you who cannot stand the fact that such things have not yet been discovered that make such degrading comments. Be at peace with the fact that you know all you can know at this moment in time, I think you could do with a little bit of crystal healing actually lol!

Anonymous said...

It annoys me immensely when I read reports that state "colour therapy was not effective in curing cancer" "crystal therapy was not effective in curing fertility issues" and so on...
Where do they get these people performing the experiments and the idiots willing to be tested?
ANY alternative (notice the word alternative)therapy is to be used in ADDITION to other treatments. Alternative (there it is again) therapies are ALTERNATIVE... they are used for improving mental well being or used when all other methods have failed. No decent practitioner in their right mind would claim to cure ANY illness, not even doctors claim such things! I believe you need to be careful where you get your information from Jeffrey.
I also find it amusing how you get quite cross with people who are not on the same wavelength as yourself, or just open minded, believing them to be uneducated and brainwashed... However, these people you belittle so seem to be replying with educated, fair and calm responses, as opposed to your own short tempered, irritable replies. It doesn't take a crystal therapist to sense the negative vibrations coming from your words alone. There is no harm in having an opinion, but replying with harsh rhetoricals brings your opinions no respect. You seriously need to chill out and answer your followers comments in a respectable manner, without skirting their comments and only picking out the parts you feel like answering. It actually makes you look desperate to prove your side and in doing so, your replies appear weak and child-like

Anonymous said...

By the way...certain colors do bring soothing effects while otherss the opposite call it psychology or spirituality doesnt matter. Simple example baby blue and white are used in hospitals for calimg...we dont see neon yelow and green with black dots thats unsoothing. Althoigh the effect of colors and emotions have been studied they al play a part in our emotional/physical/mental aka spiritual well being.

Rocks are no different.

We are naturally grounded to the earth and soe say spirit as well as such what comes from the earth unlike say computers and telephones have profound affect on our well being. Rocks cannot cure cancer but common sense is tjat natura elements sy herbs contribuye to a patients healing progress.

No crystal healer i know will say drop the meds and chemo and stick to rocks. Natura healing arent placebo affects. Amazingly the body tends to react to things we believe harms or heals us. That glass example above maybe glass is something tht can heal given it as it says glass has the same effect as rocks. However most crystal heas would use natural elements regardles if fake ones cause the same reaction. The pull to rocks are strong regardless if it hasnt been studied or its percieved as a placebo affect.

Also to make it simpler you can sa that "feeling" of energy to rocks are akin to gut feelinh and intuition manafested through the give or six senses. Natural healing doesnt need to be proven its the artifical stuff we question

Laters

Anonymous said...

Nice

Anonymous said...

It is quite simply to explain. Feel is to touch. We cannot feel with our mind because we cannot physically touch with our mind. We physically touch with our hands or our feet.

Obviously holding something in our hands allows us to physically feel it.

Energy is that sensation on the back of the neck that makes our hair stand up when someone is too close to our personal space so we feel threatened.

However, just because we feel threatened does not make it true that another person is threatening us.

Our bodies built in warning system, nerves, to get us to turn around to see what is happening behind us.

If the only focus is on who is right and backing up the right with physical evidence, you are only using one sixth of your mind and body.

There is a right side, a left side, a back side and a front side, a top side and a bottom side to all our bodies. Six perspectives for one complete person.

The question is not for others to prove to you why it does work to make it right for my eyes to see for me.

The question is for me to prove why it does not work so I can open my mind and my eyes to see it or not see it to find all the possibilities for me.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

Natural healing doesnt need to be proven

Sure it does. Otherwise how do you distinguish between ingesting "natural" but harmful substances, and "natural" but beneficial ones?

Let's have a little serious thinking here, not platitudes.

Anonymous said...

Jeffrey, dont know who you replying to but we know the differece by the results (your example above)..crystal healing with rocks and glass theres no harmful result; it either works or it doesnt. Even if it is a placebo affect it has benefical affects.

Not all "medicine" needs to be tested, liquid, and/or chemically related.

Laters

Anonymous said...

Natural healing doesnt need to be proven. Folk remedies etc etc have been used and worked for ages. I mean if there were no natral healinh treatments yhat worked unless proven then how did we survive as a race give at some poibt in our human history we didnt have anything we could use to test "like we have now." Healing isnt limited to chemicals

Anonymous said...

Natural just means not chemically made..its..from the earth. Herbs are natural but if i eat the wrong type i could die. Rocks tbemselves arent like that least you find one that has haserdous minerals in it.

But ah why does it need to be proven? If it works for other people thats a good thing..let it be

Jeffrey Shallit said...

crystal healing with rocks and glass theres no harmful result

I'm sorry you are so ignorant of the claims and practices of crystal healers.

Melody, in her book, suggests making elixirs of various dangerous minerals, such as witherite.

She also suggests wearing dangerous radioactive minerals, such as betafite.

So your claims are not based on knowledge of the claims of crystal healers and are wrong.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

Rocks tbemselves arent like that least you find one that has haserdous minerals in it.

But there are many hazardous minerals. They could have, for example, arsenic content, or fibers that are dangerous to inhale, or be radioactive. Yet crystal healers such as Melody do not warn about any of these.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

But ah why does it need to be proven? If it works for other people thats a good thing..let it be

Do not give me orders.

Efficacy of treatment needs to be proven for at least three reasons:

1. Treatments could actually be harmful, not helpful.

2. Worthless treatments could induce people to forego therapy that actually works. Look at what happened to Steve Jobs and Andy Kaufman, both of which preferred worthless naturopathy to known and proven treatments for their illnesses.

3. People who are induced to pay high costs for worthless treatments are being defrauded.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

Folk remedies etc etc have been used and worked for ages

And many of them are completely worthless. Let's be sensible here. When was the last time you spit on a wart to get rid of it? Yet this is claimed to be a remedy.

Anonymous said...

Jef i understand what ya saying. Unfortaly some healers dont warn against certan crystals that shouldnt be used..i woudnt use melody as a exple shes one out of hoopefully a small bunch who are not well informed with common sense and ethics in any treatment done to another person.

Your reasons...

1st thats completely true. We wouldnt want people like melody gving treatment in the wa it was not meant to be used.Im not saying not to test im saing its not necessary unless peple are literally have unhealthy affects to the treatment. It doesnt seem thats the case since we have yet to see that study show up in our med classes in us.

2nd im sure andy and steve were adults and knew the risks of trying treatment that hasnt been tested. Id pobably say theywere ill informed rather than blaming the effectiveneas of the treatment.

Like i said we are grounded to the earth and it makes sense that anything from the earth can be used as a cure or treatment for illnesses. I woulldnt dicredit them because they werent in a lab.

But thats just me

Laters

Jeffrey Shallit said...

we are grounded to the earth and it makes sense that anything from the earth can be used as a cure or treatment for illnesses

I don't know what "grounded to the earth" means, and your conclusion is a non sequitur. There is no reason to believe that something dug up from the earth is going to be effective for any particular disease; there has to be a mechanism behind healing. That's what science is good for: it lets us figure out what is likely to work, and gives us a procedure for determining whether it works or not.

By the way, a recent study shows that many herbal products sold in stores don't even contain what is claimed.

Anonymous said...

Let me think....salt is a mineral (sea salt not table salt) is used for gteatment. I put it in hot wayer when ihave a spre throught. It eases the pain. For some reason just hot water doesnt do the trick. Im sure hums have utilized other healing methods with rocks, plants, et in their homes and culture without being tested for effectiveness. Wle get a lot of our minerals for meds from the earth chemicals dpnt pop from no where. It all centers around the earth. You cay seperate earth (and water) elements (lake of better words) from science .


Rocks cant cure illnesses. They are used to treat symptoms of illnesses in addition to meds etc.

We come from the earth...some say by dirt othera fom water. Elements from the earth say water and minerals are part of us. We are thus "grounded" to the earth. We arent seprate as such if we are depleted of water we drink to refresf ourselves. If we havetoo much sugar o too less (sugar is part minural) we are diabetic and need that minera if we have less or dilute if we have too much.

Think about it. Do you think man created the elements he put together to create medicine. Do you believe man created something from nothing? The point is e need these things to survive

Rocks...theres nothing ... my android is acting up to b continued




















Anonymous said...


Okay, this is better.

Anyway, we are grounded means we are part of the earth and that's where come and that's where we'll die. We aren't separate from elements (lack of better words) from the earth. For example, say water. We are over 50% water.

So, that comes to salt. Salt is a mineral. We have salt in our bodies. Cures? Treatments? When I have a sore throught, I put salt in hot water, twirl it, and it works. Just hot water doesn't do the trick.

It was probably tested to work, and "if it had not been tested to work" it would still have the same effect--it wouldn't be a placebo just because it cant be or hasn't been tested.

Crystal healing? It makes sense that crystals can treat symptoms of illnesses (NOT the illness itself). Like I mentioned above with the Obsidean rock (Im thinking of my geology here), Obsidean is a black volcanic rock...black obsorbs heat/energy. (think of wearing black when its 90 degrees outside--the "clothe" obsorbs the heat. Just like the rocks.) Raw rocks have more access heat/energy left in it than polished rocks. When crystal healers put obsidian on the given chakra (don't ask, still learning), that is supposed to observed the energy/pain in that area of the body... its a physical thing.


I understand you saying that many of these effects are fake. Personally, I believe a lot of it is psychological, physical, and mental. When I take my epileptic medication it doesn't just work from keeping me having seizures. It also keeps me mentally sane that I know my seizures are controlled (though I cant predict when/if I have them), psychological...well that goes with mental, and physical is the obvious, it controls my seizures.


Mechanism behind healing...no there doesn't. There's no mechanism behind salt in hot water soothing a sore throught. Natural healing is an "optional" and "additional" treatment to healing not a replacement.

I don't know how else to explain it. "Medicine" doesn't have to be chemical and tested to have benefitial affects "even if" those affects are placebo.

I have to do more thinking of my points, so when you pick a part this reply, I can give you a better response.

Laters



Miranda said...

Anonymous: terrible spelling does not "naturally heal" itself. It requires the conventional "go back and check what you typed" medicine.

Anonymous said...

Lol miranda
.. im on a cheap android to where my thumbs are too big for the buttons. Im not spending an hoir to write a response. If you can underatand it cool if not please let it be.

Laters

Jeffrey Shallit said...

There's no mechanism behind salt in hot water soothing a sore throat.

Really? So it works by magic?

Marilyn Perez said...

I just read this entire thread. And I do have some comments to add to the debate.

I would like to start with a definition pulled from the standard dictionary built into my technologically advanced macbook pro.

discover
verb trans.
1 find (something or someone) unexpectedly or in the course of a search : firemen discovered a body in the debris | she discovered her lover in the arms of another woman.
- become aware of (a fact or situation) : the courage to discover the truth and possibly be disappointed | it was a relief to discover that he wasn't in.
- be the first to find or observe (a place, substance, or scientific phenomenon) : Fleming discovered penicillin early in the twentieth century.
- perceive the attractions of (an activity or subject) for the first time : a teenager who has recently discovered fashion.
- be the first to recognize the potential of (an actor, singer, or musician) : I discovered the band back in the mid 70s.
2 archaic divulge (a secret) : they contain some secrets which Time will discover.
- disclose the identity of (someone) : she at last discovered herself to me.
- display (a quality or feeling) : with what agility did these military men discover their skill in feats of war.

Actually I'm not sure I need to say anything else. But I will because I'm baffled by the ignorance of the scientific community.

The definition of "discover" addresses many of the doubts on both sides of the argument:
1. To find something UNEXPECTEDLY after having SEARCHED for it
2. To become AWARE of something (that was already existing).
3. To be THE FIRST to find or OBSERVE
4. To be THE FIRST to recognize the POTENTIAL
5. Implies SECRETS that TIME will DISCOVER.

Jeffrey, you speak of Science as though it IS God. You speak of the SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERIES that we have come to find through the passing of TIME in our existence as though they are the ONLY ONES that will EVER be found. Furthermore, we only think we have a grasp on these ideas after we decided to dedicate increasing TIME AND ATTENTION to such matters.

As for what is "New Age," specifically the energetic and/or healing properties of crystals/rocks. Perhaps not enough time has elapsed for there to be enough attention brought to these matters in order to "discover" their healing properties. Do we really expect to KNOW/UNDERSTAND/DISCOVER the things we are not yet fully COMMITTED TO, or INTERESTED IN in the scientific community? Have you given no credit to what is to come in the next 1000 years of scientific discovery (and beyond)?

From doing a basic internet search, the earliest records of using some form of the scientific method seems to date back to 1600 B.C. If we are now in 2013 AD, I would say that what we have been able to discover in ~3600 years is pretty elementary. I would have thought we would have been driving levitating vehicles by now.

You assume that the most precious and coveted research that exists in the world is readily accessible by a basic internet search. You assume that the discovery of this information is not without corruption, or that it is not subject to capitalism. What about experimental research that is conducted behind closed doors, as it often was. We are all aware of the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency), if we had ALL of the information, we would BE the CIA. I sure as hell know I'm not qualified to be in the CIA, are you? I'm basically saying that if magic properties, or transpersonal properties were to exist, do you think they'd be readily available for the average joe?

Marilyn Perez said...

You speak of receiving scientifically sound evidence, but you have presented NONE. You have presented TWO studies, with no link to the actual research article in order to verify the literature review, hypothesis, methodology, data, results, AND THE LIMITATIONS. Every research article I have EVER read was not VOID of LIMITATIONS. Never mind that you did not even present a thorough analysis of the research you have purportedly read on your own behalf. Have you ever even read a research article? May I ask to see your credentials? They are nowhere to be found on your BLOG (which without credentials, is to be assumed to be an OPINION). I wonder where the researchers might have failed to quantify something they choose to know very little about.

You speak as though you have actually designed a research experiment, yourself. As though you have ever taken a statistical analysis and design course of any level in your academic career. Can you link me to ANY of the research you might have conducted in your own personal experience? Can you speak of the flaws of your design? To say there were none, would be deemed arrogant and narcissistic by the scientific community.

The only flaw I see with attempting to understand the merging that is happening between science and spirituality, is that not enough scientific people are willing to become spiritual -and not enough spiritual people are willing to become scientific.

The thing that both parties have in common is that they both require FAITH. Faith that there WILL be a DISCOVERY in such an area of interest. When scientists are committed to discovering something, they search far and wide, try multiple times. When one scientist gives up, the next one picks up where they left off. Can you believe that we once firmly believed the world was flat? Or that the size of your brain determined the amount of intelligence. Thanks to the persistence of unwavering faith by certain individuals, we managed to figure out that the world was actually round, rotating at an axis, and that it was not in fact, the center of our solar system. What would have happened if we had settled with such limiting information?

Now, of course Western Medicine has come far and wide in their ability to... sort-of heal people. Everything that has ever been bought over the counter, or prescribed by a physician was not without it's side-effects, most of those that have consumed them are usually ill-informed. Just because a population does not EXHIBIT the side-effects at certain doses, does not mean that side-effects are not still taking place in the body in traces that are not observable. The problem with most Western Medicine is that it needs to damage the body first, in order to feel relief or even healing. Most medicine addresses the symptom NOT the cause. "We have detected cancer, what caused it? Cancer cells. Well what activated the cancer cells? Uuuuhhhhh."

Marilyn Perez said...

There is actually a vast amount of interest being placed by the scientific community in the area of Psychology, which attempts to find or pinpoint, or even SCRATCH at the surface of the CAUSE of our dis-ease of mind. Psychology is proving, increasingly, that it is STRESS (as well as predispositions from genetics or environment) that lowers our immune systems to the point of being susceptible of psychological disorders, AS WELL as disease and illness.

It is found that it is those that COPE with STRESS better than others, that are healthier overall. It is those with an open-mind that are more adaptable, resilient, emotionally intelligent and capable of working through their mental dis-ease. Some people have GREAT natural coping skills, others, have to work on them. Many people have experienced psychological relief from spiritual methodology. Whether it is the consequence of suggestibility, auto-suggestion, self-fulfilling prophecies, whatever the terms may be: does it matter, if it works? If the person is void of illness? Let's not forget that faith is the basis to anything that ever came to work or even works at all.

Even Western medicine has studied the effects of treatments on patients that BELIEVE the treatment will work vs. those that DON'T BELIEVE the treatment will work. Have the results not varied? Since we are talking about cases of terminal illness when it is IMPORTANT that the solution be medicinally-founded in order to work, who is to say that it is not MERELY the individual's disposition towards life that saves their lives?

How do we know that we are not going about it all wrong? So what you're saying is that when an illness is found, western medicine is the only viable solution that has been proven? What about preventative measures? What about holistic treatments that incorporate all that is essential to the human body.

Since there are different fields of science we cannot assume to be experts in all of them. The human body is affected by genetic, physiological, social, and psychological factors, and of course, faith. We all have faith but we place it in different things. Some of which are more conducive than others when used ALONE, but when you attack the illness as a WHOLE. I say not enough research has been done on holistic therapy.

I urge you to look into positive psychology, as well as transpersonal psychology. Which are both VERY NEW fields. I'm sure you already knew that they were currently in existence, what with that very open-mind of yours. They are increasingly pointing to faith-based, loving, and open attitudes and dispositions as being the cornerstone to mental and physical harmony and balance -as well as essential to our survival.

Quite frankly, what I notice is oozing from your sarcasm, ridicule, closed-mindedness, and lack of logic and reason... is a negative disposition towards reality as it stands. You embody several maladaptive characteristics at first glance, I'd be very interested to take a closer look. Have you ever considered seeing a psychologist? What you are experiencing is cognitive dissonance, which is basically a fear-based reaction to your thinking being challenged by UNKNOWN, the information doesn't even have to be inaccurate or false. It just has to be NEW to you in order for you to feel the defensiveness you are exhibiting. It is not education you are exhibiting, because I'm confident after reading the entire thread that this is by far the most empirical input this thread has seen.

I'm very curious to hear your feedback. Thank you for your time.

Marilyn Perez said...

I hope to see the three parts of my comment published, since you have enabled comment moderation. I also hope to see your response. Thank you, once again.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

Jeffrey, you speak of Science as though it IS God.

Not even close. Science is a method for ascertaining truths about the universe, not a nonexistent magical sky being. You seem pretty confused.

Perhaps not enough time has elapsed for there to be enough attention brought to these matters in order to "discover" their healing properties.

Fine, so do the studies before claiming these properties exist.

I'm basically saying that if magic properties, or transpersonal properties were to exist, do you think they'd be readily available for the average joe?

It's a novel sort of crackpot argument, I must admit. These magical properties must exist because the CIA is somehow suppressing the knowledge of their existence!

Jeffrey Shallit said...

You speak of receiving scientifically sound evidence, but you have presented NONE.

Adding capital letters to a lie doesn't make it more truthful. I cited two studies. Where are yours on the other side?

May I ask to see your credentials? They are nowhere to be found on your BLOG

Most people know how to use google. Try it.

The problem with most Western Medicine is that it needs to damage the body first, in order to feel relief or even healing.

The misunderstandings you have about medicine are many, and I am certainly not interested in correcting them. Perhaps you should take a university-level course in medicine.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

does it matter, if it works?

Yes, it certainly does matter. "It is morally as bad not to care whether a thing is true or not, so long as it makes you feel good, as it is not to care how you got your money as long as you have got it." -- Edwin Way Teale.

Let's not forget that faith is the basis to anything that ever came to work or even works at all.

I don't agree. Doubt, not faith, is the basis to science.

I'm confident after reading the entire thread that this is by far the most empirical input this thread has seen.

I think your confidence is misplaced, but feel free to provide a link to a scientific study of crystal healing, if you have one.

Marilyn Perez said...

The problem is that you speculate on the "unsound" parts of my argument and you fail to realize your own limitations.

These "truths" you speak of, are constantly changing -being proven and disproven over the course of time. I have taken classes that address the way Western Medicine works in the brain. And guess what, they all have side-effects.

"Perhaps not enough time has elapsed for there to be enough attention brought to these matters in order to "discover" their healing properties."

"Fine, so do the studies before claiming these properties exist."


What I'm saying is that not enough time, care, or effort has been placed by anyone to actually prove or disprove these theories, because clearly you can't even report a study that is publicly available, and verifiable --even for purchase. Not even in the four years that you've been arguing some "truth." You're telling me that you couldn't have found a new reference by now? Or that you might not have conducted a study, yourself, since you feel strongly enough to argue for 4 years on a topic.

Just because you are trying to shove your misconstrued, limited ideas of "truth" down people's throats does not mean that your "evidence" (posting a couple quotes, and citing two articles that are not available to the public) is empirically sound. Please remind me how am I not being skeptical? Where in my last argument did I state a stance? I did however, make some skeptical observations.

If I were not a scientist, I would just accept what you are saying to be the "truth." But I am a skeptic. Science has made a lot of conclusions, many of which had to be built upon in order to be fully understood. The study and your thinking, are outdated and incomplete.

By the way, I did a google search, and it says that you are a Computer Scientist.

Again, can you please verify your credentials?

Jeffrey Shallit said...

you speculate on the "unsound" parts of my argument

No speculation on my part involved. You haven't presented an argument, just a rambling assemblage of false claims and disjointed ideas.

are constantly changing -being proven and disproven over the course of time

A gross exaggeration. Some ideas change, but it is extremely unlikely, for example, that the germ theory of disease will be disproven.

I have taken classes that address the way Western Medicine works in the brain.

Where? Be precise, giving the name of the institution and name of the course, and date. I'll bet they are not university-level courses.

And guess what, they all have side-effects.

I don't know what "they" refers to here, since the only plural that preceded it is "classes".

In any event, I am glad to see you are retreating from your bogus claim that "The problem with most Western Medicine is that it needs to damage the body first, in order to feel relief or even healing." I just had a flu shot. What "damage" did my body get?
Western medicine understands the role of diet, for example, in treating diabetes. What "damage" does it do there?

What I'm saying is that not enough time, care, or effort has been placed by anyone to actually prove or disprove these theories,

It is not my job to conduct any studies. If you and your friends make claims about crystal healing, then the onus is on you, not me. I cited two studies; you could easily contact the author of the studies (as I did) to get copies of them. Not everything is available on the internet.

If you feel these studies are inadequate, feel free to conduct your own. Let us know the results.

trying to shove your misconstrued, limited ideas of "truth" down people's throats

With a blog post? You're being utterly silly. Nobody forces you to read my blog. Get a grip.

Please remind me how am I not being skeptical?

Your argument about the CIA, for example. Utterly laughable.

Again, can you please verify your credentials?

I have no idea what you are babbling about. Verify what? In what way? Who the heck do you think you are?

Marilyn Perez said...

No speculation on my part involved. You haven't presented an argument, just a rambling assemblage of false claims and disjointed ideas.

You seem very confused.

Just because parts of my statements are not fully articulated, does not make them false or disjointed. Instead of focusing on picking and choosing the statements to knock down, why don't we pick and choose in order to build upon and fully understand each other?

A gross exaggeration. Some ideas change, but it is extremely unlikely, for example, that the germ theory of disease will be disproven.

A gross exaggeration? Really? You seem very confused. Please remember that we once thought the Earth was the center of the solar system. And also, we once thought the earth was flat and that we could theoretically fall off of it. Thank God, Science discovered Gravity, because now we can travel the earth without worries of falling off of it.

Please review this link, I know you are a scientist and I know that all the details may not be entirely accurate, but you know that at the basis of it all... science has often proven itself wrong.

http://science.discovery.com/strange-science/10-science-mistakes.htm

I know you are a scientist, and I know as scientists it is compelling to think that what we HAVE found so far, is all there will ever be. Please review the following link to once again discover what science can and can't prove and disprove. Also please ignore all the God-talk included in the article, for I am not a Christian or even a believer of God. Even though the argument has flaws, you know as a scientist, that it also has reason. Please read it all the way through, it is very important for your growth as a scientist. Ignore the parts that don't make sense, take in the ones that do. Everything in life is but a half-truth anyway.

http://www.str.org/articles/what-science-can-t-prove#.Unlv5pTwJq4

Where? Be precise, giving the name of the institution and name of the course, and date. I'll bet they are not university-level courses.

I was a student of Psychology, receiving a Bachelor's degree from California State University of Long Beach. I studied from the years 2007-2012. First in environmental science, but I as I began to notice the flaws in human thinking, I was drawn towards studying the dynamics of the human mind.

I've completed my undergraduate education, having taken university-level courses in Approaches to Childhood & Adolescence, Psychology of Adult Development & Aging, Social Psychology, Religion & Psychology, Abnormal Psychology (included pharmacology), The Psychology of Happiness (Positive Psychology), Psychology of Personality, Psychology of Addiction (included pharmacology), Psychobiology, Human Cognition, Intro to Women's Studies, and Intro to Clinical Psychology. As well as the variety of Research Methods as well as Statistical Analysis & Design Courses that are very much essential to the understanding of Psychology. Psychology is a science, after all. I only listed the most relevant here, if you'd really would like to verify my credentials, I'll be happy to send an e-mail to my university to request my old transcripts, unless my University Diploma will suffice.

Marilyn Perez said...

I don't know what "they" refers to here, since the only plural that preceded it is "classes".

In any event, I am glad to see you are retreating from your bogus claim that "The problem with most Western Medicine is that it needs to damage the body first, in order to feel relief or even healing." I just had a flu shot. What "damage" did my body get?
Western medicine understands the role of diet, for example, in treating diabetes. What "damage" does it do there?


Forgive me for the misunderstanding, when we were talking about western medicine, I assumed that we were talking about prescription drugs as the end-all answer to all physiological problems. It is a glaring error, but now speaking in terms of prescription drugs or flu shots or vaccines...

In terms of flu-shots, how is it that the body is not harmed by the initial introduction of the weakened virus/toxins/dead agent? It is the instability of what is introduced, it's foreign-ness, intentionally into the body, that stimulates the production of anti-bodies. If they were not harmful in any sense of the words, every body would accept them with open arms. But we still have our rights to request the list of side-effects, whether we choose to understand what we are signing up for or not, is entirely up to the individual.

In terms of prescription drugs, well, since most are synthetic now-a-days anyway... we are introducing unnatural agents into the body, that act as simulators. They aren't even the real deal anymore. Western Medicine understands this, which is why they have disclaimers and side-effects.

You are right, Western Medicine does investigate diet. To state that drugs or vaccines do not have negative effects on the body, even in the most minute ways, is like saying that relying entirely on genetically modified organisms in terms of our diets will not have similar negative effects on the body, even if only in the most minute ways.

It is not my job to conduct any studies. If you and your friends make claims about crystal healing, then the onus is on you, not me. I cited two studies; you could easily contact the author of the studies (as I did) to get copies of them. Not everything is available on the internet.

Me and my crystal-healing friends? When did I state a position? I'm a student and researcher of the phenomena of psychology, a scientist in my own respect. I never made a claim against the existence or non-existence of crystal-healing properties. The onus is not on me to perform the study, but the onus is not on you inaccurately display incomplete information and defend it with a heavy bias for 7 years. I can see that it is very important for you to make invalid points because it has been 7 years that you have been making inaccurate claims. Perhaps if I was interested in proving crystal-healing works or at least debating it with you, I would contact those psychologists, and probably exert the extent of my resources so that I could fully understand the phenomena that I am stating an opinion on, in order to make the most-accurate statements and generalizations on the matter.

Marilyn Perez said...

With a blog post? You're being utterly silly. Nobody forces you to read my blog. Get a grip.

You are right, there were probably some parts of my argument that were fueled by my ego and not from the pureness of my intelligence. You were right that capitals don't help to accentuate my points, so I stopped. The reason I've decided to take it this far, is of a personal matter, a personal agenda of sorts.

Your argument about the CIA, for example. Utterly laughable.

Now this is is where you seem very, very, very, very, completely, and utterly confused. Just because you can google CIA and see that they have a website does not mean that they are not without their own agenda. Forgive me, but the CIA does not intend to address or include the interest of the public, not even your interests. As has been seen with the plain history of the controversies that have existed in America.

Maybe the CIA IS a gross exaggeration, because we wouldn't be able to know with confidence what they are up to anyway. But what isn't a gross exaggeration is the content of my research method's class in the psychology curriculum. When addressing ethical issues, we fully outlined moments in history where the rights of unknowing citizens were abused and exploited. Scientists infected populations of African Americans with syphilis, unknowingly and unwillingly, in order to study their effects. Skinner researched and did experiments on his own children. It is because of controversy that we engage in everyday politics and reform, but I do not pretend to be an expert in this field.

Please do not blindfold yourself to the fact that we are not the elite in this country. We are not the ones reaping the benefits of our labor. Please err on the side of caution in identifying me as a conspiracy theorist, what I am is a critical thinker.

Marilyn Perez said...

I have no idea what you are babbling about. Verify what? In what way? Who the heck do you think you are?

I would like you to note that psychology studies how genes and environment affect an individuals growth, that includes physiological and psychological. You have been fascinated by computers, and that is great. But humans are not computers. And your ideas about what science is and isn't are misconstrued. Your moments of immaturity and your ability to defend inaccurate claims with such certainty would lead me to highlight some symptoms of illusions of grandeur, narcissism, or anti-social disorders.

Please do not pretend to be an expert in the field that you are citing. Psychology. Please do not pretend to be an expert in the field you are defending. Western Medicine.

Please take a look on how Psychology is acknowledging that there is enough of a significance in the transpersonal phenomena to deem it worth studying:

http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2011/11/03/6-facts-about-transpersonal-psychology/

I apologize for letting my ego get in the way of the information I was trying to present. For some reason I skimmed your blog about how you didn't lie to your kids about Santa Claus. I have often wondered how I would preserve the magic of life without lying to my children (I don't want them to be delusional, but I do want them to have faith), once I choose to have them. I loved your approach! You described him as a mythological person, because truly the concept of Santa Claus does seem kind of silly and I believe it's truly pagan and defeats any message that a holy text might have been trying to convey. Does the bible even cite Christmas, anyway? I'm glad that your kids seem healthy and enjoy the exchange of stories.

But best of all, I loved this quote by you at the end of your article:

"You deprived them of a magical experience," some will say. I don't think so. Our kids know there is magic in the world, because they've looked through a microscope at a cell, and they've looked through a telescope at the rings of Saturn. They know that the tilt of the Earth's axis is the real reason for the season, but they also know the magic of their parents' love.

Thank you for your time. I really do love and respect you. I know THAT sounds utterly silly, but I've suffered enough in my lifetime that I truly try not to judge in the way I've been judged. Or hurt in the way I've been hurt. I can see the value in sharing good, positive, knowledge with people. And trying to help people become sound in mind.

I hope you took time to review the links fully, because I tried to set up my discussion in the most sound-way possible.

Marilyn Perez said...

Crap, I should have included this quote, too:

So no, Virginia -- Santa Claus isn't real. But there's nothing phony about human imagination, fantasy, the telling of tales, the complexity of our universe, the desire for a better world to live in, and our ability to achieve that world if we work hard enough and care about others. We told our kids the truth about those things, too.

I love it.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

why don't we pick and choose in order to build upon and fully understand each other?

I am very sorry, but I would first have to be convinced that you have something interesting to say. I'm not.

how is it that the body is not harmed by the initial introduction of the weakened virus/toxins/dead agent?

Because (a) the immune response generated by a flu shot is an ordinary and natural part of the body's defenses that goes on all the time and (b) those who are vaccinated against disease benefit by not getting the disease. No reputable doctor would claim the flu shot "harms" people, except in very unusual circumstances, like an allergic reaction.

The onus is not on me to perform the study, but the onus is not on you inaccurately display incomplete information and defend it with a heavy bias for 7 years.

Everything I stated was accurate, and you haven't pointed out a single inaccuracy.

But humans are not computers.

And your proof of this is what?

Your moments of immaturity and your ability to defend inaccurate claims with such certainty would lead me to highlight some symptoms of illusions of grandeur, narcissism, or anti-social disorders.

As far as I know, psychologists usually deem it a violation of ethics to try to diagnose someone you haven't met. Anyway, I'm totally uninterested in your opinion of my mental state, and I encourage you to go find someone else more pliable to insult.

Marilyn Perez said...

Your moments of immaturity and your ability to defend inaccurate claims with such certainty would lead me to highlight some symptoms of illusions of grandeur, narcissism, or anti-social disorders.

As far as I know, psychologists usually deem it a violation of ethics to try to diagnose someone you haven't met. Anyway, I'm totally uninterested in your opinion of my mental state, and I encourage you to go find someone else more pliable to insult.

The problem with these posts is that I try to be sound and then I let my ego get in the way, fully sacrificing any intelligence that I might be able to share. Once I review it and send it, if it was still written in a defensive mind-state I may have said some things that are wayyyyy out-of-line, but it's gone and I can't edit it.

I admit, however sound I tried to be, I make myself sound like a jackass when I insult you, and for that I really do apologize. It is completely unethical for me to "diagnose you." Even if I might have thought I saw that in you, by stating it without knowing who you really are as a person; I turn into --the narcissist, having illusions of grandeur, anti-social disorders because I assume I know more than you and try to impose that on you, when in reality you know your worth, what you believe in, and what you are capable of and I am no one to address that what-so-ever. It's not the approach I want to ever have when I eventually pursue my graduate career in psychology. If I am supposed to be an educator or psychologist, I have to do so in an open and non-insulting way and get off my high-horse or else my message gets lost in translation and I can see that now.

I just want to say it was really bothering ME (I can't speak for anyone else) that you kept saying "You seem very confused." It's hard to defeat conditioning and being utterly responsive and in a sense "human" or even "computer" in this sense and not defend my intelligence when I know it's in my brain, somewhere. The problem is that I, or anyone respond to triggers like this, with anger or ego, it completely gets in the way of our clarity and ability to respond with utter maturity and respect for the other person's opinion. It's like, here's this message, I have this to say... but I'm also being very backhanded in the way that I'm doing it, and that's not right if my intention is to get my point across.

Marilyn Perez said...

You are a very good speculator. You can see the flaws in arguments very well. I am not one to say whether your responses are with "feeling better than," or if your attempt really is to bring out the critical thinkers in all of us! You've certainly brought it out in me!

Everything I stated was accurate, and you haven't pointed out a single inaccuracy.

I see now how it might not be inaccurate; I would have loved to actually dissect the research articles, but since I'm not that invested in crystal-healing, at all really, I don't think I will request them from the authors. Maybe one day if I get into the field, I'll have access to more articles from both positions to perhaps cite here in the future. I will take into consideration your position but without being able to easily verify it, I will not assume it's inaccurate, just incomplete unverifiable information for the time being.

But humans are not computers.

And your proof of this is what?

I like to embrace all realities, as in all possibilities of things. So I try to stay neutral on topics like this but I always err on the side of "we live in a magical world," because I can really appreciate every day wonders to be those miracles in the world. I think nature is beautiful, I love the idea of gazing into space. I know my capacity to love others and even that feels magical to me. It's not easy to be a loving person these days. There's so much reinforcement to negativity as well as positivity out there, it's hard to find the necessity to be more positive individuals or to love for our own well being as humans.

I'm really that person that says, “I wish I could be here 2000 years from now to really see what science is capable of discovering.” I dream of the day we discover that we aren't just reactive human-beings or computers, but that we are able to overcome our conditioning in lightning-fast ways -supernatural beings in a sense. I've seen my own ability to balance out my ego in order to remain a rational human being and I'd love to see that on a worldwide scale. But maybe that's just the childlike fantasy in me ;)

Marilyn Perez said...

I've come to speculate that the "nature" part of our existence is the "computer" part of our existence. All the maladaptive traits we learned in early childhood are the things that are "computer" about us, because we were somewhat conditioned and reinforced by our own actions and experiences. We become so out of touch with our conditioning that we think that is all we are or all that we are capable of --in that sense, we kind of really are just computers.

That's where the psychological/sociological/anthropological l fields kick in and see how it's not all that we are capable of and if could just overcome our "nature" that we could become a more adaptive individual. I speculate that it is when we work to overcome our conditioning that we take back the reigns, open our minds to the possibilities, and we begin to "nurture" the person we want to be instead of giving into our "nature" of the person we once were.

I know that's not the traditional nature vs. nurture argument, but I definitely see how we are computers --thankfully what we do have is free-will. The option to choose to not be just a computer. I like to think that we are a computer with a permanent wifi connection to the internet, which is sort of a place of endless possibilities. We can choose to open google and discover other insights/possibilities that exist in ourselves or in the world, or we can just ignore that google exists remain a computer with original programming refusing to acknowledge the internet. Becoming increasingly outdated as time elapses and I don’t run my software updates.

Also, I know that without medicine we would not have come such a long way... but as a potential psychologist I also see how we are becoming too reliant on medicine and not willing to look within. It's a perpetuating cycle and abusing medicine is just like a cover-up for finding the root of the cause. What I learned in abnormal psychology is that we need medicine to induce the changed mental environment people down to their senses in order to work at a psychological angle.

It really all starts with prevention. Positive psychology and the more radical transpersonal psychology is starting to address breaking down the boundaries at any stage of life by embracing the things we can do well in order to see how we can change the things we don't do well and hopefully we can begin to nurture more well-rounded and productive human beings as parents.

Also I believe prevention includes feeling strong about the things we do well, being willing to acknowledge or change the things we don't do well, trying to maintain a well-balanced diet and exercise regime (because we have always been very physical human beings and have become increasingly lazy), as well as embracing western medicine when symptoms do come up that need to be addressed with urgency to avoid further damage --while working on finding the root of the cause. This is the image I wanted to embody when I said "holistic therapy."

Marilyn Perez said...

I'm sorry for hassling you on your blog, I know this is your place for self-expression and I can really see your intelligence and ability to speculate. I just wanted to try to express myself as an equally intelligent human being with something to offer, but I went about it with completely the wrong approach.

Anyway, thank you for helping me realize some things about myself! I can't insult people if I want to be respected in such a sensitive field! I will come across people with different beliefs and different mind-states and it doesn't make them invalid, just different!

I really am a scientist, I am just open to the possibilities. Always willing to test the boundaries. I know that science makes mistakes and it is not perfect but it is growing and very necessary to our evolution and survival. I know that science does evolve as we do as humans.

Thank you for all the insight you've given me and please forgive me for being rude and backhanded when I could have chosen a completely different approach from the start! :) Cheers to you! Keep on, keepin' on!

Marilyn Perez said...

I know we have our differences in opinions, but a friend posted this on my facebook timeline today and I felt the need to share it with you.

Of course this is just an opinion and speculation, but I couldn't help but feel the need to share it with you because of my CIA commentary the other day. I honestly felt compassion because I really do not know what the underlying motivations are behind our actions as a country towards other nations.

There are things I may never understand, but I feel for humanity losing loved ones because I lost my oldest brother last year to a tragic accident. You can be the best or worst person out there but it feels the same to both persons to lose a loved one.

This is more for you, so publication is not necessary unless you feel like addressing/speculating on it:
http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2013/11/malala-nabila-worlds-apart-201311193857549913.html

Thanks again!

Jeffrey Shallit said...

thankfully what we do have is free-will

Well, we're going to have to disagree here. I don't even think "free will" is a coherent concept, at least the way it is usually discussed.

Thank you for your messages and your gracious apology.

Hunter Gethunted said...

I'm a student gemology / mineralogy, and I'm completely fed up with all those retarded wizards claiming shit about crystals. I found out there is a very simple thing to say to these idiots which keep them silent for at least 5 minutes: in their wacky wacky universe, they (for example) claim that diamond (being Carbon with maybe some trace-elements present) has some healing properties which are really unbelievable (and indeed: I don’t believe them)

Quote from one of the 1000000ths websites about this shit:

“Diamond building up stamina, strength and treating allergies and chronic conditions. It also helps glaucoma and clears sight. Diamond effectively treats dizziness and vertigo, and benefits the brain”

Well, that’s something aint? But, wait! diamond is a polymorph with… graphite, and lets face it, this must give graphite at least some of the powers of the diamond, being the same chemical substance, not? Ok, they may fuzz about the crystal structure, but that would really be noteworthy, ‘cause it will be the first time I will meet a crystal-healing-bonkybonky-quack who will discuss crystalline properties from a scientific view, and I don’t think that will happen…
But back to my point: Graphite is even much cheaper than diamond and available for everyone! Does not almost everybody on Planet Earth hold, use, chew on or even eat lead pencils? Pencils which contain… graphite… And still, the world is full of tired, allergic people, having poor sight and wearing glasses, still being dizzy and afraid of heights. All these people may eat dozens of pencils throughout their lifespan, but still those universal ailments mentioned are all around and won’t disappear…

And of course, the easiest way for the wizards and elves to argue this all, is by saying that without those countless pencils being eaten all those people would suffer even more.

Yeah, right…

Jeffrey, Keep up the good work!

Tina Biles said...

Two points -
1 Do you accept the fact that science has determined crystals have energy your computer chips for instance?
2. both religion and science have problem with creation something cannot come from nothing? - who created the creator? - what was there before this Universe? etc etc etc.
Everything has a vibrational energy it is the effect of the component molecules moving around.
There is little research because much research is conducted by drug co.s who are not interested in anything that may replace drugs and the research is conducted against medical models and do not actually test the relevant aspects of the method in question. Placebo is usually cited but whilst it is a powerful factor it is something that has just as must relevance to 'conventional' medicine as to complementary or faith healing. (see effect on animals or lab tests on cancer cells etc. which to my knowledge do not understand placebo nor are they affected by suggestion). The studies you mentioned did not have the best methodology but if funding was available better ones could be undertaken.

Hunter Gethunted said...

@tina biles

These crystals you mention may have a + - charge in their crystal unit-cell, but energy will only be 'released' after an external force (like pressure in the piezo-effect) is placed upon this crystal.

This has nothing to do with any wizardry or hocus-pocus, it's just physics. It differs not from (for example) a car battery, in which chemical power is converted to electrical power, and here it’s not physical pressure like in the piezo-effect, but a chemical reaction which ‘release’ the energy. If I push hard enough on your nose, there will be energy released, I bet.

But hey, it’s a car battery, and it’s to heavy to hang around your neck, it also lacks any potential to market it as a nice shiny ‘mystic’ talisman which will open your chakra’s (and your wallet)

What bothers me most, is that 99,9% of the crystal-elf’s just do not understand that the ‘mystic’ power they tend to see in crystals (and mind you: this power is never ever demonstrated, proven nor even suspected by serious scientists) is not only a delusion, but that it is just the magpie in them that makes them go bonkers: it’s the shine, the beauty – better: the aesthetic effect - of a crystal, that make them think it’s something very rare, strange, impressive and ‘powerful’, but technically and physically it’s just as impressive as a car-battery, a piece of plastic or a boiled egg. The laws of physics involved in these latter things are also of a incredible beauty, but it takes some knowledge, some effort to learn and understand, and that’s not as hip and cool as humming around a piece of quartz and fool around with your chakra’s.
If a piece of quartz opens your chakra, wow!, you better also try it with a car battery, that’s my advice

abydos89 said...

I knew a guy who was really into crystal healing. We were at a friend's house and we debated the subject for a while. The conversation seemed to have no end so I improvised. I grabbed two knives and told him, "We both cut ourselves to the point where we would need stitches. I will go to the hospital and get treated by medicine and you use your crystals anyway you want to heal your wounds." I was totally down to do it but he wasn't. Such a shame he didn't have faith in it once he was challenged. I would have liked to compare healing rates just for some data.

stacey Bruno said...

I never believed in love spells or magic until I met this spell caster once when i went to see my friend in Indian this year on a business summit. I meant a man who's name is Dr ATILA he is really powerful and could help cast spells to bring back one's gone, lost, misbehaving lover and magic money spell or spell for a good job or luck spell .I'm now happy & a living testimony cos the man i had wanted to marry left me 5 weeks before our wedding and my life was upside down cos our relationship has been on for 3years. I really loved him, but his mother was against us and he had no good paying job. So when i met this spell caster, i told him what happened and explained the situation of things to him. At first i was undecided,skeptical and doubtful, but i just gave it a try. And in 7 days when i returned to Canada, my boyfriend (now husband) called me by himself and came to me apologizing that everything had been settled with his mom and family and he got a new job interview so we should get married. I didn't believe it cos the spell caster only asked for my name and my boyfriends name and all i wanted him to do. Well we are happily married now and we are expecting our little kid, and my husband also got the new job and our lives became much better. His email is atilahealinghome@yahoo.com

Jeffrey Shallit said...


I didn't believe it cos the spell caster only asked for my name and my boyfriends name and all i wanted him to do.

What evidence do you have that the "Spell caster" achieved the result, and not something else?

Galactor said...

We should get these "spell casters" to sort out famine, injustice, war and human disease. Why didn't we think of it before? With such a testimony as stacey Bruno's (or is it Dr ATILA himself) we would be mad not to.

Galactor said...

With such great testimony as from stacey Bruno, what has taken us so long to ask these "spell casters" to sort out world peace, poverty, suffering, illness and any other form of human misery?

Perhaps stacey Bruno can ask the "spell caster" to sort out my bad back for a starter.

abydos89 said...

I don't think the crystal energy believers really understand what they claim. Do all minerals have energy or just ones with crystalline molecular structure? If all minerals have energy than literally everything has the power to heal. Copper in pennies, Fluorite in toothpaste, and Iron in your blood should do the trick. Almost everything in the natural world would have this energy. Even the Salt crystals in your body should have some effect. If it’s just minerals with crystalline molecular structure then there would need to be an explanation for why. Graphite and Diamond are basically all Carbon atoms. The only difference is the way the atoms are arranged. Graphite has planar geometry and Diamond has octahedral. That would indicate that it's not the elements that make this energy but how it's arranged. This doesn't make much sense. Quartz and Amethyst is basically the same thing and their atoms are arranged very similarly. The difference in color is due to Iron impurities. Same effect can be said with Citrine, Rose Quartz, etc. This would mean that it’s not the crystal but the Iron or Magnesium or Silica that contains the healing power. Since most crystal healers claim each of these have different effects such as love, wealth, peace and harmony, than that would suggest that the different energy isn't associated with its molecular structure but the elements it includes. Even if that was the case it wouldn't make sense because everything is made up of elements. There is nothing significant about the mineral itself. If these minerals had energies attributed with crystalline geometry then that suggests that the Earth is prejudice. Why would the planet only store healing powers in pretty, shiny, colorful, sparkly crystalline minerals like Tourmaline and Chalcedony but not distorted, metallic, ugly, no crystalline minerals like silver, or gold? There are questions being asked by geologists that can't be answered by crystal healing believers. Ever played with sand or clay? Most of it is comprised of Silica in the form of Quartz. That means that every coastline in the world should have healing energy radiating from it. This is silly. Also, why haven't geologists and mineralogists measured this energy? If it exists then surely it must be measurable. Even if it was a new form of energy that scientists can't understand yet, it would still have to be measurable. A good example of this is Dark Energy. Scientists don't know what the fuck it is but they can measure it's affect it has on the rate of expansion in the universe. What about medical science? Why don't doctors use this energy to heal patients instead of modern medicine? I'm sure alternative medicines have been studied forever by scientists but if it doesn't work than it's not used. Also, to those who say the put crystals in our technology because of its energy properties….you couldn’t be more wrong. They put them in our technology because of their optical properties. They have the ability to move light which is essential for most of our electrical uses. This does not mean our technology runs on the energy of crystals. If that was the case then we wouldn’t need batteries, duh! Basically, what it comes down to is that it's not the energy from crystals that make the effect in one’s body and mind. It's their willingness to believe it. It's just placebo. And if it works than that's great, but don't claim it was the crystal. Claim it's your brains ability to be fooled by New Age ideas that have no basis in reality. Please people, we are humans. Our brains are the most powerful things in the universe that we know of, but it still makes mistakes. You can keep an open mind but don't keep it too open or anything will find its way in. Use reason and logic as a filter to separate the bullshit from truth.

vvv said...

here is my experience...my husband had a heart attack, and was advises bypass surgery,and was on medication until surgery could be done....they decided to risk a wait of few days, as the main artery was clear. heart ejaculaion function was at 25%,advised to limit water drinking as lungs were filling with water...for a month the surgery kept getting postponed. he is 53.
after around 20 days, i asked the surgeon to do a echo test again, as i wanted to know, if there was anybenefit from the crystal therapy which was being done along with the meds...hubby was stable..the doctor said, there would not be any noticable difference, and as he is stable,could do the surgery,with high risk,as heart is damaged, or wait more if we are still not mentally prepared, with the risk of emergency operation...he refuse to take echo, despite request,very sure that medication would not improve heart function. we delayed by another week,and after about 21 days of crystal therapy in this time,went to get him admitted. his creattine levels had stabilised,which was the reason for postponing,btw. On admission morning the doctors said, they reviewed the case and feel, to reduce risk, they would do angioplast,on an artery, and after few months,do the surgery, as 25 percent ejaculation,with enlarged heart is high risk operatin. that decided, the bypass surgeon removed himself from the scene. the surgeon who was to do the angioplasty, took the echo, and was pleasantely surprised that the heart function had improved to 40 percent...which if they had found before,they miht hav proceeded with the bypass surgery. angiogram was scheduled and i heard him exclaim, where did this artery come from....seeing the old and the new angiogram, showed that an artery had clerared totally, which had not even been visibe in the month old angiogram...he proceeded to put stent in the artery which had been blocked and become chronic,and another which was 60 percent blocked. 4 stent totally, and dischaged nex day. april first will be the next check up. no need of bypass. he asked what extra we did..i mentioned a lot of prayers, and spiritual healing with crystals and quantum touch...his comment...whatever works.....all is well, and though we had morefaith in allopathy,than alternate therapy,the words and actions of the doctors,against the recovery made, showed there was more at work here, than just blood thinners and anti clotting tablets.....another remark by the doctor in the sheet is, patient admitted with pulmonery edema treated...i.e. lungs no longer filling with water.
call it prayers of the whole clan, quantum touch or crystals. something saw to it, that he was cured without a bypass surgery...

Jeffrey Shallit said...

I'm sorry, vvv, but anecdotes like this are worthless. The only way to really test "crystal therapy" is to do double-blind studies.

duckductduck said...

Great post Jeffrey!!!

The number of people that are willing to believe in anything with out scientific proof kind of boggles my mind. I remember a time when I believed in things like ghosts, aliens, the loch ness, conspiracy theories, etc. But that was when I was a kid. And as I grew up the things that seemed magical and mysterious were explained to me and seemed even more wondrous because of their actual explanation.

Like how our bodies are paralyzed during deep sleep (muscle atonia) so that we don't end up sleep walking and putting ourselves and others in danger. Or how wind is caused by the range of heat given off the land or the the poles vs the equator to create atmospheric pressures.

All these explanations were jaw dropping to me because they weren't fairy tales, they were actual things that happened and continue to happen and I could observe and test them. Who needed dragons when I had Dinosaurs, who needed ufo's when I had meteor showers and northern lights to watch, and what was the point in believing in Santa when I had actual people that cared for me enough to celebrate that love on a pagan holiday.

Facts and science are real magic. As a preteen I quickly realized that I no longer needed to fear the loch ness monster because an animal that big could not exist there. The food chain in the loch can only sustain animals up to a certain size. I no longer needed worry about being abducted by aliens because the cartoonish depictions of them is completely improbable. Their evolution would have made them utterly different from humans, even if we would have originated from the same single celled organism.

Unfortunately for believers of anything, all their hopes and dreams are soon to be shattered by facts over the next couple of centuries. It is inevitable, and frankly I feel bad for them.

As for this Crystal Healing thing, I'm sorry believers but they do not do what you believe they do. However, you can take solace in the fact that they help people like all religions and beliefs do. These Crystals give people who are going through hard times comfort and hope they are unable to find anywhere else.

So if you want to continue believing, please do so, until you no longer need a crutch and are able to stand tall and proud with out it. I just ask that you please do not preach your beliefs to others. This country is going through an educational drought as it is, where mirages are plentiful and not helpful.

I know this may sound like the pot calling the kettle black situation but there is a clear difference between preaching beliefs (spreading ones trust that something is true despite proof or reason) and educating people with facts (teaching and sharing provable and testable material).

And I'm sorry but anecdotes are not facts, they are merely stories that although (allowing for exaggeration) may have actually happened, its circumstances, variables, and actual reasons have been lost to perception, misperception, and time. Sharing them is great, but drawing conclusions from them is unethical.

Thank you all for reading and Namaste to all!!

Again, great post Jeffrey!!!

Arrcue said...

I enjoy wearing a little bit of jewelry so I naturally came across gemstones. There's a large variety of gemstones with different colors, hardness, brilliance etc. I find them aesthetically pleasing and they are simply beautiful to look at. Looking at a gemstone for me might bring about a positive feeling whereas another person wouldn't care for it. I began to take interest in gemstones because of their aesthetically pleasing quality and came upon claims of these magical-like mechanisms that certain gems possess. I began to feel the awe and wonder of such a thing but then I had to stop myself and be critical. I started to ask questions like, "Where do these claims come from?" and "How could this possibly work and how do these author's know this?" For instance, if I wear a certain gemstone, - Moonstone, it should make me more calm and increase feminine like energy. I wore a really nice pendant with moonstones in it for years and I am trying to recall if I could actually recollect a change while wearing it. I can't.

Still however, I find this an interesting topic to research; I would like to test and conduct experiments on gemstones and their so called qualities but I was never trained to conduct experiments in the most proper scientific sense. I find the controversy of this subject interesting. I see that this is a field of pseudoscience that must be debunked or brought to the light. However, I find that it's more likely to be debunked and I don't know why I even carry a burden of proof for this field. Perhaps it's because I like gemstones and deep down, crystal healers just are really fascinated and fond of them...and they get swept and lost in a fantasy or inner belief that they heal. Still, I think the tool of science should be most certainly applied in order to discover or debunk the claims. Not only that, to simply understand the reality of 'crystal healing'. The consensus so far looks bleak.

Kittysafe said...

I see crystal sellers on Facebook all the time, selling their pretty rocks and China made cheap stands and things and calling them beautiful and amazing, and sooo many needy, lost people opening up their wallets and throwing their money away because they want something to take away all their sense of disconnectedness, loneliness, depression, and all the illnesses that go along with it... when what they should be doing is getting active, achieving something, exercising, eating better, smarter, reading, improving themselves with real action...

And these sellers all come off as loving wonderful people, your friends, your family, but they're getting rich, very very rich, with their unsubstantiated health claims to everything, and when you ask them where they got these laundry lists of health benefits for all these crystals they sell, they throw out all kinds of crazy jargon that actually makes no sense to anyone who knows anything, but to those who don't, it all sounds great!

But it's not great, it's disingenuous, it's dangerous, and I'm amazed they can sleep at night, except not because they're probably just as delusional as they people they're selling to.

Emil K said...

Mister science man Jeffrey, the eyes can't see when the mind is blind.

I bet you are extra closed minded about things like aliens, parallel universes, psychedelics and all of the FUN and HAPPY mysterious stuff humans are here to experience, learn and evolve with.

Let's go back to 1800. Then a version of you from that time got a glimpse of 2014. How can communication possibly exist between all these different building.. WIFI, no it can't be proven to your sciency pants with your 1800 microscope and your or whatever you need to verify your results. Therefore WIFI is not real to your 1800 self. But is it real to you now? Crazy radio frequencies flying around all crazy. None of it can be proven to your 1800 Jeffrey hardcore scientist self so you will either explode from enlightenment or ignorance.

So basically what I am saying is the 1800 version of you is the version of you now. Same old mister science man i need results man or i can't be happy man. Open your mind up to the wonderful feeling of being alive.

Take some mushrooms, acid, smoke some dmt and please don't stick drumsticks in your ear. Also don't smoke crack. There are videos on youtube of people on crack and it's not a sight to see.


But hey mister sciency pants grouch, lighten up. You don't have to live life by your scientific rules. I mean if you jumped off a building, you'd die. But only in sciency pants land, you will still be very much alive ;)

Jeffrey Shallit said...

None of it can be proven to your 1800 Jeffrey hardcore scientist self so you will either explode from enlightenment or ignorance.

But exactly the same is true about the existence of anything that doesn't actually exist, like witches, werewolves, Bigfoot, phlogiston, and so forth. Doesn't it ever occur to you that we need some methodology to distinguish between the real and the imaginary?

We have it. It's called science.

Neither Wifi nor radio was invented by taking psychedelic drugs.

Emil K said...

Did I say psychedelics were used to create those things? no I was just giving your sciency pants sort of a perspective, you know. Have you ever heard of the double slit experiment about how electrons act when they are unobserved vs observed. I am sure your scientific self has seen it. But how do you explain what happens there? I want a scientific explanation to why it changed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfPeprQ7oGc

U DUNT NO NUTHIN BRO!

PS Bill Nye was a bad ass science guy but he is still agnostic because he can look past the science.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

Emil:

You can learn about quantum mechanics in any good university course.

And you didn't answer my question. What technique should we use, other than science, to distinguish between the real and the imaginary?

quiknews said...

Honestly I don't know much about science, but I think that you're very close minded. Not everything has been proven yet, there's plenty of things we do not know. So there is no reason to be ignorant enough to not believe in any proof. I do not believe in all of the beliefs of Scientology, but many of the information is interesting and is the closest thing we have to proof of how the earth was formed.
I have not yet tested the Crystal Healing method, but I have felt positive energy flow through out my body when my dad use to leave his crystals outside in the summer to absorb sunlight. How about you have a scientist demonstrate on a group of people who don't know anything about Crystal Healing. Have the scientist give the testers some crystals to carry with them at all times, except when they leave the crystals outside in the sunlight to charge the energy beneath the crystals. Give them amethyst crystals. I am not claiming that I believe that crystals can heal you, however I do believe that crystals can absorb energy, which I guess could improve your health. Energy from the sun to the crystal that can be generated through our bodies if we hold the crystal or place it anywhere on our bodies. I believe this from personal experience, and from reading/listening to many others' experiences as well.