Anti-Science

Fetal Frauds

Want to know how your unborn baby is doing? You could trust a trained medical doctor to tell you about possible complications by using the most advanced tools available, but instead, why not just send a sonogram to this fruitcake? According to this rambling, inarticulate article, “T. Stokes” claims the ability to read your baby’s palm before he is even born, letting you know the possibility of problems such as Downs Syndrome. He also states that he moved his own baby out of the breach position just before birth, using nothing but the power OF HIS MIND. Luckily, psychic powers seem to have no direct correlation to the power to form coherent sentences.

As if that anecdote weren’t convincing enough, Stokes rambles on through a lot of other fun facts. Like, did you know that “disturbed or malnourished” babies make “unhappy hand gestures?” If I were pregnant and I saw an image of my little angel giving the world the finger, I honestly think I’d be a little proud. And by “a little proud” I mean that I’d hang the image on the wall and show it to every prom date she brings home.

Reading the fetus’ hand can also tell you who the father is. Why bother with unreliable DNA tests when Stokes can tell you it’s the mailman in just a few minutes?

My absolute favorite factoid is that unborn babies will turn to face a light shown on the mother’s stomach. And what prestigious publication does he cite? Reader’s Digest. My only complaint is that he failed to indicate that this study was actually mentioned in one of the “Humor in Uniform” anecdotes.

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And no, Motoko still has not remembered to bring the scientific equipment. Tomorrow? Perhaps. Patience!

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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14 Comments

  1. Motoko must be flogged….er bombarded with reminder messages on her answering machine. A 4:30AM reminder call (or5) wouldn't hurt either! Science (yes, THE Science) demands that the anecdotal 'evidence' cited in this case be put down with experimental evidence! Immediatley!

    In relation to today's post:

    When my wife was pregnant a friend of hers suggested that we should go to her psychic who could tell us the baby's gender and even what it was thinking about. :sigh: The worst part is that this friend happens to be a geneticist…. scientist at work – deluded at home. So far I've had no luck in reasoning her out of her delusions. Then again someone much wiser than me has remarked that "You can't reason someone out of a belief they didn't reason themselves into!". I did point her here but I doubt she ever came.

  2. Just a minor point on LSE/BO. Science doesn't really demand that the experiment take place.

    The science is well proven and has been covered in several previous posts. While I too have been waiting with baited breath for the reports of the experiement, I have also been chiding myself because this is really no more than the equivalent of a school science lab experiment demonstrating well proven and understood phenomena.

    The outcome of the experiment is not in doubt, and this includes the fact that once it doesn't work, Napoleana will come up with another parameter that was missing (eg "it has to be a Kamakuza brand cellphone", or just revert to the, "Well, whatever the outcome of LSE/BO it worked for my friend because she told me so")

    Having said all that, I fully support Stark's suggestion for getting this thing to happen!! Let's get those reminders to Motoko flowing Rebecca!!

  3. …Reader’s Digest “Humor in Uniform” anecdotes…

    I think you mean "Laughter is the Best Medicine". Laughter, and pre-natal psychic palmistry.

  4. well, I wonder if Tom Cruise did this?

    What happened to the days when ultra sounds were only for serious problems. Now everyone simply expects one, no matter what. Health costs rise, so mom and dad can have that photo where they can count toes and look for a penis. It's nice and all that, but is it good medicine?

  5. What does an ultrasound really cost though?

    Some gel from a tube spread out over mom's belly, and a bit of electricity to power the scanner and the monitor to display the image.

    Unless doctors are really inflating their bills, this would all fall under a simple medical checkup which pregnant women have to get a number of times during their pregnancy anyway (for the sake of "better safe than sorry" …

  6. Ultra-sound scans are ESSENTIAL. They are the only way to make sure that the alien-implanted eggs aren't brought to full term. And, as we all know from experience, it's too late once they're born. Get them while they're still developing and the world lives another day.

  7. Personally, I wouldn't trust anyone who talked about the "breach position" within 100 feet of a pregnant woman. Although in this case, I guess you don't have to… Anyway, someone who ignores one detail will ignore another, like sanitation.

  8. As I said: unless they are charging way more than an ordinary check-up.

    You don't go to a hospital for an ordinary check-up, do you? I would go to my MD. Or in case of a pregnancy, one might go to their OBGYN I suppose.

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