Skepticism

I’m Not Praying for Rebecca

I am NOT praying for Rebecca to feel better. I suggest you do the same.

I cannot believe how cold and windy it is here in Boston today. Bundled up in a sweater, two jackets, a hat, a scarf, thick mittens, and warm boots, I walked half a mile from the rock crushing lab to my office, and I almost froze to death. I was also almost blown away by the wind racing between MIT warehouses and skyscrapers.

I thought as I walked: wow, I bet this is making Rebecca’s cold worse. I may even be coming down with a cold myself– my nose was running nonstop once I made it to my office. I think three-quarters of Boston residents will have head colds by the end of the day today. Brrrrr.

Having a cold on a very cold day is no fun. So, I thought: what could I do to make Rebecca feel better? Originally, I came up with some very ordinary suggestions. I could give her a call to let her complain about her cold. I could go over to her apartment with a pot of hot soup (store-bought, since I don’t really cook). I could send her a care package with a mug, herbal teas, and a jar of honey. I could buy her some more cough medicine and cough drops.

All of these ideas seemed so mundane, however. Rebecca is no ordinary girl and no ordinary friend– she’s a skepchick extraordinaire.Then, I had a revelation: it’s not what I do for Rebeccca that’s important. It’s what I NOT do for Rebecca that really matters.

So, here is a short list of some things I am NOT doing to make Rebecca feel better:

1. I am NOT sending her positive psychic energy.

2. I am NOT praying for her to become better. I am also NOT signing her up for a healing prayer session in The Greater Boston Healing Rooms.

3. I am NOT buying her a package of Airborne or any sort of homeopathic medicine.

4. I am NOT calling up Sylvia Browne to ask for medical advice.

I am sure there are many more things I could also NOT do for Rebecca to feel better, but I’m going to start with these and see if she improves. Meanwhile, Rebecca, here’s a cup of tea for you to drink while you feel better because of all the  things I am NOT doing for you.

Evelyn

Evelyn is a geologist, writer, traveler, and skeptic residing in Cape Town, South Africa with frequent trips back to the US for work. She has two adorable cats; enjoys hiking, rock climbing, and kayaking; and has a very large rock collection. You can follow her on twitter @GeoEvelyn. She also writes a geology blog called Georneys.

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29 Comments

  1. Sound non-things to do. But (and I'm sure this is not news to a professional skeptic and journeywoman scientist), there's nothing wrong with the mundane, particularly coming from a friend. :)

  2. Well now, it's all fine to NOT do things for Rebecca…

    but I must take excpetion to your promoting an old wives tale! Being cold does not, cannot, and will not give you a cold! You still need those pesky germs to infect you for that cold to occur. Really, I'm shocked… a skepchick like you promoting myth and superstition!

    (btw, my tongue is planted ever so firmly in my cheek!)

    Hope you perk up soon Rebecca – I just got over a bug that had me down for almost 3 weeks! I sincerely hope that you do not suffer the same misfortune.

  3. I hope you feel better soon,and I will wish you well..

    I understand your feeling toward religion,so I'll keep

    my prayers private on my own matters..

    It's not like we don't live in America of the Free

    If theres anything I can do,let me know..

    I'm only a hop,skip,and jump away..

    If I had too,I would walk 500 miles ;)

    Take care M.Dmon

  4. Yeah, nothing makes a person feel better when they're sick, then having someone who cares for them help them get comfortable. It's about feeling better, regardless of whether the disease is actually being battled or not.

    It's what homeopathy is all about. (I think) it's the most powerful aspect of the placebo effect.

  5. When I used to live in Indiana, I would go for a walk in the frigid air to alleviate my cold. The cleanest air on the planet is at the poles. People tend to catch colds in the winter because they stay cooped up and get little fresh air.

    I've also learned to let my colds run their course without medication. There was a Nova or some similar educational show about colds that taught that most of the symptoms of a cold were caused by your body fighting back. So by taking medication to fight the symptoms, you only prolong the illness. Expel the mucous, it carries a lot of germs. Drink plenty of liquid to produce more mucous (caffeinated drinks will dry you out, though). And try to get some fresh air.

  6. So it would appear,that medication CAN BE as anecdotal as

    a phone in prayer session from Jimmy Swagger

    Perhaps it's the company and good will,that sustains us

    during our hard times..

    " Drink plenty of liquid to produce more mucous

    (caffeinated drinks will dry you out, though). And

    try to get some fresh air."

    I tend to follow good advice rebecca,this sounds like good

    advice..I hope you get well soon..

  7. I will not sacrifice a goat at the temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus.

    I will not sacrifice a decpeticon at the temple of Optimus Prime.

    I will not perform a dance to appease the gods of pestilence and sickness.

    I will not feed the troll.

    I will not check the astrology pages to see when this illness too shall pass.

    I will not send offerings of chocolate to the boston spirits.

    I will knot my shoelaces.

    I will not miss TAM 6 where we can all meet up and exchange airborne bacteria and viruses.

  8. You know,you guys are really embarrassing yourselves,

    and this message board.If a person can't even come in

    and wish a person your friend well,without pop-shoots from

    the cheap seats,really emphasize my point..

    You care little for rebecca health,but more about your own

    personal vendettas and agendas..

    My only agenda in this post,is to wish a sick person well..

    Shame on you all,that finds any reason to think only

    about yourself..

    Maybe I'm not a better atheist than you,

    I'm certainly a better person..

    Devil's Advocate M.Dmon

    PS sorry rebecca,I didn't mean my post

    to address anything but you..Get well soon

  9. I have heard that even though coffee (and alcohol) dehydrate, the amount of fluid they add to the body is greater than the amount they cause the body to lose. So even drinking lots of coffee can be good (if you can't stand the taste of tea or even plain water for example).

    Regarding walks in the cool air, yeah, I have noticed that too.

    Thing is, people don't get sick from walking around in the cold, they get sick from walking around in the cold, weakening the body that has to keep itself warm, then coming home to a warm, cozy place full of people and germs, and having less energy left to build up a defense against those germs.

    Cold and flu germs, like us, prefer warm and dry environments, not cold and wet.

  10. Mikal,

    Nobody is being a cold heartless bastard here. When we say we're not praying for rebecca's health, it's because research has clearly shown that doesn't do anything. In fact, that very research has actually shown that people who don't get prayed for apparently recover faster.

    All the more reason NOT to pray for her.

    Of course we all hope she will get better quickly, but nothing we do is going to make any difference. The only one who CAN make a real difference is Evelyn, who is actually in Boston and can physically go and visit rebecca with chicken soup and hot tea.

  11. I got through the brunt of my crapy cold with an entire bottle of Bailey's with carmel. I may have been coughing a lung up but it tasted good and I slept alot in a nyquil/drunk haze.

    This is what happens when you no longer have family around to nag on to go get you water (las vegas tapwater tastes like ass.)

  12. Hey, at least you all weren't out in this weather for two hours helping a friend shoot a short film for class. D=

    Still, feel better Rebecca! My warm, healing thoughts are most definitely not with you!

  13. Well Ms. Mimi, a dear idol of mine once said,

    "Dance like you're stamping on a human face forever, love like you've been in a serious car crash that minced the front of your brain, stab like no one can arrest you, and live like there's no such thing as God."

    I think that this can be applied to any situation- including this one.

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