Religion

Don’t Abuse Your Kids, Unless . . .

How would you end that sentence? Is there ever a circumstance in which it is okay to abuse your children? I’m not referring to the debate over spanking—I’m talking about laws that are currently enacted in certain states that allow parents to physically abuse and murder their children because of a specific circumstance: religion.

This AP article explores the challenges that face courts trying cases involving parents who neglect their children’s health and well-being because of religious beliefs. Many states have exemptions for these parents that absolve them of their sins because they once read a book that said thinking really hard in an upward direction would cure their children’s ailments.

Apparently, it was not enough to have Pentecostal and Jehovah’s Witness parents literally getting away with murder. According to the article, religious exemptions are only now being publicly questioned because more people are claiming these exemptions apply to their less-popular belief systems, such as those found online:

Gregory P. Isaacs, an attorney for [appropriately named Universal Life Church child-murderer] Crank, who’s out on bond, argues that Tennessee’s religious exemption law is untested and too vague.

“It really has a tremendous amount of problems,” Isaacs said. “What is an organized religion and what is an ordained minister? What illnesses can you attempt to heal by faith? Those are the two pitfalls in the statute. That’s not what’s really clear.”

That this question even needs to be asked is, to me, remarkable. It is never okay to neglect a child’s health. Crank’s daughter died with a “tumor the size of a basketball” on her shoulder. It does not matter what religion Crank is and how many other people in the world buy into the same delusion, and it doesn’t matter how long ago her holy books were written. If Jesus Himself descended from the heavens and knocked on Crank’s door accompanied by a choir of angels and the Pope and Moses and Bill Donohue and a crowd of paparazzi, and commanded her to withhold medical treatment from her daughter, it is Crank’s duty as a parent to kick Jesus in the sack and go to the hospital. If she doesn’t, she is not fit to be a parent or a free human being.

Luckily, there are those out there who have a rational outlook on the question of religious exemptions. The article mentions Rita Swan, director of Children’s Healthcare is a Legal Duty, an organization focused on abolishing those exemptions nationwide. She gets the best quote in the entire article:

In the wake of the Wisconsin case, Swan said legislators there are considering a bill that would repeal the state’s religious exemption to its child abuse and neglect law.

“In the U.S. under the First Amendment, we’re not supposed to be establishing religion or carving out any preferences for prestigious religions,” Swan said. “The courts should not be giving any kind of deference to established denominations and making any distinctions.”

I couldn’t agree more. Rita’s organization sounds like a fabulous one, and I hope she keeps up the good fight until no more states allow parents to legally abuse and murder their children in the name of superstition.

Tags

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+.

Related Articles

172 Comments

  1. This is one of those topics that automatically gets me ranty. It.is.unacceptable. to deny anyone the benefits of science based health care because of one’s religious beliefs. *Especially* if that person is your child… Ugh. I could go on, but I won’t.

    I will say that I’m glad to hear that someone is making an effort to abolish the religious exemption.

  2. @Marsh: Yes, it’s dark that we even have to consider this issue in the 21st Century. However, I’ve been exposed to some of these people’s “views.” There are some people out there that are just unfit to be parents. I certainly agree that there should be no “religious” exemption to health care, especially for children.

    You have to remember that some of the most “anti-government” people out there are far-right wing church members. I’m not talking about the Southern Baptists, for example. There are some smaller churches that are far, far to the right of them. They see ANY government action as ungodly and an attack on their beliefs. Those that use government services, doctors, vaccines, etc. are viewed as lacking in faith.

    I agree with Kaylia Marie: As far as I’m concerned, a person over the age of consent can do what they want with their own health. Their children, no.

  3. I’ve said my piece about this topic many times, and will repeat ad nauseam, that a personal religion or philosophy is no more of an excuse to harm or neglect a child than is stupidity or intoxication.

  4. I agree with Rebecca re: these governmental ‘get out of jail free’ policies. I must point out, though, that while withholding medical care *is* a central part of the beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses, it is not at all common in the Pentecostal movement, which was what the post seemed to imply. I was raised in the Assemblies of God – one of the largest pentecostal denominations – so I have a good bit of experience with the Pentecostal movement. They do believe in divine healing, but going to your doctor is not discouraged in my experience. There are obviously some sects out there that do advocate the refusal of medical care – and I wouldn’t be surprised if many of them self-identify as Pentecostal – but they are, in my experience, a small subset of Pentecostal people as a whole.

    FWIW, I’m not a Christian now – I’m strong agnostic – but I think that a more complete understanding of people on the other side is a good thing.

  5. The line seems to be where faith ends and foolishness begins. You can have faith in God to heal you… but gor the sake fo your kids, don’t discount medical advice!

    I was born with a very serious eye condition. My mother took me to church and they prayed, fasted, anointed with oil… she also took me to a specialist in SF and I had multiple operations.

    Guess who gets most of the credit?

  6. There was a case just last week where a teenage Jehovah’s Witness girl made the argument that she had the right to refuse treatment (a blood transfusion 2 years prior) on religious grounds.

    In Canada, minors are officially wards of their parents, and in cases like this the law (usually provincial) can step in and take temporary custody of the child to approve medical care when their parents are unable to consent on religious grounds. The only exception is if the child demonstrates sufficient maturity to consent or refuse treatment on their own.

    So a couple years ago, the province (Manitoba, I think) stepped in and ordered doctors to give her a blood transfusion, and she argued that her rights were violated because she was a mature minor who willingly refused treatment.

    Another case in BC a few years ago concerned the couple with newborn sextuplets. Obviously, newborns can’t consent on their own, and the parents were Jehovah’s Witness. I think at least 2 of them died if I remember right. The province stepped in and took temporary custody of the children, and ordered blood transfusions which saved their lives.

    According to Jehovah’s Witness beliefs, the parents are exempt from any repercussions from the church, because at that point the situation was out of their control. So while they might argue their rights were violated, I’d imagine they have some unspoken gratitude for the province saving the lives of their surviving children.

    Another case was a little closer to home. A boy, a couple years younger than I was at the time, had leukemia, and would likely have survived if he or his family had consented to a blood transfusion. But he was Jehovah’s Witness, and it was years ago so I don’t remember the details. But I think he may have convinced someone that he was a mature minor so that he could refuse the blood transfusion, and the province (New Bruswick) was unable to step in.

    I usually don’t like telling others what to believe. I tend to avoid it when I can. But the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the blood thing…. I would highly recommend that they take a good look at it. Examine it. Consider how it’s working out for them. Seriously consider if it’s something they really want to keep. Especially when it comes to children. Of course, an adult has the right to refuse treatment.

    I don’t mean to pick on the Jehovah’s Witnesses specifically; It’s just that most of the cases I’m familiar with tend to involve them in particular. I know there are other groups who similarly withhold medical attention on religious grounds.

    But children, even mature children can be cohered by their parents’ beliefs without truly understanding what it really means.

    The law can and should step in whenever possible in cases like this. The Jehovah’s Witnesses exempt the parents and the children in cases where the law takes control. They may not like it, and they might even throw up a big stink in court about it. But in the end, a life is saved.

  7. I hope I’m not dragging this off-topic too much, but this makes me think of circumcision. I had my sons’ genitals ritually mutilated back when I was a (semi-believing and ostensibly) practicing Orthodox Jew, but now I have a hard time understanding how we tolerate it at all.

    But I doubt anyone would object to piercing a baby’s ears.

    So where should we draw the line? It’s OK to puncture your kids if you can do it without going to medical school? Few Mohels do, so that isn’t a good criterion.

    Hmmm….just throwing it out there.

  8. @RedSeaRoadkill: “But I doubt anyone would object to piercing a baby’s ears.”

    Ummm a lot of people would object to that.

    /raises hand

    Which is ironic, I guess since I wouldn’t personally object to circumcision…. the diff would of course be the medical benefits.

  9. @RedSeaRoadkill: Circumcision boils my blood, especially that it’s not specifically for religious benefits, but for bullshit health and cleanliness benefits too. Anyone who uses the ‘it’s cleaner if there’s parts cut off’ argument should have it pointed out very clearly that it’s easy to keep any body part from getting dirty using amputation. Severed fingers don’t need to be washed, either…

  10. @Marsh: You have a point, but you’re logic is flawed, Skepchic doesn’t ALWAYS post an AI about an event in today’s news. It could just as easily been tomorrow’s AI.

    @James Fox: Got an invitation, and joined.

    @RedSeaRoadkill: I guess the criteria would include permanent damage. There is argument about what damage/benefit circumcistion offers.

    @Peregrine: I’ve heard cases in the states about teenagers refusing treatment and the parents backing their ideals. One-that MN boy, which I was for the state taking custody, and the other, a VA boy-16, who was refusing treatment. This was not based on relgion, but prior experience. He had chemo before, and it nearly killed him, but then the cancer came back. So, he opted to refuse treatment. I was against the state taking ward of the child, since he was older and more mature, he had previous experience with this, and it didn’t work, and, if I remember correctly, he only had a 50% chance of survival WITH treatment. Once all those factors were considered, I chose the side of the child. While I disagree with his choice-he was looking into alternative medicine-I support his right to choose. Hey, it may be a placebo, but he knows the end is near already. I don’t think there can be one blanket rule, it has to be case-by-case. However, I do fully support the idea that religion is not an excuse or a reason to withhold treatments we know have a high probablity of survival.

  11. If Jesus Himself descended from the heavens and knocked on Crank’s door accompanied by a choir of angels and the Pope and Moses and Bill Donohue and a crowd of paparazzi, and commanded her to withhold medical treatment from her daughter, it is Crank’s duty as a parent to kick Jesus in the sack and go to the hospital. If she doesn’t, she is not fit to be a parent or a free human being.

    Rebecca FTW!

  12. No, it isn’t okay. I get so angry. I feel so sick to my stomach. The two cases that I know of where the parents were convicted have both had one thing in common. When the parents families came out they always framed it as freedom of religion. No one seemed to give a damn about the dead children. These people are such fucking monsters.

  13. I think we often assume that all sane, right thinking people value human life and, when doubly so when it’s their child’s life. I don’t think this is true for deeply religous people. They value souls.

    Religous parents see their child as “god’s child” whose soul has been entrusted into their care. Within the framework of their belief system, the pain and suffering of this world is transitory and irrelevent compared to the perpetual, everlasting life promised to them in the hereafter.
    They live in this world only as a necessary inconvenience before being reunited with god in the next life. In that context, the only criteria they employ when deciding what is best for their child is “will my actions be more likely or less likely to get this kid into Heaven?”

    These parents are actually acting in their child’s best interest. Sadly, they believe their child’s best interest lies in protecting their soul, not their life.

  14. @Marsh: I agree with you 100%.

    Still, it’s not quite the same because circumcision isn’t going to kill anyone (well, it’s unlikely to, though I know there are risks). Its’ not quite on the same level as refusing medical treatment, though I still think it’s 100% unecessary.

  15. @marilove: Oh yeah, don’t get me wrong, it’s not up there with actual child-death, I think it’s the fact that it is so widespread and so accepted that gets my goat. I started (and never finished) writing a whole thing on it a couple of years ago, and in doing so happened to mention it to a few friends – and it totally shocked me how even here in England it’s much more commonplace than I thought.

    Still, no sense getting into a huge rant here – preaching and converted and all that! At some point I’ll finish my ‘thing’ off and get all my ranting out on my blog that way!

  16. I’ll chime in as another one against circumcision. If I would have requested that the doctor cut off my son’s earlobes shortly after birth, or even worse that a medically untrained community leader do it, they’d have spirited my child into protective custody before I could gather breath to object.

    Sure, some males eventually require circumcision for valid medical reasons – but a far greater number of individuals eventually require a tonsillectomy and I don’t see anyone lining up their newborns for that surgery as a “preventative measure”.

    Yeesh.

    As for the religious lot…

    Withholding or failing to seek reasonable medical attention for a minor (or animal) for whom you are, even temporarily, responsible is a crime. As “I couldn’t afford it”, “I couldn’t take time off of work”, “I didn’t know where to go”, and a thousand other excuses do not provide adequate defense against prosecution “[Insert god here] forbids it” shouldn’t stand as an adequate defense either.

    On another note – there was a time when the only anti-vaccs around refused not on pseudoscientific grounds, but on religious grounds. Maybe, just maybe, if we had squashed them then we wouldn’t be dealing with the McCarthy bots now. *grumbles*

  17. @SkepLit: COTW, just because it has never made me feel more comfortable about my atheism and my love for life, as apposed to a love of souls or what might be beyond this life.

    “comfortable about” doesn’t seem to be quite right, but neither did “sure about” since I was already sure, but I think you catch my drift.

  18. Since @SkepLit brought it up, that did occur to me before. Let’s see, where did I put those horns? Ah, here they are:

    <devil’s advocate>
    What if a “believer” accused us of neglecting our child’s “souls” by withholding religious upbringing and education the way we accuse them of neglecting their child’s lives by withholding medical attention?

    From their perspective, we’re willfully standing by and letting our children burn in hell for eternity by not indoctrinating them into a spiritual way of life. Or, denying them potential benefits of a spiritual life.

    If the law can step in to save their child’s life against their religious beliefs, could they, in some hypothetical jurisdiction where the laws are different, step in and save our child’s “souls” in contradiction with our beliefs, religious or otherwise?
    </devil’s advocate>

    I’m sure there are plenty of reasons why it’s an altogether different situation. I can think of a few myself, but I’m trying to do 3 things at once at the moment.

  19. I was looking for something more along the lines of “the same laws they invoke to defend their right to belief also protect ours”, but any port in a storm, I guess. Even if you have to stir the tempest yourself….

  20. amazingly, when I first read the title and nothing else I filled out the sentence with “unless they’re infants and you’re chopping off genital bits.”

    Here in the west we tend to say obvious girls shouldn’t be cut in such ways, but the intersexed are routinely mutilated and boys? Well, that’s even more common. It disgusts me and hopefully as a society we will move QUICKLY away from the routine amputation of neonates.

    Especially galling is the reason we in the US started this up in the first place, as a widespread, non-Jewish practice, it’s only around 150 years and was meant to reduce masturbation and sexual pleasure, because “masturbation caused blindness, madness, violence, dropsey, cancer, etc etc etc.”

    It was very much a religiously motivated movement. I want it to end.

  21. Rebecca,

    I love your vivid action description a fit parent would take, kicking Jesus in the sack for suggesting withholding medical treatment.

    Though not a reply, it is one of the cleverest comments I’ve read here in some time, so get’s my vote for COTW.

    @jemand: In my line of humanity, that barbarism has ended with me. Both my boys are perfectly intact, I saw no reason to welcome them to the world by cutting off a bit.

  22. They aren’t the “same thing” but how can you argue with the commonality of “chopping off pieces of a child’s genital bits”? ‘cuz… they do share that particular aspect.

    Even the intersexed, who may eventually want surgery, do best if allowed to grow up to determine which sex, in fact, they feel most comfortable with.

  23. @jemand: It just bothers me when they are compared. Female Genital Mutilation is a horrible, horrible thing, and while male circumcision sucks and in my opinion is wrong, it’s still nowhere near as horrific or as life-changing.

    I agree that it’s best to allow ADULTS to decide, but that doesn’t mean they are comparable.

  24. @SkepLit: Excellent comment. One of the reasons Mormons have huge families is that they believe part of the path to heaven is that the soul possess a body, even if it’s for a short period of time. Better the baby dies at birth having had a body for two seconds than never to be born.

  25. @Marsh: I guess that’s true, though I’m still not comfortable with the comparison. Removing foreskin isn’t going to be all that detrimental to a man’s sex life, and I know that it can sometimes grow back if you go through the right procedures (does someone know more about this?), and female genital mutilation 100% negatively affects a woman’s sex life and can cause many, many, many more medical problems.

    And the intersex issue is just a whole ‘nother animal.

  26. @marilove: Also, of course, male circumcision can have *some* positive results. It is technically “cleaner” (or rather, less work to keep clean) and there are some studies that show that it lessens the likelihood of passing on HIV (though I know those studies are still being debated/done), while female genital mutilation has no positive results and is used as a way to control women.

    You can compare female genital mutilation to cutting off the head of a dick. I think that’s a much closer comparison. And just as ugly.

  27. @Peregrine:

    What if a “believer” accused us of neglecting our child’s “souls” by withholding religious upbringing and education the way we accuse them of neglecting their child’s lives by withholding medical attention?

    Unfortunately, this rationale has been successfully used in denying child custody and adoption requests.

  28. @marilove: Yeah, I believe it can be grown back of sorts, not 100%. The P&T Bullshit on it was pretty detailed, definitely worth a look (especially for the bit about the physical shock babies experiences during the procedure, deeply upsetting).

    Essentially, circumcision won’t 100% affect a man’s sex life, but it will by xx%, something unquantifiable, but it’s seen as entirely normal and widely accepted – I think that’s what raises it beyond the ‘it won’t have too much of an effect’ position. If it has any effect, which it does, it’s 100% unacceptable to circumcise for no reason other than ‘so the other boys in the locker room accept you’ or ‘so chicks won’t think he’s weird’ (not my arguments – both arguments I’ve read and heard in many places).

    Female circumcision is abhorrent, and shocking, and detestable in the extreme – fortunately it’s also isolated and vilified all round, and rightly so. No doctor will casually carry it out, there’s no social pressure to do it – I think that’s the thing that raises male circumcision beyond its physical effects, the level of social acceptance is just mind-boggling and disgusting, I think.

    Damn, I think I said I wasn’t going to rant! sorry!

  29. Kaylia Marie,

    Actually the regional differences WITHIN FGM is far greater than the difference between it and male circumcision. Sometimes, only the clitoral hood is excised, in which case, it and male circumcision are excising pretty much the exact same tissue. That version of female circumcision (and some partial clitoridectomies) even were recommended in the US in the past 60 years, to “treat” masturbating girls.

    The current view of FGM in our society is something that some barbaric “other” culture does, with focus on infibrilation, while male circumcision is happening just down the road in the neonatal unit every day. So we are innured to it. But– they really are not as “different” as our culture leads us to believe.

  30. Where circumcision is concerned, I’m kindof ambivalent. Of course female circumcision is arguably worse, but we don’t do that in most western countries. But we do circumcise males, or at least are mostly complacent about the practice. In the vast majority of cases, male circumcision is medically unnecessary, and carried out without the child’s consent. And there are cases where it has lead to physical or psychological complications later in life.

    The may not be directly comparable in magnitude, but I’d say it’s a little hypocritical to criticize other cultures while ignoring what’s going on in our own.

  31. @marilove: Just a quick thing on the benefits – it’s cleaner, sure. But cutting off your little finger might mean you have less hand to wash – doesn’t mean it’s worth doing. Men are grown ups, we can keep clean, I’ve never found it too much of a hassle to clean really. As for the HIV benefit, that’s true in areas of widespread HIV infection and lack of contraception use. Put on a condom and the HIV benefits disappear completely.

    Just thought I’d throw those points out there for discussion, I can tell you’re not pro-circumcision!

  32. oh, and you can stretch the remaining skin, but you can never “grow it back.” There are delicate nerve and sensory structures in the foreskin that are not replicated by “growing it back” although the stretched skin can provide some of the function of the lost tissue, it cannot provide the sensation of it.

    And every study of HIV protection I’ve ever heard about was about adult circumcision… and I’m totally unconvinced that a man dedicated enough to safety to have himself circumcised as an adult is going to be more focused on safety. And as there is a history of badly done research to prop up this practice, I don’t believe any of it.

  33. oh, yeah, and the hygiene argument completely ignores the fact that you’ll have an open wound trying to heal in– a diaper setting! for a significant period of time. Don’t discount that either!

  34. The next time someone looks at me like I’m the most boring person on earth for being a skeptic, I’ll tell them, “But we can bring any conversation around to the topic of circumcision!”

  35. @Marsh: Nope, I do agree with you! That’s why I don’t like comparing them, you know? It’s pretty awful that male circumcision is just accepted in our culture and thought of as normal.

    @jemand:

    That version of female circumcision (and some partial clitoridectomies) even were recommended in the US in the past 60 years, to “treat” masturbating girls.

    You just proved my point. Even “female circumcision” isn’t used for cleanliness like male circumcision — it’s used to control women’s sexuality. And therefore it’s still not all that comparable.

    Also, “partial clitoral removal” is still much more detrimental to a woman’s sex life than male circumcision.

    The current view of FGM in our society is something that some barbaric “other” culture does, with focus on infibrilation, while male circumcision is happening just down the road in the neonatal unit every day. So we are innured to it. But– they really are not as “different” as our culture leads us to believe.

    Um. Of course they are different. The results are very different, and the reasonings behind the procedures are very different.

  36. Sorry Kaylia! You said: “Exactly… the list of way in which they are diff is a much longer list than the one that lists how they are the same.”

    I said, FGM is different in different regions, and in some places pretty much indistinguishable from circumcision. among other things I branched off of that weren’t necessarily directed to you but I forgot what I’d said at the beginning of my post.

  37. @marilove:

    Removing foreskin isn’t going to be all that detrimental to a man’s sex life, and I know that it can sometimes grow back if you go through the right procedures (does someone know more about this?)

    My ex researched the various procedures, so I know a bit about it. The most common method we found involved stretching the skin of the shaft with either a series of weights or with an implanted water balloon which is incrementally expanded.

    It seems the “reversal” is merely cosmetic though… by the time a reversal procedure is attempted the head of the penis has already thickened and the original sensitivity and function can’t be regained.

  38. Marilove… you haven’t looked into the history of why non Jewish people in the US circumcise. It began with moralists, such as Kellog, who advocated circumcision tightly enough to make masturbation painful. It WAS directed at controlling male sexuality. It has become entrenched in the culture and the original reason forgotten. But you might say the same thing of the particular women who cut their girls. They do not directly say they are controlling their daughters sexuality, when anthropologist talk to them they say it is “cleaner, and more beautiful and she’ll be more accepted this way.” Which are the arguments… IN our culture, for the continuation of male circumcision, which, again, started because of controlling masturbation– of boys.

  39. @marilove: I get the feeling we’re all on the ‘stop cutting people’s privates against their wishes, seriously!’ page here, it’s maybe not worth ranking the procedures!

    Another quick thing – non-religious male circumcision in the West was propagated by (amongst others) John ‘Cornflake’ Kellogg – a religious fundamentalist who put forward removal of the foreskin as a way of desensitising the head of the penis by exposing it to wear and tear, thus making it less fun to touch and therefore curbing masturbation. It was mainly an anti-masturbatorty act which is now explained with cleanliness and health benefits, but first and foremost it was to control sexuality. Kellogg’s recommendation at the time for women was to burn them with acid to achieve the same purpose. I’m sure I even read a quote of his on the topic (will try and find it).

    (as I say, I did a fair bit of research for the thing I failed to finish writing!)

  40. @Peregrine:

    Obviously, newborns can’t consent on their own, and the parents were Jehovah’s Witness.

    How did Jehovah’s Witnesses have sextuplets? I don’t think there’s ever been a case of natural sextuplets, and if they were willing to “interfere” with nature by using fertility treatments, I don’t understand why they couldn’t use treatments to save their children’s lives.

  41. @sowellfan: “withholding medical care *is* a central part of the beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses”

    just to clarify i used to be a JW and i can say that withholding medical care was not encouraged in the slightest except where blood transfusions were concerned. accepting whole blood was the only thing that i had ever heard of as being a “no-no”. i had been associated with them through my parents starting in the mid 80’s until the early 2000’s. accepting blood fractions was up to each individual’s conscience. the only time a procedure would be denied was when a dr. refused to attempt it without transfusion(s). my mom had one of her heart valves replaced and numerous breast cancer surgeries plus the follow up chemo and radiation. she survived a good fifteen years after detection. when it was detected she was at stage four and had three of the four different types of the cancer. the cancer was found in a couple lymph nodes when they were removed during the initial surgery.

    i’m not trying to be combative but i often hear generalizations about witnesses and they are often not at all what i experienced and i sometimes feel the need to share what i experienced..

  42. Dr John Kellogg, in his 1877 book, “Plain facts for old and young: embracing the natural history and hygiene of organic life”:

    “Covering the organs with a cage has been practiced with entire success. A remedy which is almost always successful in small boys is circumcision, especially when there is any degree of phimosis. The operation should be performed by a surgeon without administering an anæsthetic, as the brief pain attending the operation will have a salutary effect upon the mind, especially if it be connected with the idea of punishment, as it may well be in some cases. The soreness which continues for several weeks interrupts the practice, and if it had not previously become too firmly fixed, it may be forgotten and not resumed. If any attempt is made to watch the child, he should be so carefully surrounded by vigilance that he cannot possibly transgress without detection. If he is only partially watched, he soon learns to elude observation, and thus the effect is only to make him cunning in his vice. (p 295)

    In females, the author has found the application of pure carbolic acid to the clitoris an excellent means of allaying the abnormal excitement, and preventing the recurrence of the practice in those whose will-power has become so weakened that the patient is unable to exercise entire self-control. (p 297)”

    Bit long, but I couldn’t find a piece to cut out that wasn’t 100% fucked up.

  43. @catgirl: I don’t recall if it was ever explained in the news wires (confidentiality, and such) but from what I do recall, they had received fertility treatments. Apparently, fertility treatments are not in conflict with their religious beliefs.

    They’re not generally opposed to “interfering” with natural processes as far as I know. They will seek medical attention and intervention when needed, just like anyone else. They just don’t like getting blood transfusions.

    I don’t know. It’s their religion, not mine.

  44. @Peregrine:

    Oh, so it’s just blood transfusions they don’t like. Well, I don’t know enough about the story, but I didn’t think that blood transfusions are standard care for premature babies, so it seemed to me like they were denying other types of care.

  45. @Marsh: Some of the early Quakers, Kellogg and Post all had some amazingly bazaar and outrageous beliefs back in the 19 Century. Odd how we start our day with their breakfast products when what we really want is good morning sex before we go to work.

  46. @catgirl: Yeah, I might have forgotten or omitted some details, but for some reason that I’m sure made sense to the medical professionals at the time, the babies needed blood transfusions and the parents refused to give consent.

  47. Male circumcision and female genital mutilation are completely different. The only similarity is that they involve genitals. FGM is done to keep women sexually pure, to attempt to prevent them from having sex, and in many cases to actually make sex un-enjoyable for them. Aside from the wacko John Kellogg, male circumcision is not done for any of these reasons. Kellogg’s intent was to use it later in life as a punishment to make boys associate pain with sexuality. It wasn’t done to make sex permanently less enjoyable in a physical, which is why FGM is done. I’m not justifying male circumcision, just pointing out that it’s very different than FGM, both in intent and severity.

  48. @Marsh: While I understand that circumcission is not really necessary, and can be somewhat detrimental to the newborn, I would rather have a relation with a cut man v. an uncut man. Is that somewhat hypocritical?

    Being a skeptic, I feel its necessary to be skeptical of oneself, and, IMHO, hypocracy, in the skeptical world, should be a cardinal sin. So, I try to look at myself and try to make sure I’m not doing so.

    Am I making sense, or am I over thinking things…again.

  49. @James Fox, also funny is that those breakfast flakes are supposed to be “nonstimulating” so you don’t WANT sex. Seriously, it was based on the theory of “vitalism” that you only had a certain amount of energy and if you used it up on sex– well, your body would fall apart. Furthermore, meat and any seasoning (including sugar) was supposed to inflame the “animal passions” of the individual. Hence the Seventh Day Adventist obsession with diet. Kellogg was an Adventist (before he got kicked out because of pantheism… I know way too much about this as an ex-Adventist)

    and Kaylia, I think those differences are more indicative of the current cultures we’re talking about than the practice itself– boys in cultures practicing FGM are circumcised at pretty much the same age as their female counterparts. Also, incrementally more developed countries like Egypt commonly perform FGM in hospitals by doctors, it’s only in societies with little to no official medical care that it’s done in the bush, for boys and girls, in that society.

  50. @infinitemonkey: It’s hypocritical if you’re making a judgment about a man based on whether he’s cut or uncut and using that sole bit of info to determine whether or not you’re going to hook up, but not hypocritical if a cut penis is just what turns you on. The way a person looks has a lot to do with how physically attracted you are to them, and your preferences are very dependent on how you grew up and what you learned was “normal.”

  51. @catgirl: I’m not so sure that’s true – Kellogg at the time put it forward as a way of desensitising the penis and to therefore make sex and masturbation less pleasurable. That we’ve moved on to pseudomedical and hygiene reasoning doesn’t excuse it, for me.

    @Rebecca: I think I agree in part with that really – if it’s the sole basis of a judgement then it’s hypocrisy. I’d like to say it’s no different to a man only being attracted to, say, fake breasts, but I think it’s still a little greyer than that. If the circumcision was done at an age when the guy can give his full, informed consent, then the grey area goes away somewhat. While we’re still habitually performing cosmetic surgery on baby’s genitals, I don’t think it will ever really be OK.

  52. @infinitemonkey: I would have to agree… having been wiht both.

    Not that it would be the only thing I would consider when dating, but ti would figure up there.

    And if her were a guy who had gotten snipped later in life, when it was his own choice, well you can bet that would send a red flag up for me.

    So, I guess I am a hypocrite along with you.

  53. Catgirl, if it weren’t for Kellogg (and his friends), circumcision rates in the US would be <1%!! I really don't think you can then dismiss his opinion as that of just a "wacko."

    And please. WE, in the WEST look at FGM in African nations and say it's to "control sexuality" and… we are right, because we look at the history and effect. But… when you TALK to the people involved, their first argument for doing it is something along the lines of cleanliness and aesthetics. It is no different than someone looking at the history of male circumcision, seeing why it exploded in popularity (controlling sexuality) and then TALKING to the people involved, who say they do it for cleanliness and aesthetics.

    And you women talking about wanting guys circumcised… I think it's really really really hypocritical, and it ignores the in-culture bias we all have, to ignore what the other cultures say about themselves, to dismiss men who want their women circumcised and giving stated reasons exactly the same as yours regarding your boyfriends… yes you're right the real baseline reason that FGM is practiced is horrible. But so is the reason male circumcision became common.

  54. Wow, glad I was able to start a thread about circumcision.

    So now that we’ve established that everyone here (it seems) would agree with me that we’d be better off illegalizing circumcision; what I really was curious about is the other end of the spectrum:

    What *would* the skepchick crowd OK in terms of parents ‘abusing’ their children?

    Apparently pierced ears are not univerally viewed as benign. I don’t think that we have much else. We don’t put those rings around girls’ necks to stretch their necks, and we don’t give children tattoos. I’m assuming this crowd would generally define those as a kind of abuse as well.

    But it begs the question of where we draw the line. I like the suggestion someone gave of permanence, but wouldn’t we think its abusing a child to do something temporary, but painful?

    I’m mostly asking this question coming from the perspective that outside of protecting the child, I’d generally prefer the government lets me do whatever I want.

  55. Back to the original topic, I grew up in a Christian Science family (the religion famous for not going to docs or using meds). It wasn’t until I was 22 when I took my first pill (an advil to cure a hangover!) and I didn’t see a doctor until I was in my mid twenties. Today, I’m much more of a skeptic and don’t see any reason to use Christian Science to heal me. Modern medicine works just fine for me. That said, there is 100 years of literature with 1000s of testimonials of people who were healed using Christian Science of ailments from cancer to depression. Myself, I can only remember being healed of a toothache, but even then, I’m not sure if my memory is distorted by time or if it really happened.
    Basically Rebecca, you are saying my parents should be jailed for child abuse because they didn’t take me or my four siblings to the doctor–ever. I just have a difficult time thinking my parents, who I love dearly, are child abusers.
    With Christian Science in particular, it should be noted that the only time this subject comes up is when someone dies because they did not receive care, usually a kid. This happens so infrequently that when it does happen it sticks out. However, there are probably millions of Christian Scientists who never, ever saw a doctor and went on to live fulfilling lives.
    My mom always told me there is just as good a chance that a doc will make a mistake and a kid will die than a kid who receives Christian Science treatment.

  56. Hard to define “abuse”

    1. to use wrongly or improperly; misuse: to abuse one’s authority.
    2. to treat in a harmful, injurious, or offensive way: to abuse a horse; to abuse one’s eyesight.
    3. to speak insultingly, harshly, and unjustly to or about; revile; malign.
    4. to commit sexual assault upon.
    5. Obsolete. to deceive or mislead.

    –noun
    6. wrong or improper use; misuse: the abuse of privileges.
    7. harshly or coarsely insulting language: The officer heaped abuse on his men.
    8. bad or improper treatment; maltreatment: The child was subjected to cruel abuse.
    9. a corrupt or improper practice or custom: the abuses of a totalitarian regime.
    10. rape or sexual assault.
    11. Obsolete. deception.

    —Idiom
    12. abuse oneself, to masturbate.

    (dictionary.com)

    I wonder about that line too…. how much of it is changed when you move from one society to another…. not just in terms of time but in location. Rings on the neck is a good example, it isn’t seen as abuse in that culture…. but it is in ours.

    If the line can be changed, if the line can be moved…. where does that leave us/

    Is there an absolute?
    Should there be?

  57. @RedSeaRoadkill: It’s actually collar bone and shoulder compression from what I’ve seen on the x-rays. Most states don’t allow piercing of children without parental consent but from what I’ve heard most business who provide piercing are happy to do any kid if a parent asks. Tattoos are a different matter in my state and a child under 18 can not be touched by a licensed tattoo artist.

    Back on topic… , yes it is a good question about where we draw lines. I’m for the line being drawn concerning basis health and safety issues while giving parents lots of room to make their own decisions about how to parent. I do not think the government should be more involved in how you/I/we parent our children.

    @hz:
    If you don’t want to take your child to a doctor for check ups, well then fine. If your child gets really sick or has a displaced broken arm and you still don’t take the child to the doctor then off to jail with you.

  58. @RedSeaRoadkill: Tough question, really it is. It would be easy if there were a cut and dry rule – if it harms the kid physically, if it’s going to leave a lasting psychological effect (then again, technically, what doesn’t?), or if there’s intent to harm present even if that intent isn’t successful.

    Unfortunately those hard and fast rules don’t exist, so I guess the only answer is that the best way to protect a child is to keep it in a cardboard shoe box, half-filled with straw, with air-holes cut in it.

    No, wait, that’s how to protect hibernating tortoises…

  59. As I said, I am not a Christian Scientist. I haven’t even stepped foot in a church since I was in my early 20s. But I’m not sure if this is a black and white issue, as many commenters have pointed out. What about people who feed their kids crap and then the kids get sick? What about parents who keep their houses TOO clean and the kids develop allergies later in life?

    I don’t have kids, but if I did, I would take them to the doctor and most definitely raise them as skeptics.

  60. @hz: Sorry if you thought I was speaking to you directly, my statements were generalities. I agree that there are many questions and points of discussion and based on my many years of experience investigating child abuse cases and taking hundreds of families to court over abuse and maltreatment issues it seems the government should only be concerned about the basic health and safety issues of parenting. IMO we don’t need the family nutrition, cleanliness and self esteem police checking in on parents while other issues seem clearly black and white.

  61. @hz: “That said, there is 100 years of literature with 1000s of testimonials of people who were healed using Christian Science of ailments from cancer to depression.”

    And yet, not a single case of any disease being cured by Christian Science has ever been verified, while there are plenty of people who have been killed by Christian Science. Show me proof that Christian Science cured one person of cancer. Just one. Any one.

    “Basically Rebecca, you are saying my parents should be jailed for child abuse because they didn’t take me or my four siblings to the doctor–ever.”

    In fact, I said nothing at all about your parents. I would suggest they be jailed for child abuse if you or your siblings contracted a treatable but deadly disease and it was left untreated until you died or were seriously harmed. That is child abuse.

  62. @RedSeaRoadkill: I am personally not that against ear piercing, especially since it is not painful at all and the girl (or boy) can always take the earrings out when they get older, though I personally find it tacky and a bit unnecessary.

    Why are others so against it? Maybe there is a logical reason I am not aware of?

  63. @Rebecca: You have said it best.

    Also, not vaccinating your children, I think, is child abuse.

    And can I add a bit of an odd one? Keeping unlocked guns when children are around (living with you or visiting). I know it’s not really related, but I read two stories of children dying after playing with guns hidden under beds in the last couple of days, and it really fucking bothers me. LOCK YOUR GUNS FOLKS.

  64. @marilove: Maybe it’s just that babies with earrings are a bit too hippy, every baby with an earring spends all it’s time either sleeping or mumbling unintelligbly…

    Nah, I think my only problem is that it looks a bit trashy, but that’s a 100% judgement based on no scientific or moralistic concerns. Those babies might think I look a bit trashy too. And I support their iddy biddy right to do so.

  65. What annoys me more than people piercing babies’ ears? People whose only reason not to is how it might affect the meridians.

    Neither of which are within two orders of magnitude of people who withhold medical treatment from their kids because they’re deilusional.[sic]

  66. There were many times where my brothers or sisters were hurt or sick and did not go to the hospital. That should constitute child abuse, right? Or are you saying that only when the child dies it is child abuse?

    Funny, your argument sounds like an anti abortion argument as well. Just saying…

    I don’t know if there has ever been a scientific study on the validity of healings using Christian Science. All I know is there have been many, many thousands of Christian Scientists who never used medical treatment of serious conditions and somehow they were healed. They are chronicled in the Christian Science Sentinel and can probably be read on line. That’s not proof in the kind you are looking for, I know, but that’s about all there is until there is a real scientific study done.

  67. @hz:

    My mom always told me there is just as good a chance that a doc will make a mistake and a kid will die than a kid who receives Christian Science treatment.

    This is neither justification nor a logical argument. Having no major illnesses, it seems you were able to recover on your own from what ailments you did acquire. However, I’d like to call into question these “chances”. Can you find reliable statistics which back this up.

    What about parents who keep their houses TOO clean and the kids develop allergies later in life?

    That’s another logical fallacy-confusing “keeping the overly house clean AND allergies being developed later in life” with “keeping the house overly clean CAUSES allergies being developed later in life.” We don’t quite understand fully why some people have allergic reaction to a substance, and some don’t, so we can’t conclusive say that A caused B.

    However-[

    INSERT RELIGION HERE] bans visiting a medical doctor, for any reason.

    The parent/guardian of Child A is a follower of [INSERT RELIGION HERE].

    Child A has cancer X.

    Cancer X has a 90% cure rate when treated by a medical doctor.

    Child A does not see a medical doctor, but instead gets treatment Z.

    Treatment Z has been scientifically shown to have no better odds of survival from Cancer A than chance.

    Child A dies from Cancer X.

    It is a logical conclusion that had Child A gone to a medical doctor, his/her odds of survival would have been dramatically improved. Thusly, the parent/guardian was negligent in his/her duties to prove the best care for Child A.

    Did I miss something? Can someone check my logic?

  68. @Kaylia_Marie: The closest I can compare it to is the allowment for abortion when it endangers the mothers’ life. I personally see it as a false analogy. If the mother is having to chose between her life, and that of her baby’s, then, yeah, I find no reason not to allow the abortion. That’s a sacrifice no one can ask of you-you have to make that one on your own.

  69. Is Crank seriously claiming ULC as his religion? Isn’t it a “church” invented solely for the purpose of letting anyone, anywhere become a licensed minister for the purpose of officiating at wedding ceremonies?

  70. Even when a mother’s life is not endangered, are you against abortion? I don’t say this to judge you (I’m pro choice) only to make the point that a woman is legally allowed to abort a baby in this country. At what point does the woman have control over her babies (and kids) where she is allowed knows and act in the best interest of the child no matter how much that jeopardizes the kid’s life?

    There’s a tinge of self righteous in the movement to make illegal a mother’s right to know what’s in the best interest of their children. Sometimes I wonder if it’s more anti religion than it is pro saving the children.

  71. @hz:

    There were many times where my brothers or sisters were hurt or sick and did not go to the hospital. That should constitute child abuse, right?

    Obviously, I can’t speak for Rebecca but the laws regarding child (or animal) abuse typically state that it is the responsibility of the guardian to seek or provide reasonable medical attention.

    That one word – reasonable – means that each case is evaluated individually. For example, it’s likely a jury would find that a mother who treated her child’s mild and short lived fever with cool compresses and bed rest had provided reasonable medical attention. It’s unlikely that same jury would feel the same about a mother who treated her child’s advanced lymphoma in the same manner.

    “Reasonable” medical attention is also, in some cases, dependant on the skills of the guardian. I have a varied medical background which includes training and experience in emergency first aid, triage, and basic medical care. I am more capable of treating non-life threatening injuries than my mother was so the situations in which I would be expected to seek outside medical attention are different for me than they were for her.

    Assuming that neither you nor your siblings suffered long term effects, or faced life threatening situations, due to a lack of professional care your parents provided you with “reasonable medical attention” and wouldn’t be charged with child abuse.

  72. @hz: Abortion is a question about weighing the value of an adult female’s concerns about having a child, and whether that ever trumps the right to life of an unformed infant (depending on when the abortion is done).

    Providing adequate medical care to your child is a question of two fully developed humans, where the fate of one is not intertwined with another to the extent it would be when considering an abortion. So I think your analogy is pointless.

    I rate the sentiments of a pregnant mother, who has a whole life and host of memories and experiences, much higher than a blob of cells.

    I rate the livelihood of a fully formed child or young adult much higher than the religious disposition of either of that child’s parents or guardians.

    The two cases are entirely different, unless you think a 1-18 year old has the same rights as a developing fetus in the womb. There’s clearly a large difference between standing by and watching a 13-year old die unnecessarily because you are deluded by religion, and ending the short existence of a mass of cells because a mother does not think she can support a(another) child.

  73. @hz:

    At what point does the woman have control over her babies (and kids) where she is allowed knows and act in the best interest of the child no matter how much that jeopardizes the kid’s life?

    As soon as an infant is born they cease to be personally dependant and become socially dependant. At that point, they are granted certain rights by the society into which they were born – one of those rights is to be kept from harm, even if that harm is induced by their guardians/parents.

    There’s a tinge of self righteous in the movement to make illegal a mother’s right to know what’s in the best interest of their children.

    Some mothers beat the crap out of their children. Some fathers rape their children. Producing a child does not automatically grant a human being the ability to rightly judge what is “in the best interest of their children” – and as a society we have an obligation to insure that a child’s rights are not negated by their parents.

    Sometimes I wonder if it’s more anti religion than it is pro saving the children.

    Anti-religion? Had my mother refused to take me to the hospital when I developed infantile pneumonia she may have been charged with medical negligence and would have had no defense. Should you have come down with the same illness your mother could have stood on grounds of religious freedom.

    There is a bias here – but it’s in favor or religion, not against it.

  74. @hz: I’d just like to chime in and say while I am personally against abortion, I can understand the argument for the option of abortion. After all, before the point of feasability, it is nothing more than a lump of cells. Its survival is wholey and completely dependant upon the mother, just like your appendix is wholey and completely dependant upon you. If you woke up one day and decided to have your perfectly good appendix removed, who has the right to stop you?

  75. @marilove:
    Re: Ear Piercing
    Piercing holes become permanent after a couple of years. My extended family pierces their baby girls’ ears. My mom doesn’t like having pierced ears, but thinks the empty holes are unsightly, so she wears earrings, as the least distasteful of the two things. She just would have chosen differently for herself. So she didn’t have my ears pierced and was called a party-pooper for it. I ended up getting my ears (and other places) pierced, but I’m glad it was my choice.
    I just figure, why do something permanent and cosmetic to your child that they could just as easily decide to do later in life they so choose?

  76. Quick one about circumcision… interesting to note a poster above commenting that they would prefer to have a relationship with someone who is circumcised. How strange. An American friend of mine tells me that this is quite a common attitude where she’s from (is that true for the majority of the US then? – forgive my ignorance) – I’m in the UK and I wasn’t aware of any bias about this issue at our end – could be a localised thing though.

    I’m uncut and have never had any health problems – probably because I know what a bar of soap is for… but I didn’t realise that the “natural look” might have had some women running for the hills (married now, so no longer a concern). Unnecessary removal of a piece of a child’s body without consent is something that I find horrific and I can’t believe that it goes on at all – Sometimes my ears block up though – should I have them cut off? WWJD?

  77. @sowellfan: My family is United Pentecostal. Aside from believing in spiritual gifts (mostly speaking in tongues) there are some pretty significant differences between Assembly of God and United Pentecostal. As a matter of fact, I would say that a lot of United Pentecostals wouldn’t consider Assembly of God a pentecostal church at all.

    My grandfather is a very hardcore United Pentecostal. The church does not explicitly preach that you can’t go to the doctor. However, they do regularly preach that you can be healed if you have enough faith. Therefore, they are implying that if you have to go to the doctor, you don’t have enough faith in God.

    My grandfather has refused medical treatment for himself and his family many times on the grounds that he has ample faith in God and doesn’t need a doctor. If a family member got too sick and ended up going to the doctor, he would shame them stating that God didn’t heal them because the didn’t have enough faith or because they were sinful or something along those lines.

    So, I thought it was kind of appropriate to include Pentecostals.

  78. @LadyMitris: Thanks for your response – it was really interesting. Hitting people for going to the doctor? Wow, that’s screwed up. Suffice to say I never experienced anything like that. Regarding the mention of Pentecostal churches, my preference is only that we try to speak as precisely as possible, so long as it doesn’t add an make our point excessively wordy. After reading on Wikipedia about the history of the Pentecostal movement, I think my point is still correct – the churches that might practice stuff like Rebecca mentioned in the OP are in the definite minority.

  79. @doggles: I think why someon women say that (“I would prefer to date someone who is cut”) is because that’s just what they are used to, and therefore what they are attracted to.

    Having slept with men with uncut and cut penis, I don’t really CARE one way or another (penis is penis!), but I actually like uncut penises–first of all, blow jobs? A MILLION TIMES EASIER. And hand jobs for that matter. And everything else. The skin ist here for a reason…

    That said (sorry for the TMI lol), it doesn’t really matter to me in the end.

  80. @hz:

    That said, there is 100 years of literature with 1000s of testimonials of people who were healed using Christian Science of ailments from cancer to depression. Myself, I can only remember being healed of a toothache, but even then, I’m not sure if my memory is distorted by time or if it really happened.

    How would they know they had cancer or depression if they didn’t get it diagnosed by a doctor in the first place? Hypochondriasis would be a simple explanation, but even if the person did have cancer spontaneous regression would be another.

    Also, anecdotal evidence is not evidence. Red flags automatically raise for me if someone cites “testimonials” without giving anything more concrete to back it up.

  81. “How would they know they had cancer or depression if they didn’t get it diagnosed by a doctor in the first place?”

    Interesting question. First of all, there is nothing in the religion that states you cannot go to a doctor. Many christian scientists do.

    Second, when someone has a health problem in christian science, and they want to use the religion to help them, they are instructed to go to a doctor and get a precise diagnosis. Once this is done, they work with a practitioner to heal the ailment. So there is a record out there–many in fact–of healings, I would think.

  82. @hz: Wait a minute, you’re saying that they can go to a doctor for confirmation that they have an actual health problem, but they have to go back to a “healer” to actually get taken care of? That doesn’t make any more sense. If the healer couldn’t find the problem the first time, why would you assume that they could cure it after a real doctor found it?

    Here’s an example of using this logic in other parts of daily life:

    Mechanic: “Well I looked at your car and the problem seems to be that you need a new head gasket. I can start the repairs right away.”

    You: “No thanks, I’ll just bring it to my shaman/priest/witch doctor.”

    Mechanic: “Are you sure? I have the parts and I already did the check up. Is your shaman/priest/witch doctor an expert with cars?”

    You: “Oh, yes.”

    Mechanic: “Why come here first?”

    You: “Well he/she needed to be told what was wrong before they could use the spirits/magic/ju-ju on the car.”

    Also, there may be people who have gone to the doctor for a diagnosis, then went to their healer looking for a cure, but you haven’t listed any record of this yet. That’s what Rebecca and the others have been asking for. Not anecdotal stories, but real medical studies done by non-Christian Scientists.

    Until you come back with such a study, you’re not making a good argument.

  83. @hz: Do they keep a record of failures, or at least of suspicious healings that could have happened on their own? Cherry-picked stories just don’t lend much weight.

    There’s also the issue of the trustworthiness of sources, which is a rather big issue when talking about people who are already convinced their method works.

    Heck, I’m sure I could find a large collection of stories where people were magically healed by praying to toothpicks, or something equally ridiculous. But I wouldn’t trust them, and I’m sure there would be far more stories, which were never mentioned, about times when the toothpick prayer has no effect.

  84. Just to play devil’s advocate for a moment — there’s actually an evolutionary argument for allowing parents to refuse medical care for their children. Namely, that the loss of the child (that is, of their “genetic legacy” is itself the most appropriate punishment for that.

    Of course, there are flaws in the argument: (1) We do try to prevent suicide, for social-benefit reasons (and note that we tend to assume that most suicide attempts are not “rational decisions”. (2) Failure to treat some illnesses can result in, not a “clean” death, but a crippled or otherwise damaged kid, who will be a public burden. (3) With respect to vaccinations, there’s also the “herd immunity” issue.

  85. @MiddleMan: “That’s what Rebecca and the others have been asking for. Not anecdotal stories, but real medical studies done by non-Christian Scientists.”

    Something tells me you’re never gonna get it!

    Come on, hz, cough it up!

  86. @hz:
    According to their website’s FAQ, Christian Scientists believe in more than going to a doctor for diagnosis:

    Is it true that Christian Scientists don’t take medicine?
    Generally, a Christian Scientist’s first choice is to rely on prayer for healing, and in most cases, this means that a medical remedy is unnecessary.

    There is no biblical or church mandate to forgo medical intervention, nor do Christian Scientists believe that it’s God’s will that anyone suffer or die. A Christian Scientist’s decision to rely on prayer comes from trust, not blind faith, in God, and from a conviction that God’s care continues under every circumstance.

    So how can they say that faith did the healing when more conventional (and evidence based) medicine is allowed in parallel?

  87. @doggles: Hmm… true for the majority– dunno. It’s not true for me, and I’m not going to elaborate on that. However, the majority of American Non-Metaphorical Penises I Have Known are cut. That has been the accepted practice for most of the twentieth century. As the population of Americans from non-circumsizing cultures has grown, so have the number of uncircumsized men, but I would guess it is still less prevalent than circumcision. Therefore, I would guess that most American women are more accustomed to circumsized men. I suppose we all tend to prefer the familiar.

  88. @bibliotequetress: Basically. Most women are just used to it. I suspect that most women (though certainly not all, some people just suck) who fell in love with a man with an uncut penis would not run away screaming.

    And for anyone who has not experienced it, it is not as weird as some like to say it is. It really, really isn’t.

  89. ““That’s what Rebecca and the others have been asking for. Not anecdotal stories, but real medical studies done by non-Christian Scientists.”

    I am not making an argument that prayer heals. I am arguing that until a real, solid scientific test is done to prove the validity of Christian Science healing, it doesn’t help to lump this religion in with all the other ones.

    When Christian Scientists break a bone, they go to the doctor to get an x ray. After that, some get a cast, and some don’t, instead relying on prayer. That mean there should be an x ray record of broken bones of Christian Scientists. The next step would be to track those who are healing themselves through prayer. How fast, and how well did the bone heal? And how much pain is involved?

    My guess is a Christian Scientist is not going to let real science test its prayer record. I don’t think this is necessarily because they are trying to hide something, it’s just that I think they think prayer and healing doesn’t need outside proof: the proof is in the healing. I know that sounds like circular logic, but that’s what they would say.
    I relate this to the church not having a ministry to try and bring people into the religion. They rely on prayer, and by publishing a top notch newspaper–The Christian Science Monitor. (This could also be why the church is slowly fading?)

  90. @marilove: You were right…

    @hz:

    I am not making an argument that prayer heals. I am arguing that until a real, solid scientific test is done to prove the validity of Christian Science healing, it doesn’t help to lump this religion in with all the other ones.

    You mean, when it makes claims that aren’t verifiable by scientific standards? And it won’t allow scientist to do studies, but it puts its own claims up as “proof”?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_Christ,_Scientist

    Like all of the other “faith healing” religions?

    Yeah, we can. Here the bucket…

  91. Funny you talk about proof and then go on to cite wikipedia.

    Well if you read the rest of the wikipedia entry, you would have seen this:

    “he Church also has a number of statements regarding diagnosed conditions accompanied by legal affidavits of authenticity signed by medical practitioners who witnessed a non-medical healing. A book entitled Spiritual Healing in a Scientific Age by Robert Peel chronicles many of these accounts and quotes from the affidavits. Peel is the most academic/scholarly writer of the church’s published biographers of Mary Baker Eddy.”

    This does not prove much since Peel (I think) was a Christian Scientist. However, if the info is out there, then it seems someone on the “outside” should be able to get a hold of it to see how valid it is.

  92. This does not prove much since Peel (I think) was a Christian Scientist.

    I did read the article, and you’re taking this part out of context.

    “..critics of the Church complain that the verification guidelines are not strict enough, allowing verifiers who have not witnessed the claimed healing to “vouch for [the healing’s] accuracy based on their knowledge of [the claimant].”

    Missed that part, eh?

    Look you seem to be misunderstanding that every claim can’t be verified by mere “witnessing”. That’s not proof. That’s what we’ve been trying to point out to you. Actual studies would include having the patient be closely observed by medical professionals as the “healer” did his/her work, over the course of the disease.

    You’re not citing any studies like that, and you’re reading what you want into what I gave you before. Please come back next time with a link to at least one study done by an actual outside group, without looking at old, anecdotal information.

    Studies on faith healing have been done, from many different religious backgrounds.

    http://www.sram.org/0802/faith-healing.html

    http://www.quackwatch.org/11Ind/wirthstudy.html

    http://www.find-health-articles.com/rec_pub_19370557-intercessory-prayer-alleviation-ill-health.html

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/3193902.stm

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4681771.stm

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/31/health/31pray.html?ex=1159416000&en=ce7b4014c3d11ad5&ei=5070

    http://www.skeptictank.org/heal1.htm

    And you think that; just because they don’t single out Christian Science; that, somehow it’s version of faith healing works, but that the others don’t?

  93. @hz:

    I am not making an argument that prayer heals. I am arguing that until a real, solid scientific test is done to prove the validity of Christian Science healing, it doesn’t help to lump this religion in with all the other ones.

    I would like to add to MiddleMan’s comment that the rules of logic dictate that the person making the affirmative claim has the burden of proof. In other words, it is not up to us to believe that Christian Science works (or disprove it either). It is up to its defender (i.e., you) to prove it.

  94. ooh – and while I’m avoiding work for a moment or two, just wanted to wade in on the “faith healing” discussion. Glow-Orb and MiddleMan’s comments about the burden of proof are exactly right; “no, you’re the one making the claim, so YOU prove it…” – this is the appropriate response to the vast majority of religion-based claims, right back to the very existence of god in the first place. However, unlike the fundamental question (of god’s existence), where the theist can attempt to wriggle out of the stranglehold with protestations that the subject under investigation is capable of defying proof by “not being part of the physical world”, the question of faith-healing is one of the best examples where this burden-of-proof rule simply has to apply by logical necessity, because the claimants are claiming a definite, positive (and therefore measurable) effect in the physical universe. Herein lies an interesting question: how far is it possible to test claims like this under rigorous scientifically valid conditions (double-blind trials with appropriate controls to rule out the placebo effect)? – it would potentially be OK ethically to do so even for quite serious diseases because we start from a point where the religious adherents are refusing conventional treatment anyway…

    In the case of religious parents denying treatment to their children – I’m sure they do so because they think (or rather, they have faith) that this course of action is the best for their child (misguided as this is, it at least allows for the possibility that they are attempting to act in the child’s best interests). Therefore it would strongly be in the interests of religious groups who further such methods to provide these parents with clinical evidence for the efficacy of this approach, if only to allow their followers to defend their decisions in court. They certainly have the money to fund such research. Conventional medicine has plenty of proof of efficacy. The FDA won’t let my company sell a new cancer treatment without huge amounts of data to back it up. We regularly, and at great cost, abandon lines of research when it becomes clear that the clinical benefit will not be clear and measurable.

    The fact that no credible evidence exists (and by credible, I don’t mean “it was on Oprah so it must be true…”) goes much further than simply leaving us with a “don’t know” or “not enough evidence” null position. The gaping chasm where credible evidence should be, in spite of a huge pressure and available resource for the generation of such evidence, is in itself a firm proof that claims of faith healing are dangerous and unethical lies.

    Furthermore, in order for faith healing to be used as the exclusive approach, eschewing conventional medicine, the faith healing advocates should provide proof that this approach is in fact not just real but demonstrably superior in terms of measured survival rates. Otherwise such faith-only monotherapies are definitively unethical, and “combination therapy” consisting of both faith-based and conventional medicine would be the furthest you could go in this direction without court intervention.

    so in short, faith-healing can, at least until they get some proper proof, f*ck off.

    That is all.

  95. 1) Never have I argued that CS works as an alternative to modern medicine. Never. So you can strike that from your list of righteous indignations.

    2) I began this conversation because I was concerned about painting all “faith” healers the same way. I was only saying that if science is so mighty, and it is, then instead of labeling all faith healers as hoaxes, it would be interesting to have a real study done on the one religion that has made a name for itself for not using doctors. The burden of proof is not on me because I am not making a claim! I am only saying that this particular religion has, according to them, evidence to prove that their style of faith healing works. There is a long tradition associated with this religion–it’s not just some church in the Appalachians. It is well established and some of the most powerful people in the world have abided by its tenets (ie, Henry Paulson). To me, that is reason enough to want to pry open the secrecy of the church to see just what the mechanics are of the so called faith healing and measure, scientifically, the results.

    I can’t stress enough that I am not trying to prove CS works. (So, I guess YOU can f*uck off). All I am saying is I would like to see a real scientific study done on this one particular religion that has a well documented (albeit anecdotal) mass of evidence, has a compilation of healings that were certified by doctors with signed legal affidavits, and has been around for more than a 100 years and yet the death rate doesn’t seem that much different that people who use medicine.

  96. @hz – oh dear mate…

    I never said that you, personally, could f*ck off – just that “faith healing” itself could. Sheesh – re-read my post before you start getting all offended. No personal offense AT ALL intended from my side matey. I wouldn’t tell you to f*ck off anyway, even if you had said something to annoy me, which you haven’t. I direct my “righteous indignation” at ideas, not directly at people. Don’t take it personally because it wasn’t directed at you.

    Honestly.

    Not directed at you.

    Got it?

    Also – you’re right, you didn’t make any claims, so the burden of proof is indeed not on you. But again, I don’t think anyone said that it was! (I’ll have to re-read a few posts to make sure – I’m writing this quickly right now as I don’t want you to continue being upset when you don’t need to be!) – the ideas that you brought up for discussion may well have been hacked at, but isn’t that what you want to see? – otherwise why would you bring them up?

    Seriously – no attempt being made at constructing strawmen here – simply putting forth our views.

    PLEASE correct me if I’m wrong now, but your final paragraph seems to be implying that the claims of faith healers may have some credence, the death rate comment seems to be saying that it is just as effective as modern medicine for serious conditions. Is that what you’re saying?

    If so then you can expect us to explore that idea further, so stay here and explore it with us, and absolutely, positively, do not f*ck off my friend.

    Yours respectfully

    Doggles of Dogstershire

  97. ooh – and another thing I just thought of…

    There’s an interesting fine distinction to be noticed here between what constitutes rock-solid scientific proof, and what constitutes a strong legal case to support families who choose faith-healing for their children over conventional medicine. In the former definitive scientific proof, what would be required would be an appropriate double-blind peer-reviewed clinical trial (or several thereof…). In the latter legal battle, it would simply have to be demonstrated that the actions of the parents were those of “reasonable” people given the information that they had to go on. In this case, maybe the testimonials / witnessing / affidavits from doctors that you mention, hz, could indeed be invoked, and a clever defence could argue that in the light of this (admittedly opinion-bound and not always scientifically acceptable) evidence, the parents could be deemed to be acting in, quite literally “good faith”.

    In this case perhaps the court would drop criminal proceedings against them, but then on the advice of a scientific expert witness, have recourse to order conventional medicine also to be pursued if applicable (and, of course, if it wasn’t already too late…)

    Comments folks?

  98. …and FINALLY… before I depart for the evening to pick this up tomorrow… point taken about distinguishing CS from other faith healers – if that is a distinction that CS followers wish to make for themselves, then they’re only a clinical trial away – which I believe is the very point you were making in the first place? – it would indeed be interesting to see, but as yet I don’t think it exists? if we’re all in agreement then no further debate necessary eh? – over to the CS proponents (hz – not talking directly to you again… just in case) to supply evidence…
    [/duck and cover]
    see ya tomorrow ;-)

  99. @hz: You’re wrong, again.

    1) Never have I argued that CS works as an alternative to modern medicine. Never. So you can strike that from your list of righteous indignations.

    OK, but you go first…

    It’s not righteous to point out facts, like; faith healing has been proven to have no measurable effects.

    It is righteous to assume that, just because others have been shown not to have any effect, then possibly CS does. That’s the fallacy of “false dichotomy”.

    Also, to base that assumption on unprovable, anecdotal, and biased “evidence” that only was vetted based on opinions of people after the fact; and to only have a list of cures, without failures; is an assumption of proof not based on facts.

    I was only saying that if science is so mighty, and it is, then instead of labeling all faith healers as hoaxes, it would be interesting to have a real study done on the one religion that has made a name for itself for not using doctors. The burden of proof is not on me because I am not making a claim!

    That is making a claim. You can’t say that science should check this out based on “X”, without claiming that “X” is a factual thing. Sorry, but you’re wrong again.

    I can’t stress enough that I am not trying to prove CS works.

    Then why single it out? You’re being dishonest with yourself if you actually think that you have no previous intentions when you’re arguing for exclusivity.

    More logical fallacies:

    There is a long tradition associated with this religion–it’s not just some church in the Appalachians.

    Appeal to tradition

    It is well established and some of the most powerful people in the world have abided by its tenets (ie, Henry Paulson).

    Argument from authority.

    Look, you’re not bringing anything to the table that is provable outside of CS’s records. But I’ll give you a chance:

    …”this one particular religion that has a well documented (albeit anecdotal) mass of evidence, has a compilation of healings that were certified by doctors with signed legal affidavits,”

    Show us a few (let’s say ten) doctor’s certifications on CS’s work that isn’t recorded in the church’s files. It must show the doctor’s confirmations of the disease (along with verified medical tests), the recorded following of the process, the confirmation of a genuine cure, and show how the CS healing effected the cure positively in a measurable way, that can’t be explained by known medicine.

    That’s all I’m asking for…

  100. @MiddleMan:

    …”this one particular religion that has a well documented (albeit anecdotal) mass of evidence, has a compilation of healings that were certified by doctors with signed legal affidavits,”

    Show us a few (let’s say ten) doctor’s certifications on CS’s work that isn’t recorded in the church’s files. It must show the doctor’s confirmations of the disease (along with verified medical tests), the recorded following of the process, the confirmation of a genuine cure, and show how the CS healing effected the cure positively in a measurable way, that can’t be explained by known medicine.

    “albeit anecdotal”….hmmmmm, something tells me you won’t get an answer to your request…:)

  101. One last thing… Because I know you’re goning to come back here when you think it’s “safe”…

    I was only saying that if science is so mighty, and it is,…

    You’re not a skeptic at all, are you? At least, you’re not thinking like one.

    Science isn’t something to be”mighty” or “great”. It’s a tool: a way of understanding the world around us. Not something of worship, or awe.

    People can learn”mighty” facts about the universe around us with science. People can make “great” things with what science shows us. But science itself is just a means to an end. A rational means.

    Things that can be considered “mighty”, bring understanding to the world for everyone. The things that can be said as “great” are the things that make the world a better place. Only when people are willing to use these tools given to them correctly, and with reason, can even they hope to be considered both “mighty” or “great”.

    Goodnight…

  102. “You’re not a skeptic at all, are you? At least, you’re not thinking like one.”

    Now this made me laugh! It’s almost as if you are trying to find my fatal flaw to expose me for what you think I am. Nice try, I have to admit. But you are reading too much into my statement about science being mighty. It is mighty, for christs sake! Maybe I should have said the scientific method, or whatever, but I was only trying to relay the fact that when examining reality, no other method is more trustworthy than science. That’s why I think it would be great if Christian Scientists would open up the vault a little bit and let the healings be verified by outside sources.

    I went to my moms last night and got two books that might help this conversation. It is probably the best known “evidence” Christian Science has that its healing works. They are both by Robert Peel, a Harvard professor, and yes, Christian Scientist. One is called Spiritual Healing in a Scientific Age and the other on is called A Century of Christian Science Healing. If anyone is interested, and I going to peruse them both and get back with.

  103. “That’s why I think it would be great if Christian Scientists would open up the vault a little bit and let the healings be verified by outside sources.”

    Unlikely ever to happen unfortunately, but it would be really interesting for both sides. Perhaps it’s this reticence that keeps CS lumped in with other ‘faith healing’ as previously discussed. The separate treatment/analysis of CS that you were hoping for in an earlier post could only really be achieved by distancing CS from other faith-healing methods in this way. For now though, just putting the word “Science” in their title doesn’t count if they don’t actually practice any…

    Even if studies are eventually conducted, we run into problems of course. For example, scientific studies of intercessory prayer have turned up a big fat zero, potentially satisfying for the atheist position to refute the previous positive claim, but then these results, and the reasoning behind them will always be called into question, so the fundamental problem remains unresolved for some. (http://www.skepdic.com/prayer.html)

    The argument seems to me to go a bit like this:
    Theist: “god answers prayers”
    Atheist: “Oh no he doesn’t”
    Theist: “Let’s study it to prove he does”
    Atheist: “Here are the results. He doesn’t”
    Theist: “Ah well, that doesn’t prove anything, he could simply be ‘working in mysterious ways’ and confusing the study, he’s ineffable you know… and immune to your science”
    Atheist: “seriously? Sheesh, you’re even more insane than I thought – OK then I give up”
    Theist: “yay! we win by losing!”

    If I’m reading the heart-patient study correctly, prayer actually led to more complications?

    I’d love to hear your analysis of Peel’s books, having never read them myself. I’d respectfully suggest however that his writings will have to deliver something more rigorous than mere anecdotal evidence in order to carry any weight, given his obvious bias. Being a Harvard professor doesn’t count for much if you have no verifiable evidence to back up your claims. I’d like to hear what he’s got – can you come back with what you consider to be his best arguments and best supporting evidence?

    Here’s a for instance – I’m a great supporter of the efforts of scientists to develop new drugs, but I have both and emotional connection and a vested interest – I am a scientist who works on developing new drugs. I fully admit that I really really really want my drugs to work. My bias is therefore obvious. The FDA would not let me treat a patient with a new drug that I had just made, no matter how convinced I was that it would be the best thing to do, without me first supplying them with concrete and verifiable scientific proof of both its efficacy and its safety. “I think this will work” or even “I’m sure this does work” is not good enough. Even if I have a variety of random stories to tell, and the affirmations of a lot of my learned mates to back me up. I doubt such behaviour would win me a job at Harvard either, so I am expecting much from Peel as a representative of this august institution.

    So yes, we wait with bated breath, hz – and thanks for checking it out for us.

  104. @marilove: You were right… Again… ;)

    @hz:

    They are both by Robert Peel, a Harvard professor, and yes, Christian Scientist.

    Wow, just wow… You’re not getting this are you?

    First of, I ask for unbiased evidence, and the first thing you do is run home to grab biased books on the subject. Go out and get information not from the church, or church members. Is that too much work?

    Second, this is still an argument from authority. Robert Peel is a known CS apologist, even writing a number of books on the subject of CS healing. He gets the majority of his own evidence from the Churches records and little of anything from outside this.

    Now let’s think skeptically: If a Harvard professor, writing a number books about the history and “evidence” of CS healing couldn’t convince medical science of it’s efficacy, what difference would CS opening its records do? It’s more likely it would only open them to the exposure of fraud inherent in their method of record keeping. Also, it’s been twenty years since his last book, where’s the proof in current unbiased medical journals?

    That’s what you should be looking to, not checking in on books that only show CS’s side of it. That’s not thinking skeptically.

    CS is but one of the many “faith healing” beliefs out there, many have even longer histories and records than CS. Our Lady of Lourdes comes to mind; it’s almost a decade older than CS, has many more believers, and has a long record of “cures” and “healings” that have been recorded by medical professionals working for the Catholic Church. Does this mean that Lourdes is “true” and as “scientific” as CS. By your logic, you would say yes.

    But the scientific studies done on Lourdes shows that the “miracle cures” aren’t outside the realm of medical science.

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

    Here comes the bad part for you:

    CS has been studied by the modern medical establishment.

    I found unbiased medical studies done on people that follow CS teachings. Things aren’t good for your argument.

    Death rates from cancer: double the national average – http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/262/12/1657

    Life expectancy of the average CS practitioner vs. national average: 4 less for CS women, 2 less for CS men – http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00015022.htm

    Measles outbreaks occuring amongst CS adults and children (the main point of this topic, BTW) happening due to disbelief in vaccinations – http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00031788.htm

    http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00000500.htm

    http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/rel_liberty/free_exercise/..\..\/rel_liberty/free_exercise/topic.aspx?topic=vaccination

    There are more, but I’m getting tired of you not reading what I put in front of you. Please take the time to do so.

    One last thing…

    Now this made me laugh! It’s almost as if you are trying to find my fatal flaw to expose me for what you think I am.

    If you mean you don’t get it, just say so. Don’t laugh at a correct observation.

    I repeat, science is just a tool of humanity. Science is a mindset that we use in exploring; without the mind to do the exploring, it doesn’t exist. Don’t call something so ephemeral “mighty”. It’s intellectually shoddy.

    In the future, think skeptically…

  105. By the power of Greyskull!

    [mutual appreciation society backslap]

    I might be quick, but you certainly do your homework, MiddleMan. Nice one.

    [/mutual appreciation society backslap]

    No need to hear from the illustrious Peel after all then – I’d save your efforts, hz. I was assuming that no evidence at all existed based on the tone of the original post – silly me, should know better and dig a bit deeper.

  106. The info you provided was great–the studies on the graduates from Principia College. It’s something that I think I always suspected, but never saw any definitive proof for. Very eye opening.

    While it does prove that overall, medicine performs better than CS prayer, it doesn’t say that it is not possible to heal oneself though prayer. That’s the part that interests me and why I brought up Peel. There are people out there with records of healings–for example, one brief example in the peel book is a woman who fractures her hip. She get’s CS “treatment” after getting it diagnosed and X rayed, then goes back to the doctor a couple of weeks later for another X ray and the same doc couldn’t even locate where the fracture was to begin with. I am not saying this happened, (and before you send yet another wiki link for logical fallacies, MM, I get that Peel is no unbiased) but if Peel goes through all the work to get signed affidavits for these, and there are literally thousands of them out there, could there be something else going on that we don’t know about?

    And shouldn’t the death rates be much, much higher than reported? Is it literally the placebo effect that is masked as “healing?”

    Could it be that healing oneself is complicated and some people don’t do it as well as others?

    I know Novella would cringe by me bringing his name up in all this, but it sort of reminds me of his views on UFOs: No proof–none–is out there that UFOs exist. However, because the universe is so big, and there are billions of stars out there, it’s not completely unbelievable that there is intelligent life out there and that they could have the technology to come to earth.

    Like I said, I have been very skeptical about CS for along time (the funny thing is, I’ve had these same arguments with my cousin except I take the side of the skeptic. I always win).

    And I think I eventually got what I was looking for when I brought up CS on this blog. Thanks for everyone’s responses.

  107. …but if Peel goes through all the work to get signed affidavits for these, and there are literally thousands of them out there, could there be something else going on that we don’t know about?

    Again, getting singed first-hand reports after the fact are only conclusive when given with actual evidence. Third-party signed testimonies of the honesty of those involved are about as scientific as an infomercial. Without any actual evidence, this is anecdotal self-delusion at best, and fraud at worst.

    Another thing, did he disclose how old the woman was? How big the fracture was? Was it on the actual hip joint or the pelvis? When did this occurrence happen?

    A small, but noticeable fracture on a woman not suffering from osteoporosis could heal enough in two weeks to be undetectable to all but the most experienced x-ray diagnostician even today. It’s really not out of the realm of reality that the attending doctor made a mistake with whatever technology he had access to prior to 1988 (when Peel’s last book on the subject was published). This example stays in the realm of anecdote, until more evidence is given, I’m afraid.

    …could there be something else going on that we don’t know about?

    Not really. Not enough evidence that shows even what’s needed to say that.

    And shouldn’t the death rates be much, much higher than reported?

    How high should they be? An increase of 100% over the national average isn’t enough for you? Even if the number of CS practitioners was 2 out of 100, vs 1 out of 100 for the national average, this still shows a lack of efficacy in CS healing.

    Could it be that healing oneself is complicated and some people don’t do it as well as others?

    1) A person’s body is the only thing that can heal itself.
    2) There are proven medical ways for others to help the healing process along.
    3) Those who do it well are medically accredited doctors.
    4) From the studies I showed you before: it seems that those who do it poorly are called CS practitioners.

    I know Novella would cringe by me bringing his name up in all this, but it sort of reminds me of his views on UFOs: No proof–none–is out there that UFOs exist. However, because the universe is so big, and there are billions of stars out there, it’s not completely unbelievable that there is intelligent life out there and that they could have the technology to come to earth.

    If we were talking about intelligent life outside of our own, you’d be right. But this is, wait for it…

    A Non Sequitur.

    One more…

    (the funny thing is, I’ve had these same arguments with my cousin except I take the side of the skeptic. I always win).

    Is it funny to lose, too?

    No, that was mean of me, I apologize…

  108. wow – hz, you just lost all credibility. How dare you feign offense earlier on in your posts and then swipe in with this ridiculous direct personal attack? This could have been an interesting conversation as you initially raised some points which might have been worth following through, but your childish exit has been a big disappointment. You pretend to be a skeptic but the level of offense that you take at the defeat of CS arguments shows that this was pure masquerade.

    Come back when you have the balls and civility to engage in an adult discussion.

    Love and cuddles

    Doggles

    xxx

  109. @hz: No, it’s OK. I was being cheeky on that last one. Nothing I haven’t been called before. ;)

    But, I want you to notice something hz:

    Remember how you were asking for medical science to check on Christian Science?

    You remember how I asked you to think skeptically and check outside sources?

    Did you really think I didn’t have the answers at hand already?

    If you had looked further in the first article I posted:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_Christ,_Scientist

    You would eventually have gotten to this:

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

    Which would have led you to this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_Science#Controversies

    Which, when you check it out, has links to the studies I posted earlier.

    Just take it as a lesson; when someone asks you to check outside sources, they’re not asking to throw away what you grew up with. Just that you have to start down new paths to discovery.

    And Wikipedia’s a “mighty” good place to start. It’s not perfect, but it can definitely be called mighty…

    Later…

Leave a Reply

You May Also Enjoy

Close
Close