Another retreat....

James Randi --- Wizard (
Mon, 22 Jun 1998 03:11:57 -0400 (EDT)

My good friend Andy Skolnick, who works for the American Medical
Association, was ecstatic. Following the publication in their journal
(JAMA) of Emily Rosa's paper on her test of "therapeutic touch" (the
practitioners failed dramatically) a fervent believer, one Richard
Pavek, had invited Skolnick, on behalf of the AMA, to observe his
"human biofield" test at a conference of the International Society for
the Study of Subtle Energies and Energy Medicine (ISSSEEM), in
Boulder, Colorado. Pavek was planning to conduct a replication of the
Rosa test. Things were set up, and all was prepared.

Then the ISSSEEM's board, informed that such a test was to take place,
quickly issued a bulletin ordering Pavek to cancel the test. "Two of
our board members are literally livid over what you had done," said
the official ISSSEEM statement on the matter. I'd have given as much
as $25 (really!) to see a "literally livid" member of the ISSSEEM. In
fact, I'd give a dollar to see ANY member of the ISSSEEM, of any

Nothing has changed. They continue to charge good money for a useless
action/service, and the suckers continue to pay for it, yet there's no
evidence whatsoever that it works. Under different names and with
different labels, this would be a situation where arrests would be
made, and the guilty would be carted off to either a padded room or a
jail cell.

But this is "alternative healing," and it's "politically correct" to
accept it and ignore that it's quackery. Again, the public is
swindled and the government sits by, more concerned with Clinton's
love life than with the fact that taxpayers are being swindled with
charlatans selling magnetic insoles, laundry balls, and "therapeutic

Well, we pay politicians to know what's important, and we can't
exactly change suppliers.


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