Ask an Atheist with Sam Mulvey

You can't use the built in player: download the episode.

Faith Healing and Exorcism

YouTube Video

YouTube Link

This week, join Case, Mike and Rich as we discuss the religious concept of faith healing and purging ghosts from the body, first hand and skeptical experience.

About the Author: Sam Mulvey

Sam Mulvey is a producer and the technical brain behind Ask an Atheist. He is a collector of vinegar varieties, vintage computers, antique radios, and propaganda.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

I caught the show live online today and heard the first little bit of the station’s programming after your show. In their news they referred to a “homicide bomber”. Seems you might be really needed on that station.

Charles in San Diego


I’ve been listening for a while, and I enjoy your show very much. I can suggest a term for a faith healer or alt-med practitioner who truly believes in his/her god or system of woo, yet will “fudge”, just a bit at times, or accept credit for effects that they know were unrelated to their efforts.

The term is ‘pious fraud’. I got it from Steve Novella on the Skeptic’s Guide. Not sure who originated it, but I feel it is a useful term.

Thanks for your show, and keep it up!


Charles in San Diego


I would like to see peer reviewed literature documenting cases of physiological change due entirely to the placebo effect. The world is filled with modalities such as homepathy, faith-healing, etc, and none of these have shown physiological change to the underlying conditions. They in fact show no objective change at all, only self-reported subjective results.

Charles in San Diego

@gullibilitykills: I can’t cite any studies, but I can hypothesize several objectively measurable placebo effects, based on the physical effects that we know people can achieve either consciously, or when “hypnotized” (yes, I know, hypnotism isn’t magic). I’ll list three, because the magic unicorn in my garage tells me that three is a magic number. 😉 I bet that placebo could temporarily reduce blood pressure. I bet that placebo could improve grip strength in arthritis sufferers. I bet that placebo could reduce the ‘shiver’ response in cold conditions. Of course, placebo is in no way actual medicine. It is at… Read more »

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x