Ask an Atheist with Sam Mulvey

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Faith Healing and Exorcism

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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.

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4 Comments on "Faith Healing and Exorcism"

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Jeff
Guest

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
Guest

Hey,

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!

Cheers,

Charles in San Diego

gullibilitykills
Guest

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
Guest
@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 »
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