The vague promises of the purveyors of woo
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17-10-2014, 12:33 PM
The vague promises of the purveyors of woo
There is a cottage industry for homeopathic treatments for everything that ails you, even things that aren’t physical conditions, such as emotional and spiritual problems. One such item is the healing bracelet, these are made up of various stones that are supposed to impart certain properties to help with any ailment, certain stones help with certain things, here is a typical description given on the properties of these “miraculous” stones:

“Chakras - Heart Chakra

Aventurine is a stone of prosperity. It reinforces leadership qualities and decisiveness. Promotes compassion and empathy. Encourages perseverance. Enhances creativity.
Aids in seeing alternatives and possibilities. Calms anger and irritation. Promotes feelings of well-being. Aventurine balances male-female energy and protects against environmental pollution.
A comforting stone. It neutralizes all sources of electromagnetic pollution, blocking out emanations from computers, television and other electronic equipment.”

So how does something so obviously fraudulent continue to entice people? By making vague promises, when it says “reinforces leadership qualities”, what does that even mean? How could you measure that? If you can’t measure it, then how would you know it even works? And that’s why people will buy it!
Due to the placebo effect, anything will produce perceived results if a person thinks it has power.

This same phenomenon is displayed with horoscopes and fortune cookies. If it is vague enough, it is difficult to say something is false, there’s always wiggle room within a vague claim. It’s hard to determine if the salesman of such wares is a true believer or is just out to make a buck. However, they don’t have the best interest of the buyer in mind. If it doesn’t work, they can simply say, you just have to keep wearing it to see results or perhaps you haven’t been keeping it properly cleaned for its energies to manifest itself.

The only thing for sure; regardless of the salesman’s intent, is that they will profit if you buy it. If you happen to die from an illness, oh well, it worked for all of these other people, time to sell more bracelets…..

Where else do we see such claims made that are prevalent in our culture? You have probably already surmised that it is with religion and “the power of prayer”. So I Google “power of prayer”, and I come upon a link on the first page at gotquestion.org . On that page, I find a link that says “How can I have my prayers answered by God?” Here’s what they say:

Question: "How can I have my prayers answered by God?"

Answer: Many people believe answered prayer is God granting a prayer request that is offered to Him. If a prayer request is not granted, it is understood as an “unanswered” prayer. However, this is an incorrect understanding of prayer. God answers every prayer that is lifted to Him. Sometimes God answers “no” or “wait.” God only promises to grant our prayers when we ask according to His will. “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him” (1 John 5:14-15)
So they immediately tell us of two conditions:

1. The answer may be “no or wait”
2. It must be in accordance to God’s will

So they already understand that not everyone will see results and they need to trot out their excuses so they can prop up their magical claims and escape being outed as frauds. Remember the previous example of the bracelet, if it didn’t work, it was because of something you did wrong (didn’t properly clean it). If you don’t get an answer to prayer, you didn’t ask in accordance to God’s will or he might have said no or wait.

See how much wiggle room the religious salesman has? In fact part of the stipulation of unanswered prayer is to study the scripture to gain a better understanding of what God’s will is. If it doesn’t work, just start reading your bible more! At this point they have you hooked, you may never call BS on their little game of deception, and you’ll just bury your head in their holy book and become more devout. Quite a system they built, isn’t it?

And if you die of cancer after your family and church has prayed themselves hoarse for your healing? Oh well, your loved ones can refer to the canned response and study their bible more, after all; it worked for all of these other people! You've already bought what they sold you, the purveyors of woo need to sell more religion, see you at church Sunday!

Many people will live their whole life without questioning how they got played by the religious huckster, it doesn’t matter if you don’t see real results, but what you get in religion is real excuses – a mountain of them!

Gods derive their power from post-hoc rationalizations. -The Inquisition

Using the supernatural to explain events in your life is a failure of the intellect to comprehend the world around you. -The Inquisition
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