Saturday, May 18, 2013

Shermer Video & Questions by 8 am Thursday morning

~Feng Shui ~Aliens ~Tarot Cards ~Horoscopes ~Psychic Powers ~Shamanic Healing ~Reiki ~Acupuncture

Pseudo or No?

Post your findings below in the comments section 

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  1. Djellza

    Topic: Reiki

    1. How reliable is the source of the claim?

    Reiki originated in Japan. It is a Japanese form of complementary or alternative medicine, developed during the latter half of the 19th century. The creator of this system of natural healing is Dr Mikao Usui, a Japanese spiritual leader. The reliability of the source of Reiki, in the sense of questioning whether Dr. Usui had the credentials to heal anyone, are very controversial. Personally, I believe that those who followed Dr. Usui’s teachings of reiki went to him more for spiritual guidance rather than actual physical healing. I am confident that this is the case since Dr. Usui has a doctorate degree in theology and is not certified to treat patients with physical illnesses. Therefore, the source of reiki is not reliable.

    2. Does the source make similar claims?

    Reiki claims to heal at any level of being: physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual. It claims that reiki is necessary for patients who are ill in any way to successfully conquer their illness. However, to me it does not appear that the source is making similar claims since reiki originated as spiritual guidance and then metamorphosized into a more physical healing. The source of reiki claims that the healing does not actually heal but rather helps the body heal itself. This sounds naive to me since all people have immune systems and incidentally, our bodies naturally heal themselves whether we use reiki or not.

    3. Have the claims been verified by somebody else?

    Every human being is different and everyone will react to something like reiki in a different way. This makes it extremely difficult to experiment with, and since the same reiki experiment will never give the same results, the claims cannot be verified. There is no evidence to prove that any healing claims weren’t just coincidences, but there also isn’t any evidence to prove that the healing was not legitimate. In this context, the controversy of reiki is a lot like the controversy of religion.

    4. Does this fit with the way the world works?

    No, reiki does not fit with the way the world works. This is because it goes against medical practices that have been used for so long and that are so common to society. As a society we have grown to depend on chemical substances to heal us and so things like reiki seem foreign to us. I personally believe that if it sounds too good to be true then it probably is. Also, many doctors discourage the use of reiki for cancer patients, for example, since although it may improve the mood and well-being of cancer patients, it deprives them of more effective treatments that can save their life.

    5. Has anyone tried to disprove the claim?

    Many skeptics attempt to disprove reiki, and their reasons and counterclaims are scattered and vary. However, one major society that attempts to disprove reiki for the sake and safety of their own patients is the American Cancer Society, which believes that reiki is a scam that is scamming people’s lives away from them. They have done studies that show reiki has not reduced any pain in cancer patients. I do realize, though, that the American Cancer Society makes a profit from it’s patients and may simply be downtalking reiki to prevent losing patients and therefore profits.

    6. Where does this preponderance of evidence point?

    Since most skeptics do not find reiki to be helpful to them in any way, I am confident when I say that reiki is indeed a mind game and that is where all of the data points. Since only the believers are ever healed, I am convinced that these people have convinced themselves that it is helping them when it may not be. A lot of evidence that counterclaims reiki is ignored, like the fact that medicine and medical care is often needed by patients for them to live. Dr. Usui himself dies of a stroke...why didn’t reiki save him? Why didn’t the “ki” of the universe prevent such a thing to happen?

    #7-10 on other comment (did not fit)

  2. Djellza


    7. Is the claimant playing by the rules of science?

    No, reiki does not play by the rules of science. It is indeed a pseudoscience since testing and experimenting is not involved in the reiki process. A certain set of beliefs and a certain mindset is compulsory for reiki to be successful, whereas with a real science, logic and reasoning are used and beliefs are pushed aside.

    8. Is the claimant providing positive evidence?

    There is actually not very much evidence at all.

    9. Does the new theory account for as many phenomena as the old theory?

    No, reiki does not account for why other medical tactics such as medicine and surgery and modern treatments heal patients as well. Why do these conventional methods work even without the help of the “universal life energy”?

    10. Are personal beliefs driving the claim?

    Since only the believers are ever healed by reiki and the skeptics never seem to feel as though reiki is helpful to them in any way, I am convinced that the believers have convinced themselves that it is helping them when it may not be. Some people just may not believe in conventional methods of treatments such as surgery or whatnot and they turn to reiki as a way to get away from that.

  3. Yeni I can say that by watching this video and my own knowledge about Horoscopes is that in reality it is just pseudo. Horoscopes are not reliable because not all of them are accurate and only because its your supposedly sign it does not mean it may pertain to you. Many may think that what is stated in a horoscope that this will determine the type of person they are. Just like the man from the video was stating that people tend to follow whatever it is been told by someone else or in this case, astrology. Many don’t look for data that supports the claim in which they have limited knowledge and reasoning about the situation being stated. When making a claim without using real data it is not much reliable for it to be actually real. Many people that read their Zodiac signs daily have no clue from where it comes from because they aren’t interrogated to explore more about it than from what it is already given. The idea of horoscopes tend to have a relation to how the world thinks because each of the zodiac signs are basically driven off from how us as humans think and act in a certain way depending on our attitudes. In my perspective, I think that people that are actually more spiritual or are not that opened minded are those who don’t want to see the real picture of the fact that the brain works in a way that leads to the believe of many of these zodiac signs. There are more people that believe in horoscopes and the idea of astrology than those who don’t. This is the case because people tend to want to think that they are been told something good that makes them think that they fit in that category. When in reality the horoscope might be intended for another person from another zodiac sign. So it is best for someone to here what others that don’t believe in it state the reasons of their perspectives about this situation. Basically the horoscopes come from astrology, which we can say that it’s the preponderance of the evidence that they tend to show for it to be supposedly true. Horoscopes is intended to be played by the rules of science because they use astrology that helps them identify the type of person someone can be depending on the month they were born, but yet it might not be proven correctly. Horoscopes don’t provide positive evidence because it has been said that astrology was developed all the way bad of the first several years of A.D and now astrology has become even more confusing than before. They have made experiments to prove that people agree to any horoscope and think that it applies to them when it might not even be their own horoscope. This exemplifies how people may agree to anything just to make their selves feel special in the sense of them hoping for a better future. With the horoscopes and the astrology theory does not explain why each of them account for every individual based on the month they were born. Personal beliefs definitely drive the idea that horoscopes are real and identify each person because their brains are washed and mostly everyone believes that everything is real but in reality everything is just superstitious thinking and has just come from the ideas of other people in the past.

  4. Jose

    1. In investigating the validity of psychic powers, I came across the article “The Science Behind Psychic Phenomena” on Based on the author and the content of the article, I can see that the source is very reliable. I can also see that the source is reliable because the content comes from a Harvard professor.
    2. The source found above does not make similar claims to those which are usually accepted. This source does not talk about the usual “Psychic reading” services that may or may not be true; instead, it reports on every human having psychic capabilities. To elaborate, the woman interviewed for the article, professor Diane Powell, believes that the earth works in such a way that if there is a sense of up and down, back and forth, then we are capable of experiencing the past and future.
    3. The claims have not yet been verified by anyone else. This is more of a theory that she has, and she is using examples, such as Lincoln predicting his death days before happening, as a way of supporting it.
    4. I would have to say that psychic powers may work with the way the earth works, but only to a small extent. The source states that human nature seems to work in opposites (ex. Up and down, east and west), and that the only reason we do not fully live out past and future is because of psychological and biological restraints. Everyone’s minds and bodies work differently, so that may explain why people in the real world may claim to possess these powers while others do not.
    5. The claim that psychic powers are not real has been challenged many times with eye-opening evidence, but at the same time, this theory has areas left for exploration. Evidence, such as cold reading and general predictions, are used to debunk the claim of psychic powers and expose it as a fraud. In this case, however, the claim focuses on natural abilities as opposed to psychic services, so there is some exploration lefts to do.
    6. The evidence given supports the theory that psychic powers are real and can occur within anybody, but that they are more frequent in some people than others.
    7. The claimant is playing by the rules of science, specifically, through the rules of biology and physics. She claims that some people may not express psychic powers (even if they’re there) because genetics do not allow their brains to function in the same way as those of whom are psychics.
    8. The claimant is providing positive evidence. I really enjoyed that in addition to supporting her own example with the Lincoln and biological examples previously mentioned, she goes on to explain how some scientists ignore vital information if it does not agree with their own theory.
    9. While the theory posed, that psychic powers are real, does agree with many past theories, it does not account for others on the basis that this theory brings into account physics and spatial patterns. Other theories, such as that in the video we watched in class, usually take cold reading into account to support or debunk the theory, but this one attempts to take a scientific approach to proving the theory correct.
    10. I do not believe that this claim is driven by personal beliefs. It may seem that way at first, considering that it is a new theory published in someone’s own book, but scientific facts, rather than personal input, are used to back up the claim that people do possess psychic powers.
    In conclusion, I have found that psychic powers may in fact be real, despite constant evidence that debunks “novelty” psychic services. When looked at from a scientific approach, it seems as though psychic powers may exist, but there are far too many biological and psychological restraints that prevent us from truly knowing. Evidence points to the conclusion, however, that psychic powers are not completely pseudo.

  5. Blanca,
    Reiki is “a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing.” It is a way to relax yourself and get rid of the stress, many people believe that it can heal illnesses as well. Reiki enhances the “flow of energy” which will let you become healthier and happier. The source of this claim is not reliable at all. It focuses on the concept of God, yet they say even though it is based on “spirituality” it is not a religion. I don’t understand why they would even mention God if it has nothing to do with religion? I felt as though the foundation of Reiki is shaky and it may have been religion that first started to drive this practice but as time moved on they took religion out of the way so it could be commercialized to fit everyone’s needs. It originated in Japan but as to how the variations of this claims are not very consistent. There are many different variations of Reiki as well making this claim even less reliable. I think Reiki is kind of like yoga and meditating where you release the stress of your body and connect with your “inner self” to provide you with the energy you need. Unlike yoga and meditating which can be done alone, Reiki usually needs a master to help connect you with the “flow of your energy”. I feel as though this is just an extra way of getting to your money. Why should you pay someone to connect with YOUR OWN flow of energy? It just seems ridiculous to me. If you need to relax you can meditate as you listen to music, that is a much cheaper way to get the same results if you do it right. The claims have been verified by many people who swear that the Reiki has saved them from a chronic illness; most people however generally agree that Reiki just helps calm you down and get rid of the stress that you are experiencing and nothing else. This does not fit the way the world works; you don’t get rid of stress by getting a spiritual experience with some flow of energy. There are many ways people have learned to manage stress… for example one may take a break to calm down and come back to what they are doing with a clearer mind, or talking to someone about what is going on helps calm people down, interacting and having fun are great stress relievers as well… not spiritual experiences with a flow of energy you don’t even know exists. Yes many people have tried to disprove this claim. One “Reiki Master” disproves that Reiki heals at all and encourages people to spend their money on what really cures chronic illnesses: medicine. Medicine is the best PROVEN WAY to heal a person not a bunch of nonsense that many times just works based of personal believes. The preponderance of the evidence is pointing towards medicine and not Reiki. Even in the Reiki website it says that Reiki “works in conjunction with all other medical or therapeutic techniques to relieve side effects and promote recovery.” So how would one know that is Reiki and not the medicine working its “miracle” in the person’s life?

  6. Blanca continued...
    Personally I would spend my money in medicine just because I know it works and if Reiki encourages medicinal help along with the treatment, it should be evident which one is better. Reiki is not playing along with the rules of science, it is like many other “spiritual” practices; they don’t try to disprove their theories, they just embrace it and rely on their perception to justify their beliefs. They are to set in their ways, that they don’t ponder the idea of skepticism in their practices. This theory will never prove more than what medicine has proven so far. Although some people claim wellness from this practice it does not compare to how many people have been healed from medicine. In regards to releasing stress and making your body more relax, it has proven to work but so have other methods, it doesn’t prove anything more than when you give time to yourself and stop thinking about stress you become relax and your stress level lowers for a while. Personal beliefs do drive the claim. Although they claim it works, even though you don’t believe in it, people who have tried it say differently, most of the time is just a stress release not a healer; But if you believe in your mind to be true than you can manipulate the results to prove your perception right. We do that all the time. Like I said before, I feel as though Reiki is a rip off, a large expense for the cost of nothing. If I had the money and didn't have anything to do with it though, I would try it.

  7. Meng

    Acupuncture is a system of complementary medicine that involves pricking the skin or tissues with needles and are use to reduce pains. Acupuncture originates from China and has been practiced there for thousands of years. According to traditional Chinese medical theory, acupuncture points are located on meridians through which “qi” essential energy runs. The argument on reliability of acupuncture has been going on for decades and until today, there still no certain answer. According to the new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, it showed that acupuncture is a reliable treatment but also involves little placebo effects. However, another study from the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center was performed by tracking 455 patients with a painful knee arthritis that received either have acupuncture or a sham treatment. Patients were told that the study was comparison between the traditional and none traditional acupuncture. In the real treatment group, needles were being inserted at a specific point on the body and on the sham treatment group needles were inserting at the nontraditional spot. But both groups claimed that they had a significant amount of pain reduced. The result did not deny the reliability of acupuncture, but instead they suggest that the benefits of both real and fake acupuncture may have something to do with the way the body transmits. Other studies have found that the prick of needles around the area of pain could create a “super-placebo” effect that alters the way the brain perceives and responds to the pain.

  8. cynthia
    My source is very reliable because Live Science, launched in 2004, is the trusted and provocative source for highly accessible science, health and technology news for people who are curious about their minds, bodies, and the world around them. Our team of experienced science reporters, editors and video producers explore the latest discoveries, trends and myths, interviewing expert sources and offering up deep and broad analyses of topics that affect peoples' lives in meaningful ways. Live Science articles are regularly featured on the web sites of our media partners:, Yahoo!, the Christian Science Monitor and others. Yes the source has similar claims because part of the source claims that psychic powers are real but the other part is an experiment that tries to claim otherwise. The research on the claim that psychic powers are real refutes a study published in a psychological journal last year that claimed to find evidence of extrasensory perception, that research was conducted by Daryl Bem of Cornell University. And the rebuttal that the real key to a strong scientific finding is reproducibility. If no other researchers can replicate a particular result, it's not likely that the result is real so University of Edinburgh psychologist Stuart Ritchie and colleagues decided to mimic one of Bem's experiments almost exactly to see if they would also find evidence of psychic powers. Yes, I think that the rebuttal fits the way the world works because we agree always looking for a logical reason to everything just like Stuart Richie is. Yes, Stuart Richie tried to disprove the claim that Psychic powers are real. The preponderance of evidence points that Psychic powers are not real because the mimic of the research/claim didn’t come out just the same as when Bem did his. In opinion I think the claimant was playing by the rules of science but I don’t think positive evidence was provided. No, the new theory does not account for as much phenomena as the old theory because people don’t agree with the new theory which is that psychic power is real. I think personal beliefs are driving the claims.

  9. Mario/ Aliens
    The existence of Aliens has always been something that has been increasing in belief especially due to the amount of attention given. The question of whether it is a pseudoscience or not is hard to say, however from the resource I am using the topic of aliens can be considered a pseudoscience. From reading the source I would say it is not reliable because of the fact it basically uses evidence that has constantly been used such as Area 51, it even uses well known people such as Steven Hawkins to get there point that even a very intellectual person believes in the existence of Aliens. The source continuously repeats similar claims made by other people which makes me believe that these reasons are why people believe in Aliens so much and this belief has developed in a science method of their own known as UFO’ ology . The resource I am on is a blog so it’s the writers thought mainly put into it however he does use accounts where astronauts and well known people are used to prove his claim that aliens to exist. But overall his claims have not been verified scientifically and have not shown any form of data to show it. The existence of Aliens has always tried to be disapproved and in many cases they have succeeded but the resource does not take those into account and doesn’t even appeal to the idea that aliens may not exist. From what I see of the preponderance of the evidence is that you should believe in Aliens because they do exist. The signs of why aliens exist the writer uses in the source does use science but not in a manner where alien life can be proven. They just state it as an idea that due to water being located on other planets alien life forms exist. However the claimant is not playing by the rules of science because he does not take into account why the existence of aliens cannot be possible. Throughout the whole blog only positive evidence is being given about his claim and with this being done the development of the belief of Aliens it turns into pseudoscience. Providing these claims cause many others to practice this and before you know it scientific research isn’t being taken into consideration but rather personal opinions and irrational ideas. Overall personal beliefs are mainly driving the claims of the writer. This writer does not take the theory of others into consideration nor does it try to provide evidence as to why other theories may be correct instead of theirs. Now that isn’t a bad thing but in order for one to prove the actual existence of aliens you must be able to disprove your own ideas and be willing to explore alternatives that can support your idea in a different manner. However seeing how this resource has taken and shown his thoughts on Aliens I would say Aliens is a pseudoscience.

  10. Maxwell Karikari
    Tarot Cards

    The Ten Questions

    1) How reliable is the source of the claim?
    No, because I don’t find the usage of cards that state random statements as a true source or reliable source that determine guidance and help in one’s personal life.
    2) Does the Source make similar claims?
    I believe that Tarot cards in fact do make similar claims, when relating to astrology, they both show the relationship of having synchronicity used.
    3) Have the claims been verified by somebody else?
    Some claims actually have been credited by some of the people that operate tarot card reading as well their customers who try it out.
    4) Does this fit with the way the world works?
    No, because although it maybe something an open minded person should at least attempt to consider being valid, it ends up not being because there isn’t enough reason and hard evidence to support the claims given by Tarot Card reading.
    5) Has anyone tried to disprove the claim?
    Many people try to disprove the claim as there are people are people that approve of the Tarot Card Readings.
    6) Where does the preponderance of evidence point?
    It points against Tarot Cards because the majority view about it is that it is not valid and that it doesn’t have enough evidence to support it.
    7) Is the claimant playing by the rules of science?
    No because the claimant’s very little evidence were of theory’s that were not yet proven to be factual as well as mythology.
    8) Is the claimant providing positive evidence?
    No, because the claimant doesn’t use valid claims to support the Tarot Cards.
    9) Does the new theory account for as many phenomena as the old theory?
    The new theories are more predictable or in other words more likely to happen or suggest would happen as oppose to some of the old theories that were in existence. For example, a new theory would probably suggest the likeliness of one person meeting another person, which happens all the time in everyday life, as oppose to old theories which may suggest something like one person would win a certain amount of money.
    10) Are personal beliefs driving the claim?
    Yes, I definitely feel as though personal beliefs may have something to do with Tarot Cards because the statements are there it’s just a matter of whether or not you choose to believe them and take them to a personal level

  11. Shaunakay

    I had aromatherapy, and from my research and past experiences, I have encountered smells that do trigger certain feelings in a negative way. I have yet to experience a positive reaction towards a smell. Aromatherapy includes smells like "lavender oil" and "jasmine". These are both essential oils that are made up of plant material. Many lotions and body washes today have oils like those included in them. They're said to "alter and relax you mind, body, and soul". The source of aromatherapy is not reliable because there is little evidence to support the claim. Although for centuries it has been "practiced" that doesn't mean it works. I see it as an escape and an excuse for people to "relax" and feel better. Personal beliefs definitely drive the claim. Aromatherapy seems to work to a human because we believe that it should work. Belief plays a big part in it. If we don't believe in it then it won't work. This does fit in what society wants. Society wants to find a reason for everything. This claim does not provide positive evidence and there is no real research behind it except what it is claimed to do. This is not playing by the rules of science due to the fact that there was not a brain study done, stress study done, or etc. No real study or research has been done.

  12. Juwan

    Shamanic healing is when one attempts to cleanse themselves by meditation of spirit. Unlike common medical practices shamanic healing focuses on the spiritual factors rather than physical, mental and emotional aspects. The process is partially reliable because apparently it has been practiced for over 40,000 years by mostly the indigenous people of the world. Although shamanic healing is widely practiced, it is based on spiritual processes and not scientific ones. Many people have strongly vouched for it, claiming that it changed their lives and made their spirits pure. Those who oppose shamanic healing do so because of the lack of factual proof and logical reasoning displayed during the practice. People who practice shamanic healing are usually involved in other situations that they claim have spiritual benefit. These people do not usually try to disprove their beliefs of the spiritual world, rather they attempt to create, sometimes substandard, evidence to verify their ideas. The world tends to work in many reoccurring patterns that can be scientifically shown and those that cannot be shown are merely mysteries that have yet to be solved. At the same time, the world does have many random occurrences but, the natural ones are always almost explained by science. Those who strongly stand by the side of science are usually those who oppose shamanic healing because it does not follow a scientific method. They are not totally credible because those who practice shamanic healing belief that it cannot be simply explained by science. The evidence that is used to prove shamanic healing does not lean toward reoccurring patterns; logic and reasoning do not play a substantial part. The only evidence presented for shamanic healing is from personal experiences and not through the repetition of tests. People who swear by shamanic healing do display positive evidence because they talk about how it changes them for the better. They do not usually try to find evidence to disprove the claims made by others that are in opposition of them. Now that science is used my most of the western world a lot of the claims made by practitioners of shamanic healing have been disproven. Shamanic healing applies spiritual aspects to the world while science applies the scientific method. People only believe in the healing process because it has personally changed their life. Science shows how all of our lives are affected. I would classify shamanic healing as a pseudo-science.

  13. Esther
    In regards to Deng shew many people who who claim to believe and practice in these works are indeed reliable sources, even those who are skeptical of this form of tranquilizing. The sources do make other claims such as other forms of stress relief work such as acupuncture and things of that nature, and list reasons why such as the process of arranging furniture and the post results formulate/ stimulate an amazing end result. The claims have been verified threw other sources that practice within Deng shew. So this shows that although anther source has verified it is that source accurate? In a sense this does fit in with the way that the world works after all there is a common saying that “what will happen will happen and the universe will balance out”. This saying take a relation to Deng shew because they both use the same type of connotation that balance is a form of making things right and when things are made right then peace will make all stress be no longer. The evidence points to the alignment with the universe and formation of the specific location. No this claimant is not plain by the rules of science although it takes on cretin aspects of science. Personal beliefs could drive this claim, although it is so well known and used among so many people that one person could not possible stimulate such a broad speculation and intertwine it with reality.

  14. Ganiu

    The source of the claim is poorly adequate for me when it comes to feng shui do to the fact that these people aren't experts but practitioners in the art. They seem to be expert practitioners but not scientific experts on feng shui because I couldn't tell if they were scientific experts. The sources came from personal non educational websites and blogs. The sources claims that feng shui is not something where you should expect magic or immediate reactions and that all reactions will come slowly through continuous uptake with the methods and demands of feng shui. In total I am using four sources, three of which are websites and one is yahoo answers so I can get varying reactions from separate people. Based on the yahoo answers reactions the answer with the most votes stated that feng shui worked on a psychological level and lacked spiritual merit. The other three comments tried to show the spiritual aspect of feng shui relating it to chi and other forms of spiritual energy. (only one person voted). Master Joseph Yu a Southern Chinese physics and business major tried disproving feng shui but his experiments have proven feng shui to be true. Because an actual scientist has tried to disprove it and found that it worked I would have to say feng shui works. The claimants provide positive evidence and also uses scientific testing and corroborations. For instance in order to get feng shui to work you need and acutal compass to tell the actual points navigation points and where they are located in your house in order to get the right flow. This could take testing and also testing on which combinations fit you as well. The theory has changed very little over time except for use of technology in order to locate the cardinal points which could make it more accurate and account for more phenomenon than the original one. Feng shui affects the way the world works because emporers have banned it out of fear and also businessmen have used it in order to promote business and prosperity, lastly people use it in order promote their home, love, life, and health. In conclusion I do believe that feng shui does rely on some belief due to the fact that not only did one of my sources state that it does rely on some minor belief and can be brought down by superstition. This in my opinion is a sign that personal beliefs do take a claim but also the fact that large majorities of people in the Asian corner of the atmosphere have relied on it to bring them prosperity in their personal and business lives is another reason.

  15. Kolleen
    The source claims that “‘The most powerful sources of information come from within; the Tarot aids in coming in contact with one's Higher Self.’” The source I used to find information on tarot cards is not very reliable. The author, Lee Ann Obringer, who wrote the article, has a bachelor’s for journalism and advertising. The last time I checked, journalism and advertising do not deal with tarot cards. Also, the source does not make very similar claims. They claim that tarot cards shouldn’t make your decision but they should guide your decision. I don’t see the difference between being guided towards a decision and making a decision because in the end a choice is made based on what has influenced the individual. The source also says that tarot cards do not predict one’s fortune or future but it gives possible outcomes that vary based on the paths the individual takes. I see both as guessing the results based on actions. There is not much to differentiate between the two. The claims are said to have been verified by an “international magical fraternity” called the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. In my opinion, that is not good support for such extraordinary claims. Predictions made with the lack of evidence are not how the world works. Presumptions can be harmful. In the Cleveland situation, a girl’s parents asked a psychic what happened to their daughter and the psychic got inaccurate results. In the same sense, cards should not be used to get answers to questions or learn more about future outcomes. I believe the future is very sensitive; one little action can cause what is predicted to happen not happen. An internet-user wrote something on a blog referring to tarot card readings that many people agreed with. She said, “[Tarot cards] only works IF you remain on the path you were following when you arrived for the reading. In the end Tarot cards are only a tool for guidance. In the end you are the one who are in control of your own life. You make the final decision.” It is true. Yet, I feel as though tarot cards make predictions that anyone can make if they examine their life closely. It is hard to prove whether or not tarot card readings are accurate based off of the resources I have access to at the moment (internet). My source does not give enough details to say whether tarot card readings are very accurate or if they are simple/general statements that were expected to happen based on scientific evidence. For example, a tarot card reader may predict that someone will get sick within a week. Then, a day later, the person plays outside in the rain. It can be scientifically proven that someone may get sick after playing in the rain. You may even be able to guess that it would rain based on weather forecasts and that the person would be the one to play in the rain based on their personality. Therefore, the “higher self” mentioned in the claim is simply knowledge about one’s life. With tarot card readings, the person’s question or topic must be specific enough to have the tarot cards “work.” Tarot card readings are usually vague as well; general statements are applied personally. If a person does not switch off their “path” then the tarot card reading is more likely to be accurate. Then again, general statements are also more likely to be accurate. No the new theory does not account for as many phenomena as the old one. The new theory would be things that weren’t predicted to happen, happening. For example, the person that was expected to get sick didn’t get sick. The tarot reader’s excuse for this would be that the person simply switched off their path. ...

  16. ...(Part 2) When conditional statements are presented then it is okay if its contrapositive statement is correct. Personal beliefs may drive claims. For example, a reader may believe that pleasant people usually find soul mates. Therefore, they tell pleasant people that they will find their soul mate in “x” amount of time. The time may be determined based on how old the person is; if the person is 20 they will find their soul mate in 2 years, if the person is 30 they will find their soul mate in 6 months. Tarot cards seem like general assumptions applied to one’s life.

    1. The internet has a massive amount of information. I am glad to see that you explored who actually wrote the article prior to making a judgement.

  17. Sagen

    1. Aromatherapy is a form of medicine that is said to help cure you, no matter how horrid the disease or sickness or pain may be, through the use of “essential oils.” It has been said that cancer patients use aromatherapy to relieve themselves of anxiety and stress; also that it can improve their “quality of life.” However, aromatherapy has not been labeled as a direct cure to cancer, but it has been known to treat certain symptoms that come with the cancer.
    2. The National Cancer Institute at the National Institute of Health (NIH) agrees with the statement above completely. The NIH is a well trusted organization so I would say that they are very reliable and accurate with their research.
    3. The American Cancer Society also recognizes the assistance of aromatherapy to administer with symptoms of cancer, especially when dealing with pain.
    4. In a way, this does and doesn't fit with the way the world works. Many foreign countries have their own methods of “healing” because they have a large accessibility to plants that are used for medicinal remedies. Also, cancers are not a very popular disease in less developed countries. This somewhat does, however, fit with the way the world works because the claim isn't stating that it cures cancer, but rather treats the symptoms. It’s just like many other medicines that cancer patients take.
    5. There have been no counterarguments to this theory; I guess many people seem to agree with it because it actually works.
    6. I would have to agree with this theory as well because the claim made by these sources seems to fit exactly right. The explanation to support this claim would be to look at the scent receptors first. They send messages, chemically, to a nerve in the brain, which has been found to impact different parts of your body.
    7. Yes, the claimant is playing by the rules of science because all of the facts from data are being taken into consideration before coming to a consensus.
    8. The evidence described in the answer to number six should be evidence enough to my theory.
    9. I do not have a new theory.
    10. There are no personal beliefs driving the claim. Both sources are highly respected organizations that have an expert background on the field of cancer and are most likely to only use actual data to come to a conclusion such as this.

    1. So why should we trust NIH more than other institutions?

  18. Ya-Marie
    Acupuncture is the insertion of needles to a certain depth into the body; there are therapeutic benefits, including pain relief and alleviation from nausea caused by chemotherapy. The points for acupuncture are where the meridians through which gi vital energy runs. Based on research overall people believe that acupuncture works, though it does come with its limitations. But there is no scientific evidence that it does. Scientists do see a similarity in the qi and the central nervous system and its neurotransmitters and hormones. In theory, needles could stimulate this. Scientists do believe that acupuncture relieves pain, and have been encouraging patients with back problems and athletes do do acupuncture. Acupuncture is particularly useful in resolving physical problems related to tension and stress and emotional conditions. There some people who do not agree with acupuncture, they think that there are no meridian points throughout the body and you can just stick the needles anywhere. They do agree that it has some type of effect, and there is another reason for it but not the qi. Acupuncture plays by the rules of science to a certain extent, qi does not apply to science because it is a traditional belief and cannot be proven although the belief that qi is the central nervous system and its neurotransmitters and hormones can apply to science. Many researchers believe that acupuncture works for tension and physical healing. Personal beliefs did control the claim that acupuncture was a method that did work in the beginning, but as it becomes more common now, and doctors are encouraging it; science had to have seen a benefit in the human body when performing this method.

    1. So what do you believe Ya-Marie? Does it work? Can you have faith in something that is not proven by science like the existence of God?

  19. Benjamin

    1) Reiki is a spiritual practice developed in 1922 by a Buddhist monk. Already the source may not sound so reliable. The claim that Reiki heals your body by messing around with your so called “life force” sounds like baloney. It has origins in a religious environment (Buddhism), so it may not be so reliable
    2) Reiki is supposed to heal the body through palm healing or hands on healing. There are similar techniques like these to heal the body, similar claims. But they’re not so reliable
    3) People have said that Reiki has healed them or cured some kind of stress, but all this can be explained by the Placebo Affect. If one believes that they will feel better from some kind of treatment, then they will. It also works if a person believes that something will make them feel worse.
    4) Not at all. If someone is sick, it is due to a bacterial infection, viral infection, or some type of other infection. This can only then be cured or at least suppressed by medicine prescribed by a doctor or medicine sought out on one’s own accord.
    5) The US National Center for Complementary an Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) has conducted studies and they have “identified statistically significant decreases in gamma rays emitted from a patient during alternative healing sessions.” It explains the claim that Reiki helps redirect energy in one way or another, but the Placebo Affect can be at work again.
    6) The preponderance of the evidence points to the fact that Reiki works. Energy is rearranged in your body. Again, the Placebo Affect can be at work
    7) No. I’m positive that no one can just move energy with their hands in the world we live in. The rules of science dictate that humans can’t with only their bare hands
    8) If so, all can be explained by the Placebo Affect
    9) No. Traditional medicine heals through killing bacteria or suppressing viruses. The redirecting of energy probably can’t do that.
    10) Probably. Buddhist monks are usually very spiritual people who follow the teachings of Buddha. That could be contribute to the claim that Reiki heals through spiritual means.

    1. So are you saying that because Reiki was created by a Buddhist monk that is is not reliable for that reason? Can we possibly manipulate the energy in our own bodies?

  20. George
    Horoscopes are considered a pseudoscience, as they reveal a person’s future or character, based on their time of birth. Since the predictions they make, can be proven with a scientific experiment, as in regular scientists. For example, in order make something a regular science as in the “Baloney Detection Kit,” it must be able to best tested with an experiment, and the results could be consistently achieved, if the experiment is repeated correctly. However, pseudoscience cannot because the predictions, that this person will have this characteristic or future, when they are born within this range of time, cannot be tested. One example of this is, when the two planets Uranus and Neptune were discovered, they were added to the horoscope charts, this is argued by Jeremy Fejifar, who states if they can predict the future, why didn’t they add Uranus and Neptune into the horoscope charts, before they were discovered, as they should have predicted their discoveries. Later on Neptune was discovered, by scientists and not by the astrologists, who believed in horoscopes, scientists discovered that Neptune had a disturbed orbit, which hints that there could be a planet nearby. Astrologists, who didn’t want to be embarrassed again, added the new Vulcan planet in to their charts, to later find out that it wasn’t a planet because of its movements around the sun, did not qualify it to be classified as a planet. Also scientist are stating that since the Earth rotates on an axis, it shifts slightly, and this causes the alignments in the sky to shift slightly, and this will cause misinterpretation in the reading of the signs by astrologists. Thousands of years ago and thousands of years into the future, there will be different north stars, and this will affect the constellations the sun rises on your birthday, which could change your zodiac sign to a different one, which means your future or character, is not consistence over time.

    1. So why are people so drawn to horoscopes despite them being bogus?

  21. Ashanti

    The source of my clam that Acupuncture is a method to relive stress reasonable is my mom. She had tried it a while ago. Mom said that her tension that she brought with her didn’t seem to exist once she left. Knowing how my mom has a distaste for needles and she still went through the procedure shows me that it could work and go do it. Searching the web for information on Acupuncture led me to believe that I could me legitimate. Acupuncture has been practiced for thousands of years in China. The world works with an action, then a reaction occurs. Acupuncture is an action that chances a reaction to happen within your body. Many people have claimed that the Placebo Effect is the cause of the change. People have claimed Acupuncture is all in the mind, and you never had any problem that you couldn’t handle yourself. There isn’t a scientific way to measure if Acupuncture works for not. This being true many people tend to stay away from Acupuncture. Because there isn’t a science behind Acupuncture. History is fully immersed with clues that Acupuncture has been around for years, and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Many people have sworn by it online. Stating that Acupuncture changed their lives.

    1. Did you identify scientific evidence about acupuncture?

  22. Odunayo

    1. The sources that I found claiming that tarot cards work are unreliable because they are extremely vague. For example, one reader said that they “can be a great way of exploring a variety creative thinking processes.” The first thought that comes to my mind is “so does sesame street” so, based on that statement, in my mind, tarot cards have the same scientific value as sesame street.
    2. “The cards a simply a reflection of the unconscious mind of the client.” I find absolutely no way to substantiate a claim like this. This is a claim that is often repeated.
    3. The claims I’ve seen have been verified by some other readers but, not all. Some reader claim to have a spiritual connection and no other fields verify the claim.
    4. This is going against the way the world works. Our minds don’t arrange the order of cards in a deck. Or at least I think it doesn’t.
    5. Has anyone tried to disprove this claim? Realists everywhere. I couldn’t find articles from scientists but, I did find many police stings on tarot card scams.
    6. The evidence says that the cards are used to make a broad statement that can likely be true for a lot of people or, are broad enough that people begin to believe that they are true. (The Barnum effect)
    7. The Claimant is using his own theories which are unsubstantiated by science.
    8. The “evidence” they use are simple statements that are broad enough that they can be true. They can’t prove how it happens; they can only say how they believe it happens.
    9. Theory is “tarot cards work” while the other theory is that they don’t. Tarot cards not working explains why many people get arrested for fraud when they claim someone is going to die and don’t. Tarot cards working explain why someone is told they will “meet a strange figure” and do. So, in my opinion the theory that tarot cards don’t work account for more situations that the former.

  23. Edwin
    After I watched the Shermer video twice I began to analyze physic powers using the ten question baloney kit. I used a website ( in order to analyses Physic powers. This source’s reliability is greatly affected by the fact that the website is promoting Physic powers thus having a bias. This makes the reliability not very high. The source does agree with physic powers and has similar claims, which means that it is trying to promote the belief. The claim the source makes has been verified by others with similar beliefs. The source also makes the argument that their belief has been explored and funded by the US government, thus making their belief legit. But the source lacks in scientific proof, in fact the website opens up by saying do not look for proof. This belief, in my perspective does not fit in the way that the world works, this is because it is based on supernatural abilities. This belief has been in the past disproved by many people and organizations. The preponderance of the evidence points the direction or pseudo-science, this is because the claimant does not play by the rules of science instead on personal belief of the supernatural. The claimant does provide positive evidence in the way that it suggests the fact that physic powers are used the government and other organizations. This new understanding of physic powers are accounted for the phenomena of the older theory which is the belief in supernatural. In conclusion, due to facts, reasoning, and personal belief in my perception Physic powers is a pseudo science.

  24. Hyon

    Chinese officials that work at the local land resource bureau believe that a pair of stone lions that are the only reason for their bad luck. Feng Shui is the practicing of objects in order to improve one's health, luck or prosperity. The source for this is not reliable because it only presents data that points towards the claim that the stones are bad luck. The source does make similar claims it not only refers to the concept or Feng Shui, but others like face reading, astrology and dream interpretations. It would be possible for it to be verified by someone else, however the results may very. There has been a large number of back luck caused by Feng Shui, but it may only seem that way because the article does not present many examples where Feng Shui has specifically brought good luck. It does somewhat fit in with how the world works. If one wants to be prosperous or successful, then they would have to be very organized and arrange things in a specific way in order to find it efficiently. No one in the article has tried to disprove the claim. The preponderance of the evidence points towards Feng Shui creating bad luck. The claimant is not using the rules of science, they may be providing examples of bad luck, but it wasn’t created through experiments that they are testing. The claimant does not provide positive evidence. The theory that Feng Shui can create bad luck accounts for more than the theory Feng Shui creates good luck. Personal beliefs are driving this claim, in China mystic beliefs have started to become popular after the Marxist idea had faded.

  25. Paola 4A
    Shamanic Healing

    1. The sources appears reliable because for some Shamans they had opened a institute, for example: Shamanic Healing Institute, where they can train people, and have sessions of when the Shamans actually do their job. Now, because some say that Shamanic Healing comes from Native Americans whom also did the similar things before anyone knew what it was. As I came across a website called, it appeared that one must be qualify to do such a job. This man even said that he is licensed Clinical professional counselor and "highly trained medic" for the persons soul.
    2. Shamans consider their job is to "heal and teach people through individual and group spiritual healing sessions, workshops, retreats, practitioner education programs and products." I realize there are other claims on these so I am not sure if this "healing" but probably not reliable.
    3. I believe that this claim has been verified by many philosophers, doctors and other real shamans, and for those that used Reiki as well it is almost a similar practice from what people had said it has been, and for those that experience it.
    4. Well, I am not sure HOW the world works, but apparently with all of everyone's superstitions and their own pseudo ideology, Shamans consider the body to have souls and that they are able to sense the soul and that what we call an illness is meaning that our soul has been affected or "de-spirited" or as they call it. I do not think it connects with the real world where we actually know what the causes of most diseases.
    5. Apparently rationalist people who had stated that because a person belief is hard to disprove, not many has disprove what Shamans actually do. Another shaman site that I came across distinguish himself as a Kupua which is another way of a saying Shaman but in Hawaii, and he claims that because Shamans have a strong belief and that "many philosophies [states] that an intellectual belief is not a belief at all unless it is a part of a persons "core" or "gut" feeling.
    6. The preponderance of evidence point that it can be real helpful to release stresses and let your soul be free into traveling to different stages of the world while a shaman does what is necessary to you.
    7. The claimant does not use the rules of science, because their beliefs are what they already know what to do and whatever has been passed down by them.
    8. The positive evidence that the claimant provides is all simply them saying that they know what is the solution and they can sense what is wrong because they feel it within their souls that connects with everyone else's.
    9. Shamans are shamans, they may have different names for themselves and have a unique way of holding their sessions but they keep doing the same processes like how it was when it first was introduced, and is stated to be a primitive job.
    10. Personal beliefs can be driving their claim, yes because as it states earlier that because they cannot actually prove their theory but they feel it within all optimistic in what they do that motives them that shamanic healing is the best medicine to get in order for a soul to be in one place and not disorientated.

  26. Did you review what each Tarot card means? What does each symbolize?


Thanks for posting!!