Friday Woo Skepticism/critical thinking

Your Friday Dose of Woo: The secrets of Jesus and immortality can be yours–for a price

As hard as it is to believe, we’re up to the third week of Your Friday Dose of Woo. And, at week 3, I’m still having the same problem: too many targets of woo, so many so that they overwhelmed my tired brain not unlike Lionel Milgrom’s quantum homeopathy becoming quantumly entangled with my neurons. (Never mind that quantum entanglement and other quantum effects cease to be a major factor for anything bigger than the atomic scale.) I thought of revisiting Milgrom’s most excellent woo, but, because I’ve been on call, I just haven’t had the time (or the will) to plow through his paper.

Fortunately, Stupid Evil Bastard came to the rescue to tell me that Jesus’ secrets (including a cure for cancer) are now for sale on Ebay!

And, you’d better hurry. There’s not much time. The auction closes out at 15:34:54 PDT. That’s not much time at all to snatch up such fantastic wisdom for the bargain basement “Buy It Now” price of $15,000.

So what do you get for your money? Let the seller tell the tale:

Jesus appeared to me on March 17, 1984. I was 28 years old at the time. He instructed me to spread His solution for the achievement of world peace and to work towards it. He instructed me to tell people the precise location of Heaven. And he instructed me to share the cure for cancer. BUT He told me NOT TO TELL ANYONE He had appeared to me until after the dawn of the new millennium when at that time I would receive a sign. The sign would be a huge natural disaster. For a brief while I thought the events of September 11, 2001 were the sign that it was OK to tell people that Jesus had appeared to me. However, I knew that Jesus had said it would be a NATURAL DISASTER so I remained silent. Then the tsunamis of December 2004 hit. I realized that it was time for me to come forward. I have been trying to ‘go public’ since then.

And here’s what you’d be bidding on:

The winner of this auction will receive my handwritten journal where I have described in detail the four messages of Jesus Christ who has appeared to me.

Jesus revealed four specific things to me:

#1: The precise location of Heaven

#2. The cure for cancer

#3. The solution for the achievement of world peace.

#4. He revealed the future to me.

Cool, huh? I just hope he’s not a doctor. (The journal is, after all, handwritten.) Fortunately, he’s willing to give potential buyers a little taste of Jesus’ revelations. First, a bit about the precise location of Heaven:

When we die we will become stars… Literally stars! Jesus Christ is our Earth’s sun. That is why we are His… Because we come on one of His planets. When we die and become stars we, too, will be blessed by wonderful special planets which orbit us and bring us great happiness. God the Creator is also a star… The first and the greatest. Two thousand years ago Jesus said “I am the Light of the World.” Jesus now wants us to understand that this means He is the Sun and that when we die, we will become stars too.

Hmmm. I don’t recall seeing anything about that in the Bible. But why would it be Heaven to be a star? After all, all you could do would be to drift through space, burning up your fuel, until one day you go supernova and flare out. I wonder if Jesus thought of that. I thought we were supposed to be immortal in Heaven. Or maybe this guy just misunderstood what Jesus was trying to tell him. After all, fundies have a hard time understanding the concept of metaphor, which is why so many of them insist that Genesis is a literal account of the creation, down to the Earth being created in six days.

Here’s the one that interested me the most, as a professional matter:

The cure for cancer is actually the knowledge of the precise CAUSE OF CANCER. We already know the cures for cancer, mainly prevention and early detection. Also chemotherapy, radiation, surgery and alternative medicine. We also are acutely aware of the roles of carcinogens, environment, heredity and diet. But what is the PRECISE AND SOLE CAUSE OF CANCER? CANCER OCCURS WHEN WE EAT OUR OWN FLESH. (Two very simple examples of eating our own flesh are biting our cuticles or biting our lips.) When a piece of our own flesh is digested, microscopic fragments of our own DNA enter the bloodstream. If a piece of this DNA enters a vulnerable cell, the nucleus of the cell identifies the ‘food’ as ‘self’ and this causes a ‘circuit’ to be blown in the nucleus. When (and if) that cell goes to divide, it does so in a haphazard fashion, dividing into four instead of into two and the mutation continues. There is an interesting correlation to Christianity here. Jesus told us to “take His flesh and eat it.” Now he wants us to know not to eat our own flesh in any way because it is deadly.

Wow. There’s so much woo here in such a concentrated form that it almost blew a circuit in my brain, not unlike the proverbial piece of DNA entering the nucleus of the “vulnerable” cell, as described above, will supposedly cause the cell’s circuit to blow. Of course, if he’s referring to specific tumors that are caused by viruses, having DNA enter the cell can indeed result in malignant transformation. Never mind that most DNA is digested into its component nucleic acids by nucleases, and it is the nucleic acids that enter the bloodstream, and that digesting DNA like that completely eliminates the ability of even oncogenes to transform cells. I’m sure Jesus knows more about molecular biology than I do. I also have to point out that we can’t help eating our own flesh all the time. We do it whenever we swallow, as cells shed from the lining of our mouths mix with the saliva and wind up in our stomachs. We do it whenever we sniff and then swallow, because the mucous in our nasal passages is loaded with epithelial cells shed from the lining of those passages in the normal course of their turnover. Add that to epithelial cells shed from the GI tract itself, and we’re constantly “eating ourselves.” Jesus sure didn’t give this guy any advice that would help. “Eating ourselves” at least a little bit is part of our normal physiology; so presumably Jesus designed us that way. Perhaps Jesus was trying to explain autophagy to this guy, and he just got it wrong. Or maybe Jesus’s cells didn’t undego autophagy. Who knows?

Besides, we already know the only sure cure for all cancers.

But Jesus didn’t limit His advice just to our becoming stars after we die and how to stop cancer. Oh, no. Thankfully, he revealed the way to world peace:

his is so simple! According to Jesus, the way to achieve world peace is this: An AMERICAN president has to set a goal for WORLD PEACE BEFORE 2021. (President Kennedy did something similar when he set a goal for the USA to land a man on the moon in the 60’s.)

I guess that Jesus must be an American or something like that. Otherwise, why would it have to be an American President setting the goal? Yes, I know the U.S. is still the sole remaining superpower, but Asian nations are catching up. I’m not so sure we’ll be alone anymore by 2021. And why does it have to be by 2021? OK, I know. I’m thinking way too much about this. Sorry.

Finally, though, he gives us a glimpse of…the future! And here it is:

The future will go one of two ways: If world peace is not achieved before 2021 the world will destroy itself. If world peace is achieved before 2021, there will be no more natural disasters.

Again, I have to ask what the significance of the year 2021 is. Presumably Jesus revealed it, but the seller is just holding it back. (After all, if the seller revealed everything that Jesus told him, then why bother to buy the notebook?) Just think, though. All we have to do is to stop fighting, and there won’t be any more natural disasters. Of course, the number of people who died last century in natural disasters probably paled in comparison to the number of people who died as a result of war. I suppose we can consider the lack of natural disasters to be a bonus that Jesus just threw into the bargain.

Or maybe not.

In any case, seeing the above religious woo, in which all the secrets of creation and cancer are revealed if you’re willing to fork over several thousand dollars, rather reminded me of another piece of very strange woo that I hadn’t considered in a long time. You see, it turns out that you can have more than secrets revealing how to achieve world peace, cure for cancer, world peace, freedom from natural disasters and how we become stars after we die in order to commune with Jesus.

You can have immortality.

A guy by the name of Alex Chiu tells us it’s easy and that he’s invented a device that will let you–yes, you!–live forever! As he puts it:

According to Alex Chiu, based on testimonies, facts, and proofs, people are believed to be able to stay physically young forever by using his new inventions “The Eternal Life Rings” and “The Eternal Life Foot Braces”. The Eternal Life Rings are to be worn on both small fingers of a user during sleep. The Eternal Life Foot Braces are to be worn on all toes of both feet during sleep. Both devices consist of rare earth or ceramic magnets and plastic braces which hold magnets onto the fingers of the user. The inventor explained that the fingers and toes are the negative (-) and positive (+) terminals of your body.

When placing the magnetic devices, the magnetic pole on the right side of the human body is opposite to the left side. With a opposite pole on each side of the human body, blood circulation and electric current of the body are enhanced. The enhanced blood circulation and electric current increase metabolism in order to fight the aging process.

The Eternal Life Rings and The Eternal Life Foot Braces invented by Alex Chiu are believed to allow humans to stay physically young forever or turn humans physically younger, (Our lawyer told us to use the word “believe”) as long as you wear the rings or foot braces every night during sleep.

He even tells you how to build Life Rings and Foot Braces of your very own! I wonder if Chiu consulted lawyers when he set up his affiliates program to sell his Immortality Devices. I wonder what his marks will do when they find out that his device doesn’t grant immortality? Sue him? How? They’ll be dead! Perhaps their estate will sue, but my guess is that most estates would be too embarrassed to admit that the deceased fell for such amazing woo. Besides, Chiu’s devices are patented; so they must work!

But immortality isn’t enough for Alex Chiu, nor should it be enough for you. He’ll offer you even more than just immortality, namely Gorgeous Pills,” which, Chiu promises, will do this for you:

This pill was named ‘Gorgeous Pill’ because it turns a user prettier every time the pill was taken. The user will gradually look PERFECT, even more gorgeous than super models. You will one day reach PHYSICAL PERFECTION!!

Damn. What am I waiting for? My flabby middle-aged body is getting more and more creaky with every passing year, as my hair gets more and more gray and I start to notice more and more fine wrinkles in my skin. Not surprisingly Chiu informs us that the Gorgeous Pill requires the Immortality Rings to work. No biggie. After all, who wouldn’t want immortality and physical perfection? No Dorian Gray immortality for me, that’s for sure or the trick you sometimes see in fiction in which a character is granted immortality but not freedom from the aging of the body. No sirreee. And here’s how it works:

The human body is very much like a sex balloon doll. The air is its Chi energy. Without enough air, the doll will look ugly because its body or its face will not be in the perfect shape. Just like humans. If a person has weak Chi flow, he will look ugly because his body or his face won’t look perfect.

Healthy Chi flow = Success, fitness, and beauty
Weak Chi flow = Failure, problems, and uglyness

The Immortality Rings are like an air pump which pumps extra air into your body every night. But if a certain part of your body is damaged or is clogged up, air cannot flow through that area. Therefore that area of your body has weak Chi flow and also looks ugly. If a certain part of your body receives weak Chi flow, than that part of your body starts to fall apart. Then cancer, tumor, and other diseases develop there. The Gorgeouspil functions like a lubricant. Once the lubricant has been applied to damaged or clogged area, the Chi channel opens up allowing air to flow through. Then that area will look more perfect as more Chi energy has been pumped in.

Once your body reaches perfection, you become prettier. Because perfection = beauty. So basically, Gorgeouspil helps you reach perfection.

You know, I really have to wonder about Alex when I read his analogy comparing the human body to a sex balloon doll. I also have to question the effectiveness of his device based on the pictures of himself that Mr. Chiu festoons his website with. Although not ugly, he is certainly no picture of “physical perfection.” And his view of what constitutes “beauty” is rather narrow and even disturbing:

How can Gorgeouspil guarantee a progressive beauty?…By eliminating ugliness. That’s how. It’s hard to define beauty. But it’s very easy to define ugliness. Disfigurement is ugliness. Retarded looking face is ugliness. Too dark or too pale is ugliness. Too fat or too skinny is ugliness. Nose too wide or too thin is ugliness. Anything that shows a sign of poor health or out-of-balance Chi flow is ugliness. Gorgeouspil will stimulate all cells in your body forcing them to regroup and reheal. The result is better balanced and better traffic of Chi flow. Gorgeouspil will eliminate all those ugliness for you. The lesser the ugliness you have on you, the prettier you become. Agree?

You will look more and more superior everyday. You will be hooked on this pill! But best of all, this pill is good for your body. It is made out of all natural food products. There are absolutely no harmful side-effects.

And let’s not forget how this could save the world:

And Gorgeouspil can stop humans from multiplying! So spreading the usage of Gorgeouspil can save the environment. Here’s why:

1. Without Gorgeouspil, people’s bodies would age. Blockages of Chi energy would torment a person’s soul. The soul can no longer tolerate flowing inside a deteriorating body. New bodies need to be reproduced.

2. The deteriorating body is forced to produce offspring so that his soul can share a line of new and fresh bodies. This is what I call ‘abandon ship’ theory.

3. But with Gorgeouspil, the body will constantly be repaired. Blockages of Chi energy will slowly be opened up. If there is no more blockages of Chi energy, the soul will no longer be tormented. Therefore the body no longer needs to reproduce itself. No more ‘abandon ship’.

So people who take Gorgeouspil don’t want kids. A person who takes Gorgeouspil likes to concentrate his soul within his own body and does not wish to scatter his soul on to other bodies. So making babies is not desirable for people who take Gorgeouspil. Gorgeouspil allows a person to achieve unlimited beauty and unlimited youth. Meanwhile, it stops humans from unnecessary reproductions of more human beings.

I could go on, but there’s so much concentrated woo on Alex Chiu’s site, including a lot of new stuff since the last time I visited there many months ago, that you really should check it out for yourself and explore its full woo-ness, such as his discussion of what God is, his plan to unite the entire world, his super Chi flush, which “burns through everything” (although Chiu might want to get rid of the word “burn,” as alties don’t like it and use it as a dismissive term for radiation therapy), his new Darwinism, and more.

So the question becomes: Whose woo is stronger, the guy selling Jesus’ secrets on Ebay or Alex Chiu? I was tempted to say the Ebay guy, if only for the reason that he might just be able to con someone into paying as much as $15,000 for his scribblings in a notebook. Money talks, and frequently the strongest woo is the woo that can attract the most money. but I couldn’t give it to him. I don’t know about you, but, if given the choice between learning how to cure cancer and how we will become suns after we die and living forever in an endlessly 20-year-old body, I’m going for the eternal life in the ever-youthful body. Then I don’t have to worry about turning into a sun after I die. Besides, Alex Chiu’s woo is much cheaper. Alex also has two things that the Ebay Jesus guy doesn’t have: (1) lots of testimonials and, even more importantly, (2) the endorsement of Kevin Trudeau.

With a combination like that, how could he go wrong?

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

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