Complementary and alternative medicine Friday Woo Medicine Quackery Religion Skepticism/critical thinking

Your Friday Dose of Woo: Therapeutic Christopheresis

Ah, the day after Thanksgiving. I had wondered whether I would have the wherewithal to actually come up with yet another installment of this blog’s usual Friday feature. After all, too much food can lead to a decrement in brain function that would make it difficult, if not impossible, to come up with the goods. It seemed to me to be a perfect opportunity to do a treatment of the top-notch woo that you’ve all come to expect. Fortunately, there’s a bit of woo hanging around that I’ve wanted to have some fun with. This woo is top-shelf, as you will see. The only problem is that I’m not 100% certain that it’s not a hoax.

Of course, that’s never stopped me before. After all, what’s the worst that can happen? My readers make fun of me for a week for falling for an obvious hoax.

Or not.

Blood is necessary for life. That much was obvious even to the most ancient civilizations. If too much of the blood leaves a person’s body, that person dies. It’s not surprising, then, that such civilizations would view it as containing the life force of the person or animal and liken bleeding to death as draining that life force. It’s also not surprising that ancient civilizations would make a big deal about the “purity” of the blood, viewing it as somehow equivalent to the purity of the life essence, or that they would believe that various personality characteristics could be contained within the blood. And if blood carries all these mystical qualities don’t even get me started on what attributes the ancient world attributed to semen.

These days, we know that the blood is a vital fluid. It carries oxygen and nutrients to all parts of the body. It carries immune cells to help fight infection. It carries clotting factors that work to repair damage to blood vessels and prevent blood loss. What it does not do is carry personality characteristics or race. We know that semen carries sperm, which combine with the woman’s egg to produce new life but is not imbued with any sort of mystical life force that we can detect. At least, that’s what science tells us.

But who needs science, anyway, if God tells you otherwise? Hence, we have Fluids for Christ, which starts with this inarguable bit of logic:

Man is made of 70% water. Water is a fluid. Therefore, fluids are the basis of life.

God’s spirit moves through us like a fluid. It is part of us. We are fluid. Fluids are the basis of Christian life.

I thought Christ was the basis of Christian life. At least, that’s what I was taught. Fortunately for me, someone named Winston Katt claims to have spent 30 years researching “science, the Bible, and fluids.” Let’s learn what he’s learned so far, shall we? You won’t be disappointed. It all starts with this story:

In the early 80s, Katt’s younger brother, Ray, was in a horrific motorcycle accident. “He was always a wild sort. Kind of like Marlon Brando in that biker movie? Looked just like him except for the nose and eyes, and he didn’t quite have the mouth. But he always wore this leather jacket.” As Ray teetered near death, doctors told Katt, his wife Freida (now deceased), and Ray’s roommate Michael that only a blood transfusion would save the dying man. Katt rolled up his sleeve and through the grace of God turned out to be a perfect match!

“After Ray got that transfusion,” Katt remembers, “he was a changed man. He used to party all the time with his buddies. They’d go to these bars and drink with each other and stay out all night. Then they’d have sleep-overs like little girls. They were always too busy with these parties to date women. Him and Michael were always going out to those bars. But after the accident, he stopped going. He gradually realized that Michael was a bad influence. To get away, he moved in with a close friend, Julian, who was the pastor of a non-denominational church.”

Ray gradually began attending church services. Continuing his job as a florist, he went to Divinity School at night. Working through Winston’s transfused blood, God’s spirit turned Ray’s life around!

Proud of his little brother’s achievements and curious about their cause, Katt spent the next two decades researching genetics, hematology, fluid dynamics, psychology, geometry, and religion. “I had to borrow from many disciplines because there was very little medical literature about the transferative properties of individual donor characteristics. In other words, could certain qualities of the blood donor be passed on to the recipient? In my brother’s case, the answer was a very emphatic Yes.”

A very nice anecdote, wouldn’t you say? Are you convinced? Winston’s devout, serious Christian nature was, according to him, transferred to his brother. Of course, even in the early 1980s, which was when I was starting medical school, directed donation of the type described by Mr. Katt was pretty darned uncommon. Also, if Ray had suffered such a traumatic injury that only a transfusion could save him, it’s doubtful that a single unit of whole blood or packed red blood cells would be enough to save his life. A lot more would be needed.

Upon perusing the website, I wasn’t sure if it was a joke or not. Certainly there are suggestions there that it could well be, but if it is it’s a good one. Truth to tell, I’m still not sure. However, it’s just wacky enough that it could very well be legit. For one thing, Fruitport, Michigan, where Mr. Katt claims to hale from, is a real town on the west coast of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. If you go to the Guestbook, the first notation from Katt himself is a test of the guestbook, which suggests a bit of a believer to me. Truth be told, although I’m not 100% sure that I’m not being hoaxed here. It only matters somewhat, though. Moreover, if it is legitimate, Mr. Katt seems not to realize when he is being put on by people submitting “testimonials.” If it is a hoax, it’s such a good parody of blood woo that it’s worth perusing. So, onwards!

Of course, this woo wouldn’t be nearly so interesting (and thus worthy of a little fun on a Friday) if all it was was religion. Fortunately for connoisseurs of woo, Mr. Katt is a science-minded individual. Sort of. He took this single anecdotal observation and decided to run with it. As he tells us, his current topics of research, based on this observation, include:

  • the possibility of Christian tissue and organ donation (currently prevented by federal, state, and local regulations);
  • methods of preventing contamination of mass-produced food supplies by UnChristian vectors;
  • methods of raising Christian livestock (cattle, pork, poultry) for human consumption; and
  • several other proprietary (i.e., secret!) topics of research.

I’ll get to Mr. Katt’s research in a minute. First, let’s examine what he’s trying to do with this radical new concept. He warns Christians:

There is an unmet need in God’s community for Christian fluid donations. Blood transfusions from UnChristian donors may have very serious side-effects for even the most devout Christians: backsliding, doubt, and eventual godlessness. (There is debate in the scientific community about this phenomenon, but it can generally be considered to be true.)

Wow, really? How come they didn’t teach me this in medical school? But, one wonders, would transfusing a Christian with atheist blood turn him into an atheist? What about Muslim blood? Or Jewish blood? Could good Christians like Mr. Katt be turned Muslim or Jewish just by a contamination of their blood? Could such religiously unsegregated blood be a threat to Christian values? Mr. Katt says yes. How does he know? Science, of course!

Of course, far more important is whether or not the seed of life comes (sorry, couldn’t resist) from a Christian:

There are 2.1 million infertile couples in the United States. But thanks to God’s modern technology, millions of loving Christian parents can give the gift of life through various Creation techniques.

Fluids for Christ has discovered the importance of using Christian seeds and receptacles during Assisted Miracle procedures. (Secular science has yet to publish its findings.) Banked seeds and receptacles are not currently labeled as Christian or UnChristian, nor does the medical community seem concerned about this problem. It can be assumed, though, that cultural differences and taboos make UnChristian seeds and receptacles more widely available than Christian ones. THE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY MUST START ITS OWN SEED AND RECEPTACLE BANKS!

Of course, because we all know that Christianity is genetically determined and passed down from parents to children, right?

But the pièce de résistance of this bit of Christian woo has to be the all-time greatest term I’ve heard in my time of blogging, therapeutic Christopheresis:

In his basement laboratory, Katt has learned how to replicate traditional apheresis methods using a series of sterile household appliances and other power tools. Katt found that blood components obtained by apheresis can be studied for Christian qualities.2 UnChristian components can then be isolated and destroyed, leaving only the Christian components.

Secular therapeutic apheresis uses blood or one of its components to treat disease. Therapeutic Christpheresis uses Christpherized blood to treat dysfunctions of Christianity, or the absence of it.

Naturally, the reason that this process can work is this:

While it is generally assumed that blood is either Christian or UnChristian, this is incorrect. The blood of any given person, with the possible exception of Jesus Christ, is a mixture of both Christian and UnChristian components. In proven Christians, however, Christian elements take predominance over UnChristian ones, and vice versa. The transfusion of Christian blood that has not been through Christpheresis is therefore a safe process, given that Christian blood components will outnumber UnChristian ones. This said, the transfusion of distilled, Christpherized blood remains the ultimate goal of Fluids for Christ.

Of course. It’s so obvious. Just imagine the power.

Alright, I know that this is probably a very clever hoax. Maybe it’s the holiday; maybe it’s just a perverse mood. I don’t know. But I thought this site was just hilarious enough to be worth giving a bit of the ol’ YFDoW treatment. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean that I’m going to start featuring parodies (if parody this is). There’s plenty of real woo out there, believe me.

In fact, what I’m really waiting for are the Christian Sound Waves and Home Assisted Miracle Kits. I could add that to the Quantum Homeopathy and DNA Activation. Then just imagine how powerful such a combination could be. Too powerful, perhaps. It might even risk rending the very fabric of the space-time continuum.

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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