Skeptics' Forum

Skeptic (Altadena, CA), Summer 2000 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Skeptics' Forum


I wish to offer an affirming comment on Philip J. Kiass's astute observation in Gary Posner's marvelous interview, "ETs May Be Out There..." (Vol. 7, No. 4): "the only secrets that can be successfully kept are those known to only one person." Two decades of work in the national security field allow me to say that Mr. Klass knows whereof he speaks. All the way back in July 1970, the Defense Science Board Task Force on Secrecy concluded that "tightly controlled information will remain secret, on the average for perhaps five years. But on vital information, one should not rely on effective secrecy for more than one year." When confronted by a UFO true believer who states that the government has kept the existence of crashed interstellar craft and alien bodies secret for over 50 years, I always answer, "Government? Our government?!"

Ronald M. Wade, Rockwall, TX,


In the Skeptics Forum (Vol. 8, #1), Allison Demarkles criticizes Robert L. Miller' s article, "Christian Science and the Perversion of Quantum Physics." Mr. Demarkles asserts that the only fair way to know or to test Christian Science is to read the works of Mary Baker Eddy.

Another way to know or judge Christian Science is to examine the consequences of some of its practices. In this regard, readers will be interested in an article titled "Child Fatalities from Religion Motivated Medical Neglect' published in the April 1998 issue of Pediatrics. The study examined the deaths 172 children who were treated solely with faith healing and reported the probability of survival had proper medical care been provided. Of these deaths, almost 50% were caused by two religious sects, the relatively unknown Faith Assembly, and the first Church of Christ, Scientist (Christian Science). Tragically, over 140 of these children had a 90% or better chance of survival with standard medical treatment. The most frequent illnesses included meningitis, pneumonia, appendicitis, and diabetes.

In one sense, I disagree with both Mr. Demarkles and Mr. Miller. I think that far too much time is spent dwelling on the writings of the troubled Mary Baker Eddy. That otherwise normal people can be led to disbelieve in germs and allow their children to suffer and die speaks loudly of the operant conditioning used so effectively by the Christian Science church for indoctrination purposes.

While the indoctrination involves many factors, its essence is the constant repetition of healing stories, principally in testimonial meetings and the endless stream of Christian Science literature that adherents are kept busy reading. Initiates are deceptively kept unaware that these healings are the result of a person's immune system, in the case of illness, or that eventually the vicissitudes of life tend to sort themselves out, in the case of personal problems. Christian Science healing is based on a mountain of lies and the fatal consequences for children deserve more attention.

Richard Smiley, Ph.D., Juneau, AK,


The worst possible kind of dogmatic "skepticism" is exemplified in the letter from Ross La Haye (SKEPTIC, Vol 8, No 1). Referring to Brown and Kauffman's article on probabilities he says "I've long suspected that the ganzfeld studies...were seriously flawed for the simple reasons that Brown and Kauffman outline in their piece." It appears that La Haye is willing, because of his a priori bias, to accept any skeptical explanation of the ganzfeld results--however feeble--rather than even consider the possibility that they might be genuine, or learn enough about ganzfeld methodology to make a reasoned assessment of the results. In fact there is absolutely no way that the interesting game described by Brown and Kauffman could be relevant to the ganzfeld studies--and Brown and Kauffman do not claim it could be.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Skeptics' Forum


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?