Palmistry, also known as chiromancy, is the practice of telling fortunes from the lines, marks, and patterns on the hands, particularly the palms.
Palmistry was practiced in many ancient cultures, such as India, China and Egypt. The first book on the subject appeared in the 15th century. The term chiromancy comes from the Greek word for hand (cheir).
Palmistry was used during the middle ages to detect witches. It was believed that certain spots on the hand indicated one had made a pact with the Devil. Palmistry was condemned by the Catholic Church but in the 17th century it was taught at several German universities (Pickover, 64). Britain outlawed palmistry in the 18th century. It is popular enough in America in the 20th century to deserve its own book in the Complete Idiot’s Guide series.
According to Ann Fiery (The Book of Divination), if you are right handed, your left hand indicates inherited personality traits and your right hand indicates your individuality and fulfillment of potential. The palmist claims to be able to read the various lines on your hand. These lines are given names like the life line, the head line, the heart line, the Saturne line. The life line supposedly indicates physical vitality, the head line intellectual capacity, the heart line emotional nature, etc.
Some palmistry mimics metoposcopy or physiognomy. It claims that you can tell what a person is like by the shape of their hands. Creative people have fan-shaped hands and sensitive souls have narrow, pointy fingers and fleshy palms, etc. There is about as much scientific support for such notions as there is for personology or phrenology. All such forms of divination seem to be based on sympathetic magic and cold reading.
So is Bill Gates really a Monsanto-owning, eugenics-loving, anti-education monster who wants to cull the population through poisoned vaccines? Or is he a wealthy man trying to use his fortune do some good in the world in a way that angers people who see conspiracy around every corner?
CLAIM: The Gates Foundation supports deadly vaccines that kill people.
First of all, let’s sweep away any speculation that supporting vaccination is a bad thing. Despite one’s personal opinion, vaccines save lives. Mommy instinct and Google University might not agree with that, but decades of scientific research does.
Vaccination in the developing world makes up a major platform of the Gates Foundation’s philanthropy. Populations that had no access to vaccines for a host of deadly, preventable illnesses now do. The Foundation’s efforts are working. In just one example, India, a country ravaged by polio not that long ago, reported one single case in 2011.
It’s the polio vaccine that makes up one of the most common claims against the Foundation, that Gates-sponsored vaccines caused 47,500 cases of paralysis in India. You’ll find this claim all over vaccine-doomsayer websites, and as you can guess, it’s not true. The polio vaccine does not cause polio. These cases turned out to be acute flaccid paralysis, caused by a non-polio enterovirus. Another oft-repeated and equally bogus claim is that Malawian children were forced at gunpoint to take Gates vaccines. The source of this is, of course, Natural News – which referenced an article from Malawi Voice that appears to have been taken down shortly after it went up.
Skeptical Raptor has a good write-up of these and other false vaccine-related accusations against the Gates Foundation. Read it, then beat your head against the nearest wall.
CLAIM: Bill Gates is a eugenics advocate who wants to cull the world’s population.
Conspiracy theories about global depopulation are legion, with everyone from the UN to the Illuminati supposedly preparing a massive thinning of the herd through “soft kill” techniques. So naturally, a Bill Gates speech about how vaccines can reduce the population of the world would be a big deal and prove him to be a murderous monster.
Of course, Gates never said such a thing.
What Gates DID do was give a TED talk in 2010, called “Innovating to Zero.” The focus of the talk was reducing global carbon emissions to, as per the title, zero. Out of that speech came this quote, which conspiracy mongers have seized on as an admission that Gates is a eugenicist in programmer’s clothing:
The world today has 6.8 billion people. That’s headed up to about nine billion. Now, if we do a really great job on new vaccines, health care, reproductive health services, we could lower that by, perhaps, 10 or 15 percent, but there we see an increase of about 1.3.
Devoid of context, it looks like he’s saying that vaccines and health care could kill a billion people. But a rational person doesn’t look at this and see the richest man in the world calmly (and publicly) outlining his plans for genocide. What Gates is talking about is reducing population growth, and reputable science bears out that a higher-standard of living equals lower birth rates. Included in this are things like good health care, better food and, yes, vaccines.
Like all the other depopulation plans, this one appears to be either not real or moving incredibly slowly.
Located off the coast of India, North Sentinel Island is a distrubing anomaly. Mysterious people live on it, but all attempts to contact them have gone disastrously wrong, and they attack any outsiders with unparalleled ferocity. So what’s going on at the island? Tune in to learn more.
- The North Sentinel Island (trufriend4u.wordpress.com)
- Best Island In The World to See (crossrenny.wordpress.com)
- No family is an island, unless it’s your own (greig.cc)
- Majuli – The Largest River Island of India (allresourceupdates.wordpress.com)
- LETTER – Moving lighthouse would require making it Big Green (hollandsentinel.com)
- Mystery tune (gearslutz.com)
- Sentinel Completes Initial Phase of North Carolina Data Center (datacenterknowledge.com)
- Extension’s response to disease threat shows its value to farming (southeastfarmpress.com)
- Tome Travels India and Ireland (Tome 221) (thetomeshow.com)
News reports are coming out of India of a “rare medical case” involving a newborn infant who apparently spontaneously bursts into flames. This has occurred four times so far. The baby is now in the hospital being treated for these burns.
The International Business Times, with a headline declaring a “mystery baby,” reports:
Rahul, a native of Tindivanam, Tamil Nadu was admitted to Kilpauk Medical College and Hospital on Thursday for burns reportedly caused by a rare medical phenomenon known as Spontaneous Human Combustion (SHC) wherein a person catches fire due to emission of inflammable substances through the body.
They do contain some token skepticism, but then go on to discuss the “controversy” over SHC and the various theories about how it might occur. The earliest reports of this case did not even contain the token skepticism, which seems to have crept into the later reports.
Some of the doctors treating the baby seem to take the SHC theory as a given – a rare medical condition. They are seeking to explain how a baby can spontaneously burst into flame. The Daily Mail quotes one doctor as saying.
‘We will carry out tests to find out the kind of gases generated by the baby’.’
I think she meant “if” the baby is generating gas. Others speculate that the baby has inflammable sweat. These are nothing but wild speculations, but they are presented as serious medical hypotheses, while SHC is presented as a real medical condition.
The media has apparently been waiting for medical tests that they somehow felt might shed light on the case. As far as I can tell, these were nothing but routine blood tests, perhaps with some specific tests thrown in, to see if there was anything unusual. Unsurprisingly, these tests came back normal.
At least some of the doctors at the hospital where the baby is being treated understand that SHC is a “hoax theory,” as they are calling it. That is true enough. I have written about SHC previously – there are no confirmed cases and no plausibility to the phenomenon. A typical alleged case involves an infirm overweight individual with an obvious external source of flame, such as a lit cigarette. This is one of those cases when a non-mystery is treated as if it is a mystery and then “explained” with wild pseudoscientific speculation.
Given that the SHC explanation is nonsensical, the most likely (unfortunately) explanation remaining is child abuse.
- Spontaneous Baby Combustion (theness.com)
- 3-Month-Old Baby Self-Ignites (theepochtimes.com)
- How to Explain Spontaneous Human Combustion (psmag.com)
- Indian Baby Suffers from Rare Spontaneous Human Combustion Condition (icantbelieveit.org)
- Indian baby catches on fire – Spontaneous combustion or abuse? (doubtfulnews.com)
- Baby Has Randomly Gone Up in Flames 4 Times (newser.com)
- Baby boy on fire: skin biopsy today at KMC (thehindu.com)
The facts and the fiction of one of the most intriguing psychological phenomena.
Today we’re going to point the skeptical eye at a topic that’s intrigued nearly everyone who’s thought about it: hypnosis. The hypnotist appears to have the ultimate superpower, the ability to persuade anyone to do or feel whatever he wants them to. For the subject, hypnosis appears to be the miracle cure to just about anything: lose weight, stop smoking, feel happier. We’ve all heard the basic plot points — that it can’t make you do anything you don’t want to do, that different people are susceptible to varying degrees — limitations that seem to negate the potential benefits. So what can it actually do, and might it be of any value to any of us?
Forms of hypnosis go back through history nearly as far as history itself. Even the earliest reported forms of deep meditation from India and Persia are considered to have been analogous to what we now refer to as self-hypnosis. Even the ancient Greeks are believed to have had practices comparable to Hindu sleep temples, where people would go to essentially become hypnotized to be put into a relaxed state as a presumed medical cure. But the history of hypnotism is associated with one name more than with any other: the 18th century German physician Franz Mesmer.
Many of us wonder about the common usages we hear about in psychotherapy, like stopping smoking, weight loss, or recovering lost memories. These are generally overblown. We like to think that we can go to a hypnotherapist who will make us no longer desire cigarettes or food, and snap like magic, the problem is solved. This is completely fictitious, as are most magically easy solutions in life. Whether hypnotherapy is effective at all in long-term behavior modification is something of an open question. Weight loss has shown good promise, but studies of using hypnosis to stop addictive behavior such as smoking or drug abuse have been much less successful. The difference is probably that weight loss is a matter of willpower alone, whereas addictions such as nicotine have additional physiological factors. Regardless, virtually all authorities agree that hypnosis should only be used to supplement conventional psychotherapy, and should not be the only tool relied upon.
The idea of recovering lost memories is highly controversial, and is no longer accepted as reliable. Hypnotherapists would lead the patient through age regression, to have them relive and re-experience a traumatic event. It is true that the focused, relaxed state does enable very strong and realistic recollections, but what we’ve learned is that these recalled experiences, though vivid, are no more accurate than any other memories. Similarly a dream can be extremely realistic, but as we know, dreams don’t necessarily reflect reality in the slightest. It’s essentially the same imaginative mechanism in your brain that creates dramatic and lucid dreams that creates the perception of a relived moment in age regression hypnosis. The prevailing view is that the subject is not actually reliving what happened, but rather is realistically imagining what it was probably like way back when, based in part on whatever recollections remain. Today, in many jurisdictions, hypnotically recovered memories are no longer admissible in court as evidence, since they’ve been proven to be too unreliable.
- Hypnosis: physiological evidence (higherthinkingprimate.com)
- Science Confirms The Obvious: Not Everyone Can Be Hypnotized (popsci.com)
- Why Hypnosis Doesn’t Work For All (medicalnewstoday.com)
- Hypnosis for Drug Addiction: An Alternative to Drugs (merlenesmemos.com)
- Not getting sleepy? Stanford research explains why hypnosis doesn’t work for all (sott.net)
- Not getting sleepy? Why hypnosis doesn’t work for all (sciencedaily.com)