Food for Thought
Stephen van Rooyen and his girlfriend defrauded people with life-threatening illnesses by offering them a fake 'cure'. They are facing a potential 20 years in jail each. They deserve life. The funny thing is, if they had committed this crime in SA instead of USA, they likely wouldn't even be prosecuted. And if they were, all they'd have to do is show that it was a 'traditional' remedy, and they'd be protected by the constitution. Some people say that South Africa has one of the most progressive constitutions in the world. This is not always a good thing, where it would protect people like this.
In other health news, in response to consumers calling for labelling of GM foods in south africa (one of the few countries to actually use GM foods without whining like little girls about the patents), tests are to be undertaken by the University of the Free State to determine the safety of genetically modified foods. I predict they will find there is no difference between foods genetically modified in a lab and foods genetically modified in the greenhouse, except for speed and accuracy.
It's interesting that consumers are so worried about the chance of genetically modified soy creeping into soy products, but thoroughly welcome the introduction of pork genetically modified to be good for you. What this tells me is that it's the vegetarians doing the whining. I think it's time to reiterate my standpoint on vegetarians: eating them will solve a lot of problems.
And lastly, the Templeton Foundation spent $2million to fund a massive study on the effects of prayer on recovering patients. For those not in the know, the Templeton foundations spends a lot of money on scientists who are religious, or whose science contributes to (christian) religious beliefs (i was actually lectured by George Ellis who won a lot of money from the foundation for being a religious cosmologist). While they often do fund good science, their objectives are pretty obvious: give money to scientists for being religious. Anyway, Dr. Herbert Benson, the scientist leading this particular study, set out to prove that prayer could affect patients recovering from heart surgery. He didn't try to hide his hopes for the outcome - he has always been optimistic when it comes to the subject of prayer and religion, or the foundation would never have given him so much money.
So it's not only a triumph for science, but a triumph for him as a scientist, that the study found no effect whatsoever. None. In fact there may be indication that patients who knew they were being prayed for actually did worse. Why do i say this is a triumph for him as a scientist? Because he reported it. He did the best science he could, came out with what for him was a negative result, and still reported it faithfully and accurately. That's what real scientists do, ladies and gentlemen. They don't hide negative results, they don't fix studies to come out with the result they're looking for. They do good science.
Of course, there will be absolutely no change in the viewpoints of those who believe in the power of prayer. Nothing as simple as cold hard facts or proof can be expected to sway them, now can it?