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Sun, 10 Dec 2023
The World for People who Think

Science of the Spirit


Spiritual Predator: Prem Rawat AKA Maharaji

Prem Rawat, the spiritual predator known as Guru Maharaj Ji, Maharaji, the Lord the the Universe, and the Perfect Master, has been feeding off of the ignorance and gullibility of spiritual seekers for forty years. This article looks at how Prem Rawat twists the real meaning of esoteric concepts such as "Knowledge", combines it with four yoga techniques that are able of inducing "ecstatic" states in certain people, and uses the experience to reinforce a subjective view of oneself and the world that he passes off as "Knowledge", all the while binding the individuals to the "Master" by claiming that he alone can offer this experience.

The distortions of Prem Rawat are typical of many gurus of the New Age. They serve to keep the genuine seeker trapped in a spiritual dead end.


Biological clock ticks for men too: study

New York - A man's fertility appears to decline after the age of 40, in much the same way that a woman's ability to conceive fades after 35, according to French researchers.

Their study, of nearly 2,000 couples undergoing fertility treatment, found that pregnancy attempts were 70 percent more likely to fail when the man was age 40 or older than if he were younger than 30 -- regardless of his wife's age.

Comment: It's interesting that no mention is made of the effects of numerous environmental contaminants on fertility.


The Pathocratic Nature of the Hunt

The term "witch hunt" has become a common phrase in popular political discourse over the past fifty years. We've all heard of the McCarthy era communist witch hunts, where there was supposedly a "red under every bed." The term now stands for an "investigation carried out ostensibly to uncover subversive activities but actually used to harass and undermine those with differing views," as the American Heritage Dictionary puts it. Wikipedia defines it as the "persecution of a perceived enemy (commonly socially non-conformist groups) with extreme prejudice and disregard of actual guilt or innocence."


Video game therapy - a new frontier

Los Angeles - Doctors pronounced Ethan Myers brain dead after a car accident dealt the 9-year-old a severe brain injury in 2002. After he miraculously awoke from a nearly month-long coma, doctors declared he would never again eat on his own, walk or talk.

Yet, thanks partly to a video game system, Myers has caught up with his peers in school and even read a speech to a large group of students.

Comment: Well, isn't that great news?! Now, if your child has ADHD, you don't have to put him on Ritalin - you can send him to Video Game Therapy!


Anti-Depressants Double Suicidal Thoughts And Actions In Children

Antidepressants appear to double the risk of suicidal thoughts and actions in children who take them, US regulators said in a study outlining the methodology used for a 2004 report that led to warnings on drugs including Eli Lilly & Co.'s Prozac and GlaxoSmithKline's Paxil.


The Afterlife

The following caught my eye today as I was gathering articles for the Signs page:

McEwan on the afterlife

P.Z.MyersPharyngula Seed sent me a copy of this book, What We Believe but Cannot Prove : Today's Leading Thinkers on Science in the Age of Certainty, and I've been browsing. It's a collection of short essays (sometimes very short) on assumptions held by individual thinkers without solid evidence. It's thought-provoking, even where I think the writer is a dingbat (Ray Kurzweil) or blithering banalities (Kevin Kelly). I rather liked Brian Goodwin's essay on the fallacy of the nature-nurture problem, but so far, my favorite is one by the author Ian McEwan:

What I believe but cannot prove is that no part of my consciousness will survive my death. I exclude the fact that I will linger, fadingly, in the thoughts of others, or that aspects of my consciousness will survive in writing, or in the positioning of a planted tree or a dent in my old car. I suspect that many contributors to Edge will take this premise as a given-true but not significant. However, it divides the world crucially, and much damage has been done to thought as well as to persons, by those who are certain that there is a life, a better, more important life, elsewhere. That this span is brief, that consciousness is an accidental gift of blind processes, makes our existence all the more precious and our responsibilities for it all the more profound.


Good-Hearted Women Fail to Deal with Bad Hearts

The legend of the hard-hearted woman has gone to our heads, and that's probably bad for everyone's health. Women with heart disease discount the severity of their problem compared to men with the exact same cardiac symptoms and conditions, new research shows.

Among surveys given to 490 patients treated for a heart attack or severe chest pain at the University of Michigan between 1999 and 2002, 348 men and 142 women ranked the seriousness of their disease the same.

But in fact, the women had much worse disease, took more medicines and suffered more serious symptoms and limitations on their daily lives. These results, published in a recent issue of the American Journal of Medicine, were no surprise to study co-author Kim Eagle, clinical director of the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center.

"My female patients with heart disease are often more concerned about their spouses, children, and grandchildren, than they are about their own health," Eagle told LiveScience.

Heart - Black

Marital Spats Raise Risk of Heart Attack

Fighting with the one you love can leave you broken-hearted, a feeling that now appears to be more than just figurative.

Marital spats and dominating behavior are related to hardening of the coronary arteries, which supply blood to the heart. Clogged arteries raise the risk of a heart attack.

A study in December found wounds heal more slowly in people who fight with their spouses.


Four And a Half Years...

Has anybody noticed that news isn't what it used to be?

What happened to the general up and down, back and forth, flow of events, both good and bad, that used to be our daily fare? It used to be possible to read the news and the good news somehow was able to counterbalance the bad news. Yes, there were evil things afoot, but there were also good things in the works.

Eye 2

A&E nurse 'harmed patients to feel thrill of reviving them'

A nurse killed two patients by deliberately administering fatal overdoses of drugs so he could feel the "thrill" of trying to revive them, a court heard yesterday.

Two people died and 16 were nearly killed by drug-induced respiratory problems while Benjamin Geen was a staff nurse at the accident and emergency unit of Horton general hospital in Banbury, Oxfordshire, the prosecution said.

Suspicions were aroused when nearly every patient who came near the 25-year-old nurse developed sudden breathing problems and deteriorated quickly and unexpectedly, prosecutor Michael Austin-Smith QC told jurors.

Mr Geen appeared before Oxford crown court yesterday charged with the murder of David Onley, 77, of Deddington, between January 20 and 23 2004, and Anthony Bateman, 67, of Banbury, on January 6 2004. He is also accused of causing grievous bodily harm with intent to harm 16 other patients, and 18 counts of administering a noxious thing so as to endanger life. He denies the charges.