Monday, March 21, 2011

"Lifestyle & Leisure" woo at Howard Community College

Howard Community College is offering yet more woo! For spring, it lists a wide range of woo in the "Lifestyle & Leisure" category of its catalog, including:
The word Qigong literally means skill or cultivation of vital energy (qi). Traditional Chinese medicine believes that good health is the result of a free-flowing, well-balanced qi (bio-energy) system, while sickness, pain or physical disorders are the result of qi blockage, or unbalanced qi in the body. Qigong practice helps to balance the qi system in the body and break the qi blockages to recover health....
The Chakra System and Auras
Use the basic of this system of energy and find out how to balance these energy spirals. You will also be given techniques to see auras and what the colors of the aura mean.
Interpreting Your Dreams
This course will offer easy guidance into the world of dream interpretation. Dreams are powerful indicators that provide us with insight about our lives. Learn the five basics to unlocking the meaning of your dreams and to receive answers from your higher self.
You Can Hear and See Your Inner Guide
Have you ever wondered what your purpose is? Do you even think about who or what is out there that could guide you to find the right path for you? You have a guide inside of your (sometimes called the higher self). You just need to learn to recognize that guide and pay attention to the message. Using techniques from the facilitator's book, you will be shown how to work with energy and creative visualization in order to unblock your mind.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Pet woo for you at Howard Community College

Howard Community College will be offering, as usual, a number of non-credit courses in woo this spring. Among them, woo for pets. No actually, pet woo for you, because I'm pretty sure that your pets don't practice woo. They're too smart for that:
Petspeak: What Your Animals Really Want You To Know
Have you ever wondered what your companion animals are trying to communicate? Have you ever been perplexed by their behavior? Why don't you ask them? In this entertaining and provocative evening, Animal communicator Terri Diener will introduce you to the rich and wonderful world of your pet's thoughts and feelings. Please bring a photograph of your pet to class.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Career woo at Community College of Baltimore County

I've written before about the woo courses being offered as continuing education at both the Community College of Baltimore County and Howard Community College. we go again.

But this time, the woo is worse, because it's not being offered as a course in Wellness or Personal Enrichment so people can be stupid in their personal lives. The latest CCBC continuing ed catalog lists woo in Career Training which may allow people to be stupid in their careers and negatively impact a larger group of people:

The First is listed under "Complementary Medicine":
Reiki for Health Care Professionals-Level 1
Learn the history of the development of Reiki and how Qi (energy) is present in everything around us. You will also learn about how Qi flows through the human body and how Reiki influences this flow and affects disease/wellness. By the end of the session, you will be able to apply your learning to a self-healing.
Oh, joy. "Level 1" woo, so there's apparently higher level woo training for health care professionals. I guess I may need to start asking my health care professionals if they practice science-based medicine or not.

Also being offered under "Professional CEUs":
Qigong for the Massage Therapist
Learn about body opening movements to relax the body and clear an accumulation of tension and how to apply these techniques to a current clinical practice. Topics include the Eight Pieces of Brocade to cleanse the body and circulate energy to improve the health and the body/mind, stimulate healing and increase longevity. This course is pending approval by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB). 
So, pending professional CEU's for a course in woo in order to remain certified by a certification board that certifies massage therapists in "all modalities and disciplines" including woo like shiatsu and reflexology.

Certified woo practitioners. With certifications accepted by Maryland and 37 other states and DC accoring to the NCBTMB web site. Aarrgghhh!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Tarot reading: You pay what it's worth

More woo email today:

I'm actually starting to look forward to these woo-mails, as I find them amusing blog material.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Praying for better test scores

According to a March 14 article in The Baltimore Sun, "Prayers at city school before tests criticized" by Erica L. Green, the principal of a Baltimore City public school used prayer to help prepare students for standardized testing. Because, you know, students' praying to God for help on tests has been a well-tested (heh) and highly successful strategy. The better you pray, the better the scores. Right?

Here's a copy of the flier that the school distributed:

According to The Sun, "Local officials said they will use the incident as an opportunity to emphasize to school leaders appropriate school-sponsored events." Which is good.

What is not good was the response of Jimmy Gittings, president of the city principals' union. 

According to The Sun, Gittings said:
"The only individuals I hold accountable for these injustices for Ms. Yon [the school principal] are the narrow-minded politicians from some 50 years ago, for removing prayer from our schools. Once prayer was removed from our schools, the respect for our teachers and administrators has been increasingly out of control."
The Sun added:
Gittings, a proponent of prayer in schools, said he fully supported Yon's actions. He said he was aware that it wasn't constitutional, but he still believed in the message.

So the head of Baltimore's principals' union not only believes in the power of prayer, but he also believes in public school-sanctioned prayer, and he doesn't believe in the rule of law and the U.S. Constitution. Nor apparently does he understand why school-sanctioned prayer is unconstitutional, or if he does, he doesn't care. And he thinks school prayer was removed by "narrow-minded politicians." Wonderful. Just the person we should want representing those in charge of educating our children.  

Help Japan, Donate and..., Part 3

More suggestions on ways to help Japan as it would be to "donate and pray":

From Rey Fox:
  • Donate and rearrange the pictures on your wall.
  • Donate and ride your bicycle to the cell phone store.
  • Donate and eat a hard-boiled egg.
  • Donate and recite Marc Antony's soliloquy from Julius Ceasar in Basque.
  • Donate and do fourteen somersaults.
  • Donate and contemplate the sound of one hand clapping.

From SteveV, Death's Haberdasher:

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Help Japan, Donate and..., Part 2

Since my post yesterday, listing some of my ideas as to how people could help Japan as effectively as "donating and praying," some others have made suggestions:

From Caine, Fleur du mal:
  • Donate and down a shot. Down a shot for every donation. Drinking game!
  • Donate and make love.
  • Donate and bake chocolate bacon cookies.
  • Donate and hug your pet.
  • Donate and look at a pretty picture of a rainbow.
  • Donate and dress up.
  • Donate and go out on the town.
  • Donate and take deep, cleansing breaths.
  • Donate and cry huge crocodile tears.
  • Donate and rub iodine on your belly.

From Part-Time Insomniac, Death's Zombie Pet Porcupine:
  • Donate and wear silk panties.
  • Donate and ride a unicycle naked.
  • Donate and sing "I Feel Pretty" while hopping on one foot.
  • Donate and twirl a hula-hoop on each arm while gargling.

If you have other good ideas on way to help Japan as effectively as "donating and praying," please consider adding them to the comments. Then, after considering, add them.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Help Japan. Donate and....

I see quite a bit of complaining on Facebook and Twitter about atheists daring to post that they don't think prayer will help Japan. The objections are that by saying "Your prayers aren't helping Japan," atheists are pushing their beliefs on believers, they're insensitive to believers, they're attacking believers, and/or they're proselytizing for atheism.

Surprisingly, not one of the complaining "Pray for Japan" posters/tweeters ever considered that by telling atheists in thousands of posts and tweets, "Pray for Japan," that they were doing exactly what they are accusing atheists of doing. Were any of you "Pray for Japan" posters/tweeters concerned about how I'd feel receiving all those "Pray for Japan" posts and tweets?

And, yeah, saying "Prayer isn't going to help" is so much more mean-spirited than your tweets saying, "God is going to burn you for eternity in hell." (Ooo, your mythology really scares me. [That's sarcasm.] The fact that a rational, thinking person believes in mythology and acts accordingly, now that scares me. [That's not sarcasm.]

How is stating that I think prayer isn't going to help Japan attacking you or persecuting you?

I've also heard some whining comments asking "What's wrong with donating and praying?" If it makes you feel better than donating alone, have at it. Because the praying is ultimately all about you and how it makes you feel, not Japan.

But you could also:
  • Donate and dance naked in the moonlight, or
  • Donate and wear socks that don't match, or
  • Donate and read Green Eggs and Ham to your pet, or
  • Donate and rub a lucky rabbit's foot, or
  • Donate and consult with Punxsutawney Phil, or
  • Donate and sacrifice sausages to Offler, or
  • Donate and talk to the pixies in your garden, or
  • Donate and toss pennies in a wishing well, or
  • Donate and tweet how awful atheists are, or...any number of things that won't help Japan more than donating alone would.
Next, you'll be posting and tweeting how awful I am for ridiculing you.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Help Japan, don't pray

I heard the first news report of the Japanese quake shortly after it happened around 1 AM EST today.

I knew what would follow that report, and it was exactly what, in fact, followed: On Facebook, lots of posts saying, "Pray for Japan!" and on Twitter, tweet after tweet, "#PrayforJapan."

I want to ask my friends who sent those, why would I pray? Why would you pray?

Every one of you who encouraged me to "pray for Japan" believes in a God who is all-knowing and all-powerful.

So, your God knew before the beginning of time that the earthquake and resulting tsunami would occur and unleash devastation and massive suffering. If you deny that, then your God isn't all-knowing, is he?

And since he is all-powerful, he could have stopped it. He could have planned a scenario other than the disaster that unfolded earlier today. If you deny that, then your God isn't all-powerful now, is he?

But your God either caused the earthquake and tsunami, or at best, simply let it happen. Your God, by his action and/or inaction, is ultimately responsible for the disaster. That makes your God a sadist. An abuser. A cruel, immoral monster. And this is the God you pray to? This is the God you're always describing as "loving"? (Perhaps you and/or your God have a definition of "loving" that is completely incomprehensible to me.)

And what is it you hope to accomplish by praying?

Doesn't your God already know people are suffering? Doesn't your God also already know that your hearts have been touched and saddened by the tragedy? Why do you have to tell him in prayer?

Does he like to hear his "special creation" beg for his help before he'll provide it?

Or does he, like an abusive parent, just prefer to hear you beg for mercy, "Please, stop!"?

Or are your prayers in thanks for your God's not killing more people or causing more suffering? Are you actually saying, "Thank you for not hurting more people or not hurting them worse than you already have"? or "Thank you for sparing me and those that I love"? or perhaps, "Please don't hurt me like you hurt the people in Japan"?

And when you pray for Japan, you'd like your God to do what? Help? Why would your God help now? If your God hadn't wanted the suffering and devastation to occur, he wouldn't have allowed it to happen in the first place.

Which brings up back to: if God has always had a plan, can you change it by praying? Isn't the course of history already set? What good do your prayers do?

Those of you praying for miracles, let me know when one occurs. And, no, anything that can be explained by science, or math, or as sheer random coincidence is not a miracle. Unexpectedly finding survivors isn't a miracle. Finding one house still standing, while all the neighboring homes were destroyed, is not a miracle. Someone finding their beloved pet still alive, or their wedding photos in the rubble, is not a miracle.

You know what might be a miracle? If, after you prayed, your God reversed all the damage in Japan. Brought all the dead (human, other animals, and plants) back to life. Healed all the injured. Repaired all the damage done to the environment. Replaced all the buildings and fixed all the other objects that were ruined or damaged. Do you think he will? Do you think he can't? Or isn't your God powerful enough to do big, noticeable, meaningful miracles?

Yes, I understand your sense of helplessness in the wake of such a horrific disaster. Totally. And I understand that you take comfort in prayer. But using prayer to make you feel like you're doing something to help, and your being comforted by prayer, doesn't do a darn practical thing to help those in Japan.

At first, not one of the early Facebook posts or tweets from you "Pray for Japan" posters mentioned doing anything but praying. Some of you still haven't.

Only the atheists who I follow on Twitter, or who are my Facebook friends, immediately suggested doing something that might actually help the people of Japan—making a donation to disaster relief organizations—providing evidence, once, again, of atheist immorality, inability to be compassionate, and shocking lack of ethics.

I know that all of the help that will aid Japan will come from humans. Humans who care. Humans who risk their lives. Humans who give their time and their money. Humans who will find the survivors and dig them out. Humans who will shelter those without homes, who will feed those who can no longer feed themselves. Humans who will give medical care to the injured. Humans who will bury the dead and mourn them. Humans who will provide comfort and support to the suffering. Humans who, using science and technology, will rebuild and repair the damage as much as possible.

Your God won't have a damn thing to do with any of it.

If you actually want to really help Japan, here are some places you can make a donation:

And if you can't donate, please encourage others to do so and pass on those links.

Monday, March 7, 2011

#Marryland: I support marriage equality

It seems to me as though the argument of many of the opponents of the Maryland Marriage Equality bill boils down to: "My god doesn't like it."

I am baffled that your god seems so obsessed with who is doing what, with what body parts, and with whom--especially since he was in charge of designing all those body parts in the first place, right?

Certainly, if your god had wanted to limit human sexual activity to only male-female vaginal intercourse--and then only among married people--he had the power to make that happen. Surely he knew how to design sexual attraction and sex organs (you know, the "naughty bits" you--and he--are so concerned about) so humans would never be attracted to someone of the same sex, and would bond to their single mate for life.

And look at all the wonderful variations in sex organs and mating he managed to design for the other critters he made! A veritable plethora of options! Clearly, he wasn't particularly attached to one design. Some of those other animals' sex organs are designed so sexual activity can occur in one way and one way only. I can't understand, then, why your god chose the human design that he did, so that there are so many creative ways to put all our body parts to such delightful use.

Oh, I see! He created humans in his own likeness. That explains it. So, does your god have a penis or a vagina? Or maybe both? Clitoris or not? Testicles? And, if so, what does he use them for?

And he explained the proper use of sex organs in his special book--the one book that condoned slavery, rape, and infanticide. Well, I can see why that settles the whole same-sex marriage debate.

Yes, I am baffled by so much of what your god does--or doesn't do.

Which is one of the reasons why he's your god, not mine.