The Pseudoscience of Victim Blaming 4: Selling Miracles

The Pseudoscience of Victim Blaming 4: Selling Miracles

There’s no whimsical way to start a blog post about terminal diseases, especially in regards to the people trying to make a quick buck out of those stricken with them. The absence of hope that can accompany such a bleak projection can lead to desperation, and that desperation is profitable, if you’re willing to sell a miracle.

The victim blaming in this case starts around the point that these miracle cures come up with some alternative to the germ theory of disease. For example:

Mike Adams of Naturalnews.com believes that disease is caused by a bad diet and lack of exercise. Therefore those with diseases like cancer are unhealthy and their continuing suffering from the disease is a result of their unwillingness to change their ways. This is the mantra of victim blaming – the ‘you just don’t want to be better, do you?’

Vianna Stibal of Theta Healing fame claims that a quantum consciousness-esque method of wanting something so bad you get it can cure cancer. Those with cancer need to want it more. However, if they don’t want it enough, but still don’t want it, they can find someone (read: theta healer) who can want it gone for them, for a fee.

I’m not even going to get through the hell of thinking you’ve been treated after doing something like this. Thankfully, most people are concerned enough to check that disease is gone before they accept it, though the same people who claim to cure diseases like cancer will not change their mantra because it didn’t work. That’s the thing about victim blaming scams, the blame is never on the practitioner. If it didn’t work, it’s the victim’s fault.

Theta Healing, however, is essentially a new age faith healing. Instead of relying on faith in God for its explanation, it comes up with a series of scientific-sounding words, sticks them together in a way that most people won’t understand or question, and spreads itself by both sounding legitimate and offering false hope to those who should be the last people anyone wants to make a quick buck off.

Faith healing in itself undermines the victim by its very nature. If a victim’s disease cannot be cured by faith healing, then the blame is not on the healer, or on God, but on the victim, whose faith wasn’t strong enough to reap the benefits of being a good Christian. In the end, the victim is left with a horrible disease, a death sentence, the knowledge that they were a bad Christian, and the assurance that God doesn’t love them enough to save them,

The responsibility for the success of the healing should be on the person providing it. If it doesn’t work, it should mean the treatment didn’t work or the practitioner didn’t apply it right. If something doesn’t work, it shouldn’t be sold. If a practitioner can’t do their job above a certain level of success they should be tested to see if they are fit to practice. The victim, especially in cases of terminal illness, is not something to be played around with. They are coming to you because they are desperate, you are offering them a way out, and you are taking away that hope you gave them and then some when you can’t fulfill your promises.

(image by Surly Amy at Skepchick)

Eddy is an amateur writer, an even more amateurish musician and the Internet's 3600th favourite redcoat. He writes a mostly skeptical daily blog at jengajam.wordpress.com to quell the voices in his head, writes album reviews for www.alterthepress.com to put voices in his head and writes novels that he hopes to put voices in other people's heads. He is currently studying Biological Sciences at Nottingham Trent University, planning to specialise in Ecology.
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