Month: September 2012

185. Dr. William Bengston’s Hands On Healing Research Ignored by Cancer Industry

Interview with St. Josephs College sociology professor Dr. William Bengston examines his extensive scientific research into hands on healing. Join Skeptiko host Alex Tsakiris for an interview with Dr. William Bengston about his book, The Energy Cure: Unraveling the Mystery of Hands-on Healing.  During the interview Bengston describes his experiments with hands-on healing: Dr. William Bengston:   …starting from these clinical that, for example, malignant growths respond quickly and benign growths don’t respond so quickly, I thought to myself, ‘How are we going to get a handle on this? How are we going to go from spontaneous clinical experience to very controlled conditions?’ I wanted an absolute air-tight, no question about it, experiment that if it worked you didn’t have a viable counter-hypothesis… So, we looked at treating cancer in mice. At the time we started this, the longest lifespan for a mouse with this particular type of cancer was 27 days. No mouse in literally thousands of experiments had lived longer than 27 days after injection with this particular mammary cancer. And you knew exactly how many mice would die and what particular day after injection because it’s again, very well documented, found in labs all over the world. …So I put my hands around the cages of the mice for about an hour a day. I suspected at the time that healing, if it were to work, would be something analogous to radiation. But instead, the cancer started to grow and I thought it was failing. So the tumors grew and I said, “Let’s call it off. Why put the mice through this?” But I got talked into going a little longer. The tumors kept growing bigger and bigger. Then they developed this ulceration on the tumor and I really thought it wasn’t working. The ulceration grew and the tumor imploded and the mice were completely cured. Alex Tsakiris:   And this was unprecedented medically in this particular experiment with these particular mice, right? Dr. William Bengston:   Never happened before for any reason. So the world’s longest living mouse after being injected with this particular cancer was 27 days.  In our experiment the mice went through this process of growth then ulceration then implosion, and the mice were cured. I used to say they remitted but that’s the wrong word because remitted means a reduction in symptoms or temporary disappearance. These mice are cured for life. So we watched them and we leave them for two years and they live out their normal lifespan hanging out, being completely happy. Alex Tsakiris: Let’s finish this story, Bill. So, the world changes. You received the Nobel Prize for Medicine. Cancer treatments around the world are revolutionized and this has become the most highly researched area of medicine, right? I got all that right? Dr. William Bengston:   Uh, except for the entire scenario. This isn’t something where because we’ve cured a bunch of mice, therefore the cancer industry folds their tent. William Bengston's Website Click here for YouTube version Click here for forum discussion Play It: Listen Now: Download MP3 (68 min.) Read It: Alex Tsakiris: Today Today we welcome Dr. William Bengston to Skeptiko. Bill is a Professor of Sociology at St. Joseph’s College in New York where he specializes in research methods and statistics and is the author of The Energy Cure: Unraveling the Mystery of Hands-On Healing. Here’s the real interesting part: Dr. Bengston is an amazing healer himself. For the past 30 years he’s compiled a series of carefully controlled scientific experiments that challenge not only our ideas about healing and medicine but about energy, about belief, about science in general, and how we practice it, and a whole bunch of other stuff that I hope we can get to. Bill, welcome to Skeptiko. Thanks so much for joining me. Dr. William Bengston:   Thanks for having me on, Alex.


184. Dr. Rupert Sheldrake Sets Science Free From Dogma

Interview examines how scientific assumptions about materialism and consciousness have constrained us. Join Skeptiko host Alex Tsakiris for an interview with biologist and author Dr. Rupert Sheldrake about his new book, Science Set Free: 10 Paths to New Discovery.  During the interview Sheldrake explains his post-materialist worldview: Alex Tsakiris: I think that’s part of the problem. I think all these questions of the spiritual are not buried deep in these scientific questions you pose -- they’re right there under the paper-thin surface of them.  Take survival of consciousness, if we just look at the data and we say, “That seems to suggest that consciousness survives death,” well, for any man on the street, as well as any scientist, that proposition immediately launches us into deep questions of the spiritual. I don’t know how you can get around that. Dr. Rupert Sheldrake: I think it’s quite important to decouple these.  Although the science is very relevant to these issues it doesn’t map in such a way that to be an Atheist you’ve got to be a Dawkins-style materialist or to be a religious person you’ve got to be a dualist. I think what we’re heading for is a post-materialist worldview which is what my book is trying to point the way towards. We could have a holistic way of looking at things, a scientific investigation into things, which leaves these bigger questions open. For example, in one chapter of the book where I’m dealing with the dogma that memories are stored as material traces inside the brain that becomes the question, are memories stored as material traces in the brain? I’m not confident memories are stored in brains. I think that brains are more like tuning devices, more like TV receivers than like video recorders. Now that’s really a scientific question, how is memory stored? We can do experiments to try and find out how memory works. So for materialists it’s a simple two-step argument. Memories are stored in brains; the brain decays at death, therefore, memories are wiped out at death. Whereas, if memories are not stored in brains then the memories themselves are not wiped out at death. They’re potentially accessible. That doesn’t prove they are accessed, that there is personal survival. It just means that’s a possibility whereas with materialism it’s an impossibility. So one position leaves the question closed and the other leaves it open. Rupert Sheldrake's Website Click here for YouTube version Click here for forum discussion Play It: Listen Now: Download MP3 (38 min.) Read It: Alex Tsakiris: Today we welcome back to Skeptiko biologist and author, Dr. Rupert Sheldrake. He’s here to talk about his latest book, The Science Delusion. If you’re here in the U.S. you’ll find it at Amazon under the title, Science Set Free. Rupert, welcome back and thanks for joining me. Dr. Rupert Sheldrake:  It’s very good to be with you again.