Clarification


I FINALLY found out late last night that this blog and my journey as a skeptic was mentioned during a panel discussion here on the Scientific American podcast. My thanks to DJ Grothe and James Randi for mentioning me. I greatly appreciate that these gentlemen thought of me and mentioned me.

I’d like to add a bit of clarification to the story that Mr. Randi told. At one point I WAS a Reiki practitioner but I had realized that it had no scientific basis about 2 years ago.  I was also an herbalist but at no point was I into homeopathy.

What happened was that at dinner the evening before I was talking to Jeff Wagg. The topic of megadosing with Vitamin C for colds came up and Jeff asked me how I could support that when all the scientific evidence pointed to the fact that megadosing did nothing? At that point, I was still pursuing my Master Herbalist certification through ACHS and that was contrary to what I had been taught.

I’m not sure if it was Jeff or someone else who mentioned that megadosing could also potentially cause kidney or liver damage. Either that or I found that out later by doing research.

I had already been having serious doubts about continuing with my education there. I had already had a huge debate with the President of the school, Doreen Petersen about the lack of efficacy of homeopathy and why it was being taught if it had been proved that it doesn’t work. I’m still amazed I wasn’t kicked out for that.

I had put SO much time and effort into pursuing this certification and I only had a couple more classes to go. I thought I’d just muscle my way through those and be done. But Jeff, who I trusted not to give me inaccurate information, made a point with that one comment that drilled into that very tender underbelly of doubt.

When I saw Mr. Randi next time, he was right in that I DID have a rough night. I agonized and cried over the decision. I had been agonizing over it for about six months but the idea that I might actually have caused harm to people out of my ignorance was what finalized my decision.

That was when I announced that I was quitting school.

Everyone has been so wonderfully supportive and I can’t thank Randi, Jeff and DJ enough. Seriously. You all have had such a major impact on my life and I just hope that I can be an example of what can happen when skeptics support believers who are seeking answers.

Thanks to their support and the support of my wonderful readers, Fledgeling Skeptic is coming up on its one year anniversary. AND my science-based educational non-profit organization, The Great Experiment Scholarship actually exists where it didn’t before.

Thank you. Thank you. 100 times, thank you.

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3 Comments

  1. Josh said,

    August 2, 2010 at 1:44 am

    I believe that it must be a commonly shared experience for most skeptics to have painfully wrestled with the idea of letting go of all the reassurance and purpose that came with our earlier, irrational beliefs. It wasn’t easy for me to completely let go of some of the deeper beliefs I held having been raised on the fringe of evangelical Christianity. The idea that our life has a plan, or that there is something out there with our best interests at heart, or probably most difficult of all, the idea that death was only a door into an eternity of happiness. I remember trying to come to grips with the idea that I was going to die, maybe soon or maybe eighty years from now, and that was all there would be for me. I was totally bummed out, at first. But that was only because I was looking at life as if immortality was still possible, and I needed to let go and embrace life as it really is.

    When I accepted that I was going to cease to exist at some point rather soon in the grand scheme of things, instead of feeling sad I felt more alive, and it only made me more grateful for the fact that I do exist right now. It was painful to let go of the superstitions that comforted me, but in doing so I gained a new desire to live a life I can be proud of, and it really cemented in place my desire to seek out the reality of things as best I can, even when the truth isn’t comfortable at first. And as scary as it is to take on full responsibility for your own life, without the assistance of some holy baby sitter to play Simon says, I really feel a lot better. If high school wasn’t so damned long ago I could probably pull something out of my ass to tie into the allegory of the cave, but you get my drift. No matter what your previous beliefs, it’s hard to let go of the familiarity and comfort to walk alone into a suddenly huge world with only your own wits as a moral compass, but in the end it’s well worth the lost sleep.

  2. Al Morrison said,

    August 3, 2010 at 10:17 pm

    A great story. I heard you mentioned on the NECSS panel. I guess we have to to take the memory of the most celebrated skeptics with a grain of salt. Anyway. I enjoy the blog.

  3. Stuart said,

    August 5, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    I found out about your blog and subscribed to it after D.J. mentioned it on the podcast. I must admit I was confused by Randi’s homeopathy comment as I went back through your blog and I didn’t find any comment where you were a homeopathy practitioner.

    In any case, you have a nice blog, and I’m glad D.J. pointed it out.


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