I have a commitment to the truth, and I try never to let other considerations (money, power, pride, personal gain) trump that commitment. It's why I have made the statement in Skeptophilia more than once; if you can show me that anything I've written here is demonstrably wrong, and have the facts to back you up, I will happily print a retraction.
That isn't to say that sometimes I'm not sorely tempted to lie. I'm only human, after all. In fact, today's post is about a guy whose moneymaking idea is so inspired, so completely brilliant, that I wish I'd thought of it first. Had I done so... well, let's just leave it at "I hope I'd have done the right thing."
Meet Michael Mohoric, who runs Qigong Energy Healing. Now, I'm sure you've heard of Qigong before; it's the same old tired "revitalize your aura and realign your chakras" stuff, and his site is full of our favorite words "vibration" and "frequency" and "energy." But most Qigong practitioners at least make a show of having their clients show up in their offices, and then lie down while the practitioner waves his/her hands around or does whatever it takes to manipulate an essentially nonexistent "energy field." Mr. Mohoric, on the other hand, has gone the next logical step -- he does the whole thing long-distance.
For a monthly subscription fee of $99, Mr. Mohoric will "send you energy" once a week. "I feel that this series of energy transmissions can be life transforming
for many people," he tells us on his website. "Although one session can often provide dramatic
results, multiple sessions can deepen the energy work and get to
deep-seated core issues. By receiving energy for a full month, the
energy will continue to work deeper and be able to address long held
patterns and anchor the changes. When one has had an energetic pattern
for many years, it can take time to release and cancel the pattern and
move it out of one’s energy field."
For your $99 a month, he will do a "long-distance healing session" and "energy adjustment" once a week, sending out a "major energy transmission" every Wednesday night. He suggests meditating at that time so you can pick up his signal, but you don't need to worry if you forget to tune in; he says you'll get the energy anyhow, and there's a testimonial from a guy who forgot and then started feeling really energized on Wednesday night, and suddenly remembered what was happening. "The energy is intelligent and will work with you individually to give
you personalized attention to your specific energetic needs," Mr. Mohoric writes.
Oh, yeah, and for another $39 he'll energize your pets long-distance, too.
Well, let's see; we have confirmation bias, dart-thrower's bias, misuse of scientific terminology, and the placebo effect going on here. Have I missed any?
That said, don't you think it's a brilliant idea? What a job! You maintain a website, get people to subscribe to your services not just one time only, but for a monthly fee, and in return, you work one night a week. Assuming he really is doing anything on Wednesday nights. Doesn't this sound like the career of a lifetime? Even if you really believe that what you are doing is real -- and however outlandish it sounds, he appears to be sincere -- the sum total of your job is to sit there for an hour on Wednesday evening and beam out some "energy" to your customers. Doesn't matter if it gets there or not; he has the usual disclaimer at the bottom of the page that he is "not making a medical claim" and that "all healing is self-healing" and that "like any modality, it won't work for everyone." The rest of the week you can sleep in late, go for a run, play with your dog, take a nap in the hammock, whatever floats your boat.
Given that I'm shortly to get myself together and spend the day attempting to educate savage hordes of teenagers, that kind of life sounds pretty awesome.
Of course, there's just this one teensy problem, and that's that commitment-to-the-truth thing I was mentioning earlier. Given that controlled scientific studies have never found a shred of evidence for the existence of chakras, energy meridians, or the rest of it (for a nice summary of the studies that have been done in this regard, go here), I couldn't in good conscience take your money when I knew that what I was accomplishing was precisely nothing.
Well, okay, how about this as an idea? You send me $99 a month ($39 additional if you want me to include your pets), and every Tuesday night I'll think about you in a scientific way. I'll picture you thinking critically, using scientifically-sound logic, and being rational, and applying those skills to your everyday life. I'll ponder how much more clearly you'll think if you can accomplish those goals. Okay, I know that my thinking about you won't make you change, but I promise I'll do it faithfully. Ready to sign up for my service?
Oh, well, it was worth a shot. Truth always comes at a cost, I suppose.