The Effect of the “Laying On of Hands” by William Bengston

A skeptical look at medical practices
User avatar
Shen1986
Veteran Poster
Posts: 2884
Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2012 6:47 am

The Effect of the “Laying On of Hands” by William Bengston

Postby Shen1986 » Thu Jan 30, 2014 5:20 pm

The Effect of the “Laying On of Hands” on Transplanted Breast Cancer in Mice

A critical look

So I was little bored and decided to have a look on Bengstons paper which can be found here:

http://www.fourmilab.ch/documents/gtpp/ ... ngston.pdf

Part 1: The Journal and people behind it:

1. Problem: The whole paper is published in a woo journal:

The paper itself is published in the Journal of Scientific Exploration like all woo papers.

The Journal of Scientific Exploration has not a very good reputation to begin with:

The Spirituality and Psychiatry Special Interest Group of the Royal College of Psychiatrists says that the journal has reports about anomalies in science, particularly in the parapsychological and extraterrestrial fields.[8][9] Some academics have noted that the journal publishes on anomalous issues, topics often on the fringe of science.[10] The journal is not indexed in Web of Science, an indexing service for scientific journals.

Of the Society for Scientific Exploration and Journal of Scientific Exploration, journalist Michael Lemonick writes, "Pretty much anything that might have shown up on The X-Files or in the National Enquirer shows up first here. But what also shows up is a surprising attitude of skepticism."[11]

Kendrick Frazier, editor of Skeptical Inquirer and Committee for Skeptical Inquiry fellow has suggested that:
"The JSE, while presented as neutral and objective, appears to hold a hidden agenda. They seem to be interested in promoting fringe topics as real mysteries and they tend to ignore most evidence to the contrary. They publish 'scholarly' articles promoting the reality of dowsing, neo-astrology, ESP, and psychokinesis. Most of the prominent and active members are strong believers in the reality of such phenomena."[12]

Clinical community psychologist and professor of social psychology at the University of Connecticut, Seth Kalichman regards the journal as a publisher of pseudoscience, with the journal serving as a "major outlet for UFOology, paranormal activity, extrasensory powers, alien abductions etc".[13]


Taken from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Journal_of ... _reception

The person behind this paper is named Dr. William Bengston:

Here is some information about him:

Dr. Bengston is a Professor of Sociology at St. Joseph’s College in New York. He received his doctoral degree from Fordham University, with special emphases in statistics and research methods.In addition to numerous publications and conference presentation in Criminology, the Sociology of Religion, and Applied Statistics, Dr. Bengston has been involved in “energy medicine” research for several decades. His primary involvement there has been in “laying-on of hands” research on experimental mice, sometimes involving skeptical volunteers who act as healers. He has done experiments with mammary adenocarcinoma at the City University of New York, St. Joseph’s College, and Arizona State University, and with methylcholanthrene induced sarcomas at the University of Connecticut Medical School. In these experiments he has produced the first known full life-span cures of cancer in experimental mice. Additionally, he has done functional magnetic resonance imaging experiments on human brains during healing sessions at the University of Connecticut Medical School, and will soon be replicating and expanding upon that work in a series of parallel MRI experiments at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. Several papers on this work have been published in the Journal of Scientific Exploration and the Monterey Institute for the Study of Alternative Healing Arts. Dr. Bengston has also lectured widely throughout the United States and Europe on his research.

Professor Bengston’s current research includes attempting to develop a cancer vaccine from the blood of cured mice; the development of a theory of “resonance” which will help explain anomalous data in experimental research, including placebo effects; and the demonstration of the ability of consciousness to establish a resonant bond between two brains.


Taken from: http://energymedicineuniversity.org/fac ... gston.html

2. Problem: He works in a strange place where is a lot of woo. He is working in the Energy Medicine University a organization that is total woo even from the history of it:

In the 1960s Humanistic Psychology became the first major “alternative” movement in modern Health Care. In the 1980s Holistic Medicine was introduced; soon thereafter, the terms Complementary, Integral, Quantum, Integrative, and Alternative Medicine became synonyms for concepts of Health Care that did not fit into the allopathic convention that has dominated American Medicine for almost a century. In 1989, Dr. Elmer Green and colleagues substantiated the comprehensive and inclusive term, “Energy Medicine” by founding The International Society for the Study of Subtle Energies and Energy Medicine (ISSSEEM). A few years later, Congress mandated the National Institutes of Health Office of Alternative Medicine, later converted into the Institute of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and most recently designated as the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. NCCAM currently identifies five fields of complementary and alternative medicine:

Alternative Medical Systems
Mind-Body Interventions
Biological-based Therapies
Manipulative and Body-based Methods
Energy Therapies

Energy medicine as it is practiced and studied is not restricted to what NCCAM includes in Energy Therapies, but also overlaps with practices in the other four NCCAM fields, such as the Alternative Medical Systems of Ayurvedic Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine.

During this forty-five year evolution, Americans and Canadians have embraced the many therapeutic approaches offered by the proponents of these movements. Now, each year almost half of Americans use some alternative therapy. Medical schools and hospitals are tentatively offering a few courses and programs which barely scratch the surface of the rich resources of Humanistic, Holistic, Complementary, Integral, Quantum Integrative, Alternative, and Energy Medicine.


Taken from: http://energymedicineuniversity.org/history.html

3. Problem: He is a hard believer and is quite open to the paranormal. No skeptic folks:

For anyone who's not familiar with the story, here's a brief summary. Bengston is a sociology professor at St Joseph's College in New York. After leaving college aged 21 he met 48-year old Bennett Mayrick, who had himself recently discovered an aptitude for psychic readings. Bengston had previously had an interest in the paranormal and was fascinated to observe Mayrick's abilities, particularly with psychometric readings. Mayrick then started doing informal energy healings in his own home, placing his hand over the patient's affected area for thirty minutes to an hour at a time. The healings worked and Bengston describes some remarkable cures. Word spread, and soon Mayrick's living room was full of sick people seeking help.

However this was just the start. Bengston wanted Mayrick investigated by scientists, and managed to set up a healing experiment at the biology department of Queens College in New York. However Mayrick, a contrary soul, backed out, and Bengston found himself substituting in his place.


Taken from: http://monkeywah.typepad.com/paranormal ... -true.html

More info here:

It tells the story of how Bengston met Bennett (Ben) Mayrick while working as a lifeguard at a neighborhood swimming pool following his graduation from college. Mayrick lived in the apartment complex where the swimming pool was located. Although Mayrick had a college education, he had a strong disdain for convention, and he preferred to work as a jack-of-all-trades. When Bengston met him he was working as a house cleaner. Bengston introduced himself to Mayrick after Bengston heard from a fellow lifeguard that Mayrick had psychic abilities. Mayrick told Bengston that he had found out quite by accident that he had psychic abilities when he attended a recent party. The people giving the party had brought in a psychic to provide entertainment. The psychic gave a demonstration in the phenomenon of psychometry—she collected personal items from the guests and then tried to perceive information about the guests by handling the items. After doing this with a number of the objects she selected Mayrick at random and had him try it. To the surprise of everyone—most of all himself—Mayrick gave very accurate readings.

In the months after he met Mayrick, Bengston informally tested Mayrick’s abilities. Mayrick performed psychometry readings for Bengston and for his own, and for Bengston’s, friends. Gradually Mayrick started experimenting and found that the handling of items wasn’t necessary—he could perceive information about people and events in a more active process (what we would call remote viewing, today).

Just as Mayrick discovered his psychic-informational abilities in a gradual manner, so he discovered his ability to heal. One day he, Bengston, and several friends were hanging out in Mayrick’s apartment. One of the friends gave Mayrick a letter from his cousin in Dallas, Texas, requesting a long-distance reading. As soon as he picked up the letter and tried to zero-in on the individual in Texas, Mayrick developed a terrific headache. Mayrick then put the letter down, and the headache disappeared. When Mayrick picked up the letter, again, the pain returned. Mayrick told Bengston and the others that he was going to make the headache “go away,” and he headed off to his bedroom where he lay down for about 15 minutes, holding the letter. He then returned to his friends, boasting, “I made the pain go away!”

The friend who was the cousin to the individual in Texas then phoned her. Everyone was astonished to hear that the cousin had been suffering a migraine at the time Mayrick began his reading. She then reported that her migraine had just mysteriously ended.

The next day Bengston prodded Mayrick to perform his first intentional healing. For years Bengston had been suffering from chronic lower back pain which first started when he was a competitive collegiate swimmer. On this particular day his back was hurting again. Remembering the incident with the letter from the previous day, Bengston asked Mayrick to try healing his back. Bengston bent over and had Mayrick place his hands on his back. Bengston felt an area about four inches in diameter grow warm, then hot. The area then grew numb. The numbness then disappeared, leaving his back pain-free. The effect was permanent—Bengston has never had problems with his back again.

Mayrick reported that during this process he felt “an energy pulsing down my arm.” He also told Bengston that this marked the beginning of a new phase of his life. Mayrick was going to become a professional healer.

Mayrick started off by treating friends and neighbors for minor complaints. He enjoyed early success, and his reputation spread by word-of-mouth. The number of people seeking help grew, and Mayrick slowly expanded the kinds of illnesses and conditions he would treat.

While all this was going on, Bengston moved on with his own life. He entered graduate school and earned his master's and doctoral degrees in sociology. He maintained his friendship with Mayrick, however, and even began trying his own hand at the healing process. Working alongside Mayrick he started to formalize the process, continually asking Mayrick how he did it—what was going on in his mind during the healing process, etc.


Taken from: http://www.dojopsi.info/forum/index.php ... 177.0;wap2

This shows that one psychic was teaching the other one. Nothing special.

So we see that he is a believer and was open to the paranormal. He is quite biased in his views and therefore I have great doubt about him.

4. Problem: One of his major claims is untrue:

Over the past thirty-five years I have successfully treated many types of cancer - bone, pancreatic, breast, brain, rectal, lymphatic, stomach, leukemia - as well as other diseases, all using a hands-on technique that is painless, non-invasive, and has no unpleasant side effects. To my knowledge, no person I have healed ever experienced a recurrence.


Taken from: http://monkeywah.typepad.com/paranormal ... -true.html

A very giant claim of Dr. William Bengston but later on in the text its written this:

There are some tragic stories. Bengston treats two women in his sociology class who are both diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer at the same time. One is keen for Bengston to treat her and eventually remits, by which time both she and him have attended the other woman's funeral.


Taken from: http://monkeywah.typepad.com/paranormal ... -true.html

5. Problem: His research was also only posted in woo magazines like these ones:

(Bengston has published some results in the Journal of Scientific Exploration and Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine)


Taken from: http://monkeywah.typepad.com/paranormal ... -true.html

6. Problem: He was not always right because he can cure cancer but not chemotherapy and one person died no matter what:

There are some tragic stories. Bengston treats two women in his sociology class who are both diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer at the same time. One is keen for Bengston to treat her and eventually remits, by which time both she and him have attended the other woman's funeral. In another case, he quickly cures a woman of an aggressive cancer, but her bewildered doctor, suddenly unable to find any sign of it, decides she should go ahead with radiation and chemotherapy just to be on the safe side - and the treatment rapidly kills her.


Taken from: http://monkeywah.typepad.com/paranormal ... -true.html

7. Problem: He is not able to cure his own heart attack but can cure almost everything?:

I understand that Bill has recently suffered a heart attack and pneumonia and has canceled his subsequent upcoming workshops. I was planning to attend his upcoming workshop on Nov. 11-13, but it has been canceled. I hope he recovers fully and wish him and his family well.


Taken from: http://bioenergyandcancer.blogspot.sk/2 ... nergy.html

8. Problem: The second person who wrote the paper with him is also a believer and his friend, David Krinsley:

It was during this time that Bengston met David Krinsley, a geology professor from Queen’s College of the City University of New York City. Krinsley accompanied a friend who was seeking treatment for diabetes from Mayrick. Bengston and Krinsley became friends. They discovered they shared an interest in the scientific study of the paranormal. In discussing Mayrick they realized they both wanted Mayrick to move away from “the clinical model” to the “experimental model” utilizing animals whose genetics and environment could be controlled.

In the past, Krinsley had served as the interim provost at Queen’s College. Through this experience he had knowledge of the faculties and resources available at the school. He approached the chair of the biology department about performing a formal experiment to test Mayrick’s healing abilities. Though he wasn’t enthusiastic about it, the chairperson agreed.

They approached a professor in the department of biology to help them. They chose her because of her extensive experience in studying a particular form of mammary cancer in mice. She had been studying this particular cancer for over 20 years. She had a deep understanding of its biology and how it developed in the animal models she usually worked with.

The experiment was designed as follows. Twelve mice were to be injected with the mammary cancer cells. Six would then be given to Mayrick to treat, while the other six would stay with the associate professor as the controls. Unfortunately, there were several delays in the delivery of the mice, and Mayrick pulled out of the experiment. Over the preceding months his behavior had become increasingly erratic. He told Bengston that he interpreted the several delays in the delivery of the mice as a sign that he should not participate in the experiment.

This is how Bengston became the “accidental healer” I described at the beginning of this review. His friend David Krinsley persuaded him to act as the healer in Mayrick’s absence. Thus, for the next 30-plus days, Bengston spent an hour a day in a small storeroom where the experimental mice were kept. Bengston would sit on a stool, holding the small plastic cage containing the six mice. During this time he would practice the mental healing protocol he had developed with Mayrick over the proceeding years. This consisted of running a mental “film strip” through his mind containing images which represented the successful acquisition of desires on the part of the healer. These could be monetary, status, career, relationship, health or other kinds of goals. The purpose of this exercise was to occupy the conscious mind of the healer, letting the unconscious mind go about its healing duties.

No one knew what to expect during this experiment, and until the very end Bengston thought he was utterly failing to have an effect. About a week into the experiment, Bengston noticed lumps appearing in the coats of two of his mice. Soon, all of his mice developed these lumps. Bengston had Krinsley tell the biology professor, and she reported back that these were the beginning of the tumors which were characteristic of this particular cancer. The mice infected with this cancer invariably develop large external tumors which grow so large that they interfere with the functioning of their internal organs, killing them.

Bengston became horrified as the tumors grew larger and larger. He imagined that he was putting his mice through a painful ordeal, and he begged Krinsley to end the experiment and put the mice out of their misery.

Krinsley, however, wasn’t so certain. He pointed out that except for the presence of the tumors, the mice appeared to be healthy. They continued to scurry about their cage, and they even occasionally fought with each other. Krinsley became even more convinced to continue the experiment when he heard that two of the control mice had died from the cancer, and the rest were in such poor shape that they weren’t expected to live much longer.

Bengston, however, felt the experimental mice were getting worse. All of the tumors developed black spots which looked “like pencil points.” Krinsley urged him to keep going, pointing out that in all of the previous experiments, no mouse infected with this cancer had ever lived past 27 days. He suggested that if just one of the experimental mice lived to 28 days, it might be evidence of the healing having an effect in slowing down the cancer.

By days 17 to 21, some of the tumors had ulcerated. Basically, it appeared as though the tumors had imploded. Though Bengston thought this was obviously the beginning of the end, the behavior of his mice hadn’t changed—they were still “cavorting” about their cage as if nothing were wrong with them. This continued even after the ulcerations “grew large, raw, and red, as if holes had been burned into the mice.”

“By day 28 all five were still alive. I informed them aloud that they were making history.”

Bengston continued to be alarmed at the progression of the tumors. The ulcerations went from black to red to white. Bengston assumed that meant they were infected, but there was no pus or other discharge. As the days passed, Bengston started wondering if his eyes were deceiving him. Were the tumors shrinking? It certainly appeared so.

Bengston’s horror gradually changed to astonishment as the ulcerated tumors continued to shrink. Eventually, they disappeared completely, and the mice’s fur regrew. Finally, “my patients now looked the same as when we had begun—little brown creatures of normal shape and size.”

Krinsley and Bengston were so stunned they didn’t know what to think. Krinsley then took the mice to the biologist for analysis. The evening they were to receive her report, Bengston states that they “were pacing like expectant fathers.” Then the phone rang, and they received the miraculous news: the mice were cured. They were completely cancer free.

Both Bengston and Krinsley were so shaken that they spent the next several weeks apart without discussing the experiment, letting their emotions calm down. When they did meet to discuss the results, they both agreed that a top priority was to replicate the experiment. But, Bengston insisted upon a major change—he didn’t want to act as “healer” in the second experiment. He was too emotionally drained from the first one. In addition, he wanted to avoid any kind of self-delusion. Finally, he wanted to see if others besides Mayrick and himself could heal.


Taken from: http://www.dojopsi.info/forum/index.php ... 177.0;wap2

Here is it in black:

It was during this time that Bengston met David Krinsley, a geology professor from Queen’s College of the City University of New York City. Krinsley accompanied a friend who was seeking treatment for diabetes from Mayrick. Bengston and Krinsley became friends. They discovered they shared an interest in the scientific study of the paranormal. In discussing Mayrick they realized they both wanted Mayrick to move away from “the clinical model” to the “experimental model” utilizing animals whose genetics and environment could be controlled.


Taken from: http://www.dojopsi.info/forum/index.php ... 177.0;wap2

Bengston even says it on the Skeptiko show:

Since this guy seemed to be particularly good on malignant growths I thought, ‘Let’s see if we can get a study with malignant growths under controlled laboratory conditions.’ So a friend of mine, Dave Krinsley, was associated with City University of New York in an academic professorship and he called in a bunch of favors there with the biology department and said, “Where can we get really an airtight, no question about it, really tight experimental model?”


Taken from: http://www.skeptiko.com/william-bengsto ... -industry/

So we see a bias on bias.

9. Problem: The teacher of Bengston is also full of woo:

Bennett Mayrick is a psychic healer. He has laid his hands on the suffering and cured or arrested, he says, arthritis, leukemia, lymphosarcoma, chronic back ailments, blindness, emotional disorders, blisters. Dogs bedeviled with respiratory ailments breathe easier. Cats condemned to death by cancer live on. His success rate is formidable -- 90 per cent, he says. "I am not the healer," he says. "The energy heals. I am its channel."


Taken from:
http://bioenergyandcancer.blogspot.sk/2 ... peaks.html

"I'm here," he says. "I'm available. I want to be used more. The energy is all around us. It can't be destroyed. It can't be created. But it can be used by those who have the psychic power, and I'm one of them. Why, I can't say. I don't know. It may, in the end, be unknowable."


Taken from:
http://bioenergyandcancer.blogspot.sk/2 ... peaks.html

10. Problem: Bengston claims he is a non-believer.. Really?:

In a video entitled "Healed by a Non-Believer" Bill Bengston describes how his persistent back pain was cured by his mentor, Bennett Mayrick, who had just discovered his healing abilities. Dr. Bengston makes a point of repeating that neither he nor Bennett Mayrick were "believers" and in another video, "Open-Minded Skepticism," he even says that "believers" scare him.

By belief he does not necessarily mean religious belief, but more generally unquestioning belief in anything. As a skeptic he spent years studying and testing his mentor's healing ability and succeeded in reproducing it under laboratory conditions, proving that energy healing worked on cancer, and that it did not need to involve faith.

I am, on the one hand, quite pleased to see anomalous healing taken out of the context of evangelical Christian revivals, where charismatic preachers dramatically knock over stricken parishioners, commanding them to "Heal!" These often fake healings have come to be associated in the public mind with hucksters and charlatans selling false hope and fleecing the desperately ill. So it's good to have someone say that there can be such a thing as "faithless" healing, and that such healing can be demonstrated to work in the lab on mice, critters that as far as we know do not "believe" in anything.


Taken from: https://suite101.com/a/dr-bill-bengston ... ng-a336798

This does not sound like a skeptic and unbeliever:

But on the other hand I do have to ask, where does the healing come from? Dr. Bengston says it's the unconscious: "My body knows how to digest an apple... It knows how to heal." And truly, it is miraculous: you cut yourself, and your body sends T-cells and proteins to the injury site, and it somehow stops the bleeding, controls infectious agents, and rebuilds damaged blood vessels and skin. When you are doing anomalous healing, unconscious accesses unconscious, and healing information is transferred. No need for faith or belief, other than perhaps belief that such healing might be possible.

And yet paradoxically Dr. Bengston also speaks of "the Source" and says that when you do healing you "go to the Source" or "access Source energy", and even has a healing technique he calls "touching the Source". I note that many other healing modalities speak of "Source", "Spirit", "Universal Life Energy", and "All There Is" -- all the while somehow managing to omit the word "God". To me it's all a matter of semantics: one person's "Source" or "Universal Life Energy" is another person's "God", so why is it necessary to differentiate the one from the other? And what's even odder is the healer who unquestioningly accepts one but disparages the other, as in "Source Energy is good, but look at what a mess God has allowed the world to become!"


Taken from: https://suite101.com/a/dr-bill-bengston ... ng-a336798

Or here:

There are several other elements in Dr. Bengston's story that speak to there being more at work here than "unconscious speaking to unconscious". For instance, he will briefly mention his mentor's spirit guides, "the Fellows", who have occasionally also communicated with him, but does not elaborate on who "the Fellows" may be, or where they come from. Technically they could be emanations of the healer's unconscious, but that is not discussed. Also, Dr. Bengston relates in his book that when Bennett Mayrick died, he visited Dr. Bengston in spirit, surrounded by "incredible love". Where did that visitation and that love emanate from? To quote Shakespeare, "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy" (Hamlet), or can be explained by cage upon cage of mice cured of cancer.


Taken from: https://suite101.com/a/dr-bill-bengston ... ng-a336798

11. Problem: When William Bengston is right then all other faith healers are wrong because they claim you need to believe to be cured because in both you are referring to some divine form:

Unlike faith healing, advocates of spiritual healing make no attempt to seek divine intervention, instead believing in divine energy.


Taken from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faith_healing

Also faith healing is based on faith:

Faith healing is healing purportedly through spiritual means. Believers assert that the healing of a person can be brought about by religious faith through prayer and/or rituals that, according to adherents, stimulate a divine presence and power toward healing disease and disability.


Taken from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faith_healing

12. Problem: Even Bengston students were not able to heal him from his heart attack or even cure cancer:

Skeptical students who participated in a six-week program with Bill were able to heal cancerous mice; students who learned the method in weekend workshops were (to my knowledge) not able to cure documented cancers in people; but that is not to say they would not have been able to cure mice had they been given the opportunity, or that the students who cured the mice would also have been able to cure people. Much is unknown -- a great deal needs to be investigated further.


Taken from:
http://bioenergyandcancer.blogspot.sk/2 ... nergy.html

13. Problem: Its strange when he can cure cancer why is he developing a cancer vaccine from the blood of mice he cured?:

Professor Bengston’s current research includes attempting to develop a cancer vaccine from the blood of cured mice; the development of a theory of “resonance” which will help explain anomalous data in experimental research, including placebo effects; and the demonstration of the ability of consciousness to establish a resonant bond between two brains.


Taken from: http://energymedicineuniversity.org/fac ... gston.html

14. Problem: He is the president of the Society of Scientific Exploration which released his paper and he thinks that this society is a normal research society, oh boy:

Alex Tsakiris: The real point of all that is just these ideas that run counter to these cherished beliefs that we have personally, or these societal beliefs that are ingrained in the machinery of the way things work are very, very hard to overcome. I guess I have to push a little bit against that whole anomalistic psychology crap that I see out there is that well, gee, why do people believe weird things? And stuff like that. That has gone absolutely nowhere or it’s been counterproductive to really trying to understand in a deeper way what’s really going on.

I don’t know. Why is the Society for Scientific Exploration, an organization that you are the President of currently and is a very serious scientific organization, I mean the mere fact that it’s necessary; the mere fact that it covers such a broad range of topics—and that was my whole reason for getting off on the biotic oil thing. It covers the whole range of topics. The fact that it’s even necessary is a little bit depressing, a little bit frustrating.

Dr. William Bengston: Oh, I would completely agree. The SSE, which any of your listeners can look at at the Society for Scientific Exploration or www.scientificexploration.org is, as you point out, a group of people who are serious about research. They’re not going to sit together and just talk about things in the abstract. You’ve got to show me the data.

They come from all sorts of fields so the actual Society was founded by a combination of folks like the head of astrophysics at Stanford, the Dean of Engineering at Princeton, the head of astronomy at the University of Virginia, and folks like that who came together and said there’s too much scientific straitjacket activity going on. You’re allowed to look at certain things; you’re not allowed to look at other things.

It turns out that a whole lot of scientists have almost like a closet life. In the public, in the peer-reviewed journals, in their conventional day job, you’re only allowed to talk about certain things and there is a canon and you’re supposed to buy into it. You’ve got to toe the party line and if you want to get grants you’d better be getting them for the things you’re allowed to get grants for, etc., etc. And these very, very brave individuals who had already been extraordinarily successful in their day job careers recognized that there were other people like them who also had interests in things that you weren’t supposed to talk about.

So they talked about healing, they talked about UFOs, they talked about all sorts of stuff and said, “Let’s get together and see if we can data-base, have a discussion about things which are off-limits.” And so in order to do this, they created the Society for Scientific Exploration, which is primarily academics but folks who are not academics can also join as associate members.

We have things like a peer-reviewed journal, the Journal of Scientific Exploration. We have annual conferences. We just had one in Boulder in June. We’re about to have one in Ireland in October. We get together and these are data-based presentations on stuff you’re not supposed to talk about. We have a little inside dictum there that says if you’re an academic and you want to look at this stuff and you want to take a chance on some of this stuff and want to actually do research and gather data, first get tenure.


Taken from: http://www.skeptiko.com/william-bengsto ... -industry/

It is even here:

William Bengston is a professor of sociology at St. Josephs College in New York, U.S.A. He received his Ph.D. from Fordham University, New York, in 1980. His "day job" areas of specialization include research methods and statistics. He has publications in the Journal of Scientific Exploration, the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, and Explore. In addition, he has lectured widely throughout the United States and Europe. Bill has been a member of the Society for Scientific Exploration (SSE) since 1999, and currently serves as President of the organization.


Taken from: http://evolverlearninglab.com/products/psi

As we can see here that SSE published the journal:

The Society for Scientific Exploration, or SSE, is a professional organization of scientists and other scholars committed to studying unusual and unexplained phenomena that cross traditional scientific boundaries and may be ignored or inadequately studied within mainstream science.[1] The opinions of the organization in regard to what are the proper limits of scientific exploration are often at odds with those of mainstream science.[2]

The SSE holds annual meetings and publishes a quarterly peer reviewed journal called Journal of Scientific Exploration (JSE).[1]


Taken from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Society_fo ... xploration

15. Problem: Bengston is part of a course which takes 129 dollars. Wow its all about money:

January 22: The Energy Cure
Guest: William Bengston


William Bengston’s studies on healing mice with incurable cancer was nothing short of amazing. Here was laboratory proof of miraculous healing. And some of the healers were skeptics!
Join William Bengston as he talks about how he came to be a healer and shares some tidbits about his technique. In this session you’ll be introduced to his research, some of the obstacles along the way and the remarkable results he’s achieved.Bill's "Energy Cure” is as fascinating for what it doesn’t cure as what it does.


Taken from: http://evolverlearninglab.com/products/psi

The sum:

$129.00


Taken from: http://evolverlearninglab.com/products/psi

Conclusion of Part 1: So here we have a paper which is in woo magazines. The research was done by believers alone so far because those believers had all the power in their hands. Another problem is that Bengston could not even cure his own heart attack which is odd and even his students who had the training are not able to do this. Also Bengston works on a strange university which is full of woo people and subjects which are useless and are just for money. So far it does not look very good.
"Death Dies Hard." - Deathstars.

User avatar
Shen1986
Veteran Poster
Posts: 2884
Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2012 6:47 am

Re: The Effect of the “Laying On of Hands” by William Bengst

Postby Shen1986 » Thu Jan 30, 2014 5:25 pm

Part 2: The paper itself:

I will only post stuff which I am skeptical of in the text. The whole paper can be found here:

http://www.fourmilab.ch/documents/gtpp/ ... ngston.pdf

1. Problem: Therapeutic Touch is woo and was debunked:

On the other hand, Krieger’s study of Therapeutic Touch (1979) found that belief in the effectiveness of healing does not affect its success.


Taken from: http://www.fourmilab.ch/documents/gtpp/ ... ngston.pdf
Page: 354 in pdf.
Page: 2 in Acrobat Reader

Here is the text that debunked Therapeutic Touch:

Emily Rosa, at 9 years of age, conceived and executed a study on therapeutic touch. With the help of Stephen Barrett from Quackwatch, and with the assistance of her mother, Linda Rosa, RN, Emily became the youngest research team member to have a paper accepted by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) for her part in a study of therapeutic touch, which debunked the claims of therapeutic touch practitioners. Twenty-one practitioners of therapeutic touch participated in her study, and they attempted to detect her aura. The practitioners stood on one side of a cardboard screen, while Emily stood on the other. The practitioners then placed their hands through holes in the screen. Emily flipped a coin to determine which of the practitioner's hands she would place hers near (without, of course, touching the hand). The practitioners then were to indicate if they could sense her biofield, and where her hand was. Although all of the participants had asserted that they would be able to do this, the actual results did not support their assertions. After repeated trials the practitioners had succeeded in locating her hand at a rate not significantly different from chance.[8][9][12] JAMA editor George D. Lundberg, M.D, recommended that patients and insurance companies alike refuse to pay for therapeutic touch or at least question whether or not payment is appropriate " 'until or unless additional honest experimentation demonstrates an actual effect.' "[12]

A 1999 review of the physics of complementary therapies states that the existence of a "bio-field" or "bio-energetic field" directly contradicts principles of physics, chemistry, and biology.[17] A systematic review on the effectiveness of various distance healing techniques concluded that "The methodologic limitations of several studies make it difficult to draw definitive conclusions about the efficacy of distant healing. However ... the evidence thus far merits further study."[1]

A Cochrane systematic review found "[t]here is no robust evidence that TT promotes healing of acute wounds."[18]

The American Cancer Society has noted, "Available scientific evidence does not support any claims that TT can cure cancer or other diseases."[11]


Taken from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Therapeuti ... stigations

2. Problem: This is a total lie:

Over the course of several years, Bengston watched hundreds of people being treated for conditions covering a wide range of afflictions. Some conditions such as long-term diabetes seemed to respond slowly while others such as cancer appeared to respond almost immediately. Among the most interesting observations was that the entire process did not involve belief of any sort. The person being healed was not asked to believe in anything, and the healer himself did not espouse belief. Truly, the healings could be considered “faithless” on the part of all concerned.


Taken from: http://www.fourmilab.ch/documents/gtpp/ ... ngston.pdf
Page: 355 in pdf.
Page: 3 in Acrobat Reader

Bengston is a believer as pointed above. Just one quote:

But on the other hand I do have to ask, where does the healing come from? Dr. Bengston says it's the unconscious: "My body knows how to digest an apple... It knows how to heal." And truly, it is miraculous: you cut yourself, and your body sends T-cells and proteins to the injury site, and it somehow stops the bleeding, controls infectious agents, and rebuilds damaged blood vessels and skin. When you are doing anomalous healing, unconscious accesses unconscious, and healing information is transferred. No need for faith or belief, other than perhaps belief that such healing might be possible.

And yet paradoxically Dr. Bengston also speaks of "the Source" and says that when you do healing you "go to the Source" or "access Source energy", and even has a healing technique he calls "touching the Source". I note that many other healing modalities speak of "Source", "Spirit", "Universal Life Energy", and "All There Is" -- all the while somehow managing to omit the word "God". To me it's all a matter of semantics: one person's "Source" or "Universal Life Energy" is another person's "God", so why is it necessary to differentiate the one from the other? And what's even odder is the healer who unquestioningly accepts one but disparages the other, as in "Source Energy is good, but look at what a mess God has allowed the world to become!"


Taken from: https://suite101.com/a/dr-bill-bengston ... ng-a336798

Or here:

There are several other elements in Dr. Bengston's story that speak to there being more at work here than "unconscious speaking to unconscious". For instance, he will briefly mention his mentor's spirit guides, "the Fellows", who have occasionally also communicated with him, but does not elaborate on who "the Fellows" may be, or where they come from. Technically they could be emanations of the healer's unconscious, but that is not discussed. Also, Dr. Bengston relates in his book that when Bennett Mayrick died, he visited Dr. Bengston in spirit, surrounded by "incredible love". Where did that visitation and that love emanate from? To quote Shakespeare, "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy" (Hamlet), or can be explained by cage upon cage of mice cured of cancer.


Taken from: https://suite101.com/a/dr-bill-bengston ... ng-a336798

3. Problem: No references we only should believe that this type of cancer is 100 percent deadly and no references at all:

Her area of expertise was mammary cancer, so she was familiar with mammary adenocarcinoma
and obtained from The Jackson Laboratory a “standard” mammary adenocarcinoma (code H2712; host strain C3J/HeJ; strain of origin C3H/HeHu). The normal progression after the mouse is injected is the development of a nonmetastatic palpable and visible tumor that grows so large that it crushes the internal organs of the host. Host survival in the conventional literature was 100% fatality between 14 and 27 days after injection.


Taken from: http://www.fourmilab.ch/documents/gtpp/ ... ngston.pdf
Page: 356 in pdf.
Page: 4 in Acrobat Reader

4. Problem: The healer is magic. He does not even need to give his hands on the mice. He just needs to see them:

The control mice presented us with some unique challenges. In the initial stages of developing the experimental procedure, the healer warned that he could not be near or see the control mice, or they, too, would go into remission. Although skeptical, we agreed to keep the control mice in another laboratory.


Taken from: http://www.fourmilab.ch/documents/gtpp/ ... ngston.pdf
Page: 359 in pdf.
Page: 7 in Acrobat Reader

When in the “experiment” he needed to place his hands on them:

Bengston was to place his hands around the outside of a standard laboratory plastic cage containing six mice for 1 hour per day while applying the healing technique, beginning 3 days after injection.


Taken from: http://www.fourmilab.ch/documents/gtpp/ ... ngston.pdf
Page: 356 in pdf.
Page: 4 in Acrobat Reader

4. Problem: No control. Bengston was free to do what he want. They even relaxed the protocols:

When Bengston became the substitute healer, we relaxed this protocol. After two control mice had died “on schedule”—that is, between 14 and 17 days after injection—Bengston went to see the remaining four. They exhibited normal tumor progression patterns and were obviously in the last stages of the disease. However, after Bengston observed the four control mice in their cage, several days later, they too developed the blackened area, the tumor ulcerated, and the mice went into full remission, although they lagged behind the regularly treated experimental mice in remission rate.


Taken from: http://www.fourmilab.ch/documents/gtpp/ ... ngston.pdf
Page: 359 in pdf.
Page: 7 in Acrobat Reader

5. Problem: I am skeptical of this whole. Students were skeptics. Yeah and even after the experiment they reported that they believed that it was no healing taking place:

The results of our first experiment clearly amazed and confounded us, and we immediately set out to replicate the procedure. Krinsley offered to try the tech-nique, and he solicited a skeptical faculty volunteer from Queens College who had neither belief nor experience with any sort of paranormal phenomena. Bengston approached a half dozen students at St. Joseph’s College to act as volunteers and selected the two most skeptical students to serve as healers. The two students also had no previous experience with anomalous healing phenomena, did not believe in the legitimacy of healing, and reported afterward that they believed Bengston was actually conducting a study on student gullibility. Bengston trained the four volunteers for several hours once a week for 6 weeks. Between training sessions, the volunteers were assigned practice mental tasks.


Taken from: http://www.fourmilab.ch/documents/gtpp/ ... ngston.pdf
Pages: 359-360 in pdf.
Pages: 7-8 in Acrobat Reader

6. Problem: Again no controls and the student did what he wanted and it stinks with problems:

All seven experimental mice developed the remission pattern and lived their normal life span. Without our knowledge, and despite warnings to not do so, after two control mice had died, the faculty volunteer at Queens College began daily observations of the remaining four. All four of the remaining control mice then went into remission.


Taken from: http://www.fourmilab.ch/documents/gtpp/ ... ngston.pdf
Page: 360 in pdf.
Page: 8 in Acrobat Reader

7. Problem: Bengston is the trainer of all people there in the experiment so he had total control over it to some degree:

Bengston selected two volunteer healers: one undergraduate sociology major and one child study major. As in the second experiment, all participants had no previous paranormal experiences and were nonbelievers in the legitimacy of laying on of hands. They were trained by Bengston in an identical manner to the second experiment.


Taken from: http://www.fourmilab.ch/documents/gtpp/ ... ngston.pdf
Page: 360 in pdf.
Page: 8 in Acrobat Reader

7. Problem: No control at all. They send the mousse home?:

In this run, we attempted to solve the problem of control remissions and to find out if every volunteer could individually produce remissions. Thus, each volunteer was given one mouse to treat in the laboratory and one mouse to treat at home.


Taken from: http://www.fourmilab.ch/documents/gtpp/ ... ngston.pdf
Page: 360 in pdf.
Page: 8 in Acrobat Reader

8. Problem: It is odd that people chosen by Bengston were 100 percent always the rest was not:

The results of this run have frustrated attempts to discern a pattern. All five experimental mice taken home by the students remitted. But in the laboratory, all three of the experimental mice treated by the biology majors died within the expected time frame. Only the sociology and child study majors were able to remit their mouse in the laboratory.


Taken from: http://www.fourmilab.ch/documents/gtpp/ ... ngston.pdf
Pages: 360-361 in pdf.
Pages: 8-9 in Acrobat Reader

Here are the students of Bengston:

Bengston selected two volunteer healers: one undergraduate sociology major and one child study major.


Taken from: http://www.fourmilab.ch/documents/gtpp/ ... ngston.pdf
Page: 360 in pdf.
Page: 8 in Acrobat Reader

9. Problem: There are no controls here. Again a problem:

Unknown to us, the experimental biologist elected to not inject one mouse to observe any behavioral changes (there were none); one mouse was given two separate injections.


Taken from: http://www.fourmilab.ch/documents/gtpp/ ... ngston.pdf
Page: 361 in pdf.
Page: 9 in Acrobat Reader

10. Problem: Bengston was in control of the whole experiment:

Bengston In the first, published in the Journal of Scientific Exploration, Bengston himself apprenticed in learning the ‘laying on of hands’ technique and participated in the study he had designed.


Taken from: http://www.examiner.com/article/can-can ... ling-hands

So this is the paper. I have found 10 problems thanks to a quick look. However there are others who raised concerns about this research. Here are some examples:

Joseph G. Mitzen 4 years ago

There are so many problems wrong with these studies I don't know where to begin. For instance "In the first, ... Bengston himself apprenticed in learning the ‘laying on of hands’ technique and participated in the study he had designed." Rule #1 is: don't participate in your own study! Anyone who designs studies is supposed to know this.

"Four control mice sent to a distant city all died within the expected 27-day period, but all of the mice taken home by the volunteers went into remission from the cancer...." sending the mice home where they can't be observed is certainly not rigorous scientific protocol? How do you know you're even getting the same mouse back again? The mice are also going to be treated differently, possibly fed differently, exposed to different environments, etc. Where's the "control"?

"If...people can be taught... a simple technique to achieve 90% healing rate in mice...." which might be normal, since we saw this in the untreated control group!!!


Taken from: http://www.examiner.com/article/can-can ... ling-hands

Here is even a whole thread about it:

http://forums.randi.org/archive/index.php/t-218687.html

Here is another blog about this:

http://skepstat.blogspot.sk/2007/09/no- ... t-ive.html

Or here:

http://www.badscience.net/2007/06/alter ... once-more/

Also here:

http://asktheatheist.com/?tag=william-bengston

Also here:

http://www.skepdic.com/news/newsletter1112.html

That he is the president of SSE is also here on his own web-page:

Dr. Bengston has publications in the Journal of Scientific Exploration, the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, and Explore. In addition, he has lectured widely throughout the United States and Europe. Bill has been a member of the Society for Scientific Exploration (SSE) since 1999, and currently serves as President of the organization. He also is on the editorial board of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. Bill has written a memoir with Sylvia Fraser about his healing experiences and research entitled The Energy Cure : Unraveling the Mystery of Hands-On Healing. A CD audio instruction program, Hands-On Healing, is also available from Sounds True.


Taken from: http://www.bengstonresearch.com/about

Last thing which is interesting is that his paper in the Journal of Scientific Exploration was released in the year 2000:

Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 14, No. 3, pp. 353–364, 2000


Taken from: http://www.fourmilab.ch/documents/gtpp/ ... ngston.pdf
Page: 353 in pdf.
Page: 1 in Acrobat Reader

According to his web-page he is a member of the organization from 1999:

Bill has been a member of the Society for Scientific Exploration (SSE) since 1999, and currently serves as President of the organization.


Taken from: http://www.bengstonresearch.com/about

So again he is no freshman to paranormal woo and is biased.

Conclusion: The whole paper is full with errors. No controls. It is made by believers mostly and Bengston has total control over it along with the people he trained. So all what he said has no meaning. The biggest problem is that he himself had a heart attack and could not heal himself or even his students. So I am skeptical of this whole stuff and I think its all woo and nonsense.

Final conclusion: What to say. He published his work in a journal that is open to woo. The whole research is flawed and it was all done by believers mostly. He even lies in the paper to begin with. So I would not even bother to read his work because it is a waste of time and its total foolishness. He is after the money. Religion sells you know.
"Death Dies Hard." - Deathstars.

waltinseattle
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu May 11, 2017 6:55 pm

Re: The Effect of the “Laying On of Hands” by William Bengston

Postby waltinseattle » Thu May 11, 2017 7:12 pm

on Problem 7. you stated: "is the trainer of all people there in the experiment so he had total control over it to some degree:"

First I will underscore the contrdiction and imprecision of "total control to some degree."
Second it is not uncommon in sociology observation exxperimentation for the trainer to control the training so that it is consiistent with the design. Would you have an outsider come train? If so then how can one confirm training without the trainer being controled by the experimenter? If you sstudy with brain probes, the experimenter controls the placement and o.k.s the trainees, or the experiment is randomized.

More generally, the society is open and thus there is no reason to suspect, or imply as you have, that this particular member accepts all the theories of others in the society. They are individuals. otherwise I could attack many medical practices and "accepted beliefs" on the evidence of members. There are psychiatric professionals who do not believe in psychiatric disorders/disease. Is psychiatry junk for this?

You exhibit certain belief systems with no admission. Benston admits he has not proven anything. You attack because his proof isn't rigorous. Perhaps reconsider the term "exploratory research." That would entail sending the rats home, of course.

I am unsure how far you want to go discrediting the society in question. I study TCM. finally beyond post-operative pain there is NIH research on it with results indicating efficacy of chemicals found within traditional herbs. Either its not woo woo or there is profound non-randomness afoot. You also mention mindbody modalities as if they were ALL wo woo. Since the beginning of og Gesstalt psychology this has been withing the realm of consideration. We now have hard data from machines. Do you have any thing other than lumping it all in woo woo by implications?

User avatar
scrmbldggs
Has No Life
Posts: 19634
Joined: Sun May 20, 2012 7:55 am
Custom Title: something
Location: sees Maria Frigoris from its house!

Re: The Effect of the “Laying On of Hands” by William Bengston

Postby scrmbldggs » Thu May 11, 2017 11:53 pm

Confessing outright ignorance about this from your post "There are psychiatric professionals who do not believe in psychiatric disorders/disease.", I'd like to ask if you could cite some of those professionals?

Also welcome to SSF, Walt.
Hi, Io the lurker.

Matthew Ellard
Real Skeptic
Posts: 26362
Joined: Fri Jun 13, 2008 3:31 am

Re: The Effect of the “Laying On of Hands” by William Bengston

Postby Matthew Ellard » Fri May 12, 2017 12:56 am

waltinseattle wrote:There are psychiatric professionals who do not believe in psychiatric disorders/disease. Is psychiatry junk for this?
My father was a fellow, Chairman of the Board of Accreditation and examiner for the Royal Australian & New Zealand College of Psychiatrists. Please explain how a psychiatrist could be registered with no belief in psychiatric disorders/disease.
https://www.ranzcp.org/Membership/award ... llard.aspx


Return to “Healthcare”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest