Thursday, January 27, 2011

Christ, it's Ted Haggard again

Like a dose of evangelical clap, (former) pastor Ted Haggard just won't go away:

"At first I thought, Man, I don't wanna go to no faggot's church," Art says. "But the first day I was here, Pastor Ted looked at me and said, 'You've been struggling with drugs, haven't you? Today you walk free.' I haven't touched it since."
"In Ted's mind, though, he's never been more capable, more called, than he is now. He has walked through the fire and emerged with family and faith restored. He's "less broken now," he says, more whole, spiritually and psychologically. This may be true. But "less broken" doesn't necessarily equal "redeemed." And what he's working to repair may not be the sort of thing that can be fixed."

At least he's not a young earth creationist and he admits he's bi (or would be if he were younger). On the other hand, there's his far more doubtful claim of having been "cured" of his homo/bisexuality after three weeks of EMDR. What exactly is EMDR? (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing):
The therapy was discovered by therapist Dr. Francine Shapiro while on a walk in the park. (Her doctorate was earned at the now defunct and never accredited Professional School of Psychological Studies. Her undergraduate degree is in English literature.) It is claimed that EMDR can "help" with “phobias, generalized anxiety, paranoid schizophrenia, learning disabilities, eating disorders, substance abuse, and even pathological jealousy” (Lilienfeld 1996), but its main application has been in the treatment of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). No one has been able to adequately explain how EMDR is supposed to work. Some think it works something like acupuncture (which allegedly unblocks chi): rapid eye movements allegedly unblock "the information-processing system." Some think it works by a sort of ping-pong effect between the right and left sides of the brain, which somehow restructures memory. Or perhaps it works, as one therapist suggested, by the rapid eye movements sending signals to the brain which somehow tame and control the naughty part of the brain which had been causing the psychological problems. I heard the latter explanation on a television news report (December 2, 1994). The television station provided a nice visual of a cut-away head with sparks flying in the brain. The anchorman warned us not to try this at home, that only licensed mental health professionals were qualified to give this kind of therapy.
Skepdic (dotcom)

Although further research on EMDR is warranted, such research will likely be impeded by the prohibitions placed on the open distribution of EMDR training materials (Acierno et al. 1994). For example, participants in EMDR workshops must agree not to audiotape any portion of the workshop, train others in the technique without formal approval, or disseminate EMDR training information to colleagues (Rosen 1993). It seems difficult to quarrel with Herbert and Meuser's (1992, p. 173) contention that although "this procedure is justified to maintain 'quality control,' such a restriction of information runs counter to the principle of open and free exchange of ideas among scientists and professionals."
Skeptical Inquirer, January/February 1996 (not available on-line—sorry)

What a racket. On a tangentially-related note, the mortgage crisis is closing churches all over the US:
"Religious organizations may be subject to the laws of God but they are also subject to the laws of economics"
The Wall Street Journal

No comments: