Adam “Dreamhealer” and science: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

I wil probably lose some respect from some of my readers by admitting this, but I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for Dan Brown novels. I actually enjoyed The Da Vinci Code immensely as a jolly good read, as long as you’re not too much of a stickler for anything resembling historical accuracy. Ditto Angels & Demons, although even I cringed at one of the most ham-handed bits of author foreshadowing every put into a highly popular novel. (Those of you who’ve read Angels & Demons no doubt know exactly what I’m talking about.) In fact, I’ll probably eventually get a copy of Dan Brown’s latest book The Lost Symbol, just released a couple of weeks ago. Maybe when I take my usual few days off around Christmas.

My weakness for cheesy mysteries notwithstanding, I know that Dan Brown novels are fiction. They exist for one purpose: To entertain. Well, that, and to make Dan Brown truckloads of money because people with the same weakness as I have buy his books. Apparently, however, not everyone seems to realize that it’s all a huge put on, an enormous conceit, outrageous fiction meant to see how much Brown can get the audience to suspend disbelief. I’m not sure that the same can be said of certain equally imaginative woo-meisters.

I’m referring to, of course, a young man known as Adam Dreamhealer, a young man whose name popped up on my newsfeed yesterday with a most curious press release Intention Heals: Truth is Stranger than Fiction in Dan Brown’s Latest Book.

It should be more something like “Intention Steals: The Truth Is a Lot More Boring Than the Fiction in Dan Brown’s Latest Book.”

Dan Brown’s new book, “The Lost Symbol”, addresses the power of intention as fiction, yet Adam DreamHealer has presented this as reality in his Intention Heals workshops and books for the last 7 years. Dan Brown references IONS (Institute of Noetic Science) several times and Adam shares an interesting history with the founder of IONS, Dr. Edgar Mitchell. In conferences with Edgar, Adam has presented his “Intention Heals” workshops across North America to thousands of participants on the power of our own intentions and self-empowerment in healing.

As you may recall Adam Dreamhealer started into woo as a teen, when he became famous for his claim that he could heal people at a distance. He made a name for himself in woo by having claimed to have cured aging rocker Ronnie Hawkins of inoperable pancreatic cancer. Basically, Adam claims he can simply look at a picture of someone with cancer and cure that person by “intent” over a distance, claiming it works by “Quantum Holography,” whatever that is. Actually, what it is is the same sort of “quantum” woo that so many “alternative practitioners” like to invoke as the alleged source of healing. Deepak Chopra is fond of invoking “quantum consciousness,” which sounds a lot like quantum holography, for example. Lionel Milgrom produces some of the most outrageously silly justifications for “quantum homeopathy.” Indeed, I can picture Milgrom’s buddies coming up to him after each new excursion into pure quantum woo, laughing outrageously and asking him, “Can you top this?” And Milgrom almost always can. So, too, can Adam McLeod, reborn as Adam Dreamhealer. I’ve called Adam’s show Adam and His Technicolor Woo before. I wasn’t kidding. Get a load of his description of Quantum Holography:

What is a quantum hologram? A quantum hologram is what Adam sees when he connects to an individual’s energetic system. It can consist of many different layers such as skeletal-muscular view; the body’s organs; nervous system and different magnifications on these views.

Why is it some people can heal and others can’t? No matter what modality you use for your illness the main factor for healing is your subconscious drive. Many people have the drive to explore different types of healing modalities. However not everyone has the drive to truly get better. You can fool others about your intentions but you cannot fool your body.

How is it done? Every living thing on this planet has its own Quantum Hologram (QH). Every QH is connected, therefore we are all connected. The QH holds every bit of information about you. Some individuals are able to access this information. The QH theory states that a change to local matter instantaneously affects the same change to an identical non-local object. So when Adam connects to someone’s hologram he is connecting to the energy information for that person’s body. It can be done over long distance with the use of an image of the person.

Of course. How silly of me to doubt. The only “energy” information being transmitted anywhere by Dreamhealer is the electrical impulses needed to electronically transfer the huge sums of money he’s making off of credulous marks from account to account. I’m sure he’s discovered online banking and stock purchasing.

But what about Ronnie Hawkins? If he really had pancreatic cancer and is still alive, doesn’t that mean there might be something to Dreamhealer’s claims? Well, not so much. You see, it was never actually proven that Hawkins ever had pancreatic cancer. His surgeon opened him up because, apparently, symptoms had led to a CT scan that had shown a mass. The surgeon described the mass as wrapping around important blood vessels, making it unresectable. Three needle biopsies failed to detect cancer. Here’s the problem. Because it is so deadly, pancreatic cancer is one of the few cancers where surgeons will sometimes do a big operation (removal of the head of the pancreas, or the Whipple operation) even without a biopsy-proven diagnosis of cancer. More importantly, chronic pancreatitis can sometimes mimic pancreatic cancer, even sometimes encasing arteries in a rock-hard inflammatory mass that can look all the world like a cancer on CT scan, MRI, or gross examination at the time of surgery. Even experienced surgeons can sometimes be fooled by such a process, as Peter Moran explained here. With that in mind, if a patient presents with a mass at the head of the pancreas and a tissue diagnosis cannot be established, an increasingly uncommon but still not rare scenario, given how hard it is to establish a tissue diagnosis, surgeons will still often operate to remove the head of the pancreas, because the consequences of not doing so are so dire that they outweigh considerable chance of complications due to this very large operation. In other words, surgeons (and patients) accept the risk that there will be the occasional Whipple operation done for benign disease. Just because Hawkins had an apparent pancreatic mass that a surgeon diagnosed as cancer does not necessarily mean that Hawkins, in fact, ever actually had pancreatic cancer. Indeed, given that he is still alive, the overwhelmingly more likely possibility is that Hawkins was misdiagnosed and, in fact, did not have pancreatic cancer. Certainly that is a much more likely explanation than his having been healed by Adam’s mystical magical powers.

As for Dreamhealer’s other alleged “healings,” Benjamin Radford explained well why they are not at all persuasive as “evidence” for Adam’s supposed powers.

It looks as though Dreamhealer is doing nothing more than glomming on to the popularity of Dan Brown’s book to push his latest project, in which he claims to be able to link groups of people together in order to heal them, all without necessarily ever having met any of them. He even has a “global healing” page, in which he claims to be seeking worldwide involvement in his “intention” healing. And it’s all science, maaaan! Just listen to the press release:

Adam has always sought a scientific explanation to support what he intuitively knows to be true as a healer: that our intentions influence our reality. Recently Adam graduated as a molecular biologist, B.Sc.(1st Hon). He is continuing his studies in Naturopathic Medicine to become a Naturopathic Doctor. Adam’s focus has always been influencing our health through the energy of our intentions.

Adam’s website, has hundreds of testimonials in writing and on video to support the success of healing using our intentions. The successes cover a wide range of illnesses, including cases of terminal cancer.

Apparently his classes in molecular biology and science didn’t sink in if Adam thinks that testimonials constitute good evidence to support his claims. He also shows that he doesn’t think like a scientists. Note how he says he has always “sought a scientific explanation to support what he intuitively knows to be true.” He’s not seeking to find out if what he thinks is true is in fact true. He’s trying to prove that it is true. In other words, he is not open to the possibility of falsification, and if you’re not open to the possibility of falsifying your hypothesis (in fact, if you don’t actively try to falsify it) you’re doing science wrong. Like this:

The evidence that “Intention Heals” is impressive! Since 2006 Adam has been collecting survey results about intentional healing on his website. Thousands of people have responded and participated in this survey. Astonishingly, over 75% of respondents rate their health issues as having improved significantly through the self-empowering techniques described in Adam’s books and workshops.

Using chi-square and binomial statistical testing, these results showed that a statistically significant number of people experienced health improvements. The bottom line is that people are taking control of their own health challenges and using their own intentions to make a difference. That is the power of self-empowerment.

So science-y. He said chi-square and binomial testing. Test away, woo-boy! As they say, “Garbage In= Garbage Out.” If the data you’re feeding into your statistics is crap, then you can do all the chi-squareds on it that you want. It’ll still be crap, only “statistically significant” crap.

What I’m more interested in is why Adam wants to be come a naturopath. Why would he need it? Think about it this way. If Adam really has the power to heal a person at a distance just by looking at a picture of that person and thinking really hard about it, wouldn’t that be awesome? Why would he need anything else? I wouldn’t. To me, it reeks of nothing more than expanding his empire and therefore his profits. Maybe selling videos like this just isn’t enough anymore:

Whatever the case, I remain puzzled at how anyone could believe this nonsense. And nonsense it is. Adam Dreamhealer spewing woo about merging peoples auras into “one coherent frequency” in order to orchestrate “group healings” and blathering on about combining “cutting edge science” with “mystical traditions.” I say to Adam what I’ve become fond of saying to a lot of woo-meisters these days: You keep using that word “cutting edge science.” I do not think it means what you think it means.

What it means is that Dreamhealer gets to keep separating the credulous from their cash.