What “Thinking” about autism (or anything) is not

Yesterday’s post was just too depressing to contemplate and even more depressing to write. It was a total downer after seen the awesomeness that was John Oliver gloriously skewering America’s Quack Dr. Mehmet Oz. That’s why I think it would be good to finish this week on an amusing note. Well, it would be amusing if it weren’t for my knowledge that the woman who wrote the post I’m about to “analyze” has an autistic child and is subjecting that child to quackery. Actually, that’s true of pretty much every woman who blogs at the wretched hive of scum and autism biomed quackery where this post appeared.

Yes, I’m referring to The Thinking Moms’ Revolution (TMR), or, as I like to call it, The Not-So-Thinking Moms’ Revolution, an offshoot of that other wretched hive of scum and antivaccine quackery, Age of Autism whose ability to consistently write incredibly ignorant things about vaccines and autism is unrivaled. Basically, TMR is a wine loving, vaccine hating, coffee klatch of mommy warriors for whom the terms Dunning-Kruger effect and arrogance of ignorance were coined.

Perhaps the most amusing thing about TMR is how they love to capitalize the word “thinker,” thus referring to themselves as “Thinkers” with a capital T. By implication, their referring to themselves as “Thinkers” means that they think of the rest of us as not being Thinkers and thus being sheeple easily duped by the vaccine-pharma-chemical-GMO conspiracy to make every child in the world autistic in order to…well, they never quite say in order to what. Dominate the world? Profit? Be evil for the sake of being evil? A combination of the three? Who knows? It doesn’t really matter. The point is that the boozy, chattery, self-absorbed and arrogant members of TMR think that they are superior to you, the sheeple, because they Know. They Know that vaccines cause a autism and they Know how to cure it with all manner of biomed quackery. Why? Because they are Thinkers, of course! And you’re not!

Apparently, however, all that Thinking requires energy, as in energy healing for autism:

When I first heard that the Thinking Moms’ Revolution was putting together an eConference on Energy Healing, I did the Happy Dance! I was beyond excited that other moms out there were “out there” and exploring these incredible healing modalities for their children.

You see, my son is now almost 16, and I have been investigating and using various forms of energy healing and energy medicine for over a decade, and have felt pretty alone in my interests. While others on the autism journey were into medical testing and biomed (which is great), I became a Reiki Master, learned Reconnective Healing and Quantum Touch, used homeopathy, essential oils, and flower essences, used EAV (electroacupuncture) and muscle testing for diagnosing, and of course, I consulted with mediums to get answers from the spirit world to help my son.

Oh. My. God.

Is there a form of quackery this woman doesn’t believe in? I don’t see reflexology, acupuncture, craniosacral therapy, and Ayurveda, but it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if our intrepid “Thinker” believed in all of these as well. Particularly disturbing to me personally is that this particular “Thinker” goes by the ‘nym “Oracle.” That’s way too close to “Orac” for comfort. In any case, Oracle is Laura Hirsch, who is described thusly:

Her first book was an autobiography about her experience of being a young widow, which led to her investigation of mediumship as a therapeutic avenue for grief. She remarried and had two sons, the older one diagnosed at age three with regressive autism. Her love and devotion to her son led her back to mediumship for answers from her loved ones in spirit and others on how to heal her son. Working with a psychic medium and his wife, a spirit artist, they extended an open invitation to the spirit world to help solve the autism puzzle. Her third book, The Other Side of Autism: Famous Spirits Unveil Regressive Autism’s Causes and Remedies is the culmination of their sessions. She is also a Non-GMO advocate and is featured in the documentary Genetic Roulette in the autism segment. Her website is The Other Side of Autism.

On the TMR website, there is a video of an interview of Hirsch by one of the “Thinkers” that’s painful to watch. She describes how she relied on the husband-wife team of Michael & Marti Parry. Michael’s the psychic medium, and Marti is the psychic artist, whatever that is.) Actually, I learned what “spirit art” is from the couple’s website, namely the ability to “draw friends and loved ones that have passed away without ever having seen them, personally or through pictures, or even a description!” Sure thing, Marti.

In the video, we further learn from Hirsch that she learned from her psychic medium that her autistic son is allergic to wheat, among other things. Through her medium, she received wisdom from Bernard Rimland, who died in 2006, as well as “very famous scientists and politicians,” all, I assume, now dead. From these dead people, she learned that autism isn’t caused by just one thing. In other words, the spirits told her that it’s “not just vaccines” although vaccines are definitely a contributing factor. She also learned that it’s diet, particularly GMOs, and radiation. She then relates the story of having a session before Fukushima happened in which her medium drew a picture of a nuclear reactor with a crack in it and predicted a nuclear disaster of some kind. In any case, our intrepidly ignorant Ms. Hirsch goes on to blather how radiation can cause cancer and damage DNA; so of course it must be able to cause autism as well.

The spirits also apparently told Ms. Hirsch how to treat her son. One thing they told her was to eliminate the evil GMOs (of course). Another was iodine and supplements to “pull radiation out of his body.” A third thing was the quackery known as hyperbaric oxygen. She says that she did everything the spirits told her to do, and “it helped him.” Her son is now 15; so I have to wonder how much of this “improvement” Hirsch noted was confirmation bias and the normal improvement that happens in many autistic children just from normal development. (Remember, autism is a condition of developmental delay, not stasis.) The spirits also apparently told her that her son could definitely be “recovered.”

Oh, and in her post she also touts the Autism Healing Intention Program. I went over to the website and immediately wish I hadn’t, as it advertises a “remote energetic healing intention program for autism”:

Autism Pioneer Suzy Miller paired with Stanford Emeritus Professor William Tiller to explore new scientifically successful energetic healing approaches to autism. Dr. William Tiller, Professor Emeritus Stanford University, and featured physicist in the movie WHAT THE BLEEP, and former Pediatric Speech Language Pathologist, Suzy Miller, M.Ed., C.C.C. have taken their understanding of autism and paired it with the most cutting edge remote healing techniques to offer a service for parents and autistic children which is not locale-specific (i.e. can be administered remotely), is all natural with no supplements, and also offers a supportive online community of like-minded parents of autistic children.

Did this really say William Tiller? Founder of the Institute for Psychoenergetic Science? It doesn’t get much woo-ier than Tiller. The dude’s like Deepak Chopra on quantum steroids. I mean, just peruse his website and you’ll find the “Biobodysuit Metaphor”:

  • Each layer has a unique substance and infrastructure
  • The outer 2 layers constitute temporal physical reality
  • The middle shell is non-temporal and could be called the soul
  • The layer infrastructure and the coupling between layers largely determine the state of the wellness of the whole person of Wellness of the Whole Person

Huh?

It turns out that we’ve encountered Tiller before, but it’s been a few years. For instance, I discussed one of Tiller’s papers back in 2007. If you want the details (and, really, you probably do; it’s one of the more amusing Friday Doses of Woo I ever wrote and the illustrations cribbed from Teller’s paper will either cause you to clutch your head in pain or to laugh uproariously—possibly both), go back to the original post. It’s basically what I referred to as “information theory homeopathy,” in which “a higher-dimensional-level substance, labeled deltrons, falling outside the constraints of relativity theory and able to move at velocities” faster than the speed of light and that act as “a coupling agent between the electric monopole types of substances and the magnetic monopole types of substances to produce both electromagnetic (EM) and magnetoelectric (ME) types of mediator fields exhibiting a special type of ‘mirror principle’ relationship between them” is responsible for homeopathic effects.

In 2010, I took on another bit of Tiller woo that contained an illustration like this outlining what he referred to as “an energy level diagram embracing both classical physical and ”unseen” vacuum levels of substance”:

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In any case, Tiller has a page with 30 white papers. I should be thankful. If I ever lack for blogging material, well, there it is!

In any case, this is how Hirsch describes the Autism Healing Intentions Program:

It is a year-long program which includes energetic healing broadcasts to your home on a portion of an hourly basis 24 hours per day, 365 days in the year, providing the stimulus for the information and energetic conditioning of your home, six 60-minute group feedback sessions with Suzy Miller and Dr. Tiller to discuss observations related to the experiment and respond to any questions, and a private online social network community for participants of the Autism Intention Program only. It was very affordable, considering that one session of energy healing can cost $100. The whole family was getting a healing every day for a year! How cool is that?

The very first night of the first broadcast, I was putting my son to bed, and he had forgotten his stuffed bear in my bedroom. After I tucked him in, he said, “Get the bear, yes!” Normally, he would have just said, “Bear.” Coincidence? I think not!

Brain death? I think so!

It turns out that a lot of our “Thinkers” are into “energetic healing,” so much so that in July TMR is holding a conference they call Energetic Healing for Children with Autism and Their Families. Included as the speakers are Tami Duncan, described thusly:

Tami Duncan is a mom of two kids. During her twelve year journey through autism, biomedical interventions, therapies and lyme disease she awakened to her own spiritual gifts realizing that when she integrated energy healing and spiritual practices into her treatment for herself and her son, big things happened. She dove in head first and became a student of the Universe and trained in Reiki, Vibrational Healing, Shamanic Techniques, Multi-Dimensional Frequencies, Garcia Ennergetics, Mediumship, Channeling, Essential Oils, Flower Essences, Telepathic Communication and many more techniques given to her through spiritual guidance. She considers herself both a student and a teacher.

If there’s a form of quackery, spiritual or otherwise, that Duncan doesn’t believe in, I’m hard-pressed to identify it. Also on the list of speakers are a psychic medium (Danielle Mackinnon) an Energy Kinesiologist who also practices something she calls Somatic Emotional Acupressure (S.E.A.®) (Joy Del Giudice), a practitioner of Emotional Freedom Techniques (Kelly Burch), and a practitioner of something called BodyTalk (Heather Fraser). Several of them have embraced quackery other than energy medicine quackery, as well. Of course.

I find it amusing that this obnoxiously arrogant (is there any other way to be arrogant?) coffee klatch of self-absorbed women worried about “toxins” but unafraid of large quantities of wine and coffee, thinks itself so superior in its knowledge of medicine and autism. Think about it. Several of them believe in huge quantities of the very New Age nonsense that inspired Tim Minchin to write Storm. They’re holding a conference including psychic mediums and quacks who think they can manipulate life “energy” and heal over distances. Several of them have apparently become disciples of one of the woo-iest of the woo-meisters, William Tiller. I don’t know what that is, but I do know what it is not: Thinking.