Thursday, July 7, 2011

New age guru James A. Ray found guilty of negligent homicide.

Since this news is relatively local to where I live I thought I would comment on it.

If you haven't kept up with the news this guy promoted a lot of pseudo-science in and around Sedona.  

He promoted his sweat lodge as method of removing "toxins" from the body. 
If you don't know what a sweat lodge is you can read more about it here

He charged people 10,000 dollars a person to be a part of a program back in 2009 that ended in three deaths due to dehydration in his sweat lodge.

He was convicted of negligent homicide and is awaiting sentencing.  Perhaps this will be a lesson to people try to treat people with pseudo-science treatments when they are not qualified physicians.

Of course the people who paid this snake oil salesmen must take some responsibility.  The reason people like Mr. Ray are able to make the large amounts of money they make is because people do not think skeptically about the claims these "gurus" make.  People paid a man 10,000 dollars to have a sweat lodge remove toxins from their body even though there is no evidence that it does any such thing.  Even if the medical risk was nil it would still beg the question of why someone would spend that kind of money on something with no proven benefit?  If they truly had an illness they could have been treated by a real doctor, most likely for much less money, using treatments that have proven efficacy.

While I agree the guy was guilty and its good he is going to be punished for his negligence, I can't exactly jump for joy over it.  I am sure there are a dozen more shysters out there willing to take large sums of money from anyone they can prey on.  The only way to avoid being taken in by these peddlers of woo is to educate oneself and think skeptically about the claims others make.

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