Psychosomatic Head Lice, Illusory Truth Effect…ahh, Religion

Did you feel that? I remember many years ago watching the missionaries in my home, teaching “without purse or script” ((winging it) by the spirit of god that was in them. After a prayer to invite god into the room, one missionary was quoting select scriptures and telling stories to invoke emotions. After what may or may not have been a lie, one of the missionaries interrupted “oh, did you feel that? The spirit is strong in here today”. The other missionary said, ” yeah, I feel it too”. This went on for a little while and the the investigator was asked to pray with them. She declined offering the prayer (first instinct) so the missionaries prayed. They laid it all out there in the prayer, asking for god to show his love and touch this room with his spirit, and to let the investigator know the truth of their words. Their emotions were strong, all in it, and after the prayer they convincingly, kindly, asked if she could feel it too? “Yes”, she could feel it. ” The lord has brought us to you today to share his message. Can we come back and visit with you again?” The gal was baptized two weeks later. She eventually swam out of it a couple months later after some internet research and a little help from her friends, and being away from those who “feel it too”. Turns out she didn’t feel it when the missionaries were away. “The sting” was on their shoulders like rid-away to psychosomatic head lice, illusory truth effect needed more repetitions to take root, and the psychosomatic influence wained. More repeated exposure was needed.

I worked at a new school a few years back. On of the teachers started having respiratory issues and told us all he thought there was mold in the school. Evidently this was all new for him and he needed some resolve. Air quality in schools is a fairly well monitored science here in the states, and a crew was called out and did a test. Nothing was found, and air quality exceeded the state standards. The teacher was not satisfied, and began wearing a mask to school. Within two weeks, most of the staff and students were wearing masks to school. Illness swept through the campus and the school was closed. Teams of lab rats combed the school, literally every nook, cranny, and crawl space was tested. The building air and ducting was all evacuated. Anti fungal and germicides were pumped through the system and a complete mop-up and retest gave the school another clean bill of health. News was out that everything was A-ok, school resumed and life was good again. There was nothing ever found, There was nothing ever there, but psychosomaticism.

If your head doesn’t itch before you hear about the lice, you don’t have lice.

If you feel the spirit (define that) only after others feel the spirit, you don’t have it. Nobody does, but positive emotion feels good, and for some it’s addictive and must be shared to get validation.

Because someone says it’s true, doesn’t make it true. In fact, if someone has to tell you something is real, most likely is not true.

Repeating a lie makes it true to those exposed to it. ” From the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established”.

Illusory truth effect.

In 1977 Villanova and Temple universities did a misinformation study where falsehoods were publicized, repeated, and then tested. Through repetition, students were convinced beyond rationality that certain things were true. Things that had no scientific or reason attached to them.

What if I told you that the best canoe for open water must be at least 15 feet long? I repeat the information on a semi-regular basis, then in a random survey ask a multiple choice question about canoe length and open water. The answer of 15 feet is used by the majority of those surveyed, even though it is a fantasy fact.

Feeling the spirit (positive emotion) confirming a lie, illusory truth, turning falsehoods and psychosomatic reactions into reality. Welcome to christianity in a nutshell.

Author: jim-

One minute info blogs breaking the faith trap.

59 thoughts on “Psychosomatic Head Lice, Illusory Truth Effect…ahh, Religion”

  1. Good point and the other two -desire for wealth above other better priorities and what I’d call hyper nationalism do figure in.
    And when I speak of religion, I’m mostly speaking of far right evangelicals and fundamentalists in the Abrahamic religions, but more moderate religions are not innocent either.

    So we have climate change denial. The belief here comes from religion and people thinking god will take care of it all and this life is brief anyway..a short wait for heaven. But corporate greed is in play too.

    Another part of this is how we simply treat our planet…pollution, plastic, cutting down forests, dumping chemicals in ground water areas, killing animals to name just a few. This has religious overtones in that Christians particularly, feel god gave them the earth and all the natural resources and animals to do as they please with. All those goats sacrificed for what! But yes corporate greed does come into this area as well.

    The extreme hatred and divisiveness we are experiencing between the right and left is definitely brought on by the religious right from religion and their anti gay, anti women’s rights and white supremacy views. I feel the left sees that we cannot continue to live as if the US is a one race, one culture, one set of gender preferences country and also in a country where the wealthy are so rich and everyone else struggles to some degree. So they hate the stupidity, selfishness and backwardsness of these views. So it’s religion that drives this.

    Then there are wars..currently in the Mideast. We may wage war for who knows what…oil, fear control? And they wage war for religion and also to keep control, but religion drives the Muslim world in almost complete mind control. For the US, nationalism does come into play..we are always right stuff.

    Then there’s science, which is part of education and being taught critical thinking, which in most western countries, is respected and is not in conflict with any religious views. But not here in the US. So again religion keeps pushing ridiculous ideas like creationisn, the world being just 6000 years old, god controls it all and we didn’t evolve from other creatures because we are so special. And the Mideast is just as bad in this and it is because of religion…nothing else. At least Europe is sane in this and China and Japan.

    In the US you still have people who won’t treat themselves or their children for any health emergency, as they believe it is god’s will, so many times you hear of children dying unnecessarily. Again religion.

    How we treat our fellow human beings, especially if they are different races, countries etc. And I know missionaries do some good, but only if they make progress converting them to Christianity and how would they treat them if they were atheists or agnostics? Just look what Christianity did to native Americans and yes I know I said current, but you get the idea. They were vilified and worse.

    I’m sure I could think of more, but my brain is tired.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Excellent points Mary. I didn’t even think of the science and climate change deniers all being lock-step with this affect. The pulpits and the Bible studies and the near consensus is remarkable for one group to be in such denial together. I’m going to give you 2 bonus points and a star today 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    1. To touch on what Ark mentioned, the king has no clothes, but they won’t expose it because living in a fantasy is easier than reality (they think). But, once outside of faith one realizes it’s like emerging gloriously from the cocoon.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, I was toying with asking that question when I put some thought behind the statement. My reasoning tells me that said there’s a whole lot more than religion we could directly blame for some of our grosser social problems. Unless, of course, we want to believe that somehow all the evil of earth in some way sources from some form of religion. I don’t see just one source for evil, but rather three, which I call the evil trinity of man’s powers: Religion, the State and Money. There are more true believers in politics and money today than in religion.

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  2. We all know deep down that religion poisons everything eventually and it will be the undoing of our civilization, the very planet we live on and humanity at large. A giant hoax from the early times when men lusted for control and power over the masses and still continue to this day with many a fool to prey upon.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Living a non-reality of religion can’t possible address the realities we are now facing. Denial and deception, while intensionally believing things that deep down they know are not true.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The truth is what the truth is. It is impossible to bend, warp or manipulate. Faced with it everyone would have to put aside their biases and all discussions would end.

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      1. If we get to the heart of the issue here, which is no God vs a God. Say that you are correct on the matter and I am wrong, then there would be nothing I could do about it. Also, if it turns out in the end that God exists there would be nothing you could do about that. So, if I die and it turns out my soul does not continue on then that is it. It is unchangeable. Likewise if you were to face God when you die, then there is nothing you can do about it. Truth cannot be altered with convictions, biases and opinions. That would technically end all discussions.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. On the contrary. Maybe when we are finally awakened to the realization that we hold all the power, the discussions would finally become meaningful. We could all search out the universe, collaborating reality into an incredible search and discovery and empowerment that comes with it. But alas, for now we go with maybe someday. I know there are some like you that search for truth in whatever form it may come, but here in the states it is much different. Children are shielded from the sciences and convinced that spiritual beings are the key to enlightenment. Imaginations, if you will, of a world out of their control.

          Liked by 3 people

  4. That reminds me of the situation we have here regarding wind turbines. There is an extremely vocal minority who turn up at every county and town board meeting where turbine siting is being considered to rattle off a lengthy list of alleged “health problems” being caused by these things, all without any actual proof except the “but I saw an article on the internet” claims that they inevitably fall back on. A few years ago one woman got up at the county board meeting here claiming turbines were as noisy as a 747 taking off. I’ve stood almost directly under them and have heard almost nothing. A 10 minute drive to listen for herself was, of course, out of the question because she didn’t need to go because she read it on the internet…

    I despair of the ultimate fate of the human race. I really do.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. I love it, Jim. Head lice as a metaphor for the holy spirit. Did ya get your dose of cooties today? Sorry. Now everyone needs to use the lice (spirit) ridding shampoo.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. For some reason my head was just swimming in connections today. Really should have reigned it in for two posts but the two or three things kept creeping into my brain. When we decide to succumb to illusory beliefs, then everything wains.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. “Because someone says it’s true, doesn’t make it true.”

    My reaction exactly when I hear lurid and bizarre accounts of alleged religious practices.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Loy your denial is epic. Really unbelievable and also quite dishonest and disingenuous. Some things are extremely obvious, and as Christianity is just as disingenuous and an epic failure I see where you fit in. I know by now you now with 2.4 billion members and a 1000 years of dominance we should be all peace all the time. But alas, not one goddam part of it is observable reality. I am sure you have no real belief in any of it. It’s all a charade and a friggin contest that bares nothing valuable to our society.

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      1. I’ll continue to try to understand your point of view. You certainly don’t have to justify your cherished beliefs to me, and perhaps your only aim here is to preach to the choir. That’s fine and not my business. However, I will offer this constructive feedback in case it’s of interest: No, your complaints about “Christianity” and “religion” are not at all obvious or self-evident. Not obvious, and the supporting arguments offered just recycle other similarly hackneyed rhetoric. Above all, I don’t hear what the better alternative would be and how exactly it would have produced the utopia you seem to have in mind.

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        1. So, where is the similar hackneyed rhetoric in any of my posts? Since I’ve never read an atheist book, nor do I watch YouTube, but have however, read the Bible about thirty times, applied the precepts of faith for fifty years, and not one single point is as it is propped up to be. I used to thrive in apologetics then my integrity forced me out of religion. Compare what is written and spoken to what we observe and it’s a landslide observation against faith. Every point of doctrine requires volumes of excuses for god. I do write my own words
          From my own observations, and most of my topics are peaked from my daily quest for learning. What part of illusory truth or psychosomatic responses in groups does not apply to religion? It is ever so obvious it does, as I see it happen, and it continues to hang in there, stagnating the intellectualism of mankind, sidetracking the majorities desire for actual, real learning and advancement, and fighting equality at every opportunity. And quite possibly because the rest of them are the ultimate groupthinkers.

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          1. It’s fair to call out certain negative characteristics of certain forms of religion. It’s ridiculous to imply that they are universal or definitional.

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      1. It’s just a process of “Maturing” into another level of his atheism. It’s coming if it’s not already 100%. It’s a twofold conundrum now—continue living a life you know is not real, or contemplate forever the disappointment of family and friends that are counting on his strength to prop up their own delusions/doubts. I have a soft spot for that since I know the drill.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. No insult is intended, but my sarcasm can get away from me on occasion. I appreciate your viewpoint. Your endeavor to downplay obvious common knowledge isn’t honest debate. Your comments to grouch showed that and it’s nonsensical to move forward if that’s what it’s all about.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. @jim: Opinions are not immune to questioning just because someone claims they’re based on “obvious common knowledge”. First, even if someone gets the underlying facts straight, what they conclude from those facts may be subject to faulty reasoning. Two, much “obvious common knowledge” (aka conventional wisdom, aka old wives tales) ain’t necessarily so. It used to be “obvious common knowledge” that my ethnic group is superior to yours. In most of the world it is still “obvious common knowledge” that men are men and women are women, and that you can’t have a wedding without a bride.

              So it’s perfectly fair to ask someone to “show their work”: Explain the specific “obvious common knowledge” they rely upon, as well as the reasoning they rely upon to form their opinions and cherished beliefs.

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            2. I don’t really have any cherished beliefs, as you say. I hold to nothing that can’t reach obvious consensus between belief and non belief. I don’t believe in supernatural—ghosts, spirits, gods, or any of that. I do believe the human mind is a galaxy of neurons that are fairly easy to influence, manipulate, misfire, and so forth. Human psychology has been manipulated with this faith thing, and it’s the cart before the proverbial horse. Most of spirituality can be duplicated in an lab or manifest in certain illnesses. The christians fall back on belief as a sacred reality when in fact, there is no evidence for god unless one just chooses to believe it by default. Creating a god that is unapproachable, unimaginable, unknowable, and then using that as a baseline when things get dicey in the discussion, is always a dead end and a cop out when it comes to proof. The scripture makes it clear that we can’t even comprehend the things of god. Try me—I can imagine pretty well. It it just true that al, those that could provide evidence for god have withered and died, therefore the evidence is unrecordable? I think not. If there is a god, according to what was alleged that jesus said, we are like him, and he is like jesus. Plain as can be in the verses. But, with no evidence the construct had to become gigantically supernatural to obfuscate the simplicity of it. If god gets much grander, we’ll have to invent even more words to have any dialog.

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            3. Here’s an example of a cherished belief: “Feeling the spirit (positive emotion) confirming a lie, illusory truth, turning falsehoods and psychosomatic reactions into reality. Welcome to christianity in a nutshell.”

              In other words, according to this belief, that single sentence in itself would be sufficient for someone visiting from another planet to grasp the essence of the Christian faith, as well as the lived experience of hundreds of millions of human beings across twenty centuries and a range of milieus.

              Of course you are entitled to this or any other cherished belief. But, if I may assume that you put this out there for feedback, it’s reasonable to ask to see the facts and reasoning that support it — facts and reasoning that reasonable people can agree on.

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            4. Thanks Loy. But wait, there’s more. This is just a snippet, the tip of the underwater berg. There is quite a lot of research and sampling, verification and peer review to coincide with my thoughts. You may not appreciate the answers that are forthcoming in droves, but they are viable explanations for what you all call paranormal. That’s all sir. Christianity however, has an old book with oldwivestale explanations about demon possession, witches, coincidental weather, and so forth. Devils and hell (6th century contruct) and many more. Fear is a best seller. I feel, my cherished beliefs, are viable answers to natural phenomena.

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            5. Here are a couple of other cherished beliefs discussed in another thread. (In neither case was any evidence offered.)

              “In many cases it required an over throw of existing religious doctrine for science to progress because the observation of the natural world that led to that progress contradicted religious teachings.”

              “Religious fanaticism has caused more death, pain and suffering than any construct of man to date and has been doing so since the dawn of man.”

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            6. I understand your concern for what we observe contradicts the “goodness” that poured out. I should have said, minus a few wars with advanced technology over the old Christian way of killing, religions widespread misery virtually infiltrated every town and country. I do believe if a few hundred years ago Christianity had modern weaponry of today, we wouldn’t be here to have this conversation.

              Liked by 1 person

            7. @jim: If there really is quite a lot of peer-reviewed research that justifies this very, very weird view of Christianity that has you so enraptured, I wonder if you could please do us the kindness of citing it or providing links? Thanks.

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            8. It’s only weird to a Christian. Google.scholar.com has countless articles of neuroscience, neurotheology, sleep and dream studies, physics, anatomy, gynecology, pediatrics, all the sciences in peer reviewed form. I am not doing you research for you as you would quickly dismiss it anyway. Many of the articles are free. Most are reputable university sponsored studies from countless sources around the world. Pick a topic and it can be found. I like to learn Loy. I am also an atheist. Lucky for me just about everything besides faith itself, discredits the reality of belief in gods. There are other viable explanations if one just looks outside their bubble.

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            9. @jim: So anybody can understand your cherished beliefs just by reading random papers on Google Scholar? Because every paper there really is about your beliefs and opinions, regardless of the nominal topic? Somehow, that doesn’t feel like a good-faith response.

              Again, I assume that in posting your thoughts online you are inviting feedback, and therefore it’s reasonable to ask about the facts and reasoning that support your position. That seems like perfectly reasonable and normal behavior on the part of someone who sincerely seeks to understand what you’ve posted.

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            10. Well Loy, as your cherished belief stated earlier, your attempt at coy insult is proving your disbelief in your own system. I present my thoughts and observations. You disagree but have nothing but testimony which is easily disputed in a hundred psychology and neurological studies on belief, human nature, hormones, human gullibility, and in this case, psychosomatic influence and illusory truth, which is enough proof to me that testimony and “spirit” in a group setting is suspect at best. These are not my findings Loy,but credible universities you can look up for yourself but, if your afraid to look I already know your answer. Faith can only thrive in the absence of evidence, and to protect the faith one must avoid naughty little facts about human nature, neurology, and groupthink. It is an upstream swim since most of us have been swayed to supernatural nonsense since birth and when indoctrination is so thorough it’s hard to even imagine another possibility. I post links as needed. These subjects are easy enough to find. If you want to discuss the issues of the post that’s fine. Dispute psychosomaticism, and we’ll debate apples to apples. Employing supernatural beliefs is too easily dismissed without evidence. My deconversion was on my own terms with my own research piqued by observation of the results of religion—What I actually saw versus read and heard. It’s not complicated until you employ faith and belief before having knowledge of such things. I guess I should say, the studies provide connections that appear to explain how someone of faith can believe something so contradictory. Here’s some viable answers.

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            11. You say that to “protect the faith one must avoid naughty little facts”. The suggestion seems to be that faith and ordinary knowledge are engaged in some sort of zero-sum contest. With all due respect, I find that an absurd assertion. Knowledge and faith go hand in glove. Knowledge edifies faith, while ignorance undermines it.

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            12. The right, carefully chosen knowledge edifies faith. I don’t believe I said ignorance, but evidence. Evidence undermines faith and fills the holes once accredited to god. And lack of evidence, like the jesus story, is better for faith. For myself, when I took the grand tour of Christianity I could no longer believe that something so purportedly good, could cause so many to be so horrible. I distanced myself from that out of conscience. If knowledge and faith go hand in hand, why are so many evenagelicals keeping their kids out of schools, denying them
              Fundamental basics like they are in my area.

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            13. Why is it that you continually ignore the content and complain about the literary style of the debate. If semantics are all you can fault here, maybe along the way you could toss in a tidbit of evidence for god that we could identify with.

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            14. No, not carefully chosen knowledge – all knowledge. Faith means to be fully alive, and that means using the intellect God gives us.

              I can’t explain why some people do stupid and evil things. All I can do is figure out how to live the best life, and a life that matters. I find complaining about religion pointless, and I don’t see a better alternative on offer.

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            15. Fair enough. I do see a better way. Reality is that whether or not there is a god, it has been left up to us to solve our problems. Thanks Loy.

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            16. I’ve been following the conversation. I wonder, why, having intellect and awareness of what constitutes proper “moral” behaviour, do we need to carry a god burden around knowing full well that such a load is of no value to us at all, but definitely detrimental in terms of how we are moved to interact with others. Just on the money thing, how much of what is spent upholding the god establishment could be used to “feed the hungry, clothe the naked and succour widows and orphans”?

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            17. Well, after building costs, heat, jet fuel, housing, and socials, out of the $200 Billion donated to US churches each year, feeding the poor out of the remaining 10% doesn’t go far.

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  7. Aron Ra likes to use the phrase “fake it till you make it” related to how he was told by church people to just keep telling himself god was real until he believed it. Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nice. What a productive way to live. Believing in believing, no matter the truth. It’s amazing that anyone could actually request you do that. Like it’s a prank or something, and not a funny one.

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      1. Dan Dennett uses a similar phrase about the clergy in general – they believe in belief.
        I’d postulate that if you were able to isolate the real reason people such as Mel Wild and Branyan convert (guilt or fear or some manifestation of this) they would soon go the way of all those people who joined the Clergy Project, having realised it is simply all a crock.

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        1. Is his premise that belief itself is beneficial so they promote mere belief? True, I’d say, for it brings hope, which is about the same productivity level as worry.

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          1. He used the term on a youtube video – can’t remember which one.
            I think Dennett was trying to explain how people con themselves, or allow themselves to be conned to justify their beliefs.
            I seem to recall he felt it helped deal with the obvious nonsense of religious claims.
            Most apologists seem to react in this fashion and why they go on about science not being able to be used to demonstrate God. ( or whatever turn of phase Mel Uses)
            Also, if enough people believe what these people are pushing then in a sense it is justification in itself.
            Who wants to be the one who calls out:
            ”But he’s got no clothes on?”

            Liked by 2 people

            1. That may be the key to why it’s so important to indoctrinate children. It was a child that blurted out the king has no clothes! Although a fairy tale, a great pry into religious idiocy.

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