See how the journal reacts in the update below.
Originally published 3 June 2014
Oh my… a paper published in the Journal of Religion and Health suggests that schizophrenia may in fact really BE demons!
I almost have no response to that. Almost.
Here is the abstract. I do not have access to the article.
Schizophrenia is typically a life-long condition characterized by acute symptom exacerbations and widely varying degrees of functional disability. Some of its symptoms, such as delusions and hallucinations, produce great subjective psychological pain. The most common delusion types are as follows: “My feelings and movements are controlled by others in a certain way” and “They put thoughts in my head that are not mine.” Hallucinatory experiences are generally voices talking to the patient or among themselves. Hallucinations are a cardinal positive symptom of schizophrenia which deserves careful study in the hope it will give information about the pathophysiology of the disorder. We thought that many so-called hallucinations in schizophrenia are really illusions related to a real environmental stimulus. One approach to this hallucination problem is to consider the possibility of a demonic world. Demons are unseen creatures that are believed to exist in all major religions and have the power to possess humans and control their body. Demonic possession can manifest with a range of bizarre behaviors which could be interpreted as a number of different psychotic disorders with delusions and hallucinations. The hallucination in schizophrenia may therefore be an illusion—a false interpretation of a real sensory image formed by demons. A local faith healer in our region helps the patients with schizophrenia. His method of treatment seems to be successful because his patients become symptom free after 3 months. Therefore, it would be useful for medical professions to work together with faith healers to define better treatment pathways for schizophrenia.
The research made the blog of the Journal of Improbable Research.
Long ago, before modern medical understanding, people thought that various conditions such as mental illness and brain disorders like seizures were caused by demons. Those days have long past. Maybe not in the religious-minded. Note that this article comes from High Council of Science, Gulhane Military Medical Academy, Ankara, Turkey. Turkey is a hotbed of Muslim fundamentalism.
The Journal is peer-reviewed including reports on “contemporary modes of religious and spiritual thought with particular emphasis on their relevance to current medical and psychological research.” Articles deal with mental and physical health in relation to religion and spirituality of all kinds. Therefore, that might explain why such a piece is published – that even contemporary (backwards) religions are returning to pre-scientific explanations.
I can’t fathom how such a paper would contain anything but speculation. The medical data nor any other scientific evidence anywhere in no way supports the reality of supernatural entities as a cause of human harm. Belief, however, causes havoc.
When people believe this is religious cause, it will encourage exorcisms. Exorcisms are downright deadly. Most modern religions note that “in most cases” demons can be ruled out. Oh really? Show me how they can ever be ruled IN! This is nonsense that keeps the population stupid.
Tip: Craig Rheinheimer
UPDATE (18 June 2014) Real Clear Science blog contacted the Journal of Religion and Health’s editor Dr. Curtis Hart to ask why they would publish such a ridiculous paper.
“The article was published in hopes that it would provoke discussion,” he said. “The Journal does not agree that demons are a real entity.”
Discussion or publicity? What kind of discussion starts from this nonsensical foundation?
With no plans to retract the paper, two rebuttals are planned for a future issue.
The author of the paper, Irmak, says this:
“There is no scientific evidence to support the existence of demons,” he admitted. “This is like the argument of creation or evolution. It is a matter of belief and I think the existence of demons cannot be proved by scientific methods.”
Yeah, it can, just as evolution can be “proved” very solidly unless you insist on not using science and reason as guides.
The world works naturally, not via some supernatural entities running the show (Or if they are, they are indistinguishable from natural laws so what’s the point of being supernatural?) Irmak speaks of John Nash, the world-renowned mathematician who suffers from schizophrenia. Or, as Irmak believes, demons. It appears to be some inspiration for this paper and is mentioned at the end.
It is absurd to start a discussion equivalent to how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. There is no progress out of that.