Sima Nan là một cái tên nổi tiếng ở Trung Quốc. Ông là người tập Khí Công nhiều năm và tin vào lợi ích của nó trong việc tăng cường sức khỏe. Và, cũng như James Randi, ông là chuyên gia chỉ ra những trò lừa đảo Khí Công chữa bệnh ở Trung Quốc. Sau nhiều năm tin tưởng vào các chuyên gia Khí Công có khả năng phát lực “siêu nhiên” (nhan nhản đăng lại trên các tạp chí kiểu Kiến Thức Ngày Nay hồi nào).
Năm 1990, Sima Nan làm một thí nghiệm sau đây. Ông khoác vai chuyên gia Khí Công siêu nhiên, đăng đàn nói với một mớ các nhà khoa học như sau:
he told the scientific experts in attendance, “Although I have been learning from the master for only a short time, I nonetheless take issue with many of the criticisms that you scientists level against the science of qigong. In order to prove my point, I will give a performance for the benefit of your expert evaluation. If my demonstration fails, you must agree never to offer this as proof that ‘special ability’ qigong does not exist. But if my demonstration withstands your scrutiny, I demand that you publicly accept the reality of ‘special ability’ qigong.” All of the experts who witnessed his charade agreed to the terms and he began his performance. Sima had his accomplice place seven bricks on his head. Using a big sledgehammer, his friend shattered the bricks, but Sima emerged unharmed. They then placed a huge cement slab on Sima’s stomach and his muscular friend cracked it in two with a mighty blow from the hammer. Sima then showed them how he could “see” characters written on pieces of paper by using his “specially developed” sense of hearing. Next he explained how he could use “external” qi to change the taste of tap water. After tasting the water that had been exposed to Sima Nan’s treatment, all agreed that the water had changed its flavor. They all conceded that he had successfully proven the existence of qigong and special ability. This had been Sima Nan’s first experiment to test how scientific experts could easily be deceived by tricks that are as old as the hills.
Nói như vậy không có nghĩa là Khí Công không có khả năng chữa bệnh. Hiệu ứng Placebo giải thích điều này. Để lần khác tôi sẽ viết thêm cho các bạn một câu chuyện rất hay về nguồn gốc từ Mesmerize trong tiếng Anh.
Sima Nan is frequently asked to explain why it is that qigong treatment seems to work, at least some of the time. Sima agrees that qigong is very effective as an adjunct method of clinical treatment in certain cases. For example, he said that he has seen very good results when qigong is used to treat patients suffering from hypochondria. Some such patients are unable to stand on their own, and the psychological effect of the master’s presence can enable them to do so. Where before, the patient believed that they couldn’t do it, the master gave them the faith to do otherwise. There is no mystery here. Sima Nan said that faith healing has been carefully studied in the West and that the absolute power and authority of the master, along with unconditional acceptance on the part of the patient, has a powerful psychological effect. Statistics have shown that approximately 5 percent of the population is particularly susceptible to this suggestibility and that age and educational level have no bearing on its effect. Sometimes a patient has already healed naturally and qigong receives credit for this, too.
Examples of deception by some of the most popular qigong masters (referred to as qigongists) are examined, including Yan Xin, who now enjoys great popularity in the US. Yan became a TCM doctor in 1982, but two years later “his medical license was revoked due to his odd superstitious practices. Then Yan hunted for work elsewhere and became a quack doctor.” Some of Yan’s high-profile failures are documented, as are those of other “qigong gods.”
Như tôi đã chỉ đến trong một bài viết trước, có một statement của Quỹ Khoa Học Quốc Gia Mỹ trong đó có đề cập đến vai trò của SCICOP:
The Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP) is a nonprofit scientific and educational organization started in 1976 by scientists (including several Nobel laureates), members of the academic community, and science writers. Members of CSICOP, frequently referred to as skeptics, advocate the scientific investigation of paranormal claims and the dissemination of factual information to counter those claims. CSICOP’s mission includes taking advantage of opportunities to promote critical thinking, science education, and the use of reason to determine the merits of important issues
In 1988 the first CSICOP delegation to China looked into the claims of several Qigong (pronounced cheegung)1 masters and their young proteges. These child marvels supposedly possessed what Chinese admirers call “special ability” or “extraordinary functions of the human body.” They were said to be able to alter the shape or color of objects in sealed containers and perform a host of other minor miracles. What the first CSICOP delegation (composed of most of the Executive Council at the time) found was that these children could not produce their effects under close observation. In short, the whiz kids and their masters were performing unsophisticated conjuring tricks (Alcock et al. 1988). Also, in controlled tests, the delegation found the vaunted abilities of the Qigong masters to diagnose medical ailments to be unsubstantiated.
BC Skeptics ở Vancouver, Canada gặp “thầy” Yan Xin thì được thế này:
The B.C. Skeptics were similarly frustrated when they issued a challenge to be scientifically tested to the Qigong master Yan Xin during his North American tour in 1990. Yan’s associate, Wu Xutian, wrote saying that the skeptics only remained dubious because they had never seen a real Qigong master in action, but he declined to show them what his supposedly real colleague could do. In his letter of rejection addressed to Dale Beyerstein, Wu condescendingly dismissed the skeptics challenge: “. . . Dr. Yan Xin and I are not interested in the very low level test which was very popular in China ten or fifteen years ago. He is busy on some cooperating research subjects with several important organizations in U.S.” Wu suggested the skeptics should be content with some “scientific” papers by Yan which he enclosed. As usual, the claimed effects of Qigong were extremely unlikely by conventional scientific standards but were not published in peer-reviewed journals of any international scientific standing.
Vâng, các bạn ạ, Yan Xin cũng viết các bài báo khoa học! Cho nên không phải “bài báo khoa học” nào cũng là bài báo khoa học. Các bạn — nhất là các bạn không làm khoa học — không nên bị hoa mắt bởi một bài báo đăng ở một tạp chí bất kỳ nào đó. Trong khoa học phải có kiểm chứng độc lập, và lập đi lập lại.
Trong một báo cáo ở cuộc họp thường niên của Hiệp Hội Vật Lý Mỹ năm 2000 ở Minneapolis, nhà Vật Lý Victor J. Stenger đã báo cáo về ngụy khoa học:
Stenger showed examples of how quantum mechanics is often misinterpreted as implying the reality of extrasensory perception on the cosmic scale. Proponents of alternative medicine, for example, use the terms “energy” and “quantum” to suggest a scientific basis for “energy therapies” and mind-over-matter healing. Bio-energy field therapies such as therapeutic touch, acupuncture, and qigong are often justified with twisted arguments from quantum physics. In truth, he noted, there is no support for the notion that some “vital force,” or other form of energy exists separate from matter. Stenger said these ancient beliefs had long been disproved, stressing that in modern physics, matter and energy are the same thing and therefore could never connect everything in the universe instantaneously. Quantum fields do not represent a continuous medium, or “ether.” And no fields of any kind exist in theory or reality without particles, so continuous fields cannot exist.
Nếu ở trên đời này người ta khám phá ra một cái lực — không giống như bất kỳ lực vật lý nào đã biết — và bằng chứng không chối cãi được, thì cái khám phá đó chắc chắn phải được đăng ở những tạp chí số 1 về Vật Lý, và chắc chắn khám phá đó phải được giải Nobel.