The University of Alberta has cancelled an upcoming workshop for doctors to be conducted by its medical school called "Spoon Bending and the Power of the Mind." Wait, what? This deserves an encore … Wait, WHAT?
This experiential workshop will teach a meditative/energy transfer technique which will have most participants bending cutlery using the power of their minds.
The workshop was sponsored by the university's Complementary and Alternative Research and Education (CARE) program as part of the Pediatric Integrative Medicine Rounds seminar series and its flyer guaranteed that 75 percent of the doctors attending would be able to successfully bend spoons with their minds. So the spoon-bending seminar was not just for any doctors but for pediatric doctors who treat infants and children. Do toddlers really need mental help in destroying things? Do toddlers need to learn telekinesis? Doesn't anyone watch horror movies anymore?
Well, at least a medical school would have a medical specialist teaching such an important seminar for doctors treating children, right? Wrong. The workshop leader was to be Anastasia Kutt, an Edmonton "energy healer" who specializes in reiki – the pseudoscience based on practitioners tapping into universal energy and passing it on to others through their hands. Kutt also says she studies yoga and meditation.
All of those practices have a little more credibility and acceptance than spoon-bending – the alleged manipulation of metal with minds made famous by magician-psychic Uri Geller and challenged repeatedly by magician-psychic-debunker James “Amazing” Randi. Randi would be skeptical that spoon-bending is something doctors need to know and downright shocked to find out that spoon-bender Anastasia Kutt is also a research assistant in the University of Alberta’s CARE program and co-ordinates its education programs, including one on spoon-bending.
The spoons provide physical proof of what you can do when you put your mind to it!
Isn't that what diplomas are for? So, Kutt booked herself as a speaker on spoon-bending for her own department. The workshop caught the attention of many, including Timothy Caulfield, a health law professor at the university who coincidentally is studying integrative healthcare – the coordinated treatment of body, mind and spirit – as part of a research grant. What did this expert have to say about the workshop?
There is absolutely no physical way you can bend a spoon with your mind. That's why it's so frustrating that it's being presented in this legitimate way at a science-based institution.
Caulfield was successful in leading the effort to convince the university to drop the spoonshop. Spoon-bending pushed him over the edge but he also objects in general to the medical school promoting pseudo-science.
What do you think? Does spoon-bending have a place next to surgery in medical schools? If it does, shouldn't they be bending scalpels and hemostats?