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John of God has been doing what he’s been doing for well over thirty years, and in that time he’s produced thousands of people who think they’ve been healed by him…John of God claims that he can channel energy from 30 different spirit doctors (and God) through himself and into patients in order to heal them…What allows John of God to persist in producing new believers includes a combination of things? First, because he is tapping into strong religious belief, there is a lower than the already low bar to convince people of his powers. Second, no one has performed (or is likely to perform) a detailed study of people who have come to him for healing, complete with careful documentation of their pre-John of God condition and then a rigorous follow up of what happened to them after they sought healing from John of God. Finally, faith healers like John of God produce a “heads I win tails you lose” situation. If a patient isn’t healed, it’s not because John’s mystical powers failed. Oh, no! It’s because the patient didn’t believe enough or didn’t follow John’s instructions closely enough. John of God also tells people who come to him that they need to wait at least 40 days for healing, which, conveniently enough, is usually long after they have left Brazil. Come to think of it, the idea that, if quackery doesn’t work it’s the fault of the patient for “coming too late,” failing to follow the quack’s instructions closely enough, or not believing strongly enough isn’t unique to faith healing. As we’ve pointed out here many times before, it’s a frequent “out” used by purveyors of unscientific medical treatments of many varieties, which is why studying John of God and how his activities deceive is valuable for more than just uncovering how faith healers do what they do. It’s also useful for considering how “alternative medicine” can appear to work despite no evidence. It’s also useful to consider how the media take advantage of all these aspects of faith healing to weave a compelling story that is ultimately misleading. Unfortunately, Oprah is very, very good at this and utterly shameless when it comes to unscientific remedies.” David Gorski, MD, Science Based Medicine (22nd November 2010)