Abstracted from “A Scientists View of Almost Everything” by Mark M Green
A scientist is a skeptical searcher for truth. I’m one of them and therefore find it very difficult to accept the kinds of “nonsense” to be found on web sites of people like John M. Carroll (https://johnmcarrollhealer.com/) with claims of special powers of healing that arise from spiritual forces beyond the understanding of science.
I learned about John Carroll from a friend and scientific collaborator who waited until he knew me for quite some time and until my respect for him as a scientist had grown to a high level before he told me about John Carroll. I’m sure he thought I would think he was some kind of nut.
I had known, shortly after I met my friend, about his recovery from a deadly disease and how he found a way to treat that disease using his knowledge of biochemistry and connections he had to leaders in the medical community. When he finally did tell me about John Carroll’s role in his recovery, I was incredulous and would have turned my back on such nonsense as spiritual healers with psychokinetic powers—moving people with the power of the mind—oh come on. But I couldn’t turn my back after having worked with him and having seen what a fine scientist he is. So I just nodded my head in that maybe way, called on all the acceptance I could gather up and tried to change the subject back to our scientific collaboration.
However, my wife, who is skeptical in ways not familiar to scientific investigation, heard about John Carroll one evening a short time later at a dinner at our home in New York. My wife is fascinating to me for many reasons, one of which is that she holds views that I find unbelievable while at the same time being a person who is hard not to believe. It was hardly a surprise to me when she announced that she was going to Kingston, New York to see John Carroll and no more a surprise when she returned even more convinced of his healing powers. It is true that some medical problem she was seeing a doctor about seemed to be relieved. I just said “great” and went on with my skeptical view without making a big deal about it. But, of course, my wife being convinced of the healer’s powers could not contain herself from spreading the word causing me to simply act resigned as various friends looked to me for confirmation or rejection of her claims. But then things got serious.
A friend I’ve known for many years has in recent years been suffering from problems that have greatly restricted his ability to turn his head about a problem medical doctors had ascribed to an infection he had suffered from many years ago and which is known to lead to this problem, and which is very difficult to cure. “You have to live with it,” some doctors told him. When my wife told him about John Carroll as someone to see about his condition, I put my two cents in with a suggestion to also see a massage therapist I hold in high regard. Well, my friend listened to the two pieces of advice, the healer and the massage therapist and when I last saw him recently he turned his head easily to look at me. “Wow!” I said, “Great massage therapist.” But shaking his head easily from side to side he said, “nope,” “I didn’t see the massage therapist.” Moreover, he told me that his wife, who had been suffering from some other kinds of medical problems and who had not seen the massage therapist but only John Carroll was feeling a great deal better.
So what’s going on? Some years ago a laboratory at Princeton University closed, which had been occupied for 28 years by a distinguished former dean of the engineering school at Princeton. The laboratory, PEAR, for Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research Laboratory, claims to have gathered positive evidence about extrasensory perception and telekinesis. I guess the head of the laboratory, realizing that whatever he did was simply not enough to cause the paradigm shift necessary to accept his work and ideas, decided to stop arguing for his ideas with other faculty at Princeton.
According to Thomas Kuhn who wrote The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, and fathered, defined and popularized the concept of “paradigm shift,” scientific advancement is not evolutionary, but rather is a “series of peaceful interludes punctuated by intellectually violent revolutions”, and in those revolutions “one conceptual world view is replaced by another.”
Is work like John Carroll’s the opening shot of a scientific revolution, that is, a paradigm shift or simply nonsense?