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The Great Brain Robbery

Economic espionage sponsored by the Chinese government is costing U.S. corporations hundreds of billions of dollars and more than two million jobs

  • 2016, Jan 17
  • CORRESPONDENT, Lesley Stahl
    Source: 60 Minutes

Editor’s Note: The author of the original article “A Harsh Winter for Sinovel and China’s Wind Industry,” which was later attached to the phishing email in this video, wishes it known that he was not involved in a cyberattack against American Superconductor.


The following is a script from “The Great Brain Robbery” which aired on Jan. 17, 2016. Lesley Stahl is the correspondent. Rich Bonin, producer.

If spying is the world’s second oldest profession, the government of China has given it a new, modern-day twist, enlisting an army of spies not to steal military secrets but the trade secrets and intellectual property of American companies. It’s being called “the great brain robbery of America.”

The Justice Department says that the scale of China’s corporate espionage is so vast it constitutes a national security emergency, with China targeting virtually every sector of the U.S. economy, and costing American companies hundreds of billions of dollars in losses — and more than two million jobs.

John Carlin: They’re targeting our private companies. And it’s not a fair fight. A private company can’t compete against the resources of the second largest economy in the world.

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Lesley Stahl and John Carlin, assistant attorney general for National Security  CBS NEWS
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

John Carlin is the assistant attorney general for National Security with responsibility for counterterrorism, cyberattacks and increasingly economic espionage.

“A private company can’t compete against the resources of the second largest economy in the world.”

John Carlin: This is a serious threat to our national security. I mean, our economy depends on the ability to innovate. And if there’s a dedicated nation state who’s using its intelligence apparatus to steal day in and day out what we’re trying to develop, that poses a serious threat to our country.

Lesley Stahl: What is their ultimate goal, the Chinese government’s ultimate goal?

John Carlin: They want to develop certain segments of industry and instead of trying to out-innovate, out-research, out-develop, they’re choosing to do it through theft.

All you have to do, he says, is look at the economic plans published periodically by the Chinese Politburo. They are, according to this recent report by the technology research firm INVNT/IP, in effect, blueprints of what industries and what companies will be targeted for theft.

John Carlin: We see them put out the strategic plan, and then we see actions follow that plan. We see intrusion after intrusion on U.S. companies.

Lesley Stahl: Do you have a number of U.S. companies that have been hit?

John Carlin: It’s thousands of actually companies have been hit.

Lesley Stahl: Thousands of U.S. companies?

John Carlin: Of U.S. companies.

But getting CEOs from those companies to talk is nearly impossible because most of them still have business in China and don’t want to be cut out of its huge market. Daniel McGahn, the head of American Superconductor, is an exception. His firm spent years and millions of dollars developing advanced computer software for wind turbines that McGahn says China looted, nearly putting him out of business. He’s talking because he wants to fight back.

Daniel McGahn: I’m personally never gonna give this up. Too many lives were affected, too many families were damaged through this. We can never give up on this.

Lesley Stahl: You had to fire 600 people.

Daniel McGahn: Yes.

Lesley Stahl: Out of how many jobs?

Daniel McGahn: At the time we were almost 900.

Lesley Stahl: So how much did you lose in share value?

Daniel McGahn: Total loss is well over a billion dollars.

Today, his factory floor is largely silent, a shadow of this once thriving company.

Daniel McGahn: I think part of the strategy in all this was to kill us. So–

Lesley Stahl: They set out to kill you.

Daniel McGahn: To kill the company.

How can he be so sure? Well, his story begins when China passed a clean energy law in 2005, calling for the creation of mega-wind farms throughout the country.

The law made China the hottest wind power market in the world. So McGahn partnered with a small Chinese firm called Sinovel which was partly owned by the government. Sinovel made the skeletons of the turbines, and his company, American Superconductor, the sophisticated gadgetry and computer code to run them.

Lesley Stahl: They actually built the turbines.

Daniel McGahn: They make the turbine, we make the controls.

Lesley Stahl: And did they make these turbines with your brains in them for the entire country of China?

Daniel McGahn: Yes.

When he went into business there, China was already notorious for poaching American intellectual property. So he says he did everything he could think of to protect his technology from being stolen.

Daniel McGahn: We made sure that any software or any pieces of the code were restricted and used, were able to be accessed, only by a few people within the company.

Lesley Stahl: Once they got everything over there couldn’t they reverse-engineer it?

Daniel McGahn: We believe that’s what they tried to do. And what they learned was this encrypted protocol was in the way. They didn’t quite understand how it worked. And they couldn’t reverse-engineer it

Lesley Stahl: Everybody knows if it’s on the Internet, some brilliant hacker can get at it.

Daniel McGahn: It wasn’t accessible through the Internet.

Lesley Stahl: You kept it off the Internet?

Daniel McGahn: Yes.

Lesley Stahl: It sounds like you built a little fortress around your, your precious codes.

Daniel McGahn: We certainly tried.

Initially, business boomed in China for American Superconductor, with sales skyrocketing from $50 million-a-year to nearly half a billion.

Daniel McGahn: We were going through exponential growth. It’s what every technology company wants to get to, is this high level of growth. We were there.

Then, in 2011, his engineers were testing the next-generation software in China on Sinovel’s turbines. The software had been programmed to shut down after the test but the blades didn’t shut down. They never stopped spinning.

Daniel McGahn: So we said why. We didn’t really know. So the team looked at the turbine and saw running on our hardware a version of software that had not been released yet.

Lesley Stahl: That’s when you realized.

Daniel McGahn: Realized something’s wrong. So then we had to figure out how did, how could this have happened?

To find out, he launched an internal investigation and narrowed it down to this man, Dejan Karabasevic, an employee of American Superconductor based in Austria. He was one of the few people in the company with access to its proprietary software. He also spent a lot of time in China working with Sinovel.

Daniel McGahn: And what they did is they used Cold War-era spycraft to be able to turn him.

Lesley Stahl: They turned him.

Daniel McGahn: And make him into an agent for them.

Lesley Stahl: Do you know any specifics of what they offered him?

Daniel McGahn: They offered him women. They offered him an apartment. They offered him money. They offered him a new life.

The arrangement included a $1.7 million contract that was spelled out in emails and instant messages that McGahn’s investigation found on Dejan’s company computer. In this one, from him to a Sinovel executive, Dejan lays out the quid pro quo, “All girls need money. I need girls. Sinovel needs me.” Sinovel executives showered him with flattery and encouragement: you are the, quote, “best man, like superman.”

Lesley Stahl: And did they say, “We want the– the source codes”?

Daniel McGahn: It was almost like a grocery list. “Can you get us A? Can you get us B? Can you get us C?”

Lesley Stahl: I’ve seen one of the messages, the text message, in which Dejan says, “I will send the full code of course.”

Daniel McGahn: That’s the full code for operating their wind turbine.

Dejan eventually confessed to authorities in Austria and spent a year in jail. Not surprisingly, the Chinese authorities refused to investigate, so Daniel McGahn filed suit in civil court — in China, suing Sinovel for $1.2 billion. But he suspected that China was still spying on his company, and that Beijing had switched from Cold War to cutting-edge espionage.

Lesley Stahl: So why were you brought in?

Dmitri Alperovitch: We were brought in because the attacks now continued in cyberspace.

McGahn hired Dmitri Alperovitch and George Kurtz, cofounders of a computer security firm called CrowdStrike, to investigate. They zeroed in on a suspicious email purportedly sent by a board member to 13 people in the company.

Dmitri Alperovitch: It had an attachment. A few people clicked on an attachment and that let the Chinese in. It was sort of like opening the front door.

Lesley Stahl: What do you mean they were in?

Dmitri Alperovitch: Once they clicked on that email and they opened up the attachment, malicious codes started executing on their machine and it beaconed out to the Chinese and basically let them right in to the company.

From that point they can hop to any machine and take any file that they wanted from that network.

By analyzing who the email was sent to, they were able to infer that the Chinese were after more than just computer codes.

Dmitri Alperovitch: They also wanted to figure out the legal strategy of the company now that they were suing Sinovel for $1.2 billion.

George Kurtz: Whenever there’s a big lawsuit we’ll see the Chinese government actually break into that company, break into the legal department and figure out what’s going on behind the scenes so they can better deal with that lawsuit.

Lesley Stahl: Now did you know at that time who had perpetrated the hack?

Dmitri Alperovitch: We were able to determine with great confidence that this was Unit 61398, part of the Chinese military that was responsible for this attack.

Unit 61398 is believed to be based in this nondescript building in Shanghai. It’s part of the People’s Liberation Army. And it’s charged with spying on North American corporations.

Dmitri Alperovitch: We estimate that there are several thousand people in this unit alone, this one unit.

Lesley Stahl: How active is this unit?

George Kurtz: It’s one of the most prolific groups that we’ve tracked coming out of the Chinese government. It’s unbelievable what they’ve been able to steal over the last decade.

Lesley Stahl: Like what? Give us a sense of the scope.

George Kurtz: Every industry, engineering documents, manufacturing processes, chip designs, telecommunications, pharmaceutical, you name it it’s been stolen.

In 2014, five military officers in the unit were criminally charged with economic espionage by John Carlin’s National Security division at the Justice Department.

John Carlin: These were officers in uniform and their day job was to get up, go to work, log on, and steal from a range of American companies. And you would watch, as we put in an exhibit in the case, the activity would spike around 9:00 in the morning. They get into work, turn on their computers, and start hacking into American companies. Then it calms down a little bit from about 12:00 to 1:00 where they take a lunch break.

Lesley Stahl: God.

John Carlin: And then it continues until the end of the day, 5 or 6 o’clock–

Lesley Stahl: And then they go home.

John Carlin: –at night. And then they go home, and it decreases ’till the next morning.

China has always denied that it conducts or condones economic espionage.

But in September during a visit to Washington, President Xi Jinping pledged for the first time that China would not engage or knowingly support cybertheft of intellectual property for commercial gain.

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Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Barack Obama  CBS NEWS
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Dmitri Alperovitch: It’s the first time ever they’ve admitted that economic espionage should be off-limits and that they will not conduct it. Unfortunately, what we saw is that the very next day, the day after they were in the Rose Garden shaking hands, the intrusions continued.

Lesley Stahl: Wait, wait, wait, stop. The hacking has not stopped.

Dmitri Alperovitch: The hacking has not stopped. But one of the things that has happened is that the military units that have been responsible for these hacks have actually had their mission taken away from them and it was given to the Ministry of State Security, their version of the CIA. So, in effect, they said, “You guys are incompetent. You got caught. We’ll give it to the guys that know better.”

The director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center confirms that there is no evidence China has curtailed its economic espionage.

Lesley Stahl: There’s a lotta criticism out there among businessmen, and some people in the government, who complain that President Obama wags his finger at the Chinese but he doesn’t do anything.

John Carlin: Well I think it’s important that we do take, that we do take action. If we don’t do things like bring the indictment then we would be a paper, a paper tiger.

Lesley Stahl: You know, it feels like a pinprick, your indictment. They’re never going to be extradited. Is there talk of putting any sanctions on the way we did with Russia when they went into the Ukraine?

John Carlin: The bottom line I think has to be that we continue to increase the costs until the behavior changes. If it doesn’t change, then we need to keep thinking of additional actions, whether they’re trade actions or sanctions that change the behavior.

The government of China declined our request for an interview, but sent us this comment: “China has long suffered from massive cyber attacks …(and) firmly opposes and combats all forms of cyber attacks in accordance with law… groundless speculation, accusation or hyping up is not helpful…”

In Massachusetts, Daniel McGahn is rebuilding with much of his business now shifted to India. But adding insult to injury, Sinovel is now exporting wind turbines with his stolen technology, including one purchased by the state of Massachusetts using federal stimulus funds.

Daniel McGahn: So the U.S. government facilitated bringing the stolen goods into the U.S.

Lesley Stahl: And they’re here now?

Daniel McGahn: And they’re here now and it’s part of a–

Lesley Stahl: Up and running?

Daniel McGahn: Up and running.

Lesley Stahl: So Sinovel using the stolen source codes has sold wind turbines here in Massachusetts using to–

Daniel McGahn: –to the government of Massachusetts funded by the federal government of the United States of America.© 2016 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

  • Lesley Stahl Lesley StahlOne of America’s most recognized and experienced broadcast journalists, Lesley Stahl has been a 60 Minutes correspondent since 1991.

What prevents China from hacking you and other individuals? How do you protect yourself against brain hacking? How do you prevent unauthorized brain chip implants that make brain hacking possible?

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The Misuse of a Biblical Doctrine

Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

The History of Christian Counseling and General Revelation

Samuel Stephens
Feb 23, 2018
Source: Biblical Counseling

Introduction

A movement cannot be rightly understood unless it is placed in the context in which it began and how it progressed – what we call history. History allows us to trace threads of ideas and themes through time. Within the movement and practice of Christian Counseling, a line of division surfaces as we look at sources of authority upon which counselors have depended through the years. This division occurs between biblical conviction and counseling practice. In this essay, I suggest that the integrative model of counseling, namely Christian Counseling, misses the mark concerning the search and identification of truth by abusing the biblical doctrine of general revelation. The field of Christian Counseling has consistently demonstrated a historical misrepresentation and biblical misapplication of this doctrine in an effort to provide a justification for the utilization of secular psychology.

What is Christian Counseling?

It is important to note that as a label Christian Counseling can refer to a wide spectrum of counseling approaches.1 A unifying drive of this counseling approach, however, is the effort “to integrate psychology and Christian theology.”2Everett Worthington defined Christian Counseling as:

[An] explicit or implicit agreement between a counselor who is a Christian and a client for the provision of help for the client, in which the counselor not only has at heart the client’s psychological welfare but also the Christian spiritual welfare.3

As a formative influence in the Christian Counseling movement, Clyde Narramore noted that “wise counseling requires that evangelical faith be carefully integrated with the theories, therapeutic methods and professional roles of the modern psychologies [emphasis added].”4 In his book Psychology and Theology, Gary Collins added, “The Christian who wants to understand and help change human behavior must have a good understanding of psychological techniques and knowledge in areas such as biological, cognitive, affective, social, and individual bases of behavior [emphasis added].”5 A theme found throughout Christian Counseling literature is an emphasis on the importance of professional credentials, the reliance upon social science, and a focus on assisting clients in overcoming spiritual maladjustments on their own.6

Integration: An Idea and Process

Christian Counseling cannot be fully understood without highlighting the concept and method of integration. According to John Carter and Bruce Narramore, Christian social scientists who study human behavior through the scientific method use the term integration to show a correlation between professional and scientific fields with Christian theology. They stated, “Most of these efforts are based on one essential philosophical underpinning—the belief that all truth is God’s truth, wherever it is found. This proposition is frequently referred to as ‘the unity of truth.’”7

Collins defined truth as “an abstract idea, a universal reality that exists and can be grasped by analysis or experimentation.”8 In the inaugural edition of the Journal of Psychology and Theology, Bruce Narramore argued that “the minister and psychologist are not the only ones caught up in this conflict. The theologian, the physician and the student of psychology and scripture all share concerns for the whole man. They know they cannot minister effectively if they neglect the contributions of related disciplines.”9 Within Christian Counseling, integration provided a clear path to discovering truth in which psychological science, in conjunction with Scripture, could present a “cohesive approach to the problems that confront us.”10

The Doctrine of General Revelation

Within the context of the broader Christian Counseling movement, general revelation has been used in such a way as to make available “pieces of truth that cannot be found in the Bible.”11 According to Bruce Demarest, general revelation had traditionally been “mediated through nature, conscience, and the providential ordering of history” for the sole purpose of providing “a universal witness to God’s existence and character.”12 Demarest continued, “Through the modalities of general revelation, man at large knows both that there is a God and in broad outline what He is like” (14). In the first volume of his Systematic Theology, James Leo Garett clarified, “‘General’ revelation is that disclosure of God that is available to all human beings through the created universe (nature) and in the inner nature of human beings (conscience).”13

Christianity has been recognized as a revelatory religion and some have gone as far as to say that Christian faith necessitates revelation. The doctrine of revelation distinguishes Christianity from pseudo-religions which have more in common with pagan philosophies.14The very concept of revelation also assumes the sinfulness of man and the fact that man is in spiritual bondage apart from God’s activity and self-disclosure. In Revelation and Reason, his landmark treatment on this subject, Emil Brunner noted that biblical revelation, both general and special, did not disclose “facts” or “something” but it unveiled and disclosed God himself.15

A Brief Biblical Witness

Psalm 19 and Romans 1 demonstrate the doctrinal significance of general revelation.16 In Psalm 19, King David exclaimed, “The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of his hands” (Psalm 19:1).17In his commentary on this psalm, John Calvin noted:

Scripture, indeed makes known to us the time and manner of the creation; but the heavens themselves, although God should say nothing on the subject, proclaim loudly and distinctly enough that they have been fashioned by his hands: and this of itself abundantly suffices to bear testimony to men of his glory.18

Not only did the heavens and sun address the glory of God, but each also revealed truth (Psalm 19:3). Peter Craigie noted that “as mankind reflects upon the vast expanse of heaven, with its light by day and its intimation of a greater universe by night, that reflection may open up an awareness and knowledge of God, the Creator, who by his hands created by glory beyond the comprehension of the human mind.”19

The New Testament contains a biblical witness to the doctrine of general revelation as well. Thomas Oden stated that a majority of theologians in the early years of Christianity agreed with the concept of general revelation as seen from the perspective of Paul in Romans 1­­–3 as the “universal revelation in the cosmos and human nature—along with a corresponding affirmation of human suppression of this revelation.”20 Romans 1:20 states that God’s divine characteristics “have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made . . . .”21See W. E. Vine and F. F. Bruce, Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1971), 168. According to Vine, the Greek word translated understood (νοέω noeō) meant “to perceive with the mind, as distinct from perception by feeling.” The emphasis on understanding with the mind seems to demonstrate the clarity and purposefulness of God within the revelation of himself vis-à-vis creation.In his explanation of this verse, Dunn expounded upon the potential influences on Paul’s observations regarding revelation and truth:

[Paul] draws principally on influential Stoic ideas: that there is an innate rapport between the divine and the human because the divine logos immanent throughout the world is immanent also in man as the power of reason . . . however, it is Paul’s more Jewish perception of this divine relation which remains primary: what is known is an act of revelation personally willed by God (v.19b) in relation to a created order (v.20); and man is recognized as a responsible agent in face of this revelation . . . .22

Another New Testament scholar, Douglas Moo, generally agrees with Dunn’s assessment that general revelation was directed by God, revealed by God, and purposed to convey the glory and power of God. However, he viewed Paul’s presentation of truth in this passage, while derived from general revelation and accessible to both Jews and Gentiles alike, was still limited in scope. In itself, general revelation cannot provide salvation to sinners.23

Historical Perspective of General Revelation

The doctrine of general revelation has undergone scrutiny, served as the topic of debate, and has been used as a foundation for other church teachings.24Originating with Thomas Aquinas, theology came to be known as the queen of the sciences. Millard Erickson noted, “Until the thirteenth century, the term science was not applied to theology. Augustine preferred the term sapientia (wisdom) to scientia (knowledge).”25 As a scholastic theologian, Aquinas focused much of his philosophical musings on the idea of truth and knowledge, which included its definition, source, and purpose. He categorized truth in two realms one lower (nature) and one higher (grace). During the medieval period the church was in a unique dilemma where paganism and secularism, threatened the status of Christianity in the eyes of the common man. Instead of relying on Scripture as the authority of what is necessary for faith and practice, Aquinas chose instead to appeal to reason for an adequate defense of Christianity.26

From this effort, Aquinas formulated the concept of natural theology, which he later refined in his Summa Theologica. As defined, natural theology “is the attempt to attain an understanding of God and his relationship with the universe by means of rational reflection, without appealing to special revelation such as the self-revelation of God in Christ and in Scripture.”27Aquinas’ conclusion concerning natural theology was essentially a misguided attempt to create an apologetic from general revelation. This effect led the Catholic Church to place “Scripture and tradition next to each other” instead of recognizing the different natures, yet identical purposes, of special and general revelation.28Aquinas’ emphasis on the capability of man’s reason led theologians to view revelation as only necessary to explain “what is above reason.”29Therefore, Aquinas’ re-tooling of general revelation rested on two assumptions: first, that nature was wholly intact and yet only partially marred by the Fall of man (Genesis 3), and secondly that people had retained an integrity of reason and perception untouched by sin.

The Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century brought more developments to the doctrine of general revelation. However, instead of the parameters of this doctrine being expanded, it was narrowed. There was general consensus among Protestant theologians that man’s reasoning abilities were tainted and skewed by sin and thus were susceptible to error.30As early at 1524 A.D., Balthasar Hubmaier, a German Anabaptist theologian, published Eighteen Dissertations in which he included a section refuting a widely accepted view of general revelation. He wrote, “All teachings that are not from God are in vain and shall be rooted up. Here perish the disciples of Aristotle, as well as the Thomists, the Scotists, Bonaventure, and Occam, and all teaching that does not proceed from God’s word.”31This bold representation of general revelation was echoed by another well-known reformer, John Calvin. Calvin’s doctrine of sin, like that of Hubmaier, was sophisticated and took “into account that sinful men corrupt the gifts of understanding and scholarship God gives.”32The rationalism of natural theology committed error in that it denied man’s “dependence in our present state of sin upon God’s past revelations of himself.”33

While the Protestant Reformation brought about many positive changes, the adverse impact of natural theology continued on through the nineteenth century. In 1870 the Catholic Church “announced that God could be known with certainty from that which had been created through the natural light of reason.”34 The modern era of theological deliberation, from the late eighteenth century through the mid-twentieth century, was characterized as having combined the man-centered philosophies of the previous century with a broad interpretation of general revelation.

Theological Implications of General Revelation

The first theological implication regarding general revelation is in the categorization of theology as a “spiritual science” as opposed to a man-centered social science. By the late nineteenth century, the definition of science began to shift from an orderly, systematic study of a particular topic to becoming almost synonymous with the discovery of truth. Writing prolifically on the topic of science and spirituality, Abraham Kuyper noted that due to man’s sinful nature, the scientific method imposed upon the study of theology would invariably lead to error. In his Principles of Sacred Theology, he wrote:

Science is entirely different from truth. If you imagine our human development without  sin, the impulse to know and understand the cosmos, and by knowledge to govern it, would have been the same; but there would have been no search after truth, simply because there could have been no danger of relying upon falsehood as a result of investigation.35

Kuyper defended an idea of truth that inherently pointed to non-truth, while modern science depicted a “thirst after knowledge” which attempted to know everything that existed.36 Commenting nearly a century later on this topic, Carl F.H. Henry noted that it is hypocritical for modern science to demand that religion fall in line when the hard and social sciences constantly re-evaluate and re-assess the veracity of previous conclusions. A consistent characteristic of modern science is that it was always “subject to ongoing revision of its judgments.”37 Erickson agreed with Henry that sciences not based on biblical revelation could indeed err. As such, general revelation can only be accurately understood when held in distinction from man-centered disciplines. Millard Erickson stated, “In an attempt to be regarded as scientific, disciplines dealing with humanity [e.g. psychology] have tended to become behavioristic, basing their method, objects, and conclusions upon what is observable, measurable, and testable, rather than on what can be known introspectively.”38

A second theological implication behind general revelation is that it is distinct from the process and idea of scientific discovery. The Greek word ἀποκάλυψις (apokalypsis) is used throughout Scripture and is most often translated as revelation, which denotes “an ‘unveiling’ and hence a disclosure.”39 Despite this connection, general revelation has been consistently subsumed under the pursuits of modern scientific exploration. Regarding the use of general revelation by the Christian counselor and psychologist, Gary Collins stated, “He [God] has revealed this truth through the Bible, God’s written Word to human beings, but he also has permitted us to discover truth [emphasis added] through experience, through research investigation, and through the insights that come through reflection, observation, and the words of books and sermons.”40 David Penley disagrees with Collins’ conclusions citing that this is an inaccurate view of general revelation. Christians cannot justify utilizing the social sciences by claiming they fall under the category of general revelation. He noted, “General revelation is not God revealing new things to us. He is revealing things about Himself that He also has revealed through special revelation in the Scriptures.”41 A correct understanding of general revelation precludes that God is infinite and man is not. To know God, He must make himself known.42

Christian Counseling: Context and Ideology

In one of the most comprehensive texts in the field of Christian Counseling, Gary Collins mentioned that man’s discoveries of “truth” in general revelation must be consistent with the Bible as revealed truth; however, he did not concede that psychological theory and methodology were based on anti-biblical presuppositions. He further concluded that counseling becomes ineffective and limited when counselors “pretend that the discoveries of psychology, neuropsychology, psychobiology, human genetics, and related fields have nothing to contribute to the understanding and solutions of problems.”43In this final section of the essay, it will be demonstrated that Christian Counseling has adopted an unbiblical concept of general revelation in order to justify attempts at integrating secular psychological models with Christian theological approaches to soul care.

A Modern Approach to Soul Care

The endeavors of philosophy and psychology have, in many ways, intersected with theology and the Christian church regarding the dealings, purposes, nature, and solution to the “basic problems of human nature.”44The early integration of philosophy with theology culminated in pastoral counseling becoming dominated by a scientific and psychological model. Modern trends in pastoral counseling have set it apart from its foundation as the biblical care of souls. In 1956, William Hulme stated, “In former days, the pastor’s counseling was oriented in pastoral theology [anchored in Scripture]; today it centers on pastoral psychology. The impetus for this new movement has come more from the laboratories of the psychological sciences than from the scholarship of theologians.”45

Among Protestants, practical theology no longer covered matters related to soul care and counseling but focused only on topics including preaching, missions, evangelism, and church government. When faced with issues that practical theology did not answer, pastors referred their congregants to the “secular experts” for help and counsel.46Carter and Narramore noted that while liberal pastors functionally abandoned theology for psychology in this area of ministry, conservative pastoral counselors, who were in the minority, were unaware of “the contributions of psychology to the understanding of personality” and therefore lagged behind their counterparts.47 Soon a small number of Christian psychologists began calling all evangelical pastors and counselors to embrace one another’s methods, both biblical and psychological, in an effort to construct a holistic integrative approach to soul care that would be acceptable to clinical psychologists and psychiatrists, efficacious to patients who were emotionally, mentally, and spiritually ill, while still remaining unapologetically Christian.48 Eric Johnson considered the 1960s and 1970s the “golden age of integration” where many Christian psychologists, mental health workers, and counselors largely favored the integration of faith and psychology. The key figures at the forefront of the Christian counseling movement held to a strong conceptual view of integration. Johnson noted that the task of what he labeled as interdisciplinary integration “ostensibly involves reflection of the propositions of modern psychology and the propositions of theology (and the Bible) in order for Christians to end up with discourse that includes both theological and psychological propositions and that is logically consistent with Christian faith.”49In an attempt to integrate, those who held to this approach divided the “revelations” of the Christian faith into two distinct categories. Special revelation involved theology as disclosed in Scripture while general revelation allowed for the study of sociology and psychology by humans in order to “discover” truth.50. Others affirmed that psychology, as a “scientific discipline,” not only had more impact on the church than any other theory, except perhaps Darwinian evolution, but that as a human-centered field of study similar to theology, psychology could “offer a great deal toward an understanding of the human race.”51 In identifying the objective of Christian counseling, Collins stated, “As a counselor, you are a change specialist. Your job is to help people deal with the changes that come into their lives and make changes that will improve their lives.”52However, this change is inconsistent to the concept of “change” as presented within the Bible.

The Search for Truth

The question of the nature of truth serves as the impetus behind the psychologically-informed Christian Counseling movement. The goals and methods of Christian Counseling are concerned with both psychological and spiritual matters. Christian counselors and psychologists hold that the Bible, however useful for spiritual matters, never claims “to be a textbook on counseling” and “never was meant to be God’s sole revelation about people-healing.”53The logical conclusion of this claim on the nature and source of truth was expressed by Stanton Jones when he suggested that Christian counselors had a duty to their clients to share any knowledge of psychological theory they had in their possession. He also seemed to suggest that to withhold such knowledge would make the counselor not only irresponsible, but even negligent.54

Two related assumptions are shared by those who engage the integrationist approach to Christian Counseling. The first assumption is that God is the source of all truth. Carter and Narramore defend this assertion by stating that all disciplines share a basic unity of truth and this unity serves as the legitimate basis for all attempts at integrating the Christian faith with professional, clinical, and theoretical psychology. The view that Christian theology shares subject matter and philosophic jurisdiction with secular psychology leads them to conclude that God is the source of the truth found in these two often opposing sources. They claimed, “If we believe that God is the source of all truth, we assume that there is no inherent conflict between the facts of psychology and the data of Scripture [emphasis mine].”55

The second assumption generally held within Christian Counseling is that man is able to know/discover all truth. According to Collins, science serves as the vehicle for studying and making sense of the natural world (via general revelation). In essence scientific methodology provides an illumination into the teachings and truths of Scripture in a way that man can grasp. A Christian psychologist must be a solid student of both general and special revelation and “continually test his scientifically derived facts against the revealed truth of the Bible.”56 Larry Crabb conceded this point by stating, “The Two-Book View (which is the implicit view behind much current thinking on integration) elevates the conclusions of empirical research to the same level of decisiveness as the conclusions of biblical study.”57

Historical Misrepresentation

Christian Counseling perpetuates the historical misrepresentation of general revelation by equating scientific studies and empirical data with God-given revelation. Concerning the use of general revelation in related literature, Deinhardt noted:

The importance and theological soundness of the stance taken on it is virtually ignored in the Christian counselling [sic] literature, in spite of the fact that it has a key role in determining what materials are to be included in theories of counselling [sic] and what methodologies will be employed in counselling [sic]. Moreover, to the extent it is mentioned, it is typically done so in a manner not representative of traditional evangelical theology. Instead, “all truth is God’s truth” is often used as a theological catch clause so-to-speak whereby one can uphold biblical authority, while in good conscience adding in whatever other “truths” one might deem worthy from other sources.58

In agreement with this assessment, Jim Owen stated, “Although ‘Christian’ psychology claims to integrate Scriptural truth with ‘discovered’ (i.e., scientific) truth, integration is not occurring; Integration is virtually impossible. ‘Christian’ psychology sets aside the historical-grammatical method of interpreting Scripture and replaces it with a hermeneutic centered on pathology.”59Jones views special revelation as an exalted gift; however, it is insufficient in providing what counselors need to fully understand human beings. Modern psychology, provided to man through general revelation, offers “legitimate and strategic” aid in helping the Christian therapist better understand human nature.60

Admitting that not all Christian Counselors and integrationists have adequately represented general revelation, Mark McMinn and Clark Campbell stated that this doctrine was “more authoritative on issues left unaddressed in the Bible” including examples given such as “constructing microprocessors or treating bacterial pneumonia.”61However, general revelation, as previously mentioned, is never referred to as an ambiguous truth that was to be discovered by “reasonable” men.62 General revelation was provided to man by God for the purpose of revealing man’s inherent sin, guilt, and need for reconciliation to His Creator. Scripture, as special revelation, brings explicit clarity to this relationship.63Henry, Revelation and the Bible: Contemporary Evangelical Thought, 19. See also, Packer, Ferguson, and Wright, New Dictionary of Theology. Pinnock stated, “The two species of revelation stand together in a complementary relationship. We should not forget that God is the source of revelation in both cases, and that two types of revelation work together to the same goal” (585).

Theological Misapplication

Collins reimagines not only the historical but the biblical definition of revelation. His model “begins with the assumption that God exists and is the source of all truth. This truth is revealed through the Bible (disclosed truth) and nature (discovered truth).”64The biblical definition of truth is re-framed by Collins and Crabb in the form of expanded empiricism. Collins noted, “I would agree with Crabb that the Bible is our primary source . . . But the Bible does not claim to be a textbook on psychology. We can and must draw from nonbiblical sources if we want to intervene to bring about maximum change through counseling.”65

In his book, Psychological Seduction, sociologist William Kirk Kilpatrick argues that the good intentions of Christian integrationists often leads to the secular overtaking the sacred. He stated, “True Christianity does not mix well with psychology. When you try to mix them, you often end up with a watered-down Christianity instead of a Christianized psychology.”66 In differentiating Christian counseling from biblical counselors, Ed Bulkley noted that the “controversy centers on the issues of authority and the source of truth.”67 As has been shown, the misapplication of general revelation in order to affirm extra-biblical sources of truth is not a new concept when the Christian counseling movement was first conceived; regardless, as a movement, this approach was widely applied.68 Years earlier, Abraham Kuyper noted that truth that is scientifically established has come to be known as universally valid. However, Scripture never presents truth as a force that depends upon corporate agreement in order to retain its validity.69

Conclusion

While it is a vitally important biblical doctrine, general revelation has been at the center of theological debate throughout church history. Unfortunately, this doctrine has been often misrepresented leading to error regarding the nature, source, and application of truth itself. Through this essay, I have argued that those adhering to an integrationist approach to Christian Counseling have perpetuated an incorrect understanding of general revelation in an effort to utilize both secular psychology and Christian Scripture. Ultimately, integrative counseling functionally identifies and utilizes two different types of wisdom: one found in the Bible and one found in secular psychology.70 At the same time, modern soul care practices pay lip-service to the sufficiency of Scripture while simultaneously denigrating the inherent authority of the Word of God. A proper historical and theological understanding of general revelation recognizes not only its place as subservient to special revelation, but also that revelation is not synonymous with empirical inquiry, incidental discovery, or truth-making but instead demonstrates an active and purposeful unveiling of God’s nature and plan to those who are made in His image.

<a href="https://biblicalcounseling.com/multi_author/samuel-stephens/">Samuel Stephens</a>
Samuel Stephens

Samuel Stephens serves as the Director of Training Center Certification at ACBC.

How does one achieve true healing? How is “medicine” / drugs apart of healing? Or are drugs apart of addiction cultivation?

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BRAINJACKING: A NEW CYBERTHREAT TARGETING BRAIN IMPLANTS

CYBERSECURITYLATEST NEWS
by Preetipadma
August 28, 2020
Source: Analytics Insight

How can brain implants act as viable hotspots for hackers and cybercriminals?

Tech entrepreneur Elon Musk recently spoke about the possibility of a future where man has brain implants to various reasons ranging from augmenting his memory to listen to music. His Neuralink computer chip brain implant promises to demonstrate linking the body’s muscles with a machine, with the goal of treating neurological injuries and trauma. Though this tech sounds intriguing, it also raises some concerns. Experts believe that bio-implants are more likely to be prone to malicious cyber-attacks and become a new sport for hackers. This is the reason why the former Vice president of USA Dick Cheney had disabled wireless telemetry on his implantable cardioverter-defibrillator during his time in office for fear of political assassination. In 2016 Johnson and Johnson had warned patients that the company had discovered a security vulnerability in its insulin pumps, which might allow cybercriminals to alter their dosages remotely. As the human brain is the CPU of human bodies and thoughts-action process, scientists fear that attack and corruption of brain implants, also called brainjacking, can shoot up in the coming years.

As we live in a hyper-connected world, where every connected end-device is hackable, brainjacking poses a severe threat to people even before brain implants have hit the commercial markets. In 2016, a group of researchers, neurosurgeons, and doctors of philosophy from Oxford Functional Neurosurgery and several Oxford University departments published a paper exploring the issue of brainjacking. Even in 2018, scientists in Belgium have found that neurostimulator, a wireless brain implant can be hacked using off-the-shelf materials. They discovered that by utilizing remote exploitation, hackers could make voltage changes that can result in sensory denial, disability, or even death. These research studies highlight how cybercriminals can weaponize a simple brain implant for malicious purposes.

Laurie Pycroft, a doctoral candidate at Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences, who headed the Oxford study, says that the most common type of brain implant is the deep brain stimulation (DBS) system. It consists of implanted electrodes positioned deep inside the brain connected to wires running under the skin, which carry signals from an implanted stimulator. This DBS can feed tiny, precision jolts of electricity into ones’ brain to control epilepsy or Parkinson’s tremors, dystonia (muscle spasms), and severe chronic pain. It has also been in trial for conditions like depression and Tourette’s syndrome. The neurosurgeons use it to map and target various regions of the brain using different stimulation parameters to have precise control over the human brain.

However, Pycroft fears that such precise control of the brain, coupled with the wireless control of stimulators, paves the way for hackers to attack the brain implants. For instance, an attacker could potentially induce behavioral changes like hypersexuality or pathological gambling, or even exert a limited form of control over the patient’s behavior by stimulating parts of the brain involved with reward learning to reinforce certain actions. The criminal perpetrators can cause blind attacks like cessation of stimulation, draining implant batteries, inducing tissue damage, and information theft, and targeted attacks like impairment of motor function, alteration of impulse control, modification of emotions or affect, induction of pain, and modulation of the reward system. Pycroft says although these hacks would be hard to achieve as they would require a high level of technological competence and the ability to monitor the victim, a sufficiently determined attacker could manage it.

While the scope of brain implants looks extremely promising, a single brainjacking incident can malign their reputation and raise questions of its safety and usability. This is why it is important to address this issue before the chips hit the mainstream market. Kaspersky has collaborated with the University of Oxford researchers on a project to map the potential threats and means of attack concerning these emerging technologies. Further, we need reinforced cybersecurity measures, which include encryption, identity and access management, patching, and updating the security of these brain implants to minimize instances of brainjacking. Clinicians and patients need to be educated on how to take precautions against these attacks.

You can read the research by the University of Oxford here.

You can read the research by Belgian researchers here.

How can you take precautions against brain implant hack attacks? How can you take precautions against unauthorized brain chip implants? What legislation would you like to see? Brain, body chips and DNA manipulation like Doly the clone is already here. What will you do now?

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Hacking Humans: How Neuralink May Give AI The Keys To Our Brains

Nov 18, 2020,07:40am EST

Jason Lau
Forbes Technology Council
Source: Forbes
Photo Source: Forbes

Chief Information Security Officer at Crypto.com, overseeing the company’s global cybersecurity and data privacy strategy. 

human brain and artificial intelligence concept
GETTY
Source: Forbes
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

When Elon Musk gave the world a demo in August of his latest endeavor, the brain-computer interface (BCI) Neuralink, he reminded us that the lines between brain and machine are blurring quickly.

Though Neuralink and BCIs alike are still likely many years away from widespread implementation, their potential benefits and use cases are tantalizing, especially as the technology eventually evolves from stage 1 applications, such as helping those with spinal cord injuries, to more complex ones, such as controlling multiple devices.

It bears remembering, however, that Neuralink is, at its core, a computer — and as with all computing advancements in human history, the more complex and smart computers become, the more attractive targets they become for hackers.

To be sure, the consequences of high-level hacking today are severe, but we’ve never before had computers linked to our brains, which seems a hacker’s ultimate prey.

Our brains hold information computers don’t have. A brain linked to a computer/AI such as a BCI removes that barrier to the brain, potentially allowing hackers to rush in and cause problems we can’t even fathom today. Might hacking humans via BCI be the next major evolution in hacking, carried out through a dangerous combination of past hacking methods?

To better understand how hacking the brain could happen, let’s first examine how the relationship between humans, computers and hacking has evolved over time.

1980s To Mid-1990s: Hacking Tech To Get Human Data

Though hacking has been around since the 1960s, the modern age started in the 1980s when personal computers — and then hackers — made their way into homes.

Hacking took advantage of new and emerging technology that was easily manipulated. Hackers’ treasure during this time was mainly personal and financial information, such as credit card details, and they leveraged technology to get it.

The 1992 film Sneakers — about a black box capable of breaking any encryption code, ensuring there were “no more secrets” — helped popularize and reveal some of the hacking techniques used at the time, such as infiltration, physical intrusion and backdoor access. During this time, computers were the conduit to human data.

Mid-1990s To Today: Hacking Tech Via Humans

As technology became more accessible, humans began storing more of their private, sensitive information within technology, which now held the keys to hackers’ treasure.

While the core theme of Sneakers was to use a black box to cryptographically decipher systems, social engineering was heavily used to gain access to the box — a tactic that has grown exponentially as hackers shift their approach. Instead of breaking into the technology itself, hackers began preying on the vulnerabilities of human behavior (the weakest link) to get into the tech we rely on to store our vital information.

This period has been dominated by phishing and all forms of social engineering — hackers’ psychological manipulation of humans to persuade them into doing the hackers’ bidding. During this period, humans have been the conduit to technology.

The Future: Hacking Humans Via Tech

Previous eras were defined by obstacles between hackers and their targets, which were in place due to the inherent physical disconnect between humans and technology. However, what happens when that disconnect between humans and tech is blurred? When they’re essentially one and the same?

This is a top security concern of BCI tech like Neuralink. The technology’s core promise — enabling the brain to communicate directly with computers — might also turn out to be its biggest security flaw. There would no longer be a separation between humans and computers that requires some form of authentication and judgment.

Should a computing device literally connected to the brain, as Neuralink is, become hacked, the consequences could be catastrophic, giving hackers ultimate control over someone.

If Neuralink penetrates deep into the human brain with high fidelity, what might hacking a human look like? Following traditional patterns, hackers would likely target individuals with high net worths and perhaps attempt to manipulate them into wiring millions of dollars to a hacker’s offshore bank account. Executives in boardrooms could be hacked into making decisions, resulting in significant financial consequences.

In a more alarming scenario, should a hacker take control of a large population of people, they could manipulate them to vote for a certain candidate, party or issue, covertly toppling governments and entire state infrastructures. And in the most severe scenario, hacking a Neuralink-like device could turn “hosts” into programmable drone armies capable of doing anything their “master” wanted. Autopilot software features in cars have already resulted in deaths; imagine what a hacked army of sentient beings could do.

Some Perspective

Though the above scenarios are far-fetched, and Neuralink may still be far off, it’s never too early to examine how the inevitable hacking could play out. Some experts believe that the singularity — the point at which artificial intelligence reaches that of human intelligence — will happen by 2045. And, as cybersecurity professionals know all too well, hackers are usually one step ahead of security protocols, so it’s not a matter of “if” but “when” they will attack a Neuralink-type device.

To be clear, technological progress is fundamental to human progress. It always has and always will be. BCIs hold tremendous potential for good. However, technological progress must be done thoughtfully, keeping in mind one critical aspect of the “human element” of security — ethics. I’m reminded of one of Sun Tzu’s strategic tenants, “悬权而动,” which says you should always “think deep and carefully deliberate” before you make your strategic move. Now is the time to develop a robust set of responsible big data, AI ethical frameworks and governance that companies must follow when developing such intrusive technology like BCIs.

Finally, for those aspiring to venture into the BCI space, I would like to leave you with some powerful words from chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov, who has had much of his career challenged by machines and AI: “We have free will, our machines do not. … We have to have human accountability, human ethics, built in from the start.”

Jason Lau, Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), Hong Kong
Jason Lau, Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), Hong Kong

Jason Lau is currently the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) at Crypto.com where he drives the global cybersecurity and information privacy strategy. Jason led his team to become the first cryptocurrency company in the world to have company-wide certifications in ISO 27001:2013, ISO 27701:2019, PCI:DSS 3.2.1 and to conform with the Cryptocurrency Security Standard (CCSS) and meeting the highest “Adaptive” tier of the NIST Cybersecurity Framework and NIST Privacy Framework. Prior to this, Jason was a regional Cybersecurity Advisor at Microsoft, leading Microsoft’s cybersecurity and GDPR initiatives in Asia Pacific. Jason holds the title of Adjunct Professor of cybersecurity and data privacy at one of Asia’s leading business schools, and the regional lead, advisory board, co-chair and faculty member of the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP). Jason also sits on the advisory board of Tencent’s Finance Academy, advising on FinTech and cybersecurity ecosystem development in the region. Jason has over 20 years in consulting experience for Fortune 500 companies in the fields of management consulting, cybersecurity, IT governance, privacy and risk management, and holds certifications such as CISSP, CDPSE, CGEIT, CISA, CISM, CRISC, CIPP/E, CIPM, CIPT, CEH, CNDA, CSM, HCISPP and more. Jason was one of the first worldwide to achieve ISO27701:2019 Senior Lead Auditor and Senior Lead Implementer status, and is a ISO27001:2013 Lead Auditor a Fellow of Information Privacy (FIP) and Fellow of the Hong Kong Institute of Directors (FHKIoD). Jason has won multiple awards including the “Cybersecurity Professional Award”, and “Outstanding Financial Technologist of the Year (Data Privacy)”, and voted a “Top 50 global thought leader and influencer on cybersecurity”, selected by industry peers into the “Global CISO 100” and most recently, Hong Kong Business Magazine Executive of the Year for Cybersecurity. Jason also sits on industry advisory groups and participates on various global security and privacy think tanks like the World Economic Forum’s Expert Network, Centre for Information Policy Leadership (CIPL) and the Standing Committee on Technological Developments for the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data, Hong Kong. Jason has over a decade in the Healthcare industry across 5 continents safeguarding highly sensitive Protected Health Information (PHI) for hospitals and healthcare providers, and is a certified HealthCare Information Security and Privacy Professional (HCISPP). Jason also sits on various industry committees on the ethical use of Big Data and Artificial Intelligence. Jason holds a bachelor degree in engineering (Honors) and bachelor degree in commerce, and completed executive programs at Stanford and Harvard.

How do chips and brain hacking change the way we see intellectual property and personal privacy? Technology, medical marvels, machinery and human are increasingly blending and blurring lines. How do you impact the way you define humanity? What permissions are a must?

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7 of the Most Outrageous Medical Treatments in History

UPDATED:APR 1, 2019
ORIGINAL:SEP 5, 2017

Why were parents giving their children heroin in the 1880s?
BRYNN HOLLAND
Source: History
Photos Source: History

It’s hard to keep up with the treatment recommendations coming out of the medical community. One day something is good for you, and the next day it’s deadly and should be avoided. Addictive drugs like heroin were given to kids to cure coughs, electric shock therapy has been a long used treatment for impotence, and “miracle” diet pills were handed out like candy. Below are seven of the most shocking treatments recommended by doctors.

1. Snake Oil—Salesmen and Doctors

Collection of elixirs. (Credit: Efrain Padro/Alamy Stock Photo)
Collection of elixirs. (Credit: Efrain Padro/Alamy Stock Photo)

While today a “snake oil salesman” is someone who knowingly sells fraudulent goods, the use of snake oil has real, medicinal routes. Extracted from the oil of Chinese water snakes, it likely arrived in the United States in the 1800s, with the influx of Chinese workers toiling on the Transcontinental Railroad. Rich in omega-3 acids, it was used to reduce inflammation and treat arthritis and bursitis, and was rubbed on the workers’ joints after a long day of working on the railroad.Enter Clark Stanley, “The Rattlesnake King.” Originally a cowboy, Stanley claimed to have studied with a Hopi medicine man who turned him on to the healing powers of snake oil. He took this new found “knowledge” on the road, performing a show-stopping act at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, where he reached into a bag, grabbed a rattlesnake, cut it open, and squeezed it. He labeled the extract snake oil, even though the FDA later confirmed that his products didn’t contain any kind of snake oil, rattlesnake or otherwise. That didn’t stop other unscrupulous doctors and fraudulent salesmen, who also started traveling the American West, peddling bottles of fake snake oil, giving the truly beneficial medical treatment a bad name.

2. Cocaine—The Wonder Drug

Advertisement for Cocaine Toothache Drops,1890. Courtesy National Library of Medicine. (Credit: Smith Collection/Getty Images).
Advertisement for Cocaine Toothache Drops,1890. Courtesy National Library of Medicine. (Credit: Smith Collection/Getty Images).

Around the mid 1880s, scientists were able to isolate the active ingredient of the coca leaf, Erthroxlyn coca (later known as cocaine). Pharmaceutical companies loved this new, fast-acting and relatively-inexpensive stimulant.

In 1884, an Australian ophthalmologist, Carol Koller, discovered that a few drops of cocaine solution put on a patient’s cornea acted as a topical anesthetic. It made the eye immobile and de-sensitized to pain, and caused less bleeding at the site of incision—making eye surgery much less risky. News of this discovery spread, and soon cocaine was being used in both eye and sinus surgeries. Marketed as a treatment for toothaches, depression, sinusitis, lethargy, alcoholism, and impotence, cocaine was soon being sold as a tonic, lozenge, powder and even used in cigarettes. It even appeared in Sears Roebuck catalogues. Popular home remedies, such as Allen’s Cocaine Tablets, could be purchased for just 50 cents a box and offered relief for everything from hay fever, catarrh, throat troubles, nervousness, headaches, and sleeplessness. In reality, the side effects of cocaine actually caused many of the ailments it claimed to cure—causing lack of sleep, eating problems, depression, and even hallucinations.

You didn’t need a doctor’s prescription to purchase it. Some states sold cocaine at bars, and it was, famously, one of the key ingredients in the soon-to-be ubiquitous Coca-Cola soft drink. By 1902, there were an estimated 200,000 cocaine addicts in the U.S. alone. In 1914, the Harrison Narcotic Act outlawed the production, importation, and distribution of cocaine.

3. Vibrators—Cure Your Hysteria

Handheld electric vibrator, 1909. (Credit: SSPL/Getty Images)
Handheld electric vibrator, 1909. (Credit: SSPL/Getty Images)

We have 19th-century doctors to thank for the introduction of the vibrator, which was first advertised as a cure for a catch-all, female “disease” known as hysteria. Hysteria was believed to cause any number of maladies, including anxiety, irritability, sexual desire, insomnia, faintness, and a bloated stomach—so almost every woman showed some symptoms. The condition traced its roots back to ancient medical theories about “wandering wombs,” where a displaced (and discontented) uterus caused female ill health.

The treatment? A “pelvic massage” that would induce “hysterical paroxysm”—commonly known as an orgasm. This job lay with Victorian doctors who manually massaged women. In an effort to spare the doctors this work, one ingenious practitioner named Dr. Joseph Mortimer Granville created a steam-powered, “electromechanical medical instrument.” Nicknamed the “Manipulator,” the device allowed women to give themselves home massages, allowing them to cure their “wandering wombs.”

4. Fen-Phen—A Miracle Pill for Weight Loss

Bottles of Phentermine and Fenfluramine, commonly known as Phen-Fen.  (Credit: Yvonne Hemsey/Getty Images)
Bottles of Phentermine and Fenfluramine, commonly known as Phen-Fen. (Credit: Yvonne Hemsey/Getty Images)

Today’s weight-loss industry is an estimated $60 billion business, a large portion of which is spent on diet pills. And while the first fat-busting pills went on the market in the late 1880s, no other pills have had quite the speedy rise and fall as Fen-Phen did in the 1990s.Originally released into the market as two separate drugs—the appetite suppressant Fenfluramine and the amphetamine Phentermine—they were marketed as short-term diet aids, but proved largely ineffective on their own. In the late 1970s, however, the two products were combined by Dr. Michael Weintraub to create what became known as Fen-Phen. Weintraub conducted a single study with 121 patients over the course of four years. The patients, two-thirds of which were women, lost an average of 30 pounds with seemingly no side effects—but Weintraub’s study didn’t monitor the patients’ hearts. The new miracle drug was first introduced into the market in 1992, and people could not get enough of it. Some doctors, looking for a quick way to make cash, operated “fen-phen mills,” where desperate patients looking to shed excess weight would pay anything for the pills. Soon, some 6 million Americans were using it.

In April 1996, after a contentious debate, the FDA agreed to approve the drug, pending a one-year trial. Almost immediately, reports of grave side effects started pouring in. That July, the Mayo Clinic said that 24 women taking fen-phen had developed serious heart valve abnormalities. Hundreds of more cases were reported, and by September 1997 the FDA had officially pulled fen-phen. In 1999, the American Home Products Corporation (the producers of fen-phen) agreed to pay a $3.75 billion settlement to those injured by taking the drug. More than 50,000 liability lawsuits were filed in the years following its withdrawal from the market, and patients are still able to file injury claims.

5. Heroin—The Cure for a Cough

Pharmaceutical advertisement from a 1900 magazine, promoting the use of heroin for a cough. (Credit: Bettmann/Getty Images)
Pharmaceutical advertisement from a 1900 magazine, promoting the use of heroin for a cough. (Credit: Bettmann/Getty Images)

How do you cure one drug epidemic? Create a new drug. That’s what happened in the late 1880s, when heroin was introduced as a safe and non-addictive substitute for morphine. Known as diamorphine, it was created by an English chemical researcher named C.R. Alder Wright in the 1870s, but it wasn’t until a chemist working for Bayer pharmaceuticals discovered Wright’s paper in 1895 that the drug came to market.

Finding it to be five times more effective—and supposedly less addictive—than morphine, Bayer began advertising a heroin-laced aspirin in 1898, which they marketed towards children suffering from sore throats, coughs, and cold. Some bottles depicted children eagerly reaching for the medicine, with moms giving their sick kids heroin on a spoon. Doctors started to have an inkling that heroin may not be as non-addictive as it seemed when patients began coming back for bottle after bottle. Despite the pushback from physicians and negative stories about heroin’s side effects pilling up, Bayer continued to market and produce their product until 1913. Eleven years later, the FDA banned heroin altogether.

6. Lobotomies—Hacking Away Troubled Brains

Dr. Walter Freeman performing a lobotomy. (Credit: Bettmann/Getty Images)
Dr. Walter Freeman performing a lobotomy. (Credit: Bettmann/Getty Images)

Walter Freeman thought he’d found a way to alleviate the pain and distress of the mentally and emotionally ill. Instead, he created one of history’s most horrific medical treatments. Freeman developed his procedure, which became known as a prefrontal lobotomy, based on earlier research by a Portuguese neurologist. Early versions of Freeman’s “cure” involved drilling holes in the top of his patients’ skulls, and later evolved into hammering an ice pick-like instrument through their eye sockets, to sever the connections between the frontal lobes and the thalamus, which he believed to be the part of the brain that dealt with human emotion.Freeman soon teamed up with James Watts, and after practicing on cadavers, they performed their first procedure on a live patient in 1936, a woman who suffered from agitated depression and sleeplessness. It was deemed a success. But subsequent surgeries were not. Patients were often left in a vegetative state, experienced relapses, and regressed physically and emotionally. As many as 15 percent died. One of the most infamous victims was Rosemary Kennedy, the sister of future President John F. Kennedy, who was left incapacitated and spent the rest of her life needing full-time care.

Freeman was as much a showman as he was a doctor, traveling to 23 states to demonstrate his miracle cure. In all, he performed some 3,439 lobotomies—some on patients not yet in their teens. And despite the obvious risks and lack of concrete success rates, hospitals willingly let Freeman continue, perhaps because lobotomized patients were considered “easier” to deal with. Everything changed in 1967, when Freeman performed a lobotomy on one of his original patients, a housewife living in Berkeley, California. This time, he severed a blood vessel and Mortenson died of a brain hemorrhage—finally putting an end to Freeman’s haphazard brain hacking.

7. Shock Treatments—The Cure for Impotence

Electric belts featured in a Sears catalog, 1900.
Electric belts featured in a Sears catalog, 1900.

The medical profession has had varying opinions on the causes, and possible cures, for impotence. The repressive Victorians honed in on a man’s “moral weakness” as the cause for genital dysfunction, and by the 19th century impotence was thought to be caused by either an excess of sex or masturbation, or too little of it. As surgeon Samuel W. Gross noted in his book, Practical Treatise on Impotence, Sterility, and Allied Disorders of the Male Sexual Organs, “masturbation, gonorrhea, sexual excesses, and constant excitement of the genital organs without gratification,” would lead to impotence.

Some doctors introduced “galvanic baths,” or bathtubs filled with electrodes, which were supposed to restore sexual desire in just six sessions. Others took an even more localized approach, where rods with currents running through them were placed inside the man’s urethra. The treatment would last for five to eight minutes and would be repeated once or twice a week. This was thought to be particularly helpful for those with significant atrophy to the genital area.

Where a buck can be made off an insecure customer, then quack doctors and unsavory businessmen are sure to follow. By the late 1800s ads were running for “electropathic belts” or “electric belts” aimed at “weak men.” They claimed to help cure kidney pains, sciatic nerve issues, backaches, headaches, and nervous exhaustion—but the underlying message was they could cure men’s sexual problems.

While today, impotence is seen as a blend of physical and mental issues, the belief that electric shock therapy is a useful cure for impotence still persists. Studies coming out of Haifa, Israel (2009) and San Francisco, California (2016) both claim there are merits to low-energy shock wave therapy to cure erectile dysfunction.

A man once made a comment after a baseless hospital visit made without permission following an auto accident, “that’s why they call it practicing medicine”. Highlighting the many factless and baseless activities in the medical industry resulting in poor health outcomes and sometimes death. Infact, little has changed from the times of the medical treatments History highlights for us. The major difference is that marketing firms promote these products as appose to a traveling sells-man. What medicines do you take? Why? How effective are they really? Has your health improved or declined? Where did the assumption come from that in order to heal or cure oneself that a drug is needed. “medicines” are DRUGS. When is the next drug epidemic coming from and from what doctors offices>

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How a powerful corporate consulting firm helped create the opioid epidemic

Feb 10, 2021 6:25 PM EST

By —Stephanie Sy
Source: PBS

The opioids crisis that has taken hundreds of thousands of American lives has received less attention in the pandemic, but drug overdoses and deaths have grown during the last year. Now, one of the world’s most powerful corporate consulting firms has agreed to a major settlement for its role in the sale of painkillers. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healy joins Stephanie Sy to discuss.

WATCH:

  • Judy Woodruff:The opioids crisis that has taken hundreds of thousands of American lives has gotten less attention during the pandemic, but it’s no less dangerous.In fact, the CDC says drug overdoses and deaths have grown substantially since the pandemic began.Now one of the world’s most powerful corporate consulting firms has agreed to a major settlement for its role and trying to — quote — “turbocharge” sales of painkillers.Stephanie Sy has our update.
  • Stephanie Sy:Good evening, Judy.The settlement holds McKinsey & Company financially accountable for its extensive work with Purdue Pharma and other drugmakers to aggressively market highly addictive painkillers. The agreement allocates $573 million to 47 states, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories to fund opioid treatment, recovery and prevention programs.Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey has been leading the legal battles against McKinsey and Purdue Pharma, and joins me now.Madam Attorney General, it’s a pleasure having you on the “NewsHour.”I want to dive right in.The velocity, the breadth of the opioid epidemic and how many American lives it has devastated is astounding. How much of that would you ascribe to McKinsey consultants’ strategies to sell more OxyContin?
  • Maura Healey:Well, Stephanie, what my office’s investigation uncovered is that, in fact, McKinsey was right at the heart of things.McKinsey, to be clear, what our investigation uncovered was consulting with the Sacklers and Purdue. They were instructing them on how to boost OxyContin sales, how to get doctors to prescribe more and more to patients.McKinsey consultants actually rode along with, went with Purdue sales reps to doctor’s offices here in Massachusetts to critique them on how effective they were at selling OxyContin. McKinsey advised Purdue how to avoid FDA and pharmacy restrictions.They later advised Purdue on how to enter the market for opioid rescue and treatment medications, because McKinsey knew that people were overdosing and dying and getting sick from OxyContin. So, McKinsey’s fingers are all over this. It’s why we came together as states.This is the first multistate resolution that will return, importantly, millions and millions of dollars to our states right away that we’re going to use directly for treatment.And, also importantly, Stephanie, we did something for the first time, set up an online document repository where, in months’ time, everyone in the country, researchers, the press, the public, will be able to see McKinsey’s e-mails, memos, and the individuals who were involved in this effort.
  • Stephanie Sy:One of the more egregious tactics that the complaint alleges was proposed by McKinsey consultants was giving the idea to give rebates to pharmacies when their customers overdosed on OxyContin.Now, there’s no evidence that that was actually enacted, but, Madam Attorney General, what does that tell you about these entities’ desire for profit at all costs?
  • Maura Healey:It’s exactly that, profit at all costs.McKinsey consultants were about the business of advising their clients on how to make as much money as possible from this deadly epidemic. It shows a callousness that really is beyond the pale. And it’s why McKinsey needs to be held accountable.The fact that they knew — I mean, they knew how dangerous these opioids were, that they went so far as to try to propose to Purdue how it could pay insurance companies rebates for every patient who O.D.ed on OxyContin is gross. It’s disturbing. And, today, there is a reckoning and an accountability that our families, Stephanie, in Massachusetts and all across this country deserve.Those who engaged in acts and perpetrated such wrong against so many families need to be held accountable. And McKinsey was right there part of it.
  • Stephanie Sy:And we should say that McKinsey issued a rare apology, saying: “We recognize that we did not adequately acknowledge the epidemic unfolding in our communities. We want to be part of the solution.”However, they never explicitly acknowledged any wrongdoing or illegality.So, I want to ask you, are you planning any further complaints, criminal complaints, against McKinsey individuals?
  • Maura Healey:Well, Stephanie, our agreement does not release any criminal claims. And I cannot speak to the status of any criminal investigations.What I will say, though, is that this agreement — remember, we filed a complaint in every state in this country. We filed a consent judgment in the states. And you will see in time, with the documents, it will be very clear to the public exactly what McKinsey did.So, the apology is a little too late for the families who lost loved ones to this disease, to this epidemic, and to the families who are struggling every day. Yes, we have COVID, and that is, understandably, taking the front pages, but this crisis, this opioid crisis, has not gone away. It’s gotten worse, in fact.And so McKinsey needs to pay up. They’re paying up big time with this nearly $600 million consent judgment, where that money is going to go right into our states, so that we can use that money to help treat people, to help with the recovery effort.But I hope it sends a message loud and clear to those entities out there who are willing, it seems, all too willing to put profits ahead of people. There’s a price for that. And I’m proud of the work of state attorneys…
  • Stephanie Sy:Yes, and I know, Attorney General, that you are continuing to pursue a case against Purdue Pharma as well.We will have to leave it there.But, Maura Healey, the attorney general from the great state of Massachusetts, thank you so much for joining us.
  • Maura Healey:Good to be with you, Stephanie. Thank you.

What “medicines” / drugs are you taking? Why? Why is it the assumption that nearly every illness is cued by a drug? What will be the next drug epidemic and which doctors office will it come from? Why don’t these medical professionals lead by example?

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Stephanie Sy
Stephanie Sy

Stephanie Sy is a PBS News Hour correspondent and serves as anchor of PBS News Hour West. Throughout her career, she served in anchor and correspondent capacities for ABC News, Al Jazeera America, CBSN, CNN International, and PBS News Hour Weekend. Prior to joining News Hour, she was with Yahoo News where she anchored coverage of the 2018 Midterm Elections and reported from Donald Trump’s victory party on Election Day 2016.

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Too Many Americans Still Mistrust the COVID-19 Vaccines. Here’s Why

Here’s What’s Behind Americans’ Uneasy Relationship With Vaccines
BY JEFFREY KLUGER  JANUARY 5, 2021 9:36 AM EST
Source: Time

If you’re feeling impatient waiting your turn for a COVID-19 vaccine, here’s a little good news: Angela Padgett will gladly give you her place in line—at least for now. Padgett, president of a day spa in Raleigh, N.C., is under no illusions about the mortal danger the pandemic poses to herself, her family and the world writ large—indeed, she had COVID-19 back in July. But as for the vaccine that is supposed to put an end to all of the suffering at last? Not today.

“I am a little bit hesitant,” she says. “I can appreciate President Trump trying to get this moving fast and I’ve taken pretty much every vaccine [for other diseases]. But I think it was rushed through very early, very quickly. So I would like a little more data.”

Padgett is not alone. According to a December survey undertaken by the Pew Research Center, nearly 40% of Americans say they will definitely not or probably not get the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to them. Gallup polls put the number at 37%. That’s bad news not just for the vaccine refusers themselves but for the public as a whole. Experts including Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, had previously concluded that achieving herd immunity—the point at which a population is sufficiently vaccinated that a spreading virus can’t find enough new hosts—would require anywhere from 60% to 70% of Americans to take the vaccines. But lately, he and others have been inching that number upward, now estimating that herd immunity could require as much as 85% vaccine coverage.

The holdouts have multiple reasons for their reluctance. There are, of course, the dead-enders in the anti-vax community, for whom no vaccine is safe or acceptable. There is, too, a faction peddling conspiracy theories about the COVID-19 vaccines in particular. As one falsely goes, the disease is caused by 5G cell towers, so a vaccine would be useless against it. (The rumor has been repeatedly debunked on Snopes.com and other sites.) Another spuriously claims the vaccines are a plot by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation—or, alternately, Elon Musk—to inject microchips into Americans. That last one—debunked herehere and elsewhere—has gained enough traction in the fever-swamp corners of the Internet that it prompted a rare acknowledgment from Bill Gates himself. “It doesn’t help that there are false conspiracy theories about vaccines, including some that involve Melinda and me,” he wrote in a foundation letter he released on Dec. 22.

But most people in the COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy camp are more rational, more measured—informed enough not to believe the crazy talk, but worried enough not to want to be at the head of the line for a new vaccine. “For first responders and for older people with underlying conditions it’s a godsend,” says Padgett. “But I do believe this was rushed. I’m reasonably healthy. Six months to a year just to get more data on it is what I’d need to be vaccinated.”


For all the urgency to get as many vaccines into as many arms as possible, the reluctance of such a large swath of the population to be among the early adopters is not completely without merit.

“I think it’s reasonable to be skeptical about anything you put into your body, including vaccines,” says Dr. Paul Offit, professor of pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and director of its Vaccine Education Center. Coming from Offit, a vocal proponent of universal vaccination and a particular boogeyman of the anti-vax camp, that carries particular weight. He goes further still, acknowledging that the speed with which the COVID-19 vaccines were developed can cause people special concern. “The average length of time it takes to make a vaccine is 15 to 20 years,” he says. “This vaccine was made in a year.”

Then too there is a question of effectiveness. Both of the vaccines that have been authorized for emergency use in the U.S., one from Pfizer-BioNTech and one from Moderna, have what Offit calls “ridiculously high efficacy rates—in the 95% range for all [COVID-19] disease and for Moderna’s product 100% for severe disease.” But in the haste to get the vaccine to market, test subjects have been followed up for only two to three months, so it’s impossible to say with any authority how effective the vaccines will remain at six or nine or 12 months.

Finally there are the side effects. Anaphylaxis—or a severe allergic reaction—is possible with any vaccine, though medical protocols call for people who have received the shot to wait 15 minutes before they leave so that they can be treated if they do have a reaction. More troubling are spotty reports of Bell’s palsy—partial facial paralysis—following COVID-19 vaccinations. But those numbers are exceedingly small. One false Facebook posting purported to be from a nurse in Nashville who got the vaccine and suffered Bell’s palsy, but that too has been debunked, as repeated searches have turned up no nurse in the Tennessee health system under that name. All the same, it sparked outsized fear of a real but minimal risk.

“There were four cases of Bell’s palsy within a month or month and a half in the Pfizer trial out of 22,000 recipients,” Offit says. “So that works out to roughly eight per 10,000 per year.” Such a case count may be low, but it does exceed the average background rate of Bell’s palsy in the general population, which is 1.2 per 10,000 per year, Offit says. Other sources put the incidence as a somewhat higher 2.3 per 10,000.

Armed with numbers like that, however, humans are not always terribly good at calculating risk. On the one hand even an eight in 10,000 chance of contracting facial paralysis does sound scary; on the other hand, about one out every 1,000 American was killed by COVID-19 this past year. The mortal arithmetic here is easy to do—and argues strongly in favor of getting the shots.

So too does the way the vaccines were developed—which is actually not as rushed as the calendar would make it seem. The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines both use mRNA—or messenger RNA—to prompt the body to produce a coronavirus spike protein, which then triggers an immune response. That is a novel method for making a vaccine, but the basic research was by no means conducted within the last year.

“The technology for the vaccine has actually been in development for more than a decade,” says Dr. Richard Pan, a pediatrician and a state senator in California. Pan has pushed hard over the years for laws mandating vaccines for children to attend school and, like Offit, has earned the animus of the anti-vax community for his efforts. He is just as big a booster of the COVID-19 vaccine—though he would not propose mandates until there are enough doses for everyone to get a shot—and tries to reassure doubters that no matter how soon they get the vaccine, there are a lot of people who went before them.

“I point out to people that when you get the vaccine you’re definitely not the first,” he says, “because there are tens of thousands of people who have been involved with clinical trials.” Health care workers who are already being vaccinated increase that number dramatically—some 2 million have gotten the shot in the U.S. as of this writing.


Offit’s and Pan’s reassurances will surely not assuage everyone, and here demographics play a role. As with so much else in the U.S., vaccines have become a political issue. The Gallup organization has been tracking vaccine attitudes by party since July and has found Democrats consistently more likely to get vaccinated than Independents or Republicans. In a poll taken at the end of November, 75% of Democrats said they would be willing to take the COVID-19 vaccine, compared to 61% for Independents and 50% for Republicans. Age plays a role too, with willingness to be vaccinated generally tracking susceptibility to the disease. In the December Pew Research Center poll, for example, 75% of adults over 65 reported that they intended to be vaccinated, compared to just 55% under 30.

But nowhere is the difference starker than among racial and ethnic groups, with 83% of Asian-Americans surveyed expressing an intent to be vaccinated, compared to 63% in the Latinx community and 61% among Whites. In Black American respondents, the numbers fall off the table, with just 42% intending to be vaccinated.

This is of a piece with a long history of medical disenfranchisement and much worse. Some of the mistrust goes back as far as the infamous gynecological experiments J. Marion Sims conducted on enslaved women—without anesthetic—in the 19th century; as well the Tuskegee experiment that began in the 1930s and involved decades of studying the progress of syphilis in Black men without informing them that they had the disease or offering them the antibiotics needed to treat it. But the structural inequality and bias continues today.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the death rate from COVID-19 is 2.8 times higher for blacks than it is for whites and the hospitalization rate is 3.7 times higher. Dr. Ala Stanford, a Philadelphia-based pediatric surgeon and founder of the Black Doctors COVID Consortium sees a lot of reasons for that disparity, not least being that in the neighborhoods in which she works, Blacks and other minorities were being tested for COVID-19 at only one-sixth the rate of white communities, which tended to be higher-income, according to data from Drexel University. “[The tests] had to be scheduled from nine-to-five, when most people were at work,” Stanford says. “There were no evening or weekend hours [and] they weren’t accepting children.”

What’s more, Black Americans are disproportionately likely to be front-line or essential workers like home-health aides and are less likely to have the kinds of other jobs that would let them work from home. Less social distancing plus less testing means more sickness and death, which plays into the lived reality for many people that Black lives are valued less than white lives in the U.S. That, in turn, breeds more suspicions of the system as a whole—including of vaccines.

“The main fear I hear [about vaccines] is that someone is injecting coronavirus into my body,” says Stanford. “And I answer in as detailed a way as I can about the mRNA and the protein and how it looks like coronavirus but it’s not.” That kind of clarity, she says, can help a lot.

Offit hears even starker—and more poignant—fears from Blacks. “One particular man did not want to get the vaccine and I asked him why,” Offit says. “He said, ‘because for my race they make a different vaccine.’”

One way Stanford sought to push back against such suspicions was to offer up herself as a living example, getting vaccinated on camera through the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. The local media sent a pool camera and the footage was shown on the evening news. Dr. Brittani James, a professor at the University of Illinois Hospital and executive director of the Institute of Anti-Racism in Medicine, did something similar, streaming her vaccination online.

“I talk until I’m blue in the face,” she says, “but there’s something I think for people to see me or see other Black people getting it that can really do a lot to soothe their fear. Like hey, guess what? If I’m wrong, I’m going down with you.”

Whether that kind of role-modeling and example-setting will work to reduce resistance is impossible to know at the moment, simply because vaccines are still unavailable to the overwhelming share of the population. If you can’t get the shot in the first place, it doesn’t matter how hesitant or receptive you are to it. Offit, who is white, does believe that efforts like James’s, to appeal to members of her own community, can be truly valuable.

“I think if someone like me says something, people are just going to see it as ‘Of course he’d say that,’” Offit says. He cites by way of example the effectiveness of TV ads by the National Medical Association, a professional organization of Black American physicians, showing one Black nurse inoculating another with the COVID-19 vaccine. “It’s subtle,” Offit says, “but they’re trying to create those images.”

Stanford believes Black churches can play a role too. During one of the testing drives she helped organize, church parking lots were used as sites to administer the tests—which helped increase turnout. “We know that in the African-American community, [the church] is a trusted institution,” she says. “Even if you don’t go to church, you know that’s a safe space.”Dr. Ala Stanford receiving her COVID-19 vaccine. Stanford's vaccination was televised in order to promote the safety and efficacy of the shot.Dr. Ala Stanford receiving her COVID-19 vaccine. Stanford’s vaccination was televised in order to promote the safety and efficacy of the shot. Emma Lee
Source: Time
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

In all communities, it helps too if doctors and other authorities listen respectfully to public misgivings about vaccines, explaining and re-explaining the science as frequently and patiently as possible. But there is a burden on the vaccine doubters themselves to be open to the medical truth. “Questions are fine as long as you listen to the answers,” Pan says. “So talk to your doctor, go to sources like the CDC and our incredible mainstream medical organizations. Those are the ones you should be getting information from.”

Adds Stanford: “My belief is that you don’t coerce or convince, you listen to concerns and you understand the fears and are empathetic with people. Then you educate and allow one to make their own choice.”

Pan also sees a role for social media companies, which must better control misinformation on their platforms. Journalists too must step up, avoiding false equivalency or both-sides-ism; there is no need to give equal time to rumor mongers or conspiracy theorists simply to appear balanced.

Ultimately, no vaccine is perfect, and the COVID-19 vaccines do have more questions associated with them than others, because there hasn’t been that much follow-up time since the study volunteers got their shots. But those questions are less about safety than about just how long the shots will prove protective. The truth is that they work.

Another truth, of course, is that for now, in the early stages of the vaccine rollout, masking and social distancing remain the best methods for protecting ourselves and others—and they will be part of our lives for at least many months to come. But slowly, over time, the vaccines will eliminate that need. What’s required now is trust in the power of the shots or, as Stanford puts it, in “faith and facts over fear.” Pandemics eventually stop raging. It’s vaccines that hasten that end game—and save millions of lives in the process.

WRITE TO JEFFREY KLUGER AT JEFFREY.KLUGER@TIME.COM.

As the article states the average time to actually develop a vaccine or new drug is 15 – 20 years. This vaccine has be developed in under a year. Why do you think people are hesitant around the world to take the COVID 19 vaccine? How often have pharmaceutical companies been fined for the drugs they develop and why? How effective or ineffective has the FDA been in protecting the public at large from predatory drugs and drug epidemics? Why? Why not?

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‘I’m not an anti-vaxxer, but…’ US health workers’ vaccine hesitancy raises alarm

Coronavirus

With up to 40% of frontline workers in LA county refusing Covid-19 inoculation experts warn that understanding and persuasion are needed

Amanda Holpuch

Amanda Holpuch in New York @holpuch
Sun 10 Jan 2021 03.00 EST
Last modified on Sun 10 Jan 2021 10.07 EST
Source: The Guardian

Registered nurse Valerie Massaro administers the second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to health care workers at the Hartford HealthCare at the Hartford Convention Center in Hartford, Connecticut on January 4, 2021.
 Registered nurse Valerie Massaro administers the second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to health care workers at the Hartford Convention Center in Hartford, Connecticut, this week. Photograph: Joseph Prezioso/AFP/Getty Images
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Susan, a critical care nurse based in Alaska, has been exposed to Covid-19 multiple times and has watched scores of people die from the illness. But she did not want to get the vaccination when she learned it would soon be available.

“I am not an anti-vaxxer, I have every vaccine known to man, my flu shot, I always sign up right there, October 1, jab me,” said Susan, who didn’t want to give her last name for fear of retaliation. “But for this one, why do I have to be a guinea pig?”

The two authorized vaccines, made by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech, are safe according to leading expertsand clinical trials – for one thing they contain no live virus and so cannot give a person Covid – and with tens of thousands of patients, they have had about 95% efficacy. But across the country, health workers with the first access to the vaccine are turning it down.

Misinformation ‘superspreaders’: Covid vaccine falsehoods still thriving on Facebook and Instagram

The rates of refusal – up to 40% of frontline workers in Los Angeles county, 60% of care home workers in Ohio – have prompted concern and in some cases, shaming. But the ultimate failure could be dismissing these numbers at a critical moment in the US vaccination campaign.

Dr Whitney Robinson, an epidemiologist at the University of North Carolina, told the Guardian if these early figures coming from healthcare workers are not addressed: “It could mean after all this work, after all this sacrifice, we could still be seeing outbreaks for years, not just 2021, maybe 2022, maybe 2023.”

Vaccine hesitancy is common – 29% of healthcare workers said they were vaccine-hesitant, according to a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation published last month. And it’s not exclusive to the US – up to 40% of care workers in the UK might refuse to have the vaccine, the National Care Association said in mid-December.

The numbers coming from hospital and care homes are unique in that they give a more specific picture of who is refusing the vaccine and why. Once vaccines are available to the general public, patterns will be more difficult to identify because the US does not have a centralized system to track vaccinations.

“If we don’t understand the patterns of who is not vaccinated, it will be hard to predict where outbreaks might spring from and how far they might spread,” Robinson said.

It will also leave underfunded public health agencies scrambling to identify and respond to hesitancy in the community.

“We can’t just write off somebody’s decisions and say, well that’s their personal decision,” Robinson said. “Because it’s not just their personal decision, it’s an infectious disease. As long as we have pockets of coronavirus anywhere in the world, until we have mass global vaccination, it’s a threat.”

Some employers and unions are seeing the numbers for what they are: an alarm in need of a response.

In New York City, the firefighters union found last month that 55% of 2,000 firefighter members surveyed said they would not get the vaccine.

But Covid cases are climbing at the FDNY. Twelve members have died and more than 600 were on medical leave in late December.

So, the Uniformed Firefighters Association (UFA) president, Andrew Ansbro, collected questions from some of the roughly 8,200 firefighters his union represents. A virologist friend had been helping Ansbro shape the union’s response to Covid-19 and answered their questions in a recorded video. The 50-minute video has now been viewed about 2,000 times.

“I actually received a couple dozen phone calls and messages from members that said it changed their mind,” said Ansbro, who was vaccinated on 29 December. “I think the vaccination numbers are definitely going to be higher than 45%.”Advertisement

He said people were concerned about how new the vaccine was, had read misinformation online and were worried about long-term effects. In other workplace surveys, people have shared concerns about how it could affect fertility or pregnant women. Some healthcare workers infected with Covid don’t think it’s necessary while they still have antibodies.

Each of these questions can be answered. And national surveys have shown that in general, vaccine hesitancy is decreasing.

But these surveys also suggest action is still needed to address populations more likely to be distrustful because of the country’s history of medical abuse.

Recent surveys show that Black people are the most vaccine-hesitant. In mid-November, 83% of Asian Americans said they would get the vaccine if it was made available to them that day. That sentiment was shared by 63% of Hispanic people, 61% of white people but just 42% of Black people, according to a Pew Research report.

Dr Nikhila Juvvadi, the chief clinical officer at Loretto hospital in Chicago, told NPR that conversations with vaccine-hesitant staff revealed mistrust was an issue among African American and Latino workers.

She said people specifically mentioned the Tuskegee Study, when federal health officials allowed hundreds of Black men with sexually transmitted diseases to go untreated to study disease progression. The study lasted from 1932 to 1972.

“I’ve heard Tuskegee more times than I can count in the past month – and, you know, it’s a valid, valid concern,” Juvvadi said.

Juvvadi, who administered vaccines at the hospital, said one-on-one conversations validating these concerns and answering questions had helped people be more comfortable with the vaccine.

Vaccine hesitancy in healthcare workers has also put pressure on health systems intent on getting doses to as many people as possible, as quickly as possible.

Georgia’s public health commissioner, Kathleen Toomey, announced last week that the state would expand vaccine access to adults 65 and older and first responders because healthcare workers were declining to take it.

Dr Toomey said that while hundreds of healthcare workers were on waiting lists to get the vaccine in the state’s urban center, Atlanta, in rural areas the vaccine was “literally sitting in freezers” because healthcare workers there did not want to take it.

At one of the Texas hospitals hardest hit by the virus, Doctors Hospital at Renaissance in the Rio GrandeValley, workers contacted local EMTs, paramedics and medical workers from outside the hospital to distribute their remaining vaccines because of their limited shelf-life.

Susan, the nurse in Alaska, said her preference would be for her parents to get the vaccine first because they are more vulnerable.

She has made peace with the vaccine and plans to get it the next time it is offered. She said she was ultimately convinced to get it after speaking to other health professionals who did not dismiss her concerns and listened to her questions.

Now, however, there is another hurdle. Susan has declined the vaccine twice because of logistics. She is currently on a temporary crisis assignment in rural Texas and the travel meant both times she was offered the vaccine, she would be in a different state when it was time to take the second dose. Susan said: “I feel terrible I’ve said no.”

Why do you think medical professionals are hesitant to take the vaccine? Shouldn’t one lead by example? If they are unwilling to do it, why should you be willing? Will you take the COVID 19 vaccine?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

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Therapist found guilty of sexually assaulting Marlington student

Ed Balint The Repository
Source: Canton Rep

John Sohar, 52, of Lexington Township, reacts to a guilty verdict late Friday afternoon in his sexual battery trial in Stark County Common Pleas Court. Jurors convicted Sohar of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl in his job as a school-based therapist at Marlington High in 2019.
Source: Canton Rep
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

CANTON John Sohar bowed his head in visible anguish when he learned jurors had found him guilty of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl during his job as a school-based therapist at Marlington High last year. 

A jury of seven women and five men took roughly 90 minutes to reach the verdict late Friday afternoon on a third-degree felony count of sexual battery.

The charge stemmed from sexual touching and conduct the student said occurred during multiple counseling sessions at the school office Sohar kept while employed as a counselor for an outside agency.

The girl, huddled in the back of the courtroom, and her parents shared hugs and expressed quiet emotion following the verdict in Stark County Common Pleas Court.

Judge Chryssa Hartnett scheduled Sohar’s sentencing for 11 a.m. Tuesday. The 52-year-old Lexington Township man faces up to five years in prison.

Testimony ended earlier Friday with Sohar repeatedly denying he sexually assaulted the girl or convinced her the sexual conduct was part of her therapy.

Defendant’s words

Sohar testified his frequent and sometimes two to three-hour counseling sessions and repeated text messages and phone calls with the girl were an effort to help her cope with depression and mental health issues and not hurt herself.

Sohar’s testimony, coming the day after his accuser took the witness stand, preceded closing arguments.

“My goal was always the same,” Sohar said. “To keep my clients alive.”

And under intense questioning from Stark County Assistant Prosecutor Daniel Petricini, Sohar continued his denials.

Petricini had told jurors Thursday that Sohar manipulated a “lonely teenage girl” who had become infatuated with him. 

The girl had pre-existing mental health issues and a strained relationship with her mother prior to enrolling in therapy, he said during closing arguments Friday.

Petricini asked Sohar if it was proper for a therapist to exchange more than 300 text messages over the course of three days with a student client outside of their regular therapy sessions.

The defendant admitted he communicated with the girl “above and beyond” what he did with other patients.

Closing arguments

Following Sohar’s denials, the prosecution and defense made impassioned arguments to jurors.

Citing the earlier testimony of Carrie Schnirring, a mental health professional with Lighthouse Family Center, Petricini said the girl’s testimony was convincing because of details unique to the sexual abuse from Sohar.

Petricini called Schnirring as a witness in making pyschological asessments of children who make allegations of sex abuse. 

He said the details and sequence of events were consistently told by the girl multiple times and were not “the things you would expect from someone making up a story.”

Schnirring testified Friday that following multiple sessions with the girl, she found her account to be credible.

Petricini said that during her testimony on Thursday the girl sometimes took deep breaths, closed her eyes and paused to recall details of the sex abuse as if she was reliving it in her mind.

Petricini said the girl’s testimony, phone call and text records and Schnirring’s testimony combined to give jurors ample evidence to convict.

Defense attorney George Urban, however, told jurors Sohar was a professional, dedicated and caring therapist who didn’t stop trying to help the girl when regular therapy sessions were over.

Urban emphasized the student had twice become upset when Sohar stopped being her therapist, referring to it as “detachment.”

And although the prosecution cited records of more than 300 text messages between the student and Sohar over the course of a few days, Urban said that only about 10 or 12 texts were produced at trial through cellphone screen photos the mother had taken.

“He’s no groomer,” Urban said of Sohar. “He’s trying to help this young girl. As repayment for that — here we are.”

Prosecution questioning

Sohar was not an employee of the Marlington district; at the time of the allegations in the fall of 2019, he was an employee of Child & Adolescent Behavioral Health, also referred to during testimony as Child & Adolescent Services.

Asked by Urban about the amount of time he spent texting and talking on the phone with the student outside of scheduled counseling sessions, Sohar responded: “It’s difficult to put a timeline on trying to save someone’s life.”

During testimony, he usually spoke in a firm, direct voice but displayed visible emotion when telling his attorney that three of his clients over the years had committed suicide.

In October 2019, the girl wrote a 12-page letter in which she described Sohar’s sexual misconduct, prompting an investigation by the Stark County Sheriff’s Office.

The girl had given the letter to Sohar at school in front of another counselor, according to testimony. Petricini told the defendant that Sohar had turned over the letter only because the school employee inquired about it.

Sohar denied that was the case.

Urban said in the letter the girl sought revenge because she didn’t want Sohar to stop being her counselor permanently. “She wanted to zing Mr. Sohar,” he said in closing arguments. “This was her way.”

Petricini said that Schnirring found the letter not to be written by someone seeking revenge.

“She blames herself,” the assistant prosecutor said, referring to the writings in the pages of her school notebook as a love letter from a girl infatuated with the adult counselor. “This is a cry for help,” he said.

Petricini told jurors Sohar clearly groomed the girl for his own sexual gratification, playing on her vulnerabilities, gaining her trust and pitting the teenager and mother against one another.

He cited the girl’s testimony of how Sohar began by rubbing her shoulders during a therapy session before fondling and sexually assaulting her at later appointments.

More testimony

Under direct questioning, Sohar described the girl’s letter as “the ramblings of someone with some serious mental health issues.”

He also said he still wanted the girl to receive the mental health help she needed.

The student also testified on Thursday that she had seen two tattoos on Sohar’s body during therapy, a cross on his chest and song lyrics on his stomach area.

The defendant said on Friday that his tattoos would have been known to some of his clients, including high school students.

Petricini countered that the defendant’s explanation was not believable, calling it “totally inappropriate to talk about your body tattoos to relate to your teenage clients.”

Also during his testimony Friday, when explaining his educational background and employment history in counseling, Sohar noted that in addition to having a degree in pastoral counseling, he’s a former councilman and mayor of the village of Marshallville in Wayne County.

Reach Ed at 330-580-8315 and ebalint@gannett.com

On Twitter @ebaintREP

Would you recognize healthcare abuse and fraud when you see it? What does it look like? What should you do?

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Looking at the Past and Present of Counseling

Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Article 02.25.2010
Source: 9 Marks
Feature Photo Source: Unsplash, Rachel Strong

The following is an interview with David Powlison

LOOKING AT THE HISTORY OF BIBLICAL COUNSELING

9Marks: Are there significant points of commonality between biblical counseling in the past, such as the Puritan approach, and proper biblical counseling today?

David Powlison: The church forgets things. The church rediscovers things. But when it rediscovers something, it’s different because it’s always in a different socio-cultural-historical moment, and different forces are at work.

Caring for the soul, which we try to do in biblical counseling, is not new. Two of the great pioneers in church history would be Augustine and Gregory the Great. Even secular people will credit Augustine’s Confessions as pioneering the idea that there is an inner life. Augustine did an unsurpassed job of tearing apart the various ways in which people’s desires become disordered.

Gregory wrote the earliest textbook on pastoral care. He pioneered diverse ways of dealing with a fearful person, a brash and impulsive person, an angry person, an overly passive person. He broke out these different struggles and sought to apply explicitly biblical, Christ-centered medicine—full of Christ, full of grace, full of gospel, and full of the hard call of God’s Word to the challenges of life.

The Puritans represent a second era of great riches in the area of pastoral care, and the question is often asked about CCEF’s relationship to the Puritans. People are more familiar with them because we still read them. You think about people like Richard Baxter, whose Christian Directory offers a treatise on everything from melancholy to domestic violence to addictions. Now, the Puritans use a different language set. There are certain ways that their studies are not as nuanced and sophisticated as ours, but there is a tremendous correlation of current wisdom for pastoral care in the cure of souls.

I would say that we have commonalities and discontinuities with the Puritans. In terms of commonalities, we share a way to understand people and their problems as well as a way to address their problems candidly and thoroughly in a God-centered manner. The living God sees our problem, weighs it, and has something to say about it. That commonality is what makes us Christians.

Discontinuities, I think, come in large part because of cultural context. What’s interesting about the current rediscovery of biblical counseling is that it’s the first time the church has had to grapple with doing counseling when there’s a very powerful competitor in the wider culture. Historically, no one did counseling except the church. People were too busy making crops grow and making babies and making war. But the modern world does have time to do it.

The modern psychologies present a tremendously stimulating, informative, and threatening challenge. These psychologies are stimulating because they push us to ask questions that we may not have already considered. They’re informational because they are very observant. They’re threatening because they are a self-conscious alternative to the church and would love to take over the care of souls. They’re willing to do our job for us, letting us be a religious club that does good works while they deal with the deep stuff and the long stuff.

That being said, the church is the place where we should think about what makes people tick and how the human heart can be renewed.

Maybe a brief way to illustrate it would be to point to Jonathan Edwards’ A Treatise Concerning Religious Affections. It’s a master work of empirical, thoughtful study on how people respond to God and how their emotions, affections, loves, and experiences can be distorted or greatly ordered. If you look at the courses CCEF has produced in the last couple of decades, you could say that we have been working in this direction. But we have to engage the problems in case studies in a much more fine-grained way. I think that is because of the provocative stimulus that living in a psychologized culture offers to us.

The psychologies are the great challenge to us. And the church can respond to these challenges either by syncretism—a kind of reverse conversion where we let the psychologies call the shots—or by doing something better than the culture. It’s that “doing it better” that’s actually our mission.

LOOKING AT COUNSELING IN CHURCHES TODAY

9M: What most discourages you about the way churches are approaching the field of counseling and discipleship?

DP: Counseling is about what? The cure of souls. How can we understand people and their life circumstances? We do so through the eyes of God as revealed in Scripture. We need to redefine the word “counseling” from the start, because when churches think about counseling these days, their first impulse is not the right impulse. They either mimic what the world does inside itself or they refer people out to the world.

The word “discipleship” is essentially a synonym for counseling. Maybe we could nuance it and say that counseling biblically is a more problem-centered form of discipleship. But that is just playing with words because discipleship means helping people change into the image of Jesus Christ. And that’s what counseling is. That’s what transformation is. That’s what sanctification is.

In our evangelical culture, the word discipleship tends to mean some kind of structured program—learning how to have a quiet time, learning what your gifts are, learning certain facts about the church. All of those are great and certainly a part of discipleship. But the essence of discipleship is that the disciple is becoming like the master, and the master is someone who trusts God and loves people. If we are people who trust ourselves and use people, there is a gap. Discipleship is actually meant to bridge that gap so that people who trust themselves learn to trust God, and people who use other people learn to love other people.

This personal ministry—or inter-personal ministry—isn’t just from the pulpit or even small group. It’s climbing into one another’s lives. Part of CCEF’s mission is to convince local churches of these things and then to help churches take hold of a counseling and discipleship that is really worthy of the name.

LOOKING AT CCEF

9M: Speaking of CCEF, what is CCEF trying to do that’s unique?

DP: For starters, we’ve got one of the world’s best mission statements: Restoring Christ to Counseling and Counseling to the Church. Let’s think about that first part—restoring Christ to counseling. Christ is not in most of the counseling that’s in our world, because people do not understand the human dilemma. They don’t understand what suffering really means. They don’t understand the forces of enculturation. They don’t understand the nature of sin or the nature of our desires. And they don’t understand that Christ is the one who immediately, intrinsically, relevantly speaks to what people have been dealing with.

Every Bible-believing church on the planet would agree that we ought to preach Christ. But how many people have the idea that we need to counsel Christ? What does that mean? When you preach, you exposit the Scriptures and show how Christ applies. But when you counsel Christ, the process is typically going to be bottom up, not top down. You start by getting to know a person. You love the person. You get to know their world. They know you care. They have reasons to trust you. Once you’ve done this, you have a better idea of how to make the gospel of the one true living God immediately relevant to their lives.

The second part of our mission is restoring counseling to the church. The church ought to be a place where we “go deep” and “hang in long” in one another’s lives. “Deep” and “long” don’t tend to be qualities that are found in the church of Christ. Hence, people are willing to pay money to others who will never lead them to the Savior of the World. But that must change.

CCEF is also unique even within the wider biblical counseling movement in two more ways. One is what I call “R&D”—a research and development purpose. We don’t believe that saying “biblical counseling” means that we have figured it all out. We are a work in progress. We have a core commitment to push, to develop, to build, to tackle a new problem.

Second is an evangelistic purpose. We try to think through how to reach those who disagree with us. How can we reach both the Christian community and a non-Christian community with the relevant counseling oriented message that is christocentric?

CCEF has five full-time faculty members who share a wonderful synergy, in part because you have people who all have a dual expertise—a primary commitment to Bible and theology, coupled with some other expertise. Our director, Dr. Tim Lane, was a pastor for years. He brings a sensitivity to how counseling ministry links to the other aspects of church life.

Dr. Mike Emlet is an M.D. who had a family practice for years. He’s the scientist who brings an awareness of mind-body issues like psychiatric diagnosis and medications.

Dr. Ed Welch has a PhD in neuro-psychology and a burning interest in the nuances of actual counseling moments and how counseling actually happens.

Winston Smith stays very current with the psycho therapeutic world. He has given his life to issues of marriage and family and group dynamics.

My graduate work (besides Bible and theology) was in the history of psychiatry, history of science, and history of medicine.

I am only just speaking of the faculty and not speaking of various members of the much wider counseling staff who have various interests. It’s a very rich environment with a common commitment to biblical counseling.

LOOKING AT POWLISON’S OWN WORK

9M: Can you give us a quick introduction to your two booksSpeaking Truth in Love and Seeing with New Eyes?

DP: The books I’ve written are labors of love. They are very personal.

You will notice that in the title of Speaking Truth in Love there is no “the” in the title. That’s very intentional because biblical truth is not just the truth with a capital “t.” The Bible also gives us what is true with a lower case “t”—truth about what is happening in our lives. The living God gives us truth that is once for all, unchangeable, incarnate, and written, and that is always true and real and candid and direct. Speaking Truth in Love is both. In counseling it’s both. If you’re speaking to someone who is depressed, and you want to speak truth in love, you don’t just proclaim the glories of God. You talk about the experience of depression. You talk about what he or she is going through. You talk about what may be motivational factors. You talk about the one who is the truth and the God who is true in his Word. So counseling is about bringing “big T Truth” and “little t truth” together into conversational, counseling ministry, implying a give and take. You want to deal with the life that’s on the table.

So the book asks how such a counseling ministry or conversational ministry can proceed. The first half of the book is a series of case studies on counseling methodology. The second presents a series of case studies or perspectives on how the church can organize and think about a counseling ministry.

The burden of my other book, Seeing with New Eyes, is that God has a point of view on human life. I mean, it sounds like the most obvious thing in the world once you say that, but the counseling world has been almost blind to the fact that God has a point of view on counseling issues. It presents an endeavor that is obviously from outside the church. Even counseling inside, the church is often unhinged from God’s point of view. But God has a point of view. He made the world. He judges it. He evaluates it. He redeems it. He invades it. He challenges it. He destroys it. He has a point of view on whatever happens in human life.

Not only that, God has revealed his point of view. He has told us how he sees things. On the one hand, the heart is deceitful and opaque. On the other hand, he has told us how to evaluate it. You can illustrate this point by considering the most profound psycho dynamic theories—the Freuds, the Jungs, the Adlers, and so forth. At some level, they are exactly right in their descriptions. They can observe the sorts of forces at play in the human heart— the “power drives” or “spirituality instincts” or “sexuality instincts” at play. At the same time, they don’t know how to make sense of these forces. Their theories never get to the most profound depth of the human heart because they never see the religious dynamic taking place beneath all these forces and instincts.

What other ways have we departed from God? How do you find your way back? How has capitalism / profit impacted the way we see healing and health?

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