It Is Still a Demon Haunted World

It Is Still a Demon Haunted World

“I worry that, especially as the Millennium edges nearer, pseudoscience and superstition will seem year by year more tempting, the siren song of unreason more sonorous and attractive. Where have we heard it before? Whenever our ethnic or national prejudices are aroused, in times of scarcity, during challenges to national self-esteem or nerve, when we agonize about our diminished cosmic place and purpose, or when fanaticism is bubbling up around us - then, habits of thought familiar from ages past reach for the controls.

The candle flame gutters. Its little pool of light trembles. Darkness gathers. The demons begin to stir.” ― Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

I saw this over at Doubtful News: Schizophrenia or Possession?

It is published in the Journal of Religion and Health, which is

multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary journal publishes peer-reviewed original contributions from scholars and professionals of all religious faiths.

Peer is a broad term, and really, who isn't a peer for someone? I wonder how one finds a peer who thinks demons are real and a reasonable cause of mental illness?

I do not have access to the whole article, so here is the abstract:

Schizophrenia is typically a life-long condition characterized by acute symptom exacerbations and widely varying degrees of functional disability. Some of its symptoms, such as delusions and hallucinations, produce great subjective psychological pain. The most common delusion types are as follows: “My feelings and movements are controlled by others in a certain way” and “They put thoughts in my head that are not mine.” Hallucinatory experiences are generally voices talking to the patient or among themselves. Hallucinations are a cardinal positive symptom of schizophrenia which deserves careful study in the hope it will give information about the pathophysiology of the disorder. We thought that many so-called hallucinations in schizophrenia are really illusions related to a real environmental stimulus. One approach to this hallucination problem is to consider the possibility of a demonic world. Demons are unseen creatures that are believed to exist in all major religions and have the power to possess humans and control their body. Demonic possession can manifest with a range of bizarre behaviors which could be interpreted as a number of different psychotic disorders with delusions and hallucinations. The hallucination in schizophrenia may therefore be an illusion—a false interpretation of a real sensory image formed by demons. A local faith healer in our region helps the patients with schizophrenia. His method of treatment seems to be successful because his patients become symptom free after 3 months. Therefore, it would be useful for medical professions to work together with faith healers to define better treatment pathways for schizophrenia.

Yes. They propose that schizophrenia is actually demon possession and best treated by a faith healer.

There are quotes from the paper in the comments at Doubtful News, and it is evidently not a research paper so much as a compare and contrast college essay. Instead of having Moby Dick and Huckleberry Finn as the subject, it is schizophrenia and demon possession.  They conclude that since a real disease is similar to fiction, then a real disease actually has a fictional cause.  You know.  Socrates was a man. All men die.  Therefore all dead men are Socrates.  That kind of understanding

At one time demons blamed for all sorts of illnesses, but demons are an aspect of our unenlightend past. No longer.  Just Google the number of Americans who believe in demons and it is

64%.  And growing.

And demons are still credited with illness. The world is more haunted by demons than I would have suspected.

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