Friday, June 08, 2007

Superstition Plus Sweatbox Equals Death

While I have authored many a blog post criticizing the afterlife beliefs of Abrahamic religion, it is well known that there are many other varieties of afterlife belief and hocus pocus nonsense. Logically, these other flavors of superstition (which include their own versions of a mind-body disconnection doctrine) should be just as hazardous to your health as the mainstream beliefs.

And they are.

Case in point: Rowan Douglas Cooke, a voodoo-schmoodoo hokey-pokey new ager from Australia, died a horrible death back in 2004 because of his belief in a not as popular - but just as deadly - afterlife/spiritual belief. But to be more technical, it wasn't his belief in this bullshit that got him killed so much as the fact that the people around him also believed in this crap, and didn't take the right actions when warning signs appeared.

News.com.au has more:

Rowan Douglas Cooke, from Melbourne, died on November 3, 2004, hours after he was dragged unconscious from a makeshift sweat lodge constructed on a creekbed in the Gammon Ranges in South Australia's far north.

Mr Cooke had been camping with 10 other Victorians on Yankaninna Station, 325km north of Port Augusta, for a "vision quest", where people fast, meditate and purify themselves in an attempt to see visions.

He had entered the 1.2m high dome - made of 16 bent poles, covered in blankets and heated by hot volcanic rocks - about midnight to meditate but collapsed some hours later.

In evidence before the inquest into Mr Cooke's death this week, South Australian deputy coroner Anthony Schapel heard that as the 37-year-old lay dying from extreme dehydration his fellow campers began to chant and play drums to revive him, believing he was astral-traveling.


This is the perfect example of superstitious morons seeing shit that isn't there. Their friend is having a serious medical episode, and these bozos think that he's simply having a spiritual experience! They can't tell the difference between a meditative trance and massive dehydration! They confuse comas and seizures for astral projection!

In his finding today Mr Schapel referred to the foolhardiness of conducting a ritual of this nature in the manner and circumstances employed.

He was critical of the time it took for those involved to get help for the dying man and said it had not occurred to anyone that emergency assistance might be required, given the intrinsic dangers of the sweat lodge ceremony.

But he said the "critical factor" was the extreme beliefs of the group.

"It has to be placed on the public record that the extreme nature of some of those beliefs, as revealed by the evidence that I heard, played a significant role in the failure to secure timely and appropriate medical attention for the deceased," Mr Schapel said.

...

"However, much of the above tends to pale somewhat when it is remembered that the one thing that really stood in the way of the deceased obtaining timely medical help was the belief system entertained by the group that held the deceased was simply experiencing some kind of detachment from his physical being."


Astral projection, spirits, ghosts, angels, demons, pixie dust, faeries, witchcraft, amulets, blessings, curses, God, and especially the afterlife ARE ALL BULLSHIT!

Kill The Afterlife, not Australians.

5 comments:

BlackSun said...

Wow, Aaron. I always heard sweats could be dangerous, but now I know for sure.

Superstition kills!

Anonymous said...

Aaron, Thank you for sharing your thoughts on my brother's death. Very kind of you to rub salt into the still open wounds that have been left by the death of my brother. His passing has nothing to do with his beliefs thank you very much. His Death was caused by the ineptitude of his so called friends who didn't implement any medical assistance and didn't even try to summon any medical assistance for hours after they knew my brother was in distress along with the other man. If the tables were turned and my brother had been the one aiding a fallen friend he was not stupid he would have sought medical attention straight away! He was a realist and knew full well that banging drums, chanting and dancing is not going to heal a person or bring them back from an 'astral journey' That was the doing of the froup leader, David Jarvis, who took charge and stopped the rest of the group from assisting both men. As far as my brother was concerned, this was a cleansing ritual, somewhat like a detox. This is why Rowan's family are so pissed off by the terrible loss that would, could and should have been avoided.
Some friends...I hope they all rot in hell!!! This is not over!

slut said...

It's not just Aaron who thought it was the group's beliefs that affected the outcome, it was the judge, as he quoted.

And, harsh as it may be to point out, he was, in fact, experiencing "some kind of detachment from his physical being". Turned out to be permanent, sadly.

Aaron Kinney said...

Hi Anonymous,

Aaron, Thank you for sharing your thoughts on my brother's death. Very kind of you to rub salt into the still open wounds that have been left by the death of my brother.

I sympathize with you over the loss of your brother. I am sorry that this happened to your family. This blogpost that I wrote was, in fact, a defense of his life and an expression of regret over his passing.

His passing has nothing to do with his beliefs thank you very much. His Death was caused by the ineptitude of his so called friends who didn't implement any medical assistance and didn't even try to summon any medical assistance for hours after they knew my brother was in distress along with the other man.

Of course his death was due to the ineptitude of his so-called friends and their inability to seek medical assistance! That much is understood, and I concede that fact directly in my essay.

What I am attacking is not the mere fact that they didnt seek medical assistance, but why they didnt seek medical assistance. So, anonymous, can we both be honest and admit exactly why no medical assistance was sought? Please allow me to again to quote the article from News.au.com, in which they write about the South Australian deputy coroner's findings and even quote him on it:

He was critical of the time it took for those involved to get help for the dying man and said it had not occurred to anyone that emergency assistance might be required, given the intrinsic dangers of the sweat lodge ceremony.

But he said the "critical factor" was the extreme beliefs of the group.

"It has to be placed on the public record that the extreme nature of some of those beliefs, as revealed by the evidence that I heard, played a significant role in the failure to secure timely and appropriate medical attention for the deceased," Mr Schapel said.

...

"However, much of the above tends to pale somewhat when it is remembered that the one thing that really stood in the way of the deceased obtaining timely medical help was the belief system entertained by the group that held the deceased was simply experiencing some kind of detachment from his physical being."


With all due respect, it should be admitted by all of us, including you, that the actual reason for the groups failure to seek medical assistance was due to interference from religious/spiritual beliefs.

If the tables were turned and my brother had been the one aiding a fallen friend he was not stupid he would have sought medical attention straight away!

This only shows that your brother was more rational and level headed than his so-called friends, and that he wouldnt have let his spiritual beliefs interfere with his ability to properly identify a medical emergency and take appropriate action.

He was a realist and knew full well that banging drums, chanting and dancing is not going to heal a person or bring them back from an 'astral journey' That was the doing of the froup leader, David Jarvis, who took charge and stopped the rest of the group from assisting both men. As far as my brother was concerned, this was a cleansing ritual, somewhat like a detox. This is why Rowan's family are so pissed off by the terrible loss that would, could and should have been avoided.

It seems that, despite your initial objection to my post, you have now admitted my initial assertion to be correct.

Some friends...I hope they all rot in hell!!! This is not over!

Again, I sympathize with you. But there is no hell, and these so-called friends will not rot in it. There is no afterlife. Of course, my outrage over this particular tragedy cannot hope to compare with what you feel about it, but I feel it nonetheless. And I have had my own share of tragedy. I wrote about your brothers death specifically because I also believe that his death "could and should have been avoided." I dont want these kinds of crazy superstitions to cause any more harm. And I want the people who are responsible for this tragedy to be held accountable.

Michael said...

Hi Aaron

I am very unclear as to what drum you are beating - I can only think you are trying to belittle and negate the creative human experience.

What kills individuals in these type of events is often complex and the subject of rigorous achedemic reasearch: group think that led to the space shuttle exploding when it was pretty clear it would do so even before take off, a culture of skimping and doing more with less in the Cave Creek tradjedy in New Zealand.

All these things - including our belief systems even heaven and hell are human constructs.
If you want to prove that the afterlife does not exist why not go check it out?

Human nature is accountable my friend - that makes me accountable and it makes you accountable.
It is not what you have faith in that counts - it is that you have faith.

Why do you project yourself from such a place of anger? It may not be good for you in the long run.
I had a great sweat lodge session last weekend and you would be welcome to share there anytime - and if you get thirsty just say the word.

Michael