Motivational speaker

Discussions and related news items
Beebub
Atheist Ireland Member
Atheist Ireland Member
Posts: 1014
Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2009 1:22 pm

Motivational speaker

Post by Beebub » Thu May 19, 2011 1:18 pm

I was at a seminar today where a motivational speaker spoke. I won't name him because I'm going to give out about him and I don't know how that would affect the AI site. He's a well know Scottish motivational speaker.

I'm just about to look up to nonsense he spoke. I'm sure there are those here who have come accross it, but it was such a load of rubbish and I was amazed by the people in the room that seemed to lap it up.

He asked for 2 volunteers, (crucially) people who hadn't done this before with him or who weren't aware of it. He asked chap 1 to hold out his right arm and resist as he tried to force it down; he couldn't. He did the same to chap 2 who was a burly rugby player. He then got chap to put an unlit cigarette between his lips and now he could easily force his arm down. He then did it as chap 1 held an open big magic marker in his other hand. He did the same for chap 2. Each time he could easily force their arms down.

He said it was because the body can recognise a toxic substance and it forces them to lose their strength!

Then he did it with words. He asked if they played sport and if they played to win. Rugby dude said yes. He said the word 'lose' to him over and over and could easily bring his arm down, but couldn't when he repeated the word win.

I've no doubt I'll look it up now and discover that's it's a load of arse and why, but thought I'd post here first.

Later he gave some techniques for dealing with stress. This was a very good idea and basically involved relaxing the body. I know that this type of exercise can work in dealing in the short term with stress (without holding your hands palms up on your knees and holding your two fingers and thumb together as he suggested; more gimmickry). However, as he was going through the motions of getting us to relax he started with the scalp and the eyelids and then the tongue. All fine so far. Then he said put the tip of your tongue at the back of your two front teeth and feel your tongue and then your throat relaxing. Next he says that colds and flus all start in the throat and if we did this exercise twice a day we’d never get another cold! I don’t need to look this up to discover it’s bollox. Anyone come across this kind of nonsense before?

Edit: Found it. It’s Kinetics
HylandPaddy
Posts: 220
Joined: Sun Apr 26, 2009 5:17 pm
Location: Co. Donegal

Re: Motivational speaker

Post by HylandPaddy » Thu May 19, 2011 3:35 pm

Beebub wrote:He asked for 2 volunteers, (crucially) people who hadn't done this before with him or who weren't aware of it. He asked chap 1 to hold out his right arm and resist as he tried to force it down; he couldn't. He did the same to chap 2 who was a burly rugby player. He then got chap to put an unlit cigarette between his lips and now he could easily force his arm down. He then did it as chap 1 held an open big magic marker in his other hand. He did the same for chap 2. Each time he could easily force their arms down.
Maybe this was the method?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=haC8di4i ... ated#t=232
For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.
-Carl Sagan
Beebub
Atheist Ireland Member
Atheist Ireland Member
Posts: 1014
Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2009 1:22 pm

Re: Motivational speaker

Post by Beebub » Thu May 19, 2011 5:29 pm

Nope. He held onto their shoulder and arm and pushed down from the top. He didn't ask them to do anything other than put an unlit cigaratte in their mouths (or said 'lose, lose' to them :roll: ) then repeated the exercise the same way and this time he could push their arm down.
nozzferrahhtoo
Atheist Ireland Member
Atheist Ireland Member
Posts: 1140
Joined: Thu May 29, 2008 8:17 am

Re: Motivational speaker

Post by nozzferrahhtoo » Fri May 20, 2011 7:43 am

There are many tricks like this we used to play on the school yard which sound similar. Like the spoon bender this guy is just taking known tricks and pretending they mean something they do not.

There are lots of ways to make someone experience sudden weak arm, even without assuming he planted people in the audience. Here is one you can try yourself at a party that I took off a blog on the net:

16. Impress your friends!

Next time you're at a party, try this trick: Have a person hold one arm straight out to the side, palm down, and instruct him to maintain this position. Then place two fingers on his wrist and push down. He'll resist. Now have him put one foot on a surface that's a half inch higher (a few magazines) and repeat. This time his arm will fold like a house of cards. By misaligning his hips, you've offset his spine, says Rachel Cosgrove, C.S.C.S., co-owner of Results Fitness, in Santa Clarita, California. Your brain senses that the spine is vulnerable, so it shuts down the body's ability to resist.

It is also detailed here:

http://www.wikihow.com/Fake-Extraordinary-Strength

Understand that this is only one of many ways to do it, and more likely than not the cigarette trick was a diversion like any magician would employ. You will come out swearing blindly that "all" he did was put a cigarette in their mouth. The theatrics employed in doing that however quite likely were designed to distract you from a simple change in position or environment.

The "speaker" sounds like an illusionist and no more, and like Uri Geller has decided to instead of admitting he is an illusionist... to pretend he has some knowledge or power denied the rest of us that he wishes to share with the world.
Dr Raskolnikov
Posts: 197
Joined: Thu Nov 26, 2009 11:16 pm
Location: "In the beginning there was the word, and the word was "word up biatch""

Re: Motivational speaker

Post by Dr Raskolnikov » Fri May 20, 2011 11:50 am

Beebub wrote:He asked for 2 volunteers, (crucially) people who hadn't done this before with him or who weren't aware of it. He asked chap 1 to hold out his right arm and resist as he tried to force it down; he couldn't. He did the same to chap 2 who was a burly rugby player. He then got chap to put an unlit cigarette between his lips and now he could easily force his arm down. He then did it as chap 1 held an open big magic marker in his other hand. He did the same for chap 2. Each time he could easily force their arms down.

He said it was because the body can recognise a toxic substance and it forces them to lose their strength!

...Anyone come across this kind of nonsense before?
Yes.

When I was young (aged between about 8 and 12) I used to get sick often with lung infections. My mother believes in all kinds of woo and brought me on several occassions to see a nutrionist (and kinesiologist as I now know), to try and diagnose me / sort me out through dietary changes. I won't mention the lady's name as she still practices AFAIK somewhere near Dublin.

Anyway she did precisely what you describe. I was asked to hold to my cheek in my right hand e.g. a slice of white bread, then raise my left arm out straight and she would push down on it. She never held up brown bread as a control. Even at that age I could spot it was woomeistering nonsense. All she had to do was either a) push down harder on certain food types or b) suggest through the narrative which were likely to make me feel weaker in advance. The result was I ended up on a severely restricted diet and Mum was a few quid lighter after each visit.

It got weirder in later visits when she gave me some cardboard discs to hold and confidently proclaimed that my adrenal glands had stopped producing adrenaline and the only way they could be restored was if I walked barefoot on grass. :roll:

I'd love to hear if anyone else experienced this sort of thing, like me, as a "healthcare intervention".
Science is like a blabbermouth who ruins the movie by telling you how it ends. Well, I say there are some things we don't want to know. Important things. - Ned Flanders
aiseiri47
Atheist Ireland Member
Atheist Ireland Member
Posts: 177
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2010 1:25 pm

Re: Motivational speaker

Post by aiseiri47 » Fri May 20, 2011 8:46 pm

Anyway she did precisely what you describe. I was asked to hold to my cheek in my right hand e.g. a slice of white bread, then raise my left arm out straight and she would push down on it. She never held up brown bread as a control. Even at that age I could spot it was woomeistering nonsense. All she had to do was either a) push down harder on certain food types or b) suggest through the narrative which were likely to make me feel weaker in advance. The result was I ended up on a severely restricted diet and Mum was a few quid lighter after each visit.
My grandfather's doctor did this with him, and he did an experiment with me based on it. I do have some allergic reactions to certain foods - apples and pears, high-fat dairy products (I can only handle so much lactose), etc; for a while I also thought I had a gluten-intolerance. My grandad had me put different foods in my hands, and I was able to resist when I was holding a food I was not allergic to, but was not when holding an apple or slice of bread. (At the time I was eating almost nothing with gluten in it, but after about two years I let up and I no longer experience cramps after eating products with gluten in them.)

I never thought any more of it, to be honest. The idea was based on similar to what Beebub's speaker was trying to sell: the body grows weaker on contact with substances that it has difficulty processing (if you consider the complexity of the human body and how much it works at on a cellular and molecular level, it isn't horribly far-fetched); but I also didn't run out and tell my friends, either, because I had reservations about the scientific validity. I'd never heard of it before, and wouldn't have known where to begin researching it, so I just sort of thought "hm, that was interesting" and left it.
Dr Raskolnikov
Posts: 197
Joined: Thu Nov 26, 2009 11:16 pm
Location: "In the beginning there was the word, and the word was "word up biatch""

Re: Motivational speaker

Post by Dr Raskolnikov » Sat May 21, 2011 12:41 am

aiseiri47 wrote:
Anyway she did precisely what you describe. I was asked to hold to my cheek in my right hand e.g. a slice of white bread, then raise my left arm out straight and she would push down on it. She never held up brown bread as a control. Even at that age I could spot it was woomeistering nonsense. All she had to do was either a) push down harder on certain food types or b) suggest through the narrative which were likely to make me feel weaker in advance. The result was I ended up on a severely restricted diet and Mum was a few quid lighter after each visit.
My grandfather's doctor did this with him, and he did an experiment with me based on it. I do have some allergic reactions to certain foods - apples and pears, high-fat dairy products (I can only handle so much lactose), etc; for a while I also thought I had a gluten-intolerance. My grandad had me put different foods in my hands, and I was able to resist when I was holding a food I was not allergic to, but was not when holding an apple or slice of bread. (At the time I was eating almost nothing with gluten in it, but after about two years I let up and I no longer experience cramps after eating products with gluten in them.)

I never thought any more of it, to be honest. The idea was based on similar to what Beebub's speaker was trying to sell: the body grows weaker on contact with substances that it has difficulty processing (if you consider the complexity of the human body and how much it works at on a cellular and molecular level, it isn't horribly far-fetched); but I also didn't run out and tell my friends, either, because I had reservations about the scientific validity. I'd never heard of it before, and wouldn't have known where to begin researching it, so I just sort of thought "hm, that was interesting" and left it.
I'm afraid that this is indeed horribly far-fetched. The human body may be complex, but it can't sense chemicals through the skin using mysterious energy fields. The whole thing is based on the power of suggestion.

I've just done a google on this and apparently it is a controversial practice called "applied" kinesiology, which is essentially magic (it's all about the chi). There's no demonstrable evidence for it and no mechanism by which it could work (but there is scientific evidence to show it doesn't work). I found a robust and thorough debunking article in the Skeptics Dictionary which is well worth a read.
Science is like a blabbermouth who ruins the movie by telling you how it ends. Well, I say there are some things we don't want to know. Important things. - Ned Flanders
paolovf
Atheist Ireland Member
Atheist Ireland Member
Posts: 257
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2011 3:58 pm

Re: Motivational speaker

Post by paolovf » Sat May 21, 2011 11:02 am

Dr Raskolnikov wrote:I'm afraid that this is indeed horribly far-fetched. The human body may be complex, but it can't sense chemicals through the skin using mysterious energy fields. The whole thing is based on the power of suggestion.
The 'patient' does get to see, touch and perhaps smell the food during the exercise. The whole process relies on the mind to provide the result of the arm lowering or not, so I would agree that the result comes from a psychological source coupled with the power of suggestion.
This to some degree seems reasonable to me when you consider the cravings one can get for specific foods or even for sugars or carbohydrates. I suffer quite alot with my bowels and the sight of some foods seem repellent to me when I am suffering badly (including white bread which otherwise I love).
Beebub wrote:Next he says that colds and flus all start in the throat and if we did this exercise twice a day we’d never get another cold! I don’t need to look this up to discover it’s bollox. Anyone come across this kind of nonsense before?
I thought this was apt...
"And many have made a trade of delusions and false miracles, deceiving the stupid multitude." - Leonardo Da Vinci,(source).
aiseiri47
Atheist Ireland Member
Atheist Ireland Member
Posts: 177
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2010 1:25 pm

Re: Motivational speaker

Post by aiseiri47 » Sun May 22, 2011 11:15 am

Dr Raskolnikov wrote: I'm afraid that this is indeed horribly far-fetched. The human body may be complex, but it can't sense chemicals through the skin using mysterious energy fields. The whole thing is based on the power of suggestion.
I agree that sounds far-fetched, but it wasn't explained to me that way (or at all; it was just like "look at this"). And it wasn't broadened to include any other applications. It was literally an allergy test. I simply tried to explain it to myself; psychology is my usual go-to explanation for everything, but it did also occur to me that allergic reactions occur inside and outside the body. I break out in a rash if I eat an apple, or if a dog licks my skin. So is it possible for my skin to react to the touch of an apple, also?

Of course I agree one thing for my skin to sense the trouble-maker, and quite another for it to lose strength to the degree it does. And I'm not saying I believe in it, or will argue for the point. But there is a lot we don't understand, and surely even more that we don't even know about yet. I try not to decidedly doubt or accept phenomena until I come across a satisfying explanation (either for or against).

"Magic is science we don't understand yet."

... but I agree that this is rubbish. I just had to defend why I didn't go "Pah, phooey!" when I initially saw this done. ;)
Beebub
Atheist Ireland Member
Atheist Ireland Member
Posts: 1014
Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2009 1:22 pm

Re: Motivational speaker

Post by Beebub » Mon May 23, 2011 9:56 am

aiseiri47 wrote:So is it possible for my skin to react to the touch of an apple, also?
Yes, but this spoofer did it without props at the end. He asked the guy if he played sport and if he did it for pleasure or to win. He replied that he played rugby to win. So spooker man tried repeated the word 'lose' to him and could push his arm down, saying 'see, the negative thoughts make him lose all strength in his arms' or some such tosh. Then he repeated the word 'win' and couldn't push his arm down.

This guy is a renowed and well respected motivational speaker. I'm not sure whether I should name him or not. He shares his name with a Hollywood movie star who appeared in School of Rock and Gulliver's Travels. If mods want to remove this part, feel free.
Last edited by Beebub on Mon May 23, 2011 10:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
Post Reply