From Abracadabra to Zombies
is a commentary on
mass media treatment of issues concerning science, the
paranormal, and the supernatural.
Skeptimedia replaces Mass Media Funk and Mass Media Bunk. Those blogs are now archived.
Is the iPhone the answer to your prayers?
Crispian has posted a list of iWoo apps (apps for the iPhone that cater to the kinds of things skeptics rail against). He was looking for some new applications to download to his iPhone and found "there are applications to give you horoscope readings, bible quotes, alternative medicine advice, in fact all areas of irrationality seem to be covered." I doubt there is any similar list for applications that encourage critical thinking, questioning authority, or doubting the accuracy of one's perception, memory, or sources.
One of these iWoo apps was created by a young man in my little corner of the world. Allen Wright, a 17-year-old high school junior says he was "lying in bed and feeling lonesome" when he came up with the idea of an iWoo app he calls "A Note to God."
It lets iPhone users send prayers into cyberspace and allows them to read the prayers of others. The messages are stored in a database, and users remain anonymous.*
The iPhone may be the first phone designed for those who have nobody to call. The creator says: "If you want to send a message, and you don't have anybody to talk to, you could send a little prayer." I suppose if you have somebody to talk to you could use your iPhone to call that person. You might even walk into the next room and say hello to your father.
Darleen Pryds of the Franciscan School of Theology calls the app "a brilliant use of technology" that brings to mind the use of bells to summon people to pray.
The Rev. James Murphy, vicar general of the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento, said the app "could be a high-tech form of prayer and an authentic way to express our desires to God." Murphy notes that you don't have to have God's e-mail address to get your prayers heard, however.
For those who love hi-tech, have nobody to talk to, and need to communicate with the divine and reach the transcendent, this iWoo app might be the answer to your prayers. For those who like their woo straight, Jeane Dixon's crystal balls are going on the auction block. Bidding starts at $500.*
* AmeriCares *