The oft-heard refrain from casual defenders of mystical and supernatural beliefs is that it "doesn't make any difference and doesn't do any harm" if people believe in things that may not be true, as long as it makes them happy. Time and again, though, supernatural beliefs do affect people's behavior in ways that in turn affect their health.
It's easy enough for a non-believer or semi-believer to say, "I would never try to heal my broken leg by waving a quartz crystal at it," but since many people's New Age philosophy includes an all-too-common belief in the healing power of quartz crystals, why should we think they'll stop their dangerous behavior at the same point we would?
In Japan, for instance, one self-proclaimed psychic claims to have performed oral sex on over a thousand customers not while moonlighting as a prostitute (at least, not officially) but as part of her standard fortune-telling technique. According to a report by Ryan Connell in the Mainichi Daily News, the fortune teller named Kaho in the city of Nagoya, Japan says she can predict men's futures based on the feel, shape, taste, and colorful aura (which only she can see) of customers' members. One can only wonder how many customers told their wives they were going to go see a fortune teller out of a deep concern for both their futures.
In a world of sexual diseases that can be transmitted orally, visiting the oral sex psychic let alone being the oral sex psychic is not the best way to guarantee future happiness.
Defenders of the supernatural will say, of course, that this is a particularly absurd case and that the average American believer in energy medicine or homeopathy is not going to take up the practice of penis-reading. Yet, in the absence of a reliance on reason and scientific evidence, it's never made clear what filter believers are supposed to use to separate harmless activities from potentially dangerous ones.
In the absence of science, many of these decisions end up being made on the basis of pure aesthetics. The oral sex psychic looks ridiculous to us, perhaps in part due to differences in cultural nuances between Japan and America. Quartz crystals intended for healing no doubt look ridiculous to people in some parts of the world, though they're quite popular in Santa Fe and San Francisco. And to all too many people, anything that smacks of a higher plane of reality, a non-material world beyond our own, looks quite appealing.
It's perfectly appropriate to laugh at the oral sex psychic, but laughter and aesthetic judgments shouldn't be one's litmus test for separating the true from the false, or the safe from the dangerous.