Michael Brant Shermer is an American science writer, historian of science, founder of The Skeptics Society, editor-in-chief of its magazine Skeptic, devoted to investigating pseudoscientific and supernatural claims. The Skeptics Society has over 55,000 members. Shermer engages in debates on topics pertaining to pseudoscience and religion in which he emphasizes scientific skepticism. Shermer is producer and co-host of the 13-hour Fox Family television series Exploring the Unknown, broadcast in 1999. From April 2001 to January 2019, he was a monthly contributor to Scientific American magazine with his Skeptic column, he is a scientific advisor to the American Council on Science and Health. Shermer was once a fundamentalist Christian, but ceased to believe in the existence of God during his graduate studies, he accepts the labels agnostic, nontheist and others. He has expressed reservations about such labels for his lack of belief in a God, however, as he sees them being used in the service of "pigeonholing", prefers to be called a skeptic.
He describes himself as an advocate for humanist philosophy as well as the science of morality. Michael Brant Shermer was born on September 1954 in Los Angeles. Shermer is a quarter Greek through his grandfather, while his grandmother was from Germany. An only child, he was raised in Southern California in the La Cañada Flintridge area, his parents divorced when he was four and remarried, his mother to a man with three children, who became Shermer's step-sister and two step-brothers, his father to a woman with whom he had two daughters, Shermer's half-sisters. His father died of a heart attack in 1986, his mother of brain cancer in 2000. Although Shermer went to Sunday school, he says that neither his biological parents, stepparents nor siblings were religious nor non-religious, as they did not discuss that topic nor did they attend church or pray together. Shermer began his senior year of high school in 1971, when the evangelical movement in the United States was beginning to gain popularity.
One night at the behest of his best friend George, whose parents were Christian, Shermer converted to Christianity. The next day the two friends attended the Glendale, Presbyterian Church, where a sermon was given by what Shermer describes as "a dynamic and histrionic preacher who inspired me to come forward at the end of the sermon to be saved." For the next seven years he evangelized door-to-door as part of his profoundly held beliefs. Shermer attended an informal Christian study fellowship group at a place called "The Barn" in La Crescenta, which Shermer describes as "a quintessential 1970s-era hang-out with a long-haired hippie-type, guitar-playing leader who read Bible passages that we discussed at length." Shermer enjoyed the social aspects of religion, relished its theological debates. Shermer was raised with guns, his stepfather was a hunter who took Shermer and their hunting dogs with him on hunting excursions half a dozen times a year, shooting game such as doves and quail with shotguns.
They ate everything they killed, for which Shermer's stepfather displayed culinary skills. Growing up, Shermer owned a BB gun a pellet gun a 20-gauge shotgun, a 12-gauge shotgun. Shermer graduated from Crescenta Valley High School in 1972. Desiring serious theological training, he enrolled at Pepperdine University with the intent of becoming a theologian, he majored in Christian theology. In addition to taking courses on the Bible, Shermer studied the writings of C. S. Lewis, he attended chapel twice a week, required for all students. Despite the restrictions imposed on students, such as a ban on dancing and visiting the dorm rooms of opposite sex, Shermer found the university a good experience, he accepted its teachings as a valid guide for behavior. However, when he learned that the PhD needed to be a professor of theology required proficiency in Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic, who did not find foreign languages to be his forte, switched his major to psychology, he has stated that at this point he "mastered one of the languages of science: statistics", that he learned about forming hypotheses, the null hypothesis and testing hypotheses, which led to a change in his thinking.
He completed his BA in psychology at Pepperdine in 1976. Shermer's master's degree in experimental psychology at the California State University, led to many after-class discussions with professors Bayard Brattstrom and Meg White at a local pub—The 301 Club—that went late into the night; these discussions, along with his studies in cultural anthropology, led him to question his religious beliefs. He abandoned his devout religious views, fueled by what he perceived to be the intolerance generated by the absolute morality he was taught in his religious studies. From this, Shermer came to conclude it is "obvious that God was made in our likeness and not the reverse." By midway through his graduate training, he removed the Christian silver ichthys medallion that he had been wearing around his neck for years. He completed his MA degree from the California State University in psychology in 1978; the final step in Shermer's abandoning religion came when his college sweetheart, was in an automobile accident that broke her back and rendered her paralyzed from the waist down.
Shermer relates: When I saw her at the Long Beach Medical Center ER, the full implications of what this meant for her begin to daw
Kevin Mark Trudeau is an American author and pool enthusiast, known for his fraudulent promotion of his books and consequent legal cases. His ubiquitous infomercials promoting his books filled with unsubstantiated health and financial remedies earned him a fortune, imprisonment. In the early 1990s, Trudeau was convicted of credit card fraud. In 1998, the Federal Trade Commission accused him of grossly misrepresenting the contents of his book, The Weight-Loss Cure "They" Don't Want You to Know About. In a 2004 settlement, he agreed to pay a $500,000 fine and cease marketing all products except his books, which are protected under the First Amendment. However, in 2011, he was fined $37.6 million for violating the 2004 settlement, ordered to post a $2 million bond before engaging in any future infomercial advertising. In 2013, facing further prosecution for violations of the 2011 agreement and non-payment of the $37-million judgment, Trudeau filed for bankruptcy protection, his claims of insolvency were challenged by FTC lawyers, who maintained that he was hiding money in shell companies, cited examples of continued lavish spending, such as $359 for a haircut.
In November 2013, Trudeau was convicted of criminal contempt, was sentenced to serve a 10-year sentence at a Federal Prison Camp in Alabama. Infomercials starring Trudeau and promoting his books — under the auspices of a private California corporation of undisclosed ownership — continue to air on United States television stations. Trudeau grew up in Lynn, the adopted son of Robert and Mary Trudeau, he attended St. Mary's High School in Lynn, where he was voted "Most Likely to Succeed" by the class of 1981. After high school Trudeau became a used car salesman joined the seminar circuit, selling memory improvement techniques. In 1990 he pleaded guilty to depositing $80,000 in worthless checks and impersonating a physician, but served, he said, fewer than 30 days. In 1991, he spent two years in federal prison. After his release in 1993, Trudeau joined Nutrition for Life; the firm was successful until the Attorney General of Illinois charged that it was running a pyramid scheme. Trudeau and Nutrition for Life settled cases brought by the state of Illinois, seven other U.
S. states, for US$185,000. Next, Trudeau produced and appeared in a series of late-night television infomercial broadcasts throughout North America, they promoted a range of products, including health aids, dietary supplements, baldness remedies, addiction treatments, memory-improvement courses, reading-improvement programs and real estate investment strategies. The FTC took regulatory action against Trudeau, alleging that his broadcasts contained unsubstantiated claims and misrepresentations. In 1998, he was fined. In 2004, he settled a contempt-of-court action arising out of the same cases by agreeing to a settlement that included both payment of a $2 million fine and a ban on further use of infomercials to promote any product other than publications protected by the First Amendment. In 2004, Trudeau began writing books and promoting them with infomercials in the U. S; the first book he published was a medical guide titled Natural Cures "They" Don't Want You to Know About, published in 2005.
The book was criticized for containing no natural cures. Trudeau claimed that he was not able to include them because of threats by the FTC; the book became a bestseller selling 5 million copies. Two years Trudeau published a second medical book titled More Natural Cures Revealed: Previously Censored Brand Name Products That Cure Disease. According to Trudeau, the book identifies brand name products. Trudeau's books claim that animals in the wild develop degenerative conditions like cancer or Alzheimer's disease, that many diseases are caused not by viruses or bacteria, but rather by an imbalance in vital energy. Science writer Christopher Wanjek critiqued and rejected many of these claims in his July 25, 2006 LiveScience.com health column. Trudeau went on to publish The Weight-Loss Cure "They" Don't Want You to Know About and Debt Cures "They" Don't Want You to Know About, his writing has been commercially successful if not factual. In September 2005, Natural Cures was listed in the New York Times as the number-one-selling nonfiction book in the United States for 25 weeks.
It has sold more than five million copies. Trudeau launched a self-titled Internet radio talk show in February 2009 which aired on several small radio stations consisting of brokered programming. Trudeau has been married at least three times. Little is known to Oleksandra Polozhentseva, a Ukrainian immigrant, his second union, in 2007, to Kristine Dorow, a Norwegian student whom he met in London, ended in annulment after four months. In 2008 he married Natalya Babenko, another Ukrainian, who runs several of his former companies, she has returned to her home according to Trudeau. In 2004, Trudeau self-published his book Natural Cures "They" Don't Want You to Know About, in which he made a number of unsubstantiated claims—for example, that sunlight does not cause cancer, sunscreen is one of the major causes of skin cancer, that AIDS was a hoax devised as an excuse to stimulate medication usage. Trudeau further suggested—again without documentation—that various "natural cures" for serious illnesses, including cancer, arthritis, AIDS, acid reflux disease, various phobias, obesity, multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, attention deficit disorder, muscular dystrophy, had been deliberately hidden from
Scientific American is an American popular science magazine. Many famous scientists, including Albert Einstein, have contributed articles to it, it is the oldest continuously published monthly magazine in the United States. Scientific American was founded by inventor and publisher Rufus M. Porter in 1845 as a four-page weekly newspaper. Throughout its early years, much emphasis was placed on reports of what was going on at the U. S. Patent Office, it reported on a broad range of inventions including perpetual motion machines, an 1860 device for buoying vessels by Abraham Lincoln, the universal joint which now can be found in nearly every automobile manufactured. Current issues include a "this date in history" section, featuring excerpts from articles published 50, 100, 150 years earlier. Topics include humorous incidents, wrong-headed theories, noteworthy advances in the history of science and technology. Porter sold the publication to Alfred Ely Beach and Orson Desaix Munn a mere ten months after founding it.
Until 1948, it remained owned by Company. Under Munn's grandson, Orson Desaix Munn III, it had evolved into something of a "workbench" publication, similar to the twentieth-century incarnation of Popular Science. In the years after World War II, the magazine fell into decline. In 1948, three partners who were planning on starting a new popular science magazine, to be called The Sciences, purchased the assets of the old Scientific American instead and put its name on the designs they had created for their new magazine, thus the partners—publisher Gerard Piel, editor Dennis Flanagan, general manager Donald H. Miller, Jr.—essentially created a new magazine. Miller retired in 1979, Flanagan and Piel in 1984, when Gerard Piel's son Jonathan became president and editor. In 1986, it was sold to the Holtzbrinck group of Germany. In the fall of 2008, Scientific American was put under the control of Nature Publishing Group, a division of Holtzbrinck. Donald Miller died in December 1998, Gerard Piel in September 2004 and Dennis Flanagan in January 2005.
Mariette DiChristina is the current editor-in-chief, after John Rennie stepped down in June 2009. Scientific American published its first foreign edition in 1890, the Spanish-language La America Cientifica. Publication was suspended in 1905, another 63 years would pass before another foreign-language edition appeared: In 1968, an Italian edition, Le Scienze, was launched, a Japanese edition, Nikkei Science, followed three years later. A new Spanish edition, Investigación y Ciencia was launched in Spain in 1976, followed by a French edition, Pour la Science, in France in 1977, a German edition, Spektrum der Wissenschaft, in Germany in 1978. A Russian edition V Mire Nauki was launched in the Soviet Union in 1983, continues in the present-day Russian Federation. Kexue, a simplified Chinese edition launched in 1979, was the first Western magazine published in the People's Republic of China. Founded in Chongqing, the simplified Chinese magazine was transferred to Beijing in 2001. In 2005, a newer edition, Global Science, was published instead of Kexue, which shut down due to financial problems.
A traditional Chinese edition, known as Scientist, was introduced to Taiwan in 2002. The Hungarian edition Tudomány existed between 1984 and 1992. In 1986, an Arabic edition, Oloom Magazine, was published. In 2002, a Portuguese edition was launched in Brazil. Today, Scientific American publishes 18 foreign-language editions around the globe: Arabic, Brazilian Portuguese, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Dutch, German, Hebrew, Japanese, Lithuanian, Romanian and Spanish. From 1902 to 1911, Scientific American supervised the publication of the Encyclopedia Americana, which during some of that period was known as The Americana, it styled itself "The Advocate of Industry and Enterprise" and "Journal of Mechanical and other Improvements". On the front page of the first issue was the engraving of "Improved Rail-Road Cars"; the masthead had a commentary as follows: Scientific American published every Thursday morning at No. 11 Spruce Street, New York, No. 16 State Street, No. 2l Arcade Philadelphia, by Rufus Porter.
Each number will be furnished with from two to five original Engravings, many of them elegant, illustrative of New Inventions, Scientific Principles, Curious Works. Improvements and Inventions; this paper is entitled to the patronage of Mechanics and Manufactures, being the only paper in America, devoted to the interest of those classes. As a family newspaper, it will convey more useful intelligence to children and young people, than five times its cost in school instruction. Another important argument in favor of this paper, is that it will be worth two dollars at the end of the year when the volume is complete, (Old volumes of the New York Mechanic, being now worth double th
Food and Drug Administration
The Food and Drug Administration is a federal agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, one of the United States federal executive departments. The FDA is responsible for protecting and promoting public health through the control and supervision of food safety, tobacco products, dietary supplements and over-the-counter pharmaceutical drugs, biopharmaceuticals, blood transfusions, medical devices, electromagnetic radiation emitting devices, animal foods & feed and veterinary products; as of 2017, 3/4th of the FDA budget is paid by people who consume pharmaceutical products, due to the Prescription Drug User Fee Act. The FDA was empowered by the United States Congress to enforce the Federal Food and Cosmetic Act, which serves as the primary focus for the Agency; these include regulating lasers, cellular phones and control of disease on products ranging from certain household pets to sperm donation for assisted reproduction. The FDA is led by the Commissioner of Food and Drugs, appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate.
The Commissioner reports to the Secretary of Human Services. Scott Gottlieb, M. D. is the current commissioner, who took over in May 2017. The FDA has its headquarters in Maryland; the agency has 223 field offices and 13 laboratories located throughout the 50 states, the United States Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico. In 2008, the FDA began to post employees to foreign countries, including China, Costa Rica, Chile and the United Kingdom. In recent years, the agency began undertaking a large-scale effort to consolidate its 25 operations in the Washington metropolitan area, moving from its main headquarters in Rockville and several fragmented office buildings to the former site of the Naval Ordnance Laboratory in the White Oak area of Silver Spring, Maryland; the site was renamed from the White Oak Naval Surface Warfare Center to the Federal Research Center at White Oak. The first building, the Life Sciences Laboratory, was dedicated and opened with 104 employees on the campus in December 2003. Only one original building from the naval facility was kept.
All other buildings are new construction. The project is slated to be completed by 2021, assuming future Congressional funding While most of the Centers are located in the Washington, D. C. area as part of the Headquarters divisions, two offices – the Office of Regulatory Affairs and the Office of Criminal Investigations – are field offices with a workforce spread across the country. The Office of Regulatory Affairs is considered the "eyes and ears" of the agency, conducting the vast majority of the FDA's work in the field. Consumer Safety Officers, more called Investigators, are the individuals who inspect production and warehousing facilities, investigate complaints, illnesses, or outbreaks, review documentation in the case of medical devices, biological products, other items where it may be difficult to conduct a physical examination or take a physical sample of the product; the Office of Regulatory Affairs is divided into five regions, which are further divided into 20 districts. Districts are based on the geographic divisions of the federal court system.
Each district comprises a main district office and a number of Resident Posts, which are FDA remote offices that serve a particular geographic area. ORA includes the Agency's network of regulatory laboratories, which analyze any physical samples taken. Though samples are food-related, some laboratories are equipped to analyze drugs and radiation-emitting devices; the Office of Criminal Investigations was established in 1991 to investigate criminal cases. Unlike ORA Investigators, OCI Special Agents are armed, don't focus on technical aspects of the regulated industries. OCI agents pursue and develop cases where individuals and companies have committed criminal actions, such as fraudulent claims, or knowingly and willfully shipping known adulterated goods in interstate commerce. In many cases, OCI pursues cases involving Title 18 violations, in addition to prohibited acts as defined in Chapter III of the FD&C Act. OCI Special Agents come from other criminal investigations backgrounds, work with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Assistant Attorney General, Interpol.
OCI receives cases from a variety of sources—including ORA, local agencies, the FBI—and works with ORA Investigators to help develop the technical and science-based aspects of a case. OCI is a smaller branch; the FDA works with other federal agencies, including the Department of Agriculture, Drug Enforcement Administration and Border Protection, Consumer Product Safety Commission. Local and state government agencies work with the FDA to provide regulatory inspections and enforcement action; the FDA regulates more than US$2.4 trillion worth of consumer goods, about 25% of consumer expenditures in the United States. This includes $466 billion in food sales, $275 billion in drugs, $60 billion in cosmetics and $18 billion in vitamin supplements. Much of these expenditures are for goods imported into the United States; the FDA's federal budget request for fiscal year 2012 totaled $4.36 billion, while the proposed 2014 budget is $4.7 billion. About $2 billion of this budget is generated by user fees.
Pharmaceutical firms pay th
The pharmaceutical industry discovers, develops and markets drugs or pharmaceutical drugs for use as medications to be administered to patients to cure them, vaccinate them, or alleviate a symptom. Pharmaceutical companies may deal in medical devices, they are subject to a variety of laws and regulations that govern the patenting, safety and marketing of drugs. The modern pharmaceutical industry traces its roots to two sources; the first of these were local apothecaries that expanded from their traditional role distributing botanical drugs such as morphine and quinine to wholesale manufacture in the mid 1800s. Rational drug discovery from plants started with the isolation of morphine and sleep-inducing agent from opium, by the German apothecary assistant Friedrich Sertürner who named the compound after the Greek god of dreams, Morpheus. By the late 1880s, German dye manufacturers had perfected the purification of individual organic compounds from tar and other mineral sources and had established rudimentary methods in organic chemical synthesis.
The development of synthetic chemical methods allowed scientists to systematically vary the structure of chemical substances, growth in the emerging science of pharmacology expanded their ability to evaluate the biological effects of these structural changes. By the 1890s, the profound effect of adrenal extracts on many different tissue types had been discovered, setting off a search both for the mechanism of chemical signalling and efforts to exploit these observations for the development of new drugs; the blood pressure raising and vasoconstrictive effects of adrenal extracts were of particular interest to surgeons as hemostatic agents and as treatment for shock, a number of companies developed products based on adrenal extracts containing varying purities of the active substance. In 1897, John Abel of Johns Hopkins University identified the active principle as epinephrine, which he isolated in an impure state as the sulfate salt. Industrial chemist Jokichi Takamine developed a method for obtaining epinephrine in a pure state, licensed the technology to Parke-Davis.
Parke-Davis marketed epinephrine under the trade name Adrenalin. Injected epinephrine proved to be efficacious for the acute treatment of asthma attacks, an inhaled version was sold in the United States until 2011. By 1929 epinephrine had been formulated into an inhaler for use in the treatment of nasal congestion. While effective, the requirement for injection limited the use of epinephrine and orally active derivatives were sought. A structurally similar compound, was identified by Japanese chemists in the Ma Huang plant and marketed by Eli Lilly as an oral treatment for asthma. Following the work of Henry Dale and George Barger at Burroughs-Wellcome, academic chemist Gordon Alles synthesized amphetamine and tested it in asthma patients in 1929; the drug proved to have only modest anti-asthma effects, but produced sensations of exhilaration and palpitations. Amphetamine was developed by Smith and French as a nasal decongestant under the trade name Benzedrine Inhaler. Amphetamine was developed for the treatment of narcolepsy, post-encephalitic parkinsonism, mood elevation in depression and other psychiatric indications.
It received approval as a New and Nonofficial Remedy from the American Medical Association for these uses in 1937 and remained in common use for depression until the development of tricyclic antidepressants in the 1960s. In 1903, Hermann Emil Fischer and Joseph von Mering disclosed their discovery that diethylbarbituric acid, formed from the reaction of diethylmalonic acid, phosphorus oxychloride and urea, induces sleep in dogs; the discovery was patented and licensed to Bayer pharmaceuticals, which marketed the compound under the trade name Veronal as a sleep aid beginning in 1904. Systematic investigations of the effect of structural changes on potency and duration of action led to the discovery of phenobarbital at Bayer in 1911 and the discovery of its potent anti-epileptic activity in 1912. Phenobarbital was among the most used drugs for the treatment of epilepsy through the 1970s, as of 2014, remains on the World Health Organizations list of essential medications; the 1950s and 1960s saw increased awareness of the addictive properties and abuse potential of barbiturates and amphetamines and led to increasing restrictions on their use and growing government oversight of prescribers.
Today, amphetamine is restricted to use in the treatment of attention deficit disorder and phenobarbital in the treatment of epilepsy. A series of experiments performed from the late 1800s to the early 1900s revealed that diabetes is caused by the absence of a substance produced by the pancreas. In 1869, Oskar Minkowski and Joseph von Mering found that diabetes could be induced in dogs by surgical removal of the pancreas. In 1921, Canadian professor Frederick Banting and his student Charles Best repeated this study, found that injections of pancreatic extract reversed the symptoms produced by pancreas removal. Soon, the extract was demonstrated to work in people, but development of insulin therapy as a routine medical procedure was delayed by difficulties in producing the material in sufficient quantity and with reproducible purity; the researchers sought assistance from industrial collaborators at Eli Lilly and Co. based on the company's experience with large scale purification of biological materials.
Chemist George B. Walden of Eli Lilly and Company found that careful adjustment of the pH of the extract allowed a pure grade of insulin to be produced. Under pressure from Toronto Un
New Age is a term applied to a range of spiritual or religious beliefs and practices that developed in Western nations during the 1970s. Precise scholarly definitions of the New Age differ in their emphasis as a result of its eclectic structure. Although analytically considered to be religious, those involved in it prefer the designation of spiritual or Mind, Body and use the term "New Age" themselves. Many scholars of the subject refer to it as the New Age movement, although others contest this term and suggest that it is better seen as a milieu or zeitgeist; as a form of Western esotericism, the New Age drew upon a number of older esoteric traditions, in particular those that emerged from the occultist current that developed in the eighteenth century. Such prominent occult influences include the work of Emanuel Swedenborg and Franz Mesmer, as well as the ideas of Spiritualism, New Thought, Theosophy and the European Lebensreform movement. A number of mid-twentieth century influences, such as the UFO religions of the 1950s, the Counterculture of the 1960s, the Human Potential Movement exerted a strong influence on the early development of the New Age.
The exact origins of the phenomenon remain contested, but there is general agreement that it developed in the 1970s, at which time it was centred in the United Kingdom. It expanded and grew in the 1980s and 1990s, in particular within the United States. By the start of the 21st century, the term "New Age" was rejected within this milieu, with some scholars arguing that the New Age phenomenon had ended. Despite its eclectic nature, a number of beliefs found within the New Age have been identified. Theologically, the New Age adopts a belief in a holistic form of divinity that imbues all of the universe, including human beings themselves. There is thus a strong emphasis on the spiritual authority of the self; this is accompanied by a common belief in a wide variety of semi-divine non-human entities, such as angels and masters, with whom humans can communicate through the form of channeling. Viewing human history as being divided into a series of distinct ages, a common New Age belief is that whereas once humanity lived in an age of great technological advancement and spiritual wisdom, it has entered a period of spiritual degeneracy, which will be remedied through the establishment of a coming Age of Aquarius, from which the milieu gets its name.
There is a strong focus on healing using forms of alternative medicine, an emphasis on a New Age approach to science that seeks to unite science and spirituality. Centred in Western countries, those involved in the New Age have been from middle and upper-middle-class backgrounds; the degree to which New Agers are involved in the milieu varied from those who adopted a number of New Age ideas and practices to those who embraced and dedicated their lives to it. The New Age has generated criticism from established Christian organisations as well as modern Pagan and indigenous communities. From the 1990s onward, the New Age became the subject of research by academic scholars of religious studies; the New Age phenomenon has proved difficult to define, with much scholarly disagreement as to its scope. The scholars Steven J. Sutcliffe and Ingvild Sælid Gilhus have suggested that it remains "among the most disputed of categories in the study of religion"; the scholar of religion Paul Heelas characterised the New Age as "an eclectic hotch-potch of beliefs and ways of life" that can be identified as a singular phenomenon through their use of "the same lingua franca to do with the human condition and how it can be transformed."
The historian of religion Olav Hammer termed it "a common denominator for a variety of quite divergent contemporary popular practices and beliefs" that have emerged since the late 1970s and are "largely united by historical links, a shared discourse and an air de famille". According to Hammer, this New Age was a "fluid and fuzzy cultic milieu"; the sociologist of religion Michael York described the New Age as "an umbrella term that includes a great variety of groups and identities" that are united by their "expectation of a major and universal change being founded on the individual and collective development of human potential."The scholar of religion Wouter Hanegraaff adopted a different approach by asserting that "New Age" was "a label attached indiscriminately to whatever seems to fit it" and that as a result it "means different things to different people". He thus argued against the idea that the New Age could be considered "a unified ideology or Weltanschauung", although he believed that it could be considered a "more or less unified'movement'."
Other scholars have suggested. The scholar of religion George D. Chryssides called it "a counter-cultural Zeitgeist", while the sociologist of religion Steven Bruce suggested that New Age was a milieu. There is no central authority within the New Age phenomenon that can determine what counts as New Age and what does not. Many of those groups and individuals who could analytically be categorised as part of the New Age reject the term "New Age" in reference to themselves; some express active hostility to the term. Rather than terming themselves "New Agers", those involved in this milieu describe themselves as spiritual "seekers", some self-identify as a member of a different religious group, such as Christianity, Judaism, or Buddhism. In 2003 Sutcliffe observed that the use of the term "New Age" was "op