Adam Barrington, 29, and his pregnant wife Heather, 27, are heading to Pohoa, Hawaii, for a dolphin-assisted birth at the Sirius Institute. The institute describes itself as part of a Cetacean Commonwealth that wants to 'dolphinize' the planet.
According to the Charlotte Observer, at the institute, the Barringtons, "will spend time in the water, forming a connection with a dolphin pod they hope will bond with them and ultimately their newborn."
The institute was incorporated in 1985 and founded by Michael T. Hyson and Paradise Newland. It is a tax-exempt consortium with the purpose of "dolphinizing" the planet. According to the institute's website:
This means the integration of the Cetacea (dolphins and whales) into our culture. A second goal is the "humanization of space" which involves the settlement of the solar system and beyond.
Part of 'humanizing space' involves sending live Humpback whale songs into the stratosphere. When these communication interfaces are completed, the institute says, "cetacea will be able to speak for themselves."
Co-founder associated with LSD Lilly
Paradise Newland was a close friend and colleague of the late Dr. John C. Lilly, M.D., a researcher who in the 60s, used LSD 25 on dolphins to explore the human-dolphin relationship. "We started out with a physiological hypothesis," Lily said in The Use of LSD in Psychotherapy and Alcoholism. He added:
Anything which would modify central nervous system activity as radically as LSD 25 does, might interfere with respiration in the dolphin. The dolphin might stop breathing. We were then prepared to put it in a respirator. The effect was the opposite of the barbiturates (barbiturates at 10 mg per kilogram knocked out respiration completely). The effect on the first dolphin we tried it on was an acceleration of respiration.
According to Candace Calloway Whiting at SeattlePI.com:
Lilly’s psychobabble experiments yielded only one bit of scientifically collected information: dolphin’s breathing rates and vocalizations increased under the influence of the drug, both signs of extreme stress, how frightening to contemplate.
Hyson, the institute's other co-founder has a Ph.D. Biology, an M.S. Biology and a B.S. , Biology from the University of Miami. He once served in the military and according to his resume possesses:
Ten hours of weightless flight; reading knowledge of German. Have traveled in continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii, Bahamas, Belize and Mexico. I play classical guitar, hike, sail, and scuba dive, and have fought in armor with broadswords.The dolphinization philosophy
The institute describes itself as living 'en pod,' where pod children are raised in pod homes described as 'islands of stability'. Star Newland describes this domestic situation as a place where:
People gather to help each other, care for the children, give hugs and other kinds of 'yummy touch' like touching hands, feet, shoulders, ears, giving back rubs. This is the kind of touch that everyone can enjoy and helps us stay well.
More on the institute's philosophy is described by Star in this video posted on YouTube:
Living on Planet Puna comes at a price
According to 2004 estimates, living on Planet Puna, even comes with its own pod home budget.
The finances for this planet -- "A coconut cyber-planet for People, Dolphins & Whales with Embassy in Puna Hawai'i," are somewhat confusing. Estimates are available here, and each member of the pod gets their own Book of Wisdom.
The dolphin-assisted birth process
Dolphin-assisted therapy or DAT, is currently being touted for all manner of ailments, including pregnancy. The Sirius Institute says that enough evidence exists to show that "dolphins are able to improve or heal a wide variety of conditions including depression, autism, Down’s syndrome, cerebral palsy, and microscopically." DAT therapy though, is highly controversial.
According to WDC -- Whale and Dolphin Conservation, "there is no scientific evidence to prove that the therapy is effective ... no official standards or regulation governing the industry and ... both people and animals can be exposed to infection and injury when participating in these programs."
Furthermore, Dr. Lori Marino, a neuroscientist and expert in animal behavior and intelligence on the faculty of Emory University and Scott O. Lilienfeld, concludes in Dolphin-Assisted Therapy: More Flawed Data and More Flawed Conclusions:
"That nearly a decade following our initial review, there remains no compelling evidence that DAT is a legitimate therapy or that it affords any more than fleeting improvements in mood."
There are also dangers in swimming with wild dolphins
Unlike many DAT facilities which harbor captive dolphins, the Sirius Institute's therapy program involves wild dolphins. Pregnancy poses extra threats to this practice and even captive facilities will not permit pregnant women to swim with dolphins.
In his book Death At SeaWorld, author David Kirby described a dolphin attack on Naomi Rose, the senior scientist for the Humane Society. Rose was swimming with dolphins in Oahu, when:
One of the 350-pound animals butted Naomi hard across the chest with her snout. The other slapped Naomi in the face with her fluke, sending Naomi’s mask flying. Naomi was dazed.
Even the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) frowns on the act of swimming with wild dolphins. Stacey Horstman, Bottlenose Dolphin Conservation Coordinator with NOAA Fisheries Service in St. Petersburg, FL., told Digital Journal last year, that in the case of wild dolphins, "we try to convey that dolphins are no different from a bear, or an alligator, or lions."
Dolphin attacks on human females by sexually-charged dolphins have even been documented on YouTube. This one posted by dodogirl1000 via MMS123.com, shows an excited male dolphin attacking a female:
In another shocking video, a male dolphin tries to connect sexually with a young woman:
In a statement presented to the Governor's Advisory Council, State of Hawaii by Star Newman, birthing centers are already being developed in Mexico. And according to a 2004 Voice of the Dolphin newsletter issued by the Sirius Institute:
Millions of dollars have been spent on SETI programs looking for intelligent beings in the stars to have a conversation with. These are worthy projects. At the same time, we can also be communicating and learning with the Cetacea who are intelligent, extraterrestrial, and here in our own oceans. They are offering their cooperation. All we have to do is follow their lead, and begin the process of learning about each other.
On the other side of the argument, NOAA and Kula Nai'a Organization argue that human/dolphin interactions in the region are impacting dolphin pods. The large upsurge in interactions they say, are not allowing the dolphins to get the rest they need.
What do you think?