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Sun Jan 5, 2014, 11:01 AM

"Woo Wars" - What is "Woo"?

I posted this in another thread, and since we have another round of "I hate woo because..." going, I thought this might help.

What is Woo? Charitably,

"Woo" is generally anything that has not gone through rigorous scientific testing and stringent peer reviewed studies. http://www.democraticunderground.com/10024188166


I later expanded on this theme with this -

As I said, charitable definition - here on DU it is regularly used as an insulting or disparaging way to condescend, minimize, sneer, or otherwise belittle others, frequently under the guise of assuming anyone who does not hold a golden ticket to the hallowed halls of "science done correctly" is ignorant, uneducated, gullible, prone to fantasy or delusion, mentally inferior, and/or a danger to society.

"Woo" has been identified by the sacred cabal of "we're right and you're wrong so neener neener" as including such topics as nutrition (unless it is from a reputable journal, of course), vitamin and mineral supplementation, aromatherapy, acupuncture, herbal medicine, folk medicine, apple cider vinegar proponents, and anyone who insists they achieved a positive outcome without benefit of the miracle of modern medicine or pharmacology. To put forth such a view (or even talk about any of these topics without snorting at the sheep who waste their money while destroying civilization by disrespecting Real Science) is to be a proponent of "Woo" meaning you will never need to be listened to by these Good People Ever Again because if you try to convince them you know what you are talking about, you are a snake-oil salesman, if you use your own experience, it is because you don't understand why it is "anecdotal" and if you discuss someone other than yourself, it is because you don't understand how Real Science Works.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/10024205471


The "woo wars" are annoying. Honestly, I believe (as I have detailed in other posts) that they are simply a continuation of the "herbal midwife versus city doctor" war that has been going on for hundreds of years - the disparagement of "old wives tale" is pretty obvious.

I am a "whatever works" person; my family doesn't always eat nutritionally ideal meals so we take some basic vitamins and minerals regularly, and my premature infants were born micronutrient deficient which early intervention supplementation resolved. A lingering cough from a nasty cold seems to be resolving within a few hours of taking some "wild cherry bark syrup with echinacea." And we still took my mother-in-law to a real physician when we thought stitches were in order when she accidentally cut her finger.

I am going to continue to advocate for "woo" in my little corner of the world, and while I understand the joy of feeling superior to fools, I would personally appreciate it if the "anti-woo" would understand that, instead of strengthening their positions by insulting the reports we make, a more appropriate "scientific" response would be - "that is interesting; I wonder why that happened for you?"

The world is a magical place, and we all have a lot to learn.

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Reply "Woo Wars" - What is "Woo"? (Original post)
IdaBriggs Jan 2014 OP
SidDithers Jan 2014 #1
IdaBriggs Jan 2014 #6
SidDithers Jan 2014 #8
IdaBriggs Jan 2014 #28
Ohio Joe Jan 2014 #35
IdaBriggs Jan 2014 #97
Ohio Joe Jan 2014 #102
IdaBriggs Jan 2014 #122
Ohio Joe Jan 2014 #129
IdaBriggs Jan 2014 #130
Ohio Joe Jan 2014 #135
IdaBriggs Jan 2014 #142
eqfan592 Jan 2014 #10
IdaBriggs Jan 2014 #29
eqfan592 Jan 2014 #56
IdaBriggs Jan 2014 #62
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IdaBriggs Jan 2014 #124
Codeine Jan 2014 #59
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rhett o rick Jan 2014 #34
SidDithers Jan 2014 #37
Ohio Joe Jan 2014 #51
NJCher Jan 2014 #79
Ohio Joe Jan 2014 #90
zappaman Jan 2014 #107
etherealtruth Jan 2014 #53
rhett o rick Jan 2014 #137
SidDithers Jan 2014 #143
rhett o rick Jan 2014 #156
SidDithers Jan 2014 #157
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Response to IdaBriggs (Original post)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 11:02 AM

1. Woo kills...

if you don't like anti-woo threads, trash 'em.

Sid

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Response to SidDithers (Reply #1)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 11:10 AM

6. Woo also saves lives. Deal with it.

The fact the "anti-woo" folk deny the reality of what other people are reporting makes them less than credible.

I understand why pretending you are the only ones who understand the way the universe works is self-empowering, but throwing away data because it doesn't agree with your conclusions is more FAITH than SCIENCE.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Reply #6)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 11:12 AM

8. No, woo doesn't save lives...

what data are you talking about? Woo with real data to support its efficacy isn't woo, it's medicine.

Sid

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Response to SidDithers (Reply #8)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 11:34 AM

28. You know my story, Sid. I have multiple children

who are supposed to be dead, cognitively impaired, or confined to wheelchairs who are none-of-the-above. Their doctors can't explain the changes, and in some cases refuse to look at the intervention that changed things. I will be happy to provide you with names, phone numbers, medical records and (changing) prognosis if you want to establish my veracity.

"Willfully blindness", the famous "lucky" diagnosis, and the ever popular "sometimes things happen and we don't know why" -- the last being the reason children aren't formally diagnosed with cerebral palsy until they are two, because heaven forbid someone investigate if there is a pattern -- means we have a bunch of people who are letting their own experiences, "education" and prejudices interfere with evaluating data.

I am a programmer. When code doesn't behave as expected, the first question is WHY?

People don't repeat behavior that doesn't benefit them. The best miracle is one that can be repeated - and THAT is science.

Unless you can't find someone to take it seriously, in which case it is "woo."

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Response to IdaBriggs (Reply #28)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 11:51 AM

35. "When code doesn't behave as expected, the first question is WHY?" Complete non-sense

When code does not work, the only question is 'How did I fuck it up?"

I've been a programmer for over 25 years now and code does exactly what it does and nothing else. It does not go wrong because of anything other then the programmer did not code it correctly. There is no art to coding... No mysterious bugs... There is thorough analysis, design and testing or there is not.

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Response to Ohio Joe (Reply #35)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 01:18 PM

97. Hint: Ever had to "program for exceptions"?

When it doesn't do what I expect it to do, it means something got missed, and ANALYSIS begins with WHY?

I learned to program on punch cards, built my first and only robot in high school, and you can check out my profile on linked in for professional credentials, so with a solid decade of "more experience" than you have, I politely scold you for disrespecting a senior architect/developer. Minimizing data to bolster your own point of view is part of why we have this "woo" problem - things that should be investigated don't get investigated.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Reply #97)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 01:29 PM

102. Non-sense

"When it doesn't do what I expect it to do, it means something got missed, and ANALYSIS begins with WHY?"

Programming for exceptions is not when code does not do what you expect, it is for when the code gets data it never should... It means you did not do proper data validation at input... A poor programming technique.

In addition, analysis is not 'why', analysis is 'how'. Requirements gathering is 'why'. If you are still asking 'why' or 'how' at coding time, you are lost.

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Response to Ohio Joe (Reply #102)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 02:43 PM

122. ROFLMAO!!!

This might be a "you say potaTOE and I say potaTA" situation, and maybe you have been gifted with users the likes of which I've never met who provide perfect specifications ---



Or maybe you are just in a feisty mood and want to argue semantics. As I said, when code doesn't do what I expect it to do, my analysis always starts with WHY. Sometimes it turns out to be programmer error (don't tell - it happens!), and sometimes we discover the user "forgot" to tell us about possible options (because they happen so rarely) and sometimes somebody who didn't know what they were doing put in crap code before fleeing for greener pastures.

It is all okay.

My original point with the analogy is that physicians aren't trained for that type of problem solving; when patients "miraculously" get better, they stop coming to the doctor's office, and no one makes a note saying "hey, Joe was supposed to die two years ago and he didn't - anybody check into that to see if he did anything we might be able to repeat on someone else?"

You might think they do, but they don't. And if Joe does come back and say, "well, I started fill-in-the-blank" he will get patted on the head in a condescending manner, called "lucky" and ushered out the door so his doctor can get to the next patient.

People get busy, and who has time to investigate stuff like that?

But it doesn't invalidate the fact Joe didn't die - it just means they haven't gathered and analyzed the data. Researchers in the proverbial "ivory tower" probably don't even know Joe exists, while the clinicians are still going to reach for the "proven" procedures EVEN IF THEY HAVE A HIGH PERCENTAGE OF FAILURE because honestly, they have no accurate/reliable data or education about "Joe" - he has already moved on with his life.

I am NEVER going to med school, but I understand system design. I have also spent the last six years learning about these issues. Frankly, medical politics makes corporate politics look simple!

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Response to IdaBriggs (Reply #122)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 03:06 PM

129. Comparing medicine to coding makes zero sense... Not even close to the same

"his might be a "you say potaTOE and I say potaTA" situation, and maybe you have been gifted with users the likes of which I've never met who provide perfect specifications ---



Or maybe you are just in a feisty mood and want to argue semantics. As I said, when code doesn't do what I expect it to do, my analysis always starts with WHY. Sometimes it turns out to be programmer error (don't tell - it happens!), and sometimes we discover the user "forgot" to tell us about possible options (because they happen so rarely) and sometimes somebody who didn't know what they were doing put in crap code before fleeing for greener pastures."

Programs do not fail because you do not know how to ask the proper questions of the user when gathering requirements. Programs fail because you neither coded nor tested them correctly. There is no "you say potaTOE and I say potaTA" when coding... You either code it to do what the requirements specify or you did it wrong and passing the blame onto the user is just... Passing the blame.

Trying to compare this to medicine is silly. Nobody claims we know everything about medicine but some things can certainly be ruled out as woo... We do know they are at best useless. Because one person recovers from something while doing something known to be useless does not mean it should be treated as a viable alternative. For instance, nothing is going to change that makes homeopathy something to be taken seriously no matter how many people get fooled into thinning it should be. It simply does not cure or treat anything.

Are there issues with how research is done today? Absolutely. Does that mean we should seriously consider stupid? No and those that promote it deserve to be ridiculed.

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Response to Ohio Joe (Reply #129)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 03:18 PM

130. We disagree. "Garbage In/Garbage Out" works for computers

AND people. People are analogous to systems with custom programming that includes genetics as well as health history. We have identified FIVE different causes of micronutrient deficiency in infants, and two of them - maternal deficiency and prenatal exposure to terratrogens - have to do with maternal history; if we were ONLY looking at the babies, we would have missed the cause in those cases. (The symptoms were still the same.)

Please keep in mind that since my background is computer systems, these analogies work for me in the struggle to understand the data.

Your mileage may vary.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Reply #130)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 03:37 PM

135. Again... I suggest you learn about data validation...

You don't seem to understand the concept but I promise it will solve a lot of problems you seem to have with your code.

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Response to Ohio Joe (Reply #135)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 04:28 PM

142. I certainly appreciate your attempts to educate me.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Reply #6)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 11:14 AM

10. Completely bullshit.

"woo" by definition (and not the second one you provided) has no grounding in science, and has failed every test done on it to prove any effectiveness at all. So woo also saves lives? Complete and total bullshit. If you can scientifically prove that something is capable of saving a life that was otherwise in danger from some medically related ailment, then it ISN'T WOO!

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Response to eqfan592 (Reply #10)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 11:36 AM

29. Until it hits the journals, here on DU it is "woo."

Or "lucky" - I get that a lot. My family is "lucky." Luck doesn't need to be investigated, right?

Just like the cough we've had non stop since September "luckily" went away within hours of taking the cherry bark with echinacea.

Luck.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Reply #29)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 12:33 PM

56. You mean until it's studied in a scientific manner it isn't science?

Well duh. Tell me, did you bother to control for outside factors at all when you took whatever it is you took? I'm guessing no.

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Response to eqfan592 (Reply #56)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 12:41 PM

62. Ah, if only we could GET it studied.

And since my twins were the first to have the response and no one expected it, it was pure luck everything was as well documented as it was.

If you want details on the Project, I will be happy to provide them or links. We only have an 83% success rate, so there are still a lot of questions.

And I agree - it needs to be investigated "scientifically." Getting that done is NOT easy.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Reply #62)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 12:43 PM

68. There's a lot on this thread and imay have missed it.

Do you have a link to this project? Doing this from my phone is difficult with a sleeping baby on your shoulder. Heh

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Response to eqfan592 (Reply #68)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 02:53 PM

124. Baby! No fair! My babies are six now (and driving me a little crazy).

Preemie Growth Project website -- http://www.preemiegrowthproject.org

You can flip through this link to see my babies and how the whole thing started. http://www.preemiegrowthproject.org/Quick_Summary_with_Baby_Pictures_20120908.pdf

I've talked about it before, most recently HERE http://www.democraticunderground.com/10024188166 and HERE http://www.democraticunderground.com/10024205471

I am currently NOT working on the STUPID ANNOYING summary paper because arguing on DU is way more fun and the write up is a HUGE PAIN.

I think I have the outline finished. Except it really isn't.

Sigh.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Reply #29)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 12:36 PM

59. Peer-review is generally how science operates.

I'm not sure why you seem to think that's a bad thing.

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Response to Codeine (Reply #59)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 02:56 PM

126. My only issue with "peer review" is GETTING to peer review.

"Hey, please investigate this!" Does. Not. Work.

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Response to Codeine (Reply #59)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 08:54 PM

161. Peer review is just one aspect.

testing, rigorous controlled reproducible testing, is a prerequisite to get to peer review. Are there some traditional remedies out there that work? Almost certainly. So let's get them into the process. The process isn't perfect, but it is the best we have at the moment to objectively evaluate what works and what doesn't.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Reply #29)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 12:48 PM

71. Anecdotal evidence means nothing.

It might very well be luck. It might be some pharma mixed in with the other unnecessary or even harmful crap in bark and herbs.

Pharma is just the active ingredient in barks and herbs and stuff with all the unnecessary and/or harmful stuff removed..... so you and your Dr know EXACTLY what you are ingesting.

There's a name for "alternative Medicine" that works..... it's called "medicine".

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Response to AlbertCat (Reply #71)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 03:00 PM

127. Tell you what - define anecdotal.

I've always personally considered it to be "I know a guy who knows someone who..."

I personally do not believe medical records are anecdotal, but apparently "woo!"

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Response to AlbertCat (Reply #71)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 03:29 PM

133. Is it okay that there is so much harmful stuff in ''medicine", enough to cause death in some cases

But not okay that there is some harmful stuf in natural herbs etc? Why is okay to have harmful stuff in "medicine"? I could give examples of the harm "medicine" has done, sometimes on a huge and tragic scale. I'm leery of "medicine" for that reason.

Take DES eg. Just one example. There are plenty more. So why is it okay for "medicine" and why should people trust it any more than they trust natural cures?

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Response to IdaBriggs (Reply #29)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 02:05 PM

117. For that use, echinacea isn't woo

http://www.lexingtonnaturalhealth.com/pages/ArticlePages/Cold_FluArt.html

Any more than willow bark was woo...but there are plenty of ways that people use echinacea that are woo. One of the problems is that legitimate limited effects are overblown into panaceas that cure all ills, because people want to believe.

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Response to eqfan592 (Reply #10)

Mon Jan 6, 2014, 10:06 PM

184. If that is the definition of woo, then why do so many people

here put acupuncture in that category? It has been proven effective in reducing pain in a meta study of 29 other studies involving 18,000 patients, and is accept by MD's and hospitals across the country, including Harvard, Stanford, and Chicago.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Reply #6)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 12:25 PM

50. If it could be proven to save lives, it wouldn't be called 'woo'.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Reply #6)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 03:39 PM

136. There seems to be a small group here in DU that think that they are our saviors from woo and CT.

They think their definitions and interpretations are unquestionable. Seems to me that they issue most of the alerts in DU, attempting to lock and hide posts, apparently trying to "purify" DU. While this might sound noble, there is a streak of hypocrisy running thru their agenda. CT that parallels their world view is not alerted on. They only alert on CT that doesnt meet their world view. One might think that they are trying to use the alert system to promote their world views.

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #136)

Mon Jan 6, 2014, 01:03 PM

175. Some are trying to, yes.

I was personally almost made deaf over the course of a month by a parent who thought a lot of woo, and used it to treat an ear infection. Thankfully, another family member eventually took me to an actual doctor who practiced real, science-based medicine-- and fixed my problem in literally a few hours.

These things are not harmless. Woo practitioners waste peoples' time and resources, and actually directly harm people as well. They aren't doctors and they shouldn't pretend otherwise.

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Response to Marr (Reply #175)

Mon Jan 6, 2014, 01:07 PM

176. Some want to believe there is a hard and fast line between science-based

medicines and woo. I believe the truth is that it is a continuum and we might differ as to where we draw the line.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Reply #6)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 05:53 PM

150. in most cases...no. things like natural medicine have been proven either scientifically effective

 

or bogus. The fact that some ancestors got it right with certain poultices and very wrong with certain other practices such as bleeding people out, etc. doesn't change the fact that scientific inquiry and empirical data is far superior to woo.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Reply #6)

Mon Jan 6, 2014, 10:03 PM

183. He obviously needs to have faith in something, so he's a believer

in M.Deities.

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Response to SidDithers (Reply #1)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 11:51 AM

34. OK, if you trash woo threads instead of trying to decide for the rest of us what to read. nm

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #34)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 11:54 AM

37. Or, some GD Hosts could recognize that "no conspiracy theories" includes medical woo...

and suggest those threads be put into ASAH.

You're a GD Host, aren't you?



Sid

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Response to SidDithers (Reply #37)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 12:25 PM

51. ^^ This ^^

Hosts let their bias get in the way of doing their job sometimes... They want their pet topic in GD so they ignore that they know it does not belong here.

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Response to Ohio Joe (Reply #51)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 12:57 PM

79. urm, speaking of bias

You're apparently unaware of this?

"A well- known phenomenon that influences the significance and thus credibility of research results is the scientific bias. ... Especially the conflicts of interest can be a serious problem for research in general, as researchers or prestigious investigators often try to prevent contraire research results from getting published.

http://blog.efpsa.org/2013/03/15/why-are-most-research-findings-incorrect/


Cher

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Response to NJCher (Reply #79)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 01:09 PM

90. I don't see what that has to do with what I said...

Conspiracy theories are forbidden in GD... There are Hosts that allow them... That has what to do with what you posted? Has homeopathy not been given enough research or something that it should be allowed?

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Response to Ohio Joe (Reply #51)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 01:37 PM

107. Nailed it.

Some hosts don't care about the SOP of the forum.

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Response to SidDithers (Reply #37)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 12:27 PM

53. ... would be nice!

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Response to SidDithers (Reply #37)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 03:53 PM

137. You seem to think that your definitions and interpretations can not be questioned .

But not everyone agrees with your interpretations. That's why we have multiple hosts to discuss whether or not threads meet the definition of CT or woo. Some hosts agree with your definitions and some dont. I would hope you would respect the decision of the hosts and not try to badger them into doing it your way.

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #137)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 04:51 PM

143. Some Hosts I do respect...

Others, not so much.

Sid

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Response to SidDithers (Reply #143)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 06:45 PM

156. Obviously. Why would you respect those that dont agree with. That would be too liberal. nm

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #156)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 06:50 PM

157. Not agreeing with me has nothing to do with it...

Well, almost nothing.

Sid

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Response to SidDithers (Reply #157)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 06:56 PM

159. You seem to think that your definitions and interpretations can not be questioned

and therefore ridicule is appropriate for those that dont agree with you.

= childish ridicule

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #159)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 07:00 PM

160. No. I save my disdain for Hosts who completely abdicate their responsibility...

Who've never met a source that they thought should be locked, who think everything in GD is just fine, and DUers can just skip the off-topic threads.



Sid

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Response to SidDithers (Reply #160)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 11:58 PM

168. I admit that I would rather error on the side of openness and not on the side of censorship.

But some here use the alert to exercise POWER. Ah yes, the power to hide or lock. The power to determine what others get to see. I remember you once suggested that anyone posting CT should immediately be PPR'd. And, of course you see yourself as the one to decide what is CT and who should be PPR'd. Ah the ultimate in control, the ability to PPR.

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #168)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 11:59 PM

169. Your memory is faulty...nt

Sid

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Response to SidDithers (Reply #1)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 12:30 PM

55. The fact that Marijuana has Health Benefits was considered "WOO"...

...until a few years ago.

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Response to bvar22 (Reply #55)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 12:38 PM

60. What is a few years ago ...?

I was a hospice nurse in the 1980s and 1990s (prior to the birth of my children) ... though we couldn't provide cannabis for our patients, many used it ... it was widely recognized as helpful (especially) for AIDs patients (way back in the day).

The use of cannabis is largely a political issue vs a medical issue (how else could one explain it being classified as a schedule I drug)

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Response to SidDithers (Reply #1)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 01:10 PM

93. and how many people die, or suffer permanent, debilitating side effects, from scientifically created

and approved drugs, each and every year? how many birth defects from said drugs (des, anyone?)

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Response to SidDithers (Reply #1)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 02:18 PM

119. So does standard medicine.

Sometimes.

Not everything that people on DU define as woo is out of the bounds of scientifically validated treatment -- acupuncture, for example, which is practiced by doctors at Harvard, Stanford, Chicago, and across the country based on numerous peer-reviewed studies.

And not every practice carried out by conventional doctors has been validated by scientific study, including surgeries that have been done for a hundred years.

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Response to SidDithers (Reply #1)

Mon Jan 6, 2014, 10:02 PM

182. If the 13 yr. old girl in California had gone to a state-qualified Naturopath,

she'd have been put on a diet, and maybe fitted for a C-pap machine, and she'd be alive.

Instead she went to an MD who offered extensive surgery to remove blood-filled tissues in her throat.

If you don't like threads about alternative medicine, trash 'em.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Original post)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 11:04 AM

2. Woo does kill people:

Usually through its use rather than actual medical care, but not always.

Most of the ailments humans are subject to are self-limiting, and the body's natural systems take care of those things in time. Colds, the flu, and other mild illnesses run their course and the person recovers, whether they get medical care, woo, or simply do nothing.

However, there are other illnesses that need prompt medical attention. Purveyors of "supplement," alternative treatment "modalities" and other untested, unproven methods often promote their stuff using falsehoods. They know, as do most doctors, that most illnesses in otherwise healthy individuals will go away on their own.

On the other hand, as with a friend of mine in California, there are some huge risks involved with "alternative" health care. She had rheumatoid arthritis, which caused her great pain in her hands and elsewhere. RA is a tough, auto-immune disease, and treatments are only partly effective. But, the pain of RA often leads people to try almost anything to get relief. This woman, in her 30s, was not getting adequate relief through normal medical care. This was three decades ago, so some of the new medications for RA, which have potentially dangerous side effects, too, were not available at the time.

She had been seeing a naturopath, who also dabbled in acupuncture, herbal medicine, and other "modalities." What happened next was tragic and ended up with her bogus "health care practitioner" serving a prison sentence. She went to him and he decided that the best treatment for her RA in her hands was to inject Tea Tree Oil into her swollen, painful joints. Tea Tree Oil is often used, applied externally, for such things, with very modest results. But this poorly trained and dumb-as-a-stump naturopath, educated through mail order programs, decided that if it worked externally, it would surely work if he injected it into her joints.

My friend had to have her arm amputated at the elbow. Not only did the Tea Tree Oil cause massive tissue destruction in her hands, but the injection also caused a raging infection, probably due to non-sterile practices. She lost her arm. A year later, she committed suicide.

She trusted the practitioner, and trust is an important part of health care. He did not deserve her trust, and caused her great bodily harm, and may have contributed to her suicide. He served a term in prison, but I do not know what he did after that. It may well be that he's still out there practicing unregulated "health care" on other unsuspecting people.

Far too many untrained or poorly trained people are practicing "alternative" medicine out there. They dupe their "patients" by making them think they are getting some sort of skilled health care. They offer completely useless treatments like homeopathy, magnetic therapy, and other worthless "modalities." Sometimes, they do worse. Much worse. For people who don't really have a serious medical condition and who would recover with or without any treatment at all, they do no harm. For others, however, harm is done, either through incorrect health care or through ignoring a serious condition that requires real, evidence-based medical attention.

I'm a host in the Health Group here on DU. Woo is not a topic that is allowed there. Giving medical advice or asking for medical advice is not allowed there. It is a group that discusses real health information, reports on actual research, and provides news and information from reliable sources about healthcare and health issues. No woo.

Note: This reply was also posted in another thread about woo. I won't post it in any further threads.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #2)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 11:07 AM

3. However, I could also list ...

all the relatives and friends I have had who have been killed or harmed by the medical industry.

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Response to LisaLynne (Reply #3)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 11:12 AM

7. I have no doubt that you could. Sick people are sick people,

and no treatments are guaranteed to work. However, you could also list all of the people who are still alive, thanks to prompt medical attention. Their numbers are far greater. We all die, and many illnesses are the causes of death, with or without treatment. The statistics are clear for medical treatments, and are the subject of much research and regulation.

The alternative health care industry is simply not subject to the same scrutiny, requirements, and restrictions. We don't have records from it, like we do from legitimate medical care. We don't have the controlled research or testing, either. I grew up in a time before there was a polio vaccine, and saw grammar school classmates who died from the polio epidemic in the 40s and 50s. That no longer happens. My grandparents saw people die from diphtheria, typhoid, and other illnesses for which we can be protected or cured through proper, tested medical care and vaccinations.

There is no comparison.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #7)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 12:40 PM

61. If only "woo warriors" paid as much attention to conventional medicine...

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/glaxo-chief-our-drugs-do-not-work-on-most-patients-575942.html

A senior executive with Britain's biggest drugs company has admitted that most prescription medicines do not work on most people who take them.

Allen Roses, worldwide vice-president of genetics at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), said fewer than half of the patients prescribed some of the most expensive drugs actually derived any benefit from them.

It is an open secret within the drugs industry that most of its products are ineffective in most patients but this is the first time that such a senior drugs boss has gone public. His comments come days after it emerged that the NHS drugs bill has soared by nearly 50 per cent in three years, rising by £2.3bn a year to an annual cost to the taxpayer of £7.2bn. GSK announced last week that it had 20 or more new drugs under development that could each earn the company up to $1bn (£600m) a year.

Dr Roses, an academic geneticist from Duke University in North Carolina, spoke at a recent scientific meeting in London where he cited figures on how well different classes of drugs work in real patients.

Drugs for Alzheimer's disease work in fewer than one in three patients, whereas those for cancer are only effective in a quarter of patients. Drugs for migraines, for osteoporosis, and arthritis work in about half the patients, Dr Roses said. Most drugs work in fewer than one in two patients mainly because the recipients carry genes that interfere in some way with the medicine, he said.

"The vast majority of drugs - more than 90 per cent - only work in 30 or 50 per cent of the people," Dr Roses said. "I wouldn't say that most drugs don't work. I would say that most drugs work in 30 to 50 per cent of people. Drugs out there on the market work, but they don't work in everybody."

Some industry analysts said Dr Roses's comments were reminiscent of the 1991 gaffe by Gerald Ratner, the jewellery boss, who famously said that his high street shops are successful because they sold "total crap". But others believe Dr Roses deserves credit for being honest about a little-publicised fact known to the drugs industry for many years.

"Roses is a smart guy and what he is saying will surprise the public but not his colleagues," said one industry scientist. "He is a pioneer of a new culture within the drugs business based on using genes to test for who can benefit from a particular drug."

Dr Roses has a formidable reputation in the field of "pharmacogenomics" - the application of human genetics to drug development - and his comments can be seen as an attempt to make the industry realise that its future rests on being able to target drugs to a smaller number of patients with specific genes.

The idea is to identify "responders" - people who benefit from the drug - with a simple and cheap genetic test that can be used to eliminate those non-responders who might benefit from another drug.

This goes against a marketing culture within the industry that has relied on selling as many drugs as possible to the widest number of patients - a culture that has made GSK one of the most profitable pharmaceuticals companies, but which has also meant that most of its drugs are at best useless, and even possibly dangerous, for many patients.

Dr Roses said doctors treating patients routinely applied the trial-and-error approach which says that if one drug does not work there is always another one. "I think everybody has it in their experience that multiple drugs have been used for their headache or multiple drugs have been used for their backache or whatever.

"It's in their experience, but they don't quite understand why. The reason why is because they have different susceptibilities to the effect of that drug and that's genetic," he said.

"Neither those who pay for medical care nor patients want drugs to be prescribed that do not benefit the recipient. Pharmacogenetics has the promise of removing much of the uncertainty."

Response rates

Therapeutic area: drug efficacy rate in per cent

Alzheimer's: 30
Analgesics (Cox-2): 80
Asthma: 60
Cardiac Arrythmias: 60
Depression (SSRI): 62
Diabetes: 57
Hepatits C (HCV): 47
Incontinence: 40
Migraine (acute): 52
Migraine (prophylaxis)50
Oncology: 25
Rheumatoid arthritis50
Schizophrenia: 60

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #7)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 05:51 PM

149. I don't agree.

There very much is a comparison, although I wasn't exactly trying to say there was. My point is that anecdotal arguments can go either way and actually my larger point is that I can't really blame people for getting fed up with the medical industry and looking for alternatives. I actually am not one of those people, but I don't understand the vitrol that is self-righteously thrown at them on this site.

Also my list wouldn't be people who received treatment and died anyway, but people who were actually harmed by negligence of the doctors, for example.

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Response to LisaLynne (Reply #3)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 11:13 AM

9. Please add my Mother-in-Law to the list of those killed by Doctors.

He was in a hurry to go on vacation so he wrote the wrong blood type on a transfusion order, rather than check her chart. Twenty minutes later, she was dead, and he was on a plane to Mexico. What Doctors have done to me would require too many expletives.

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Response to Pathwalker (Reply #9)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 11:32 AM

26. I have had more

bad experiences with "doctors" than not and have had more beneficial results in using traditional medicines than not.

In my experience and witness with others, doctors will carve you up and take your money. Folks who do as I have to care for myself are mainly interested in restoration of health and well-being.

There is a place for the scientific method but it can also be manipulated, like statistics, to indicate whatever you want it to and it all depends on how you frame "the question" and then how the possible results will be "tested". Unfair or biased evaluation doesn't help and there has been far too much of that in the medical industrial complex the past few decades for the sake of profit.

I'll stick to my natural remedies which include life-style choices and proper diet along with some teas and salves.

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Response to 2naSalit (Reply #26)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 12:01 PM

41. You are right. After my Dr. recently badly botched a medical procedure

on me, which had previously worked, one he performed on me for pain, it left me in far, far more pain than what i had seen him for. When I went off the drugs he prescribed, and the pain patches which don't seem to work, but cost tons of money, he then prescribed... acupuncture. Which the skeptics here insist is woo. In the meantime, I'm using an oil which would make them howl, but it helps. I'll also be trying the acupuncture. I have learned the hard way to be "skeptical" of the Medical Industrial Complex.

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Response to Pathwalker (Reply #41)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 02:44 PM

123. Depending on what

kind of pain, there are simple remedies that you can make yourself that work well and promote tissue regeneration as well. I have recipes, if you would like one or two, PM me and I'll share.

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Response to Pathwalker (Reply #9)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 12:54 PM

77. What Doctors have done to me would require too many expletives.

You mean...

what BAD doctors have done to you.

What good doctors have done for you you seem to have forgotten.... or don't remember because you were a child.


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Response to AlbertCat (Reply #77)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 01:07 PM

87. You ASS*U*ME badly.

n/t

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Response to Pathwalker (Reply #87)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 01:22 PM

100. You ASS*U*ME badly.

Not as badly as you reason.

But go ahead.... believe all doctors are exactly the same.

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Response to AlbertCat (Reply #100)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 01:42 PM

112. So, now you're a psychic who knows what I believe about

ALL Drs.? Show me where my posts state that all Drs. are them same - you can't. I know why THIS Dr. screwed me up, you don't, but you'll feel free to ASS*U*ME you can magically reason it. Do feel free to tell me why HE screwed up. I've had one Dr. save my live three times, another caused me to go blind in one eye, two almost killed me with incompetence, and yet another performed a surgery that gave me back my life. But, since you think you're a world class psychic - you already knew that, didn't you? Oh wait, you just ASS*U*MEd you did.

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Response to LisaLynne (Reply #3)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 11:24 AM

21. When that happens, its malpractice, but its standard with "alternative" medicine...

which, at best, simply does no harm, or may relieve a symptom or too, whether through a placebo effect or a mild active ingredient that's present in a plant or something. But, if you are seriously ill, those "harmless" practices will ultimately lead to your death due to lack of treatment for the actual illness, if you forgo that "deadly" evidence based medicine.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #2)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 11:15 AM

12. Holy crap, that's horrible!



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Response to HappyMe (Reply #12)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 11:17 AM

14. Yes. The "naturopath" was prosecuted

for maiming my friend, and served a two-year prison sentence. My friend, though, never really recovered from the loss of her arm, psychologically. I can't prove it, but I'm pretty sure she took her own life due to that. It was devastating for those who knew her.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #14)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 11:23 AM

19. It's scary to think that after he got out of prison

he could be bamboozling and hurting more people.

That poor woman. I can't imagine her physical and emotional pain after the loss of her arm. I'm sorry you lost her.

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Response to HappyMe (Reply #19)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 11:41 AM

30. And that's at the core of the problem - a lack of regulation

In most states, there are no regulations at all, nor licensing for alternative medical practitioners. Physicians, chiropractors, and osteopaths do have licencing in most states, but virtually anyone can set up as a naturopath, holistic healer, herbalist, homeopath, etc. In some states, like Minnesota, licensing is also required for acupuncturists, but that's not the case in many states.

What that means is that a person can "practice" those alternative therapies with no oversight at all. They can advertise, treat people, and provide advice without anyone overseeing what they are doing. While there are schools of natural medicine, looking at their course lists, etc. does not give one a sense of excellence. Worse, there are online and correspondence schools who issue "diplomas" to these alternative practitioners, who can then hang that on the wall and do whatever stuff they want to do, short of prescribing pharmaceutical drugs and surgery.

There are a few naturopaths who focus on botanical remedies that have been used for centuries and which actually have some therapeutic effects. Anxious? Have a cup of valerian tea. It will do something and may be all you need. I know a few of these naturopaths, and they do no real harm. I even wrote a website for an acupuncturist, who also does some traditional Chinese herbal stuff. Before I agreed to do it, though, I had an intensive interview with her and found that she works only with patients after they have seen an M.D., and doesn't engage in any worthless therapies. I wouldn't have done her website, otherwise, and the site was written in language that made it clear that what she did was non-traditional and was no substitute for medical care delivered by a physician. She was fine with my language and disclaimers, and is a nice, careful person. I've also done websites for physicians, but all such websites involve my being satisfied with the professionalism of their practice. I've also turned down several such contracts, including one for a chiropractor who dabbles in virtually every alternative "modality." I told him that I couldn't write his website in good conscience due to his focus on bogus therapies. He wasn't happy.

Medicine and health care is one of my lifelong interests, so I'm very well read in all aspects of it, from western medicine through a wide range of alternatives. Frankly, it's frightening to know that I could open an office, put a sign out, and advertise services as a Naturopathic Holistic Healer, and engage in providing healthcare services to people. Nobody would bother me, and I could do just about anything, as long as I stayed away from surgery or pharmaceuticals. That is scary. I can't imagine doing such a thing, of course, but I could.



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Response to MineralMan (Reply #30)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 12:53 PM

76. That's it. No regulations

or checks and balances, and any yahoo can claim that they will fix you right up.

It's good that you screen who you do websites for.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #30)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 02:20 PM

120. Depends on the state

In MS for example it's illegal exchange medical advice or treatment regarding a specific patient for money, however it's legal if operating with a license and the advise / procedure is within the scope of license. This law can be enforced by the DA OR the medical board.

This became a real issue when DCs started offering acupuncture. Eventually the courts found that the only medical licenses with the authority to do so was those of MD/DO. Even NPs aren't allowed to perform acupuncture, although PAs are allowed to if a physician is in the room.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #14)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 12:42 PM

66. Wait. So you "can't prove it"....

But you're claiming it happened on the basis of what? Your intuition?

Isn't that woo? Where's the science? Why are you throwing around accusations that aren't grounded in solid information?

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Response to uberblonde (Reply #66)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 12:49 PM

72. Bazinga!

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Response to uberblonde (Reply #66)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 01:07 PM

86. I can't prove why she committed suicide, but her missing lower

arm is proof of the practitioner's boneheaded error. No further proof is needed. The tea tree oil he injected into the joints of her hand caused her to lose her arm. He was a dangerous quack, who was convicted in a court of law of his crime. Is that good enough proof for you?

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #2)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 12:35 PM

57. Thank you for that story. Woo really makes me angry-- it is not harmless.

I've had experiences myself with people avoiding real medical care in favor of woo, and paying a price for it. Sick people often don't have time and resources to waste on untested bullshit.

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Response to Marr (Reply #57)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 01:05 PM

84. The only reason the alternative health care industry

survives is the fact that most human ailments are self-limited and heal on their own. Other health issues are not self-limited, though, and prompt and proper treatment may be lifesaving.

Sadly, alternative practitioners are generally not well-educated and trained enough to recognize the difference. And that's where the real harm occurs in many cases. If you go, for example, to an alternative practitioner with a sore throat, stuffed up nose, which may or may not be accompanied by a fever and cough, you can take that practitioner's advice, and your cold or flu will be gone in a few days, just the same as if you went to a doctor, or did nothing at all.

However, if, instead of a self-limiting viral illness, you actually had contracted pneumonia caused by one of the bacteria that can cause that, you might die if you didn't consult an M.D. If you wait until your condition is well advanced, you might die anyhow. And no amount of alternative health care can treat a serious bacterial infection.

This is why it's important to seek real medical care for serious stuff. We all recognize the symptoms of a cold, and most of us have had the flu, so we recognize those symptoms, too. We can just treat the symptoms, maybe stay home for a couple of days, and then recover, whether we seek medical care or not.

The same is true for most musculo-skeletal pain. Generally, a nasty back pain will go away with some rest and time. In fact, the pain keeps us from engaging the activities that make it worse. You can go to a chiropractor, who will do a manipulation, or to an MD, who will probably prescribe some pain medication and heat. Your back pain will go away in a few days or a week, either way. You can stay home and see nobody, and the same thing will happen in most cases. If the back pain does not go away, then it's important to get a proper diagnosis, since there are many causes of back pain that can be serious, including bone cancer, broken vertebrae, and other causes. The chiropractor will still just try to do adjustments and manipulations. The MD will probably refer you to an orthopedic physician, though, who has extensive training in such problems. Diagnostic tests, which might include an MRI will be done to find the reason for the pain, so that effective treatment can be provided. The chiropractor, though, has exhausted his armamentarium, and can do nothing more for you.

Western Medicine is full of specialties and diagnostic tools, along with a wide range of treatment possibilities. They don't always work, and some illnesses result in death. But, the successes are many, and most people receive care that results in a return to health, even when the problems are severe. Mistakes are made, too by physicians, but they, too are the exception, not the rule.

The alternative practitioner has only a basic set of possibilities. Sometimes what they do is either effective or not harmful and the person recovers from whatever is wrong with them. In most cases, the person would recover anyhow. But as individuals, most of us are not capable of diagnosing ourselves, so we don't know for sure whether we have a minor, self-limiting illness or problem. So, if we're smart, we visit our physician when we have something we don't recognize. In most cases, we'll be fine. If we choose to go to an alternative practitioner, though, we might not be fine, if our illness isn't one of those minor self-limiting things. Then, we might die for lack of proper treatment.

Playing the odds is fine in games of chance. For healthcare, playing the odds is playing with fire.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Original post)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 11:07 AM

4. The world is not magical

The denial of science in favor of magic is perhaps the biggest problem we have in this country today. Reason and science are falling into disfavor at a frightening rate.

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Response to Ohio Joe (Reply #4)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 11:15 AM

11. Science always looks like magic to the ignorant.

While I would prefer not to think of myself as one of Skinner's pigeons, when multiple people report "I did this, and this happened" investigation should happen.

And yes, I still think this is a beautiful, magical world; even understanding how a rainbow is created does not take away from its beaut, and the joy of seeing one appear.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Reply #11)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 11:20 AM

17. "Science always looks like magic to the ignorant."... And yet it is still science

Ignorance does not make magic real.

Appreciating the beauty and wonder of nature is not the same as believing homeopathy will cure illness... Far too many are willfully ignorant on far too many topics... It is both disturbing and dangerous.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Reply #11)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 11:22 AM

18. Please provide an example of a treatment that many claim to be effective, but that scientists...

...refuse to test.

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Response to eqfan592 (Reply #18)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 11:24 AM

20. You're about to get an earful about micronutrients...nt

Sid

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Response to SidDithers (Reply #20)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 11:27 AM

23. I'm not sure s/he will respond at all, actually. lol

Starting to think I'm on ignore with them. heh.

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Response to eqfan592 (Reply #18)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 11:47 AM

32. Follow the links to the two threads in my original post.

The story is there and ongoing. You are not on ignore - my children required my attention.



I can discuss *my* experiences. I have also spoken with others who have similar stories - one diabetic whose foot was scheduled for amputation which "magically" got better the week before surgery (yet his physician was not interested in the intervention he used) will always stick in my mind. He isn't on DU, but he is very well documented if you want to talk to him.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Reply #11)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 12:57 PM

81. even understanding how a rainbow is created does not take away from its beaut, and the joy of seeing

But there's no magic involved in its creation....none at all!

Neither is there any magic involved in your reaction to a rainbow.... absolutely none.

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Response to AlbertCat (Reply #81)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 03:05 PM

128. It was supposed to be a poetic analogy.

As I think my repeated "science looks like magic" should have conveyed.

Apologies if I was unclear and you were under a different impression.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Reply #11)

Mon Jan 6, 2014, 12:14 PM

173. The two definitely look the same to the ignorant. n/t

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Response to IdaBriggs (Original post)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 11:08 AM

5. In the English language, 'woo' is a verb meaning 'to seek the affection of another with romantic

or matrimonial intentions'. It is also used to indicate other agendas of persuasion, such as a politician who woos the electorate. To seek approval with an agenda. To woo.

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Response to Bluenorthwest (Reply #5)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 11:16 AM

13. A very appropriate definition for alternative "medicine."

Peddlers of such nonsense work very hard to convince people that what they are offering will help you, maybe even save you. All you have to do is write them a check.

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Response to Bluenorthwest (Reply #5)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 11:19 AM

15. As used by DU's Septic Community,

it is, as you pointed out elsewhere, a meaningless word. In fact, it's what's called in the world of writing an onomatopoeia word. That's a word invented to represent a sound made by something else. "Woo" is normally used to represent the sound made by ghosts, or at one time it was how people spoke of them and described their audible sounds.

So, our local septics are using a fake word with the dubious meaning of the sound that ghosts make, which is in turn yet another thing in which they have no belief. Quite ironic indeed

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Response to kentauros (Reply #15)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 11:25 AM

22. And somehow you think that is done unintentionally. THAT is the funniest part I think. ;) nt

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Response to eqfan592 (Reply #22)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 11:28 AM

24. No, I don't think it's done unintentionally.

I just think it's ironic that you use a made-up word as an insult. At least with my use of septic, it has a wonderfully appropriate etymological meaning of "to rot" because I think y'all's minds have rotted from an over-reliance on a form of skepticism taken to over-the-top levels

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Response to kentauros (Reply #24)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 12:13 PM

45. "made-up word"

All words are made up.

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Response to kentauros (Reply #15)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 12:15 PM

46. That's beneath you. (nt)

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Response to kentauros (Reply #15)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 02:15 PM

118. That differs from my understanding,

As I recall, the word "woo" used to describe pseudo scientific nonsense is in fact onomatopoeia, but has nothing to do with ghosts: it comes from the sound of the theremin which was often heard in 50s and 60s sci-fi films as background music while a man in a white coat provided an outlandish explanation for what was going on. So in other words, when someone speaks nonsense, we hear woo.

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Response to kentauros (Reply #15)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 05:42 PM

146. Septic???? Give 'em an antiseptic, then!

Are you wanting to say skeptic?

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Response to MADem (Reply #146)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 06:06 PM

151. No, I want to say septic.

I have a few other atheist friends around here (you know them as well) that love my use of that word and have used it themselves. It's most appropriate for the kind of septics as I've defined so far

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Response to kentauros (Reply #151)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 06:21 PM

153. Ahhhh!! Ho capito! nt

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Response to IdaBriggs (Original post)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 11:20 AM

16. Rick Flair: Jerry Lewis first user of Woo. Interview here...

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Response to L0oniX (Reply #16)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 12:26 PM

52. Beautiful.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Original post)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 11:29 AM

25. Ask Steve Jobs.

Oh wait, we can't. He's dead from woo.





I’m sad that today I’m adding a slide to one of my live presentations, adding Steve Jobs to the list of famous people who died treating terminal diseases with woo rather than with medicine.

Seven or eight years ago, the news broke that Steve Jobs had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, but considering it a private matter, he delayed in informing Apple’s board, and Apple’s board delayed in informing the shareholders. So what. The only delay that really mattered was that Steve, it turned out, had been treating his pancreatic cancer with a special diet suggested by the alternative medicine promoter Dr. Dean Ornish.

Most pancreatic cancers are aggressive and always terminal, but Steve was lucky (if you can call it that) and had a rare form called an islet cell neuroendocrine tumor, which is actually quite treatable with excellent survival rates — if caught soon enough. The median survival is about a decade, but it depends on how soon it’s removed surgically. Steve caught his very early, and should have expected to survive much longer than a decade. Unfortunately – and to his later regret — Steve relied on a diet instead of early surgery. There is no evidence that diet has any effect on islet cell carcinoma. As he dieted for nine months, the tumor progressed, and took him from the high end to the low end of the survival rate.

Why did he do this? Well, outsiders like us can’t know; but many who avoid medical treatment in favor of unproven alternatives do so because they’ve been given bad information, without the tools or expertise to discriminate good from bad. Steve was exposed to such bad information, as are we all.

<snip>



http://skeptoid.com/blog/2011/10/05/a-lesson-in-treating-illness/

And you know what really burns my ass? It's often people who have access to medical care, and in Job's case, the absolute best medical care in the world, who pooh-pooh medical intervention that many of us haven't had access to for years.

I would have killed (until 5 days ago when my ACA started) to see any fucking doctor at all instead of taking Advil for anything and praying to a god I don't believe in that I never got in an accident or contracted something serious.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #25)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 11:51 AM

33. Steve Jobs would still be dead.

 

By the time symptoms for pancreatic cancer appear, it is already too late to do much to help.

And an aside, real medicine is based on and got its start, with what is now called Woo. Large parts of it still are. Aspirin is the most well known. We take a pill, instead of chewing some bitter bark. Same thing.

Not all Woo is bad or fake and not all modern medicine is good and real. The truth is somewhere in between. As with most other subjects dealing with life, the whole subject of medicine is various shades of grey, not the black & white some would have you believe.
And don't forget the profit factor, either.

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Response to RC (Reply #33)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 01:07 PM

85. "...real medicine is based on and got its start, with what is now called Woo." No it didn't...

first off, the terminology for woo is recent, so it wouldn't have been called woo back then either, back then, snake oil salesman were called quacks, collecting pharmaceutical plants(and animals), and testing them for effectiveness and safety is a tried and true practice in evidence based medicine. And its still ongoing.

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Response to Humanist_Activist (Reply #85)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 01:38 PM

108. Reading comprehension?

 

Ahh, yes it did. Just because we may know better now, does not change history. Lot of what we call Woo now, was called medicine at one time by the same people that went to real accredited medical schools. When was the last time you were bled for some aliment or the other? Do you know leaches are back as real medical care?

Here try this for your enlightenment:
"The bleedings inflicted by Washington's doctors hastened his end. Some 80 ounces of blood were removed in 12 hours 18 (this is .63 gallons, or about 35% of all the blood in his body)."
http://www.doctorzebra.com/prez/g01.htm

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Response to RC (Reply #33)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 03:25 PM

131. I guess it was too much to ask that you might actually read the article.

You know, where it said that the kind he had gave him an excellent chance to survive if he'd gotten actual medical treatment when it was detected and not eaten rabbit food to self-treat?

Do you have health insurance, RC? Do you get regular check-ups? Lots of us don't have that privilege and find people who hand-wave off this luxury in favor of junk-science to be sad-making.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #131)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 03:36 PM

134. Maybe you should read up on pancreatic cancer.

 

Or just reread my post.

Maybe this will help:
Survival rates for pancreatic cancer
http://www.cancer.org/cancer/pancreaticcancer/overviewguide/pancreatic-cancer-overview-survival-rates

To answer you questions. Yes, yes, and none of us know what transpired between Jobs and the doctors. Only what made the news.

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Response to RC (Reply #134)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 06:27 PM

154. Or you could just read mine.

Steve was lucky (if you can call it that) and had a rare form called an islet cell neuroendocrine tumor, which is actually quite treatable with excellent survival rates — if caught soon enough. The median survival is about a decade, but it depends on how soon it’s removed surgically. Steve caught his very early, and should have expected to survive much longer than a decade. Unfortunately – and to his later regret — Steve relied on a diet instead of early surgery.


No answer about the health insurance, eh RC? No surprise.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #154)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 06:38 PM

155. I did, but you would have to read my post to get the answers to the questions you ask.

 

No answer about the health insurance, eh RC? No surprise.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Original post)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 11:33 AM

27. One persons woo is another persons

well that's an interesting take on it.

My back goes out I see a chiropractor, it helps. I have chronic muscle pain and I like acupuncture. Both have worked well for me.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Original post)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 11:45 AM

31. There is a difference between magical thinking (woo) & knowledge frontier

Things that have been proven false, or not proven to work but people still believe in or continue to push is woo and properly ridiculed as sloppy magical thinking that infects our society

This is different from things shown to work or suspected to work for which science has no explanation yet, and possibly no interest yet in investigating. This is a knowledge frontier worthy of respect, and is not woo.

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Response to on point (Reply #31)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 11:52 AM

36. Remember the recent "stop taking vitamins" study

That didn't check into whether there were any deficiencies, monitor absorption levels or remember that half the people on the planet are women who have been advised to supplement with folic acid because they might get pregnant?

Some of us didn't take it seriously.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Reply #36)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 11:55 AM

38. Remember how some DUers misinterpreted the recent vitamin studies...

and posted, and continue to post, strawman nonsense that didn't and doesn't have anything to do with the actual vitamin studies?

Sid

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Response to SidDithers (Reply #38)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 06:51 PM

158. +1 n/t

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Response to IdaBriggs (Reply #36)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 11:56 AM

39. Are you purposely misrepresenting the study ....

... or did you truly not understand it?

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Response to etherealtruth (Reply #39)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 12:13 PM

44. Yes, to both questions.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Reply #36)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 12:10 PM

42. Actually, the studies specifically state that this is NOT applicable to people with deficiencies.

...systematically reviewed trial evidence to update the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendation on the efficacy of vitamin supplements for primary prevention in community-dwelling adults with no nutritional deficiencies.

...

The message is simple: Most supplements do not prevent chronic disease or death, their use is not justified, and they should be avoided. This message is especially true for the general population with no clear evidence of micronutrient deficiencies, who represent most supplement users in the United States and in other countries.

http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=1789253




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Response to IdaBriggs (Reply #36)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 12:43 PM

67. Wow. I've got to tell you, this sort of statement makes me doubt your other claims.

You're either intentionally misrepresenting the study or did not understand it. There's no third option.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Reply #36)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 01:03 PM

82. remember that half the people on the planet are women who have been advised to supplement with folic

Half the people ON THE PLANET were advised to...well....do anything?


You are ridiculous.

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Response to AlbertCat (Reply #82)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 01:09 PM

89. Awesome - you've moved to personal insults.

You lose; I win.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Reply #89)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 01:17 PM

96. You lose; I win.

See how ridiculous you are?

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Response to IdaBriggs (Reply #36)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 01:49 PM

114. wait, you mean the study thatsaid taking vitamins were a waste of of time,

for people who had no deficiencies? I remember that one.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Original post)


Response to Name removed (Reply #40)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 12:10 PM

43. 'Woo' is a term used by the man who literally wrote the book on Big Pharma

and who is co-founder of the AllTrials movement, trying to get pharmaceutical companies to release all their trial data.

Mainly, though, I just think the psychic magic woo people are just too funny to risk banning.

http://www.badscience.net/2008/04/my-unfashionable-views-on-regulating-nonsense/

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #43)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 12:22 PM

48. I didn't know that

Thanks for the information.

a wiki page adds this tidbit: As a coincidence, the Chinese word "Wū" (巫 ) means a shaman, usually with magic powers.

I have usually preferred the term "quackery" ... but in light of new information I may consider embracing the the term "woo"

on edit: corrected the "smilie" inserted as part of the Chinese character

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Response to IdaBriggs (Original post)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 12:20 PM

47. I don't think that's a good definition of woo

The key characteristic of woo is that it's based on a non-scientific model of reality. This usually means their methods are unable to pass the scientific criteria you describe.

Let's take a look at some examples/hypotheticals:

-A bracelet is marketed as spiritual healing. Wearing it is said to improve you body's spiritual energy. This is woo. Neither the existence of spiritual energy nor a specific mechanism by which the bracelet affects spiritual energy can be shown to exist.

-You have had symptoms of a cold for two weeks and go to see a doctor. The doctor runs some tests and is unsure of what you have before all the results are in. He or she sends you home with a script for antibiotics. (Note: I don't know that a doctor would actually do this, I'm just trying to come up with an example). This is NOT woo. The doctor is relying on the scientific understanding of the germ theory of disease and is treating you based on his or her best judgement. The particular treatment may not been rigorously scientific studied (yet). The doctor will modify his or her treatment practices as new scientific research becomes available.

-Chiropractic is a good example of why people end up on the "wrong" side of the debate. Most people know chiropractors by the basic physical therapy they do. These treatments are what they have in common with science based physical therapists and have passed scientific muster. The problem with chiropractics is that they arrive at their treatments in a completely non-scientific way and therefore generalize their treatments in illegitimate ways. Traditional chiropractics assert that diseases in general are caused by misalignments of the spine. This is woo.

We all see a lot of chest-thumping about how liberals are "reality-based" and "math" becomes a rallying call and that's why you see such insistent pushback on woo around here. Woo puts the lie to the idea that liberals are inherently more reality-based or math supporting than conservatives and a lot of people, myself included, don't like that idea.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Original post)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 12:24 PM

49. The Miracle of Modern Medicine gave me 6 months to live, tops, over 8 years ago.

Instead, I chose to believe otherwise. I'm presently at the lowest stage one can be categorized at (previously end-term) and there's a cure on the horizon. Things like yoga (once woo!), meditation (woo!), and other forms of 'alternative therapies' do work, even if only by placebo effect (which doesn't appear to be the case). In fact, the placebo effect is the -ultimate- form of woo in and of itself.

Chicken soup was considered woo until whoops...it was discovered chicken soup works. Nah, there's too many individual examples of things that went from woo! to woah! for me to get too incensed about it.

Now if people choose to take woo -exclusively- as a -replacement- for modern medicine...well, that's a whole other can of worms. But as a supplement? Yah, I got no problems with that.

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Response to Shandris (Reply #49)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 01:09 PM

92. it was discovered chicken soup works

If you mean it makes you feel better.... it probably does. So would beef and barley soup if you like that. And it would make you "feel better" if you were perfectly well.

Placebo effects are NOT the substance "working".... it's your mind working.

But you STILL have a cold.

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Response to AlbertCat (Reply #92)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 01:33 PM

103. Yes, you do.

But the anti-inflammatories soothe the symptom. The thing is, modern medicine can't affect a cold one whit either, so the chicken noodle soup is every bit as effective as modern medice.

Placebo effects aren't the substance working, absolutely not. HOWEVER, the mind can't do it's magic for most people without the 'focus', if you will. So while the substance itself doesn't work, it is the -key- to the placebo effect working. It's a wonky little line. What is -isn't- is 'modern medicine', though...which is the only thing I was saying.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Original post)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 12:29 PM

54. I'm all about the scientific method, and have practically no faith in any alternative treatments,

but I also have no need to bolster my own ego be scorning and sneering at those who believe otherwise. I think adults are permitted to make decisions about their own care, and accept whatever consequences may come, good or bad.

When it comes to children, however, all bets are off. Kids generally are not able to make informed choices about treatment, and I have no problem with the government stepping in to insure that kids get the best, most medically-indicated treatments.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Original post)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 12:36 PM

58. "Woo" is a derisive corporate term used to distract attention from "poo"

There is an ongoing systematic campaign -- likely yet another well-funded Think Tank occult black-ops ploy -- to deride nature and natural remedies as "woo."

The campaign is aimed at distracting attention from the far more dangerous and injurious Scientific Materialist "poo" that corporations foist on people.

It's one of the oldest and most reliable propaganda tricks in the book -- distraction.


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Response to Berlum (Reply #58)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 12:41 PM

64. Someone's just mad they can't post about chemtrails anymore.

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Response to Codeine (Reply #64)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 12:45 PM

69. Actually, someone who is placid and who understands the Corporate Strategery

and who from time to time contends with the many corporate trolls who ceaselessly & occultly campaign for dead-end materialist "explanations" while trashing and deriding the natural realms...yet another human being who does his best to make the world a better place.

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Response to Berlum (Reply #69)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 01:14 PM

94. dead-end materialist "explanations" while trashing and deriding the natural realms

Oh Pu-leez!

"Materialist explanations" .... .... have done very well in the past 200 or so years. Just look around!

"Natural realms".... what other kinds are there? All science follows the same laws of physic that nature does. There is no other place but the "natural realm". Even when you are imagining magical crap.... you mind is doing it using the laws of physics.... the "natural realm".

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Response to Codeine (Reply #64)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 01:51 PM

115. !

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Response to Berlum (Reply #58)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 12:50 PM

74. well said...nt

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Response to IdaBriggs (Original post)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 12:41 PM

63. The third leading cause of death

is medical mistakes. I'm very pro-science, but I know that what often passes for "woo" are approaches that are not so much unproven by medical science, as simply untested. And for good reason. There's less money to be made in chicken soup for flu or honey and lemon for a cough. No one is testing mega-doses of vitamin C for cancer. Drug therapy, radiation and surgery are too lucrative. Some people think chiropractic is woo. And acupuncture. Lots of alternative approaches to health and healing have been, and still are, considered woo. Again, I'm pro-science. But woo is as woo does. And in many cases, we don't know.

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Response to Brainstormy (Reply #63)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 01:09 PM

91. Wow that's a grand conspiracy you concocted there, and vitamin C can cure cancer?

Holy fucking shit, you better go and collect your fucking Nobel prize!

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Response to Humanist_Activist (Reply #91)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 05:32 PM

145. I didn't say that.

But since apparently you can't read anyway, I won't bother to reiterate. Have a nice day.

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Response to Brainstormy (Reply #63)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 01:19 PM

98. The only thing a megadose of Vitamin C does

is make mega-doses of expensive Vitamin Pee.

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Response to Codeine (Reply #98)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 05:30 PM

144. Not necessarily.

Extremely large doses of C are not being tested. And at least nobody has ever died from an overdose. Not so with chemo, surgery, radiation, which is far more expensive.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Original post)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 12:42 PM

65. The world is a magical place, and we all have a lot to learn.

Uh.... no it's not. There is no such thing a magic.

Also... we learn things thru the scientific method.

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Response to AlbertCat (Reply #65)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 01:44 PM

113. how do you define magic, to say there is no such thing?

To me science is the most magical of all. But there are
so many definitions of the word and meaning is lost.

To me, that we even exist is magical, wondrous, full
of improbable surprises and beauties.

That out of stinky dirt comes fragrance and color,
that is magic to me. I know there is science to
explain what happens but it is no less magical.
There didn't have to be color, there didn't have to
be fragrance, or flavor.

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Response to Voice for Peace (Reply #113)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 09:24 PM

164. I prefer Calvin's snowmen, especially this time of the year.


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Response to longship (Reply #164)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 09:55 PM

165. love it. unforgettable snowmen of doom.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Original post)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 12:46 PM

70. Woo peed on my rug

Ever thus to deatbeats

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Response to DefenseLawyer (Reply #70)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 12:50 PM

73. This is what happens when you homeopathically fuck a stranger in the ass. nt

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Response to DefenseLawyer (Reply #70)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 04:18 PM

141. So you've been wooped?

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Response to IdaBriggs (Original post)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 12:51 PM

75. Must be serious stuff.

Most of the climate change, environmental and economic issues seem to drop of the map but start arguing about chiropractors or reality TV and the big guns come out blazing.
As I always seem to learn anew. Some peoples priorities are vastly different than others.

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Response to raouldukelives (Reply #75)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 12:55 PM

78. More likely we're all in general agreement about most of those issues.

Few DUers are climate change denialists, we all have a fairly pro-environmental stance, and we believe in economic reform for the 99%.

We have a much wider range of views on issues like quackery, pseudo-science, or conspiracism, OTOH, so longer, more conflict-driven threads on those subjects are nigh-inevitable.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Original post)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 12:57 PM

80. Well stated. Been thinking along the same lines lately. The word 'woo' seems to have become a tool

for shutting down discussions and asserting a sense of superiority. It's nothing more than bullying.

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Response to gtar100 (Reply #80)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 01:39 PM

109. ++


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Response to gtar100 (Reply #80)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 09:06 PM

163. That's exactly it. nt

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Response to IdaBriggs (Original post)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 01:03 PM

83. I trust the rigorous scientific process and peer review than I do the opinion of herbalists.

 

I see shit like this being pasted on facebook all the time:


It's deadly to be peddling that shit around. What if a cancer patient saw that and started eating sour sop in large quantities and quit taking chemo? There is no conclusive evidence that sour sop cures cancer, and taking it in large doses can lead to movement disorders and myeloneuropathy: http://www.hoax-slayer.com/soursop-cancer-cure.shtml

Peddle your woo all you want. But remember that there's a scientific process and peer review for a reason. The consequences can be deadly.

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Response to Vashta Nerada (Reply #83)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 01:25 PM

101. Way back when I was getting chemo

a friend came to me with a long list of all sorts of strange herbs and tinctures that she said I sould be taking instead of chemo. I thanked her because I knew she was coming to me out of concern and love. I threw the list out. When I lost my hair she was kind of peeved because I wasn't doing her 'treatment'. I'm not going to take medical advice in regards to cancer from a waitress with a list.

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Response to Vashta Nerada (Reply #83)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 06:07 PM

152. Hear, hear!!

Seeing that kind of crap on Facebook drives me bonkers! The same people who rant against Big Pharma seem to be enamored of Big Placebo. I have absolutely nothing against Alternative medicine, as long as it doesn't replace evidence-based medicine, and as long as it does no harm. Did you know that some traditional herbal remedies contain such "micronutrients" as lead and arsenic? Take enough of those, and I guarantee you will see an effect! Unfortunately, that can be death or permanent disability. It happens a lot among immigrant groups who rely on herbal remedies from their home country.

Another startling claim I spotted recently via the Natural News was that lemon juice can cure diphtheria. My own immigrant background uses lemon juice and honey as a treatment for the common cold, and when I get one, I head right for the stash of organic lemons I keep in the fridge. Because it does no harm, and might even make me feel better, if for no other reason than that it reminds me of having a day off school being coddled by Baba. But I sure as hell wouldn't advise it as an alternative to vaccination or antibiotics for a disease that used to kill people on a regular basis.

Some herbal medicine is perfectly safe, and can even be effective for certain conditions. Many of the most reliable medications used by doctors today started out as "folk remedies", and are still derived from plant sources. So when someone recommends Indigo Fatherwort (I made that up) as a remedy for headaches, I check it out in the Herbal PDR. If it lists no serious adverse effects, I may even wander over to the health food store and buy a small baggie. (You may not have access to a $140 medical textbook, but Google is free. Just be sure you're checking a reliable website, and not one hawking vitamins).

...where I get to overhear some clerk recommend "energized water" as a preventative and treatment for AIDS. That I didn't make up, alas! Sure, guy: condoms and protease inhibitors are a plot by Big Pharma.

The Natural News makes me stabby.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Original post)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 01:08 PM

88. Many of the people

who are using the term have different definitions for it, as evident by this thread. Perhaps the word should be retired.

I don't care about most of "those things," but like many people, I do have my pet peeves, and mine are vaccines and GMOs. These are two things that are very beneficial to humans, yet are often demonized for reasons that aren't based on science. Some people cannot be vaccinated, but the rest of us being vaccinated helps protect them from terrible diseases, yet many people are getting the idea that vaccines cause autism even though study after study says otherwise. GMOs have helped feed many people who would have gone hungry and have helped to keep food prices down. I understand there are legitimate concerns about the politics surrounding GMOs, and those can hopefully be addressed through legislation, but GMOs have been a boon for many poor people around the world. Yet many people are afraid of them for reasons that seem more vague to me than the fear of vaccines.

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Response to ZombieHorde (Reply #88)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 01:20 PM

99. This ^^^

Well said.

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Response to ZombieHorde (Reply #88)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 02:00 PM

116. Hear, hear

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Response to IdaBriggs (Original post)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 01:15 PM

95. The problem with saying "whatever works" is defining what it means for something to "work".

I did this, used this, ate this, drank this... and then got better, felt better, etc. -- that does not constitute discovering that something "works".

Scientific study and understanding isn't just an arbitrary standard posed so someone can feel superior to another person. It's the only way to make sure correlation is also causation, that cherry picking data isn't biasing one's conclusions, that you aren't just finding yet one more new way to trigger the placebo effect.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Original post)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 01:34 PM

104. Well said. Research and education are always evolving, there is far more to the universe

then is currently understood. Allow for possibility.

I wonder where we'd be if scientists had such attitudes. Where would we be as a society without the questioning minds of DaVinci, Einstein, Tesla, Pasteur & on and on? Question everything, be your own advocate, growth and progress are not stagnant, evolve and
thrive.

I'll take "woo" any day over fear, hatred and ridicule.

TY, IdaBriggs.

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Response to mother earth (Reply #104)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 10:05 PM

166. There is a difference.

Science adapts to new knowledge. Woo-woo doesn't. The reason why Pasteur was able to bring forth the germ theory of disease, when nobody before him thought such a thing, is that science is ultimately self-correcting.

Astrology is a perfect counter example. Ages old, astrologists have studied the heavens for centuries. (We Three Kings from Orient are...). But after the work of Nicolaus Copernicus, Leonardo da Vinci,
Tycho Brahe, Johannes Kepler, Isaac Newton, Joseph-Louis Lagrange, and Albert Einstein, and many more, the woo-woo of astrology fades into the distance as superstition and magical thinking giving rise to a very complex universe, but one whose properties can be studied, and even understood, when one takes the time and effort to do so. Using the work of those scientists, celestial mechanics calculations by Urban Le Verrier predicted Neptune's positions in the heavens precisely enough for it to be discovered, not astrology.

The sequence of people in above paragraphs above is instructive, both about nature, and the nature of science itself. The former attests to nature's complexities; the latter attests to both human imperfection but at the same time the strive to understand nature, or in this example, the universe itself. Science walks step-by-step, always reaching for the stars, but always humbly acknowledging what is yet unknown.

The woo-woo advocates fill the unknown with wild speculation and magic. Meanwhile science says, "We just don't know yet."

Isaac Newton said it best.
To explain all nature is too difficult a task for any one man or even for any one age. 'Tis much better to do a little with certainty, & leave the rest for others that come after you, than to explain all things by conjecture without making sure of any thing.


Meanwhile, the woo peddlers have all the answers. Just ask them. It's all magic. Or, (horrors!) quantum mechanics! Which to the woo-woo folks is a kind of wild card. To scientists, who have actually studied quantum field theory, they are playing a Joker.

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Response to longship (Reply #166)

Mon Jan 6, 2014, 11:56 AM

172. No one has all the answers, either side of the divide. We are all

out in the greater universe feeling our way around, stumbling upon ideas that appear to work for a while. Some discoveries serve us well for a longer period of time than others. The body of work that is science is very incomplete as well as any lore coming from the school of life. Sometimes the conventions of both overlap; e.g., the science behind aspirin and the lore of treating pain with willow bark. Other ideas seem too far apart to reconcile as "real"; e.g., the science surrounding death and that article from the other other day on children relating past life experiences. I don't know whether reincarnation occurs or if death is final, but why should it be so inconceivable that the energy that is found in a live person become freed upon the death of the body and be used elsewhere? No one knows the answers and it is the seeking that both groups have in common.

Science isn't always correct, humble, nor can its practitioners be counted on to be honest or ethical any more than the best snake oil salesman. We have had just as much garbaged pitched to us in the name of science as any. The tobacco industry and the asbestos industry come to mind about now.

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Response to Skidmore (Reply #172)

Mon Jan 6, 2014, 12:32 PM

174. Interesting that a person would compare science to snake oil.

Especially posting such a comparison on a Web forum built on the back of technologies from the incredible advancements in twentieth century science.

But it's all snake oil...

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Response to longship (Reply #174)

Mon Jan 6, 2014, 01:26 PM

177. You need to read what I wrote again.

Turning a blind eye to the science that has been subverted and misappropriated is dishonest. When science is allowed to be misused, it is as useful as snake oil. Whether that is communicated via smoke signals or on the intertubes is irrelevant.

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Response to longship (Reply #166)

Mon Jan 6, 2014, 09:32 PM

180. Science does indeed adapt to new knowledge, and absolutely science is ultimately self-correcting,

and whatever you call "woo" is a label, that you use to trash a whole lot of what can later become adaptation, new knowledge, and self-correcting.

longship, we are not that far apart, and I am glad you do realize adaptation, new knowledge and self-correcting, all means that we do not presently have all of the knowledge in the universe, my friend.

Am I saying there isn't a lot of nonsense that gets into the "woo" mix, no, there's some, but there's also a whole lotta that in what we call present day practice of medicine.

Now, quantum theory, OTOH, is the great unknown, but hey, I too am a work in progress.

Stay thirsty, my friend, for knowledge, and take care of your energy force, chi, prana, life is energy....don't waste it on trashing the unknown...it's a vast sea, that you and I may never fully understand, it does not negate or diminish the universe.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Original post)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 01:34 PM

105. Exactly, beautifully said.

The science experts, I mean the actual ones, got there
by open-mindedness, curiosity, experimentation.

The real woowoos, the closed-minded ones, need
to use their brains more creatively, wonder more.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Original post)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 01:35 PM

106. "Woo" is short for pseudoscience.

I am completely opposed to woo impinging on legitimate science. HOWEVER, I do allow for some woo in my own personal thought processes: minor occasional superstitions, wishful thinking, and silent prayers.

I'm a science-based realist in my day job, of necessity. But I make room for some spirituality in my personal sphere. And I'll thank people to not go about criticizing that, like it's their job to decide my beliefs.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Original post)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 01:40 PM

110. IF....

IF we could get studies funded on 'woo' that have little to no financial incentive to pharma

and IF we can make sure *ALL* research activities are not influenced by money

and IF we can progress research to develop better methods of studying interactions progress beyond a 'mechanistic' view (http://wariscrime.com/new/the-ten-dogmas-of-modern-science/)

and IF we can get honest reporting that doesn't parrot whomever funds the studies...



then sign me up as a 'woo warrior'. But until then, I'm going to keep reading the actual studies, not the 'reports' of the studies where 'they said...', and keep an open mind.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Original post)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 01:41 PM

111. Certainly woo can be dangerous

Just like MineralMan said.
Junk medical science can harm in at least two fundamental ways. First, an alternative medical practitioner can offer treatment for a condition that does not work, wasting time, money and perhaps allowing a condition to become worse. Second, a practitioner has a greater chance of misdiagnosing a problem and offering treatment for a problem that doesn't actually exist while the actual problem becomes worse. For example, if I have a stomachache, ginger root lozenges might be an alternative medicine solution. But what if it's stomach cancer?
Woo is what fools people to treat their cancer with candy.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Original post)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 02:23 PM

121. DU rec

Well stated

I just ignore the "it's woo!" bleaters. I know what works for me, I don't care what they think.

That said, I believe there is a place for both allopathic and alternative medicine.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Original post)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 02:56 PM

125. ROFL

I have a cure for everything. It is based on an ancient Chinese remedy, stinks like hell, tastes like horse urine, and might make you vomit, but don't let that stop you from taking "the cure for everything." It works!

Just send me $49.95, plus $9.95 shipping and handling for 2 doses and wait 6 to 8 weeks, or until you forget you ordered it.

Disclaimer: The FDA hasn't approved this, because it is bullshit. It is satire, but don't let that stop you from ordering it. It is based on an ancient Chinese remedy! You KNOW that's gotta be good. May contain melamine, lead, arsenic, and a host of other carcinogens, toxins, and possibly even some metal shavings. Not safe for animals.

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Response to Jamastiene (Reply #125)

Mon Jan 6, 2014, 06:52 AM

170. Lol!

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Response to IdaBriggs (Original post)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 03:27 PM

132. Woo is pseudo-scientific bullshit.

I suspect the word comes from the sound that people make when they're watching a magic trick.

That is woo.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Original post)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 03:57 PM

138. What is woo?

 

“Woo” is shorthand for “woo woo” and is not just limited to alternative medicine but rather represents an entire philosophy of credulity of the sort favored by New Age types. It’s clear that “woo” or “woo woo” can refer to either a person or a belief system. When it refers to the person, it is referring to a person who believes in woo. To me, when referring to “alternative medicine,” I view the “altie” and “woo” as largely synonymous, but woo has a broader meaning, embracing a wider variety of credulity. One thing is for sure, it is not generally meant as a flattering term–for very good reason.

So what is woo?

If I had to boil it down, I’d define woo as beliefs that clearly demonstrate magical thinking, uncritical acceptance of things for which no good evidence exists. This includes, but is not limited to, psychic phenomenon, ghosts, the paranormal, “energy healing,” the use of “colon cleansing” and “liver cleansing” to rid oneself of “toxins,” homeopathy (especially quantum homeopathy), and a wide variety of other mystical and pseudoscientific beliefs. Woo is resistant to reason. Indeed, woo has a double standard when it comes to what it considers to be good evidence. It is very accepting of a wide variety of fuzzy, mystical ideas, but is often incredibly distrustful and skeptical of anything having to do with “conventional” science or “conventional” medicine. Woos tend to be very quick to react to defend their particular brand of woo and very unforgiving of its being questioned.

http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2006/08/01/reader-mailbag-what-is-woo-1/

Spot. On.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Original post)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 04:03 PM

139. When Woo Colides, War of the Woo, The Day the Woo Stood Still, World Woo III?

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Response to L0oniX (Reply #139)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 04:09 PM

140. One might think you arent taking this thread seriously.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Original post)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 05:46 PM

147. Woo is the polite way of saying "bullshit snake oil". -nt

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Response to IdaBriggs (Original post)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 05:50 PM

148. It is the combined primary philosophies of the Woo Dynasty, of course. nt

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Response to IdaBriggs (Original post)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 09:04 PM

162. Woo is "making shit up" without any basis, and no supporting data.

Examples:

* Autism is caused by toxins in childhood vaccinations. Buzzzz! Nope! No connection
* Flying saucers landed in Roswell, NM in the 40's. Buzzzz! Nope! That was Project Mogul.
* Fukushima Daiichi is causing sea stars to melt on the west coast of North America. Buzzzz! Nope! Three reasons why not (with references).

One could go on and on through many woo topics: ghosts, psychics, creationism, Bigfoot, alien abduction (why do they always seem to want to probe? Is that aliens, or is it human psychology?), etc.

The things that woo topics often have in common:

* They are supported by anecdotes, not actual research.
* They are often based on fear, not rationale.
* They are often driven by ideology.
* The concept of a meme may explain their infective power in society. It does not mean they are right or wrong. Memes serve only their masters, the brains they infect. But there are ways to determine fact from fiction.

The solution to woo thinking is rational, skeptical thinking. Thinking based on the methods of science.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Original post)

Sun Jan 5, 2014, 11:19 PM

167. it's a word used by people unaware of the word "quackery"

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Response to IdaBriggs (Original post)

Mon Jan 6, 2014, 06:55 AM

171. OFFS.

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Response to IdaBriggs (Original post)

Mon Jan 6, 2014, 06:14 PM

178. A great answer to the question.


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Response to IdaBriggs (Original post)

Mon Jan 6, 2014, 06:18 PM

179. The official pronunciation is 'woo woo' or 'woo-woo'.

Although the origins of the term cannot be traced by traditional methods...

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Response to IdaBriggs (Original post)

Mon Jan 6, 2014, 09:53 PM

181. There is one thing I've learned from the woo wars.

And that's who needs to get on my ignore list and stay there.

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