Friday, October 14, 2011

To BS or not to BS

Homeopathy, power crystals, energy bracelets, psychic healing, reiki, the list goes on and on. Placebo effect aside, this shit doesn't work. Countless times they've all been proven not to work. Yet, people continue spending and making millions on these ineffective, pseudospiritual remedies. Knowing how hard I've had to work for every a dollar I have, it truly hurts my heart to see people waste money on these obvious scams. All that aside, it's still hard for me to sit in judgment of the buyers AND the sellers of these "therapies."

I don't think most people are completely stupid, but there are plenty of people that are completely desperate. You're broke, you don't have insurance, but you really need help for your severe depression. You have lupus, but nothing your doctors recommend seems to ease your pain. You've been diagnosed with cancer, you're struggling to survive, and all scientific medical treatments have failed. These desperate scenarios are not hard for me to imagine, especially because I've been in one of them.

It's so easy to think, "Well, if all else fails, why not?" Of course we know through anecdotal evidence that these therapies "work" for some people. We've read all these wonderful testimonials, we've even met people that these things have helped. Why would they lie? Well, maybe they aren't lying so far as they know. We can never know what flukes may have happened and we can never know what we don't yet know. The danger comes when that one testimonial from that one fluke becomes viral and people who could be saved the scientific way opt not to and end up dead. Case and point: Andy Kaufman.

Or, perhaps your stage IV carcinoma of the liver that was too far along to be helped by modern medicine really did go into remission, coincidentally you started wearing a holographic chi magnet on your ass. Suddenly, your best friend is diagnosed with the very beginnings of stages of carcinoma of the liver, maybe you two did too much drinking together in college, and you tell your best friend, "All those medications and therapies don't work. Here, have a magnet. That's what saved my life." Your friend believes you and then dies of cancer before you do because she never sought real help. She could have lived because her cancer was detected early. How's your dumb, little magnet now?

The real pisser is when people claim we don't know "the TRUTH because of the agenda of the pharmaceutical companies." Yeah, I'm sure you never considered making money when venturing into your woowoo, alt-med, bullshit practice. I'm sure you're just doing it for the good of humanity. Not that pharmaceutical companies can be trusted 100%, but for them to block clinical research of woowoo is certainly not a part of their agenda. They'd much rather spend that money on expensive commercials. Even worse is when a therapy fails and we're told it's because we didn't believe in it enough. Yeah, clap if you want Tinkerbell to live.

When we go searching for data on efficacy of any given alternative therapy, there isn't any. All of these therapies rely heavily, sometimes exclusively, on testimonials. The plural of "anecdote" is not "data," but we're told to favor anecdotal evidence over clinical research. And, we let it kill us.

All that being stated, I still have an extremely hard time believing that the folks selling these scams are fully aware that they're full of shit and are knowingly and willingly ripping people off. Maybe I'm a little too optimistic about believing genuine goodness is inherent in most people's hearts. Certainly, when one friend tells another that magnet therapy saved her life, she isn't trying to scam anyone and she isn't making any money. The magnets aren't even that expensive. They even come with a little instruction booklet. What about the other "therapists" and witch doctors "doctors" that charge a minimum of $70/hour for a session of spiritual healing? Do they really believe they're helping people? Do they know they're full of shit? Do they know that they could be indirectly killing people?

Certainly not....right?


I may differ with a lot skeptics on this, but I cannot honestly look into another human being's eyes and believe that anyone is capable of being that evil. They must believe in what they're doing. I have to believe they do. The road to hell may be paved with good intentions, but that's better than bricks of deceit. Pin It

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