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Bad Science Writer Talks About the Placebo Effect *NSFW*

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the I-want-to-believe dept.

Medicine 131

The Guardian newspaper's Bad Science columnist Dr. Ben Goldacre does a stand-up routine about medicine, the placebo effect, and the mysteries of the human body at Nerdstock. From a scientific standpoint, I can't accurately say how funny it is because I was told it was great before I saw it.

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Is he really talking fast? (5, Funny)

KPexEA (1030982) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918504)

Or do you just think he is because he said he was going to?

Re:Is he really talking fast? (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918550)

Or do you just think he is because he said he was going to?

Placebo effect

Re:Is he really talking fast? (3, Insightful)

northernfrights (1653323) | more than 3 years ago | (#34919104)

All I know is that the speed of his mouth and the speed of my brain were neck and neck the whole time.

Re:Is he really talking fast? (1)

a_nonamiss (743253) | more than 3 years ago | (#34919272)

I see what you did there. Funny!

Re:Is he really talking fast? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34919736)

WOW, I understand 1 word out of 5. Well, English is not my first language, maybe that's why. And british English. American I get allright.

Re:Is he really talking fast? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34920396)

That's just the Placebo effect... It's actually going so slow that it needed one year to reach Slashdot

Re:Is he really talking fast? (1)

md65536 (670240) | more than 3 years ago | (#34921674)

I had skipped past where he said that, and I didn't even realize he was talking at all until I read your comment.

Also, I didn't think that I was watching a video until I hit "preview" on my comment and read where I'd written about watching the video.

lol (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34918506)

newfag

Bad Science book (4, Informative)

flynt (248848) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918508)

I can highly recommend Ben's book "Bad Science". I bought a copy for each of my family members for the holidays. It gives a very realistic overview of the current state of medical research, both from the "mainstream" and "alternative" medicine worlds.

Re:Bad Science book (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34919370)

Thanks - just added to my ebook list.

Re:Bad Science book (4, Informative)

drfireman (101623) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920404)

Let's not forget his column/blog (badscience.net).

Re:Bad Science book (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 3 years ago | (#34921006)

I can highly recommend Ben's book "Bad Science". I bought a copy for each of my family members for the holidays. It gives a very realistic overview of the current state of medical research, both from the "mainstream" and "alternative" medicine worlds.

Despite the standup routine, this story doesn't belong in idle.

Re:Bad Science book (1)

Simmeh (1320813) | more than 3 years ago | (#34922040)

I had his book until my ex girlfriend burnt it in a ritual book burning of my belongings. Who said fundamentalism was dead? I also recommend his site www.badscience.net

Re:Bad Science book (1)

caluml (551744) | more than 3 years ago | (#34922096)

I did the same. "My" copy is at my girlfriends, and I bought one for my Mum.

Wow (1)

Philomage (1851668) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918518)

Those are some badass anecdotes.

Let me be the first to say: (1)

Meneth (872868) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918566)

Citation Needed.

Citations Granted (2)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 3 years ago | (#34919020)

Could not find the vomiting study in the rotating drum but I believe the muscle relaxant study was of Carisoprodol and can be found at this PDF [psychosoma...dicine.org] . The asthma placebo effect study appears to be this study on this new bronchodilator [nih.gov] .

If you're saying "citation needed" to imply that the placebo effect is not real, then I ask you why so many reputable institutions almost require a placebo group? It's obviously so they are capable of renormalizing the results to account for the placebo effect and not wrongly attribute their drug to something the patients caused themselves to believe they felt or to actually feel.

I might take issue with his claim that the placebo effect 'caused the muscle relaxant molecules to be more effective in relaxing the muscles' (or however he rambled it) as I have always thought that the placebo effect operated on a psychosomatic or neurological level [psychiatryonline.org] .

And now... (5, Insightful)

sconeu (64226) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918618)

I can't accurately say how funny it is because I was told it was great before I saw it.

And now, neither can the rest of us.

Re:And now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34918858)

And now, neither can the rest of us.

It's a conspiracy!

Re:And now... (2)

Minwee (522556) | more than 3 years ago | (#34919208)

Don't worry. There's a pill you can take that will make that feeling go away.

Re:And now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34919394)

Because everyone reads the summary.

Re:And now... (1)

furrymitn (1681200) | more than 3 years ago | (#34919610)

how is it not surprising, that in true /. fashion, both of those comments took place before reading/viewing TFA.

Re:And now... (2)

proverbialcow (177020) | more than 3 years ago | (#34919662)

Not me - I just clicked on the video because I saw a link.

What's this? A lemon party?

Re:And now... (1)

Chewbacon (797801) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920164)

I didn't think it was really that funny, but just amusing. I've read about placebo effects before and found stuff just as amusing. Like patients who were given placebos and told it was a narcotic showed trace indications of having the narcotic in their blood stream. Pretty boggling shit.

Just another way to say (1)

zzsmirkzz (974536) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918700)

That thoughts create and manifest themselves in the physical world.

Re:Just another way to say (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918816)

That thoughts create and manifest themselves in the physical world.

Modern medicine is just shamanism, then, isn't it? Different totems, but same result - the believers heal themselves.

Re:Just another way to say (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918862)

It's nice to believe that but reality is a lot of drugs have measurable, repeatable effects that placebos don't create.

Re:Just another way to say (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918884)

So... Didn't watch the video, did you?

Re:Just another way to say (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 3 years ago | (#34919012)

I'm pretty sure that if you were to email Ben Goldacre right now claiming that all medicine's effectiveness is psychosomatic, you'd not get a very positive response.

Re:Just another way to say (1)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34919302)

He says beliefs can override the effects in some cases but he never said that the effects aren't real in the first place. I assure you that there are many drugs that do exactly what they say they do without any psychosomatic influence.

Re:Just another way to say (1)

TastyCakes (917232) | more than 3 years ago | (#34919316)

If you actually believe this and are not just trolling, you are not familiar with anything Goldacre says. Much of his writing relates to homeopathy or "alternative medicine". He has an enormous amount of contempt for those people precisely because they try to convince people that their "medicines" - their placebo pills - are as effective as actual, properly tested drugs. So yes, this video suggests that the placebo effect is able to overpower the effects of certain drugs. But it very obviously does not show that believers always heal themselves by thought alone in modern medicine (or any flaky alternative medicine you care to list). Vitamin pills don't cure AIDS better than anti-retroviral-drugs, no matter how much you believe in them. That very example is the subject of this [badscience.net] , a chapter of his book not published originally due to a lawsuit with its subject, Matthias Rath.

Re:Just another way to say (0)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34919450)

So you missed the result where four sugar pills is better at curing gastric ulcers than two?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wsFTgirKXHk [youtube.com]

Seems like we have contradictory observations.

Re:Just another way to say (2)

NatasRevol (731260) | more than 3 years ago | (#34919650)

Or that giving the patient a placebo *and letting them know that* is better than nothing, and better than most IBS medicine.

http://ibs.about.com/b/2010/12/27/the-ibs-placebo-study.htm [about.com]

Re:Just another way to say (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34919702)

Yes, this too.

I predict that we're exiting a dark age of medicine.

Re:Just another way to say (1)

TastyCakes (917232) | more than 3 years ago | (#34919888)

No one is arguing that placebos don't have an effect, indeed that's what the video is all about. But it is stupid to say that all medicines are no more effective than placebos. It is stupid because unless you are incredibly uninformed, you must know that when they test medicines they test actual drugs against sugar pills, and if the people receiving the actual medicine don't do better than people on the placebo then the pill is a failure. By their very definition, drugs that have gone through medical trials are more effective than placebos.

Re:Just another way to say (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34919964)

But it is stupid to say that all medicines are no more effective than placebos.

Yes, that would be stupid to say, but most strawman-paraphrases are, aren't they?

I'm saying simply that the pill clearly does nothing. The human does it. Getting the human to do it will continue to be the trick. So it may well be that giving them the actual pill is the best way to get them to do it today, as opposed to the placebo. BUT the fact that the placebo works AT ALL is strong evidence that we're going to find another way to achieve this same result. We'll be able to get the human to heal without the pill, because again, the pill isn't ultimately responsible when you can get a human to do it without any medicine at all.

It's nuanced, but I'm confident you could understand the difference between what I'm saying and what you're paraphrasing it to be - if you're willing to try.

Re:Just another way to say (1)

TastyCakes (917232) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920350)

The placebo effect is an amazing thing, and often can have significant positive results. But I think you're extrapolating its powers too far. There are limits to its impacts, limits that have been mapped out it many studies.

It appears to me that you are making a strawman argument yourself, something along the lines of "Placebos can cure nausea and IBS etc. Placebos can cure anything!". Your base premise is wrong: people don't always heal themselves. Sometimes they do, but not always. There is no reason to believe that just because a placebo can treat IBS as well as a drug or surgery that a placebo could treat, say, cancer as well as a drug or surgery. In fact there are lots of well tested reasons to believe the contrary.

I'm all for more effective placebos. In some cases they can show doctors and pharmaceutical companies how to better deliver actual medicine (for example, the colour of pills affects their effectiveness, for purely psychological reasons). But suggesting that medicines don't do anything, that it's all internal to the patient and we could somehow do away with drugs and just use psychological effects instead, is just wrong.

Re:Just another way to say (2)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920526)

Actually the base premise is factually infallible:

Of the people that heal, they all heal themselves.

Or, if you'd rather:

A human body that will not heal cannot be helped by medicine of any sort.

One more try, perhaps:

Healing > Medicine

My final point would be that we could be researching HOW the placebo effect works in order to harness that power without using placebos. Getting the body to heal itself would be the ultimate goal, and I believe that the observables within placebo effects can lead us down that path.

Once those secrets are revealed, then not even cancer would be insurmountable, because again, exactly zero cancer patients who cannot heal have survived it. All of their bodies healed themselves. We need to figure out how to make that happen directly, and understanding the mind's impact on health would seem essential.

Re:Just another way to say (1)

Gripp (1969738) | more than 3 years ago | (#34919344)

most medicinal study's have control groups purely for the purpose of comparing results to the placebo effect - and are proven effective when the results are better than the placebo effect. so yes, they have a measurable, repeatable effect which the placebos do not. don't fool yourself into thinking that becuase this guy has proven to you that the body can heal itself given the proper motivation that all medicine is crap, that's simply not true.

Re:Just another way to say (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34919472)

I never said shamanism was crap, though. Without the power to induce the body to heal itself, then no, it clearly wouldn't work. But how it works becomes largely irrelevant in the face of the fact that it is the body itself doing all the work.

Re:Just another way to say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34919672)

most medicinal study's have control groups

The plural of "study" is "studies".

Re:Just another way to say (1)

Gripp (1969738) | more than 3 years ago | (#34919968)

lol, got me.

Re:Just another way to say (2)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920322)

It's the internet. He's just being a little fast and lose with his spelling.

Re:Just another way to say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34919512)

You must be new here

Re:Just another way to say (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920306)

It's blocked at work and was just responding to the poster.

Placebos DO have an effect.

And after you've taken some real pills for a while, then placebos can even cause some effect similar to the medication.

Re:Just another way to say (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920360)

A specific example in the video has subjects getting more tense after taking muscle relaxers... Check it out when you get home.

Re:Just another way to say (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 3 years ago | (#34921868)

I finally got to take SOMA for the first time in my life after a recent car accident.

It was nice and my back didn't go into spasm.

I went straight for muscle relaxers this time since last time (back in the 80's) my back was fine for a week and then went into spasm which lead to about 8 weeks of pain.

I've also used ephedrine for skiing and it makes a huge difference.

And I've used 4 hour nose spray for when I have a cold. The effect is real and nearly instantaneous.

I may get time for the video- not sure. working 12 hour days right now.

The fact that some people react a certain way to a certain drugs does not mean drugs in general are placebos.

Re:Just another way to say (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34921916)

I understand your skepticism. Please, though, don't try and assuage the points without taking in the content. All you can possibly do is speculate, and since you're not necessarily some kind of expert in the matter, it isn't necessarily a productive use of our time.

Re:Just another way to say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34920314)

To prove this is easy. Just ingest a couple grams of strong heroin, but "believe" that you won't stop breathing. The mind is truly more powerful than drugs!

Re:Just another way to say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34919456)

The video is funny regarding short term observations, but overall, medication works and can be shown that it works via statistical results in double blind studies. Double blind means that neither the patient nor the physician know whether the patient is receiving medication or placebo. The purpose of a double blind story is to prevent the placebo effect from having impact in the results.

Re:Just another way to say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34920472)

It's nice to believe that but reality is a lot of drugs have measurable, repeatable effects that placebos don't create.

That's because doctors believe in it.
For this reason they also have double and triple blind experiments.

Re:Just another way to say (1)

austinpoet (789122) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918874)

shame it doesn't work for God

Re:Just another way to say (2)

snookerhog (1835110) | more than 3 years ago | (#34919030)

"Did you make mankind after we made you?"

(thanks Andy)

Re:Just another way to say (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918950)

The placebo effect causes physiological and behavioural changes in the believer, and through social interaction, those around them. However its effects are strongly bounded. You cannot arbitrarily generalise the observation, any more than I could suppose from the existence of gravity that all forces are attractive.

Nice (1)

meerling (1487879) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918748)

I liked that. Either he's a really good speaker, or he's a mediocre speaker that's successfully put in a lot of work at getting better :)

Careful watching the video (2)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918832)

If you try to watch it all the way through, you'll get diarrhea.

Re:Careful watching the video (1)

aquila.solo (1231830) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918876)

Crap.

Anybody have any spare drawers? Size *mumble mumble*?

Re:Careful watching the video (2)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 3 years ago | (#34919002)

Mod parent up. I thought he was joking, but then I really got diarrhea towards the end.

Re:Careful watching the video (1)

mathfeel (937008) | more than 3 years ago | (#34919188)

Because you were told you will get diarrhea by the parent, so your body produced one per your expectation.

Re:Careful watching the video (1)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 3 years ago | (#34919932)

Outside of that, of the thousands of people who've read that comment, there's a non-zero chance that one will develop diarrhea-like symptoms through natural causes. For all we know MrHanky just got done eating Taco Bell and has digestive system was going to get a kick in the gut regardless of the fact.

If you tell people you're psychic and ask them to randomly choose a number between 1 and 100, eventually you will get it right and look absolutely brilliant.

Re:Careful watching the video (1)

Beezlebub33 (1220368) | more than 3 years ago | (#34921682)

Hey, you stole that! See: http://xkcd.com/628 [xkcd.com]

Re:Careful watching the video (1)

Kaz Kylheku (1484) | more than 3 years ago | (#34919206)

If you try to watch it all the way through, you'll get diarrhea.

Why, do they play the brown note at the end?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brown_note [wikipedia.org]

Re:Careful watching the video (1)

sskagent (1170913) | more than 3 years ago | (#34919924)

You're shitting me, really?

Re:Careful watching the video (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 3 years ago | (#34919984)

I'm glad I watched the video all the way through before I read tha......uh, oh, gotta run the bathroom. BRB!

afk. brb. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34920454)

OK, now what is all this about... shit. Hold on.

OK. Dammit! I'll finish this post later.

Fast talker (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34918838)

How many sugar pills did he take before he did this routine?

Re:Fast talker (2)

Somewhat Delirious (938752) | more than 3 years ago | (#34919164)

only one, but they told him it was speed.

Enjoy this one... (1)

Bazman (4849) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918906)

Seems the BBC didn't want to transmit this year's Nerdstock (aka Nine Lessons for Godless People). Oh well.

Thank God for MPlayer (1)

pugugly (152978) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918908)

Play at 80% speed, and you can understand the man.

Pug

Re:Thank God for MPlayer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34919596)

Are you American or something?

Re:Thank God for MPlayer (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 3 years ago | (#34919920)

Think at 125% speed, and you can understand the man.

No titties (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34918934)

Guys, I expected titties but there was just a guy talking.

Why is this marked NSFW?

Signing off, from Germany.

Re:No titties (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34918970)

probably because it contains swearing

Re:No titties (1)

hoggoth (414195) | more than 3 years ago | (#34919150)

> Why is this marked NSFW?

Ask me again while Ben Goldacre is skull fucking you with his data-cock.

Reverb (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34918936)

What's with the reverb when the audience laughs?

I wish we had television like this in the US (1)

acidradio (659704) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918940)

It is hard for me to fathom television in which something relevant and intelligent is presented, with a slight bit of profanity (just enough but not too much) and where the crowd is excited to hear it. Instead I turn on my television in the US and see the bitter dregs of society: The Real Housewives of ..., Jersey Shore, anything on the Oprah network, etc. Perhaps Dr. Goldacre has a placebo cure for those kinds of shows?

Re:I wish we had television like this in the US (1)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34919340)

Perhaps you are watching the wrong channels? There is intelligent TV out there. You just have to know where to look.

Re:I wish we had television like this in the US (1)

RazorSharp (1418697) | more than 3 years ago | (#34919570)

Really? Where? Or are you just going to keep that secret to yourself? South Park is about the most intelligent thing I've seen on my selection of channels.

Re:I wish we had television like this in the US (1)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920154)

Did you watch Planet Earth or Life on Discovery? A lot of the stuff on Nat Geo and the Science Channel is interesting, too. If you are looking more for debunking you can watch Bullshit by Penn & Teller. I guess it depends on what you are looking for. Sometimes you just have to flip around.

Re:I wish we had television like this in the US (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34920276)

Actually, Planet Earth and Life were created by the BBC. Discovery partially funded the project and used US actors for the US release.

Re:I wish we had television like this in the US (1)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920328)

You can still watch it on US televisions which was the point.

Re:I wish we had television like this in the US (1)

evilbessie (873633) | more than 3 years ago | (#34919564)

Ah how you must want the BBC.

Re:I wish we had television like this in the US (1)

acidradio (659704) | more than 3 years ago | (#34919660)

What I would give to have at least SOME of the BBC channels. We do have BBC America and I watch it religiously. But I could go for more, lots more.

Re:I wish we had television like this in the US (1)

1s44c (552956) | more than 3 years ago | (#34919912)

BBC iplayer?

Re:I wish we had television like this in the US (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920432)

BBC iPlayer is geo-locked. It's the modern internet equivalent annoyance - while once it was animated gifs and midi files embedded into web pages, now it is video services that refuse to play content if you are outside a specific geographical area.

You can get around them with proxies, but it's annoying. I can't watch clips of The Daily Show on the website, for example, because they are not available to viewers in the UK (at the request of Channel 4).

Re:I wish we had television like this in the US (2)

WarwickRyan (780794) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920628)

> Ah how you must want the BBC

Don't worry, the quality of the BBC's output is going downhill at record places.

The Wikileaks news coverage was closer to Fox News than it was BBC News circ 2005.
BBC One is now 24-7 cooking, property, reality or any combination of the three. Preferably with dancing.
BBC Two seems to be repeats of BBC One, plus snooker or darts.

BBC Three and BBC Four are where the quality content is to be found.... so the BBC have decided to close them to cut costs.

Re:I wish we had television like this in the US (2)

Darby (84953) | more than 3 years ago | (#34921174)

Ah how you must want the BBC.

UK Nova works fine ;-)

I only watched the first 5:30 of this video (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34919062)

Can someone tell me at when the funny part is so I can fast forward to that point?

Re:I only watched the first 5:30 of this video (1)

iammani (1392285) | more than 3 years ago | (#34919382)

Try 5:31

Well of course the body helps (1)

fluor2 (242824) | more than 3 years ago | (#34919250)

The mind have various strings it can pull to produce and help the body. E.g. we all know that if we want to get excited, you can make the body release adrenaline. The body and mind is somehow defined as a dead tool of some, however I think it's time we accept that the mind and body is a living organism designed to react and behave by stimulants beyond drugs.

so, what he tell is hardly surprising.

Re:Well of course the body helps (1)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34919386)

I think the fact that the placebo effect can completely override the real effect is pretty surprising. I can understand them netting out perhaps but that they actually were MORE tense than the placebo group is pretty amazing.

In review - Meh (3, Interesting)

pugugly (152978) | more than 3 years ago | (#34919482)

Not that I don't find placebo effects interesting, but what is it about a certain species of skeptic that says (in this case, explicitly says) they think the concept of people healing themselves through mental processes, whether you call it psychic or otherwise, is uninteresting and entirely unscientific to investigate.
Call the same thing "The Placebo Effect" however, and suddenly it's fascinating and scientific?

WTF Over?

Pug

Re:In review - Meh (5, Insightful)

zzatz (965857) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920354)

The influence of the mind on the body is interesting, and well worth studying. What's not worth studying are the bullshit explanations that people come up with to psychically move money from the gullible to the promoters.

Here are examples from a more easily studied area: perception of sound. The placebo effect is easily demonstrated with various audiophile gadgets and gimmicks. Make a change and it really does sound better. Or, more accurately, you perceive that it sounds better, because you expected it to sound better. But when blind tests are done, the difference can't be detected. Except when it is, which is why the change has to be hidden not only from the subject, but from the experimenter, to prevent the experimenter from unknowingly influencing the subject. It's amazing how people can no longer tell the difference between two devices when the tests are double-blind.

Some differences are real, that is, can be reliably detected using double blind tests. But the explanations may be nonsense. Some people prefer vinyl to digital, or vacuum tubes to solid state. There's nothing wrong with preferences. But to claim that one is more accurate than the other is not preference, that's a claim that can be measured. Vinyl has limited accuracy, easily exceeded by inexpensive digital audio devices. It's OK to prefer the sound of LPs, it's not OK to claim that they are more accurate. It is well known that some sounds may be more pleasing with certain changes made; boost the mid-bass, add a little second harmonic, and so forth.

The placebo effect is real. Homeopathy is a scam that uses the placebo effect. We can have the benefits of the placebo effect without rip-offs and mumbo-jumbo.

Re:In review - Meh (1)

Spad (470073) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920478)

Maybe because the Placebo and Nocebo effects have been repeatedly shown to exist in rigorously controlled double-blind scientific studies, we just don't really understand the mechanism by which they operate, whereas people saying that they use their psychic powers to cure people never stand up under rigorously controlled double-blind scientific studies?

To put it another way; just because taking a homoeopathic remedy gets rid of your headache doesn't mean that homoeopathic remedies work, because taking a sugar pill that you've been *told* was a homoeopathic remedy for headaches would have the same effect.

Re:In review - Meh (2)

Peeteriz (821290) | more than 3 years ago | (#34920756)

Anything that actually happens is 'scientific' enough to investigate.

Nature and the truth doesn't care about what seems reasonable and interesting - what works, works, and should be studied scientifically.

Old video is OLD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34919636)

that video is from 2009 (or maybe even from 2008)
Ben posted it again to his blog around xmas 2010, but that doesn't make it any newer.

Finally, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34920106)

a NSFW article on Slashdot. I've been missing those. I fondly remember the days when I used to come into work just for the thrill of watching NSFW videos while at work. I don't get that opportunity enough these days.

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