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View Diary: Ditching the "woo" - a minor rant (369 comments)

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  •  "some hypothetical chimera" (16+ / 0-)

    Like what, fer instance?

    Homeopathy?  Woo.
    Accupuncture?  Likely woo.
    Anti-Vaxxers?  Socially irresponsible woo.
    Deepak Chopra? King of the Woo-ers.

    "Alternative" medicine?  You mean like the "medicine" that Steve Jobs tried for 8 months that likely permitted his pancreatic cancer to kill him?

    I'm swatting this stuff down as hard and as fast as I possibly can;  people's lives (and their savings) are at stake.  They're not getting a wave off from me because their feelings might be hurt.

    If people who promote these therapies have the evidence and the science to back up their claims, we're good.

    If they don't, they're charlatans and snake oil vendors.

    •  i was just about to mention that (5+ / 0-)
      "Alternative" medicine?  You mean like the "medicine" that Steve Jobs tried for 8 months that likely permitted his pancreatic cancer to kill him?

      -You want to change the system, run for office.

      by Deep Texan on Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 08:49:29 AM PDT

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      •  SBM has some really good (0+ / 0-)

        writing on this. Read this, first, but also read the update.

        Good stuff.

        “…The day shit is worth money, poor people will be born without an asshole.” – Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez, The Autumn of the Patriarch

        by mikidee on Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 03:53:19 PM PDT

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    •  Pancreatic Cancer is Curable? nt (10+ / 0-)

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 08:55:12 AM PDT

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      •  a rare few can beat it. (6+ / 0-)

        Dawkins is to atheism as Rand is to personal responsibility. Russia Today=FoxNews, Seralini=Wakefield. yadda yadda.

        by terrypinder on Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 08:59:39 AM PDT

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      •  I'm not an MD; don't play one on TV, either. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cville townie, susans

        I could be wrong.  As usual.  But my understanding is that there are (at least) two kinds of pancreatic cancer--type one kills you very quickly.  Type two, if caught early and treated aggressively, has a much better long-term survival rate.  Jobs had the second type, which is why the first time he got it, he lived several years after his second diagnosis of it.  The second time, he "treated" it nutritionally.  Ergo, he died.

      •  Steve Jobs had a very slow-growing cancer (9+ / 0-)

        That had already spread years and years before he was diagnosed. He was a goner no matter what.

        The current state of oncology is that people go through treatments that are simply torture and end up with just a couple of extra years of life in exchange.

        "Societies strain harder and harder to sustain the decadent opulence of the ruling class, even as it destroys the foundations of productivity and wealth." — Chris Hedges

        by Crider on Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 09:05:10 AM PDT

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        •  Such certainty you have .... (0+ / 0-)

          I prefer the honest, science-based discussion found here.

          “…The day shit is worth money, poor people will be born without an asshole.” – Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez, The Autumn of the Patriarch

          by mikidee on Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 04:25:39 PM PDT

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          •  From that pop-sci site you cite: (0+ / 0-)
            Rather, he had the much less aggressive form of pancreatic cancer, a neuroendocrine tumor. These tumors are often indolent and slow-growing.
            So, what is your point?

            "Societies strain harder and harder to sustain the decadent opulence of the ruling class, even as it destroys the foundations of productivity and wealth." — Chris Hedges

            by Crider on Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 05:24:33 PM PDT

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            •  C'mon, honey .... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              G2geek
              That had already spread years and years before he was diagnosed. He was a goner no matter what
              Did you read the article? It's not clear, based on what was  known about his particular condition, how advanced his cancer was when it was first diagnosed. Yet you somehow know "he was a goner no matter what." Bill Frist comes to mind ....

              Unlike your glib and shallow commentary, that "pop sci" link I posted was written by an oncologist who determined reactionary blaming of CAM was just as unsupported as blaming the treatment Jobs ultimately received.

              Here's the thing - if you are agreeing that "biology is king and queen," no matter what treatment Jobs got, then say that. But don't presume to know either how much time or what the quality of that time for Jobs would have been.

              Unlike you, Steve Gorski acknowledged limitations of his knowledge and expertise, and respected the life of the man who died.

              “…The day shit is worth money, poor people will be born without an asshole.” – Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez, The Autumn of the Patriarch

              by mikidee on Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 05:56:29 PM PDT

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              •  You neglected the obvious (0+ / 0-)

                If the cancer was so slow-growing, the metastasization would have had to happened a long time prior to it's discovery. In other words, the rate of growth of the tumor was a known fact.

                Now, run along back to your pop-sci dottohead playground.

                "Societies strain harder and harder to sustain the decadent opulence of the ruling class, even as it destroys the foundations of productivity and wealth." — Chris Hedges

                by Crider on Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 07:13:25 PM PDT

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        •  Mmm... I had a 5% chance of living (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mikidee, G2geek

          due to the extent of my metastases. I was also a "goner." I was treated with heavy, aggressive surgery as well as radioactive iodine and chemotherapy (unusual for my cancer).

          That was about 25 years ago.

          Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

          by mahakali overdrive on Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 04:45:45 PM PDT

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      •  Case Where It's Found Early, Like By Accident (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        susans, wilderness voice, Silencio, G2geek

        I seems like it is generally painless until it is completely out of control and the patient is literally days from death.  Survival rates seem to be not bad if it's caught earlier and it's treated with surgery and chemo.

        Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness. -Pascal

        by bernardpliers on Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 09:33:24 AM PDT

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      •  Gooserock - Ask Justice Ginsberg. (0+ / 0-)
      •  The particular form Jobs had often is (0+ / 0-)

        It's a fairly uncommon form that has a much higher survival rate than the most common one.

        Unfortunately when smart and educated people get crazy ideas they can come up with plausibly truthy arguments. -- Andrew F Cockburn

        by ebohlman on Thu Aug 07, 2014 at 04:34:19 PM PDT

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    •  Yup, just like that. Assuming that a wider range (13+ / 0-)

      of interest always makes someone incapable of telling the difference between data based and faith based paradigms isn't the best way to go. Unless, of course, you're arguing from a faith-based paradigm yourself (general you), and the cognitive dissonance bothers you.

      I say alternatives, and you assume alternative medicine, and further assume that the greater potential is for harm, by cherrypicking those instances you know to be fallacies, and assuming that any deviation from the scientific norm equates to promoting them.

      The idiocies have to be put down, yes. Not necessarily by insulting an entire class of commenters, though.

      mouseover the bar (I'm practicing for DK5)

      by serendipityisabitch on Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 09:14:47 AM PDT

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      •  Eh- It's sticky... (5+ / 0-)
        The idiocies have to be put down, yes. Not necessarily by insulting an entire class of commenters, though.
        Take a look at the idiocies that are characteristic of the Christian Right. Nobody around here seems to have a problem insulting that whole class.

        I see a lot of stuff that is every bit as faith-based and every bit as dangerous every day from the dKos anti-science brigade.

        If it's appropriate to point out that kind of magical thinking as "woo", why is it not appropriate to point out this kind of magical thinking as "woo"?

        Conversely, if we're going to accept psuedoscience as a valid worldview that must be respected, and whose proponents should not be mocked- Are we willing to extend that courtesy to other flavors of magical thinking?

        I have to admit, I find it hilarious when alternative med folks describe themselves as non-religious.

        •  If we alienate all religious people at this site (7+ / 0-)

          Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists and all the rest, how many progressive voters will we have left?  Last time I checked, this website was for promoting more and better Democrats, not alienating non-atheists.  Every time I have seen an attack on a religious group here, there has been some pushback.

          If you want to rant about how smart and rational you are, a good place for that is James Randi's website, where everyone who comes there to post knows they are going to be on woo defense.

        •  It strikes me that you may be conflating a strong (4+ / 0-)

          interest in the area with an anti-science standpoint. One of the things I'm trying to point out is that the two do not necessarily conflate.

          If, of necessity, the whole area qualifies only as "magical thinking" and/or "pseudoscience" (btw, the two terms are not particularly equivalent), then perhaps you're right. Personally, I like to separate my definitions a bit more strictly. It's quite possible to be interested in oddball phenomena without having a vested interest in having them be "true".

          mouseover the bar (I'm practicing for DK5)

          by serendipityisabitch on Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 10:08:19 AM PDT

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        •  Acupuncture is not "faith based." (0+ / 0-)

          you lump all "other ideas" into one basket of dismissal and that is just as short-sighted

          "The poor can never be made to suffer enough." Jimmy Breslin

          by merrywidow on Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 10:59:17 AM PDT

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        •  Sticky, yes. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          serendipityisabitch

          Thanks Remembering Jello for this comment that comes closest to expressing my own concerns.

          People see themselves as right because that makes them feel good about themselves. On this site, we try to be more inclusive and less dogmatic about it, compared with, say, a republican right wing site or a fundamentalist Christian site.  

          But we still see ourselves as right, versus the others that are wrong.

          At this point, some of us are saying "but they ARE wrong". And possibly "I'm just pointing out their wrongness because their wrongness is causing damage, so it must be countered".

          If we want unity for the purpose of electing more and better democrats, then divisive diaries are counter-productive.

          If we can include both woo-thinkers and reality-basers within our concept of "progressive democrats", we will be stronger as a group. There is no benefit to making those of either stripe feel so unwelcome here that they leave, taking their other talents and contributions with them.

          Maybe we can use this site as an opportunity to practice being respectful with each other. Someday we might even be able to disagree respectfully with republicans and fundamentalists.

          working for a world that works for everyone ...

          by USHomeopath on Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 11:41:35 AM PDT

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        •  "Call your friends by the names they choose, and.. (0+ / 0-)

          ... call your enemies by the names you choose."

          The reason we come down hard on the religious right is that the religious right is systematically mean, cruel, and tyrannical, and it seeks to impose its ideology on others via both the laws of the land and overt terrorism.

          The fact that they believe (for example) that the universe is 6,000 years old isn't the problem: the fact that they seek to impose that belief upon others is the problem.  But along the way, what happens is that we conflate the form with the content: the tyrannical form with the belief content that the tyranny is used to promote.

          This has begun to reach the point where religious progressives get the same kind of shit that should be reserved for religious righties.  And that's wrong.

          It's wrong on principle because it's bigotry.  "All Christians" resembles nothing so much as "All Jews" and "All Blacks" etc.

          It's wrong on politics because one of the central premises of progressive politics is the "consenting adult" principle: people have the right to believe whatever, so long as they aren't hurting anyone else (and BTW, anti-vaxxism is not that: it hurts others by breaking herd immunity and producing disease outbreaks).

          And it's wrong on pragmatism for the simple reason that if we piss off and alienate a wide swath of potential Democratic voters, we lose.

          We got the future back. Uh-oh.

          by G2geek on Thu Aug 07, 2014 at 02:37:09 AM PDT

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    •  Accupuncture/pressure can do some things (6+ / 0-)

      Just, not everything many proponents claim.

      Some aspects of this so-called "woo" term are context-specific, as in, "how far will you go in claiming that a given treatment or regimen will provide specific benefits?"

      Will accupressure cure arthritis?  No.

      Will it help with temporary pain relief and enhanced movement of tightened muscles/connective tissue related to arthritis?  Possibly.

      "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

      by wader on Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 09:37:28 AM PDT

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      •  No one claims acupuncture cures arthritis (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wader

        but pain relief from this treatment is medicine as much as a pill is, so I hope this is not on your "woo" list.

        a lot of the problem people here have with complementary medicine is ASSUMING others advocate herbs and no surgery for cancer, for example, instead of as part of an overall treatment plan

        "The poor can never be made to suffer enough." Jimmy Breslin

        by merrywidow on Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 10:53:50 AM PDT

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        •  Perhaps you'd be surprised what people claim. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wader

          People claim that spinal "adjustments" cure cancer.

          To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

          by UntimelyRippd on Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 11:40:21 AM PDT

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        •  I am supporting the diarist's point that (3+ / 0-)

          there are often black/white shutoffs of consideration for some ideas, usually due to extreme assumptions.

          And yes, I hear many people claim that various alternative therapies for truly serious medical issues can be either "turned around" or managed through relatively simple manipulations on the body.

          I'm living post-chronic-Lyme and am unfortunately rather acquainted with all sorts of complementary therapies, mostly because most of the standard practitioners of medicine I speak with tend to prescribe medications that would alter my emotional state and worse - for things that I can simply bear with discomfort, but manage through tactical meds and strategic physical therapies.

          Yet, in the Lyme-infected community, I've read so many woo-like ideas and claims . . . much of it paralleled in communities for different infections and/or conditions.

          "So, please stay where you are. Don't move and don't panic. Don't take off your shoes! Jobs is on the way."

          by wader on Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 01:37:13 PM PDT

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          •  When Western medicine can't help I am sure (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wader

            people will try any kind of crazy idea and I would support them in trying, you never know, but only AFTER you tried the "tested" treatments.

            The sad thing is there are other ways to help people but the hucksters and the irresponsible make it tough to get respect for the sincere practitioners.

            "The poor can never be made to suffer enough." Jimmy Breslin

            by merrywidow on Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 04:24:21 PM PDT

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    •  Its fine to use whatever is there if you are dying (0+ / 0-)

      and no western medicine can help, he was dying, nothing else would have helped

      "The poor can never be made to suffer enough." Jimmy Breslin

      by merrywidow on Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 10:55:13 AM PDT

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    •  Deepak Chopra doesn't even rate, in comparison... (0+ / 0-)

      .... to Andrew Wakefield and Jenny What's Her Name.

      Last I checked, Chopra was pretty good on comparative religion, majorly sloppy on science, but at least wasn't personally responsible for outbreaks of dangerous diseases such as measles and pertussis.

      IMHO, if someone can lose their 2nd Amendment rights for using a firearm in ways that harm innocent people, then someone should also be able to lose their 1st Amendment rights for using their mouths in ways that harm innocent people.  That would be Wakefield.

      We got the future back. Uh-oh.

      by G2geek on Thu Aug 07, 2014 at 02:19:33 AM PDT

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