Testing whether magic works.

Discussion in 'Critical Discussions Among Proponents and Skeptics' started by malf, Sep 2, 2014.

  1. malf

    malf Member

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  2. Bucky

    Bucky Member

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    Lovely work of peer-reviewed political activism.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2014
  3. malf

    malf Member

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    Peer reviewed
     
  4. Bucky

    Bucky Member

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    Sorry, fixed :)
     
  5. Max_B

    Max_B Member

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    Damn interesting that placebo effect...
     
  6. malf

    malf Member

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    That's better... ;)

    It's nice to have the approved response option of 'peer reviewed political activism' next time I have to plough through a Radin paper... ;)
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2014
  7. Bucky

    Bucky Member

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    That's strange... last time I checked Radin's work didn't concentrate on disparaging other fields of research with carefully cherry picked data and a buckload of logical fallacies.

    Novella/Gorsky's article is so biased that even the flying spaghetti monster would be ashamed ;)
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2014
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  8. steve001

    steve001 Member

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    Could any of the respondents, excluding Malf, explain the appeal CAM's have, from a personal or general perspective or both?
     
  9. malf

    malf Member

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    It is. But outperforming it is cooler...
     
  10. fls

    fls Member

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    I doubt the piece was peer-reviewed, malf. It's more like an opinion piece accepted by an editor for publication.

    Linda
     
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  11. Bucky

    Bucky Member

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    Any chronic, non life-threating condition will do. Using CAM as the sole type of treatment or as a complement to conventional therapy.
    There's a reason why they are called complementary, right?

    Modern allopathic medicine is fantastic and life-saving for most acute situations, broken limbs etc... and mostly powerless if not detrimental with chronic ailments. CAMs can be very effective, without horrible or persistent side effects.

    There is no silver bullet, each case has its context and history. An aspect that Novella completely fails to even mention.
    This is not an either/or type of approach like this sort of propaganda (the article in the OP) once again ignores to acknowledge. The more tools we have to improve people's health without harm, the better.

    EBM, evidence based medicine, seems very "fashionable" these days but it's a pretty controversial approach with a well rooted and narrow philosophy at his core. It's sold as "objective medicine" while there isn't such a thing. Additionally critics even question the evidence itself for EBM, which is quite ironic.

    As this article mentions:

    Today EBM is a loaded gun at clinicians’ heads. “You better do as the evidence says,” it hisses, leaving no room for discretion or judgment. EBM is now the problem, fueling overdiagnosis and overtreatment.

    http://www.bmj.com/content/348/bmj.g22

    I think Novella & C could use a bit of self-criticism.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2014
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  12. fls

    fls Member

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    I dunno. It turned out to be not much of anything. Some of the conditioning studies (like training people to release dopamine or opioid agonists) are interesting, but whether or not they have anything to do with the 'placebo effect' is questionable. And they don't do much of anything either, in the end (they are undirected and you have to have a pill that works in the first place in order to do the training, and the effects are weak and short-lived compared to just using the treatment).

    Linda
     
  13. Bucky

    Bucky Member

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    Without horrible side effects, indeed.
     
  14. fls

    fls Member

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    That's a good opinion piece. However, I doubt Novella would disagree with it. It's not a criticism against the idea of weighing evidence, but against having the process hijacked by PHARMA.

    I also doubt that Novella would disagree with the idea that "the more tools we have to improve people's health without harm, the better." That's what the article is about, after all - "what tools can we reasonably believe will improve people's health without harm?" His point was that some of what falls under CAM doesn't have a hope in hell of improving people's health.

    Linda
     
  15. Bucky

    Bucky Member

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    Sure, I agree.
    According to the mechanistic, narrow minded assumptions advocated by Novella et al. it seems that those conclusions are unavoidable.
     
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  16. fls

    fls Member

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    I doubt he's making assumptions which are any different from proponents of CAM. The idea is that a treatment improves health, which means that people feel better, or they are disease-free, or they live longer. Stuff like that. And Novella is pointing out that when these CAM therapies are tested, they don't actually accomplish any of that - they aren't really any different from doing nothing. For example, in the Bernadette Doran energy healing thread, Jim Smith gave a list of studies which supposedly provided evidence for healing at a distance, but none of those studies showed that the treatment improved health (note: the second study is a joke study published in the BMJ Christmas issue, which is a satirical, humorous, not meant to be taken seriously, issue). Novella is just asking when we can stop wasting our time testing this stuff when the studies have consistently been negative in terms of improving health.

    http://www.skeptiko-forum.com/threads/252-bernadette-doran-on-energy-healing.1219/page-3#post-33672

    Linda
     
  17. Bucky

    Bucky Member

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    Yeah, people who try acupuncture and don't feel any better will feel the urge to keep going because they love spending time and money in something that is of no use.

    Wicked acupuncturists, what kind of mind tricks do they play!
    This is just plain stupid(*), because first you have to accept his assumptions (or those of EBM) and then you come to such conclusion.

    See?? There are no such things as red roses! We have put on a pair of red lens glasses and searched everywhere. No evidence.

    (*) = I am referring to Novella's conclusions
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2014
  18. fls

    fls Member

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    Yeah, it is a pervasive idea that if you feel better after using something, you feel better because you used that thing. That was one of the things that was discovered when treatments were compared to doing nothing. A surprising number of people will feel better even when nothing has been done. What Novella is referring to is experiments where there is no difference between the CAM treatment and doing nothing, in terms of how many people feel better.

    But these assumptions are the same as you and any other CAM proponent makes. "If I use this treatment, will I improve my health more than if I don't?" There's nothing stupid about wanting an answer to that question.

    Linda
     
  19. billw

    billw New

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    I could be wrong, but I thought I read a quote by Novella saying something to the effect that no further studies are justified due to lack of evidence. Yet, there are some positive results reported--as a single example:

    http://www.mskcc.org/blog/clinical-trials-analysis-finds-acupuncture-effective-treating-chronic-pain

    I also wonder if the studies go into any great depth with regards to the practitioners experience. I personally know western physicians who employ acupuncture in their practice after taking some courses on it, yet their knowledge is no where near others who have studied TCM and that whole philosophy for their entire lives. I think further study is indeed warranted.

    Cheers,
    Bill
     
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  20. MasterWu

    MasterWu New

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    Whats the hypothetical basis of acumpture? Was it chi or it just claims to hit physical nervs?
     

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