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Tags alternative medicine , Timothy Caulfield

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Old 5th November 2019, 06:24 AM   #1
dann
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A User's Guide to Cheating Death - Canadian TV series

Is anybody familiar with this series? It appears to be a skeptical series about the health 'industry', and Danish TV (DR3) broadcasts two episodes this afternoon (14:50 & 15:35). The impression that I get from Wikipedia about the guy behind the series is very positive: Timothy Caulfield (Wikipedia)

A User's Guide to Cheating Death (IMDb)
A User's Guide to Cheating Death (RottenTomatoes)
A User's Guide to Cheating Death (Daily Motion)

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"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
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Old 5th November 2019, 06:34 AM   #2
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I see he has some on You Tube, one is a TED talk. No time now, later today.
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Old 5th November 2019, 11:27 AM   #3
wasapi
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I just read the Rotten Tomato's. It sounds interesting, and will check it out.
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Old 6th November 2019, 03:48 AM   #4
dann
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Danes can watch both seasons of the show for the rest of this month (almost: Nov. 29) on DR.dk: A User's Guide to Cheating Death/Sådan narrer du døden I don't know if you can watch them if you log on from another country, but I guess that you probably can't.

I watched the first half of one episode and found that it had too many 'woo-says-skeptic-says' clips without sufficient explanations to convince others than skeptics because we already know about stuff like argumentum ad naturam, but I will have to watch a couple of episodes all the way through to make sure that it is (or isn't) the case.
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"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
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Old 6th November 2019, 08:33 AM   #5
dann
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I have now watched one whole episode - the one about detoxing - and it makes me wonder about the audience of science shows like this:

1) On the one hand, I think that most skeptics may enjoy hearing the weird theories of detox suppliers confronted by statements from actual experts on human physiology, but on the other, I didn't learn anything new at all, which I find annoying because I also don't think that ordinary people will be drawn in by the show.
2) I don't really think that the detox crowd will learn much from the episode because it gives the supply side of detox too much leeway. At one point, for instance, one of the experts says about a detox treatment, 'But if it makes you feel good, go ahead and do it.'
It was implied that what makes people feel good is nothing but the placebo effect, but it wasn't really made 100% clear, which I guess that the detox suppliers will be grateful for. In other words: The detox effect is there as long as people believe in it so I consider it to be similar to the indulgent attitude that some medical doctors have to the ignorance of their patients: 'Well, since I can't persuade you that you are wasting your money, go ahead and visit a quack as long as it's only complementary to the treatment that I give you.'
Complementary = something that makes you feel good only because you believe in it, not because the juice, treatment, whatever, has an actual effect other than that. I.e. 'go ahead and waste your money and enrich the purveyors of quackery since you don't know better.'

I will have to watch more of this series to find out if my first impression is correct, and I'll write more when I have, but I would also be interested in hearing the impression that others have of the show.

So far, it has confirmed my idea that attempts at popular science should refrain from becoming so popular that they stop earnestly explaining things. And one of the things that are absolutely essential for ordinary, i.e. non-professional people to understand is the basic idea of the placebo effect and how it's used in arguments from the purveyors of the health industry. Without some basic understanding of the interplay between psychology and health it's impossible to put a stop to the 'suspension of disbelief' that people are so willing to resort to when they fall for detox and other 'cures'.
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"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
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