Sunday, March 20, 2011

Dr. Oz has left the building.

I would love to comment at greater length on this, but (a) I'm pressed for time of late, what with working 12-hour days, and (b) I really don't think I can say it any better than the folks at "Science-Based Medicine" do. Broad-brush, the piece assesses Dr. Mehmet Oz's decision not just to have as a guest noted "psychic" John Edward, but to essentially vouch for Edward's line of work.

Following is one of my favorite observations from the piece (though there are many), because it highlights the "argument" that is, in fact, the foundation for the entire New Age movement:

So, let’s see. Just because the great and powerful Dr. Oz can’t explain it, he assumes that talking to the dead must be real and that science can’t study it.
And to think, when I wrote my controversial piece on America's Oz-fest for The New York Daily News, people told me I was "too hard on the guy."

Please don't simply skim the piece linked in my first line. Read it. Think about it. Send it to your woo-obsessed friends. They may not thank you, at least not right away, but you owe it to them.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Companion piece:
http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/03/psychic_powers_provide_comfort.php

Anonymous said...

Saw you on In Session today re James Ray. Great job!

kyra said...

I read the Science-Based Medicine article, partly stunned/partly horrified. It's one thing to believe in wooey ideas; it's another thing to believe in a jerk like John Edward (who has had enough skeptical attention that people should know better by now).

RevRon's Rants said...

Interesting piece, Steve. Beyond the obvious philosophical differences described, after reading the linked article, I (once again) find myself wondering at the author's extensive and frequent use of pejoratives and expressions of disdain for individuals with an opposing point of view.

It just seems to me that one who considers himself a "rational thinker," as I suppose the author would consider himself, would find the logic of his arguments sufficient in and of themselves, and would not feel the need to infuse his article with ridicule, and most certainly not to need to resort to strawman generalizations in his description of those with whom he disagrees.

In short, he - like a number of other self-proclaimed "rational thinkers" - resorts to the kind of generalization and emotionalism to which so many skeptics object when evidenced by the "woo-obsessed" crowd. You'd think these were political debates...

Jenny said...

Thanks for pointing out the article, Steve. In particular, I this line: "I asked myself what could possibly be going on here. My first thought was that reiki must be a powerful gateway woo, leading to the really hard stuff, like faith healing and psychic mediums."

By the way, 12-hour work days? Hey, at least promise us you won't forget the old expression about all work and no play!

Cosmic Connie said...

Ron, you make some good points about gratuitous ridicule from the rational thinkers, who sometimes border on the irrational themselves in their attempts to counter irrationality.

Having said that, the point remains that the good Dr. Oz seems to be exploiting every New-Wage opportunity possible. What's next? Will he embrace Abraham-Hicks?

Of course Oz is not the first M.D. to veer towards the woo-ish, Deepak Chopra being the most famous contemporary example. A slightly less famous one is psychiatrist Brian Weiss, who got into past-life regression some years back. http://www.brianweiss.com/
His first book, "Many Lives, Many Masters," actually almost seemed credible to me. At least it made a good story. But then he got further and further into his past-lives-regression shtick, and... well, it's a familiar tale.

So who knows how far the Dr. Oz/John Edward alliance will go? While we're waiting to find out, here's a little comic relief:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5kt8hFHRZJo