You Are Not So Smart podcast 021: how to use science as a tool to understand human nature


As usual, I find the subject matter of your posts to be interesting and entertaining, once I get past your irritating branding. My typical reaction to one of your posts:

Me: Yeah? Fuck you.
Me. Hmm. This is actually well-written…

I realize you’re not going to change your brand identity because I asked you to, but…yeah? Fuck you.

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The research that revealed therapeutic touch was bunk was based on a 9-year-old girl’s fourth-grade science fair project. Emily Rosa had already conducted several sound experiments based on her skepticism, and with the help of some career academics, her work was expanded. She is now part of history, the youngest person to publish research in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.

She needs to teach a course at the U Arizona:
A disturbing example of quackademic medicine at an NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center

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The premises of the 1998 JAMA study of Therapeutic Touch were seriously flawed (TT does not depend entirely on the ability to detect a “human energy field”), and the study’s review of past research was a hatchet job, dismissing all supportive research evidence for TT. It also overstated the significance of its results, and dismissed TT entirely on the basis of this single study.

So what you have posted on is the equivalent of an industry-funded research study (the “industry” being mainstream medical science) that found – surprise! – an outcome consistent with the industry’s perspective. This needs less blind acceptance and more thoughtful critique. And maybe a bit less of the journalistic ridicule that gets you applause from skeptics who also have an axe to grind.

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