In my series Sham Inquiry, I spotlighted three examples of fields that sound a lot like science but have critical failures. Attempts to don the trappings of science are most irritating when they fool people into thinking it is real, cutting-edge science. I found more examples from the recent Newsweek article on Oprah’s promotion of quackery. Dr. David Cooper, a professor of endocrinology at Johns Hopkins medical school, a specialist in thyroid disease, sounded a bit perturbed at the antics of the Oprah-favorite Dr. Northrup:
“The problem is that this all has the aura of being scientific when a lot of it is wrong, or not proven
or just utter hogwash,” Cooper says. “No wonder it sounds very credible to the patients, and in my
opinion, that’s even worse. If it was all complete rubbish, people would be more likely to see it for
what it really is.”
Also mentioned is hormone therapy that confounds the term “natural” and the Law of Attraction utter bullshit labeled “very, very scientific” by those that hawk The Secret. If you have to point that out, it’s probably not.
Mix real scientific terms with utter gobbledygook and people eat it up. They can’t tell the difference. Much of this sounds very hokey to skeptics who are sensitized to pseudoscience red flags but not to the millions of sheeple who follow Oprah faithfully, without question. I suspect some of this lack of critical thinking can be reduced through the education process, however, people like to have charismatic leaders to follow and to think for them.
I applaud Newsweek for standing up to Oprah. It’s the number 1 emailed article in their “Life” section today. I encourage everyone whose Mom watches Oprah to send her this article.