Yet More Winning Listener Feedback
It hasn't been that long, but already I'm collecting a pile of listener feedback that's too good to ignore. I want to start by diving straight into one that's a perfect example of the straw man argument.
As you recall, a straw man argument is when the arguer creates an exaggerated caricature of his opponent's statements, reframing them into something he didn't say and is a horrible argument that falls apart by itself. People, if you want to take issue with anything I say, great. I invite it. But if you want to take issue with straw man arguments that I didn't say, I'm going to throw it right back in your face. Recently we talked about the Stanford Prison Experiment, and I pointed out a number of concerns that other researchers have expressed about Philip Zimbardo's methods and conclusions. This must have hit Chris from New Zealand pretty hard, because he responded by attacking an imaginary position that I never even remotely alluded to, and don't remotely agree with:
Chris, I suggest doing your own podcast, because listening to someone else's is clearly not your strength. Most reasonable people agree that nature and nurture are both factors in behavior. I think so, and Zimbardo thinks so too. I wish I knew what you thought. Next time, try expressing some thoughts of your own, instead of making straw men out of mine.
It's no surprise that the Young Earth Creationism debate continues going nowhere fast. Here's a fair sample of high-quality information from Ryan from Williamston, MI:
Those are some fine facts, Ryan. I'd address them but I really don't know where to start. I think I'll let the folks on the Skeptalk email discussion list handle this one.
Initials JNC from Charlotte, NC took issue with my recommendation to ask a medical doctor about vitamin supplementation in the episode about vitamin C megadosing:
This is very true. Medical doctors are as human as anyone else and a few of them do throw their ethics to the wind and sell quack remedies on the side. This is why I was so explicit in the episode when I said to be sure not to ask someone who's in the business of selling these products. And while we're on the subject of medical quackery, I received a fairly typical email from initials EK in Seattle, WA who has, like most people, had a positive experience with his chiropractor. He said:
Like I said, when chiropractors give useful back pain treatment, they're simply performing conventional (albeit unlicensed) physical therapy. If it's working for you, I suggest going to a DPT (Doctor of Physical Therapy) and getting the same treatment legally from a licensed & trained professional, rather than from someone who learned anatomy at a magic school. If you're going to call yourself a chiropractor, give chiropractic treatment. If you want to give useful physical therapy instead, great, but don't call it chiropractic because that's not what chiropractic is.
Mike from Brisbane, Australia chimed in with the doomsayer's perspective on the episode about peak oil production:
It's nice that we have one person on Earth who's not a "sheeple" and who's qualified to berate the rest of us. A round of applause for Mike, the only person smart enough and courageous enough to dare to point out that the earth is a single finite petri dish (already partially eaten), and not an ecosystem.
The episode debunking quack detoxification myths became the new all-time feedback winner, burying me under pit toilets and outhouses full of excreted toxic bullcrap. Nearly all of it followed the same familiar themes: That medical care is more expensive than alternative care, and that buying clunky hardware and untested drugs is a natural alternative to letting your kidneys and liver simply do their job. Sr. Lopez from Kansas advocates that price is a better decision maker than efficacy:
Raylyn from the USA also agrees that the wisest choice for people who cannot afford conventional healthcare is to give what little money they do have to practitioners selling useless alternative snake-oil:
Carla from Atlanta, GA feels that only practitioners who agree with her self-diagnosis are following proper science:
Leslie, also from Atlanta, defends detoxification products, but rather than giving any information that supports them, instead she only makes conspiratorial, anticorporate attacks against Big Pharma:
That's a relief; I was worried we'd go a full episode without anyone cornering me and charging that I need to be skeptical of the skeptics. Kristin from Texas follows the same pattern as Leslie, mistaking her own conspiracy theories and hostility toward medical doctors as support for detoxification:
Good point, Kristin. An untested, unapproved, unregulated detoxification drug is a much safer chemical than one that is tested, approved, and regulated. Well argued.
Let's close with a final example of failing to put in sufficient intellectual effort before sending in feedback. Jaime from Manila observed that on the Skeptoid.com comment form, I advise people to read with skepticism the comments from anyone who does not give their name. If you're not willing to stand behind your remarks, I'm not too eager to listen to them. Jaime wrote:
Has Jaime found out my dirty little secret, that I keep my identity hidden? You've got to work pretty damn hard to spend any time on Skeptoid.com and not find my name blitzed everywhere.
You're listening to Skeptoid. I'm Brian Dunning (and I'm in the phone book, Jaime), and my picture and bio are on Skeptoid.com.
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