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Free Talk Live => The Show => Topic started by: Scott in Winnipeg on December 17, 2009, 05:20:01 PM

Title: What's the Harm
Post by: Scott in Winnipeg on December 17, 2009, 05:20:01 PM
For those folks that think the worse thing that quackery does is nothing (as claimed on last nights show) perhaps you should check out this link.

http://whatstheharm.net/
Title: Re: What's the Harm
Post by: Changed My Mind on December 17, 2009, 05:34:28 PM
still does nothing.  "Science" folk keep peddling their wares like the Mormons who showed up at my door. 
Title: Re: What's the Harm
Post by: blackie on December 17, 2009, 05:38:03 PM
I wonder how many people science has killed.
Title: Re: What's the Harm
Post by: Scott in Winnipeg on December 17, 2009, 05:40:27 PM
still does nothing.  "Science" folk keep peddling their wares like the Mormons who showed up at my door. 

Really? So if you spend the money and time on using acupuncture (which doesn't do anything long term) to treat your chronic back pain, is that nothing? When you go for a spinal adjustment from a chiropractor and, basing their practice being based on magic of sublixation, breaks your neck, is that nothing? When you go see a physcic surgeon to remove your tumour instead of getting cut open and you die because the physicic surgeon doesn't actually remove anything, is that nothing?
Title: Re: What's the Harm
Post by: Scott in Winnipeg on December 17, 2009, 05:41:07 PM
I wonder how many people science has killed.

Millions. That is not the issue here. I'm talking about medicine based on nonsense, when people say "what's the harm", as I heard on last nights show. Well, there is plenty of harm.
Title: Re: What's the Harm
Post by: Rillion on December 17, 2009, 05:48:22 PM
I wonder how many people science has killed.

No more than the law of gravity has killed. 
Title: Re: What's the Harm
Post by: rwwright on December 17, 2009, 08:48:57 PM
When you go see a physcic surgeon to remove your tumour instead of getting cut open and you die because the physicic surgeon doesn't actually remove anything, is that nothing?

Um... are you unfamiliar with the definition of "nothing"?
Title: Re: What's the Harm
Post by: Diogenes The Cynic on December 17, 2009, 08:53:03 PM
Stupidity harms the logos of a person.
Title: Re: What's the Harm
Post by: Sam Gunn (since nobody got Admiral Naismith) on December 17, 2009, 09:34:08 PM
Eating baking soda isn't going to harm anyone.  It is retarded and pointless though.
Title: Re: What's the Harm
Post by: Diogenes The Cynic on December 17, 2009, 09:40:58 PM
Eating baking soda isn't going to harm anyone.  It is retarded and pointless though.

Unless you're running cross country. In that case, it prevents a buildup of lactic acid.
Title: Re: What's the Harm
Post by: Rusty Nut on December 17, 2009, 11:59:12 PM
Jesus-titty-fucking-Christ Scott, give it up all ready.
Title: Re: What's the Harm
Post by: Sam Gunn (since nobody got Admiral Naismith) on December 18, 2009, 12:01:35 AM
Eating baking soda isn't going to harm anyone.  It is retarded and pointless though.

Unless you're running cross country. In that case, it prevents a buildup of lactic acid.
Interesting, never heard that before and I was very competitive in XC racing and track in High School.  I'll do some research on that now.
Title: Re: What's the Harm
Post by: Scott in Winnipeg on December 18, 2009, 10:48:41 AM
Jesus-titty-fucking-Christ Scott, give it up all ready.

No. I'm tired of the crap I've been hearing, they need to be corrected.
Title: Re: What's the Harm
Post by: BobRobertson on December 18, 2009, 11:27:28 AM
Jesus-titty-fucking-Christ Scott, give it up all ready.
No. I'm tired of the crap I've been hearing, they need to be corrected.

Scott, you seem completely unaware of the concept of "reputation" as regards medicine.

Medicine is a service. People who do no research prior to their purchase of the service deserve everything they get.

So what if someone wants to go to a psychic surgeon, I'm not going to use force to stop them. When they don't get better, that psychic gets a huge black mark on their reputation.

Does anyone hire The Amazing Kreskin any more? No. Because he was outed as a fraud. No coercion required.
Title: Re: What's the Harm
Post by: Scott in Winnipeg on December 18, 2009, 11:57:44 AM
Jesus-titty-fucking-Christ Scott, give it up all ready.
No. I'm tired of the crap I've been hearing, they need to be corrected.

Scott, you seem completely unaware of the concept of "reputation" as regards medicine.

Medicine is a service. People who do no research prior to their purchase of the service deserve everything they get.

So what if someone wants to go to a psychic surgeon, I'm not going to use force to stop them. When they don't get better, that psychic gets a huge black mark on their reputation.

Does anyone hire The Amazing Kreskin any more? No. Because he was outed as a fraud. No coercion required.

Where have I said anything about using coersion? I haven't. I'm talking about countering the crap about medicine that I've heard on FTL lately with good info. Yes, people are harmed by scams and fake medicine, to claim otherwise is incorrect. And No, I don't blame the vicitim fof fraud, I blame the person committing the fraud.
Title: Re: What's the Harm
Post by: AL the Inconspicuous on December 18, 2009, 12:59:14 PM
http://whatstheharm.net/

Epic logic fail!

This site assumes that people's money (or whatever else they lost) doesn't really belong to them, and their subjective allocations of it are therefore harmful.  In reality, a person's property is his reward that incentivized him to create that property in the first place, which most often required doing something productive (under NAP (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-aggression_principle)).  No human economic system is free from human error, but the free market has proven itself to be the least irrational system ever conceived by man.  Sure, individuals can make foolish choices and lose big, but each person is responsible for the consequences of his actions, which encourages scepticism and rational risk analysis, and people who over time prove themselves less capable of acting rationally end up with less and less property, and thus less control over the economy.  Dictating to people how they can or cannot spend their money will devalue it, and economic productivity would simply plummet.

Besides, the worst stories on that site seem to be the very ones caused precisely by what this Web-site is pushing - forcing people to trust a centralized "authority" to do their thinking for them!  Take, for example, the "collapse of Myanmar's economy:  General Ne Win's astrologer and numerologist told him his lucky number was 9 and he would live to be 90 if he was surrounded by 9s. He reissued the currency in multiples of 9 causing mayhem and new insurgencies. He resigned within a year."  I bet that government's propaganda, if translated and adjusted for cultural and economic differences, wasn't in any substantive way different than the nanny state regulations that site promotes!


Where have I said anything about using [coercion]?  I haven't.  [...]

Rule #1 of statist propaganda - never admit that you're backing your arguments with force.
Title: Re: What's the Harm
Post by: Scott in Winnipeg on December 18, 2009, 01:44:10 PM
http://whatstheharm.net/

Epic logic fail!

That site says nothing of the sort. It is merly pointing out the dangers of magical thinking.

Rule #1 of statist propaganda - never admit that you're backing your arguments with force.


You have no evidence that I am advocating force, because I'm not.
Title: Re: What's the Harm
Post by: AL the Inconspicuous on December 18, 2009, 01:50:52 PM
Anyone who believes that is just as gullible as the "victims" of those scams.
Title: Re: What's the Harm
Post by: Scott in Winnipeg on December 19, 2009, 12:37:06 AM
Anyone who believes that is just as gullible as the "victims" of those scams.

Anyone who beleives what?
Title: Re: What's the Harm
Post by: AL the Inconspicuous on December 19, 2009, 01:45:33 AM
When someone says something on a forum without an explicit quote box, it is implied that they're responding to the post above theirs, in that case your claim that you're not advocating force.  No truly sceptical person should believe you.

Title: Re: What's the Harm
Post by: Rebinial on December 19, 2009, 01:58:10 AM
I have to ask again (although I have a good picture) do you really think the Constitution is the worst document ever made?  Cuz I think I might have fallen in with the "wrong crowd" here if thats the case.  I happen to like it.... ( OH and excuse my webneticate pls)
Title: Re: What's the Harm
Post by: AL the Inconspicuous on December 19, 2009, 02:02:38 AM
Um, where did that come from?  :?

The U.S. Constitution was clearly brilliant for its time, but it has clearly failed to keep government power in check in the centuries since.  Natural Rights are a scientific concept - they don't come from a piece of paper, they come from economic facts, and the human knowledge in pursuit of those facts has been improved upon, most notably by the so-called Austrian School of economics, and then people like Murray Rothbard.

(Side note: deja vu cause I was saying that on a socialist forum (http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?p=8521061) 2 days ago, and they were so afraid of this idea they locked the thread, banned me, and then unlocked it...  lulz...)
Title: Re: What's the Harm
Post by: Rebinial on December 19, 2009, 02:10:58 AM
you are clearly more learned than me.  It (impressions that it may be outdated and non-valid) came from things I have heard on the broadcasts.  I do happen to think the Constitution is not only  brilliant for its time but is still valid.  I am not Jewish..I do not necessarily validate the Jewish state but I DO believe they have a right to their state like I have a right to my state New Jersey ( oaky not my state but you get my point) I just dont get what all these arguments have to do with FREEDOM! And maybe my problem is that I think about things in context of Constitutional Freedom
Title: Re: What's the Harm
Post by: Rebinial on December 19, 2009, 02:19:11 AM
Dude..clearly we use clearly way to much in our arguments =P
Title: Re: What's the Harm
Post by: Bill Brasky on December 19, 2009, 03:19:45 AM
you are clearly more learned than me.  It (impressions that it may be outdated and non-valid) came from things I have heard on the broadcasts.  I do happen to think the Constitution is not only  brilliant for its time but is still valid.  I am not Jewish..I do not necessarily validate the Jewish state but I DO believe they have a right to their state like I have a right to my state New Jersey ( oaky not my state but you get my point) I just dont get what all these arguments have to do with FREEDOM! And maybe my problem is that I think about things in context of Constitutional Freedom

The problem with the Constitution is people keep re-interpreting it to better fit their political agenda.  Its not supposed to work that way.  That means this, and this means that, until it is meaningless.  The constitution is now officially blank, because it offers us no protection if it can be argued point-by-point to have broad, vague meanings or sharp, authoritarian contradictory interpretations for situations it was never intended to govern. 

We are supposed to "enjoy" a basic system of law, which would protect us from harm at the hands of politicians who bend to the whims of their constituents.  They get inducted, and in turn compensate the special-interest electorate by granting various desires.  This is not majority, its not even close.  No majority ever demanded the excessive taxation we have to endure.  No majority ever demanded a vast system of complicated road laws, or laws governing our usages of our own bodies, property, or money.   

The few things a majority DOES want is completely unattainable.  Enact a special session to remove a politician.  Never happen.  Enact a special session to strike down a tax or a law, not in a million years.  They could easily adopt a system whereby The People would vote like American Idol, pitting two issues in competition, one wins, two winners compete, one winner comes from that, and so on, until one serious State or National concern was raised.  This would go to the house, our Reps would voice our position by majority, and it would be acted upon.  Fucking simple.  Do that for five years, the politicians would be shitting buckets trying to keep us happy. 

Instead, they bend, manipulate, and cajole the various implications out of the Constitution, and the BOR, until its all whitewashed and nobody cares.  The inmates are running the asylum and we don't even bother to give a fuck, because its so impossible to make any effect.  Its like some fucked - up show happening on Mars, and they televise the findings to us on billboards  YOU CAN'T DO THAT.  YOU CAN'T DO THIS.  YOU MUST ADHERE TO THIS LAW.  YOU MAY NOT DO THIS WITH YOUR BODY.  YOU MUST PAY THIS MUCH OF YOUR INCOME.  WE WILL USE THAT MONEY TO DO CRAZY SHIT.  And we're like "ok".  Its fucking retarded.  Those people are not on Mars, they are in Washington, and I know exactly wheret hat is, its only four hours from where I sit.  But it might as well be Mars, or some fictional TV show.  Because you can't touch it, or talk to them.  And they don't give one red fuck what you or anybody wants, anywhere in this country, except for a select few that are tappin their ass and putting them in the drivers seat to continue doing this crazy fucking shit. 

So, no.  I don't like the Constitution all that much.  I did, at one time.  But its fucking worthless, and it is causing us more harm than good.  Because the people entrusted with keeping the purity of its purpose are using it for purposes other than it was intended. 
Title: Re: What's the Harm
Post by: Scott in Winnipeg on December 19, 2009, 01:25:29 PM
When someone says something on a forum without an explicit quote box, it is implied that they're responding to the post above theirs, in that case your claim that you're not advocating force.  No truly sceptical person should believe you.



Why? What evidecne do you have? This is a huge red herring, since I am only talking about having factual information on which to make your lifes decisions.
Title: Re: What's the Harm
Post by: Rillion on December 19, 2009, 01:34:30 PM
When someone says something on a forum without an explicit quote box, it is implied that they're responding to the post above theirs, in that case your claim that you're not advocating force.  No truly sceptical person should believe you.



Why? What evidecne do you have? This is a huge red herring, since I am only talking about having factual information on which to make your lifes decisions.

If Libman were a bird, he would be a red herring.  It's really not worth it to argue with him. 
Title: Re: What's the Harm
Post by: CaL DaVe on December 19, 2009, 02:51:11 PM
Eating baking soda isn't going to harm anyone.  It is retarded and pointless though.

Unless you're running cross country. In that case, it prevents a buildup of lactic acid.
Interesting, never heard that before and I was very competitive in XC racing and track in High School.  I'll do some research on that now.

I did some reasearch back when I was on the crew team in college. About a tablespoon of Sodium bi-carb is only really usefull when doing short term intense activity and it only lasts a couple of seconds in about 10 min 'race'.  Any more than a tablespoon and you are looking at some severe nausia cramps and diarriah.

I tried it once and saw some minor improvement in my 2k time but felt sick afterward. Your best bet really is to suck it up and actually train at your anabolic threashold to increase your tolerance. This way you can go longer and harder before you start to feel the burn of lactic acid.
Title: Re: What's the Harm
Post by: BobRobertson on December 19, 2009, 03:19:41 PM
The problem with the Constitution is people keep re-interpreting it to better fit their political agenda.  Its not supposed to work that way.  That means this, and this means that, until it is meaningless.  The constitution is now officially blank, because it offers us no protection if it can be argued point-by-point to have broad, vague meanings or sharp, authoritarian contradictory interpretations for situations it was never intended to govern.

If I may suggest, the book _Hamilton's Curse_ by Tom DiLorenzo is a wonderful discussion on the personalities surrounding the Constitution and its ratification, and what followed after.

To way over-simplify, from day 1 Hamilton and the other Federalists were "re-interpreting it to better fit their political agenda."

In fact, having read much of the Federalist and Anti-Federalist papers, it turns out that Hamilton was detailing, while saying "this could not happen", exactly what he was going to do once the document was ratified.

I've come to the conclusion that ratifying the Constitution turned out to have been a very bad idea. Not that any central government wouldn't have eventually grown to Leviathan, just that the Constitution actually helped it along, all the while lying through their teeth that it was "restraining" the Federal government.
Title: Re: What's the Harm
Post by: alaric89 on December 19, 2009, 04:05:36 PM
I got help from a chiropractor when nobody else could. Went from unable to walk properly to fine in about a hour. Was out of work a week before he helped me.
I live in a socialist country so it was the more free choice for me. I payed cash, was happy with the exchange.
Title: Re: What's the Harm
Post by: fatcat on December 19, 2009, 05:01:31 PM
So what if someone wants to go to a psychic surgeon, I'm not going to use force to stop them. When they don't get better, that psychic gets a huge black mark on their reputation.

Except retards who don't understand what science is don't have the same idea.

Just look at all the losers who think magnet therapy works for them, and they in turn give false hope to other losers.

We need people like Scott precisely because people won't just naturally suss out bunk medicine because people like Sam aren't looking at evidence, they're going with what feels right and warping reality to fit.

Susceptible people will just absorb bullshit people like Sam pump out like a sponge, but people

While you might say they deserve it if they don't inspect the service properly, alot of their reputation is coming from other suckers.

If they listen to critical dissent from people like Scott and still decide bullshit medicine is for them, then fine, but ignorance on its own isn't a reason not to tell people, its THE reason to tell people.
Title: Re: What's the Harm
Post by: BobRobertson on December 19, 2009, 05:19:08 PM
Except retards who don't understand what science is don't have the same idea.

I refuse to rationalize the entire leviathan state just because there are stupid people.

Let them die.

The simple fact is that there are, today, uncountable self-help books, web sites, religions and seminars available for people who want guidance. I see no reason that such private efforts cannot solve at least as many problems as having the State does, and without creating all the problems of having the State.
Title: Re: What's the Harm
Post by: Diogenes The Cynic on December 19, 2009, 06:28:31 PM
Eating baking soda isn't going to harm anyone.  It is retarded and pointless though.

Unless you're running cross country. In that case, it prevents a buildup of lactic acid.
Interesting, never heard that before and I was very competitive in XC racing and track in High School.  I'll do some research on that now.

I did some reasearch back when I was on the crew team in college. About a tablespoon of Sodium bi-carb is only really usefull when doing short term intense activity and it only lasts a couple of seconds in about 10 min 'race'.  Any more than a tablespoon and you are looking at some severe nausia cramps and diarriah.

I tried it once and saw some minor improvement in my 2k time but felt sick afterward. Your best bet really is to suck it up and actually train at your anabolic threashold to increase your tolerance. This way you can go longer and harder before you start to feel the burn of lactic acid.


My mistake then.
Title: Re: What's the Harm
Post by: AL the Inconspicuous on December 20, 2009, 09:16:55 AM
When someone says something on a forum without an explicit quote box, it is implied that they're responding to the post above theirs, in that case your claim that you're not advocating force.  No truly skeptical person should believe you.

Why? What [evidence] do you have? This is a huge red herring, since I am only talking about having factual information on which to make your [lives] decisions.

I think most of the problems in the world come from the mistake you are now making: failure to property attribute the burden of proof (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burden_of_proof).  I don't have to buy what you're selling AND I don't have to prove that you're wrong.  Deal with it.
Title: Re: What's the Harm
Post by: fatcat on December 20, 2009, 10:21:17 AM
Except retards who don't understand what science is don't have the same idea.

I refuse to rationalize the entire leviathan state just because there are stupid people.

Let them die.

The simple fact is that there are, today, uncountable self-help books, web sites, religions and seminars available for people who want guidance. I see no reason that such private efforts cannot solve at least as many problems as having the State does, and without creating all the problems of having the State.

Who said shit about the state?

Thats right, no one.

no one is having the argument you want to be having.

We're talking about smart pro-science people like Scott trying to counter dumbass anti-science/pro-mysticism from people like Sam, and the issues that surround that.

Just because we should have a free market means people shouldn't be critical of certain ideas?
Title: Re: What's the Harm
Post by: AL the Inconspicuous on December 20, 2009, 12:13:49 PM
Critical on a personal level - yes.  But most people don't come to this forum to say "my Aunt Sally did something stupid", they come here to discuss politics, and the overwhelming majority of "people are too stupid to think for themselves" stories come off as pro-regulation in the minds of the mainstream audience.  Going as far as to make a whole Web-site like WhatsTheHarm.net (http://whatstheharm.net/) and then claiming (http://whatstheharm.net/faq.html#6) not to do this to promote regulation is very improbable.  A person who's truly capable of critical thinking would see that most those costs aren't objectively valid (I could argue that baseball is a waste of time and money), and that those harms are simply dwarfed by the harm of national governments, which a site like this does in effect strengthen, deliberately or not.

Title: Re: What's the Harm
Post by: LordMarius on December 20, 2009, 01:02:08 PM
I wonder how many people science has killed.

Conventional medicine is dangerous, the only thing that is worse is the alternatives.
Title: Re: What's the Harm
Post by: BobRobertson on December 20, 2009, 05:03:31 PM
Critical on a personal level - yes.  But most people don't come to this forum to say "my Aunt Sally did something stupid", they come here to discuss politics, and the overwhelming majority of "people are too stupid to think for themselves" stories come off as pro-regulation in the minds of the mainstream audience.

It could very well be that there was no intention for promoting regulation on the part of someone saying "the majority of people are too stupid to think for themselves", however that is the logical conclusion of such a statement.

There will always be people who do stupid things. The only way to stop them is to order them not to do the stupid thing, and some of them will react to that order by trying to do the stupid thing before they CAN be stopped. Those who can be informed, persuaded, even shamed into doing the "right" thing do not require the state at all, just as those who are already  doing the "right" thing do not need the state.

So either people are left to make those choices for themselves, right or wrong, or they must be coerced into doing what someone thinks is "right" for them. Once that line of coercion is crossed, the entire leviathan state is rationalized.
Title: Re: What's the Harm
Post by: Andy on December 20, 2009, 10:17:49 PM
Fuck you guys. Srsly.

Just another example of the most absurd things "pro-liberty" people do, try to shut people up because they think the truth will make people demand government.

Quote
Going as far as to make a whole Web-site like WhatsTheHarm.net and then claiming not to do this to promote regulation is very improbable.

I don't think scott made the website.

Also, why the fuck should I care if scott would like to see more regulation that's not relevant, he's right and your attempt to distract from that is transparent.

Quote
The simple fact is that there are, today, uncountable self-help books, web sites, religions and seminars available for people who want guidance. I see no reason that such private efforts cannot solve at least as many problems as having the State does, and without creating all the problems of having the State.

There are also counter productive private efforts like FTL, which scott is critiquing in a private effort.
Title: Re: What's the Harm
Post by: Scott in Winnipeg on December 20, 2009, 10:49:22 PM
and the overwhelming majority of "people are too stupid to think for themselves" stories come off as pro-regulation in the minds of the mainstream audience. 

And I didn't say that, not do I ever, since I don't think that. BUT, many people aren't science literate past a very menial level (not that I am a genius or anything, science is just a hobby of mine) so I'm trying to do a little bit that is pro-science.

If someone wants to believe that the Universe has something in store for them aka Law of Attraction, fine, that isn't a harmful belief as far as I can tell. BUT saying that people shouldn't get vaccines and promoting "natural" cures and the like IS dangerous and has direct harm, that is my concern.

BTW, whatstheharm.net is not my website. And I don't see anything on there that promotes regulation outrighjt, the idea is to promote critical thinking when it comes to health, since most of the items there are about health.
Title: Re: What's the Harm
Post by: Rillion on December 20, 2009, 11:58:06 PM
Fundamentally, I think that the problem is that since the majority of science is government-funded, and there are a lot of scientific studies that private companies have no incentive to support (why should AT&T care how many angler fish there are in the Mariana Trench?), science is viewed as inherently suspect and a waste of money.  By its very nature, science does not directly lead to profit.  Most avenues of education which are not related to sales and marketing, in fact, do not directly lead to profit.  It's hard to imagine that in a truly free market, anyone would have the financial incentive to conduct a study showing that acupuncture (for example) is bullshit.  Selling bullshit makes you a great deal more in cash than debunking it.  Is there any doubt about that?  I don't think so.  

How does a libertarian philosophy solve this?  Well, that's a problem.  And the fact that this issue exists is why libertarians so often are science deniers as well-- they figure that the easy way around dealing with the problems that science presents is to deny the science.  Denying reality in favor of ideology is, and always has been, sloppy thinking.  
Title: Re: What's the Harm
Post by: BobRobertson on December 21, 2009, 08:25:18 AM
If someone wants to believe that the Universe has something in store for them aka Law of Attraction, fine, that isn't a harmful belief as far as I can tell. BUT saying that people shouldn't get vaccines and promoting "natural" cures and the like IS dangerous and has direct harm, that is my concern.

And they believe it isn't dangerous. So, you promote your opinion, they promote theirs, and everyone else makes up their own mind.

The problem I see here is your assertion that the expression of _their_ opinion, and I quote, "IS dangerous and has direct harm".

Why isn't your opinion "dangerous and has direct harm"?

Quote
the idea is to promote critical thinking when it comes to health, since most of the items there are about health.

Here's the problem as I see it: Coercion.

Expressing your opinion, urging people to examine the available information and making up their own minds while (of course) hoping that they will come to the same conclusions as you, that's not coercion, that's persuasion.

Requiring medical procedures through force of law, even if it's "for your own good", that's coercion.

You want to see a bunch of people getting vaccinations for their kids? Then let a few die of those preventable diseases and see people flocking to your banner. Let people experience the results of choice, and you will see a lot more responsible behavior.
Title: Re: What's the Harm
Post by: fatcat on December 21, 2009, 09:01:17 AM
If someone wants to believe that the Universe has something in store for them aka Law of Attraction, fine, that isn't a harmful belief as far as I can tell. BUT saying that people shouldn't get vaccines and promoting "natural" cures and the like IS dangerous and has direct harm, that is my concern.

And they believe it isn't dangerous. So, you promote your opinion, they promote theirs, and everyone else makes up their own mind.

The problem I see here is your assertion that the expression of _their_ opinion, and I quote, "IS dangerous and has direct harm".

Why isn't your opinion "dangerous and has direct harm"?

Quote
the idea is to promote critical thinking when it comes to health, since most of the items there are about health.

Here's the problem as I see it: Coercion.

Expressing your opinion, urging people to examine the available information and making up their own minds while (of course) hoping that they will come to the same conclusions as you, that's not coercion, that's persuasion.

Requiring medical procedures through force of law, even if it's "for your own good", that's coercion.

You want to see a bunch of people getting vaccinations for their kids? Then let a few die of those preventable diseases and see people flocking to your banner. Let people experience the results of choice, and you will see a lot more responsible behavior.

Dude, everyone on this forum agrees government should get out of medicine, you're trying to find an argument where there isn't one.

Scott isn't saying that promoting bad medical advice IS like harming someone and should therefore be illegal, but that it leads to direct harm and should therefore be strongly apposed with free speech. Theres no need to frame this in pro liberty/anti liberty because everyones on the same page as far as thats concerned.

As far as "once a few people die then people will realize which medicines are bullshit and which are not" goes, this simply isn't the case.

You're assuming people are rational. If it were the case, peoples deaths would have already warned people off bad choices, then there would be no more cancer sufferers wasting money on magnets, non of them buying healing crystals or going to psychic healers or faith healers.

All of these "alternative" treatments are empirically much worse at curing cancer and extending your life than traditional chemo/radiotherapy/surgery.

People don't shun these conventional, proven treatments because they've made a rational choice on what works better
, they shun them namely for two (emotional) reasons.

1. Chemotherapy, radiotherapy both have very nasty side effects people don't want to endure, if they can bullshit themselves that the "cure is worse than the cancer", then they can free up some dissonance to follow unproven alternative bullshit. Surgery is also risky, and theres a chance you can die and that it won't do much to extend your life.

2. Often, even with the best chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery, prognosis is bad for certain cancers. If you've got severe pancreatic/lung/bone cancer, and doctors are telling you, even with the best treatment your probably only going to live for another 5 years, its much easier to listen to the hacks telling you that "traditional medicine" is harmful, and that theres an easy cure the scientific establishment doesn't want you to know about.

After all, the "scientific establishment" has effectively sentenced you to death, and if you only have a couple of years left, its pretty easy to grasp at straws, especially if you have a head full of "science can't explain everything/science is just another religion"

Unfortunately, the "let idiots die" attitude, doesn't take into account the fact that alot of people who fall for bullshit treatments, aren't normally irrational, they're just desperate, and as a result they waste money, and often ignore better treatments, and knock years off their life as a result.

There are countless assholes (http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&safe=off&client=firefox-a&channel=s&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&hs=rKO&q=german+new+medicine&start=0&sa=N) who make their buck  (http://www.listen2yourgut.com/blog/gut/natural-cancer-treatment-has-90-success-rate/)from persuading people to ignore "conventional", in favor of their special treatment that can so easily cure you

Even though "conventional" treatments have doubled, and in some cases tripled cancer survival rates in the last 30 years.

Of the two quacks i linked to, one says that cancer is caused by "psychic shock", and that its chemo and radiotherapy that kill people with cancer, and that if you resolve your "psychic shock" then your body will heal itself.

The other claims cancer is a fungus and can be cured by bicarbonate of soda.

If this shit seems like a joke, take a look at some of the cancer forums where people are actually putting their hopes into this shit, then take a look at the people who've opted against chemo, radiotherapy and surgery, and died shortly afterwards.

They're like assholes selling big dick pills, except 1000 times worse because they're persuading desperate people to make a scientifically unsound choices which will shorten their life. Not only this but its self perpetuating. Once someone has a few people suckered, they can use their testimony as "proof" it works. And this all goes into a largery societal trend of fundamental misunderstanding of what science is.

The same attitude that backs "science can't explain everything", and "you can get scientists to say anything", is the same attitude that people draw upon when making these bunk scientific decisions.

The quacks are at the height of cargo cultism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cargo_cult), they use percentages like scientists do, they use sciency sounding names like scientists do, and most people can't tell the difference, because they don't actually understand what science is.

The same retards who bitch about "blind trust" in scientists, are the same assholes who use bullshit authority arguments like X% of doctors wouldn't use chemotherapy if they got cancer, X% of doctors wouldn't give their children vaccines.

The only thing thats gonna make people make better choices is more informed discussion on the scientific method and its place in all our lives, and that goes for whether theres a free market or not.
Title: Re: What's the Harm
Post by: BobRobertson on December 21, 2009, 09:20:36 AM
You're assuming people are rational.

No, actually I'm not.

I'm saying that the survivors will be more rational. If for no other reason that the process of elimination.
Title: Re: What's the Harm
Post by: Scott in Winnipeg on December 21, 2009, 11:29:13 AM
Here's the problem as I see it: Coercion.

Expressing your opinion, urging people to examine the available information and making up their own minds while (of course) hoping that they will come to the same conclusions as you, that's not coercion, that's persuasion.

Requiring medical procedures through force of law, even if it's "for your own good", that's coercion.



Have I advocated coersion anywhere in this topic? NO. So why do some folks keep coming back to that? I'm not talking about that at all! I'm talking about education. And it's not my "opinion", it's science based medicine, vs. quack based medicine.

You want to see a bunch of people getting vaccinations for their kids? Then let a few die of those preventable diseases and see people flocking to your banner. Let people experience the results of choice, and you will see a lot more responsible behavior.

That's already starting to happen. This website is tracking vaccine preventable deaths in the U.S.
http://www.jennymccarthybodycount.com

Yet the quackery continues, so the "let them die off" theory doesn't seem to be working. Besides, people don't need to "die off", they can have effective medical treatments right now and live.
Title: Re: What's the Harm
Post by: fatcat on December 21, 2009, 11:53:08 AM
You're assuming people are rational.

No, actually I'm not.

I'm saying that the survivors will be more rational. If for no other reason that the process of elimination.

dumb poor people breed way more than smart rich people, and people who die of cancer tend to be old enough to have already passed on their genes.

fail hypothesis.

I've already cited numerous examples of how people don't care about the reality of their decisions, as long as it makes them feel good.

This is a personal and societal level failure, of a complete disconnect most people have between science, and the every day decisions they make in life. For most people science is some outward institution that makes their tv work and puts men on the moon, not a method that is vital to distinguish between fact and falsehood.

It's an endemic misunderstanding. From people being scared over terrorist attacks but not car crashes, to phobia over genetic engineering and the continuation of snake oil in the 21st century.

If average people actually cared about the scientific method, there no way current drug policy could fly. Alcohol and Tobacco more harmful than Cannabis and Ecstasy? Please, the most rudimentary scientific analysis can disprove this.

 this is the kind of bullshit that happens when people think science is some box of tricks, and not a fundamental method to understanding. That science "doesn't apply" in certain cases, or worse that people think that their beliefs are scientifically grounded when they are not.

 When you look at the survival benefit chemo,radiotherapy and surgery have provided over the last 50 years, and compare it to the complete void of benefit that faith healing, power crystals and other assorted snake oils, you can't possibly come to the conclusion that people will naturally choose the most effective treatments out of some selection.

Most of the deaths we're talking about are in people past the average child bearing age, so evolution is not going to fix this.

As far as I know, "alternative" medicine is stronger than ever. The fact its growing in face of overwhelming reality that they do not work, and that science based medicine has now tipped the average 5 year survival rates for many cancers from "likely to die", to "likely to survive", is a real worry.

What needs to happen is for the disconnect between normal peoples lives and science to disappear. For people to start seeing science as an integral part of their lives and decision making process, and not something outside and foreign.
Title: Re: What's the Harm
Post by: Scott in Winnipeg on December 21, 2009, 12:09:57 PM
Good analysis.

Sam actually advocated physcic surgery on Friday's show, Ian quickly ponted out that it's BS, thankfully. That's the kind of thinking that kills people, and you get to pay some sham sleight-of-hand artists $$$ for the priviledge of being scammed.

Thank Xenu that he likes Penn and Tellers Show BullShit since they take a skeptical approach to most subjects. They haven't done an episode on vaccines as of yet, maybe for next season.
Title: Re: What's the Harm
Post by: BobRobertson on December 21, 2009, 02:43:19 PM
fail hypothesis.

No, just different ways of saying the same thing.

Quote
What needs to happen is for the disconnect between normal peoples lives and science to disappear. For people to start seeing science as an integral part of their lives and decision making process, and not something outside and foreign.

In that we couldn't be more in agreement.

The regulation of medicine enables the quacks, because "real" medicine is very tightly regulated so quacks just ignore the laws. Exactly the same way that alcohol and drug prohibition just makes it easier for bad drugs and bad alcohol to be passed off as "real".

So let's start with abolishing medical regulation. Then, as you say, science can take its proper place as the hero.
Title: Re: What's the Harm
Post by: Scott in Winnipeg on December 21, 2009, 03:11:31 PM
The regulation of medicine enables the quacks, because "real" medicine is very tightly regulated so quacks just ignore the laws. Exactly the same way that alcohol and drug prohibition just makes it easier for bad drugs and bad alcohol to be passed off as "real".

Also, when quack medicine comes under regulation then people start to see it as legit, since the government "approves" of it.
Title: Re: What's the Harm
Post by: fatcat on December 21, 2009, 04:03:21 PM
So let's start with abolishing medical regulation. Then, as you say, science can take its proper place as the hero.

I agree with that, but I still don't think free markets are suddenly going to evaporate quack medicine.

Regulation does make it harder for people to get cheap, high quality medicines, but I don't see regulation, or lack there of playing a huge role with stuff like faith healers, or "cancer diets". There may be some people who seek alternatives, but most of what i see is desperate or deluded people looking for a miracle cure.

Those kind of things just play to an ignorance/mysticism that is culturally pretty popular.

For the "eat raw foods instead of chemo" cancer deal, it appeals to naturalistic fallacies that most people have, that "natural" things are good for you, and "artificial" things are bad (artificial = chemical, chemo = chemical, chemo = bad)

The major problem is, is that these "treatments" are marketed in a way that is so far removed from any empirical data on whether it works or not, that many people don't even know how you would make a distinction between a working treatment, and one that just had alot of bullshit and anecdotes.

It is science's vital role in allowing people to make these distinction that is the problem, and a problem that is outside of the free market/regulation paradigm . If there was a charity committed

Medical superstitions have been going on for centuries, and the glimmers of truth are used as the basis for huge nonsensical quack science make it all the more convincing.

When it comes to these quack treatments, it seems to come down to how well your script plays on a persons biases (conventional medicine is bad etc), how many bullshit testimonials you can conjure, and how many meaningless statistics you can pull out your arse. It seems the kind of people who say "you can prove anything with statistics", are exactly the kind of people who buy into bullshit statistics, because they have no idea what makes statistics accurate and useful, or not.

If there was a charity dedicated to furthering common place understanding of science in day to day life, I'd happily donate to it. Don't want the state to ban quack medicines, and don't want the state to subsidize conventional medicine. Do want unscrupulous people to stop manipulating the emotions of desperate people, to simultaneously cash in and shorten their lives.

Right now I guess I'll settle for programmes like Bullshit that go a bit towards encouraging skeptical and scientific thinking.
Title: Re: What's the Harm
Post by: Scott in Winnipeg on December 21, 2009, 04:23:23 PM

If there was a charity dedicated to furthering common place understanding of science in day to day life, I'd happily donate to it.

Here are a few.

New England Skeptical Society, they produce the Skeptics Guide tot he Universe Podcast
http://www.theness.com/
The New England Skeptical Society is a non-profit educational organization founded in 1996 to promote science and reason.

James Randi Educational Foundation
http://www.randi.org/
The James Randi Educational Foundation is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1996. Its aim is to promote critical thinking by reaching out to the public and media with reliable information about paranormal and supernatural ideas so widespread in our society today.

The Center for Inquiry
http://www.centerforinquiry.net/
"The mission of the Center for Inquiry is to foster a secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values."

The Skeptics Society
http://www.skeptic.com/
The Skeptics Society is a scientific and educational organization of scholars, scientists, historians, magicians, professors and teachers, and anyone curious about controversial ideas, extraordinary claims, revolutionary ideas, and the promotion of science. Our mission is to serve as an educational tool for those seeking clarification and viewpoints on those controversial ideas and claims.
Title: Re: What's the Harm
Post by: Scott in Winnipeg on December 21, 2009, 05:01:10 PM
Baloney Detection Kit - Michael Shermer

[youtube=560,340]<object width="560" height="340"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/eUB4j0n2UDU&hl=en_US&fs=1&"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/eUB4j0n2UDU&hl=en_US&fs=1&" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="560" height="340"></embed></object>[/youtube]
Title: Re: What's the Harm
Post by: fatcat on December 22, 2009, 12:06:42 PM

If there was a charity dedicated to furthering common place understanding of science in day to day life, I'd happily donate to it.

Here are a few.

New England Skeptical Society, they produce the Skeptics Guide tot he Universe Podcast
http://www.theness.com/
The New England Skeptical Society is a non-profit educational organization founded in 1996 to promote science and reason.

James Randi Educational Foundation
http://www.randi.org/
The James Randi Educational Foundation is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1996. Its aim is to promote critical thinking by reaching out to the public and media with reliable information about paranormal and supernatural ideas so widespread in our society today.

The Center for Inquiry
http://www.centerforinquiry.net/
"The mission of the Center for Inquiry is to foster a secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values."

The Skeptics Society
http://www.skeptic.com/
The Skeptics Society is a scientific and educational organization of scholars, scientists, historians, magicians, professors and teachers, and anyone curious about controversial ideas, extraordinary claims, revolutionary ideas, and the promotion of science. Our mission is to serve as an educational tool for those seeking clarification and viewpoints on those controversial ideas and claims.

I wouldn't say those are addressing the things I would like to see.

Theres no point trying to disprove water dousing, and then going, "see, its irrational after all"

People already buying into that shit aren't rational, which is why things like the Randi Challenge aren't convincing at all, the only people who find it convincing are the people who are already rational people who understand science. I've seen the Randi Foundation in particular to spend inordinate resources focusing on specific psychics and quacks, rather than trying to promote science education.

Most of the skeptic society I see only go after the end results of bad science, the psychics and snake oilmen.

There needs to be preventative education, not curative. Make people understand science, show them why they should love it.

If you plant the seed for scientific inquiry, and someone really "gets" it, its very hard  for them to keep that inquiry out of other parts of their life.

However, by only chasing end results, it can actively encourage faulty thinking and dissonance. By chasing after soft targets like water dousing and spoon benders, you can help distract irrational people. They can laugh at the stupid psychics are while still attending sunday mass with a straight face.

Theres no point telling people they're irrational, they need to be taught how to be rational, and shown that science is not just a set of beliefs or box of tools used by lofty scientists, but a fundamental heuristic to understanding the world.

I find far too often that organizations like the Randi foundation, set about trying to scientifically debunk bullshit, and seem to expect people who believe it to go "oh, I see how its faulty now", when the only reason they believe such things is because of a lack of understanding or a misunderstanding of what science is.

You can't expect people to care about scientific evidence if they don't see the scientific method as any more valid than any other method.

The people who already understand science are not those you need to focus on.
Title: Re: What's the Harm
Post by: AL the Inconspicuous on December 22, 2009, 05:59:15 PM
Just another example of the most absurd things "pro-liberty" people do, try to shut people up because they think the truth will make people demand government.

You have absolutely no basis to say that I'm trying to "shut people up" - I have a clearly documented history of standing up for free speech, no matter how hurtful and unpopular, and people who share my political ideology do as well.

I do, however, have a basis to accuse people running sites like WhatsTheHarm.net of having irrational priorities, as well as spinning the numbers (as explained above).  Every socialist power-grab in history has been empowered by apolitical eggheads claiming to simply point out the flaws of a relatively freer society without calling for any restrictive action overly, and those socialist power-grabs have done far, far more damage to the human civilization than a bunch of gullible people getting the short stick of the evolutionary struggle!


I don't think scott made the website.

I never implied that I thought that he did.


Also, why the fuck should I care if scott would like to see more regulation that's not relevant, he's right and your attempt to distract from that is transparent.

Whether Scott and/or the aforementioned site are right or not needs to be taken on a case-by-case basis, but them being correct in identifying the irrationality of a specific action by a specific person does not automatically translate to their highly-biased estimation of the consequences of that action constituting "harm".

Sometimes people do foolish things just to test the boundaries of their perception of reality, knowing exactly what they're getting into.  Sometimes it's a learning experience.  Sometimes it's a social tradition that is significant on more levels than an observer outside that culture can immediately recognize.  Sometimes people find a 1-in-10-trillion gamble emotionally satisfying.  Sometimes people want to lose, or even to die - which is their Natural Right as sovereign self-owning individuals.  And sometimes people do foolish things simply because it's fun.