Sunday, October 18, 2009

Point of Inquiry, Skeptic Zone

All in the Family and Psychics too
D.J. interviewed Jeff Sharlet who has authored a book on "the Family" an alleged elite evangelical political group based in Washington, D.C. who wish to bring a Christ "style" of rule to the United States and the world. An interview regarding the Family was done earlier this year on Reasonable Doubts. I question how big and real this group was then, and I still have some lingering concerns. I have little doubt of the groups existence, but their apparent pull borders on new world order/ black helicopter reach according to what Sharlet indicates. I think his book his next on my purchase list. I do not want to sound naïve, but their influence sounds utterly fantastic. Grothe did a nice job on the interview.
Grothe also did a nice interview with Willaim Little author of the "Psychic Tourist.". Little went around and followed and interviewed various psychics and even attended psychic school. I found it interesting how Sylvia Brown is able according to Little spit out simple answers to her followers since they often ask simple questions such as "what's my guardian angel's name?" Why someone would want to know their name and why it is always something modern like Charles is beyond me. What about Abed? Angels have to have old names? They've been around forever, or at least 6,000 years. What I'd find interesting is to ask Brown the name your Angel, and then ask her again in a few months at a different show and see if the name is the same. I have feeling Angel Sam would turn into Missy.
The show with Little had a brief essay by Jim Underdown of CSI investigating James Van Praag, which the show has not had in a bit and it was a refreshing change of pace.
Skeptic Zone
Professor Ian Harris was interviewed in an episode long Grain of Salt segment. Harris is a practicing Orthopod and medical teacher. The interview was fascinating as Harris basically argues that modern medicine is not as successful or effective as most people including physicians think. In part he argues that most doctors work more on clinical judgment than on properly blinded and controlled studies, which I can see as a viable argument. However, Harris argues that medicine needs to have shame surgeries on patients to then have a placebo control group to compare to patients who have actual surgery. I see what he is arguing. How do you know how effective a procedure is unless it has a base to compare?  Surgery is a big deal and is fraught with risks. I cannot fathom risking a person to infection or other complications and not do anything of positive benefit. Physicians are first to do no harm, but cutting a person almost by definition is a harm unless it is done for a specific purpose. I also think he under values the harm of alternative medicine. Harris seems to think Homeopathic or Natureopaths do less harm than real medicine because in fact real medicine does stuff and that stuff can cause harm. Sometimes not doing real stuff in CAM practice can delay actual necessary treatment.
Harris's interview really made me think. I would love to hear a round table of Dunlop, Crislip, Novella, and Harris. I think they would have a lot of areas of agreement in broad ideas on how to approach medicine, but differ in specifics.
(I apologize for this post's brevity, but I am on the road home from a triumphant. Steelers win over the Browns. I do like to get a Sunday post out, and this is the best I can do on my Blackberry while Hermione attempts to see if a Chevrolet can actually take flight.)
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