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Oprah - Great article in Newsweek today.
Posted: 08 June 2009 12:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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VYAZMA - 08 June 2009 11:23 AM

Society(the organization of humans, into social networks borne from evolution-ie. the necessitiy to have hierarchy(leaders and figureheads who guide the group through super-peer interaction)) creates the options for choices.Society creates laws and justice systems- people can choose to break the law or follow the law. Society has a preset(and this varies from sub-society to sub-society) mating and courtship rituals, which people can choose to follow or not follow. Society has a network of healers, and amongst these are different schools of healing which people can freely choose from. Society has organized religions which people can choose to follow or not. Etc…etc..Another example of the super-peer would be the priest or pastor. He would be the Super-peer under the religion organization.People do what he says generally because he says so! He is a source of guidance for that sub-group.

I’m also not sure what your point is here, Vyazma. I think we can agree that society provides us with certain knee-jerk options or heuristics, although not all the “choices” we have before us (or that we actually choose) are provided by society. Some people opt to do things that are largely idiosyncratic.

But although one might argue that in some sense Oprah and the quacks are provided us by “society”, that isn’t the question. The question is whether they ought to be sanctioned by society. A better societal role would be the FDA—that is literally something provided us by society, through our political process. It has the power and authority to regulate drugs, but the ability to regulate much of modern quackery (herbs, homeopathic remedies, etc.) has been taken from it by a part of the society through subornation of the political process by the quacks themselves.

To put it another way, if the FDA and other governmental organs regulated these purported medications and medical practices as they should, we would not see these quacks on Oprah at all—sale of their products as “alternative medicines” would be illegal. Indeed, they actually should be regulated significantly more stringently now, seeing as it is now illegal to sell anything as purporting to treat or cure a disease unless it has FDA approval. The problem is that the government is looking the other way instead of prosecuting these frauds for what they are.

So while you are certainly right that society provides us with “super peers”, that’s not the right question. The question is who are the right super peers for society—and the government—to provide. When it comes to medicine, quacks and talk show hosts are not the right ones.

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Posted: 08 June 2009 12:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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I couldn’t agree more Doug. All this simply stems from someones querie into “why people choose to believe Oprah Winfrey when it comes to important, or semi-important health issues, as opposed to believing real doctors and the benefits they entail”  When I gave the reasons for why people take Oprah to Heart, so to speak, my response was discounted.
The benefit of having this go-round here with McKenz, is that I was able to extrapolate and clarify what I meant.
So you’re right Doug, after this little go-round the original debate has become lost.
Let me reiterate, I stated the reasons why people are willing to take advice from Oprah. And I know this sounds arrogant. But I’m sorry. The issue of why people believe Oprah shouldn’t even be up for debate. This is why I have remained as steadfast as I have.

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Posted: 08 June 2009 01:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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VYAZMA - 08 June 2009 12:29 PM

When I gave the reasons for why people take Oprah to Heart, so to speak, my response was discounted.

Well, perhaps there was some misunderstanding involved. There are two issues here. One is the descriptive issue of why people actually believe Oprah, and the other is the prescriptive issue of whether or not people should believe Oprah.

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Posted: 08 June 2009 01:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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There are two issues here. One is the descriptive issue of why people actually believe Oprah, and the other is the prescriptive issue of whether or not people should believe Oprah.

Right. The first question I would answer by saying people have an innate predisposition to believe confident, charismatic public figures and Oprah just has the right combination of charateristics and random luck to be one of the figures people follow. The answer to the second question would seem to be an obvious “No!” since there is no rational reason to believe she is qualified to make the judgements she makes and which people follow. People have the ability to follow the advice of reliable authorities (like the FDA, doctors, and so on) or to follow unreliable cult figures since both are available in our society. People often choose to listen to Oprah over the FDA, or to the teenager down at Petco over their veterinarian, and this leads to lower quality of decision making. I’m still not seeing what is controversial here.

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Posted: 08 June 2009 02:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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I’m still not seeing what is controversial here.

There is nothing controversial here. I wouldn’t recommend anyone following the advice of Oprah. I’m the one who advocated for “muzzling” harmful media outlets to society remember.
I know that is bad. Most likely the miscommunication was started by my need to address these behavioral influences objectively.
In replying to why people would hold Oprah in regard, I couldn’t allow myself to be opinionated concerning the influence she has on her audience.
I know you think I’m incorrigible, sorry. I hated to use the Oprah thing as an example, but I wasn’t going to change the subject in mid-argument, it wouldn’t have helped my cause. Arguing with you, McKenz, is like pulling teeth out of a Doberman. shock

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Posted: 09 June 2009 10:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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I think what people are willing to believe has a lot to do with their experiences and level of education.  My sister had a child with severe mental disabilities and autism.  When I was pregnant she gathered all of these articles and was adamant that if I had my son vaccinated he would become autistic.  I respect all of the trials and tribulations she endured, but I did the research myself.  There is clear information out there in regards to the claims of vaccines causing autism and the facts of vaccines saving lives.  There is also a lot of crap studies out there that the MSM like to tout as “science” which are paid for by large corporations and have very small samples and no control groups.  It is important to always double check any “facts” given by anyone.

I also think that there is some “survival of the fittest” in play with the amount of advice circulating.  What if Oprah decided to tell everyone that ingesting small doses of poison over a period of 2 months means that you’ll live forever, and then people started dropping dead left and right.  That would do a lot to improve the quality of our society, weeding out the gullibles.  It would also help with our overpopulation problem.  I’m only slightly kidding about that. wink

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Posted: 09 June 2009 03:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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To my surprise Newsweek published a portion of the letter I sent them in this weeks Letters to the editor about the Oprah article. I’ve already received two phone calls from complete strangers ( One a polio survivor) thanking me for supporting what had been written in the article. I can’t wait to see how many outraged calls I get from the Oprah supporters. Anyone want to start a pool? grin

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Posted: 09 June 2009 03:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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macgyver - 09 June 2009 03:07 PM

To my surprise Newsweek published a portion of the letter I sent them in this weeks Letters to the editor about the Oprah article. I’ve already received two phone calls from complete strangers ( One a polio survivor) thanking me for supporting what had been written in the article. I can’t wait to see how many outraged calls I get from the Oprah supporters. Anyone want to start a pool? grin

OOh, I have to read the article following Newsweek. I have been out of town and just read the article yesterday, but I had been listening to the hubbub surrounding the article. I have a feeling that it will just be woo woo business as usual for her (unfortunately). long face
Post the best attacks on you by the Oprah cult please, you may need to think about changing your number or hiring someone to answer the rants!

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Posted: 09 June 2009 03:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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macgyver - 09 June 2009 03:07 PM

To my surprise Newsweek published a portion of the letter I sent them in this weeks Letters to the editor about the Oprah article. I’ve already received two phone calls from complete strangers ( One a polio survivor) thanking me for supporting what had been written in the article. I can’t wait to see how many outraged calls I get from the Oprah supporters. Anyone want to start a pool? grin

Congrats, macgyver! Is the letter HERE?

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Posted: 09 June 2009 03:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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dougsmith - 09 June 2009 03:34 PM
macgyver - 09 June 2009 03:07 PM

To my surprise Newsweek published a portion of the letter I sent them in this weeks Letters to the editor about the Oprah article. I’ve already received two phone calls from complete strangers ( One a polio survivor) thanking me for supporting what had been written in the article. I can’t wait to see how many outraged calls I get from the Oprah supporters. Anyone want to start a pool? grin

Congrats, macgyver! Is the letter HERE?

Wow, with so much logic and reason flying around, I had great difficulty figuring out which letter was written by you…... LOL
The cult of Oprah has come to her defense!!

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Posted: 09 June 2009 04:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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dougsmith - 09 June 2009 03:34 PM

Congrats, macgyver! Is the letter HERE?

Yeah you found it. Thanks, I couldn’t find it on line. I only knew it had been printed after we got the phone calls and then I looked in our copy of the magazine. Its the second one down in case you hadn’t already guessed.

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Posted: 09 June 2009 04:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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macgyver - 09 June 2009 04:08 PM
dougsmith - 09 June 2009 03:34 PM

Congrats, macgyver! Is the letter HERE?

Yeah you found it. Thanks, I couldn’t find it on line. I only knew it had been printed after we got the phone calls and then I looked in our copy of the magazine. Its the second one down in case you hadn’t already guessed.

Yes, one of the few sane responses to the article!!! LOL

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Posted: 09 June 2009 04:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
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Nicely done, macgyver! grin

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Posted: 09 June 2009 05:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
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Thanks McKenzie. If anyone is interested, the polio survivor gave us a link to this website. She is apparently the author and as a survivor she has been working to educate people so they don’t forget how horrendous some of these diseases were. Its too bad we can’t transplant her memories into Jenny McCarthy and the rest of the anti-vaccine crowd.

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Posted: 09 June 2009 05:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
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Thanks for the link Mac! I’ll be sharing it. While I and many others knew polio survivors in my childhood, many others think the disease has gone the way of the dinosaur. Great letter to Newsweek!

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