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Master Cleanse and smart people
Posted: 13 July 2010 06:05 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I’m as obsessed with my feces as much as the next guy, but lately, I’ve seen many of my close and smart friends fall for the detox diets, especially the Master Cleanse (water, lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper as well as a salty liter of water).  As Shermer points out in his book Why People Believe Weird Things (2002 edition), these are smart people with degrees, but yet they waste their money and enthusiastically share their anecdotes of success while boasting on how hardcore it is (chugging a liter of salt water and letting it sit in your stomach). 
The reason for my post is that I would like to see how some of you deal with friends or esteemed colleagues that dabble in such absurdities.  Do you tackle the issue that they have been duped?  Do you let it go?  Do you engage in a debate?  Do you raid their fridge and say, “Well, since you won’t be eating it…”?

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Posted: 13 July 2010 08:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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How you approach such an issue really depends on the nature of the relationship. With close friends, I may very well collect and present them with the evidence why what they are doing is useless and best and may not be safe, and though I don’t always convince them at least I get a sincere hearing because of our history. With people I am not as close to, I will often offer some facts and resources for them to consider, but I’m less likely to push. I have certainly agreed to disagree and avoided the subject in cases where discussion was unproductive, and realistically all you can do is express you concern and give your reasons and then let it go. As Shermer points out, the smarter and better educated people are, the more likely they are to stick with BS because they are better equipped to defend and rationalize it. Crazy, huh? grin

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Posted: 13 July 2010 08:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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That’s about the same thing I do.  Also, depending on the person, I may make fun of them, if I don’t like them, or sarcastically mock whatever bit of hoakum they’re falling for, if they’re a close friend or something.  But that only works with certain people I know.  Most get pissed when you make fun of their love of homeopathy or crystal healing or whatever.

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Posted: 13 July 2010 09:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I have just had one of the worst experiences discussing science vs woo-woo only a few days ago. A friend of a close friend quit her job at the bank and became a quack. She is also pregnant and decided she will not to vaccinate her kids. Her reasons, and those of her husband, included such non sequitur examples as Armstrong’s victory over testicular cancer due to his faith, science being not always right (H1N1 turned out to be a near-harmless virus), etc. It got ugly and I now wish I had never participated in that discussion. I honestly don’t know how to behave in these situations.

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Posted: 13 July 2010 09:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Just sarcastically mock them.  Or start throwing punches.  Either way, you win!

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Posted: 13 July 2010 09:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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How do you bring up detox woo when the person has a degree in nutrition and focused on eating disorders in teenage girls?

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Posted: 13 July 2010 01:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Chudwick - 13 July 2010 09:44 AM

How do you bring up detox woo when the person has a degree in nutrition and focused on eating disorders in teenage girls?

Perhaps tell them you’re interested in the studies which support the “treatment” and ask where you can find them? (A bit passive-agressive, but you never know.)

A liter of salt-water? That just can’t be good for someone.

BTW: Isn’t nutrition one of those areas that’s frequently, in flux? I’m just going by anecdotal stuff, like “Eggs are bad for you”. “No wait, they’re okay in moderation.” “Beef is bad for you.” “No wait, in moderation.”

Take care,

Derek

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Posted: 14 July 2010 05:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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In keeping with my general philosophical position that whatever you choose to put in your body is your own damn business, I just shrug, say “meh”, and change the subject. wink

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Posted: 14 July 2010 09:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I don’t know why anyone would want to discuss the state of their fecal matter to me, unless I am taking care of them…. rolleyes

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Posted: 15 July 2010 07:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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asanta - 14 July 2010 09:24 PM

I don’t know why anyone would want to discuss the state of their fecal matter to me, unless I am taking care of them…. rolleyes

But there’s toxins in them turds!

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Posted: 15 July 2010 10:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Chudwick - 15 July 2010 07:36 AM
asanta - 14 July 2010 09:24 PM

I don’t know why anyone would want to discuss the state of their fecal matter to me, unless I am taking care of them…. rolleyes

But there’s toxins in them turds!

So what, they are on their way down the sewey hole!

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Posted: 15 July 2010 11:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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After reading the chapter “Why smart people believe weird things” from Shermer’s book, I’m afraid there is no hope in getting my friends to drop their weird habits.  Perhaps all I can do, is wait for them to have kids, educate their kids every chance I get about how weird their parents are and hope that one day they can tell me how weird I am, to which I’ll reply, “Ah, but I do it for smart reasons!” 

Does anyone have a boulder I can borrow and can you point me to a steep hill?

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Posted: 15 July 2010 12:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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My co-workers think I’m weird, but they also respect my opinion (I’m an undercover atheist at work…I need the job and not the hassle). I tend to take little mouse sized bites out the their beliefs, without directly confronting the irrationality. If you take enough mouse sized bites, the entire piece of cheese will eventually be gone. It seems to work, they keep coming back for more…

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Church; where sheep congregate to worship a zombie on a stick that turns into a cracker on Sundays…

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Posted: 16 July 2010 02:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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My co-workers think I’m weird, but they also respect my opinion (I’m an undercover atheist at work…I need the job and not the hassle). I tend to take little mouse sized bites out the their beliefs, without directly confronting the irrationality. If you take enough mouse sized bites, the entire piece of cheese will eventually be gone. It seems to work, they keep coming back for more…

I mostly do the same thing.  Some of the people I work with are very religious and offer to pray for me and everything.  I just smile and let them have their way.  It doesn’t hurt me any and it makes them feel better, so why be an ass, right?  I don’t really poke and their beliefs at all, but I do provide a rationalistic, scientific, and non-Christian point of view for them on a lot of things.

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Posted: 17 July 2010 07:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Depending on my mood I may mock them while letting them know that I think less of them as a person. I may explain to them the facts. I may ignore them. If it is something I find amusing I may wholeheartedly encourage their ridiculous behavior.

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Posted: 17 July 2010 07:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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asanta - 15 July 2010 12:51 PM

My co-workers think I’m weird, but they also respect my opinion (I’m an undercover atheist at work…I need the job and not the hassle). I tend to take little mouse sized bites out the their beliefs, without directly confronting the irrationality. If you take enough mouse sized bites, the entire piece of cheese will eventually be gone. It seems to work, they keep coming back for more…

I’ve personally made 4 people lose their belief in god.

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