The last day or so of posts on HuffPo is a perfect example of why I’ll never take that site seriously, and why in the end, lefties are just as susceptible to anti-science nonsense as the right. We start with Donna Karen promoting her new health-care initiative, the Well-Being Forum with much credit to hucksters Tony Robbins (he’ll hypnotize you with his teeth) and Deepak Chopra, king of woo. You know where it’s going with the first post “Healing Is Individual, Not One-Size-Fits-All” and early statements such as this:
But Tony knew that the bottom line is that healing is individual, it’s not one size fits all. You have to find the key to yourself. At the Well-Being Forum, Karen Duffy, a TV host and patient advocate who has experienced serious illness told us that, “The doctors gave me metaphors like, “you’re going to fight this illness.” But I’m a lover, not a fighter, and I didn’t want a big battle. I wanted the happy cells to take the unhappy cells out for a pint and talk it over.”
“Doctors don’t realize the hypnotic power of their messages, whether it’s telling you illness is a battle or saying that you have six months to live,” Tony told us at the forum. ” But it’s vital to bring hope to the table and give people the images and metaphors that will heal them.”
That’s what was missing from medicine and healthcare, metaphors! Precious healing metaphors from Tony Robbins! I can see my work will be cut out for me (the second post also pushes Tony Robbins’ carny-trick rubbish). And when you start getting into the Chopra-woo they promote it becomes perfectly clear that the left loves brain-dead unscientific garbage just as much as the religious fundamentalists on the right. The parallels are creepy.
Take for instance Deepak Chopra channeling Michael Egnor’s “brain isn’t material” nonsense with “The Mind Outside the Body (Part 1)” and (Part 2). It’s the same mind-numbing, hand-waving nonsense he preaches about “mind fields” that makes me want to open a vein. And his great scientific proof? The science of psychics!
Such a link was provided by Helmut Schmidt, a researcher working for Boeing’s aerospace laboratory in Seattle. Beginning in the mid-Sixties, Schmidt set out to construct a series of “quantum machines” that could emit random signals, with the aim of seeing if ordinary people could alter those signals using nothing more than their minds. The first machine detected radioactive decay form Strontium-90; each electron that was given off lit up either a red, blue, yellow, or green light. Schmidt asked ordinary people to predict, with the press of a button, which light would be illuminated next.
At first no one performed better than random, or 25%, in picking one of the four lights. Then Schmidt it on the idea of using psychics instead, and his first results were encouraging: they guessed the correct light 27% of the time. But he didn’t know if this was a matter of clairvoyance — seeing the result before it happened — or something more active, actually changing the random pattern of electrons being emitted.
It’s pretty sad that in this day and age the supposedly science-savvy left supports nonsense about psychic research and healing with metaphors. This is where the arguments come from that the only reason lefties agree with global warming research is because they see it as anti-corporate and anti-industry (as well as pro-environment) rather than out of any respect for science or evidence-based policy making.
Finally they top off anti-science day with a nice anti-vaccination post from John Mulvaney that makes the logically impeccable argument that because a proponent of the genetic basis of autism was mean to his daughter, that thimerosal causes autism (what do you expect from a source that routinely publishes David Kirby’s mercury-causes-autism nonsense?). HuffPo just published one stupid article after another and it’s not like they have much credibility to start with on science based on Arianna Huffington’s vague anti-medicine railing and semi-literate contributions of toxin-paranoia from Bill Maher (he clearly has good writers for his show because he can barely string a paragraph together in a blog post).
Why exactly are lefties proud of this site? Yeah, it’s right on the war, but isn’t it just a little embarrassing to have your messaged weighed down by this anti-scientific garbage? Does no one else worry this creates a credibility-gap for the left if they want to present themselves as being pro-science? HuffPo is a joke.
Ultimately the left is less of a problem for science, but only because their wacky beliefs are non-hierarchical and diffuse. They certainly can gather enough power to be locally annoying (just look at the opposition to “radiation” from wifi in San Francisco), but the only thing saving the left from being a national anti-science force is that they lack a Jerry Falwell of woo. Maybe Chopra will rise to the challenge?