Dec 23 2013

Brain Scans and Psychics

You are currently browsing comments. If you would like to return to the full story, you can read the full entry here: “Brain Scans and Psychics”.


17 responses so far

17 Responses to “Brain Scans and Psychics”

  1. BBBlueon 23 Dec 2013 at 12:55 pm

    And it will forever be so. The target demo would rather believe in exciting, mystical powers that offer hope rather than the boring truth about these charlatans. Daytime TV has become a new religion, and Oz has become a modern purveyor of patent medicines.

  2. ccbowerson 23 Dec 2013 at 1:04 pm

    “Dr. Oz has long ago abandoned any scientific legitimacy, not to mention self-respect.”

    Fame and money are powerful motivators of rationalization for those who crave them. There is also probably something that is appealing about psuedoscience to him that aid in that rationalization.

    I do not understand why this trite and contrived narrative is so appealing to people. I am referring to the phony ‘close minded’ person (i.e. the ‘skeptic’ – those interested in good evidence), who is shown that he/she is wrong with nonsense evidence, and then he/she then becomes a ‘believer’ once they ‘allow’ themselves to believe.

    Its absurd, and almost always completely misrepresents the actual situations and facts. Yet, if ratings are any indication, many people find that idea very appealing. Perhaps it is an extrapolation of the underdog appeal- a way to show apparent know-it-alls that they don’t know it all.

  3. BKHawkeyeon 23 Dec 2013 at 1:05 pm

    Thank you for debunking this. “The Long Island Medium” is obviously a fraud, though sometimes you wonder if people of her ilk actually believe what they are doing is real. Dr. Amen is at worst a fraud. At best, he’s just deeply mistaken about the “evidence” an EEG will show when someone is engaging in a cognitive process, mostly because it conforms to his own beliefs. Perhaps he feels he has the right conclusion (that psychic abilities are real) and is just looking for evidence that correlates with it, even at a minute level. I’m no scientist, but I always thought one arrives at their conclusion AFTER the evidence (or lack thereof) has been examined. No one has demonstrated that psychic abilities exist.

    But Dr. Oz should know better. His promotion of this kind of schlock can be harmful to many who don’t seek out science-based solutions to their problems. Is there a point where you can start putting “Dr.” in quotes, or is someone entitled to that prefix for the rest of their life?

    I would say that you are doing God’s work when you debunk this huckster, but I also try not to acknowledge things that show no evidence of existing in the first place. I hope you understand the sentiment, regardless.

  4. ccbowerson 23 Dec 2013 at 1:18 pm

    Of course good science and skepticism is not about ‘know-it-alls.’ If done correctly it is the opposite – it emphasizes humility in the knowledge we currently have, and what information we can extrapolate from the information we currently have. That doesn’t mean, however, that we shouldn’t prefer the most likely of explanations, nor that we shouldn’t rule out the nonsense.

  5. steve12on 23 Dec 2013 at 2:10 pm

    How do we get the media to stop featuring charlatans? Some of it is purposefully exploitive, of course, and I’d put this example in that camp. But Daniel Amen is on PBS. You needn’t go too far to find out that Amen is not considered a real scientist or brain imager, but it seems to far for most of the media.

  6. steve12on 23 Dec 2013 at 2:11 pm

    or too far….

  7. Davdoodleson 23 Dec 2013 at 10:46 pm

    They could have improved on the trifecta and made it a quad-fecta or whatever, by getting Oz to get Amen to get Caputo to prove that Santie-Clause exists.

    Seasonally appropriate and scientifically just as sound.

  8. Davdoodleson 23 Dec 2013 at 10:54 pm

    “Dr. Oz has long ago abandoned any scientific legitimacy, not to mention self-respect.”

    Australia’s last great larrikin Prime Minister (and a hell of an orator, particularly of acerbic put-downs), one said to Richard Carlton (who left a decent journalistic career with the ABC – Australia’s public broadcaster- like PBS maybe) to work on 60 Minutes’ odious Aussie franchise:

    “You had an important place in Australian society on the ABC and you gave it up to be a pop star…with a big cheque…and now you’re on to this sort of stuff. That shows what a 24 carat pissant you are, Richard, that’s for sure.”

  9. BillyJoe7on 24 Dec 2013 at 1:32 am

    That was Paul Keating of course.
    Unfortunately, no youtube video.

    But here is the previous PM, Bob Hawke, giving it to the same interviewer:

  10. TBruceon 24 Dec 2013 at 4:56 pm

    The “I was a skeptic” line is just showmanship.

    Dr. Mehmet “Reki-Masters-in-the-OR” Oz claims to have been a skeptic?

    Ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaahahaha…(ad infinitum)

  11. locutusbrgon 24 Dec 2013 at 5:39 pm

    The long island medium actually makes me angry. When I see her tell this family that list a child that the child is here yet she gets things wrong about the child. She is a disgusting vampire who feeds on death, and misery. I don’t know why more than any other bs peddler she infuriates me.

  12. Fitness Health Rxon 29 Dec 2013 at 5:28 pm

    Media has to make money somehow, they will try and push anything down our throat.

  13. Will Nitschkeon 04 Jan 2014 at 5:13 am

    The problem is that the only individuals who take this sort of thing seriously are (a) not very intelligent people and (b) the amateur sceptical community.

  14. BillyJoe7on 04 Jan 2014 at 7:05 am

    Well, Will, it seems you’ve taken it seriously enough to not only read the article but also comment on it.
    So back on you. (;

  15. Will Nitschkeon 05 Jan 2014 at 6:23 pm

    Time would be spent addressing pseudo scientific claims where intelligent people may be mislead. Complaining about every bozo who shows up on TV or in a newspaper article is a waste of effort. It might make the amateur skeptic feel clever and self important, but at the end of the day you’re shooting fish in a barrel.

  16. BillyJoe7on 06 Jan 2014 at 7:03 am

    Maybe your time would be better spent on improving your language skills, but far be it for me to tell you how to spend your time….and back at you with that. (;

  17. JRockon 18 Jun 2014 at 8:58 am

    Dr. Novella, a side request if I may

    forgive my lack of citation and spelling, but I think you’ll find this a familiar topic.

    can you speak to the validity of radioactive sucrose scans used by Dr. Robert Haire to reveal psychopathology in the brain. he seems to provide decent evidence that dramatically differing scans, presupposing a typical brain vs. that of a psychopath’s, reveal some fundamental symptoms of the disorder.

    I ask this in reference to the subject matter of a forensic psych class in witch we studied Without Conscience. we discussed the neuropathology present in the disorder and generally took Haire’s work as valid. I believe the work is indeed peer-reviewed but I’ve been delving into your blog and would be most interested in your insight on the matter.

    hoping this rings a bell,


Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.