Wednesday, April 15, 2009

YouTube Plug: Qualia Soup

You saw his recent, excellent video on "open-mindedness" making the rounds on the skeptical blogs, so I thought I'd take a look at his other stuff. Below the fold, some I was particularly impressed by. Be nice and vote 'em up while you're there. Subscribing to his channel would be nice, too.

The Superstitious Pigeon:

Hell: An Excessive Punishment:

In the Beginning, God Created Injustice:

Absolutely... Not:

It Could Just be Coincidence:

Who am I kidding? They're almost all great.


Dark Jaguar said...

This guy sure is interesting to watch. He makes good stuff, though for certain deluded Americans that accent may be a bit off-putting.

In that first video I'll note he says something to the effect that being rationally minded means we can't take advantage of placebo effect. I'd like to say that at least for me personally this isn't the case. When I realized that placebo effect is essentially a mental trick of being able to ignore pain and nausia and other unpleasentness associated with being sick, I realized that there's no reason I can't just get myself into that mental state when needed. If anything understanding placebo effect should allow anyone to get all the advantage that worthless "medicine" would give without actually having to buy any of it, or take any of it. In my case all I do when I'm sick with the flu or have bruised or sprained myself in some way is to note that placebo might allow me to better cope with it, and noting that simply EXPECT that I'll feel better soon. More specifically when I do this I just end up getting on with my day and putting the pain out of my mind. Most of the time, it works just fine. When I'm sick I don't seem to suffer as much as others who concentrate on it all the time. I may be wrong on this but I think that placebo can come about without needing to trick anyone, which I think puts the final nail in the idea that there's some good to be had in quack medicine.

MWchase said...

There's also the fact that some studies seem to imply that the placebo effect doesn't happen at all. We just get better, and attribute it to the placebo.

(Of course, placebos still have their uses. Double blind studies need them to reduce experimental bias.)

The studies tested doing nothing against administering a placebo, and didn't note any significant difference.

(Also, positive attitudes reduce stress. So, you feel better, even if the symptoms remain, because you're feeling better about other things. Or something.)

Dark Jaguar said...

Yeah, I wouldn't put it past me to be just convincing myself I feel better, but then again that's all I was expecting of that attitude, a way to manage discomfort.

The one big misunderstanding about placebo effect I always seem to hear is that it has a real healing effect on the physical disease itself, rather than what I understand it to be, which is just that someone is better able to handle the symptoms and feels better while the disease goes through it's course just as it would otherwise.

I suppose this misunderstanding just goes along with a lot of people's ideas of mind over matter and the power of positive thinking to change reality and all that mystical mumbo jumbo.