I’m here! It’s nice, if a bit muggy in DC, and I am trying to avoid buying ALL THE SURLIES (but will eventually crack).
I’ll also be tweeting along at @donovanable!
Miri will be catching the first panel: Faith-Based Pseudo-Science, with Sarah Moglia, Carrie Poppy, Amy Davis Roth, Rebecca Watson, and moderator Desiree Schell. I’ll catch the highlights and tweet things! (May contain lots of exclamations!)
We’re talking about homeopathy–right now we have an imaginary person who’s projectile-vomiting to cure. You know, standard fare.
Surly Amy is explaining how people can take alt med and get better–i if you’re sick and don’t get any treatment (or take homeopathy) you either get better because you can only go up…or you die. If you die, we don’t hear about it.
Homeopathy popluarized by Mary Baker Eddy. Was a great alternative to…well, bleeding people (a practice of the time).
[This is also why you hear about how homeopathy must work: fewer people died of Spanish Flu in homeopathic hospitals in France in early 20th century. No, it's because getting no treatment is way better than being bled.]
Rebecca Watson talking about Creationism–it’s not contained to a single religion.
Sarah Moglia: really awful pseudoscience that really hurts women and the sick: God has a plan. Or, it’s awful cousin “everything happens for a reason!”. NO STAAAHP.
Rebecca: The people who are the most attracted to the “Law of Attraction” are those in desperate circumstances. It’s the worst kind of apathy for the suffering and victim blaming.
Desiree Schell: So do we have a responsibility to prevent all pseudoscience? Are there things that could be good?
Amy: part of the problem is the positive reinforcement from society..which breeds an antiscience culture.
Carrie: If we don’t acknowledge that there’s different levels of harm associated with kinds of alternative medicine, we actually lose people who could be on our side.
Sarah: A really important reason naturopaths get popular: they can spend an hour sitting and listening to what you’re dealing with. Doctors see patients for 7-9 minutes on average. Of course you’re going to feel better after being listened to!
Desiree: Where should we go next with out skepticism? (We have anti-vax, we have homeopathy).
Me: BEST QUESTION.
Sarah: (With my favorite answer) We need to focus on the people–don’t dismiss them for using pseudoscience…you’re doing very little to help them. We need human-focused skepticism!
Carrie: chase what’s personal to you, that you can relate to! Way better than trying to make some big Official Skeptical Organizational Focus Change.