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Harvard’s shame

It seems Tauriq Moosa and I have a similar opinion of Oprah Winfrey — she’s a successful peddler of pseudoscientific nonsense. It’s too bad that Harvard doesn’t have the same ability to recognize a fraud when they see one, since they had Oprah disgrace their commencement ceremonies, and then gave her an honorary degree. In what, I don’t know; can you get a Ph.D. in dangerous foolishness at Harvard?

Comments

  1. consciousness razor says

    In what, I don’t know;

    Law. Oprah is honorarily judging us all now.

    can you get a Ph.D. in dangerous foolishness at Harvard?

    They have whole schools dedicated just for that. (“Th.D” is short for “dangerous foolishness”… err, it’s an abbreviation from the Greek.)

  2. Hurin, Midnight DJ on the Backwards Music Station says

    can you get a Ph.D. in dangerous foolishness at Harvard?

    Not sure, but I think we have at least one former president with a masters in dangerous foolishness from there. Maybe he flunked his oral exam?

  3. consciousness razor says

    In what, I don’t know;

    Law. Oprah is honorarily judging us all now. Before, it was just a hobby.

    can you get a Ph.D. in dangerous foolishness at Harvard?

    They have whole schools just for that.

    (Fact: “Th.D.” is short for “dangerous foolishness.” The abbreviation comes from the Greek.)

  4. Draken says

    Isn’t Harvard mainly business and law? She seems succesful enough at those: selling bullshit without getting sued.

  5. Gnumann+,with no bloody irony at all (just an anti-essentialist feminist with a shotgun) says

    In what, I don’t know; can you get a Ph.D. in dangerous foolishness at Harvard?

    AFAIK – Harvard is pretty famed for not having a MBA.

  6. petemoulton says

    Harvard has a lot to be ashamed of. They awarded law degrees to Ted Cruz and Fat Tony Scalia, for starters. But I think Jadehawk@2 deserves a sniny new internet for her comment.

  7. says

    Well, they employ on their faculty a pseudo-scientist with a fake Ph.D. named Ted Kaptchuk, who has a whole industry promoting quackery. So Oprah’s honorary degree is actually a fairly minor sin.

  8. Cuttlefish says

    Well… John Mack got his degree from, and then taught at, Harvard Med School. He’s the fellow who claims that the true cause of eating disorders is often … alien abduction. If he hasn’t appeared on Oprah, I’d easily put him at just one degree of separation.

    (oop. Claimed, not claims. He’s dead now.)

  9. Steve LaBonne says

    In what, I don’t know; can you get a Ph.D. in dangerous foolishness at Harvard?

    Several. “Economics” and “Government”, to name two.

  10. says

    To be fair, I don’t think Oprah is a fraud. I think she’s a true believer with the best intentions, and her New Age outlook has lead her to believe in and endorse a lot of dangerous nonsense. She obviously never had anyone teach her to employ scepticism, much to everyone’s detriment. Imagine for a moment that all that enthusiasm to share the benefits of the latest Secret or Dr Oz, had instead been turned to sharing the benefits of living without faith.

  11. Rich Woods says

    @Cuttlefish #9:

    If he hasn’t appeared on Oprah, I’d easily put him at just one degree of separation.

    (oop. Claimed, not claims. He’s dead now.)

    That’ll explain why he’s not been on Oprah…yet.

  12. doubtthat says

    The woo from Oprah is overwhelming, and deeply distressing given her influence, but she’s the 20th wealthiest woman in America, and, studying the following list, the second wealthiest woman who didn’t inherit money from parents or husbands:

    http://www.therichest.org/celebnetworth/lists/rich/women-in-america/

    That’s pretty damn impressive. A black woman becoming that successful in the United States of America.

    Again, that’s absolutely not a defense of the horseshit she peddles, and there’s obviously a problem that some non-insignificant percentage of her wealth was obtained via new-age nonsense, but depending on your definition of “success,” Oprah could be the most successful African American woman in the country. She certainly has a massive amount of influence and political clout, which is simultaneously impressive and distressing.

  13. Akira MacKenzie says

    Ibis3 @ 12

    I think she’s a true believer with the best intentions

    There’s that word again.

  14. Alan Cain says

    So, the less real data one possesses and processes, the more honored and popular and wealthy one becomes? Oh, that is simply too depressing.

    Clearly, the more one is willing to pretend to true belief in front of others, the more one is recognized as a “leader” or worthy or pure or some sort of absolute virtue, becomes a symbol and cashes in. Oprah found a couple of huge groups to lead – black women and poor women. Look what that kind of focus did for Walmart.

    And Oprah, Walmart, Bush, and the rest of the neo-wealthy have a lot in common: They stole their money honestly – a little bit at a deceptive time from you and me. There is a reason Jeezus did not care for money changers.

    To get great wealth requires that you either inherit it (from the thief), or steal it. The concentration of the benefits of the commons in so few hands is a capital crime in the absolute sense of the word. To tie up the common capital to use for yourself and your chosen ones is one of the most serious social crimes that can be conceived.

    Murder is nicer. You can more easily identify your loss.

    Frankly, the tragic, fatal and sudden loss of these assholes would be for the public good; there is little to regret in their passing except that their wealth will be given to those who have no need for it anyway. May we not be inflicted with their passing on television.

    I think we are in very serious trouble, and we are almost boiled to perfection. How about some pepper and a bay leaf?

  15. mikeym says

    I’m not sure how much of a True Believer Oprah is. When she learned she was hypothyroid, she didn’t go to her Brazilian faith healer, she started taking thyroxin.

  16. Reginald Selkirk says

    In what, I don’t know; can you get a Ph.D. in dangerous foolishness at Harvard?

    It worked for Jason Richwine.

  17. Reginald Selkirk says

    Harvard seems to be experiencing a lot of shame these days. Rogoff and Reinhard are on the faculty there, for instance.

  18. says

    @15:

    If there were a road to Hell, we’d know what it was paved with.

    I do appreciate Winfrey’s efforts on behalf of literacy–but Jenny McCarthy? Children have needlessly died because of Jenny McCarthy, and to the extent that Winfrey has promoted her, she gets some of that blame.

  19. ginckgo says

    Steve LaBonne @10, you beat me to it. Considering the country-destroying economic austerity ‘theories’ that have vomited forth from Harvard, it seems apt to give one to Oprah.

  20. bastionofsass says

    Winfrey also promoted Suzanne Somer’s wackadoo “secrets for staying young” using HRT, plus chelation, detox regimens, and massive amounts of vitamins.

    Oprah supported the use of HRT despite legitimate medical concerns, making demanding HRT from doctors sound like some kind of feminist “take charge of your own health” issue.