Hello, Connecticut! »« The difference between skeptical thinking and scientific thinking

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  1. bbgunn says

    Unfortunately, the people who watch Dr. Oz on TV usually are not the same folks who watch Capitol Hill proceedings on C-SPAN or read Forbes magazine.

  2. culuriel says

    How depressing, in just the one exchange noted, he goes on about “studies”, and when McCaskill chides him that these “studies” weren’t available when he featured the product on his show, he trots them out and then has to admit, under further questioning, that they weren’t conducted to professional standards, and so he’d never be able to recommend them professionally. How can he call himself a doctor? In another summary, he tries to justify himself by pointing out that he distributes this stuff to his family. His family!

  3. says

    I am quite certain that Dr. Oz will have learned his lesson from this experience … and he will never accept another invitation to appear before a congressional panel unless it’s accompanied by a subpoena. From this point on, he will do his best to pretend the hearing never happened.

  4. Matt G says

    When does he experience genuine remorse? And when does he give back the millions?

  5. kc9oq says

    Lipson missed this telling quote from Oz (courtesy CNN):

    “My job, I feel, on the show is to be a cheerleader for the audience, and when they don’t think they have hope, when they don’t think they can make it happen, I want to look, and I do look everywhere, including in alternative healing traditions, for any evidence that might be supportive to them,” Oz said.

    As someone pointed out, “alternative medicine” is nonsense. If it worked it would be called “medicine”.

  6. says

    Dr. Oz is a slippery character. He doesn’t mind is people get ripped off, and possibly even physically harmed, by his peddling of “hope.”

    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2013/02/04/130204fa_fact_specter?currentPage=all

    […]“I am guided by evidence above all,” Eric Rose told me recently, when I visited him in his office, at Siga Technologies, a biotechnology firm that develops treatments for highly lethal diseases like smallpox and Ebola fever. He is also a professor of surgery at the Mount Sinai medical school. […]

    “I want to stress that Mehmet is a fine surgeon,” Rose said, as he did more than once during our conversation. “He is intellectually unbelievably gifted. But I think if there is any criticism you can apply to some of the stuff he talks about it is that there is no hierarchy of evidence. There rarely is with the alternatives. They have acquired a market, and that drives so much. At times, I think Mehmet does feed into that.”[…]

  7. Trebuchet says

    Oprah Winfrey has a lot to answer for. Oz is far from the only woo-meister she’s foisted on the public.

  8. cag says

    littlejohn #4, that is just an example of PZ’s dry humour (that’s Canadian spelling of humor).

  9. says

    Uggg McCaskill! Am I gonna have to actually LIKE a politician now…Shit. First Elizabeth Warren now HER! Curses!.
    -
    But in all srs, she really fucking let Oz have it! did youse guys read the transcript? And how on earth did this whole loverly affair come about? On the surface, it kinda sounds like Oz was ‘tricked’ into appearing by being led to believe that he was testifying on diet science fraud or whatevs

  10. mikeyb says

    Oz, what a perfectly appropriate name, since there’s no magic behind the curtain.

  11. What a Maroon, oblivious says

    mikeyb, 15

    Oz, what a perfectly appropriate name, since there’s no magic behind the curtain.

    It was originally Öz, which is Turkish for “pure”. It’s a common element in Turkish surnames (which weren’t used until the Atatürk years).

    In an ideal world he’d marry a relative of Derek Bok and change his name to Özbok.

  12. says

    Every time I hear his name a TV jingle from my childhood rattles in my head:

    “Give ‘im Dr. Oz dog food,
    Do him a favor!
    It’s got more meat,
    And it’s got more flavor!

    Woof! Fido knows best…”

  13. HolyPinkUnicorn says

    @Pazvante #13:

    shame on oz. apparently he was actually and maybe still is a good surgeon.

    So is Dr. Ben Carson, an accomplished neurosurgeon who doesn’t believe in evolution.

  14. twas brillig (stevem) says

    re throwaway @14:

    D.C. is a ‘Just Desert’. Or, a ‘Justice Desert’. Well played, PZed.

    Appropriate. BUT, not to correct you, just to add in; earlier today the title of the OP was, “Dr. Oz, just desserts”.
    Which I ifferred from the ironic phrase that, “This bad thing that happened to you is just desserts for that bad behavior” [paraphrased. and "just" was used to represent "justified", as opposed to "only"]. Which seemed only fair that Dr. Oz got slapped for all the flim-flam he tries to sell, as an authoritay. And then, just now, I see the “dessert” has been edited into “deserts”, which could imply, either, that Dr. Oz ‘ran away’, or that all he is is a Desert. Both are humorous/humourous irony.;-D

  15. mikeyb says

    I have perfect contempt for these Dr Oz, Dr Phil, Dr Laura characters who invade TV and become instant experts on everything, who parade their PhD’s like a some sort of badge but by and large are charlatans (of course this is not saying that I don’t have tremendous respect people who have PhDs which aren’t easy to obtain in most fields). I don’t even like it when people put Dr. so and so on a book title – why the fuck should that matter. But the Dr seems to act like a magical spell that causes people to instantly think anything they say is credible. Of course I don’t watch any of these shows, but it mystifies me why so many people look to them for advice on anything rather than doing their own research or consulting actual real Dr’s in whatever particular areas they need help with.

  16. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    The fact that is was so shocking to see a politician even bother to *care* about this kind of fraud, let alone to have educated herself so thoroughly on the issue before questioning, is what’s depressing to me. This will likely go nowhere. If we had a robust infrastructure, the FTC would already have gone after Oz.

    Do not think this is going to have an effect on the shit he peddles. It won’t. He’s too big, too Celebrity(TM), and our government has been slashed to the point of barely being able to keep up with its own internal paperwork, let alone carrying out its mandate to actual do something. The FTC has been a shadow of its former self for decades. Reagan cut the staff in half (yes, eliminated 50 percent of the staff) in the mid 80s.

    That number of staff has not increased in 24 years.

  17. chigau (違う) says

    “just desserts” was changed to “just deserts” because “desserts” was a misspelling.

  18. says

    Doctor Oz – “Peddle all the diet scams you want, just don’t use my name without handing me a pile of money first”.

    Everything I’ve seen from his colleagues regarding his competence as a surgeon and intellect has been nothing less than stellar. He’s not just some guy who barely scraped through med school, he should know better. I just can’t see flat out incompetence being behind this. I wonder what the balance between willful ignorance and outright corruption is here?

  19. gog says

    I said it before, and I’ll say it again: he should have stuck to heart surgery.

  20. Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive] says

    From what I understand, Oz is an excellent surgeon.

    I read an article he wrote a few years ago about when he went in for a colonoscopy. It discussed the procedure matter-of-factly and went over why they’re done, what they can and cannot say, and the importance of the unpleasant prep. It was, overall, a nicely written article that stood a good chance of increasing the number of people who get colonoscopies and of increasing patient compliance.

    All of which is to say that when Oz wants to, he’s good at being a populizer of science and medicine. He’s well-spoken, telegenic, and charismatic in a way that makes him relatable. He could easily do a lot of good.

    The fact that he chooses to peddle woo is thus doubly distressing.

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