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  #1  
Old 11-09-2012, 08:45 AM
psythe psythe is offline
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Magnets for pain relief

Original article here

Cecil said (paraphrasing) that the main problem with using magnets for analgesia is that physics doesn't say why they should help.

I would hope that, in the face of randomised placebo controlled trials of sufficient size and rigor, the scientific community would shrug and say "well, we obviously have a bit of work to do to catch up with you guys and we may yet find out what was wrong with this study which returns the results to consistency with the rest of what we know, but while we're investigating go ahead and use them".

To paraphrase someone else, the coolest phrase to hear from a scientist is not "Eureka!" but "That's interesting...."

Last edited by C K Dexter Haven; 11-10-2012 at 07:16 AM.. Reason: Fixed link -- ckdh
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  #2  
Old 11-09-2012, 08:49 AM
Inner Stickler Inner Stickler is online now
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Fixed link.
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  #3  
Old 11-09-2012, 09:19 AM
Czarcasm Czarcasm is online now
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I would hope that. with all the studies that have already been done, those hawking these magnetic placebos would admit that they are for the most part ineffective woo and stop scamming those that don't know any better.
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Old 11-09-2012, 09:25 AM
Yllaria Yllaria is online now
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In other words, the placebo effect is interesting, but the magnets aren't.
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  #5  
Old 11-09-2012, 10:28 AM
karentiede karentiede is offline
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Bigger logical error

Whether or not magnets "work" for any one person is not really the issue. The woman feels better with them and they almost certainly have fewer side effects than any of the major pain meds, for probably about the same cash outlay.

My problem is with Cecil's logic:

Quote:
is that no one's proposed a plausible physiological explanation for how magnetism does its stuff on the body's cells.
According to this logic, no-one could have died of anything before we understood what it was that killed them. Cholera. Plague. Cancers. Or does "God was ticked off" constitute sufficient logic for the time?

If my memory serves, this logic was actually proposed for the London Cholera epidemic. "We don't know how the water could be killing them, so it must not be the well."

"We don't know how doctors could be spreading childbirth fever, so it must be that rich women are more delicate and poor women are more robust."

Funny, but taking the handle off that well stopped the epidemic.

Last edited by karentiede; 11-09-2012 at 10:28 AM..
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  #6  
Old 11-09-2012, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by karentiede View Post
According to this logic, no-one could have died of anything before we understood what it was that killed them.
No.

When Cecil says "no one's proposed a plausible physiological explanation for how magnetism does its stuff on the body's cells", he doesn't say that to mean "therefore they don't work". The conclusion he's trying to draw is actually "therefore the placebo effect is a more likely explanation".

I trust you can see from here how your analogy is flawed.


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  #7  
Old 11-09-2012, 04:55 PM
Amateur Barbarian Amateur Barbarian is online now
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There's a difference between seeing and verifying an effect, and learning and validating the effect's cause.

When there's a decent double-blind study that shows magnets actually do reduce pain, promote healing, or whatever - that will be step one. AFAIK, one has never been done.

Step two - should there be any need - would be to find out why magnets have the specified effect. But there is neither the need nor the basis for validating the effect until it's proven to exist. There's even less need to draw hysterical parallels that begin with rejecting facts.

Last edited by Amateur Barbarian; 11-09-2012 at 04:56 PM..
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  #8  
Old 11-09-2012, 05:31 PM
Jackmannii Jackmannii is offline
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The main problem with any woo therapy is that it hasn't been shown to work.

For a number of woo therapies (magnets for pain relief, homeopathy, ear candling etc.) the problem is compounded by the utter lack of any coherent mechanism by which they could work (homeopathy for instance, would require rewriting the laws of physics). No evidence of efficacy + ludicrous explanation = science not taking you seriously.

If one's aches and pains seem to be relieved by magnets, fine. What happens lots of times is that the placebo effect wears off and the user must move on to other placebo treatments. For some, it may be worth the cost and inconvenience.

Last edited by Jackmannii; 11-09-2012 at 05:32 PM..
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  #9  
Old 11-09-2012, 09:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jackmannii View Post
For a number of woo therapies (magnets for pain relief, homeopathy, ear candling etc.) the problem is compounded by the utter lack of any coherent mechanism by which they could work (homeopathy for instance, would require rewriting the laws of physics). No evidence of efficacy + ludicrous explanation = science not taking you seriously.
You have to be careful, there. There are many cases where an effect was shown to be real or valid long before the cause was determined.

It really is all about verifying that the effect is real, and happens under specified conditions that exclude all other causes (including placebo, simple healing over time, etc.) Theories about how a process or effect works are not necessary until it's been established that it does work.

A good hallmark of a woo therapy is that there are elaborate, nonsensical explanations of how it works, but not a proof of "does work" in sight.
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  #10  
Old 11-10-2012, 01:19 AM
GRobLewis GRobLewis is offline
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How about grounding your body?

Perhaps related to the question about magnetism:

A few years ago, there seemed to be a brief flurry of interest in the idea of grounding your body (such as via conductive shoes) to dissipate the harmful charges that supposedly accumulate when you wear shoes, which are generally pretty good electrical insulators.

It's pointed out that humans typically went barefoot until recently, and were healthier and happier for it.

As an electrical engineer, I'm extremely skeptical. But I can't absolutely rule it out. Is there any evidence that this isn't just more quackery?
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  #11  
Old 11-10-2012, 06:19 AM
Czarcasm Czarcasm is online now
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Originally Posted by GRobLewis View Post
It's pointed out that humans typically went barefoot until recently, and were healthier and happier for it.
Read this sentence again.
"It's pointed out"-by whom? What evidence was presented that barefoot people were healthier, and how what scientific study showed that barefoot people were happier? What does "until recently" mean? All in all, where is there any evidence that this isn't unsubstantiated quackery?
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  #12  
Old 11-10-2012, 09:56 AM
GRobLewis GRobLewis is offline
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Originally Posted by Czarcasm View Post
Read this sentence again.
"It's pointed out"-by whom? What evidence was presented that barefoot people were healthier, and how what scientific study showed that barefoot people were happier? What does "until recently" mean? All in all, where is there any evidence that this isn't unsubstantiated quackery?
Down, boy. You seem to be under the impression that I'm arguing in favor of this notion. Far from it. To repeat myself, I'm extremely skeptical. As in really, really skeptical.

I don't know "by whom"—it's just something someone told me, which I think they got from a book. I thought it was mildly interesting.

"Until recently" means "until humans started wearing shoes." In evolutionary time, I suspect that is quite recently (as in thousands of years?). I thought that would have been obvious.
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  #13  
Old 11-10-2012, 10:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GRobLewis View Post
Down, boy.
No, I read your post much as Czarcasm seems to have read it: "I'm as hard headed as they come but this made me think." Common phrasing in testimonials about woo and nonsense medical fads. Using the sort of hand-waving "everyone knows that" phrasing is more of the same.

I accept that you're skeptical about the claim. But your post reads like many "...and now I'm a true believer" comments. Check your logic when venturing into this wasteland, lest you be mistaken for another dupe.
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  #14  
Old 11-10-2012, 10:29 AM
GRobLewis GRobLewis is offline
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I've already wasted far too much time on this nonsense. But I wonder what part of "As an electrical engineer, I'm extremely skeptical. But I can't absolutely rule it out." makes me look like a gullible true believer.

For the record, I don't believe in crop circles or the health benefits of magnets. But I can't absolutely rule them out either, can I?
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  #15  
Old 11-10-2012, 10:48 AM
Czarcasm Czarcasm is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GRobLewis View Post
I've already wasted far too much time on this nonsense. But I wonder what part of "As an electrical engineer, I'm extremely skeptical. But I can't absolutely rule it out." makes me look like a gullible true believer.

For the record, I don't believe in crop circles or the health benefits of magnets. But I can't absolutely rule them out either, can I?
Tell me-is there anything you do rule out, or is your mind forever open no matter how slim(or even nonexistent) the evidence is for a claim?
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  #16  
Old 11-10-2012, 10:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GRobLewis View Post
I've already wasted far too much time on this nonsense. But I wonder what part of "As an electrical engineer, I'm extremely skeptical. But I can't absolutely rule it out." makes me look like a gullible true believer.
Well, if you're going to start using non-words like 'gullible,' it just gets murkier. However, my advice is sincerely meant: if you're going to take a stand on extraordinary claims, you have to watch your words carefully lest both sides use them against you.

As for "completely rule out" such things, it depends on the exact claims. Do magnets produce health benefits? Not insofar as any valid medical investigation has proved. Could some benefit from strapping magnets to your wrist, waist, ankle or neck eventually be found? Could be... but that opens exponentially the vague possibilities, into near-meaninglessness.

Which is why such all such claims, sensible on their face or not, have to be nailed down to specific results that can be evaluated for there to be any meaningful answer. Just as in your field - if I was to propose that wiring wrapped in plastic synthesized from organic soybeans made equipment "run better," how would you begin to prove or disprove it?
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  #17  
Old 11-10-2012, 12:28 PM
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The negative health effects of charge buildup on the body are well-known and understood: When you touch a doorknob, you get zapped. And I suppose that grounded shoes would probably help alleviate this problem. But at some point, you have to ask yourself if it's really worth it.

As to the effectiveness vs. mechanism debate, there are a number of alternative medicine treatments for which there is a plausible mechanism, but for which (like for all alternative medicines, by definition) there's no evidence they actually work. Most herbal supplements fall into this category: It's well known that plants can contain a wide variety of pharmacologically-interesting substances, and any given plant might certainly contain an as-yet unknown compound that really is good medicine for some disease or another. But until you've actually tested them and determined that they do work, that's not enough.
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  #18  
Old 11-10-2012, 01:12 PM
GRobLewis GRobLewis is offline
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Originally Posted by Czarcasm View Post
Tell me-is there anything you do rule out, or is your mind forever open no matter how slim(or even nonexistent) the evidence is for a claim?
Many claims have never been rigorously tested, even some plausible ones. Some claims, by their very nature, can't be rigorously tested (i.e. via double-blind, controlled experiments). That being the case, we can't absolutely rule them all out, can we?

And I'm not talking about non-falsifiable claims of the paranormal and such.

Look, I'm a former subscriber to Skeptical Inquirer. I'm a huge Richard Dawkins fan. I mock those ridiculous "ghost hunter" TV shows. But apparently I didn't choose my words carefully enough when casually inquiring about something I once heard. Mea frickin' culpa.

Over & out.
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  #19  
Old 11-10-2012, 02:49 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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If they can't be tested to the full degree of rigor, then we test them to the greatest extent that we can, and let our scientific understanding of the processes involved guide us the rest of the way. If they can't be tested at all, and there is no scientifically-understood process, then yes, we might as well just absolutely rule them out, because there can't possibly be any more harm in doing so than in any other course of action.
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  #20  
Old 11-10-2012, 10:14 PM
Jackmannii Jackmannii is offline
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I'm hard pressed to think of any health claim that cannot be adequately tested, even modalities that would appear to be impossible to evaluate by gold standard double blind testing.

For instance, studies of acupuncture have employed a device that makes it appear as if the needle has punctured the skin, but actually has retracted at the critical moment. Even the tester has no idea if the needle actually went in. This so-called "sham acupuncture" has fared as well as the "real thing" in published research.
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  #21  
Old 11-10-2012, 11:07 PM
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Originally Posted by GRobLewis View Post
But I wonder what part of "As an electrical engineer, I'm extremely skeptical. But I can't absolutely rule it out." makes me look like a gullible true believer.
Actually, it doesn't indicate anything. Even smart people can be wrong. William Shockley, inventor of the junction transistor, held some wooish beliefs on race and intelligence.

Anyway, one of the prime "benefits" of going around barefoot is the easier contraction of hookworms, which have been shown to reduce intelligence.

ETA: An open mind can be ones undoing if one is not careful. You've been here quite a while and have undoubtedly heard the saying "Keep an open mind – but not so open that your brain falls out."

Last edited by dropzone; 11-10-2012 at 11:09 PM..
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  #22  
Old 11-11-2012, 09:28 AM
Amateur Barbarian Amateur Barbarian is online now
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...and one of Lazarus Long's epigrams that I've found more valid over time than most:

“Expertise in one field does not carry over into other fields. But experts often think so. The narrower their field of knowledge the more likely they are to think so.”
(Robert Heinlein)

This seems to be particularly true of experts in hard, finite sciences and engineering. Their world is rigid and organized and finite unto the furthest reaches; other specialties and fields must be, as well.

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  #23  
Old 11-11-2012, 10:35 AM
Jackmannii Jackmannii is offline
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William Shockley is only one of a depressing list of Nobel prize winners in science who later descended into woo and other bizarre and/or racist beliefs.

My favorite is Kary Mullis and his cosmic raccoons.

Generally, when you hear a physician or scientist endorsing a crank theory or dubious medical intervention, their credentials have little or nothing to do with the field they're expounding on. Example: signees of petitions and articles doubting climate change include many people with impressive titles, but remarkably few demonstrating expertise in climatology.

Last edited by Jackmannii; 11-11-2012 at 10:38 AM..
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  #24  
Old 11-11-2012, 09:20 PM
John W. Kennedy John W. Kennedy is offline
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Applies when scientists go outside of science, too. I once caught Neil deGrasse Tyson in a positively jaw-dropping goof about medieval history. (But then, I would have made the same mistake, if I had nothing to go on but my formal education.)
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Old 11-12-2012, 10:34 AM
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Theories about how a process or effect works are not necessary until it's been established that it does work.
Not necessary, but extremely helpful in getting funding to perform experiments toward establishing efficacy.


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  #26  
Old 11-12-2012, 10:39 AM
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“Expertise in one field does not carry over into other fields. But experts often think so. The narrower their field of knowledge the more likely they are to think so.”
(Robert Heinlein)
Good point, though Thomas Kuhn points out that most scientific revolutions were brought about by people from other fields, since they weren't burdened by a big investment in the old paradigm.

I guess those were the few who were truly geniouses, as distinct from the folks who thought they could ride the wave of their earlier success. I bet it's easier for a Nobel recipient to get funded for woo projects than for the rest of the lot!

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  #27  
Old 11-12-2012, 03:41 PM
Amateur Barbarian Amateur Barbarian is online now
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@Powers: Of course theories have their place in analyzing a phenomenon (or even a theoretical phenomenon)... but in the end knowing for certain that something works and knowing for certain how it works are two very different things. There's absolutely no use in expending time, skull sweat or funding on a theoretical basis for something that can't first be proven to exist.

@Learjeff: Heinlein's quote is as much snark as truth; certainly there are those who cross fields and bring the same brilliance and new insights to the "foreign" one. But the truth in RAH's comment applies most often to those whose training is in rigor and absolute precision... who then take stands on the assumption that other fields are just as rigorous and precise. They can calculate astrophysical phemonena, or engineering problems, to absurd degress of precision and with great assurance that the base principles have been proven; the difference in paranormal studies, or contrarian energy claims, escapes them.

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  #28  
Old 11-13-2012, 07:59 AM
Jackmannii Jackmannii is offline
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Good point, though Thomas Kuhn points out that most scientific revolutions were brought about by people from other fields, since they weren't burdened by a big investment in the old paradigm.
What revolutionary developments in modern medicine were brought about by people who weren't trained in medical research or clinical practice?

And how many Nobel science winners later proposed hugely controversial theories in unrelated fields, were derided but later vindicated?
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Old 11-13-2012, 10:50 AM
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What revolutionary developments in modern medicine were brought about by people who weren't trained in medical research or clinical practice?

And how many Nobel science winners later proposed hugely controversial theories in unrelated fields, were derided but later vindicated?
Name one Nobel science winner who is purported to revolutionize their field?

Note: While Einstein is literally a correct answer, it's the exception that proves the rule, since his award was for quantum theory, not relativity.

Later I'll cite Kuhn's examples. However, I'll admit that they're not terribly recent, and these days it's decidedly more difficult to be a polymath. I'd be happy just to be a monomath, frankly!
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Old 11-13-2012, 01:06 PM
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Name one Nobel science winner who is purported to revolutionize their field?

Note: While Einstein is literally a correct answer, it's the exception that proves the rule, since his award was for quantum theory, not relativity.
Einstein's explanation of the photoelectric effect as the result of the discrete quantized nature of light (rather than Maxwell's continuous and infinitely divisible wave theory) pretty much kicked off quantum theory and proposed the existence of the photon. That's pretty much revolutionary. I won't try to survey the field of Nobel-winning discoveries to assess whether this example is exceptional or typical, but as a data point, it supports the idea that revolutionary ideas are fomented within the field of the art by its own established practitioners, rather than by the inspired outsider.
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Old 11-13-2012, 04:10 PM
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I'm pretty sure Einstein didn't make paradigm-shifting discoveries in virology or cardiovascular physiology.
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  #32  
Old 11-13-2012, 06:14 PM
Michael63129 Michael63129 is offline
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Originally Posted by Czarcasm View Post
Read this sentence again.
"It's pointed out"-by whom? What evidence was presented that barefoot people were healthier, and how what scientific study showed that barefoot people were happier? What does "until recently" mean? All in all, where is there any evidence that this isn't unsubstantiated quackery?
I have heard that going barefoot is better for your feet, since they evolved without shoes. Of course, I'm pretty sure any benefits can be easily explained by medical science (better posture and support, less moisture and bacterial buildup) and has absolutely nothing to do with mythical "charges" (aside from static electricity, which isn't harmful in itself, being nothing more than an excess or deficit of electrons). As for things like hookworms, well, wear shoes outside but go barefoot indoors, like I do at home.
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Old 11-13-2012, 08:06 PM
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I have dogs that are poorly housetrained. I practically wear shoes in the shower and I never go about with the lights off.
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  #34  
Old 11-13-2012, 10:40 PM
John W. Kennedy John W. Kennedy is offline
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A lot of people generalize far too much from Pasteur having been a chemist.
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Old 11-14-2012, 01:10 PM
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I once caught Neil deGrasse Tyson in a positively jaw-dropping goof about medieval history. (But then, I would have made the same mistake, if I had nothing to go on but my formal education.)
Please, enlighten Us, because if NdGT goofed on it, I'm sure most of Us would too.
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Old 11-14-2012, 02:22 PM
John W. Kennedy John W. Kennedy is offline
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He wrote a column suggesting that the supernova of 1054 was ignored in Europe because all Western thinkers were enslaved to Aristotle’s notion that the heavens were unchanging.

Those of you who know something about the intellectual history of the middle ages may begin laughing now.

For the rest of you, the rediscovery of Aristotle’s works in the next century and the reconciliation of them with Catholic thought, chiefly by Thomas Aquinas (1224-1275), are key moments in medieval history—Big Events, like the invention of gunpowder or the discovery of America. To an astronomer/astrologer in 1054, Aristotle was, at most, someone who had written an obscure book about metaphysics.

(For what it’s worth, the Wikipedia article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supernova_of_1054 has some things to say about the original question. Bottom line: European astronomy just plain sucked in 1054, but there do, in fact, seem to be some mentions of the supernova here and there.)
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  #37  
Old 11-14-2012, 03:34 PM
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Reported for hijacking.

SPOILER:
Just kidding ( hopefully I didn't break any rules with that ). Thank You, that was most educating. You've always been My favourite doper - You're actually Cecil, aren't You?
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  #38  
Old 11-20-2012, 02:52 PM
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My 2 cents: I think it's a mistake to think that because we cannot explain why something works that it can't work.

Think about acupuncture or heat therapy. Just adding a hot water pack to an injury can and does work and has a scientific explanation: The heat penetrates muscles, encourages blood flow and can stimulate healing.

I'm sure at some point, folks just thought it was a placebo affect, since a warm anything generally feels good against the skin (giggles). But there was a scientific cause, which was eventually discovered.

My point is, one must allow for the possibility that we simply haven't DISCOVERED how magnets relieve pain. And honestly, at the end of the day, does it really matter? I make diy heat packs, slap 'em on my leg and I feel better. Who really cares if it has no scientific explanation - it stops me from killing people

Ok now I'm just being snarky lol
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  #39  
Old 11-20-2012, 03:01 PM
Inner Stickler Inner Stickler is online now
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We can't discover how magnets relieve pain until we discover IF magnets relieve pain.
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  #40  
Old 11-20-2012, 03:56 PM
Amateur Barbarian Amateur Barbarian is online now
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Originally Posted by Inner Stickler View Post
We can't discover how magnets relieve pain until we discover IF magnets relieve pain.
That's been said several times and in several ways, and is repeated in any reasonably civil discussion about extraordinary claims, but there's always a subset - sometimes a very bright, highly educated subset - that can't figure out why you can't work on how and why something works before you prove it does work.

But then, intense discussion of the exact length and color of a mature unicorn's horn might lure one out of the forest.
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  #41  
Old 11-21-2012, 04:26 AM
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For the record, I don't believe in crop circles ...
So you deny the existence of crop circles (what causes them is [not so] debatable, though) ?
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  #42  
Old 11-21-2012, 08:54 AM
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I'm sure that's shorthand for "I don't believe crop circles are messages from extraterrestrials, or mysterious vortex forces, or other claptrap." I'm sure he accepts that there are patterns created in fields.
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Old 11-21-2012, 09:46 AM
Jackmannii Jackmannii is offline
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Originally Posted by Inner Stickler View Post
We can't discover how magnets relieve pain until we discover IF magnets relieve pain.
But that's not how things work in the world of woo.

One starts with the conviction that the woo is effective (all those testimonials just can't be wrong), and then searches for a sufficiently science-y mechanism to explain why it is effective, employing heavy doses of jargon and abstruse physics to muddy the waters.

At least that's the path taken by some homeopathy advocates, like Lionel Milgrom and his "quantum homeopathy".
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  #44  
Old 11-21-2012, 02:32 PM
Irishman Irishman is offline
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There's two paths here.

The first is that one needs to establish the effect exists before one can study it. This can start with anecdote or whatever, but needs to be put through scientific scrutiny to eliminate things like placebo, wishful thinking, biased interpretations, remembering the hits and dismissing the misses, etc. There are tons of ways we humans trick ourselves. The point of scientific methodology is to counter those ways with the best tools we've developed.

The second path is to identify a mechanism. Sure, it's hard to come up with a mechanism before you have an effect to study. But when you get even the hint of an effect, you have something to consider. Of course, reality indicates that if you haven't carefully established the effect, those same biases and mental oopses can affect our ability to determine the mechanism we are trying to study. That's why most in the science side state we need to clearly establish the effect first, beyond the reliance on anecdote.

But, if someone proposes a mechanism for why a certain effect may work, it is valid to access that proposed mechanism for compatibility with understood science. This is where, for example, one can look at ear candling and assess the stupidity invalidity of the proposed claims. Ear candling proponents pull out just enough physics to bear a slight resemblance to what they are doing to make it sound plausible to the non-specialist. Yes, burning a candle does create a slight upward draft of air from under the flame. That is why the flame goes up, and the smoke goes up. But ear candling proponents push that explanation way beyond sensible limits and suggest that the same "suction" effect justifies how the conical candle can pull ear wax (and apparently any "toxins" in your head) out of your ear and deposit it in the candle.

Except that just does not match physics. The very minor suction effect caused by that updraft is far weaker than the adhesion strength of ear wax. And the idea that that suction force could somehow draw toxins out of the bloodstream through the skin or from the estachian tubes through the eardrum are just preposterous based on everything we know about air currents, pressure differentials, etc. That would be a mighty big shakeup of conventional physics for such a marginal case of having it show up, it defies reason.

Now, it is just possible that we don't have full knowledge, that there could be something there just waiting for us to discover and overturn our understanding of physics. But the thing is, given the preponderance of evidence for our current understanding, it's going to take a lot more than "hey I tried ear candling and got a hunk of stuff in it" to make that effort worthwhile. So it's going to take a lot of examining the effect to prove that ear candling does more than burn a candle and deposit melted wax and soot from that candle in the conical base.

So when Cecil says, "The real problem with magnetic therapy — [snip]— is that no one's proposed a plausible physiological explanation for how magnetism does its stuff on the body's cells," what I think he's saying is that the explanations that they do put forward are gibberish, counter to existing science, or just implausible on the face. A ridiculous possible explanation does little to make the possibility of the underlying effect seem reasonable, and little to justify taking the effort to study the effect in detail.
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  #45  
Old 11-21-2012, 02:52 PM
Inner Stickler Inner Stickler is online now
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I agree with all of that. I'm simply not content to let someone say, "Not everything is understood therefore anything is a valid hypothesis."
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  #46  
Old 11-21-2012, 05:10 PM
Chicago Stonepro Chicago Stonepro is offline
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Ever ride a passenger train?

I finally got a smartphone recently, and it came with a compass app. Just for fun, I decided to watch it work on a Metra (diesel locomotive) passenger train ride from Union Station, out to Naperville (Chicago downtown to western 'burb).

It was a sunny morning, and I was looking forward to mentally mapping some landmarks, etc.

It wasn't fun, and I gave up on the game. The needle would spin wildly everytime another train sped by the other way, and kept indicating north toward various metal constructions that we passed. Occasionally, the needle spun and/or hung off the mark for no apparent reason.

Off the train, the app worked rather well.

I happen to have some experience as an open-minded yet slightly skeptical recipient of a bit of magnetic therapy. My view is that sure, I can accept there are circumstances where magnetic interventions may be efficacious. I've had two incidents where magnet therapy was used, and I couldn't explain away the results.

As for the physics, you can go quantum, and make a case for it, or you can stand on electromechanics, and make a case against it. Or, you can be investigative, and say not enough is known, and find some perspective to test from.

Most of us will just go on practicality.

Most of us are traveling through tangles of magnetic fields all the time. We likely generate weak magnetism ourselves, because our bodies have nervous systems and brains, and the weak electric impulses that go along with them.

Practically speaking, my first experience with magnet therapy was when, out of desperation, I went to my chiropractor for a knee injury. I decided to run a marathon, had been working out religiously on a wind resistance rower for almost a year, but hadn't run for several months. I decided to put some miles on the old legs, to get them configured better.

My running experience included track, cross country, and road racing, with a quite a few top ten finishes, with a number of wins. I had previous marathon experience. I used to run ultra-distance for training, at one point I had a 35 mile, out-and-back course that I'd run about once a week, for almost a year.

I passed on an opportunity to run for a major shoe company, at one point.

Anyway, I know my body, and in the transition from rowing machine to road running, I injured my knee. Classic Illiotibial band syndrome. I'd had it before, and at that level of pain, too. In my experience, that level of damage meant I shouldn't be running for at least two months, wouldn't be pain free for perhaps three. I certainly wouldn't have any business stepping to the starting line of a marathon in two and a half weeks.

I went to that chiropractor, because he'd figured out ways to speed my recovery times before. I'd never seen or heard of magnet therapy before then.

After my response to, "Okay, now tell me your tale of woe", he made an evaluation, pulled a magnet out of a drawer, did his thing, and said, "Okay, that's it." I thought he was kidding. I asked how long till I could run again, and he said I could run the next day, no restriction. I didn't believe him.

He said the knee would be tender for a few hours yet, by the next day I'd probably notice a bit of stiffness, but that would likely be gone the day after that.

Well, it pretty much went down the way he said. Two weeks later, I ran that marathon, starting late, from the back. I paced myself to start slow, and progressively speed up my splits over the course, and my last mile was around six minutes, ten seconds. My overall time was three hours, 50 minutes and change.

The knee held.

I don't pretend to understand it. I do know that chiropractor led student research groups for the National College of Chiropractic, in Lombard Illinois.

There was a more serious incident involving a vision problem resulting from a skiing accident - skull fracture w/dislocated jaw. That involved more than the magnet, so I can't say much about it, other than other doctors failed to address it, and I walked out of there able to see clearly out of both eyes again, and the intense headaches stopped.

For what it's worth.
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  #47  
Old 11-22-2012, 02:45 AM
gamerunknown gamerunknown is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chicago Stonepro View Post
As for the physics, you can go quantum, and make a case for it, or you can stand on electromechanics, and make a case against it.
I'm not a physicist, but I'd like to hear your quantum case for the efficacy of magnetic therapy (or a link to someone making the case).

Quote:
I don't pretend to understand it. I do know that chiropractor led student research groups for the National College of Chiropractic, in Lombard Illinois.
I'd be a little cautious.

Last edited by gamerunknown; 11-22-2012 at 02:46 AM..
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  #48  
Old 11-22-2012, 12:31 PM
Chicago Stonepro Chicago Stonepro is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gamerunknown View Post
I'm not a physicist, but I'd like to hear your quantum case for the efficacy of magnetic therapy (or a link to someone making the case).



I'd be a little cautious.
From a quantum perspective, an earth reality where solidly demonstrable, efficacious magnet therapy is a commonly accepted phenomenon, would be a realm of probability. Doesn't solidly prove the efficacy, at all - that's not the point. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/physics...ric-multiverse

Seems anything that manifests to us in our physical space-time experience can only do so if it already exists in a realm of probabilities. What blows my mind about that is, that same idea is a central concept in a book written by Jane Roberts, published in 1974 - The Nature of Personal Reality.

The book was recommended to me personally, by Tony Robbins, the self-help figure.

Okay, that has nothing to do with proof of magnetic therapy effectiveness - but it was a real challenge to my world view when I read it - I tend to be overly analytical - that is in amazingly harmonious agreement with quantum theory, as understood in 2012.

For me, the common take-away from these two seemingly opposite mindsets - that come to the same conclusions - is to follow one's inner compass.

Ah, the BS meter. Kind of a trap, in a way, that one. I think the idea is, if you focus on finding BS, your reality will be filled with examples of BS.

Probably better to focus on finding what's true and progressive for your life. If something doesn't seem right for you, it likely isn't.

As for being careful about chiropractic, sure, everyone needs to be careful about their choice of health care practitioner. The chiropractor I've referred to, felt the less spinal manipulation, the better. I guess he was ahead of his time, although he definitely was Palmer trained, initially.

I've never had a poor outcome from a Chiropractic practitioner, myself.

Anyway, I was just relating my experience of receiving what I consider to have been effective magnetic therapy, noting that we are surrounded by magnetic fields every day, and that IMO, more actual scientific study is warranted to figure out the parameters of efficacy, and environmental variables that may come into play with it.
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  #49  
Old 11-22-2012, 09:07 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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So in other words, you don't have a quantum argument, nor anything resembling one.

Seriously, people, quantum mechanics is not just a matter of "The Universe is really friggin' weird, man, and therefore anything that's weird must be true". If it were that simple, we'd be teaching it in elementary school.
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  #50  
Old 11-22-2012, 10:15 PM
dropzone dropzone is offline
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Um, a compass app doesn't really have a magnetized needle nor is it affected by Magnetic North, right? I assume it works by interpreting your GPS coordinates or it triangulates your position based on local cell towers. A train car is an inefficient Faraday cage and your phone is a radio so it's already struggling for a decent signal and a passing train just messes up the signal more. There's electromagnetism aplenty at work but none of it is from a lump of magnetite.
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