Every good skeptic knows about the so-called “Placebo Effect,” right? It’s the scientifically proven principle that people can be healed of various ailments simply by believing that they are receiving an effective treatment. And the Placebo Effect is a boon for us skeptics who need a way to explain why some people are "cured’ by quack treatments such as psychic surgery, faith healing, aromatherapy, homeopathic medicine, acupuncture, chiropractic medicine, etc., etc., etc.
But what if the Placebo Effect were just a myth and people couldn’t really be cured simply by believing in the power of the treatment? How then would we, as good skeptics, respond to the wealth of anecdotal evidence from people who claim to have been cured by all manner of quackery? Would we simply have to say that we don’t know how the person was cured, but it sure as hell wasn’t because of the magic crystals? Or are there other tools in our skeptical arsenal that could take the place of our cherished Placebo Effect?
And, lest people think this is a wholly hypothetical question: