Phranology had no reputation long ago. People who should know better are convinced that by studying a lump on someone’s head, a well-trained expert can gain insight into their personality. It was eventually used to advance racism and class-based agendas, and was completely debunked. It disappeared for decades. It’s back.
New technologies create new insights, new solutions, new looks of certainty (sometimes actual facts).
We may not know what an oscillating thruster is, or why single-photon imaging is better, but it sounds well-studied and precise. Charts in Excel seem to be more certain than hand-drawn charts.
In our search for anecdotes, especially when it comes to anecdotes about health, behavior, or economics, the apparent increase in accuracy opens the door to more hope, even if it is not based on broad results.
The charts used to describe the behavior of stocks and tokens are becoming more and more complex and detailed, but they still cannot accurately predict what will happen next week.
The fancy readings of astrology or biorhythm carry many trivial numbers, but they still can’t tell us about someone’s future, just like palmistry.
If your appendix ruptures, X-rays can tell us with great certainty, but without the help of face-to-face consultation, SPECT scans are useless in determining someone’s personality, which is exactly what we need. In fact, this is exactly how phrenology used to work: first meet with someone, and then find verification in the mysterious interpretation of their bumps.
The criteria that are worth checking are simple: just from the chart or bumps or scans, no need to meet with the patient, tell me what you saw and what will happen next.
They put Einstein’s brain in a jar, but they didn’t learn anything from it.
People who eat green coffee beans or swallow colloidal silver have many anecdotes to support their placebo. When they move from the pyramid to the magnet, anecdotes will follow. But anecdotes are not science. Just like coincidences, they are the by-products of our thinking of seeking stories, the connections we make when we seek comfort in a chaotic world. Sometimes marketers use these anecdotes to make sales and hurt customers.
Few interventions involving humans are simple. What we need is more than double-blind research, because humans are not double-blind. We know what is provided, and the stories we tell ourselves will change the way we behave.
Science often Is not The correct answer to every question-it usually does not provide what we need. But pretending to be the hustle and bustle of science is almost always a bad idea.
In fact, the story is too important and too valuable, and does not require pseudo-science that some people are willing to talk nonsense on.
Placebo Very powerful, if they are cheap and benign, I fully support them. My day is full of various placebos because they are effective. When they are no longer benign, when they prevent us from getting proper treatment, when they are used against us, problems occur…
Somehow, we convinced ourselves that we need to pretend that our anecdotal intervention is a real scientific breakthrough, instead of accepting the fact that we are human, the story is useful to us. By putting on the cloak of science, speculators will not only be able to charge higher fees, but will also reduce the reputation of the methods they claim to use-when we see with our own eyes that pretending science does not work, we can easily imagine actual research and testing The same is true of interventions.
We don’t fly by plane or cross a bridge. The bridge is built in the same language used by many folk medicine and fortune-tellers. They have their place, they make us who we are, but anecdotes are not science.