“Why Health Advice on Oprah Could Make You Sick”.

Click on the file labeled “WhyHealthAdvice on Oprah Could Make You Sick.pdf” or go to http://www.newsweek.com/why-health-advice-oprah-could-make-you-sick-80201 and read the excerpt from the Oprah Winfrey Show (“Why Health Advice on ‘Oprah’ Could Make You Sick”) until the paragraph that ends with “Live Your Best Life”. Part of the article discusses Suzanne Somers, who appeared on Oprah’s show to discuss her ideas on hormone therapy. Suzanne claims that her health regimen (including smearing herself with progesterone cream two weeks a month, using estrogen cream once a day, injecting estrogen into her vagina every day, taking 60 pills and vitamins a day, and wearing nanotechnology patches) will stave off aging and double her life span.

a. Good science has experimental evidence to back up its’ claims and is up front about testing. Pseudoscience, on the other hand, lacks experimental evidence and often relies on anecdotal evidence (i.e. witness testimony). Does Suzanne have concrete experimental evidence to back up her claims?

b. Pseudoscience is often based on ancient knowledge. Are Suzanne’s claims based on ancient knowledge?

c. Pseudoscience often uses scientific sounding words out of context. Does Suzanne do this? If so, where?

d. Pseudoscience often argues that authorities are suppressing evidence in a widespread conspiracy. Does Suzanne make any such claims?

e. The claims of pseudoscience often sound too good to be true. Do Suzanne’s claims sound too good to be true?

f. Good science passes Ockham’s Razor and considers all possible hypotheses. Do Suzanne’s claims pass Ockham Razor (i.e. is it the simplest explanation)?

g. Good science is conducted and reported by scientists with training in what he/she is talking about. Does Suzanne have any medical or biology training?

h. Pseudoscience often makes a big deal of things being “natural.” Does Suzanne talk about this at all?

i. Good science welcomes criticism. Pseudoscience is often hostile towards scientific criticism. Is
Suzanne receptive of scientific criticism?

j. Pseudoscience often uses bold or absolute statements (whereas scientists generally avoid this). Does Suzanne do this? If so, where?

k. Do you think that Suzanne’s claims are based on good science, or are they an example of pseudoscience?




Sample Solution