Friday, July 11, 2008

Experience With Biorhythm Readings

Very interesting discussion about quackery biorhythms readings ... I only wonder what the hell the "biorhythms computer" is?

"Have any of you had any experience with biorhythm readings, or any other such quackery where you were hooked up to a "computer" and completely diagnosed?

My wife's family is big into alternative medicine. About two years ago they jumped onto the Nikken bandwagon, and now someone in the family has obtained a "biorhythm computer" (thats supposedly illegal in the US) that can tell you everything about yourself, from depression, "allergic to dairy", stress, and cancer. Being a man of science, this bothers me, because every argument I put to it, my wife waves off as "So if you don't believe in it, it can't possible work", or "So if it doesn't come from a Dr. in a office, it can't possibly work".

I will admit, some of the stuff that they have told her, or her family is kind of weird. She knew that my wife had a iron deficiency, but they also told her alot of generic stuff like she has a "stress problem" and hasn't been sleeping properly. Shes a stay at home mom, of course she has stress. They also told her that she could not get cancer, because cancer is a acid and her system is very basey. That last claim is what really upset me. Should I just let her keep believing this quackery? "

- And the best possible comment "I'm going to use my psychic powers here... oh, yes, it's coming to me: Your wife is a libra. She takes echinacea and vitamin C daily to ward off colds. She used to think she was a spring, but now it seems she is a summer. Her entron levels are through the roof. She once won $400 playing the lottery. She wears a St. Christopher's around her neck. She found a nickel using a divining rod.

Really, none of these may be true, but you can clearly see that quackery can lead to a loss of money. That is just the beginning though. The "biorhythm" machine is harmless until your wife uses it to actually base medical decisions on its "readings." If she fails to get a mammogram or pap smear because she's convinced that she's immune to cancer, then you need to get worried."

- "Most altie woo is pretty harmless nonsense. My dad & his wife (she works for a "supplement" company) are into a combo of sound dietary practices and quacky nonsensical junk science.

Since it's not doing them any harm, and since a healthy amount of attention to one's health is, well, healthy, I try to keep my mouth mostly shut. My threshold for disabusing them is pretty simple, and a modification of the Hippocratic Oath: First, (let them) do no harm (to themselves)."

- "If you want to prove your wife's family wrong, find somebody with a set of known conditions, hook 'em up to the illegal biorhythm computer (heehee), and watch as the machine fails to diagnose them.If you'd like to have a happy relationship, I think it's important to pick your battles. (When I was a kid, in, say, the mid-'80s, the local Chuck E. Cheese had a biorhythm machine.

If I recall correctly, you'd drop in a token, put your thumb on a metal pad, hear some clanking and whirring, and finally be presented with a dot-matrix printout which heavily featured a bunch of curves. Oh, and it was right next to a fortune-telling machine. Wow--I must be at the peak of my reminiscing cycle.)"

- "Oh, yeah, my gramma's old 386 had a program that did these. Illegal? According to whom? That'd be my first line of attack, then I'd go for making specific claims (the "rhythms" of my gramma's machine showed ascendent and descendent health curves, as well as intelligence curves. It was easy to take a similar test, like crosswords or number puzzles, on different days and chart the speed results against the curves and see that they were independent), then debunking them."


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