Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Dr. Oz - The Smooth Operator

I am no fan of Dr. Oz. I've been watching (metaphorically speaking, as I can hardly take watching him on TV) his raise to stardom from Oprah's "America's Doctor" wonder boy, to his own TV show, and the beginning of his own Day TV media empire, and I see a scary, scary future ahead of us.

At first, I thought that Dr. Oz basically sells a very typical and widely known advice of good diet, exercise and less daily stress, heavily coated in nonsense of alternative and herbal medicine and, increasingly, in funky spiritualism and pure crap (examples abound). I do realize that just saying "eat well and exercise daily" is not going to sell well on TV, since most of us just want quick fixes for our problems. However, Dr. Oz's endorsement of unproven herbs, vitamins and modalities that belong in Middle Ages, not in the 21st Century, is more dangerous than useful. Dr. Oz is also a proponent of Reiki, which is basically a type of therapeutic touch, which was completely discredited by a 9 year old Emily Rosa years ago. So, there you have it... would you trust that doctor with your health?

I'm glad the mainstream media has finally started noticing. I stumbled on this great article from the New Yorker: "The Operator", written by Michael Specter (the author of “Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives”, which I also highly recommend).
There is a number of really good points in the article, but this one really shows what Dr. Oz is about:
Oz sighed. “Medicine is a very religious experience,” he said. “I have my religion and you have yours. It becomes difficult for us to agree on what we think works, since so much of it is in the eye of the beholder. Data is rarely clean.” All facts come with a point of view. But his spin on it—that one can simply choose those which make sense, rather than data that happen to be true—was chilling. “You find the arguments that support your data,” he said, “and it’s my fact versus your fact.”
His facts are driven by his popularity and how well his show is doing, not by objectiveness. That's why I would never trust neither them, nor him.