Being a sceptic in real life

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Grumble
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Being a sceptic in real life

Post by Grumble » Sun Dec 05, 2021 11:48 pm

I was in a running shop earlier. I know and like the people who run it. One of them was happily chatting away to me about how they’ve been taking apple cider vinegar for years and have avoided colds over that time. I said “mmm?” and moved on. I in no way want to get into arguments with people who don’t really feature in my life apart from as a runner, and I suddenly got a bit nervous that if I set foot on that slippery slope then I might start uncovering a few more “beliefs from outside the mainstream” as they say.

(Avoiding colds might be helped by not having young kids wandering around, I suspect.)
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Re: Being a sceptic in real life

Post by Martin_B » Mon Dec 06, 2021 1:47 am

Grumble wrote:
Sun Dec 05, 2021 11:48 pm
I was in a running shop earlier. I know and like the people who run it. One of them was happily chatting away to me about how they’ve been taking apple cider vinegar for years and have avoided colds over that time. I said “mmm?” and moved on. I in no way want to get into arguments with people who don’t really feature in my life apart from as a runner, and I suddenly got a bit nervous that if I set foot on that slippery slope then I might start uncovering a few more “beliefs from outside the mainstream” as they say.

(Avoiding colds might be helped by not having young kids wandering around, I suspect.)
I've come across a number of 'odd' beliefs in people who are fitness nuts*. I generally associate it with superstitions rather than medical beliefs.

* One was believing that eating peanut butter sandwiches gives you extra stamina (well, sort of but it's not the peanut butter per se). Another was that wearing odd socks gave them an advantage (possibly causing confusion in your opponent?). Another was eating yogurt stopped colds, flus, etc. (I'd be perfectly happy if they claimed it was for gut health - but they specifically said it was for colds and other infections.)
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Re: Being a sceptic in real life

Post by Beaker » Mon Dec 06, 2021 9:15 am

Is cider vinegar a thing with runners? The owner of the shop local to us writes articles for the local ad rag about its benefits.

With cyclists it seemed to be beetroot juice last year.

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Re: Being a sceptic in real life

Post by WFJ » Mon Dec 06, 2021 9:28 am

Beaker wrote:
Mon Dec 06, 2021 9:15 am
Is cider vinegar a thing with runners? The owner of the shop local to us writes articles for the local ad rag about its benefits.

With cyclists it seemed to be beetroot juice last year.
I believe here is evidence for beetroot juice improving aerobic performance. Cider vinegar is nonsense and alkaline diet proponents will even tell you it is alkaline in the body.

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Re: Being a sceptic in real life

Post by Nero » Mon Dec 06, 2021 10:21 am

Brain Dunning is usually a good source for sorting through the everyday woo:

Apple Cider Vinegar Woo

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Re: Being a sceptic in real life

Post by Opti » Mon Dec 06, 2021 10:45 am

Being a sceptic IRL cost me a great many dinner party invites when we lived in a woo-infested bit of Gloucestershire.
Particularly after my successful endeavour in making the local chiroquacktor pulp a whole load of his promotional literature bumf.
Time for a big fat one.

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Re: Being a sceptic in real life

Post by Grumble » Mon Dec 06, 2021 11:56 am

Beaker wrote:
Mon Dec 06, 2021 9:15 am
Is cider vinegar a thing with runners? The owner of the shop local to us writes articles for the local ad rag about its benefits.

With cyclists it seemed to be beetroot juice last year.
I don’t know. I’ve never really been in the running community as such before. Maybe I’ll find out. I’m vaguely considering joining a running club, but don’t really have the time with kids and brass banding.

Anyway, I mainly wanted this thread to be a bit more general, about how socialising or conversing as a sceptic opens up new pitfalls that maybe wouldn’t have occurred to you otherwise.

My wife got annoyed when I commented negatively (privately to her) about her father’s GP recommending acupuncture.
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Re: Being a sceptic in real life

Post by nezumi » Mon Dec 06, 2021 12:05 pm

Opti wrote:
Mon Dec 06, 2021 10:45 am
Being a sceptic IRL cost me a great many dinner party invites when we lived in a woo-infested bit of Gloucestershire.
Particularly after my successful endeavour in making the local chiroquacktor pulp a whole load of his promotional literature bumf.
This sounds like a story worth hearing Opti, do go on.
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Re: Being a sceptic in real life

Post by Opti » Mon Dec 06, 2021 2:35 pm

nezumi wrote:
Mon Dec 06, 2021 12:05 pm
This sounds like a story worth hearing Opti, do go on.
It was nothing very impressive. The Chiropractor who operated out of premises 50m from my house was advertising 'treatments' for glue ear, childhood asthma ... the usual shite ... so I had a quiet word with him about how he shouldn't be doing that, and he basically told me to f.ck off.
So I wrote to the ASA and showed them his advertising material so they made him destroy it. They emailed me to let me know their decision.

How was I to know that he'd recently bought a whole load of false advertising?
Time for a big fat one.

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Re: Being a sceptic in real life

Post by gosling » Mon Dec 06, 2021 6:00 pm

Entertaining dinner with friends a few years ago where the EFT/tapping advocate had an argument with the aromatherapy advocate about each other's quack cures. All solved by the host saying that the placebo effect was a wonderful thing and would anyone like dessert.

Normally I get a look from Mrs Gos if anyone comes out with woo-related statements in social settings.

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Re: Being a sceptic in real life

Post by Lew Dolby » Mon Dec 06, 2021 6:20 pm

North Shropshire Tory voters, on election day - Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives

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Re: Being a sceptic in real life

Post by Aoui » Mon Dec 06, 2021 10:18 pm

A gaggle of truly gullible women at work were talking about homeopathy and before long one had convinced the rest to all go buy homeopathic crap. You could even find out what you need online! I said something about there being literally nothing in it. The person who was enthousiastically touting it's wonders got mad and spit out "I take it so that to remind myself that I don't need medicine to get through menopause". It was so stunningly twisted that I just sighed, tried my hardest to keep my eyes from rolling (and most likely failed) and left it at that. Seriously. She literally said she took medicine (well..in her eyes it's medicine) to remind herself she didn't need medicine. Mind boggling. Fyi, she recently told everyone that she is taking hormones because she just couldn't deal with menopause anymore. Since she did something that made sense, they are all tittering behind her back about how she's taking medicine to deal with something natural and she's just horrible...blah blah. Honestly, I sometimes just can't deal with these people.....

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Re: Being a sceptic in real life

Post by Grumble » Tue Dec 07, 2021 7:36 am

Endometriosis is natural but you don’t have to like it.
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Re: Being a sceptic in real life

Post by bjn » Tue Dec 07, 2021 7:45 am

So is cancer and food poisoning. The naturalism fallacy runs deep in our society.

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Re: Being a sceptic in real life

Post by sTeamTraen » Tue Dec 07, 2021 9:15 am

bjn wrote:
Tue Dec 07, 2021 7:45 am
So is cancer and food poisoning. The naturalism fallacy runs deep in our society.
A popular claim is that more people die of cancer than ever before, so it must be teh kemikulz. I suspect it may be true that more people die of cancer, because when life expectancy was 40 not many people stuck around long enough to get it. But if you tell people that cancer is an old person's disease, they will wheel out anecdotes from the paper about some 12 year old who needs $1 million to get their very obscure cancer treated in the US (sometimes in a real hospital). A lot of people seem convinced that cancer and heart disease are huge sources of mortality for people under 50 but that oldies just die of old age or something. The availability heuristic is very strong.
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Re: Being a sceptic in real life

Post by bagpuss » Tue Dec 07, 2021 9:38 am

I pick my battles. If someone is just wittering on about how wonderful something is to me directly then I'll usually just smile and say something equivalent to "that's nice" which generally seems to convey the idea that I'm really not interested while not annoying people too much.

If someone is extolling the virtues of a woo therapy to a wider group then I'd generally do something similar unless it seemed to me that some level of harm might be done. I'm not going to step in if relatively well-off women want to go and try Reiki, but if someone starts getting anti-medicine or pushing something on people a bit harder, or giving bad advice, then I'll say something. For example, when a local friend was in two minds about getting the flu nasal spray for her toddler (it was brand spanking new at the time), and a couple of her friends said they'd decided against for various vague and hand-wavey reasons, I waded in, said I'd had no hesitation in booking the bagkitten in for hers and explained exactly why it was a good idea and the risks were extremely low. It seemed to shut down any further discussion and I was pleased to find out later that friend had decided to get the spray for her daughter. Whether what I said made a difference to her or whether anyone else was convinced, I don't know, but at least I feel happy that I set the record straight.

And I pride myself that I was the first to call bollocks on our local Facebook group the first time I saw someone mention 5G in connection with COVID19 - a pretty early example of the nonsense from what I saw as it was at least another 2 or 3 weeks before I heard any other reference to that particular idiocy.

I try very hard to be non-confrontational and say things in a careful way that is calculated not to annoy or be dismissive but it's hard to always do that and sometimes people are determined to be offended however gently you question their firmly held beliefs. Except for the COVID19/5G thing - I full on laughed at that, it was just so ridiculous.

As for apple cider vinegar - if people want to drink it daily, I don't think it's likely to do them any harm and I'm happy to let them. I've definitely come across one or two other woo-prone runners extolling its virtues but it doesn't seem to be a big thing in my running group - and that's actually a surprise as the demographic profile of the group is very much white middle class women, many of whom have a lot of time on their hands and who do have a distinct tendency towards chia seeds and agave nectar. (I plead guilty to the first bit - as far as "women", but not the rest).

It does distress me how easily people believe the nonsense. Not exactly woo but in the same direction, I used to go to Slimming World and at one meeting we were discussing sugar and how to eat less of it. I swear that almost every single person in that group said something along the lines of "I've swapped to honey" or agave nectar, or coconut sugar or some such and said it with such pride that they'd swapped out something so evil for something so healthy. The shock on their faces when they learned they had exactly the same calories/syn value as sugar. I'd expected one or two people to have made that mistake but it was practically everyone. It was right there and then that I finally realised just how utterly humanity is doomed. :lol:

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Re: Being a sceptic in real life

Post by bagpuss » Tue Dec 07, 2021 9:48 am

sTeamTraen wrote:
Tue Dec 07, 2021 9:15 am
bjn wrote:
Tue Dec 07, 2021 7:45 am
So is cancer and food poisoning. The naturalism fallacy runs deep in our society.
A popular claim is that more people die of cancer than ever before, so it must be teh kemikulz. I suspect it may be true that more people die of cancer, because when life expectancy was 40 not many people stuck around long enough to get it. But if you tell people that cancer is an old person's disease, they will wheel out anecdotes from the paper about some 12 year old who needs $1 million to get their very obscure cancer treated in the US (sometimes in a real hospital). A lot of people seem convinced that cancer and heart disease are huge sources of mortality for people under 50 but that oldies just die of old age or something. The availability heuristic is very strong.
Yup. You've got to die of something, right?

In fairness to people making that claim, teh evul kemikulz in various forms (tobacco, exhaust fumes, asbestos...) do actually give people cancer, so it's definitely a part of the problem and the extrapolation to it being the whole of the problem isn't entirely crazy, however wrong it is.

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Re: Being a sceptic in real life

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Tue Dec 07, 2021 10:06 am

I swear to god if anyone posts the phrase "apple cider vinegar" after this I'm going to update the word censor to change all instances to just "cider vinegar". Or just hand out bans.

Cider vinegar is made from cider. Cider is made from apples. Cider vinegar is made from apples. "Apple cider vinegar" is a stupid phrase created by stupid americans and needs to stop. It's as f.cking ridiculous a phrase as "grape wine" or "pear perry" or "egg meringue" or "tree wood".
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Re: Being a sceptic in real life

Post by Bird on a Fire » Tue Dec 07, 2021 10:24 am

El Pollo Diablo wrote:
Tue Dec 07, 2021 10:06 am
I swear to god if anyone posts the phrase "apple cider vinegar" after this I'm going to update the word censor to change all instances to just "cider vinegar". Or just hand out bans.

Cider vinegar is made from cider. Cider is made from apples. Cider vinegar is made from apples. "Apple cider vinegar" is a stupid phrase created by stupid americans and needs to stop. It's as f.cking ridiculous a phrase as "grape wine" or "pear perry" or "egg meringue" or "tree wood".
EPD is giving it to us straight, like pear cider that's made from 100% pears.
You can shove your climate crisis up your arse!

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Re: Being a sceptic in real life

Post by tom p » Tue Dec 07, 2021 10:30 am

El Pollo Diablo wrote:
Tue Dec 07, 2021 10:06 am
I swear to god if anyone posts the phrase "apple cider vinegar" after this I'm going to update the word censor to change all instances to just "cider vinegar". Or just hand out bans.

Cider vinegar is made from cider. Cider is made from apples. Cider vinegar is made from apples. "Apple cider vinegar" is a stupid phrase created by stupid americans and needs to stop. It's as f.cking ridiculous a phrase as "grape wine" or "pear perry" or "egg meringue" or "tree wood".
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Re: Being a sceptic in real life

Post by Bird on a Fire » Tue Dec 07, 2021 10:31 am

I've never really got why Merkins say "apple cider vinegar" anyway, because it's not even congruent with the other way they f.ck up referring to cider.

They call cider "hard cider", because what they call "cider" is just apple juice. Obviously vinegar has to be made from something alcoholic, so if they had any sense at all it would be "hard cider vinegar".

I've got no idea why it's supposed to be some amazing health product in a way that other apple derivatives / vinegars aren't. But it is a nice vinegar for salad dressings and cooking, or splashed into some fizzy water if I've run out of citrus fruits.
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Re: Being a sceptic in real life

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Tue Dec 07, 2021 10:41 am

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Tue Dec 07, 2021 10:24 am
El Pollo Diablo wrote:
Tue Dec 07, 2021 10:06 am
I swear to god if anyone posts the phrase "apple cider vinegar" after this I'm going to update the word censor to change all instances to just "cider vinegar". Or just hand out bans.

Cider vinegar is made from cider. Cider is made from apples. Cider vinegar is made from apples. "Apple cider vinegar" is a stupid phrase created by stupid americans and needs to stop. It's as f.cking ridiculous a phrase as "grape wine" or "pear perry" or "egg meringue" or "tree wood".
EPD is giving it to us straight, like pear cider that's made from 100% pears.
That's the thing - "pear cider", aberration though it is, requires the qualifier because it isn't made from 100% apples. So does strawberry wine. So does aquafaba meringue. But without the qualifier, we know what it's made from.
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Re: Being a sceptic in real life

Post by Bird on a Fire » Tue Dec 07, 2021 10:50 am

El Pollo Diablo wrote:
Tue Dec 07, 2021 10:41 am
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Tue Dec 07, 2021 10:24 am
El Pollo Diablo wrote:
Tue Dec 07, 2021 10:06 am
I swear to god if anyone posts the phrase "apple cider vinegar" after this I'm going to update the word censor to change all instances to just "cider vinegar". Or just hand out bans.

Cider vinegar is made from cider. Cider is made from apples. Cider vinegar is made from apples. "Apple cider vinegar" is a stupid phrase created by stupid americans and needs to stop. It's as f.cking ridiculous a phrase as "grape wine" or "pear perry" or "egg meringue" or "tree wood".
EPD is giving it to us straight, like pear cider that's made from 100% pears.
That's the thing - "pear cider", aberration though it is, requires the qualifier because it isn't made from 100% apples. So does strawberry wine. So does aquafaba meringue. But without the qualifier, we know what it's made from.
I like a good proper perry, to be fair. (The pear cider thing is a Stewart Lee bit)
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Re: Being a sceptic in real life

Post by bagpuss » Tue Dec 07, 2021 10:59 am

El Pollo Diablo wrote:
Tue Dec 07, 2021 10:06 am
I swear to god if anyone posts the phrase "apple cider vinegar" after this I'm going to update the word censor to change all instances to just "cider vinegar". Or just hand out bans.

Cider vinegar is made from cider. Cider is made from apples. Cider vinegar is made from apples. "Apple cider vinegar" is a stupid phrase created by stupid americans and needs to stop. It's as f.cking ridiculous a phrase as "grape wine" or "pear perry" or "egg meringue" or "tree wood".
It's because that's what all the people who think it will do them good call it. I mean, "cider vinegar" doesn't sound particularly healthy, does it? But "apple cider vinegar" [sorry] sounds all fruity and lovely and good for you. What pisses me off most about it is that if I want some cider vinegar for cooking with (as I did recently, for making a chutney recipe - I didn't have enough left in the bottle in the cupboard), I have to look through dozens of bottles of "organic apple cider vinegar" [sorry again] or worse, "organic apple cyder vinegar" [very very sorry] or versions with added turmeric or ginger or whatever. And when I do manage to find one that's just basic cider vinegar, it's still about double the price of white wine vinegar which surely must be inflated and not an accurate representation of any additional cost of creating the stuff. Yes, I know, my fault for shopping on Ocado. I really wish they had a "normal stuff" tag on all their products so you could filter out all the stupid nonsense when you search for things.

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Re: Being a sceptic in real life

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Tue Dec 07, 2021 11:07 am

Tbf I shop on ocado as well, and my wife went through a phase of drinking a spoon of cider vinegar every day (she appears to have grown out of it now). And yeah, someone using the phrase in earnest gives an indication they're a bit of a space cadet.
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