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Old 30 January 2013, 11:01 PM
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ganzfeld ganzfeld is offline
Join Date: 05 September 2005
Location: Kyoto, Japan
Posts: 23,785

I don't think that one sentence is a fair representation of the post at all.

This is very frustrating for me because we have about 22 factors that would not by anyone be considered "working" in any sense of the word (reporting bias, etc.). So let's call them A, B, C... V. Then we have about four things that people would consider working (mind over body, hormone action, etc.): W to Z. So scientists first have to eliminate A to V before they can even say that any of W to Z are happening. In the very very few cases in which A to V are eliminated or carefully accounted for, there's still a tiny effect. But at the same time the people doing these studies have already eliminated W, X, and Y. Z is still equivocal. Now comes the frustrating part. In conversations like this we have so-called skeptics claiming that W, X, Y, and Z have something to do with the placebo effect. No! Most of them have been ruled out. Even more frustrating is that we get another round of experiments that don't account for A to V completely and still claim their results are in favor of the so-called placebo effect. It's so stupid. No evidence from any of these experiments has ever shown that there is any benefit at all to giving someone a fake treatment, exclamation mark! Except that you can probably charge them something for it and keep them coming to your acupuncture clinic based on the incorrect and disproven claim that it "works" through the placebo effect.

Dr Novella's post is just a brief introduction to some of the problems with the claim that "placebos work" (which is not at all the same as asking whether there such a thing as a "placebo effect" exists).
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