by Peter Rasmussen

The Placebo Effect

Posted by Peter Rasmussen on March 6, 2007

Scientists pride themselves on pursuing the truth without bias. Some of the pure science theories certainly are way out there. But there have been many occasions in history when a scientist has successfully pursued a revolutionary idea that was initially rejected by the rest of the scientific community.

The reaction that strange new ideas get looks to me like fear. Of what? Aren’t scientists trying to discover new things? The rebel scientist is punished.
They can lose their jobs or sometimes even lose their career. They have this terrible struggle against people who should be allies. There’s no room for descent.

I wonder if anyone has attempted to research this adversarial approach to the pursuit of knowledge. If the tribal belief systems in the scientific community could be better understood surely there would be a benefit.

A common explanation for why new age medicine sometimes works is the placebo effect. How much research is going into how the placebo effect works and how it can be harnessed to keep people healthy?


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