Leaving the Land of Woo

A rational, sceptical look at the ideas of alternative medicine, food, religion, and the paranormal

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Who is the audience?

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Will I ever convince someone who has bought a bunch of crystals that they won't cure asthma or allergies?  Or get a dedicated Christian to question the idea of souls? Or convince a Reiki practitioner to shut up shop? Or prove to someone that homeopathy cannot work? I have no idea.  But I do know that if someone doesn't make an effort to present the rational approach to these ideas, they won't change at all.  Given the powerful resources available to businesses selling these products, and the ideological reinforcement from the irrationalist camp, the ordinary person in the street has little to guide them away from the Land of Woo.

The audience for the book includes those who have been tempted to try these therapies.  Many of them are consumers who don't understand how the human body works, or have little understanding of energy, fields, and the other basic concepts of physics.  Many are also sufferers of chronic conditions, pains that won't go away, rashes, allergies, gut problems, people who have been to conventional doctors and are, for whatever reason, not satisfied with either the diagnosis or the recommended treatment.  These people are vulnerable consumers, wide open to irrational claims from people out to relieve them of their money.  I hope that, after reading this book, at least some of them will think twice before handing over money to Woo merchants.

There are also the traditional sceptics, that growing band of people who are fed up with seeing science misrepresented by the media, by advertisers and marketers, and seeing it subverted into a message designed to sell rather than to explain.  Although scepticism is popular in the area of religion, much of the writing has either been vitriolic blanket attacks on religious thinking, or else rather condescending and patronising.  I wanted to show how religious thinking is just as irrational as the other branches of Woo, and can be approached in the same way.  So religious people have something to gain from the book too.

Some people will think that there is some truth in some of the claims of Woo and that therefore it is worthwhile trying some of it.  Although sceptical about some claims, they will entertain other equally irrational ideas.  I hope they too will read the book and realise that there is a more reliable reality out there.

But above all, I hope people will see how the web of irrationalism pervades all of these areas and will, by doing so, become more able to criticise and question the ideas, and gain more control over the decisions that affect the health and welfare.

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Last Updated on Sunday, 04 October 2009 15:02