Science and the placebo effect

(George Brooks) #1

Dennis, I love the placebo effect. If I can buy an inexpensive medicine, with no active ingredients, and KNOWINGLY take them … and still feel better … why would anyone NOT want placebos?

Discussion of experiences related to homeschooling and science education
(Marvin Adams) #2

When it comes to science education you might want to teach your children that science is based on the fundamental teachings of theology as to the assurance of ultimate causality and that the ultimate cause of our reality is understood to have given it order and laws that make it comprehensible to the human mind. without those assumptions science cannot be justified. There are plenty of lectures about the compatibility of religion and science and
is quite a good one on that. Without the conviction that there is the Logos in God one will struggle to become a passionate about science but will do science to show of oneself, and science based on self-interest instead of the search for the ultimate truth is ill conceived. If you want to teach a child a lesson in science at a higher level, then teach them that most experiments scientists can do only generate evidence, not proof. the only proof we can generate is something going wrong which makes the most important part of your experiments your controls, e.g. the attempt to falsify your own theory.


If I may comment on this… No it won’t work. You only get a placebo effect when you think you are taking a real drug. The placebo is usually a sugar or salt pill. The placebo effect is very important in clinical trials when new drugs are being investigated. Scientists want to know if the actual drug is working, or if simply belief in drugs is causing the patient to feel better. In a double-blind study (the best kind), neither the investigator nor the patient knows who is getting the real drug as opposed to the placebo. Until the end of the clinical trial, that is. That shows you how powerful the mind can affect the body!

(George Brooks) #4


  1. So they cell Acme Placebo pills… where it is impossible to tell which one is real and which one is just a placebo?

  2. And I believe there have been SOME tests where the placebo effect works even when the subject knows the odds of having real medicine are very low…

(Phil) #5

As. Matter of fact, they do make Acme Placebo pills in a sense. A good trial will have pills that look identical both to the subjects and the researchers and identified by id numbers only at the conclusion of the gathering of information. The placebo effect is really quite strong, and is why there are so many claims made by numerous products based on dubious studies. A good website if you are interested is the Science based medicine site which addresses a lot of these types of issues.


No, there are strict rules determining what can be sold, even over-the-counter, and the claims that can legally be made for them.

(Phil) #7

Although homeopathy are essentially placebo medicines, as if you look at the dilutions etc. homeopathic medicines have essentially no active ingredients in them.


So very true!

(system) #9

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