The Suzanne Somers Vanity Calamity, part 2: Logic? Who needs it.

Here is an example, from Knockout, of Suzanne Somers' attack on modern anti-cancer treatments such as chemotherapy. She writes,

  • "Cancer death rates dropped only 5 percent from 1950 to 2005. What other technology has performed so miserably over this fifty-five year period? In contrast, the death rate from heart disease dropped 64 percent in that time, and for flu and pneumonia it fell 58 percent."

I won't dispute these statistics, I don't know if they're accurate or not. Let's say they are. Somers commits the fallacy of Division: i.e. 'Cancer is a disease; therefore it should have achieved the same success rates, in the same time-frame, as other diseases.'

This is an invalid deductive argument. Heart disease is not cancer. The flu is not cancer. Beyond the most general categories, they have nothing in common. Certainly not at the biological level, where it matters. Yet this is what passes for convincing proof in Somers' mind. No wonder she seems to have no respect for the FDA's insistence that clinical studies of any drug or treatment submit to the most basic standards of the scientific method.

This is endemic of her book's wider argument; it devotes as much time to trash-talking conventional medicine as it does to gushing over supplements or therapies pitched by her 'experts', therapies that she herself often doesn't seem to understand.

I don’t think it would be too much to ask that she drop the efforts to disprove conventional treatments, and instead focus on proving the treatments she's promoting—not with lonely anecdotal 'evidence' or the even more absurd and worthless personal experience offered by Somers herself--but with randomized controlled, double-blind trials submitted for publication in respected medical journals. Such a measure would be a great leap forward in the advancement of alternative treatment modalities.

More to come on the latest book by this actress-turned-public-health-crisis ...

Link to Part 1
Link to Part 3
Link to Part 4
Link to Part 5

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