“Oz – the Great and Gullible”

That’s the title of this article on Dr. Oz by John Rennie, the former editor of Scientific American. It’s not a coincidence that Dr. Oz’s profile has risen in tandem with his embrace of pseudoscience. His recent show (and TV Guide interview) fawning over the oft-debunked psychic medium, John Edwards, was pretty unbelievable, given the long, sordid history of psychic fraud.

Unfortunately, on the episode scheduled to air today (Tues., March 15), Dr. Oz’s credulousness flies to new heights, and reason can only wave sadly to him from a distance. Because on today’s show, Dr. Oz brings on “psychic medium” John Edward to discuss how communicating with the dead can be therapeutic for those in mourning. And it’s clear that Dr. Oz is utterly beguiled—not just by Edward but by his own misplaced self-confidence that he is smarter than stodgy old science.

…But as anyone who has read about debunkings of mediums knows, there is nothing astonishing about any of what Dr. Oz describes. Bunko artists in flowing robes, billing themselves as spirit mediums, have performed such tricks at least as far back as Victorian times and probably far longer.

…Dr. Oz says frequently on his show that he wants his viewers (and beyond them, their physicians) to think more about their medical care and health. But where is the evidence of any critical consideration given to this claptrap? How does presenting this stuff as medically (or even realistically) reasonable help?

This sort of credulous acceptance of BS is bad news for viewers looking for solid health advice. And Dr. Oz is losing professional credibility and respect among his peers – other doctors and researchers (see: here, here, here and here for examples) because of it. If anyone is watching his show thinking that s/he is getting solid scientific information, then it might be best to get a second opinion.



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