Episode 84: Deepak Chopra & Dr. Oz

In this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Donna Harris, Richelle McCullough, and Laura Creek Newman discuss the scientific failings of popular spiritualist and guru Deepak Chopra and “America’s Doctor” Mehmet Oz.

Life, the Universe & Everything Else is a program promoting secular humanism and scientific skepticism presented by the Winnipeg Skeptics and the Humanists, Atheists & Agnostics of Manitoba.

Links: Deepak Chopra | Dr. Oz | Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Dr. Oz and Nutritional Supplements | What’s the Harm: Herbal Remedies | New York Times: Herbal Supplements Are Often Not What They Seem | Calgary Strep Victim’s Mother ‘Will Be Held Accountable,’ Say Police | National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Using Dietary Supplements Wisely | National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Ayurvedic Medicine | Health Canada: Natural Health Products

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Do you want Dr. Oz to appear on the SGU?

Cross-posted from Startled Disbelief.

Dr. Steven Novella, clinical academic neurologist at Yale, executive editor of the Science-Based Medicine blog, senior fellow of the James Randi Educational Foundation, host of The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe podcast, and all around badass, recently appeared on Dr. Oz’s daytime soap opera. You can find the segment, in three easy-to-swallow 5-minute segments, here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

If you want to read Dr. Novella’s take on the experience, you can do so here.

Surprisingly, the editing seemed very fair and Steve came out sounding eminently reasonable.

But the main problem with the show was unavoidable: Dr. Oz controlled the format, and Dr. Novella was only given brief periods in which he could respond to direct questions posed by the host. For example, I was annoyed that while Dr. Novella specifically called out that there is a large body of evidence that these therapies don’t work, Dr. Oz insisted on responding as if he’d said that there isn’t any evidence that the therapies do work.

And so, Dr. Novella has invited Dr. Oz to appear on the SGU to continue the discussion. Phil Plait put the call out on twitter, and is asking everyone who’s interested to encourage Dr. Oz to take some time to continue the dialogue.

Here is my contribution:

Dear Dr. Oz & team.

First off, many thanks for featuring Dr. Steven Novella on Tuesday’s episode. Unfortunately, the limitations of the format prevented a more free-form discussion on the merits of alternative medicine. Dr. Novella has invited Dr. Oz to appear on The Skeptics Guide to the Universe (http://theness.com/neurologicablog/?p=3184), the most popular Science Podcast on iTunes, and winner of best science podcast in the podcast awards two years running.

I’d really love to hear a longer discussion, where Drs. Oz and Novella can have more time to clearly express their ideas! I hope that Dr. Oz considers the benefit that he could have if he reached out to the skeptical community in such a manner.

Many thanks.

Gem Newman
Winnipeg, MB, Canada

Do you have two minutes? Spend it encouraging Dr. Oz to continue the discussion on the Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe. You can do so at http://www.doctoroz.com/contact.