Author Topic: How to deal with pseudoscience in-laws?  (Read 5453 times)

sakura

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How to deal with pseudoscience in-laws?
« on: September 12, 2016, 11:05:50 AM »
My mother in law is this incredible loving respectful inspiring woman. She is nice, warm and friendly to everyone and Im lucky to have such a nice in-law. However, she  attends and blindly trusts this nathuropathic ~doctor~, who is into quantum """SCIENCE""". My SO also attends once a year this ""doctor"" and both of them follow her prescriptions (dietary restrictions, homeopathy pills, salt lamps, "negative-ion" bracelets etc.).
I'm an overall healthy person but I do have allergies, sometimes asthma and am prone to urinary or yeast infections, which suck but it's definitely not the end of the world. anyways it was enough of a reason for my MIL to get a piece of my hair and pay for a long-distance diagnosis with bullshit recommendations.
My problem is I dont want this issue to mess our relationship. Please help
> How should I react when theyre talking to me about it? Its very hard and disturbing for me to listen quietly and pretend that i believe in it.
> It deeply saddens me to see them spending money on this. I have FIRE plans with my SO and spending money monthly on water and xyz extract is not helping. But at the same time, I don't want to be a condescending party pooper and destroy their legitimate placebo effect. Actually I wish I could believe in some of that to enjoy a bit of placebo effect myself :P

Anyone with similar experiences or tips?

little_brown_dog

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Re: How to deal with pseudoscience in-laws?
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2016, 11:45:42 AM »
I would try to keep any medical complaints mostly to yourself if you can help it as far as MIL is concerned. If she doesn’t know that you don’t feel well, then she won’t call her practitioner. When it does come up, a simple “thanks so much, but I’ve talked to my doctor and I’ve got it covered” might work. Then switch subjects. If you are pressed, and they won’t let it drop, you might have to nicely but firmly say “I prefer to use my inhaler/antibiotics/etc.”
To me the big issue is your partner. You might need to have a serious discussion about medical care in your house. You don’t want to be on different pages about things like medical care (antibiotics, cancer treatments, etc) with your life partner. If you ever want kids, this could turn into an even bigger problem. Some people take this stuff way too far and believe tea or supplements can cure everything. In fact, there was a recent case in Canada where some naturopathic parents were charged with killing their child because they tried to treat meningitis naturally instead of seeking qualified medical help. Obviously this is an extreme example, but it shows you how dangerous the "natural is best" thinking can be.
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/jury-trial-truehope-toddler-dies-trial-underway-1.3479460

Does your partner respect and utilize medicine (ex: go to a doctor/NP, take antibiotics, receive vaccines, etc) or do they believe that modern medicine is wrong/inappropriate/harmful? If they believe the latter, you might have some serious trouble brewing.

Northwestie

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Re: How to deal with pseudoscience in-laws?
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2016, 11:57:47 AM »
"Alternative" medicine has been proven not to work, or has not been proven to work.

Q: What do they call "alternative" medicine that is proven to work?  A: Medicine.

gooki

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Re: How to deal with pseudoscience in-laws?
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2016, 05:37:10 AM »
Be content with people's diffent beliefs, provided they are not harming others.

As for the costs/your partners spending that all depends on how you share your finances. What works for us is a fixed weekly allowance thing for personal expenses, everything else is joint. If the cost is significant, then there's no reason why you can't FIRE earlier than her.

And for the conversation, just politely leave the room when it comes up. If they press you on it, feel free to be honest. There's nothing wrong with saying "I know this is important to you, I love you, but in my eyes this is bullshit".

If you can't be content and want to change their beliefs, you probably have to understand what they are using these beliefs to fulfill. Lack of control, a topic to bond together, general disgust with how clinical the world has become, etc etc. Then steer them towards a complementary habit that's not "harmful". Gardening, volunteering planting trees, hiking, etc etc.

And finally it may just be a phase and they'll work their way out of it in time.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2016, 05:39:29 AM by gooki »

Pigeon

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Re: How to deal with pseudoscience in-laws?
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2016, 06:46:48 AM »
I feel much the same with a step mother and a few other relatives who are very religious.  These people are also prone to alternative medicine and magical thinking.

Disengage.  You aren't going to change her mind any more than she is going to change yours.  You don't have to play along though.  I'm very straightforward about it.  On occasion when step mother is trying to get me to participate in her religion or tells me that praying will cure something, I just tell her that if she's happy with it, that's her choice, but I have seen no peer-reviewed evidence whatsoever to support that and I decline to participate in unsubstantiated practices.  That usually stops the pestering for several months because she cannot provide evidence.

deadlymonkey

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Re: How to deal with pseudoscience in-laws?
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2016, 12:39:16 PM »
I feel much the same with a step mother and a few other relatives who are very religious.  These people are also prone to alternative medicine and magical thinking.

Disengage.  You aren't going to change her mind any more than she is going to change yours.  You don't have to play along though.  I'm very straightforward about it.  On occasion when step mother is trying to get me to participate in her religion or tells me that praying will cure something, I just tell her that if she's happy with it, that's her choice, but I have seen no peer-reviewed evidence whatsoever to support that and I decline to participate in unsubstantiated practices.  That usually stops the pestering for several months because she cannot provide evidence.

This is what I do.  I leave it alone unless they directly attempt to contact me or exert influence over someone in the family that is unprepared for resistance (a child), then I make it clear that the can stay in crazy town as long it doesn't interfere with the rest of the family.  That usually works.

Jack

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Re: How to deal with pseudoscience in-laws?
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2016, 12:43:33 PM »
anyways it was enough of a reason for my MIL to get a piece of my hair and pay for a long-distance diagnosis with bullshit recommendations.

WTF?!

Did she have your permission, or did she steal your hair?

deadlymonkey

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Re: How to deal with pseudoscience in-laws?
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2016, 01:08:15 PM »
anyways it was enough of a reason for my MIL to get a piece of my hair and pay for a long-distance diagnosis with bullshit recommendations.

WTF?!

Did she have your permission, or did she steal your hair?

If she found the hair (on a sink or hairbrush etc...) it is legal to take and test...just ask the police. 

Jack

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Re: How to deal with pseudoscience in-laws?
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2016, 01:16:03 PM »
anyways it was enough of a reason for my MIL to get a piece of my hair and pay for a long-distance diagnosis with bullshit recommendations.

WTF?!

Did she have your permission, or did she steal your hair?

If she found the hair (on a sink or hairbrush etc...) it is legal to take and test...just ask the police.

Maybe, but there's also the issue of whether the doctor's actions were legal under HIPAA...

sakura

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Re: How to deal with pseudoscience in-laws?
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2016, 01:19:27 PM »
Thanks everyone! great recommendations! Disengaging and avoiding health talks will be a great solution!

WTF?!
Did she have your permission, or did she steal your hair?
hahaha she asked for it, i thought it was just a weird souvenir for a memory (we live far away). she had also asked for an extra small picture i had of myself in my wallet, and i thought it was cute, but in the end she needed it for getting me a surprise summer pool entry card - much better surprise than a quantum machine reading my hair and telling me that i am holding too much grudge and anguish, right?

Does your partner respect and utilize medicine (ex: go to a doctor/NP, take antibiotics, receive vaccines, etc) or do they believe that modern medicine is wrong/inappropriate/harmful? If they believe the latter, you might have some serious trouble brewing.
Woa i never thought about it... you've got a good point. he avoids doctors for himself and ive never seen him taking medicine.. he does think pharma industry is very powerful and perhaps harmful, however right now im taking antibiotics and he is always making sure im getting my meds -> good sign! No completely shared financials, and no plans for kids right now but NO WAY i would allow avoiding vaccines. That story is so sad!


rubybeth

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Re: How to deal with pseudoscience in-laws?
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2016, 01:20:12 PM »
Do they try to talk to you about this a lot, like more than is socially acceptable mentions of it in conversation, like, "Oh, I just had my chakra colors done, isn't that fun" and then talk about something else? Can you explain to your SO that you're okay with his (?) involvement in this, if it helps him feel better, but that it's not for you and you don't want his mom knowing your medical info.? Like another poster said, you aren't going to change their minds about it, but you don't have to talk about it, either. Just leave the room or change the conversation topic, or be direct to both of them and say, "I'm not really interested in talking about this, can we talk about something else?"

thegardener

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Re: How to deal with pseudoscience in-laws?
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2016, 01:33:49 PM »
My mother in law is also into a lot of pseudoscience type things. She is convinced she's allergic to all spices and some unusual things like that without any scientific basis. I typically just listen to her talk without really adding much to the conversation. She also doesn't like me very well, so I am not too concerned about what she happens to think about my disbelief that she's allergic to 100% of spices.

Like someone mentioned above, I'd be more concerned about the so. You need to discuss what kind of medical care you are going to be seeking in your house and how that will work out. Especially if you decide to have kids or pets, because you don't want to be having significant disagreements with your so if something should come up. If your so is one of the never go to the doctor for anything types, you may have a serious issue on the horizon.

sakura

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Re: How to deal with pseudoscience in-laws?
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2016, 01:48:31 PM »
Do they try to talk to you about this a lot, like more than is socially acceptable mentions of it in conversation, like, "Oh, I just had my chakra colors done, isn't that fun" and then talk about something else? Can you explain to your SO that you're okay with his (?) involvement in this, if it helps him feel better, but that it's not for you and you don't want his mom knowing your medical info.? Like another poster said, you aren't going to change their minds about it, but you don't have to talk about it, either. Just leave the room or change the conversation topic, or be direct to both of them and say, "I'm not really interested in talking about this, can we talk about something else?"

They do talk about it very often unfortunately. Ive already told him that I respect whatever they decide to do, and that i dont want to ruin their vibes. It's just very hard to not intervene.. for instance once it came up that they had a hair-based-diagnosis on allergies and i should also do it. Im very allergic and it immediately sounded weird to me, besides, their results were ridiculous! in 2 minutes i googled the name of the "lab" and it was a clear and famous fraud.

Ill talk to him this week about not sharing info with his mom, im sure he will agree on it as well.

im glad we dont plan on having kids, thatd be a major issue.

Glenstache

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Re: How to deal with pseudoscience in-laws?
« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2016, 06:38:55 PM »
Pseudoscience medicine is a bit of a pet peeve of mine. I have a general aversion to "woo", but when it comes to medicine it particularly bothers me because of the potential for very real negative outcomes. Following through on ill-informed naturopathic diagnoses can delay diagnosis of real underlying conditions.

In addition to living with an accupuncturist, dating a former naturopath, and having a number of friends go to naturopaths, I've grown less tolerant of it over time, much as I would be irritated by a flat-earther. I've seen friends with thyroid issues be told to reduce gluten intake... which has absolutely no physiological basis. Thyroid is relatively easy to treat with routine medications,and even after the thyroid was correctly diagnosed was kept on the gluten-free for no perceptible reason. I've also had a friend be told to drink enough water that it would have actually been life threatening had he been physically able to do it (he tried). When asked about that, the naturopath responded, "Oh, I didn't think you would take that literally." It was a bit frustrating when he continued going back. And many other stories...

If you want an inside scoop to pass around on the actual equivalency, there is also this:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kavinsenapathy/2016/05/31/why-is-big-naturopathy-afraid-of-this-lone-whistleblower/#5e5b81e66b9b

https://www.naturopathicdiaries.com/

I've know people who went through the exact program referenced in the articles above, and it is pretty spot on.

What I do think naturopaths tend to get right is taking the time to do long entrance interviews with patients. This communication can help put patients at ease, get an idea of lifestyle context, and be really helpful when coupled with good medicine. Good GPs do this too, but our medical system generally doesn't incentivize this, or leave a lot of room for it. I can understand why that would be appealing and why people would go back. At an emotional level, it could build more confidence.

little_brown_dog

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Re: How to deal with pseudoscience in-laws?
« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2016, 10:36:10 AM »
Does your partner respect and utilize medicine (ex: go to a doctor/NP, take antibiotics, receive vaccines, etc) or do they believe that modern medicine is wrong/inappropriate/harmful? If they believe the latter, you might have some serious trouble brewing.
Woa i never thought about it... you've got a good point. he avoids doctors for himself and ive never seen him taking medicine.. he does think pharma industry is very powerful and perhaps harmful, however right now im taking antibiotics and he is always making sure im getting my meds -> good sign! No completely shared financials, and no plans for kids right now but NO WAY i would allow avoiding vaccines. That story is so sad!

I agree - it is a good sign that he is actively supportive of your antibiotic usage. It sounds like you won’t have too big of an issue, although you may want to explore his own aversion a bit through casual conversation just so you know where he stands. Generally the major red flags that indicate someone believes in woo to the point of causing harm to themselves or others include things like being an antivaxxer, refusing antibiotics even when obviously necessary and using stuff like honey and cider vinegar instead, believing that cancer or other diseases are caused by “negativity” or other moral failings, etc. These people tend to be religious fundamentalists /very hippie or hipster/conspiracy theorists (usually about the government somehow), so you would probably know if your SO was one. Many times these people also hold extremist views about diet, the environment, etc as well. They’re hard to miss.

Sibley

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Re: How to deal with pseudoscience in-laws?
« Reply #15 on: September 14, 2016, 10:54:12 AM »
I'm fine with people who are trying to make sure they have a healthy lifestyle, and if some of the methods are a little unusual, as long as they're not too out there I don't care - its their life. I draw the line at impacting others, especially the vulnerable or innocent (children, elderly, animals, etc). Do NOT feed your cat a vegan diet for example.

Making Cookies

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Re: How to deal with pseudoscience in-laws?
« Reply #16 on: September 19, 2016, 01:57:24 PM »
What is it like trying to work with these kinds of relatives as they get older and need real medical care?

I try to avoid anyone too interested in miracle cures, religion or politics. ;)

Religion and politics in moderation is fine by me.

El_Viajero

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Re: How to deal with pseudoscience in-laws?
« Reply #17 on: August 13, 2018, 12:45:05 PM »
Just found this old topic and can relate big time. One of my in-laws...

Goes to a "holistic doctor"
Is terrified of GMOs, BPA, "chemicals" (hilarious to me since everything is, well... a chemical)
Seems like a maybe-kinda vaccine skeptic but hasn't pushed us on this with our kid
Eats organic everything no matter what
Takes all sorts of supplements
Claims that just about every ailment under the sun is related to nutrition
Thinks sunscreen is harmful, although she has found some brands she's decided are ok
Tries to get me to use homeopathic remedies for my allergies
Does cleanses

As hard as it is, I've learned to just hold my tongue when this stuff comes up. The people who get into this shit really latch onto it with a religious-like fervor. Call their beliefs into question and they get super defensive, double down, and become even more sure of themselves in spite of all the hard evidence that contradicts their wacky worldview. They're just like the Trump die-hards out there.

My theory: Life is hard. Shit happens. We want a way to explain inexplicable hardships. We want to exert more control over our fate. We crave power in situations when we don't have any. Many illnesses and bodily ailments are things we can't control, especially as we age. People desperately want to control these things and "natural" medicine, "natural" diets, et al. tell them there's a way to take control. It gives people hope.

Hope is a powerful thing.

J Boogie

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Re: How to deal with pseudoscience in-laws?
« Reply #18 on: August 13, 2018, 01:14:32 PM »
Just pretend you married into a remote tribe and they are honoring you by sharing their folk healing techniques with you.

We respect these tribal elders who have completely different traditions and views than we do. Yes, they come from different backgrounds, but isn't kind of arrogant to suggest to all these tribal peoples that they would believe what you believe if only they had access to the information and education you had access to?

You'll have to speak your mind with tact and charity however when their suggestions for you become more frequent and insistent than you like.

El_Viajero

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Re: How to deal with pseudoscience in-laws?
« Reply #19 on: August 14, 2018, 08:02:25 AM »
Yes, they come from different backgrounds, but isn't kind of arrogant to suggest to all these tribal peoples that they would believe what you believe if only they had access to the information and education you had access to?

In my particular situation, the person lives in the US, has a college degree, has access to modern medical care, and owns a computer that is connected to the internet. Actually, the internet connection is part of the problem. That's where she gets all of her bad information.

The last time we hung out, she told me that I should take my shoes off outside because my skin doesn't absorb enough positive ions (or was it just "energy?" meh) from the earth. The rubber in our shoes, she claims, is separating us from the ground and keeping us from achieving optimal health.

She's got a Himalayan salt lamp in her living room that supposedly purifies the air. She bought us one. It's weird looking, but we use it as a night light.

rdaneel0

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Re: How to deal with pseudoscience in-laws?
« Reply #20 on: August 14, 2018, 08:16:52 AM »
I would just roll with it with your mother in law and avoid ever mentioning any medical issues you have around her. I do lots of empty nodding at the in-laws and with my own parents. It's just not worth it.

As for your SO, I agree that's the real issue here. Does he/she actually believe this stuff? Or are they just doing it to appease mom too? I think that's a pretty big distinction. I would have trouble being with someone who believed in woo "medicine" because it would make me question their reasoning power. I would also be worried about it longterm as it relates to future healthcare (for you guy and/or potential kids).

SilveradoBojangles

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Re: How to deal with pseudoscience in-laws?
« Reply #21 on: August 14, 2018, 08:18:37 AM »
My mother in law is like this as well. My husband is critical of her quackery, but he did share her skepticism about vaccines, which surprised me. Before we were married we planned a long trip to countries where vaccinations are recommended, and he didn't want to get them. I told him if he didn't get the shots I wasn't going because if he got sick I would have to take care of him. That seemed to strike a cord with him, and he got the vaccines. That was 10 years ago and now that the dangers of anti-vax sentiments are more prominent he is firmly on the side of vaccinations.

RangerOne

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Re: How to deal with pseudoscience in-laws?
« Reply #22 on: August 14, 2018, 04:15:07 PM »
As a matter of being open and honest, you can thank her for her concern and effort to seek help for you. But you can as politely as possible simply say that you are either aren't concerned about the issue enough to seek help at this time, or you prefer to handle medical concerns through your doctor.

She may:
1. Leave you alone and accept your opposing view.
2. Get upset about your poor judgment and push you.

Hopefully it leans toward the first, but some times people err on the second. Suck it up and stand firm but don't be rude. Its important that family knows your boundaries. And you will in that case have to live with the fact that she thinks you have poor judgment. Just remember that feeling will be mutual. But you shouldn't have to dwell on this difference of opinion or let it sour every interaction.

The sooner you do this the better.

In the future avoid conversing about health issues. This will inevitably lead unsolicited advice that you know you don't want.

EricL

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Re: How to deal with pseudoscience in-laws?
« Reply #23 on: August 20, 2018, 02:43:38 PM »
I don't automatically dismiss so called pseudoscience.*  But in cases where the person prescribing pseudo scientific treatment is joined at the hip with someone, usually it's to syphon cash from that person.  The victim is already "sold" on the treatment and only the most outrageous evidence (like a recording of the practitioner mocking the victim) will dissuade them.  You need to go after the practitioner - ideally via law enforcement.

*The scientific establishment is famous for discrediting ideas then finding they're true and subsequently validating them.  It then gets awfully convenient memory loss about it.  It's tragic because people who promote those ideas are shamed, ostracized, and discredited while they live.  The scientists who persecute them have their reputations impugned only after they die.

Tass

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Re: How to deal with pseudoscience in-laws?
« Reply #24 on: August 20, 2018, 02:55:50 PM »
I don't automatically dismiss so called pseudoscience.* 

*The scientific establishment is famous for discrediting ideas then finding they're true and subsequently validating them.  It then gets awfully convenient memory loss about it.  It's tragic because people who promote those ideas are shamed, ostracized, and discredited while they live.  The scientists who persecute them have their reputations impugned only after they die.

You're right that the scientific method has a history of being warped by its practitioners. But there is a difference between "this hypothesis contradicts existing scientific theory, but may offer new insights" and "large bodies of evidence have already disproven this hypothesis."

Homeopathy fits squarely into the second category. Negative-ion healing doesn't even have a coherent theory that I've seen.

RetiredAt63

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Re: How to deal with pseudoscience in-laws?
« Reply #25 on: August 20, 2018, 03:42:58 PM »
I don't automatically dismiss so called pseudoscience.* 

*The scientific establishment is famous for discrediting ideas then finding they're true and subsequently validating them.  It then gets awfully convenient memory loss about it.  It's tragic because people who promote those ideas are shamed, ostracized, and discredited while they live.  The scientists who persecute them have their reputations impugned only after they die.

You're right that the scientific method has a history of being warped by its practitioners. But there is a difference between "this hypothesis contradicts existing scientific theory, but may offer new insights" and "large bodies of evidence have already disproven this hypothesis."

Homeopathy fits squarely into the second category. Negative-ion healing doesn't even have a coherent theory that I've seen.

"Continental drift" fits the first category.  Wegener was correct that the continents looked like they had been all one piece at one time and had broken apart.  The geologists were correct that continents don't float or drift around.  Once geologists figured out that the crust was formed of plates that did move around, and the continents were just along for the ride, the new tectonic plate theory explained not only the shape of the continents but also the "ring of fire" and deep ocean trenches.


GuitarStv

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Re: How to deal with pseudoscience in-laws?
« Reply #26 on: August 20, 2018, 06:16:48 PM »
Homeopathy is pretty fucked up.  It's not just a pseudo-science . . . it's aggressively anti-logic.

- First you have to believe that 'like cures like'.  If eating rotten chicken makes you throw up, then the cure for throwing up clearly must be rotten chicken.
- Then you have to believe that water has energy and memory . . . and that by diluting the shit out of your 'cure' substance,  the water that's left over becomes a powerful cure.  So homeopaths dilute their cures to the point that none of the 'cure' substance remains so that their cure is more powerful.

Then the rube consumer of homeopathic potion will drink that water that may have once passed by something that is known to make your symptom worse . . . and is cured.  Or, as every study of the matter shows . . . the homeopathic cure performs as well as a placebo.

:P




Even if we buy into the theory that water has energy and memory, and that like cures like . . . the theory STILL makes no sense at all.  The Earth is a closed system.  All the water on it is constantly recycled, and always has been for thousands of years.  That means that the odds are every molecule of water has at one point or another been close to a substance that will 'cure' anything you're sick from.  Which means that by homoepathic dogma, every drop of water is already the most powerful cure for EVERY AILMENT KNOWN TO MANKIND.



So sure . . . keep an open mind.  Some pseudo-science certainly has potential to be tested, proven, and legitimized.  But don't be stupid. 

EricL

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Re: How to deal with pseudoscience in-laws?
« Reply #27 on: August 21, 2018, 12:55:08 AM »
Homeopathy is pretty fucked up.  It's not just a pseudo-science . . . it's aggressively anti-logic.

- First you have to believe that 'like cures like'.  If eating rotten chicken makes you throw up, then the cure for throwing up clearly must be rotten chicken.
- Then you have to believe that water has energy and memory . . . and that by diluting the shit out of your 'cure' substance,  the water that's left over becomes a powerful cure.  So homeopaths dilute their cures to the point that none of the 'cure' substance remains so that their cure is more powerful.

Then the rube consumer of homeopathic potion will drink that water that may have once passed by something that is known to make your symptom worse . . . and is cured.  Or, as every study of the matter shows . . . the homeopathic cure performs as well as a placebo.

:P




Even if we buy into the theory that water has energy and memory, and that like cures like . . . the theory STILL makes no sense at all.  The Earth is a closed system.  All the water on it is constantly recycled, and always has been for thousands of years.  That means that the odds are every molecule of water has at one point or another been close to a substance that will 'cure' anything you're sick from.  Which means that by homoepathic dogma, every drop of water is already the most powerful cure for EVERY AILMENT KNOWN TO MANKIND.



So sure . . . keep an open mind.  Some pseudo-science certainly has potential to be tested, proven, and legitimized.  But don't be stupid.

I’m not stupid, if that’s what you’re inferring.  And neither necessarily is the victim.  The smartest is the parasite leveraging fast talk and people skills to suck the money out of this person.  I have a no shit magical incantation I use that is often (disclaimer: not always) useful.  Say it with me: “PO-lice.”

havregryn

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Re: How to deal with pseudoscience in-laws?
« Reply #28 on: August 21, 2018, 01:59:43 AM »
Just found this old topic and can relate big time. One of my in-laws...

Goes to a "holistic doctor"
Is terrified of GMOs, BPA, "chemicals" (hilarious to me since everything is, well... a chemical)
Seems like a maybe-kinda vaccine skeptic but hasn't pushed us on this with our kid
Eats organic everything no matter what
Takes all sorts of supplements
Claims that just about every ailment under the sun is related to nutrition
Thinks sunscreen is harmful, although she has found some brands she's decided are ok
Tries to get me to use homeopathic remedies for my allergies
Does cleanses

As hard as it is, I've learned to just hold my tongue when this stuff comes up. The people who get into this shit really latch onto it with a religious-like fervor. Call their beliefs into question and they get super defensive, double down, and become even more sure of themselves in spite of all the hard evidence that contradicts their wacky worldview. They're just like the Trump die-hards out there.

My theory: Life is hard. Shit happens. We want a way to explain inexplicable hardships. We want to exert more control over our fate. We crave power in situations when we don't have any. Many illnesses and bodily ailments are things we can't control, especially as we age. People desperately want to control these things and "natural" medicine, "natural" diets, et al. tell them there's a way to take control. It gives people hope.

Hope is a powerful thing.

I have the same situation with my mother of law.
She is into every imaginable kind of hocus pocus. She was a stay at home mom in a culture where that is not common (Sweden) and when the kids grew up she needed some sort of career asap and she got into these things. So she is not just interested in them, she considers it to be her area of expertise.
We try to just nod but there have been situations that could have ended badly. I found out too late that she had been putting some weird (and possibly dangerous at that age) essential oils on my son when he was 6 months old. He was fine but I still get shivers down my spine when I remember this.
She is also intent on "treating" me for the fact that when I was 31 I had an unexplained ischaemic stroke. I have no residual symptoms and no obvious underlying condition so she more or less wants to carpet bomb my mysterious condition by giving me whatever is "in" at the time and it is freaking me out (it sounds like the opposite of what you should be doing in this situation, not knowing what caused the stroke means you also don't know what could help another one along).
So we did have to get a bit more stern over the years and straightout refuse her remedies. But it's always awkward. She means well but because she does not read the proper literature on these things, she is not aware that there are real dangers associated with them, especially when you administer them to an infant and to an adult with history of major health issues.

RetiredAt63

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Re: How to deal with pseudoscience in-laws?
« Reply #29 on: August 21, 2018, 05:41:44 AM »
So we did have to get a bit more stern over the years and straightout refuse her remedies. But it's always awkward. She means well but because she does not read the proper literature on these things, she is not aware that there are real dangers associated with them, especially when you administer them to an infant and to an adult with history of major health issues.

That is just plain scary.  And really she is practicing medicine without a medical education.

She reminds me of the people who think natural = good.  Not so.  Some of the strongest poisons are natural.  Fungi developed antibiotics to kill the bacteria that compete with them for food.  I could kill lots of people from my flower garden if I wanted to.  You know those bulb packages that have the deer and the red circle and bar icon, to show deer won't eat them?  Why won't deer eat them? Because they are poisonous, to keep deer and other animals from eating them!

Kris

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Re: How to deal with pseudoscience in-laws?
« Reply #30 on: August 21, 2018, 06:08:01 AM »

Even if we buy into the theory that water has energy and memory, and that like cures like . . . the theory STILL makes no sense at all.  The Earth is a closed system.  All the water on it is constantly recycled, and always has been for thousands of years.  That means that the odds are every molecule of water has at one point or another been close to a substance that will 'cure' anything you're sick from.  Which means that by homoepathic dogma, every drop of water is already the most powerful cure for EVERY AILMENT KNOWN TO MANKIND.


Interestingly, I had a former colleague who believed pretty much this, for a time. She even recommended a book to me — which I read, because I read everything — but I can’t remember the exact title.

Sadly for my colleague, she has since developed some real ailments that water has not been able to cure, and so I don’t think she believes this anymore.

havregryn

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Re: How to deal with pseudoscience in-laws?
« Reply #31 on: August 21, 2018, 06:13:23 AM »
So we did have to get a bit more stern over the years and straightout refuse her remedies. But it's always awkward. She means well but because she does not read the proper literature on these things, she is not aware that there are real dangers associated with them, especially when you administer them to an infant and to an adult with history of major health issues.

That is just plain scary.  And really she is practicing medicine without a medical education.

She reminds me of the people who think natural = good.  Not so.  Some of the strongest poisons are natural.  Fungi developed antibiotics to kill the bacteria that compete with them for food.  I could kill lots of people from my flower garden if I wanted to.  You know those bulb packages that have the deer and the red circle and bar icon, to show deer won't eat them?  Why won't deer eat them? Because they are poisonous, to keep deer and other animals from eating them!

Yeah, I completely agree with you but this is always so awkward because it is very hard to justify refusal in a way that does not hurt her feelings. To her this is all her sharing her expertise to make our life better. You can't tell her to read a paper on how you shouldn't put random essential oil mixtures on babies because to her that is all big pharma conspiracy.
I am incredibly wary of everything she offers as one time she made us buy some supplements for me not long after giving birth to baby 1 that ended up having an enormous dose of some B vitamin (I don't remember anymore, I looked it up back then) that caused heat flashes and heart palpitations in me.
I don't think she understands that you can drink water to death, even if something is good for you it doesn't mean that the more the better.
Really the worst thing about this is that most of these pseudoscience family members genuinely want to help. It is easier to tell someone who just wants to sell you something to buzz off...with well meaning family members it gets hard.

RetiredAt63

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Re: How to deal with pseudoscience in-laws?
« Reply #32 on: August 21, 2018, 07:36:06 AM »
So we did have to get a bit more stern over the years and straightout refuse her remedies. But it's always awkward. She means well but because she does not read the proper literature on these things, she is not aware that there are real dangers associated with them, especially when you administer them to an infant and to an adult with history of major health issues.

That is just plain scary.  And really she is practicing medicine without a medical education.

She reminds me of the people who think natural = good.  Not so.  Some of the strongest poisons are natural.  Fungi developed antibiotics to kill the bacteria that compete with them for food.  I could kill lots of people from my flower garden if I wanted to.  You know those bulb packages that have the deer and the red circle and bar icon, to show deer won't eat them?  Why won't deer eat them? Because they are poisonous, to keep deer and other animals from eating them!

Yeah, I completely agree with you but this is always so awkward because it is very hard to justify refusal in a way that does not hurt her feelings. To her this is all her sharing her expertise to make our life better. You can't tell her to read a paper on how you shouldn't put random essential oil mixtures on babies because to her that is all big pharma conspiracy.
I am incredibly wary of everything she offers as one time she made us buy some supplements for me not long after giving birth to baby 1 that ended up having an enormous dose of some B vitamin (I don't remember anymore, I looked it up back then) that caused heat flashes and heart palpitations in me.
I don't think she understands that you can drink water to death, even if something is good for you it doesn't mean that the more the better.
Really the worst thing about this is that most of these pseudoscience family members genuinely want to help. It is easier to tell someone who just wants to sell you something to buzz off...with well meaning family members it gets hard.

Yes, it would be so much more difficult when they are well meaning.   My sympathy, not an easy situation.

trollwithamustache

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Re: How to deal with pseudoscience in-laws?
« Reply #33 on: September 04, 2018, 08:47:40 AM »
I'm gonna say this quantum navel fluff stuff is a good thing. Everyone has their weird, quirky beliefs (especially us Mustaches?!?, Ha!)  Now you know what it is, its relatively harmless and its not something like politics that you'd have to waste a lifetime arguing about.

Your SO still goes to a "western" doc right? just making sure the harmless statement is true :)

Parton

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Re: How to deal with pseudoscience in-laws?
« Reply #34 on: October 29, 2018, 05:06:31 PM »
I protect myself from communication with relatives with whom we have different views on life. Thre is enough communication on holidays, but on ordinary days we do not meet.

accolay

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Re: How to deal with pseudoscience in-laws?
« Reply #35 on: October 29, 2018, 05:15:50 PM »
As a matter of being open and honest, you can thank her for her concern and effort to seek help for you. But you can as politely as possible simply say that you are either aren't concerned about the issue enough to seek help at this time, or you prefer to handle medical concerns through your doctor.

She may:
1. Leave you alone and accept your opposing view.
2. Get upset about your poor judgment and push you.

Hopefully it leans toward the first, but some times people err on the second. Suck it up and stand firm but don't be rude. Its important that family knows your boundaries. And you will in that case have to live with the fact that she thinks you have poor judgment. Just remember that feeling will be mutual. But you shouldn't have to dwell on this difference of opinion or let it sour every interaction.

The sooner you do this the better.

In the future avoid conversing about health issues. This will inevitably lead unsolicited advice that you know you don't want.

+1 If you don't nip it in the bud, you'll be pestered about it until either you or they die.

Sibley

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Re: How to deal with pseudoscience in-laws?
« Reply #36 on: October 29, 2018, 08:19:14 PM »
As a matter of being open and honest, you can thank her for her concern and effort to seek help for you. But you can as politely as possible simply say that you are either aren't concerned about the issue enough to seek help at this time, or you prefer to handle medical concerns through your doctor.

She may:
1. Leave you alone and accept your opposing view.
2. Get upset about your poor judgment and push you.

Hopefully it leans toward the first, but some times people err on the second. Suck it up and stand firm but don't be rude. Its important that family knows your boundaries. And you will in that case have to live with the fact that she thinks you have poor judgment. Just remember that feeling will be mutual. But you shouldn't have to dwell on this difference of opinion or let it sour every interaction.

The sooner you do this the better.

In the future avoid conversing about health issues. This will inevitably lead unsolicited advice that you know you don't want.

+1 If you don't nip it in the bud, you'll be pestered about it until either you or they die.

Or you completely lose patience, and your temper, and end up screaming at them for half an hour....

I don't recommend that approach, but it does tend to be effective. (100% justified if putting essential oils on infants, btw.)

magnet18

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Re: How to deal with pseudoscience in-laws?
« Reply #37 on: November 01, 2018, 01:58:05 PM »
I don't mind when family wants to discuss pseudoscience/alt medicine.  I'll happily discuss any and all of it to the best of my knowledge.  I find the conversations fun, but given that I have actually studied quantum mechanics, materials science, nuclear physics, electrical engineering, work for nasa, and find randomly flipping through medical textbooks "fun"... Nobody brings it up anymore :(

It's not a topic of friction, just not a mutual interest, so it's not a conversation.

I did get sMIL a salt lamp for Christmas one year.  In her opinion, it magically increases the air quality in the room.  In my opinion, it's a backlit lump of warm sodium chloride with trace impurities that turn it pinkish, packaged into a gift of the correct dollar value.  We can agree it looks good. :)

marty998

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Re: How to deal with pseudoscience in-laws?
« Reply #38 on: November 01, 2018, 02:09:13 PM »

I did get sMIL a salt lamp for Christmas one year.  In her opinion, it magically increases the air quality in the room.  In my opinion, it's a backlit lump of warm sodium chloride with trace impurities that turn it pinkish, packaged into a gift of the correct dollar value.  We can agree it looks good. :)

Imagine a world where all marketing materials were written like an engineering spec.

I'd be in heaven.

magnet18

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Re: How to deal with pseudoscience in-laws?
« Reply #39 on: November 01, 2018, 02:23:46 PM »

I did get sMIL a salt lamp for Christmas one year.  In her opinion, it magically increases the air quality in the room.  In my opinion, it's a backlit lump of warm sodium chloride with trace impurities that turn it pinkish, packaged into a gift of the correct dollar value.  We can agree it looks good. :)

Imagine a world where all marketing materials were written like an engineering spec.

I'd be in heaven.
+1


When growing up and taking an interest in chemistry, I was quite surprised and disappointed to find that household goods don't have chemical formulas on the box

I still firmly believe all cleaners chemicals and medicines should have the chemical formulas for the active ingredients on the back of the container

trollwithamustache

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Re: How to deal with pseudoscience in-laws?
« Reply #40 on: November 02, 2018, 06:57:13 AM »


When growing up and taking an interest in chemistry, I was quite surprised and disappointed to find that household goods don't have chemical formulas on the box

I still firmly believe all cleaners chemicals and medicines should have the chemical formulas for the active ingredients on the back of the container

why just the Active Ingredient that "they" decide is the AI? there are a bunch of other chemicals in there.

RetiredAt63

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Re: How to deal with pseudoscience in-laws?
« Reply #41 on: November 02, 2018, 07:25:27 AM »


When growing up and taking an interest in chemistry, I was quite surprised and disappointed to find that household goods don't have chemical formulas on the box

I still firmly believe all cleaners chemicals and medicines should have the chemical formulas for the active ingredients on the back of the container

why just the Active Ingredient that "they" decide is the AI? there are a bunch of other chemicals in there.
Anything can be active:
By winter 1975, medical staff at the Killam Hospital for Children in Halifax remarked that every child with a diagnosis of Reye's syndrome was a New Brunswicker, and later proved a link between the syndrome and the emulsifier used to apply the Fenitrothion.
from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spruce_budworm