Activism

Dear Oprah: You Stole Kim Tinkham’s Chance of Surviving Breast Cancer

Ready for this week’s bit of skeptical activism? Orac has the details on Kim Tinkham, a woman who had stage 3 breast cancer and decided to treat it with The Secret (happy thoughts) and diet changes instead of science-based medicine. The science offers a 50/50 chance of survival. The happy thoughts add nothing to your not-so-promising chance of surviving 5 years without treatment.

Four years ago, Oprah featured Tinkham on her show and gave her the validation she needed to continue using quack therapy. Today, Tinkham is dying, forgotten as Oprah launches her 24/7 health network OWN.

Orac suggests we remind Oprah (or at least her producers) of the damage she’s done. Go to her contact page and show them the human cost of spreading misinformation. Feel free to crib from the open letter to Oprah I wrote back in 2007, which is still, sadly, appropriate.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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36 Comments

  1. What scribe999 said. Although it should be remembered that it wasn’t Oprah who drove this vulnerable, presumably terrified woman into the arms of woo, she was just happy to reinforce her uninformed choice and repackage it as TV. And now fails to admit she made the wrong call.

  2. There’s no stopping Oprah. She’s so wrapped up in her own ego, she can and will do anything she wants. I think we could send thousands of letters and her people will waylay them; she’ll never see them. Better off going around her than to her. Where else could we send letters that would have more impact?

  3. That is so sad. I sent the show a message just because I figure *someone* affiliated with the show is going to read it, right? And yeah, I noticed that the first link to Kim Tinkham is still cancer angel as well. Doesn’t mention that part about her dying :( Tragic.

  4. I could totally sympathize people trying alternatives, however woo-ish, on top of conventional treatment on the basis of the more things you throw at the problem the more chance you have of at least one of them working.

    The thing I never understand is why don’t people like Kim Tinkam think their happy thoughts and change their diets and whatever else they think might help while going through standard medical treatment?
    Do they really believe science is going to actively make things worse?

    What is with the “instead of science-based medicine”?

  5. Dana Ponder reported via Facebook that Kim has just passed — just minutes ago. I’ll have good thoughts for her family. Yet, I’ll balance those with sufficient amount of additional disgust for Oprah and the anti-science/anti-thought movement that she has promoted.

  6. As the wise Ben Parker (Peter Parker’s uncle) said:

    “With great power comes great responsibility.”

    Oprah is made of fail. She has great power and has the resources to ensure that everything on her program is of the highest scientific standards.

    Oprah is not an icon, she is just a shallow, empty entertainer.

  7. @duckwhatduck: I could totally sympathize people trying alternatives, however woo-ish, on top of conventional treatment on the basis of the more things you throw at the problem the more chance you have of at least one of them working.

    I can sympathize, but I don’t think it is wise. My mother in law tried chemo and massive doses of vitamins. From everything I have read cancer thinks that vitamins are really yummy. Make cancer strong like bull.

  8. I wrote Oprah as follows:

    As per the Skepchick Website, “Ready for this week’s bit of skeptical activism? Orac has the details on Kim Tinkam, a woman who had stage 3 breast cancer and decided to treat it with The Secret (happy thoughts) and diet changes instead of science-based medicine. The science offers a 50/50 chance of survival. The happy thoughts add nothing to your not-so-promising chance of surviving 5 years without treatment.

    Four years ago, Oprah featured Tinkam on her show and gave her the validation she needed to continue using quack therapy. Today, Tinkam is dying, forgotten as Oprah launches her 24/7 health network OWN”

    As a physician, an internist, I beg of you to please stop promoting therapies and choices that decrease the chance of recovery from serious diseases. Sadly, even though I have almost 4000 patients that I CARE for, your influence far exceeds by own.

    Please, as one decent person to another, please simply stop this.
    Then, you too, can actually save lives.

    sincerely, Dr Hal J Cohen D.O.

  9. Just read down a ways on the Caring For Kim Facebook wall.

    It seems she has, in fact, died.

    SO, for any of you who haven’t yet written to Oprah but still intend to do so, you may wish to adjust the contents and tone of your letters to address the latest info.

    Oh, and PS: Her name was spelled “Tinkham”… dunno if it’s worth editing the post or not, but I thought I’d mention it just in case.

  10. I am really angry that to make a comment I need to enter my email address, snail mail address and phone number. I did include the real ones, only I added comments that I will toss them immediately and report phone calls to the FTC because I am on the Do Not Call list.

    I am very angry, and I have had a glass of wine… but here is what I wrote and am about to send:

    Kim Tinkham is dead.

    Thanks to Oprah’s promotion of the idiotic “The Secret” book she failed to receive the treatment she needed. Instead she went to a Robert O. Young who has degrees from mail order colleges (Clayton College of Natural Health and the mythical “America College” in Birmingham, AL… neither of which still exist) .

    You are welcome to read about it here:
    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2010/12/kim_tinkham_has_passed_away.php

    Tell Ms. Winfrey to stop promoting dubious treatments that kill. This is especially important in her giving free advertising to a carnival huckster known as “John of God”… see:
    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2010/11/for_shame_oprah_winfrey_shills_for_faith.php
    and
    http://www.randi.org/jr/021805a.html (where the carnival tricks are explained)

    Who knows how many more people will spend their life savings and die a horrible death due the promotion of a con artist!?

    Stop giving airtime to those like Jenny McCarthy and Dr. Oz who promote fairy tale science (a term coined by Dr. Harriet Hall, someone who did write for the magazine but did not adhere to the editorial edict to promote idiocy, http://www.skepticstoolbox.org/hall/ ).

    Start exposing the quacks and fraudsters. Expose the lack of credentials and deaths by the exploiters. You can start by learning here: http://whatstheharm.net/

    So I had to give you not only my mailing address, but also an email and my phone number to comment. Here is the deal: until Ms. Winfrey stops promoting dangerous quackery and hucksters she will not get any funds from me. I will set up my email to immediately reject anything form oprah.com. My mail box is right next to the recycle bin for a reason. And I will report any calls to the DoNotCall website any calls to my phone from you.

    But, if I see in the press that Ms. Winfrey has publicly denounced “The Secret”, Robert O. Young, “John of God”, and Jenny McCarthy’s anti-vax views… I will accept email. But not the phone calls, that is something that really makes me angry.

    And yes, I am from the Skepchick website.

    (they have stupid software, that was 1700 letters, not over 2000!)

  11. I think it’s funny that Oprah’s new health network is called OWN because that’s exactly what happens to anyone who actually buys the shit they sell on that station. In fact it should be PWN. I don’t think it’s possible for me to hate anyone more than I hate Oprah now. Wait…I keep forgetting about Peter Popoff…

  12. Did I miss something? Did Oprah do an about face after telling Kim exactly what we would all tell her back in March of ’07? I am assuming after she delared herself cured that Oprah gave credit to The Secret. is that right? Because again, what Oprah told Kim on her show back in 07 was dead on what she should have told Kim “What you are doing is irresponsible”, and telling her that The Secret is not about ignoring the medicine, it’s about thinking positively while still using the medicine. Again, did she do an about face?

  13. Did anyone actually see the episode in question? It doesn’t sound like it because none of you is accurately reporting what happened. I dislike Oprah, and I hold “The Secret” in utter contempt, but Oprah did NOT encourage this woman to ignore her doctors and not have the surgery. In fact, she told her the complete opposite. She used the story of the guy who’s house is flooded who refuses three methods of rescue because he thinks god will save him, only to find out god sent them as an explanation of how this woman should be using “The Secret”.

    Seriously, the video on the cancerangel website (I’ll link the website below) right on the front page shows Oprah telling this woman to use medical science. She says it multiple times! Sure, she throws in bollocks about drawing healing to herself and all the woo that goes with the secret, but she explicitly tells her to have the surgery.

    This post is way way out of line, in my opinion, because it isn’t true. You accuse Oprah of doing something that she not only doesn’t do, but does the opposite of, the thing you think she should have done! Attack Oprah by all means, but there’s plenty of reasons to without making stuff up.

    Just watch the video and tell me that she told her to ignore her doctors. Go on, do it.

    Link: http://www.cancerangel.com/

  14. @MarkCorrigan: I think Orac spoke to this pretty well — ‘After all, it was Oprah who promoted the mystical New Age woo that is The Secret. It was The Secret that inspired Kim Tinkham, after she was diagnosed with breast cancer, to refuse the conventional therapy that might very well have saved her life and opt instead for Robert O. Young’s acid-base pseudoscience that claims that the tumor in cancer is not the actual disease but rather the reaction to cells “spoiled” by acid. Were it not for Oprah, Tinkham might not have gotten the validation and fame that she did. She herself said that being on Oprah made her famous enough that when she called various doctors and scientists they actually took her calls. Finally, it was Oprah Winfrey who, rather than trying to hook Tinkham up with real cancer experts, instead brought her on her show because it was good television. Yes, Oprah did make a small effort to try to get Tinkham to see reason, but it was half-hearted and never challenged the credentials of the “practitioner” into whose clutched Tinkham had fallen.’

    While ‘admonishing’ Tinkham about using ‘The Secret’, Oprah still let her off with the claim that her “doctor” was “real”. Despite the fact that Tinkham admits she should have been undergoing surgery and chemo, the woman goes on to admit that her doctor (apparently that quack, Robert O. Young) told her it was unnecessary and that she was going with dietary and “nutritional” changes. In that video, Oprah completely lets that go and accepts leading us (and more importantly, Tinkham) to perceive that Oprah Winfrey finds that a valid course of treatment. Sure, she goes onto say that she would be doing “both” (evidence-based and alternative medicine…easy for her to say with her bankroll). However, in the world of medical woo, we know that isn’t always the course encouraged by woo practitioners…Kim outright states that her current “doctor” deemed it unnecessary for her to get surgery. Oprah apparently doesn’t think it important to challenge who this guy is, and why didn’t she have her pet “Dr. Oz” at the very least on there to help her talk this woman down?

    And while Oprah does deserve some credit for cajoling Tinkham somewhat on the issue of surgery (particularly asking the cogent question, “is this about holding onto the breast?”), Tinkham states that this is about her “right for choice”, which is a non-sequitur considering the issue was about her best treatment, not her patient’s rights. Again, Oprah lets this go, and validates that statement by claiming “respect” for Tinkham’s choice, which doesn’t change the fact that her constant promotion of such BS practices is what lends credence to the unscrupulous woo peddlers that brings about such credulity in people like Kim Tinkham. Her sin of commission is promoting this crap, her sin of ommision was letting Kim go on in such a delusional state without serious challenge to the underlying problem.

    Oh, and Oprah’s rationalization of “The Secret” is quite hilarious…kinda reminds me of when people argue over interpretations of their various holy books…oh, that’s not what this passage means, you’re just interpreting it incorrectly.

  15. For crying out loud. I’m not an Oprah disciple by a long shot, but when Kim was on the show, Oprah told Kim that she was being irresponsible by not accepting conventional treatment and asked her why shouldn’t use The Secret, if that is what she wanted to do, in conjunction WITH what the REAL doctors advised. This article is misguided, the title is vile, and the following comments are sheepish. Look into things before jumping on board, people. As my friend Box Brown (commenter above) can attest, in many regards I’m a skeptic approaching tinfoil hat status, but this is kind of disgusting.

  16. Again, I totally agree that Oprah led this woman to The Secret, and that she regularly accepts nonsense medicine as factual. Indeed, that the woman visited a quack doctor and Oprah ignored this is a major strike against her, but nonetheless she still pushed the woman into getting surgery. I won’t comment on the availablity and affordability of medicine in the US, although I could talk for a lifetime, but the fact is in the example Rebecca gives Oprah accepts, encourages and repeatedly talks about the advantages of scientifically based medicine.

    That she accepts woo nonsense is already known, and that she wouldn’t openly criticise alternative medicine isn’t a shock, but she STARTS the video by saying the e-mail concerned her (Oprah). She goes on to say that the Secret is good blah blah blah nonsense. However, she then explicitly and repeatedly pushes medical science. She tells the woman she’s being irresponsible, that she should use the advanced medical treatment she has available to her, she adds some woo about thinking happy thoughts, but then repeats that medical science is good.

    The woman then effectively states that she killed herself by not having the surgery. She explicitly states that she ignored multiple doctors and kept looking until she found someone who basically fed her delusions and used her fear of the necessary medical care to tell her what she wanted to hear, that the horrible nasty cancer treatment wasn’t needed.

    Oprah asks her twice “he’s a real doctor?” which to me, while not exactly probing, is her trying to find out if this guy is a quack or not. Kim then claims that he’s a well known breast cancer expert.

    Oprah then says that The Secret isn’t the answer to all questions, and that when Kim mentions something called “The Law of Action” which to me sounds like “doing something” she says that she worked hard right away and didn’t act out of fear (an obvious lie given what she ended up doing). Oprah tels her this is good, and then checks that she isn’t just sat at home praying (no, she isn’t) and that she is getting treatment (she says she is). When she mentions what the treatment is, Oprah who is clearly concerned by now, says “Are you giving yourself a certain amount of time to…see why cant’ you do both?”

    Kim then states that she just didn’t want to lose her right breast. She also claims here that she’s told her doctor to “give [her] 6 months instead of this 1 month thing, let me do what I want to do and hopefully it will at least shrink it down”.

    Oprah then asks “your breast or your life?” Kim responds with “Oh my life, obviously” and then says some guff about choices.

    Oprah asks “Is this about holding on to the breast?” and Kim says it’s about her right to choice. Oprah says she respects her right to choose, and it ends.

    I fully agree that Oprah does not do anything near enough to dissuade this woman from her choices that are going to lead to her death, but honestly? Oprah is scared Kim is going to ignore actual medical advice. She repeatedly asks if the doctor is a real doctor, and she repeatedly pushes for getting the conventional medicine. I could well be wrong, but given the information that Kim gave to Oprah, I have to say that in this one, isolated incident, Oprah is, forgive the pun, firmly on the side of the angels. I think that she honestly believes that Kim’s doctor is giving her sound, if alternative advice, and that she really will be able to have the surgery in 6 months time. She seems to be happy to accept that this woman is not seeing a quack and is getting actual help that she needs.

    Should she do more? Absolutely. Should she have pushed harder on whether the doctor was real? Of course.

    Did she tell this woman to ignore medical advice, as Rebecca claims in the post? No. She does the opposite.

  17. @MarkCorrigan: ‘Should she do more? Absolutely. Should she have pushed harder on whether the doctor was real? Of course. ”

    Well, we agree on the most important point…I just didn’t interpret her concern in light of “prior bad acts” in as positive a light. But, you are correct in that this was not an outright ‘Suzanne Somers’ type of statement about chemotherapy.

  18. @MarkCorrigan: What you say is correct. This shows that Oprah recognizes the responsibility she bears for leading people like Tinkham to make terrible decisions. Will she sit on the couch for a frank discussion with everyone who has chosen to ignore medical advice because they believe in miracles, which Oprah has urged them to do through her promotion of garbage like The Secret and John-of-God? Were she to do this, my suspicion is that it would occupy the remainder of her life, her influence is so tragically great. Better to treat the source of the problem by being more responsible in the ideas and people she promotes.

    This is essentially what I said in the message I sent. There are more important things than selling optimism in 30-minute increments.

  19. @B Hitt Were she to do this, my suspicion is that it would occupy the remainder of her life, her influence is so tragically great.

    Exactly! Someone should call her on the carpet like she did with James Frey. When she was the one looking the fool it didn’t take her very long to find the exact cause. No vagueness here.

    The American cattlemen tried to hold her accountable, for the wrong thing, and got their asses rightfully handed to them. It was a freedom of speech issue that made me hate myself because I sided with the High Crazy One.

    Oprah only does bad TV when Oprah wants to do bad TV. Unless it is a laste resort Mea Culpa is never good TV.

  20. Okay, so as I posted back on Dec. 8th, Oprah did NOT encourage Kim to use “the Secret” to heal her breast cancer, and did EXACTLY the opposite in March of ’07. I then asked if she had done an about face since then and that is why everyone is up in arms about her. Then MarkCorrigan posted my answer that there has not been an about face. Did anyone here watch the video of Oprah talking to Kim? Yes, Oprah is into woo, but was direct with Kim about hwo she not not use “The Secret” for her breast cancer alone, and should do the sceincetific medicine first and THEN use postive thinking, etc.

    When I saw this page link on a freind’s facebook status, I said to my girlfriend that Oprah deserves the outrage. I had ASSUMED she had encouraged this woman based on my fellow skeptics’ outrage at Oprah, and I am ashamed I didn’t practive skepticism, and investigate the claim first before saying that. But as a true skeptic, I can admit when I am wrong. As well, it was because I am a ttrue skeptic that I kept looking and clikced on the very site that one poster before me had posted who was also raling against Oprah. Did that poster even look at the embedded video on that site of the very clip that show Oprah saying (parahprasing) “I think it is irresponsible of you to not get the medical treatment” and “When I heard about this woman’s email, I had to get her in here on this show” meaning, so she could show people that the “Secret” does NOT mean to ignore the real sceince, and is more about postive thinking. yes, Oprah allowed the author of the secret to push a bunch of woo, but when I watched that ‘Secret” episode, I could see he was just pushing positive thinking, which indeed is a valid mehtod of improving one’s life when done realistically, but yes he made it seem as though postive things WILL happen just by thinking about them. Nonetheless, for anyone who wants to see what Oprah said, just go to the http://www.cancerangel.com website and look at it. Or, if the site goes down, go directly to the youTube video here: http://tinyurl.com/OprahKim

    Let’s at LEAST give credit to Oprah for saying what she did to Kim and not demonize her lest we look like we are over reacting and absurdly attacking someone because we want to, and not because we took a sober look at what she really said.

  21. I want to add something here about “The Secret”. It’s bullshit, the way it is sold. But it’s not bullshit in the positive thinking ideology. Positive thinking, when done realistically, is absolutely a valid method of living one’s life. The operative descriptor there is ‘realistically’. I have lived my life in such a manner and while it can rarely be proven that holding such a philosophy betters one’s life, I can say I use Occam’s Razor to tentatively conclude it has bettered my life.

    Positive Psychology is a separate field of study of it’s own in the over all field of psychology. The only, and major, issue with that is that there are a plethora of people (including people very close to me who I love) who do not know how to think rationally when it comes to minutia of every nuance of behavior and cause-and-effect.

    This is very difficult to teach, and it is no easier for me to explain it here without filling up volumes of page space to do so. But I will attempt to provide a brief explanation nonetheless.

    Probably the simplest over-arching tenant of thinking positively is simply not being defeatist about anything. As is clearly obvious, one person may employ that philosophy to absurdity, while another may be too restrained in an effort to remain realistic.

    As I would tell my friends and lovers, “Reach for the stars… you likely will never reach them, but where you end up will likely be much higher than if you simply reached for the tree tops”. I always hope this gets the idea across most efficiently. It is not meant to advise someone to literally try to touch a star, although if that is one’s inclination, such as striving to be an astronaut or astrophysicist, the literal meaning of the phase is more appropo. Trying to reach a real life star is highly improbable, but not impossible. Given the right technological advances, one day it could happen. But for the rest of us who are not astrophysicists in training, using the phrase more parabolic is what is advised.

    In other words, if you want that manager position, work like you are going to work your way up to own the company someday. You may never own the company (never reach the stars), but you’ll likely be higher up the chain than if you just tried for the manager position (the tree tops).

    I found that I have lived this philosophy so long, and achieved things I never thought I’d achieve, to the point that when my lover tells me “That’s not possible” “There’s no way that cab be done” in even those most trivial matters where I am trying to solve a simple problem (i.e., me: “Hey, perhaps we can move the Christmas decorations to another part of the living room to make room in that corner”. Lover: “There’s no way, the living room in this condo is already to small”), I find myself having an almost angry internalized emotion (which is another philosophy of mine, be vigilantly cognizant of internal emotions and keep them at the forefront of one’s mind, lest they manifest into displaced emotions toward another person). The angry emotion comes from my disgust at myself if I ever get remotely close to saying “that’s not possible” or “it can’t be done” about ANYthing in my life.

    Sometimes, it isn’t possible. And I’m okay with that. But until I try to over come it with the mind set that I *can* over come it, I can’t stand to just settle without ever attempting to tackle it.

    Currently, I have a wonderful career. Nay, an AWESOME career, to me. I love it, I love going to work, the day always flies by quickly, the job security if very intense, and the pay is awesome. Of course I enjoy my days off and time off, because I love my personal life just as much. But if one must have a job, which most of us do and so do I, I’m so lucky. But…

    I almost did not have this job, and who knows where I’d be now (maybe somewhere just as awesome, but …really? C’mon now. Possible, but unlikely I’d have this much job satisfaction and very important job security) if I had succumbed to my OWN self defeating conditional decision to apply. I didn’t even know I was employing a self defeating thought to make my decision until later, but I was.

    The short version is that I was in the IT field off an on, working low level jobs in computer repair, etc, sometimes driving a panel van in a non-IT job, sold used cars, and other odd jobs with no degree or even any schooling other than a high school education. I made a decision that I would attempt work in corporate America in a position that normally requires a degreed employee, and that was “the star” for which I was reaching. Without going much into detail about how this kind of thinking help me develop a plan I otherwise would never had developed, I pulled it off after about a year. I went from making entry level wages to over entry level wages at AEP working on computers in the office, then, still employing my plan, sky rocketed in income as a contractor for a major telcom company (in 1998, I was making $80,000/year). I then was hired on as a full benefited employee as a Program Manager and then within a few months to a Senior Program Manager, assigned as part of a team to hold the hands of over-$10 million customers who were in jeopardy of firing the company for the myriad of slipped dates, etc. that had built up over time. Basically, I was over-seeing fiber-optic installations for a large telcom company in a plethora of cities though out the US. The job was sweet, and I worked from an office location directing teams of vendors to get POP site installations completed by deadlines, empowered by the company VP to ‘make it happen, however you need to’. I also flew around the country to those various ‘blue chip’ customers (divisions AOL, Microsoft, Lucent, etc) to wine and dine them and assure them everything is fine now because ‘I’ am on the job now. It was indeed sweet, and it was a direct result of my planning to reach for the stars.

    But Y2K hit and while the job was still great, I realized this golden era could not last forever, and I looked around to see older people at the company and did not detect much happiness. I suppose I could have continued to reach for the stars, so to speak, but this is the part where I think one must be realistic. That being said, I am not ruling out that I could still be there at a much higher pay scale and position had I kept employing my philosophy. But I soberly contemplated the realism of this company staying as strong as it had been, and felt it could downsize soon and I may or may not make the cut from our team of 15 Program managers.

    Then I saw a simply little movie, called “Magnolia”. In that movie, one character is a cop. As i watched this very well written movie, I couldn’t help but feel drawn to the cop character. He was a ‘real guy’, personable, had feelings, and was pretty much a decent guy. For whatever reason, I related. I had always fantasized about being a cop when I was a kid, but I followed the winds as a young adult and went wherever life took me, not having much of a plan. And by the time I did have a plan formulating, I hadn’t even considered the police field. Nonetheless, here is the defeatist part.

    After that movie was over, I was really considering applying for my cities police department. I did not want to attempt to hire on to a smaller suburb because I wanted the excitement of the inner city, and didn’t want a boring daily routine. I looked at the State police and then my City police departments websites. When I looked at the State’s web site, I saw the conditions for employment and noticed that as part of the background check, they did a credit check. My heart sank. This was because I knew my credit sucked from a few years before when I was living life with the winds. I had lots of bills that got paid late, very late, and some that never got paid at all. Let’s just say I knew, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that I’d never be hired if they checked my credit.

    So I looked at my city’s web site and looked at the background check requirements and said aloud to my wife that I’d not even try if they mention that they check credit. Well, they didn’t mention it at all. I was excited.

    So, to make a long story short, I went through the 9 month vetting process. 1900 applicants for 75 positions in the academy. Fortunately, the vast majority of that 1900 fall out of the process for no-shows, failing the very east civil service test, or otherwise not continuing the process on their own. So about 6 months into the process, after I had jumped several hurdles, along came the back ground check…and that’s when I found out they indeed do perform a credit check. My heart sank. ‘All this work for nothing’, I thought. And I knew I would never had tried to pull it off had I known they perform a credit check.

    Well, what do you know? The background detective called me in for my background interview, skimmed over my credit report, mentioned one area of issue, then moved on. Wha-wha-what?? Yep, apparently, my credit had improved as well as what was negative on it was not of concern to the investigator.

    I got the job, that was 10 years ago, and I love it. The pay is public record so I don’t mind saying it here, which is $67,000/year. That doesn’t include the $40/hour I get when I work ‘extra duty’ (such as for a bank, grocery store, sitting in a cruiser at a construction site just to keep motorists attentive). The time off is great (I pretty much can have a day off whenever I want, and it’s paid because we earn time off rapidly).

    All this was to show you just TWO examples in my life, one employed ‘reach for the stars’, and the other accidentally employed non-defeatism’. In the second scenario one can see that had I known my city’s police department would have checked my credit, I would never have applied. And guess what happened to my program manager team of 15 a few months after I left to become a police officer. The company downsized and my team went from 15 to 3. I would not have made the cut. And I would not have this awesome job.

    Again, these are only 2 of many incidents in my life where I am next to certain my positive thinking and non-defeatism got me in a really great spot in life. I also have examples in my personal life by the plenty.

    “The Secret” is indeed bullshit for the most part. but when I heard the author in the Oprah show telling people to just IMAGINE driving that new car you want, shifting the gears, hear the motor, etc. I think besides trying to sell a lot of books, he was pushing a valid method of getting what you want in life, but to a less sophisticated crowd. that is the danger of “The Secret”, is that the less sophisticated crowd employs the imagination and visualization for issues that are dangerous to ignore other means of solution. For those imaging driving their new car, the smell of the new seats, hearing the purr of the motor, that’s harmless. What it does for many people, though, is if they are feeling it, getting excited about it, for some it necessarily causes them to make decisions that move them closer to achieving that goal. It’s basically the short-cut to the more sophisticated thinking that most of us have to use to achieve our goals.

    Therefore, if Oprah was helping push “The Secret” for the unsophisticated, I can call it irresponsible because of how it can be employed dangerously, such as in Kim’s case. bu to vilify Oprah when she out-right called Kim ‘irresponsible’ , to her face, for employing it the way she was and making it a POINT to get that on television to show the audience “This is NOT how you use ‘the Secret”, is wrong and way over-reacting. I agree she should could take more responsibility in how she allows certain authors of woo to sell their wares on her show, but she was not as evil as all these anti-Oprah blogs are making her out to be. And as honorable skeptics who pride ourselves on thinking rationally, I’d hope we can all admit this issue was a bit knee-jerk, propagated by no less than ourselves. Let’s show some respect and honor and show how we can admit we are wrong unlike non-skeptic who cling to whatever they have invested behavior and time into claiming is true. Otherwise, we are no different.

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