Quickies

Skepchick Quickies, 5.21

Jen

Jen

Jen is a writer and web designer/developer in Columbus, Ohio. She spends too much time on Twitter at @antiheroine.

Previous post

The British Invasion

Next post

ICYMI: May 13-May 19 on the Skepchick Network

19 Comments

  1. May 21, 2012 at 9:57 am —

    I wonder where I can try some of those Hiccupops. Be interesting to see if they really work!

    The article on Canada can very well be applied to the way the US government treats science as well.

    • May 21, 2012 at 10:33 am —

      Some comments on the hiccup-cure-lolipops suggest a spoonful of sugar topped with vinegar as the more readily available, non-patented alternative.
      Does anybody know if there is an actual scientific basis to her claim that it ‘over-stimulates’ some nerves, thus causing the hiccups to stop ? The basis for ‘treatment’ options for non-chronic hiccups listed on wikipedia seem to be only anecdotal (sugar and vinegar included).

  2. May 21, 2012 at 11:45 am —

    Hiccups seem like headaches or nosebleeds or various other short-lived maladies that resolve themselves quickly without intervention, in that they lend themselves to tricking people into thinking that they have cured themselves when really their problem just went away on their own within a few minutes of the administered “cure.”

    • May 21, 2012 at 2:55 pm —

      Headaches? Really? I guess Advil and Tylenol don’t exist. Also, not all headaches are the same; there are quite a few different “types”, including migraines, which often don’t “just go away on their own.”

      Your comments seem as baseless as her claim to a hiccup cure.

      • May 21, 2012 at 3:19 pm —

        Is this a Poe or something? I’m not denying the existence of headache remedies – nor nosebleed or hiccup remedies, for that matter. I’m only observing that there is a strong tendency to attribute the passing of a temporary malady to actions taken even when the problem really just solved itself. Sure, there are a lot of different kinds of headaches, and a lot or different types of nosebleeds, and back pain, and even fevers and illnesses that cause cold-like symptoms. That doesn’t change the fact that people fool themselves into thinking that they have cured themselves when really they’ve just taken their mind off their troubles with a placebo while the disease runs its course.

        As to my claim being “baseless,” it is in fact a well-known mental shortcut called post hoc ergo propter hoc. It’s a common tool of charlatans. Never underestimate the human mind’s ability to fool itself.

        • May 21, 2012 at 4:19 pm —

          Uh, no, I’m not a Poe. Are you sure you’re not?

          And I quote:

          “Hiccups seem like headaches or nosebleeds or various other short-lived maladies that resolve themselves quickly without intervention, ”

          And I responded to that.

          Since you claimed, quite clearly, that headaches are short-lived maladies that resolve themselves quickly without intervention. Which is kind of bullshit since aspirin, for example, is actually shown to help relieve (certain kinds) of headaches and other “maladies” because it is, indeed, a real medicine with real medical properties! Proven by *science*!

          I just found your vague, mostly unscientific, and rather terrible “analogy” amusing, honestly. You’re trying to criticize her (probably very flawed or non-existence) science while using a weird, vague analogy that’s not really based on any kind of real science, either. You came off as weirdly smug.

          And your reply isn’t helping.

          “Sure, there are a lot of different kinds of headaches, and a lot or different types of nosebleeds, and back pain, and even fevers and illnesses that cause cold-like symptoms.”

          And there are lots of different other kinds of maladies and symptoms which may or may not be cured by medical science or which may go away without intervention, but you yourself can’t really determine when that happens, can you? If I have a headache, and take some tylenol, and it gets noticeably better (even if it doesn’t go fully away), can you prove to me that it was just “time” and that it just “went away on its own” or that hey, maybe the medicine proven to help with headaches actually maybe possibly helped a bit? If you’re SO POSITVE that it wasn’t the tylenol, can you explain to me how you came up with that conclusion?

          “That doesn’t change the fact that people fool themselves into thinking they have cured themselves…”

          Cured themselves of, what, exactly? And how often does this happen? Are you basing this on anything substantial, or just your personal feelings on how people handle their headaches and nose-bleeds and other “maladies”?

          And then you pull out a logical fallacy like it proves your awkward, vague, smug analogy? Really?

          Logical fallacies aren’t … facts. You know that, right?

          TL;DR You’re weird, vague analogy just didn’t sit well with me, and neither does your reply, but hey, it’s true, her science is probably flawed. I still don’t know what the fuck headaches have to do with it, though.

          • May 21, 2012 at 7:59 pm

            Since you claimed, quite clearly, that headaches are short-lived maladies that resolve themselves quickly without intervention.

            The vast majority of headaches are short lived maladies that resolve themselves without intervention.

            Which is kind of bullshit since aspirin, for example, is actually shown to help relieve (certain kinds) of headaches and other “maladies” because it is, indeed, a real medicine with real medical properties!

            That doesn’t make the above claim bullshit, in the same way that actual medicine can help to cure diseases doesn’t mean that people who think that Airborn reduces the duration of their cold aren’t wrong. These two facts:

            1. The vast majority of headaches are minor maladies that resolve themselves without intervention.

            2. Aspirin helps relieve the pain of headaches.

            Can and do exist simultaneously without any interference from each other. Both are true. Neither requires the other to be false in order to be true.

            I just found your vague, mostly unscientific, and rather terrible “analogy” amusing, honestly.

            It’s terribly scientific. Terribly scientific in that bullshit “headache remedies” are as old as headaches, and the reason they are perpetuated is because of the following simple steps:

            1. Person has headache.
            2. Person takes “medicine.”
            3. Person feels better eventually.
            4. Person assumes that 2 has something to do with 3.

            If you’re SO POSITVE that it wasn’t the tylenol, can you explain to me how you came up with that conclusion?

            What the fuck?

            Here is the extent of my claim:

            1. Hiccups are typically short-lived minor maladies that usually resolve themselves in a relatively small window of time.

            2. This is similar to headaches, which are also typically short-lived, minor maladies that usually resolve themselves in a relatively small window of time.

            3. Therefore, much like headaches, sufferers would be prone to attribute their cure to any action taken, even if their recovery was merely a matter of time.

            That’s all. Honestly, I thought this was so obvious that I hesitated to comment.

            And how often does this happen? Are you basing this on anything substantial, or just your personal feelings on how people handle their headaches and nose-bleeds and other “maladies”?

            Exceedingly often. This behavior has been exhibited by animals with as simple and limited learning capabilities as pigeons, for god’s sake. It’s one of the primary mental shortcuts that makes science-based medicine so necessary! How can you advocate for the scientific method and yet be so completely and utterly ignorant of exactly the the failings of our brain that make it so effective?

            Our brains are hard-wired to seek patterns, to the point that we infer them even when they do not exist. If you are not aware of this then you are not aware of certain critical concepts in skepticism.

            I am basing this on the vast, vast, VAST plethora of completely bullshit headache and hiccup and nosebleed remedies that are still parroted by people as if they are effective! You are aware that you are on a skeptical site, right? And that part of the reason people feel motivated to label themselves skeptics and apply logic and science to real life is precisely because so many people do not do so?
            Logical fallacies aren’t … facts. You know that, right?

            I don’t even know what this means. It is a fact that post hoc ergo propter hoc is a fallacy that exists. It is a fact that this mental shortcut leads to sufferers mistakenly attributing their cures to ineffective treatments.

            I still don’t know what the fuck headaches have to do with it, though.

            Much like hiccups, the nature of headaches as short-lived maladies that resolve themselves leads their cures to be frequently attested to bullshit, ineffective home remedies and patent medicines thanks to the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy.

    • May 22, 2012 at 10:43 am —

      I’ve had hiccups that lasted for a little more than 7 hours. it was inconvenient, at best.

  3. May 21, 2012 at 4:19 pm —

    You’re/your, that edit button that was around for like 2 days needs to come back!

    • May 21, 2012 at 4:34 pm —

      also, the subscribe button too! I miss having the comments show up in my email.

      • May 21, 2012 at 5:39 pm —

        Could we have our buttons back, please? We miss them ever so much. :D

  4. May 21, 2012 at 6:02 pm —

    @Jen

    Glad you gals liked the story I told you about.

  5. May 21, 2012 at 6:22 pm —

    Two words, people. Peanut butter. I get the kind of hiccups that don’t go away and pb is the only thing that works. Another fun trick, say “Farmer” and watch the hiccups temporarily go away.

    Also, I thought hiccups were a result of diaphragm spasms, not the throat. Doesn’t that make her cure sort of nonsensical? (Not that I wish her to fail, mind you).

  6. May 22, 2012 at 11:48 am —

    The taco article is interesting, although it’s a bit unclear. Tortillas have been made with metates since pre-hispanic times (The first tortillas date back to 10,000 BC) and people have been filling them stuff long before the arrival of Europeans. The name “taco” itself is relatively new, but the food item itself is not, and I don’t think he made the distinction clear enough. I see there are some folks in the comments of that article who thought so too.

    • May 22, 2012 at 4:21 pm —

      Tortillas dating back to 10,000BCE? Other sources have New World agriculture beginning 10,000 years before present (i.e., 8000BCE) with potatoes, squash and the like–grains would have come later.

  7. May 22, 2012 at 11:58 am —

    Also, some one in the comments linked this, and I thought it was a much better article on Tacos. Sorry if you don’t speak spanish.
    http://de10.com.mx/11964.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

    “… los españoles no podían pronunciar quauhtaqualli, palabra con la los indígenas llamaban a este platillo, sólo decían taqualli y con el tiempo adopto el nombre de taco. ”

    The article takes it’s information from Martha Chapa’s Book, “Los tacos de México.” She has a alternate explanation for the origin of the word taco. Taco, she argues, comes from the native word “quauhtaqualli,” but the Spanish could not pronounce it and called it taco.

  8. May 22, 2012 at 12:04 pm —

    P.S. los tacos de Jalisco son los mejores. ;)

  9. May 23, 2012 at 10:14 am —

    I hear that double-blinded clinical trials do a great job on hiccups. Has anyone tried that?

Leave a reply