Robin Hanson is Incurable
By Arnold Kling
From the Boston Globe.
the simplest and least ethically hazardous way to capitalize on the placebo effect is to acknowledge that medicine isn’t just a set of approved treatments–it’s also a ritual, with symbolism and meaning that are key to its efficacy. At its best, that ritual spurs positive expectations, sparks associations with past healing experiences, and eases distress in ways that can alleviate suffering. These meanings, researchers say, are what the placebo effect is really about.
I take this story (read the whole thing) as implying that people who believe they are being cured are easier to cure. Isn’t this bad news for medical skeptics like Robin Hanson? They may be cognitively correct, but they are likely to suffer for it.