Sunday, October 16, 2011

Steve Jobs and a Lesson for Erstwhile Rationalists

Steve Jobs initially sought an alternative treatment for pancreatic cancer, as reported at Skeptoid. David Gorski at Science-Based Medicine posted a clarification that, given the specific diagnosis for Jobs and the profound treatment response, this was not as crazy as alternative medicine often is. [Added later: Harvard Med School's Ramzi Amri comes down more on Skeptoid's side. I hope this discussion will give enough alternative medicine enthusiasts pause, because it can have consequences.]

The take-home for the rest of us: to put it mildly, Steve Jobs was not a stupid guy, yet he initially avoided the most evidence-based treatment. What's more, someone with his wealth and personality was surely not coerced into such decision. The lesson is that if Steve Jobs is prone to this, then so am I, and you, and all of us - based on bad beliefs and habits of thought - bad beliefs that we all surely harbor, right now as I'm writing and you're reading.

Which is to say that none of us will ever be 100% sane, but we can and should constantly improve ourselves toward this goal.

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