I was listening to the new Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe podcast last Saturday and near the end of the episode, host Steven Novella dropped a bombshell of a Christmas present. Steve informed us he had been working with The Teaching Company to make a lecture series on Medical Myths. I’m a big fan of The Teaching Company and the fine educational products they produce. Coupling that with my favorite skeptic on the planet AND producing a series with him on “the growing body of misinformation” that proliferates among the public discourse.
“You can’t assume that what you’ve always heard must be true simply because many other people believe it and spread it around,” notes Dr. Steven Novella of the Yale School of Medicine, a medical doctor who has built his career educating patients, the public, students, and professionals about the highest standards in medical science and practice. “You should challenge all of your beliefs and, wherever possible, try to rely upon a consensus of authority or primary sources in order to check out everything that you think you know to be true.”
Popular and easily accessible sources such as websites, blogs, advocacy groups, marketing materials, and celebrity endorsements are where we often get quick medical information. But they’re also the most unreliable sources.
Dr. Novella also opens your eyes to myths about pregnancy, loss of consciousness, detoxification, and the placebo effect. In one lecture toward the end of the course, he even takes you on a brief tour of common medical myths from around the world to demonstrate that medical myths vary, but misinformation is universal.
Every week Dr. Novella and his crew of ‘Rogues’ tackle the serious and the hilarious with wit and steadfast sincerity and a passion for a skeptical and critical approach to understanding the universe. They truly are a weekly escape to reality.
The Teaching Company provides very high quality, college level lecture courses on a variety of disciplines and specialized areas of education.
Combining these two elements into a single lecture series is a wonderful Christmas present for me and anyone else who happens to pick this up. Maybe there’s a God after all… or a great company recognized a great educator, got together and did what they do best. Which one do you think is more probable?