According to the website for this product, a pen which represents a spine bent by chiropractic subluxations,
“the “Subluxated Pen” is a trusted and proven way to promote your practice. Your personalized information is imprinted on the bent part of the pen. The bend in the pen attracts attention in a unique, fun and powerful way. Using the Bent Pen is the inexpensive and professional method for building your patient community.”
The manufacturers of this promotional product tout the results of a 2008 study performed by ASI (Advertising Specialty Institute) which appear to show that Bent Pens are “the most effective and least expensive form of advertising.” I noticed some shady business when comparing the provided information on the website and the actual report from ASI. Most importantly, the report only mentions writing instruments. It does not specifically look into the effectiveness of Bent Pens themselves. That may not be a distinction that matters, but it could be that people don’t like novelty writing instruments with caps, instead preferring conventional click-top pens. It is unfair to make claims about a specific product based on the data. Despite this fact, the graph used by H.W. Industries on the Bent Pen website, which compares the cost per impression of Bent Pens (using the data based on writing instruments in general) with such advertising entities as magazine ads, prime time television spots and billboards, is made to look as if it came directly from the study. It did not. There is a section which lists the cost per impression of various types of advertising, however. In it, one can easily see that writing instruments, while cheap compared to national magazine ads for example, are no better than caps or bags in this regard.
In addition to the misleading graph, there is a section on the website which is cut and paste verbatim from the ASI study summary of conclusions. Well, almost verbatim. It curiously left out the part which revealed that of all the studied promotional products, wearable bags delivered the most impressions. The same wearable bags which had an equal cost per impression to writing instruments. Writing instruments provided only the fourth highest number of impressions per month. I guess Bent Bags are too difficult for even chiropractic technology to produce though. Of course a better form of advertising might be actually treating a legitimate medical problem.
To be entirely fair, H.W. Industries is not a chiropractic practice building company. They just seem to sell gimmicky crap, and they are apparantly no less concerned about twisting data to improve their profits than chiropractors are. But I probably shouldn’t be making fun of this at all considering I hand out fetus shaped keychain flashlights.
Faster than a speeding case report. More powerful than a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Able to leap peer review in a single bound. Look! Up on the internet! It’s a story. It’s an anecdote. It’s a testimonial!
Every implausible and unproven quack therapy, from acupuncture to quantum healing, comes bearing testimonials of its effectiveness. These stories are typically brief, to the point, extremely powerful and, across the board, absolutely worthless. To anyone with a decent skeptical filter in place, the reliance on testimonials is an obvious sign of a complete lack of credible support for one’s claims. Yet to far too many people there is no introductory phrase more meaningful than “In my experience”. And no amount of published contradictory data or number of explanations from critically minded experts can match the effect from just one of the seemingly neverending supply of these uncontrolled, unblinded, and often tall, tales.
Sadly, even outright harm and suffering, or the complete lack of achieving the claimed benefit, are often unable to shake the faith of one who has stepped over the line that seperates credulity from a more critical approach to one’s health. It is far too easy to rationalize away these failures, placing the blame on themselves or the medical community, when the stranger whose gout was cured by taking goat urine supplements is trusted more than the family doctor. Perhaps the believer doesn’t realize that the near totality of the testimonials seen on television or on the internet are fabricated. Maybe they don’t realize that a significant number of them, as is often the case with fraudulent cancer cures, even when provided by real people are found to be the former words of the now deceased, victims of their disease process, their lack of critical thinking skills, and the bastards profiting off of them. It is more likely, however, that the undue influence of testimonials is hard-wired in the human brain, a remnant of something which at one point bestowed a survival advantage on our primitive ancestors.
There is a reason why quacks rely on testimonials. And that is because they don’t have science in their corner. Sure they will jump on poorly designed studies, usually coming out of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine and published in biased pseudojournals, and tout them as proof of their legitimacy. But they will just as quickly denigrate methodological naturalism and the methods of so-called “western science” when better studies come along revealing their pet delusion to be a charade. The testimonial circumvents this problem, rendering science irrelevant. This is a recipe for disaster, or at the very least a lighter wallet.
Proven treatments don’t need stories. In my line of work I often am faced with parents who refuse recommended practices such as vaccines and the administration of intramuscular vitamin K for newborns. When I am discussing the care of a child with parents, and presenting them with treatment options or evidence-based prophylaxis regimens, I don’t tell them about the time I used a particular treatment and how it cured the patient, or how I had this one kid who suffered a poor outcome because they didn’t get something I recommended. There are too many uncontrolled variables in most clinical situations to trust such anecdotes. I have to rely on good data, which should not consist of anecdotes regardless of how many I might collect over my career. I would be no better than the quacks I often rant about were I to attempt to manipulate parents with emotional testimonials.
14%- “Of course doctors don’t think it works. You can’t expect to understand my healing powers with western science!”
21%- “God organized fossils that way to make it look like evolution is true…..as a test.”
25%- “My psychic abilities are always blocked whenever a skeptic is around.”
13%- “Recent high definition images of the surface of Mars don’t show any evidence of alien civilization because NASA is covering it all up!”
15%- “We haven’t found any physical remains of Bigfoot because it is an elusive creature and it is rare for fossils to form in the first place. So it is unreasonable to ask for that kind of proof that Bigfoot exists.”
12%- “Other researchers may be easily fooled but I have over thirty years experience in investigating ghostly visitations. I can tell the difference between a hoax and the real thing.”
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Oshkosh, NE-According to an exhaustive survey of backyards and rumpus rooms across the country, the number of preschool aged children going into foreclosure on their Little Tikes Playhouses hit a record high this week, and playtime experts are predicting that the crisis will continue throughout the current year.
“All indications are pointing towards a worsening trend as more and more children ages 2 years and up with subprime loans are simply unable to make payments on their Classic Castles, Country Cottages, and Endless Adventures Patio Playhouses,” Timmy Duncan, senior analyst for the Federal National Mortgage Association’s Toddler Division, explained. “Their Piggy Banks are emptying fast and it is no wonder that many are turning to afternoons of crime.”
As growing numbers of these houses are going into foreclosure, suburban police forces are adapting to the resulting increases in toddler crime. Many are installing child car seats within patrol car suspect transport enclosures and Fisher Price Corn Poppers are fast becoming standard-issue equipment. A race to develop profitable non-lethal methods of incapacitation and containment are being developed by both Lego and Play-Doh.
Cambridge, MA-In a suprising move earlier today, administrators of the Facebook social group, “1,000,000 People Who Love Kittens!!!”, officially declared their secession from the Unites States.
The group, started by New Jersey homemaker Jeannie Baker in August of last year, currently consists of Jeannie, Jeannie’s best friend Luanne Watkins, and a man listed only as Steve. Displayed in the group’s photo section are nearly three hundred pictures of Jeannie and Luanne’s cats, Monsieur Muffin and Señor Whiskers respectively, as well as a number of drawings of cats by Steve.
President Obama, upon learning of the secession, reacted by ordering an immediate review of the groups submitted secession paperwork. “I immediately put my best people on this,” Obama explained. “But after a thorough review, it’s all there and the administration’s hands are tied on this.”
Constitutional scholar Mort Fishbein agrees. “This isn’t the first time a small group of organized citizens has left the Union. Of course we all learned a powerful lesson from Reagan’s 1983 thermonuclear strike on the Greater Newark Dungeons & Dragons Club. Diplomacy is really the way to go here.”
When told of the groups secession, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg expressed regret but also understanding. “I can’t say I didn’t see this coming. My girlfriend told me that one day my free-access social networking website was going to end up tearing this nation apart.”