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Tying Up Skepticism with a Pretty Ribbon

by Brian Dunning, Oct 24 2008

I would like to have a drink with the master purveyor of harmful pseudoscience, author and direct marketer Kevin Trudeau.

It’s all well and good for us to sit back and snicker at Kevin Trudeau for being a scumbag and selling snake oil, but it’s also true that he’s kicking our ass. Absolutely kicking our ass. He makes millions of dollars selling useless products, and the skeptical community makes virtually nothing offering only scientific fact. As a consequence, Kevin Trudeau has more marketing dollars and spreads his message much wider than we could ever hope to.

Please don’t misinterpret this as a defense of Kevin Trudeau or his ilk. As harmful as his products and his messages are, it’s useful to also understand how and why he is able to get such traction with them. Whatever else he might be, he is a brilliant marketer.

I look around The Amazing Meeting and I see a lot of ingenious scientists and critical thinkers, but I also think how valuable it would be to have a few people with Kevin Trudeau’s marketing savvy. Skepticism is certainly not about making money, it’s about helping people. But, like a hospital or a magazine, it has to make money to survive. You can’t spread your message if you have no budget with which to do it.

On the one hand, the message that critical thinking offers is the one “product” that’s actually truly valuable. Our message protects people from fraud. It encourages them toward evidence based medicine. It protects them from a host of irrational paranoias and xenophobias. We help people to make good life decisions based on reality.

But on the other hand, our message is also the opposite of what’s easy to sell. We don’t promise fast, easy answers. We don’t promise that you are in total control of what happens inside your body. We don’t promise overnight wealth. We don’t promise to double your mileage. Instead, we promise only that those goals are difficult to achieve and require hard work.

Does this conundrum doom the critical thinking community to obscurity and irrelevance? Or, can the core message of skepticism be wrapped in a package that our target audience, the general public, will want?

I believe that it can. Becoming a skeptic is not rocket science; people can be taught how to do it. They can reap real rewards by doing so, unlike Kevin Trudeau’s customers. Do we have a message that Oprah would want to promote? We might, if we can package it right. As skeptics, we often like to pat ourselves on the back for being the enlightened few in a world of darkness. That’s fine, but it’s not as helpful as shining that light outward. We just need more megawatts, and I believe the power is available. Let’s turn more of our attention toward generating that power, and finding a way to make skepticism commercially viable.

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42 Responses to “Tying Up Skepticism with a Pretty Ribbon”

  1. Walter Brameld IV says:

    You could start by selling ad space on this and other skeptical blogs.

  2. David Roberts AKA Buffalodavid says:

    If you tell most people in America that you are a skeptic, they hear cynic. This is akin to thinking of Democrats as Socialist, and Libertarians as Anarchist. Is the answer a name change. Gee, I hope not. Education is one answer, and quite possibly the second and third also. We, and I mean myself as well, have to start biting our tongues and stop our rants when we meet a true believer. Look for that common ground.

    And lets not overlook the consumerism idea. Frame our arguments (and only call them that amongst ourselves) as a way to save YOU money. Let me help you become a savvy consumer of medicine, lifestyles and even ideas.

    And somewhere out there are LOTS of people who could charm Oprah with good common thinking.

  3. I’m not sure I could sit at a table with Kevin Trudeau, but I otherwise second this — strongly.

    I’ve expressed a similar sentiment myself (“alternative medicine…out-marketed its critics. … An organized paranormal lobby, a magical marketing machine, utterly kicked our collective asses”) in an essay last year (http://www.skeptic.com/downloads/WhereDoWeGoFromHere.pdf).

    Brian has it just right: we skeptics need to become much, much better at communicating our message (especially visually) if we really wish to compete in the marketplace of ideas. Our production values have now moved beyond the level of zines and church newsletters, but we trail light years behind Hollywood and Madison Avenue.

    More to the point, our look, feel, and articulation lag many miles behind the sophistication of creationist organizations, alternative medicine purveyors — even paranormal magazines.

    So, lots of work ahead. But I do wish to underline Brian’s note of caution here: ” Skepticism is certainly not about making money, it’s about helping people.”

    Amen. As we move forward, let’s keep in mind the distinction between these two senses of the word “sell.” We may have to sell stuff in order to support our efforts to *communicate for the public good*, but the means is not the mission.

  4. Peter Morris says:

    Kevin Trudeau might be a better salesperson, but then he has a much more salable product. Who wants science and commonsense? Not many it would seem. What people really want is an unlimited supply of ‘Get Out Of Jail Free’ cards, and they will pay almost anything to get them. It a bit of a pity these cards don’t actually work in the real world… ;-)

    Oh, and three cheers for your new blog – here’s hoping it and especially ‘The Skeptologists’ really take off!

  5. [...] And from that site comes this great entry from Brian Dunning of the Skeptoid podcast addressing the problem of marketing skepticism. [...]

  6. Steven Meyer says:

    I think what skeptics have to offer that the general public absolutely loves is a FIGHT! Skeptics have chips on their shoulders and are ready to verbally demolish the likes of Sylvia Browne and Kevin Trudeau with bright and shining reason. That’s one of the most attractive things about skepticism to me is seeing quackery exposed. I can picture magazines with uncomfortably zoomed in photos of quacks faces on the covers, with big block letters of, “LIAR!” plastered accross them. I don’t know why everyone doesn’t do it already to these quacks. It figure it would sell big.

  7. AndyD says:

    The trick, perhaps, is to “hide” the absolute reality of what you’re trying to sell behind the same sort of vague double speak as the frauds use. For example, critical thinking is an ability of which almost all of are capable so don’t sell critical thinking, sell the fact that “the solution” is “within each and every one of us”.

    The solution to what though? Maybe “we” are able to sell a solution to ALL those other problems, from weight loss to getting rich (quick). Of course “our” solution won’t actually make them rich or help them lose weight, just as none of those other offers will, but “we” won’t promise that.

    Something along the lines of “Tired of diets that don’t work? Frustrated with money-making schemes that only seem to cost you? Got a wardrobe full of fitness equipment that doesn’t get used? We have all the answers in one easy-to-read book. AND, if reading isn’t your thing, then order now and get all the information on this three-disc DVD edition. (cut to testimonials from happy buyers extolling the virtues of never wasting money on those things again). Order with a credit card to receive the bonus set of steak knives absolutely free”.

    The actual product will we an education in critical thinking explaining why all those other things never work out as expected and explaining why people need to be naturally cautious of such offers.

    On the face of it, it may seem like a one-off opportunity but when you consider how many variations of fitness equipment are sold (always better than the rest), I think the possibilities for repackaging the same idea over and over are endless.

  8. QuickFics says:

    Trudeau’s success is a fine example of how otherwise rational people can believe in irrational things. The booming business of homeopathy, naturopathic -ahem- medicine, and other alternative -erm- cures appeal to the ingrained fear we have of illness and doctors.

    My mother, a new-found agnostic (hey, it’s progress), believes strongly in these quack potions. She recently felt something coming on–“I think it’s a cold”–so she took an herbal remedy. She accidentally inhaled a minute quantity and proceeded to have a two-day coughing jag that nearly sent her to the hospital.

    Of course, being the dutiful son I am, I pointed out that it is called “alternative medicine”, not because it is medicine, but because it is an alternative TO medicine. She “Bah!”ed me. Really, an honest to goodness “Bah!” I then mentioned that if her potion actually did any good, then why hasn’t Big Pharma jumped all over it? She then promptly sent me to the natural foods store to buy more, because she spilled her bottle when she started coughing up a lung.

    Yes, I went. Maybe I’m an enabler, but I *did* get her the capsule version, so I consider our disagreement a tie.

    We have to ask ourselves, how many people have actually died because they have forgone actual medical treatment in favor of some miracle cure touted by greasy snake oil TV pitchmen, or shaman-like bearded quacktards in books? Speaking of which: Never trust the contents of any book that features the author on the FRONT cover, unless it is a biography. And even then, treat it with a healthy dose of skepticism.

  9. ImmortalityLTD says:

    “We have to ask ourselves, how many people have actually died because they have forgone actual medical treatment in favor of some miracle cure touted by greasy snake oil TV pitchmen, or shaman-like bearded quacktards in books?”

    This question (and more) is being answered by What’s the Harm?. The answer is, as of my writing, “3,254 people killed, 235,558 injured and over $455,070,000 in economic damages”. What’s the Harm is to quackery and shysters as Snopes is to urban legends and email disinformation.

    I found this site when its creator, Tim Farley, was interviewed on the Skepticality podcast.

  10. “Becoming a skeptic is not rocket science,” [snip]

    Why is rocket science always considered such a hard subject?
    I mean, it’s not quantum mechanics.

  11. Greg Dardas says:

    This is a great site, with a terrific panel of contributors!

    I have been preaching the gospel of Skepticism for a while now, and in my independent “marketing research”, people in my area seem more receptive to the phrase “critical thinking”, than to “skepticism”. Unfortunately, the term “critical” still has a negative ring to it, but it appears to be more palatable than the ugly sounding “skepticism”.

    We have a long and uphill fight when it comes to selling our way of thinking to the masses. In a country where ads for nonsensical products such as “Head On” can sell well, without even saying in the add what it is for, we are truly swimming upstream!

    Keep up the good work Skeptics!

  12. shahar lubin says:

    In the continuing struggle between quackery and reason, nonsense always have the upper hand. While science based thinking is bound by facts and evidence, religeon and quacks have the full unlimited resources of human imagination.

    In relation to What’s The Harm, as a skeptic I have to point out that it’s a collection of anecdotes. Often we in the skeptic world make a point of explaining to the population how single events don’t prove a pattern by themselves. While trying to marekt critical thinking and rewrap it in as entertaining, we should be careful of giving up on the critical method in the proccess.

  13. Nandes says:

    Unfortunately, Kevin is marketing cheeseburgers to fat people and the skeptics are trying to sell them broccoli.

  14. joy martin says:

    Kevin has done a good job…he’s gotten info on real healing out to folks who are dealing with all the horrible side effects of big pharma drugs. I have his books, but so much in this books, I already knew. He drew from “alternative healers” and complied it into this books and got it out to mega population.

    I use 98% alternative healing protocols at my late age and am a pretty healthy person overall. Deal with arthritis, but that one does NOT leave us once it’s in our bodies…we learn to manage it.

    Did the big pharma world prior to my early 50’s and dealt with nasty side effects and NO HEALING.

    Kevin is certainly not perfect but I believe he’s on some good tracks.

  15. Alan Levin says:

    This is a subject on which I think it would be possible to write a graduate dissertation (or two or three). Really, Trudeau is doing little more than generations of snake-oil salesmen before him; he’s just exploiting the availability of the mass media to spread his message, rather than roaming the countryside in a wagon (and running the risk of being tarred and feathered, or run out of town on a rail). He preys on people’s suspicions about “big business” (conventional medicine and the big pharmaceutical companies)–aided by negative stories about some of their shortcomings. He also sells easy answers to complex questions. Who wouldn’t rather be able to cure diabetes (or cancer, or Alzheimer’s) just by eating a special combination of fruits, vegetables, and herbs–as opposed to daily shots of insulin, or disfiguring surgery, or drugs and radiation that make one sick, or (in the case of Alzheimer’s) being told there’s essentially nothing (except death) that will stop the eventual, complete deterioration of mental faculties? And Trudeau is also able to take advantage of the large and diverse population of the U.S. After all, if he’s able to sucker just one percent of the adult population, that’s still a couple million customers–enough to make him rich.

    And–obviously–Trudeau may be the dean of his disreputable community, but he is not alone. Consider Hugh Downs, once a well-respected television personality, now hawking “Bottom Line” publications that are just as absurd and fraudulent in their claims of miracle cures as Trudeau.

    Maybe it’s time to fight fire with fire. It would be nice to see the “skeptic” community put together the sorts of “infomercials” that Trudeau and his ilk use to market their wares–get a captive commentator to ask all the right leading questions and provide sound, rational answers. Or see if public TV will air a program debunking snake oil salesmen as readily as they accept the programs from people like Andrew Weil and Brenda Watson.

    Still, in the end, it’s a matter of psychology, isn’t it? And we humans seem to be more prepared to accept the easy lie than the hard truth. In my own profession (I’m an engineer), people are STILL trying to invent (and patent, and persuade others to invest in) perpetual motion machines, “free energy” schemes, and other scams. Maybe instead of “E Pluribus Unum,” the U.S. motto should be changed to “There’s a sucker born every minute……”

  16. joym says:

    One can find tons of info on how many deaths are caused yearly by drug-overdose and drug-interactions…

    BUT, find info on magnesium, calcium, grapeseed extract, olive leaf extract, Vit D, etc etc etc. overdoses….I’d like to see them. Don’t think you’ll find them.

  17. Julie Ann says:

    My brother is a devoted Trudeau-ite. He pays for the monthly newsletter and last Christmas he gave everyone in my family a copy of the first book. I already had my opinion of Trudeau based on snippets of his infomercials, but suddenly I had an opportunity to read more. He has absolutely perfected the formula for feeding people bull—t. He takes certain things that are generally accepted to be true (the value of good nutrition and vitamins & minerals, the side-effects of meds), congratulates his readers for being of the few savvy “in the know” folks, and then explodes off the page with a conspiracy theory that is inherently unprovable because of the godlike “Them.” It’s the “prove there ISN’T a god” conundrum.

    And can you believe the chapter entitled “It’s All About the Money” starts with the supposed quote, “‘Profit is not a four-letter word, but rape is against the law.’ – Author unknown?!!?”

    Sorry, had to vent. Anyway – as much as I would love to believe that skepticism and critical thinking could become mainstream, I don’t see a lot of promising evidence. My roommate is a huge John Edwards fan. She even went to a show taping once and is convinced he told her sister things he “couldn’t have known.” Then she went to a $300/hour psychic and related the experience in a way that made me – for just a moment – wonder if it could be real. But when I listened to the tape of the session it was clear that the woman was wrong at least as much as she was right and that my roommate fed her most of the main facts while the rest were merely statistic probabilities. She’s listened to that tape many times over and is just as convinced of the psychic’s “gifts” as the day she stepped out of her office (or parlor, or wherever.)

    Oh and – no kidding – Trudeau’s “Debt Cures” came in the mail a few weeks ago…

    My point is that, in my experience, so many people believe in this stuff because they WANT to believe. The diet pill, the get rich quick, the psychic that keeps you in touch with a dead loved one: the payoff – assumed to be real – is too big for reason to intervene.

    Maybe my personal sphere is filled with personality types that make me doubtful. Most of my family and many of my friends know my general belief system and most of them consider me either cynical, naive, or pitiable because of it. I can’t imagine them embracing a new way of thinking because it’s presented to them in a culturally attractive package. Then I again, I’d love to be proved wrong! And I’d love to see some sane infomercials peppering the late night airwaves!

  18. Shahar lubin says:

    joym, you won’t find information about overdosing on grapeseed oil and such because they’re not active. Medicines can cause damage becuase they actually have an effect on the body. That effect can good or bad. Matters on amount and other such concerns. When something has no effect than you get no bad ones. In reality almost too much of anything can be dangerous, including water.

  19. George Parry says:

    It’s a shame that someone as supposedly reputable character as Hugh Downs supports Kevin Trudeau. I wonder what he got paid for that.

  20. Frank Araujo says:

    When I review the career of a successful con man like Kevin Trudeau, I’m reminded of the other purveyors of male bovine fecal material such as Kent Hovind, who have this marvelous ability to stand there while looking you in the eye and double-talking their way out of anything. While Trudeau has been slapped on the wrist a number of times, he seems to find the soft spots in the system to ply his trade of exploiting fear and ignorance. Alas, his religious counterpart Dr. Dino didn’t pay his taxes and got sent to the slammer. But what I find interesting is marvelous ability of these two guys to talk so sincerely and say nothing. And, gosh. Isn’t it also amazing that Tina Fey needs no script but merely quotes the words of another con person selling another different snake oil in a different arena?

  21. Kyran Graham says:

    “One can find tons of info on how many deaths are caused yearly by drug-overdose and drug-interactions…

    BUT, find info on magnesium, calcium, grapeseed extract, olive leaf extract, Vit D, etc etc etc. overdoses….I’d like to see them. Don’t think you’ll find them.”

    Actually there is a growing field of evidence in the literature about potential drug-drug interactions caused by alternative medicine. For example, St John’s Wort (used in alternative medicine to treat depression) contains a potent CYP3A4 inhibitor, which can result in the ineffectiveness of a number of other drugs used for a variety of reasons (immunosuppressives, antihypertensives just for example).

    There wasn’t much information on these sort of interactions until the last 10-15 years as it just wasn’t known before then.

    On topic, I don’t think fighting fire with fire will ever work. Skepticism will never have the resources nor the exposure that pseudoscience has. I also believe that selling skepticism like that debases what it is there for to begin with. The best approach, that maintains integrity of skeptiscism, is to push for the introduction of specific critical thinking/skepticism education into the science syllabus of students. By teaching our children what skepticism is and how it works and by spreading the message through science insitutions and talks is how a large audience can be reached.

  22. UK, “Unhappy with Kevin,” might be an answer. It would be testimonials from dissatisfied victims. Then when people Google up his name, an “alternative Kevin Trudeau” site would pop up.

  23. Start UK, “Unhappy with Kevin,” an alternative site with Kevin Trudeau’s name consisting of anti-testimonies.

  24. Mark McMillen says:

    Brian, the core problem here is that Trudeau basically sells fantasy as reality. And people, particularly Americans, just love the promises of fantasy. Our history and heritage is full of it. I would argue that Americans love fantasy even more than we love our freedom. Give Americans a dose of reality and we cringe. Show us fantasy and we light up like a Christmas tree, wallets open. I suppose you could get poetic about it and say that our eternal hope for the future is the source of this love of fantasy. Nonetheless, Trudeau and other charlatans know that we can’t handle the truth, so they sell the one thing we can handle in abundance, fantasy.

  25. Alan Monseue says:

    Aren’t there any super-rich skeptics about, like Gates or Buffet, who are willing to throw lots of money behind a good cause? For in the end, if you really want to get your message across, it all comes down to dollar power.

  26. mattdick says:

    Part of the problem here is that Trudeau is starting with a baseline of a lot of money. He could do that because it’s easy to make money selling snake oil. Now that he’s got a leg up, he can pay for slick advertising and a host of professionals at good salaries.

    I want to change my career to full-time skepticism. I am a highly qualified and successful engineer and project manager. I would love to work on projects devoted to skepticism and science outreach. Who can replace my salary so I can make this my career? Well Trudeau can, and most skeptic organizations can’t.

    We’re hobbyists fighting professionals. We need seed capital to start making products and services. We should convene a board of directors of a new non-profit. We can go through normal non-profit fund-raising and see what we can come up with. Let me know if this is the kind of thing you’d be interested in exploring: msdick (at) gmail (dot) com

  27. brad.tittle says:

    The problem I have with skepticism is that it directs me away from most products. You start evaluating the need for most products and you realize how unnecessary most are. Not all products mind you, but it’s not just the homeopathic remedies, dowsing rods, and colon cleanser’s that have questionable value. They are some of the most egregious, but so many others are also borderline. Looking skeptically at any product and you run the risk of seeing it as lacking necessity. People who make lots of money don’t worry about clients needing something, the worry about how to make the client need it.

    Anyone see the disconnect.

  28. The Blind Watchmaker says:

    Skepticism requires reasoning and thought. Quackery only requires blind faith. Blind faith is easier than thinking. It is the path of least resistance. Unfortunately, there is enough confirmation bias to keep quackery going. But confirmation bias can only carry you so far if you have real medical problems like diabetes or heart disease. Just ask Peter Sellers or Jim Henson. …Oh, that’s right, you can’t.

  29. joym says:

    Well, folks, I’m a great testimonial on the merits of Grapeseed Extract, powerful antioxidant, and take it daily for now 13 yrs.

    Not talking about Grapeseed Oil, but I do use it in cooking with my other oils.

    Prior, I was the Sinus/Allergy/Headache queen and was a slave to all the otc and script anti-histimine drugs. Absolutely, no more. GE has been a Miracle supplement in my life, now at 70!

    I NOW resist big pharma drugs and all the side effects that go with them. Only thing I take is Armour Thyroid…everything else in my health arsenal is “alternative”.

    I happen to live in a “alternative” oriented state, and my circle of friends all think the same way. NO DRUGS….if possible.

    St. Johns Wort did elevate my BP…so I’ve thrown that one out. Glucosomine also can elevate BP as it increases level of cholesterol. Took it in the beginning of it’s entrance here, but no more.

    Vit D is a major deficiency in the Northern Hemisphere and I don’t know if Kevin T. addressed that one, but this is major. Get your D levels checked or just start on a larger dose of Vit D3…Check the Vitamin D Council for some very good research info from an impressive panel of MD’s.

    I skimmed thru his books since I knew so much about “alternative” healing to begin with.

    BTW: I’m pretty heavy into muscle testing and pendulum dowsing and find the power of the energetic body and mind to be so helpful in my healing.

    And yes, if necessary, I’d take a Big Pharma drug. But from my overall general health, not me.

    I embrace the research of the Weston A Price Foundation as well.

    To Good Health….

  30. The Blind Watchmaker says:

    @ joym,

    Please provide the randomized, double blinded studies that back up your claim.

    Vitamin D deficiency is a big problem, I’ll give you that. Vitamin D supplimentation if deficient is not alternative medicine. It is real medicine.

    As for the others, just because you do certain things and feel well is not necessarily cause and effect. Correlation is not causation. This is the type of confirmation bias that I was talking about above.

    I am glad that you feel well and are open to treatments that have been tested if the need arrives.

  31. Chris says:

    Hey great to see all the Skeptologists in one easy Feed!

    The main issue is marketing. Everything can be sold so long as you can find that appeal that will touch that emotional core of the consumer. The “skeptical community” needs to market their “product” with the same attitude. For instance, you can appeal to people’s desire to be smarter, more sophisticated, wiser, having “one up” on your neighbors and friends, not being fooled, etc.

    If you appeal to teens, it could be to appeal to their desire to be independent from their parents, to buck the system, etc…

    The problem is that skeptics, being rather even minded, tend to steer away from the quick pitches and slick marketing that lures those suck– er, I mean viewers in…..

  32. [...] Tying Up Skepticism with a Pretty Ribbon [...]

  33. MarkA says:

    I think that one of the under-appreciated appeals of “alternative medicine” is that it tells people they are *smarter* than the doctors and scientists who disparage the treatment being offered. Some people harbor a subconscious resentment toward doctors, and the opportunity to “outsmart” them by using an alternative treatment has a lot of appeal. The same would apply toward alternative energy scams, as well. This is similar to what Chris is saying in comment #31.

    As mainstream medicine is the “establishment”, and the Trudeaus of the world are the “outlaws” (it will be a long time before I’ll be able to use the word “maverick” again), it would be hard for the skeptical community to use this effect to our advantage. We would have to be able to portray Trudeau as a bad guy, which would be near impossible. Marketing selection has already proved that Trudeau is successful at promoting himself as a good guy, otherwise he wouldn’t be as famous as he is.

  34. The Blind Watchmaker says:

    Hopefully, we can get some prime time representation with “The Skeptologist”.

  35. Roy Edmunds says:

    The answer is YES WE CAN. Haven’t been listening to Obamas’ speeches.They are full of what Americans really love, and that is hope. Hope, inspired hope. You sell the sizzle and then tell people how to apply the techniques to achieve their goals. You see, first comes hope, then comes a goal, then a plan to achieve the goal, and then the inspiration to work and keep working toward the achievement of that goal or surprisingly, finding something else that offers itself along the way. Its what happens along the way that is the juice. The process of working toward a goal you want to achieve is the reward. The achievement is almost an anticlimax compared to the journey. The 10,000 hour ‘rule’ of practice is the catch. You need mentors, role models, people who inspire with the TRUTH. Take it to the people, like Julius Sumner Miller did.

  36. Brandon Putz says:

    Skepticism offers a practical message that everyone can use – knowledge and critical thinking can prevent you from wasting money and being ripped off. Thrifty people everywhere – skepticism offers you the tools to distinguish (albeit, not with 100% accuracy) the good from the bad, the useful from the useless.

  37. MarjorieS says:

    A good place to go to evaluate all these nonsensical claims for so-called alternative medicine is QuackWatch.com, although it has been poorly maintained. There is a federal office dedicated to scientific evaluation of so-called complementary and alternative medicine and virtually no well-designed study has shown any effect of any of this nonsense. I love talking to people who say they take their personal favorite eye of newt because it ‘boosts the immune system’. When you drill any deeper, they don’t even know what the immune system is.

    Read Nortin Hadler’s “The Last Well Person” – it can help you develop a skeptically-inspired framework for analyzing medical and health claims of all sorts and thus avoid medicalization of everyday life.

  38. Rcreative1 says:

    Skepticism is popular and sellable when it takes the form of consumer protection. Consumer Reports magazine is just one example. We need a Reliable Products Shopping Channel with energetic, witty hosts, along the lines of Savage and Teller. The money will come either from direct sales of reliable products or from advertising fees paid by the manufacturer. The hosts could attempt to reproduce scientifically the results that sham products claim to produce, and then slap them with a “FAKE!” label ala the Mythbusters’ “BUSTED” label.

  39. some guy says:

    lets put some tits on this thing, we wont be able to keep critical thought in stock. i know it sounds like a joke but im half serious. what about a game show- who can spot the logical fallacy, million dollar jack pot and all that

  40. Ben says:

    @some guy

    A game show involving spotting logical fallacies would be pretty cool!

  41. Zakumi says:

    Alas, Trudeau is wrong about many things… however, it only takes a few web searches on scientific research sites (like scirus) to find that he isn’t simply making most of it up. There are plenty of documented experiments that have shown of the more dangerous chemicals such as MSG, aspertame, etc., to be harmful to health. I’ve personally read both of his books, and although I don’t believe everthing, I certainly learned much about health that I was previously unaware of. Is he only out for the riches, or is he sincerely focused on helping people? Not sure… but it doesn’t necessarily change the veracity of his statements.

  42. I agree with the author’s fine article here. Unfortuntately, one of your other responders is also correct. Kevin Trudeau’s books are laced with about 40%-60% hard facts and proven methodologies that he takes from other sources (just altered enough to not even have to pay royalties on his information). When you can base massive marketing on a lot of truths that can fill infomercial time, and cover-up the other 50-60% of your books that are just a snake-oil sham, you can sell anything pretty effectively.

    For this up-n-coming/promising website and mission, I suggest marketing the site better on search engines and take up friends/partner links to geometrically increase your web presence and internet exposure with little costs and more free-media strategy.

    Get an always evolving Facebook page set up, a Twitter account with web broadcast shows and adds, etc… You’re welcome to have a link on my company’s website as were marketing this way too. (We tell the truth whereas a lot of our competitors do not.) Getting the message and exposure out there, for those of us wanting to deliver a more thorough piece of truth and business-with-integrity, always seems to be a rougher challenge than lying and taking shortcuts.

    Cheers my new friends, let me know what I can do in making your venture here more successful.