“Is the most trusted doctor in America doing more harm than good?”

That’s the question posed by Michael Specter in an excellent piece in The New Yorker entitled “The Operator.” It concerns the Dr. Mehmet Oz phenomenon.

It’s a lengthy piece that I think is well worth anyone’s time who’s interested in matters of health. Understanding that various readers take things differently, I’m going to excerpt, comment, and summarize. It’s certainly no substitute for reading Mr. Specter’s well-crafted piece, but I hope my take on the essentials will make for interesting discussion—if not motivation to give Mr. Specter and The New Yorker a few well-deserved minutes of your time.

Dr. Oz is no slouch; and as you’ll see, even his colleagues that know him best are somewhat conflicted about the wizard.

Oz was a rare find: so eloquent and telegenic that people are often surprised to learn that he is a highly credentialled member of the medical establishment. Oz graduated from Harvard University in 1982. Four years later, he received joint medical and M.B.A. degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. He then moved to Columbia and New York-Presbyterian Hospital, where, as a surgeon specializing in heart transplants, he has served as vice-chairman and professor in the department of surgery for more than twenty years. (He still performs operations there each Thursday.) Oz also directs Columbia’s Cardiovascular Institute and Integrative Medicine Program, which he established in 1994, and has published scores of articles on technical issues, such as how to preserve muscle tissue during mitral-valve replacements. He holds a patent on a solution that can preserve organs and one on an aortic valve that can be implanted without highly invasive open-heart surgery

There is simply no way to honestly slice that, other than top 1% heroic. 

I’m tellin’ ya. I love The Mechanics the best. I think it must be acknowledged and granted that as much of a doctor personality Oz has become, he maintains his core proficiency in one of the most impressive medical interventions of all time—the transplant of a human heart. That must be accounted for in any fair assessment of his value-disvalue equation to society at large.

On the other hand, clearly of concern to some, Dr. Oz promotes Flim-Flam on The Dr. Oz Show that would never stand or be entertained in his operating room, and for good reason.

…In each of those instances, and in many others, Oz has been criticized by scientists for relying on flimsy or incomplete data, distorting the results, and wielding his vast influence in ways that threaten the health of anyone who watches the show.

So what to make of that apparent contradiction? Many would have you believe that he’s a net liability: a purveyor of Mish-Mash that does more harm than good. Is it that simple?

Addressing such issues, however, is part of what Oz describes as “the undiscussed conversation—the one we need to have but don’t.” He describes modern medicine as a “civil war” waged between conventional physicians and those who are open to alternative cures for maladies ranging from anxiety to cancer; he considers it his mission to walk the line that divides them. But more often his show seems to erase that line completely, with results that may be less benign than Oz and his many viewers realize. “I want no more barriers between patient and medicine,” he explained to me not long ago, as we sat in one of the show’s production offices, just outside NBC’s Studio 6A, in Rockefeller Center. “I would take us all back a thousand years, when our ancestors lived in small villages and there was always a healer in that village—and his job wasn’t to give you heart surgery or medication but to help find a safe place for conversation.”

It’s quite a remarkable thing for a top heart surgeon to admit and advocate. And it’s insanely easy to criticize him over the Hocus-Pocus or Woo element. It’s perhaps more difficult and nuanced to understand just what he’s up to.

Oz went on, “Western medicine has a firm belief that studying human beings is like studying bacteria in petri dishes. Doctors do not want questions from their patients; it’s easier to tell them what to do than to listen to what they say. But people are on a serpentine path through life, and that is the way it is supposed to be. All I am trying to do is put a couple of road signs out there. I sit on that set every day, and that is what I am focussing on. The road signs.”

I Grok. Don’t you? Scientific reductionism is a very, very fine and proven tool. But, it’s also a tool that by definition eliminates many huanesque elements associated with living a human life. So it’s a double edged sword. That’s fine. But let’s at least understand what we trade away. Trading away for more precision or different understanding is perfectly fine. But it does not necessarily imply that what you trade away is garbage or useless. It’s just a different, valuable way of understanding things about reality.

…I have my own ridiculous little corner of the world. A reasonably popular blog that got that way because I began taking risks blogging about various fat-loss and health issues I have zero formal qualifications to talk about. I rarely cite studies, though I read quite a few for my own understanding. I rant like a crazy person (even about Dr. Oz, a time or two), and I synthesize the work of various others, mostly. I relate my own experience, and those on-the-ground experiences of others—and blog comments generally serve the same purpose. The easiest way for me to earn outright dismissed is to deal in outright quackery on purpose (I have a past misstep or two). Overall, I’ve been pretty carful and I think my nose is just fine. All in all, I’ve been right about promoting the vast majority of what I’ve promoted (vitamin D, intermittent fasting, vitamin K2 (MK-4), for example).

I don’t have the luxury of casually promoting what I might honestly have to call quackery, in a devil’s soul-sell of helping more people more often. But, I acknowledge that Dr. Oz does, on exponential scale (like I said: my little corner is microscopic by comparison), and I get it. In other words, he enjoys luxuries I don’t. And that’s my problem, not his.

No surgeon gets as far as Oz has at New York-Presbyterian without talent and a compelling desire to lead; beta males choose other professions. Yet Oz has limited regard for what he considers the surgical personality. “Let me explain why surgeons are assholes,” he said. “Surgery is controlled arrogance. You think you can take a knife to someone’s chest and help him. Who thinks that way? Certainly no normal person. You need that confidence, that certainty to do it.” We were sitting in his office at New York-Presbyterian, shortly after the operation had concluded. Covers of various publications that have featured Oz were mounted on the walls, along with his diplomas from Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania. He produced a large bag of blueberries and offered me some. He is rarely without blueberries, almonds, or easy access to the “green drinks,” made mostly from cucumber, spinach, apples, and herbs, that he often mentions on his show. Oz doesn’t follow any of the miracle cures or fad diets that he trots out so regularly for his audience. He eats like a Paleolithic hunter-gatherer and exercises daily. He never takes an elevator when he can use the stairs; the one time I saw him do so, he told me he was embarrassed by his indolence, a word nobody else could possibly associate with him. [emphasis added]

But here’s the rub with me. At the outset of all of this “health blogging,” I was a bit bright-eyed and convinced, and I always operate in 4th gear. Eventually, due to the action in my own comment threads principally, I began to have certain doubts about certain things (the low carb calories don’t count message being a notable example). See, paleo back then was a pretty narrowly implemented deal. Did wonders for most people relative to crap-in-bag or box; but the problem with people generally is that they’re somewhat conditioned to seek out a prescription and follow it.

What I’ve learned over the years—to my relief and joy, actually—is that there really is no prescription for one & all, mostly just a few sane proscriptions. The basic template is sound: real foods (meat, fish, fowl, vegetables, fruits—nuts if you like) available to our way-back ancestors and that you prepare yourselves. Fortunately, there’s no single mix that works for everyone. Your ancestors might have turned right instead of left coming out of Africa. Then, some went south while others went north and in the end, we’re all generalists. We’re all able to survive on real food, but precisely what mix works best for you and yours is highly individual and likely has something to do with things like whether your ancestors braved an ice age, or spear-fished and ate fruit in the tropics, or all the permutations in-between.

…And then there’s the placebo effect, and the whole sort of “spirituality” that goes with it. Not only are some people more susceptible to food toxins, some are highly resistant to mind toxins. And vice-versa. Here:

I told Oz that I was aware of no evidence showing that Reiki works. He cut in: “Neither am I, if you are talking purely about data. But this is one of the fundamental disconnects between Western medicine and what people often refer to as complementary medicine. Not everything adds up. It’s about making people more comfortable. I offer things like massage therapy, and offered Reiki if people wanted it. I did not recommend it, but I let people know it was their choice.”

Consider a scenario. You’re just a blogger like me—or a reader & commenter—and you don’t have a TV show with millions of viewers. It’s very easy and obvious to wax on, and laugh about the idiocy of people who take stock in such woo woo. I well know: because I do it all the time, and institutionalized religion is an equally favorite target of mine. But what can I really say contra that hocus-pocus when it really helps any individual in obvious or measurable ways?

I recently ranted about friends & family praying for my dad when he nearly died of a septic infection last weekend, brought on by a kidney stone lodged in his ureter. But, that rant was not at all about how the comfort my dad got from knowing people had his well being in heart & mind may have helped, or even about how his own beliefs that such invocations can summon supernatural powers. Rather, I got irritated over the cheap and easy metaphysical significance those who proffer prayers assume for their prayers. “…I’ll pray for you. There. Thank me. I’m so soopers po3erzfuls.”

In other words, the power of prayer is certainly real. But the reality of it is not at all object based. Rather, and very importantly, it’s entirely subject based. Accordingly, I don’t think it far fetched to imagine that Dr. Oz’s actual experience as an actual asshole surgeon has humbled him over the years—as inexplicable improvements and recoveries can’t be exclusively assigned to his surgical talent and prowess. He well understands it can’t be assigned to a superman in the sky. But he also understands, and makes the critical distinction, that it can be assigned to the subject’s own power and will, and that whatever strictly illogical reasons abound, they’re nonetheless often powerful and effective.

Alas, isn’t he just submitting himself to acting in the highest traditions of a gentleman who’s primarily concerned with helping people? He did everything a man can do to be a top human mechanic; and in the end, found that sometimes, his own capabilities only take the job so far? …That perhaps, all those people praying on bended knee, humbly sincere in surprising number, can help in ways that no gentleman of his stature could possibly dismiss?

He helps people, the more the better, and if he has to make way for a delusion or two, then that’s what he has to do and does.

Oz often says that he is just trying to present people with all their options, because they are sophisticated enough to make decisions for themselves. But some options are more beneficial than others, and medical experts are morally bound to explain the difference, as David Gorski told me recently. Gorski, an associate professor of surgery at the Wayne State University School of Medicine, is the managing editor of the influential blog Science-Based Medicine. “Oz has a huge bully pulpit, with the entire Oprah empire behind him,” he said. “He can’t simply dispense with facts he doesn’t find convenient.” Scientists often argue that, if alternative medicine proves effective through experimental research, it should no longer be considered alternative; at that point, it becomes medicine. By freely mixing alternatives with proven therapies, Oz makes it nearly impossible for the viewer of his show to assess the impact of either; the process just diminishes the value of science.

Hmm. Given what I’ve just argued, it seems to me that it’s easy enough to classify prayer and other spiritual “interventions” as placebo which, if not classified as “medicine” rather than “alternative medicine,” perhaps ought to be. It’s been “prove[n] effective through experimental research;” and in fact, is a core principle of intervention studies, especially those involving drug testing.

So, is Oz’s real “sin,” then, that he simply allows people to think it’s still hocus-pocus, woo woo, and “alternative?” Further, isn’t that really just a “white lie,” then? Or, perhaps: “alternative lying?”

In many respects, Mehmet is now an entertainer. And he’s great at it. People learn a lot, and it can be meaningful in their lives. But that is a different job. In medicine, your baseline need has to be for a level of evidence that can lead to your conclusions. I don’t know how else you do it. Sometimes Mehmet will entertain wacky ideas—particularly if they are wacky and have entertainment value.”

I dunno. Sin on top of sin? Or, someone who really understands what we’re all up against, concluding that it’s best for individual people to know more about more things and to take personal responsibility and eventually, sound control of themselves and those they love? And who’s better positioned? And, if it takes a show about “the miracle of acai berries” to interest someone enough to kind of get into personal health as a hobby or interest, does it really matter that much, given the logical assumption that most will keep searching and learning? Happened to me. Happened to a lot of people.

The annoying thing about acquiring human knowledge is that you start at an ignorant place. Is it possible that Dr. Oz knows which ignorant, not typically harmful places are some of the best starting points? He’s smart, obviously. Isn’t it a mistake to assume otherwise?

The era of paternalistic medicine, where the doctor knew best and the patient felt lucky to have him, has ended. We don’t worship authority figures anymore. Our health-care system has become impersonal, mechanized, and hollow, and it has failed millions of people, many of whom want to find a way to regain control of their own medical decisions. As Oz likes to say, Marcus Welby—the kindly, accessible, but straight-talking television doctor—is dead.

And Dr. Oz is alive, well, and immensely more popular than Welby. In the widest scope of human interest you can imagine, is he really doing more harm than good? Is he really doing any measurable harm at all? Look at it this way: is he looking the other way as regards errors—even promoting them at times—because the most important thing is the underlying message? What’s that? Self awareness, self management, self testing (rinse, wash, repeat.)

“Mehmet is a kind of modern evangelist,” Eric Topol said when I called him at the Scripps Research Institute, where he is a professor of genomics and the director of the Translational Science Institute. Topol, one of the nation’s most prominent cardiologists, founded the medical school at the Cleveland Clinic and led its department of cardiovascular medicine. “He is keenly intelligent and charismatic,” Topol said. “Mehmet was always unique, but now he has morphed into a mega-brand. When he tells people the number of sexual encounters they need each year to improve their lives in a specific way, or how to lose weight in three days—this is simply lunacy. The problem is that he is eloquent and talented, and some of what he says clearly provides a service we need. But how are consumers to know what is real and what is magic? Because Mehmet offers both as if they were one.”

I’ll offer this. Place a bet you really can’t afford or surely don’t want to lose. Here’s the bet: Who trusts you more? When push comes to shove in competently deciding health matters largely for yourself, does Mehmet or Eric trust more that you’re ultimately capable of sound decisions?

Place your bets. You know where I’ll place mine. This is not really about infallibility or accuracy, but about positioning. You are best positioned to understand you, and to act accordingly. For all the heroic doctorly knowledge and expertise, that’s one physical reality that cannot be substituted. Oz gets this. He’s leveraging that understanding.

He continued, “It all seems to be in the service of putting on a show. And, when you add it up, that seems like something other than medicine. It’s more like medutainment.” Topol was not the only voice to offer that kind of comment. One day, I asked Oz whether he minded that many of his medical peers criticized him for following the dictates of daytime television more than the demands of scientific truth. “I have always played offense,” he responded. “So I don’t care what people call me. I used to. I felt that to say I was an entertainer was dismissive. But it is part of what I have to do. I want to get my message across to people who are not going to get it in other ways. And I can’t do that if I am not palatable to the people who watch the show.”

What a white liar! Huh?

Wouldn’t it be funny if in the end, Oz turns out to be right? How would that work? No, not right about any of the hocus pocus he allows on his show; rather, doing what he needs to do to get his more fundamental and essential message out: you need to figure a few things out and you need to begin trying things out on yourself.

Isn’t it potentially that Oz is simply more humble that his background and experience would have you imagine? Is that it? Is it as simple as that he really, really wants to help people to become their own little doctors and trusts them to do that?

While in the meantime, bone to my Paleo readers, he can introduce stuff like this: (the problem with wheat; and the cholesterol con; on Dr. Oz.)

Oz refers to the academic world as a “fortress,” and he is determined to tear down its walls. In the past, his enthusiasms, even when unsupported by data, have usually fulfilled the Hippocratic oath to do no harm. Lately, however, he seems to have moved more firmly into the realm of tenuous treatments for serious conditions. On one recent episode, “Dr. Oz’s 13 Miracles for 2013,” he included “a revolutionary new way to live years longer: it’s red palm oil.” He went on, “Its red color is perfect, because I think of it as a stop sign for aging.” I asked Oz several times why he promotes that kind of product, and allows psychics, homeopaths, and purveyors of improbable diet plans and dietary supplements to appear on the show. He said that he takes his role as a medium between medicine and the people seriously, and he feels that such programs offer his audience a broader perspective on health

…Well, I have a bottle of red palm oil on my counter. It’s fabulous on scrambled eggs (and just about everything, really), as we learned at MovNat.

“Ultimately, if we want to fix American medicine we will need skeptical and smart patients to dominate,” he said. “They will need to ask the hard questions, because much of medicine is just plain old logic. So I am out there trying to persuade people to be those patients. And that often means telling them what the establishment doesn’t want them to hear: that their answers are not the only answers, and their medicine is not the only medicine.” But, when he tells his audience, with no credible evidence, that red palm oil may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, is he empowering people? Or is he encouraging them to endanger their health with another “miracle”?

I dunno. Coconut oil, similar to red palm, looks pretty promising and another doctor found that out by reading patent applications of drug companies trying to cash in on what one can essentially do on the beach with a machete. I’ve done a few blogs on it going back, linking to promising research, too.

And so, this is one area to consider where Oz may have a leg up on his critics. By allowing himself the luxury of spending some of his capital on dubious stuff—while attracting viewers who are fans of such dubious stuff—he gets to reap the reward of stumbling onto something where there might be a real there, there…from time to time.

None of his critics are even remotely so positioned. In essence, Oz is acting similarly to a pragmatic business guyl with a goal in mind. Hshe doesn’t know exactly how to get there, and by practical necessity, is willing to entertain all the mostly infeasible approaches, in hopes of finding the truly feasible.

…Oh, wait…that other guy, Dr. Mercola, hasn’t come up yet, so here:

I had no idea what he meant. How was it Oz’s “biggest opportunity” to introduce a guest who explicitly rejects the tenets of science? “The fact that I am a professor—one of the youngest professors ever—at Columbia, and that I earned my stripes writing hundreds of papers in peer-reviewed journals,” Oz began. “I know the system. I’ve been on those panels. I’m one of those guys who could talk about Mercola and not lose everybody. And so if I don’t talk to him I have abdicated my responsibility, because the currency that I deal in is trust, and it is trust that has been given to me by Oprah and by Columbia University, and by an audience that has watched over six hundred shows.”

I was still puzzled. “Either data works or it doesn’t,” I said. “Science is supposed to answer, or at least address, those questions. Surely you don’t think that all information is created equal?”

Oz sighed. “Medicine is a very religious experience,” he said. “I have my religion and you have yours. It becomes difficult for us to agree on what we think works, since so much of it is in the eye of the beholder. Data is rarely clean.” All facts come with a point of view. But his spin on it—that one can simply choose those which make sense, rather than data that happen to be true—was chilling. “You find the arguments that support your data,” he said, “and it’s my fact versus your fact.”

Ha! Yea, that’s The Holy Grail being channeled, there. Certainty.

In simple terms, there is a distinct difference between understanding that there is such a thing as absolute truth, and knowing what it is. Never confuse them. What’s really fundamentally going on is a “war” between those with different ideas of how to arrive there. I am soundly with the more sciency, objective, hard data and evidence folks.

But that speaks more to method than to absolute effectiveness, though I’m pretty convinced my method is best long term. In the end, I think we all really want the truth and it’s undeniable that such truth is sometimes arrived at through things like snap human intuition—or whatever—that we have a hard time explaining on purely rational, data-driven grounds. …The fact is, that’s really more of a problem for the hard-data types—in that it sheds light on human limitations—than it is for the intuitionists, who already understand such human limitations.

A further rub is that it’s often very difficult in dealing with humans, to convince them that some truth is the real result of had-nosed data collection and analysis, and not some flash of savant brilliance. The latter is so very sexy by comparison.

“From our very first day, we have had one simple mission for this show,” Oz began. “To empower you to take control of your health.” […]

As Oz walked off the stage, after the show, he looked at me, smiled broadly, and said, “I could spend the rest of my life doing bypass surgeries, but what would that make me? A surgeon. With this show, we can do much, much more.”

Being honest never necessarily means you’re right. You can be honestly wrong, and we have all been there at times. I’d just rather be honestly wrong than dishonestly anything else.

So I have no honest choice but to salute Michael Specter and The New Yorker for a fine, honest piece that really leaves it up to you to decide. That’s real journalism.

And I solemnly salute Dr. Mehmet Oz as well, for both the real, data-driven, no-shit and no-excuses contributions he’s made to the lives and lives saved of all those people and loved ones over the decades; and as well, for his willingness to risk his earned accumulated capital in general respect and professional regard, to chart a course he appears to understand, in the pursuit of individual knowledge, responsibility and action.

…Because in the end, you have more power and potential effectiveness over you and yours than any doctor. Dr. Oz clearly understands that; but the road there is bumpy, messy, and unpaved. I suppose he understands that, too.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More


  1. Gabriella Kadar on February 1, 2013 at 12:59

    Back in 2010 the New York Times published an article detailing a week in the life of Dr. Oz. It made me wonder what stimulants he’s taking. Given he’s ground all his teeth flat, possibly he has been on something or other for a long time. Certain pharmaceuticals will cause bruxism.

    Surgeons are generally the brightest of all the medical specialties. They do have to decide if cutting the patient will eventually help the patient. That’s a given. But Dr. Oz is a surgeon. He’s not a nutritionist or anything else. The team behind the show create the subjects that he presents. He really doesn’t know anything about what he’s on about entertaining the gullible. His newspaper articles are printed in the Toronto Star. I got so pissed off every morning reading the bullshit I canceled my subscription. It’s not a good way to start the day sitting on the can reading Dr. Oz.

    Does this guy have investments in commercial blueberry production or what? Blueberries are for bears.

  2. Gabriella Kadar on February 1, 2013 at 13:01

    Richard, you wrote a very thought provoking interesting piece.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 1, 2013 at 14:28

      Thanks Gabriella. I’ve ranted about The Wizard before myself and in the microcosm of “this is false,” I get it. For this, I spent a lot of time thinking in ways that are not typically how I prefer to think. Took 2 days, many editing.

  3. Shelley on February 1, 2013 at 13:03

    Nice post.

    “As Oz walked off the stage, after the show, he looked at me, smiled broadly, and said, “I could spend the rest of my life doing bypass surgeries, but what would that make me? A surgeon. With this show, we can do much, much more.”

    Now that’s a superior man, @steamboatoperator, who I think doesn’t need to apologize for his arrogance. I happen to like Dr Oz and trust him enough to try things; he is an incredibly smart man – yes, @steamboatoperator, way smarter than me! – with tons of charisma who decided to share his superiority being a health leader to encourage people to think and be aware of their power.

    And I especially like men (well, people in general) who can admit that maybe they should look at something a little differently without their ego coming into play. That makes for an even far superior man!

  4. John B on February 1, 2013 at 13:07

    “So I have no honest choice but to salute Michael Specter and The New Yorker for a fine, honest piece that really leaves it up to you to decide. That’s real journalism.”

    Amen, and very rare these days.

  5. CatherineakaCate on February 1, 2013 at 13:33

    Pretty deep there, Pal

    *his more fundamental and essential message out: you need to figure a few things out and you need to begin trying things out on yourself.*

    I used to be on an Open Heart Surgery team at Scripps Clinic (RN) and I saw enough to realize about 50% of what traditional western medicine does is very solid, and the other 50% can kill you or at least f you up without an apology and you better know how to navigate the odds.

    I like Oz a lot even though I don’t watch the show. I can’t forget the set up on Taubes though and it reveals something about him so I always take anything he says with a grain of salt. He wants to get people invested in their own outcomes, so overall I adore the Libertarian essence of him. The fact that he gets a flu vaccine but admits his old lady calls the shots with the children gets him points also! 😉

    • Richard Nikoley on February 1, 2013 at 14:34

      “He wants to get people invested in their own outcomes”

      And even if that’s pragmatically motivated as a heart surgeon, it’s understandable and still the best policy.

      +10 back to you. We’re even.

  6. Erik on February 1, 2013 at 16:44

    While I have a hard time with raspberry ketones and suspect Oz does more mixing of truth with sponsorship than suggested here (we are talking overall about how not-black-and-white things are, right?), I have this to say about reiki: until you’ve submitted yourself, with an open mind, to a reiki session, how much do you really have to meaningfully say on the subject? A reading of trials that controlled for belief? What would such trials illuminate regarding a mechanism that requires belief (nothing)? Are we to believe (ha) that belief (and its physical consequences) cannot be a legitimate part of real, unique mechanism, rather than the sole mechanism in itself (the standard model of the placebo effect). As a crude analogy, like K2 is required for A and D to do their best work?

    I am an advocate of science-based skepticism. Yet I do on occasion find myself bumping against the walls imposed by that viewpoint in conjunction with our state of progress in the field of study. I have experienced during wordless reiki sessions the sensation that the practitioner was working a certain spot on my arm with a certain hand position, for example, and opened my eyes to see exactly that. Given what is now known and being further researched about electromagnetic fields generated by the body and the way they affect nerve transmission and other processes, and on the other side photodetection by skin cells, tentative as these fields may be, I cannot use science to solidly dismiss my experience. Multiple hypothetical mechanisms other than uncannily accurate repeated hunches are available. Yet there are layers of study that need to be filled in, which will take time, before any serious institution would be willing to touch such a study.

    These are the circumstances in which, to be honest with onesself and the world, one must simply admit “I can feel and wonder, and likewise I can doubt, but I cannot KNOW.” Perhaps those circumstances are more common in our lives than we like to think, and we have been trained to skillfully hide them from ourselves or gravitate towards the seeming safety of doubt, but the more we find and acknowledge them within ourselves the more we can come to know ourselves, both in our knowledge and our limitations.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 1, 2013 at 17:04

      For the time being, Erik, I somehow think it best that science deals with the more easily deconstructable, explicable. The experience I’ve only heard about, never partaken in, from certain Eastern practices delve, I think, into that placebo power we already know is real. But we call it placebo because we have no real deconstructive way to explain it.

      I’m fine with that. Placebo is a scientific explanation. It’s just not a complete one.

  7. George @ the High Fat hep C Diet on February 1, 2013 at 17:04

    A great analysis of the article.
    Perhaps OZ’s ultimate strategy is that people will become so frustrated with him that they ACT TO SAVE THEMSELVES.
    (sorry, my caps key got stuck).

    In which case OZ is the perfect name for him.

  8. Elenor on February 1, 2013 at 18:21

    I knew about Mehmet Oz *before* Oprah got her hooks into him. I’ve always said if I needed heart surgery HE is the surgeon I’d want! However, I have also watched a bunch of his shows (on Oprah, and in the beginning of his own show), until I just got too sick of it/him to go on. Long before he played stupid-bully with Taubes, I was fed up with his charlatanism. I, too, have a medical background (not a night light to his spotlight…. but I can tell smarmy salesmanship hen I see it!) and so I do know the underpinning of a lot of stuff he presents. (And I taught tai chi for many years and had very effective acupuncture; and I’ve used “traditional” medicine to treat my thyroid and adrenals (granted, with a huge ‘self-treatment’ and deeper *specific* research than my (generalist) doctor).

    I can’t go with you on this, Richard (albeit I haven’t yet read the article you refer to) ; he’s NOT honestly presenting trad and non-trad medicine as things people should educate themselves on. He can’t possibly be, with HONORABLE intent, trying to “reel in” folks by appealing to their health-related “heard it somewheres” in order to get them to at least hear about other things and maybe go learn about how to affect their own health. He’s a SALESMAN! He’s a dancing bear who will do ANYthing to please his sponsor-masters.

    Alas, he now disgusts me– this fantastic surgeon who was willing to do trials of alternative support modalities in his heart surgeries to see if they helped (yes, including prayer!), this man with the well-deserved reputation and position for heart surgery. Now? If it sells grains and toilet paper? He’ll recommend it! Lo, how the mighty have sold out! (Yeah, I’m angry at him. I expected honor to go with the skills!)

    • Richard Nikoley on February 2, 2013 at 06:47

      That’s fine, Elenor. I didn’t put this up with the intention of arguing with anyone. Take him or leave him. Personally, I have never watched his show regularly, only clips here are there when pointed to them. Bea was an Oprah fan and so time to time she’d save something on the DVR to look at.

      I almost never look at anything in binary terms. Most things and people seem to be an amalgamation of good and bad.

  9. Elenor on February 1, 2013 at 18:39

    From that New Yorker article on Oz:
    “In perhaps the most famous such review, a nine-year-old girl conceived and executed a test in which she demonstrated that twenty-one people who claimed to be skilled in the techniques of Reiki were nevertheless unable to detect her “energy field” more often than they would have by guessing. The study was eventually published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.’

    This was SUCH a put-up job of a “study” — disgustingly rigged by the little girl’s doctor parents… We in paleo are SO familiar with how “orthodoxy” in medicine (or diet) makes shit up (a “low-carb” arm in a study where the people are eating 250 g carbs?! ) This “study” of Reiki was organized b.s. — and they made like it was good because a little girl did it…

    I don’t know enough about Reiki to hold a firm position. I DO know enough about tai chi and acupuncture to give it a huge benefit of the doubt with or without ‘scientific’ proof. I am more inclined to say “yes, probable” just because it’s unlikely the Chinese or Japanese would continue using something over hundreds of years that had NOT shown its efficacy to a sufficient degree, whether or not it would meet “western med” standards.

    There is more in heaven and earth…

    • Richard Nikoley on February 2, 2013 at 06:55

      My thrust on all this alternative stuff in the article is purely on pragmatic grounds, i.e., does it work for you? If it does, I contend it’s placebo–it works because of your belief that it works, and not that there’s any OBJECTIVE metaphysical significance to it. In other words, in terms of its “magical” properties, it’s Flim-Flam just like James Randi says. But if it works for you and helps you, we’ll, that’s hard to dismiss on an individual level.

      It’s kinda like hypnosis. Beneficial for some. Some, like my, can’t by hypnotized.

    • Gabriella Kadar on February 2, 2013 at 11:03

      I think possibly the ‘alternate’ stuff like Reiki, hypnosis, TaiChi, Chigong, meditation and etc. are all valuable because they lower the stress response and focus the mind.

      There is a difference between ‘heal’ and ‘cure’. If lowering the stress response of an organism encourages better blood flow to damaged areas and thus the delivery of building up molecules plus the removal of waste molecules, then I’m all up for it. It’s the same principal as quality sleep helps to heal and restore the body. If a person is all hyped up, freaked out and anxious, then a reduction of these can only help. It may not ‘cure’, but it will definitely help to cope and reduce pain. That all adds up to an improvement in quality of life. Quantity is another issue.

      We are animals. We need gentling, same as horses, cats, dogs, donkeys…. etc. Go easy, go slow, go quietly. Don’t alarm.

      And this is what bothers me about the scare tactics in the media and quasi medical programmes. Fear is probably the strongest motivator of human behaviour. (Don’t tell me it’s sex because fear will transcend a sexual response any day.) People don’t think straight when they are in a panic. If Oz mentions raspberry ketones or green coffee and within 24 hours all stores have sold out, that indicates to me panic and desperation. Not good.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 2, 2013 at 11:19

      “There is a difference between ‘heal’ and ‘cure’.”

      Yes, I flinch when I hear Oz sloppily say “alternative cure.” No, there is only cure. The question is those things that contribute. We know well about surgical interventions, drugs, vaccines, etc. We are mystified about the different ways the body cures and heals (which, at one level, is always the case, no matter the contribution).

      “Don’t tell me it’s sex because fear will transcend a sexual response any day.”

      How about fear of no sex? 🙂

  10. Galina L on February 1, 2013 at 19:48

    Thank you for your take-out on Dr.Oz. He turned into some medical clown, I can’t tolerate him. He is aging very fast btw.

  11. George @ the High Fat hep C Diet on February 1, 2013 at 20:20

    Elenor said

    “I am more inclined to say “yes, probable” just because it’s unlikely the Chinese or Japanese would continue using something over hundreds of years that had NOT shown its efficacy to a sufficient degree, whether or not it would meet “western med” standards.”

    The appeal to Antiquity has its merits, but Reiki is not that old. It was invented in 1922 in Japan by Mikao Usui. It comes somewhere between Mormonism and Scientology on the chronological scale.

  12. Robert Ve on February 2, 2013 at 02:27

    I’m just going to go with my gut feeling here and that is: Oz is bullshit, most “alternative medicine” is bullshit. I think true science ultimately trumps all other forms of truth finding. Yes, of course, scientific knowledge isn’t perfect. This is because it is a work in progress and more importantly done and explained by people.

    It almost seems people have become scared to come out and say: science is the best we have. And in order not to seem the fool they say: maybe it’s not the best and other way’s are good too. Bleh, total BS if you ask me.

    Reiki is a nice example of all this. If it work’s better than placebo it works if not it just doesn’t work. Do you know of any studies that show that reiki works, with proper controls? No? Than I’m sorry it doesn’t work. Get a nice massage instead. If yes, than please show them to me, it would be interesting to read.

    The only reason why I would say don’t completely trust the scientific community is because people can’t be trusted.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 2, 2013 at 07:07

      “Get a nice massage instead.”

      Well yea, and this is my point, for those who read my post carefully. For some odd reason, people assign more value when something is called by a fancy name.

      Again, any efficacy to ANY of this is all subject driven. No metaphysical significance whatever unless demonstrated by proper controls in double-blind tests, etc.

      So personally, Im on the ridicule side of things. But I’m realist enough to recognize that people are irrational enough that these things give them aid & comfort in times of deep physical and emotional stress. So, as a medical professional, I think Oz thinks he has to integrate that and even use it.

    • Gabriella Kadar on February 2, 2013 at 11:22

      Robert, interesting thing about the ‘science’: I attended a pharmacology course recently. The lecturer, from Maryland, listed the top 50 drugs prescribed in Canada based on number of prescriptions. The number one drug in Canada is Synthroid. After that it’s a couple of statins, a diuretic, then amoxicillin and then a couple of other drugs, then codeine.

      In the u.s.?
      Hydrocodone (combined with acetaminophen) — 131.2 million prescriptions (Percocet)
      Generic Zocor (simvastatin), a cholesterol-lowering statin drug — 94.1 million prescriptions
      Lisinopril (brand names include Prinivil and Zestril), a blood pressure drug — 87.4 million prescriptions
      Generic Synthroid (levothyroxine sodium), synthetic thyroid hormone — 70.5 million prescriptions

      Hydrocodone is orders of magnitude stronger than codeine.

      I didn’t think that two developed countries located on one continent next door to one another could have such a different pharmaceutical utilization profile. Is this based on scientific principles? Either Canadians are living with a hell of a lot of untreated pain and Americans get their needs met, or Americans have a different concept of what is unbearable or Canadians have slow metabolisms.

      Whatever it is and truly I don’t know what it is, the contrast is thought provoking and until some definitive information on the subject, I’m just making observations not conclusions.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 2, 2013 at 11:25

      “I’m just making observations not conclusions.”

      The audacity. How dare you! 🙂

    • Gabriella Kadar on February 2, 2013 at 12:40

      Yeah, I know, Richard. There are those who can’t distinguish.

    • cave horse on February 2, 2013 at 15:42

      Trust science, not scientists.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 2, 2013 at 17:02


      I’ve never actually considered that as a true distinction, cave horse. But it is. Thanks.

  13. nickt on February 2, 2013 at 07:38

    “Medicine is a very religious experience.” No no no a thousand times no. I am sorry Richard but it seems to me that Oz turned on the charm and this article became a giant puff piece. The problem isn’t the reductiveness of science it is the way in which the process is misunderstood and misused. I was recently at a Sustainable ag conference and there was a speaker there about the importantness of proper “mineralization.” His presentation started off with a lot of prayer and then a poem about more religious nonsense. I realized that this was how this guy established his credibilty. Magical thinking leads to more magical thinking, it does not lead to anything constructive. Religion is the fundemental lie on which a ton of other lies our built. The idea that you should take control of your well being does not need to be wrapped in woo clothing. If you have not yet read it you should read Bright Sided by Barbara Ehrenreich. Praying and that type of thing promotes and external locus of control. I will wait for the big man in the sky to help rather than get off my ass and do something. Oz, when on his show, is a crook. He has the slime of car sales man and old time snake oil guy. He prays upon those in need or seeking real answers. One more thing if this Paleo thing is going to be more than a fad we need to embrace scientific methods like Gary Taubes is doing. Remember actual scientific Medicine is not very old and it needs some work, but it is on the right path and people like Oz are constantly trying to drag it off that path. In the end of all Oz is doing is justifying the way he turns a dollar and gets middle aged laddies to fall in love with him. I can’t wait for the sex scandal.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 2, 2013 at 08:05

      “Oz turned on the charm and this article became a giant puff piece.”

      Are you referring to my post or Specter’s article? Specter’s is anything but a puff piece, and here’s where Specter is coming from:

      Specter simply did a decent job putting everything out there so people can decide for themselves, as did I. I think the time is LONG overdue where instead of advocating for one binary position or the other, people get the relevant facts and make up their own mind.

      “The problem isn’t the reductiveness of science it is the way in which the process is misunderstood and misused.”

      And I said as much in my post.

      “Magical thinking leads to more magical thinking, it does not lead to anything constructive.”

      Sometimes it does, sometimes it backfires; hence the general progression towards less magical thinking:

      I don’t dispute that science is the best path. I also recognize that paths are both individual and “serpentine,” a point Oz himself makes.

      Looking at it another way, some people like me were at a point in life to be ready for the message that this is all flimflam bullshit, dump external authorities (I agree that’s at the root of this and have been saying so for 2 decades), embrace critical thinking and science. Some people are completely hopeless and the only time they change is to drop one delusion in favor of another. And then there are those more receptive to science if it can be acknowledged that certain of these alternatives aid & comfort some people, and just explain why: essentially, placebo effect.

      In other words, I’m convinced that the best way to deal with the reality of the placebo effect—that is science in itself—we just don’t understand everything about it—is to point out that’s what’s going on when these alternative therapies appear to benefit some people, and not that they are simply indulging themselves in bullshit thinking.

      But again, everyone gets to decide for themselves and my purpose was not to convince anyone to embrace Oz. I’m not even doing that myself explicitly or without qualification. I’m simply not very concerned that he’s a net liability to science, medicine and society and am open to the possibility that there might be a silver-lining method to his madness.

      People tend to assume that the historical paths to truth we all know about over the ages were nice clean, shiny and straight streets. They weren’t. They were messy, often violent, and people even died. Personally, I prefer a more peaceful progression but we’re probably far off from it not being messy still in many respects.

  14. Steve on February 2, 2013 at 08:00

    When it comes to doing more harm than good, I think the medical industry wins hands down when it comes to killing people. As far as the woo goes, does it really matter how it works if it works for you? In the end, we all can turn off the telly and ignore anything that anyone says, its our human right to limit our informational exposure.

    I’m cool with him being a business man, I don’t know why that is such a turn off for people, everyone has to make their cash money! Sure you might not like the accumulation of wealth, but it doesn’t mean the message is inherently tainted or wrong. Obviously, many things like reiki exist because it does something to some people, so why should I be pissed about it, I’m not paying for it. And if you really think about, he is so popular because people have questions and problems that have not been answered by science or the medical community. He’s just filling the void.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 2, 2013 at 08:08

      +1 Steve.

    • nickt on February 2, 2013 at 12:51

      I do not have a problem with Oz being a business man, we are all business men and women even if all we do is sell our time to an “employer.” I feel he is being a dishonest business man, that is my problem. Yes, the medical establishment gives a lot of bad advice or non-advice which probably in the end kills people. But dont you think at least a few people would be alive today if that had not bought into bullshit. Steve Jobs? Scientist can be a little arrogant and that allienates people and makes it easier to buy into nonsense. I have notice that this is a big problem in the palo community, understandibly so. We have all been through it, “wait all this fat is bad stuff is bullshit?”. “What else am I being lied to about?” We have to be carefull not to get carried away. It does matter how things work, or even if they do. If we adopt a whatever you think works attitude we are doomed.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 2, 2013 at 14:10

      Hmm, nickt.

      Seems to me you’re asking a lot of questions, introspecting, trying to connect dots and gain a deeper understnding.

      Shit, I sure hope no one else does. I should have just done an easy bad science piece and collected all my accolades.

    • Steve on February 2, 2013 at 15:17

      @Nickt – Can you explain how you feel he is lying to us? (I don’t watch the OZ show, expect for a few “Paleo” episodes.” (Can we call it lying if he actually believes what he is peddling?)

      I hear you on the “What else am I being lied to about?” That’s why we have to be given the all of the information and test it for ourselves. I don’t plan on waiting for someone to tell me that this or that is unhealthy/healthy, Ill try to figure it out on my own.

      The way I see it, the people who are watching OZ are looking for an alternative, something different than the typical “Go to your doctor” or ” Ask your doctor before you make any changes.” Don’t do anything other than the status quo until you asked your doctor, and he/she will probably tell you to maintain the status quo with some pills on top.

      I think OZ wants people to ultimately take health into their hands, and if that means throwing everything and the kitchen sink on the telly, so be it.

      The beauty of it Nick, is that you are entitled to believe that he is a quack and that he lies, but would you tell someone to stop doing “X – Woo Woo Thing” if it was helping them, even if you don”t understand how it works. Remember that it is just your opinion, and everyone has a right to their own,

    • Richard Nikoley on February 2, 2013 at 17:00

      +1 Nick

    • nickt on February 2, 2013 at 19:50

      I have asked the question to myself many times if people dont know they are lying are they liars. For instance I know Bill OReilly on Fox news believes every piece of bs that flys from his mouth. So perhaps it would be inappropriate to call Oz a liar because I am not sure he intentialy tells false hoods. I feel that Oz enjoys making his show and making money from it and this causes conigtive dissonance which he resolves my making excuses like those he gave to Spector. A few weeks before the two recent episodes of his show in which he seems to embrace some paleo principles he completely made fun of and embarrassed Gary Taubes. So these two other people come on and say pretty much the same things and it is love fest. Did Oz once mention Taubes and how he had been a total dick to him, nope. So either he doesn’t remember that episode or doesn’t see how he has changed his position and should maybe account for that. If someone was using something I consider woo and it seemed to be working for the them I would feel it was very important to find out why it was working. No I would not tell them to stop unless it was something horrible like blood letting or something. But too many times people mistake correlation for causation. ” I got cancer, then I stopped eating meat, my cancer went away, meat causes cancer.” These things are very dangerous. Yes everyone is entitled to their opinion but if people are in need of help the last thing they need is opinion, they need facts. This is my general stance on this. If you can’t explain the biological mechanism by which it works your probably should not recomend it to someone else.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 3, 2013 at 08:01

      Re Taubes: I think Oz does not buy the line that calories don’t count, somewhat implicit in Taube’s message, or that carbs, per se, are the problem and not processed stuff.

      But, after that, he did have on a whole family that lost a lot of weight eating a pretty paleo version of LC (one segment was showing the stuff they actually cook at home—all real food as I recall). But when he had Davis on about Wheat Belly, and the Cardiologist and Johnny Bowden about Cholesterol, Oz gave some clear indications that he may have been wrong all these years about a few things in relation to both.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 3, 2013 at 07:49

      “I feel he is being a dishonest business man, that is my problem.”

      Well, but that’s the cool thing about “just business.” When Ford, Chevrolet, Toyota or whomever calls their product “the best in its class,” are they being dishonest? Or when General Mills says there cereal is the greatest thing since sliced bread, etc?

      This is a far different thing than if Oz were to say to an actual patient as their physician: “here, take this berry drink for your cancer or do yoga for your heart valve or blocked artery.” Or, how about getting any of the dubious stuff he features (I think “features” on his show is a bit more accurately descriptive than “promotes”) on his show into medical journals? In fact, he has published many journal articles and as far as I know they are all hard science and medicine based. No flimflam.

      In a business context, however, there is no doctor-patient relationship, no company is forced to advertise, no network forced to air it, no people bound to sit in the audience and nobody compelled to watch it and certainly, no one has to follow anything he says.

      So sometimes, the saying “it’s just business” really does draw critical distinctions.

  15. CatherineakaCate on February 2, 2013 at 08:37

    There are many treatments that most Americans believe are ‘irrational’ and this is why they will always be happily lining up for the knife like bloodbags when something like Visceral Manipulation (VM) developed by Jean-Pierre Barral, would be effective, (see Barral Institure, Paris) I have had outstanding success with it, and other irrational treatments and this is why the disciples of scientism only win me over on a case by case basis. The key is to exercise judgement, and you can’t do that by disdainfully mocking what you do not understand.

    Another question I have, why are the women of Paleoland particularly harsh and judgemental?
    The ‘disgust, intolerance’ does bad things to your face, sorry, but I have no data. 😉

  16. CatherineakaCate on February 2, 2013 at 08:48


    In his essay Against Method, Paul Feyerabend characterizes science as “an essentially anarchic enterprise”[32] and argues emphatically that science merits no exclusive monopoly over “dealing in knowledge” and that scientists have never operated within a distinct and narrowly self-defined tradition. He depicts the process of contemporary scientific education as a mild form of indoctrination, aimed at “making the history of science duller, simpler, more uniform, more ‘objective’ and more easily accessible to treatment by strict and unchanging rules


    • Richard Nikoley on February 2, 2013 at 09:02


      Yep, kinda. I’ve been here before. Hell, even Sam Harris acknowledges the apparent benefits from some forms of deep contemplation one finds in various Eastern Traditions.

      I’m trying to avoid the binary aspect of the whole thing. We are complete, integrated human beings with millions or billions or trillions of neurons, not petri dishes. Science is a completely awesome tool and I think, on balance the highest value of the tools we have to understand things. But I neither think its unbridled reductionism or mysticisms unbridled woo holds all the answers.

      And as was quoted in the piece, when “alternative” treatments become explained, substantiated, etc., then they are “medicine,” not alternative medicine. That’s fine with me. I am a materialist with a penchant for free will. So, yea, with enough understanding of how a trillion neurons interact with metabolism, hormones, thought, etc., everything may be potentially explainable from a pure reductionist standpoint. But I think we are very far from there and I also have a penchant for not tossing out babies with bathwater in the meantime.

  17. CatherineakaCate on February 2, 2013 at 09:59

    Well, ‘very far from there’ implies and endpoint and that’s binary.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 2, 2013 at 10:18

      “Well, ‘very far from there’ implies and endpoint and that’s binary.”

      You said that. I didn’t.

  18. Kate Ground on February 3, 2013 at 06:54

    Very good, RIchard. Applause….on the blog…. I am not an Oz fan, don’t like his Medicine Man tactics….and, as we all know, most of our society are lambs to the slaughter. He is just an excellent sheep dog. Watch his show….(wish you had before you blogged this). Then come back and share. His fake humility is glaring, and I, for one, thinks he goes in his closet and polishes his Oprah given halo with hundred dollar bills.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 3, 2013 at 07:27

      Well, I have seen enough bits & segments over the years to know that it’s a mixed bag of valid and dubious stuff. He even had on a whole family a while back that had lost significant weight on LC. So I think he’s trying to capture attention by featuring everything health related that people happen to take an interest in.

  19. Jack Kruse on February 3, 2013 at 07:00

    No matter how much you want to believe medicine is a science first, it is more an art form in practice. It blends both well, if it is done well. How it is done is the sign of the artists perception of the world. In the end, art is a lie that makes us realize a foundational truth. Getting people to change is done by the greatest artists in my profession. This is the disconnect that irks so many of your readers…….but it is a truth to how the business works.

  20. Cow on February 3, 2013 at 09:03


    Is like all the Breast Cancer Awareness shit -we not gonna stop until everybody properly terrified.

    • Gabriella Kadar on February 3, 2013 at 11:13

      That’s right on, Cow. Terror, fear…. Drive the irrational off the cliffs. But make sure they empty their wallets before they go over.

    • Jack Kruse on February 4, 2013 at 06:19

      As a patient you must be discerning. Each patient carries his own doctor inside him…….the question is do they listen to that voice?

  21. the 3volution of j3nn on February 3, 2013 at 10:01

    Halfway through this post I started thinking of the parallels between mainstream “Libertarians” and conspiracy theorists. While many of these people are woo woo, paranoid, and mystical at times, they are often a stepping stone to voluntarism, or anarchy for the initiated. Anyone or anything that can be used as a stepping stone or gateway to absolute freedom from tyranny and warfarism is a good thing. Someone above mentioned Oz’s libertarian approach to health and wellness, and I think that’s exactly what it is: finding your individual formula, but needing to know all of the variables to have the best chance at ultimate peace and equilibrium.

    If it weren’t for a certain mainstream “libertarian” (who really isn’t), I would have never graduated to the higher levels of individualism and self-ownership. I’d never know what NAP is or care.

    Whether its health or politics, all things that lead to a better, smarter world are valuable. We should never let perfection be the enemy of good.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 4, 2013 at 07:45

      Good point, j3nn. This is one reason I no longer pay much attention to Libertarians and especially, Objectivists. I basically regarded Rand as someone who set a good foundation for me to think beyond, way beyond. It still mystifies me how her work has been twisted into doctrines of dos and don’ts. But that’s just one example. Another might be those who get into individualism through various legalisms regarding the tax code, central banking, federal reserve and such.

  22. CatherineakaCate on February 3, 2013 at 11:13

    Yes, and any fair critique of his message in terms of good/bad , must consider his target audience.
    Overweight, and watching tv in the first place.

  23. Kris on February 3, 2013 at 11:33

    What planet are you from, and what have you done with Richard?

  24. Ed Mulder on February 4, 2013 at 15:42

    Richard, this is one of your best posts. It is making me think a lot. You could do no better service in my opinion. You and Dr. Oz. Thanks.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 4, 2013 at 16:28

      Thanks, Ed. I know it was a lot to get through.

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