Saturday, December 05, 2015

Skeptics in the Pub

Barb Polan
Barb's Recovery
November 18 / 2015

Tom and I have started going to monthly club meetings of "Skeptics in the Pub." We go, drink draft beers, eat appetizers, and listen to a presentation about a selected topic and a discussion following the presentation. There are power point slides and selected videos.

At the first meeting we attended, the man sitting next to us said he enjoys attending the meetings because all the members are so smart, it makes him feel smart too.

I don't speak up during the discussions. I don't speak up in public at all. I think of things I might say, but keep them to myself. Never would I contribute to these conversations - the others are just so smart they make me feel like an idiot, and I'm sure I would say something in a way that embarrassed me - choking up, stumbling over my words, forgetting what my point is mid-sentence, and/or blushing deep red. So I listen.

Last month's topic was Oliver Sacks, who was a neurologist I really admired (he died this past summer). Last night's topic was "Are Skeptics too Dogmatic?"

Last night, in the discussion about skeptics being dogmatic, the founder of the group, who has an M.D., but doesn't practice medicine, was expressing his low opinion of alternative therapies and that he won't use them for his back pain. Although he felt he was not too dogmatic, he wondered whether he was too dogmatic about peer-reviewed double-blind scientific studies.

"What would it take for me to change my mind and go to, say, an acupuncturist for my back pain?"

I thought about being disabled by a stroke and my fierce commitment to do whatever it takes to recover - even try nearly everything that I heard about. Seriously, I've undergone (and paid for): acupuncture, shiatsu massage, Reiki, doll-bashing (I've forgotten the real name of the therapy), Buddhist chanting, and a sound therapy that analyzed my voice for missing frequencies that corresponded to weak muscles, then provided a recording of the missing frequencies. And here I am - still significantly disabled. And a bit poorer.

So, I started formulating a comment about having a stroke and being desperate to recover. I decided not to bother because I knew I would cry if I told any part of my story in public. Instead of formulating a well thought-out answer, I impulsively held up my hand. When the presenter nodded at me, I blurted out:


My first entry into the discussions, and it was OK. Next month's meeting is a holiday party.

See the original article:

No comments:

Post a Comment