Dr. Oz and the High Irony Diet

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
May 1 2014 7:45 AM

Dr. Oz and the High Irony Diet

Dr. Oz Emmy
"And now, the award for least scientifically accurate daytime TV talk show goes to ..."

Photo by Shutterstock/s_bukley

The irony of anti-science can be a bit overwhelming sometimes. Fair warning: This post is NSFPWDWTHTA (Not Safe for People Who Don’t Want Their Heads to Asplode).

I haven’t talked about TV alt-med guru Dr. Mehmet Oz much here on the blog, but it’s safe to say I’m not much of a fan. He promotes all manners of anti-science nonsense, including homeopathy (which has been proven countless times to be nothing more than water … if you’re lucky), faith healers, and even the deplorable “talking to the dead” antics of John Edward.


In 2013 Slate featured an article highlighting some of his less-than-scientifically-supported claims. In it, Dr. Edzard Ernst says that Oz’s actions are “irresponsible and border on quackery.” Just to make the point clear.

So I got quite the induced moment of forehead-slappiness when in my morning news alerts I saw this: “Dr. Oz vs. the Scammers.” It links to a post on Dr. Oz’s Facebook page, where he was promoting an episode of his show:

I'm absolutely fed up with scammers using my name and likeness to sell my audience questionable products! On today's show, I go head-to-head with one of the biggest offenders to take my name back. We're going to shut down these scam artists for good!

Emphasis mine. But really, it should be his too, shouldn’t it?

The Facebook page has a promo clip for the show, and as I watched it, I could feel my irony meter overheating. When Oz says this practice “… makes me sick,” it pegged into the red. And then when he confronts a scammer and asks, “Do you feel badly at all?” the irony meter melted and then exploded in a white-hot ball of plasma.

Oz apparently defines “scammers” as someone who sells his audience “questionable products.” If only there were an apt phrase for this situation.

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  


The World

How Canada’s Shooting Tragedies Have Shaped Its Gun Control Politics

Where Ebola Lives Between Outbreaks

Gunman Killed Inside Canadian Parliament; Soldier Shot at National Monument Dies

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Paul Farmer: Up to 90 Percent of Ebola Patients Should Survive

Is he right?


“I’m Not a Scientist” Is No Excuse

Politicians brag about their ignorance while making ignorant decisions.


Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

In Praise of 13th Grade: Why a Fifth Year of High School Is a Great Idea 

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

  News & Politics
Oct. 22 2014 9:42 PM Landslide Landrieu Can the Louisiana Democrat use the powers of incumbency to save herself one more time?
Continuously Operating
Oct. 22 2014 2:38 PM Crack Open an Old One A highly unscientific evaluation of Germany’s oldest breweries.
Gentleman Scholar
Oct. 22 2014 5:54 PM May I Offer to Sharpen My Friends’ Knives? Or would that be rude?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 22 2014 4:27 PM Three Ways Your Text Messages Change After You Get Married
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 22 2014 5:27 PM The Slate Walking Dead Podcast A spoiler-filled discussion of Episodes 1 and 2.
Brow Beat
Oct. 22 2014 10:39 PM Avengers: Age of Ultron Looks Like a Fun, Sprawling, and Extremely Satisfying Sequel
Future Tense
Oct. 22 2014 5:33 PM One More Reason Not to Use PowerPoint: It’s The Gateway for a Serious Windows Vulnerability
  Health & Science
Wild Things
Oct. 22 2014 2:42 PM Orcas, Via Drone, for the First Time Ever
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.