IvorW combobulus at
Mon Sep 10 17:43:42 BST 2007

David Cantrell wrote:
> On Sat, Sep 08, 2007 at 11:57:22AM +0100, Chris Jack wrote:
>>>> But none of that means NLP isn't valuable and hasn't helped a lot of
>>>> people.
>>> There's real evidence of this?
>> Bringing this slightly back to perl, if I said to you large scale programs
>> are better and easier to maintain if they are structured, commented, and
>> documented - you would possibly agree with me. I don't know if there are any
>> scientific studies to back this assertion up - but your agreement or
>> disagreement with me probably wouldn't be based on those studies if there
>> were.
> If, however, I were to tell that to my boss, and he wasn't an expert and
> wasn't willing to take my word for it, then I might have to convince
> him.  I've not had to justify comments, but I *have* had to justify my
> "wasting time" on documentation and regression tests.  Being able to
> back up what you say is part of being an expert in a field.  And those
> who have spoken up in favour of NLP in this 'ere thread are the closest
> we come to having experts in the field here.  Consequently I expect them
> to be able to do so.
I'm more than happy to answer specific questions about NLP, but not
about scientology, religion, or other peripheral subjects. In terms of
what is NLP, I refer you to the presuppositions (put NLP presuppositions
into any search engine), and to the NLP communication model, see:

which is a piece written by yours truly (there are many sections linked
to on this page that haven't been written yet, such is the wiki like
nature of E2).
>> If you search for "NLP evidence" at google (or whatever your favourite
>> search engine is), you will find a lot of pages arguing about the
>> appropriateness of the setup of the studies for validating or invalidating
>> whatever particular bit of NLP they set out to examine.
> If you search for "$foo evidence" you'll get a load of crap with a few
> gems hidden in it.  I would rather learn from an expert than from the
> uninformed wikiblogfiddling masses.
> FWIW, the first screenful of results, (skipping past the adverts) are:
> two links to Wikipedia;
> the homepage of "Honest Abe", author of "Develop Your NLP Skills";
> a blog by "NLP Training Scotland";
> an entry in the Skeptics' Dictionary which says that "all the
>   scientific evidence which exists on such things indicates that what
>   NLP claims is not true";
> a bunch of links to NLP coaching, blogs, and the like;
> a book review, with some arguing in the bloggish comments.
> None of those leap off the page as being trustworthy sources of unbiased
> information or discussion about the evidence for or against, with the
> Skeptics' Dictionary coming closest.
Interesting. This says much more about internet content than NLP.
>> If I make a suggestion to you that "you should be nice to yourself" - how do
>> you determine if any change that results in your life - is as a result of a
>> placebo effect or because it's useful to have empathic statements directed
>> at you?
What's wrong with the placebo effect anyway? If you believe that you are
cured, and your illness gets better, surely this is a good thing.
> Is "you should be nice to yourself" what NLP is then?
> Anyway, the first step would be to come up with a control - the
> equivalent of the sugar pill that is used as the control when you try to
> work out whether a painkiller does the job.
> I am, however, having difficulty coming up with a control that could be
> used in place of something as woolly and imprecise as "you should be
> nice to yourself".  But assuming that NLP is in fact considerably more
> than "be excellent to each other" I'm sure you could come up with some
> mumbo-jumbo and teach a random sample of people using that, a random
> sample with NLP, tell both groups that you're using NLP, and do before
> and after quality of life surveys.  I'm sure that needs some tweaking,
> but it would be a good start.
NLP is not a drug or a physical therapy. As it is, the techniques often
work on beliefs and values. I think it would be impossible to come up
with equivalent "mumbo-jumbo" to make this experiment work.
>> Do you choose a plumber based on a scientific study of the plumber or even
>> of plumbing in general - mostly I imagine you choose one based on prior
>> experience or a personal recommendation or professional qualification.
> And also on the basis that if he fucks up I can point at the fuckup and
> get him to come back and fix it.  Social "science" salesmen and
> mumbo-jumbo merchants don't leave such obvious evidence of their
> misdeeds.
As an NLP practitioner, I offer such a guarantee to paying clients.
>> (usually) choose a life partner on the basis of how you feel about them, not
>> on the basis of a study, and so it is with therapy.
> You're not just comparing apples to oranges here, you're comparing
> apples to shirts.  One tends to have a business relationship with a
> psychiatrist or a plumber.  The relationship with one's SO is in an
> entirely different class.  And, of course, by the time he/she/it becomes
> your SO you generally *have* in fact gathered a great deal more
> information than you would have about a random plumber from the yellow
> pages.
Most recommendations for NLP practitioners or life coaches are by
personal experience.
>> I know people who recommend NLP and I can see it has changed them for the
>> better.
> And I know people who recommend homeopathy and prayer, who claim that
> homeopathy eases their aches and pains, and who certainly appear to get
> some fulfilment out of religion.  So what?

Indeed, so what?

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