David Cantrell david at
Thu Sep 13 15:34:19 BST 2007

On Mon, Sep 10, 2007 at 05:43:42PM +0100, IvorW wrote:


I couldn't see anything there which would indicate whether or not NLP is
a load of bunk.  I'm after something like this:

Just a really high-level overview of the evidence for and against, if
there is any.

> 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.

Nothing, nor did I say there was.  I asked whether NLP was
distinguishable from it.

What *is* wrong, however, is peddling placebos as cures when they ain't.
It would be wrong to sell, eg, a sugar pill as a "cure" for the common
cold which had exactly the same effect as a placebo.  Medical trials
look for effects that are *more* than what you get from a placebo.

> >> 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.

You may guarantee to fix screw-ups, but how can I recognise a screw-up?
And I consider giving a mere placebo to be a screw-up when I'm paying
for it.  If I want a placebo I'll go to my mother for chicken soup.  I
pay when I want *better* than chicken soup.  More importantly, *can* you
fix your screw-ups?  Your word that you can ain't enough.  That's not to
say that you're lieing, as I'm sure you believe what you're saying.  But
you're asking me to trust your beliefs.  Unfortunately, people have a
long and glorious history of believing utter rubbish.  Here's an
example: either all the Jews are wrong (the Messiah will come) or all
the Christians are wrong (the Messiah has come), or both groups are
wrong.  No matter whether the Messiah has come, will come, or can't come
cos he doesn't exist, that's an awful lot of people who believe a load
of old cobblers.

You're asking me to have faith.

David Cantrell

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