How much wishful thinking?

For every quack treatment, there are testimonials as to the treatment's effectiveness. Sometimes illness goes away by itself. That's just the way things work. And I don't think I've ever seen a promoted testimonial that says "I got treatment X and not a damn thing happened." It is for this reason testimonials are not considered scientific studies. Scientific studies have to be intellectually honest, by controlling outside factors, counting negative results, and so on.

For example, one mother believes having her child's spine adjusted cures colds. She said "If she gets a cold, she comes in, gets checked, gets her adjustment and within three or four days, she’s perfectly fine.” (Original article here.)

Now, wait a minute. Colds go away after a few days, right? Even without treatment. Let's say that your child has a cold, and you make him eat a worm. Then a few days later, the cold is gone. Would you claim that eating worms cures the common cold?

I think the mother's statement illustrates some wishful thinking. It may be the result of post-purchase rationalization, where after investing some effort in the belief, it's difficult to conclude that it's absurd after all. Whatever the explanation, it sure seems to indicate some kind of failure to analyze in the first place.

At the Maximized Living web site, there is a page titled "Clinical Results." That sounds very professional, detached, and scientific. But it's just a bunch of testimonials, nothing more. Assuming that any of those testimonials are true, and not just made up, I would expect people who spent time and money on this type of treatment to largely praise it if they say anything about it at all--they don't want to seem to be foolish. And if there were any negative testimonials, they haven't made their way to the site.
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