P.I. Prateeka Koul
29 October 2012
Scientific knowledge about the human body has seemed to increase one thousand-fold over the past two centuries. And yet, with these two TED talks, superstition and spiritualism continues to pervade popular perception of the material form. Now the subject material of the talks seemed definitely grounded in the realm of science. But the extent to which such knowledge can be applied by average persons is utterly far-fetched. Living healthy lifestyles is necessarily going to improve health, but affecting genes is a concept that is overtly deceitful to the lay-person. I agree that genetic dispositions are not the be-all-end-all of a person’s quality of life. But the way in which the speaker, Dean Ornish, presents his case carries the tone of a televangelist. Obviously providing your body with the correct nutrition will allow it to function more optimally. And I believe it is common knowledge that exercising produces endorphins, while strengthening and detoxifying the body allowing for a happier, more active life. Basically, I felt as if Ornish’s talk was a basic reiteration of the things I learned in eighth grade health class. With only cursory knowledge of the functional MRI brain-mapping technique, I believe the best effects come about psychologically. I do not believe that people can actively control the inner machinations of the mind, even if they have sufficient knowledge. But I do believe that some people believe that they can, much in the same way some superstitious people believe that speaking about a disease will make it more likely to occur. If the technique were so great, there would be a much larger effective rate in those patients with chronic pain; a 46 percent to 66 percent decrease in pain in patients seems hardly sufficient to substantiate the claims made by Christopher deCharms. Since there was no reasons offered as to why the rates were cut...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document