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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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‘The Goop Lab’: A look at Gwyneth Paltrow’s pseudoscience

Photo by Creatiive Commons

“The Goop Lab” is a tv series that was released on Netflix on Jan 24.

Gwyneth Paltrow’s “The Goop Lab” is an excellent example why we may need to censor certain shows. The show explores “alternative medicines” through tests which run the course of each episode. It sounds dubious, and it is.
The hilarity pervading the show is what Paltrow calls “alternative medicine,” which is pseudo-scientific medical treatments. That’s the “GOOP” for her. Such “alternative medical treatments” include consuming large doses of magic mushrooms, diving into sub-zero water, “vampiric” facial cleanser, “bodily energy re-alignment” and talking to a medium to contact the dead.
The show’s premise is an indication of something of a growing cottage industry around modern-day snake oil salesmen. The show peddles false or misleading information regarding medical procedures. Then, it advocates how their methods are better suited for today’s modern health issues by being more “natural.”
But this is dangerous because it takes advantage of people who are susceptible to misinformation yet are looking for alternative medical treatments due to lack of insurance or income for real medical treatment.
This is all without getting to the show itself, which is incredibly boring. The monotony of each episode is only highlighted by whatever activity the show sets up as “alternative medicine.” Of course, in her supreme smugness, Paltrow does not partake in any of the more dangerous activities; this is what the volunteers are for.
Paltrow has volunteers, paid for the experience, conducting experiments in the “Goop Lab” to see their effectiveness in treating health issues. These volunteers are your average privileged type, totally incautious about consuming magic mushrooms in large doses or diving into sub-zero water. They never question the validity of Paltrow’s tests.
Their first activity in the first episode is to consume mushrooms. The test devolves into a bunch of adults getting high from consuming too many ‘shrooms then expressing how this made them feel better. The results were subjective and only served to show their idiocy as testers of “new” medical treatments.
The worst episode by far includes a psychic medium. This alone warrants the show as pushing for pseudo-scientific methods of healing. The psychic the show hires blunders through each of their readings. At first, the psychic “contacts” one of the volunteers’ passed loved ones. The automatic validation on the part of the ignorant volunteers is quick to show the psychic’s legitimacy.
However, what happens when the psychic is put up against a skeptic? The psychic struggles to guess anything correctly about the volunteers. She is forced to keep drawing random “readings” of the volunteers to no avail. The producers of the show excuse this misreading by showing this psychic was accidentally reading a volunteer in another room.
Every episode in the show follows this pattern, which is why this show is completely bogus. The methodology is dubious at best. The volunteers and test activities are conducted without a care or concern for safety or the lasting repercussions that it will have on information. The tests are just used as sources of poor entertainment.
There should be more concern around the danger to truth, science and people’s health this show poses. Moreover, there ought to be more fingers pointing at Netflix for allowing this six-episode advertisement for alternative medical products to be displayed on their site. There needs to be higher standards for the shows Netflix puts on their lists because their service has tens of millions of users. The “Goop Lab” may be funny to some for its far fetched antics, but to others it may convince them to rethink the standards of sciences and medicine in a harmful way.

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