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A Study Finds...

By Rabbi Eli Teitelbaum

Everyone seems to be making studies on any imaginable subject under the sun and most people drink a daily dose of their nonsensical findings without even questioning what these studies prove, who made them, and what they were based on. “Don’t confuse me with the facts,” is the average person’s response when shown the flaws upon which some of these “scientific” or general studies are based on.  And so theories on miracle cures of all sorts, and the strangest opinions on anything imaginable, are accepted without the slightest hesitation or thought. So long as a prominent scientist, The New York Times, or some politician lends his name, all is acceptable.

If three out of four doctors recommend vitamin X for a cold, no one is interested in knowing what the other millions of doctors have to say on the matter, or how much these three doctors were paid to give their endorsement on the product, or if they are the owners of the said vitamin company. We simply put our brain into neutral and refuse to engage the gears. We are living in the computer age and expect machines to do the thinking for us. And so if the computer tells us that four plus three is eight, we don’t even stop to realize that the computer has gone awry – we just continue on as if all is fine and dandy.

It seems that one can sell people shares of cheese from the moon so long as you hire a good Hollywood publicity agent. No wonder “Sparkling Spring Water” from the pure wells of Kalamazoo has become a billion dollar business, and vitamins of every kind are flying off the shelves of Health Food Centers. There are fish oil pills that claim they add a hundred years to your life as it supposedly has been done to people living in a well hidden remote village in Japan, and there are great kabalists that can know both your past and your future just by reading your kesuba or mezuzah, so long as you have the right amount of money in your bank account and are willing to part with some of it.

When a prominent bais din once asked me how I know that people should not invest their money with a person who’s offering 18% return on people’s money, I replied, “Would you invest your money in a gold mine he claims to have discovered in his back yard?” It seems as if people want to fantasize and believe that magic is real and that the impossible is possible if we just want it to be. No wonder that the book “Harry Potter” has become the world’s best seller.

I’m beginning to wonder if people are just very na├»ve or gullible, or have we simply lost our ability of critical analysis or just given up our desire to think for ourselves? Perhaps someone should make a study to find out the answer!

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