Mumbo Jumbo


While marketing might have to embrace failure, too often doing so unfettered can create a downward spiral away from the truth. Francis Wheen’s book “How Mumbo-Jumbo Conquered the World” is a guided tour through the black box obfuscation of recent times. Yes, science might have limitations in its application to perception and other fields, wholesale abandonment of the principles of enquiry open up a free-for-all where any concocted notion sits with equal credence alongside rigorously tested ones…

  • “Reagan was a fair representative of mainstream America ‘The United States retains, unusually for an advanced industrial society, about the same per capita level of religious superstition as Bangladesh. What one of Jimmy Carter’s aides once referred to as the ‘abracadabra vote’ is ample…[Reagan] has been nurtured in the same rich loam of folk ignorance, historical figment and paranormal intellectual constructs as millions of his fellow citizens. Astrology was entirely consonant with Reaganism and the twinkling penumbra of its faith in the ‘free market’ – an equally cosmic dispensation whose methods and purposes were beyond human understanding or challenge….Since we live in a ‘non-judgemental’ era, otherwise intelligent people will respect and even pander to these follies….The alluring adjectives ‘complementary’ and ‘alternative’ are essentially euphemisms for ‘dud’: there is only medicine that works and medicine that doesn’t, medicine that has been adequately tested and medicine that hasn’t. ‘There isn’t an ‘alternative’ physiology or anatomy or nervous system,’ Diamond wrote, ‘any more than there’s an alternative map of London which lets you get to Battersea from Chelsea without crossing the Thames.”

Embracing failure is not assuming that everything can be wrong so anything can be right. Embracing failure is assuming everything can be wrong, and the “most right” things are those that have amassed the most supportive evidence in the most methodical manner.