Always . . . no . . . never forget to check your references.

Might not have time for a proper post today, but here is a story about some very cool crowd-sourced skepticism.  A group of skeptical refugees from Mothering.com’s forums thought Naomi Aldort,  a Mothering “expert” sounded like a jackass.  She styled herself a psychologist with a PhD, but the advice she gave seemed awful, and more geared to pulling in new phone consultation clients than anything else.  This group of forumites wondered where on Earth she would have gotten a doctorate in psychology, and asked her about it on the Mothering forum.  From there, the story started crumbling into one ad hoc excuse after another, as the skeptics did research on Aldort’s claims.  The story is long, but really interesting – I particularly love that this was a lot of work done by women just for the sake of finding the truth, not as part of their jobs or for profit.  Skepticism and debunking as a group hobby – love it!

(Oh, and I will give a cybertrophy to the first person to ID where I got my post title.)

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About Christine

I'm a full-time mother to two kids, an ex-lawyer, a breastfeeding counselor, a skeptic, and (to steal a phase from Penn & Teller) a "science cheerleader." You can reach me through my Facebook page.

Posted on November 1, 2011, in Natural Family Living, Parenting, Skepticism and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. That was fast! Here you go: trophy

  2. Thanks for linking to that article. What do you think it would take to get a news outlet to pick up the story?

  3. I would love to see a news organization cover it, but I fear that the group of people listening to her in the first place is so small and specialized, they wouldn’t think it would be interesting to enough people!

    Her apologists will never be swayed, but I hate to think of unwitting parents just looking for some help and taking her word because she’s an “expert.” At least the MDC Survivors forced her to remove references to being a PhD.

    • Skepticism as a group hobby is not great when it’s a bunch of dumb people gathering about some idiotic subject rather than caring for their children and seeing what’s going on in their lives. It’s just a bunch of bored people trying to bring another down. Not some altruistic cause to uncover a TRUTH. So they discovered he PhD is not real. So what? Are her accomplished and humanely nourished kids imaginary? Her messages to not let your child learn from the lies and culture trends set by television? Her message to give means to children to let them express their feelings in healthy ways a lie? People are sometimes so unbelievably stupid. Naomi Aldort basically teaches to empower your child and be the person you are while letting the kid be who she is and practicing freedom and autonomy. How is that phony? She also teaches you and your child to be the expert and stirrer of your own life and basically not listen to expert. And now you are saying people should not follow her advice? So what do you suggest? Pimping up another child expert and then make her another controversial figure? GOsh it’s not like people can be perfectly handled with a perfect recipe. What kind of weird science do you all believe in when science is just another word thrown around just like religion to make you believe in stupid things. Also she said it was not intentional that she advertised the false degree. Even before she said that the degree didn’t help her much.

      • I simply think that parents have a right to know that they should view any advice from Aldort with the exact same respect they’d give to some random lady coming up to them in Target and giving them parenting advice.

        Aldort certainly may have useful ideas here and there in her work – even a blind squirrel finds a nut sometimes. But for people to defer to her as though she is any more qualified than any other layperson is dangerous.

  4. There has also been a discussion at the Amazon page for Raising Our Children Raising Ourselves: http://www.amazon.com/Ph-Disclaim-Author-Naomi-Aldort/forum/FxNX8DH5IVLF0Z/Tx1OCP9NN6QGOBJ/1/ref=cm_cd_ef_rt_tft_tp

    Some of the posts were removed, but at least there is a chance prospective readers might notice the discussion link.

  5. If you are looking for some full blown new-wage, pseudoscience parenting to examine with a skeptical eye, try researching: The Work for Parents, Byron Katie & Jenny McCarthy, and Kathy White at Joyful Parenting.

  6. That discussion is great! As for The Work, gag! Could I stand to look at that? I can just imagine from what I read of Katie on Pharyngula.

    Parent: “I’m mad because my three year old pooped on the floor.”
    Katie: “Or is your three year old mad because YOU pooped on the floor?”

    You know what, I do need to do a post on her! Because making merciless fun of her feels great!

  1. Pingback: The Dangers of Being Insulting and Misleading « Skeptical Mothering

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