Placebo totems?!

Um… regarding the Bravetank post here, I received this message from one of my tale characters. If the Good Doctor were considering to present his findings on one of those Exodar holographic projectors, he may wish to reconsider.


Dear Miss Bravetank,

Please to be forwarding this to the Good Doctor, as I am most desiring to meet with him and discuss his work on the efficacy of totems and the intelligence of Shaman when compared to common or garden variety zlotniks. I may have been able to detect a certain amount of bias in the results obtained.

As any scientist knows, who did not get his qualifications in a fortune cookie, the Scientific Method includes the notion of the “Double Blind Experiment”. In his account of the experiment performed, there is, sad to say, the small flaw that the two test groups were given different instructions. In an experiment conducted with proper scientific rigour, both groups would have been led to believe that their totems were real. This approach would only have been slightly complicated in that even Horde Shaman can tell the difference between a totem and a pebble with the same ease as the Good Doctor can distinguish between the personal attributes of his wife and those of his young assistant.

To settle this matter once and for all, I would suggest the following approach: A small group of volunteer Shaman will call up a specific number of fire totems, while another group produces a life-like facsimile of those totems out of stone. All these ‘totems’ will then, one by one, be inserted in the final part of the Good Doctor’s digestive system and ‘activated’. I will, of course, not be told which is which at the time of experimentation, to avoid bias. If fire totems are, as the Good Doctor claims, no more effective than a placebo, then the experience of having a real live magma totem inside one’s anatomy should be indistinguishable from the experience with a blank.

While a Scientist should not make assumptions before the results are in, I am confident that the results will disprove the Good Doctor’s statement. I am quite willing to repeat the experiment as many times as necessary to avoid statistical errors caused by too small a sample size.

Kind regards,
Engineer Mareva, Shaman of Exodar.

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  • Bravetank  On June 9, 2012 at 7:10 am

    I’ve spoken to the good Doctor in regard to your most informed rebuttal. He admits his findings were always likely to generate some controversy, particularly amongst those with Shamanistic sympathies. However, he stands by them. He expressed some interest in your suggestion of a follow up experiment but has said that he would prefer you use healing spring totems as he is “in dire need of some colonic irrigation and if Engineer Mareva is correct then I would rather enjoy the experience.” It was at this point I began to feel a little queasy and terminated the conversation.

    • bannog  On June 9, 2012 at 9:42 am

      I would like to convey Engineer Mareva’s answer to you, but it was spoken, with considerable force, in Draenei, which I am insufficiently fluent in, and she was unwilling to translate. Her hand gestures, though, were quite expressive.

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