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Biorhythms, hocus pocus or substantive ...
August 27, 2007 6:02 AM   Subscribe

Wikipedia explains biorhythms ".. is in need of attention from an expert on the subject." There are many programs available, some are free; some are online. Hocus pocus, unsubstantiated, or substantive? A Mefite refers to a course tutor "Recording everything from blood pressure to sleep habits several times a day every day for 29 years." Myself? I work with numbers and know how to manipulate them. But perhaps more will be revealed about biorhythms. But when and by whom?
posted by Schroder (34 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wendell.
posted by hermitosis at 6:17 AM on August 27, 2007


Your age: 20185 days.

This apparently is not a good day for me. All four below -50%.
I thought I was feeling OK, but I guess I should go back to bed and hide.
Thanks for spoiling my day.
posted by MtDewd at 6:26 AM on August 27, 2007


:)
posted by MtDewd at 6:26 AM on August 27, 2007


I don't believe in biorhythms because I can't dance.
posted by srboisvert at 6:30 AM on August 27, 2007


60% of the time, it works every time.
posted by Poolio at 6:45 AM on August 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


When will more be revealed about biorhythms? Right now! By whom? By me! What will be revealed? That your link for "online" is borked.
posted by ND¢ at 6:45 AM on August 27, 2007


This is kind of like the other night when I was waiting on the subway and some scuzzy looking guy came up to me and said, "Man, I am fucked up." Rather than talk to him I got up to move and he said, "What?! You don't want to talk," to which I said, "Thanks man. I'm okay," and walked away.

Replace biorhythms with that guy.
posted by wfrgms at 7:07 AM on August 27, 2007 [2 favorites]


The first thing I do when I see a tag like that at the top of an article is remove it. Put there by a self-acclaimed hall monitor too ignorant to actually contribute and improve the article. The tags don't help and just serve to deprecate other peoples work. If an expert comes along and wants to work on it he/she will, we don't need big red stamps marked "DEFECT" on the cover. Every article on Wikipedia needs the help of an expert, it's a given.

I'll leave it up for the purposes of this FPP but it certainly demonstrates how one persons tag essentially ruins the entire article (disclaimer: I've never edited this article and am not an expert).
posted by stbalbach at 7:07 AM on August 27, 2007


Good Vibrations :)
posted by Poolio at 7:12 AM on August 27, 2007


self-acclaimed hall monitor

There are far too many of those people on wikipedia these days.
posted by empath at 7:13 AM on August 27, 2007 [2 favorites]


The idea of biorythms is tempting, its undeniable that the body goes through cycles, there's the obvious menstrual cycle in women, and recently similar (if less obvious) cycles have been discovered in me.

My real question for biorythms: is this rediscoverable? In other words, if we started from scratch, studied humans and their mental, physical, and emotional ups and downs, would we find what the biorythm people claim? If not, then it seems safe to assume that its just old fashioned superstitious crap gussied up in pseudo-science.

It seems to be based off a very limited sample taken over 100 years ago under conditions that a modern scientist would cringe at.

I think that even if there was something to the whole cyclic idea, it's pretty silly to assume the cycles would be exactly the same length for all humans, or that environmental factors couldn't alter cycle length. Heck, the menstrual cycle varies considerably from individual to individual and changes in diet, exercies, and environment can alter it significantly.
posted by sotonohito at 7:13 AM on August 27, 2007


But when and by whom?

I don't know by whom, but will be able to tell you when if you buy me this wristwatch.
posted by misteraitch at 7:14 AM on August 27, 2007


er... that should be "and recently similar (if less obvious) cycles have been discovered in men." not me. Urk. Guess my mental cycle is down today or something....
posted by sotonohito at 7:15 AM on August 27, 2007


1 vote for pseudoscience.
posted by arcticwoman at 7:18 AM on August 27, 2007


If an expert comes along and wants to work on it he/she will, we don't need big red stamps marked "DEFECT" on the cover. Every article on Wikipedia needs the help of an expert, it's a given.

I guess that's the tension between democracy and encyclopedia status. The reason why Britannica has the status that it does is because you know that the authors are going to be expert in their field. With Wikipedia, because it's touted as an encyclopedia, there are going to be a whole lot of kids who assume that the content provided is going to be, if not written by experts, then at least well-researched and a competent handling of the material.

If that isn't the case, then for the sake of Wikipedia's usefulness, it needs to be flagged up. Failure to do so simply renders it less useful.

And presumably, many articles have already recieved the help of an expert -- or if not an expert, somebody competent to summarize the material on that issue. Those articles wouldn't need flagging in that way because they're fine as they are.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:19 AM on August 27, 2007


Can I use biorhythms in combination with my mood ring? Or could there be some sort of dangerous conflict?
posted by pracowity at 7:20 AM on August 27, 2007


The Tao that can be told is not the real Tao.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:30 AM on August 27, 2007 [3 favorites]


Am I the only one so old around here that this nonsense actually comes with a pleasant sepia whiff of late 1970s nostalgia?
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:46 AM on August 27, 2007 [3 favorites]


Sorry CunningLinguist, that requires having been alive in the late 70s.
posted by arcticwoman at 7:47 AM on August 27, 2007


Yeah, rub it in.
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:48 AM on August 27, 2007



Rhythm is actually intensely important to all aspects of human life. If the heart can't keep a beat under changing conditions, for one, you're dead. Second, we clearly have circadian rhythms and any woman who has ever had PMS knows about those cycles. Many neurochemicals-- for example, oxytocin, involved in social connections-- are released in rhythmic bursts.

Conversational rhythm is key to social interactions; patterned, repetitive stimulation is critical learning.

If a baby gets off on the wrong foot rhythmically, it's really hard for his parents to figure out when he wants to eat, when he wants to sleep, how to soothe him-- and this can set stage for all kinds of later problems, or at minimum, make parents' life hell for first year or so.

So, while this stuff is clearly ancient nonsense, it is absurd to think that the role of rhythm is unimportant and shouldn't be intensively studied scientifically.
posted by Maias at 7:55 AM on August 27, 2007


I remember that my TRS80 had a biorhythm program. At the time I was astounded. "So wait....it can tell when I'm going to have a good idea just from my BIRTHDAY??" Now I'm more like "why is pseudo-science always so quick to jump onto new real sciences?"
posted by DU at 8:03 AM on August 27, 2007


Am I the only one so old around here that this nonsense actually comes with a pleasant sepia whiff of late 1970s nostalgia?

Make that late 60s for me. Since then, I have not encountered or thought about biorhythms, until this very post.
posted by beagle at 8:04 AM on August 27, 2007


PeterMcDermott, it has nothing to do with ideology, it's just bad community behavior. Citizendium for example explicitly bans those types of tags, they are not allowed. I can't tell you how many people get pissed off and frustrated with these tags. It puts way too much power in a single persons hands to grade an article and flag it - guilty without trial - there is no objective measurement its all opinion. Most of the time there is no corresponding rationale why it was flagged on the talk page, no discussion or actionable list of reasons, no democratic process, it is essentially "I don't like this article so I'm going to take a crap on it".
posted by stbalbach at 8:05 AM on August 27, 2007


I remember biorhythms supplanting astrology for a while and every candy store had cheap plastic biorhythm calculators to keep in your wallet.
Maybe pseudoscience fads have a 30 year cycle?
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:12 AM on August 27, 2007


Although I recollect biorhythms from the 70s, I did not begin rubbing it in until the 80s. This may or may come as any consolation for you, CL.
posted by phearlez at 8:18 AM on August 27, 2007


Ok, we don't need to know about your masturbation habits.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:21 AM on August 27, 2007


I'm bipolar, so I can't deny that life has cycles – sometimes they rule my life more than I'd like to admit – and yet I can't help but think of biorythms as bunk. Maybe because I notice patterns that aren't easily accounted for by only three categories with (approximately) month-long cycles, like the surge of testosterone I tend to experience around the 20th of each month (impacting all three parts of the chart,) or the way I spend every third winter in a deep depression.
posted by djlynch at 8:38 AM on August 27, 2007


Astrology : astronomy :: Biorhythms : Biological rhythms (Chronobiology)
posted by Tehanu at 8:56 AM on August 27, 2007 [2 favorites]


Howcome every time I read my biorhythm, my intelligence scale is low?
posted by isopraxis at 9:18 AM on August 27, 2007


Excellent, Tehanu.

De Revolutionibus (Copernicus) : Astronomy :: Geometry of Biological Time (Winfree) : Chronobiology.
posted by jamjam at 11:17 AM on August 27, 2007


Am I the only one so old around here that this nonsense actually comes with a pleasant sepia whiff of late 1970s nostalgia?

Not at all. I remember a friend's aunt had a hand-held calculator made just for charting biorhythms. Fancy! I also remember that Pope John Paul II approved of them. I'm so glad I've carried that ever-so-useful bit of information around with me for a few decades.
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:19 AM on August 27, 2007


There is an actual field called "chronobiology" founded by a colleague of mine, Franz Halberg,, that studies the variations over time of specific biological functions and biomarkers. Medline has over 70,000 references when you search on the word.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:49 PM on August 27, 2007


On non-preview: what Tehanu said.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:51 PM on August 27, 2007


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