Not Fraud. But Still Not Right.

Not Fraud.  But Still Not Right.

Fraud: a person or thing intended to deceive others, typically by unjustifiably claiming or being credited with accomplishments or qualities.

Intended to deceive others. So intent is apparently important to meet the definition of fraud. I guess that is why I see palm readers and those who talk to the dead and astrologers and all their ilk. They do not meet the dictionary definition for fraud.

The legal definition of fraud? Those are waters I will not swim in. Why there are palm readers and astrologers and psychics who perform their services for money when there is no basis in reality for their services is beyond me.


What about pseudo-medicine? Jan Bellamy has a nice discussion of the issue at SBM. It is a complex issue under the law. When pseudo-medical providers take money from the sick and desperate for therapies that have no basis in reality is fraud I cannot say. But it is wrong.

I would wager that those who provide pseudo-medical therapies believe that what they are doing is for the good of their patients. That a therapy is not grounded in reality and has, in clinical trials, no efficacy, is of little interest to the practitioners. They know from experience their brand of pseud0-medcine works.

On the other hand, I would think that institutions, hospitals and Universities, would know better. What hospital wants to offer imaginary therapies to their patients? Quite a few, evidently.

Take, for example, Reiki. An energy ‘therapy’ that is nonsense has no effect on any disease in well done studies. It is, like homeopathy, 100% pure bunkum.

And here is a sobering statistic:

More than 60 U.S. hospitals have adopted Reiki as part of patient services, according to a UCLA study, and Reiki education is offered at 800 hospitals.

I have this semi-pateralistic idea that health care providers are not supposed to offer worthless and imaginary therapies to people. We have a higher standard to follow. It may not be fraud but it is not right. Evidently that is an ethical standard that no longer applies.

Points of Interest 5/22/2014
Points of Interest 5/20/2014