We Don't Need No Stinking Science

We Don't Need No Stinking Science

Today Drs Gorski and Novella published Clinical trials of integrative medicine: testing whether magic works?

I highly recommend it as well as a look at the press release. Clinical trials of 'quack alternative medicines should be stopped because they are damaging and a waste of money', say two leading critics  as an example.

Professor David Gorski of Wayne State University and Steven Novella from Yale School of Medicine launched a scathing attack on alternative medicines."


One point is that these pseudo-medicines, being divorced from reality, do not change or are abandoned when studied and found to be lacking in efficacy or plausibility.

“Unfortunately, this abandonment never seems to occur,” they wrote in their paper. “Acupuncture and reiki remain widely practised and even embraced at academic institutions, and even homeopathy continued to be practised despite clinical trials that demonstrate effects indistinguishable from placebo effects.”

Part of the reason is practitioners often deny that their particular from of magic can be evaluated by the methods of science.

That is partly true, I suppose, since you cannot apply the rules of reality to works of fiction. But then you should not use works of fiction as a therapeutic intervention in the first place.

But practitioners are already asking for a pass, with the special pleading that mere reality is too limited to evaluate their nostrum.

Homeopaths say

But CCRH researchers question the concept of standard clinical trials to measure the efficacy of homeopathy drugs. A homeopathic prescription is based not only on the symptoms of disease, but also on a host of factors such as emotional health, personality and eating habits of patients.

“The efficacy of an individualised homeopathic intervention is thus a complex blend of the prescribed medicine together with other facets of in-depth consultation and integrated health advice provided by the practitioner,” Manchanda said.

and reiki practioners respond with

"“If they do stop the trials, reiki will never stop,” concluded AnnMarie, alluding to an aspect of her healing that is simply immeasurable in scientific terms. “You have to experience it. You can’t talk about it. Everyone should at least experience it just once to understand.”"

I suspect that Traditional Chinese Pseudo-Medicine practitioners will not be far behind, adding some variation of

Much of the Traditional Chinese Medicine theory is abstract just like arts and it seems to be difficult to understand if you do not have an educational background of traditional Chinese medicine.

They deny reality and substitute their own and we waste time and money on their fantasies.

Points of Interest 8/22/2014
Points of Interest 8/20/2014