Quack Watch--jk

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
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Quack Watch--jk
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Quack watch--jk

The fundamental question for treatment is a statistical one:  What is percentage of improve above the natural rate, minus the percentage harmed by the treatment?  The summation:  benefits outweigh the risk-cost-pain ratio.  “Quacks, of course, operate outside of the scientific community.  They do not use the scientific method to evaluate what they see.  In fact, they seldom bother to experiment at all.  They assume safety and curative powers without their being in the literature properly controlled studies.  Furthermore, they often present a contrary to scientific theory of the body as a way for explaining how their treatment works.  For example they assume that there are healing psychic energies which can be unleashed by the healing touch, prayers, meditation, or the wearing of a 7-metal bracelet.  In addition to that there is an assortment of other less spiritual beliefs that again lack a demonstrable modus operandi.  They will claim that taking vitamins above what the body has been shown to need will cure or prevent a variety of ailments.  When they turn to scientific literature, they use studies that fail to control for contravening variable or have other flaws, and they ignore the other studies that fail to support their conclusions.  The quack and their supporters exist in another sphere.  Their assertions resemble religious beliefs:  beyond the sphere of reasoned analysis.

            The behavior of quacks makes identifying them easy.  They recommend a cocktail of herbal products and vitamins.  They criticize medical science, yet they are without science.  Their theories of health and the body are not supported by scientific investigations and their treatment when subject to rigorous clinical testing fare no better than those in the placebo group.  For these reasons those with knowledge of health science do not seek them out recommend their treatments.  A review of basic health science as taught to a senior in high school sharpens the vision sufficiently so as to be able to spot quacks.  Short of this, one should simply rely relying upon standard medical wisdom. 

            Sure there are problems with medicine; however, nearly all of them are due to the forces of the marketplace.  Corporate profits of big PHARMA comes before public’s well being.  However, physicians practice medicine conscientiously--so do most chiropractors.  Sincerity is not the measurement for truth:  Evidence-based scientific foundation is a much better guide.  What diseases have the chiropractor and herbalist treated with a success comparable to that of penicillin in the treatment of syphilis and gonorrhea?  What role have they played in the treatment or prevention of elimination of diphtheria, cholera, mumps, AIDS, etc?  Why hasn’t their touted cures been adopted by physicians and health scientists as the preferred means of treatment?  And why is there such a divergence between the claims of believers in alternative medicine and the scientifically sound reviews of their claims?  Alternative medicine is a religion, not a science. 

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Alternative medicine is like religion: faith, spurious claims, and damn the best reasoned conclusion.