One of the things that scares me as a skeptic is the possibility of someone I care for, someone close to me, falling victim to some quack alternative medical scam because they weren’t thinking critically at the time.
Alternative to what, medicine that’s based on genuine evidence?
For one thing, it’s inventing a false dichotomy of alternative vs. science-based medicine, since if the majority of alleged alternative treatments actually worked, and could be shown to work in properly controlled studies, they wouldn’t BE alternative.
They’d be, well, medicine, and that would be it. Some of them are, despite being hijacked by Alt med advocates as their own.
Those claimed alternatives that really do work, and I mean better than placebos do, better than sugar pills, have been shown to work and are currently being used as part of regular medical practice.
But it’s not the alternative treatments that have some small efficacy that bother me, it’s the treatments that have no real support from reasonably-conducted studies, many of which are based on debased magical ideas with no scientific plausibility to begin with, much less being not even being supported by the data.
It’s no surprise that those who practice such implausible modalities shun the use of controlled and blinded experiments because those things rather inconveniently ‘don’t work for them.’
I wonder why….? *crickets chirping*
There is a spectrum of efficacy for differing medical modalities, all the way from the completely worthless, implausible treatments to those well-supported by medical research.
The more implausible treatments have either not been shown to work under reasonable test conditions or have been shown not to work under those same conditions.
I have yet to see someone suffer from even frequently repeated overdoses of entire bottles of, say, homeopathic sleeping pills much less just doze off into la-la land, despite the recent spate of skeptics overdosing all over the world, to no effect, not even a yawn.
What’s kept me from doing it is the fact that the local pharmacies I’ve been to so far have more integrity in the stock they carry than I’ve anticipated. Damn. Well, maybe I should be pleased – bully for them.
I’m afraid the only thing homeopathy will ever cure is your thirst, and to paraphrase comedian Dara O Briain, while you can’t overdose on it, you can f**king drown from it. After all, it’s just water.
By the way, my diabolical Big Pharma paymasters have just emailed me to inform me of the payment in my sooper sekret Swiss bank account for writing this post. Baaah!