Should universities teach alternative medicine?

I got linked to an article on alternative medicine education today and it pissed me off so much I just had to write about it. And hey, it’s been a while since I did a rant piece, so this should be fun 😀

First off, the article can be found here: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/the-question/should–universities–teach–alternative–medicine-20120203-1qxb3.html

Honestly, it’s not so much as article as it is four opinion pieces, two on each side of the argument. Can you guess which two articles are better?

In a nutshell the articles are about the ‘Friends of Science in Medicine’ (FSM) lobbying Australian Universities in an attempt to get them to stop teaching pseudoscience in their classrooms. Unfortunately this article doesn’t quote anything from FSM, but the first author does specify ‘Homeopathy, reflexology, iridology, energy medicine, tactile healing and kinesiology‘ as examples of these pseudosciences.

With this, I completely, 100% agree. These subjects should not be taught at schools, and certainly not in education houses as influential as Universities. If at some point these fields receive some credibility and there is actually some proof that they do anything other than drain a patients wallet, then fair enough, teach them. But until they are dragged out of the realm of psuedoscience and wishful thinking they should not be taught. Our schools and universities are there for teaching students what we do know, not what might one day be proven.

With that we move on from the intelligent, thought out responce to the question, and onto the absolute bullshit spewed by Dr Rob Morrison a researcher at Flinders University. Let’s break it down bit by bit.

“COMPLEMENTARY medicine treatments are used by two in three Australians each year and have been taught in universities here for two decades. The recent call by Friends of Science in Medicine to ban the university teaching of ”complementary medicine” presents a sad view of science and a shameless push to censor learning.”

I’m sorry, but what the fuck is ‘Complementary medicine’? Strangely enough Wikipedia redirects to ‘Alternative medicine’, so let’s not mince words here. Giving it a different and more pleasant sounding name doesn’t cover the smell of crap.

Apparently this ‘complementary’ medicine is used by two thirds of Australians and has been taught for twenty years. Fantastic, then you should have plenty of data to prove this shit actually works. But you see, if you could actually prove it works you wouldn’t need these stupid alternative names; it would just be ‘medical science’.  Put up or shut up.

And as for a ‘push to censor learning’, fuck off you ignoramous. This isn’t trying to censor learning, it’s attempting to limit bad teaching that might get people killed! I highly doubt you would stand idly by and let schools teach students the proper blood letting techniques, and currently homaeopathy has about as much credibility.

“There are two fundamental points proposed by this group. First, that healthcare practices should be based as much as possible on sound scientific evidence. This is easy to agree with.”

Thank fucking god.

“But ”evidence-based medicine” is a relatively new approach. Most medical and allied healthcare practices have not been rigorously tested.”

I’m not sure what is mean by ‘relatively new approach’, but I’m going to take a stab and suggest that was in the last 100-200 years. You know, roughly the time people stopped dying at the age of 40. In other words, around the time medicine actually started working fuckwit. And I’ve no idea where he gets the idea that medicines aren’t rigorously tested. I can’t say I’m an expert, but last I checked there were quite a few loopholes you had to jump through before you could get your latest pills on the market.

“Second, this group argues that abolishing the teaching of complementary medicine will somehow strengthen its evidence-based clinical practice. This is nonsense. A strong link between research and education helps communicate the fruits of research rapidly and effectively to clinicians. To impose greater barriers to this is counter-productive to quality care.”

So hang on, you think that if you stop teaching people how to do crackpot medicine, whilst teaching them how to do evidence-based medicine, you won’t strengthen the use of evidence based medicine? You sir, are a fucking moron. And as for getting research to clinicians quickly, fine go nuts. Clinicians aren’t students. They should have the tools to decide what are good practices and what aren’t. And if they fuck up, it’s on their heads. On the other hand if a bunch of students from a particular university start killing off patients, pretty bad for the university. Oh, and the dead patients.

“This year, Chinese medicine practitioners will be registered in Australia…There are few cardiologists who do not recognise the value of fish oil supplements in heart disease, and few geriatricians who are not aware of the importance of calcium and Vitamin D3 for bone health…Why would we shut our minds to these possibilities?”

I really want to rip this stupidity to shreads, but I feel the need to be fair. None of these responces refer to what the FSM were requesting be taken out of university courses. I’m assuming by the first reponse the request was to remove pseudosciences such as homaeopathy and crystal healing, and with that I agree. But if this includes removing all Chinese medicine then they’re being a bit overzealous. Of course some Chinese medicine works, and if it’s been proven to work it should be fine to teach it.

“There is no better place than our universities to rigorously discern what works from what does not.”

Okay, again to be fair this dude is a researcher and may just be refering to his own position. If that’s so, then yes, universities are a good place for people to research whatever they like and if they want to spend their time trying to validate psuedosciences then let them. But just because you’re researching this shit doesn’t mean you should be teaching it to students, and that is the question the article poses. Students are at a point in their career where they don’t have the mental tools to be able to process what works and what doesn’t; they’ll just take in what their teacher tells them.

Feel free to do your own research, just don’t drown your students in information that is currently being tested!

“This disregard for patients’ choice will only discourage them from disclosing complementary medicine use to their doctors.”

Wait what? How did we get on to patients choices? I thought we were talking about what should be taught to students? This is just so far removed from the actual topic it’s barely worth mentioning, but for the stupidity it conveys. You see, patients shouldn’t have to make choices about their health. Idealy, they should go to their doctor and their doc should tell them what the best cure is. The patient doesn’t have the knowhow to make a compentant choice. It’s akin to taking the average Joe off the street and asking him which buttons to push in the NASA spacecraft. It’s not a choice, it’s a fucking guessing game. Medicine and the human body are ridiculously complicated things and the idea that you should leave these choices in the hands of an overwhelmed patient is an incredible denial of responsibility.

 

The next article is by a student, Rob Pearlman. Honestly, nothing to add here. This dude sounds like he’s got his head screwed on straight. Hopefully a few more students think like him and these universities won’t be able to pull the wool over their eyes.

 

The final piece is by  Valerie Malka, a surgeon, and is almost as bad as the bullocks spewed by Morrison.

“FOR MORE than 10,000 years, natural therapies have been used, while conventional medicine is but 100 years old.”

Yes this is true, but as noted above you might want to look at the correlation between the last 10,000 years and the average age of death as compared to the last 100 years.

“They deserve the recognition universities have given them as they have healing modalities and benefits proven by credible and peer-reviewed research.”

If that is true, then no qualms. If it’s been tested and found to work then go nuts. That’s not pseudoscience.

“The World Health Organisation estimates that more than 80 per cent of the world’s population relies on natural therapies to treat, prevent and cure diseases…”

And oddly enough 80% of the world lives on less than $10 a day. I’m sure there’s no connection between bad medicine and poverty.

“in Australia we have closed-minded colleagues determined to damage and bring into disrepute the entire natural health profession.”

I’m sorry, but would someone please slap this cunt? I am so sick of “close-minded” being another phrase for “doesn’t agree with me”. It is not close minded to ask someone to bring you proof before you start administering drugs, no matter if they’re natural or not

“Do the Americans have it completely wrong? Not only do they have dedicated courses in universities but almost 85 per cent of US medical schools offer elective courses in alternative and complementary medicine or include it in required courses.”

Umm, again I’m not expert, but isn’t the US medical system kinda fucked? Also, we’re talking about the country that has people trying to teach Creationism in high schools. Yeah, they’ve got it pretty fucking wrong.

“There is no better than modern medicine when it comes to surgery, emergency and trauma, but for almost everything else, traditional, natural or alternative medicine is far more effective…”

Okay, this here I think is part of the problem. Natural medicine and alternative medicine aren’t necessarily the same thing. Alternative medicine is medicine that has not yet been proven to work. Natural medicine is stuff like herbal remedies. Of course some of the latter work. Fuck me, some of the former might work too. But you don’t go around administering or teaching things that you don’t know work. It’s just irresponsible.

 

This last link is mostly a reference for a future post, but it should help emphasise exactly why we shouldn’t go around administering medicines we don’t know work.

http://www.news.com.au/national/babys-eczema-death-was-parents-fault/story-e6frfkvr-1225708504277

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About Jamie D
I'm an entrepreneur and small business owner working in 3D animation and multimedia. I also have a keen interest in technology and education.

28 Responses to Should universities teach alternative medicine?

  1. Jackson says:

    – If you don’t want to use them, go nuts.. others still find use in them, just because you don’t doesn’t mean that it should be taught.
    – Your current medical insurance supports pseudoscience and you don’t like it but you’re sticking with it? Harden up, stop complaining.. take it, or leave it. My tax dollars go towards paying for bullshit science research and a whole heap of other crap, but I still pay my taxes and get the hell on with it. That’s your problem and your choice, deal with it.
    – I need to understand what? Since when are you my mother? Last time I checked, I didn’t see someone from unsupported science organisations marching over to people’s houses, grabbing them by the wrist and forcing them to use their product, come to think of it.. nothing does.. here in Australia, we have a choice. Again, our taxes are being used to support a lot of bullshit.. especially roads and facilities we don’t use.. welcome to the real world sunshine.
    -You’re missing the point of the milkshake reference.. I was referring to that not everything has to be scientifically verified before I can use it. As for Malaria, I’ve heard those claims too and I’ve heard a lot of other homeopaths say that that’s bullshit too. Scientist make claims like that too,like in the 70s that we’ll be in an ice age in this present time. That sure happpened.. not.
    -The scientists desire to know the truth is a rough area.. I agree a lot about science but I don’t take their research as golden because the results change so much..take what you can from it and form your own opinion, its not gospel..
    – Well said about accupuncture and all medicine starting off as unproven.. before you go and knock it off, consider that there may be some research down the track that alternative and natural medicine will be proven to be useful, hang on.. many have and are.. I’m glad we agree.. it is a brand of medicine and therefore it will be given that opportunity.
    – Tell me then, there has been lots of data collated and funding towards research gathered to prove that global warming is a fact.. how come we have had important data to prove that’s absolutely bullshit? I want my tax dollars to go towards something useful.. I’ll happily take the remedies, knowing that I’ll be just fine.. modern medicine kills people and natural/alternative medicine kills people.. deal with it.. they both save and end lives.
    -What is so great about a practice that does change? The old saying is.. if it ain’t borken, why fix it? Never assume.. change formulas in alternative medicine because it didn’t work the first time.. fuck me, many science formulas fail many times before it gets right and they still use the same formula.. not all bodies respond the same.. sometimes its not always best to change it.. my son is a little bastard, I had one big flop there, I’ll just throw him out and try to raise the next one better..
    – Change for everything because there is something wrong with it isn’t best for everything.. heard of perserverance? Demonstrate your product works and it will be welcome with open arms.. bullshit.. that’s a shot in the dark at hope.. ASSUME.. never ASSUME. This argument is flawed and it is a poor example, very poor. How the fuck can you prove that something works when you’ve banned the teaching, study and practice of it? You’ve gone backwards here… the funding has stopped, no-one wants to use it so therefore there is no possiblity for it to be proven..
    – Illicit drugs? You went there, not me.. I was clearly referring to the fact that if people want to use natural and alternative medicine, people want to be taught and will use the product at this current time, then why ban it. I said nothing about illicit drugs and my argument has nothing to do with it and if you say that I’m implying that, you’re putting words in my mouth.. poor form on your part.
    – Firstly, I have no idea how well versed in medicine you are and you have no idea how versed I am in medicine.. that point is cancelled out. Secondly, I don’t need to know the subject matter to see the bad logic being employed.. that’s not even an argument.. its telling me that you’re implying that anyone who sees the good logic in it is fucking stupid and or that you’re covering up for the lack of knowledge that you have and is to say that your simple knowledge of the subject is enough to say its bad. That’s what this tells me. Thirdly.. there are many areas in science taught as fact.. when you teach something or sell something, it has to be encouraged as fact because you need to believe in it.. you are stating your point of view as fact.. I am stating that what I believe as the contrary to be fact.. tell me, where is your argument?
    -Insult? You’ve slammed the writers and researchers of links with insults.. harden up.. you can dish it out anonymously but you can’t take it.. your argument and your reply to my post lack conviction and facts to change my perspective.. I for one have no intention on trying to change your mind.. try a little harder there pal.. you might convince a four year-old that alternative medicine is bad for you because its not cool.

    • Jackson says:

      Shouldn’t be taught*

    • archdragon87 says:

      Hey Jackson, sorry for the slow reply but I’ve been away for the past week.
      There’s a whole heap of stuff in your last post that I’d love to tackle, but there were two points in particular I wanted to address first, as I’m hopeful we might be able to find some common ground on these points and many of the other arguments may fall away as a result. We can always return to any other points later.

      Firstly, there’s a couple of times where you’ve used ‘natural medicine’ and ‘alternative medicine’ in the same breath. I’m not sure if you’re equivocating the two or not, but I wanted to point out that I don’t view them as the same thing. As defined in the original post, natural medicines are medicines that don’t use drugs or surgery; these often work and I have no issue with the practice as a whole.
      Alternative medicines on the other hand have been defined as medicines that have either not yet been proven to work, or have in fact been proven not to work.
      Again, I’m not sure if you’re equivocating the two, but EVERYONE else so far who has responded negatively to my post has made this mistake. Just wanted to make sure we’re on the same page.

      The other point I need to cover is within this statement.

      “How the fuck can you prove that something works when you’ve banned the teaching, study and practice of it?”

      I’m going to go out on a limb here and make a very rare, all encompassing statement. If you think I’m wrong here, please quote me and I’ll be happy to retract any previous statements.

      I have never said, nor can I imagine a scenario where I would say, that completely banning the teaching or study of ANY practice is a good idea. And for exactly the reason you’ve outlined above.
      I am not suggesting we ban the use of alternative medicines. I certainly don’t think people should be prevented from researching it. All I have said, and all I am saying is the following:

      -Institutions that use the scientific method (universities), should not teach to their students, practices that have failed the scientific method.

      Universities can still research alternative medicines. Other institutions can still teach it. Anyone should be allowed to study it in their own time. The only problem I have is universities (and only universities), teaching unproven science to students. That’s ALL.

      Now, taking this into account, and remembering I only have an issue with alternative medicines (medicines that have either not been proven to work, or have been proven not to work), do you still have an issue with my argument?

      • Jackson says:

        Because you didn’t make it clear in your initial argument is the reasoning for the misinterpretation of your views on natural and alternative medicine.. i for one put them in the same field as they aren’t viewed as a form of natural medicine.. as for institutions not teaching it.. good on you for standing by your views, but I’m still not sold.. there are people who want to learn these forms of medicine.. so they should be given right to.. there is a market for it.. so don’t deny them of that opportunity.. why should anyone in mass numbers be denied of learning in an educated environment about something that they are passionate about? Courses wouldn’t run if they didnt have the numbers, end of story… as for unproven science.. I’m of the belief that due to the constant changing of science that teachings and methods change all the time, so the argument of ‘unproven science’ is flawed.. it can change from day to day.. other people within a medicinal practice can prove on their own accord with data that they have collected that these medicines work..
        It appears that the medicines that you’re concerned with need current scientific proof to gain your acceptance.. I for one have no faith in the consistency of modern medicine to base that as my form of acceptance.. there is just as much reliability in natural and alternative (yes, I know you support one) than there is in modern based on the inconsistency and change of theories and techniques.. I for one won’t limit myself to just one method because it can be proven outside the bubble of the scientific world that all three will co-exist and serve a very valuable purpose in society.. to say so otherwise is a simple case of ignorance is bliss..

        • archdragon87 says:

          Hmm, I thought I did make it clear in the article, but reading over it I think you’re right. This article also got posted on Facebook, and I definitely defined my terms more accurately there, but obviously that’s not a lot of use to you. My apologies, I must have got confused as to where I had my information.

          “why should anyone in mass numbers be denied of learning in an educated environment about something that they are passionate about”
          Again I want to emphasise this is only for universities. If other institutions open up that want to teach alternative medical practices I’m not opposed to it, as long as they cover their patients arses by telling them their techniques have not been verified yet and they take it at their own risk. How you’d go about policing that I’m really not sure. It’s a massive topic unto itself.
          But the reason you don’t teach people any old thing they’re passionate about is because it’s potentially dangerous. For example, would you teach a 10 year old how to fire a gun just because he was passionate? I’d actually consider it, but there would have to be very strict protocol in place to ensure his safety. Alternative medicines then add another level of complexity because in using the medicine the practitioner put not only themselves in danger, but their patient, who is likely uneducated in both traditional and alternative medicine. I feel the safest thing to do for all concerned is to wait until the research results come in and we understand how/if these practices work before teaching them.

          “people within a medicinal practice can prove on their own accord with data that they have collected that these medicines work.”
          You need to be very careful when using this kind of data, as it can sometimes be deceiving. The simplest example is the placebo effect, which needs to be taken into account and probably isn’t if you’re just looking at pure numbers. I’m actually planning to do a ‘scientific method’ post in the near future that will be dedicated to breaking down how data is analysed and sometimes misread, so perhaps we can explore this idea more there. Certainly though, this data should be viewed as good evidence.

          “It appears that the medicines that you’re concerned with need current scientific proof to gain your acceptance”
          Sort of. Honestly, any form of studying, researching or testing is doing science, even if you choose not to call it as such. The only thing that really differs is how strictly you do the science. Intelligent design advocates for example, are essentially doing science. I just happen to think they do a pretty poor job of it. Likewise the medical practitioners you mentioned in the previous quote are doing science by showing their data; I just think there’s a lot more that needs to be taken into account before I’d call it proof (evidence for certain, but not proof).
          So yes, I think that scientific proof is necessary for acceptance, but there’s no reason anyone can’t be doing it. I could do it, you could do it, the homoeopathic practitioners could do it…but when a medical researcher does it I pay more attention because they’re more likely to be good at doing it.

          “there is just as much reliability in natural and alternative”
          But that’s just it, there isn’t. No alternative medicine has ever fought off massive diseases like polio. Honestly I doubt any natural remedy has either. It’s modern medicine that has given us the greatest health gifts of all time; vaccinations, penicillin, organ replacement surgery, and although they’re still pretty primitive and barbaric, cures for cancer.
          I really do understand why people are so disgruntled with current medical science, but I don’t see that as a reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Modern medicine may still suck quite a bit, but it’s still definitely the best we’ve got and by continuing to use the scientific method, it will get better. Just because it isn’t there yet isn’t reason to jump ship and start playing with voodoo-esk alternatives in the hope that maybe you’ll get really lucky and something will stick.

          “all three will co-exist and serve a very valuable purpose in society”
          Now that I definitely agree with. Both modern and natural practices have earned their place in medicine, and as we already agree, all medicines start off as alternative.

    • Tamber says:

      This is directed to the person who left the initial post. Just wondering if you have done any research on how many people western medicine has killed? I am a Chinese Medicine Practitioner (A double degree in herbs and acupuncture) who studied at a university level for four years with six subjects a semester (that equates to 5.5 years as most science courses are undertaken at 4 subjects a semester). Before we were even allowed to touch a person we spent a couple of year studying anatomy and physiology, microbiology, western medical diagnosis and interventions, western medical phamacology, chemisty ect at the same level as that of a parametic, nurse ect. Admitidly not at the same level of a surgeon or GP, but lets face it, we are not out there performing surgeries on anyone! Many of my clients are nurses, vets and others from the western medical community including a gynaecologist who is actually coming to me for fertility support…Looks like all the educated smart people are actually getting on board with alternative therapies… and why, because it offers an alternative main stream western medicine, as sometimes western medicine is not able to address all of their health concerns. And before you going sprouting off that I am nothing but a tree hugging hippy. I very much believe in western medicine. It saved my sons and my own life when I had to have an emergencey C-section. Obviously alternative therapies have their limitations, if you have cancer you go to your GP, if you want to prevent cancer, come to us. Our health system is failing miserably, the waiting lists for people to get in for surgey, the cost of health to the public system is enormous. Alternative therapies simply try to maintain wellbeing and prevent illness, surely this has to be a good thing. But I do agree that alternative therapies have to be rigourously regulated. The chinese mediccine registarion board keeps a tight leash on us TCM practitioners, they very much work to protect the community from any doddgy people that have the potential to do harm, as yes chinese medicine can be dangerous in the wrong hands, Just because it is natural doesn’t mean that it is 100% safe. that is why people should only go to practitioners that have the appropriate qualifications and registrations. You can find these people by visiting the ACCMA and CMRB web sites.

      On a personal note..have you ever tried any of these “alternative therapies” or are you an ingoramous that has never even had a session with an acupuncturist or herbalist. If you had even studied just one of the subjects that these courses offer then maybe then you could have an opinion. And what is it that you do as a job? Or is your only goal in life to write crap on forums…. I myself only stumbled across this page as I am currently studying an animal science degree in which I have been critically examining a study on acupuncture on mares with the hypothesis that “Acupuncture and Electro acupuncture activates a mares pain modulation system into releasing the opioid peptides methionineenkephalin (MK) and dynorphin (1-13) (DN) into the horses plasma, a study by Skarda, Tejwani & Muir found in the American Journal of Veterinary Research Volume 63, issue 10 in 2002. You are crying out for research based evidence as to whether TCM can be proven to work. Where is you research? The last time I looked opion does not account for research so your claims are unfounded. Also being a scientist myself…. I would much prefer to recieve treatment from a person who has studied at a University level as I knoww the type of education they have recieved. So do everyone a favour do some research yourself before you make comments that you can’t back up. I am going back to finish my research assignment now, good luck with yours.

      • archdragon87 says:

        Hey Tamber,

        Reading between the lines of your comment, I actually think we’re in agreement on just about everything. You appear to think that proper education and regulations should apply to alternative medicines in exactly the same ways it applies to modern, western medicine. I think that’s a fantastic attitude to have.

        Just to try and clear up some definitions, as I’ve found people get confused (and therefore angry) when this isn’t laid out properly.
        I don’t necessarily have an issue with alternative medicines. Many of these have been tested and found to work. Honestly, at this point I don’t see why they’re still called ‘alternative’, but there you go. The Chinese medicine you mentioned (herbs and acupuncture), are examples of alternative medicine that have been shown to have benefits. This kind of ‘alternative’ medicine is perfectly fine.
        The type of ‘alternative’ medicine I take issue with is the pseudo-science brand. Those practices that haven’t yet been demonstrated to work. Homoeopathy comes to mind, as would crystal healing.
        That’s not to say one day these pseudo-sciences won’t be proven to work. I just think that while they haven’t been proven, we shouldn’t be selling them to desperate people. Judging by most of your post, I think you’d agree that the safety of the patient is paramount.

        Now with all that said (and hopefully cleared up), there’s a couple of points I wanted to address as they’re just bad arguments. Keep in mind that doesn’t necessarily mean the point is wrong, just badly worded.

        Just wondering if you have done any research on how many people western medicine has killed?

        Yes I have. Not that I could pull the numbers off the top of my head, but a quick Google search could get you approximate answers in second.
        But why bother? Even if you could prove western medicine was 100% ineffective that doesn’t make alternative medicine a good choice. Alternative medicine needs to stand on it’s own. Your point is irrelevant.

        Many of my clients are nurses, vets and others from the western medical community including a gynaecologist who is actually coming to me for fertility support…Looks like all the educated smart people are actually getting on board with alternative therapies.

        No it doesn’t. Being a nurse makes you good at many medical practices, but it doesn’t make you an expert on acupuncture. A gynaecologist sure as hell doesn’t know much or anything about herbal remedies. Just because these people are involved in medicine doesn’t make their opinion mean squat when it comes to alternative therapies. What matters is whether there is evidence to back up these claims.

        because it offers an alternative main stream western medicine, as sometimes western medicine is not able to address all of their health concerns.

        Absolutely true, but being an alternative doesn’t mean it works.
        Putting my hands in the oven is an alternative to gloves, but I wouldn’t recommend it to keep your hands warm.
        Alternative medicines might work, but you need to prove they work. Some have met this burden of proof, others have not. My issue is with the ones that haven’t.

        And before you going sprouting off that I am nothing but a tree hugging hippy.

        Okay, tone down the hate. I wouldn’t give a toss if you were a tree hugger. Your personal relationship with trees is irrelevant. What matters is your arguments and how you present them.

        Obviously alternative therapies have their limitations

        Could you please, PLEASE, tell this to the woman who says she can use homoeopathy to cure malaria. Frankly people like that are dangerous.

        Alternative therapies simply try to maintain wellbeing and prevent illness, surely this has to be a good thing.

        Again, it comes down to whether or not the alternative therapy actually works. If it doesn’t work, then no it’s not a good thing! If it does, then yes.
        If it’s a pseudo-science and hasn’t been proven to work, then you’re using patients as guinea pigs, presumably without their knowledge. That’s definitely a bad thing.

        Just because it is natural doesn’t mean that it is 100% safe.

        Random note, can I have this made into a T-shirt slogan? I get so pissed off with naturalists who think because it came from mother earth it’s the best thing there is. I seriously want to hug you for this line alone.

        On a personal note..have you ever tried any of these “alternative therapies” or are you an ingoramous that has never even had a session with an acupuncturist or herbalist.

        No I haven’t. But then again I haven’t tried sticking strawberry jam up my bum to cure cold sores. Nor have I drunk cyanide to help with the common cold.
        Without being too much of a dick about it, why the hell would I try something I have no grounds to think will work?
        I really hate this attitude of “if you haven’t tried it you can’t have an opinion”. Of course you fucking can. Although you probably haven’t tried it, you probably know that strapping flying fish to your thighs and jumping off a 3-story building won’t save your life.
        What matters is evidence. What evidence do you have to think X will work. If you don’t have reasons, odds are pretty high it won’t work.
        Now in the case of acupuncture or herbal remedies, there is evidence to suggest these will work if used in the right circumstances. You could probably tell us which circumstances. In these cases, I would consider these treatments as I have good reason to think they’ll work.

        And what is it that you do as a job? Or is your only goal in life to write crap on forums.

        I do 3D animation for the Texas Children’s Hospital. Ironically enough, I’m somewhat involved in medicine. But my opinion on the MEDICINE is as relevant as the janitors. I don’t really have an opinion on the medicine, whether it be western, alternative or pseudo.
        What I CAN have an opinion on however, is the process by which we USE medicine. Because I don’t need to understand the circulatory system for that, I just need LOGIC.
        Logic tells me we shouldn’t use unproven medicine on patients unless it’s a trial and they’re aware of the risks. I don’t even need to know which medicine to get to that conclusion.

        So do everyone a favour do some research yourself before you make comments that you can’t back up.

        The comment I made was that SOME alternative therapies have not been fully tested (pseudo-sciences), yet they are being practised on a daily basis. I think this is morally wrong and incredibly dangerous, both to the patient and the practitioner.
        If you still think this comment requires more research, let me know.

  2. Jackson says:

    FYI.. I’m very science driven and an athiest.. but the fact that creationism is taught in schools in america isn’t fucked.. we can’t prove anything.. creationism is like anything to do with belief or lack of.. its a theory.. people can prove in their theories as to why creationism is true.. I can prove in my theories why god isn’t.. I’m no different to a believer in creationism.. they probably think I’m fucked.. but then, I respect their choice and I don’t hound them..

    • archdragon87 says:

      “we can’t prove anything”

      …yes we can. If we couldn’t prove anything…well you just wouldn’t be able to function because you wouldn’t be able to predict your own actions.

      “creationism is like anything to do with belief or lack of.. its a theory”

      No. Scientifically speaking a theory is a compilation of data that give so much weight to an idea that we call it a fact. In science ‘theory’ is equal to fact. Belief has nothing to do with it. It is driven by data, not your opinion. (Obviously its never that clear cut, but that is the aim).

      “people can prove in their theories as to why creationism is true.. I can prove in my theories why god isn’t.. I’m no different to a believer in creationism”

      No, they really can’t. They ignore the peer-review process whereby other people are allowed to pick their ideas apart. Creationism never gets past this stage.
      But that’s a massive post unto itself. What I’m more interested in is how you think you can disprove a god. I’ve never met anyone who makes this claim. I sure as hell wouldn’t.

      “they probably think I’m fucked.. but then, I respect their choice and I don’t hound them”

      Well they tend to think everyone is fucked. More to the point they think you should burn in hell for all eternity for your particular brand of ‘fucked’.
      Personally I don’t hound. People should be allowed to believe what they want, no matter how misguided it may appear. Who knows, maybe one day they’ll prove they’re right; then the boot is on the other foot and I’d want permission to believe what I like.
      The issue occurs when believers try and force their beliefs on their communities. That means they’ve started the hounding, at which point I’ll happily tell them why they’re wrong.

      • Jackson says:

        -Typo.. we can’t prove everything..
        – I agree, science is based on fact according to evidence on what we know..
        – You can’t use sarcasm in texts.. I can prove my theories as to why god isn’t real according to what I believe.. I may be wrong, I may be right.. I believe in what I believe, much like everyone else..
        – Again, you are generalising.. I know many of the religious faith that don’t think that religion is about people burning in hell and all that yadda yadda.. I’m just as guilty, I’m an athiest and I push my beliefs on others.. youre pushing your beliefs on the blogging internet community.. no different to religious types..

        • archdragon87 says:

          “I can prove my theories as to why god isn’t real according to what I believe”

          Not necessarily. I for one don’t believe there are any gods, but I acknowledge I can’t actually prove that. It can certainly be demonstrated that none of the versions of gods mankind has come up with are real, but that doesn’t preclude the existance of a god we haven’t imagined yet. And if that god happens to exist outside our universe, we may never be able to prove it.
          Now I for one don’t see any good reason we should think this god actually exists, but I can’t prove that.

          Simply having beliefs doesn’t mean they can be demonstrated.

          • Jackson says:

            Fair call.. we can’t prove or disprove the existence of a god.. my reasoning for the lack of one suits my needs, but then, I’m still open to be proven wrong.. however, I do get the age old question from believers is.. “we can’t see oxygen or wind, does that mean that they don’t exist?”…

            • archdragon87 says:

              The age old question is badly worded 😛 Sadly this wording often leads people to think of scientific thinking in the wrong light. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you all this stuff, but it’ll be useful to anyone else who may read out conversation later.
              Science isn’t just interested in what can be ‘seen’. It’s interested in what can be ‘observed’. What’s really cool about this new wording is that it doesn’t limit you to your 5 senses; logic too, is a form of observation.
              So now, although we can’t see oxygen, the wind, thoughts or feelings etc, we can ‘observe’ or ‘detect’ them using other tools. You can certainly feel the wind.
              Some believers will likely tell you they can ‘feel’ God as well, and that is indeed a testable claim.

      • Jackson says:

        No worries mate.. social media does get confusing sometimes, not sure where you said what and the like.. I’m just as guilty.. I hope you enjoyed the trip by the way… a good chance to get some creative and inspiring juices going!
        Denying the whole education thing.. I completely understand what you mean.. I am in full support of it being taught in universities which is opposed to your argument unfortunately.. I think all courses that involve medicine.. natural/modern/alternative .. should have subjects based on the cons of the type of medicine .. a bit more background.. people can use that knowledge gained from government funded universities any way which way they like.. its like someone doing a course on a type of science that looks to explore the universe or evolution that completely opposes religion, yet they find a career in this science and still remain religious.. people do with that knowledge with what they may..
        I know where you’re coming from about the child and the gun and the protocols and such.. much like my mentioning of that milkshake.. at the end of the day, there isn’t gun shooting in medicine.. and there isn’t a course in shooting guns, although that probably wouldn’t be a bad idea.. there are some out there that I wouldn’t trust with a gun.. haha, I know what you mean and you’re right.. you have a good strong opinion on this area in terms of universities.. I feel in some cases, when some illnesses are treated late and with negative results.. there is no need to beat around the bush.. explore natural/alternative medicines where you can.. the door shouldn’t be closed before its too late.. have seen a few lose their lives because of the waiting game because of modern science.. explains why I support the argument I do.

        You’re right about data.. the reality is.. statistics and data can be used to prove anything to achieve a desired result, especially if it by means using smaller number of test patients to achieve the desired result of stats and data.. all areas of medicine fall under this .. the placebo effect is a good example.. cancer treatment is a good example for modern medicine too.. variables..

        You’re right about the scientific proof.. but as far as I understand.. scientific proof isn’t crystal clear.. personal experiences should be taken into account, especially that of those that aren’t subjected to scientific proof and evidence.. you may need to weigh in whether a certain form of study factors in the genetical history of the person and the environment, this does incorporate study, yes.. but I feel that scientific proof or evidence is not doing enough focus on staying away from the books and PC and being more broad with their subjects.. I have no doubt that this will happen, in time.. but as previously discussed.. these alternate medicines used to be modern and chances are, were and still are used in areas that are not subject to modern medicine .. especially factoring technology, location and availablity.. it will happen in due course.

        I have no doubt that thanks to vaccines.. modern medicine has cured a lot of evidence.. you’re right in all that you’ve said there.. however, I don’t doubt that people were able to and can still fight off these sorts of things due to natural and alternative medicines.. even if its a small percentage.. for these big illnesses, I for one wouldn’t go down that route straight away but I have no doubt that it would’ve been effective in the past..

        You make another important point why people are so disgruntled with current medicine science and not throwing out the baby with the bath water.. again, put the shoe on the other foot.. the same could be said the other way around.. people who study and work in natural and alternative medicine can preach the same thing.. its a means to an ends in that case.. it comes down to personal choice. I agree.. we should continue to use the scientific method and on the other hand, we should spend equal amount of time on the other two.. again, the shoe on the other foot.. just because natural or alternative medicines haven’t produced the desired results to convince the world that it shouldn’t be used, doesn’t mean that people should jump ship.. both are developing.. give both equal opportunity to expand and develop.. Good work good sir!

        • archdragon87 says:

          “just because natural or alternative medicines haven’t produced the desired results to convince the world that it shouldn’t be used, doesn’t mean that people should jump ship”

          Honestly I think this line sums up a great deal of both sides of our argument, and helpfully links into a question I want to ask you.

          I think Universities need some kind of standards by which they teach. I happen to think that when practices have been proven to work is a good time to start teaching them, not before. Presumably you would agree there needs to be some standards that need to be met before a subject is taught? If not, then we’re saying it’s okay to teach anything from homeopathy to blood letting. And why limit ourselves to medicine? Why not open subjects to teaching the earth is flat? Or that vacinations don’t work. Or that woman should be considered property? I have no doubt you could fill a classroom with those last three subjects (which is really depressing, but true).
          So my question is, what are your standards for teaching? At what point do you think a practice/subject just isn’t worth teaching anymore? You did mention teaching the cons of practices, so if all you’re saying is “teach everything, just teach it based upon the evidence (Eg. This is how homeopathy is said to work, currently the evidence does not support this)” then we’re probably in agreement.

          And as a very similar question, surely there must be a point where people should jump ship? Okay, I get that we should never rule out anything with 100% certainty, but there must be a point where we say this just isn’t worth persuing anymore. Or at least, this isn’t worth pursuing until we stumble upon information that suggests otherwise. For example there is absolutely no reason to think crystal healing has any effect whatsoever. Isn’t it about time we just let that one go? At what point do you think its a good idea to jump ship?

      • Jackson says:

        My boy.. I’ll answer your question with a question of my own.. previously in the world of medicine, the now ‘modern’ medicine was previously an alternative form of medicine.. obviously studies had proven at that time that it was not effective.. why did people not jump ship then? Why has that been given every chance to develop and why wasn’t the line drawn sooner when it was obviously killing people.. and lets be honest, is still doing the same..
        I’m interested in seeing statistics on deaths caused by modern medicine as opposed to alternative and natural medicine in the present and I’d be interested in seeing those statistics 50 years ago. So why did we not jump ship sooner on modern medicine before it became modern medicine? The government provided funding and gave it every chance to develop.. trial and error? I have no idea.. you’re best to answer that because I’m still seeing modern medicine fucking up and causing a lot of deaths.. much in the same way as alternative and natural.. which is why I’m of the opinion that both should still co-exist and still receive every equal opportunity to develop and be educated from the smallest to the highest level.. they both have flaws, both save lives (alternative and natural medicine has saved lives and that’s not bullshit) and both cause deaths.
        You’re spot on when you say that practices need to have been proven to work and it is a good time to start teaching them and you’re right, I agree.. there need to be standards met and obviously medicines such as homeopathy and other natural/alternative medicines have been taught.. hence why classes such as ‘the earth is flat’, vaccinations never work (some don’t if you include side effects that are spurred on my allergies.. yes, I’ve known people attached to our family to die because of that).. women to be considered property.. okay, I know where you’re coming from..
        I know you strongly disapprove that modern medicine and natural medicine shouldn’t be taught in universities.. that’s fine.. you’re just one person with limited facts and understanding.. if you knew the standards that were required for courses and subjects to be taught in universities.. you would hit me up with a full detailed explanation.. I would if I knew, but I don’t .. I’m not a university lecture.. I’ve done university subjects that mattered little to my course but have seen why they were important to others. My standards of teaching and when a subject/practice shouldn’t be taught anymore..? I determine it when it doesn’t have a use for society.. in this case, medicines.. I determine when it stops saving lives, when people don’t want to learn about it, when universities simply can it and boot its ugly arse out onto the pavement.. if I had my way, I’d do it do modern medicine that inject the death goo of chemotherapy into the bodies of people.. but I can only talk from personal experience with cancer.. chemo does nothing but ruin lives and in many cancer cases that I’ve personally experience, modern medicine has prevailed.. so again, to answer your question.. people want to learn it.. people want to make a lively hood out of it.. it was socially accepted in the past more so to modern medicine, so don’t be closed minded and deal with it.. its hear to stay and in my opinion, it deserves to be. Because of the regular changes and fuck ups of modern medicine, I doubt a lot of its practices should be taught in universities.. the course that I studied before I went on to my major.. was cut the year after because of lack of funding to the university I studied at.. mind you, it was a course that served a great purpose.. (marketing and business management). Where do you draw the line of standards?
        Using your argument.. same can be said for modern medicine.. there are some practices that wouldn’t be worth pursuing anymore.. so you answered your own question..
        Crystal healing… people still use it.. people still want to use it.. people want to be educated.. just because modern science and you don’t think so, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t work for the people that use it.. surely if people are using these practices and they’re still ill.. some would switch to other practices.. surely.. even if its one in 10.. but you answered your own question about jumping ship.. if people are still conducting studies and finding success by using various medicines.. then let them continue to do it.. you don’t use all medicines, i don’t use all medicines.. if people want to learn it.. let them.. why are we denied choice? Modern medicine has many fuck ups too.. I challenge you to pick the negatives out of that..think hard..

        • archdragon87 says:

          “previously in the world of medicine, the now ‘modern’ medicine was previously an alternative form of medicine.. obviously studies had proven at that time that it was not effective.. why did people not jump ship then?”

          Well no, that’s the thing. Back when what is now modern medicine was the alternative medicine there were no studies done. No study had proven that these methods didn’t work. Over time tests started being done and those tests concluded these methods did in fact work and they were adopted by the medical community at large. The point is there was no oppertunity to jump ship. Once the tests started being conducted these practices passed the tests.

          “I’m interested in seeing statistics on deaths caused by modern medicine as opposed to alternative and natural medicine in the present and I’d be interested in seeing those statistics 50 years ago.”

          Actually I would too. If I can find some time in the next week or so I’ll look into it for you. It may be hard because many alternative/natural medicines may not get recorded, but I’ll give it a try.

          “I’m still seeing modern medicine fucking up and causing a lot of deaths.. much in the same way as alternative and natural”

          There’s no doubt that modern medicine fucks up plenty and a lot of people die as a concequence, but I don’t see it as being the same as alternative medicine. When Doctors screw up and kill people with modern medicine it’s because of a mistake, probably on the part of the Doctor. They missdiagnose or they diagnose too late. Or it’s a real bastard of a disease like cancer and we just don’t have the tools to do a good enough job yet. On the other hand when someone administers homeopathy it’s not a screw up like a missdiagnoses, it just doesn’t work. It should never have been administered in the first place. (Just to clarify, maybe it does work, but at the time of administering the Doctor had no reason to think it should work. The evidence just doesn’t support the decision). Homeopathy kills people because practitioners believe it works. Modern medicine kills people because the doctor administered medicine they know works, it just didn’t work in this scenario for whatever reason.

          “alternative and natural medicine has saved lives and that’s not bullshit”

          Natural medicine, definitely yes. Alternative medicine…well you need to take it on a case by case basis. I’d suggest that homeopathy has never cured anyone and it is in fact all bullshit. Of course I could be wrong, but that’s where the evidence currently leads us. Something like acupuncture on the other hand, while it probably hasn’t saved lives has likely been beneficial (I honestly don’t know why it’s still considered an ‘alternative’ medicine. If it works modern medicine should incoporate it. Hopefully it will happen in time).

          “vaccinations never work (some don’t if you include side effects that are spurred on my allergies.. yes, I’ve known people attached to our family to die because of that)”

          First off my sincere regret to hear that. But this is the exact kind of screw ups I’m talking about. Ideally the Doctor should have known/asked about allergies and this could have been prevented. When modern medicine screws up we can learn from the mistakes. Hopefully that Doctor is now more aware of allergic reactions and peoples lives will be saved as a result. On the other hand when homeopathy screws up…well no one can actually tell you exactly how it works, so if something goes wrong you don’t really know what went wrong. Nothing can be learned with any certainty and people will continue to die as a result.

          “I know you strongly disapprove that modern medicine and natural medicine shouldn’t be taught in universities”

          Ah ah ah, we’ve been over this. I’ve no problem with any medcine that has been demonstrated to work being taught, regardless of whether it’s modern, natural or alternative (although, once proven there’s really no point calling it alternative anymore). I’ve little issue with natural medicines.

          “I determine it when it doesn’t have a use for society…I determine when it stops saving lives, when people don’t want to learn about it, when universities simply can it and boot its ugly arse out onto the pavement”

          Okay, to take homeopathy as our example again:
          1. Evidence suggests it doesn’t save lives.
          2. Yes, people still want to learn it.
          3. The whole point of the original post was trying to convince Universities to give it the boot.

          So in this case we’ve kind of got 2/3 (assuming the lobbying group gets their way). So the only point we really have left is #2, but as we discussed above, just because people want to learn a practice doesn’t mean it’s a good idea for Universities to teach it. Otherwise we’d be teaching Creationism, flat earth theory and ghost hunting. With Universities being a very high standard of education I don’t think they should be teaching unproven practices.

          “chemo does nothing but ruin lives and in many cancer cases that I’ve personally experience, modern medicine has prevailed”

          I’m assuming ‘prevailed’ there is a typo. Because if chemo therapy is prevailing, for the love of god keep fucking using it!
          Now I know you said you’re speaking only from personal experience here, but saying chemo does nothing but ruins lives is absolute bullshit. It’s certainly a terrible method and I hope we eventually find something superior, but the treatment saves lives that would otherwise have been lost.

          “people want to learn it.. people want to make a lively hood out of it”

          Some people would be happy to make a living out of theft too. I don’t think Universities should be teaching lockpicking skills though. Just because people want to learn something doesn’t immediately mean it should be taught.

          “it was socially accepted in the past more so to modern medicine, so don’t be closed minded and deal with it”

          Dude, it was socially acceptable in the past to carve out someones heart in sacrifice to a sun god to make sure the sun rose. Just because it once was accepted doesn’t mean it should still be. And the way to determine whether or not it should be accepted is to prove it works! There’s nothing close minded about asking for evidence.

          “its hear to stay and in my opinion, it deserves to be.”

          But why do you have that opinion? The evidence just doesn’t support it. Why on earth does crystal healing ‘deserve’ to stay? It’s been practice for centuries and it’s never been demonstrated to work. At what point do we call it quits?

          “Because of the regular changes and fuck ups of modern medicine, I doubt a lot of its practices should be taught in universities”

          Again, in modern medicine it’s not that the treatment doesn’t work, it’s that it didn’t work in a particular instance. That doesn’t mean you stop teaching it, it means you incoporate those ocassions when it doesn’t work and add that to the curriculum. And on ocassions where it honest to god just doesn’t work at all, fuck yeah get rid of the bastard. I apply the same standards to modern medicine as I do to alternatives.

          “the course that I studied… was cut the year after because of lack of funding to the university…(marketing and business management).”

          I’m honestly not sure what relevance this has…but all the same, really? I don’t know what course you did but that sounds like a really dumb move to me. Business management is very handy in pretty much every job. I wish we’d had a subject on it in my course.

          “Using your argument.. same can be said for modern medicine.. there are some practices that wouldn’t be worth pursuing anymore.. so you answered your own question.”

          That doesn’t answer my question even remotely. What defines a practice that isn’t worth persuing? I’ve no doubt some modern medicine should be scrapped, but under what standards do we assess when it’s time to abandon it? The same standards should apply to modern, natural and alternative medicines, but what stardards do you propose we use?

          “Crystal healing… people still use it.. people still want to use it.. people want to be educated”

          I hope I’ve explained this now, but just because people want to learn a ‘skill’ doesn’t mean you should teach them. People use drugs, people want to use drugs…maybe there’s people who’d like to be educated on how to use drugs? I certainly don’t think we should have a University course on how to inject heroin, and I doubt you do either.

          “just because modern science and you don’t think so, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t work for the people that use it”

          No Jackson this is the point I’m trying to get across. It does mean it doesn’t work for people that use it. They might believe it does, but the evidence just doesn’t support that belief. Now of course science might just be wrong and it might work…but you have to prove it works before you can be taken seriously. Until proven otherwise I don’t think it does work for people that use it.

          “surely if people are using these practices and they’re still ill.. some would switch to other practices”

          Yes. And they do. Trouble is no one cares about the guy who was taking homeopathy pills and didn’t get better, then switched to modern medicine and did. It’s not news worthy. What’s news worthy are the ‘miraculous’ cures where people abandon modern medicine and somehow get better. Trouble with that is no one ever knows how they got better because no one was studying it at the time. It’s a shame really, because there is a perfect way to start proving alternative medicines work. Sadly no one seems to be taking advantage of these situations (or when they do, they find it wasn’t the alternative medicine that led to the cure).
          The other problem is when people become so enammered with their brand of alternative medicine they won’t listen to other practices. If you go back to the original article, at the bottom you’ll find a link of one such case. The girl died because her parents wouldn’t try one of these other practices and stuck to using homeopathy. So sometimes no, even if they’re still ill people won’t switch.

          “if people are still conducting studies and finding success by using various medicines.. then let them continue to do it”

          I absolutely agree. The trouble with homeopathy is that these studies aren’t being successful. Now that said, I think we should always be willing to study alternatives, and not just in medcine. But that doesn’t mean I propose teaching or even using a practice that is currently being studied. Show that it works first, then start using and teaching it.

          “if people want to learn it.. let them.. why are we denied choice?”

          We’ve been over this. We deny choice sometimes because it’s safer for people. That’s why some activities (like drug use) are illegal. And the problem with alternative medicines is, those receiving the treatments aren’t educated enough to actually make a coherent choice. They just listen to their practitioner and hope they’re getting good advice. In the case of alternative medicines, they’re not getting good advice. In fact, in the case of crystal healing you don’t need any education to administer it, so even the practitioner isn’t making an educated choice.

          • Jackson says:

            “previously in the world of medicine, the now ‘modern’ medicine was previously an alternative form of medicine.. obviously studies had proven at that time that it was not effective.. why did people not jump ship then?”

            – You’re right.. there were no studies done to prove whether anything worked prior to studies taking place.. the modern medicines of today have passed tests that have been accepted by the medical community at large.. my query is that given the difference in alternative/natural medicines to modern medicine, whether new tests need to be conducted.. I’m merely curious on what type of tests and methods have been done.. on a whole.. you’re right..

            “I’m interested in seeing statistics on deaths caused by modern medicine as opposed to alternative and natural medicine in the present and I’d be interested in seeing those statistics 50 years ago.”
            – Nice work on the efforts below.. I don’t have time to read through them but there is an indication that fewer studies are focused on the stats.. its hard yakka..

            “I’m still seeing modern medicine fucking up and causing a lot of deaths.. much in the same way as alternative and natural”

            – a very valuable and well constructed argument on your part.. I think you’re putting too much blame on the individual in relation to deaths.. in that case.. its about getting the right people into this sort of job.. if there was so much focus on modern medicine being ‘the way’.. they should focus on constantly educating, training and having these people work there butts off to be the shining light .. we don’t have the tools for some illnesses yet we are always being directed to modern medicine as ‘the way’ according to your argument… I believe in human error but if I go to the docs for a bad illness.. I want to have faith they’re going to get the job done.. i don’t have faith in them even for the smalltest of things.. as for scenario.. come on, it sounds like a game of trial and error.. people’s lives are too delicate for that.. overall, your argument here is a good one, but again, not overly sold..

            “alternative and natural medicine has saved lives and that’s not bullshit”

            * Natural medicine, definitely yes. Alternative medicine…well you need to take it on a case by case basis – you

            – Ah, case by case,, I can use that argument for modern medicine.. actually, you did.. replace scenario with case by case.. they’re both the same thing.. it either does or it doesn’t.. it does.. I’m glad accupuncture keeps its distance from modern medicine.. it is different to modern.. its a different option.. as for the argument of where evidence leads us.. medicine across all levels happens day in, day out.. not all are going to be reported.. only what is deemed big and news worthy.. rural media would have little interest in the stories that happen involving medicine.. I have contacts in rural newspapers that confirm this.. but yes, we do need some form of evidence..

            “vaccinations never work (some don’t if you include side effects that are spurred on my allergies.. yes, I’ve known people attached to our family to die because of that)”

            – I’m not sure if you have heard of a doctor in central Victoria who has had in access of 15 deaths under his doctorship.. if thats a word.. he continues to practice amidst regular complaints and nothing has been done to revoke his license which in my opinion is absolutely bullshit.. its a joke.. he is a leading practioner of modern medicine and he still continues to get it wrong.. presuming you haven’t heard of this.. I’m frightened to think of how many have suffered the same fate and continued to be doctors despite bleeding evidence that they simply have no fucking idea on what they are doing.. as for doctors an allergies.. I thought it was a standard practice that doctors were made aware of allergies before operations.. especially as one as signifcant as cancer treatment… this is a joke and it is unforgiveable.. you can’t honestly tell me that these doctors are showing enough care in their work to justify serving for the community as a leading practioner? I haven’t studied homeopathy.. I know very little on how it works.. so I can’t really comment.. I haven’t shot it down and am not prepared to.. but you have a pretty good stance and understanding of it which is good.

            • Jackson says:

              “I know you strongly disapprove that modern medicine and natural medicine shouldn’t be taught in universities”

              – My apologies.. an over the top remark on my behalf.. you base your facts on scientific proof.. what does determine modern from alternative medicine..? where would you join the line..? Why can’t it all just be branded under MEDICINE?

              Take homeopathy out of the equation.. you know a lot about it.. its done nothing by you and it doesnt tick your boxes.. hit me up with a few others..

              We’re not talking about religion here.. we are talking about medicine.. come on kiddo.. stick to the topic at hand.. I know what you’re implying and in parts, I agree.. but I’m not doing the course.. I’m not interested in studying these topics.. whether they’re at universities or not.. who am I to fuck with people’s education? It’s their choice.. want to condense people’s choices.. go to Asia.. study the koran all your life and nothing else because you have limited choices.. okay, I’m off the beaten track too..

              “chemo does nothing but ruin lives and in many cancer cases that I’ve personally experience, modern medicine has prevailed”

              – I’m still on the bandwagon that even though chemo CAN kill cancer cells.. I call your bullshit on the chemo bandwagon.. if you know anyone close to heart that has had chemo treatment.. you will know damn well that they suffer from the effects day in, day out for at least five years.. to me, that’s ruining someones life.. if you have had personal experiences of that nature, you will agree with me and I hope you disagree due to lack of experience and knowledge.. you inject poison into these peoples bodies and even then, THEY ARE NOT guaranteed survival.. I know for a fact that others have gone down the alternate route of not taking chemo when faced with serious cancer and survived.. personal experience my friend overrides statistics and facts.. none of which these above experiences will ever be documented in a journal or in any newspaper article.. you’re welcome to call my bullshit.. but there is no way that I would ever condone chemo.. the treatment does and it doesn’t save lives… the strong willed are the ones that survive..

              people want to learn it.. people want to make a lively hood out of it”

              -You’re missing my point here.. I’m not talking about theft.. I’m talking about medicine..

              “it was socially accepted in the past more so to modern medicine, so don’t be closed minded and deal with it”

              – We’re in a society that demands physical evidence.. not everyone is like that.. I’m one of those.. but its what you want and it works for you… good stuff.

              “its hear to stay and in my opinion, it deserves to be.”
              – people can use crystal healing if they feel it serves a purpose.. it deserves to stay if they want to use it.. I’m not interested in using it.. but I’m not going to rip into anyone that does.. its their choice which is why I believe it should stay.. if its been practiced for so long and it hasn’t worked.. why are people using it? Surely there must be something so small and tiny that has worked to get people to use it and use it in reasonable mass..

              “Because of the regular changes and fuck ups of modern medicine, I doubt a lot of its practices should be taught in universities”
              – nice work.. it should all be under the same banner as medicine.. fuck off the tags..

              “the course that I studied… was cut the year after because of lack of funding to the university…(marketing and business management).”

              -This is a case where the government or university didn’t feel that it served a purpose and they gave it the axe.. why? Its anyones guess, but its an example of courses getting the chop maybe because people wanted to get rid of it and felt it to be stupid.. you have stated that its a dumb move.. my point that I’m proving is that there are those who study alternative and natural medicines could think the same if these courses were axed..

              • Jackson says:

                “Using your argument.. same can be said for modern medicine.. there are some practices that wouldn’t be worth pursuing anymore.. so you answered your own question.”
                -I don’t know anything about standards so I can’t really say anything to that one.. you’re right.. well said..

                “Crystal healing… people still use it.. people still want to use it.. people want to be educated”
                – we’re talking about medicine here dude..

                “just because modern science and you don’t think so, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t work for the people that use it”
                – I know not all modern medicine works for me which is why I use other medicines outside that lable or none at all.. there are people out there that feel it works for them.. let them be.. its not your life that they’re fucking with by not doing otherwise..

                “surely if people are using these practices and they’re still ill.. some would switch to other practices’
                Come on boyo.. BRAND.. people will stick to a brand religiously.. there are people that are addicted to modern medicine as their brand and they stick by it no matter how many times that it fucks up.. people are loyal to their brand no matter what.. whether its food, sporting team or clothes.. it takes a lot to even partially convince them to look at other avenues.. medicine is a BRAND.. I like it.. that case about the girl is disheartening.. some people are so narrow minded.. who is to say that she wasn’t already on the way and little could be done?

                “if people are still conducting studies and finding success by using various medicines.. then let them continue to do it”
                – You’re a show and tell guy.. you would’ve loved that at school.. you’re putting out information for me now.. I need to be shown first to believe it.. so I’m not buying it in its entirety..

                “if people want to learn it.. let them.. why are we denied choice?”
                -While you’re at it.. we’ll stop people from eating fast foods because we know its unhealthy for us.. its scientifically proven.. Maccas.. KFC.. Red Rooster.. fuck you, we don’t need you.. you make us too fat and people are getting obese and dying from heart attacks because of you.. sport.. you’re gone too.. you’re causing too many injuries, thats bad for our health.. I’m using your words.. SAFER for people.. fast food isnt safe for people.. sport isnt safe for people.. these all do bad things and are harmful.. ban alcohol too.. science says its bad..

                • archdragon87 says:

                  Hey Jackson, thanks for the indepth responce. Reading this makes me really happy, as I think we’re pretty close to agreeing, or at worst agreeing to disagree on some points 😀

                  “I’m merely curious on what type of tests and methods have been done”

                  I’m curious too, and although I know of a couple of studies I don’t know nearly as much as I’d like to. Over the year I intend to tackle a couple of these different practices (been planning one on homeopathy for months) so hopefully we can learn about them together.

                  “deaths caused by modern medicine”

                  I’m somewhat disapointed with what I’ve been able to pull. The linked articles are definitely worth a read, but I can’t see any of them being indepth enough to change many minds. Again, further research in future posts will hopefully add something interesting to the discussion.

                  “its about getting the right people into this sort of job”

                  You know what that’s definitely a major factor. Taking cancer patients as our example again, there no doubt comes a point where modern medicine just can’t save people. At that point I know I’d try anything, including alternative medicines. Having the right Doctors who know when it’s time to start trying outlandish alternatives would be valuable. The second last article I linked is actually a really good example of this kind of thinking.

                  “I want to have faith they’re going to get the job done”

                  I generally try and avoid faith as much as possible, but unfortunately this really is a case where people have to have faith in their Doctors. There’s just no way the average Joe off the street can know much about medicine and certainly not enough to diagnose cancer and other serious illnesses.

                  “a doctor in central Victoria who has had in access of 15 deaths under his doctorship”

                  No, don’t think I’ve heard of him. I’d need more information to really have an opinion on him. For example, if a Doctor sees 10 patients a day for a year that’s 2,600 patients. 15/2600 = ~.5%. Now let’s say he’s a cancer Doctor. I don’t know the exact death rate for cancer, but I’d say those are pretty good odds.
                  Presumably though if he’s been in the media it’s a little more serious than that. I honestly can’t have a strong opinion either way.

                  “I haven’t studied homeopathy…I know very little on how it works…so I can’t really comment”

                  And that’s a very good way to be. At some stage homeopathy will get a post dedicated to it, so I’ll try and give you a good rundown then 😉

                  “what does determine modern from alternative medicine..? where would you join the line..? Why can’t it all just be branded under MEDICINE?”

                  To quote Tim Minchin: “Do you know what they call Alternative medicine that’s been proved to work? MEDICINE!”.
                  Actually I think that answers your questions as to what determines modern from alternative. Whether or not it’s been proven to work. And you’re absolutely right, at that point it should just all get lumped under ‘medicine’, although obviously someone could still specialise in ‘natural’ in much the same way someone can specialise in ‘psychology’.

                  “who am I to fuck with people’s education? It’s their choice”

                  The thing is you’re fucking with people’s education one way or the other. You either fuck with them by providing a subject (which may or may not be relevant/factual) or you fuck with them by denying them a subject (which may or may not be relevant/factual).
                  The question is whether or not you fuck with them in a way that’s beneficial to their future.
                  Personally I think teaching homeopathy…(no wait, something different)…Reiki in a medical course is akin to teaching flat earth theory to a geologist. You’re fucking with them in a bad way.

                  “chemo treatment.. you will know damn well that they suffer from the effects day in, day out for at least five years.. to me, that’s ruining someones life”

                  Well no, I’d say the cancer has ruined someones life. The Doctors are just responding in the only way they know how.
                  Yes chemo sucks, but there are basically two alternatives. Alternative medicines which we have no good reason to think will work, or do nothing. Both scenarios are likely to result in death. So as detrimental as chemo is, no, I view it as saving a life moreso than ruining it.

                  “You’re missing my point here.. I’m not talking about theft.. I’m talking about medicine”

                  Without being too rude here, I’m afraid you’re missing the point. What I’m trying to demonstrate here is that I can use the exact same logic (people want to learn it, people can make a living out of it) to say we should teach the art of theft. Now, I’m not suggesting you condone that, but what that then means is you must have another reason for rejecting theft while you accept the teaching of alternative medicines. I’m trying to get you to compare the two and tell me why.

                  “We’re in a society that demands physical evidence.. not everyone is like that”

                  No they’re not, but going into that is a massive subject. All I want to say is that Universities generally teach subjects that demand physical (actually change that to ‘observable’ evidence to be slightly more accurate) and if they’re going to continue that trend then alternative medcines need to be ruled out until proven.

                  “if [alternative medicine has been] practiced for so long and it hasn’t worked.. why are people using it?

                  Ah, that’s the topic for my next post. Just quickly though, people continue to use it because of the placibo effect and confirmation bias, among a few other things I’ll cover in the future.

                  “my point that I’m proving is that there are those who study alternative and natural medicines could think the same if these courses were axed”

                  Well if business management has been proven not to work I’m happy to see it axed.

                  “I don’t know anything about standards so I can’t really say anything to that one”

                  Oh that’s okay, I don’t know the standards terribly well myself. What I was after was your opinion on what constitutes good standards, not necessarily solid facts.

                  “I know not all modern medicine works for me which is why I use other medicines outside that lable or none at all.. there are people out there that feel it works for them.. let them be.. its not your life that they’re fucking with by not doing otherwise”

                  I’m not going to stop any adult from using an alternative medcine if they choose to. I will try and educate them and council them not to though, although I’m not going to hound people over it.
                  The problem I have is when they do in fact fuck with mine or other peoples lives. There are people who die because they had too much faith in alternative medicines and didn’t receive good advice from their practitioners. That pisses me off enough to at least speak my mind.
                  The other problem I have is the entire point of this post. If you want to use it in your own time that’s fine, but don’t try and teach unverified methods to suceptable students.

                  “Come on boyo.. BRAND.. people will stick to a brand religiously”

                  Facepalm. Dear god that is so depressingly true! Hopefully articles and discussions like this will help convince some people to try alternatives (alternatives in this case being modern…)

                  “who is to say that she wasn’t already on the way and little could be done?”

                  The Doctors who have cured diseases like her’s a thousand times before. Based upon witnesses descriptions of the rashes these Doctors can say with reasonable certainty she could have been saved.

                  “You’re a show and tell guy.. you would’ve loved that at school.. you’re putting out information for me now.. I need to be shown first to believe it.. so I’m not buying it in its entirety”

                  Hehe, yeah always been a bit of a show-pony. Show and tell was great, Drama class was better 😛
                  It’s good you’re not buying my opinion straight off. If you haven’t read up on these subjects you shouldn’t. But I’ll do more posts on specific alternative medicines, link some articles and (if you can) you should read up on some in your own time. It’s a good stance to take, so my hat off to you sir.

                  “I’m using your words.. SAFER for people.. fast food isnt safe for people.. sport isnt safe for people.. these all do bad things and are harmful.. ban alcohol too.. science says its bad..”

                  Well to an extent I agree with you. Ban all University subjects that teach fast food and alcohol is good for you. Ban sports classes that promote unsafe practices that result in regular injuries. I’m all for it.
                  The part you’ve skipped over is that I’m not calling for an all out ban on alternative medicines, just the teaching of it as fact.
                  Honestly you couldn’t ban people from taking homeopathy in their homes; it’s just not practical and I wouldn’t condone it. You can however ban the teaching of unsafe practices, and that part I support.

        • archdragon87 says:

          Okay, I’ve been doing a little research into deaths related to alternative medicines and modern medicines. This is about two hours worth of researching, and honestly the results are pretty scant. The reason given for this (from both Alternative medical practitioners and modern medicine practitioners) is that studies of alternative medicines just haven’t been done to the same degree as modern medicines.

          The beginning of this article details some of the improvements modern medicine has given us over the last 80 years or so. Beyond that it tries to tear alternative medicine a new one, mostly using the same arguments I’ve used here. Unfortunately it doesn’t provide any numbers for alternative medicine.
          http://www.policymed.com/2011/08/modern-medicine-vs-alternative-medicine-different-levels-of-evidence.html

          I found this page interesting because they’re trying to promote additional study into alternative medicines. What I found interesting is one of the reasons they give for additional study is because very little study has been done. This is the quote I’m refering to: “Alternative medicine has many anecdotal claims, but often lacks evidence. More research is needed to increase proven options for CAM to complement conventional medicine.” Couldn’t agree more.

          The only actual study I could find on the subject was this one. Sadly it’s sample size is very small and I don’t think too much weight can be given to it.
          http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-12060507

          Here is a very small study done in Sweden, asking about adverse reactions to alternative medicines. Unfortunately the article is very short and doesn’t offer a lot of details.
          http://intqhc.oxfordjournals.org/content/2/2/111.abstract

          To try and even things up a little, here’s a blog post on the number of deaths caused by modern medicine. The article is extremely biased, but from other articles I’ve read tonight the numbers seem relatively accurate. Keep in mind of course that these numbers are, as I said, due to mistakes, not because the medicine doesn’t work.
          http://www.examiner.com/alternative-medicine-in-detroit/deaths-caused-by-conventional-medicine

          I’m not sure how trustworthy this site is, but here’s a list of 365,632 people who died because of alternative medicines, or because they didn’t get modern medicine.
          http://whatstheharm.net/scientificstudies.html

          This article is long and only speaks about one woman. Not terribly good at large scale evidence, but I found this story particularly touching, and included it for that reason. This guy seems to have a couple of good posts. I might add him to my watch list.
          http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/death-by-alternative-medicine-whos-to-blame/

          One final article; thankfully this one is actually a study. Unfortunately the sample size is still relatively small. Haven’t read through the whole thing yet, but it does suggest that people who felt like alternative medicines had any benefit were very much in the minority.
          http://www.biomedcentral.com/1472-6882/2/7

          —————————————-

          As I suspected, these studies are hard to come by. I’ll keep my eye open for anything new that pops up, but this list should keep you busy for a couple of hours. I know it did for me :S

  3. Jackson says:

    Nice post dude.. you are missing the key element here.. if you don’t like it, don’t use it. No-one is forcing you alternative medicines, so why do you hang crap on people that do? Not everything has to be scientically verified to have a use… if I make a milk shake that has different ingredients that is disimilar to those that are made in cafe’s or flavourings sold in super markets, does that mean I need it scientifically verified before I can drink it? Does it mean that I need to consult a scientist or nutritionist before getting the all clear that it is going to be bad for me? No.. I like it, it serves a purpose and it cures my hunger.. just because it isn’t scientifically verified, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t good for me.. I know you’re referring to medicines.. but as a whole, not everything needs to be tested by professionals before its given the green light for the public to use. Scientifically verifying something is testing.. it is just testing.. it can go right or go wrong.. science changes all the time.. something that could be good one day could be bad the next because someone decided to change their technique that brought on a different result and therefore, deem it scientifically bad… what if scientists did a new form of testing technique and proved that alternative medicines were good for us? That’s the predictability of science.. its unpredictable.. its like media advertising.. it tells us how we should feel and what choices we should make.. at least alternative and natural medicines keep the same.. majority speaking..

    ‘Banning’ things is too extreme.. why ban something that people are using and enjoying? Its extreme and pointless.. its a form a dictation.. if I wanted to live in a society that continued to ban things, I’ll move to the middle east… my point at hand is simple.. don’t like it? don’t use it.. stop complaining like a baby. You’ve spent much of this entry slamming people on their theories.. on the little proof that you have, at least they’ve studied and worked in these industries.. you probably haven’t which makes you just as stupid as you claim them to be.

    • archdragon87 says:

      “Nice post dude.. you are missing the key element here.. if you don’t like it, don’t use it”
      Actually dude, whether or not you choose to use any form of medicine is completely irrelevant from this post. The question is whether or not alternative medicines should be taught as fact. If you want to use them, go nuts.
      As to your point of being forced into alternative medicine, wrong again. I was horrified to see that my current medical insurance offers homeopathy as a service. That means that my insurance money is supporting pseudoscience. Obviously I could change companies, but the rest of their package makes it worthwhile. Still pisses me off though.
      You also need to understand that universities receive government funding, which means our taxes are being used to support unsupported science. Again, this stuff IS being forced upon us.
      The major issue with your milkshake example is that it’s a pretty small claim and fairly obvious it’ll probably cure your hunger/thirst. However, I’ve heard homeopath’s claiming they can cure malaria with what is essential water. The bigger the claim, the more evidence you need to back it up. If you said your milkshake had amazing healing powers I’d definitely want it verified.
      And this kind of brings up a point that seems to be missunderstood by people. It’s not that scientists scoffed at the idea of homeopathy and set out to disprove it. It’s that the claim was so fantastic (essentially take something like the illness and mix with a lot of water – damn that’s a cheap alternative) that they just had to see if it was true. It’s not big bad science out to get the little guy, it’s a desire to know the truth.

      “what if scientists did a new form of testing technique and proved that alternative medicines were good for us?”
      You say that as if it hasn’t already happened. Acupuncture has been demonstrated to have benefits. Realistically, ALL medicine started off as unproven. Obviously if any medicine, alternative, natural or modern proves its worth it should be adopted.

      “it tells us how we should feel and what choices we should make”
      What? You think that science tells you what to feel and what to do? Fuck no. All it does is gives you data. What analysis or actions you draw from that are your own doing. The data suggests that homeopathy doesn’t work. You can still choose to take the remedies, just be aware that you make this choice despite the evidence.

      “at least alternative and natural medicines keep the same.. majority speaking”
      I don’t understand this line of reasoning, although I’ve heard it before, usually in defence of religion. What is so great about a system or practice that doesn’t change? No practice works all the time in every scenario, so obviously it needs to change given different circumstances, and that assumes it got it right in the first place. In the case of these alternative medicines it appears it wasn’t right the first time. Clearly the best course of action then is to change the formulas?

      Your paragraph on bannings is completely inaccurate. Banning the teaching of pseudosciences in universities is not comparable to religious dictation. As you noted in your previous paragraph, science changes constantly. Should these medicines be shown to work the ban would be removed. You would not get this in extreme religious communities. This is actually a great example of my last point; allowing practices to change is a really good thing. There’s nothing extreme or dictorial about it. Demonstrate your product works and it will be welcomed with open arms.

      “why ban something people are using and enjoying?”
      Cool, I’ll let the government know your okay with illicit drugs being sold next to the candy. I mean people use cocain and enjoy it right? Should let em go nuts?
      Sarcasm aside, you put bans on things because they’re dangerous, and as much as I’m in favour of making most drugs accessible to those that want them, I don’t think you should teach students how to shoot up.

      “the little proof that you have, at least they’ve studied and worked in these industries.. you probably haven’t which makes you just as stupid as you claim them to be.”

      I guess a simple “fuck you too” would suffice, but let’s break this down. Firstly you have no idea how well versed I am in medicine, so your point is instantly moot. Secondly you don’t necessarily need to know about the subject matter to see the bad logic being employed. And thirdly, please remember this post had nothing to do with whether or not these alternative medicines actually work, it was whether or not they should be taught, as fact, to students.
      I stand by my statement that unproven theories/practices should not be taught to people who are just beginning in their field and I challenge you to give me a good reason why this is not a good idea, or retract your insult.

  4. Smeagan says:

    Ah hem. I will try and respond to this in the best way my poor, food-starved, massively-uneducated-in-this-area brain can.

    First of all, I believe flat-out banning all alternative therapies from being studied in university is ridiculous; yes, there are some, such as homoeopathy, that have been proven to be flat out quackery but this does not mean they all lack merit. Of course, I’m not even sure if this is what the FSM are even asking for. The article lists “homoeopathy, reflexology, iridology, energy medicine, tactile healing and kinesiology” as some of the studies they would want banned, but are they the only ones?

    Anyway, I don’t have the energy for a long rant, but I think rather than flat-out banning alternative medicine, maybe they should look at what is being taught and how it is being taught and review that.

    • archdragon87 says:

      Short and sweet, but I think pretty accurate. One of the problems I found reading the article (and then looking up definitions) is that they’re kinda wishy-washy and overlap. Technically ‘alternative medicine’ seems to be defined as ‘the practice of medicine that minimizes the use of surgery and drugs’. Cool, don’t necessarily have a problem with that. But in general conversation I’ve found that people use ‘alternative medicine’ to mean a medical practice that hasn’t been scientifically verified. I’ve always thought ‘alternative medicine’ was pseudoscience in the medical field. That I do have a problem with, at least when it comes to teaching it to students.

      I think I’ll do another post on this in the near future and very deliberately outline what definitions I use. Odds are people will still disagree with the definitions, but at least then it will be obvious where we’re all coming from.

    • Nimrod Evans says:

      I don’t think anyone is arguing that natural medicines that are proven to work should be banned, if that’s what the FSM want then I’m against their demands (though from what I’ve read it’s not). I don’t see any good argument for teaching at the undergraduate level as part of the standard curriculum medicine which hasn’t been proven, or has a great deal of evidence against it (homeopathy for example).

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