Monday, 21 May 2012


Well it seems my comments below on Complimentary Alternative Medicine  (CAM) have been taken as personal attacks...let me be clear, they are not personal.
I have no doubt the people involved in CAM, especially in my family circle, utterly and sincerely believe in holistic medicine

I do not.

Belief is not proof. Belief is faith and faith is based on denial of proof.
I can prove it does not work

You can not prove it does.

Does that not say something that even remotely makes you pause for thought?

If I am wrong, and someone tells me I'm wrong, I take time, usually, to pause for thought and consider my viewpoint...if the person telling me I'm wrong is someone I trust I will take more pause. If the person can in fact prove I'm wrong I will listen and if the proof is great enough I will change my viewpoint often taking the time to study my view and theirs to reach a conclusion...every single time.  And I'm apparently quite a difficult know all type of person with lots of "opinions" on many things but I'm always open to hear evidence which will change those "opinons"

Believers in CAM do is something which needs to resist concepts like proof and most importantly to remove opposing viewpoints from earshot but refusing to take that time to pause for thought.

I've taken a lot of time over the years to research CAM, mainly because my partner Bina is so overwhelmingly in favour if it, and time and again I've found the evidence is overwhelming in its condemnation.

My conclusion and that of the people conducting trials on these therapies is still the same, its fake! A persons faith in something is not proof of its efficacy and the very very simple fact is there is not one jot of independent proof that it works is something any logical thinking person needs to take on board.
There needs to be a pause for thought.

In any scientific research,  when attempts to prove a theory or hypothesis consistently fail, the theory is abandoned and shown publicly to be wrong. Science does not invent new conditions that may then  work but can't be replicated, science does not rely on ignoring the facts because it wants the theory to work.

If it is shown to fail it fails

Every single clinical trial on alternative medicine has failed...every single one.

Again, does that not even remotely make you pause for thought, even for a second...

Its not the people I'm attacking, simply the belief, and indeed that's all it is a belief there's no science involved in homoeopathy, or crystal therapy, or various massage practises, or spiritual/energy balance therapies and there's many more..all delusions based on a desire make healing some kind of personal journey.

Acupuncture has an interesting effect on pain relief according to various trials, but its not due to chi or other energy flow such alternative pseudo science idea.
In fact...note that word FACT, trials have shown sticking needles in someone without benefit of any formal training or understanding of acupuncture and telling the patient they are getting treatment has exactly the same  So the acupuncture part is actually's nothing more than simple hands on stimulation of placebo effect.

WE ALL feel better when someone is paying us physical attention, physical contact is a powerful aid to healing. Anyone who's ever had a foot massage when they are feeling down, or their forehead gently stroked when they have a headache, is fully aware of the way it makes you feel better, albeit for a short time.

If your medicine revolves around unproven concepts of energy, chi, humours, altered blood flow, toxins or imbalances of any kind you need to take a step back and ask where is the proof that any of this exists outside of the community of people who practise it.

Consider a tangible example of false belief we can see in practice.
Chinese medicine extols the healing properties of powdered Rhino horn, not as many in the west believe as an aphrodisiac, but as a "cure" for fever and convulsions. It is still unfortunately widely used as a premium medicine with guaranteed effects

Its true that people given this wonder drug recover, its also true that people not given this wonder drug, also fact most people suffering from fevers and convulsions if they are fit and healthy recover....some don't...even when given Rhino horn...
So does it work or not....nope...clinical trials show no effect whatsoever beyond placebo...fake horn given without patient or practitioner knowledge (double blind) had exactly the same efficacy.

In other words, it does not work......Clinical trials prove it....Science proves it.

In the west we can accept that proof quite easily, even many CAM believers will scoff at the idea that horn can do anything for a sick person. We in the west are not culturally exposed to this idea, and therefore there is no Communal re-inforcement of this thinking here in the west...We will examine this claim of a cure for fever with a rational and clear mind and almost all of us will conclude that the trials are accurate and correct.

But nearly 1Billion Chinese who use traditional medicines (TCM) are adamant it cures fevers and convulsions because when they or someone they know (usually) was given it and their fever was thought given to the fact it may just have run its course, as indeed all fevers do.
They all think it works so they take it as fact..and resist or ignore any facts or trial that proves otherwise..Communal re-inforcement at work.
In fact they just got better, perhaps with a little bit of a mental boost because someone was looking after them and they were getting the best medicine for their condition (and money) least they thought that.

So for the sake of provable 0(zero) medicinal benefits, Rhino's have been hunted to near extinction...and despite proof of its lack of effectiveness its still used......though thankfully due to scarceness and conservation attempts, many are using now substitute versions of Kerotine( thats hair for anyone interested...what Rhino horn is entirely made off)...while moaning about the reduced efficacy.
Sad thing is...Asprin (derived from the bark of a willow originally) is actually considerably and measurable more effective and widely available....more so than Rhino horn (well thats not hard!).
Willow bark is a prescribed budget TCM cure for. guess. what!!! yup, fever, pain and rheumatics...the same thing we give asprin for

Of course SOME Chinese medicines have benefits, herbal medicines are the very basis of current pharmacological science...those that did have an effect were turned into medicines...those that didn't still get "prescribed" by Trad Chinese "doctors"...including powdered Rhino horn

1Billion people can't be wrong though can they? Of course they can...the choice you have to make though is to tell many will listen. Are you then a heretic for explaining the "facts" to them? Should you be cast out of the family for voicing what is a clearly accurate and factual statement.

Alternative medicine is the same, only unlike a small portion of TCM it has absolutely 0 efficacy, 200 years of tests and trials have shown that.
2000+ years of tests on TCM show that some herbs have effects...those herbs have been examined distilled purified and turned into

Which of course gives rise to the saying.

Q.What do they call Alternative medicine that is proven to work.

"Thats just your opinion though" a phrase thats been fired at me a lot this last week....somewhat infuriatingly and inaccurately.

A clearly accurate and provable factual statement that goes against belief is not an opinion...its is in fact a statement of fact.

An opinion is formed without dismissing information you don't want to hear as opinion is once again, denial of proof....and we're back to belief and the human desire to protect our beliefs against all attack.

There's no harm in believing it though is there......tell that to the Rhino's?

CAM is harmless mostly, and a deep massage on a painful joint or muscle can be a welcome respite from mild short term problems which can help promote the placebo effect to heal..this is when belief has merit...prayer has the same effect....
Its provably ineffective, yet there's always claims of miracle cures. Lets ignore the fact that all cultures with various gods and even lack of gods can lay claim to "miracle" cures...the real miracle is the human ability to recover from seemingly deathly diseases....its just not a very high percentage..hence why they are considered miracles.
CAM also makes claims for about the same percentages as the miracles....go figure (or at least take time to pause for thought)

But when CAM really becomes something you put all your faith into you're essentially placing your health in the hands of people who have absolutely 0 ability to do anything beyond make you feel like you've been treated.
If you want to know how far that faith can be badly misplaced you only need to read this tragic and deluded woman's letter to her "therapist".
And there are many other horror stories.

There is great harm in accepting as fact something which is provably false, when your faith overwhelms your rational ability to make the best choice for your health care you risk causing yourself terrible harm. Regardless of the genuinely well intentioned beliefs of the practitioners involved.

I'm sorry if people I know are offended, as I say its not personal, and I know they hold these views dearly and unshakably, but its nonsense! CAM is a modern day snake oil, and the sincerity of the people who be live in it does not sway the cold hard undeniable fact that its bunkum.

I'm not retracting my comments ...unless of course someone cares to post a link to an independently conducted double blind trial that shows that any alternative therapy works. Just 1?

Feel free...hit the button down there, I'll print a full retraction and run up and down the high street naked so I can be arrested as a nutter for having the slightest doubt in CAM.
Just remember that independently conducted double blind trail...the kind science uses to prove something works or does not.

To help here's a useful site that will give some info on how Homoeopath works

Two final thoughts for those who suggest that the efficacy of Homoeopathy et al is hidden by big Pharma and industry to increase profit...can you imagine how much more profit they would make if they only ever sold sugar pills...
Big Pharma pumps billions of $ into research...suger pills need $0
Big Pharma pumps millions into trials... sugar pills need $0 their effects is already documented
Big Pharma pumps millions into production. Sugar pills are cheap and easy to make
Big Pharma makes limited returns on drugs.. Sugar pills are a blank check for profits.

Don't you think if they could make absurdly cheap homoeopathic "drugs", at practically 0 cost and massive profit.. they would?

2nd thought... who do you think actually makes the homoeopathic drugs? look into it. They may not be BIG Pharam, but they're certainly making big profits.

In the meantime, James Randi, the well known skeptic has several videos on the subject of homoeopathy, his dismissive tone will not impress the believers but the reality of his factual statistics and explanation of the actual thinking behind homoeopathy is enlightening...though of course it will take more than pesky facts to alter some minds.



Boring old Fart said...

Anything yet?


well thats a surprise innit...not really.

Boring old Fart said...

Still nothing....well why am I not surprised?

Boring old Fart said...

And still nothing...

well again not surprised...only a couple of dozen people read this, though I know of at least 2 who do who are very pro CAM..
sad that they still don't see the need to prove their "opinions"

Boring old Fart said...

And as the year draws to a close.....still nothing.

not that I care any more.