Wednesday, June 10, 2009

News out of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine reports the not so unexpected findings of $2.5 billion (yes, that is a "B" for billion) spent on testing "alternative" methods for treating everyday ailments. And, of corse, when a treatment is based upon what is counter to known human anatomy and physiology, they were found to be no better than placebo.

"You expect scientific thinking" at a federal science agency, said R. Barker Bausell, author of "Snake Oil Science" and a research methods expert at the University of Maryland, one of the agency's top-funded research sites. "It's become politically correct to investigate nonsense."
Scientific study demands that we need to be open to change and paradigm shifts. However, some sort of plausibility needs to exist in order for us tax-payers to be throwing or money at it.
"There's been a deliberate policy of never saying something doesn't work. It's as though you can only speak in one direction," and say a different version or dose might give different results, said Dr. Stephen Barrett, a retired physician who runs Quackwatch, a web site on medical scams.
As said by many smarter people than me, many times, the point of scientific thought is the ability to critique and understand that just throwing more money at a treatment until you get the answer you'd like (eg acupuncture can help in some cases - but, of course, so does sham acupuncture).

Jason L. Harris


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