Friday, March 23, 2007

Homeopathy invades the UK

BBC News reports today that complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has infiltrated British universities to an unprecedented level. There are more than 40 BSc Honors degrees available at British universities in the United Kingdom. It doesn't help that the heir to the throne is a quack pushing for more alternative medicine in the UK.

In the journal Nature, David Colquhoun rails against the teaching of homeopathy in British universities, but in many ways he misses the point.

His critique largely focuses on the fact that:

Some of the words are borrowed from science but they are used in a way that has no discernible scientific meaning whatsoever.
But from the public's perspective, this is irrelevant. What argument are the alternative med types going to use? Probably, oh he's an arrogant scientist. Or, he's not open-minded. Or, this is just a different modality.

The only argument that is relevant to the public is: Prove to me that it works. And on this level, the vast majority of alternative medicine treatments fail abysmally. The alties themselves say that double-blind controlled studies don't work for alternative medicine. I'm sorry folks, that means that these techniques don't work. Science is about proof. If you can't prove it, it ain't true. And if you want to hand out degrees in science, you need to be able to do science.