Thursday, May 10, 2007

My woo™ is unknowable!

I've maintained in the past that science demands a "Prove it." mentality. This is in stark contrast to many practitioners of alternative medicine, who either say that their particular brand of quackery is "unknowable" in the regular sense (to which I say, "Can't I make up shit and charge for it, too, then?"). The other response is that conventional methods for evaluating success and failure don't work when applied to alternative medicine. This should set off alarm bells and get you reaching to protect your wallet. Anyone who is actually confident that their technique works won't mind subjecting it to objective testing.

Orac provides an excellent critique of one particularly revolting example of this "you just don't understand!" brand of intellectual dishonesty:

In other words, if that pesky scientific method won't show that alternative medicine has efficacy against disease or symptoms, then the answer is easy: Use a different method and "widen the definition of what works in therapy"! Ugh! I wonder who paid for this study.
While I tend to disagree with him that this might be funded by alternative medicine companies (I think the author of this study could honestly think these things - she's just wrong). Read Orac's critique, and try not to get too depressed at the example of post-modern, anti-Enlightenment thinking that he has uncovered.


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