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Why Alternative Med Section?
Posted: 29 September 2015 01:35 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I was curious why this sub-section of Alternative Medicine exists on this forum? Not that I do not like it, but why a section specifically on AM oppose to medical advances or health in general?

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Posted: 29 September 2015 02:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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The subject of pseudoscience in medicine is a common subdomain of the broader topic of pseudoscience, which itself is an area for the application skepticism and rationalism generally. It’s always somewhat arbitrary to divide a forum like this into any set of topic areas, but since alternative medicine has particular features that conflict with the scientific approach to knowledge and illustrate well the problems with pseudoscientific and faith-based reasoning, and because it has significant impact on health, it seems worth having its own area for discussion.

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Posted: 28 October 2015 08:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Moderator,  The list of types of treatments should be altered to clarify hands on treatment.  There are professional medical people who use hands on treatment to find the cause of pain or injury an the care they use while touching and treating affected areas of the body very often produce good results.  Your grouping with quacks is unfair and wrong.

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Posted: 28 October 2015 12:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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To begin with, the category of “alternative” medicine does not itself designate something as effective or ineffective. It simply identifies therapies which are offered outside of the conventional practice of science-based medicine, which are based on theories or principles that differ from those of science, or which have yet to demonstrate their efficacy scientifically. It is really an ideological label, not a scientific category.

Some alternative medicine advocates claim as “alternative” therapies practices which are perfection science based, such as some specific use of vitamins or dietary supplements and some nutritional interventions, as well as some which are not properly medicine at all, such as massage or some exercise practices. On the other hand, such advocates also often claim that therapies are scientifically validated when they are not. So the use of the labels “alternative,” “complementary,” “integrative,” “holistic,” and so on, is very ill-defined and fluid. Here is an article on the compatibility of evidence-based and alternative medicine which discusses the issue of terminology and ideology in more detail.

That said, if there is a specific therapy listed as an example of alternative medicine which you believe is accepted as conventional, science-based medical practice, you are free to provide evidence to that effect. The only manual therapies mentioned in the category header for this folder are chiropractic and healing touch, and both are clearly alternative therapies. Chiropractic is based on a completely invalid theory (the vertebral subluxation complex) and has only produced good evidence for mild benefits in idiopathic lower back pain, where it works about as well as conventional therapies (which is to say, not very well). All the rest of the claims for chiro are pseudoscientific nonsense. Healing touch, likewise, is a form of faith healing incompatible with established science and with no reliable evidence to support real benefits.

As you might expect, this forum is dedicated to debate and discussion based on evidence, not merely anecdote or opinion, so if you have a claim to make about particular therapies, you will have to expect to be challenged to defend that claim with more than personal experience nd testimonial.

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Posted: 03 November 2015 12:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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FinallyDecided - 29 September 2015 01:35 PM

I was curious why this sub-section of Alternative Medicine exists on this forum? Not that I do not like it, but why a section specifically on AM oppose to medical advances or health in general?

Cause medicine that is evidence based is just called:  Medicine.

That which isn’t evidence based:  alternative

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Posted: 03 November 2015 12:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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grand pa ray - 28 October 2015 08:34 AM

Moderator,  The list of types of treatments should be altered to clarify hands on treatment.  There are professional medical people who use hands on treatment to find the cause of pain or injury an the care they use while touching and treating affected areas of the body very often produce good results.  Your grouping with quacks is unfair and wrong.

Your post doesn’t make sense.

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Posted: 06 November 2015 04:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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FinallyDecided - 29 September 2015 01:35 PM

I was curious why this sub-section of Alternative Medicine exists on this forum? Not that I do not like it, but why a section specifically on AM oppose to medical advances or health in general?

How else can anyone sell their snake oil without a little free advertising.  At best it should be call BS Med but not alternative.

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Posted: 09 November 2015 04:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Stellar - 03 November 2015 12:07 AM
FinallyDecided - 29 September 2015 01:35 PM

I was curious why this sub-section of Alternative Medicine exists on this forum? Not that I do not like it, but why a section specifically on AM oppose to medical advances or health in general?

Cause medicine that is evidence based is just called:  Medicine.

That which isn’t evidence based:  alternative

That wasn’t my question…as someone who works in the medical field myself, I am aware of the definitions of the two terms. My question was why can’t we also have a sub-section to discuss actual medicine instead of alternative medicine; hence why the original post asked why we had a subsection solely for alternative medicine oppose to actual medical technology advances (which was never answered in this thread, so apparently my question must be worded incorrectly). To me, it’s quite apparent most of us here do not buy into claims for alternative treatments that have not been scientifically verified/peer review.

[ Edited: 09 November 2015 08:21 AM by FinallyDecided ]
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Posted: 09 November 2015 09:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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The major categories were originally created to represent broad areas that would likely be of interest to people sympathetic to CFIs general mission, to promote reason/science/secularism and reduce the influence of religion and pseudoscience in the public domain. Alternative medicine is one of the most prevalent and dangerous varieties of pseudoscience, and so is of particular interest in this context. Science-based medicine is certainly worth discussing, of course, but it seems less likely to be of particular interest to supporters of CFI’s agenda. Perhaps discussions of real medicine would fit best under Science and Technology?

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Posted: 09 November 2015 12:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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mckenzievmd - 09 November 2015 09:46 AM

The major categories were originally created to represent broad areas that would likely be of interest to people sympathetic to CFIs general mission, to promote reason/science/secularism and reduce the influence of religion and pseudoscience in the public domain. Alternative medicine is one of the most prevalent and dangerous varieties of pseudoscience, and so is of particular interest in this context. Science-based medicine is certainly worth discussing, of course, but it seems less likely to be of particular interest to supporters of CFI’s agenda. Perhaps discussions of real medicine would fit best under Science and Technology?

True. Thanks.

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Posted: 17 January 2016 03:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I was also curious about the separate section for alternative medicine apart from pseudoscience.  But in my case, I am pleasantly surprised.  I agree that quite often alternative medicine does and should come under the category of pseudoscience.  But the key criterion is the pretense to being science when it is not. 

Take for example chiropractics.  Its origins are certainly more of the alternative variety of medicine and the grandiose claims in its early years is typical of the signature of a pseudo-scientific scam deriving its claims more from the rhetoric based methodology of salesmanship than anything remotely resembling science.  But once the grandiose claims are dismissed then the evidence it actually helps a great number of people becomes a bit more solid.

On the other end of the scale there is the example when radium was sold as something which could prolong life.  I suppose there is a remote chance that it did prolong the life of a few people suffering from cancer for awhile until the radiation poisoning got them.  What is certain, is this provides an excellent example for why alternative medicine should definitely be subject to the criticism of scientific inquiry and government regulation when it is established that something harmful is involved.

And then there was the long medieval practice of traditional “scientific” medicine of employing leeches according to some cockamamie theory.  Once again there is a remote chance that it actually did help some people with problems due to blood clots.  For even though it has been long out of favor, recent times has actually found some legitimate medical uses for the substance which leeches inject into the blood stream.

Well in addition to this suggestion of a vague line between “scientific medicine” and the alternatives, I see some harm being done by “scientific medicine” precisely because of their insistence upon proof of effect on the majority apart from placebo.  I think it often results in drugs and procedures which are too strong and have excessive side effects.  Even if some alternative medicines are nothing but placebos then not only is the placebo effect real but it is quite possible it does less harm that the scientific solutions.  But don’t get me wrong here, despite the poor scientific justifications in some examples, science does represent an ideal which really offers a more trustworthy source of information.

In this is an excellent example for the application of the principles of limiting ourselves to what can actually be proven either way.  Scientific medicine SHOULD have a special status for what is supported by the objective evidence as definitely on a firmer foundation than that which can only claim not to be shown harmful by the objective evidence.  But where there is no objective evidence of harm being done, a free society must allow it.

[ Edited: 18 January 2016 01:39 AM by mitchellmckain ]
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Posted: 16 February 2016 09:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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mitchellmckain good to see you’re still here.  I hadn’t looked at your introduction until this morning, and what a thread that turned out to be.  I was worried that perhaps it scared (or repulsed) you away - glad it didn’t. 

A belated welcome and hope to read more of your comments.

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Posted: 16 February 2016 11:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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mckenzievmd - 09 November 2015 09:46 AM

The major categories were originally created to represent broad areas that would likely be of interest to people sympathetic to CFIs general mission, to promote reason/science/secularism and reduce the influence of religion and pseudoscience in the public domain. Alternative medicine is one of the most prevalent and dangerous varieties of pseudoscience, and so is of particular interest in this context. Science-based medicine is certainly worth discussing, of course, but it seems less likely to be of particular interest to supporters of CFI’s agenda. Perhaps discussions of real medicine would fit best under Science and Technology?

Maybe what we need is a category called Alternative Science. Also, Alternative Mathematics. We could have a field day with those. Why restrict it to medicine?

Lois

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Posted: 19 February 2016 03:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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mitchellmckain - 17 January 2016 03:22 PM

I was also curious about the separate section for alternative medicine apart from pseudoscience.  But in my case, I am pleasantly surprised.  I agree that quite often alternative medicine does and should come under the category of pseudoscience.  But the key criterion is the pretense to being science when it is not. 

Take for example chiropractics.  Its origins are certainly more of the alternative variety of medicine and the grandiose claims in its early years is typical of the signature of a pseudo-scientific scam deriving its claims more from the rhetoric based methodology of salesmanship than anything remotely resembling science.  But once the grandiose claims are dismissed then the evidence it actually helps a great number of people becomes a bit more solid.

On the other end of the scale there is the example when radium was sold as something which could prolong life.  I suppose there is a remote chance that it did prolong the life of a few people suffering from cancer for awhile until the radiation poisoning got them.  What is certain, is this provides an excellent example for why alternative medicine should definitely be subject to the criticism of scientific inquiry and government regulation when it is established that something harmful is involved.

And then there was the long medieval practice of traditional “scientific” medicine of employing leeches according to some cockamamie theory.  Once again there is a remote chance that it actually did help some people with problems due to blood clots.  For even though it has been long out of favor, recent times has actually found some legitimate medical uses for the substance which leeches inject into the blood stream.

Well in addition to this suggestion of a vague line between “scientific medicine” and the alternatives, I see some harm being done by “scientific medicine” precisely because of their insistence upon proof of effect on the majority apart from placebo.  I think it often results in drugs and procedures which are too strong and have excessive side effects.  Even if some alternative medicines are nothing but placebos then not only is the placebo effect real but it is quite possible it does less harm that the scientific solutions.  But don’t get me wrong here, despite the poor scientific justifications in some examples, science does represent an ideal which really offers a more trustworthy source of information.

In this is an excellent example for the application of the principles of limiting ourselves to what can actually be proven either way.  Scientific medicine SHOULD have a special status for what is supported by the objective evidence as definitely on a firmer foundation than that which can only claim not to be shown harmful by the objective evidence.  But where there is no objective evidence of harm being done, a free society must allow it.

There is harm with alternative medicine.  Just a few examples:

http://whatstheharm.net/
https://health.spectator.co.uk/the-evidence-shows-that-chiropractors-do-more-harm-than-good/
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26881570

In addition there is financial harm.  People waste money to substitute medicine with alternative treatments.  Also in the UK for example tax payers’ money goes to crap like homeopathy. 

There is also societal harm in that many alternative practitioners can be anti-anything-that-is-not-natural including vaccines.  I used to go to a chiropractor who told me the body should be able to heal itself and that vaccines are not necessary. 

No harm?  Check this out: http://www.antivaccinebodycount.com/Anti-Vaccine_Body_Count/Home.html

The issue is that there are people that should not be giving medical advice, and sometimes they give bad and just outright wrong information to people.  Bad information and deception is not without its consequences.

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Posted: 24 February 2016 11:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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citizenschallenge.pm - 16 February 2016 09:10 AM

mitchellmckain good to see you’re still here.  I hadn’t looked at your introduction until this morning, and what a thread that turned out to be.  I was worried that perhaps it scared (or repulsed) you away - glad it didn’t. 

A belated welcome and hope to read more of your comments.

Sorry, I guess have been distracted with other things.  I posted a reply in that thread.

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Posted: 24 February 2016 11:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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blackorwat - 19 February 2016 03:16 PM

There is harm with alternative medicine.  Just a few examples:

http://whatstheharm.net/
https://health.spectator.co.uk/the-evidence-shows-that-chiropractors-do-more-harm-than-good/
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26881570

In addition there is financial harm.  People waste money to substitute medicine with alternative treatments.  Also in the UK for example tax payers’ money goes to crap like homeopathy. 

There is also societal harm in that many alternative practitioners can be anti-anything-that-is-not-natural including vaccines.  I used to go to a chiropractor who told me the body should be able to heal itself and that vaccines are not necessary. 

No harm?  Check this out: http://www.antivaccinebodycount.com/Anti-Vaccine_Body_Count/Home.html

The issue is that there are people that should not be giving medical advice, and sometimes they give bad and just outright wrong information to people.  Bad information and deception is not without its consequences.

My post makes it clear that there is potential for harm, but he burden of proof is on those making the accusation in each case.  I can just as easily point to people harmed in scientific medicine and these are dealt with in the same manner with the same burden of proof.

Your economic argument falls completely flat in my case because I am in a different country where the medical costs are so debilitating half the times I have turned to it has been a terrible mistake.  So much so that, medical professional = economic vampire, is the unavoidable lesson of my experience.

Would I support the kind of socialized medicine you have in your country?  Damn straight I would!

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