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Zachary B.
Boston, MA
Post #: 124
A thread devoted to discussion of arguments and evidence for and against. Links to peer-reviewed research are especially encouraged.
A former member
Post #: 1

I don't think unnecessary CAT scans are a good thing, and I'm aware that this has become an issue lately. I've said several times in this discussion that our modern medical system is flawed. I'm all for reforms...improvements are needed, and your point is taken.

That being said, as flawed as medical science (as a Human system & creation which is evolving) is I would much rather go to a medical doctor than an alternative medical fact, I would go to an alt-med modality.

You're making (I think it was you, I apologize if it was not) that people should avoid cancer treatment because it's harsh and it has all the well known side effects. The advances in medical cures for cancer have been huge over the last 25 years. I was listening to a local director of a cancer treatment center (may have been Dana Faber?), but he said that 25 years ago children who came into his facility with leukemia hardly ever survived...they were dead in months. Now they leave in several month with the families at a very high rate (I forget the %, but it was 80-90%). This is in just 25 years, or so.

This is the story in many types of cancers...and the genomes of all the cancer strains are being mapped and when this happens, along with other growing fields of medical science, we will see cancer go away.

Homeopathy will still be serving water...

I urge you to rethink your logic and realize you are living in special times for will save your life, or someone very close to you. Will it be a wonderful and pain free experience? No, but the alternative is not so great: death!
user 6429723
Natick, MA
Post #: 5
About homeopathy or traditional medicine, the claims are mostly based on individual experience. No scientific basis. Peer reviewed publication does not necessarily translate to their scientific merits. Anirban, pointed out that herbal medicine may have some science behind it. I don't want to go into detail, because a lot of discussion have been posted to clearly explain why none of these have scientific basis. What I point out is the fact that even if a conventional medical pill shows 100% (hypothetical, it never happens) efficacy towards curing a serious disease (not cuts and bruises), the medical association will not recommend it as a medicine until the mechanism of action is scientifically determined (In spite of my completely awareness of the flaws of FDA and similar administrations). In many cases the mechanism may turn out to be not completely accurate, and the drugs are withdrawn or further research is warranted. None of such things ever happen in homeopathy or any such faith-based medicine, including herbal medicines. They have to explain (or at least attempt to explain) the mechanism of their drug action. It is surprising to me that a faith-less community is debating a completely faith-based subject. But, on the other hand that is what rationalists ought to do, remove faith-oriented thinking and bring forth rationalism.
Angie R.
North Billerica, MA
Post #: 2
Please note the correction, I did not say “we must respect people’s beliefs”, I agree with Dan's assessment, what I did say was "we must respect their wishes" for their own care, as ill advised as it may be to go without, we cannot force medical treatment without patient consent.
However, this is for an adult making their own choices, in the case of children being denied proper medical care on the basis of parental wishes, then it gets complicated and as you say we simply cannot turn a blind eye in good conscience. This is when a healthcare professional would be obligated to get Child Protective Services involved. The hard part is when they aren't brought to the hospital to begin with.... tragic and criminal in my view.

David M
user 8343504
Jamaica Plain, MA
Post #: 2
Lisa asked:

"Homeopathy was founded by a conventional medical practitioner, Samuel Hahnemann in Germany in the 1800's in response to quackery in the medical proffession ie" leeching and blood letting. He founded and tested homeopathy and studied the results. If homeopathy doesn't work, why hasn't it died out with the other quack remedies?


You mean quack remedies like faith healing? These things don't die easily because there are many credulous individuals.
A former member
Post #: 2
In response to:

I think Theology is a bigger Fraud than Homeopathy, Acupuncture etc. However, "traditional medicine" is something I am not so sure to call a total fraud, because many of the "medicines" derived from plants and herbs used in them has active components that are being used in evidence based medicine nowadays. I would like to know others views of this. A really interesting read might be this book ...

Tales of a Shaman's Apprentice: An Ethnobotanist Searches for New Medicines in the Amazon Rain Forest


My reply:

That’s an interesting question, but I would say that they both are simply believing in something that there is no proof for. I'm not ready to say fake medicine isn't as damaging as religious belief.

Believing in anything that is not provable…medicine, creation myths/claims, after-life claims, revelations…are all equally dangerous to me…it sets up a society, or individual, to have a certain mindset…it’s a precedence you don’t want to have, in my opinion. It just seems like the same practice to me…believing for believing…”it made me feel good, so it’s true”, “it gives me comfort, so all the claims are true”…very dangerous lack of logic there, and extremely self-centered, really.

Here’s a great connection/debunking on homeopathy:­

There’s something Human about following…we want to believe, that’s why these religions have survived as have many of the snake oil cures. We live in a harsh world and when we see others doing something, following & believing something, it lends credibility to it, and this somehow creates a snowball effect of belief...past on from generation to generation. The more we believe, the more people show up at church, the more alt-med offices we see the more likely we are to believe in them. It’s part of our make up, and it’s understandable considering how flawed we are, how Human, and how hard life is. When we are in pain from physical maladies or emotional pain from loss we look for healing, and we tend to try it. We're ripe for the picking….to be deceived. I’ll say one more thing: I do believe that many who practice these alt-meds are good people…well intentioned, as are many clergy; they just have been hoodwinked like many others….sold a story and got more involved. I’m not condemning…I'm just trying to shed a light on why it has existed…why it has lasted.
A former member
Post #: 1

The fact that medical treatments do not always work does not mean that all treatments should be considered equally.

If an infection is diagnosed, and it is not a drug resistant form, it can be cured with antibiotics. If a bone is broken, the chance of healing is greatly enhanced by medical treatment. If a foreign object is located in a person's body, surgery is the best bet. None of these are guarantees that the treatment will work. Individual differences still apply. But scientifically, they will work.

Homeopathy does not have that scientific rigor. Maybe it will work, but if it does, no one knows why. The fact that it may work sometimes does not justify endorsing it as a treatment. Prayer also works sometimes, but we do not allow that to form our laws.

We do not enact laws against beliefs, but against the actions resulting from those beliefs. Each adult may decide for themselves which beliefs to follow, and when they negatively impact children, we have laws against it.

If there were truly no harm done, I would not disagree with that stance. I think that many people avoid medical care in favor of alternative medicine, and suffer for it. Should we not protect those members of society who cannot protect themselves?
Leonard & Jane B.
user 10934949
Boston, MA
Post #: 1
Homeopathy was founded by a conventional medical practitioner, Samuel Hahnemann in Germany in the 1800's in response to quackery in the medical proffession ie" leeching and blood letting. He founded and tested homeopathy and studied the results. If homeopathy doesn't work, why hasn't it died out with the other quack remedies?

Correct but the idea of homeopathy is to treat a patient’s symptoms and by doing so hope to cure the disease. Like taking aspirin for a headache but that doesn’t necessarily cure the tumor or whatever. Hahnemann Medical School in Philadelphia was founded on this principal but has since evolved to a regular style medical school.
David M
user 8343504
Jamaica Plain, MA
Post #: 3
A former member
Post #: 9
I have a problem with the term "alternative medicine." There is no alternative medicine. There is only good medicine and bad medicine.
I'm not saying that I outright dismiss herbs, homeopathy, or super miracle water based on where it comes from or who's making claims about it. I don't care if a treatment was created by a physician, a drug company, or a shaman priestess. I ask only two things: Is it safe and does it work.
You say you have some miracle mud that, if slathered on someone's feet, will cure cancer?
Great! That sounds wonderful! Now show me the evidence. You claim some chemical found in the feces of the Kimodo Dragon will cure the common cold? How wonderful. Now do a double blind, placebo-controlled, peer-reviewed, bias-free study that proves how safe, practical, and effective it is and I'll take some.
If a treatment works, call it medicine. If not, then my insurance payments better not be subsidizing it. And so far, as most studies of homeopathy, new-aged medicine, and most of eastern medicine go, there isn't a great deal of promise.
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