Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Here's the Plan..

What I intend to do with my pseudo-baiting is this.  I am going to write to various groups with various maladies that have been affecting me lately.  I will add to this some sceptical remark about science based medicine and a plea for help.

I have emailed a couple of doctors requesting ideas for symptoms:

1) consistent with a serious illness/condition that urgently requires treatment with science based medicine.
2) whose appearance together would signal a clear red flag warning for any properly trained, competent doctor

If the respondent fails to advise me to seek medical assistance, they will be named and shamed.  They will be fully informed of the consequences had it been a real email. 

Does anyone have any suggestions for such symptoms?  Is anyone aware of any body such respondents could be reported to?

I'll keep you posted!

Amendum: I will also be naming and praising those who do not endanger people for profit.


Anonymous said...

Presumably, your goal is to deny the worth of anything that doesn't fit into your subjective conception of what 'medicine'actually is. I find your high faluted approach to alternative remadies alarming and worrying.
Being a retailer of homeopathic cures, I've had plenty of hands on experience with the effects they manifest. People have come to see me for everything from hair loss to various diseases. In my fifteen years experience, I've yet to see a patient who hasn't had some degree of positive affect from what I suscribed.
Homeopathy is the culmination of a vitalist philosophy that dates back to the egyptians, much the same as geometry. I'd suggest looking on if you want more information.
I look forward to reading your response.

Dr Help

Ben King said...

Um, ok.

You know the Egyptians couldnt calculate 1/3 of X? For over a thousand years they calculated 2/3 of x then halved it. That was because someone, a long time ago, realised the first method worked and they didnt ever bother trying to understand why.

It wasn't until the Greeks that intellectual enquiry progressed to the level of actually asking WHY.

So, you want me to believe in it because it is based on something the Egyptians learned? That, my friend, is the logical fallacy of 'argument from antiquity'.

They also believed cats were gods. Do you believe this also?

No independent, well-done study has ever shown positive results for Homeopathy.

Do you believe this is a grand conspiracy involving hundreds of people?

I do not deny the power of interaction and empathy in healing (it's called Placebo).

Do you deny that, given the situation I laid out above, a Homeopath should advise seeing a doctor?

Should you not be pleased that I will stand up and praise those that do?

Anonymous said...


I'd like to apologise for my late reply, but I've been so busy with patients that I simply haven't had time to respond.
Firstly, by your own argument, you support many activities carried out by Hitler's experiments. By saying I should believe in cats being gogs because I support one aspect of the Egyptian's thinking, you align yourself with the same medicine that the Nazi party used, and so with their process of discovery. I don't, for one moment, believe you to agree with this practice, but this is what your logic leads to.
Secondly, I do believe there is an inherent bias amongst 'intellectuals' towards alternative remedies. Your word was 'conspiracy', but I might refer you to the writings of Chomsky for a definition on this. One cannot blame these people for being stuck in their ways. But perhaps if they applied some of the objective criticism of your ancient Greeks, we may be able to open a dialogue.
This leads me to my final point. Altruism, in the natural world, has been shown to be no more than a by-product of selfishness. The selfishness of genes. I would hesitate a guess, however, that you would not do away with this by-product merely because of its origin. If homeopathy is no more than a 'placebo'(though I cannot possibly agree with your appraisal) would you deny people the opportunity to heal themselves?
As before, I look forward to your comments. I fear, though, this time your skeptical mind may be silenced and you might see that your ivory tower is built on foundations of sand.
Yours, as always,
Dr Help

Ben King said...

I am confused by your application of Godwins law. What has this to do with Hitler at all?

My comment regarding cats was an illustration of another example of an argument from antiquity. Simply because something is old does not make it more likely, simply the opposite in fact.

No Hitler necessary.

Secondly, I am aware of the propaganda model of Chomsky's but I think you'll find he created it primarily for the media industry. Now, thats not to say that I don't agree that elements of it can and do seep into the way science is practised, because I do. Scientists require funding just as journalists require a pay cheque.

Altruism is a product of evolution, a process in our Brain. Homeopathy is not an evolutionary process. Bad analogy.

I do not deny people the power of placebo. It is a very powerful effect. As I have said before I wish it were called the compassion effect and people may start understanding that 'placebo' is not a dirty word.

Placebo can kill. It's called voodoo in some places and its documented fact. Western medicine desperately needs to learn humanity from the alternative medicines but likewise alternative medicine needs to believe in double-blind, placebo controlled testing and results for the beneficial convergence to take place.