Re: Alternative medicine (was Ethics)

Michael Lorrey (
Thu, 02 Jan 1997 22:37:49 -0500

Lee Daniel Crocker wrote:
> The assertion I have been trying, but failing, to make, is just this:
> The fundamental nature of most modern allopathic medicine is science,
> and the fundamental nature of most "alternative" medicine is quackery.
> I stand by that basic assessment, and I will try to explain.
> It is always dangerous to generalize about people. One cannot begin
> every sentence with "I'm sure there are a few counterexamples, but the
> majority of group X, or the primary founders/directors/speakers of
> group X, or most members of group X I have met..." So it is important
> to identify what defines the group, what gives it its identity. Then
> one can draw conclusions about the group from its nature, without
> having to rely on individual examples that can be too variable.

Very good. Like anything pioneering, the establishment, with its
respected authority, declares newness as quackery, without scientific
proof. It happens with ANYTHING that advances ANYTHING. The status
quoers always fear change, and will use propaganda and paranoia to
protect their status.

WHile you demand scientific anlysis of such quackery, you do not demand
scientific analysis of your opinion of quacks. Very hypocritical and
unscientific...Using anecdotes to form your opinions?
> The nature of allopathic medicine is science.

And today's quackery is often tomorrows allopathy. How many shamans
herbs are now big profit drugs?

> The nature of most alternative medicines is mysticism. Authorities
> are revered over results--the older the authority, the better.

Maybe thats because they have centuries of anecdotal evidence that in
sum adds up to a statistical analysis.

> but unobservable ideas like the acupuncturist's flow of "chi" and the
> sub-molecular "vibrations" of the homeopath are espoused despite
> centuries of lack of evidence, and the inability to measure or test.
> They write books and sell them in popular bookstores without submitting
> them for review.

And "Allopathic" doctors know the power of the placebo to heal. Pure
faith has the property to induce the body to heal itself. I know an
anesthesiologist who is a good freind, who just was confirmed into the
Catholic Church because he finally had one too many experiences of so
called "miracles" happen before his eyes. One was a patient who had a
near death experience come back to tell him many things about his own
family members who were dead. WEIRD. I can't say I beleive him, but he
is one of your so called "allopathic" scientific doctors.

They sell supplements in health food stores with
> lots of personal recommendations, anecdotes, analogies, and other
> flawed reasoning as sales techniques. They appear on talk shows to
> promote their wares and to ridicule--perhaps appropriatley--some part
> of modern medicine, hoping that the audience with thereby think that
> any alternative is superior. They claim to cure everything, and to
> have "fundamental" knowlege. When science proves them wrong, they
> simply incorporate some part of it into their mythology in an attempt
> to keep it alive, the way chiropractors finally capitulated on the
> germ theory of medicine when they no longer had any choice.

And how many "allopathic" medical procedures eventually turn out to be
more harmful than helpful to patients? let me count the ways......

> Again, these are generalizations, but every time I go into a health food
> store and read glowing endorsements on a label, or turn on Oprah and
> hear some quack telling us not to immunize our children, and a doctor
> on the panel quietly acknowleging when asked that "yes, science doesn't
> know everything"--as if that were a negative--the nature of the two
> businesses are confirmed in my mind.

how many drugs are indtroduced which have more harmful side effects.

Here's some shocking statistics for you: Over 10,000 people die each
year due to prescribed drugs conflicting, inducing allergic reactions,
or being switched. Guess how many people died from nutritional
supplements, herbs, marijuana use, and natural hormonal supplements: 2
and they were both from Ma Huang taken in overdose.

WHich is more harmful?

> The choice to employ a specific method of reasoning has consequences.
> And since life and death depend on the consequences of medical advice
> and treatment, that choice is far more important than irrelevant factors
> like the practitioner's personality or motives, licensing authorities,
> professional affiliations, the esthetic qualities of the arguments, or
> one's personal prejudices.
> Since all organic diseases sometimes cure themselves, and the mind has
> powerful effects on the body, anything one does will cure some people.
> But the methods of science can isolate those cases from the results of
> real treatments. A child with a ruptured spleen can choose either the
> scientifically verified method of surgery, or the older authoritative
> method of prayer. There are no guarantees either way, but odds are he
> will survive in the first case and die in the second. A woman with
> headaches may well find comfort and ease of pain with acupuncture. But
> if they were caused by a brain tumor, her delay in seeking reponsible
> diagnosis could kill her.

Yet healthful, nutritionally balanced living will prevent both.

> Because actions have consequences, the people who take those actions
> are responsible for them, and may properly be judged for their choices.
> In the absence of other information, I judge a modern doctor to be a
> scientist, and I judge an alternative practitioner to be a charlatan,
> even when the acupuncturist happens to make the pain go away, and the
> doctor loses a patient on the table. Until the fundamental nature of
> those occupations and their methods of reasoning change, I will
> continue to do so.

Acupuncture is scientifically recognised to reduce pain by stimulating
natural production of endorpins.

Personally, I think that you are ignorant and are just spouting off. I
highly suggest that you do some real balanced research on what studies
have been done. Your opinion does not equal the weight of the studies
that have been done by real MDs and PhDs and ARE out there.

I was once a big skeptic like you, but I was also ignorant. I then did
some research, and my opinion changed.


Michael Lorrey ------------------------------------------------------------ President Northstar Technologies Agent Inventor of the Lorrey Drive

Website: Now Featuring: My Own Nuclear Espionage Agency (MONEA) MIKEYMAS(tm): The New Internet Holiday Transhumans of New Hampshire (>HNH) ------------------------------------------------------------ Transhumanist, Inventor, Webmaster, Ski Guide, Entrepreneur, Artist, Outdoorsman, Libertarian, Certified Genius. ------------------------------------------------------------ If I saw further than others, it is because I had an unjoggled view from standing on my own two feet. - Mike Lorrey