The Danger of Science Denial - "Alternative Medicine"-Split

Homeopathy, Chiropractic and similar "alternative" views

Discussions on astrology, homeopathy and superstition etc.

Moderators: Calilasseia, DarthHelmet86, Onyx8

Re: The Danger of Science Denial - "Alternative Medicine"-Sp

#701  Postby Shrunk » Jun 12, 2010 6:31 pm

TMB wrote:I am not in a position to comment about homeopathy in terms of how it works etc, except for the fact that it works for me and my family and has done many times. You might ascribe this to placebo, and perhaps you are correct, but thats just anecdotal to.


Wrong. Your family's experience of getting better with homeopathy is an anecdote. The question of whether homeopathy is any more effective than placebo can only be determined by controlled trials, not by anecdote.
"A community is infinitely more brutalised by the habitual employment of punishment than it is by the occasional occurrence of crime." -Oscar Wilde
User avatar
Shrunk
 
Posts: 26170
Age: 54
Male

Country: Canada
Canada (ca)
Print view this post

Ads by Google


Re: The Danger of Science Denial - "Alternative Medicine"-Sp

#702  Postby Shrunk » Jun 12, 2010 6:39 pm

DST70 wrote:I think this is really important. The difficulty lies in investigating phenomena that are not so easily put into external/objective and internal/subjective categories.


Which brings up the question that often arises in response to arguments for the existence of God: How do you determine the difference between something that exists, but for whose existence no evidence exists, and something which simply does not exist? Answer: You can't.

Any outward programme of empirical research seemingly handles 'external' significantly better than 'internal' phenomena. Astrophysics being quite different from psychology. Where would pain feature on a scale from external-internal?


It's very easily done. You use a standardized self-rating scale for pain. The rating is subjective, but so long as the conditions of the trial are well-controlled that doesn't matter. Improvement, or not, in pain control can still be determined.

Maybe I should mention that I'm coming from a place of being a practitioner of qi gong and other internal energy work, which tends to throw a spanner in the works when it comes to scientific validation. There are favourable studies showing its therapeutic benefit, but I do realise it probably counts high on the 'woo' scale for many here.


I don't really know anything about qigong. If you want to show us some of these favourable studies, I"m sure we'd be interested. (But they'd better be good!)
"A community is infinitely more brutalised by the habitual employment of punishment than it is by the occasional occurrence of crime." -Oscar Wilde
User avatar
Shrunk
 
Posts: 26170
Age: 54
Male

Country: Canada
Canada (ca)
Print view this post

Re: The Danger of Science Denial - "Alternative Medicine"-Sp

#703  Postby Ubjon » Jun 12, 2010 6:47 pm

Those that are interested in the effectiveness of homoepathy might want to review the Cochrane Institutes website as they have looked in to this

Homeopathy for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder or hyperkinetic disorder - http://www.mrw.interscience.wiley.com/c ... frame.html

Homeopathy for chronic asthma - http://www.mrw.interscience.wiley.com/c ... frame.html

Homeopathy for dementia - http://www.mrw.interscience.wiley.com/c ... frame.html

Homoeopathy for induction of labour - http://www.mrw.interscience.wiley.com/c ... frame.html

Homeopathic medicines for adverse effects of cancer treatments - http://www.mrw.interscience.wiley.com/c ... frame.html

Complementary and miscellaneous interventions for nocturnal enuresis in children - http://www.mrw.interscience.wiley.com/c ... frame.html

The long and short of it seems that current clinical trials on homoepathy have been of poor quality and we need to the results of correctly carried out clinical trials before drawing any conclusions - http://www.mrw.interscience.wiley.com/c ... frame.html
Last edited by Ubjon on Jun 12, 2010 6:56 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Ubjon wrote:Your God is just a pair of lucky underpants.


http://www.rationalskepticism.org/post6 ... 3b#p675825
User avatar
Ubjon
 
Posts: 2569

United Kingdom (uk)
Print view this post

Re: The Danger of Science Denial - "Alternative Medicine"-Sp

#704  Postby Thommo » Jun 12, 2010 6:47 pm

GenesForLife wrote:Two words - consilience and corroboration, go figure.


This post was so short that I expect it will go unnoticed by many. It's a good one though.
User avatar
Thommo
 
Posts: 26310

Print view this post

Re: The Danger of Science Denial - "Alternative Medicine"-Sp

#705  Postby Shrunk » Jun 12, 2010 6:48 pm

Dudely wrote: Homeopathy is said to have an effect. If it indeed has an effect then that means it has a cause. If it has a cause this can be found through study. No "external/objective and internal/subjective categories" bullshit. Just hard-up causes and effects. THAT is science, and that is why people have such a problem with stuff like homeopathy- it's a medicine with NO study of its causes (because none can be found) and very little testing.


I don't know if I 100% agree with this. I don't think it's necessary to know the mechanism by which a treatment works in order to know that it works. The therapeutic mechanism by which many of the treatments I use work are not completely known, and many of them were discovered serendipitously, rather than based on clear basic scientific principles. But that they work is clearly demonstrated by empirical trials, and that's all that really counts.

I also disagree with the statement that homeopathy has been subjected to "very little testing." It has been tested quite sufficiently to determine that it doesn't work, and any more investigation will only be a waste of time and resources.
"A community is infinitely more brutalised by the habitual employment of punishment than it is by the occasional occurrence of crime." -Oscar Wilde
User avatar
Shrunk
 
Posts: 26170
Age: 54
Male

Country: Canada
Canada (ca)
Print view this post

Re: The Danger of Science Denial - "Alternative Medicine"-Sp

#706  Postby Ubjon » Jun 12, 2010 6:59 pm

Shrunk wrote:I also disagree with the statement that homeopathy has been subjected to "very little testing." It has been tested quite sufficiently to determine that it doesn't work, and any more investigation will only be a waste of time and resources.


It has been tested very badly up to now and so we can't debunk the homeopaths claims until good quality trails have been carried out and confirmed by repeat trails although I doubt this will impact much on homopath sales. One thing I do agree with is that its a waste of time and resources to disprove something that has never been proved. I read somewhere that some emminent medical journal banned the phrase 'needs more research' for this reason.
Ubjon wrote:Your God is just a pair of lucky underpants.


http://www.rationalskepticism.org/post6 ... 3b#p675825
User avatar
Ubjon
 
Posts: 2569

United Kingdom (uk)
Print view this post

Re: The Danger of Science Denial - "Alternative Medicine"-Sp

#707  Postby Shrunk » Jun 12, 2010 7:02 pm

Ubjon wrote:Those that are interested in the effectiveness of homoepathy might want to review the Cochrane Institutes website as they have looked in to this

Homeopathy for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder or hyperkinetic disorder - http://www.mrw.interscience.wiley.com/c ... frame.html

Homeopathy for chronic asthma - http://www.mrw.interscience.wiley.com/c ... frame.html

Homeopathy for dementia - http://www.mrw.interscience.wiley.com/c ... frame.html

Homoeopathy for induction of labour - http://www.mrw.interscience.wiley.com/c ... frame.html

Homeopathic medicines for adverse effects of cancer treatments - http://www.mrw.interscience.wiley.com/c ... frame.html

Complementary and miscellaneous interventions for nocturnal enuresis in children - http://www.mrw.interscience.wiley.com/c ... frame.html

The long and short of it seems that current clinical trials on homoepathy have been of poor quality and we need to the results of correctly carried out clinical trials before drawing any conclusions - http://www.mrw.interscience.wiley.com/c ... frame.html


Believe it or not, most of those have already been mentioned in this thread. The pro-homeo crowd just keep carrying on like the studies don't exist.
"A community is infinitely more brutalised by the habitual employment of punishment than it is by the occasional occurrence of crime." -Oscar Wilde
User avatar
Shrunk
 
Posts: 26170
Age: 54
Male

Country: Canada
Canada (ca)
Print view this post

Ads by Google


Re: The Danger of Science Denial - "Alternative Medicine"-Sp

#708  Postby Ubjon » Jun 12, 2010 7:08 pm

Shrunk wrote:
Ubjon wrote:Those that are interested in the effectiveness of homoepathy might want to review the Cochrane Institutes website as they have looked in to this

Homeopathy for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder or hyperkinetic disorder - http://www.mrw.interscience.wiley.com/c ... frame.html

Homeopathy for chronic asthma - http://www.mrw.interscience.wiley.com/c ... frame.html

Homeopathy for dementia - http://www.mrw.interscience.wiley.com/c ... frame.html

Homoeopathy for induction of labour - http://www.mrw.interscience.wiley.com/c ... frame.html

Homeopathic medicines for adverse effects of cancer treatments - http://www.mrw.interscience.wiley.com/c ... frame.html

Complementary and miscellaneous interventions for nocturnal enuresis in children - http://www.mrw.interscience.wiley.com/c ... frame.html

The long and short of it seems that current clinical trials on homoepathy have been of poor quality and we need to the results of correctly carried out clinical trials before drawing any conclusions - http://www.mrw.interscience.wiley.com/c ... frame.html


Believe it or not, most of those have already been mentioned in this thread. The pro-homeo crowd just keep carrying on like the studies don't exist.


Well its their money they are wasting so I guess that we may as well leave them to it. One thing I would like to see is a law put in place to protect individuals from their carers and guardians to ensure that they get the proper medical attention that they need.
Ubjon wrote:Your God is just a pair of lucky underpants.


http://www.rationalskepticism.org/post6 ... 3b#p675825
User avatar
Ubjon
 
Posts: 2569

United Kingdom (uk)
Print view this post

Re: The Danger of Science Denial - "Alternative Medicine"-Sp

#709  Postby Dudely » Jun 12, 2010 8:15 pm

Shrunk wrote:
Dudely wrote: Homeopathy is said to have an effect. If it indeed has an effect then that means it has a cause. If it has a cause this can be found through study. No "external/objective and internal/subjective categories" bullshit. Just hard-up causes and effects. THAT is science, and that is why people have such a problem with stuff like homeopathy- it's a medicine with NO study of its causes (because none can be found) and very little testing.


I don't know if I 100% agree with this. I don't think it's necessary to know the mechanism by which a treatment works in order to know that it works. The therapeutic mechanism by which many of the treatments I use work are not completely known, and many of them were discovered serendipitously, rather than based on clear basic scientific principles. But that they work is clearly demonstrated by empirical trials, and that's all that really counts.


Very true, good point.

Shrunk wrote:
I also disagree with the statement that homeopathy has been subjected to "very little testing." It has been tested quite sufficiently to determine that it doesn't work, and any more investigation will only be a waste of time and resources.

I meant that the rules for testing a homeopathic medication before it is released to the public is very lax compared to normal medications, not that it has been poorly studied in general.
This is what hydrogen atoms do given 15 billion years of evolution- Carl Sagan

Ignorance is slavery- Miles Davis
User avatar
Dudely
 
Posts: 1450

Canada (ca)
Print view this post

Re: The Danger of Science Denial - "Alternative Medicine"-Sp

#710  Postby Shrunk » Jun 12, 2010 8:26 pm

Dudely wrote: I meant that the rules for testing a homeopathic medication before it is released to the public is very lax compared to normal medications, not that it has been poorly studied in general.


Are there any standards and testing required before a homeopathic "treatment" is marketed? I can't imagine what that would consist of.
"A community is infinitely more brutalised by the habitual employment of punishment than it is by the occasional occurrence of crime." -Oscar Wilde
User avatar
Shrunk
 
Posts: 26170
Age: 54
Male

Country: Canada
Canada (ca)
Print view this post

Re: The Danger of Science Denial - "Alternative Medicine"-Sp

#711  Postby DST70 » Jun 13, 2010 11:13 am

Shrunk wrote:Which brings up the question that often arises in response to arguments for the existence of God: How do you determine the difference between something that exists, but for whose existence no evidence exists, and something which simply does not exist? Answer: You can't.


That could be the most important question to consider. Yes it has consequences beyond this topic. Are you sure you can't determine the difference? Whether you can verify this within a formalised empirical study though - and then communicate that finding to others for replication and verification - is a different matter, requiring fulfilling different criteria. This probably sounds quite ridiculous.

It's very easily done. You use a standardized self-rating scale for pain. The rating is subjective, but so long as the conditions of the trial are well-controlled that doesn't matter. Improvement, or not, in pain control can still be determined.


But would the conditions of most well controlled trials allow for different types of pain - sharp, burning, electric, dull, chronic, intermittent, stinging? Worse for sitting; or being near electrical equipment; or near the sea? I'm labouring the point a bit, but you can see where this is going. Study design means decisions get made about confounding variables.

I don't really know anything about qigong. If you want to show us some of these favourable studies, I"m sure we'd be interested. (But they'd better be good!)


I'll try and root some out, although personally I'm not so interested in supplying scientific evidence as much as exploring whether the scientific method comes up short. (Plus something tells me that whatever studies I find, won't be good enough here...... ;) )

I take it you're a medical professional? Do you mind if I ask in what field?

Thanks,

David
DST70
 
Posts: 56

Print view this post

Re: The Danger of Science Denial - "Alternative Medicine"-Sp

#712  Postby DST70 » Jun 13, 2010 11:19 am

Dudely wrote:You are denying huge mounds of studies that show it to be placebos.


That's not quite right — huge mounds of studies show it to have no statistical significance better than placebo.
DST70
 
Posts: 56

Print view this post

Re: The Danger of Science Denial - "Alternative Medicine"-Sp

#713  Postby Ubjon » Jun 13, 2010 11:24 am

Shrunk wrote:
Dudely wrote: I meant that the rules for testing a homeopathic medication before it is released to the public is very lax compared to normal medications, not that it has been poorly studied in general.


Are there any standards and testing required before a homeopathic "treatment" is marketed? I can't imagine what that would consist of.


There are ways of getting around trading standards laws. Primarily getting lifestyle magazines to write articles about how effective they in return for generous donations. The homeopathy companies are making no direct claims and therefore aren't required to substantiate them. Alternatively they make vague claims which people believe without realising that they don't amount to anything. Stuff like '80% of people say it worked for them' convinces many people but means absolutely nothing.
Ubjon wrote:Your God is just a pair of lucky underpants.


http://www.rationalskepticism.org/post6 ... 3b#p675825
User avatar
Ubjon
 
Posts: 2569

United Kingdom (uk)
Print view this post

Re: The Danger of Science Denial - "Alternative Medicine"-Sp

#714  Postby GenesForLife » Jun 13, 2010 11:24 am

In which case, all objective measures of supposedly functional drugs are equivalent to the effect of no drugs, go figure.
GenesForLife
 
Posts: 2920
Age: 30
Male

United Kingdom (uk)
Print view this post

Re: The Danger of Science Denial - "Alternative Medicine"-Sp

#715  Postby Shrunk » Jun 13, 2010 11:33 am

DST70 wrote:
Shrunk wrote:Which brings up the question that often arises in response to arguments for the existence of God: How do you determine the difference between something that exists, but for whose existence no evidence exists, and something which simply does not exist? Answer: You can't.


That could be the most important question to consider. Yes it has consequences beyond this topic. Are you sure you can't determine the difference? Whether you can verify this within a formalised empirical study though - and then communicate that finding to others for replication and verification - is a different matter, requiring fulfilling different criteria. This probably sounds quite ridiculous.


No. I'm not sure it's impossible to tell the difference. It would have been more accurate to say that, at present, we have no means of telling the difference. If homeopaths are some day able to devise a reliable method of demonstrating that their treatments are more effective than placebo, or theists are able to devise a method to demonstrate that god exists, then their claims will be taken seriously. Until then, they should be dismissed just as a people who believe in fairies are dismissed.

It's very easily done. You use a standardized self-rating scale for pain. The rating is subjective, but so long as the conditions of the trial are well-controlled that doesn't matter. Improvement, or not, in pain control can still be determined.


But would the conditions of most well controlled trials allow for different types of pain - sharp, burning, electric, dull, chronic, intermittent, stinging? Worse for sitting; or being near electrical equipment; or near the sea? I'm labouring the point a bit, but you can see where this is going. Study design means decisions get made about confounding variables.


If those points are relevant to the question at hand, sure, they can be controlled for. If some homeopath wants to say, "OK that study showed that homeopathy didn't make the pain better. But maybe it changed the quality of the pain from stinging to dull. The study didn't disprove that." he's quite welcome to do his own study controlling for that variable. However, I think most people would be justified in dismissing this as a hand-waving excuse. You're right. You are belabouring the point, yes, and not refuting any of the claims made against homeopathy.

I don't really know anything about qigong. If you want to show us some of these favourable studies, I"m sure we'd be interested. (But they'd better be good!)


I'll try and root some out, although personally I'm not so interested in supplying scientific evidence as much as exploring whether the scientific method comes up short.


Would it be too cynical of me to say that that already gives me an idea of the quality of scientific research supporting qigong? ;)

(Plus something tells me that whatever studies I find, won't be good enough here...... ;) )


Never know until you try! :evilgrin:

I take it you're a medical professional? Do you mind if I ask in what field?


Psychiatry.
"A community is infinitely more brutalised by the habitual employment of punishment than it is by the occasional occurrence of crime." -Oscar Wilde
User avatar
Shrunk
 
Posts: 26170
Age: 54
Male

Country: Canada
Canada (ca)
Print view this post

Ads by Google


Re: The Danger of Science Denial - "Alternative Medicine"-Sp

#716  Postby Shrunk » Jun 13, 2010 11:37 am

Ubjon wrote: There are ways of getting around trading standards laws. Primarily getting lifestyle magazines to write articles about how effective they in return for generous donations. The homeopathy companies are making no direct claims and therefore aren't required to substantiate them. Alternatively they make vague claims which people believe without realising that they don't amount to anything. Stuff like '80% of people say it worked for them' convinces many people but means absolutely nothing.


Interesting, then, that homeopaths like Nancy here will claim that there is good scientific evidence to support the efficacy of their treatments, but refuse to subject them to the same pre-marketing testing that actual drugs are subjected to.
"A community is infinitely more brutalised by the habitual employment of punishment than it is by the occasional occurrence of crime." -Oscar Wilde
User avatar
Shrunk
 
Posts: 26170
Age: 54
Male

Country: Canada
Canada (ca)
Print view this post

Re: The Danger of Science Denial - "Alternative Medicine"-Sp

#717  Postby Ubjon » Jun 13, 2010 11:55 am

Shrunk wrote:
Ubjon wrote: There are ways of getting around trading standards laws. Primarily getting lifestyle magazines to write articles about how effective they in return for generous donations. The homeopathy companies are making no direct claims and therefore aren't required to substantiate them. Alternatively they make vague claims which people believe without realising that they don't amount to anything. Stuff like '80% of people say it worked for them' convinces many people but means absolutely nothing.


Interesting, then, that homeopaths like Nancy here will claim that there is good scientific evidence to support the efficacy of their treatments, but refuse to subject them to the same pre-marketing testing that actual drugs are subjected to.


They can't put those claims on the packaging though and those claims they do make are suitably vague (i.e. this may help with your hayfever). Most the people who work in the drug marketing industry have previously worked in the some kind of trading standards organisation. They know exactly where the loopholes are in the law and how to exploit them. Where they do cite scientific papers these sources don't hold up under scrutiny which is something that the trading standards should really do something about but perhaps lack the expertise. Thats why I like the Cochrane institute site as the people there do know what they are doing and are objective.

Its also rather telling how psuedoscience nonsense peddlers like homoepaths would rather settle debates in the courtroom rather than through scientific discourse.
Ubjon wrote:Your God is just a pair of lucky underpants.


http://www.rationalskepticism.org/post6 ... 3b#p675825
User avatar
Ubjon
 
Posts: 2569

United Kingdom (uk)
Print view this post

Re: The Danger of Science Denial - "Alternative Medicine"-Sp

#718  Postby TMB » Jun 13, 2010 1:53 pm

Dudely wrote:
TMB wrote:
I am not in a position to comment about homeopathy in terms of how it works etc, except for the fact that it works for me and my family and has done many times. You might ascribe this to placebo, and perhaps you are correct, but thats just anecdotal to.


You have got to be fucking kidding me. You are denying huge mounds of studies that show it to be placebos. these are NOT anecdotal.

What you are doing to your family amounts to taking an experimental or unproven drug (like homeopathy) instead of a safe, well tested drug (95% of all medicine) because science is sometimes wrong. Wow.

P.S.- Just because you don't like doctors or they sometimes get things wrong doesn't give you the right to play Russian roulette with your family's health.


Note that I was referring to the specifics of my own experience with homeopathy and then saying that if indeed its effectiveness was put down to being the placebo effect upon my family, that given its just my family, this is anecdotal. If you want to apply strict rigour you can hardly acept that the effects were due to placebo. I am well aware of the studies around placebo effect, just suggesting that to apply to my case is anecdotal.

You might also want to read some of my previous posts before you jump to conclusions about how I treat my family health. I use any medical system that works. I dont like the side effects of allopathy, but use them when I think they are appropriate. Likewise with alternative therapies. If they work, I use them. I have been placed in scenarios and presented with some stark choices with my family and chosen allopathy in some cases, alternative in others. Perhaps these have not been thr right decisions whn I have chosen allopathy, but I hav had some excellent outcomes from alternatives, and even managed to get allopaths to change their perspective.

And I am not fucking kiding you.
TMB
 
Posts: 1197

Print view this post

Re: The Danger of Science Denial - "Alternative Medicine"-Sp

#719  Postby TMB » Jun 13, 2010 2:02 pm

Shrunk wrote:
TMB wrote:I am not in a position to comment about homeopathy in terms of how it works etc, except for the fact that it works for me and my family and has done many times. You might ascribe this to placebo, and perhaps you are correct, but thats just anecdotal to.


Wrong. Your family's experience of getting better with homeopathy is an anecdote. The question of whether homeopathy is any more effective than placebo can only be determined by controlled trials, not by anecdote.


I agree, however since you have lost the context of my post by cherrypicking, let me restate. I sad that if I were to attribute any benefit I got when using homeopathy, it would be anecdotal for me to state that this must be the placebo effect, just because there have been arguments that show placebos to be as efficacious as homeopathy. I accept that my experince is anecdotal, however my post pointed out the issue with evidence based, repeatable systems in that there is much that gets missed, just because its not possible to capture all of reality in a neat bundle and describe it in its completenes. This does not mean "therefore homeopathy etc must be correct, it just means that placing faith in the system of SM to be 100% or even close, is akin to the placebo effect.

No issue with allopathy being able to smash bacteria with the wonders of antibiotics, but how will it deal with the oversue of the drug and the inevitable arms race that ensues when treating this way, as bacteria become increasingly resistant. Not only this, also the damage caused by using antibiotics on the overall person. Allopathy is shortsighted as a result of the approach it takes, and is almost unable to treat the entire person. Even homepathy falls short of this ideal, to treat the entire person, simply due to logistics and lack of complete knowledge about any patient.
TMB
 
Posts: 1197

Print view this post

Re: The Danger of Science Denial - "Alternative Medicine"-Sp

#720  Postby Crocodile Gandhi » Jun 13, 2010 4:10 pm

I think this is fairly apt:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swDpWNKB5Co[/youtube]
If I believe in heaven I deny myself a death. Dying keeps me conscious of the way I waste my breath - Cosmo Jarvis
User avatar
Crocodile Gandhi
RS Donator
 
Name: Dave
Posts: 4142
Age: 29
Male

Country: Australia
Australia (au)
Print view this post

PreviousNext

Return to Pseudoscience

Who is online

Users viewing this topic: No registered users and 2 guests