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

Homeopathy, Chiropractic and similar "alternative" views

Discussions on astrology, homeopathy and superstition etc.

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

#721  Postby Arcanyn » Jun 13, 2010 4:48 pm

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.


What does it actually mean "to treat the entire patient"? If we give someone antibiotics to kill the bacteria which have infected their toe, how is this deficient? Their problem is that there are a whole bunch of bacteria in their toe getting up to no good, and the antibiotics get rid of them. Once this is done, what more is there to do? Why do we need to 'treat the entire patient', when there's nothing wrong with the rest of the patient? It's like criticising the fire brigade for simply dealing with the one house that happens to be on fire, rather than 'treating the entire neighbourhood' that has no fire problems whatsoever.
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Re: The Danger of Science Denial - "Alternative Medicine"-Sp

#722  Postby GenesForLife » Jun 13, 2010 5:19 pm

I've seen a load of wibble being posted, anyone care to post links to the apposite literature that backs up the assertions that have been spewed in the last page or two?
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Re: The Danger of Science Denial - "Alternative Medicine"-Sp

#723  Postby iamthereforeithink » Jun 13, 2010 5:25 pm

GenesForLife wrote:I've seen a load of wibble being posted, anyone care to post links to the apposite literature that backs up the assertions that have been spewed in the last page or two?


You're beginning to sound more and more like Cali :wink:
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Re: The Danger of Science Denial - "Alternative Medicine"-Sp

#724  Postby natselrox » Jun 13, 2010 5:29 pm

iamthereforeithink wrote:
GenesForLife wrote:I've seen a load of wibble being posted, anyone care to post links to the apposite literature that backs up the assertions that have been spewed in the last page or two?


You're beginning to sound more and more like Cali :wink:


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

#725  Postby DST70 » Jun 13, 2010 6:04 pm

Shrunk wrote:You are belabouring the point, yes, and not refuting any of the claims made against homeopathy.


I haven't read all of this thread so forgive me if I missed something. As far as I know though, the claims against homeopathy (or acupuncture, qi gong therapy etc) stem from (1) inconclusive/poor performance in RCTs, and (2) implausability of the proposed therapeutic mechanism. (If there are more I'd be interested to hear them.) As evidence based medicine is the dominant model these days, (2) is not a sufficient reason to discount a treatment, but (1) is.

The RCT has only become the benchmark test since the 60s after the thalidomide disaster, and it has its shortcomings, just like everything else. I think TBM has it right in saying:

"... 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."

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


Ha! I honestly couldn't say what the quality is like, I haven't examined any myself. They might end up falling into the pseudoscience category.

I take it you're a medical professional? Do you mind if I ask in what field?
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I get your username now ;)

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

#726  Postby DST70 » Jun 13, 2010 6:08 pm

Arcanyn wrote:What does it actually mean "to treat the entire patient"? If we give someone antibiotics to kill the bacteria which have infected their toe, how is this deficient? Their problem is that there are a whole bunch of bacteria in their toe getting up to no good, and the antibiotics get rid of them. Once this is done, what more is there to do? Why do we need to 'treat the entire patient', when there's nothing wrong with the rest of the patient? It's like criticising the fire brigade for simply dealing with the one house that happens to be on fire, rather than 'treating the entire neighbourhood' that has no fire problems whatsoever.


Well I think it means that if the neighbourhood is surrounded by dry bush, has suffered a drought for 30 straight years and finds itself in the middle of a scorching summer, causation is multi-factorial. And at some point the fire brigade is going to look pretty clueless getting called out every week to the same 'isolated' fire, if they don't consider there may be causative factors of which they're unaware.

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

#727  Postby Shrunk » Jun 13, 2010 6:18 pm

DST70 wrote:
Arcanyn wrote:What does it actually mean "to treat the entire patient"? If we give someone antibiotics to kill the bacteria which have infected their toe, how is this deficient? Their problem is that there are a whole bunch of bacteria in their toe getting up to no good, and the antibiotics get rid of them. Once this is done, what more is there to do? Why do we need to 'treat the entire patient', when there's nothing wrong with the rest of the patient? It's like criticising the fire brigade for simply dealing with the one house that happens to be on fire, rather than 'treating the entire neighbourhood' that has no fire problems whatsoever.


Well I think it means that if the neighbourhood is surrounded by dry bush, has suffered a drought for 30 straight years and finds itself in the middle of a scorching summer, causation is multi-factorial. And at some point the fire brigade is going to look pretty clueless getting called out every week to the same 'isolated' fire, if they don't consider there may be causative factors of which they're unaware.


Which make perfect sense. However, if the proposed solution to the problem is to wave a magic wand at the dry bush, it's a bit silly to claim that this is "treating the whole problem". And especially if waving a magic wand at the dry bush is claimed to be a solution to the problem of a house that is currently burning down.

Probably one of the most spectacular successes in the history of "allopathic" medicine has been the implementation of public sanitation programs. I can't think of a better example of treating a problem at its roots, and it is the kind of think that homeopathy and "alternative" medicine would have been completely incapable of producing. (Since, as we have seen here, they don't believe pathogens actually are responsible for disease.)
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Re: The Danger of Science Denial - "Alternative Medicine"-Sp

#728  Postby GenesForLife » Jun 13, 2010 6:19 pm

Give me an example of such a profound multifactorial consideration, DST70.

PS- such multifactorial causative possibilites are removed in clinical trials by means of subject standardization to the maximum extent possible.
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Re: The Danger of Science Denial - "Alternative Medicine"-Sp

#729  Postby natselrox » Jun 13, 2010 6:20 pm

I HATE ANALOGIES. :nono:
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Re: The Danger of Science Denial - "Alternative Medicine"-Sp

#730  Postby GenesForLife » Jun 13, 2010 6:27 pm

Dodgy analogies deserve a logical fallacy of their own.
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Re: The Danger of Science Denial - "Alternative Medicine"-Sp

#731  Postby natselrox » Jun 13, 2010 6:28 pm

Invent a word for analogy-fail. Should sound Latin enough! ;)
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Re: The Danger of Science Denial - "Alternative Medicine"-Sp

#732  Postby GenesForLife » Jun 13, 2010 6:42 pm

Argumentum ad nocens analogia ?
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Re: The Danger of Science Denial - "Alternative Medicine"-Sp

#733  Postby natselrox » Jun 13, 2010 7:05 pm

Sounds authentic. :grin:
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Re: The Danger of Science Denial - "Alternative Medicine"-Sp

#734  Postby Shrunk » Jun 13, 2010 7:07 pm

As anyone who has read my posts would know, I kinda like analogies, and I think DST70 has provided us with a potentially useful one here.

As we know, brushfires have been a major problem in certain areas such as California. And despite the best efforts of allopathic firefighting technology, they continue to cause much devastation every year.

Perhaps the reliance on allopathic firefighting is misguided, and the intervention I have suggested above should be considered: Firefighting departments should lay off a number of their firefighters and devote a portion of its budget to hiring sorcerers who, in case of fire, will wave magic wands at nearby dry brush. Homeowners could even be given the choice, when their homes are ablaze, of having the invasive allopathic procedures, which often result in serious "side effects" such as water damage and doors splintered by axes, or safe, noninvasive "complementary" firefighting, which are guaranteed not to produce such adverse effects.

Personally, I think this would be a stupid idea, since there is no empirical evidence that waving a magic wand at dry brush can stop or prevent a fire. However, I wonder what Nancy Malik, DST70, TMB, or any other advocates of "complementary medicine" think. Would you agree to such an intervention if your home was burning down? If not, why not?
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Re: The Danger of Science Denial - "Alternative Medicine"-Sp

#735  Postby Arcanyn » Jun 14, 2010 10:04 am

DST70 wrote:
Arcanyn wrote:What does it actually mean "to treat the entire patient"? If we give someone antibiotics to kill the bacteria which have infected their toe, how is this deficient? Their problem is that there are a whole bunch of bacteria in their toe getting up to no good, and the antibiotics get rid of them. Once this is done, what more is there to do? Why do we need to 'treat the entire patient', when there's nothing wrong with the rest of the patient? It's like criticising the fire brigade for simply dealing with the one house that happens to be on fire, rather than 'treating the entire neighbourhood' that has no fire problems whatsoever.


Well I think it means that if the neighbourhood is surrounded by dry bush, has suffered a drought for 30 straight years and finds itself in the middle of a scorching summer, causation is multi-factorial. And at some point the fire brigade is going to look pretty clueless getting called out every week to the same 'isolated' fire, if they don't consider there may be causative factors of which they're unaware.

David


In such a case, which is analogous to a person getting recurrent infections, then of course it would be remiss to simply respond reactively with antibiotics every time the person gets an infection. It would be necessary to do some tests to determine precisely why it is that the person is getting repeated infections, so that this might be halted. In evidence-based medicine, this might be done by investigating their lifestyle - are they doing anything which might cause them to be at increased risk of being exposed to harmful bacteria? For instance, if they're continually getting bacterial infections as a result of accidentally cutting themselves while picking up broken glass, then they might be advised to invest in a dustpan and broom and to cease engaging in such risky behaviour. However, if they are not doing anything which might increase their risk, then the question will be asked - why is their immune system failing to combat bacterial infections. The doctor will then typically examine their blood to see what is wrong with their immune system (I wonder if there are any examples of homeopaths performing such investigations to determine what is causing a patient's symptoms?). Having deduced the underlying cause of the recurrent infections, the doctor will then proscribe a treatment to deal with it in order to get the patient's immune system working again.

Once again, the question stands, how is it deficient of the doctor to only treat the patient's malfunctioning immune system, and not 'the whole patient'? The reason the patient is getting recurrent infections is because their immune system isn't working; how is it not enough to fix that? If a malfunctioning immune system is the only thing that's wrong with them, it would be utter stupidity to 'treat' things that aren't causing them problems - or should we give someone a heart, lung, liver and kidney transplant, grow them new skin, perform brain surgery, give them artery bypasses and a facelift, replace their bone marrow and give them new fillings every time they get a sore throat, just so we can say we're "treating the whole patient"?
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Re: The Danger of Science Denial - "Alternative Medicine"-Sp

#736  Postby TMB » Jun 14, 2010 2:14 pm

Arcanyn wrote:
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.


What does it actually mean "to treat the entire patient"? If we give someone antibiotics to kill the bacteria which have infected their toe, how is this deficient? Their problem is that there are a whole bunch of bacteria in their toe getting up to no good, and the antibiotics get rid of them. Once this is done, what more is there to do? Why do we need to 'treat the entire patient', when there's nothing wrong with the rest of the patient? It's like criticising the fire brigade for simply dealing with the one house that happens to be on fire, rather than 'treating the entire neighbourhood' that has no fire problems whatsoever.



OK lets take a case history and see how it works.

Patient presents with flu symptoms, fevers, body aches, upper respiratory symptoms, fairly common, viral plus secondary bacterial infection. Conventional medicine prescribes antibiotics which addresses the secondary bacterial infection, assumed primary viral put down to random virus. Symptoms re-appear two months later, cycle is repeated and continues for two years.

Insight from a homeopathic book leads to diagnosis from an allopathic allergist who identifies an extreme allergy to house dust mites. Steps are taken to remove dust from beds etc etc, and symptoms improve significantly, however good health is not totally restored. Increased vigilance around dust mite eradication gives limited results.

Skin issues arise, upper respiratory issues are mild but chronic, other apparently unrelated reactions occur, hives appear on exposure to cold water, known as idiopathic cold urticaria. Removal of dairy from diet improves things partly, however overall health starts to decline rapidly, weight loss is 1kg per month, skin itch and eczema becomes close to unbearable.

In desperation, diet is reduced to a few basic food types and symptoms begin to resolve rapidly. Further tests show that celiac disease is probably at the core of issues spanning from somewhere between 20-50 years in the patients life. Always underweight, with unexpected bouts of un-wellness as a child and marked changes in health depending upon city lived in. Finally diet changes reveal that issues with gluten are possibly at the centre of all issues, from allergy to dust mite, intolerances to numerous food types, weight loss, general weakness and malaise.

In this case treating a bacterial infection was certainly effective with antibiotics, but only in the short-term, and damaging in the long-term. Because allopathic doctors are trained to look through keyholes with both eyes at the same time instead of opening the door, meant that over a number of years that no one allopathic doctor was able to do more that diagnose and prescribe according to their narrow definition of health. In addition this was possible only when a tentative self diagnosis had already happened. The use of an iridologist at various stages during this process allowed the patient to get an idea of the status of each major body organ and system. This meant that herbs could be taken to assist with a stressed immune system, or pancreas, or liver as it struggled to deal with the collateral damage caused by gluten, and subsequent allergies and intolerances.

Alternative practitioners were also not in a position to diagnose the person entirely, however were able to assist and diagnose related issues and once a diagnosis was made for celiac, could place symptoms and remedies in the correct context. In addition to this continual use of herbs does not have the same damaging effect as the long-term use of antibiotics.

Conventional medicine was able to diagnose specific issues like the presence of allergy to dust mite, and the presence of the celiac gene, but only when the patient presented this as the probable cause. Only the treatment prescribed by alternative medicine had any chance of treating the whole patient as opposed to symptomatically.

If you haven’t already guessed, the above is a précis of my health through my life and I have consulted with dozens of doctors from allopathic, various specialist, herbalists, homeopaths, dual practitioners, acupuncture. The major issue with conventional medicine is the reliance upon pinpoint technology to diagnose, rather than a natural ability to heal and read people. Its rather like someone reading a book on leadership, when they really just do not have the natural ability to lead. Reading about techniques can certainly help if you have the right attributes, but if you do not, it just makes you a pill pusher.

This means that treating symptoms especially if acute might be appropriate, but not when you cannot see, or lose sight of the patient overall. Alternative medicine at least recognises that there is necessarily a causation stack underlying the symptoms, masking the symptoms and getting through the days appointments is not a long term fix for many cases. There are many people with chronic and undiagnosed health issues that can be easily corrected if the correct path is taken to diagnosis and treat these.

Does this make it any clearer?
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Re: The Danger of Science Denial - "Alternative Medicine"-Sp

#737  Postby orpheus » Jun 14, 2010 2:30 pm

Yes, except it sounds like the conventional doctors you saw may have been pretty short-sighted, and are not necessarily typical. I, for example, can point to similar occurrences in my life. My doctors tried to find underlying causes - not just content to treat symptoms. If, after treatment, symptoms recurred (or other symptoms appeared), my doctor immediately started searching for possible underlying causes that had been missed.

This has been the case with the vast majority of doctors I've seen. Those who were short-sighted I simply didn't continue seeing. I'm not saying that you do this, but I think many people have a bad experience or two with conventional doctors and assume that all conventional doctors are like that.
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Re: The Danger of Science Denial - "Alternative Medicine"-Sp

#738  Postby natselrox » Jun 14, 2010 2:35 pm

Only the point is that even if we show all the doctors to be real assholes, we have bugger-all evidence for Homeopathy.
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Re: The Danger of Science Denial - "Alternative Medicine"-Sp

#739  Postby orpheus » Jun 14, 2010 2:49 pm

natselrox wrote:Only the point is that even if we show all the doctors to be real assholes, we have bugger-all evidence for Homeopathy.


Of course. I was just making a somewhat tangential point that I felt needed to be made.
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Re: The Danger of Science Denial - "Alternative Medicine"-Sp

#740  Postby natselrox » Jun 14, 2010 2:57 pm

orpheus wrote:
natselrox wrote:Only the point is that even if we show all the doctors to be real assholes, we have bugger-all evidence for Homeopathy.


Of course. I was just making a somewhat tangential point that I felt needed to be made.


I didn't mean to say that to you, of course. :thumbup:
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