Sunday, July 05, 2009

We've Always Been at War With Oceania

Imagine it's a few centuries ago, before the scientific revolution in medicine. Acupuncturists start complaining about chiropractors and the unearned popularity they have. They start emphasizing the strokes caused by chiropractors in their marketing campaign. Their campaign also emphasizes how relatively painless gently putting needles into a person's skin is, and how it doesn't cause side effects. All the while, just like the chiropractors, they neglect to demonstrate any actual effect though the scientific method. Instead, they, again, just like the chiropractors, rely entirely on anecdotal "trial and error" to determine what "works" without regard for observer biases. The acupuncturists' campaign is successful enough to wipe out chiropractic from serious consideration, and even set it up as an archetypal example of ridiculous quackery.

Now imagine it's centuries later. Acupuncture is still around. And they call aspirin "chiropractic medicine." They call chemotherapy "chiropractic medicine." They call surgery "chiropractic medicine." And they call vaccination by injection "chiropractic stealing ideas from acupuncture" because it involves a needle.

Welcome to the skeptics world in regard to the dead pseudoscience of "allopathy." One woo faction squabbled with a slightly worse but temporarily more popular woo faction and played a big part in killing them off. Once they killed off the enemy, they needed another enemy they could attempt to discredit to make themselves look good. Thus, homeopaths invented a tenuous connection between scientific medicine and homeopathy's slightly-more-evil twin, allopathy. Threatened by the genuine effectiveness of medicine coupled with the watchdog organizations that enforce that effectiveness, other woos jumped onto the propaganda bandwagon.

1 comment:

pathgirl said...

it's like 'Woo vs Woo' instead of 'Spy vs Spy' in the end nobody wins.