MD, PhD, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd.

So-called alternative medicine (SCAM) is, as we all know, an umbrella term. Under this umbrella, we find hundreds of different modalities that have little in common with each other. Here I often focus on:

  • homeopathy,
  • chiropractic,
  • acupuncture,
  • herbal medicine.

There are uncounted others, and in my recent book, I published critical evaluations 150 of them. But for the moment, let’s keep to the 4 SCAMs listed above.

What strikes me regularly is that many SCAM enthusiasts do seem to appreciate my critical assessments of SCAM; for instance:

  • When I point out that the assumptions of homeopathy fly in the face of science, most SCAM enthusiasts agree.
  • When I point out that chiropractic spinal manipulations might not be safe, most SCAM enthusiasts agree.
  • When I point out that acupuncture is not a panacea, most SCAM enthusiasts agree.
  • When I point out that herbal remedies can interact with prescribed drugs, most SCAM enthusiasts agree.

Most but not all!

  • Those who find my criticism of homeopathy unfair are the homeopaths and their proponents.
  • Those who find my criticism of chiropractic unfair are the chiropractors and their proponents.
  • Those who find my criticism of acupuncture unfair are the acupuncturists and their proponents.
  • Those who find my criticism of herbal medicine unfair are the herbalists and their proponents.

Hardly ever does a herbalist defend homeopathy’s weird assumptions; rarely does an acupuncturist tell me that I am too harsh with the chiropractors; never have I heard a chiropractor complain that my criticism of acupuncture is unjustified.

Entirely obvious?

Perhaps!

But I find it nevertheless curious, because my critical stance is always the same. I do not change it for this or that form of SCAM (I would also not change it for conventional medicine, but I leave it to those who have more specific expertise to do the criticising). I have no axe to grind against any particular SCAM. All I do is point out flaws in their logic, limitations in their studies, gaps in the evidence. All I do is provide my honest interpretation of the evidence.

It really seems to me that everyone appreciates my honesty, until I start being honest with them.

And this is why I find it curious. Homeopaths, chiropractors, acupuncturists, herbalists and all the other types of SCAM practitioners like to be seen on the side of science, evidence, critical thinking and progress. This, I suppose, is good for the (self) image; it might even help the delusion that they are all evidence-based. But as soon as someone applies science, evidence, critical thinking and progress to their very own little niche within SCAM, they stop liking it and start aggressing the critic.

I suppose this is entirely obvious as well?

Perhaps!

But it also exposes the double standard that is so deeply ingrained in SCAM.

16 Responses to Everyone appreciates my honesty … until I am honest with them

  • Similar experience. I just called out a veterinary homeopathist on what would otherwise be a very professional DVM only social media group for diagnosing a medical condition, giving medical advice , and prescribing homeopathic treatment without ever having seen the patient, or talking to its owner. What is normally a very civil group became a bar room brawl as I was deemed a fascist for highlighting some of the major flaws associated with homeopathy. Also I recently joinied a Homeopathy social media group to observe and keep my finger on the pulse so to speak. One of the criteria of joining the group is that you have to answer question stating you believe in homeopathic medicine, and that you will never criticize the practice or practitioners .

    Edzard perhaps you can take a look a the role social media platforms are playing in fueling the growth of SCAM by giving these nonsense medical groups a platform to advertise , sell and treat the naive public. Like any other “wrong” that is censured and edited by these social media platforms misinforming the public and using these platforms to disseminate medical misinformation to the misfortune and harm of many of those recieving it is imo an egregious injustice that is so often overlooked.

  • You’ve been very “honest” about your hatred for Mr. Trump. How does it feel to see him (the man who was releasing wrongly convicted black prisoners) replaced by the man who has wrongly thrown millions of blacks in prison for 26 years? How about his VP, Kamala Harris, who used to date Montel Williams, a TV con artist who promoted a “psychic” who talked to the dead? Does it bother you free speech is in danger in America now – a first – AFTER Trump was “defeated”? And, about that “defeat”, does it bother you the political party that defeated him features Bill Clinton, a man who has had FOUR credible rape accusations against him – investigated by two organizations – for the last 30 years? Does it bother you the party has Hillary Clinton, who is on record as harassing the women her husband raped? She also brought slavery back to Libya as Secretary of State – should we be proud of that – as Americans? Speaking of being Secretary of State, what do you think of Obama’s original promotion by Oprah Winfrey, the #1 top promoter of quackery, misinformation, and pseudoscience in the country? Did that give you the confidence to be so cock-sure of yourself, regarding what MY COUNTRY should do? I mean, the President should fit in with the quack Dr. Oz, right? The quack Dr. Phil? The quack Dr. Deepak Chopra? You wanted this. You said so, daily. Being “honest”.

    You know as much about American politics as a homeopath does the truth.

  • I wonder if the Prof. knows most Democrats get their news from this guy? And that he’s married to this woman?

    And the Democrats made this quack into “America’s Doctor”?

    What I’m asking is – is anyone being honest with him, about what’s going on, over here?

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