Richard Dawkins TV - Penn & Teller TV - Isaac Asimov - Robert Park - Jim Al-Khalili - John Harvey Kellogg - Stephen Fry - M Angell - Paul Offit - Tim Minchin - Edzard Ernst - In Search of … TV - Quartz online -
There is no alternative medicine. There is only medicine that works and medicine that doesn’t work. Richard Dawkins, A Devil's Chaplain
Today Reason has a battle on its hands. I want to confront the epidemic of irrational superstitious thinking. It’s a multi-million pound industry that impoverishes our culture, and throws up new-age gurus who exult us to run away from reality. Richard Dawkins, Enemies of Reason: Slaves to Superstition, Channel 4 2007
Today a war is being fought against Reason. Science is treated with suspicion perhaps borne of fear. And medical advance is challenged by the march of irrational belief. Richard Dawkins: Enemies of Reason: The Irrational Health Service
A third of us now spend over £1.6 billion a year on superstitious alternative remedies which as far as the evidence can show don’t work. If any remedy is tested under controlled scientific conditions and proved to be effective it will cease to be alternative and will simply become medicine. So-called alternative medicine either hasn’t been tested or it has failed its tests. And some alternatives are funded by us taxpayers. ibid.
It’s little wonder that alternative health fairs like this are flourishing across the country. People may come here with real health problems, but what do they get? Remedies that appear to have no basis in science or evidence ... Remember this is a multi-billion pound industry. Yet 80% of alternative remedies have never subjected themselves to controlled scientific trials. They depend entirely on subjective word of mouth. ibid.
In flaunting words like energy, vibration, vortex they exploit and also distort some of Science’s great discoveries ... What worries me is the beguiling misuse of scientific language to prop up entirely unscientific belief systems. ibid.
The indulgence of superstitious alternative remedies implicitly casts doubt on scientific advance, and undermines confidence in real medical progress. Yet as we’ve seen, the attack on medicine is just one small part of the creeping rise of irrational superstition. ibid.
Even today people still convince themselves of the most outrageous bullshit will cure them. Penn & Teller, Bullshit! s1e1: Alternative Medicine, Showtime 2013
Reflexologists believe the foot contains pathways to every nerve ending and organ in the body. ibid.
The world of magnet therapy – a billion-dollar a year business ... They even make magnetic devices for your pets. ibid.
The world of chiropractic medicine: over eighteen million people a year spend over a billion dollars visiting the chiropractor. ibid.
Smelling your way to a happier life is all the rage. Penn & Teller, Bullshit! s7e9: Stress
Personally I’d rather smell things like ... pussy. ibid.
And what has New Age medicine cured, eliminated, done away with? Jack Shit. Penn & Teller, Bullshit! s6e2: New Age Medicine
Chakras? Fuck! ibid.
Berkeley, California: here students are taking a class in acutonics. ibid.
What is quantum spinal alignment? ibid.
There are some shitty treatments that are only a few decades old. ibid.
Inspect every piece of pseudo-science and you will find a security blanket, a thumb to suck, a skirt to hold. Isaac Asimov
Quantum healing is a theory that a shift in consciousness creates a shift in biology. Deepak Chopra, interview Enemies of Reason
Placebos work much better if they’re strong and powerful, if they look strong and powerful. Coloured pills worked better than drab coloured ones. Big medicine works better than small medicine. Professor Nicholas Humphrey, interview Professor Richard Dawkins
Alternative medicine is a disease of the affluent. ibid.
The power of suggestion is wonderful. And it’s a large part of the healing process. Professor Robert Park, author Voodoo Science
In the same way in medicine, alternative medicines like homeopathy or new age therapies – reiki healing – a lot of people buy into it and it grates against my rationalist view of the world. There is no evidence for it. It is deceitful. It is insidious. I feel passionately about living in a society with a rationalist view of the world. Jim Al-Khalili
Avoid nostrums and patent medicines. The habitual use of any drug is harmful. The most eminent physicians are now agreed that very few drugs have any real curative value. The essential thing is right habits of life. John Harvey Kellogg
Alternative medicine people call themselves holistic and say it’s the whole approach. Well, if it’s the whole approach, let it be the mind as well. Use logic, use sense, use the incredible five wits you were given by creation. Stephen Fry, Room 101 s6e10
People want to take control of their own lives, and ironically they seem to think that they are taking control of their lives more by using so-called complementary or alternative medicines than by using orthodox medicine. In other words, they think it’s a statement of originality and individuality. To you and me it seems self-evidently ridiculous, this homeopathic medicine. It is so preposterous, and yet some people I know and respect insist on believing it. Stephen Fry
It is time for the scientific community to stop giving alternative medicine a free ride. There cannot be two kinds of medicine – conventional and alternative. There is only medicine that has been adequately tested and medicine that has not, medicine that works and medicine that may or may not work. Once a treatment has been tested rigorously, it no longer matters whether it was considered alternative at the outset. If it is found to be reasonably safe and effective, it will be accepted. But assertions, speculation, and testimonials do not substitute for evidence. Alternative treatments should be subjected to scientific testing no less rigorous than that required for conventional treatments. M Angell et al, article New England Journal of Medicine 1998, ‘Alternative Medicine – The Risks of Untested and Unregulated Remedies’
There’s no such thing as conventional or alternative or complementary or integrative or holistic medicine. There’s only medicine that works and medicine that doesn’t. And the best way to sort it out is by carefully evaluating scientific studies – not by visiting Internet chat rooms, reading magazine articles, or talking to friends. Paul Offit, Do You Believe in Magic?
Alternative medicine has either not been proved to work, or been proved not to work. You know what they call alternative medicine that’s been proved to work? Tim Minchin
Any alternative cancer cure is bogus by definition. There will never be an alternative cancer cure. Why? Because if something looked halfway promising, then mainstream oncology would scrutinize it, and if there is anything to it, it would become mainstream almost automatically and very quickly. All curative ‘alternative cancer cures’ are based on false claims, are bogus, and, I would say, even criminal. Edzard Ernst
With the magic powers believed to dwell inside a cloud of smoke, a Mayan healer performs an ancient cure. The rising smoke will lift away the patient’s evil spirits … The work of people we call witch doctors … Witch doctors should not be shrugged off lightly … There is more to ancient medicine than a knowledge of healing plants. In Search of s2e19 … Witch Doctors, History 1978
We travel to the People’s Republic of China to examine a modern mystery which had its beginnings centuries ago: the ancient medical art of acupuncture. Chinese doctors claim a mysterious energy force they call Chi flows through the human body and controls our health and well-being. They believe this flow can be altered by the insertion of needles at specific points in the body. In Search of s5e9 … Acupuncture, 1980
Silver-Tongued? Alex Jones peddled a fake coronavirus cure that can turn people’s skin permanently blue: InfoWars has long sold alternative medicine products, claiming miraculous health benefits. And many others are trying to cash in on the public health crisis by selling colloidal silver products and other fake cures. The state of Missouri sued televangelist Jim Bakker for peddling SilverSol products as a coronavirus medication, and the FDA sent warning last week to seven companies that were making similar claims. Quartz online news report 14th March 2020