drunken wrote:Large areas of modern science are, at least to me, indistinguishable from religion.
That sounds like you are either uninformed about those areas of science, or unconsciously biased against science. Probably both.
Medicine is one of the worst in this respect. If you read the article I posted most of the treatments it lists are very common.
Yes, but you apparently didn't follow the article's links. If you had, you might have noted the following.
The article states:
For example, doctors have administered 'beta-blockers' for decades to heart attack victims, although studies show that the early administration of beta-blockers does not save lives;
That much is true but incomplete and misleading. The linked research study did indeed find that one particular beta-blocker (metoprolol) did not reduce deaths compared to placebo. But it also found that metoprolol did reduce reinfarction and atrial fibrillation, but also increased cardiogenic shock. Their conclusion:
The use of early beta-blocker therapy in acute MI reduces the risks of reinfarction and ventricular fibrillation, but increases the risk of cardiogenic shock, especially during the first day or so after admission. Consequently, it might generally be prudent to consider starting beta-blocker therapy in hospital only when the haemodynamic condition after MI has stabilised.
Not quite so cut-and-dried and the /. article implied, huh? Just because metoprolol didn't reduce deaths doesn't mean it has no potential benefit at all. That's misleading cite #1.
What about the next claim?
patients with ear infections are more likely to be harmed by antibiotics than helped — the infections typically recede within days regardless of treatment and the same is true for bronchitis, sinusitis, and sore throats;
The link for that claim does say that 80% of ear infection symptoms improved within 2-3 days without antibiotics. It does NOT actually say that antibiotics have no benefit. It most definitely doesn't show that antibiotics are more likely to harm than help! That's misleading cite #2.
OK, how about the next:
no cough remedies have ever been proven better than a placebo.
Once again, read the linked article. It doesn't say what /. claims. What it says is that over-the-counter
cough remedies don't work better than placebo. Not quite the same. I don't know about you, but I can't remember the last time a doc told me to take an OTC cough med (or to give one to my kids). I have gotten prescription cough meds. So that's misleading cite #3.
My point is not to suggest that all of orthodox medicine is perfectly science-based, or to deny that there are conventional med practices that go on despite being unproven or disproven. But you and that /. article are trying to imply that conventional medicine (not to mention 'large areas of modern science') is just as bad as pseudoscientific alt-med. You're blowing conventional med's faults way out of proportion, so you can try to claim some sort of equivalency with pseudoscience. That's the tu quoque fallacy, and it's wrong.
On top of that, you're presenting a false dichotomy - that 'we' should either quit criticizing alt med, or quit supporting conventional med, just because parts
of conventional med aren't perfect. The proper response is to criticize all
pseudoscience (which includes the vast majority of alt med), and support all properly science based med (which is the majority of what's currently practiced).