The fundamental question
for treatment is a statistical one: What is percentage of improve above the natural
rate, minus the percentage harmed by the treatment? The summation: benefits outweigh the risk-cost-pain ratio. “Quacks,
of course, operate outside of the scientific community. They do not use the scientific
method to evaluate what they see. In fact, they seldom bother to experiment at
all. They assume safety and curative powers without their being in the literature
properly controlled studies. Furthermore, they often present a contrary to scientific
theory of the body as a way for explaining how their treatment works. For example
they assume that there are healing psychic energies which can be unleashed by the healing touch, prayers, meditation, or the
wearing of a 7-metal bracelet. In addition to that there is an assortment of
other less spiritual beliefs that again lack a demonstrable modus operandi. They
will claim that taking vitamins above what the body has been shown to need will cure or prevent a variety of ailments. When they turn to scientific literature, they use studies that fail to control for
contravening variable or have other flaws, and they ignore the other studies that fail to support their conclusions. The quack and their supporters exist in another sphere. Their assertions resemble religious beliefs: beyond the sphere
of reasoned analysis.
The behavior of quacks makes identifying them
easy. They recommend a cocktail of herbal products and vitamins. They criticize medical science, yet they are without science. Their
theories of health and the body are not supported by scientific investigations and their treatment when subject to rigorous clinical testing fare no better than those in the placebo group.
For these reasons those with knowledge of health science do not seek them out recommend their treatments. A review of basic health science as taught to a senior in high school sharpens the vision sufficiently so
as to be able to spot quacks. Short of this, one should simply rely relying upon
standard medical wisdom.
Sure there are problems with medicine; however,
nearly all of them are due to the forces of the marketplace. Corporate profits
of big PHARMA comes before public’s well being. However, physicians practice
medicine conscientiously--so do most chiropractors. Sincerity is not the measurement
for truth: Evidence-based scientific foundation is a much better guide. What diseases have the chiropractor and herbalist treated with a success comparable
to that of penicillin in the treatment of syphilis and gonorrhea? What role have
they played in the treatment or prevention of elimination of diphtheria, cholera, mumps, AIDS, etc? Why hasn’t their touted cures been adopted by physicians and health scientists as the preferred means
of treatment? And why is there such a divergence between the claims of believers
in alternative medicine and the scientifically sound reviews of their claims? Alternative
medicine is a religion, not a science.