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I never disputed points two and three. In point of fact, I made point three myself in the very first paragraph: There is no question that overmedicalisation and adverse (and untested) side effects result from haphazardly combining drugs to treat the symptoms rather than the underlying disease (this gets particularly ironic when drug 2 is introduced to treat the side effects of drug 1, drug 3 is given to treat the side effects of drug 2 and drug 3 causes side effects similar to the symptoms drug 1 was supposed to treat. Yes, that actually happens occasionally). This should not be controversial.

But that is not what the cited 'paper' argues. It pushes a simplistic message of Drugs BAD! and it attempts to elbow in proven nonsense like homeopathy. This is tactically and rhetorically very similar to the way cdesign proponentsists point to a problem or an unexplored issue somewhere in science and shout "gotcha! You don't know how protein X evolved, therefore evolution is bunk!"

(As an aside, alties frequently employ another tactic lifted from the cdesign proponentsist battle plan: Whenever they say "but we don't want to do away with real conventional medicine, we just want to supplement it," what you should hear is "teach the controversy.")

With regard to your first bullet, I am not familiar with the literature on the subject, but it is not entirely implausible that giving people a placebo (which is what most 'alternative medicine' really is) can help them kick a habit. This is, however, very likely a purely psychological effect that owes more to the interaction with the therapist than any physiological effect of the placebo in question.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Jan 8th, 2008 at 11:28:47 AM EST
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