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Old 04-16-2011, 07:44 AM   #113 (permalink)
effin' ineffable

In the Paint
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Toronto
Posts: 30,070

Originally Posted by Ligeia View Post
I'm not a huge fan of the word quack, but there is pretty much no doubt that the alt-med community is full of empirically unverified or flat-out debunked treatments.

To take chiropractic as an example, the key premise of chiropractic (that of subluxations) has been proven false.

When we look at chiropractic as a broad treatment, it repeatedly fails to do better than placebo.

When we look at it as a specific treatment for back injuries, it is on par with the treatment you would get from an RMT, at best. As a simple matter of fact, basically nothing works reliably for back pain.

I do not know enough about your particular case to comment on it directly. What I would say is that you should not put too much weight in the fact that your dogs improvement in health was correlated with the treatment of the chiropractor. Unless you have sufficient controls in place, it is pretty hard to tell whether that correlation is legitimate or not. It could even be as simple as this: whatever was causing the excessive urination naturally clears up in about a week. I'm not saying that is necessarily the explanation; I'm saying that there are many possible explanations and we shouldn't prematurely give one more credence than another, especially when it has a lot of evidence that suggest it is implausible.

Keep in mind that what Moran was decrying was the general lack of what he calls "scientific reasoning." Namely, there is no reason to say "All nuclear facilities should be shut-down" unless there is some sort of evidence strongly in favour of that position. As you say, it is a reflexive position on their part, which is the antithesis of the reasoning Moran is looking for.
My dog had been through all the testing. There was no problem that cause frequent urination. So there was nothing that needed to run its course. Her problem was that her hips had twisted and impacted the nerves that effected her urinary system. She went from frequent urination to just stopping immediately after being adjusted. I think it would be a tremendous coincidence for the timing of some symptoms to have run their course in conjunction with the chiropractic treatment.

I have a much bigger problem with anything that claims to be a cure. I recognize that alternative treatments can be seen in such a light, and that would be where my concerns would lie. If they can be seen as supplemental, when doctors and specialists come to a dead end in some areas, as happens often, then it seems very rational to not disqualify alternatives off-hand. My wife suffered from sever pains in her shoulder blades. She had every test, went to specialists, tried harmful pain-killers, and in the end they advised her to see a chiropractor, which has in fact been helpful.

As for nuclear energy - there are obvious downsides. I have as much of a problem with science being unable to weigh long-term pros and cons regarding any technologies, as I do with reflexive positions regarding those technologies. In fact, I think that science has shown itself to be unqualified to come up with a cohesive plan that takes the overall health of the planet into consideration. It is important for government to take that role, and saying no is an important part of that.
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