Funding Magic: Alternative Medicine

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Vaccines, Immunology, Drug Discovery/Design, Molecular Biology, and Philosophy.


  1. comment-avatar

    […] An example I have seen others come across is with respect to the magical, snake-oil peddlin’, magic hocus-pocus, quackery woo-fest that is homeopathy (as you can tell I am not fond of this pseudoscience). Arguing that because people claim homeopathy works (placebo mixed with fraud) and because there is so much we don’t know about quantum physics and how things work (despite all the evidence against homeopathy) that surely homeopathy does work somehow is purely fallacious reasoning and a great example of an argument from ignorance. In fact, people claiming that “more research needs to be done” seem to neglect two simple facts; firstly that medical research does not have an infinite magic sack of money to be able to fund everything (look at Australia where 55% of health and medical research projects were deemed fundable, but due to budget constraints, only 19% could be funded). Secondly, there comes a point where “more research” becomes unethical, as you are essentially doing things like entering patients into trials where we already know the answers to the questions. Ultimately you end up funding magic (which I wrote about here). […]

  2. comment-avatar
    AndyApril 10, 2014 - 3:21 pm

    Governments the world over happily waste money on nonsense all the time, and always at the expense of more deserving causes. For example, the Western Australian government is spending a reported $5000 a day on killing sharks – none of which have been shown, or even been suspected, to have ever even thought about attacking humans. The Environmental Protection Agency that gave the ridiculous plan the go ahead apparently did so because their research suggested it would have no meaningful impact on shark populations. So they’re doing it precisely because they know it won’t work. Bizarrely, the policy doesn’t even appear to be a vote winner.

    That said, it would be nice to see the sale of alternative therapies either deemed to be fraud or reclassified as religions. Not that I support government sponsorship of religion either, but at least homeopathy would be more correctly classified that way since it is clearly faith-based, and we wouldn’t have the silliness that sees our therapeutic goods regulator actually listing this magic as if it were actually had a therapeutic benefit.

    And then, maybe, but now I’m really drifting into fantasy land, profit-driven pharmacists – who’ve apparently willingly forgotten everything they ever learned about biochemistry – would stop selling it to gullible customers.

    • comment-avatar
      AndyApril 10, 2014 - 3:25 pm

      Oops. English fail. Heck, it’s almost midnight. Give me a break.

    • comment-avatar
      Christopher_NWApril 11, 2014 - 3:08 am

      Regarding the shark culling nonsense that the Western Australian government is currently engaged in, I too am very surprised at their persistence given the unpopularity. Governments often disregard evidence-based policy (unless it fits in with their agenda, thereby cherry picking) in favor of the fallacy of appeal to popularity (argumentum ad populum, a logical fallacy), which is why Socrates was so critical of democracy. However here we see the majority of the people against it and expert consensus ruling it a rubbish policy. So it really does boggle the mind. For an amusing look at it, I recommend this video-

      In terms of your second paragraph about homeopathy, you’re spot on. I always feel a tinge of pain when I see the woo that is so wide spread in chemists across Australia and elsewhere. Thanks for commenting and engaging with us.

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