Complementary and alternative medicine EneMan Evolution Medicine Science

Orac has a change of heart

You know, after all these years as a scientist, physician, and skeptic, I’ve been wondering. Perhaps it’s time to undergo a reassessment of my and philosophy. I’ve always been a bit of a curmudgeon, and it hasn’t really gotten me anywhere. My words appear to have no impact on the credulous.

For example, perhaps I’ve been a bit harder than I should be on purveyors of dubious alternative medicine. Millions of people use it every day. Would they use it if there weren’t anything to it? I think not. After all, look at all those testimonials for chelation therapy, Reiki therapy, Chinese energy healing, acupuncture, echinacea, and touchless chiropractic. Indeed, I’m beginning to wonder if it really isn’t the alternative therapies that cause cancer cures when the patient has also received conventional therapy. After all, a testimonial or anecdote is almost as good as case reports and a small series of case reports can be enough to generate a hypothesis to test in a real clinical trial. Why wait for the clinical trial to prove that these remedies work when so many people have tried them and swear by them? People will die waiting for these cures.

While I’m at it, maybe I’ve been way too hard on RFK Jr. After all, he’s idealistic and only has the best interests of our children in mind when he bravely exposes conspiracies between the CDC and big pharma to keep mercury in vaccines. Indeed, I’ve even started to reevaluate the Geier’s evidence showing that mercury in the thimerosal in childhood vaccines is a major cause of autism. After all, they’ve been investigating the connection betweeen thimerosal and autism a lot longer than I’ve been interested in the topic. I should give them the benefit of the doubt; presumably they know more about statistics than I do. And even though I think their idea that testosterone somehow ties up the mercury causing autism and makes it more difficult to chelate is a bit hard to believe, given their hard work on behalf of vaccine-damaged children trying to get compensation, perhaps I should lighten up on them a bit. Besides, it’s undeniable that chelation therapy works to cure autism.

Heck, while I’m at it, perhaps I should concede that William Dembski and other “intelligent design” creationism advocates may have a point about evolution. Although the evidence for evolution is overwhelming, the concept that structures like the bacterial flagellum and the eye are just too complex for random processes to have caused them should not be dismissed out of hand.

Indeed, I’m thinking of retooling the Skeptics’ Circle. It’s just too…skeptical and curmudgeonly. I mean, what’s with all this questioning? Doesn’t everyone realize it’s much easier and happier if we just believe what we’re told about these things? Perhaps I’ll change the name of the blog carnival to the Carnival of Alternative Ways of Knowing…

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April Fools!

EneMan 2004-04

Alright, I know that wasn’t subtle or believable enough to be a truly good April Fool’s Day post, but Orac has never been known for his subtlety. In any case, just wait. Alties and mercury moms will quote the first part of this post and ignore the second part.

Oh, and the above picture was from 2004; there’s likely to be more EneMan this month…

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

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