Complementary and alternative medicine History Medicine Quackery

The real appeal to ancient wisdom

As many who take an interest in this subject know, one of the most common arguments that advocates of various medical woo often make is the appeal to ancient wisdom. They seem to think that if a treatment is old (homeopathy, acupuncture, various “energy healing” methods), there must be something to it because otherwise it wouldn’t have persisted. (Never mind that belief in ghosts and evil spirits, for example, has persisted for many thousands of years.)

Here is an explicit description of just what some of this “ancient medical wisdom” is, straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak, namely the ancient Romans and Greeks.

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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