Knol on Alternative Medicine
To a layperson it seemed reasonably skeptical. I thought it was odd that it doesn’t mention homeopathy. Isn’t that idea one of the oldest and most obviously without foundation of Western alternative medicine? I was also surprised that ‘Energy therapy’ such as Reiki is described as “…therapies that are believed to modify energy fields surrounding the body” without mentioning that there is no evidence that such ‘energy fields’ exist.
But the sentences which really caught my eye were these:
“However, the lack of evidence should NOT be equated with a conclusion that a therapy is ineffective. In the absence of scientific evidence, there is an equal chance that any therapy will be beneficial or harmful.”
An equal chance? Really? As the author says “One of the greatest safety concerns with all CAM therapies is that the use of CAM may delay the diagnosis or traditional treatment of a disorder”, so ineffective therapies should be classified as harmful.
It isn’t surprising that an author with an interest in testing alternative medicine should believe that the resources available for clinical trials of treatments are worth spending evaluating alternative medicines, but to suggest that 50% of trials of alternative medicines will show that those treatments are beneficial defies belief!