Dr. Gary Conboy wrote:
>>There has been quite a discussion this month concerning "alternative"
>>medicine and "novel" diagnostic methodology. Personnally, I would be
>>very disappointed if this type of discussion predominated in this group
>>every month. However, I have found it informative (and horrifying).
>>One of the attractions this group holds for me in the curious mix of
>>backgrounds of the participants covering the spectrum from high school
>>students to PhDs.
Andrew Fell <ahfell at netmatters.co.uk> wrote:
>I agree. These discussions aren't going to convince the diehard
>naturopaths, or stop the spammers, and they probably annoy a lot of
>readers. That said, there are a lot of readers out there who are using
>newsgroups to look for information about their health, who don't have a
>scientific background, and to whom naturopath waffle sounds
>superficially convincing. I think that when someone posts specious,
>silly or misleading statements, the scientific community should respond
>with facts, logic and wit.
I think we also need to remember that SOME of what is now labeled as
"alternative" and "novel" might one day be accepted. There are numerous
examples of procedures, protocols and ideas that once seemed crazy years
ago but are now routine. I do feel very strongly though that "alternative"
and "novel" methodologies and ideas be thoroughly examined and tested -
not simply tossed out as ridiculous. Of course, common sense should also
be used. I'm not going to take some ideas very seriously - but then this
is after examining the idea. To simply toss an idea without actually
looking at it is not particularly good science. While the main idea might
be silly there still might be some useful bits here and there.
For instance, while I'm not sure there is an herbal remedy that will rid
the body of all "parasites" - I'm not going to call all herbalists silly
and unrealistic. No, I don't believe that all cancers are caused by
parasites - I do know that some are.
As for having to weed through the fluff for the kernals - well, welcome to
Usenet :). We could get a moderator but is there really a need to do so
right now? Are we really THAT overwhelmed with noise? No, though I guess
I can see the desire for a pre-emptive strike, so to speak.
personally, I think we need the occassional "weird" post - can be a good
starting place for an interesting discussion. I also think we should
welcome laymen and non-scientists' questions and comments - we can use
them as a resource for addressing concerns and questions many people have
about a subject they know little about. Education is important - whether
it be to the benefit of a highschool student, a grad student or a frightened
traveller returning from Morocco or Peru. This is an excellent forum for
that sort of thing - why not take advantage of it?
>I'd make a distinction here between posts from real people and spam
>messages sent automatically. No point responding to spam at all.
This is a good distinction to make and I agree.
Joan Shields jshields at uci.eduhttp://www.ags.uci.edu/~jshields
University of California - Irvine
School of Social Ecology Department of Environmental Analysis and Design
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