Questionable Motives

October 23, 2009

CAM – avoiding being held to a scientific standard

Filed under: CAM,Criticism,Medicine,Science — tildeb @ 2:37 pm

medical questionFrom the Journal of Health Services and Research Policy comes a paper that examines the principles of evidence-based practice within a host of Complimentary and Alternative bodies of practice (CAM). Their conclusion is that, for the most part, these bodies do not recognize evidence-based practices as essential for their health care offerings. They conclude that this absence ” discloses double standards in UK health care which may compromise patient safety.”

Doctor Steve Novella comments on this paper over at Neurologica Blog:

At least with the organizations named above, there is a lack of dedication to evidence-based practice in their codes of conduct. This, of course, is just one line of evidence and not definitive in and of itself, but it does reflect the broader observation based upon many lines of evidence that there is an inherent lack of respect of scientific evidence within the culture of CAM.

There is a parallel to be drawn with the creationist movement in the US. Creationists today talk about academic freedom, opposing dogma, fairness to those with alternate opinions, teaching the controversy, and including discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of scientific theories in the classroom. Taken in isolation and out of context, each of these points may seem legitimate. But we know what the ultimate purpose of all of this is – to promote a sectarian anti-scientific and overtly religious view of the origins of life at the expense of the quality of science education. The creationists are not fooling anyone with the slightest knowledge of recent history.

In the same way CAM proponents talk about health care freedom, scientific dogma, closed-mindedness, discrimination, respect for local cultures and nature, and broadening our concepts of science and evidence. But in reality this is all a cover, and at the core the CAM movement is all about creating a double standard to shield their preferred ideologically driven modalities from being held to a scientific standard.

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