A SKEPTICAL STUDIES CURRICULUM RESOURCE

Science Based Medicine    More

The James Randi Educational Foundation has produced a superb 10-part video lecture series in which Harriet Hall, M.D., contrasts science-based medicine with so-called “complementary and alternative” methods. The topics include: What is CAM?; acupuncture; chiropractic; energy medicine; homeopathy; miscellaneous “alternatives”; naturopathy and herbal medicines; pitfalls in research; science based medicine vs. evidence-based medicine; science-based medicine in the media and politics. The lectures range from 32 to 45 minutes. A companion course guide is also available. Listen to the audio advertisement for the course.

Watch the 10-part video series

Evidence

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There is a huge disconnect between what science-based medicine calls evidence and what alternative medicine and the general public call evidence. They are using the same word, but speaking a different language, making communication next to impossible.

First, there is no such thing as “alternative medicine.” There is only medicine that has been tested and proven to work and medicine that hasn’t. If a treatment currently considered to be alternative were adequately tested and proven to work, it would be incorporated into mainstream medical practice and could no longer be considered “alternative.” It would become just “medicine.” So-called “alternative” medicine can be defined as medicine that isn’t supported by good enough evidence to earn it a place in mainstream medicine.

Read Dr. Hall here.

Sunday’s Sermon: then we went to war

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One of the books we had in our home when I was a kid was The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale. Mom really liked the Reverend Doctor and recited stuff like : “Stand up to an obstacle. Just stand up to it, that’s all, and don’t give way under it, and it will finally break. You will break it. Something has to break, and it won’t be you, it will be the obstacle.” Sometimes it worked. But sometimes it didn’t work. Obstacles, I learned, can also win. Then we went to war. After some time the idea of “positive thinking” struck me as silly. We won WWII. Then we went to war. Korean conflict was put on permanent hold. Then we went to war. Vietnam war was a disaster. We left. Then we went to war. Iraq. Afghanistan. Then we went to war. A refrain? And then we went to war . . .

THIS IS NO TIME FOR EASY OPTIMISM - NARA - 515780

THIS IS NO TIME FOR EASY OPTIMISM – NARA – 515780 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

For optimism to reap its benefits, therefore, we might say a skeptical optimism is required. You can recite “Everything is good! I’m adorable! Everything will work out!” 20 times a day, but it won’t get you much (except worried glances from your neighbors). It must be grounded in reality, spurring people to take better care of themselves, regard problems and bad news as difficulties they can overcome, and get off the couch to solve their problems. Optimism needs a behavioral partner. [Read the article here: Source]

But, of course, “Over and over, other basic notions of the positive-psychology movement have melted in the hot glare of evidence.”

“Then we went to war.”

We need more than optimism.

“Skeptics, we have a new motto: Surly to bed and surly to rise… “