A group of leading British doctors have urged the British National Health Service to stop using complementary therapies and to pay only for evidence based medicine. To which I can only add – duh!
The highly qualified health expert Prince Charles, weighs in with the contrary view:
The proper mix of proven complementary, traditional and modern remedies, which emphasises the active participation of the patient, can help to create a powerful healing force in the world."
He added: "Many of today's complementary therapies are rooted in ancient traditions that intuitively understood the need to maintain balance and harmony with our minds, bodies and the natural world.
"Much of this knowledge, often based on oral traditions, is sadly being lost, yet orthodox medicine has so much to learn from it."
Of course, this is nothing but a lame appeal to other ways of knowing. Science has proved to be the most reliable method we know for evaluating claims such as “does this therapy work?”, and figuring out how the universe works. If Prince Charles claims there is a better method, it is up to him to explain that method and justify his claim that it is better – something he has never done.
The doctors criticize a report commissioned by Prince Charles, and specifically mention homeopathy, calling it an "implausible treatment for which over a dozen systematic reviews have failed to produce convincing evidence of effectiveness". Over a dozen? Surely at least 110 studies? Never mind - the doctors hit exactly the right note with this:
While "medical practice must remain open to new discoveries", it would "be highly irresponsible to embrace any medicine as though it were a matter of principle".
Exactly. Of course the alternistas reply with the usual fallacies:
Dr Peter Fisher, of the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital, described the letter as an attempt to introduce a form of "medical apartheid" into the NHS.
Oh boy - this is the appeal to emotion fallacy – he's comparing himself to the victims of apartheid. Give me a break.
Terry Cullen, chairman of the British Complementary Medicine Association, said: "It's very frustrating that senior responsible people dismiss complementary medicine for the sole reason that it doesn't have the definitive scientific proof that other drugs have.
First off, for some alternative therapies there is actually pretty definitive scientific proof they don’t work. I’m thinking especially of homeopathy, but acupuncture also springs to mind.
Second, if you don’t reject something based on (a lack of) scientific evidence then on what basis would you reject anything? Without science you are in freefall – you have to accept literally anything. (Bloodletting anyone?)
"There is so much anecdotal evidence that thousands of people gain benefit from using complementary medicines. We shouldn't dismiss that."
Don’t they know anecdotes are not evidence?
The real doctors continue:
"The NHS should not be spending money where the evidence base is much weaker than it is for conventional treatments," he told BBC Breakfast.
He said a business plan for the refurbishment of the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital - which cost £20m to set up - did not put any emphasis on evidence.
£20 million and no emphasis on evidence. Right there is the problem. Good work from these doctors. Meanwhile Prince Charles should stick to farming using astrology where he can do less damage.