There can be no doubting the achievements of medical science and this is particularly true of the last century. Less than 100 years ago we did not have effective treatments of serious diseases such as diabetes mellitus, mind syphilis, viagra order tuberculosis and killer bacterial infections such meningitis and pneumonia – to name but a few examples. Science can be justifiably proud of what it has accomplished in medicine and the consequent reduction in human suffering.
In recent years, viagra however there has been an aggressive and arrogant support in some medical quarters for scientism which can loosely be defined as ‘excessive belief in the power of scientific knowledge and techniques’. The key word in that definition is of course ‘excessive’ as anybody denying belief in science needs to be made an object of medical science with an MRI of the head for starters. The scientism I’m referring to is the jeering superiority being spouted by the scientists and doctors of the ‘school of Naïve Realism’, many of whom I’ve referred to on these pages before. In a recent article, Lionel Milgrom has launched a robust, no-holds-barred attack on scientistic doctors – in particular those who attack and sneer at homeopathy. It is bound to be a controversial article (the editor warns readers they are unlikely to agree with everything said) but it is certainly an opinion worthy of generating vigorous debate.
Personally I like to keep things very simple. Let’s look once again at the issue of NHS homeopathy.
FACT: 70% of patients (many of whom were referred for homeopathy because they were not helped by conventional approaches) report satisfaction after attending the Bristol Homeopathic Hospital on the NHS.
SCIENTISTIC INTERPRETATION: “Homeopathy is implausible scientifically. Therefore although these patients improved, this must have been due to the placebo effect. This means patients are being ‘misled’ and this should not happen on the NHS. This justifies homeopathy being demonised with removal from the NHS as a goal.”
Now consider what a genuinely scientific (as opposed to scientistic) interpretation might be: “This is interesting. There must be something to learn from this. Whether these ‘difficult cases’ got better because of the homeopathy itself, the belief in the medicines by the doctors prescribing them, the placebo effect or the excellent bedside manner of homeopathic doctors is very important for us to understand because that 70% satisfaction figure is impressive.”
Open minded scientists and doctors genuinely concerned about the welfare of patients, instead of attacking NHS homeopathy, would seek to understand how NHS homeopathic hospitals get such good results and why many UK families (including the Royal Family) have used it for generations.