Alternative medicine is one of the most revered pseudosciences, whether because it’s millenary, it’s natural and not chemical, it’s not part of big pharma, it doesn’t cause addiction, etc. All of those excuses to keep holding outdated customs even though science has already given us a better alternative and show the fraud behind it.
Killing Fields: Africa's Rhinos Under Threat
Nestled in the golden bush grass of an open savanna, a black rhinoceros lies on her side. Her head is haloed by a dried pool of blood. The animal's horns have been sawed off at the stump. Her eyes have been gouged out. "That's a new thing," notes Rusty Hustler, the manager of South Africa's North West Parks and Tourism Board, whose job includes tracking the escalating number of endangered rhinos poached for their body parts. "The Vietnamese have started keeping the eyes for medicine.
This is another of the problems brought by traditional medicine, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Any doctor can tell that rhino’s eyes, or ant body parts are no medicine for anything. Yet, practitioners who make quite a lot of money with this business, thanks to their followers credulity will never leave them out of their “traditional medicine”. And when someone asks “What is the problem with that?” the problem is that the negative consequences are usually greater than the benefits.
Some months ago I wrote about traditions and how little respect I had for them, at least just for being traditions, since they pretend to be risen over reason based on scientific knowledge available nowadays. The idea that something is an “alternative” just because it’s foreign and ancient, and can be compared to actual scientific medicine is ludicrous. A tradition can be nice and cute, but when people’s lives are at stake then it’s not anymore and they deserve to be criticized.
Maybe on of the arguments most used by pseudoscience advocates is that “Science is not perfect” or “Science is not the only tool to get knowledge”. Science is actually the best tool to do so, and any other method is usually biased, or based on ancient ideas that can’t be proven and nowadays have been refuted. The scientific method might not be perfect, whether because the technological limitations it has (even though we have advanced a lot in the last 100 years) or because economical interests. However, its modus operandi has a built-in mechanism to improve itself and evolve as time makes it possible.
Another problem is multiculturalism and its efforts to treat everything that comes from outside with a mystical aura that deserves to be revered, respected and protected, no matter how archaic and nonsensical they are. A fraud is a fraud no matter how old it is or where it comes from. Just because “traditional medicine” comes from far far away and haven’t changed in 1000 years they are more reliable than actual medicine. If liberals attacked those “cultures” just like they attack Christianity (which is a good thing) when they try to portray their quackery as untouchable, another world be possible.
More information about pseudoscience can be found with James Randi, Michael Shermer and The Skeptics' Society