The difference between Science and Witchcraft is peer-reviewed double blind tests.
I have hearing loss as a result of an ear infection, so seeing this baloney annoys me on a deeply personal level – I don’t like the idea of kiddies ears going down the same path as mine because of faith-based approach to healing. I’ve discovered back issues of parenting magazines can be borrowed from our local library, and I stumbled across this issue of Practical Parenting.
The article started off with
“Editor’s Note: PP brings you this information in the interest of presenting a balanced view, but it should not take the place of medical advice: Make sure your GP knows the approach you are taking.”
Which shows they know they’re fooling around with fire. I want to know, why? The best answer I can come up with is that so many people are using homeopathy that the editors wanted to caution them against turning their backs on modern medicine and whatever benefits it may offer (peer reviewed double-blind tests not withstanding).
When are they going to run the article on the pros of paedophilia, in the interest of presenting a balanced view? Or, for the same reasons, something on balancing the humours? Can’t something just be plain old wrong? Can’t you slap your readers around like Stupid Lemon Eaters?
“Homeopathy works well together with the care offered by modern medical practice.”
Which can be restated as “drinking water will cure you, if you’re using antibiotics at the same time.” Or, summarily, “if you’re using antibiotics, drinking water won’t stop you getting better.” I say: if you want to experience the placebo effect, get your doctor to prescribe some Obecalp.
So Cathy and I looked at each other and decided this magazine was crap and that we’d only read the competitor in the future. After all, on their Editorial board, Woolworths Australian Parents Magazine have got an Obstertrician, a Midwife, a Paediatrician, a Dietitian, a Clinical Psychologist and a Breastfeeding counsellor; the magazine’s branded by Woolworths (the second largest retail company in Australia). They may as well call themselves Evidence-based ‘R Us. Then I see in the current issue:
Unlike Practical Parenting, Australian Parents saw no need to give a disclaimer that these alternative treatments at best don’t actually work and at worst will injure your child.
However, there are a range of alternative health approaches that are very effective either used on their own or in conjunction with traditional medicine.
I can smell a lawsuit. Medical advice without a disclaimer is one thing, but wrong medical advice and you’re up the creek without a paddle. And believe me, I looked for the disclaimer; plenty of information about the publisher of the magazine, nothing saying “don’t take our word for it, actually go to a doctor and get laughed at.”
Homeopathy is, says Patricia, a route that requires patience. Children will be prescribed oral drops which they may have to take for up to a year.
Given that these infections can last as long as six weeks, I’d hope that a year would “cure” the disease. Glue ear is a combination infection and mechanical failure; unless the homeopathic remedy is being shot up the Eustachian tubes, it’s not going to be any help. As double-blind tests have proven. And I can assure you from personal experience, a middle ear infection and the resultant injuries is no barrel of laughs.
The article goes on to recommend, amongst other quackery, ear candling as a remedy. I hate to tell you this, but setting your child on fire is not a safe way to deal with a middle ear infection; worse yet, it doesn’t work. Ear candling is dangerous.
Why not run an article on the healing effects of prayer, which is not only safe and cheap but proven to have some effect?
In the good old days, witches used to be burnt at the stake.
Science or Witchcraft – you choose.