Sunday, March 6, 2011

Victoria Times Colonist Opines on Naturopathy - Money Before Professional and Scientific Integrity

here, I cite from a recent British Columbia newspaper's not-very-knowledgeable piece on naturopathy and medicine [see 001., below]:

001. in "Time to Clarify Health Priorities" (2011-03-06), the Victoria Times Colonist states [my comments are in bold]:

"British Columbia has become the first province in Canada to let naturopaths write prescriptions [...] virtually the entire range of approved medications [...] essentially all pharmaceuticals [...and] naturopaths can use the title 'doctor' without having to give naturopathy as their field [...]";

That's deplorable, actually.  Knowing what I know about modern medicine and naturopathic medicine, wouldn't it be NICE to be able to distinguish between someone held to a standard of care in the context of modern scientific knowledge and someone who has no standard of care and equates medicinal compounds with magic beans and unicorn tears?  Naturopathy is not a field, by the way, it is a sectarian ideology centered around science-ejected ideas such as vitalism, supernaturalism, and physiological teleology plus it has incorporated many mundane medical ornamentations.

"the province's physicians are opposed. They believe overwhelmingly that naturopathy lacks a satisfactory evidence base, because many of its remedies have not been clinically tested. There are also concerns that the training program falls far short of a medical degree, both in depth of study and time allotted [...]";

That's an understatement.  Actually, naturopathy's principles HAVE been tested and are SCIENCE-EJECTED.  Do your homework before opining.  Do you think their training falls short: no residencies of any consequence, equating things like homeopathy and Vega testing with effective medicine and useful diagnostics?  Equating articles of faith the scientifically supported fact... And how about falling short ETHICALLY? How many NDs do you hear state this simple fact about naturopathy: naturopathy is based upon the science-ejected and medically irrelevant idea that physiology is controlled by a figment we call the vis medicatrix naturae / vital force.  We treat this figment, first and foremost because it is the ultimate cause of illness and wellness." Not EVER have I read such a transparent statement in more than 15 years of studying naturopathy.

"there is a long history of physicians disparaging alternate approaches to medicine. Louis Pasteur was ridiculed for proposing the germ theory of disease [...]";

Ah, yes, they laughed at Galileo.  They laughed at Bozo the Clown too, to quote Carl Sagan.  Now, Galileo and Bozo are indistinguishable.  Pasteur, of course, DID THE SCIENCE.  He had the evidence.  Naturopathy doesn't.  E.g., show me the evidence for what naturopathy claims is within science: vitalism, supernaturalism.  They don't have it, or they'd have Nobels.  But they maintain the absurdist position that such is science, which inevitably places naturopathy in the penalty box known as pseudoscience.

"naturopathy emphasizes natural healing processes. It views mainstream medicine as a second-best solution [...]";

Actually, lets better contextualize naturopathy: naturopathy is based upon a science-ejected supernatural, teleological, and vitalistic concept that's certainly not naturalistic or natural, and it views scientific medicine as second-best because such does not include naturopathy's said sectarian principles.

"so long as the disorders being treated are aches and pains [...] chronic conditions [...] the idea of patient choice makes sense in such cases [...] when it comes to life-threatening ailments [...] the situation is different [...]";

How would a naturopath know what's what without adequate training and without adequate scientific integrity in their worldview?  People don't show up in the clinical setting with "mild" and "chronic" tagged on them.  How would a patient make a choice when NOT INFORMED PROPERLY?  And without proper information, how can the patient then CONSENT?

"allowing naturopaths to write prescriptions will almost certainly increase the consumption of drugs in B.C. [...] the most rapidly expanding area of the health budget [...and] double-doctoring [...] and that is the real issue [...] every dollar [...] there are too many mouths to be fed [...]";

No, that's not the real issue.  The actual issue is the erosion of scientific and professional standards.  Another issue is the erosion of journalistic standards. Another is the way special interests can use the political process to gain status without putting up the goods while in fact -- scientific fact especially -- being absurd.
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