Sunday, April 13, 2008

The List Universe has a post containing 11 videos of James Randi debunking pseudoscientific bullshit: graphology, astrology, psychometry, crystal power, aura reading, telekinesis, clairvoyance, dowsing, thought transference, faith healing, and homeopathy. Great stuff. Definitely check it out.

Coincidentally, La Vanguardia has a two-page piece today on something called ayurveda, which they call a "millenarian science...millenarium wisdom...ayurveda does not cure symptoms, like Western medicine, but rather goes to the roots and establishes an integral or holistic diagnosis of the individual." Naturally, it's nothing but superstition and fraud.

Wikipedia says:

Critics object to the lack of rigorous scientific studies and clinical trials of many ayurvedic products. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine states that "most clinical trials of Ayurvedic approaches have been small, had problems with research designs, lacked appropriate control groups, or had other issues that affected how meaningful the results were."

There is evidence that using some ayurvedic medicine, especially those involving herbs, metals, minerals, or other materials involves potentially serious risks, including toxicity.

Quackwatch says that ayurveda as it is known today is based on the fraudulent claims of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and Deepak Chopra, and adds, "Because Ayurvedic medicine relies on nonsensical diagnostic concepts and involves many unproven products, using it would be senseless even if all of the products were safe."

The Skeptic's Dictionary also describes ayurveda as "pseudoscience," and says it "confuses metaphysical claims with empirical claims."

Even La Vanguardia says, tucked away at the bottom of the article, "Nonetheless, there are those who criticize the fact that ayurveda only cures those who are not ill. In case of emergency, ayurvedic doctors themselves resort to Western medicine."

So why did the newspaper bother using two whole pages to encourage people to travel to India for ayurvedic treatment?


Anonymous said...

Well, this article rests firmly within the "scatology" self-description of your blog's own sub-title.
Given that more than 30% of American hospital beds currently are filled with patients whose disease is caused by orthodox medical examination or treatment, the critics of Ayurveda and alternative medical approaches should spend less time trying to 'de-bunk" (what are their credentials for doing so, anyway?), and more time researching and referring us to new options for public health.
One can't help but wonder to what extent alternative health critics' personal health reflects their love-affair with western medicine.
After all, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, having died well-into his tenth century of healthy Ayurvedic living, will happily have outlived the vast majority of his bitter critics.

Anthony Daniel said...

I've saved the links to my favorites. I've always thought it funny how many people are willing to believe in astrology (a false science) yet are less inclined to believe in God/religion, which may be a question of faith.
I believe in God but I know it's a question of faith. Astrology claims to be based on (false) scientific principles and methods, ie, the date you were born, the stars, the planets etc. and therefore isn't a question of faith Nevertheless many people choose to believe in it.

Tiffany said...

I agree with the first comment.
I mean, let's face it. Natural healing is becoming all the rage these days. These people have to put some doubt out there so they don't lose all their profits.
Ayurveda has been around for 5000 years. This isn't something somebody thought up last week. It's been practiced for centuries. LONG BEFORE WESTERN MEDECINE! I think we forget how new western medicine is. Not to mention, all the problems with it. I mean, have you seen the latest pharmaceutical commercials? They might as well say, "if you think you are dying from our medicine, call your doctor". I mean really. The list of side effects are worse than the original problem!
Natural medicine is all about bringing the body back into balance so that it can function in a healthy way. It's not about potions and snake doctors. These people need to get over themselves. Natural medicine, including Ayurveda, is here to stay.

Anonymous said...

Quackwatch is wrong. Ayurveda is thousands of years old. Like all traditional medicines, there is some good stuff in there. There is also some stuff that doesn't work, and some stuff that may be bad. It really has very little to do with Maharishi and Deepak Chopra.

Best traditional medicine: a glass of pacharan. Or limoncella.