Sunday, June 28, 2009

2,5 Billion(!) dollars spent on search for alternative therapies...

Often when I debate alternative therapies or remedies with people they claim that there is no evidence in favor of alternative methods and therapies because no one bothers to investigate (and find the amazing effects), or that no money is given to investigators who want to test these remedies i.e. that the grant managers are against alternative therapies. These excuses are now no longer valid since the American government has spent 2,5 Billion dollars testing alternative therapies.

As was known and not unexpected from my point of view is that some alternative therapies do show minor benefits. Acupuncture works for certain things, yoga helps you relax which also results in other spin off effects. However a large majority of the therapies tested proved to be no better than placebo (if you think that placebo is "good enough" read my post here).

Also remarkable is how easy it seems to be to get a grant if you wan't to study alternative therapies (which by definition do not have a solid scientific theory behind them). In one instance 2 million dollars were given to study whether accupressure could help people loose weight. Now this large sum of money was given despite the fact that a pilot study on 60 participants had failed. The grant was given even though no scientist have ever found any evidence of meridians (in accupressure you are supposed to press on these meridians). I could go on, but the essence of the matter is that these 2 million dollars were given to a study that, judging from the evidence, had extremely low plausibility - I would even go as far as to say that if accupressure would prove to have an effect (beyond placebo) we would face a paradigm shift in biology.

There are of course some positive aspects of this endeavour. I suppose that it is normally good to test whether a really popular type of therapy works. However, the question is whether the people using a particular therapy cares about the outcome of a scientific study - my guess is that they will only care if it gives them a positive results, otherwise it is just biased scientists. I also have trouble seeing where to put the line, there are some really crazy ideas out there and if we would start to research everything that is getting popular we would end up spending huge amounts of money on evaluating pure nonsense.

I would personally prefer that grants are given to those who have good reasons for studying whatever it is they want to study, today that is not the case...

See also orsakverkan (swe)


stuart said...

Wow! I just read the greatest atheist manifesto ever written. Seriously. It's called the Real Messiah:

I was turned on to the book by Robert Price. It's written by a Jewish writer who found proof in a number of ancient sources that Jesus never claimed to be the messiah. It was all made up by later Christians in Rome to distract from the truth that threatened to overtake the whole Empire.

You see there was this Jewish king named Marcus Julius Agrippa. He was the St. Mark who wrote the gospel. He wrote the gospel secretly to have Jesus announce HIM as the messiah. Then the Roman authorities caught wind of what was going on and then cut Agrippa out of the gospel.

Don't you see!!! It's all a big lie - even the biggest lie in history. Jesus never claimed to be what all these people now say he was. They have been fooled by a second century editorial effort that still goes undetected.

How is Huller so sure of this conspiracy? He found an ancient throne in Venice which Italian sailors stole from the most ancient Church of St. Mark in Alexandria in the ninth century. The author proves that the throne goes back much further than that - i.e. all the way to the beginning of Christianity in Egypt.

In any event the throne has Hebrew letters and symbols which prove the real story of Christianity and how the modern Church is one big fake. The throne is real. Here are pictures of the throne:

You can look it up with Google. It's a real object. But now the game is up. Christianity is proved to be a big lie and the world will never be the same again. It's so great to be on the winning side at last! I've got to tell everyone.

All I got to say is that you got to read this book. This is the straw that breaks the back of the Church.

Antersa said...

At any rate, I liked some of the vadlo health science cartoons!

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