Last night, I attended Harriet Hall’s “I Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Science” at PSU. This got me thinking about ways that we might change society to eliminate the propagation of expensive placebos touted as effective treatment.
Proposal #1: “Alternative Medicine” to “Experimental Medicine”
I think that lobbying to change the umbrella term “Alternative Medicine” to “Experimental Medicine” would have several positive effects:
- Some Alternative Medicine practices have been under researched. Labeling them Experimental clearly defines their state.
- Some Alternative Medicine practices have already been researched and proven ineffective. Labeling them Experimental gives immediate reason to end the practice, and will prevent future ineffective treatments from gaining ground.
- The word “Experimental” carries a connotation of risk with the general public. People will ask more questions about procedures, effects and side effects, and weigh the risks for themselves. The public will be more skeptical of practitioners.
- “Experimental” may encourage research.
Proposal #2: An exit strategy for Alternative practitioners
Practitioners of Alternative Medicine have made a living for themselves and have incentive to promote and continue their practice. Once their practice is proven ineffective, currently their only alternative is to abandon their business and start over at great expense. They need a way to transition to a new lifestyle, else they will fight us tooth and nail at every turn. Let’s give them a “bailout” option by subsidizing proper education in established, well researched and effective practices for some ailment. Clearly, it is completely infeasible to send someone to medical school to learn how to cure cancer, which is why I say “some ailment”. We can give them a list of reasonable options to choose from.
What ideas do you have?
How can we begin implementing something?