I'm not trying to suggest that anything and everything will end up in print, only that peer-review doesn't mean that because something is published that its conclusions are valid. It's more about "could this be the case? Is there possibly something interesting here" than "do we think this is fact?".
Reviewers should not be determining what becomes part of the scientific discussion (athough certainly sometimes they do), provided that there aren't major flaws in data collection or analysis.
ETA: It's also up to the people choosing to publish, not just the referees.
Last edited by Renn; 29-10-2013 at 08:43.
Western medicine is by no means perfect, and some medicines have worse side effects that the symptoms of the illness you are treating. I am by no means a Western only medicine type person. I've tried so many different things myself. I remember this one where they have a little machine with cups and it pulses tiny electronic currents where your injury is, I can't even remember what it is called.
I have no problems with people choosing to do what they want re their own treatment. I never have believed in forced anything, vaccinations, pregnancies etc
The only problem I have is when I see people spreading false & inflammatory information on the net about things to do with health care. Like "vaccines contain embalming fluid", or homeopathic vaccines work as well as normal vaccines but without the side effects.
Other than that, I have no problem with people taking charge of their own health.
As a scientist, do you believe that non scientists should go with the scientific consensus on certain things, like climate change and vaccines. Or try and come to their own conclusions - keeping in mind that we are not trained and have not studied in the scientific field. Genuinely interested from a scientific point of view.
Can I suggest instead of calling it "Western Medicine" and "Eastern Medicine" how about we call it "empirical-based" medicine or "scientifically based medicine" and "not scientifically based medicine"? (Admittedly the latter is a bit of a mouthful.) I really don't care what part of the world my medicine comes from, so long as it has scientifically proven merit.
Ok, I've now read the article you linked to. It's definitely an interesting read.
There's certainly some scope for error in the underlying assumptions (eg. the extent to which initial differences in POMS ratings between the groups might affect findings). Of course, that's the case with any of the "soft" sciences as some previous posters have mentioned.
I'd be highly inclined to believe those kinds of assumptions would account for their results (given the lack of conceivable mechanism etc.), but will be interested to see what happens if the study does continue past the pilot stage. If their results are confirmed, then I'll be fascinated to see how it unfolds. I'll admit I find this about as likely as significant evidence being found that dogs can speak English... but if the evidence is there, then (in the words of Tim Minchin):
Edit: had to expand on what I quoted cause I love it so much :P
"Science adjusts its beliefs based on what's observed
Faith is the denial of observation so that belief can be preserved.
If you show me
That, say, homeopathy works,
Then I will change my mind
I'll spin on a ****ing dime
I'll be embarrassed as hell,
But I will run through the streets yelling
It's a miracle! Take physics and bin it!
Water has memory!
And while its memory of a long lost drop of onion juice is Infinite
It somehow forgets all the poo it's had in it!
You show me that it works and how it works
And when I've recovered from the shock
I will take a compass and carve Fancy That on the side of my ****."
Last edited by Renn; 29-10-2013 at 10:38.
If you are confident that you know what the scientific consensus is, then sure, go with that. If you are prepared to read a lot of different research papers (not just articles in New Scientist or the like) then you probably have a pretty good handle on the issue. But this is a pretty big ask and most people don't have the time or inclination to wade through heaps of dry scientific papers in their spare time (if it's not related to my work or something very important to me then I certainly don't), which is why I don't really trust non-specialists telling me what the scientific consensus on an issue is. I intuitively don't believe in homeopathy, as I think is probably the case with most scientifically inclined people. But, I would be reluctant to tell people that science has shown it to be false unless I had done a thorough review of the literature myself (picking out a couple of studies then saying 'there are heaps more like this' isn't convincing).
It's a tricky one, because we all want to know what the best information out there is, but it is very difficult to find without putting a lot of time in. I guess my stance is that if you read a paper or information that makes sense to you and you think it provides good scientific facts, then you will be likely to believe it. I just wouldn't tell other people that you know what 'science' says on the issue unless you have done a lot of work.
Last edited by Meg2; 29-10-2013 at 12:05.
Elijahs Mum (29-10-2013)
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