Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Benefits of Skepticism

This story sure does pull the heartstrings. In all kinds of directions.

People, pay attention. We have something called the "scientific method." We have it for a reason. It should be used whenever there is a supposed "miracle cure" for anything. This is also why we have "peer review" and "research universities."

We have to know the difference between snake oil and real medical advances. And we have to be able to accept that something may fall somewhere in between, where we are allowed to study limited utility to find out where something works for real, and where it is just make believe.

I hate to sound like a cold and heartless SOB, and I selfishly hope I never understand the simmering desperation of a parent whose child cannot communicate. How quickly must those parents swallow the faintest hint of hope for any form of normalcy?

But, at some point, we have to accept that there are still disadvantages and ailments that our current level of technology cannot relieve. We have to accept that sometimes our hopes will be dashed. We have to accept that sometimes, something just doesn't work. No matter how much we want to believe it will.


1 comment:

Tim said...

Hooray for the Scientific Method!

I am with you 100 percent on this one, Pat. Sure we should have hope and dreams and fantasies, but when in comes down to matters of life and death and how do we use our scarce resources to the greatest benefit, the cold eye of science is best.

I work in an office filled with educated and intelligent people, and you would not believe the junk I hear. The other day I was talking to someone and she had to "knock on wood" to protect her parents' good health. I asked, "Does that help?" and she said, "I'm not taking any chances." I think she really believed that if she didn't "knock wood" something bad would happen.

So sad.