Sigh. This is ugly. Really really ugly. The Huffington Post has been getting bashed by skeptics lately for being credulous at best and downright silly at worst. And now I can see why.
Most of you know that Oprah was called to task in Newsweek recently. I was going to mention it in Swift, but I stopped myself for two reasons: 1) everyone else mentioned it, and 2) it lauded Dr. Mehmet Oz as a voice of reason on Oprah's show. He's not, and it doesn't take much research to see that.
Anyway, today, Deepak ChOPRAH weighed in on Oprah's side. Yes, I'm going to spell his name like that. Deal with it.
So here's the article. Please read it if you can. I won't blame you if you can't. I'm going to go through it here anyway.
The (Newsweek) story failed to gain traction for obvious reasons. Oprah has aired innumerable shows on health, of which the controversial ones are a tiny minority. Her intention to improve women's lives on all fronts is so obvious as to be almost above criticism. The credibility for women's well-being and welfare she has earned day after day over the past two decades will not be undone with a story that cherry-picks the guests who can be made easy targets of ridicule by the medical establishment. And the fact that she has celebrity guests who have causes and crusades in the area of health, such as Jenny McCarthy or Suzanne Somers, is not the same as Oprah herself endorsing what they say.
Ok, please. Deepak, spare us your manipulative rhetoric.
The piece failed to gain traction? I don't see it stuck in the snow anywhere... it was all over the place, and got enough "traction" for you to respond to it. As for her intention to "improve women's lives," consider that she's a billionaire. She earned it, I have no qualms about that, but she earned it the old fashioned way: her intention was to make as much money as possible. And to say that Oprah doesn't endorse Jenny McCarthy is simply dishonest. She gave her a show!
Here's another howler from ChOPRAH: "The criticism the medical establishment is directing at Oprah through this article only exposes their own frustration in having squandered their credibility with the public." So, criticizing Oprah is tantamount to squandering credibility? Please. When he has a heart attack, I want to see where he ends up... if it's not an emergency room filled with "allopathic" medicine, I'll wear Kinoki pads for a week. And when he emerges from the hospital, who will he thank? It won't be the highly trained (and paid) surgeons who saved his life, I'm sure.
See, that is the truth here folks... "mainstream medicine" is indeed a for profit venture, but the best way to make money is to do what works. Sadly, some scam artists think they can call on "ancient wisdom" to sell things that don't work... and they call it "alternative medicine." There is no alternative medicine. There is just medicine. But of course YOU know this already...
There's so much to comment on here, that I have to skip to important parts. In the middle of the article, ChOPRAH cites some figures about alternative medicine. They are laughable. Here's some info, study by study:
Regarding the Seattle study, more than one study has shown that fake acupuncture is just as effective as real acupuncture. Clearly, it's not the acupuncture that's making the difference here.
Iatrogenic disease... yes, doctors make mistakes. People die left and right from alternative medicine too. Check Tim Farley's whatstheharm.net for more info on that. To suggest that alternative medicine is harmless is to lie through teeth.
81% of doctors take vitamins. Well, guess what? So do I. I take vitamin D daily. Why? My "allopathic" doctor prescribed it for me because I live in a state with very little sunlight in the winter and I stay indoors nearly all the time. Am I practicing alternative medicine? No! I'm doing something proven to stave off the disease rickets. That is medicine, no adjective needed.
He agrees that heart bypass grafts and balloon angioplasty relieve symptoms. And your point is? Tell you what, if I can live 10 years with pain or 10 years without, I'm going to take the risk. You do what you want.
ChOPRAH demonstrates the power of science when he talks about breast cancer. "In the past, such common procedures as hysterectomies and radical mastectomies were widely performed without testing their efficacy. Not until European results revealed that lumpectomies were often just as effective did American surgeons question the staunch support of mastectomies." Guess what? That's what science does! It learns, and improves, unlike "ancient wisdom" which persists despite new evidence.
And then he says that we spend too much on medicine. In this we agree. However, we spend way too much more on "alternative medicine." You call "big pharma" greedy? Check out these guys, and I'll show you real greed.
Ok, I'm going to stop here, as I'm getting angrier than I should. So, tell you what, why don't you take a look at the article, and post a comment on some of the idiocy that I missed. And while you're at it, take a look at the comments on the article itself on Huffington Post. I fear for our future.
I often say that skepticism isn't a holy war, but damn, on this issue, I wish it was. The public is being lied to by people who should know better, and folks are suffering and dying because of it. If that's not something to be angry about, I don't know what is.
Thanks to e^n from the skepticsrock chatroom for the image.