Waaaay offtopic

James Knott james.knott-bJEeYj9oJeDQT0dZR+AlfA at public.gmane.org
Sun Dec 21 19:26:31 UTC 2003

David J Patrick wrote:
>> Anybody interested in a new and "unproven" effective treatment for 
>> bacterial and viral disease?
>> -Hugh
> I used to humbug anything that didn't immediately make sense to me.
> but I have had too many things like that "explained" after a long period 
> of disbelief.
> I'm now quite agnostic but open. Our human understanding of the workings 
> of life are puny, at best.
> We laugh at the ancient Romans for dining on lead plates, while sipping 
> water from clear plastic, which has been demonstrated to leach 
> surprising amounts of estrogen. Surviving humans, in the distant future, 
> will be slapping their knees recounting our follies.
> They will simultaneously be doing something equally stupid.

There certainly are things that are beyond our current knowledge, some 
of which may always be.  However, to advance our knowledge, proper 
studies must be made, to verify the various theories.  Just making an 
assumption and declaring it as fact, as some of the ancient Greeks did, 
accomplishes little.  As for the alternative medicines, a study, just as 
all conventional medicines must go through would tell if they work or 
are "old wives tales".  Undoubtably some natural remedies work, but many 
others don't.  Only a proper trial can tell.  Quoting someone's Aunt 
Martha, whose 2nd cousins neighbour doesn't do it.  You cannot take any 
medication, including a flu shot and tell me next year that it prevented 
  you getting the flu, because you simply don't know if you would have 
otherwise been afflicted.  On the other hand, if you give those shots to 
1000 people and compare the results with 1000 others who didn't get the 
shot, you can say with some confidence that the flu shot was or was not 
effective or hazardous.

That is how to advance knowledge.  You prove it.

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