About the Article

Published in: Vol. 5, No. 3
Category: Reviews

About the Author

Kimball C. Atwood


Convergence and Divergence of Scientific and “Alternative” Medicine: Historical Moments


Acupuncture Points and Meridians Do Not Exist


Homeopathy and Critical Thinking

MUCH OF THE JAMA “COMPLEMENTARY, ALTERNATIVE, and integrative medicine” series was a plea for more investigations of “alternative” methods. The overarching theme was that these methods are not taken seriously because they lack scientific evidence, but that this lacking is due to cultural, political, and economic forces, and not to any lack of real scientific potential.1 Can this be true? Does fairness require that it is necessary to subject all claims, even those that conflict with established knowledge, to experimental studies?

A good example of a claim not worth studying is homeopathy. Why not study it? It is widely practiced, it has been the subject of many conflicting studies, and it is therefore cited by proponents and even some skeptics as needing more. Why should the facts suggest the cessation of studies when they seem to point to the need to find out, once and for all, if homeopathy really works?

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