Friday, January 2, 2009

Deepak Chopra does it again...

...or on being an uncritical CAM apologist
...or how to insert foot in mouth

Orac has a nice response to Chopras most recent "rebutal" against reason which just so happens to be related to yesterdays post about Steve Salernos very fine take down of the "Integrative" medicine movement. For good measure, Chopra calls on the "authority" of alternative medicine experts Andrew Weil and Rustum Roy to shore up his vain effort to claim scientific legitimacy -failing miserably.

As Orac notes "... Basically, the argument being made by the Woo-meisters Three boils down to an attack on evidence-based medicine based on exaggeration and cherry picking, topped off with a huge dollop of conspiracy-mongering and playing the victim. There is not a single positive, science-based argument that Chopra's woo or Andrew Weil's "integration" of the dubious with the evidence-based produces better health outcomes than the evidence-based medicine they attack..." can dress it up with the finest of imaginary cloth...but it still comes down to one simple fact...the emporers' still butt naked!

The bigger problem though, as Salerno points out so eloquently, is that in spite of the fact that most of the alternative movement is more illusion than real...more belief based than fact based...more bullshit and sofist rhetoric than a real reflection of is poised to adversely influence and contaminate an already severely strained health system.

The Chinese did something like this decades ago. They dressed up -made up- a scam health system to "appease" the populace who were devoid of access to science based medicine. It was called Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Orac nails it with this ominous warning:

"...Chopra's article demonstrates beyond a shadow of a doubt is that advocates of unscientific medicine and quackery apologists are a potent political force, and their new strategy has become clear. With the impending inauguration of Barack Obama as the President of the United States, they see a huge opportunity in his plans to overhaul the government health care system to insert into legislation provisions that will pay for unproven and pseudoscientific CAM/IM modalities. They will sell these provisions as "reform" and as "health maintenance," when they represent neither."

It is my hope his voice and the many others calling for reason be heard.


It appears Dr. Chopra has earned an additional well deserved laser guided intellectual thumping from Skeptico:

"Chopra’s piece is just one logical fallacy after another. This is Chopra's article, summarized:
Ad hominem
Appeal to authority
Red herring
Science was wrong before
Appeal to other ways of knowing
Straw man

Add claims of “concerted research and clinical practice” that his woo works, without one shred of evidence that his woo works, and you have Chopra’s entire article. (He should employ me as his editor.)"

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