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Debating the 'Worst of Medicine'

Posted Aug 24 2008 1:49pm
On the 17th of July the Welcome Institute is hosting a discussion/debate on the 'Worst of Medicine'



The following subjects have been nominated as candidates for the Worst of Medicine.





1. The BMI farce


nominated by Patrick Basham & John Luik

The Body Mass Index is an inaccurate measurement of people's healthiness, yet it is used to scare and hector the population.



2. Epidemiology: medicine gone wrong?

nominated by Rob Lyons

In today's frantic search for the origins of disease in our lifestyles and environment, the value of epidemiology has been greatly overstated.



3. The homeopathy hoax


nominated by Baum and Ernst

All serious thinkers should have a closed mind on the question of homeopathy: it is anti-scientific and simply does not work.



4. Healthy living is a sickness


nominated by Dr Michael Fitzpatrick (GP & a speaker at the live debate with William Schabas, Director, Irish Centre for Human Rights & David Wootton, Professor of History, author of 'Bad Medicine')

GP and author Dr Michael Fitzpatrick says the injunction to be super-fit and super-healthy is ruining our quality of life.





Let's look a little closer at these:

1. BMI: Of course this is not a totally accurate measurement of 'health'. Who says it is? It does give useful information as does an 'apple-shaped' body. There is no way this can 'win' the title of Worst Medicine and it seems that it's just being nominated to give someone a chance to voice an opinion on its limited usefulness in medicine.

2. Epidemiology: The worst of medicine? That's ridiculous too. It may have its limitations, it may indeed have been overstated but it's always been a valid science and useful it its place. Another ridiculous nomination.

3.Healthy Living is a sickness - Yeah, sure and life is a terminal, sexually transmitted disease. A really insightful observation.

4.Which leaves Homeopathy is a Hoax - clearly set up not only to lose but to be trashed in public.



I think I've made the point several times that homeopathy is not a hoax which would imply that homeopaths know that they are deceiving their patients. I challenged Edzard Ernst to a duel for accusing homeopaths of lying to their patients. I chose words as weapons but to date have received no answer - which does not surprise me. A challenge to a duel was considered an honorable response to the slur of an accusation of lying in this country 150 years ago so I've done my job in defending the honour of homeopathy. Ernst and others may believe that what homeopaths tell their patients is untrue but that does not mean they are lying. Richard (The God Delusion) Dawkins and Christopher (God is not Great) Hitchens are obviously no great fans of the Almighty and clearly do not agree with what the Pope or any other religious leaders say but as far as I know, they are not accusing these leaders of lying.



Ernst has accused homeopaths of lying. Ernst and Baum are accusing homeopaths of perpetrating a hoax (in this discussion)

I've had enough insults from these eminent professors. I don't know if they will attend the debate on the 17th of July but I'll be there. So dear reader, why not come along to a free debate in central London and give your view.
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