Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Really? That's the best you've got?

Do you recall the Saturday Night Live sketch where Michael Dukakis is debating the future Bush 41 and he comments to himself "I can't believe I'm losing to this guy"?

Welcome to the sissyphian world of skepticism.

The ridiculously inept arguments of the 'other' side are head-smacking in their quality.

Today fellow Skeptic North blogger Scott was published in the National Post.  It was an article he had written for SN that was re-posted in the newspaper.

Now, I'm not so naive as to think that naturopaths would lie down and take this criticism, but I clearly over estimated their ability to fight back cogently.

The Roberts Centre of Integrative Medicine wrote this response - which conveniently includes the response of the OAND (Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors); allowing me to kill two birds with one stone. 
While it is reasonably literate - no classic web-fails like using 'then' when they mean 'than' - it doesn't even manage to put up a realistic fight.  It is a 'nyah nyah' away from being childish.  If they weren't so painfully - dangerously - wrong, it would feel like kicking a puppy to point out how fundamentally stupid their response is.

"Highly Biased" - Well it IS an opinion piece, so I'm not sure what they are complaining about.  Perhaps they are taking umbrage with the use of facts to express a position of science - a tactic that they are all but incapable of utilizing?  To say nothing of the fact that their response is... yes - highly biased.  And in their case devoid of actual science to back it up.

They go one to make claims about "botanical and nutritional medicines... being placed on prescription-only schedules" specifically "higher dosages of Vitamin D" and utterly fail to provide a single reference (let alone link) to any of their evidence.  But while we're at it, why did they ask to prescribe anti-biotics, anti-virals, and anti-inflammatories and Suzane Somer's bioidentical hormones?
I particularly love this sly ad hominem attack:
Becoming an ND requires eight years of education and training, including a university pre-med degree and a four-year naturopathic program. This compares to the five years in total required to become a pharmacist.
Wahh wahh!  You wasted your time and money on a sub-par education.  That doesn't make your magic work, Slytherin.  A person could devote their life to studying yogic-flying (and some do) and they'd still need a trampoline to make it work.  There is a reason we would prefer to be represented in court by a Harvard graduate, than by Uncle Ted, who got his degree from a matchbook.  If they wanted to prescribe real medicine, perhaps they should have taken the short-cut and studied to be pharmacists!

They go right back to hypocritic (not to be confused with hippocratic - at all) ad hominem attacks that do little to advance their argument; accusing him of fearmongering and misleading the public.  If they themselves had not been so direly misled, then I wouldn't even have to address the well-poisoning cartoon they add to the article.  Hover your mouse over it and what will it say?  "Conflict of interest."  Need I point out how many NDs sell the very products they prescribe?  And to add to that, they aren't even thinking straight.  If NDs are given the power of pharmaceutical prescription - which they are simultaneously fighting for and making the specious argument that "conventional medicine [has a] high reliance on pharmaceuticals" - the pharmacists, including the very one they are attacking, will be filling the NDs prescriptions.  The argument is ludicrous.

Here's another post that has cropped up.  I wish I had time to deal with it, but there is only so much time I have for inanity.

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