Angry Doctor

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Cow Dung 4

angry doc is not going to say that the law is an ass, but he wishes it would at least be consistent.

(excerpt, emphasis mine)


One rule for all?
Legal eagles split over accommodating differences or adopting universal values
Loh Chee Kong

THE feng shui, or geomancy, fad of the 1990s might have brought Lady Luck to many, but the authorities here certainly were not smitten.

Speaking as part of a panel at the International Bar Association Conference 2007 yesterday on how lawyers should deal with different cultures and traditions, Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong recalled how Singapore laws were challenged by the sudden revival of the age-old practice of feng shui.

CJ Chan said: "Chinese astrologers would dispense advice to all and sundry, and they would place advertisements in all the newspapers. There was a proliferation of feng shui experts in Singapore. Everybody would tell you how to make a fortune in shares, business, whatever."

As a result, although it was an offence for any person "pretending to tell fortunes", there were "a lot of fakes and a lot of people were defrauded", said CJ Chan.

"The Government had to either enforce the law that we had or they had to change the law," he said.

In the end, cultural considerations won — the Government relaxed the laws in 1996 and feng shui consultants were allowed to practise their trade, provided "it was not used to cheat the consumer and the activity was not a public nuisance", said CJ Chan.

In a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society such as Singapore's, laws have to "accommodate" to certain cultural practices, he noted. These include exempting male Sikhs from wearing helmets while riding a motorcycle, or when they are in the army.

But in general, offenders cannot use cultural practices to defend their criminal actions, said CJ Chan, who added that society "must have certain core values in relation to crime".



angry doc wonders how a judge will decide if a 'feng shui expert' was a fake and if he was trying to 'cheat the consumer'.

The fact is, as we have discussed earlier, there is "no precedent that would hold someone liable for practising an art or belief that cannot be proven scientifically". If you can't prove that feng shui works, then you cannot prove that anyone purporting to be a 'feng shui expert' is a fake or that he is trying to cheat consumers.

The absurdity of this 'accommodation' policy can be seen when viewed against the recently-amended Health Products Act: if you sold someone a product purported to improve his or her health when in reality it did not, you face a fine or jail term; if you received money for advice which you claim will improve his or her health, when in reality it did not, the law is powerless to stop or punish you.

Why should one form of fraud be immune from prosecution and the other not?

What is the difference between the two?

That the one consisted of a physical product, and that the second consisted only of words? If that was the case, then angry doc would never be liable for malpractice.

That one is backed up with evidence and the other was not? Certainly the article suggests that the law does not take the view that feng shui actually works.

Or is that, as suggested by the article, feng shui is a part of Chinese culture and that it is acceptable to the law for consumers to be defrauded by someone claiming that feng shui works, but not by someone who tries the same trick with new-fangled health products which are not part of our traditional culture?

Still, angry doc finds some comfort that not all 'high-powered legal minds' agree with this type of 'cow dung' reasoning. Do read the whole article.

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43 Comments:

  • Hi angrydr,

    Perhaps the reason why fengshui is not outlawed is because it would mean that a host of other stuff like astrology and religion (frequently encourages believers to donate money) would similarly have to be outlawed as well to maintain consistency. As such the costs of enforcing all these laws are simply too great.

    Unsound medical advice and products on the other hand would very likely cause the death of some hapless victim, hence the difference.

    Then again, shouldn't quacks that claim to be able to treat AIDS, cancer or other dangerous diseases be jailed as well?

    By Blogger I must be stupid, At October 16, 2007 7:43 pm  

  • Hi Angry Doctor, hope you are easier on your patients ^_^. You post has been featured in The Singapore Daily [singaporedaily.wordpress.com]. Keep blogging!

    By Anonymous The Singapore Daily, At October 17, 2007 10:56 am  

  • imbs,

    At the intellectual level, I see little difference in profiting from selling unproven devices, selling baseless advice, or selling someone a magic stone.

    By Blogger angry doc, At October 17, 2007 4:56 pm  

  • singapore daily,

    Thanks for the feature.

    Unfortunately, if I find that 'cow dung' thinking is hurting my patients, I do not hesitate to tell them so.

    I know mainstream teaching is to 'play along' with or co-opt beliefs which are 'harmless', but 'cow dung' thinking usually comes as a whole package. I think it is irresponsible and intellectually dishonest for doctors to actively or passively reinforce such thinking patterns in their patients.

    By Blogger angry doc, At October 17, 2007 5:02 pm  

  • Well, the medical devices and medical advice are deemed to have a scientific basis with evidence and data that can and should be reproducible.

    Fengshui, geomancy and fortune-telling belong to the realm of 'folk belief'.

    Also, practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine are also not held liable for adverse outcomes, isn't it?

    Interesting.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At October 17, 2007 5:04 pm  

  • Great article, Angry Doc.

    Anon 5:04 brought up a good point - are you aware of any malpractice suits against TCM practitioners?

    To me it doesn't make sense for TCM practitioners to take credit for success if they can't be liable for the mistakes they make.

    By Blogger Lim Leng Hiong, At October 17, 2007 8:14 pm  

  • I am not aware of any.

    The TCM Practitioners Act (which parallels the Medical Registration Act) allows for a practitioner to be struck off if he or she "has been guilty of any professional misconduct or negligence".

    I'm not sure if the use of the word "negligence" implies that one may file a malpractice suit though.

    By Blogger angry doc, At October 17, 2007 9:00 pm  

  • To Leng Hiong and angry doc, if traditional chinese medicine cannot be held legally and scientifically accountable, what do you think of the government's push towards having traditional Chinese medicine in western hospitals?

    What happens if adverse events do occur?

    By Blogger John, At October 18, 2007 9:53 am  

  • To John:

    I don't know what is the extent of the push that you mentioned (Angry Doc will know more), but it's likely TCM will play a complementary role in patient care such that both its efficacy and adverse effects will be minimal, if any.

    Personally, I think it's bad idea.

    By Blogger Lim Leng Hiong, At October 18, 2007 12:25 pm  

  • Interesting questions, John.

    I can't say I know the answer, since I am not aware of any test case involving allegation of malpractice on the part of a TCM practitioner.

    Regulation means that TCM practitioners can strike off one of their own if they found him unift for any of the reasons listed in the Act, but malpractice comes under the law of torts.

    I suppose legally one may try to make a TCM practitioner accountable, but already I can see it may be difficult.

    Take a hypothetical scenario where a man sees a TCM practitioner for the problem of back pain. Say he was diagnosed with block qi and given acupuncture. He did not improve and went to see another TCM practitioner, who diagnosed blood stasis and gave him acupuncture, but at different acupoints. The man got better, and decided that the first TCM practitioner was a quack and decided to sue him for misdiagnosis resulting in prolonging of his pain and suffering.

    Say the man's lawyer establishes that the the first practitioner owed the man a duty of care and that there was harm done, and the case makes it to court where he tries to establish negligence. He produces a TCM 'expert' who testifies that the diagnosis and treatment given by the second practitioner are correct.

    The defendant then produces his own expert witness who claims that his diagnosis and treatment were correct.

    How will the judge decide, given that both qi and blood stasis are not objective findings which can be quantified and recorded? Bolam principle?

    What if the defendant produced scientific papers which show that acupuncture 'works' regardless of which acupoints you stick the needles into? Certainly this has been the findings in many studies.

    +++

    As for why the government pushes TCM in hospitals, I have my own speculation about that but I do not have enough information to say.

    By Blogger angry doc, At October 18, 2007 12:30 pm  

  • It is even more interesting to note what MOH's stand on Western Doctors practising acupuncture will be.

    We checked with MPS and they said that we do not have to pay extra premiums for practising acupuncture as it is legally allowed under the latest MOH guideline. As long as we use acupuncture for conditions approved by MOH we will be covered by MPS.

    Incidentally MOH wrote in their circular that the use of acupuncture has to be backed by scientific evidence or made known to the patient that no scientific evidence exists when used for that condition prior to treatment. But MOH did not provide a list of conditions that have or do not have evidence backing the use of acupuncture.

    We put the question to MOH and they said that they do not have any list.

    Sometimes I find the way MOH does things rather vague. I am sure they are going for "self regulation" once again.

    By Blogger Dr Oz bloke, At October 18, 2007 1:18 pm  

  • Hi angry doc,

    Your examples brought up interesting points.

    If a western doctor gets sued for negligence regarding the use of acupuncture for say back pain, what kind of "expert witness" should he call up?

    A TCM physician? A fellow western doctor who practices acupuncture? Or quote papers talking about endorphin release and sham needles?

    I agree with you that it is impossible to "regulate" something that isn't proven in the first place! So why even bother to have regulations? Worse, to have regulations but no details and specifics.

    It's like anything goes. But anything goes for us in hunting you down when and as we like too!

    Guess it works both ways.

    By Blogger Dr Oz bloke, At October 18, 2007 1:23 pm  

  • Glad to have you here for this discussion, Oz Bloke.

    I guess the ministry's vague stand is in recognition of that fact that medical knowledge is constantly being updated and revised, so instead of keeping an eye out for the latest and reviewing the list themselves, they leave it to doctors and TCM practitioners to self-regulate.

    Regulation, however, is a different thing from malpractice. Regulation is an internal thing and you only have to satisfy your peers that you have performed within expectations, and conversely if you have been found lacking, you can be struck off even if what you did was not criminal. If a TCM practitioner did something which seems wrong to us western doctors but what he did is something TCM practitioners all agree on, then he will most likely be exonerated.

    Malpractice takes place in a court of law, where the person one has to satisfy is the judge. The question then is what the judge will accept as evidence and 'expert opinion', and I am not sure anyone has a clear answer now.

    I certainly will be paying attention when a test case comes up.

    By Blogger angry doc, At October 18, 2007 5:02 pm  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger John, At October 18, 2007 5:04 pm  

  • What was interesting about the geomancy case is that it happened at all as people in this part of the world is generally tolerant of mistakes or adverse outcomes due to the advice or action of the practitioners of traditional arts.

    It seems quite interesting that doctors (those that practice western medicine) are held accountable for the tiniest mishap, but this is not the same for traditional healers.

    While most Singaporeans would not sought primary treatment for diseases like cancer for example from traditional healers, I suspect there may be cases where the traditional healers may have missed presenting symptoms of cancers. What happens then?

    By Blogger John, At October 18, 2007 5:19 pm  

  • I don't know, John... I don't know. I guess we'll just have to wait for a test case.

    What I find interesting about the feng shui case is that the family did not conclude that feng shui was all a sham, but that the feng shui expert they hired was wrong.

    By Blogger angry doc, At October 18, 2007 10:09 pm  

  • Hi angrydoc.

    There can be deeper consideration when it comes to these things called "beliefs".

    What about religio. Does God exist? Is there a true God and a non- true God?

    Well these things are on a fundamental basis similar to Feng Shui if you get what I mean. Can't prove it right. But then been around for a long time, many anecdotes etc.

    Sensitive issues depending who you are speaking to. Maybe better not go there.

    By Blogger Dr Oz bloke, At October 19, 2007 1:55 pm  

  • "But then been around for a long time, many anecdotes etc."

    Yup, that's basically the essense of 'cow dung' thinking.

    But feng shui and religion are rather different in scale and scope.

    Feng shui covers fewer individual beliefs, and purports an effect which can be measured, so it is actually possible to test whether feng shui works.

    Religion, however, usually covers many more beliefs, and covers a much wider scope, making it hard to test - of you prove one aspect, it doesn't mean other aspects are true, and if you disprove one aspect, it doesn't make all of it untrue either. Most importantly, religion covers the afterlife, which as far as we know cannot be proven one way or another.

    Religion enjoys a special position in our society because of history - kingdoms and nations have been founded on religion, and the sheer number of adherents means that an 'unshakable belief' that would otherwise be defined as delusion is no longer defined as one.

    Even medicine makes concession for religion.

    By Blogger angry doc, At October 19, 2007 5:11 pm  

  • But angrydoc, if you really look carefully at your argument about religion.....

    It's not scientific at all.

    There are notable scientists who have gone out of the way to "debunk" the religion myths. Based on anthropology etc etc etc.

    I am no expert in the fields of theology or anthropology.

    But seriously your "defense" of religion in saying "Religion enjoys a special position in our society because of history - kingdoms and nations have been founded on religion, and the sheer number of adherents means that an 'unshakable belief' that would otherwise be defined as delusion is no longer defined as one." is largely just another extension of your cow dung theory if you really analyze it carefully.

    Cheers angrydoc.

    For the record I am Christian :wink: And I am not trying to debunk or link religion to cow dung. But I think sometimes we don't realise that certain things in life aren't meant to be treated scientifically.

    By Blogger Dr Oz bloke, At October 19, 2007 6:27 pm  

  • I am not defending religion, but merely stating a fact. Religion does enjoy a special status in our society due to its role in history, but I am not saying that that is a good thing.

    Certain things in life may not be meant to be taken 'scientifically', but when it comes to making concrete claims, or influencing the lives of people who do not share that belief, I think things should be treated rationally.

    By Blogger angry doc, At October 19, 2007 6:44 pm  

  • "but when it comes to making concrete claims, or influencing the lives of people who do not share that belief, I think things should be treated rationally."

    And my point is since when have humans been known to be always rational?

    We think the way we do about cow dung treatments because we are men of science who know more about the field of medicine. So we sort of "know better".

    But similarly there are learned men who also think of religion in the same way we think of cow dung. And they do their best to disprove it.

    Perhaps it is just that we as people without the necessary level of knowledge in theology and anthropology and what not just cannot comprehend the arguments.

    It's the same for Feng Shui, TCM, cow dung. It's not the philosophy or belief. It is who believes in it that makes the difference.

    By Blogger Dr Oz bloke, At October 19, 2007 7:08 pm  

  • It's the same for Feng Shui, TCM, cow dung. It's not the philosophy or belief. It is who believes in it that makes the difference. - Dr Oz bloke

    If Steven Weinberg or Stephen Hawking believed in the existence of Thor and human sacrifice to placate his God would it make any difference?

    The success of science often comes at the expense of religious dogma; the maintenance of religious dogma always comes at the expense of science. Think persecution of Galileo by the RC Church and the fact that a three-day old blastocyst can trump the interest of a three-year-old child with full body burns. Moral intuitions are obscured by religious metaphysics.

    It is a kind of blindness that is caused by the virus of faith.

    Either a person has good reasons for what he believes, or he does not.

    When a person has good reasons, his beliefs contribute to our growing understanding of the world.

    Every sane person recognises that to rely merely upon "faith" to decide specific questions of historical fact would be idiotic — that is, until the conversation turns to the origin of books like the bible and the Koran, to the resurrection of Jesus, to Muhammad's conversation with the angel Gabriel or to any of the other travesties that still crowd the altar of human ignorance.

    Science, in the broadest sense, includes all reasonable claims to knowledge about ourselves and the world.

    If there were good reasons to believe that Jesus was born of a virgin, or that Muhammad flew to heaven on a winged horse, these beliefs would necessarily form part of our rational description of the universe.

    The difference between science and religion is the difference between a willingness to dispassionately consider new evidence and new arguments, and an idiotic unwillingness to do so.

    Faith is nothing more than the license that religious people give one another to believe in their God when reasons fail. - Sam Harris

    When you discard reason and critical thinking for non-evidence based belief or faith you get cow dung thinking.

    PZ

    By Blogger PZ, At October 20, 2007 12:35 pm  

  • "When you discard reason and critical thinking for non-evidence based belief or faith you get cow dung thinking."

    You're right PZ.

    But reason and critical thinking are skills not everyone has or is trained to have.

    One must have enough background knowledge or do the research to enquire and investigate.

    I bring this up because I have seen many "men of science" ridicule ideas and "beliefs" only to later realise that it is not all cow dung when they really do the investigation.

    I'm not suggesting that Feng Shui is by any means credible. I'm just saying I don't know enough to be certain. Shall we do the studies?

    As ridiculous as it may sound to you, that was probably what most of Louis Pasteur's colleagues thought of his "Germ Theory of Disease" when he started out.

    The hallmark of great scientists is always to be inquisitive and keep and open mind to possibilities.

    By Blogger Dr Oz bloke, At October 21, 2007 8:21 am  

  • Preconceived ideas are like searchlights which illumine the path of experimenter and serve him as a guide to interrogate nature. They become a danger only if he transforms them into fixed ideas – this is why I should like to see these profound words inscribed on the threshold of all the temples of science: “The greatest derangement of the mind is to believe in something because one wishes it to be so.”
    Speech to the French Academy of Medicine, July 8, 1876.
    Translated by René J. Dubos.

    To be astonished of anything is the first movement of the mind towards discovery.

    Physicians are inclined to engage in hasty generalizations. Possessing a natural or acquired distinction, endowed with a quick intelligence, an elegant and facile conversation . . . the more eminent they are, the less leisure they have for investigative work . . . Eager for knowledge . . . they are apt to accept too readily attractive but inadequately proven theories.
    Études sur la bière, Chapter III, Section ii. Translated by René J. Dubos.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At October 21, 2007 8:31 am  

  • Hi angrydr,

    "At the intellectual level, I see little difference in profiting from selling unproven devices, selling baseless advice, or selling someone a magic stone."

    The difference lies in the consequences when one uses a magic stone, unproven devices or makes decisions based on baseless medical advice.

    Not much harm is done if one believes that buying a magic stone brings one good luck, except that his wallet is emptied.

    Unsound medical devices or medical advice on the other hand can very well cause deaths, in addition to the emptying of one's wallet.

    Therein lies the difference between those 2.

    By Blogger I must be stupid, At October 21, 2007 9:37 am  

  • "I'm not suggesting that Feng Shui is by any means credible. I'm just saying I don't know enough to be certain. Shall we do the studies?

    As ridiculous as it may sound to you, that was probably what most of Louis Pasteur's colleagues thought of his "Germ Theory of Disease" when he started out."

    The point is not whether it works, but why one believes it works.

    It's not a stretch to believe that one's physical environment may influence how one functions (aesthetics, ergonomics), but to attribute it to qi and that placing a few fetishes here and there will change fortunes is cow dung thinking.

    I return to acupuncture, which 'works' even though the principles behind it have been show to be wrong.

    We now know that Germ Theory is correct because of the scientific method. Had we persisted with the Theory of Humours, even when faced with the lack of evidence, we will not be where we are today.

    When will feng shui 'experts' and TCM practitioners abandon the evidence-less theory of qi?

    Why won't the feng shui community conduct controlled tests to test the theory and efficacy of feng shui?

    By Blogger angry doc, At October 21, 2007 11:18 am  

  • imbs,

    Yes, I concede that the law takes into account the amount of harm caused, but at an intellectual level, these kinds of fraud all exploit cow dung thinking.

    By Blogger angry doc, At October 21, 2007 11:21 am  

  • Yea i agree with you on that. They are all cow dung with a different degree of stench!

    By Blogger I must be stupid, At October 21, 2007 12:47 pm  

  • The hallmark of great scientists is always to be inquisitive and keep and open mind to possibilities. - Dr. Oz Bloke

    A recent German study on acupuncture for low back pain showed that "sham" acupuncture was just as effective as "real" acupuncture. The fact that it doesn't matter where the needles are placed is clear evidence that the entire "theoretical" underpinning of traditional Chinese medicine underlying acupuncture is wrong.

    In view of this new evidence, are TCM practitioners willing to discard the concept of meridian lines and *chi*?

    Is there a willingness to dispassionately consider new evidence or an unwillingness to do so?

    Like all pseudoscience and woo believers they stubbornly stick to their theory.

    Those interested can read critiques of that study here and here.

    But reason and critical thinking are skills not everyone has or is trained to have.

    We all are imbued with our critical faculties except unfortunately many people don't use theirs because they have been brought up from the cradle brainwashed to believe that
    faith - belief without evidence - is a good thing.

    We call it religious indoctrination and celebrate it.

    This is why 51 percent of Americans believe in intelligent Design instead of Darwin's Theory of Evolution.

    It's not a big leap or difficult to go from believing in an imaginary sky fairy or Juju man to believing in the Law of Attraction(LOA) and Homeopathy or other such faith-based mumbo jumbo when your critical faculties have been dulled.

    PZ

    By Blogger PZ, At October 21, 2007 1:00 pm  

  • Hi PZ,

    I think you've misunderstood me.

    I am not a big supporter of TCM. In fact I am one of their biggest critics. I could not understand why people would go to TCM physicians and be badly managed. They would talk about suing us, but they would however be grateful that the TCM physician tried his best. I couldn't understand it. I used to brush away patients' talk about TCM. This didn't help me in my communication skills.

    My point is that while we men of science know enough to know what sounds plausible and what doesn't, not everyone views things like this due to ignorance and a lack of knowledge.

    By making broad sweeping ridicule of what endears to them, it puts them on a defensive.

    What I did subsequently was to study (yes actually study) complementary medicine. Eg the field of nutritional medicine. Now this is the one many doctors about 10 years ago were saying "ridiculous" , "how can a vitamin treat cardiac disease, stroke", "how can oily fatty fish reduce cardiac disease!" And the research later showed otherwise.

    As for TCM. Yes I studied it. I tell you today it is a philosophy. Not a science. And the studies on meridians and qi are unconvincing.

    However I am now in a much much better position to advise my patients properly on what role TCM plays in the management of their problem. Whereas in the past patients felt unhappy and uneasy that this western doctor was sitting there talking bad about TCM and doesn't know or say anything similar to the TCM physician, I now can communicate with them and in fact refute some of the "philosophies" from a position of knowledge in both TCM and western scientific medicine.

    My point is not whether TCM works or not. My point is that I take issue when people who are ignorant about something talk as if they know everything about it already and write it off.

    If you don't know, say you don't know and say you are skeptical and yes you can quote the papers and all. But you won't win the argument against believers.

    Sun Tzu art of war : Know thy enemy, know thyself.

    On the other hand, throughout my studies I did see actual cases where patients recovered on acupuncture and we cannot explain why. Yes it could be coincidence. But if you were the patient you can understand why they felt so strongly. In likelihood I think meridians and qi and all that are more likely to be bogus than true. But till that evidence is confirmed, it causes no harm and is worth a try if all options are exhausted.

    Lastly, many studies have shown the power of placebo. Hey if placebo works so well.....why not?

    There was a study that showed that placebo in acupuncture had as good an effect and even was statistically significant! Goes to show the power of the mind.

    By Blogger Dr Oz bloke, At October 22, 2007 10:52 am  

  • Hi Doctor OZ,

    As for TCM. Yes I studied it.

    However I am now in a much much better position to advise my patients...My point is that I take issue when people who are ignorant about something talk as if they know everything about it already and write it off.

    If you don't know, say you don't know and say you are skeptical and yes you can quote the papers and all.


    Are you saying unless someone has studied TCM, he/she is unqualified to conclude that acupuncture doesn't work despite the studies and literature available showing that it doesn't? By this logic I can't be an atheist because I am not a theologian or have a Bachelor of Divinity under my belt FIRST. Or I cannot dismiss Scientology unless I first become a cult member.

    On the other hand, throughout my studies I did see actual cases where patients recovered on acupuncture and we cannot explain why.

    Of course we can explain why. As you have said, it could be coincidence or the placebo effect at work or any of the following:-

    - The cyclical nature of the illness (it goes away by itself)
    - Incorrect diagnosis to start with
    - Temporary mood improvements due to the personal nature of the treatment
    - Psychological investment of the patient in the success of the therapy
    - Other medicines the patient is taking.

    In likelihood I think meridians and qi and all that are more likely to be bogus than true. But till that evidence is confirmed,..

    Studies to date already show that sham acupuncture – needles put in the “wrong” place – works no better than the “real” stuff.

    Therefore the underlying theory of acupuncture - releasing of blocked “qi” by placing needles at specific positions or that “qi” and the “meridians” it is supposed to flow along – is false.

    What evidence would it take to confirm this for you?

    It causes no harm and is worth a try if all options are exhausted.

    Lastly, many studies have shown the power of placebo. Hey if placebo works so well.....why not?


    Ethical issues aside, there is also the real harm not only to the patient's wallet but also the TCM practitioner who invests his time and money and years of study of a therapy whose only value is providing a placebo effect.

    It seems to me that with these new evidence, the real scientific approach is to research dermapressure, not to cling to or make a case for acupuncture for its placebo effect.

    By Blogger PZ, At October 22, 2007 2:18 pm  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Dr Oz bloke, At October 22, 2007 2:48 pm  

  • Hi PZ,

    I'm not saying that you cannot conclude. You can much do or think whatever you want. Just like everyone else.

    But your views are very strong. Like you are some authority.

    I guess that's how you are and how you think.

    I'm just trying to put across my point of view which may not be right or wrong.

    For myself, I felt strongly enough about TCM to decide enough is enough and I wanted to learn more about it to be sure.

    While the concept of TCM seems flimsy, there are correlations with western scientific medicine that are coherent.

    Anyway I'm not here to debate what is right or wrong. Just merely sharing my view and approach to things.

    If you feel that one can conclude that TCM is bogus without learning more about TCM then that's your opinion. :) TCM is not just about acupuncture. You have the herbal medicine part of it which doesn't mean that just because a TCM practitioner talking about meridians and qi which you deride is giving ginseng to his patients then ginseng must be rubbish? Ginseng is part of TCM. You blanket TCM so broadly.

    There is more to study in TCM and we might find somethings of value.

    As you mentioned, why not accupressure instead of needles? There is a field called accupressure.

    So instead of wasting time arguing how bad something is....oh well.

    That's all from me folks! Have a great day :)

    By Blogger Dr Oz bloke, At October 22, 2007 2:58 pm  

  • Hi Dr. Oz,

    I'm not saying that you cannot conclude. You can much do or think whatever you want. Just like everyone else.

    No, you are saying that unless you are an expert in the field under discussion your views are less worthy or valid. This is a variation of the Fallacy of Appeal to Authority.

    I am not a politician or have a degree in Political Science so my views on the War in Iraq must be less valid than President Bush's. This is on par with saying, I am not a duck so what do I know about omelettes.

    But your views are very strong. Like you are some authority.

    I merely pointed to critiques of studies that have shown that acupuncture doesn't work.

    If it came across as "authoritative" it is only *your* perception. I suppose had I not referred to these studies I would have appeared - to you - a good ol' bigoted buffoon, someone who asserts an opinion without facts.

    There is more to study in TCM and we might find somethings of value.

    How? By pointing to the merits
    of acupuncture as a placebo effect?

    Had you suggested research of dermapressure instead of arguing for the merits of acupuncture (despite studies showing it doesn't work) because "Hey if placebo works so well.....why not?" ... I would have agreed.

    The impression I am getting is of someone who prefers to cling on to a cherished belief that has been disproved than for a sincere pursuit of the scientific methodology and inquiry as declared.

    By Blogger PZ, At October 22, 2007 4:26 pm  

  • "So instead of wasting time arguing how bad something is....oh well."

    "Anyway I'm not here to debate what is right or wrong. Just merely sharing my view and approach to things."

    Hey Doc,

    As a doctor and a man of science, don't you care what is true and what is false?

    From where I sit, when you have to use the tack - "What do you know you are not an expert" argument - it means that you don't have anything substantive or valid to say.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At October 22, 2007 8:04 pm  

  • I think the drozbloke chap understands what the man on the street is like. I can understand what he's trying to do.

    I would think he represents much more of a danger to TCM physicians than people realize.

    Read carefully. He's not for TCM as far as meridians and qi are concerned.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At October 22, 2007 8:14 pm  

  • "Read carefully. He's not for TCM as far as meridians and qi are concerned." October 22, 2007 8:14 PM

    LOL.

    It's you who must read carefully anon814.

    He says he does not believe in qi but he is still in denial.

    "In likelihood I think meridians and qi and all that are more likely to be bogus than true. But till that evidence is confirmed,"

    What confirmation does he want? Another 10,000 studies to produce the same result??? 100,000 perhaps? Will the evidence then be confirmed? Maybe not - for Docozbloke.

    Of course he thinks qi and all that are bogus. Yeah, rite.

    Anyone else needs reading lessons?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At October 23, 2007 2:16 pm  

  • Your government is however contrary to all the evidence out there trying to promote TCM and acupuncture.

    Why is that so? Angrydoc?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At October 24, 2007 8:52 am  

  • As I wrote in the earlier comment, I have my own speculation about why the government allows TCM to be promoted, but I do not have enough concrete facts to make it anything more than a speculation.

    By Blogger angry doc, At October 24, 2007 2:24 pm  

  • I remember reading that western doctors were going to practise TCM soon.Is that true angrydoc? If so I cannot understand why MOH is encouraging western doctors to practise bogus medicine? Isn't there enough evidence to show that it is nonsense?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At October 24, 2007 5:14 pm  

  • As oz bloke mentioned above, western doctors may perform acupuncture if they are also registered acupuncturists with the TCM Practitioners Board. Restrictions on other modalities such as 'tuina' and herbal medicine remain.

    Again, as oz bloke mentioned, the ministry states in the guidelines that the acupuncture provided "should be in accordance with current medical evidence", but does not specify which forms of acupuncture are evidence-based for which conditions, effectively leaving the profession to self-regulate.

    I think we have enough evidence to show that 'acupuncture' in terms of its underlying theory does not work, but that poking needles into people can give symptomatic relief for a number of conditions, even when the needles are not inserted according to the conventions of acupuncture.

    To promote acupuncture in its current form and trappings is to ignore a body of scientific evidence and intellectually dishonest.

    And asI have stated a couple of times before, I do not claim to know why the ministry condones or promotes this. (So quit asking me as if I know!)

    By Blogger angry doc, At October 24, 2007 6:55 pm  

  • You mean in your country the Ministry of Health can condone things that are wrong and scientifically and medically wrong? Don't they consult the doctors? Aren't the policies made by doctors based on underlying evidence and due diligence? How come the doctors don't protest and instead support the Ministry in studying it?

    Maybe drozbloke can come and explain!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At October 24, 2007 8:59 pm  

  • You're not from these parts, are you?

    We do things... differently here. :)

    By Blogger angry doc, At October 24, 2007 9:09 pm  

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