October 25th, 2008 · 2 comments or link to (permalink)
A half century old exposé on medical quackery from the television show Confidential File hosted by Paul Coates.
I’m putting this up to illustrate the point I’ve been banging on about in the comments thread under the clip of present day quack, Gary Null: that harmless things like homeopathy can kill people because they prevent them seeking proven treatment.
The interesting thing about this film from the 50s is that it was an era where science was perceived quite differently from now. Science was held in high esteem in the US, but for cultural rather than rational reasons. This was the post war era of scientific spectacle that stretched from the Atom Bomb to the Apollo Program.
The quack medicine in this clip is more stylistically modern than today’s, being based on science itself and machinery and terminology from the atomic age. Today’s quackery is more often based on a reaction against the clinical aspects of science and is more likely to use rustic, ‘natural’ terminology. However, with this fashion, comes a rejection of reason itself, everything becomes relative and expressions like ‘proven treatment’ are taken to be a matter of opinion rather than evidence. This often makes today’s pseudo medical practitioners very difficult to pin down.
Today reason is unfashionable. But it shouldn’t be a matter of fashion, either way. We have regressed, by mistake.