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Tape worms AND desperate mothers

Dan Holdsworth dan at dan1el.free-online.co.uk
Tue May 11 16:20:35 EST 1999

In article <3737BB5F.3B20 at flash.net>,
 Alberto Santos III <alberto3 at flash.net> writes:

<big snip>

|> If this woman is taking her daughter to an iridologist and writing to
|> this poorly receptive newsgroup, Dr. Pappas and Ms. Dilworth, then she
|> must be desperate for answers about her daughter's ailing health. 
|> Perhaps it would credit this group if we could be more sensitive to her
|> needs in this situation.  

Sensitivity is all very well, but if she's daft enough to go to any old quack
for medical advice, she needs a few home truths spelling out to her.

Firstly, any diagnostic technique must be predictive. Iridology fails on all
counts as a diagnostic technique, and generally only predicts that a large 
sum of money will shortly be passing from you to the iridologist.

Secondly, diagnostics MUST be reliable. Iridologists could probably go around
shouting that any kid with stomach ache had pinworm; pinworms are common in
children (more so than tapeworms) and every so often, you'll strike lucky and
get a diagnosis correct.

This is not a sane or ethical way to behave, and I believe that representing
one's self as a medical practicioner without first having shown one's methods
to be medically effective is a betrayal of trust, and a certain way of ending
up on the wrong side of the law.
|> I commend Ms. Dilworth both for her effort to educate Ms. Oliver about
|> tapeworms and for encouraging Ms. Oliver to question her iridologist
|> further about her or his knowledge base.  I sincerely hope that Ms.
|> Oliver finds a succesful resolution to her daughter's health concerns
|> and that this group may be more receptive to people like her in the
|> future.

I personally believe that the opposite will occur. Science has never been
more active, nor more effective than now. Yet, despite all this, people seem
to want to believe any old crap. Once you've spent a few years in science,
you tend to strongly dislike these "fringe beliefs" which are based more on
wishful thinking than on hard proof.

Dan Holdsworth Ph.D   dan at dan1el.free-online.co.uk
Windows 95: A 32-bit patch for a 16-bit GUI shell running on top of 
an 8-bit operating system written for a 4-bit processor by a 2-bit
company who cannot stand 1 bit of competition.

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