Saturday, October 29, 2016

Evidenced-based Medicine

      Dr. Harriet Hall, MD, aka the SkepDoc, is a retired family physician and Air Force Colonel   As a contributing editor to both Skeptic and Skeptical Inquirer, an advisor to the Quackwatch website, and an editor of, she writes about alternative medicine, pseudoscience, quackery, and critical thinking. Her website is

      In her essay Evidence: “It Worked for My Aunt Tillie” Is Not Enough,

      She provides an easy to understand significance of the difference between science-based medicine and evidence-based medicine.  Evidence means different things to different people. Even quacks and their victims claim to have evidence that their treatments work.  Often that was all the evidence some people need. They don't care about scientific evidence because they say, “Science doesn’t know everything.” 
      However, just because science doesn’t know everything doesn’t mean they can fill in the gaps with whatever fairy tale most appeals to them.  When Oprah Winfrey told Jenny McCarthy that experts said there was no scientific evidence that vaccines caused autism, Jenny retorted, “My science is named Evan, and he’s at home. That’s my science.”

Dr Hall says,
There is no such thing as “alternative medicine.” There is only medicine that has been tested and proven to work and medicine that hasn’t. If a treatment currently considered to be alternative were adequately tested and proven to work, it would be incorporated into mainstream medical practice and could no longer be considered “alternative.” It would become just “medicine.” So-called “alternative” medicine can be defined as medicine that isn’t supported by good enough evidence to earn it a place in mainstream medicine. 

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