Re: Alternative Medicine (was Re: Skepticism - its uses and abuses)

From: Iain Strachan <>
Date: Tue Dec 20 2005 - 03:51:14 EST


Thanks for posting this - I feel it is an important topic for Christians in
science to discuss, and relates to my "skepticism" thread as well. I seem
to remember that one of Richard Dawkins's crusades is against "alternative
medicine" as well, and while for the most part I agree that alternative
medicine methods are often quackery and need to be exposed as such, the
problem is that Dawkins also wants to expose and destroy religious belief
and put it in the same category.

Would you all agree that this is a vital concern in many local churches?
> I can relate to Iain's story in a very personal way. My wife has dealt
> with a type of chronic fatigue for several years. Thankfully, the Lord
> has graciously directed us towards the right resources in traditional
> medicine that have greatly helped. However, along the way we have talked
> with many Christians in our church and elsewhere who have suggested
> numerous alternative medical approaches; e.g. special diets, herbalist,
> naturapath, muscle testing --- and also Iain's example: staying away from
> all electromagnetic fields. Turn off all of your motors and get away from
> those power lines!

Clarke, I'd be interested to know what resources in traditional medicine
were used - my friends have given up on traditional methods, after an
"alternative" doctor diagnosed something wrong with her liver (something to
do with "detoxification pathways" ) and told them that no-one in the
National Health Service can detect this problem & that it is a gap in the
knowledge of the NHS. (The UK public health system)..

I can not help but to think that most of this is pure quackery But
> it sure can *sound* scientific to many non-analytical, but often
> desperate, suffering believers. I am confident that the placebo effect
> plays a significant role in the alternative medicine success stories. But
> I am greatly concerned that many well-meaning Christians have given up too
> soon on traditional medicine in favor of well-meant, but flawed
> pseudo-scientific solutions.
> In the history of science, the quest for medical cures has sparked
> significant advances in science by Christians. For example, where would
> modern chemistry be if Robert Boyle had not been plagued with such ill
> health, searching for healing? Where would modern neuroscience be if the
> physician Thomas Willis had not dissected the human brain to discover its
> inner workings? Maybe the ASA isn't the right forum for this discussion,
> but given the critical need within the church and the value that the ASA
> has in properly promoting good science within the church, I would hope
> that the ASA has something significant to contribute.

I agree entirely. This particular list seems to focus strongly (maybe with
good reason) on YEC "pseudoscience", and the fact that it can often cause
people to lose their faith (I'm aware that Glenn nearly lost his faith when
he started working in an area that showed him clearly that his YEC beliefs
were untenable. Yet it's also the case that my friends have come close to
losing their Christian faith because of the illness, and what they see as
God's failure to help them out.

Received on Tue Dec 20 03:56:17 2005

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