On Wed, 29 Jun 2005, Haukur �orgeirsson wrote:
> If you
want to make a distinction between alternative medicine
> and quackery would you object if I moved [[homeopathy]] to the
> quackery category?
Me too. That's a really hard-to-defend
category except for proven frauds.
I may well be mistaken. I'm not a native English
speaker and often miss fine distinctions in meaning.
Haukur, I think you are missing an important distinction here between
the 2 English words.
On the one hand, "Pseudo-science" embraces more than just fakery that
is being passed off as medicine. Other examples of subjects that I
think would be fairly categorized as pseudo-science would include
Ley lines, the teleological theory of cultural evolution, the theories
of Immanuel Velekovsky, & as someone mentioned upthread ghosts. I
guess you could say that it is any hypothesis that cannot be proven
experimentally, but the least controversial examples are the ones
that _have_ been disproven -- yet still have their true believers.
On the other hand, "quackery" is more properly applied to medicine
that either does not work, or is harmful. One can graduate from a
mainstream, accredited medical school, receive a medical degree, &
even be board-certified -- & yet still be a quack. This is the case
of a local physician here in Oregon, whose infamy is of more than
local interest, since he is wanted in Australia for numerous counts
I still think that "Alternative medicine" is misleading,
has undeserved positive connotations and does not represent
I'm not entirely sure I know what to say in response to that. We
all have erroneous preconceptions, many of which are invisible to
ourselves until the moment comes & we see the mistake. Other times,
only one individual is correct & the majority is wrong, & we only
learn the truth much, much later.
But if it really doesn't hurt anything if we call it "Alternative
medicine", & creates a bit of WikiLove to do so, then shouldn't we
accept the term & move on to other things? I see that we have 5
candidates for the Wikimedia Foundation who are all well qualified,
but we can only elect two: isn't that problem worth at least as
many posts as this one?