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Digital Subscriptions > Skeptical Inquirer > Sept/october 2019 > The Health Wars: Fighting Medical Pseudoscience

The Health Wars: Fighting Medical Pseudoscience

We present in this special, expanded issue seven timely articles on “The Health Wars: In the Trenches against Alternative Medicine.” So-called alternative medicine (or SCAM, the telling acronym used by medical scientist Edzard Ernst as the title of his most recent book) is all around us. It has managed to imbed itself into medical institutions, pharmacies, media, woo-woo culture, and beyond. It is many different things. This makes it difficult to criticize effectively. Ernst, one of our distinguished CSI fellows, notes that he has published “more papers on alternative medicine than any other researcher on the planet—and yet, I have never come across an alternative therapy that clearly and demonstrably outperforms conventional medicine.” This was quoted in our previous issue in a marvelous column (“Science Envy in Alternative Medicine,” July/August 2019) by physician and SI contributing editor and columnist Harriet Hall. key passage by Hall in that column could serve as an introduction to this special issue SI: “Alternative medicine embraces many things: treatments that have never been tested or have not been adequately tested; treatments that have been tested and shown not to work; treatments that are based on nonexistent phenomena such as human energy fields and acupoints; treatments such as homeopathy that would violate established scientific knowledge; and treatments that have been proven to work but that mainstream doctors have good reasons not to recommend.”

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