Skeptical Activism Sends a Message to CPSO

I am on my way down to CSIcon in New Orleans, and currently in the town of Branson, Missouri, the Niagara Falls of The Heartland here in the United States. It was great to hear from my co-chair Iain Martel at the Committee for the Advancement of Scientific Skepticism (CASS) at the Centre for Inquiry Canada this evening in regards to our efforts to let the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) know that the direction of their new draft policy on non-allopathic medicine was misguided.

The results of the CPSO survey are very encouraging and send what we feel is an appropriate message to the CPSO committee trying to cope with the increased interest shown by the pubic in non-conventional therapies. 78% of respondents rejected the draft policy as presented and over 1/3 of respondents reported that they were directed to the survey by CASS, the JREF or from readers of this blog.  Those committed to scientific inquiry have made their voice heard.

One final note. I gave a talk at McMaster University medical school a couple of weeks back and was approached afterward by a physician and lecturer at the uni who was exasperated by my discussion of the different labels we give to alternative  medical treatments. “What do we call it?” he asked, in a weary voice.

Instead of a confrontation, this physician was presenting a situation where the CPSO was trying to be as inoffensive as possible. In a modern medical environment that is focused on patient-centred care they are faced with patients who are more informed that ever about the choices that they have in health-care, and the physician is competing with supplements, “natural” health care, and other forms of vitalistic modalities that are over-promising and building on the meme of corporate health care that is alienating and profit driven.

I suggested to the physician that “non-conventional” is the best description of the therapies presented by non-medical practitioners, but the truth remains that modern medicine  should be based upon the best scientifically-supported evidence, and any  modality that is not should not be considered medicine and should be unethical to promote.

One Response to “Skeptical Activism Sends a Message to CPSO”

  1. chip cherry says:

    A big problem to me is that no matter what adjective or qualifier we put in front of ‘medicine’it still uses that word and injects some cred. I try not to use that word whenever possible by saying ‘modality’ or ‘alt-med’. I understand that official bodies need to be consistent and respectful.

    Might I suggest they use the term ‘bullshit’ as the official descriptor? It shows respect to the potential patient who wants the straight goods and not any vague nonsense in the interest of being respectful.

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  • Michael Kruse

    Michael is an advanced-care paramedic in York Region, just north of Toronto, Ontario. A semi-retired theatrical lighting designer as well, he re-trained in 2005 as an EMT-PS at the University of Iowa and as an ACP at Durham College, and is currently working towards a B.Sc at the University of Toronto. Michael is a founder and the chair of the board of directors of Bad Science Watch. He is also the recipient of the first annual Barry Beyerstein Award for Skepticism. Follow Michael on twitter @anxiousmedic. Michael's musings are his own and do not necessarily represent those of his employer or Bad Science Watch.