NeuroLogica Naturopathy

The blog on NeuroLogica Naturopathy makes an argument about how well trained naturopaths are. What is your opinion on the points made about the conventional medicine vs naturopaths?

In a recent editorial David Brooks makes the point that privacy is important and we should not relinquish it lightly. Among other benefits of privacy, he states:

There has to be a zone where half-formed thoughts and delicate emotions can grow and evolve, without being exposed to the harsh glare of public judgment. There has to be a place where you can be free to develop ideas and convictions away from the pressure to conform.

I agree with this. The law also recognizes this, which is why there is automatic privilege between married individuals. This also came up in discussions of whether or not conversations between the president and his advisers should be private or public, with many making the point that the public’s interests are probably best served if their advice were candid and uncensored. We also recognize the need for attorney-client privilege and the confidentiality of the physician-patient relationship.

At the same time there are benefits to transparency and there are situations in which the public interest is best served by open discussion, even leaking information that some would want to keep private. For example, government communications at some level should be transparent, hence the mini-scandal surrounding Clinton’s e-mails. Courtroom testimony is public, but the deliberations of the jury are private.

Science is one of those things that should be, in my opinion, completely transparent and public. An individual scientist is free to keep their private thoughts private, but scientific deliberations, publications, research, and policy should be not only public but easily accessible.

The same goes for professions, because they have a contract with society – they are granted certain privileges in exchange for accountability and standards. This is especially true of a profession that is ostensibly based on science.

This is why I think the leak of conversations among naturopaths in a private Yahoo! Group named Naturopathic Chat, in my opinion, was a good thing. Naturopaths are requesting, and have been granted in many states, the privilege to be health care providers, and claim as part of their request for such privileges that their practices are scientifically valid. Their beliefs and health care practices are therefore very much a matter of important public interest.

They sell themselves as adequately trained in both “natural” and conventional medicine, but I do not believe this is true. Their training is mostly in pseudoscientific nonsense and it does not prepare them to be science-based health care practitioners. They have brought this issue to the public domain, and therefore it should be public and transparent. In my opinion naturopaths try to put their best foot forward when talking to academics and politicians, and are coy and evasive when it comes to the depths of the pseudoscience at the core of the beliefs and practices. Hearing them talk in an unguarded environment, therefore, is very enlightening…..


Read the other points on this topic here