Steven Novella has posted once again on alternative medicine (CAM), science-based medicine and evidence-based medicine. This blogger recommends a full read of the post. Below is a summary:
This is a refrain that is becoming common in the CAM community - that we need to redefine “evidence”, not restrict ourselves to narrow definitions of evidence, and that CAM modalities cannot be properly studied by traditional scientific methods. There is always a flavor that CAM must free itself from the tyranny of scientific evidence.
What is it, exactly, about scientific methods that they feel is incompatible with CAM methods – being thorough, counting all the data, controlling for variables, minimizing the effects of bias, carefully defining terms and outcomes, or being statistically rigorous? Even individualized treatments can be studied rigorously – so that is an insufficient excuse. In the end, the call to expand the definition of evidence is just a deceptive way of asking for sloppy methods of research, because CAM modalities generally do not hold up under rigorous standards.
We don’t need to redefine or expand the methods of science – we need to return common sense to medicine.