Monday, April 18, 2011
Short Story by Jerry Oltion
A weirdly science-accepting homeopathic doctor debates a CDC doctor, and they decide to do a double-blind trial to prove or disprove homeopathy once and for all. This is suspending a lot of disbelief already. Anyway, the trials show that homeopathy works, although perhaps not for the reasons traditional practitioners claim, and other real doctors label our real doctor a sell-out and a quack. His actual study is ignored and no one will publish the results even though they could be important to medicine.
I was amused by the faith healing bit at the end, but for the most part, this story didn't amuse much, and often felt like pseudoscience apologetics. I realize it is trying to be a humor piece and still make a point, but the answer makes so little sense it is hard to get past. It's worth noting that science still works, and quite well, in the world of the story, but it seems to harp too much on the idea of close-minded scientists not accepting evidence. I realize peer review can sometimes be a burden, but it is a good system, and the vast majority of "fringe science" really is quackery. It doesn't need to be lent false legitimacy by attacking the character of scientists who debunk it.
If you can't tell, the story was almost as much of a political rant as the review I wrote, and I don't agree with it at all, although Oltion is being original, and treats the main scientist fairly. To some extent, he's trying to make a point about accepting medical doctrine on faith and ignoring results, and that is a point that needs to be made, I just don't think you should do it by legitimizing actual quackery.
2 dilutions out of 5.