Don't Get taken in by the Quacks who practice "Alternative Medicine"!

What exactly is “Alternative Medicine”? The best definition I can find is that it is “medicine” that doesn’t have the support of the scientific community, often because there isn’t sufficient evidence to engender that support. So I guess we have two “alternatives” when looking for medical treatment: We can use a therapy that science has shown to work, or we can choose a method that hasn’t yet been shown to work. It’s an easy decision for me. I decided to write a short play to illustrate my point.

The Quack and the Skeptic

Quack: Hi. I have a pill here that is the fountain of youth. It makes you young again, and you can stay that way forever.

Skeptic: Really! That’s quite a pill. Do you have any double-blind, placebo-controlled studies that were published in peer-reviewed journals to back it up?

Quack: No, but it’s all natural.

Skeptic: So what? Cobra venom is all natural too. So is hemlock. So is the bubonic plague. Being “all natural” doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Streptokinase isn’t very “natural,” but if I’m having a heart attack, I hope there’s a doctor close by who can shoot it into my arteries real quick!

Quack: OK, maybe you’d be interested in my super love potion. It will make you a real dynamo between the sheets.

Skeptic: Any studies on this one?

Quack: Well, no, but it’s made from the juice of the rare Kajooby berry that only grows in the jungles of Togumbia.

Skeptic: So it has an exotic name, and it’s from far away. That doesn’t necessarily mean it works.

Quack: But the ancient Wamtabar tribe has used it for 1000’s of years!

Skeptic: People thought the earth was flat for thousands of years. The Wamtabar people still think they can make it rain by doing the Yip-Yap dance – but every year, they still have a drought.

Quack: Well, if you want science, here it is: Botanists call this berry Berrius kajoobius.

 Skeptic: You’ve just demonstrated that you know its scientific name. You haven’t demonstrated any cause and effect relationship between this berry and the human body.

Quack: Wow, you’re a tough one to please. Maybe you’d like some of my crystals. They balance the magnetoflux energy fields and put you in tune with the rhythm of the universe. Wear one of these bracelets, and your IQ will go up 20 points in a week!

Skeptic: Do you have any evidence to support that?

Quack: This time I’ve got you! I do have the evidence. I have three Super Bowl champion quarterbacks who use these bracelets. All three said it made them smarter.

Skeptic: Hmmm. If I need advice on how to throw a football, I’d listen to what they said. I don’t think they are qualified for much more than that.

Quack: I have one more thing you might like to try. It’s my super-cleanser. It washes the toxins out of the body and makes you strong and healthy. It was invented by a mad scientist who works 20 hours per day in his Caribbean island lab. He had to go abroad to work on this, because his research was being suppressed by The Man.

Skeptic: Thanks, but no thanks. Actually, I’ve been feeling pretty good since I started exercising and eating better. I think I’m going to go home.

Quack: Me too. Say, would you mind giving me a ride?

Skeptic: Sure, but why? What happened to your car?

Quack: Well, I had some trouble with it, so I took it to this “Alternative Car Mechanic,” and….umm ….

Skeptic: I understand. Let’s go.

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