Volume 5 No.1 - winter 2001-2002
Volume 4 No. 2 - fall 2001
Volume 4 No. 1 - spring/summer 2001
Volume 3 No. 2 - fall/winter 1999-2001
Volume 3 No. 1 - spring/summer 1999
Volume 2 No. 2 - fall/winter 1998
Volume 2 No. 1 - spring/summer 1998
Volume 1 No. 1 - fall/winter 1997
IN DEFENCE OF
from the Council for Scientific Medicine
IN RECENT YEARS A WIDE RANGE OF UNCONVENTIONAL therapies has appeared on the public scene. These are offered as 'alternative" or 'complementary" to mainstream medicine. And they include everything from herbal medicines, homeopathy, and aromatherapy to the use of acupuncture therapeutic touch, prayer at a distance, faith healing, chelation therapy, and 'miraculous" cancer cures.
We, the undersigned, believe that the need for objective, scientific critiques of the claims of "alternative" or nonconventional medicine has never been greater. This conclusion seems inescapable because:
There is a lack of readily available, reliable information about the efficacy of such treatments. This impairs people's free choice and increases risks to their health. The potential harm is incalculable but appears to be growing. The trend is abetted by those who promote unproven treatments, especially those who are naive, greedy, or unscrupulous.
The media all too often dote on controversial and false claims but unfortunately provide few careful, critical examinations of them usually preferring to titillate, pander, or entertain. Often what the public hears is anecdotal testimony of people allegedly cured not the results of scientific research. Many best-selling books promote the power of such alleged healings, but they hardly pass the scrutiny of peer review.
Several new journals devoted exclusively to alternative" medicine have appeared recently, but they merely advocate unconventional treatments and rarely assess them objectively.
Both the public and some medical professionals seem unaware that credible, scientific assessments of many "alternative" medicine claims already exist and that new evaluations based on available information are possible.
There is a critical need to test new claims before they are marketed to the public.
We therefore welcome the founding of the Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine the first peer-reviewed journal dedicated entirely to the scientific, rational evaluations of unconventional health claims.
Its purpose is to apply the best tools of science and reason to determine the validity of hypotheses and the effectiveness of treatments. It will dismiss no claim a priori, but consider it on its merits. It will reject no claim because it fits, or fails to fit, some paradigm. It will, using scientific methods and reasonable criteria, seek justified answers to two questions: "Is it true?" and "Does this treatment work?" It will call for double-blind controlled trials of "alternative" therapies.
We believe that the launching of the Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine is now imperative. We therefore call for physicians, scientists, health practitioners, and citizens everywhere to join us in supporting this important venture to advance scientific medicine and to expand the benefits of people's free and informed choice.
Signers of the statement are Charter Members of the Council for Scientific Medicine. They include:
Paul Kurtz, PhD, Publisher
Wallace Sampson, M P, Editor
Lewis Vaughn, Executive Editor
Baruj Benacerraf, MD, Nobel Laureate,
President emeritus, Dana Farber Institute
Francis Crick, PhD, Nobel Laureate, Salk Institute
Arthur Kornberg, MD Nobel Laureate, Stanford Univensity
Leon Lederman, PhD, Nobel Laureate, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago
Glenn T Seaborg, PhD, Nobel Laureate, University of California
James Alcock, PhD, Psychology, York University
Jerry Andrus, Magician and Inventor, Albany, OR
Robert A Baker, Psychology, emeritus, University of Kentucky
Stephen Barrett, MD, Consumer Health, Allentown, PA
Barry Beyerstein, PhD, Psychology, Simon Fraser University
Susan Blackmore, PhD, University of the West of England, Bristol, UK
Henri Broch, Sc.Dr., Physics, University of Nice, France
Avrum Bluming, MD, Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of Southern California
Vern L. Bullough, RN, PhD, Department of Nuning, University of Southern California
Shawn Carlson, PhD, Physics, San Diego Stare University
Charles J. Cazeau, PhD, Geological Sciences, emeritus, SUNY at Buffalo
Luther Cobb, MD, Surgery, Stanford University
Nahum J Duker, MD, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Temple University School of Medicine
Antony Flew, Professor emeritus of Philosophy, Reading University
Silvio Garattini, director, Mario Negri Pharmacology Institute, Milan, Italy
Martin Gardner, Author, Critic
Alan P Gold, Attorney, Toronto
Henry Gordon, Author, Columnist, Broadcaster
Saul Green, PhD, Biochemistry, New York
Victor Herbert, MD, Hematology, Nutrition, Mr. Sinai University, New York
Terence M. Hines, PhD, Psychology Pace University, Pleasantville, NY
William Jarvis, PhD, Public Health, Loma Linda University
Sergei Kapitza, Editor, Russian edition of Scientific American, Russia
Melvin Kirschner, MD, Medicine, Public Health, Los Angeles
Philip J. Klass, Technical Journalist
Gae Kovalick, PhD, Molecular Biology, Miami University, Oxford, OH
Gerald A. Larue, ThD, Gerontology, University of Southern California
Elizabeth E Loftus PhD Psychology, University of Washington
James Lowell, PhD, Biology, Pima College, Tucson
Sir John Maddox, Editor emeritus of Nature
Joe Nickell, Senior Research Fellow, CSICOP
Loren Pankratz, PhD, Psychology, University of Oregon
Steven Pinker, PhD, Brain and Cognitive Sciences, MIT
Harrison G. Pope, MD, Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
Gary Posner, MD, Internal Medicine, Tampa, FL
John Renner, MD, Medical Education, Kansas City, MO
Scott L. Replogle, MD, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Louisville, Co
Robert H. Romer, PhD, Editor, American Journal of Physics
Steven D. Schafersman, PhD, Molecular Biology, Miami University, Oxford, OH
Bela Scheiber, MBS, Mathematics, University of Colorado, Boulder
Carla Selby, PhD, Author, Skeptical Activist
Leland Shapiro, MD, Infectious Diseases, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center,
Robert Sheaffer, Author
Elie A. Shneour, Director and CEO, Biosystems Research Institute, San Diego
Carol Tavris, PhD, Social Psychologist and Writer, Los Angeles
Thomas Wheeler, PhD, Biochemistry, University of Louisville
Affiliations are for identification only.
PUBLISHER: Paul Kurtz
EDIT0R : Wallace Sampson
EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Lewis Vaughn
ASSOCIATE EDITORS: Michael K. Botts, Esq., Gregory L. Smith
COPY EDIT0R: Mary A. Read
PR0DUCTI0N EDIT0R: Bruce Carle
CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: Stephen Barrett, William Bennetta, Barry Beyerstein, Saul Green, Victor Herbert, William Jarvis, Melvin Kirschner, Arthur Kornberg, James Lowell, Judi Morrill, Jan Willem Nienhuis, Loren Pankratz, Gary Posner, Jack Raso, John Renner, Bela Scheiber, Thomas Wheeler
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