The rise of pseudoscience has been significant since cheap, rapid access to information has been the norm.
Regrettably the extreme beliefs held by many have been massaged by those who benefit such that Choice and Point of view (no matter how wrong) is taking the place of Evidence and Peer review. The trendy phrase that bothers me most is “health freedom”.
It’s one thing for hanky panky nonsense to make promises from shop windows and festivals. Yet quite another when it begins to shape the quality of science education on offer in Australian Universities. This rise in what I consider outright scams driven by those who are motivated by ego, self serving ideals and profit has a long history. I accept that many have genuine beliefs in the “wellness” industry. But I am yet to be availed of any evidence that consumer service and health is taking precedence over a vindictive confrontational trend by the many Enemies of Reason.
Recently the group Friends of Science in Medicine formed to address this:
A group of concerned Australian health care researchers and providers has set up an organisation that aims to discourage universities from offering accreditation in unproven medical therapies. The group would also like such therapies to be removed from claimable benefits by health funds.
Currently 19 (out of 39) Australian universities offer courses in unproven and often bizarre treatments such as iridology, aromatherapy, homeopathy and chiropractic.
Keeping up to speed with the norm of attacking Australian Skeptics as the proxy demon for anything evidence based, Meryl Dorey of the Australian Vaccination Network fallaciously wrote on this development:
There is an organisation in Australia which hates every natural therapy. They hate the healthcare practitioners and they hate the healthcare consumers who ‘turn their backs’ on Western medicine in favour of a range of other modalities which put no money in their pockets and take away their prestige. Worst of all, they hate anyone who chooses not to use vaccines! That is the ultimate heresy, as far as they are concerned.
But it’s OK – because they have a plan and they have the money and media backing, they think, to bring this plan to fruition.
This group, the Australian Skeptics, has been instrumental in setting up the organisation, Stop the AVN.
Quite a lot of hatred to go with the free speech they are usually accused of suppressing. This is of course as noted before, simply scurrilous deflection from presenting any evidence or explaining missing funds. Stupidly many believers have taken up the trend. Meryl is under instruction from the Alliance for Health Freedom Australia to maintain the “enemy behind the curtain” slur on all things skeptical but ultimately it is very telling that Godwin’s Law out paces evidence provision in this matter.
Being tricked into conflict and betrayed by connivance is really what’s happening to many innocent minds. The big regret in some aspects is that heated young minds are misled as to the notion of skepticism and the aim of skeptic movements. Recently Adam Vanlangenberg, a Victorian school teacher and skeptic spoke on TV about the popularity of his lunchtime skeptic class.
Adam manages to capture in a few minutes a great deal of the bipartisan respect, tolerance and quest for verifiable knowledge that real skepticism is known for.