You ARENT a DOCTOR!

Its no secret that there is an ongoing (though thoroughly stupid) ‘battle’ between MDs and PhDs. “Ur too dumb to get into med shcool!” “Ur a friggen mechanic!” “I cure duhseesehs!” “U do not! We cure, U dispense!” Blah blah blah its funny sometimes, but it gets old too.

But now it just got funny again.

Guess who just got ‘permission’ to be called a ‘doctor’ in Minnesota?

Naturopaths.

LOL!

I have a feeling the bickering between MDs and Phds will come to a screeching halt as we team together to get this dangerous move reversed.

Remember my debate with Lenny? Remember when he went postal when I wouldnt call him “Dr. Horowitz”? Lenny is a nutbar, but he knows what quacks know, and what I know– The degree of ‘doctor’ is held in high authority in our communities. If a ‘doctor’ is debating a ‘student’, the ‘doctors’ credibility is automatically elevated above that of the ‘student’… Even if the ‘doctors’ degree is in an unrelated field, and the student is actually the ‘expert’ in the debate.

Giving naturopaths the ability to call themselves ‘doctor’ gives their field an unearned level of ‘authority’ in the community at large.

While I love debating quacks as much as the next guy, the more pressing problem with letting naturopaths call themselves ‘doctor’ is that patients put their lives in the hands of their ‘doctors’ every day. You let ‘doctors’ put you to sleep, you let ‘doctors’ cut open your flesh, you let ‘doctors’ prescribe you medicines, you trust ‘doctors’ designing new drugs and new vaccines… You let ‘doctors’ do things to you you would never allow Average Joe to do.

So now naturopaths, who dont go to grad school or medical school, get to call themselves ‘doctors’? They get to be in a position where they can say “Im a doctor, and Im telling you you dont need surgery for your breast cancer. Your body can heal itself with these magnets and grape seed extract!”?

Scary shit*.

**But its also kinda funny how the woo-crew is fighting over this, saying the Naturo-woos are trying to take over the woo-factory with their WooMDs, LOL!

Comments

  1. #1 William Cowan
    June 9, 2008

    Ah, yet another reason why it’s better to be cynical when someone claims they know what they’re talking about because they’ve got a degree….oh wait! These people don’t even have those! So much easier!

    But like you said, it’ll be funny to see what the other Woo-degree factories do with this new opportunity to “grant degrees” in naturo-woo.

    Excuse me now, I have to go do my morning dance inside the fairy rings to appease the Great Grabozookermungroud who lives in the woods and will grant me magical powers and make all the people I hate go away. That’s not woo, that’s w00t!! Hehehe.

  2. #2 Felstatsu
    June 9, 2008

    Hmm… this is disheartening. I’m all for some of the sane natural remedies, such as herbal remedies using plants that have chemicals we now extract or synthesize to make normal medicine, but this goes way too far into the faith healing realm for my tastes.

    These people shouldn’t get a doctor title, even with the little 4 year course to earn it under the legislation. It’s downright dangerous to give them such a title given what they really practice.

  3. #3 Joshua Zelinsky
    June 9, 2008

    There’s an obvious reason that the different alternative groups are fighting with each other over this. Many of the purveyors of alternative medicines that are not “naturopathic” claim to be using high-tech devices or at minimum using specialized machinery. Since the different alternative medicine purveyors are competing for the same niche or similar niches, one gets something close to a Red Queen situation.

  4. #4 midwifetoad
    June 9, 2008

    Three of my closest relatives are/were MDs, so I got a pretty hefty dose of this growing up. Lots of people dispense medical advice under the title of doctor. Always have. Sometimes legally, sometimes not.

    My question is, who pays for medical services. I would prefer not to pay for insurance that covers quack medicine.

  5. #5 Colin M
    June 9, 2008

    A relevant quote that I sent to my friend who just finished his Ph.D.:

    http://www.bash.org/?1753

    WARNING: DO NOT LET DR. MARIO TOUCH YOUR GENITALS. HE IS NOT A REAL DOCTOR.

  6. #6 NickG
    June 9, 2008

    Actually most people who use the degree ND have gone to a form of professional school after undergraduate. (Its tempting to use ersatz quotes around the word professional, but I won’t.) ND programs are 4 years and theoretically parallel 4 year MD programs (except that the main subject matter currently is woo rather than medicine.)

    The scary part is that in a number of states, NDs have been given limited prescriptive authority, and in a few (Oregon being the most liberal) they can prescribe you anything from vicodin to digitalis as well as perform minor surgery. What’s really bad though is that even if you consider an ND program to be equivalent to an MD program, state’s license NDs with less training than MDs. For an MD to get licensed by most medical boards, you have to pass a test and have completed at least one year of post-graduate training. And most physicians don’t get their independent license till the end of residency. So even head to head, prescriptive licensure of NDs is dangerous because they don’t have as much training.

    Now, I am not against people other than MDs having prescriptive licenses. You don’t need 7 years of education to prescribe medicine for hypertension or a UTI. I am all for mid level practioners (Nurse Practitioners and PAs.) However, I do not believe that most NDs have as much good clinical training as most MLPs. The problem is that they are popular with the woo-loving public who influence state politics enough to get them licensed. (While the FDA regulates globally, states choose who to license to prescribe what drugs.)

    This is actually how DOs got on the scene as well. Today DO programs are essentially the same as an MD program with a small minor in woo (which is sort of fine… as long as you cover the real medicine.) But DOs started much like NDs and weaseled their way into having the same licensure as allopathic medicine. Though on the way, osteopathic medicine itself changed radically to be a very close mirror to allopathic medicine. If I had to predict, I would say that in 100 years, we will have MDs, DOs, and perhaps NDs practicing pretty much the same kind of medicine and doing the same residency programs. The woo will hopefully become a historical part of NDs as it did with DOs. Unfortunately on the way, we have some really poorly trained folks who can prescribe Lithium… Digoxin… Coumadin. Sigh.

    With regard to the ‘real doctor’ debate, its entirely silly. You can call yourself Dr McLovin if you like because there is nothing magic about the title. Lots of people with doctoral degrees have their heads firmly planted up their ass while lots of people without a doctorate are well educated and quite intelligent.

    However a friend of mine who is a vet assures me the answer to the question is that real doctors treat more than one species.

  7. #7 Sili
    June 9, 2008

    I’m sure Dr Hettie, h.c., MAANC would disapprove.

  8. #8 Eric Saveau
    June 9, 2008

    I read that article in the Sunday Minneapolis Star-Tribune and was chilled at the thought of how many more vulnerable people are going to fall prey to quacks.

    One of my wife’s cousins is a serious woo-head who buys into homeopathy and naturopathy. When she comes to visit us in Minnesota (she lives in Oregon now) I do my best to be welcoming and friendly, but the last time she tried to talk about science and “limitations” in evolutionary theory I flatly told her to fuck the fucking fuck off. This was right after she said “I certainly don’t want to use a ‘god of the gaps’ argument” and then proceeded to do precisely that.

    Middle-age is making me less and less patient with morons…

  9. #9 J-Dog
    June 9, 2008

    Eric S – “…fuck the fucking fuck off.” A Beautiful sentiment, artfully expressed. I may have to use this, okay I WILL use this, the next time relatives come visit. Or I am discussing the 2008 election with a Rethuglican. “…fuck the fucking fuck off.” Thanks!

  10. #10 Josh
    June 9, 2008

    A Beautiful sentiment, artfully expressed.

    Indeed. And he followed it with:

    Middle-age is making me less and less patient with morons…

    which is also pretty damn good, I think.

    -Josh (whose title of Dr. took seven fucking years of graduate school, thank you very much. The Woo-Woo heads can bite me).

  11. #11 Bert Chadick
    June 9, 2008

    A Quack-O-Practor/Naturopath killed my favorite aunt forty years ago. How’s that for anecdotal evidence? I used to rent a storefront to a health food store, and they killed at least three from my knowledge.

  12. #12 guthrie
    June 9, 2008

    Whereas my uncle here in Scotland isn’t called Dr (insert name here), because he is a surgeon trained in Edinburgh and as such they don’t get called “Dr”. There is some historical reason for this that I’ll look up some day.

    Seeing as they are the one holding the knife when you are unconscious, people don’t seem to want to argue with them too much.

  13. #13 William Wallace
    June 9, 2008

    I am all for addressing Ph.D.s as Dr., but not naturopaths, whatever that is.

    Only a medical doctor has M.D., though, so what’s the big deal?

  14. #14 waldteufel
    June 9, 2008

    I listened to your “debate” with the naturopath clown.
    What a puffed up, pompous, ignorant asshat.

    He kinda reminded me of David Berlinski, one of my favorite poseurs who roam the halls of the Disco Toot.

  15. #15 Dr Benway
    June 9, 2008

    Are naturopaths the ones who say, “doctors don’t get much training in nutrition in medical school”?

    Sets my teeth on edge. Who writes TPN orders? Who treats diabetes? How is it possible to understand metabolism without understanding nutrition?

  16. #16 Zarquon
    June 10, 2008

    I foresee vast areas of untapped malpractice lawsuits opening up.

  17. #17 Reynold Hall
    June 10, 2008

    Phhp! You think those guys are bad?

    From this thread at Rapture Ready:

    http://rr-bb.com/showpost.php?p=623034&postcount=7
    There’s mercury, embalming fluid, and parts of aborted fetal tissue in vaccinations. I’m not happy about what’s been injected into my body over the years.

    How in hell can people go for this kind of crap? I’ve heard Abbie complain about “anti-vaxers” but this is ridiculous.

  18. #18 Stephen Wells
    June 10, 2008

    Surgeons in the UK get to be called Mr., with a degree of emphasis I can’t reproduce in text.

  19. #19 Goatboy
    June 10, 2008

    Guthrie,

    The titling of surgeons as ?Mister? comes from the early days of British medical associations.

    In Tudor Britain, to be a proper Doctor, you had to be accepted into the Royal College of Physicians, an august body, founded by Henry VIII and composed of some of the finest medical practitioners of the 16th century (some of their patients survived!).

    Surgeons had various guilds and associations prior to this, but these were incorporated into a Royal College (again by Henry VIII), this was The Royal College of Barber Surgeons (access to sharp instruments being valued rather more than anatomical knowledge at the time).

    Surgical techniques were pretty basic, they did amputations and gallstone surgery (with very limited success) and that was about it. All that stuff about bloody bandages being the origin of the barber?s striped pole is true; but, as surgical techniques improved the surgeons eventually parted ways from the barbers (about mid eighteenth century IIRC) and founded their own body, the Royal College of Surgeons.

    The trouble was that the long association with barbers had left surgery very much the poor relation among medical practitioners and hence the average Physician would be damned before he (always a he) would share his hard earned title with a gang of overeager hair-dressers, they could be ?Misters? and like it.

    Of course, over the next hundred and fifty years, surgery made great strides and we have the historic irony that British surgeons now take as a mark of their high rank a title which was originally used in derision.

    (I’ve simplified a lot, there were multiple incarnations of several of these bodies, a lot more in-fighting and the actual establishment of the Scottish colleges, which your friend?s father is a member, didn?t occur until about 150 years later, however, they happily retained the historic prejudice outlined above)

    Back OT, the moral of the story is that, if these bozos think their discipline has actual merit, then the best thing Naturopaths can do is establish their own qualifications and work damned hard to establish these as worthwhile.

  20. #20 Terry Small
    June 10, 2008

    Not really on topic, but at least the complaining between MDs and the PhDs who study medical subjects is “in the family”, so to speak.

    My dad got a PhD in chemical engineering, and he abuses it – last time I saw him we went to a local hospital to visit a friend of his, and my dad would introduce himself as “Dr. S.” when asking the nurses for directions or asking the medical doctors about his friend’s condition. Bugged the everliving shit out of me. When I was in grade school and was home sick he liked trying to write me doctor’s excuses too. He’s not a goddamned medical doctor, my mom who’s a registered nurse knows more about medicine than he does but he thinks he’s entitled to behavior like that. Infuriates me.

    …thanks for letting me bitch here, all. =X

  21. #21 Pineyman
    June 10, 2008

    Well, my family and I won’t be visiting Minnesota any time soon. My wife is a homeopath suck-up who will take anything her current quackticioner suggests no questions asked. She’s tried to use homeocrap on our kids which has led to really heated rows, especially after I pointed out the ingredients on two “cures” were actually poisons and the other ingredients were useless. Her response was, “I like the man.”

    Eric – Next time my wife and I go at it, I’m stealing your line. My previous response of, “I like him too. I’d play golf with him, have a beer with him or shoot pool with him. I just wouldn’t trust him to prescribe flea powder for our dogs” didn’t go over very well.

  22. #22 Joey
    June 10, 2008

    Heh, with all the recalls and medical mistakes I think those with MDs deserve to be called Dr’s as much as Naturopaths! Only PhD’s should be doctors or no one(I’m not a PhD or anything, and Dr is a silly title if you ask me).

  23. #23 Felstatsu
    June 10, 2008

    For Pineyman,

    Isn’t homeopathy that thing with the “water memory” idea about how water can retain the good stuff from a herb while ditching the bad stuff after it gets filtered and mixed enough times to remove even trace elements of the original mixture? I think it’s also based on the idea that something that causes a headache in a healthy person with cure a headache in a sick person, which A) is not too bright, and B) would explain the presence of poisons on the ingredients list.

    If I am recalling what homeopathy is correctly it might help to ask her why all the water in the world isn’t already perfect medicine, because it would have to be by now if the water memory thing actually worked. Can also ask how and why water has memory and what the mechanics are behind it. It’s fair to mention at this point that studies into the memory of water done according to some practitioners exact requirements found no evidence of water memory. Next time someone’s sick, before she can get and use the tinctures, say “we don’t need those, we’ve got tap water” and point to the nearest sink. Question how a poison that causes illness in a healthy person can somehow make an ill person better when even the practitioners give no clue as to the mechanics behind this type of cure. This one’s only applicable to ask Christians buying into homeopathy, ask them why they’re using pagan healing practices, since that’s where tinctures originally came from. There are slight difference such as the pagan ones are taken virtually straight (1-2 shots worth either taken straight or in a glass of water) instead of distilled (taking the part the medicinal chemicals would not be left in) and diluted 100+ times, and they’re not based on the self-poisoning idea about using a poison that causes something in a healthy person to cure it in a sick person, but the initial creation and use of herbs is close enough to use this question.

    I’m sure there’s plenty of other issues with the current form of its practice that could be turned up with some clever googleing. Hope you can use at least some of these to talk some sense into her, at least enough for her to move away from homeopathy, even if it means you’re sleeping on the couch a few times. It’ll be worth it.

    Also, if you bring up the pagan side of things you can also mention that the people who’s works were the basis of the ideas for modern homeopathy think it’s a load of BS as well. Even the people who cook up herb stews and potions will not use homeopathy, though to be fair, all the ones I know have also dropped recipes that include herb combinations that have no proven medicinal value.

  24. #24 Richard Wolford
    June 10, 2008

    Well, I guess I can chime in some since I do enjoy ERV’s blog. I’ve not read all the comments, so if I’m rehashing something I apologize. I do have a PhD and, yes, I do go by doctor when in a professional environment. However, that does not entitle me to speak outside of my field of expertise as any sort of authority. Indeed, I would argue that the only qualifications for speaking within any field is simply knowledge of that field. Holding a PhD simply shows that I’ve been formally trained in research methodologies, I’ve gained a level of expertise in my area, and that I’ve conducted at least one study (in the dissertation). It’s not a free-for-all I-know-everything certificate, but it’s not a piece of junk either.

    I guess my point is that arguments from authority are not immune from debate or questioning. Any idea must stand on its own merits regardless of the source. It may not be valid to argue the basics of biology with someone such as PZ, since he’s likely going to school you very quickly, but there is in actuality nothing wrong with it.

    In my regular life I just go by Richard, the title isn’t highly important to me; what I learned is what I value.

  25. #25 Margaret
    June 10, 2008

    You ARENT a DOCTOR!

    Oh, I’m not sure I agree: witch doctor seems a fairly appropriate title to me.

  26. #26 Skwee
    June 10, 2008

    If I am recalling what homeopathy is correctly it might help to ask her why all the water in the world isn’t already perfect medicine, because it would have to be by now if the water memory thing actually worked.

    Then again, it should be toxic as the water would “remember” the sewage plant. Don’t try to understand it, you’ll just end up pulling a neuron.

  27. #27 Pineyman
    June 10, 2008

    Felstatsu –

    My wife gets…ahem….balls of essence. They have this eerie resemblance to the old tiny sugar candy beads. I think it is the same thing, not sure. Never cared to learn. Her doc “realigns” her energy flows, pops a couple of these thingees under her tongue and all is right in the world. Now her sinus infections, which used to take 2 weeks and a course on antibiotics to fix, take…oh…six months if she’s lucky.

    But she likes him. She really likes him.

    If I want water with a memory, I’ll take the water that remembers cactus.

  28. #28 ggann
    June 10, 2008

    My wife, who is a native of Korea, has eaten goat dung
    in an attempt to improve an anemic condition. The
    treatment wan’t successful, but she still says she believes
    in the healing power of so-called (in Korea) Chinese
    medicine. I assume that “homeopathy” refers to the same
    kind of medicine. Much of it is nonsense.

    On the other hand, “Chinese medicine” practitioners have
    long prescribed (for centuries) red-yeast rice for various
    heart ailments. Red-yeast rice contains a chemical that is
    similar to, if not identical to, some of the statins that
    are currently used to successfully treat “high”
    cholesterol. The stuff is being sold, over-the-counter,
    world-wide, as an alternative to the prescription-only,
    high-priced statins.

    Just an observation. I’ve enjoyed reading the comments
    here more than anything else I’ve read lately.

  29. #29 NickG
    June 11, 2008

    @28 “as an alternative to the prescription-only, high-priced statins.”

    Lovastatin and pravastatin are available as generics. You can get a years supply of 20mg daily of pravastatin from Wal-Mart for $20. While in the US statins are rx only, statins are OTC in many other places. In the UK at least one statin has been over the counter since 2004.

    So you lose on the woo being more readily available and cheaper. As a specific example I have a friend with familial hypercholesterolemia who is on a high dose statin and on fish oil and red rice yeast. He’s uninsured, so pays out of pocket for meds and he tells me that the woo costs more for a month’s supply than three months of his generic statin.

  30. #30 NickG
    June 11, 2008

    Terri Small @20 “My dad got a PhD in chemical engineering, and he abuses it – last time I saw him we went to a local hospital to visit a friend of his, and my dad would introduce himself as “Dr. S.” when asking the nurses for directions or asking the medical doctors about his friend’s condition. Bugged the everliving shit out of me. When I was in grade school and was home sick he liked trying to write me doctor’s excuses too. He’s not a goddamned medical doctor, my mom who’s a registered nurse knows more about medicine than he does but he thinks he’s entitled to behavior like that. Infuriates me.”

    OK, but lets look at what your dad was doing. First the excuse. Did your dad let you play hookey for no good reason? Or maybe it was the case that your competent parents (a nurse and chemical engineer) were able to say: gee, my kid has a fever and a cough… she looks sick enough that I don’t want to send her to school but not sick enough that she needs to see a physician. However, faced with the arbitrary rules of an educational system that doesn’t trust competent parents to make that decision, he used a kludge that he could.

    Or maybe when he introduced himself as Dr S, he was actually spoken to in a respectful manner by physicians and nurses. Damn, what a bastard for wanting that.

    Your dad is a doctor, and he simply used that title to get a little extra respect from systems that should give people more respect in the first place. Any ‘abuse’ is in the systems whereby health care professionals don’t give everyone prompt attention and respectful communication or where competent parents have to schlep their kid to the doctor (thereby torturing the kid and increasing disease transmission) in order to be able to keep their kid home from school.

    Personally when I work in the ER and I look at a patient’s chart and see that she is a university professor or in some other way see that they are a doctor, I call them Dr X. But then I also call all my patients Mr or Ms X. Its just respectful.

  31. #31 Dan
    June 11, 2008

    In Germany for an MD to have the title Dr., he/she must have a PhD.

  32. #32 Terry Small
    June 11, 2008

    @Nickg:

    But he had no need to introduce himself as a doctor – when I visited the hospital alone earlier that day, the busy nurses and physicians treated me with the same courtesy they treated all visitors, so that would have been a non-issue. The largest point of my irritation is that he falsely represented himself as a doctor among doctors, clearly expecting them to assume he was also an MD, and then try to maneuver them into giving him more personal information about the friend’s condition as, oh I dunno, a “professional courtesy”. (To that doc’s credit he looked bemused and simply told us the friend was able to see visitors at the time.) Yes, it bugs me that he would deliberately try to manipulate people into affording him some special status.

    As for the grade school note deal, I’ll grant that I never looked at it that way, but still there his behaviour was more glee over being able to pretend to a special status than relief over not having to take me to get seen (seeing as how I was a good-natured kid who liked going to the doctor’s office anyway. And there also, reducing disease transmission was not a concern that would even have occurred to him.)

    So yes, I do think his behavior was wrong, because knowing him as I do, it’s apparent that he does shit like this for reasons that I consider wrong, even if (which is not always the case) it brings results that are favorable to him.

    Meh.

  33. #33 jeff friesen
    June 11, 2008

    Holy crap but what a bunch of reactive non-sense. And you people call yourself scientists?

    Here’s a thought. What if you were to actually research and investigate something before you call it crap. Or is that too easy for you naysayers. Maybe you are right, maybe it is easier to just call anything YOU don’t understand stupid or strange or without reason. I rear many of you are the same type of ‘academics’ who threw Galileo in jail.

    OF course I understand your confusion and I am not calling ND’s Galileos, but they are doctors. To apply they have to have an undergrad degree and the required science courses. They then attend a 4 year residential medical school complete with clinical training including minor surgery, pharmacology, nutrition etc. That is 8 years of academics.They are trained and qualified to be primary care providers.

    To the Ph.D’s posting on here about being pissed off and how hard they worked, how does their training in any way take away from your accomplishment? All of the medical boards approved of this law. All of them. This was not the legislature making shit up.

    But I can understand your confusion because one of the main benefits of this law is title protection. It is needed because there having been no regulation in Minnesota Diploma Mills have stepped through that loophole and sold a “degree” with the same name.

    If you think you have a right to be pissed off imagine how the ND’s feel. There ARE hedge doctors out there masquerading as ND’s. Imagine how you would feel if someone could just go online and ‘purchase’ the same degree you had worked YOUR ass off to EARN. That is the place the ND’s found themselves and the reason for this law.

    So ease up on the ND are realize that your ignorance of a subject does not excuse your rude behavior. Your mother would be ashamed. Snort. [smile]

  34. #34 phantomreader42
    June 11, 2008

    Ah, Jeff Friesen the cowardly troll, repasting the same bullshit he spammed on Pharyngula, complete with typos! He’s one of many responses to said bullshit that he’s sure to never bother addressing:

    Jeff Friesen @ #33:

    Here’s a thought. What if you were to actually research and investigate something before you call it crap. Or is that too easy for you naysayers.

    Here’s a thought, how about you provide the slightest speck of evidence that your crap actually works? Or does that sound like too much work?

    Scientists aren’t stopping medical quackery from being investigated. It’s the quacks who don’t want to have to subject their methods to the slightest scrutiny. It’s the quacks who refuse to admit they’re wrong even when the evidence clearly shows it. Like those studies that show patients receiving sham accupuncture actually did better than those who got “real” accupuncture.

    If you had evidence that this crap actually works, you would have provided it. You didn’t. Twice you’ve made this exact same post, and neither time did you provide any evidence at all. Therefore, you clearly don’t have any evidence. You’re not at all interested in the facts, are you?

    Jeff the monumentally ignorant:

    I rear many of you are the same type of ‘academics’ who threw Galileo in jail.

    “Academics” did not throw Galileo in jail. Religious fanatics did. And they did it because they couldn’t stand the fact that he had evidence that proved them wrong. Do you, by any chance, have the slightest speck of evidence? No, you don’t, we’ve already established that.

    And the fact that you got that so monumentally wrong just further shows that you have no interest in the facts.

    Jeff backpedaling:

    OF course I understand your confusion and I am not calling ND’s Galileos

    Good. Because if you were, you would be an idiot. Though your other statements strongly suggest you’re an idiot even without this. So perhaps I should say “even more of an idiot”.

    Jeff babbling:

    but they are doctors. To apply they have to have an undergrad degree and the required science courses. They then attend a 4 year residential medical school complete with clinical training including minor surgery, pharmacology, nutrition etc. That is 8 years of academics.They are trained and qualified to be primary care providers.

    So, are you saying they provide medical care that actually works? Do you have the slightest speck of evidence to support this claim? No, you don’t, we’ve already established that.

    The bottom line is, does the treatment work? Does it actually help the patient? Does it provide the claimed benefits? If it doesn’t, it’s worthless.

    If it worked, there would be some evidence of it working. No such evidence has ever been found.

    If the quacks had the slightest interest in finding evidence that their crap worked, they would have done so by now. So far, nothing, just negative results or badly-designed studies.

    Why should anyone look for medical advice from a “doctor” who hasn’t got the slightest speck of evidence that his “medicine” actually does anything?

    Hey, I’m a doctor, I recommend you slap yourself with a sea bass and drink a gallon of hemlock tea! Think that’s a good idea?

  35. #35 jeff friesen
    June 11, 2008

    Phantom,

    Not to pick at nits [ahem], but if you are going to accuse me of being a troll then who reposts repeatedly without spell checking then perhaps you should do the same.

    I am more than willing to have a conversation, but I am less inclined to be polite to ad hominem attacks. Are you willing to see if there is common ground or are you determined to remain orthodox in your viewpoints?

  36. #36 phantomreader42
    June 11, 2008

    Jeff the terminally ignorant liar:

    I am more than willing to have a conversation, but I am less inclined to be polite to ad hominem attacks.

    You obviously don’t know what “ad hominem” means. Saying “Jeff’s an idiot” instead of addressing the argument would be an ad hominem. What we’re actually doing is showing what’s wrong with your argument and saying you’re an idiot in addition to that. Though you’ve made it clear you’re not smart enough to understand the distintion.

    Interestingly, the following quote from you, in the very same post you accused me of using ad hominems against you, is in fact an ad hominem itself, as can be seen in the link provided:

    Not to pick at nits [ahem], but if you are going to accuse me of being a troll then who reposts repeatedly without spell checking then perhaps you should do the same.

    Note, no attempt to address what I actually said, just an irrelevant accusation of hypocrisy. Exact, textbook Ad hominem tu quoque.

    Jeff the troll:

    Are you willing to see if there is common ground or are you determined to remain orthodox in your viewpoints?

    I would be willing to change my viewpoint in the light of new evidence. However, you have already admitted you have none.

  37. #37 NickG
    June 11, 2008

    Dan @31 “In Germany for an MD to have the title Dr., he/she must have a PhD.”

    And in Germany many US professors would not have that title either. That’s because of different academic traditions. In specific in Germany, they distinguish between research doctorates (Doktor) and professional doctorates (Artz).

    However this whole discussion (here and other blogs) brings up a very interesting question whether or not someone should be addressed with a specific honorific. Whether or not you think a given individual is entitled to that honorific seems very telling about the discussants. This question emerged primarily because practitioners of woo have achieved state sanctioned professional licensure to provide health care services. Whether or not they call themselves ‘doctor’ is an entirely different story (though the two are conflated because in the US the colloquial meaning of ‘doctor’ is most often physician.)

    And its that conflation that causes the whole ‘whose a real doctor’ argument between PhDs and MDs (and DMDs, DVMs, etc.) If you say ‘I’m a doctor’ to most Americans, they think you mean that you are an MD. When you say you have a PhD in Chemical Engineering or Virology, the response you get is ‘oh, you’re not a real doctor.’ So the obvious emotional response from someone who spent 7+ years getting his qualifications is ‘screw off, a PhD is a *real* doctor.’ Add to this the special social privileges that physicians get, and it makes for an interesting set of reactions. And I will be the first to admit you we get special privileges…. if I can casually work into the conversation that I am an ER physician I can almost always get off of a speeding ticket. I finally got my independent licensure as a resident not to be able to moonlight, but to get an ‘MD license plate’, since in NYC there is parking around every hospital that is ‘physician only’, and there are a lot of hospitals throughout NYC, so having that tag solves a lot of parking problems. ;)

    However, the real question is whether people who get a research doctorate (PhDs) and someone who gets a professional doctorate (MD, DMD, DVM, VMD, etc) should both be called ‘doctor’. You can argue its semantics till you are blue in the face. (Doctor originally comes from the latin root to teach. I lecture and teach medical students clinically, while many PhDs don’t teach at all, does that mean I am a real doctor while they aren’t? And while we’re at it, there aren’t a lot of PhDs in chemical engineering who know a lot about philosophy.) But what it all comes down to is respect. Its a term of respect, and I refuse to argue that person X isn’t a ‘real doctor’ (even if they have an ND). Now, letting them have a professional license and prescriptive authority is another story entirely. ;)

  38. #38 clinteas
    June 11, 2008

    @ No 6 :

    //You don’t need 7 years of education to prescribe medicine for hypertension or a UTI.//

    Yes you do.

    And Jeff and Phantom,stop having the same tiresome blog-filling argument on every single blog you two show up,its getting abit much.

  39. #39 phantomreader42
    June 11, 2008

    clinteas @ #38:

    And Jeff and Phantom,stop having the same tiresome blog-filling argument on every single blog you two show up,its getting abit much.

    Yeah, it’s gotten pretty heated. I just noticed he’d spammed the same garbage here, so I copied my refutation. Looks like Jeff’s finally realized he can’t get away with spewing this bullshit without the slightest speck of evidence, so hopefully he won’t be any more toruble.

  40. #40 Josh
    June 11, 2008

    However, the real question is whether people who get a research doctorate (PhDs) and someone who gets a professional doctorate (MD, DMD, DVM, VMD, etc) should both be called ‘doctor’. You can argue its semantics till you are blue in the face.

    Indeed, because then of course a next step is to start debating whether or not someone holding a JD is entitled to the honorific. Which could then perhaps lead to whether or not an LHD or LLD qualifies (presuming of course that anyone can actually earn an LHD anymore, rather than getting it honoris cuasa). Nice noting the VMD, by the way. Often overlooked.

  41. #41 Josh
    June 11, 2008

    oops…causa not cuasa.

  42. #42 Hermano
    June 11, 2008

    Dan @31 “In Germany for an MD to have the title Dr., he/she must have a PhD.”
    This must mean that Dr. Joseph Mengele had a PhD in addition to MD.
    Good to know!

  43. #43 marcus welby
    June 11, 2008

    I am new on this blog and I have a question. What is “woo”?

    Also I agree with Clinteas, that exchange was annoying and not even a bit gentile. Does phantom42 flame everyone?

    Maybe I should withdraw my first and second questions.

  44. #44 Hermano
    June 11, 2008

    Instead of regulating naturopathic doctors we need strict
    medical and scientific purity laws.
    Ersatz WooDoo is the cancer on the body of medical science and must be destroyed without pity.
    Real Doktor credentials must be undeniably pure as in the following example (from Wikipedia):

    In 1930, Mengele left Günzburg gymnasium. He studied medicine and anthropology at the University of Munich where, in 1935, he earned a doctorate in Anthropology (Ph.D.) Under the supervision of Professor Theodor Mollison he wrote a thesis on racial differences in the structure of the lower jaw.

    He later assisted Otmar von Verschuer at the Frankfurt University Institute of Hereditary Biology and Racial Hygiene. It was there in 1938 that he obtained a doctorate in medicine (M.D.) with a dissertation called “Genealogical Studies in the Cases of Cleft lip, Jaw and Palate.”

  45. #45 Hermano
    June 11, 2008

    Marcus W.,
    Sorry about unsavory tone.
    I believe Woo is a racial slur against Asian-American physicians whose numbers have greatly increased in the past few decades.
    As in “Dr. Woo, do your Woo-Doo”.

  46. #46 phantomreader42
    June 11, 2008

    marcus welby @ #43:

    Also I agree with Clinteas, that exchange was annoying and not even a bit gentile. Does phantom42 flame everyone?

    Only those who deserve it. I wandered over here from Pharyngula where that idiot spammed the exact same post.

    Hermano @ #45:

    I believe Woo is a racial slur against Asian-American physicians whose numbers have greatly increased in the past few decades.
    As in “Dr. Woo, do your Woo-Doo”.

    That’s a lie, and you know it.

  47. #47 phantomreader42
    June 11, 2008

    Anyone interested in knowing what “woo” means, aside from the lies of Hermano the troll, can look here.

  48. #48 Hermano
    June 11, 2008

    Aahh, Phantomreader42.
    Mein kleine schweinehund, back for another putsch!
    Is it already time to slam those mud doctor sympathizers again?
    Shall we play Horst Wessel to set the mood?

  49. #49 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    June 11, 2008

    Damn hermano, a big fat lie and godwin’s law that close together.

    Do you have a point?

  50. #50 phantomreader42
    June 11, 2008

    Hermano, do you have anything to say other than fraudulent Nazi references?

    No?

    Then go fuck yourself.

  51. #51 Hermano
    June 11, 2008

    phantomreader42, love your brown shirt!
    Godwin’s law applies to online discussions and conversations.
    everything that came out of you is insults and venom.
    you know you are a hater.

  52. #52 PalMD
    June 11, 2008

    Sorry, but phantom wins, hands-down. S/he’s funny and right, a good combo.

  53. #53 Eric Saveau
    June 11, 2008

    Hi, Hermano!

    Fuck the fucking fuck off.

  54. #54 ggann
    June 11, 2008

    NickG says that “You can get a years supply of 20mg daily
    of pravastatin from Wal-Mart for $20.”

    Really?
    Not from my three local Wal-Marts, and not by prescription
    from wal-mart.com. If you can show me which Wal-Mart in
    the US sells a year’s supply of pravastatin for $20, please do.

    The point of my comment had nothing to do with the price
    of prescription medication, nor did it have anything to do
    with defending homeopathy, Chinese medicine, or anything
    else. But it does appear that “pharmacists” in China were
    aware that red-yeast rice could help people with heart or
    circulatory problems, long before Western science
    discovered (or developed) a medication that has nearly
    identical effects on the body (not that the Chinese
    actually knew what the specific effects were).

    So: should we research two thousand years of Chinese
    medicine, hoping to discover something that might lead
    to a treatment or cure that has been neither researched
    nor even considered in the West? Of course not. Should we
    completely ignore the knowledge (if it can be called that)
    obtained from two thousand years of experimentation? Not
    completely, I think. But I don’t have any idea about how
    you would go about evaluating the signifance of any of
    that experimentation (I use the word loosely, I know.)

  55. #55 Betz
    June 11, 2008

    Eric Saveau @ #53 For The Win!

  56. #56 phantomreader42
    June 12, 2008

    Hermano @ #51:

    phantomreader42, love your brown shirt!
    Godwin’s law applies to online discussions and conversations.
    everything that came out of you is insults and venom.
    you know you are a hater.

    Hermano, the kettle called. It said you’re the one who’s black.

    Damn, this asshat couldn’t prove himself more wrong if he tried.

    PalMD @ #52:

    Sorry, but phantom wins, hands-down. S/he’s funny and right, a good combo.

    Thanks, but winning against a demented fuckwit like Hermano isn’t much of an accomplishment. It’s a battle of wits against an unarmed man.

    Oh, and I’m a he.

  57. #57 NickG
    June 12, 2008

    Me: “You don’t need 7 years of education to prescribe medicine for hypertension or a UTI.”

    Clinteas @ 38: “Yes you do.”

    Bullshit. That is complete and utter bullshit. I just spent the last 9 hours working in a primary care clinic in San Francisco. Most of our patients are uninsured or at the very least underinsured and often in other was disenfranchised so we run on a slim budget. I work there for free two days a week, but one of the other ways that we can keep our doors open is to employ a mid-level provider – which can be achieved in 2-4 years of training (depending on the program) after undergrad. Nurse practitioners and PAs are quite capable of treating hypertension or a UTI and are quite appropriately are given prescriptive licenses. In many cases they are available to people who might not otherwise be able to see a physician.

    The NP I just spent the last 9 hours with is particularly competent and I would trust her with my own health care more than I would many physicians that I know. So unless you can offer some compelling argument why we should de-license the thousands of MLPs who provide essential health care in the US I still maintain: No. You. Don’t.

    Nick

  58. #58 NickG
    June 12, 2008

    ggan @54 “Really?

    Not from my three local Wal-Marts, and not by prescription from wal-mart.com. If you can show me which Wal-Mart in the US sells a year’s supply of pravastatin for $20, please do.”

    OK. Step one, click here: http://www.walmart.com/catalog/catalog.gsp?cat=546834

    Scroll down the page and click where it says “cholesterol”. A window will open with their pricing for Pravachol. The price for 40mg tabs is 90 for $10. So $10 gets you a 180 day supply (and thus $20 gets you a years supply) if you cut the pills in half. Of course that will take an initial investment of a $2 pill cutter. It also requires that you are willing to spend 12 seconds every other day to save a bit of money. But you can always splurge and buy the 20mg pills at the same price: $10 for 90 of them.

    They do note that prices may be higher in a few states, though I know for certain that that is the price at the Wal-Mart in Oakland, CA sells them for $10 for 90. And while I am not a huge fan of Wal-Mart due to their evil business practices, their $4 and $10 deal is hard to beat.

    “The point of my comment had nothing to do with the price of prescription medication”

    Of course your comment was not just about the cost of medication. But cost was one of the premises you used to compare allopathic medicine negatively with woo. However, you used a stunningly poorly chosen example of a ‘costly western medicine’ which in the west can be had for less than the price of the alternative you suggested.

  59. #59 ggann
    June 12, 2008

    NickG @58

    Thanks, Nick. I made the mistake of using the search
    function on wal-mart.com to find “pravastatin” (no hits).

    Does red-yeast rice qualify as woo?

  60. #60 Hermano
    June 12, 2008

    @phantomreader42 et al,
    If you had won, why are the comments in English?
    I do draw the line at expletives, but to each his own.
    Have fun creating the new master race in the palm of your hand.

  61. #61 Felstatsu
    June 12, 2008

    ggann, it’s only woo when there’s no evidence pointing towards something working at all, much less to the level it’s makers/sellers claim.

    Was away for a bit, but in relation to Skwee, the water is only supposed to remember what the practitioners make it through their shaking and distilling process. At least that’s what they say, so our drinking water will not remember being sewage. Still doesn’t make any more sense, but at least they don’t think we’re drinking the memory equivalent of raw sewage.

    As for Pineyman, maybe you can get real medicine and make your own candy dots? Probably cost less than what she’s paying for them, and if you can keep close enough watch to keep her stocks relatively full (assuming she keeps a bottle or something of them) she might eventually stop going long enough for you to talk some sense into her? Might also mention that among the groups that do believe in energy healing like that, they all agree that anyone who charges for it is a fraud, supposed to take a pseudo-oath of poverty to not make money from your healing art (though other ways remain perfectly valid).

    Tracking time spent ill and having proof would be good too. Make a chart over the next few times she gets sick with something that should take anitbiotics and track how she feels and how long it takes to get well again. Then challenge her to try modern medicine the next two times she gets sick, and plot another chart. Let her see in no uncertain terms how effective the candy dots are, and how she feels worse for a longer period of time when using them instead of real medicine. Then suggest she try using modern medicine more because you feel bad when she feels sick.

  62. #62 Felstatsu
    June 12, 2008

    Hermano,

    Just get out. You are not funny, you are not amusing anyone, and we do not care what sort of sick and disgusting things you have to say about someone else online to get yourself hard enough to get off.

    You are obviously a troll, and not even a good one at that. You lack intelligence, wit, humor, even the maturity of normal trolls is completely beyond you.

    Someone not giving into your views or reacting in the way you wanted them to react does not have anything to do with Nazism, the German language, the Holocaust, or anything else you may even think of bringing up.

    I may be relatively new here, but I know that scienceblogs is not the kind of place for fuckwits like you.

    ERV, can we get some removal of his hate-rhetoric?

  63. #63 vera
    June 12, 2008

    We’re not talking about D.O. I suppose?
    I never met any “naturopaths”.
    But those who went to DO school are doctors.

  64. #64 phantomreader42
    June 12, 2008

    Hermano, Spain called. They said you’re defiling their language and making them look bad. Also, chingate, cabron!

    You don’t get to pretend to take the moral high ground while spreading blood libel, asshole. You don’t get to call people Nazis and then whine about how mean they’re being to you for calling you on it. That bullshit doesn’t work around people with brains. Not that you’d know what it’s like to have a brain.

  65. #65 Interrobang
    June 12, 2008

    Pineyman, I’m sorry, but I just read your comment about the sinus infections, and thought, “That poor stupid woman,” but I just let a surgeon (a real one) stick a bunch of instruments up my nose to crunch a Haller cell in my right maxillary sinus. I’ve had chronic sinusitis all my life, as far as I know. Six months! Damn, that’s an impressive commitment to woo… Twenty-four hours after my teeth start hurting, I’m in the doctor’s office going, “Antibiotics! Now! Now! And not now, but right now!”

  66. #66 Hermano
    June 16, 2008

    pm42,
    Learn the history,
    Spain called and said ˇNo Pasarán! to fascists.

  67. #67 Calli Arcale
    June 17, 2008

    NickG sez:
    “And I will be the first to admit you we get special privileges…. if I can casually work into the conversation that I am an ER physician I can almost always get off of a speeding ticket.”

    Use caution with that tactic. A friend of my dad’s tried to get out of a speeding ticket by explaining that he was speeding because he was a doctor on his way to the hospital. The trooper questioned him further and discovered that he was late for a meeting. Since it was a *meeting* he was late for and not an actual emergency, the trooper then proceeded to not only write out the ticket, but also make the guy go through a field sobriety test — the lesson being that if he hadn’t been speeding, he wouldn’t have missed his meeting.

    So not all officers will give extra respect to doctors.