The other day, I went to a magic show. The magician manipulated energy fields, pulled toxins out of my stomach, and then gave me a remedy – but there was nothing inside. Then he pulled out a prescription pad, prescribed some Tamiflu, and sent me on my way.

Seem unlikely? Well,…


  1. #1 Glenn Sogge
    November 14, 2009

    I hope Canadian libel law is different than British libel law or somebody’s going to be in big trouble. Section head: Naturopathy’s key premise is bogus

  2. #2 Katharine
    November 14, 2009

    As long as they legalize it for everyone but children, who cares?

    It’s a moron tax.

  3. #3 Some Canadian Skeptic
    November 14, 2009

    “It’s a moron tax.” That’s compassionate.

    They also tend to be anti-vaccination, which puts those legitimately unable to get a vaccine at risk.

    Thanks for posting this, Greg. We need a lot of exposure with this story.

  4. #4 Katharine
    November 14, 2009

    My compassion for anyone who thinks certain things has been largely spent.

  5. #5 Stephanie Z
    November 14, 2009

    I care, actually.

    I care because this is a clear case of a government not protecting the interests of the citizens, and if we can’t get them to figure it out, how can we hold the individual responsible? I care because many people don’t have the resources to pour into deciding who to believe. I care because taking care of those people too is the right thing to do.

    I care because none of this stuff is intuitive, and much of it requires fighting the “wiring” of our brains to get it right. I care because nobody is skeptical or rational about everything, and this is one of the more important bits. I care because the only morons out there are the ones who don’t understand that this isn’t easy, even if their own circumstances lead them to get it right fairly quickly.

    I care because I understand that I’m human, and if I’m going to ask for others to understand that of me, I damned well better be prepared to give it in return.

  6. #6 Kimbo Jones
    November 14, 2009

    Some people are experts and other people aren’t. That’s why people go see trained professionals in the first place. It’s up to professionals and law-makers to keep people safe because people aren’t expert enough to do it themselves – and there’s nothing wrong with that.

    Now, I’m not going to pretend that everyone is super awesome at making decisions and certainly some responsibility is shared with patients in their own care. But implying people are morons that deserved to be weeded out of society is contemptible.

    Laws like the one discussed in the article further confuse people and blur the lines between real and “magic” medicine. I appreciate the difficulty that people have in making that distinction – that doesn’t make them morons that deserve to die or get sick.

  7. #7 Kimbo Jones
    November 14, 2009

    “As long as they legalize it for everyone but children,”

    Also, um, and who do you think their parents are? The very people being “moron taxed”. So how exactly does that not affect kids?

  8. #8 Jared
    November 14, 2009

    Naturopaths and homeopaths and similar should be arrested for “pretending to practice medicine without a license.”

  9. #9 Jason Thibeault
    November 14, 2009

    There’s a naturopathic “clinic” on my way to work. Every time I make the trip, and see it, I wonder how many people will visit for long-standing health concerns instead of seeing a doctor whose knowledge is based on scientific understanding of medicine. It galls me that the government is honestly considering giving these quacks any measure of ability to write prescriptions for real drugs, when they have about as much understanding of medicine as I do, only minus my well-placed trust in the scientific method.


    Tim Minchin said: you know what you call alternative medicine that works? Medicine.

  10. #10 Rich Wilson
    November 15, 2009

    These people say that homeopathy was effective against the 1918 Spanish Flu.

    Yea, I’d say that’s a problem. And keep in mind that in Canada, it’s not a stupid tax, it’s an EVERYone tax, since medical coverage comes from the general tax pool.

    I can just see the day in the US where a woman can’t even pay for her own abortion, but can get some water to keep the flu away.

  11. #11 Greg Laden
    November 15, 2009
  12. #12 Bob
    November 15, 2009

    Can we not quarantine the credulous victims of antivax propaganda and tar and feather the charlatans and mercilessly mock them as we drive them from town? Seriously – put the cranks and witch doctors in a big sack, toss it in the bed of a pickup and drop it off at the county line.

    “… and stay out!”

    I get in trouble with my wife for slagging chiros and homeopathy and other bullshit merchants; she has her anecdotes and I have my (lack of) evidence. She was raised in SoCal, me in the northern midwest – I think that has a lot to do with it.

  13. #13 catgirl
    November 16, 2009

    Why do naturopaths want to write prescriptions anyway? Are they admitting that real medicine is actually necessary sometimes?