July 22nd, 2006


Medicine and Alternatives or Medicine and Complements?

One of those times when modern medicine fails, and quacks take up the slack.

As noted here, a young man is in danger because he fears the results of modern medicine. What immediately caught my attention was his reasoning:

After three months of chemotherapy last year made him nauseated and weak, Abraham rejected doctors' recommendations to go through a second round when he learned early this year that his Hodgkin's disease, a cancer of the lymph nodes, was active again.

Any third-rate homeopath knows the answer to his problem: Cadmium Sulphate, 6X is fine but I prefer 30C, 4 pills dissolved in a cup of water and given to him after the chemotherapy session and as needed thereafter. Result: nausea and weakness substantially reduced. Robin Murphy pointed this out years ago.

So what have I got here? A note that medicine is not a divisible field, and that people should look at all of it as they prescribe. I am sure the clinic in Mexico does its best. But chemotherapy works well for Hodgkin's Disease. Now the question becomes how to properly deal with the chemotherapy. And the answer is known.

Sometimes We Understand That Life Is Important

Just ask an atheist who had to masquerade as an Orthodox Jew to keep alive.

"Dr. Death" was just one of several. A new resident appeared the next day, this one a bit more diplomatic but again urging us to allow my father to "die with dignity." And the next day came yet another, who opened with the words, "We're getting mixed messages from your family," before I shut him up. I've written extensively about practice of bioethics--which, for the most part, I do not find especially ethical--but never did I dream that our moral compass had gone this far askew. My father, 85, was heading ineluctably toward death. Though unconscious, his brain, as far as anyone could tell, had not been touched by either the cancer or the blood clot. He was not in a "persistent vegetative state" (itself a phrase subject to broad interpretation), that magic point at which family members are required to pull the plug--or risk the accusation that they are right-wing Christians.

I complained about all the death-with-dignity pressure to my father's doctor, an Orthodox Jew, who said that his religion forbids the termination of care but that he would be perfectly willing to "look the other way" if we wanted my father to die. We didn't. Then a light bulb went off in my head. We could devise a strategy to fend off the death-happy residents: We would tell them we were Orthodox Jews.

My little ruse worked. During the few days after I announced this faux fact, it was as though an invisible fence had been drawn around my mother, my sister and me. No one dared mutter that hateful phrase "death with dignity."

Read the whole article. Note that once again Bioethics is exposed for the sham it is. So, you don't have a job? Need a title that will impress someone? Just call yourself a "bioethicist" or "medical ethics professional" -- the standards are low enough that you qualify, and it sounds prestigious.

Surprising Opinion Source: Bill Maher

The man whose speeches have caused me to leave the room comes out with something good here

Quick quote:I surrender my credentials as Bush exposer - from the very beginning - to no man, but on Israel, I love it that a U.S. president doesn't pretend Arab-Israeli conflict is an even-steven proposition. Lots of ethnic peoples, probably most, have at one time or another lost some territory; nobody's ever completely happy with their borders; people move and get moved, which is why the 20th century saw the movement of tens if not hundreds of millions of refugees in countries around the world. There was no entity of Arabs called "Palestine" before Israel made the desert bloom. If those 600,000 original Palestinian refugees had been handled with maturity by their Arab brethren, who had nothing but space to put them, they could have moved on -- the way Germans, Czechs, Poles, Chinese and everybody else has, including, of course, the Jews.

He has a point. Borders are not eternal. That's why there is a section at most university libraries that has a historical map collection, among other things. People are eternal. Nations, borders, and monuments are the ephemera of reality.
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She has no name, which is, perhaps, just as well.

A young man was ordering at the counter, and had finished placing his daughter's order, she holding his hand, when the woman, who had a question about something, walked up, grabbed his crotch (by the expression on his face, anyway), pushed him back and let go, still holding his daughter's hand, and leaned in to the clerk, asking her question. His free hand clenched and unclenched several times, and he looked down at his daughter, and said nothing, waiting for the woman to go away. When he stepped up to complete the order, you would have thought he was uninterrupted, other than his quick look behind him after he paid, which radiated contempt and anger for a split second, then was brought under control as he handed his daughter the number for the order.

He had dismissed her, as he would a badly trained dog, and restored his patience. His conversation with his daughter at their table appeared to be quiet and good natured.

Had he spoken or acted, it would have been the worse for him, not because he would have been wrong to do so, but because she was black and a woman, on two accounts not to be held to civilized behavior, apparently. A racist and cultural imperialist, I guess. What else could he be?