Friday, June 07, 2013

Naturopathic "Doctors" Graduate from Convocation Hall on the University of Toronto Campus

The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine is not affiliated with the University of Toronto but naturopath students do study anatomy in my building (Medical Sciences Building) on the downtown campus. The College rents Convocation Hall for their graduation ceremonies. The latest graduation ceremonies were on May 23, 2013 (see Graduation Day!.

In order to graduate, students at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine need to pass courses in a number of areas. Here are two of the things they study ...
Asian Medicine/Acupuncture

Students learn about the philosophy and principles of Asian medicine: Yin and Yang theory, the meridians and channels system, the five-element theory and the symptoms and signs involving the 12 master meridians. Applying these principles in the context of patient assessment and treatment is emphasized, with acupuncture and therapeutic botanicals being the main approaches.

Homeopathic Medicine

The history, principles and philosophy of homeopathy are discussed in depth. Practical application of homeopathic principles in patient assessment and management is emphasized for acute and constitutional cases. Skills are developed in case analysis, repertorization, materia medica search, remedy differentiation and selection and prescribing the appropriate posology.
This is pseudoscience and quackery. The University of Toronto should not be lending its implicit stamp of approval to such nonsense.

I realize that the university rents out Convocation Hall for all kinds of events but most of them are so detached from the university that no one will mistake the event as an endorsement by the university. This is different. Convocation Hall is where the university's own graduation ceremonies take place (the name is a clue!). The average person will assume that the University of Toronto supports the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine and that our faculty has no problem with graduating quack "doctors."

This practice should stop.


72 comments :

  1. Larry,

    Since you do not practice Naturopathic medicine, your subjective judgement can not be considered a reliable barometer.

    Or so it has been claimed by andyboerger, who is very qualified (some would say over qualified) to comment on this issue.

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    1. andyboerger doesn't practice atheism or evolutionary biology but that doesn't seem to phase him. He also doesn't practice rationalism.

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    2. I wish I'd thought of that comeback.

      (BTW, pardon me for being so picayune, but I think you meant to write "faze" instead of "phase.")

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    3. Thanks. I did mean to write "faze" but I didn't know it was spelled like that!

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    4. TBH, I had to look it up myself to be sure.

      Anyway, my primary goal with that post was to use the word "picayune." If andyboerger ever reads this, he'll probably know why.

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    5. I am a naturopathic student at National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, OR. I understand that some aspects of the curriculum are controversial. Homeopathy is not validated by modern science, and although it is taught at my university it constitutes only a handful of credits of the hundreds of credits that make up the program. There are historical reasons why homeopathy is included in our curriculum, though within naturopathic schools, homeopathic education is a controversial topic. Chinese medicine is in fact a separate discipline that is offered as elective coursework, though it is not a part of the curriculum at my university. There are other programs where people can study to become proficient in Chinese medicine, though the ND program is focused on Western medicine. I am also educated in botanical medicine, as well as nutrition, both of which have proven biomedical efficacy, as well as pharmacology, minor surgery, phlebotomy, physical therapy, and other modalities. The core of our curriculum is no different than a traditional medical program. I am trained in all the biomedical sciences that a medical doctor is required to take in the same four year format, including biochemistry, physiology, anatomy, immunology, pathology, infectious disease, etc., and must pass rigorous board examinations to obtain my medical license. My immunology professor is from Yale, and spends her time outside of class traveling to traditional medical schools to teach their professors how to teach medical school. The United States Congress passed a bill this year that validates naturopathic medicine on a national scale and incorporates our medicine into the national healthcare landscape. As a graduate I can accept insurance, work in hospitals, prescribe pharmaceuticals, and use the alternative modalities I have studies to support the long-term health and wellbeing of patients. NDs are rapidly filling the role of primary care physicians in this area, providing care for patients that is safe, effective, and preventative. In the Northwest NDs work alongside medical doctors with mutual respect and acknowledgement of the different strengths of our medicines. Have a look at Outside In, a nonprofit in Portland where NDs and MDs work side by side to deliver care to marginalized populations in the area. The convocation hall was honored to be the chosen place where many hard-working, highly committed people received recognition for their years of study as they begin a career of service toward others. I encourage you to take a deeper look into a naturopathic medicine program at an accredited university. I think you will find that the program is highly rigorous, competent, and provides graduates with a solid foundation for a career in primary health-care.

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  2. It seems to me that these topics should not be taboo in medical education. By making it taboo, the establishment (mainstream medicine) are effectively creating a niche for pseudoscientists to present these "suppressed" ideas and allowing alternative medicine to be respected in many circles. It creates an image of the establishment where doctors are thought to assume (and perhaps many do) that no treatment can be effective until the underlying mechanism is understood - much of the support for alternative medicine can be explained as a knee-jerk reaction against this perception, and against the more naive perception that doctors think they know everything.

    Instead, it could be useful to teach medical students more about unproven treatments:

    1) Lack of understanding of the mechanism by which a treatment works (sometimes accompanied by obvious bogosity of a traditional explanation) does not mean it cannot work, but does lower our confidence that it works above placebo. It's not that these treatments fall _outside_ the domain of medicine, they are just regarded as either unproven or disproven.
    2) To what extent specific alternative treatments have been shown _not_ to work - so that physicians can judge the degree of uncertainty regarding unproven vs disproven (we are never _certain_ that a treatment does not work above placebo, nor do we know the strength of the placebo effect for specific alternative treatments on specific patients).
    3) That certain aspects of alternative medicine are obviously bogus (5-element theory etc) but are nonetheless historically important mnemonics that remain relevant due to the way that they affect (presumably enhance, in most cases) the placebo effect.
    4) Ethical considerations relating to enhancing the placebo effect by deceiving or failing to educate patients (and even oneself).

    As a side effect, teaching the truth about alternative medicine in medical school would weaken the case for teaching lies about it outside of medical school.

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    1. I don't think Larry was saying that quackery should be taboo, just that the University of Toronto should not be giving it an imprimatur and veneer of respectability by letting it leech off of it's hard earned reputation.

      I on the other hand think that the fuckers should be thrown in jail to the extent that they make fraudulent claims and put real people in harms way.

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    2. Agreed - I was making a separate point.

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  3. I personally think it is a fitting place because how should one call the pseudoscience of abiogenesis? How should one treat the pseudoscience of macroevolution without any proof? How should one treat so-called medicine influenced and dominated by the big pharma where prevention was reluctantly introduced in SOME countries not that long ago? How should one call a university that supports the above? Larry is very proud of HIS university but it doesn't stand a chance against any universities in Europe and especially France.
    It is a shame..

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    1. What's so special about France ?

      Is there some sort of martial arts competition where profs from various universities duke it out, mano-a-mano, Ultimate Fighting Championship for the Intelligentsia ?

      Personally I'd put my money on Larry but that could just be a jingoistic bias on my part.

      But you do raise one (and only one) good point with respect to big pharma.

      I'd suggest reading "Bad Pharma" by Ben Goldacre to get a sense of just how much an evidence based system has been perverted and how doctors, academics and regulators have colluded to break the system.

      Now crawl back to your creoturd slime pit and dare to improve your mind.

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    2. You are a moron. Stop embarrassing yourself. You have no brains for this forum. This comment is the proof.
      BTW: Apparently, there are forums for morons. U need a link?

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    3. For such a smart guy you never answered my questions.

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    4. ...but it doesn't stand a chance against any universities in Europe and especially France.

      Well let's guess: you don't actually know anything about universities do you, nor the ranking of U of T amongst world universities. Ignorant and (as is usual) proud of it.

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    5. Abiogenesis is a hypothesis ; educated guesses with pre-existing knowledge about biochemistry are used to try and explain how life came into being.

      "Macroevolution" is simply a scientific fact. All you need to do is look up "Evidence for common descent" on Google, which most YECs and IDers simply refuse to do.

      Homeopathy, on the other hand, isn't even science. A child can see the fallacy in it; consuming substances that cause diseases won't cure them. It's a non sequitur.

      Big Pharma doesn't produce or test drugs, scientists do. These scientists are people, just like you and I, that want to cure diseases and help other people. They're isn't any sort of medical conspiracy going on.

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    6. Johnny: good arguments, except for "A child can see the fallacy in it; consuming substances that cause diseases won't cure them. It's a non sequitur." - this is too simplistic, and seems to put vaccines and homeopathy in the same category.

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    7. god help us, you mentioned vaccines and homeopathy in the same sentence, that'll bring Luther the Lunatic oozing out of the ether.

      Johnny, while your motivations appear to be noble, it's precisely because scientists, doctors and regulators are flawed human beings that big pharma spends twice as much on marketing and promotion directly to doctors and consumers than they do on research and development.

      The only information that doctors and patients should be using to make a treatment decision is that available from properly run medical trials and the only reason drug companies put so many resources into advertising is to subvert this process.

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  4. "I couldn’t sleep with anticipation (I can’t imagine what I will be like the night before my wedding)."

    She should take a naturopathic tranquillizer the night before her wedding to calm her and help her sleep, and after the wedding, she should take naturopathic birth control, so she can work for a few years before starting a naturopathic family.
    http://thetravelingnaturopath.com/graduation-day/

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    1. Sounds like the target audience for "Soul Paintings".

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    2. Oh my, I wish you hadn't introduced me to soul painting. It's more woo.

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  5. Larry, I'm a little puzzled by your position. I presume (based on your reasoning over the Ball State case) that if you had faculty at the University of Toronto who promoted Naturopathic medicine you would defend this as an "academic freedom" issue. Yet having an independent College of Naturopathic Medicine present degrees there somehow brings the university name into disrepute and you feel sufficiently strongly about this that you say "This practice should stop".

    Surely the "offense" in both cases is the presentation of material antithetical to the concept of a university education, which is apparently OK if it is done by your own faculty, but to be prevented if done by an outside body who, I assume, you think more strongly positioned to damage the reputation of the university through association than an assistant professor in their direct employment.

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    1. I would strongly oppose the teaching of Naturopathic medicine at the University of Toronto just as I would strongly oppose teaching creationism. I might even picket the classroom or hand out pamphlets to the students.

      What I would NOT do is try to get a professor fired or threaten him/her with a lawsuit.

      I don't see any inconsistency in advocating that the university not rent out space to a private school that teaches nonsence.

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    2. Are there any academic grounds, in your view, that would justify the firing of a tenured university faculty member? Is academic incompetence synonymous to academic freedom?

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    3. Tenured professors can be fired for incompetence and they can be fired for not showing up to do their job.

      When you say "academic incompetence" you are probably referring to a difference of opinion on some issue such as Intelligent Design Creationism or the best way to teach biochemistry. You can't be fired for holding an opinion that's out of the mainstream or even one that's factually incorrect. If that were allowed then many professors would have to be fired for teaching evolution exclusively fom an adaptationist perspective and many biochemists would have to be fired for teaching that most of our genome is functional.

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    4. So teaching content that is factually incorrect does not, in your view, amount to incompetence?

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    5. Teaching material that is factually incorrect is bad but it doesn't rise to the level of incompetence that you seem to be implying. If teaching things that are factually incorrect could get you fired then there wouldn't be any professors in the university. (You probably thought that all professor were perfect and never made mistakes.)

      Are you just nitpicking or do you have a point you'd like to make?

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    6. I am trying to establish just how ridiculous a level that factual inaccuracy needs to reach before it triggers the slightest connection to incompetence in your opinion. Would teaching the incorrect tensile strength of steel beams in civil engineering constitute incompetence? You seem to be arguing that academic freedom has no factual limit or responsibility...pretty much anything goes...and I am just trying to establish whether you really believe that or whether you feel compelled to defend it because of previous statements you have made. I know, from experience, that professors are not perfect, but I have yet to meet one who has stretched "academic freedom" to mean what you claim it means. I was just surprised.

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  6. Larry,

    Do you have any training at all in medicine? If yes, just provide your qualifications certificate to qualify you to make a judgment like that. I'm sure you have one...

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    1. Channelling andyboerger ?

      You never did answer my question about France.

      Have you read that book on big pharma yet ?

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    2. I'm an MD, and I can vouch for the accuracy of Larry's judgment. Not that any degree of medical training is needed to make that assessment.

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    3. Are you? In the US I suspect?
      Well, that is just perfect. We have an MD here..... So, tell us a few things about when you studied medicine, how much prevention you have studied and how often you proscribe statins and why or, on what evidence?

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    4. Latesutie: "I'm an MD, and I can vouch for the accuracy of Larry's judgment. Not that any degree of medical training is needed to make that assessment.

      Are you willing to put your licence on this? Well, too bad you can always back out of this deal as unanimous bluffer. Larry is always the one that does the explaining. .....

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    5. You're very confused, Vashti. Larry has not said a word about statin medications here. The judgment to which I am referring is his judgment that naturopathy is "pseudoscience and quackery."

      My name is Faizal Ali. I am a psychiatrist living and working in Toronto and am an assistant professor in the University of Toronto Dept. of Psychiatry. Statins aren't my thing, except to the point that I am taking them, so am very interested in the recent evidence reassessing their effectiveness in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and will be discussing this with my physician when I see her in a few weeks.

      BTW, since you made a big point about my using the spelling "thru" on another thread, I'll return the favour: It's "prescribe", not "proscribe." And it's "anonymous", not "unanimous." You're welcome.

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    6. Cochrane meta-analysis of the effectiveness of statins, published only two weeks ago:

      http://summaries.cochrane.org/CD004816/statins-for-the-primary-prevention-of-cardiovascular-disease

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    7. "Great Drug, but Does It Prolong Life?

      http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/29/health/29well.html?_r=0

      It should be titled: How much does it cost to prolong life for q few days? Doctors can stay in business as well as Big-Fat-Pharma if people can stay sick or they believe they need medication like statins. I hope there is a God to correct this wrong one day...

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    8. New Study Shows Using Statins Actually Worsens Your Heart Function

      http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/06/22/new-study-show-using-statins-actually-worsens-your-heart-function.aspx

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    9. Quackery is widespread everywhere. My experience is that there are just as many quacks among UofT graduates as among the naturopaths. It all depends who is in power. Big Pharm is now. They threaten me many times... I don't care. They know it. I don't care about the corporate agenda... Why should they. They have no medical training just like Larry...

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    10. Speaking of quackery, is U of T where you did your chimpanzee and human "mixing" experiments ?

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    11. You have nothing to say you attack me? With what? You couldn't google anything on the subject because morons like you don't even know what to google for... The key word is "hybridization". You are such a pathetic example of someone who believe everything "scientist" tell him. Do you homework without bias. You may find something. I did.

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  7. OK:) How many days of life do statins statistically save? I'm sure you have access to this info. France just exposed it as the French Paradox relating to heart disease. I'm sure morons like you can see the problem like Larry can see the problem with prevention that has nothing to do with medicine not to mention with science...

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  8. The state of this thread upsets me, although stating that will probably bring down the shouts of "moron" and f**kers" that seem commonplace here. Squabbles aside, it would be great if an ND could weigh in. I doubt any will, because they already spend a lot of time defending themselves and their degrees. Short of an ND, it would be nice if the people who defend naturopathy aren't immediately shot down as ignorant. It would be great if the people in this forum who claim to be academics could have a polite discussion. I'm not going to touch any of your arguments with a 10 foot pole.

    I AM going to comment on one of Larry's points. You pick out two aspects of a naturopathic education and condemn them, but NDs learn a lot more than TCM and homeopathy. Discounting an entire profession because you disagree with two of it's subjects doesn't really make sense to me. I know from reading previous post of yours that the CCNM website could do a better job at explaining their program, but isn't this inductive reasoning the same reason we discount a lot of creationist arguments? Just because you don't agree with one (or two) aspects of a discipline does not mean that you can discount the profession as a whole.

    So in conclusion, I think I regret telling you about my sister's graduation :P

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    1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HhGuXCuDb1U

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    2. I know from reading previous post of yours that the CCNM website could do a better job at explaining their program, but isn't this inductive reasoning the same reason we discount a lot of creationist arguments? Just because you don't agree with one (or two) aspects of a discipline does not mean that you can discount the profession as a whole.

      It's not just a question of not agreeing with those aspects. It's that they have been thoroughly and definitively debunked as useless by empirical evidence, and yet naturopathic colleges continue to teach them as legitimate treatments. And those are two of only six "major modalities" that are covered in the curriculum. So if, at bare minimum, 33% of the course involves teaching blatant quackery, then that is a very firm basis on which to dismiss the course as a whole.

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    3. See now, that makes a little more sense. I would question whether people who make claims to "quakery" have read a sufficient amount of evidence both for and against the topic in question, but I for a fact have not read enough so I will drop it :).

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    4. kate.anne says,

      I would question whether people who make claims to "quakery" have read a sufficient amount of evidence both for and against the topic in question, ...

      Really? Do you honestly think that we haven't studied the scientific literature on homeopathy and Yin-Yang Theory?

      Do you think there's even a remote possibility that homeopathy actually works?

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  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. steve: Am I Storm in this situation? I know he says not to be, but I am a little offended. All I asked for was a little decency (which now as I reread does sound a bit preachy), and made a point of not invalidating naturopathic medicine on a whole because of homeopathy. My sister is an ND, but I don't claim to know enough about it to take a definitive stance on either side of the issue. My point, rather, was a comment on how Larry frames his opposition, not on the opposition itself.

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    2. I think if you read the comments here carefully, you'll find that pretty well all of the lack of civility in this thread originates from or is in response to a single poster, whose views and sentiments are not representative of the majority of members here. Not to name names....

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    3. kate.anne says,

      ... made a point of not invalidating naturopathic medicine on a whole because of homeopathy.

      Why not? If naturopathic "medicine" can't distinguish between quackery and real medicine then what good is it?

      I feel quite comfortable attacking naturopathic medicine solely for embracing foolishness like homeopathy; however, there's also a bunch of other stuff taught at the school indicating that naturopathy is anti-science.

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    4. Kate, I dunno, are you Storm ?

      To some extent, in some situations, we are all Storm.

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    5. I wrote such a nice reply and then my computer crashed as I was posting. sigh.

      Larry: I believe you may have read enough on these subjects to form on opinion, but my point was rather that in general people do not give both sides of an issue equal reading time once they have formed an opinion. That's not meant to be pointed, it's just something we all do at some point in respect to some things. This is why I am skeptical when someone tells me that something has been definitively proven. But that was a minor point I was making.

      I personally believe that homeopathy is crap (haha). I do not believe that naturopthic medicine is, however. Or rather, on the basis of the training they receive, I don't think NDs are quacks. Having had someone close to me go through the whole process of becoming an ND, I can vouch for them that they study more than the healing powers of crystals and the memory of water during those four years. They take pharmacology, anatomy, and many other "MD" classes. In Ontario, they have to pass the same board exams as MDs in order to practice. Their educations (according to a study done in the USA that I wish I could remember the name of) supposedly includes all that an MD learns, PLUS everything that makes them "naturopathic." Many MDs have ND degrees and vice versa. I just don't think the distinction is that clear-cut. I think NDs are deserving of some respect.

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    6. In Ontario, they have to pass the same board exams as MDs in order to practice.

      According to the Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors, your claim is false:

      http://www.oand.org/naturopathic-medicine/faqs/

      Knowing lots about anatomy, pharmacology, physiology, etc. does not mean someone is not a quack. If someone claims to treat illness, but does so using "treatments" that have no scientific basis and which have in fact been demonstrated to be ineffective by empirical evidence, then that person is a quack.

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    7. Well, I'll concede the first point because an ND told me that so I have no reference.

      But, if knowing anatomy, pharmacology etc does not make someone not a quack, isn't it conversely true that knowing acupuncture, TCM, etc doesn't necessarily make someone a quack? I think it depends on the the individual practitioner. There are bad MDs out there, and there are NDs who prescribe drugs (where they have rights to do so). It's all a continuum. And let's keep in mind that not all of their naturopathic education is non-scientific (although 33% is high).

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    8. But, if knowing anatomy, pharmacology etc does not make someone not a quack, isn't it conversely true that knowing acupuncture, TCM, etc doesn't necessarily make someone a quack?

      I guess if you know about them, realize they are nonsense, and never practice them, I suppose you are not a quack. But then I have to wonder why someone would bother to take a course in which pretty well all of the therapeutic techniques you learn are pseudoscientific garbage, and the rest can be better learned thru studying some other discipline. The only reason I can see is to exploit the gullibility of the many people out there who think "naturopathy" is somehow better for your than actual medicine.

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    9. BTW, doesn't it concern you that a ND is giving you false information about their profession, which you are then repeating on the internet much to (what should be) your embarassment?

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    10. Kate, is there any other area where you would afford such latitude to people making irrational and non evidence based claims ?

      Say driving out demons from the possessed, Spiritual Surgery, Vedic astrology and so on ?

      Would you demand that parents who try to cure their children by faith healing not be "immediately shot down as ignorant" and that "the people in this forum who claim to be academics could have a polite discussion" with them and "[j]ust because you don't agree with one (or two) aspects of a discipline does not mean that you can discount the profession as a whole" ?

      So what if children of parents who believe in faith healing are left to die of diseases that are easily cured by modern medicine, believing in and practising obvious crap "doesn't necessarily make someone a quack" as "it depends on the the individual practitioner".

      I mean just because "[t]here are bad MDs out there" then obviously anybody should be able to make any wild assed claim they want without fear of criticism ?

      Did I get the gist of your argument correctly ?

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    11. If naturopathy was completely pseudoscience garbage, I would agree with both of you. However, so far in this thread, people have only claimed that a few parts (homeopathy, ying-yang theory) are non-scientific. This is what I've been trying to say from the beginning: just because parts are considered by some (many) to be pseudoscience does not make the rest of their education, a large portion of which is also taught to MDs, non-scientific. Yes, it is concerning that they still teach things which have been definitively disproved (which is why I say I am skeptical but not well-informed enough to debate this aspect above). Is acupuncture crap? Is it true that there aren't any natural alternatives to pharmaceuticals? Can anyone name any other "naturopathic" techniques without looking at the CCNM website (which admittedly sucks)? Everyone is starting off with the assumption that their entire education is garbage and I've been trying to say that it is not. You offer no evidence that the majority of what they learn is non-scientific.

      The gist of my argument is that I don't think people understand what an ND actually learns OR how they treat their patients. How would you if you've never spoken to one? I've lived with one for the past four years so I'm obviously biased.

      Steve, I can see that naturopathy and faith healing are equally stupid in your mind, and so I understand where you are coming from in your analogy. Obviously, I don't wish anybody to come to harm through seeing an ND. It again leads back to the fact that you think an ND's degree is all crap and I think that some of it is redeemable. We both come to this discussion with two different basic framworks- you think mine is from a Stormy dreamworld, and I think you haven't considered naturopathy past homeopathy. I also think that, no matter how much back and forth, neither of us is going to change our opinions on that front. Neither one of us (I don't think) is an MD or an ND so I guess neither or us can adequately evaluate the education that they actually get, which I think was what was put forth in the very first comment on this article.

      lutesuite: I should be embarrassed, yes, but my ND source is my sister and I may have misheard. Does anyone ever more than half-listen to their siblings? ;)

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    12. And, as I only posted in here as a signal to Larry that I had read the blog he told me about and did not mean to get brought into a long discussion that I am woefully unprepared for (but what did I expect posting something on the internet?!), I am waving my white flag (but remaining defiant).

      Cheers!

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    13. @kate.anne

      Imagine that you have graduated from the University of Toronto with a degree in biochemistry. Imagine that my department is well known because we teach that evolution never happened and transcription is controlled by tiny alien robots. What kind of reputation would we have?

      What do you think your degree would be worth? Would you defend your education by claiming that everything else you were taught is correct so you are still an excellent candidate for graduate school?

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    14. Kate, while it speaks well of your character that you have jumped in to defend your sister, this does not lend any credence to your arguments in favour of naturopathic medicine.

      There may in fact be aspects of naturopathic medicine that have merit and you will find that eventually these will be incorporated into real medicine if and when they prove their efficaciousness via properly designed trials.

      As for the Storm video, it was meant as much for me as anyone else, I am not completely unfamiliar with alternative medical modalities such as chiropractic and can understand the motivations of people willing to try anything to alleviate suffering.

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    15. The most important part of my medical eduation was not the information and facts I had to learn. It was the training in how to think. The important part is not to memorize all of the current treatments for every diagnosis, because over the four decades or so that a doctor will be working many, if not most, of these will become outdated and abandoned. So the important part is to learn how to scientifically evaluate the evidence for and against any treatment and know whether or when it is effective and should be used. So if naturopathic schools are teaching their students that things like homeopathy are effective treatments, then they obviously are not able to impart this most necessary of skills, and their graduates will be incompetent to treat disease.

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    16. Back to the main topic of Larry's post, which was the implied endorsement of naturopathy by the University of Toronto: An even more serious example of this was when Ontario added homeopathy, naturopathy, and TCM to the Regulated Health Professions Act. While the stated intention of this move was to protect the public from unscrupulous and incompetent practitioners (I wonder how one defines an incompetent homeopath. Does he actually give someone effective medication?), the effect was also to confer a sense of legitimacy to quackery, by implying that it is as valid as medicine, dentistry, nursing, psychology and other disciplines covered by the Act. I believe the situation is similar in other provinces.

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  10. Imagine that you have graduated from the University of Toronto with a degree in biochemistry. Imagine that my department is well known because we teach that the human genome is mostly Junk, though ENCODE 2007, reinforced in 2012 by 450+ leading scientists, established that the Junk DNA thesis is as obsolete as "flat Earth". What kind of reputation would we have?

    What do you think your degree would be worth? Would you defend your education by claiming that everything else you were taught is correct so you are still an excellent candidate for graduate school?

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    1. I would rejoice. My instructors and faculty mentors were not fooled by an obvious "hype" campaign meant to secure funding, that was recently scuttled by this paper...
      http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v498/n7452/full/nature12132.html

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    2. Imagine...

      Ah, Dr Confirmation Bias, I presume.

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    3. One of the quickest ways to get banned on Sandwalk is to try and threaten me by writing to the chair of my department or to my departmental colleagues.

      Pellionisz has just recently sent letters to my chair, the President of the University of Toronto, and some other administrator.

      He is now banned on Sandwalk.

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    4. Sure, but just wait until he gets the last laugh and you're banned from working at the U of T.

      Or, not.

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    5. If I may take the liberty, perhaps this is an apt time to note this:

      http://sandwalk.blogspot.ca/2008/11/is-andras-pellionisz-kook.html

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    6. There does need to be a lot more teaching of critical thinking. I got my own children started on critical thinking at an early age, about 10 years of age. If we could get critical thinking courses into schools and universities, we may have some chance of reducing the magical fantasies about pseudoscience that many people currently hold.
      Or maybe I am away with the fairies when I hope that this would be the case.

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  11. Hello all,

    I am an ND student at an accredited school for what it's worth. First of all, I want to say that I do not intend to practice from faith alone. I believe in the power of science. We learn to use PubMed and I will use it often along with other sources. We research while critically evaluating articles.
    Really, there is not a lot of evidence behind alternative therapies because not many studies have been done. It's hard to say whether or not some form of therapy works without much evidence (or well done experiments). With that said, we are diving in to the unknown in some areas, but with critical and skeptical minds. Some modalities have been passed down through generations. Cultural and ritualistic therapies that have worked since long ago can become a part of what we learn. Eventually, it is up to the practitioner to decide what to incorporate into her practice.

    It seems many people choose what to believe based off a gut feeling without knowing all the facts.

    NDs practice medicine by adhering to a philosophy that requires we use the least invasive treatment. This does not mean that we are all adamantly against pharmaceuticals.

    I think most people may be opposed to Naturopathic medicine because of its spiritual component. It's true that many of us if not all believe in the importance of spirituality in health. This may be the main divide.

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  12. Hello all,

    I am an ND student at an accredited school for what it's worth.

    We are not faith-based. It is true that there has not been much research on alternative therapies; therefore, there is not much supporting evidence. This does not mean that whatever therapies we learn or choose to incorporate into our practice do not work. Simply, there needs to be more research done to conclude anything. I personally believe science can not provide me with all the answers to life's riddles, although, I believe in the power of science. We use PubMed and many other resources to guide treatment. With that said, those therapies I will learn, I will learn with an open, yet critical mind.

    NDs practice by adhering to a philosophy that stresses the treatments on patient to be noninvasive ("do no harm"). Bottom line, we are here to help people.

    Lastly, I believe most people may disregard Naturopathy based on it's spiritual component. This is where Naturopathic Medicine may be confused with being a purely faith-based practice. I believe spirituality to be important in health. Spirituality may be generally defined, but does not mean we blindly treat patients with therapies based off of pure faith.

    Thank you for reading.

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    Replies
    1. Note the use of the double negative here; does not mean ... do not work - which in normal english, when one is not trying cover one's ass, means that you are claiming that they do work.

      You admit you have no evidence to support your claim that these therapies do work and in fact you have no idea whether they will actually injure your patients.

      I'm torn between ascribing incompetence or malevolence to your actions.

      In any case, you put other human beings at risk through your irresponsible and criminal actions.

      Thanks for your attention to this matter.

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