Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Deny

Reading the Turbine's Book Review section on Sunday, I saw a 'review' by a Tom Widger of the new paperback Suckers: How Alternative Medicine Makes Fools of Us All (American 'argument' book titles are always styled like that, don't you think?...).

Now the thing is Mr Widger can't possibly have read the book at all. Either that or the guy licks windows in his spare time, because in the review he says: "So isn't medicine a matter of progression, of experimentation and rejection? Yes, says Shapiro, if something works, fine. But it can no longer be called alternative. Which is a bit too convenient for knockers of alternative cures", which is such a misunderstanding of the scientific method as to render any opinion the guy has on the book worthless.

He follows that gem up with: "For example, she has little time for evening primrose oil, yet it cured a lingering rash for this reviewer when other conventional 'cures' failed." An anecdote. He 'reviews' a book that's trying to explain how all 'alternative' medicines ARE alternative because they all fail rigorous scientific testing (double blind testing in comparison to placebo, for example) each and every time, and his response is a personal anecdote!

Shouldn't book reviewers read the books they're reviewing, and, maybe, have the brains to understand what's in them for good measure?
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