Field of Science


There is a great article today in the online version of the Skeptic Magazine, Puncturing the Acupuncture Myth. Harriet Hall, M.D. dismisses that acupuncture has any effect but placebo. If you believe it, then it might work, but only for alleviating symptoms - not for curing anything whatsoever. But it's a great placebo:
Psychologists can list plenty of other things that could explain the apparent response to acupuncture. Diverting attention from original symptoms to the sensation of needling, expectation, suggestion, mutual consensus and compliance demand, causality error, classic conditioning, reciprocal conditioning, operant conditioning, operator conditioning, reinforcement, group consensus, economic and emotional investment, social and political disaffection, social rewards for believing, variable course of disease, regression to the mean.
But more than that - much, much more - is the revelation-like fact that there is such a thing as camelpuncture. Yes, you got that right. Same for cats, and cows, and I guess any pet you like. The question then is whether the camel believes in it. Otherwise the placebo doesn't work!

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