Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Alternative Medicine Fail - Pills made from baby remains

I just read this link. I emphasise link as I don't read the Daily Mail - unless it's for a better understanding of science scare mongering. First of all, I can only hope that it is Daily Mail scare mongering and not 100% accurate as it's pretty shocking and disgusting that such a practice is going on.

The thing that bothers me more is that I'm sure my reaction of disgust is pretty similar to the feeling that many people have when hearing about embryonic stem cell research. To the ill-informed there probably isn't that much difference and, while abhorrent, I'm sure there are people in desperate situations who think pills made from the bodies of babies may be their only chance of survival. They possibly have the excuse of not knowing better. It's far sadder to think they do know better but let superstition get the better of them.

I think it is a challenge to scientists and communicators of science to make sure that people know the fundamental differences between alternative/quack medicine and scientifically tested medicine. Everyone should be able to tell that ground baby dust is a bad idea, while embryonic stem cell research (while still having debated ethical issues) has a lot of evidence and theory backing it's potential as a form of medicine. Reading this story has definitely given me a valuable insight into how people feel about some forms of science though.

I also suspect that it's a perfect story for the Daily Mail as it still causes an outrage/scare. I do like how the paper that championed MMR = Autism can have the audacity to claim these pills are "cures" and nonsense though. It would be nice if they could be consistently right but I guess I have to be thankful for small mercies. I wonder if they are investigating whether baby capsules cure/cause cancer?


  1. Its one thing when satire can't keep up with reality, but it's something else when South Park can't.

  2. It does sound like a dark episode of South Park. They'd probably do a better job of pointing out the general hypocrisy too.