Getting a bit cheeky with the title there, but on to the very serious business that is this short post. The Point of Inquiry podcast recently interviewed Dr. Paul Offit regarding his latest book Do you Believe in Magic?: The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine (affiliate link). While I have yet to read the book in the various interviews about the book Dr. Offit brings up many of the same concerns regarding alternative (to) medicine I’ve talked on this blog.
Alternative medicine, like any other business or interest group, only gives you part of the story. After all, they want you to believe and invest into their products and services. In the interest of keeping an open mind, it’s healthy to also hear that other side of the story. The things various health bloggers and book authors may have left out. This interview is a nice introduction into the subject, and when you have about 30 minutes, I highly recommend you take the time to listen to it.
You can either listen to it here (there should be an audio player on this page), or download the mp3-file from the episode page.
Because of his visible and active role in defending science and evidence in medicine and his questioning of alternative to medicine modalities, Dr. Offit tends to get a lot of hate, just look at all the 1-star reviews on the book. In all the interviews I’ve heard, Dr. Ofit rarely goes on all-out attack against alt-med, in fact sometime ago he mentioned he started changing his views on acupuncture as, despite being placebo, seems to offer relief for some people. This Amazon review seems to capture the essence of my experience with Dr. Offit.
Before reading this book, I had read some articles condemning the author and the book, so I expected the worst. Of course, those who condemned this book were involved in the alternative medicine business, so could hardly be expected to be objective.On the other hand, I use a lot of nutritional supplements myself, and have been writing about nutrition and exercise for over 30 years. I was pleasantly surprised in reading this book to find that, contrary to expectations, the author was not out to blindly attack alternative medicine. In fact, the book is well researched, and the author’s conclusions make a lot of sense.
As with in all polarizing topics, neither side has the full story and all the facts on their side. I’m not saying that Dr. Offit is 100% correct in everything. I’m sure he has his own biases that creep into his message. All I’m saying is listen to both sides of the story and then come to the conclusion that you believe best represents the facts at your disposal.
I’m interested to hear what you thought of the interview or book. Please chime in with your comment.