A while back (being several moons ago), I had an encounter with my mum’s office mate, who my mum had told about the group I’m trying to start at my school, and how I believed that science (empirical evidence and myths like that) is probably the best way of knowing what the world is truly like. She confronted me and told me about a book called The Hundred Year Lie that had convinced her that science causes more problems than it solves. Oh great… another anti-scientist.
A few moons later (today), I read the introduction of The Hundred Year Lie. Its thesis is basically that modern science and medical technology is making people sicker than they were before. Makes you wonder why the life expectancy has basically doubled in the past 150 years…
Anyway, he begins by blaming prescription drugs on weight gain and tumors that befell his family members. However, he doesn’t explain exactly how the prescription drugs were linked directly to these ailments. I can only assume that he used the post hoc ergo proctor hoc fallacy (this happened because this happened). He then goes on to scare people by talking about how chemicals are in everything (well yeah… water is technically a chemical so maybe he ought to elaborate on what his definition of a chemical is). He doesn’t bother to tell us exactly what the health risks are, just that they come from factories and pesticides.
Granted, pesticides and toxins should probably not be ingested, and even in minute, harmless amounts they should not be allowed to accumulate in your body, but he didn’t provide any evidence directly linking toxins ingested through foods to cancer, obesity, and everything else he was trying to link to chemicals that modern science had produced.
However, even if the market really is flooded with toxic foods, we found out about it (I assume that he had more evidence than the four or five articles from scientific journals) through a method known as… that’s right… modern science. Since I haven’t had the time to do research between now and when I read the introduction, let’s humor him and say that we do have a problem with harmful chemicals getting into our food. Obviously, there’s a problem in the way chemicals are disposed of in this country and I propose that the best way of solving it is to gather a bunch of scientists, and figure out a new method of disposing of them properly.
This guy seems to think that modern science should be thrown out the window, and that we should return medicine to a time when we only went to nature for cures (there are many examples of this… including the Dark Ages).
He recommends that we seek “Alternative Medicine” to treat our diseases instead. He talks about a visit to a chiropractor who gave him a massage and some other scientific-sounding things to “re-align” his kidney. I didn’t know that kidneys could fall out of alignment!
But look, if there really are poisons everywhere in our foods, then obviously EPA, the FDA, and all those government organizations have failed to test our lakes and foods carefully enough, and more rigorous scientific testing should be conducted. And what’s the definition of “Alternative Medicine”? Medicine that has not undergone rigorous scientific testing. Some of Alternative Medicine is genuinely harmful, some genuinely harmless, but the genuinely harmless ones often cause harm when people don’t get proper medical treatment (resulting in intense pain and/or death). I think that there’s a major fallacy here somewhere…