Trick or Treatment

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This piece of beauty was written by Simon Singh, a physicist and writer of several popular science books and Edzard Ernst, the first professor of complementary medicine. The book evaluates the scientific evidence for acupuncture, homeopathy, herbal medicine, and chiropractic, and briefly covers 36 other treatments. It finds that the scientific evidence for these alternative treatments is generally lacking and hence is evidently one of the 10 great books on skepticism.

What makes this book stand out?

The book provides excellent counsel about the shortcomings of CAM (and there are many, if you take the whole nebulous field into consideration), and its susceptibility to popular and commercial exploitation.

Read it for

The authors are in pursuit of truth and knowledge and the role that science plays in that enterprise. The book is explicitly dedicated towards the pursuit of truth in the matter, which in this case proves to CAM (complementary and alternative medical) treatments as a contribution to healthcare.

Don't read it for

These conclusions in this book are supported by clear discussion of the nature and virtues of evidence-based medicine and the scientific method that underpins it, and an overview of research evidence in CAM that demonstrates the absence of effectiveness. Many with research experience in this field will argue that this overview is partial and by no means definitive. The determined exposure of the negatives of CAM neglects the positives.

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