Long ago, when I was in a paranormal phase, I signed up for a newsletter. They had been silent for a good deal of time, and just recently have started sending out emails again. The organization is called the Center For Inquiry, or CFI, and they actually are anti-paranormal. I guess I didn’t read very carefully. In any case, this is the last email they sent me.
Dear Friend of the Center for Inquiry,
As you probably know, science and reason are under attack in virtually every area of society. Nowhere is this more dangerous than in matters of public health.
The Center for Inquiry is dedicated to free and scientific inquiry. You share these goals and you are likely to be as worried over the epidemic of irrationalism, pseudoscience, and quackery that is invading medicine and mental health practices as we are. Now you can do something about it.
Former New England Journal of Medicine editors Marcia Angell, M.D., and Jerome Kassirer, M.D., said, “It is time for the scientific community to stop giving alternative medicine a free ride. There cannot be two kinds of medicine — conventional and alternative. There is only medicine that has been adequately tested and medicine that has not, medicine that works and medicine that may or may not work.”
On April 14, defenders of science-based medicine suffered another major setback when a U.S. District Court in Utah overruled the Food and Drug Administration’s decision to ban the sale of potentially deadly herbal remedies that contain the powerful stimulant ephedrine. After collecting a decade of evidence linking ephedra-containing supplements to more than 150 deaths, the FDA banned these products as a danger to the public. Despite this evidence, the court ruled that federal law prohibits the FDA from banning a dietary supplement based on weighing its risks against its benefits.
Many hospitals and medical centers have jumped on the lucrative alternative and complimentary-medicine bandwagon to offer therapies that aren’t supported by scientific evidence, while medical schools are integrating irrational and pseudoscientific practices into their curricula.
The mental health fields are also in crisis. The public’s perception of mental health practice is shaped far more today by self-help books, radio psychologists, and sensational media stories of dramatic “cures” than by objective scientific evaluations. Self-proclaimed gurus are often heralded in the mass media, even though their treatments have not been submitted to scientific study.
In response to this alarming epidemic of antiscience in medicine and mental health practice, CFI established the Commission for Scientific Medicine and Mental Health (CSMMH) in November 2003. The Commission began by taking over sponsorship of the CFI’s two peer-reviewed publications, The Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine (SRAM) and The Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice (SRMHP).
It’s time to start holding alternative medicine accountable. You can help stop the erosion of the scientific foundations of medicine and mental health practices. We are outmanned, outgunned, and clearly out-funded.
Demonstrate your concern by joining us and making the most generous contribution that you can to support the investigations, programs, and publications. We need to keep healthcare practitioners and YOU (the public) informed of the danger of “New Age” therapies now flooding the market. It’s easy and so important. However you decide to give, please do so today, so we can continue to make a difference tomorrow.
Thank you very much for all your past, present, and future support.
With best regards,
Commission for Scientific Medicine and Mental Health
P.S. — We are a non-profit receiving no government funding … our main source of income comes from informed and interested people like you.