Thursday, June 18, 2015

Snide Comment of the Night

Insomnia keeps awaking me, so i decided to post something that had been in my thoughts lately. In a number of advertisements for various sorts of homeopathic or herbal snake oil, one will hear the claim that modern medicine is all about "burning, cutting and poisoning", that all modern medicines are "artificial" and "toxic", and that whatever nonsensical panacea is being advertised is "all natural, so it can't hurt you." This has to be the most absurd claim made by medical primitivists, that if something is "natural" (and if something does not come from nature, where does it come from? Another universe? I could argue everything on Earth is "all natural"), then it cannot do harm.

Have these people never heard of Socrates? That hemlock cocktail he sipped as his last act (well penultimate act, according to Plato he rambled on something fierce after quaffing his toxic nightcap), that was "all natural". So is belladonna. So is trumpet vine. So is jimson weed. So are the venoms of cobras and black widows and brown recluse spiders and mambas. For that matter, arsenic comes out of the earth in pretty pure form, so it is as "natural" as those crystals they wear or the "natural" minerals they promote.

So, by what possible twist of logic can anyone argue that because something is "all natural" (whatever that may mean), that it is therefore harmless? I might as well claim "it's blue, so it can't hurt you", it makes just as much sense.

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