Letter: Alternative medicine

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The Independent Online
Sir: In this berating of "biased" media coverage of complementary medicine, Professor Ernst seems unaware of his own inevitable bias.

Far from "scientific evaluation" providing an objective and disinterested means of clarifying the relative efficacy of "scientific" and "complementary" medicine, such a methodology, steeped as it is in the ideologies of modern technocratic science, is itself just as culturally relative as are the complementary approaches which embrace a world-view which may well be incompatible with that of modern empirical science.

Inductively derived "ancient wisdoms" (which are crucially different from Ernst's principal target, "anecdotal evidence"), distilled over millennia of real human trial-and-error experience, are at least as likely to provide reliable evidence as are the mechanistic methods of modern science.

Dr RICHARD HOUSE

Norwich

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