False Hopes and Nonsensical proofs

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After six days of suffering from a terrible cold, Moshi decided to take vitamin C which had been recommended by a friend. Sure enough, after swallowing a few dozen pills, the cold disappeared the very next day. Since then, he’s been telling everyone about the great effectiveness of vitamin C in combating the common cold. What he forgot to take into account was that a cold usually heals on its very own after a week.

Unfortunately, much of what people pass on as magical cures are based on such pseudo-scientific evidence. Chinese herbs as well as homeopathic products and many vitamin producers make extensive claims exulting their miraculous powers and even provide lots of supposed “evidence” and “testimonials” telling of their fascinating curative powers.

Little do people realize that for thousands of years, long before there were any antibiotics to cure diseases, people often recovered from many dangerous sicknesses on their own. All they needed was some tea and bed rest. That’s because Hashem made the body produce its own anti-bodies that would fight bacteria and viruses. In fact, the entire theory of vaccination is based on inducing the body to produce its own antibodies to fight the disease. Sometimes this is done by injecting the body with a weak form of the virus and sometimes by injecting the body with a dead or similar less deadly form of the virus.

Let’s remember that quack medicine is nothing new and has a long history. To get a better look at what’s happening out there I would suggest you read the excellent book written by Stephen Barrett, M.D. and William Jarvis, Ph.D. entitled “The Health Robbers.”

Homeopathy, which has become very common nowadays, is based on the theory that very tiny amounts of certain natural substances stimulate the body’s healing process. While some studies suggest that homeopathic remedies work, mainstream doctors and medical researchers consider it outright quackery. Unfortunately, the law allows the sale of quack remedies unless the FDA proves them harmful.

With the discovery of electricity, people began building all sorts of electric and magnetic contraptions claiming they possessed miraculous healing powers. Today, there are some that claim to have special computer programs that can detect all a person’s medical problems and even prescribe a remedy. There are others that claim to have magical healing powers in their hands that can even cure the incurable. Unfortunately, the desperate will always cling to a straw in the hope that it will bring salvation. One can find a large collection of stories about such devices in the book “Tales of Medical Fraud from the Museum of Questionable Medical Devices” by Bob McCoy.

Just recently I saw an advertisement claiming to cure people from “Geopathic stress,” which is supposedly caused by electromagnetic radiation. Some quack claims that her positive energy treatments remove the negative effect caused by this terrible harmful radiation. She also make other outrageous claims such as being able to cure Cancer etc. etc..

As long as there is lots of money to be made selling these supposed miracle cures, there will always be someone providing a product and suckers to bite the bait. Companies spend millions of dollars advertising their products in health magazines and convincing people of their great effectiveness. The government has done little to protect consumers against their misrepresentation and false claims. The few government laws that do exist can easily be circumvented by the use of clever deceptive wording on the label of these products.

So before you take out your wallet and spend your hard earned money, make sure you’re not buying any snake oil or other mysterious worthless concoctions.