The American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA), and the associated foundation (AHVMF) appear frequently in articles on this blog. These organizations represent a large portion of alternative veterinary practitioners, and the AHVMF is involved in significant efforts to spread the gospel of alternative medicine through funding scholarships, faculty positions, and purported research centers focused on alternative therapies. I have writen before about the concern that the efforts funded by the AHVMF are likely to be more marketing than science, focused on promoting therapies rather than on an honest, science-based assessment of their real risks and benefits.
A number of comments made by Dr. Richard Palmquist, the leader of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Foundation’s very successful fundraising efforts ($900,000 in two years by their report), support this concern. The view of “science” (almost always in “scare quotes” like these) expressed in these comments does not suggest the AHVMF leadership is open-minded about the posisbility that any alternative therapies might be shown to be ineffective (which is unsurprising since, after all, the group vigorously promotes homeopathy). It seems much more likely that this is a group with an unshakeable faith in their beliefs who are simply looking for ways to spread these beliefs using a veneer of scientific legitimacy.
As I’ve said before, I don’t doubt the sicnerity of these folks’ belief in their practcies, nor the superficial honesty of their claims that they want scientific support for these. What I doubt is their ability to set up and generate truly high-quality research and accept evidence inconsistent with their beliefs. It is vital that science not become a mere marketing tool, with lip service paid to research while poor quality marketing studies are produced heavily biased to find the results their funders wish to find. This has been a persistant problem in the pharmaceutical industry, with harmful results for patients, and the same strategy is likley to predominent in the area of alternative therapies, with the same results, if high scientific standards are not adhered to.
“Scientific advance can be fueled by a few people who have experienced the impossible and who care enough to investigate and share.”
“When we use “science” to kill hope by stopping progress we find real harm occurring.”
“Love and Truth are brick and mortar in the path from impossible and implausible to possible.”
“Funny that science advances from “impossible” to “it happens,” to “here’s how we do it.””
“Comfortable science involves reading & discussing well established data. Uncomfortable science occurs in the interface inhabited by pioneers”
“”Study” means “to look.” Deniers of Truth often refuse to look as a strategy to protect their ignorance or false authority.”
“If someone criticizes you for seeking love and truth, smile and continue because success is approaching sooner than you might think. :-)”
“Truth once raised is often greeted by antagonism, debate and attack, but being Truth it can and does persist. Dialogue & love gives breath.”
“A miraculous response on one patient can not prove cause, but similar results open the door to research and understanding. We want to know! Creating dialogue between clinicians and academic researchers allows for information to move more quickly. Report ur miracles.”
” thanks for believing in miracles.”
“When a miracle surpasses our science, we can deny the miracle or use our science to pursue improved understanding. It’s a choice.”
“The road to miracle can be short or painfully arduous as we expand our possibilities always seeking truth and a better way. Keep walking…”
“Miracles provide us the opportunity to see and share the unexpected as we gain insight into new relationships. RT if u believe in miracles.”
“Placebo effect (that means YOU) are responsible for HALF of a drug’s effect. How about making more of YOU!?”
“90.1 percent of AVMA delegates voted against the anti homeopathy resolution. Veterinarians free to pursue whatever tools needed to help.”
“In the end we do not heal from finding out what is wrong. We heal when we find and connect what is right with our lives.”
“We will have health reform when doctors become team members celebrating and developing potential and not simply pill prescribers.”
“Thousands of scientific paper exist for homeopathic agents. Science is developing much more rapidly now. If we look we discover truth.”
“People who are sure they know how the universe works are often in for a surprise. “Scientists” often fight what turns out to be right.”
I suppose I must be a Denier of Truth using science to kill hope? Hmmm….