How civilisations fall

By Stephen Pollard
June 1, 2007

Tim Worstall has a superb fisking of a piece of health nonsense in the Independent:

I am well-doctored, to put it mildly. I probably consult more doctors than Woody Allen, who has separate screenings of his movies for his doctors. Everyone is entitled to a hobby; mine just happens to be my health, and what a fascinating hobby it is.

Start with a hypochondriac then.

When at a loss to explain my new malaise, I visited my naturopath.

Correction, a deluded hypochondriac, one who consults charlatans.

Believe me folks, it's not going to get any better from here on in.

She insisted that my exhaustion was caused by electromagnetic "smog" in my flat.

Yup, been going on since we started using light bulbs and that wireless radio, hasn't it?

This made sense, as my symptoms had begun soon after installing wireless technology in my sitting room.


For example, although I've turned off my wireless access I can still tap in to my neighbour's Wi-Fi downstairs. you were exposed to these electromagnetic waves from your neighbour before you installed your own and they didn't affect you. Showing that the causality of your own system is what?

"Any imbalance in our electromagnetic field creates a disturbance in cell structure and function, which can lead to illness in sensitive individuals," says London-based complementary health practitioner Dr Nicole de Canha.

Right, well, obviously, umm, is this "our electromagnetic field" anything to do with our aura? Or, perhaps, something that is affected by the earth's own magnetism? You know, that reason that when we ever move south or north we fall ill?

...As yet, no one knows what price we will pay for our dependence on modern technology.

As compared to not having modern technology actually we do. We're surviving, something which a good 99% of the 6 billion on the planet wouldn't do without it.

Naturopath, homeopath, holographic fields, look, we might as well start sacrificing virgins by throwing them down the wells to cure society's ills.

Read the whole thing. If you believe in reason - and thus the primacy of science over witchcraft - you'll relish Tim's destruction of this drivel. But there's a serious consequence to the rise of such quackery. As Tim puts it:

I am left wondering if this is how civilizations fall. When the obviously well educated in that society, let alone the proles for whom the State provides as little as it can, believe in fantastical alarums, how can it survive?


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