The OAM, again....

James Randi --- Wizard (
12 Oct 1997 21:03:13 -0000

>From friend Bob Park come these items of interest.

The Office of Alternative Medicine (OAM), within the National
Institutes of Health (NIH) and well-funded by the Congress, has
alarmed a number of prominent scientists who are justifiably concerned
by the lack of rigor in the projects entered into by the agency.
Quack standards, embraced by the politically correct politicians, have
applied to much of what has passed for science at the OAM. There's
a move afoot to officially declare the OAM a "National Center," thus
making it essentially immune to criticism and open to fresh funding
opportunities. The alarmed scientists, both physicists and
biologists, are now strongly supporting research into the efficacy of
alternative therapies, provided that the research is held to rigorous
scientific standards. Says the group, "The American public deserves
to know what works and what doesn't work in the treatment of disease."
Their statement warned, however, that "To elevate the OAM to a
National Center without first examining its strengths and weaknesses
would risk amplifying existing problems."

At the same time, a new journal, "THE SCIENTIFIC REVIEW OF ALTERNATIVE
MEDICINE," devoted exclusively to objective evaluation of alternative
therapies, will debut on Tuesday, 14 Oct 97 at the National Press Club
in Washington, DC. I'm sure Bob Park will be there to report on the
event and ask a few sharp questions. As if to flavor this examination
of pseudo-science, we learn that chemist John Bockris of Texas A&M was
honored at a Harvard ceremony by the magazine "Annals of Improbable
Research," for transmuting base metals into gold by means of a
cold-fusion cell. Two myths for the price of one! But Harvard can't
point too steely a finger at bad science. They have to live with the
burden of Professor John Mack, who seems convinced that we are all
being taken to Venus to have our genitals probed by
pruriently-oriented aliens from places even further away than

The mind boggles....


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