The alternate medicine industry is about to be dealt a massive blow. Progressive Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) has decided not to run for re-election in 2014.
What does that mean? His political stonewalling of NIH studies that debunk pseudoscience woo can now come to an end. And hopefully someone at the NIH who cares more about science than politics can scuttle the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, which has been his pet crackpot project that all Americans have bankrolled to the tune of billions of dollars since 1998.
So if you are trying to study whether or not "the force" exists, you will have to hit up some other progressive in 2015. $2.5 billion in direct funding using someone else's money to promote shark cartilage for cancer treatment and other silliness is bad enough - but doctors have also considered Harkin a public health menace because he bashes real medicine and persistently endorses the 'alternative' kind as legitimate.
Nonetheless, the wonks at Science magazine lament his departure and call him a 'champion' of biomedical research, showing once again that in mainstream science media you get a free pass on being anti-science and promoting woo if you are a Democrat. After all, Pres. George Bush and a Republican Congress doubled funding for the NIH - that is being a champion of research - and Science magazine has never called them champions of anything.
Here is a question for his successor: What do you call 'alternative medicine' that survives double-blind trials? The answer is 'regular medicine'.
That's all they need to know and NCCAM will never be funded again.
Science Says, 'Good Riddance, Sen. Tom Harkin' - Real Clear Science
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