Polly Toynbee has written a great article titled Quackery and superstition - available soon on the NHS

"A sharp line has to be drawn between fact and fiction when it comes to spending public funds on alternative therapies".

The full article is available at:

It is being discussed on www.richarddawkins.net here:

As part of this, I had a little rant about those alternative practices that dabble in pseudo-scientific use of the word energy, usually in the phrase "life energy":

Any practice that claims to manipulate, channel or balance "life energy" should be forced to demonstrate the existence of that energy. If it can't, it should be closed down.

We actually know a fair bit about energy, so if they are going to use the term they should use it properly.

I want to know what process converts, for example, chemical energy into this "life energy", what the efficiency of the conversion is etc.

If you practice a system of medicine that works but for which we don't have working explanation of how it works, don't just make up an explanation by bending terms around until they have no meaning.

As far as I'm concerned, suggesting there's a whole type of energy that exists only in relation to living beings is either arrogance or delusion.

Living things are, from our highly biased point of view, amazing and wonderful things, but to the universe, we're just utterly insignificant specks of highly localised ordered complexity. We are a result of the standard rules of physics.

To suggest that when life came into existence, it bought with it a new type of energy into the universe is surely madness....Spaaaarta!