And now for some blue-sky thinking… not “the thinking that is not grounded or in touch in the realities of the present”; but rather, “open-minded thinking”. Guest post: Daryl Francis, media & legislative spokesperson for Christian Science in Victoria, Australia. Thanks, Daryl!
Looking over today’s “Age” one of the flagship newspapers here in Victoria Australia I found two articles both asking the public to look at the way we accept what medical research and pharmaceutical companies are telling us. One was titled, “Bad Medicine” the other “Drugs and Money”. Both writers, Julia Medew and Brad Newsome were really calling for more transparency in the way medical research is carried out. Brad Newsome pointed to Ben Goldacre, a scientist and doctor. On his blog Ben writes: “Ben is an award-winning writer, broadcaster, and medical doctor who specialises in unpicking dodgy scientific claims made by scaremongering journalists, dodgy government reports, evil pharmaceutical corporations, PR companies and quacks.” He has some very thought provoking material there.
Now, I’m not writing to bash medical research. Not at all. Nor do I think any of the above writers are trying to bring it down – all of them acknowledge that there are very fine people in these fields giving tirelessly to promote a healthier world.
I am interested in the growing trend in public thought to look circumspectly into the claims that medicine and pharmacy have been making throughout history. I feel it’s a healthy thing, lifting the lid on something to see how it works, or claims to work. Ben Goldacre, for example, speaks about placebos and when the use of them might be ethical in his practice as a doctor. He, along with many others in his field are coming to the conclusion that placebos work because patients believe they will work: there’s a growing consensus that the reasons they seem to “work” in some cases are mental rather than directly physical: it seems that what people believe about a medication is sometimes more important than what it’s made of (see the previous post in this blog).
Before she started the Christian Science movement in the late nineteenth century, Mary Baker Eddy had been researching homeopathy and the effect of placebos, and nocebos – though she did not use those words back then, and came to the conclusion that our thinking directly effects our health. She is still woman ahead of the curve more than 100 years after her passing.
Eddy’s textbook on her system of healing, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures is as relevant and challenging today as it was when it was written.