Friday, February 8, 2008

At least SOMEONE still has some sense

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III is right. Believe in all the supernatural stuff you want, but please, don't ignore medical science because of it.

"Healing Priest" Father Fernando Suarez claims to be able to heal the faithful of their illnesses, and has been holding "healing masses" all over the country. Of course, the danger here is that people will forego science-based medicine in exchange for "faith healing". In fact, more than a hundred people in total have fainted and 2 people actually died during these "healing masses", something a healing priest could have easily prevented, given that the limitless power of the Lord was on hand.

Some would argue that the mere hope of a cure is good for the people; that it gives them the strength to fight. I contend that false hope is worse than no hope at all. Having no reasonable hope for a cure enables the person to better accept their plight and make do with what they have left. If I had a terminal illness and had only 6 months to live, I would strive to accept the reality and make the most of my remaining six months with my loved ones.

Having false hope only ruins what is left of the person's life. If I had false hope of a cure from Father Suarez, then I would be wasting away the remaining six months of my life chasing Father Suarez, and most probably wasted all the money I would have otherwise left to my children.

Faith healing has been omnipresent throughout human history, but the desired effect of relative good health and longevity hasn't. In fact a large study has found that prayer had absolutely no effect on heart surgery patients. In some cases, those who were prayed upon actually had more complications than those who weren't.

Science, or more particularly Medical Science, isn't perfect. but it doesn't claim to be perfect. It is, however, the best tool we have. It is no coincidence that life expectancy shot up and mortality rates went down with the advent of modern, science-based medicine. Not convinced? Check out the life expectancy of countries with almost no access to science-based medicine (i.e. the African nations).

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