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Original message: Joan asked, in a response to an e-mail in which acupuncture was mentioned, "Are you telling me 1 billion Chinese are wrong?" That first requires the tremendous assumption that basically every Chinese person on Earth agrees with the ideas espoused in acupuncture. Secondly, that adds no sound basis for accepting acupuncture as effective in the same way that most people believing in a flat Earth in the Dark Ages made that claim true. She then follows that comment with a serious faux pas demonstrating her own research skills, or lack thereof, with this comment: "Please click on the link to find the list of Medical Organizations that endorse Acupuncture." The link was to a single paragraph in an article in Wikipedia that did not even list any organizations supporting acupuncture. It was, in fact, a brief mention of a very few organizations in which statements were made to the effect that there are a couple of instances where acupuncture can provide some relief for very specific circumstances. The whole premise of acupuncture is based on the idea that there is a flow of energy in the body that gets out of alignment and needs to be realigned by sticking needles in your skin to correct it. This is sheer fantasy and it is thousands of years old, predating sound science and scientifically based medicine by millennia. None of the claims of energy flow in the body have ever been demonstrated yet most people skip right over that fact and jump to the practice of needle insertion. There are many forms of quackery like this that you should be pointing out with good programming on Public Television. Trying to defend yourselves with sloppy reasoning for promoting sloppy journalism only compounds the problem. By the way, the reason acupuncture helps relieve some pain is actually well understood. The needles injuring the skin cause the body to release natural painkillers called endorphins to help the body ease the pain from both injuries - the original source of pain and the newly inflicted injuries from the needles. I do support Public Television and have for many years for the great scientific programming and for the diversity of programming, and it is rare that I speak out against shows offered, but this is a major slip in professional, science based journalism that needs to be corrected.
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