Thursday, May 08, 2008

Maybe we need more Witch Doctors?

The more I learn about medicine, the less I trust doctors.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not about to start advocating homeopathy or acupuncture or herbal therapy or any of the other "alternatives" to modern medicine. They're almost 0% trustworthy; I think I'd give doctors and conventional medicine a solid "B"-- I probably trust them 85% of the time. And I'm probably overconfident.

Robin Hanson posted some fascinating observations today about our trust in doctors at his Overcoming Bias blog, and suggests that we'd be better off if we had more faith healers.

Not healthier-- but better off. Because instead of spending lots of money on conventional medical treatments that don't work, we'd instead spend less money on unconventional medical treatments (that also don't work).

Health and longevity correlate very strongly with your level of wealth, not your level of health care. Maybe having an inexpensive Witch Doctor as your primary care physician for any non-life-threatening illnesses isn't such a bad idea...

(Photo credit: Felix42 contra la censura on Flickr)

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