Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I vicariously write a letter

Remember how, some months ago, I promised I would one day write a letter? Because writing letters is one of the easiest ways to be an effective skeptical activist? Yeah, neither do I. Forget I mentioned it.

Well, I haven't done that. I have written exactly zero letters. Not once have I read an article which was totally wrong or inaccurate, and then sent off a critical e-mail to the news source. Not once have I read an article which promoted skepticism, and then sent off an e-mail to thank the writer. I suppose you could say I opted for the harder way to be an activist, which is to keep a skeptical student group organized. Naturally, as an organizer, my job isn't to write these letters myself, but to delegate that job to other people.

Anyways, on October 21st, the Daily Bruin featured two articles in its Science and Health section which were sympathetic to Integrative Medicine. “Integrative,” if you weren’t aware, is one of those buzzwords of alternative medicine.
Wellness remedies can work best in tandem
UCLA Center for East-West Medicine fuses integrates alternative, conventional medicine for better treatment
I told people in BASS (the aforementioned skeptical student group) that if no one responded to this article, they would make the sad panda sad. Fellow BASSier Daniel rose up to the occasion, and sent the following letter, which was published in the Daily Bruin yesterday.

Alternative medicine requires scrutiny (scroll down to second letter)
It's a start. I should definitely vicariously write letters more often.

1 comment:

Norwegian Shooter said...

Absolutely write letters, but letters to the editor are actually pretty hard - time-consuming and not likely to get published. But I've gotten results from even email comment forms in major sources. I've received personal responses from 4 different reporters in the New York Times.

One even agreed with me! Since it's science related and I want to brag, I'll share it. Dennis Overbye used the term "so-called" twice in his Essay on the LHC, including once before "Standard Model." This was too much, so I complained and he responded saying he'll work on avoiding "so-called." A small thing, but a thing nonetheless. Score one for science!

Also, write to your congress members. It does matter.