A Brief History Of Medicine

A Brief History Of Medicine

2000 B.C. – Here, eat this root

1000 A.D. – That root is heathen, say this prayer.

1850 A.D. – That prayer is superstition, drink this potion.

1940 A.D. – That potion is snake oil, swallow this pill.

1985 A.D. – That pill is ineffective, take this antibiotic.

2000 A.D. – That antibiotic is artificial. Here, eat this root.

4000 years of man’s ‘progress’ 😉

Now we can make you as healthy as before we started to make you unhealthy, maybe even healthier – but only if you really want to be healthy and you do everything we tell you.


  1. David – Amen! – but He’s no guarantee against us following our own ignorance – even when we actually listen to what He was saying/doing.

    Sis – i cannot claim the credit i’m afraid 😉 – like the ‘Ladies’ post i got it from an internet site. – no creditation given there though either?


  2. Why is the list of side effects for perscription drugs always longer then what the benefits are?

    Are there any side effects to these pills apart from bankruptcy?

    In a Church bulletin: “Thursday night – Potluck supper. Prayer and Medication to follow.”

    A miracle drug is one that has now the same price as last year.

    We used to take life with a grain of salt. Now it is with 5
    milligrams of Valium.

    Just to show there is nothing new about over medication:

    Voltaire–Doctors pour drugs of which they know little, to cure diseases of which they know less, into human beings of whom they know nothing.


  3. Ed – Lol!

    on a more serious note – our ‘faith’ in modern medicines is a little ‘misplaced’.

    As a result of much research i did concerning ‘safe’ levels of vitamins that were about to be legislated in my food (added folate in bread as the US did a decade or so ago) i became more aware of how medicines and supplements are considered to be ‘safe’.

    It is basically a ‘numbers game’ and the odds are not exactly in OUR favour.

    When someone like the FDA says a drug is ‘safe’ or a level of consumption of a product is ‘safe’ , they don’t mean for EVERYONE who takes it. The internationally accepted ‘safe’ level is considered to be a 95% efficiency.. In other words it is safe for 19 out of every 20 of us. (assuming no unforeseen complications when our bodies are full of several different ‘medicines/supplements’)

    Up to one in 20 could suffer adverse side effects from taking a certain quantity of a drug – possibly including fatal overdoses!! – and the substance is said to be ‘safe;’ for human consumption in the stated dose.

    Now for illnesses that can cause higher death rates, like cancer, that may seem a fair trade off…

    but this is the same ‘rationale’ behind adding vitamins to an essential foodstuff eaten regularly by whole populations of a country or in some cases, the world.

    Do we really think that up to a a one in 20 chance long-term of taking a fatal dose when eating a vitamin in bread for example is a ‘reasonable’ level of safety?

    if 200 million people take a product, 5% of that is 10 million people who could ‘reasonably’ be expected to suffer an adverse ‘side-effect’ form a drug that is considered by international standards to be (95%) ‘safe’.

    Still want to trust our ‘scientific’ community as much as you did?


  4. Doctor’s have just as hard a time in following the proper application of science, as Christ Followers do in finding the proper application of God’s guidance.

    My favorite medical blog is Science Based Medicine. A recent post is “Snake Oil Science”, http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=4

    The original Hippocratic Oath reads, in part, “I will prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgment and never do harm to anyone.” How many doctors practices the “never do harm” part?

    I am very confident that scientific research will lead to developing far more effective treatments. How effectively doctors, and governments, will be in applying these treatments to the public is an open question.

    I have “faith” in the process of science, critical thinking and evolution. I “hope” these will lead to a better world.


  5. Ed – rescued your original post from the spam monster! 🙂

    As far as the hippocratic oath goes i ma sure that the vast majority of western GP’s believe they follow it in full. However i believe that as in the case of CAM practitioners mentioned in your informative report, most also do not understand the scinetific ‘method’ or what a ‘safe’ compound or medicine really is.

    Statistically, as i said, if a pill or injection is known to cause death in say 50 out of a million cases it is considered to be ‘safe’. It tvery well may be for most patients, but the 50 out of every million who die as a direct result of the ‘treatment’ probably won’t agree.

    A doctor does not know, nor can they guarantee, that YOU won’t be one of the 50.!

    As i said – you might be willing to take that level of russian roulette if you have a disease with a higher mortality rate but what if you are being treated for acne or a ‘cosmetic’ surgery? Or are taking a vitamin put into a daily part of your diet (bread) that is not in short supply in your personal diet habit meaning you are being OVERdosed?

    The article you posted was interesting for one other reason… it said CAM’s could not be shown to be more efective than the Placebo effect…

    it did not state how many of our ‘scientific medicines could do any better in the same level of testing.

    Most of the reasons given for rejecting studies that showed positive outcomes for CAM are equally invalid for the supposed ‘legitimate’ medicines ( non-reporting of negatives, drop outs etc)

    WE think because a medicine has ‘passed’ our scientific and government ‘trialling’ methods they must be safe and often assume them to have a a 100% ( or very high) effectiveness. This is FAR from truth with many ‘safe’ drugs killing individuals and having far less than 50% effectiveness on the ‘general’ population.

    But we never hear of independent and unbiased testing or reporting of such results as we do for the ‘alternative’ therapies which are often reverted to as treatment AFTER ‘traditional’ treatment has failed or is far too costly to pursue meaning there is no PRACTICAL alternative than the complimentary and alternative medicines for some people.

    i am glad you recognise the place your faith currently lies… but i wonder if you know your ‘god’ (flaws AND benefits) any better than most believers know theirs?. 🙂


  6. Average Lifespan at Birth in years

    Upper Paleolithic 33
    Neolithic 20
    Classical Greece 20-30
    Classical Rome 20-30
    Pre-Columbian North America 25-35
    Medieval Islamic Caliphate 35+
    Medieval Britain 20-30
    Early 20th Century 30-40
    Current world average 70

    Modern medicine and medical knowledge about lifestyle, diet and activity has literally doubled our life expectancy. Could it be better? Sure. Could it be worse? It clearly has been.

    Medicine = good


  7. Hov – the point of the post was to highlight the somewhat ‘cyclic’ nature of medicinal ‘knowledge’ and hopefully to show that in some cases medicine is actually more about ‘what i tell you is better for you than what you have been surviving perfectly well on for millenia’ because NOW i (medical ‘authorities’) ‘understand” how the body works and what various ‘prescriptions’ do to a part of it. When in fact they fail to understand the system as a whole and the system it was designed/evolved into in toto.

    I am interseted in how those ‘facts’ you quote were obtained/calculated/guestimated and how much lifestyle (warring forces fighting for limited supplies/wealth) determined the lifespan as compared to say, infant mortality rates or the ability and perceived benefit of maintaining a mostly useless proportion of a society as they grew older and unable to provide useful service to a society.

    as just one example – until extremely recently it was believed the largest sample of a particular dinosaur was 27 m long. a recently uncovered skeleton was found to be 36 m long – effectively increasing the animal’s previously known dimensions by 33%

    Basically it is extremely hard to obtain reliable historical data for many societies much beyond our own.

    Wisdom = good

    interfering with nature so as to ‘improve’ it = many major mistakes, long term imbalances, short-sighted gains.


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