Skepticism in the Bush

1 November, 2011

by Russell Kelly

There is plenty to keep a skeptic busy in the bush; alternative medicine abounds and belief systems involving the weather and animals are plentiful.  The recent drought spawned a plethora of water diviners but lacking confidence in the Bureau of Meteorology, many believe that the best indicator of impeding precipitation is the squawking of Black Cockatoos. The myth has been around for at least 100 years but for some reason the squawking during the drought seemed to have less effect than the nude dance in the paddock.

Emu oil is currently very fashionable to cure a wide variety of maladies and snake-oil salesmen find easy pickings especially with weight loss scams. A long-running study has confirmed that rural women are more obese than their city cousins and they are more likely to use alternative medicines, so there are plenty of candidates for the wacky products.

Medical conditions triggered by pollens and sprays are endemic in the bush and so are the charlatans who peddle ‘natural’ allergy therapies including the instruments to test allergy susceptibility. The TGA has recently closed down the web site of one of our local operators who with her gadgetry could diagnose the offending allergen and then provide a rapid cure using the latest in homeopathy potions.

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