Enough with Radovan Karadzic, already! (Or, the mini-Hitler Zombie dodged)

Enough with Radovan Karadzic, already!

I know schadenfreude can be a fun thing. I’ve even indulged in it myself from time to time. I also know that Radovan Karadzic was a very, very bad man who engaged in ethnic cleansing and genocide in the Balkans wars of the early and mid-1990s. My interest in the Holocaust and Holocaust denial makes it hard not to see the parallels between Karadzic and what Hitler wanted to do.

So, wonder all the people who have forwarded me links to stories revealing that Karadzic had been practicing alternative medicine while he was on the lam all these years, why have I avoided, until now, writing about it?

Here’s why.

As fun as it may be to engage in some fun at the expense of purveyors of alternative medicine (a.k.a. quackery, for the most part) using Karadzic as an example, it’s completely irrelevant to the question of whether any “alternative” remedy or treatment has any scientific basis to support the contention that it works. Mentioning Karadzic as being an alt-med practitioner, while good for some schadenfreude, is really not much more than a weaker form of argumentum ad Nazium (weaker, because Karadzic, although a genocidal leader, was not Hitler and did not manage to kill nearly as many people). In other words, harping on Karadzic as being a a woo-meister on the lam comes across to me as saying, in essence:

Radovan Karadzic is a murderer, ethnic cleanser, and instigator and overseer of genocide.
Karadzic practiced alternative medicine.
Therefore, alternative medicine is bad.

Sure, it’s fun, but it’s completely irrelevant as a criticism of woo. Try comparing the above to this:

Adolf Hitler was a murderer, ethnic cleanser, and instigator and overseer of genocide on a massive scale.
Hitler was a vegetarian.
Therefore, vegetarianism is bad.

See what I mean?

Worse, given my having created the Hitler Zombie, the very embodiment of making fun of overblown Hitler/Nazi analogies, how on earth could I in good conscience engage even in a weaker version of exactly the same sort of “guilt by association” argument?

I just can’t do it, no matter how fun it might have been.