From an interview with science-based science writer and oncologist David Gorski:
Many discussions of alternative medicine reference the fact that it is “natural” and relies on methods used throughout history. Is this true; how did the initial ideas about alternative medicine originate?
This is called an appeal to antiquity, the argument that just because a treatment is old there must be something to it; it must work. It’s such a common argument that skeptics consider it a fallacy, at least in science and medicine. In any case, most of the ideas about alternative medicine have their roots in prescientific ideas, such as vitalism (the idea of a “life force”) and other forms of magical thinking. Alternative medicine also flourishes because humans are pattern-forming animals. We confuse correlation with causation all the time, and are unaware of placebo effects, which leads us to conclude that various remedies work when they don’t.
Gorski portrait by BDEngler