Steve Jobs needn't have died young

It has come to my attention that the recent death of Steve Jobs was very probably premature and I'm not speaking from an emotional point of view. He may have survived his cancer had he gotten treatment right away but... he did not.

Here is a link to an article written on the subject by the Daily Beast: Job's Unorthodox Treatment. And here is a ScienceBlogs entry about the same topic: Steve Jobs, neuroendocrine tumors and alternative treatment.

Of course, we cannot be absolutely sure that he would have survived had he undertook immediate medical treatment but 9 months is very significant if his cancer was indeed aggressive. Aggressive or not, it seems clear that he would probably live much longer if those 9 months haven't been wasted on "alternative medicine".

I feel dirty for using the word "medicine" in the phrase "alternative medicine". "Alternative medicine" is not medicine -- if it worked, it wouldn't be an "alternative" at all.

I didn't write this entry to dump on Steve Jobs for making that bad decision but to bring to light what an unnecessary tragedy this is. It's a pretty good bet that he could have stuck around longer if he had known better.

The blame is on society and educators. We failed. We failed to equip laypeople with the knowledge and skills to fend off unevidenced beliefs. And in this case, unevidenced beliefs has cut a brilliant man's life short. There are many more people out there who are now on the same path because they too have succumbed to pseudoscience and magical thinking.

But you can help. Educating yourself on such areas of knowledge would be most helpful -- admittedly however, most people either do not have the time or is not bothered by such.

Well, it's time to be bothered. The next time someone talks about astrology as if it was true, give it to them, wake them up. Someone wants to waste money on homeopathy? Give him some education. Whatever the pseudoscience or superstition, be bothered, be very bothered and let them know that it is wrong.

Some tragedies need not happen. Don't let it slide.