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  1. #1 Is Medicine Scientific? 
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    I'm trying to look into whether the medical profession is truly scientific and what "based on science" means exactly.

    I want to know how I can be sure that most studies in medicine are unbiased.

    I know that Dr. John Ioannidis wrote a famous paper on how most published research findings are false. And I read a summary of an article in the NEJM about how the studies on antidepressants only get published if they seem to support the use of antidepressants.

    I also have a specific interest in pyroluria, which was dismissed by medicine in the 1970s.

    If people could give concise explanations of why the studies done are certainly reliable, that would be great, and then maybe we could get into more specific things.


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    You are digging in murky waters here - especially if any of the research has anything to do with big pharma companies. Medical research especially those quoting medicinal efficacy rates are quite difficult to apply to individuals - for example, saying that 60% of people (a made-up number) with cirrhosis will die from it doesn't mean you personally would have a 40% chance of survival because the original percentage will be an average of people with cirrhosis. You as an individual are subject to all sorts of influences; age, social status, income level etc and those things could give you a higher or lower chance of survival.

    Asking for people to not be biased is a bit unrealistic - what you need to look for in a paper is a researchers acknowledgement of their own biases, so these will be studies that point out the shortcomings of their own work and make suggestions for different research. I'm not so sure that most research findings are false (I hope not but I may be na´ve) but sometimes the "non" results can say more than the actual results and sometimes things are just misinterpreted.

    If you are looking for help with a certain condition you have got some hard work ahead of you - I have just been severely ill and educated myself about it via the internet/research papers and it requires a lot of patience and concentration.

    Pyroluria looks very similar to liver disease which also causes metabolic disorders and B/Zinc deficiencies (amongst others). Good luck with it - I hope you find some answers.


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    Quote Originally Posted by LuciDreaming View Post
    but sometimes the "non" results can say more than the actual results and sometimes things are just misinterpreted.
    Sorry - "non" results doesn't look right to me and I cant edit. What I mean is sometimes its the things that aren't found in a study that tell a more important (or at least a different) story.
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    The biggest problem is with "unsuccessful" research that hasn't produced the results a project was aiming for - but might give good guidance to others in a related (or even an unrelated) field. So it's never published in the first place.

    "Medical" research is a very broad field, the sort of problem Ioannidis was concerned about was mainly in the pharma area. But there's also epidemiological research which has a pretty solid reputation. But all of us who might be interested in a particular disease or treatment or medication have a problem. Research always comes up with 40/60, 85/15, type results, but that's not how it works for the individual. (My husband being a classic case. The survival rate for being resuscitated from unconscious with his particular kind of heart attack is 40% - outcomes are even worse for a more conventional heart attack/unconscious/resuscitate case. But the result for him is simple, either 100% alive or 100% dead.)

    Once we move into areas where a simple alive or dead is not the issue, but whether a particular suite of signs and symptoms indicates one particular disease or condition or another or a combination. As often as not, there are confusing/ confounding/ masking/ exacerbating factors from medications or other illnesses or conditions which makes detecting any or all of them more difficult. Which is where tracking research about a condition can lead us astray - because researchers usually exclude people with complicating metabolic problems in order to tease out exactly how the issue they're investigating, and only that issue, can be identified or treated or medicated.

    If something is well-known and has been investigated for a long time, you can get a comprehensive picture of all the relevant information, but very often you can't. So talking to an experienced, qualified doctor is a help - because that's where evidence-based medicine meets the art of asking the right questions.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LuciDreaming View Post
    You are digging in murky waters here - especially if any of the research has anything to do with big pharma companies. Medical research especially those quoting medicinal efficacy rates are quite difficult to apply to individuals - for example, saying that 60% of people (a made-up number) with cirrhosis will die from it doesn't mean you personally would have a 40% chance of survival because the original percentage will be an average of people with cirrhosis. You as an individual are subject to all sorts of influences; age, social status, income level etc and those things could give you a higher or lower chance of survival.
    .
    Thanks, Lucid

    This seems to me one of the fundamental reasons why medicine is not scientific--no more scientific than naturopathy or tcm. It's too hard to control all the variables, right?--even IF one is not biasing the study.

    Would you agree or disagree?
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    This seems to me one of the fundamental reasons why medicine is not scientific--no more scientific than naturopathy or tcm.
    Wrong, wrongity, wrong.

    Just because medicine may not be the one and only perfect living example of the scientific method in action, it does not mean that anti-scientific, totally unevidenced stuff like naturopathy gets a free pass. Naturopathy has miles to go and centuries of person hours of work required before it comes to anywhere near the position that evidence-based medicine now has. And "traditional" Chinese medicine is in much the same boat.
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    Quote Originally Posted by patricius79 View Post
    It's too hard to control all the variables, right?--even IF one is not biasing the study.
    It may be hard to control for all the variables. But the fact that people attempt to do so (double blind trials, etc) is what makes it science, however imperfect.

    There are problems with publication bias, in all fields and perhaps medicine more than most. Ben Goldacre has written a lot about this. It is a shame and it weakens the science. But it doesn't stop it being science. It is publication bias, not a complete free for all where people just publish whatever they want.
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    This seems to me one of the fundamental reasons why medicine is not scientific--no more scientific than naturopathy or tcm.
    Wrong, wrongity, wrong.

    Just because medicine may not be the one and only perfect living example of the scientific method in action, it does not mean that anti-scientific, totally unevidenced stuff like naturopathy gets a free pass..
    Thanks, Adelady.

    who said that medicine is a perfect livinge example of the scientific method in action?

    I'm still trying to determine if our medical treatment for an individual--"John"-- is in any realistic sense, "based" on the scientific method.

    Does that make sense?
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    Quote Originally Posted by patricius79 View Post
    I'm still trying to determine if our medical treatment for an individual--"John"-- is in any realistic sense, "based" on the scientific method.
    Of course it is. There may be flaws in the process. There may be errors made. There may be attempts to hide data that doesn't support a drug the company wants to promote. There may be complicating factors in the disease being investigated. And so on and so on. None of that stops it being scientific.

    (Especially as you agree it cannot be a perfect example of the process.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by patricius79 View Post
    I'm still trying to determine if our medical treatment for an individual--"John"-- is in any realistic sense, "based" on the scientific method.
    Of course it is. There may be flaws in the process. There may be errors made. There may be attempts to hide data that doesn't support a drug the company wants to promote. There may be complicating factors in the disease being investigated. And so on and so on. None of that stops it being scientific.

    (Especially as you agree it cannot be a perfect example of the process.)
    That would seem to be an opinion rather than a science as such

    And to take it back a step further, to Adelady's suggestion that "evidence-based" would mean attempting to use the scientic method in medicine:

    How is that a scientific idea? How has it been tested?

    Moreover, the idea that the scientific method is the most objective way of doing anything--let alone medicine--is not a scientific idea per se, but a belief.

    And indeed, it does appear that the passionate arguments against other forms of medicine do seem to boil down to "trust the scientific community", even if they are often wrong or biased on an individual AND collective level, and even if they cannot possibly control all variables
    Last edited by patricius79; June 11th, 2013 at 07:51 PM. Reason: addition
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    Oh dear, another dishonest anti-science crank...
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    And indeed, it does appear that the passionate arguments against other forms of medicine do seem to boil down to "trust the scientific community", even if they are often wrong or biased on an individual AND collective level, and even if they cannot possibly control all variables
    Honestly, this is rot. You're really saying that an enterprise, medicine, which is inherently complex and difficult - because it's so hard to control all variables - is on a par with a whole heap of so-called therapies which don't even bother to control variables at all.
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    let's just not give medicine to anyone that needs it and see what happens! i mean, there's no research or evidence to suggest it actually does anything...

    did i really just see medicine compared to the likes of acupuncture?
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    well, there seems to be so much passion and assumption-making going on here which has nothing to do with science

    name calling without responding to one's argument, for example, is sometimes a sign of a subjective position

    for example, how will you show that using the scientific method is the most objective way to treat the illness of a specific person ("John")?
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    Quote Originally Posted by patricius79 View Post
    well, there seems to be so much passion and assumption-making going on here which has nothing to do with science
    Flat out lying about what other people have said will not alter what has been said.

    You really should give up on dishonesty- you're not very good at it.

    Modern Medicine follows the Scientific Method in that empirical evidence is required to support the introduction and production of drugs.
    It is required to support and provide for diagnostics.

    If your hypothetical patient - John - matches the known symptoms (Hard Evidence) for a particular illness, he will be prescribed a drug that is observed (hard Evidence) to be effective for that illness.
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    Quote Originally Posted by patricius79 View Post
    well, there seems to be so much passion and assumption-making going on here which has nothing to do with sciencename calling without responding to one's argument, for example, is sometimes a sign of a subjective positionfor example, how will you show that using the scientific method is the most objective way to treat the illness of a specific person ("John")?
    The name calling often conveys points. You spout unsubstantiated nonsense while insinuating science is arbitrary
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    the crazy thing about people is that we're all different, so there will never be some one-treatment-fits-all that you're looking for. who would have thought! that's why we have multiple approaches (the ones discovered by science!) that treat the same thing and those people called doctors to decide which treatment is the best for each particular person.
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    duplicate post. sorry
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neverfly View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by patricius79 View Post
    well, there seems to be so much passion and assumption-making going on here which has nothing to do with science
    Flat out lying about what other people have said will not alter what has been said.

    You really should give up on dishonesty- you're not very good at it.
    .
    Thank you, Neverfly, for your passionate opinion.

    Can you explain exactly how you know that the scientific method--as practiced by the for-profit medical industry--is more effective than traditional medicine, such as TCM?
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    Quote Originally Posted by patricius79 View Post
    Thank you, Neverfly, for your passionate opinion.

    Can you explain exactly how you know that the scientific method--as practiced by the for-profit medical industry--is more effective than traditional medicine, such as TCM?
    A process called Peer Review.
    Your rebuttal would require the accusation that reviewers are Lying and evidence to show that they are lying, in light of Independent Verification, would be heavily required.

    The second reason is because it works. Traditional medicine has a very low success rate. Some actually exacerbate an illness. This is because T.M. is based more on spirituality than on Empirical Evidence.

    How do you know that Mechanically examining a vehicle and targeting the cause of a problem has a higher success rate than chanting over the vehicle?
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    Yes not all drugs work out, but I've noticed a lot of bad drug notifications on the TV lately. With major law firms making class action suits against the drugs companies that can be in the billions of dollars. So if I was a drug company I'd think twice about promoting a bad drug.

    Next most insurance companies won't pay for any procedures or drugs until they've proven themselves. I think most of us have had a doctor say they could try a treatment, but your insurance won't cover it yet.

    Also, if you can't trust what your doctor is telling you, maybe it's time to find a new doctor. After all you pay them because of their schooling and experience and you should have confidence in their advice and the treatment programs they prescribe for you.

    Last but not least, you should always take an active roll in your own health. When you do research online, it increases your own level of awareness and increases the number and quality of the questions you can have for your doctor. When the doctor knows your putting time into your own health, he will often spend extra time working with you.
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    for example, how will you show that using the scientific method is the most objective way to treat the illness of a specific person ("John")?
    Get it straight. In medicine it's evidence-based for individuals, not "the scientific method" which applies to things like drug design and testing.

    "John" describes symptoms of various sorts. Doctor takes standard observations of signs. For those who aren't clear on the terminology, symptoms are what the patient feels or observes themselves, itchiness, dizziness, blocked nose, breathlessness and the like, signs are observations that either can't be made by the subject, blood pressure, eye response to stimulus, blood test results, or aren't always noticed or reported by a patient even though they're obvious to a doctor - facial pallor of diabetics, prominent eyes of people with hyperthyroidism and the like.

    This is where science meets professional knowledge and experience. Doctor then asks the patient further questions to narrow things down a bit. Then the next steps are sorted out - whether that be prescriptions for medications or referrals to specialists or further testing. And if those things don't solve the problem or at least come up with one or more definite diagnoses, the whole process starts again to see what might have been missed earlier.
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    Traditional medicine is more than just chanting over people. For example, it involves knowledge of herbs which contain the same chemicals that are used in drugs manufactured by pharmaceutical companies. In fact, there is an issue now with drug companies trying to patent the use of substances for medical purposes that people have been using for those purposes for thousands of years. Just because people haven't studied something scientifically does not mean it does not work.A hunter gatherer may not understand the scientific concept of gravity, but he knows not to jump off a cliff. Centuries of learning by trial and error do have value.

    Also, there is essentially no difference between a person in a mask and feathers chanting over you and a person in a doctor's outfit putting his hand on your shoulder and saying you will be fine.
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    Just because there are flaws in a system doesn't mean we cant rely on it most of the time. The fact that there are bad/good doctors and bad/good medicine doesn't mean we should all turn to something that doesn't work. I have recently been seriously ill and trusted the pharma companies enough to do a trial drug - even knowing their bad habits. Why? Because the only treatment that has been proven to work is one that has been developed by big pharma companies. Some of my trial drug consisted of blueberry leaf extract and the compound they use does have a chemical name that sounds much more "official" but its still blueberry leaf extract.

    I complemented my treatment with an optimal diet and carefully selected herbs/supplements that could assist my condition and some would call that natural medicine - I would call it common sense.

    I will say that the reason sometimes traditional "scientific" medicine doesn't work is because it doesn't always take the psychological needs of the patient into account. I consider myself quite a hardy person but when a doctor carelessly tells you you are "circling the drain" it impacts on your physical health. It was a throwaway sentence from him that came about because he was busy and already thinking of his next patient. But my health (which had stood up well to treatment) took a nose-dive after that and he wasn't even talking about my current condition he was talking about when I had first been diagnosed.

    Also 'scientific' medical procedures are quite brutal - I think people are sometimes surprised at how raw these things can be - in contrast to 'natural' medicine which is all about soothing.

    Its also the reason that people feel like holistic or natural medicines work better because the practitioner usually has time to let the person get it off their chest and relax and take a step back from reality and talk about themselves to some-one who appears to be interested. But we are still so sceptical in the West of any consideration of the mind and body being related and its quite laughable really - there's no cut off point at the neck we are intelligent bodies, not mind + body. They are mutually dependent and so cant be considered very successfully in isolation.
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    for example, how will you show that using the scientific method is the most objective way to treat the illness of a specific person ("John")?
    Get it straight. In medicine it's evidence-based for individuals, not "the scientific method" which applies to things like drug design and testing.

    "John" describes symptoms of various sorts. Doctor takes standard observations of signs. For those who aren't clear on the terminology, symptoms are what the patient feels or observes themselves, itchiness, dizziness, blocked nose, breathlessness and the like, signs are observations that either can't be made by the subject, blood pressure, eye response to stimulus, blood test results, or aren't always noticed or reported by a patient even though they're obvious to a doctor - facial pallor of diabetics, prominent eyes of people with hyperthyroidism and the like.

    This is where science meets professional knowledge and experience. .
    there is an idea that this knowledge and experience is not "evidence-based" unless it is supported by the scientific method, as practiced in connection with the medical industry

    perhaps stated even more clearly:

    the idea that the scientific method--even assuming it is practiced honestly-- is the most objective basis for the practice of physicians

    how has this idea been proven? Is it proven by the scientific method, by "common sense", or by a religious teaching (faith)?
    Last edited by patricius79; June 12th, 2013 at 06:56 AM. Reason: clarity
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    Is this a sock-puppet of "pantoderagon"? Seems to be a similar, uninformed anti-science rant...
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    Hi Strange,

    Would you please answer the last question in my last post? Thanks.
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    Why?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Why?
    I'm trying to understand why people believe that the scientific method--even assuming it is practiced honestly-- is the most objective basis for the practice of physicians
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    the idea that the scientific method--even assuming it is practiced honestly-- is the most objective basis for the practice of physicians
    Yes it is. Just looking at the improvements in surgery outcomes in places where surgeons have been persuaded to use best practice rather than rely entirely on their personal judgment alone.

    And it's not just physicians and hospitals. It turns out that my husband may have been the beneficiary of a new approach to resuscitating heart attack and stroke victims from unconscious. The team tending to my husband on our living room floor were using everything you see on film and television - CPR, defibrillation paddles, adrenaline shots, IV fluids, the whole resuscitation party. That IV fluid might have been chilled. The woman running the research visited my husband's room once he was out of ICU and explained to us that they're investigating whether starting the cooling process (to promote healing / control damage of the brain as well as muscles like the heart) from first contact rather than only when the person is fully set up in an ICU with the refrigerating machine and its large pads.

    The chilled IV units are randomly available within the ambulances so nobody ever knows whether a patient gets the chilled IV except by the feel of it when it's unpacked from the kit.

    Why are they doing it? Because there are anecdotal observations that people suffering such events who are in cold conditions or suffering from hypothermia at the time seem to have better survival rates. So they're doing a random allocation of chilled IV in the ambulances and following up on patient outcomes at various points thereafter. Science in medicine at work. And if the research shows that this procedure doesn't benefit patients? They'll spend their money on other procedures that do show positive benefit for patients.

    the most objective basis for the practice of physicians
    That's why many patients in ICU are attached to pads that lower their temperature (to below 33C) and put into induced comas. Because it's been shown, scientifically, that many more patients suffering from severe conditions recover when this is done.
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    Quote Originally Posted by patricius79 View Post
    I'm trying to understand why people believe that the scientific method--even assuming it is practiced honestly-- is the most objective basis for the practice of physicians
    No you're not. Don't lie. You have already made your mind up. You are just looking for points you can pick on to pretend that science is bad. (We have had almost exactly the same conversation under your previous alias. Weird. You are obviously pretty obsessed about this for some reason. Weird and slightly sad.)

    If you don't think objective, quantitative data is a good basis for making decisions, then what is? "I heard that a friend of someone my grandmother knew cured her hiccups by drinking mulberry juice; I think I'll try that for my lymphoma"?

    I assume that if you are ever ill, you will refuse any of those nasty "anaesthetics" or "antibiotics" created by those so-called "scientists".

    [/dejavu]
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    the idea that the scientific method--even assuming it is practiced honestly-- is the most objective basis for the practice of physicians
    Yes it is. Just looking at the improvements in surgery outcomes in places where surgeons have been persuaded to use best practice rather than rely entirely on their personal judgment alone.

    And it's not just physicians and hospitals. It turns out that my husband may have been the beneficiary of a new approach to resuscitating heart attack and stroke victims from unconscious. The team tending to my husband on our living room floor were using everything you see on film and television - CPR, defibrillation paddles, adrenaline shots, IV fluids, the whole resuscitation party. That IV fluid might have been chilled. The woman running the research visited my husband's room once he was out of ICU and explained to us that they're investigating whether starting the cooling process (to promote healing / control damage of the brain as well as muscles like the heart) from first contact rather than only when the person is fully set up in an ICU with the refrigerating machine and its large pads.

    The chilled IV units are randomly available within the ambulances so nobody ever knows whether a patient gets the chilled IV except by the feel of it when it's unpacked from the kit.

    Why are they doing it? Because there are anecdotal observations that people suffering such events who are in cold conditions or suffering from hypothermia at the time seem to have better survival rates. So they're doing a random allocation of chilled IV in the ambulances and following up on patient outcomes at various points thereafter. Science in medicine at work. And if the research shows that this procedure doesn't benefit patients? They'll spend their money on other procedures that do show positive benefit for patients.

    the most objective basis for the practice of physicians
    That's why many patients in ICU are attached to pads that lower their temperature (to below 33C) and put into induced comas. Because it's been shown, scientifically, that many more patients suffering from severe conditions recover when this is done.
    I think that's great. I think that immediate, life-threatening crisis care is where the medical industry excels.

    And I want to take some time to contemplate why this would show that the reliance on the scientific method--as the basis for the practice of a physician--is the most objective

    It certainly would not show that it is the only objective thing to rely on

    The animus I've seen allowed on this board is interesting.

    From my persective, I am simply trying my pathetic best to separate what is objective from what is superstitious in medicine.

    As well as to separate what is objective from what is based on greed in medicine.
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    From my persective, I am simply trying my pathetic best to separate what is objective from what is superstitious in medicine.
    Superstitious?

    The important thing to remember is that medicine is practised in society, not in a vacuum. So it's not at all surprising that 100 years ago there were people who persisted with 19th century notions like phrenology, or "research" showing that women were less intelligent than men and all kinds of deeply silly or nasty stuff arising from religious convictions. I presume there are still people trying this stuff, but they're much less likely to be published or listened to in respected journals or professional societies.

    But the real purveyors of superstition are the "alternative" therapists. The main superstition being that if it's "natural" then it is automatically good, and good for you. Which is patently untrue.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post

    If you don't think objective, quantitative data is a good basis for making decisions, then what is? "I heard that a friend of someone my grandmother knew cured her hiccups by drinking mulberry juice; I think I'll try that for my lymphoma"?

    I assume that if you are ever ill, you will refuse any of those nasty "anaesthetics" or "antibiotics" created by those so-called "scientists".
    I'm all for clinical testing using the scientific method and using it to develop new, better therapies. However, you've got some interesting examples there.

    Mulberry juice - contains anthocyanins https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12630561

    Anaesthetics - I happen to be allergic to some local anaesthetics and have very found good "non-scientific" ways of minimizing pain. (I have never needed general anaesthesia, so I don't know how I would react to that.)

    Antibiotics - We all know, I hope, the problems that are being caused by overuse of antibiotics. Besides, scientists did not create antibiotics; they discovered how they work. People have been using mould to treat wounds since ancient times.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alec Bing View Post
    Mulberry juice - contains anthocyanins https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12630561
    That was a fruit picked at random. But it doesn't surprise me in the least that a dark coloured berry should contain some useful compounds. Whether eating them has any medical benefit is another question. (One that could be answered by science; not by the sort of superstition the OP is in favour of.)

    Anaesthetics - I happen to be allergic to some local anaesthetics and have very found good "non-scientific" ways of minimizing pain. (I have never needed general anaesthesia, so I don't know how I would react to that.)
    I assume by "non-scientific" you mean they have never been tested and shown to be effective? Fair enough, if it works for you (even if it is just placebo).

    Antibiotics - We all know, I hope, the problems that are being caused by overuse of antibiotics. Besides, scientists did not create antibiotics; they discovered how they work. People have been using mould to treat wounds since ancient times.
    People have been using all sorts of things for millennia. Some of them work and some of them don't. Science can help tell us which are which. And then improve on them.

    And scientists did create most antibiotics in use today.

    And it was scientists who warned (decades ago) about the risks of overuse of antibiotics.
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    From my persective, I am simply trying my pathetic best to separate what is objective from what is superstitious in medicine.
    Superstitious?

    The important thing to remember is that medicine is practised in society, not in a vacuum. So it's not at all surprising that 100 years ago there were people who persisted with 19th century notions like phrenology, or "research" showing that women were less intelligent than men and all kinds of deeply silly or nasty stuff arising from religious convictions. I presume there are still people trying this stuff, but they're much less likely to be published or listened to in respected journals or professional societies.

    But the real purveyors of superstition are the "alternative" therapists. The main superstition being that if it's "natural" then it is automatically good, and good for you. Which is patently untrue.
    Of course.

    But what are the downsides of relying on the scientific method, even assuming it is practiced honestly? Can you see any?

    My biggest thing right now I guess is this: that the idea that the scientific method is always the most objective basis of medicine.

    Some even seem to imply that it is the only objective basis.

    This to me seems like a superstition and a religious idea, and it has not been shown by the scientific method.

    Now, everyone would agree that there are ways of learning without using the scientific method, right?

    We don't do relationships--though they are extremely important and involve the body-- based on the scientific method.

    We don't cook based on the scientific method, and indeed cooking is fundamental to good health and is based on traditional knowledge.

    Clearly Strange believes in intuition, and believes he has intuited that there's no point in answering my question because I'm insincere and think that "science is bad"

    Clearly the ancient forms of medicine must have learned something through experience, though they were not monotheistic and therefore did not develop the scientific method the way Christian culture and Islam did.

    Are we saying that many hundreds of years of practical experimentation with herbs based on observation of signs and a common-sensical theoretical framework of body patterns...

    that it didn't provide much knowledge?

    Also, how many variables are there, say, in treating someone with, say, rheumatoid arthritis?

    And exactly how to we know that Oriental Medicine is not better at addressing all these variables IN A PARTICULAR PERSON, especially, simply based on centuries of accumulated experience, combined with the experienced observations and intuitions of a qualified practitioner who is looking at the whole person?.

    After all, isn't one of the un-scientific assumptions or tendencies of the medical industry to not look at the person as a whole but to practice reductionism, as if man is a machine rather than a unity (person, soul).
    Last edited by patricius79; June 13th, 2013 at 09:55 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by patricius79 View Post
    My biggest thing right now I guess is this: that the idea that the scientific method is always the most objective basis of medicine.
    If it is objective then it is scientific. If it is not objective then it has no value. What other "objective" method are you suggesting?

    This to me seems like a superstition and a religious idea, and it has not been shown by the scientific method.
    So was "Utopian" another of your sock-puppets? Was it frustrating that no one responded to the comments you made under that name?

    We don't cook based on the scientific method
    There is an excellent magazine called Cooks Illustrated that proves you wrong.

    Are we saying that many hundreds of years of practical experimentation with herbs based on observation of signs and a common-sensical theoretical framework of body patterns...

    that it didn't provide much knowledge?
    As I said before, some of those traditional remedies work when tested objectively and some don't. You seem to think that just because some old-wives take has been around a long time, it must be good. Some are positively harmful. You need objective evidence to determine which are good and which are bad.

    How would you go about gathering objective evidence to know whether a particular treatment was appropriate (whether for an individual or a group)? (You are very keen on asking questions, not so good on answering, it seems.)
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    We don't cook based on the scientific method, and indeed cooking is fundamental to good health and is based on traditional knowledge.
    You're joking. Cooking may well be the oldest example of empiricism - because it relies entirely on experience and evidence. You can't theorise or "logic" your way into proving that bread is risen or potatoes are cooked on the basis that it "ought" to be because .... reasons. Everyone can see for themselves whether your process has or hasn't worked.
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    I think we need to clarify what is meant by scientific method here. Traditional medicine is often based on empiricism. You put mouldy bread on a wound; patient doesn't die. You tell your friends who also treat wounds, and you all tell your children. Method works for them, too. That is empiricism.


    That does not involve the use of double blind studies with controls. There is no testing for placebo effect. That is what I think of when I think of scientific method.

    Yes, there are traditional treatments that are dangerous. There have also been scientific medical treatments that have been dangerous. Thalidomide is a great example. There is a whole industry of lawyers making money from people suing because they were harmed by scientific medicine.

    In general, however, people are not stupid. The human race managed to avoid becoming extinct for a very long time before modern science. If a method proves to be harmful, people are not going to use it again. If you ask someone to help you with a medical problem, they give you something, and it makes you sicker, are you going to go back to them? Probably not. If you are providing a service, medical care (traditional or scientific) or any other service, you need to maintain as good a reputation as possible because your livelihood is at stake. If you are treating people who you feel close to emtionally, neighbours, friends, family members, etc., you are probably not going to want to do anything that harms them because you are probably a decent human being. If you make a mistake, you will try to learn from it and not make the same mistake twice.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alec Bing View Post
    If you are treating people who you feel close to emtionally, neighbours, friends, family members, etc., you are probably not going to want to do anything that harms them because you are probably a decent human being.
    True. But on the other hand, you are likely to try anything, even if there is no definite evidence it does any good.

    There is a distinction between something that obviously does (immediate) harm, something which is ineffective, and something which works. And, I suppose, something which may or may not work but does harm over a long period so that it is not obvious what the cause is.

    Folk medicine might be good at identifying and ruling out the first but is not, I suspect, terribly good at distinguishing the other cases. People are very prone to see patterns where none exists (see also: pareidolia) and confirmation bias.

    If someone notices that waving a dead chicken causes a cold to go away after a week, they may tell other people. And soon everyone in the community is waving chickens when they get a cold, and remarking on how it makes the cold go in a week. A more rigorous approach (carefully avoiding the word "science") would show that the cold goes in 7 days anyway.

    My guess is that folk knowledge about poisonous fungi and plants is much more reliable than that about healing herbs. (But of course, we would need a scientific study to know for sure. )
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by patricius79 View Post
    My biggest thing right now I guess is this: that the idea that the scientific method is always the most objective basis of medicine.
    If it is objective then it is scientific. If it is not objective then it has no value. What other "objective" method are you suggesting?

    This to me seems like a superstition and a religious idea, and it has not been shown by the scientific method.
    So was "Utopian" another of your sock-puppets? Was it frustrating that no one responded to the comments you made under that name?

    We don't cook based on the scientific method
    There is an excellent magazine called Cooks Illustrated that proves you wrong.

    Are we saying that many hundreds of years of practical experimentation with herbs based on observation of signs and a common-sensical theoretical framework of body patterns...

    that it didn't provide much knowledge?
    As I said before, some of those traditional remedies work when tested objectively and some don't. You seem to think that just because some old-wives take has been around a long time, it must be good. Some are positively harmful. You need objective evidence to determine which are good and which are bad.

    How would you go about gathering objective evidence to know whether a particular treatment was appropriate (whether for an individual or a group)? (You are very keen on asking questions, not so good on answering, it seems.)
    Okay, so this is by BIG question:

    You state: "If it is objective then it is scientific." How do you know that? Could you refer me to a scientific study which proves that?

    If not, then how exactly do you know? Are you saying that we can't know anything unless it appears to be proven by science?

    Adelady stated that naturopathy is not evidence-based. Has this been shown by the scientific method? If not, then how does she know? Is it by intuition or some other means?

    Or is this a form of pseudo-scientific fundamentalism?

    As far as cooking... the practice of cooking/diet is the same as the basic of traditional chinese herbalism. They don't do studies on the population as a whole and how they respond to, say, ginseng or rice. But they gain practical experience of how particular persons and types of people react to these foods.

    Now how would I gather evidence? I would use a combination study of traditional practice and the scientific method regarding what we know about particular substances such as vitamins, minerals, herbs, and drugs.

    With an awareness that drug studies--at least--are often not honest science, and that treatments like antibiotics can do profound damage.

    Above all my reasoning, I would pray.
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    Quote Originally Posted by patricius79 View Post
    Okay, so this is by BIG question:

    [U]You state: "If it is objective then it is scientific." How do you know that?
    Because that is what the word means. Duh.

    And you wonder why I think there is no point answering your questions...
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    Quote Originally Posted by patricius79 View Post
    Adelady stated that naturopathy is not evidence-based. Has this been shown by the scientific method? If not, then how does she know? Is it by intuition or some other means?
    Don't be ridiculous.

    Above all my reasoning, I would pray.
    Another non-scientific method.
    (In fact a "method" already shown to be worthless).
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    Pat, I'm troubled by the way you use "objective", as in,
    My biggest thing right now I guess is this: that the idea that the scientific method is always the most objective basis of medicine.
    I don't know that anyone is claiming that. I'm not even sure what it means. The scientific method is the most effective basis of medicine. Medicine that is based on science demonstratably works better than medical treatment that is not based on science. That has been proved up, down and sideways. This is not to say that there is not a place for "alternative medical" treatments. I have used them in my own practice. However that place is not when you are seeking a cure for a physically based illness. "Altenative medicine" is basicly hypnosis. It masks pain and makes the patient feel better, but not be better. If you have an inoperable cancer that your doctor has given up on, then by all means try traditional chinese medicine, or theaputic touch or crystal therapy or aroma therapy or shamanic healing etc ... ditto if you have a psychiatric condition that is not completely dealt with by medication. These hypnotic techniques can be very effective in the treament , but not the diagnosis, of psych problems.
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    practical experience of how particular persons and types of people react to these foods.
    What on earth are "types of people"? This isn't about yin &yang and balancing "flows" of energy. Surely. (I might regret asking this, I fear.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by patricius79 View Post
    well, there seems to be so much passion and assumption-making going on here which has nothing to do with science
    This is absolutely true. Several members posting here have arrived at conclusions as to your motives - unflattering conclusions. Others have been dismissive of your questions or observations. They have done this without providing supporting evidence. Emotional responses have been implicit and at times explicit. Hardly the hallmark of science.

    But there is a reason for that. There are some things that, to a critically minded, scientifically trained individual who consistently tries to remain objective, seem just too bloody obvious to need a slew of peer reviewed papers to justify. If a member were to ask "Do we really know for sure that the Earth is round?" other members would likely respond with a few simple examples to explain how we know that. If the member responded by equating the evidence for a round Earth with that for a flat Earth the other respondents would quickly become frustrated and dismissive. That is what has happened here: it's not very scientific, it is very human, and it had nothing to do with the fact that medical science is reasonably scientific, with some shortcomings that practically everyone has been up front about pointing out.

    Quote Originally Posted by patricius79 View Post
    name calling without responding to one's argument, for example, is sometimes a sign of a subjective position
    And it is also, as I have just noted, a sign of frustration with someone who is being illogical, just plain silly, or had entered the discussion with a hidden agenda.


    Quote Originally Posted by patricius79 View Post
    for example, how will you show that using the scientific method is the most objective way to treat the illness of a specific person ("John")?
    It works. Millions are alive today and enjoying healthier lives because of the application of modern medicine with techniques and drugs that have been tested by that method.
    Last edited by John Galt; June 16th, 2013 at 07:30 AM. Reason: Correct even more typos.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    Pantodragon/patricious/Precious Parts II. If they're not the same person their posting styles are remarkably similar. No one can be this dishonest/stupid and not be a deliberate troll. Ban the lot of 'em I say...
    If you have a problem with another member of the forum, please report it to a moderator. Open hostility is not encouraged.
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    I presume you meant rein it in, as in reducing its intensity, rather than reign it in, as in "I'm going to be King and order immediate executions".
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    I appreciated the distinction made above between the scientific method and empiricism--for example, in cooking and diet. On another matter, I think people are frustrated because they can't respond to my questions based on science. In other words, I'm questioning their extra-scientific belief systems, and this makes them uncomfortable, which then gets translated into un-scientific and unsubstantiated assertions about "silliness", "illogic", or "hidden agendas", etc. Since I'm not really getting clear answers to my other questions, let me ask these two: 1) what are the really weak points of "science-based" medicine? 2) it's been acknowledged that some things are just "obvious" and don't need to be shown by the scientific method. So here's question number 2: what are some other ways of having certainty apart from relying on scientists? And question number 3) roughly what percentage of variables are controlled in a scientific study?
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    That's an interesting post.

    Honestly, if it wasn't for the seeming promotion of alternate medicine, the question is an interesting one.

    Because Medicine IS scientific even if we don't know a great deal yet since western medicine is still in its infancy.

    You are treating "scientific" as if that means "knowledgeable."
    It is not the same. Scientific methodology is what makes it scientific, not what we know, currently.
    But what makes it interesting is the Public Pressure for results.
    RESULTS NOW!
    This means that trial and error on medicines which are not really known as to how they work, they just do, get pushed out there. For example; Keppra.
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    roughly what percentage of variables are controlled in a scientific study?
    Percentage? Studies specify which variables they're testing for and they select their control groups/ medications/ therapies accordingly. There are a couple of problems.

    1. Children. It's very, very hard to run studies affecting children because getting ethical approval is so difficult.
    2. History. We're gradually getting rid of the remnants and relics of studies that were done in the past using restricted groups and prescribing drugs and other treatments on that basis - the prime example being a lot of drugs tested only on men which had different effects on (or needed different dosages for) women.
    3. Non-publication of negative results. There are new publications and processes now coming on stream where studies have not succeeded in terms of the original proposal. One of the main reasons for wanting this stuff published is to save other researchers time and effort by avoiding the pitfalls of earlier research and providing guidance for further, better research.

    A lot of these problems are being resolved as new treatments and medications replace the old.

    But the whole object of science is to find out more, do better.
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    3. Non-publication of negative results. There are new publications and processes now coming on stream where studies have not succeeded in terms of the original proposal. One of the main reasons for wanting this stuff published is to save other researchers time and effort by avoiding the pitfalls of earlier research and providing guidance for further, better research.
    Repeating for emphasis.
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    practical experience of how particular persons and types of people react to these foods.
    What on earth are "types of people"? This isn't about yin &yang and balancing "flows" of energy. Surely. (I might regret asking this, I fear.)
    In traditional medicine, common sense and experience were used to observe various patterns of illness. For example, it was noted that certain types of people tend to be more nervous, quick-witted, passionate, and changeable. They tended to have nervous system disorders, more problems with digestion and have constipation, and have symptoms relating to dehydration or not enough oils in their bodies. It's also been noticed in nature that certain animals emphasize evolution toward nervous system development. For example rodents. While other animals emphasize digestion and calm: for example cows.
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    I was right to fear. This response was the sort of thing I had in mind.

    I really don't know what I could say.
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    Quote Originally Posted by patricius79 View Post
    In traditional medicine, common sense and experience were used to observe various patterns of illness.
    And detailed analysis of objective data has shown that "common sense and experience" are frequently wrong.
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    Quote Originally Posted by patricius79 View Post
    On another matter, I think people are frustrated because they can't respond to my questions based on science.
    Your questions have been answered very clearly. You seem unwilling and/or unable to understand.

    In other words, I'm questioning their extra-scientific belief systems, and this makes them uncomfortable, which then gets translated into un-scientific and unsubstantiated assertions about "silliness", "illogic", or "hidden agendas", etc.
    a) You are not questioning people's belief systems.

    b) The belief that you are making people uncomfortable is a common delusion among those supporting cranky ideas. I guess it boosts their ego the think they are "scaring" people with their "deep insights". If only.

    So here's question number 2: what are some other ways of having certainty apart from relying on scientists?
    I wouldn't rely on scientists, they are frequently wrong. I would rely on science; it gets good answers in the long run (better answers than other arbitrary methods. We know this because it works; it produces useful results).
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    Four new members lately- all claiming that Science is A New Belief System.

    I wonder what is with the sudden influx?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neverfly View Post
    Four new members lately- all claiming that Science is A New Belief System.

    I wonder what is with the sudden influx?
    I believe science is responsible for the current standard of living I enjoy. So yes I believe in science.
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    I noticed that one of the posts began with "I believe". I think that is quite to the point. As far as the claim that I claimed science itself is a belief system, or that science is "bad": these claims have not been substantiated. I have not claimed either of these. Rather, I believe that honest science does produce results. Things like angioplasty and statins apparently have no scientific basis. But I trauma care--as was mentioned above--I think is very impressive. However, the idea that the scientific method is the best way of knowing, or the only way of knowing, or the most certain way of knowing--none of these are scientific ideas. Likewise the idea of doing science based on statistics, although the variables between people are so vast. These are all are BELIEFS ABOUT science. Again I ask: what are some other ways of being certain besides the scientific method? Do you believe that the scientific method is the only way of knowing. You must not, since, for example, it has been claimed that traditional medicine is a fake or less effective in general. Yet nobody substantiated this with science. Of course, an excellent traditional practitioner--say, an Oriental M.D.--may be very wrong in a particular case. Likewise with Western M.D.s, especially as--as was noted--Western medicine is still very new and, for example, iatrogenic causes of death common.
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    Quote Originally Posted by patricius79 View Post
    IHowever, the idea that the scientific method is the best way of knowing, or the only way of knowing, or the most certain way of knowing--none of these are scientific ideas. They are beliefs ABOUT science.
    Correct. (Duh.) Although they are not entirely unsupported beliefs (unlike, say, homeopathy) because, as you say, science works.

    Again I ask: what are some other ways of being certain besides the scientific method.
    As you are the one who seems to think there is, or needs to be, an alternative, why don't you suggest a good alternative to the use of objective data.

    You must not, since, for example, it has been claimed that traditional medicine is a fake.
    Has it? Where?
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    Quote Originally Posted by patricius79 View Post
    However, the idea that the scientific method is the best way of knowing, or the only way of knowing, or the most certain way of knowing--none of these are scientific ideas. Likewise the idea of doing science based on statistics, although the variables between people are so vast. These are all are BELIEFS ABOUT science.
    Yet you go on:
    Again I ask: what are some other ways of being certain besides the scientific method?
    If there are no other methods of knowing then, by default, science is the best way.
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    Again I ask: what are some other ways of being certain besides the scientific method?
    You want certainty? Well, my granny was absolutely certain that the best treatment for sunburn, with blisters already showing, was a long soak in an extremely hot bath. And my other grandmother was equally certain that any and every skin complaint would best be treated with either butter or a foul-smelling ointment - or both.*

    Certainty is what you get when you believe - rather than taking the best available advice and working out the likely chances of success for various treatments. Science doesn't work on "certainty", it works on evidence and balance of probabilities.

    *I call these approaches to health problems the peasant approach. The only things that will do any good should hurt worse than the initial problem or smell revolting or taste disgusting - if you can get two or more such horriblenesses at once, all the better. Hence the popularity of poultices that both stink and are hot enough to risk burning the skin.
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    It was conceded that the idea that the scientific method is the best way of knowing is a belief rather than science. I guess my biggest question here is: is anyone saying that there is no objective or efficacious knowledge apart from the scientific method, even assuming it is practiced without financial or other subjective interest? Incidentally, I don't trust homeopathy, which doesn't appear to be a traditional medicine. As far as traditional medicine being more painful or "revolting" or less efficacious in general, what EXACTLY are you basing that on? It seems like it's at about this point that rhetoric rather than science takes over.
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    [QUOTE=adelady;433193]

    *I call these approaches to health problems the peasant approach. The only things that will do any good should hurt worse than the initial problem or smell revolting or taste disgusting - if you can get two or more such horriblenesses at once, all the better. Hence the popularity of poultices that both stink and are hot enough to risk burning the skin.
    Or maybe we're not used to them but are used to other questionable items connected with the medical profession? Let me get a little practical here. The rounds of antibiotics I was given for acne seriously messed up my guts. Enough said, right? This probably led to other serious problems, given the important of gut ecosystems even as acknowledged by the medical profession--for example, the recent promotion of fecal transplants even in medicine to fix what is often broken through the current system. Now look, I think medicine also probably saved my son's life when he had RSV. I think that traditional medicine could have also, but that doesn't change what I said. Right now, I appear to be improving with my long-time health problems though the use of B6 and Zinc and Manganese, which I never would have intentionally used for my condition were it not for the advice of a really smart herbalist I know. The lab-test for this condition was done through my local medical clinic under my doctor who seems to have similar beliefs to most of the people here. Now, what should I say: despite the strong lab results and other evidence I shouldn't take b6 and zinc since this disorder is not mainstream, although it appears to be common? Likewise, I don't know too much about poultices, but I would recommend triphala and other safe herbal formulas to anyone with constipation, poor digestion, poor immunity, etc. It's much safer than what the doctor will give and it's loaded with antioxidants.
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    Quote Originally Posted by patricius79 View Post
    It was conceded that the idea that the scientific method is the best way of knowing is a belief rather than science.
    By whom?

    I guess my biggest question here is: is anyone saying that there is no objective or efficacious knowledge apart from the scientific method, even assuming it is practiced without financial or other subjective interest?
    One more time:
    You: Again I ask: what are some other ways of being certain besides the scientific method?
    Me: If there are no other methods of knowing then, by default, science is the best way.

    Can YOU name an "objective and efficacious" method of obtaining knowledge other than science?
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    Are you acknowledging that you belief that science is the only way of really knowing or practicing medicine? Strange acknowledged that the idea that the scientific method is the best way of knowing to be a BELIEF ABOUT science rather than science. But if you'd like to show otherwise, please do. As to other objective and efficacious ways, I thought I was clear that I think traditional systems like Chinese Herbalism--though sometimes tainted by greed and pride like Western Medicine, which isn't as motivated to study what can't be patented--are objective and efficacious.
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    Quote Originally Posted by patricius79 View Post
    Are you acknowledging that you belief that science is the only way of really knowing or practicing medicine?
    Not at all.
    I'm saying that, so far, there is no other way (than science) to actually know and practice medicine.

    Strange acknowledged that the idea that the scientific method is the best way of knowing to be a BELIEF ABOUT science rather than science.
    And Strange speaks for everyone? I doubt he'll claim to do so. (And you seem to have ignored his qualifier - it's a justified belief, not an empty one).

    As to other objective and efficacious ways, I thought I was clear that I think traditional systems like Chinese Herbalism--though sometimes tainted by greed and pride like Western Medicine, which isn't as motivated to study what can't be patented--are objective and efficacious.
    And also contain large elements of pure nonsense.
    As for "efficacious" - Regarding Traditional Chinese herbal therapy, only a few trials of adequate methodology exist and its effectiveness therefore remains poorly documented.
    And "objective"? Hardly. Much of it appears to be based on superstition and unverified claims. How is anything that suffers from generally low methodological quality classed as "objective"?
    Last edited by Dywyddyr; June 22nd, 2013 at 01:51 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    Again I ask: what are some other ways of being certain besides the scientific method?
    You want certainty? Well, my granny was absolutely certain that the best treatment for sunburn, with blisters already showing, was a long soak in an extremely hot bath. And my other grandmother was equally certain that any and every skin complaint would best be treated with either butter or a foul-smelling ointment - or both.*
    .
    I've noticed that you've used anecdotes on a number of occasions, which is very good and human. Could you explain exactly how you know that your grandmother's treatments did not work on herself?
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    Quote Originally Posted by patricius79 View Post
    It was conceded that the idea that the scientific method is the best way of knowing is a belief rather than science.
    But it is a belief supported by evidence. It is not blind faith.

    I guess my biggest question here is: is anyone saying that there is no objective or efficacious knowledge apart from the scientific method, even assuming it is practiced without financial or other subjective interest?
    If it is objective then it is scientific.

    AGAIN: what alternative are you proposing?
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    Could you explain exactly how you know that your grandmother's treatments did not work on herself?
    Define "work".

    People with that mindset think that 'bringing the blisters up quicker' when dealing with burns is a good thing. So she'd think that more blisters, more skin peeling off, was a sign that her approach "worked". Whereas anyone who knows anything about burns knows that the prime objective of any treatment is to limit the amount of damage - in which case applying heat to a burn is absolutely the worst thing you could possibly do, it does more damage and prevents healing. The modern treatment for burns is to cool the area as much as possible, as soon as possible, and never, ever, ever, apply fats or oils such as butter.

    Same thing for smoking. I remember being quite taken aback by someone telling me that a smoker who coughed a lot in the mornings was "getting rid of" the gunk in their system. Therefore, someone who did that was obviously better off than other smokers who didn't have severe regular coughing fits.

    The mindset that if it feels bad it must be doing you good is very hard to shake.
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    In a world where competition is a basic characteristic you cannot expect to find seriousness and sense of responsibility. Medicine simply follows the invisible (but obvious) selfish rules of our commercial world.

    Scientists face a fierce competition, like everyone else.


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    I disagree. I work in a commercial environment, where we have many competitors. I have a strong sense of responsibility to outperform those competitors, to the benefit of my clients, my company, my colleagues and myself. Ultimately this also beenfits society at large. Even if I am employing enlightened self interest as the motivation for my actions, that does not prevent them from benefiting the recipients. In fact for me to suceed I need for clients, colleagues and even competitors, to succeed.
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    I disagree. I work in a commercial environment, where we have many competitors. I have a strong sense of responsibility to outperform those competitors, to the benefit of my clients, my company, my colleagues and myself. Ultimately this also beenfits society at large. Even if I am employing enlightened self interest as the motivation for my actions, that does not prevent them from benefiting the recipients. In fact for me to suceed I need for clients, colleagues and even competitors, to succeed.
    Perhaps you are an exception, but the truth is that competition usually leads someone to dishonesty.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sponias View Post
    Perhaps you are an exception, but the truth is that competition usually leads someone to dishonesty.[/COLOR][/FONT]
    Maybe. But if so, maybe they are the exceptions rather than the overwhelming majority of honest people and organizations.
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    I still haven't been given any scientific evidence that the scientific method is the best way of knowing or practicing medicine, or that if something is objective than it is scientific, or that the scientific method is superior to a combination of tradition, other ways of reasoning, or faith as a way of living one's life; or that our preference for conventional medicine to the exclusion of traditional medicine is based on much more than trust in big industry. Could someone explain Stange's phrase of "a belief supported by evidence"? That sounds like exactly what Catholics would say about their faith in Jesus Christ, or what anyone would say about their belief system. I'm not saying Catholics are wrong. I am saying that this is clearly similar to the language of the Church. And I think many posts have been without scientific evidence, but simply fundamentalistic cries of "heresy!" basically. As for the idea that the dishonest doctors and scientists are the "exception": this against is trust, sort of like people's trust in the Magisterium of the Church or the tradition of Ayurvedic medicine. In the case of Adelady's grandmother, I don't know of a traditional medicine system--such as Ayurveda or Chinese Medicine--that used her approach. As far as harm goes, there are quite a few adverse and seriously damaging results with conventional medical treatments. Although often they aren't really tested for scientifically as long as manufacturers can avoid the connection of their product with health problems. I don't know, though, of any scientific evidence that shows that Chinese Medicine, for example, is generally less effective or less safe than the medical profession. For chronic or preventative issues, I think I'm much safer in going to a Naturopath, also, than to an MD, which is likely to prescribe something with serious, lasting side effects. (For example, the rounds of antibiotics I was given for acne, which I think could be treated much more easily with herbs like dandelion, sugar elimination, and similar. Of course, there's no money in these treatments).
    Last edited by patricius79; June 23rd, 2013 at 06:09 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by patricius79 View Post
    I still haven't been given any scientific evidence that the scientific method is the best way of knowing or practicing medicine, or that if something is objective than it is scientific, or that the scientific method is superior to a combination of tradition, other ways of reasoning, or faith as a way of living one's life; or that our preference for conventional medicine to the exclusion of traditional medicine is based on much more than trust in big industry. Could someone explain Stange's phrase of "a belief supported by evidence"? That sounds like exactly what Catholics would say about their faith in Jesus Christ, or what anyone would say about their belief system. I'm not saying Catholics are wrong. I am saying that this is clearly similar to the language of the Church. And I think many posts have been without scientific evidence, but simply fundamentalistic cries of "heresy!" basically. As for the idea that the dishonest doctors and scientists are the "exception": this against is trust, sort of like people's trust in the Magisterium of the Church or the tradition of Ayurvedic medicine. In the case of Adelady's grandmother, I don't know of a traditional medicine system--such as Ayurveda or Chinese Medicine--that used her approach. As far as harm goes, there are quite a few adverse and seriously damaging results with conventional medical treatments. Although often they aren't really tested for scientifically as long as manufacturers can avoid the connection of their product with health problems. I don't know, though, of any scientific evidence that shows that Chinese Medicine, for example, is generally less effective or less safe than the medical profession. For chronic or preventative issues, I think I'm much safer in going to a Naturopath, also, than to an MD, which is likely to prescribe something with serious, lasting side effects. (For example, the rounds of antibiotics I was given for acne, which I think could be treated much more easily with herbs like dandelion, sugar elimination, and similar. Of course, there's no money in these treatments).
    You have a particularly ridiculous and dishonest way of phrasing things.
    Once again: what other methods, if any, provide the knowledge that science gives us?
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    Quote Originally Posted by patricius79 View Post
    I still haven't been given any scientific evidence that the scientific method ... blah blah blah ...
    Because the method works. Jesus H Christ. How hard is that for you to understand. When we make objective (i.e. "scientific") measurements, we find that tradition, common sense, etc. are unreliable. By using this objective data to rule out the methods that don't do any good (or may do harm) we are left with the ones that do.

    As someone said: do you know what we call traditional/alternative medicine that works? Medicine.

    But we need some way, a "method" if you like, to separate the ideas that do work from those that don't. This method should probably rely on objective, measurable data, don't you think?

    AGAIN: how would YOU suggest we do that? If you don't have an alternative method then the scientific method, being the only one left, is by definition the best.

    Could someone explain Stange's phrase of "a belief supported by evidence"?
    I could, but you have made it absolutely clear that you have made your mind up already. Your repeated claims of "I'm just asking" and "no one has answered" shown you to be grossly dishonest.

    But, because one of us believes in rational debate:

    a) It was to counter your attempt to use "belief" to diminish the fact that the scientific method works.

    b) The evidence that makes us believe the scientific method is a good way of gaining knowledge is that ... (ready for this?) ... IT WORKS.

    For example, the rounds of antibiotics I was given for acne, which I think could be treated much more easily with herbs like dandelion, sugar elimination, and similar.
    So why didn't you refuse the antibiotics and use herbal remedies?

    And what is your basis for thinking that those alternatives would work just as well? Is there any objective, measurable evidence? Or is it just a belief? (An unsupported one, at that.)

    Of course, there's no money in these treatments.
    Riiiight. So all those big manufacturers and chains of shops selling herbal remedies and alternative treatments are doing it out of the goodness of their hearts? Not because it is easy to dupe gullible fools by using buzzwords like "natural" to sell any old rubbish that might or might not work.
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    Yeah... Translation of that post:

    "You haven't given scientific evidence that the scientific method works.
    So any ol' mumbo jumbo should be just as good."

    How does one give scientific evidence that the scientific method works?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neverfly View Post
    How does one give scientific evidence that the scientific method works?
    You would have to use .... the scientific method.
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    Quote Originally Posted by patricius79 View Post
    I still haven't been given any scientific evidence that the scientific method is the best way of knowing or practicing medicine, or that if something is objective than it is scientific, or that the scientific method is superior to a combination of tradition, other ways of reasoning, or faith as a way of living one's life; or that our preference for conventional medicine to the exclusion of traditional medicine is based on much more than trust in big industry.
    Perhaps its the way your question or request is phrased. "Scientific evidence" is empirical evidence derived through the application of the scientific method which is a methodology/technique used in investigating natural phenomena. The reason or rationale of why the scientific method is favored is because it yields testable results of the (in)efficacy of specific compounds possibly found in traditional herbs for modern medicinal applications; as opposed to perhaps the less scrutinizing methods of testing medicinal properties of traditional remedies such as herbal medicines.

    Based on what I know, medical diagnosis is the first step and an accurate one is crucial before any treatment and/or medication are prescribed to patients. Traditional remedies/treatments/medicines are often prescribed to treat symptoms since they usually lack the wealth of medical knowledge of modern medicine; which is to be expected since throughout history - medicine is constantly being refined through time as more studies are conducted to determine which ancient/traditional remedies really work and which do not.

    With the application of the scientific method, researchers are able to isolate compounds within medicinal herbs that may be both useful and beneficial to our general health if successfully synthesized. One other reason why modern medicine is preferred over traditional medicine is usually because of the level of scrutiny and testing the former usually undergoes over the latter.
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    Quote Originally Posted by patricius79 View Post
    I still haven't been given any scientific evidence that the scientific method is the best way of knowing or practicing medicine
    And you still haven't provided an alternative method. You'd think with all your walls of texts of blabbering you could provide something of substance. Amazing!
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    I don't know, though, of any scientific evidence that shows that Chinese Medicine, for example, is generally less effective or less safe than the medical profession.
    I presume you include acupuncture in your "Chinese Medicine" classification. Start here. acupuncture – Search Results – Respectful Insolence

    In the case of Adelady's grandmother, I don't know of a traditional medicine system--such as Ayurveda or Chinese Medicine--that used her approach.
    You're wrong about that. Ever hear the expression "hair of the dog that bit you"? It's commonly used nowadays to refer to hangover "cures" that include alcohol. In fact, it's a very common feature among traditional and other non-scientific approaches to health. Homeopathy being the classic example of the concept (fallacy) that 'like cures like' - even if the preparations weren't just water/sugar/alcohol, they'd still be completely wrong-headed.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    You have a particularly ridiculous and dishonest way of phrasing things
    Could you please show that using the scientific method or other means which you could define for us?
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    Quote Originally Posted by patricius79 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    You have a particularly ridiculous and dishonest way of phrasing things
    Could you please show that using the scientific method or other means which you could define for us?

    I think you prefer magic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by patricius79 View Post
    Could you please show that using the scientific method or other means which you could define for us?
    Well we could count the number of times your question has been answered followed by you claiming that it hasn't. That would give us some objective data about the level of your dishonesty.

    We could take into account your lies about "just asking question". And your multiple sock-puppets.

    All of which provides strong evidence of your dishonesty.

    Your repeated request (under multiple aliases) for the value of the scientific method to be demonstrated using the scientific method is an example of how ridiculous your posts are.

    Happy now?

    OK. Over to you. Time for another post saying, "no one has been able to answer my perfectly innocent question, which isn't born out of ignorance and anti-science bias at all - it just looks that way ..."
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    Quote Originally Posted by patricius79 View Post
    As far as harm goes, there are quite a few adverse and seriously damaging results with conventional medical treatments.
    alternative medicine also has side effects - ask Steve Jobs, he tried to combat his pancreatic cancer using diet and alternative medicine first
    the side effect was that when he changed his mind and went for the conventional route of radio + chemotherapy, the cancer had already spread to far to save him

    in short, the side effects of alternative medicine can be lethal
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by patricius79 View Post
    Could you please show that using the scientific method or other means which you could define for us?
    Well we could count the number of times your question has been answered followed by you claiming that it hasn't.
    Could you explain how you know that? Is this the scientific method or some other way of knowing which you could define for us? Could you also give your best example of where I have been answered scientifically or based on some other objective way of knowing? Incidentally, I have never signed up here under "Pentodragon" or "Pantodragon" or whatever. It's possible that I've been here before, but I'm not sure that I have.
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by patricius79 View Post
    As far as harm goes, there are quite a few adverse and seriously damaging results with conventional medical treatments.
    alternative medicine also has side effects - ask Steve Jobs, he tried to combat his pancreatic cancer using diet and alternative medicine first
    the side effect was that when he changed his mind and went for the conventional route of radio + chemotherapy, the cancer had already spread to far to save him

    in short, the side effects of alternative medicine can be lethal
    Cancer is lethal. And Chemotherapy is very harmful. It doesn't have very good success ratios, unless perhaps one is thinking of staying alive for enough months to reconcile with family and put greater trust in God. According to a study I read at PubMed I believe, only about 2.3% of people treating with chemo live more than 5 years. But yes, it's true that both traditional medical science and modern medical science can have serious side effects. But I think that Ayurveda and TCM are much less likely to do what antibiotics did to me, for example, or the terrible things that statins routinely do to people with little efficacy as to positive results, and when there are much better options like guggul, arjuna bark, triphala, cutting out sugar, exercise.
    Last edited by patricius79; June 25th, 2013 at 05:35 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    I don't know, though, of any scientific evidence that shows that Chinese Medicine, for example, is generally less effective or less safe than the medical profession.
    I presume you include acupuncture in your "Chinese Medicine" classification. Start here. acupuncture – Search Results – Respectful Insolence

    .
    I found a lot of emotion in this article but no science as of yet. If you could refer me to your best scientific study against acupuncture, that would be great. Also, do you believe that there is any scientific evidence for, say, angioplasty, or statins? My uncle is not an alternative sort of guy. He's very practical and works in the ER. He had a serious back problem which he thought could end his career. I don't know why but he went to an acupuncturist, who easily alleviated his problem. I also still think that we're dancing around the fact that one can't possibly know if they are controlling for all the relevant variables, including as to side effects. Likewise, the idea of doing medicine on a particular person "based on" statistics is not a scientific idea. So in many ways science seems based on this supernatural HOPE that "some day we'll have amassed so much data that things will pan out"
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    Not only is the guy an ignorant troll but his phraseology reminds me of an Asperger's sufferer.
    "[Dywyddyr] makes a grumpy bastard like me seem like a happy go lucky scamp" - PhDemon
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  92. #91  
    Administrator KALSTER's Avatar
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    Pseudo
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
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  93. #92  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by patricius79 View Post
    Could you explain how you know that? Is this the scientific method or some other way of knowing which you could define for us?
    Perhaps you need to be a little clearer about what confuses you.

    Is it that you are ignorant of the nature of the scientific method? Is it that you don't know what the word "objective" means? Do you need things explained using shorter words and sentences?

    I really struggle to see how your questions have not been answered.

    Originally, it was "is medicine scientific". It was explained that it obviously is because it uses objective data, rigorous experiments with controls, double-blind designs, etc. There are the obvious caveats to do with complexity, human fallibility, financial interests (on many different sides, not just "big pharma"), publication bias, etc.

    Even with those weaknesses it is easily shown to be a more reliable method than "traditional medicine". This is because the scientific approach to medicine rejects techniques that are shown to have no benefit or to cause more harm than good. "Traditional medicine" does not do this. How do we know this? Because when we look at it objectively (i.e. using data on how successful different treatments are) we find that some "traditional medicine" techniques do work (sometimes very well) but most do not. Therefore using "traditional medicine" runs the risk of doing something which may do no good at all or may be positively harmful.

    Obviously there are risks with all treatments. The difference is that by using science we can know what those risks are and balance them against the possible benefits. We cannot do this with "traditional medicine" as it is just assumed to work and assumed to be safe because it is "natural".

    You then went on to ask the question about testing the scientific method using the scientific method. To do this requires an alternative to compare against. We have already seen that it wins against "traditional medicine". Is there another alternative? Rolling dice? Reading tea leaves? Do you think these will do better?

    AGAIN: WHAT DO YOU SUGGEST AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO SCIENCE?

    If you are unable to answer this, then science is the best method as it beats every other method it has been compared to.

    Does that answer your questions? If not please explain clearly what it is you are unable to understand and I will try and put it into simpler language for you.

    But I expect you to simply say something like, "why is no one able to answer my simple question?"

    The possible answer to that is because you have a closed mind; you have already made your mind up and no explanation or data will change it.

    Please, please prove me wrong.
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  94. #93  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by patricius79 View Post
    Cancer is lethal.
    Not always. And nowhere near as much as it used to be. Many cancers which could not be treated a few decades ago can now be cured.

    And Chemotherapy is very harmful.
    It can have unpleasant side-effects. But again not always and not as much as in the past. In some cases it may only give people a few more months or years of life. In that cases, it is their decision as to whether to accept the treatment or not. (Wilko Johnson was diagnosed with terminal cancer and has decided not to have any treatment). But is many cases chemotherapy can be an effective cure.

    But I think that Ayurveda and TCM are much less likely to do what antibiotics did to me
    That is because they would do nothing (for what antibiotics did).

    when there are much better options like guggul, arjuna bark, triphala, cutting out sugar, exercise.
    How do you know these are better? As you reject science (and therefore data) it is impossible for you to know this. In fact, if you reject all data and evidence it is pretty much impossible for you to know anything. Which would explain a lot.
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    I don't know, though, of any scientific evidence that shows that Chinese Medicine, for example, is generally less effective or less safe than the medical profession.
    I presume you include acupuncture in your "Chinese Medicine" classification. Start here. acupuncture – Search Results – Respectful Insolence

    .
    A few other thoughts on this article, Adelady. What it says about "methodolatry" is clearly religious language. It is saying that people are idolatrizing the double-blind study at the expense of "basic science". Now first, the idea that one has to understand precisely HOW a treatment works to know that it works, is an assumption, not the scientific method per se. Secondly, you said "start here". IN other words, you can't show any study that shows that TCM in general is less beneficial or more harmful to "John" or even "the general population" than conventional modern medicine. Rather, what you are proposing is a belief system focusing on particular studies which you probably are not very familiar with, as well as many assumptions. It reminds me of Aquinas making an argument based on another argument, which is based on another argument. That's fine, but it is not the scientific method per se. Also, the idea of a double-blind, randomized, controlled medical study is a belief. I know of no scientific evidence that such a thing strictly exists.
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  96. #95  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by patricius79 View Post
    He had a serious back problem which he thought could end his career. I don't know why but he went to an acupuncturist, who easily alleviated his problem.
    A single anecdote is not meaningful. Hey, I know someone who had acupuncture and it didn't help. Therefore it doesn't work. See? Useless.

    I also still think that we're dancing around the fact that one can't possibly know if they are controlling for all the relevant variables, including as to side effects.
    Of course it is not possible to control for "all" variables. There are, of course, unknown unknowns. One thing scientists are trained to do is "think outside the box" and try and come up with as many possible factors that could confuse the results and find ways to eliminate them. As we learn more and do more research then we may find more factors that could be significant. But, obviously, we can never take account of "all" variables.

    Likewise, the idea of doing medicine on a particular person "based on" statistics is not a scientific idea.
    What a bizarrely ignorant statement. What do you think "scientific" means? You seem to be very confused.

    Statistical population data is a very powerful tool. For example, we know that high levels of salt intake can cause hypertension in some people (a large minority of the population, I think). Now it is difficult, if not impossible, to somehow identify those salt-sensitive people and then get them to change their diet - especially if ready-made foods still contain a high level of salt. It is far more effective to persuade everyone (and food manufacturers) to reduce their salt intake. It does no harm and saves lives.

    Wow: it looks like treating individuals using statistics does work after all. But guess what doesn't work: using random plant extracts that have never been tested.

    However, you will be pleased to know that a lot of (scientific) research is going into more personalised medicine. By knowing something of people's background , it is possible to know that this or that treatment will be more or less effective. This can be taken to the level of doing specific genetic tests to determine what treatments is most likely to be effective.

    So in many ways science seems based on this supernatural HOPE that "some day we'll have amassed so much data that things will pan out"
    Stunningly ignorant.
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  97. #96  
    Forum Masters Degree mat5592's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by patricius79 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by patricius79 View Post
    As far as harm goes, there are quite a few adverse and seriously damaging results with conventional medical treatments.
    alternative medicine also has side effects - ask Steve Jobs, he tried to combat his pancreatic cancer using diet and alternative medicine first
    the side effect was that when he changed his mind and went for the conventional route of radio + chemotherapy, the cancer had already spread to far to save him

    in short, the side effects of alternative medicine can be lethal
    Cancer is lethal. And Chemotherapy is very harmful. It doesn't have very good success ratios, unless perhaps one is thinking of staying alive for enough months to reconcile with family and put greater trust in God. According to a study I read at PubMed I believe, only about 2.3% of people treating with chemo live more than 5 years. But yes, it's true that both traditional medical science and modern medical science can have serious side effects. But I think that Ayurveda and TCM are much less likely to do what antibiotics did to me, for example, or the terrible things that statins routinely do to people with little efficacy as to positive results, and when there are much better options like guggul, arjuna bark, triphala, cutting out sugar, exercise.
    lol what? Even in the 70's it was a lot higher than that 2.3% figure. Source?

    NIH Fact Sheets - Cancer

    e
    ta: okay I found what you were talking about LOL, nice (probably purposeful) misinterpretation of the article.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15630849
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  98. #97  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mat5592 View Post
    ta: okay I found what you were talking about LOL, nice (probably purposeful) misinterpretation of the article.
    Yet more evidence of her gross dishonesty.
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  99. #98  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by patricius79 View Post
    Incidentally, I have never signed up here under "Pentodragon" or "Pantodragon" or whatever.
    Given all your other dishonest statements, you'll forgive me if I don't believe that for a moment.
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  100. #99  
    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by patricius79 View Post
    Cancer is lethal.
    Oh my word.
    Why has no one told me I'm dead?
    Does that mean I can't post anymore?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by patricius79 View Post
    Cancer is lethal.
    Not always. And nowhere near as much as it used to be. Many cancers which could not be treated a few decades ago can now be cured.
    .
    Cancer is not always lethal. What percentage of people died of cancer in the 1700s? How about today? As I mentioned, the success rates for chemotherapy are about 2.3% if you use living 5 years longer as the definition of success. Also, you state that I reject science. Please show that using the scientific method or some other means which you define for us. As far as the other claims you made in your post regarding herbal treatments, these also were not backed up by the scientific method. As to your question of how I know that arjuna bark works better than statins: let's try to compare the price, evidence, and side effects of statins with arjuna bark, triphala, and guggul. Would you like to do that?
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