Saturday, September 5, 2009

Science-Based Medicine vs. Science-Based Natural Medicine [Rationality, UTTER Nonsense - Respectively]:

here, I compare two schools of thought or movements [see 004., below regarding these loose expressions], Science-Based Medicine [SBM; see 001., below] and supposed Science-Based Natural Medicine [SBNM; see 002., below] in terms of their mutual claims of being scientific, and then I expose the one that is UTTER NONSENSE [see 003., below]:

001. according Dr. Stephen Novella in "Announcing the Science-Based Medicine Blog" at the blog "Science-Based Medicine", SBM:

"[promotes] the highest standards and traditions of science in medicine and health care. The mission of this blog is to scientifically examine medical and health topics of interest to the public [...] it is in everyone’s best interest for health care to be systematically evaluated by the best science available [...] science is nothing more than a systematic and careful use of evidence and logic to evaluate factual claims [...] good science possesses certain virtues that are not unique to science but generic to all intellectual endeavors: fairly accounting for all available evidence, using valid and internally consistent logic, using unambiguous concepts and language, proper use of statistics, being quantitatively precise and accurate, and above all being honest [{intellectual integrity}...] collectively, science builds one cumulative model of the natural world. This means we can make rational judgments about what is likely to be true based upon what is already well established. This does not necessarily equate to rejecting new ideas out-of-hand, but rather to adjusting the threshold of evidence required to establish a new claim based upon the prior scientific plausibility of the new claim [...] this is why the authors of this blog strongly advocate for science based medicine – the use of the best scientific evidence available, in the light of our cumulative scientific knowledge from all relevant disciplines, in evaluating health claims, practices, and products."

Note: SBM aims for "the highest of standards", per "the best science", intellectual integrity, AND cumulative & rational investigation of the natural world based upon prior plausibility [in other words, 'extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence']. This sounds to me like a very good thing.

002. regarding SBNM:

002.a. according to the leading proponent of SBNM, J.E. Pizzorno, ND (NCNM 1975):

"Joseph E. Pizzorno, Jr., N.D. [JEP...] is one of the world's leading authorities on science-based natural medicine [per his credentials as] a naturopathic physician [...] he travels worldwide, consulting, lecturing and promoting science-based natural medicine [...he has been honored for his] 'decades of work establishing the scientific and educational foundation of natural medicine' [...] Dr. Pizzorno is the author of Total Wellness [TW] and co-author of the internationally acclaimed Textbook of Natural Medicine [TNM]."

Note: the claim is that being a naturopath is equivalent to being an expert practitioner of the "science-based" because naturopathy supposedly is "science-based natural medicine". This position is also found at the ND granting school Pizzorno founded, Bastyr University, which claims:

a) at their web page "About Us [concerning Bastyr's programs]":

"Bastyr.edu is a science-based natural medicine university [...] Bastyr University is a non-profit, private university offering both graduate and undergraduate degrees, with a multidisciplinary curriculum in science-based natural medicine [...] Bastyr’s international faculty teaches the natural health sciences with an emphasis on integrating mind, body, spirit and nature."

b) in their Peterson's.com advertisement:

"Bastyr University School of Naturopathic Medicine [...] Bastyr's fully accredited four- to five-year Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (N.D.) program is internationally renowned for its rigorous, science-based curriculum. Combining a distinct multidisciplinary, science-based approach to teaching with an emphasis on understanding the mind, body, spirit, and nature [...] students receive a thorough foundation in the basic medical sciences [...naturopathy is within] the field of natural health sciences [...we create] scientifically trained naturopathic physicians."

Obviously, [Pizzorno's] Bastyr claims that the naturopathic is scientific; and by definition, Bastyr claims that SBNM is science. Also, notice that Bastyr claims that the supernatural is science, as well as what they term "nature" [see 002.c2. below, where I expose what "nature" is within naturopathy].

Obviously, Dr. Pizzorno claims to excel at "science", and Bastyr claims the same. It should be noted that Pizzorno does not apparently possess science credentials in any significantly meaningful sense per 'high echelon academia' [I'll call it], and anyone or any institution who/that establishes the scientific basis of what is 'the essentially naturopathic' [vitalism, spiritism-supernaturalism, cosmic teleology & other science-ejected kind] would upend several hundred years of scientific advancement to such an extent that I'd at least think by now Nobel Prizes would have been awarded. After all, the NDs have been formally claiming that vitalism and their other beliefs [spiritism, cosmic teleology] survive scientific scrutiny since at least 1989 with the unanimous ratification of their creed at Rippling River! But, no such because instead of actually producing scientific verification of their claims through the channels that science requires, NDs merely write words and posture their claims as science without producing the actual EXTRAORDINARY evidence needed to establish the hugely/profoundly nonscientific as indeed scientific -- and this racket/farce of SBNM has been feeding the ND luminaries $$$ for at least a couple decades].

002.b. I'll reiterate these facts, before I go on:

JEP is a graduate of National College of Natural Medicine [NCNM], 1975. NCNM is the oldest North American ND school, and the trunk of the ND tree so to speak. JEP is the author of the primary North American ND textbook, the TNM.

002.c. naturopathy claimed as science while based upon vitalism [a vitalism, spiritism, teleology amalgam] / a.k.a. the science-ejected -- what TW, TNM, and NCNM tell us:

002.c1. naturopathy claimed as science:

002.c1.a. in TW, JEP states on its dust jacket (ISBN 0761504338; 1996):

"Joseph Pizzorno, N.D., co-author of A Textbook of Natural Medicine and Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, is one of the world’s leading authorities on science-based natural medicine [...this book is] grounded in scientific research [...and speaks of] the body's potent, innate healing systems [{in the book, one of those systems is the 'life force'; see 002.c2.a., below} p. xi]."

Note: and in the preface, JEP writes: "I have used and taught the concepts in this book for 25 years [...and] I reviewed the scientific literature for the latest research." In chapter one, we're told by JEP: "all the information in this book is fully referenced to the scientific research literature [p.006]."

002.c1.b. in TNM, co-author JEP states in "Preface" and "Chapter 3" (ISBN ISBN0443059454; 1999):

"[along my ND Murray] the scientific support for the philosophical and therapeutic foundation of natural medicine has evolved remarkably over the past 25 years [p.xxviii...along with ND homeopath Bradley] while modern vitalism is inherently holistic in its view and has an emphasis on circularity as its causality (i.e. feedback loops), there is no conflict with the findings of biomedical science [p.044...] the point is only that vitalism is a medical philosophy based on observable scientific phenomena [p.045...] conventional medicine, as the dominant health care system and a representative of mechanism, has claimed for itself the title of 'scientific medicine'. However, it is inherently no more or less scientific than vitalistic medicine [...] the criteria of the scientific method can be met by vitalistic medicine, but only when the researchers recognize that it cannot be studied as though it is reductionistic or based on a simplistic model of linear causality. When the experimental model acknowledges the complexity of a living system in a social context (i.e. holism and circularity), vitalistic medicine proves to be both verifiable and reproducible, and thus scientific [p.046]."


Note: so, vitalism is science [only when the strictures of science are annulled!].

002.c1.c. NCNM states in "Principles of Healing":

"the practice of naturopathic medicine emerges from six principles of healing. These principles are based on the objective observation of the nature of health and disease and are examined continually in light of scientific analysis [...and later they state that the essentially naturopathic is] in fact."

002.c2. naturopathy's essential vitalism [the context of its "nature" or its "innate healing systems"]:

002.c2.a. per TW, JEP states:

"[remember these] important concepts. The healing power of nature [HPN]. Vis medicatrix naturae [VMN]. Our bodies have a tremendous ability to heal [...] natural healers refer to this inherent drive as 'the healing power of nature' or the vis medicatrix naturae [p.003...you need to] live in harmony with your life-force [LF...such is a] belief [...a] spiritual value [...] each of us needs to become more aware of the activity of the vis medicatrix naturae (life-force) [p.026...] seven underlying, health-sustaining systems of our body must function effectively to ensure our well-being, prevent disease, and allow a full life: the immune system, the detoxification system, the inflammatory system, the metabolic system, the regulatory system, the regeneration system, and our life-force or spirit [S]. Weakness in any of these seven systems results in susceptibilities that allow most common diseases to develop [p.024...] live in harmony with the psychosocial [PS]/spiritual/ life-force [p.317...] the life-force within each of us, which naturopathic physicians call the vis medicatrix naturae [...it is] this teleological force [TF], the healer within [THW], that is the essence of each of us [p.333]."

Note: so, HPN = VMN = LF = S = PS = TF = THW. This is naturopathy's essential vitalism [vitalism, spiritism, teleology], and such is [falsely] claimed to be science. Why a "life force" or "spirit" equals the "psychosocial" is beyond me.

002.c2.b. TNM states in "Chapter 06 - Philosophy of Naturopathic Medicine":

"[a chapter ascribed primarily to ND homeopath Bradley] this chapter examines the philosophical foundation of naturopathic medicine [...] the foundations of naturopathic medical philosophy are found in vitalism [...] the philosophy of vitalism is based on the concept that life is too well organized to be explained simply as a complex assemblage of chemical and physical reactions [...he claims] vitalism is a medical philosophy based on observable scientific phenomena."

Note: again, the essentially naturopathic is vitalism, which is claimed to be scientific.

002.c2.c. NCNM states in "Principles of Healing":

"these principles stand as the distinguishing marks of the profession: the healing power of nature -- vis medicatrix naturae. The body has the inherent ability to establish, maintain, and restore health. The healing process is ordered and intelligent [teleological]; nature heals through the response of the life force. The physician’s role is to facilitate and augment this process [...] first do no harm -- primum no nocere. The process of healing includes the generation of symptoms, which are, in fact, expressions of the life force attempting to heal itself. Therapeutic actions should be complementary to and synergistic with this healing process [...naturopathy is] the practice of promoting health through stimulation of the vital force."

Note: so, at JEP's alma mater, HPN = VMN = LF = VF. AND, NCNM claims on this page that vitalism survives scientific scrutiny - such is an obligation of an NCNM ND and particularly an ND practicing in Oregon by .gov decree! Along the same lines, a Bastyr ND is obligated to a similar absurdity merely in different language. Notice also the claim of meeting the ethical strictures of professionalism.

003. ohhhh, the OBVIOUS nonsense that is SBNM [because vitalism is hugely not science, along with supernaturalism & teleology - 'something is not equal to that which it is hugely different from, and excludes']:

there actually is no science basis for what is essentially 'the naturopathic'.

Though claimed as science, naturopathy at its core is actual science-ejected: vitalism is hugely science-ejected, and so is supernaturalism [teleology as well].

004. on 'school of thought' and 'movement':

004.a. school of thought:

Wikipedia states in "School of Thought":

"a school of thought is a collection or group of people who share common characteristics of opinion or outlook of a philosophy, discipline, belief, social movement, cultural movement, or art movement."

Note: I would say that SBM fits the loose definition of a school of thought. But, SBNM isn't much into thinking at all, when you consider its falseness and nonsense -- to be elevated to the status of 'academically soundness'. I'd rather term SBNM as school of idiocy, incompetence and dishonesty.

004.b. movement:

Wikipedia states in "Movement":

"philosophical movement, is either the appearance or increased popularity of a specific school of philosophy, or a fairly broad but identifiable sea-change in philosophical thought on a particular subject."

Note: I would argue that SBM is mainstream and quite mundane scientific movement, while SBNM is a cultic / sectarian philosophical/intellectual RUSE that is quite nonsensical, incompetent & dishonest.

To the extent that SBM is 'philosophical', it promotes the priority of a posteriori empirical knowledge [which includes science]; while SBNM / naturopathy is a pile of a priori beliefs falsely labeled science [pseudoscience; and quite an abuse of the institutions of education, physicianship, and professionalism overall -- to such an extent that I regard it as a human rights violation to the extreme].

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