Wednesday, April 28, 2010

NCSE Spanks Dr. Larry Dossey (2010-04-26), and the Pseudoscience of Vitalism (1995):

here, I cite from a recent Huffington Post [HP] response by NCSE to a recent HP post concerning science by Dr. Larry Dossey [see 001., below]; then, I do some archeology and quote from a classic NCSE page that strikes at the heart of naturopathy's belief amalgam -- vitalism [see 002., below]:

001. the National Center for Science Education's [NCSE] Steve Newton states in "In Defense of Scientific Methodology" (2010-04-26):

"in a recent piece titled 'The Scientific Method: An Educational Train Wreck?' Dr. Larry Dossey made a number of statements so factually inaccurate, so misrepresentative of the nature of science, that it reads like some ill-conceived parody gone awry [...a] rot [...] Dossey accuses scheming educators of trying 'to inculcate children with the scientific method' [...] I plead guilty. There is great value in [...] teaching [...] students about scientific methodology and nature of science [...] students come to the classroom with a host of misconceptions about the world [...] it is the proper job of science educators to help [...] student[s] see the world as it really is, rather than to reinforce their prejudices [hear, hear]. Biology students should learn that the theory of evolution is correct and that vaccines do not cause autism [...] chemistry students should understand why homeopathic claims about 'water memory' are not true. [hear, hear]. Science education can -- and should -- help students understand reality [...] a scientific understanding of the world brings food to the table [...] science has reduced human suffering and needless deaths, and produced longer and better lives [...] the misconception of scientists as cold, remote individuals comes from movies and television, not reality [...] science fiction is a poor basis for characterizing all scientists [...] there is a place for everyone in science [...] Dossey's essay misrepresents science, scientists, educators, and students. It is Dossey, not science, who has jumped the rails."

Note: now THAT is a spanking [verbally, of course].

Another Steve, Novella, in "Dossey on the Scientific Method" (2010-04-27) also spanks Dossey.  Included is this scathing criticism:

"Dossey is in no position to lecture about the deficiencies of the scientific world-view. He disguises his ideological problems with science in borrowed legitimate observations, and mixes them with howling straw men that no scientist would recognize in themselves. The result is not even 'a cleverly constructed tract of anti-intellectual propaganda masquerading as scholarship,' because no one would confuse this for scholarship."

PZ Meyers in "Another HuffPo Pontification on Science as It is Not Understood" (2010-04-26) states, in summary:

"he's a credulous magic man."

002. NCSE states in "National Association of Biology Teachers (1995): Scientific Integrity" (Board of NABT, 1995-03-15):

"the credibility and utility of science, and therefore biology, depend on maintaining its integrity. NABT has a special obligation, to promote this integrity in life science education. The data, concepts, and theories of science presented to students must meet the accepted standards of the discipline. To this end, NABT will not support efforts to include in the science classroom materials or theories derived outside of the scientific processes. Nonscientific notions such as geocentricism, flat earth, creationism, young earth, astrology, psychic healing and vitalistic theory, therefore, cannot legitimately be taught, promoted, or condoned as science in the classroom."

 Note: seeing NCSE quickly activated in response to the HP Dossey post is quite inspiring.  Seeing that NCSE maintains the NABT 1995 position paper, which trashes naturopathy's supposed scientific position of vitalism, is quite awesome.  What's coolest about the whole thing is that UB established their ND program after that date, and likely didn't even bother to pass their ND contents across the desk of any legitimate science organization for review.  So, from the get-go at UBCNM, naturopathy was falsely labeling the hugely science-ejected [e.g., vitalism, supernaturalism] as "health science."  Here we are, in 2010, and UB still labels vitalism science.  If anything, vitalism is more and more exterior to science.  

So, a higher education institution trades upon false premises, and that is truly morally repugnant.
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