Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Scathing Reproach: Alan Levinovitz on Naturopathy at Slate.com

here, I quote in-part from and comment briefly upon a recent Slate article by Alan Levinovitz on Naturopathy Awareness Week [see 001., below]:

001. in Slate.com's "Chairman Mao Invented Traditional Chinese Medicine: Why Did the U.S. Senate Unwittingly Endorse 1950s Chinese Communist Party Propaganda?" [2013-10-23]:


"[we're told, as background, author] Alan Levinovitz is an assistant professor of Chinese philosophy and religion at James Madison University [...]";


ah, a specialist!  Here is his web page.  Philosophy and religion, academically as a dyad, reminds me of points I make in the Naturocrit Podcast Episode 1b wherein naturopathy claims to be a science, that then is a philosophy, that then at its core has specific supernatural beliefs as in then is a religion.  "God Power Within You" anyone?


"[we're reminded] Oct. 7–13 was designated Naturopathic Medicine Week [NMW], according to a Senate resolution sponsored by Sen. Barbara Mikulski and passed by the Senate with unanimous consent [...]";


here's her web page.  What I find fascinating is how the AANP, even after all this NMW activity, is still completely opaque about naturopathy's true, vitalistic, science-exterior basis [like here, though such is present at their 'seed' school here falsely labeled as able to survive scientific scrutiny].  The '.gov' press release doesn't transparently reveal naturopathy's science-exterior sectarian basis either (here).

"the reasons the Senate cited [...included] 'the shortage of primary care providers in the United States [...] providing health care to underserved populations [...] more choice in health care' [...]";

I went to naturopathy school and IMHO they shouldn't do primary care based on their wacko epistemic muddling wherein figmentations are claimed to be actual. 

"Mikulski and the rest of the Senate [...are] repeating 60-year-old justifications of Chinese medicine put forward by Chairman Mao. Unlike Mikulski, however, Mao was under no illusion that Chinese medicine, a key component of naturopathic education, actually worked [...]";

oh...snap!  Yes, I took the TCM class in naturopathy school, which included all the typical stuff: qi, pulse diagnosis, tongue diagnosis, needling, herbs, five-element and yin-yang whatever.

"for Mao, as for the Senate, health care policy also reflected national ideology. While the Senate resolution praised naturopathic medicine as providing 'consumers' with 'more choice' [...] Mao emphasized 'complete unification' [...] of Chinese medicine and Western medicine. 'This One Medicine,' exulted the president of the Chinese Medical Association in 1952, 'will possess a basis in modern natural sciences, will have absorbed the ancient and the new, the Chinese and the foreign, all medical achievements—and will be China’s New Medicine!' [...]";

fascinating, science by decree.  Sounds familiar: this reminds me directly of the naturopathy's epistemic conflation and its 'change the healthcare model' ideology, and decreeing "science-based" upon the science-exterior.  But if we are going to choose, we need to be informed, otherwise we do not have informed consent: and naturopathy refuses to accurately communicate the epistemic status of its basic tenets and therapies!


"skepticism, empiricism, and logic are not uniquely Western, and we should feel free to apply them to Chinese medicine [...]";

definitely, or else we would be engaging in a kind of bigoted epistemic charity.

"the reason so many people take Chinese medicine seriously, at least in part, is that it was reinvented by one of the most powerful propaganda machines of all time and then consciously marketed to a West disillusioned by its own spiritual traditions [...] ultimately, however, the existence of qi, acupuncture meridians, and the Triple Energizer is no more inherently plausible than that of demons, the four humors, or the healing power of God";

very interesting, as in acts of faith NOT suitable to be called 'science' if we are going to be honest.  And again I'm reminded of naturopathy's "god power within you" as qi as life force and vis medicatrix naturae.

Note: I encourage those interested to read the entire article.  The pictures provided are excellent.
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