Sunday, November 16, 2008

Parsing Encarta's Definition of Vitalistic Medicine, 2008:

Encarta has quite a confused and confusing definition of "vitalistic medicine", wherein scientific terms are used to describe the scientifically-ejected:

001. Microsoft's Encarta encyclopedia states in "Vitalistic Medicine":

"vitalistic medicine, in alternative medicine, [is the] generic term for a range of therapies based on the theory that disease is engendered by energy deficiency in the organism as a whole or a dynamic dysfunction in the affected part. Such [energy] deficiencies or [dynamic] dysfunctions are regarded as preceding the biochemical effects in which disease becomes manifest and upon which orthodox medicine focuses. Acupuncture, crystal therapy, homeopathy, magnet therapy, and naturopathy are all vitalistic therapies."

Note: I do agree that acupuncture, homeopathy, and naturopathy are essentially vitalistic as therapeutic modes, but, this Encarta definition is predicated on this falsehood:

a "theory" of the vitalistic, of a "dynamic" process / "energy" "preceding biochemical effects."

002. this is exceptionally WRONG in terms of science:

a) energy is actually an a posteriori [!!!] physical / biochemical / MEASURABLE property that does not precede the physical world / biochemical BY DEFINITION -- because it IS a physiochemical / worldly property. What does precede the physical world, by definition, is metaphysical and idealistic woo -- and lots of other a priori imaginings / concepts / musings / fantasies -- such as the vitalistic.

b) a theory, in the scientific science, explains robust FACTUAL observations [per a particular type of a posteriori knowledge] that are inherently of the physical world. A theory without factual evidence is no theory at all -- like the vitalistic -- scientifically speaking:

to quote Wolfgang Pauli, such nonsense "isn't even wrong" it's so wrong.

c) the dynamic is, in the context of alternative medicine, an alias for vitalistically-based a priori conceptions (e.g.):

"energy deficiency" and "dynamic dysfunction" are vitalistic and have nothing to do with science.

003. overall note:

the misuse of the terms energy and theory by Encarta is quite obvious, to the scientifically informed. Energy and theory are quite scientifically-sound, but 'the vitalistic' / 'the dynamic' a priori is actually in quite an opposite context:


Therein, this Encarta definition is quite absurd in that it explains the PROFOUNDLY nonscientific a priori with scientific language as if it is categorically a posteriori and scientific.

There's a lesson herein: this is what the deception called alternative medicine does by definition --

it engages in what I'll term "epistemic conflation" aka pseudoscience:

it labels -- in terms of knowledge type -- that which is profoundly outside of science as robustly within science.
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