Friday, December 12, 2008

Dawkins, Orac - On The Nonscientific Status of Vitalism, 2006 & 2008

here, I reference two sources concerning the nonscientific status of vitalism, a famous UK evolutionary biologist and a famous [:)] US surgeon / scientist & blogger from

001. Richard Dawkins writes:

001.a. in "The Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing" [ 2008; ISBN 0199216800]:

"what neither Mendel nor anyone else before 1953 knew was that genes themselves are digital, within themselves [...] life is the execution of programs written using a small digital alphabet in a single, universal machine language. This realization was the hammer blow that knocked the last nail in the coffin of vitalism and, by extension, of dualism. The hammer was wielded, with undisguised youthful relish, by James Watson and Francis Crick [p.030...] for me, the greatest achievement of Watson and Crick was to turn genetics from a branch of wet and squishy physiology into a branch of information technology, in the process slaying, as I suggested above, the ghost of vitalism [p.226]."

Note: so, vitalism FINALLY was totally 'not viable' before 1960, in terms of the history of the idea per scientific thought.

001.b. in "The Digital River" from "The Science Book" [2006; ISBN 1841882542]:

"our genetic system [...] there is no spirit-driven life force, no throbbing, heaving, pullulating, protoplasmic, mystic jelly. Life is just bytes and bytes of digital information."

Note: vitalism has NO SCIENTIFIC SUPPORT, yet is claimed as the basis for a supposed medial science at a Connecticut [supposed] University -- right now -- a [supposed] College also centered around a 'supernatural, dualistic' premise, also science unsupported.

002. Orac per Respectful Insolence has written, in "That'll Teach 'Em For Using An Actual Valid Placebo Control" [2008-11-17]:

"I never for a minute considered that the whole rigmarole about 'unblocking' or 'redirecting' the flow of that mystical life force known as qi had anything to do with whether or not acupuncture did or did not have efficacy treating disease or other conditions. That was clearly a holdover from the prescientific medicine times in which most beliefs about the causes of disease involved either the wrath of the gods or vitalism [that is, superstitions!!!], the latter of which is, when you come right down to it, the philosophical basis upon which many 'complementary and alternative' (CAM) modalities are based, especially the so-called 'energy healing' modalities, such as reiki, therapeutic touch, and, of course, acupuncture."

Note: and naturopathy.

003. Are you appalled yet?

Caveat emptor [something I should not have to say about a University program, and about a domain claiming to meet the standards of modern science and medical professionalism].
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