Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Google News Archival Search For 2009, >vitalism science<:

here, I do a search with news.google.com using the terms >science vitalism< [see 001., below]:

001. for the year 2009 only, current results that occur are only June through December [up to today's date, 2009-12-15, to be exact] and here they are:

001.a. a Salon 2009-09-17 review of "The Age of Wonder" by Holmes, R. (? ?) (ISBN 0375422226, 2009) titled "The Beauty and Terror of Science" by Berger, K. (? ?) which states:

"Holmes limns the darkness with a scintillating chapter on Mary Shelley and 'Frankenstein,' describing how her novel arose out [of] the popular 'vitalism' debates between physicians who argued that human life was animated by some external force like electricity, and those, such as fearless young doctor William Lawrence, who argued there was no such thing, that the 'human body is merely a complex physical organization,' Holmes writes."

Note: of course, this 'debate' is a little archaic.  The idea that the 'what makes lifeliness argument' essentially concerns 'the physical' versus 'the electrical' is nowadays silly, since both are physical.  Electricity at that time was little understood and rather magically imbued. It served to represent the science-ejected idea of a vital principle [there really is no such thing!] that was apart from 'the physical', and yet mystically animated or ensouled the physical. The book is recommended by the reviewer.  I personally highly enjoy Frankenstein in its full historical context.  I also enjoy noticing that science-fiction as a genre has much of its origins, as is often observed, in the literature of a woman writer!

001.b.a 2007 Nature Genetics article titled "Cipher Sleuth" by Goldman, M.A. (? ?) which I don't have free text access to and which apparently has been dated / spidered by Google 2009-06-15.

Note: FFS, it's 2009 and information really needs to be easily available, not locked up in [obscure] publications with hilariously overpriced access fees!

001.c. a 2002 Skeptical Inquirer article by De Robertis, M. (? ?) titled "A [Canadian] University's Struggle With Chiropractic" which states:

"chiropractic has remained on the margins by choice, refusing even today to reject vitalism in all its guises [...] there is considerable doubt that a four-year university program culminating in a D.C. degree is necessary to treat musculoskeletal conditions, something conventional therapists do with comparable effectiveness but without the vitalistic baggage [...] even if some alternative therapies are eventually found to be effective and safe, until colleges adopt contemporary biomedical paradigms instead of millennia-old vitalistic notions - i.e., get rid of the nonsense in their curricula and make an attempt to [actually] educate its practitioners - no university should contemplate an affiliation."

Note: hear, hear. Again, this has been [falsely, sort of] dated by Google's algorithm 2009-06-06, likely because that was the last respidering though published earlier at an older URL.  This is an excellent article, in my view.

001.d. readers' responses to a Sydney Morning Herald 2009-06-15 article by Simon, B. (? ?) that includes this comment by Dunlop, R. (? ?) "Vice-President of Australian Skeptics, Petersham":

"it appears Australia is about to repeat Britain's mistakes about regulation of alternative medicine. It should be self-evident that it makes no sense to set educational standards in a subject without having decided whether that subject is nonsense. If it is, what does 'educational standards' mean? Your article cites naturopathy, which subscribes to a form of pre-19th-century vitalism. I fail to understand what it means to be properly qualified in ideas that the educated world left behind 200 years ago."

Note: yup.

001.e. a New York Times book review that uses the term "literary vitalism".

001.f. a New York Times book review that is similar to the Salon review:

"Holmes devotes a chapter to 'Frankenstein,' placing Mary Shelley’s 'ghost story' in the context of the [then] contemporary debate about vitalism."

001.g. a 2006 Nature Chemical Biology article titled "The Origins of Chemical Biology" which doesn't provide free direct text access.  But, through the magic of a Google web search, I believe it states:

"chemical biology has historical roots that date back to the birth of chemistry and biology as distinct sciences [...] chemical synthesis requires no ‘living’ or ‘vital force’ to make biologically active compounds. Remarkably, some [false!] belief in vitalism still persists within current popular culture."

001.h. a 2000 Skeptical Inquirer article "The Roots of Qi" by Mainfort, D. (? ?)  which states:

"according to ancient Chinese medicine [...] illnesses were viewed as an imbalance of qi, or vital energy, in the body. Qi was believed to exist everywhere in the universe - a life force such as that referred to in pre-scientific Western medicine as élan vital. Vitalism is the belief in an invisible, intangible, unique form of energy that is supposedly responsible for all of the activities of a living organism. The vital force in Chinese traditional medicine is called qi, the concept upon which acupuncture is based [...] the earliest known record of the term qi occurs in the book Liji, prior to the Spring and Autumn period, between three and four thousand years ago. At that time there was no modern physiology or biochemistry, nor was there understanding about nutrition or the healing mechanisms of the body. The existence of cells, blood circulation, neurology and hormones were also unknown."

002. obviously, there is a certain amount of heavy-handed automation happening here, and what I just listed is a snapshot of the abilities [and lack therein, to some extent] of Google's news archive search engine.
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