Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Naturopathy in New Hampshire, and State Science Standards

here, I first cite from recent 'actually researched' reporting by New Hampshire  journalist David Brooks regarding naturopathy [see 001., below]; then, I demonstrate naturopathy's 'knowledge conflation' irrationality -- which is so easy to do [see 002., below]; finally, I look at New Hampshire's public school science standards [see 003., below]:

001. David Brooks of the writes in "Insurers Must Cover Therapies of Naturopathic Doctors in NH"(2013-01-29)[vsc 2013-01-29; my comments are in unquoted bold]:

"naturopathic medicine [...] has long battled for acceptance because it includes controversial practices like homeopathy, in which medicine is diluted until it is considered worthless by mainstream medicine [...] medical doctors regard homeopathic medicine as a placebo, at best";

yes, very worthless from the point of view of modern medical science.   Recently, at, Dr. Novella wrote in "Are You Ready For the Oz Manifesto?"(2013-01-30): "we have discussed homeopathy many times – it is a pre-scientific superstition that has been utterly rejected by modern science. Its principles have no basis in reality, and clinical studies show that it simply does not work."  That is likely the most succinct 'two sentance' scientific summary I can think of.

"critics say the field depends on a long-discredited theory of 'vitalism' or life energy that was left behind decades ago by evidence-based medicine [...]";

that vitalism has been for-decades exterior to science is a fact.  Yet, it lies at the heart of naturopathy, which quite absurdly labels itself a branch of "medical science."  Often, this vitalism is expressed in Latin as vis medicatrix naturae.  One thing to add that is even more perverse about naturopathy, it has included witin its science label something even MORE 'for-decades exterior to science.'  That is the whole realm of the supernatural, which is 'for-centuries' science exterior [IMHO].

Note: it is not very often that a reporter presents points and counter-points in an alternative medicine related article. When that does occur, the 'alternative' looks like no equal choice at all, but usually a really really weak and bad 'other choice.'  I'm actually excited that this happened.  Most reporters apparently don't care to look, and instead their pieces usually sound much more promotional than journalistic because they merely parrot the talking points provided to them by the sCAM people.  But, the scientific status of homeopathy and naturopathy isn't hard to find, and 'scientific skepticism' criticisms of naturopathy and homeopathy are quite damning and quite unassailable.   What I argue is that falsely labeling hugely nonscientific stuff science is at the heart of naturopathy clinically and academically, causing science to be interchangeable with nonscience but falsely labeling that mixture as all science, and this muddle I've termed naturopathy's 'epistemic conflation' or 'knowledge conflation'.  Mentioned in the Brooks article are ND Greenspan, the New Hampshire Association of Naturopathic Doctors, and the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut.  I will use these three sources to demonstrate naturopathy's knowledge conflation irrationality in 002., below.

002. naturopathy's conflation of knowledge types

002.a. NHAND states in "New Hampshire Administrative Rules Nat 100-500" [vsc 2013-01-30; this is their licensure act]:

"Nat 302.02 [...] to be an approved naturopathic medical college, the educational institution shall meet the following standards [...] the basic sciences program shall include in-depth study [...] a basic science program may also include, without limitation, courses in public health and naturopathic philosophy [...] the clinical sciences program shall include [...] homeopathy [...] a clinical sciences program may also include, without limitation, courses in acupuncture."

Note: so, there is a perfect example of licensed falsehood.  You have a statute that falsely labels the nonscientific, including naturopathy's homeopathy, vitalism, and acupuncture, SCIENCE as a norm. What's really interesting is that the act further states "obligation to obey: the ethical standards set forth in this part shall bind all licensees, and violation of any such standard shall result in disciplinary standards [...] a licensee shall submit only truthful and correct information in any application or other document filed with or statement made to the board."  Ok, so: a) an ND must comply with the false positions which the act embodies as the 'ethical norm', and b) an ND must be yet truthful and correct.  It's like one of those Isaac Asimov robot novellas wherein two contradictory positions mandated upon the robot's positronic brain cause it to become psychotic.

hey, I went to one of those "approved naturopathic medical college"s for four years.  What else is within "naturopathic philosophy" that is also being falsely labeled?  Well, we can use the University of Bridgeport for that, coincidentally where I went.

002.a. UB states in 'Dean's Welcome' [vsc 2013-01-30; this was the dean during my time at the school, and I've no idea why the web page is still active]:

"today's naturopathic physician serves on the front line of health care as a primary care physician, practicing scientific medicine [...] recognizing the synthesis of body, mind and spirit.[...] a system based on the precept of vis medicatrix naturae / only nature heals."

Note: fascinating, science subset supernaturalism & vitalism aka nonscience.  Welcome to the middle ages [and you'll see in 003., below, this 'higher education doctoral science' position does not meet the mundane science requirements of New Hampshire's K-12 public school science curriculum.

002.c. ND Greenspan [vsc 2013-01-30; who practices with NDs Chan and Salob]:

laud homeopathy (here), acupuncture (here), and craniosacral therapy (here).  Those would be their "clinical sciences" that are nonsense, actually.  They tell us in "Natural Medicine" [vsc 2013-01-30]: "naturopathic medical training is rooted in conventional medical knowledge [...] an advanced knowledge [...including] homeopathy [...] humans are a complex being that have spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical characteristics."   Again, nonscience labeled science nonsense at its core.  I don't think that is conventional or advanced.

Note: I can take it farther.  ND Greenspan went to NCNM according to this directory; ND Chan went to Bastyr; and ND Salob went to NCNM.  It is very easy to find Bastyr's 'epistemic conflation' mission, and NCNM is famous for its similar absurdity.

003. the New Hampshire state science standards, titled "K-12 Science Literacy New Hampshire Curriculum Framework", state:

"science can only deal with events or things that can be measured, observed or detected. It cannot be used to investigate all questions. There are beliefs that cannot be proved or disproved by their very nature (e.g., the meaning of life or the existence of supernatural powers and beings) [...a] comparison of ways of knowing [...there's] religious knowledge: explanations can include supernatural forces [...] philosophic knowledge: explanations can include supernatural forces and viewpoints [...] cultural knowledge: explanations can include supernatural forces and other historical viewpoints [...] scientific knowledge: explanations cannot include supernatural forces."

Note: so, it is interesting.  A state's science standards are the consensus of what mundanely science is and isn't.  Naturopathy, quite obviously, is posing the nonscientific as science and engaging in [what I call false] trade academically and clinically.  They have codified falsehood as legal act.  Trade under false labels seems to me to be illegal, but if a law itself is logically and factually broken so that it lets NDs legally deceive, apparently NDs are then protected from prosecution.  The ND is a doctoral level absurdity, and licensed falsehood marches on. It's a shame that in this era of inflating health care costs, nonsense is allowed a piece of the 'insurance reimbursed' pie and the Title IV student loan pie.
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