Thursday, February 21, 2013

Salzberg Gets Naturopathy Right; New York University ND Tells Him He's 'Clearly Wrong'

here, I point toward, excerpt from, and muse upon a recent post's comments, including a naturopath's and my own.  Oh, how I love the naturoPATHillogical!

001. having mused [which is the style of this blog -- sparse and guerrilla] to some extent upon this recent post [vsc 2013-02-21] by scientist Steven Salzberg, apparently a New York University naturopath whom I went to naturopathy school here in Connecticut with:

Note: I want to be clear about the naturoPATHillogical language that NYU itself uses to describe and promote naturopathy.  At NYU's Langone, in "Naturopathic Medicine FAQs" [vsc 2013-02-21; my comments are in unquoted bold], we're told [the menu path for this page is urology subset integrative holistic urology subset naturopathic medicine]:

"naturopathic physicians cooperate with all other branches of medical science [...] an ND cooperates with all other branches of medical science [...]";

so, we have the BIG science subset medical science subset naturopathy claim:

[update 2013-04-10: I visited the clinic recently, at 150 East 32nd Street 2nd floor, hoping to get a brochure but I didn't see any, and here's a shot from the street.  The placard outside merely says "urology associates" :


"is naturopathic medicine different from homeopathy? [...] homeopathy is an independent natural therapy and system of healing that is part of the repertoire of therapies employed by naturopathic doctors [...] naturopathic medicine encompasses homeopathy and several other natural therapies, and treatment integrates aspects of each of these therapies [...]";

yes, that is the naturopathy subset homeopathy claim.  So, adding that to the science claim, we're being told science subset homeopathy.  That is completely FALSE.  In FACT, homeopathy is hugely science-ejected.  So, here you have NYU operating under false labels, aka the naturoPATHillogical, wherein we're essentially being told science subset nonscience -- which is an absurdly blended knowledge model for something as serious as medicine, and something as mundane as commerce.

"naturopathic medicine blends centuries-old [knowledge and methods...] with current [knowledge and methods...] a primary care primary care physician trained as an expert in natural medicine [...] the only primary care physicians clinically trained in the use of a wide variety of natural therapeutics [...] naturopathic training consists of four years of full time graduate study at one of the accredited universities that teach naturopathic medicine in the United States or Canada";

and then falsely labels the whole shebang 'the nonblended scientific'!  So, we're told 'specifically science' while also, essentially, 'nonscience labeled science'.   What nuttiness!   Oh, that's what natural medicine / natural therapy / 'the holistic' TRULY is.  It's a kind of expertise in thinking pathologically.  That is what naturopathic education 'trains' one in: junk thinking.  So, overall, the claim is that graduate level education occurs when, basically, one has been miseducated to think [I'm being very generous here with that word] that science contains the patently science-ejected.  Imagine a graduate program labeled science that taught astrology as astronomy, or alchemy as chemistry, or 2+2=5 as mathematics, and that would be naturopathic education overall.

and we're told such lovely things as "whole-patient, whole-person wellness [...] whole-patient wellness [...] tailored to the patient [...] prevention [...] self-care [...] covering all aspects of family health from prenatal to geriatric care [...] the needs of the individual [...] the patient as a participant in treatment and care [...]";

but, what's the point if the knowledge base and cognitive mode towards those goals is whackaloon?

"naturopathic medicine attempts to find the underlying cause of the patient’s condition rather than focusing solely on symptomatic treatment [] seeks to treat the cause of an ailment and not just its symptoms [...]";

and, of course, an explanation of naturopathy would not be complete if it didn't include the claim that regular medicine doesn't treat the cause, and naturopathy does uniquely that thing.

001.a. had this comment:
"Geo Espinosa: this author clearly has no idea what he’s talking about [...]";

that's quite strident!  I think a very esteemed scientist such as S.S. would know something about science!  Can a typical naturopath who was trained that 'science contains the patently science-ejected falsely labeled all-science' say the same? 

"naturopaths are legitimate healthcare professionals [...] (we) are very good at it [...]";

 hmmmmmm.  If you are based on falsehood, and absurd and illogical ways of thinking, can you be a profession?  Can you be legitimate?  Can you be good?  I acknowledge that one can say these things, but are they true?

"who place scientific emphasize in the treatment of patients [...] the modern naturopathic doctors I know practice naturopathic, inclusive medicine based on scientific principles, like I do [...]";

scientific emphasis and principles?  Well, if science is so eroded in naturopathyland that it contains nonscience, is that scientific?  Naturopathy's homeopathy is as much scientific treatment as exorcism and witchcraft.  But, let me reach back to OUR alma mater naturopathy school, if we are going to talk about "based on scientific principles"!  The overarching principle which bases naturopathy, according to the University of Bridgeport, is the truly science-ejected.  Here is my collection of such, at UB and from my classroom notes in 1998 as taught to me by Jim Sensenig, the first President of the AANP.  And by the way, here's my vitalism-at-the-heart-of-naturopathy link page for all the North American schools.

"as one medical doctor mentioned in a recent conference I attended: 'we'd like to think we practice science-based medicine, but less than 50% of what we practice is science-based.' The fact of the matter is no-one is practicing hard-core science-based medicine where results from such research is conclusive enough to alter how doctors practice."

that's an absurd absolute.  I'm QUITE sure that oncology uses the best evolving science to treat cancer, and that such evolving knowledge continually alters how oncologists practice.  Is this epistemic nihilism an admission that the very specific label naturopathy uses upon itself at NYU -- science subset naturopathy -- is in fact not taken all that seriously by their ND?  Like 'we are science, wink-wink.'  And I'd like to make a further point: there is the issue of practicing within scientific plausibility boundaries, and then there's, as with naturopathy's homeopathy, practicing OUTSIDE of scientific plausibility boundaries by using that which is hugely science-ejected and absurd.  This straw-man argument seems to say: a) I don't have to actually do what I label myself as doing, b) because nobody is c) because the science and what we do don't relate to one another anyway.  Ah naturopathy, the reversal of all values: professional, commercial, academic.

001.b.  my direct comment was:
"Hey Geo. Went to UB with you in their ND program around 2000-2002: a program I ceased before graduating due to naturopathy’s nonsensical contents — like homeopathy, vitalism, and supernaturalism etc. all quite absurdly labeled 'science-based'. How are things at NYU’s Langone? I’m completely in agreement with S.S. and I disagree with your emphasis that ‘the naturopathic’ is scientific, scientific, scientific — obviously. I know you all call it 'science': like UB claiming naturopathy is within a Division of Health Sciences. But, if naturopathy is TRULY so scientific, then why does it contain homeopathy at all, a completely bogus therapeutic that is mandatory to get an ND degree and labeled quite absurdly a clinical science on your board exams, the NPLEX? Why was I able to post at Naturocrit a video by a newly minted NCNM ND who practices the bogus diagnostics known as applied kinesiology and dried blood cell analysis? Like with UB, NCNM claims that naturopathy’s contents pass rigorous scientific scrutiny. But then, as I asked before, why is AK and DBCA being practiced diagnostically at all when both of which are akin to reading tea leaves, in the absolute dark, in rough seas?"

Note: I've fixed some typos in my above comment.  By the way, I'm guessing, in the next few years, New York State will license NDs.  I'd also like to emphasize that I'm not personally attacking anyone.  I am discussing ideas, activities, and claims from the point of view of science, medical science, skepticism, and ethics.  So, in that sense, because I muse that a certain mode of thinking is absurd or pathological, or a therapy is patently bogus, I am not labeling the person who is doing such with those labels.  Also, though comment on this blog requires my permission to be published, so long as the language is kept civil and relevant, I welcome the discussion that can result from a dissenting opinion.

002. 2013-03-01 addendum:

002.a. well, that post seems to have run its cycle, with about 975 views.  It turns out ND Espinoza added one more comment [I'm adding comments below in unquoted bold that are new and not at]:
"the last thing I will say is that it seems like you are very much out of touch with naturopathic medicine at this point [...]";

well, not really.  I own the 4th edition of the Textbook of Natural Medicine and I write this blog which has been commenting on naturopathy developments since 2006.

"and apparently still holding some ill feelings from past experiences [...]";

ah, feelings.  Well, I'm more interested in ideas and ethics but I do FEEL that naturopathy is a racket, as I've said many times. 

"naturopathic medicine continues to be a branch of medicine that uses science-based approach in the integrative treatment of many illnesses [...]";

tripling down on the "science-based" label.  What more could I ask for?

"it focuses largely on the prevention of disease and it would significantly lower health care cost (probably the biggest fiscal problem the US faces at this time [...]";

hmmmmm.  If science and nonscience are equated, if 2+2=5 so to speak -- as  naturoPATHillogical thinking illustrates -- I don't know how you can KNOW things like 'this works and prevents' and 'this saves money'.  With naturopathy's homeopathy, for example, there's a very long interview process, and then an empty remedy is dispensed usually, with a claim that homeopathy is powerful and science-based which it isn' does that SAVE money and prevent disease?

"it would be incumbent for legislators to license naturopathic medicine in Maryland along with the rest of unlicensed states [...]";

ah, ye old licensed falsehood.  I will broadcast their names when they do it, too.

 "I encourage you to rethink your position, redirect your sentiment and support naturopathic licensure in all 50 states."

well, my position is the result of 15+ years of studying what legitimately is science, and what naturopathy actually is, naturopathy's quite false label of science upon what is science-exterior, and I am continually involved in those areas.  So, I am continually rethinking.  I actually highly advise that naturopathy licensure be REPEALED in states with such laws or statutes.  Why should the government be in bed with what is patently false in terms of commerce, academia, and clinically?

002.b. my final comment:
"For one general overview of scientific analysis of naturopathy from a few perspectives from the past few years, I recommend the just released e-book anthology by the James Randi Educational Foundation and the folks at Science Based Medicine:

Science-Based Medicine Reviews: Naturopathy. A Critical Guide for the Health Practitioner and Consumer” (2013) [about $5].

As a disclosure, to be clear, I’ve nothing to do with that product in terms of involvement, and another way to get to their content is to browse the SBM web pages.

The e-book’s topical sections include: basic science / theory, law and politics, clinical trials and uses, quackademics, and what’s the harm. I’ve find it excellent and damning.


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