Sunday, March 3, 2013

ND Kellum in NDNR 2013: "A Spiritually Based Medical Science" is the Answer to Naturopathy's Present Crisis (Science Subset Supernaturalism!)

here, I quote from a Naturopathic Doctor News and Review [NDNR] series by ND Kellum which ran 2012-11 to 2013-02 wherein: the author speaks of the vitalistic-supernatural basis of naturopathy [see 001., below], and then argues that science must include such science-exterior untestables [see 002., below]. Then, I point out that such epistemic conflation is right up naturopathy's alley, by way of the ND's alma mater, NCNM [see 003., below].  Finally, I cite from national science standards regarding how science actually is done in order to legitimately be science [see 004., below]:

001. ye old vitalism-supernaturalism!  Now, often we get naturopathy subset vitalism and spiritism in a sort of separate shopping list of principles, but, Kellum here illustrates how naturopathy's vitalistic animatism is truly a form of supernaturalism-spiritism.  In fact, I usually term it vfs, "vital force spirit."  ND Kellum (ND NCNM 2004) writes:

001.a. in "The Current Healing Crisis: Naturopathic Medicine and the Curative Value of Anthroposophic Medicine - Part 1" (NDNR 2012-11)[vsc 2013-02-26]:

"human beings have the capability of self-healing [CSH...] the naturopathic concept of 'the vital force' [] a spiritual restorative capability [SRC] to overcome disease (vis medicatrix naturae) [VMN...with naturopathy's homeopathy's goal] to release the spiritual healing power [SHP] of the remedy and promote the vital force of the patient [...] our profession grows out of a tradition that has spanned centuries in which understanding the spiritual vital forces [SVF] behind substances and illness has been seen as the key to healing [...] the vital force (vis medicatrix naturae) [] one of naturopathy’s core and distinguishing concepts [...] the vital force must first and foremost be conceived as a spiritual concept ('spirit' as the animating or vital force [SAVF] underlying life, as in spiritus, or breath) [...this] lie[s] at the root of naturopathic medicine [...]";

it sure does.  So, therein are some equations: CSH = VF = SRC = VMN = SHP = SVF = SAVF.  Nobody would contest that the body can heal itself.  It's a simple fact though that naturopathy has turned that biological observation into an unnecessarily superstitious, supernaturalised, mystical dogma -- a conflation of a kind of spirituality and biology which can historically be called sectarian medicine.

Note: now, oddly enough, this article also cites "Jean M. Tsigonis, MD, Chair, Alaska State Medical Board" who wrote in "a letter written to the Governor of Alaska, dated March 1, 2010":

"the principles of naturopathy are based on the belief that the body is self healing, that the patient’s 'vital force' is restored by ridding the body of toxins. As scientists, we find this simplistic approach to human ailments to be in direct conflict with the science-based knowledge of body physiology and pathology as taught to MDs and DOs [...] all forms of naturopathic education include concepts incompatible with basic science and do not necessarily prepare a practitioner to make appropriate diagnosis or referrals."

what I want to point out here is that his argument is that naturopathy's ideas are not scientific, first and foremost, not that it is simply a turf or guild battle between regular medicine and naturopathy.  The issue first and foremost is epistemic: modern medicine is an applied science, naturopathy's essential contents are actually science-ejected or -refuted!  I think it matters greatly that a medical practitioner use reliable scientific knowledge, and not a Ouija board of mystical, subjective revelation because if I was REALLY sick, I want my practitioner's head in reality and not cloud-cuckoo land.

I'll excerpt more from that MD Tsigonis letter, which is up on the Alaska legislature site:

"Governor Parnell, the Alaska State Medical Board urges you and your colleagues in the legislature to defeat House Bill 282 that creates a 'naturopathic medical board' and gives certain rights and recognitions to naturopaths in Alaska [...citing MD Atwood] 'to be considered a health profession, an occupation must be able to demonstrate an objective, scientific, and ethical basis. Naturopathy fails to meet this standard' [...] the public will not be served."

agreed.  What ND Kellum will argue for is easing the rigors needed in order to be scientific knowledge: that supernatural beliefs that cannot be tested and are not needed to explain any data that actual science produces can be absurdly labeled science in this day and age.  So, in large measure, we are asked to pose as objective fact things that cannot be supported by evidence.  'Close your eyes and imagine' is equated with 'look at the world and figure out how it works.'

001.b. in "The Current Healing Crisis -- Part 2: Why Anthroposophically Enhanced Medicine?" (NDNR 2012-12)[vsc 2013-02-28]:

"the vital force [...] this etheric body [EB] is what Paracelsus termed the archaeus [A],  what Hahnemann called the vital force [VF], and what Lindlahr knew as the 'constructive principle' [CP...] the etheric life forces of nature [ELFN...] neural transmission ('qi') [NT, Q...] whether we use the term archaeus, as Paracelsus did, or our term, the etheric body [...] our etheric body like the archaeus of Paracelsus [...] the extra-terrestrial forces associated with the archaeus [ETFAA...] 'vital force' and 'spirits of life' [SL...]";

more equations: EB = A = VF = CP = ELFN = NT = Q = ETFAA = SL.  I'm especially loving the exta-terrestrial, as anthroposophy is rather cosmic.  How this enhances medical knowledge I've no idea.

001.c. in "The Current Healing Crisis – Part 3: Healing as a Spiritual Process" [vsc 2013-02-28]:

"our historical romance with the vital force is a doorway to this kind of practice [...] as the vital force of past conceptions, it is the etheric body [...] a vibrant living vital force, or etheric body [...]";

hardcore anthroposophy.  And yes, the title of that entry is "healing is a spiritual process"  My skeptical retort: prove it.  Oh, I forgot: you're saying science no longer requires evidence, so therein doesn't have to fight that fight, that basically I'm to take as real your imagined claims based on the authority of your conviction.

001.d. in "The Current Healing Crisis—Part 4: Science is Not Monolithic" [vsc 2013-02-28]:

"there is an animating spiritual force behind the order in all systems [...]";

well, I don't know how you get to that conclusion from science.  How did you get BEHIND things?  Such is an article of faith that has no scientific data to back it up and no phenomena to explain.

002. that ND Kellum meta-science [by which I mean BEYOND science] design:

002.a. in "The Current Healing Crisis: Naturopathic Medicine and the Curative Value of Anthroposophic Medicine - Part 1" (NDNR 2012-11)[vsc 2013-02-26]:

"[naturopathy] has been so pressured under allopathic criticism as 'pseudoscience' [...via] the Western science paradigm [...]";

actually, allopathy is a nonsensical label for modern medicine.  Unfortunately, MD Tsigonis used the term along with osteopathy, too, but, anyhoo...  Science may be historically Western but that's irrelevant as to why its rigors must be relaxed to allow for fairies under the garden, magic beans, and unicorn tears.  And paradigm is just one of those added obfuscating layers that elaborate on NOTHING: why not say 'model' or 'methodology.'

"the answer to this question must ultimately come not from more torturous and authoritarian elaborations of becoming 'more scientific' but from a living vision we bring to the very conception of what science is [...] a scientific paradigm that expands on our identity [...] a nature-based holistic science [...]";

ah, there we go.  The request that the goal posts be moved closer!  That subjective, unverifiable, untestable, unfalsifiable ideas aka the supernatural / figmentations / subjective imagings / the metaphysical be permitted to be called 'science' / and absurdly therein objectively 'in-evidence.'  That to me is the ultimate authoritarianism. And holistic is about as useful as the word paradigm.  It always severely interests me how "nature-based" is essentially supernatural-based, and science subset natural is therein nonscience, for naturopathy.  It's as though categories are not allowed: evidence equals no-evidence, subjective equals objective, sense equals nonsense.  As I've often said, regarding this absurd expansion of what legitimately is science: in naturopathy, science is the sword of sectarianism and naturopathy is the reversal of all values.

"Western materialist science [...] a narrowly defined scientific culture [...] we need our own vision of science [...] a higher science [...] a spiritually based medical science [...] the science of the spirit [...] a science of naturopathic medicine that is anthroposophically enhanced [...]";

ND Kellum is upset that true science only supports the actual physically present in-evidence universe and not the universes of our fondest idealistic, metaphysical and religious wishes. I don't see how anyone benefits from a relaxation of the rigors that entail 'scientific knowledge production' except for fringe groups with fringe ideas then content that others are now sharing their fantasies as supposedly objectively in-evidence.  I'm all for freedom of conscience, and freedom to practice or not practice faith methods and knowledge, but please, enough with the conflation of science and religion, of evidence and faith.  They are categorically reasonably different things and have been for a few hundred years.  The Church may have wanted the Earth to be the center of the universe...but it isn't.  And it's absurd to argue that we need to return to the now-apparent ignorance of that science-ejected claim.

002.b. in "The Current Healing Crisis -- Part 2: Why Anthroposophically Enhanced Medicine?" (NDNR 2012-12)[vsc 2013-02-28]:

"the science of ancient traditions [...]";

there is this simple fact: science isn't ancient.  The knowledge humankind had before science began developing in the 1600s is PRESCIENTIFIC.  Some of it was right and useful, but until it is scientifically tested and survives such rigor, it isn't science.

002.c. in "The Current Healing Crisis – Part 3: Healing as a Spiritual Process" (NDNR 2013-01)[vsc 2013-02-28]:

"the spiritual science of Steiner [...]";

002.d. in "The Current Healing Crisis—Part 4: Science is Not Monolithic" (NDNR 2013-02) [vsc 2013-02-28]:

"we are already immersed in religion in the present form of 'science' that we have today [...] science itself today celebrates a religion [...] what we know as modern science today. Our science, then, is a construction of a particular political, economic, and religious persuasion [...]";

here we have postmodernist epistemic nihilism visit us finally!  Science is not a religion, period: "there's no one who's views are not subject to question."

"the word science, on the other hand, comes to us from the Latin root scientia, 'knowledge,' and from sciens (present perfect of scire, 'to know') as originally meaning 'to separate one thing from another, to distinguish,' as related to scindere, 'to cut, divide' [...]";

oooo, a history and etymology lesson!  My irony meter is getting into the red.  As I see it, "scientia" now has a specific meaning in the sense of modern science, and ONCE meant 'any kind of knowledge.'  For a point of view that seeks to unnecessarily blend / conflate, it is rather amusing that we are now hearing from ND Kellum about distinguishing / analysis!

"we need a science that sees the establishment of scientific knowledge as a creative process [...] we need a medical science that is integrative [...] an integrated spiritual science [...]";

I'd argue that what is really being desired isn't "a creative process" but 'an imagined context not subject to objective verification.'  The implementation of the scientific method can be quite a creative process towards understanding reality.  Integrative simply means to blend or conflate, and science blended with what actual science holds as exterior to science is NONSENSE.

003. at NCNM and AANP:

as I've pointed out on this blog time and time again, naturopathy already has accommodated such an epistemic or knowledge-type conflation, wherein, such as at NCNM, that which is not-science-for-decades-and-centuries [vitalism, supernaturalism, homeopathy...] is falsely labeled, at AANP, as 'able-to-survive-rigorous-scientific-scrutiny.'

004.  national science standards and supernaturalism:

"according to the NSES [the National Science Education Standards], 'explanations of how the natural world changes based on myths, personal beliefs, religious values, mystical inspiration, superstition, or authority may be personally useful and socially relevant, but they are not scientific' [...] testable questions are not answered by personal opinions or belief in the supernatural [...] science excludes supernatural explanations and personal wishes [...] questions that cannot be answered through scientific investigation are those that relate to personal preference, moral values, the supernatural, or unmeasurable phenomena [...] after completing this lesson, students will be able to identify questions that depend on personal preferences or moral values, or that relate to the supernatural or phenomena that cannot be measured [...] try to elicit the following characteristics of questions that are not scientifically testable: their answers depend on personal preference, their answers depend on moral values, they relate to the supernatural, they relate to phenomena that cannot be measured [...] questions should not relate to personal beliefs, moral values, or the supernatural [...] testable questions do not relate to the supernatural [x3...] or to nonmeasurable phenomena."

perhaps science, in some regards ND Kellum, IS MONOLITHIC!  For one thing, science is naturalistic, not supernaturalistic.  So, I'd basically argue, ND Kellum has NO legitimate DATA because he hasn't MEASURED anything.  How could you measure an invisible, immaterial, spiritual entity or force BEHIND things reliably?  And how could something be called supernatural at all if it ends up behaving as a component of the natural world as measured in that way?  Therein, there's no data to explain with supernaturalism!  Therein, his argument isn't from within science at all.  It is religious rhetoric, of a kind.  Appealing to the supernatural under the label science to me is like showing up to bat at a baseball game dressed and equipped as an Olympic archer.

and that's a solution to what?  I think usually people do respect others' right to believe or not believe various articles of faith of their own choosing, acknowledging that science is a different kind of knowledge, and such articles of faith are private matters.  The conflation of science and religion, though -- as ND Kellum's writings are, obviously -- to me results in an unjustifiable form of thought-muddle thuggery.  Imagine the consequences: blood pressure measured by Ouija board, etc.

Note: by the way, here's what NDs/NMDs say about NDNR, according to NDNR:
“NDNR is a solid publication with well-written and well-researched articles [...] a source of intelligent pragmatic advice for practitioners of naturopathic medicine [...] the extensive spectrum of medical topics covered is sustained by the underlying principles of naturopathic medicine coupled with modern scientific methodologies and enduring naturopathic techniques. It’s like having a naturopathic medical education delivered to you on a monthly basis! [...] NDNR is an innovative, peer-reviewed publication with high standards of evidence by some of the best doctors we have [...] you give a realistic presentation of our naturopathic fabric."
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