stat counnnter

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Return Of The Primitive In Medicine

In the essay What is Capitalism? in her book Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, Ayn Rand wrote:
The disintegration of philosophy in the nineteenth century and its collapse in the twentieth have led to a similar, though much slower and less obvious, process in the course of modern science.

Today's frantic development in the field of technology has a quality reminiscent of the days preceding the economic crash of 1929: riding on the momentum of the past, on the unacknowledged remnants of an Aristotelian epistemology, it is a hectic, feverish expansion, heedless of the fact that its theoretical account is long since overdrawn—that in the field of scientific theory, unable to integrate or interpret their own data, scientists are abetting the resurgence of a primitive mysticism. In the humanities, however, the crash is past, the depression has set in, and the collapse of science is all but complete.
We see evidence of the growth of irrationality in the sciences all around us. science no longer relies on experiments and lab tests to prove that x causes (or doesn't cause) y. Instead, statistical studies have replaced experiments. Even in statistics, the move now is to treat correlations as if they were causations.

We see the spread of irrationality in the form of the creation of new diseases that don't seem to have a cause and the addition of many causes to known diseases by way of definitions by non-essentials. I am convinced this is happening with autism, diabetes, ADHD, and many others. As far as "...the resurgence of a primitive mysticism" is concerned, Sandy Szwarc at JunkfoodScience has scary evidence of that:
Once one becomes a nurse or a doctor, it is now possible to get the continuing medical education credit hours required to keep our licenses without ever reading a lick of science. That’s a terrifying thought as a patient and a disheartening one as a medical professional.

For years, professionals have been lamenting the growing pseudoscience and alternative modalities in university curriculums, including medical school and nursing programs. The latest list of continuing educational courses for nurses to maintain their professional licenses, accredited by our state nursing association for this quarter, was just issued. Once again, it was replete with unscientific woo, such as courses in alternative medicine, reiki (8.4 credit hours), Chi Nie Tsang (21 credit hours), energy medicine (35.8 credit hours) and homeopathy (7.6 credit hours). Chi Nei Tsang, nurses are taught, is a deep organ massage that purportedly heals by working “on internal dysfunctions and energy blocks” and includes a variety of energy techniques. A certification in purple light is also offered by the provider which, it explains, will “strengthen the pure alchemical and conscious evolutionary practices using Ancient Taoist modalities as a bridge to connect all lineages, and bring ancient teachings into present day situations. As the earth moves through her evolution, lineage traditions must come forward to clarify and share their understanding of the human experience.”
So what does Ms. Szwarc think of this?
Yikes. If my loved ones land in the emergency room suffering a stroke or massive head injury, I really hope their medical care provider has been studying the latest science and technology and is grounded in evidence-based medicine. The point of requiring CMEs is to ensure us healthcare professionals stay current on the latest scientific developments and keep our skills sharp. Those include skills using our minds and the scientific process to critically examine research, as well as sort through bogus marketing claims. It makes one worry that if energy fields are confused for sound science, how well is unsound information recognized from the sound stuff when it comes to issues like preventive health, obesity and nutrition?
My sentiments exactly. In fact, I'm worried that my grandkids, just toddlers now, will one day wind up in a hospital only to have the doctor or nurse hum incantations and shake rattles over the bed while practicing the new multiculturalism of medical treatment. Now that's scary.


Burgess Laughlin said...

For comparison of our culture to an earlier culture, in one aspect, I can recommend this book to students of history:

Wayne Shumaker, The Occult Sciences in the Renaissance: A Study in Intellectual Patterns

During the Renaissance, readers in great numbers became fascinated with occult "sciences" such astrology, alchemy, witchcraft, and white magic.

In contrast to our own time, however, the explosive rise of interest in the occult during the Renaissance had a partly innocent source: Discovery of ancient books had brought admiration for ancient culture--indiscriminantly, at first.

Ancient books of magic were eagerly read because readers assumed they offered something of value, just as the books of Aristotle did. In fact, some ancient books, especially those on mysticism, were garbage.

As time passed, these occult interests waned because Aristotle's philosophy was the dominant, up-and-coming movement. (Today the up-and-coming, if not yet dominant, movement is religion.)

Shumaker did his research and writing in the 1970s. He was dismayed by the resurgence of occult "sciences" he saw in the hippie movement in California. What we are seeing today is the infusion of that movement into the establishment.

Mike N said...

I agree completely. The mindless or rather anti-mind hippies of the 60s and 70s now control education, the media and politics. One has to wonder how much longer Americans can hold out under this constant onslaught of unreason and the worship of whims.

C. August said...

Here's a real world example of this phenomenon, Heart's Singing Healing Center. This woman apparently practices in my general area, and a friend who was at a doctor's office saw her flyer on the coffee table. I know this isn't a direct correlation to the CME issue because I have no evidence that this woman "teaches" actual medical professionals. But this is the type of thing the CMEs you mentioned are about.

I think was scares me most is that there are actually certifications for all of these things. Though I think it's more like sending away for sea monkeys than real study.

"Reverend Claire Luft the Director of Heart's Singing Healing Center has been initiated as a full Adept, Teacher, Guide and Celtic Shaman Ritual Master through the Rocky Mountain Mystery School, one of the 7 true Mystery Schools on the planet whose lineage dates back more than 3000 years. Claire is also a certified Life Purpose and Career Coach, Reiki Master in both the traditional Usui and Shamballa systems, a Kabbalist, Professional Channel and Certified Divine Intervention Practitioner and Teacher. She is also a Certified and Initiated Rising Star Healing System facilitator as well as a Certified Light Language Teacher and a Certified Intra-Dimensional Web Working Facilitator and Teacher."

Mike N said...

c august:
Now your comment is indeed scary. I went to that site and all I can say is...sad. I'm willing to bet though, that if that lady got hit by a car or something similiar, she would want to be taken to a real hospital and not a singing healing center.