Sunday, February 14, 2010

Homeopathy and Traditional Chinese Medicine as believe systems

Recently I exchanged some tweets with @ChineseMedicine:
To @
ChineseMedicine True, NSAIDs aren't the only way to treat Ankylosing spondylitis (AS),there are also biologics .... 你推特的这编文章只关一个病人,不能说是研究。
To
@
Rheumatologe NSAID drug is not only way to treat Ankylosing spondylitis (AS).... 中醫師:服藥針灸治療僵直性脊椎炎 http://bit.ly/9IDbXl
To @Rheumatologe Neither I, nor the article said this was a research study. 請您再次看清楚這篇新聞的内容沒有任何文字提到"研究."
To
@
ChineseMedicine The artikel is about one individual - what does it prove? What is it good for? #AS (sorry for the Germanism artikel should be article)
To
@
Rheumatologe It suggests a possible treatment that might be successful in treating #AS for patients w. special conditions #ChineseMedicine
To @ChineseMedicine It suggests a possible treatment that might be successful in treating #AS ... #ChineseMedicine // Yes, it does, but ...
To @
ChineseMedicine #AS #ChineseMedicine // Yes, it does, but it warrants further inquiery and after that studies.
To
@
ChineseMedicine TCM has a long history, but inductive synthesis cannot come up with reproducible results as causal analysis.
To @
ChineseMedicine In order to give TCM its palce in medicine, you need to prove your hypothesis or it stays being a belief system.
To
@
ChineseMedicine Homeopathy isstill in the state of being a belief system (and that after 200 years) - but that wont change.
To
@
ChineseMedicine You can compare homeopathy to a taoistic charm that's burnt and the ashes ingested (belief system).
To @ChineseMedicine But a scientific study is always possible. // I might write a little more on my blog soon.

And that’s, what I just did:
Homeopathy (in whole) and Traditional Chinese Medicine (in larger proportions) are believe systems instead of modern medicine. They both have produced a large set of theories and volumes of written material, but so did Astrology. To make this clear, Western Medicine also isn’t free of believe. Science, however, comes to reproducible insights.
The basis of Homeopathy and Traditional Chinese Medicine is inductive synthesis, as described by M. Porkert (Porkert, Manfred (1974). The Theoretical Foundations of Chinese Medicine: Systems of Correspondence. MIT Press.
ISBN 0262160587). Western science follows causal analysis, which has produced a system of rules, which leads to reproducible studies. Such a system doesn’t exist in inductive synthesis.
There’s nothing wrong with following a believe system, if there wasn’t a but. You will find some sad cases, where followers of Christian Science didn’t want to use any medicine and the prayers weren’t insufficient to treat meningitis or diabetes for instance (good overview:
http://whatstheharm.net/christianscience.html) – leaving the kids dead.
As Mao Zedong said: „Chinese medicine is a great treasure-house!“ (中国医药学是一个伟大的宝库) But I think that there’s a lot of fool’s gold next to the treasures.

To sum it up: to treat diseases and not discomforts/disorders nowadays, patients should be able to judge treatments – and that can only be done, if treatments are scientifically studied.

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