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This sciencey stuff… February 28, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Depressing to read this during the week:

David Tredinnick [Tory] MP for Bosworth, in Leicestershire, who is a Capricorn and in 2010 paid back £755 he had claimed in expenses for software that used astrology to diagnose medical conditions, told Astrological Journal: “I do believe that astrology and complementary medicine would help take the huge pressure off doctors.

It gets better:

Mr Tredinnick, 65, added: “Astrology offers self-understanding to people. People who oppose what I say are usually bullies who have never studied astrology.”

And here’s a key sentence…

“Astrology was until modern times part of the tradition of medicine “

Yes, one wonders why it was superseded… Meanwhile he continues:

People such as Professor Brian Cox, who called astrology ‘rubbish’, have simply not studied the subject.

“The BBC is quite dismissive of astrology and seeks to promote the science perspective and seems always keen to broadcast criticisms of astrology.”

But upping the ante he goes on:

Opposition to astrology is driven by “superstition, ignorance and prejudice”, he said. “It tends to be based on superstition, with scientists reacting emotionally, which is always a great irony.
“They are also ignorant, because they never study the subject and just say that it is all to do with what appears in the newspapers, which it is not, and they are deeply prejudiced, and racially prejudiced, which is troubling.”

Just in relation to ‘complementary medicine’, if we can remove the ‘medicine’ term from that area it seems to me that such approaches have some potential therapeutic effect on a psychological level, though often almost in spite of than because of themselves. Or to put it another way, they can be good for relaxation but beyond that I’m deeply sceptical.

By the way, as noted in comments under the piece:

David Tredinnick is an elected Member of the Commons Health Committee and Commons Science and Technology Committee

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Comments»

1. CL - February 28, 2015
2. Jonathan - February 28, 2015
3. AonRud - February 28, 2015

I wonder where he’s getting the ‘racially prejudiced’ bit from. A lot of alternative health stuff seems to draw on some orientalist romanticism, but astrology is a fairly established European quackery isn’t it?

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AonRud - February 28, 2015

I like the ‘science perspective’ response too. I’ve heard this talking to people who believe in homeopathy and the like, and I have to admit I have no response when they say “but you’re just thinking from a scientific perspective”. Well yes, yes I am…

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Liberius - February 28, 2015

I’d tend towards the following reply: “What’s so wrong about a perspective that seeks to study things through systematic observation, experimentation and measurement?”

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WorldbyStorm - February 28, 2015

I don’t blame people on an emotional level for having a certain, well credulity is perhaps the right term. But it’s all a bit like getting on a plane which hasn’t been through rigorous testing and maintenance. The old scientific perspective works and works clearly again and again and again and can be applied generally. The non scientific perspective, not so much.

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Aonrud - February 28, 2015

Fair enough, Liberius, though my motivation to pursue a rational discussion tends to wane at that point.

That said, what you say re blame is true Wbs. I find the sort of gleeful mockery attitude one often comes across pretty unhelpful. It only really serves an entrenchment against hostility, and in extremis makes it look like both sides are as guilty as each other of a closed and willful certainty.

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4. Liberius - February 28, 2015

I remember watching a programme on CCTV News a while back that discussed the differences and interactions between Chinese traditional medicine and ‘western medicine’; it stuck me that breaking superstitious habits even in circumstances where there is incontestable evidence that continuing those habits will result in a greater chance of death is an uphill struggle that might never be fully won.

Personally I’m not keen on allowing ‘complimentary medicine’ to operate freely, for all the relaxation and placebo people get it also brings with it the danger of vulnerable people being fleeced with cures that won’t work, it is at its core a capitalistic endeavour in the ‘west’ rather than deeply-rooted superstition. You can get relaxation in other ways, ways that don’t peddle unverifiable rubbish while costing you shed loads; I think I remember someone I know not long ago saying they’d paid something like €100 for an acupuncture session; that can’t be let continue.

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WorldbyStorm - February 28, 2015

I’d be entirely in favour of significant regulation of complementary ‘medicine’ and the banning of certain parts of it too, like yourself, it’s not medicine in my book bar, as you say some relaxation and placebo effects. There not without value but strip away a lot of the nonsense and there’s easier ways to get the same effects. I’d also agree entirely, there’s huge problems in terms of how some parts of it can link into very dubious areas.

I had some acupuncture back in the 2000s and while it was relaxing I’m deeply sceptical that it was anything more though I needed the relaxation aspect as it happens. Moreover there was a hard sell going on to buy bits and pieces of herbs and teas which I thought was out of order given that some using the services would be more rather than less vulnerable to some sort of quick fixes.

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5. CL - February 28, 2015

“The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) is the Federal Government’s lead agency for scientific research on complementary and integrative health approaches. We are 1 of the 27 institutes and centers that make up the National Institutes of Health (NIH) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.”
https://nccih.nih.gov/about/ataglance

“From breathing techniques, herbal remedies and guided imagery, to cutting-edge medical care, the Center combines effective complementary therapies with the highest quality academic medicine to care for patients with a broad range of chronic disease.”
http://beta.global.columbia.edu/institutes-programs-initiatives/richard-and-hinda-rosenthal-center-complementary-alternative

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6. dublinstreams - February 28, 2015

this isn’t about science or medicine its about business, its about undermining the NHS in order to sell it off.

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WorldbyStorm - February 28, 2015

That’s a very good point…

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