Tag Archive: sbm


Is Acupuncture Medical Knowledge?


I would have preferred to have as a title “Is Acupuncture Applied Science?” because medicine tends to be recognised as applied science, but if I use that title the answer is prejudiced by such as the one-way sceptics at Science-Based Medicine.

I therefore have changed the blog title although I will return to the issue. First and foremost when you ask if medicine works who is it you ask? The patient. If a patient is cured, then that means the treatment probably works but needs to be verified. In China especially patients have been cured and they repeatedly go back for treatment. This tends to suggest a valid treatment, strong evidence.

However as a sceptic this is not proof. To investigate we start with patients. And here is the problem with science measuring the success of acupuncture, their western machines cannot measure the chi. As a reminder acupuncture sees itself as a chi-based system in which the chi should be balanced. The chi also runs along meridians and if those meridians are blocked disease arises. If your machines cannot measure chi, yet it is a chi-based system then science that does not believe in chi cannot measure. To determine whether acupuncture works, it is not good to use a system that does not believe in the structural framework.

So before we can answer the question “Is Acupuncture Medical Knowledge?”, we have to either determine whether the chi exists or we need to find an alternative methodology; science-based medicine has not attempted to do that.

As a statistician I would try to design an experiment in which similar symptoms and disease has been treated by acupuncture. If various combination of needle placements are supposed to fix a disease, then I would try to find patients with those symptoms and then apply the treatment. I don’t know that science-based medicine has done that.

I have previously argued that there is 3000 years of evidence regarding the efficacy of acupuncture. Here is a paragraph from the one-way sceptics that describes that evidence:-

“In the study of acupuncture trials, 252 of 1085 abstracts met the inclusion criteria. Research conducted in certain countries was uniformly favorable to acupuncture; all trials originating in China, Japan, Hong Kong, and Taiwan were positive, as were 10 out of 11 of those published in Russia/USSR. In studies that examined interventions other than acupuncture, 405 of 1100 abstracts met the inclusion criteria. Of trials published in England, 75% gave the test treatment as superior to control. The results for China, Japan, Russia/USSR, and Taiwan were 99%, 89%, 97%, and 95%, respectively. No trial published in China or Russia/USSR found a test treatment to be ineffective.” from here.

Now this looks like good evidence that acupuncture works. In fact the figures might well be too good. As a sceptic I would try to find whether the investigations have been manipulated. But until I found such I would have to say the evidence is good that acupuncture works.

Here is what science-based medicine said “This is important to the understanding of the acupuncture literature, as many of the positive studies are coming out of China. The unrealistically high percentage of positive studies makes the Chinese body of clinical literature very suspect.” from here. Suspect, maybe, but given the wealth of evidence in favour of acupuncture a scientist needs to accept the conclusions. Surely if there is such a preponderance of suspect literature, it would be easy to find dubious “studies”. But science-based medicine does not accept the conclusions, has found no dubious studies, and continues to attack acupuncture treatments. This is not sound science. As a sceptic I would also consider such numbers high, but I would need far more evidence than statistical scepticism to imply such a body of evidence is “lies”. And when you consider the level of influence BigPharma has on western medicine the source of the conclusions is more likely to be funding pressure than scientific veracity.

Let me push at the personal boundaries here. Undoubtedly there is Chinese national pride in acupuncture so as a sceptic I must question. However western science also demonstrates its own pride feeling that its own academia is the best in the world – more than likely true. But making a statement that implies that because the figures are high they must be rigged is simply disguised racism. This is supposed to be science-based medicine so the metier of criticism is science. I am sure that the studies in China and elsewhere were published in journals, and I am equally sure such journals had some sort of academic rigour prior to publication. Examine that rigour, point out erroneous assumptions, question experimental methodology. Without applying this sort of criteria and drawing the conclusion they have done has meant that SBM is little more than western pride and disguised racism.

Why does consideration of acupuncture fit in with mindfulness methodology? What is the conditioning point? That is the question. SBM dismisses China’s evidence yet at the same time they do not recognise their own vested interest in supporting a system that is funded by BigPharma – nor do they recognise their own institutional academic pride. Their scepticism is one-way. As a sceptic I would question the evidence in China but I could not dismiss it based simply on scepticism as the evidence is too strong.

This would mean that there would need to be appropriately-funded research. The design of the experiment would have to be extremely robust in terms of:-

a) Effectively measuring the functioning of acupuncture within its environment.
b) Allowing such sceptics as SBM to have unbiassed access to the design.
c) Not requiring western-based machines that cannot measure chi to be part of the design
d) Having a design that could test success or failure without needing to accept the chi framework.

I doubt whether BigPharma would be willing to fund such an experiment, and given the plethora of evidence in China why should the onus of funding be on them. UNESCO might be a way forward but their ties are western and BigPharma influence might be too strong.

BigPharma’s business strategy cannot realistically be access to the Chinese market, however it can be limiting western acceptance of acupuncture. Appealing to racism that dismisses Chinese science would fit in with such a strategy.

“Is Acupuncture Applied Medical Science?” ought to be the title of this blogpost but science dismisses the existence of chi without appropriate scientific investigation. The reasons for this are not scientifically clear given the high proportion of people on earth who accept the existence of chi and prana. As patents cannot be taken out on “nature” and as there can therefore be no profits to BigPharma, my scepticism indicates BigPharma influence as to why science is not currently investigating the chi.

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez, Zandtao.

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Investigating cancer research


As a sceptic I wish to investigate cancer and cancer research, if ever there was an area of medicine in which sound scepticism and ensuing investigation with unbiased integrity was needed it is cancer research.

On the one hand there is radiation treatment and chemotherapy. Doctors who use such treatments claim that the science supports them. However the results of such treatments produce such tremendously awful side effects, many people question whether the treatments are worth it. These treatments kill healthy and cancer cells, and the doctors who use the treatments are apologetic but say there is nothing else.

Here is the problem there are people who claim there is something else. There is a huge bank of anecdotal evidence that various treatments have worked. Such treatments include

Macrobiotics
Gerson
Burszynski
Cannabis
Laetrile
Simoncini and Sodium Bicarbonate

and more ….

Not only this but some of these treatments especially Gerson and Burszynski claim they have carefully documented scientific evidence to support their treatments. Yet despite people donating huge amounts of money to cancer research charities these alternative treatments are not investigated.

As a sceptic I do not accept any conditioned conclusions. With regards to the existing practices I have many questions, and these revolve around the current cancer treatment practices. I have the feeling that many oncologists accept chemotherapy because there is nothing better. But what about research into this decision? Are the side effects more harmful than the benefits of the treatment?

As far as I know there are different chemotherapy drugs used for different types of cancer, are these known and established? Is it known that such a drug will work on such a cancer for all the various stages? When does such a drug not work?

Are there cancers in which there is no treatment?

What appears to be happening to me is that mainstream medicine does not have any choices and chooses chemo. This is not a scientific approach unless there is evidence to support the chemicals in all situations.

The real problem that exists with evaluation of existing cancer treatments is the control of the research process that BigPharma has. As a sceptic it seems reasonable to ask the above questions, and from a neutral perspective all humans would like verified answers. Critics of the situation claim that BigPharma inhibits any research that would reduce the use of their drugs. As a sceptic I want those questions answered. I do not see sceptics such as the SBM even asking the questions. It should also be noted here the control that medical insurance has on the choice of treatment, chemo is accepted by insurance; here BigPharma and the finance industry are hand-in-hand.

From a different perspective what about the alternative treatments? SBM and similar science sceptics dismiss them as not even worth investigating. Yet there is a great deal of anecdotal evidence where claims that each of these treatments has “cured cancer”. As a sceptic I want such anecdotes investigated. It is not sufficient to dismiss such evidence because it does not fit the existing recovery model – which appear to many simply to be chemo or not.

As a sceptic I want such “evidence” investigated in an unbiassed way. There is a “huge” amount of anecdotal evidence that could contribute to legitimate scientific knowledge. To me this is what a sceptic should be asking for not taking a partisan side that only supports the status quo. Especially as such a status quo has got to be influenced by the power and influence of BigFood, BigPharma and finance.

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez, Zandtao.

Sceptic

I am an unashamed sceptic. I ought to feel empathy with sites such as science-based medicine (SBM) but I don’t because all that I observe is bias. It is important to place this bias in a context, and that comes back to my scepticism. I am sceptical of all knowledge that arises out of human conditioning.

Our human conditioning arises as attachment to the 5 khandas and such attachment leads to suffering. But within this suffering lies a political and economic system that is geared towards war and wage-slavery and accumulation of wealth to the 1%. Within this overview there is power and influence that cascades down throughout all the institutions and transactions within our society. This influence is not always immediate. There is not a member of the 1% tasked with engineering our education system yet our education system churns out wage-slaves generation after generation.

The institution of science also does not have a member of the 1% in charge but because of the amount of money the 1% have their influence is extremely powerful. At the whim of a member of the 1% a university establishment could survive, and university administrators have to be conscious of this. If a university wanted to research GMO’s they know they could incur the wrath of BigFood as demonstrated by what happened to Seralini.

At the same time BigPharma has similar influence. When you look at the legal actions being conducted by the Society for SBM you can see attacks on alternative therapies. Who financially gains the most from attacks on these therapies? BigPharma. It is not necessary for BigPharma to directly step in with a wad, it is sufficient for SSBM to know that their activities will continue to be funded because what they do is in the interest of BigPharma. Scientists whose questioning leads them to investigate naturopathy from a negative standpoint know that there will be support. Scientists who would like to promote naturopathy want to investigate the benefits of naturopathy, but will not have financial support. But neither of these are science as science is supposed to be objective.

When I was doing my MEd it was a course requirement to have case studies so I interviewed 20 people who had experience in the area my dissertation was investigating – anti-racism. I chose 20 black people who were active in promoting black interest in Manchester, and drew inferences that contributed to my M Ed. This approach of case studies is termed qualitative research. My sample was biased, no random choice of people, such randomness is not a requirement of qualitative research even though it is the bedrock of quantitative research. For my dissertation to be considered part of education research I only needed to include transcripts of the case studies.

Another description of such case studies could be anecdotal evidence, it was the anecdotal evidence of these 20 people which was accepted as qualitative research. When it comes to these alternative therapies there is much anecdotal evidence that needs to be investigated. It is not sufficient for sceptics working with SBM to dismiss the anecdotes, and establish new data based on their own criteria – whether valid or not. There are case studies that need explaining and it is not sufficient to effectively call all these people liars because their anecdotes do not fit in with a particular experiment that the SBM chooses. I believe there are strong connections between naturopathy and Ayurveda, is the SBM being scientific to dismiss the centuries of practice and anecdote that makes up the Ayurvedic tradition? Because the SBM is dismissing evidence as opposed to investigating it I consider the SBM approach indicates bias, and as such must have its conclusions questioned. Statistically the SBM are biased.

I am now going to discuss acupuncture. For you to judge the validity of what I have to say I must put out there that I have regularly been to acupuncturists and believe they have helped me. If I make an experiment in which the sample is 1 and observe through a qualitative approach whether acupuncture is beneficial, acupuncture would measure better than mainstream western medicine. I would however not claim any statistical or scientific basis to this experiment I have just conducted.

I do however greatly welcome any appropriate scientific investigation into acupuncture but to do this the tools of science are limited. If we choose the laboratories and machines of western science establishments then acupuncture is unlikely to measure as successful. This is because these science methodologies have eschewed historically investigation into phenomena such as the chi which following the Bacon dichotomy has become embraced as religion. However acupuncture was an established tradition of healing long before Bacon’s sensible taxonomy was manipulated by blind academia.

For science to be statistically seen as having investigated acupuncture without bias this tradition needs to be explained as false. I think this would prove difficult. There is an understanding of the human body that is at the basis of acupuncture treatment. Acupuncture and TCM in general sees the chi as flowing through meridians (chi channels) in the human body, and if these channels become blocked then disease arises. To unblock this chi needles are placed along the meridians and this produces healing. This methodology has been understood for centuries.

At the same time another criterion of generally accepted science has been repeatedly demonstrated by acupuncture treatment, the treatment can be repeated and still work. It would be easy to design experiments that could demonstrate this. But if this were demonstrated it would be hard for acupuncture to be dismissed. Equally it would be hard to dismiss the centuries of tradition amongst more people than western medicine has treated. To refute acupuncture SBM sceptics do not involve themselves in empirical verification nor do they examine the documented nature of centuries of treatment. Instead they carry out experiments using their own methodologies that do not measure chi in any way, and then decide that acupuncture cannot be scientifically proven. This ignoring of evidence is biased, and this lack of empirical investigation is biased. So statistically the methods of SBM are again not acceptable.

The SBM characterises the sceptic movement on the internet and elsewhere. These sceptics do not investigate science itself, they don’t investigate the bias that science shows especially with regards to phenomena that fall outside of the “normal” purview of science. Yet as a sceptic that is something I would like to see investigated. Based on this cursory examination of their supposed scientific method, I have to conclude the SBM and the wider sceptic movement are not investigating with appropriate scientific rigour with regards to phenomena outside their rigid purview.

Given the influence of BigFood and BigPharma, it is a reasonable observation to see the bias of these organisations and people as being affected. I am not suggesting causality, nor direct funding, nor even a lack of integrity on the part of the members. It is simply this. What they do is support BigFood and BigPharma. Do they want to do this?

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez, Zandtao.

How Funded Science works

Is mindfulness meditation science? I saw this asked and answered definitively here. I examined this site and discovered an organisation (Society for Science-Based Medicine) who were funded as a campaign group to denounce everything that is not BigPharma. Steven Novella is a denier, and he belongs to a club of deniers the society for science-based medicine. A climate denier is someone paid to debunk the legitimate science of climate change, this guy is paid to deny anything that is not BigPharma science. Why? Profits. In the West therapies are eating into the profits of Big Pharma, people are choosing to go to practitioners who do not use BigPharma’s drugs; this campaign group are trying to mess with the law to make it harder for practitioners who do not use BigPharma drugs.

I have a yardstick – acupuncture. These deniers describe acupuncture as randomly-placed needles so whether you agree with acupuncture as medicine no researcher could legitimately describe it as that. I then discovered this Guardian article about acupuncture sceptics in which Steve Novella was quoted and BigPharma bells rang. The article only discusses acupuncture in terms of the UK rather than considering it as part of TCM which has been practised for 3000 years; only the West matters!! One of the hidden axioms of science is that it is funding-driven, this appears to be that type of dubious “climate-denial” science.

Further investigation of the source of this mindfulness link led me to the Society for Science-Based Medicine website, it is a campaigning group against all treatments that do not use BigPharma’s drugs. Here is a course given by Harriet Hall, she probably believes it.

This is just a list of therapies.

She was sponsored by the James Randi Foundation wiki. The Foundation was originally paranormal so why are therapies being investigated? My conclusion – money. It is a good association for BigPharma to link therapies with the paranormal. In the wiki it has 2 employees with a budget of nearly a million dollars every year. If this is not funded science I don’t know what is. 3000 years of acupuncture tradition being investigated by a paranormal organisation!! And they call it science. I went further to National Capital Area Sceptics and gave up. Was I naive enough to think I would find Breitbart or Monsanto?

Do I really need to follow the money when you consider the way the organisation functions?

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez, Zandtao.