fastpedaller wrote: Cugel wrote:
That article is a fine example of how science is not a nice linear accumulation of more facts but rather a series of revolutions in which whole swathes of what was previously "known" is replaced by another swathe of "what's now known and different". Essentially, an old guard and their notions are replaced by a new guard with theirs - just like in politics.
Read all about it in:https://www.amazon.co.uk/Structure-Scie ... evolutions
Hmm.... we are always learning (yes even the medics). Sometimes it's best to listen to your body and make your own decisions?
About 9 years ago I was suffering from terrible bouts of vertigo - It's difficult to describe to a non-sufferer, and even thinking about it brings back dreadful memories. Anyway, the first time it happened I thought I was having a stroke or something (my Father died of a stroke at 58). Medic just tested my blood pressure and said 'no you're ok - and if you'd had a stroke you probably wouldn't remember such detail.' I was meant to be re-assured by that? These odd 'attacks' happened with increasing frequency and one night I woke up with a pounding body, vertigo and sweating profusely - my Wife called the ambulance and the paramedics said 'we think he's had a heart attack, he has the symptoms' - They wired me up and said 'no the heart looks strong, but we can't leave you like this' and took me to hospital. they checked blood, did 3 more ECG's and said they couldn't find anything wrong. The Registrar suggested acupuncture or homoeopathy may help. I told the GP that every time I had vertigo I also has a pain in my left side under the ribcage, they just offered 'anti-dizzy pills' which I declined on the basis that I wanted to cure the problem, not mask it. My Wife suggested I visit a nutritionist as she and I were convinced of a link with the gut pain. N's first comment after I told her my symptoms was "Dozey medics! I'll bet a pound to a penny that you're lactose intolerant - come off milk straight away". I've been ok (no more attacks) since. If I have milk chocolate it works as a laxative
. I don't know where I'd be if I'd not consulted her. I have benefitted from acupuncture, and (an addition to this long story) 4 years ago I was getting dreadful cold feet during Winter (wear 2 pair of socks in bed? I think not) and mentioned this to my Acupuncturist (Chinese lady also has a masters in Chinese herbal medicine), who gave me a herbal mix...… boil for 30 mins, extract fluid etc etc to arrive at 5 mugs of the foulest tasting liquid! Taken over 5 days and I've never had the problem again!There's a lot we don't know about and can't explain.
Well ... if we don't know about something then .... we don't know and therefore can do nothing.
But your tale illustrates that different kind of knowing that we can have, other than what's come to be called the scientific way of knowing, are available. We can know something that's true (in the sense of a procedure that works) without having the knowing obtained by scientific method of analysis to reveal every last cog in the procedure, so to speak. Some things we know are black boxes - we recognise the box-shape and know what it can do without any understanding of what's inside.
Some of these black box knowings are via a long history of trial & error. A lot of herbalism is like that. (Of course, herbalist remedies can now also be analysed scientifically to a degree, so they can become a known with the insides of the black box workings laid bare). Other kinds of black box knowing remain mysterious. The temptation is to then invent or imagine what's inside the black box without being able to check if the invention or imagining is true. Some Chinese medicine is like that. The trouble is ....
Once imagined or invented "reasons" for a black box mechanism that works are accepted, the humans begin to extrapolate. A primary and pervasive example in our own history of medicine, as well as that of China, is The Doctrine of Sympathies. Things that look alike are somehow felt to be connected via their invisible (black box) aspects because they exhibit gross similarities. Thus we have the notion that powdered rhino horn will cure impotence because rhino horns look like ......
This is the danger with such medical traditions. A good (bad) part of them are pure imagination and often very flawed human invention. The trick is to sort out those black box not-really-knowns-at-all from the more efficacious black box knowings that are true on the basis of lots of successful trial & error testing.
But then there's the placebo effect.....