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Why Medicine is NOT a pro-Science argument!

Use this forum to discuss the philosophy of science. Philosophy of science deals with the assumptions, foundations, and implications of science.
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Skakos
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Why Medicine is NOT a pro-Science argument!

Post by Skakos » March 30th, 2013, 11:19 am

Many people regard Medicine as a pro-science argument and use it all too often to defend their own scientism-love. However there are many things to say the opposite:

1. Healing is very much related to "non-scientific" things, like Faith. All too many people get better just because they BELIEVE. Even mainstream science has accepted the role of Faith in medicine. The role of the mind over body is a great chapter in medicine. If you look carefully, you will find out that medicine can be too irrational for modern science...

2. Do not mistake Medicine with Technology. All too many advances in "saving lives" are actually advances of Technology (e.g. better ultrasound technology) rather than advanced in Medicine Science.

3. The Human ascpect of doctor-patient relationship plays also a very vital role in medicine. In the same way, things like Love and Compassion and Caring are all too important factors for someone to get better and they are surely not a "science" thing to boast about.

4. Being "healthy" has never been proved to be better than being "ill". Yes, I understand that we all (me incuded) want to be healthy, but philosophy in general has never solved this puzzle. If you ask an agnostic or an atheist he will tell you that we do not even know what we are doing here, but he will be very "certain" about "health" being better than "sickness". Why is that?

I do go to the doctor every time I am ill. But I always hope the doctor is a good person who can really see other aspects of the treatment process than just the "I put you in a machine, I measure, I diagnose like a robot" line of reasoning...
~ το γὰρ αὐτὸ νοεῖν ἐστίν τε καὶ εἶναι ~

Harmonia Philosophica - Philosophy portal against dogmatism of any kind, religious & scientific alike... http://harmoniaphilosophica.wordpress.com/

Misterman
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Re: Why Medicine is NOT a pro-Science argument!

Post by Misterman » March 30th, 2013, 1:11 pm

Skakos wrote: 4. Being "healthy" has never been proved to be better than being "ill". Yes, I understand that we all (me incuded) want to be healthy, but philosophy in general has never solved this puzzle. If you ask an agnostic or an atheist he will tell you that we do not even know what we are doing here, but he will be very "certain" about "health" being better than "sickness". Why is that?
I know this is somewhat of a lame argument, but why does anyone have to rigorously prove why being healthy is better than being sick, or being alive is better than being dead? People like to be alive and healthy simply because it feels good. They want to explore the world and their consciousness, and experience art, love, stories, etc. It's just what we naturally like.

Also, I don't get how you can dismiss emotions as not being able to be scientifically studied. If we can admit that emotions are based on the neurophysiology of the brain and body, and the complicated processes and structures of the nervous system, then certainly emotions can be measured...It's just too difficult to trace every aspect of faith, caring, and love, that could ultimately result in some sort of cure for an illness.

As far as your original argument about medicine not being a real science, I do not have enough information or the time to do more research in order to reach a good conclusion/understanding/counter-argument for the issue. I honestly don't know that much about the field of medicine.

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Re: Why Medicine is NOT a pro-Science argument!

Post by Trajectory » March 30th, 2013, 6:12 pm

Skakos wrote:Many people regard Medicine as a pro-science argument and use it all too often to defend their own scientism-love. However there are many things to say the opposite:

1. Healing is very much related to "non-scientific" things, like Faith. All too many people get better just because they BELIEVE. Even mainstream science has accepted the role of Faith in medicine. The role of the mind over body is a great chapter in medicine. If you look carefully, you will find out that medicine can be too irrational for modern science...
This has been studied by scientists. It's called the placebo effect. We might not fully understand it yet, but what we do know is that it doesn't seem to matter what you believe in, just that you believe in it.
Skakos wrote: 2. Do not mistake Medicine with Technology. All too many advances in "saving lives" are actually advances of Technology (e.g. better ultrasound technology) rather than advanced in Medicine Science.
I don't think that really detracts from the "pro-science" argument, does it? Technology is also part of science. And medical technology is also closely linked with medicine, since such companies will tend to have doctors to advise them.
Skakos wrote: 3. The Human ascpect of doctor-patient relationship plays also a very vital role in medicine. In the same way, things like Love and Compassion and Caring are all too important factors for someone to get better and they are surely not a "science" thing to boast about.
I think you might have to provide an example of someone claiming that medicine is useful without doctors. I certainly wouldn't say so.
Skakos wrote: 4. Being "healthy" has never been proved to be better than being "ill". Yes, I understand that we all (me incuded) want to be healthy, but philosophy in general has never solved this puzzle. If you ask an agnostic or an atheist he will tell you that we do not even know what we are doing here, but he will be very "certain" about "health" being better than "sickness". Why is that?
I think we can safely say that being healthy is better than being ill, otherwise we don't have a useful definition of "better". And what do atheists and agnostics have to do with it? I think most religious people would also agree that health is better than sickness.

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Re: Why Medicine is NOT a pro-Science argument!

Post by Skakos » March 31st, 2013, 10:27 am

Misterman wrote: (Nested quote removed.)


I know this is somewhat of a lame argument, but why does anyone have to rigorously prove why being healthy is better than being sick, or being alive is better than being dead? People like to be alive and healthy simply because it feels good. They want to explore the world and their consciousness, and experience art, love, stories, etc. It's just what we naturally like.

Also, I don't get how you can dismiss emotions as not being able to be scientifically studied. If we can admit that emotions are based on the neurophysiology of the brain and body, and the complicated processes and structures of the nervous system, then certainly emotions can be measured...It's just too difficult to trace every aspect of faith, caring, and love, that could ultimately result in some sort of cure for an illness.

As far as your original argument about medicine not being a real science, I do not have enough information or the time to do more research in order to reach a good conclusion/understanding/counter-argument for the issue. I honestly don't know that much about the field of medicine.
Yes but you haven't beed dead, so you do not know how "dead" feels like... How can you make a comparison?
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Re: Why Medicine is NOT a pro-Science argument!

Post by Misterman » March 31st, 2013, 11:55 am

Skakos wrote: Yes but you haven't beed dead, so you do not know how "dead" feels like... How can you make a comparison?
That's a good point. I think of death as a beautiful, liberating thing. You can't feel what it's like to be dead, though. I'm not afraid of it as much as a lot of people are, but I still have a biological motive to survive.

The thing that I do know, based on what I've seen, is that you are dead a lot longer than you are alive. So you might as well enjoy life and get absorbed into the stories, art, sex, culture, etc. It's just a game, and we get to play it for a little while.

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Re: Why Medicine is NOT a pro-Science argument!

Post by Skakos » April 6th, 2013, 9:08 am

Misterman wrote: (Nested quote removed.)


That's a good point. I think of death as a beautiful, liberating thing. You can't feel what it's like to be dead, though. I'm not afraid of it as much as a lot of people are, but I still have a biological motive to survive.

The thing that I do know, based on what I've seen, is that you are dead a lot longer than you are alive. So you might as well enjoy life and get absorbed into the stories, art, sex, culture, etc. It's just a game, and we get to play it for a little while.
Your words are too intuitive. I do not suppose you knew it, but the infamous Suidae lexicon (Λεξικό Σουΐδα) [http://archive.org/details/suidaelexicongr01suid] gives the same definition for death...

Θάνατος = θάνατος κακῶν ἀπόδρασις καὶ ὣσπερ ἔκ τινος χειμῶνος ἀναγκαίος ὃρμος...

Death = death is an escape from bad things, a safe cove during winter...
~ το γὰρ αὐτὸ νοεῖν ἐστίν τε καὶ εἶναι ~

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Misterman
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Re: Why Medicine is NOT a pro-Science argument!

Post by Misterman » April 6th, 2013, 10:01 am

Skakos wrote: Your words are too intuitive.
Is this a bad thing?

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Re: Why Medicine is NOT a pro-Science argument!

Post by Supine » April 6th, 2013, 3:43 pm

I've heard the practice of medicine as described as "applied science." Engineering is described the same way. I think these are useful descriptions of both.

Even with the field of medicine there are joint MD and PhD programs intended on turning out physician-scientists. Which suggests that even within the field of medicine those just with MD and DO degrees are not regarded as scientists.

Perhaps forensic pathology is one of the exceptions outside of the dual degree physician-scientist paradigm.

I would like to say here in terms health, prevention, and pharmacology, civil engineering that successful establishes systems of clean drinking water and adequate systems of waste disposal saves more lives than prescription medication.

In terms of preventing illness there are probably many things a society and individuals can do to maintain and/or improve their health. Frequent walking is one may be one. If I recall correctly, life expectancy on the island of Sardinia is longer than in the United States. An island on which people in the 70s still walk up and down hills daily to fetch water for personal use.

I think I saw a show interviewing Cubans in Cuba in their 60s to 80s retired and playing cards and socializing with many of their peers, asking them what they attribute to the long life expectancy in Cuba. The answers typically were ease of life and reduced stress.





I suspect prolonged stress is a far greater threat to a person's body, health, than we appreciate. A simple life with a sufficient diet of healthy food, friends and family, security, and peace of mind probably can keep most people healthy without prescription medication or surgeries for a long time. Nonetheless, things happen, such as accidents. A person may suffer serious burns, lacerations, or other trauma to their body. A person may be born with certain disorders. Or a person may acquire some disease like skin cancer. We need modern medicine with modern science to tackle these problems. So, science has benefited humanity when it has been applied to medicine and medical problems.

But even in sophisticated nations like the United States with all its advanced medical science some within our population have not fared in certain ways, statistically, as well as some of their peers in developing or so-called "Third World" nations.

Ex. http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/114430774.html
In 1900, the infant mortality rate in the United States was about 100 deaths for every 1,000 live births, or 1 in 10.

By 1960, it had been knocked down to 26 deaths per 1,000 births.

By 2008, it was 6.6.

Sounds good. But compare the U.S. infant mortality rate with the rest of the world.

With the caveat that some countries count and report infant deaths in different ways, the U.S., for all its wealth and medical sophistication, does poorly.

In recent years, the U.S. infant mortality rate has been twice that of nations as diverse as Japan, Sweden, Portugal and the Czech Republic.

One federal ranking, based on 2010 estimates, puts the U.S. rank at 46th among 222 nations. That puts it behind Cuba, Hungary and South Korea.
The city's black infant mortality rate during that period was 15.7, about 2.5 times the white rate.

These deaths are concentrated in a handful of ZIP codes, where poverty, joblessness and crime also are high.

The ZIP code with the highest rate was 53210 - which includes central city areas as well as parts of the Sherman Park and Enderis Park neighborhoods - with 19.5 deaths per 1,000.

That rate is worse than Colombia, Bulgaria and the Gaza Strip.

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Re: Why Medicine is NOT a pro-Science argument!

Post by Wooden shoe » April 6th, 2013, 5:43 pm

Skakos.

If it was not for science there would be much less a doctor would be able to do today. Medicine and science are so closely related and medicine has made giant steps in the last 100 years, by being able to see what is going on inside a body while the person is alive. And this is only a small sample of what can be done because of technology, technology developed through advances in science.

I believe also in holistic medicine, however the financial interests in the health system often get in the way for those wanting to practice this form of medicine.

You wrote: Being "healthy" has never been proved to be better than being "ill". Yes, I understand that we all (me incuded) want to be healthy, but philosophy in general has never solved this puzzle. If you ask an agnostic or an atheist he will tell you that we do not even know what we are doing here, but he will be very "certain" about "health" being better than "sickness". Why is that?


I believe the main reason we want to be healthy is our feeling of security. Illness makes us vulnerable and often dependent on others.


Regards, John.
We experience today through the lens of all our yesterdays

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Re: Why Medicine is NOT a pro-Science argument!

Post by Newme » April 7th, 2013, 9:08 pm

Medicine has it's place, but I agree that it is so often depended on to a ridiculous level... Here is a very serious 2 minute clip proving my point. :wink:

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Re: Why Medicine is NOT a pro-Science argument!

Post by Skakos » April 8th, 2013, 5:44 am

Wooden shoe wrote:Skakos.

If it was not for science there would be much less a doctor would be able to do today. Medicine and science are so closely related and medicine has made giant steps in the last 100 years, by being able to see what is going on inside a body while the person is alive. And this is only a small sample of what can be done because of technology, technology developed through advances in science.

I believe also in holistic medicine, however the financial interests in the health system often get in the way for those wanting to practice this form of medicine.

You wrote: Being "healthy" has never been proved to be better than being "ill". Yes, I understand that we all (me incuded) want to be healthy, but philosophy in general has never solved this puzzle. If you ask an agnostic or an atheist he will tell you that we do not even know what we are doing here, but he will be very "certain" about "health" being better than "sickness". Why is that?


I believe the main reason we want to be healthy is our feeling of security. Illness makes us vulnerable and often dependent on others.


Regards, John.
Progress in medicine has to do with technological advances (e.g. ultrasound) and common logic (e.g. wash your hands before surgery) than "science". Science is about prediction models. Medicine is more about human relations (doctor-patient) and more "mechanistic" solutions (e.g. I open you and "fix" where there is a problem). Indeed many of us want to be healthy just for feeling more secure. But this could be an illusion. We are always dependent on others, we just do not understand it. Life is too short to be fooling ourselves without even admitting it...
~ το γὰρ αὐτὸ νοεῖν ἐστίν τε καὶ εἶναι ~

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Re: Why Medicine is NOT a pro-Science argument!

Post by Wooden shoe » April 8th, 2013, 10:42 am

Hello Skakos.

I do not understand you separating technology developed based on new science, from science. unraveling the genetic code, advancements in chemistry, even quantum physics are having an impact. Technology is applied science.

Regards, John.
We experience today through the lens of all our yesterdays

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Re: Why Medicine is NOT a pro-Science argument!

Post by Kansara » April 9th, 2013, 8:00 am

I also believe that majority of advancements in medicines or technology are solutions to the problems created by science itself. For example, first we created pollution by technological advancements and then we are creating medicines for the diseases created by pollution

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Re: Why Medicine is NOT a pro-Science argument!

Post by JustAnotherCommenter » April 11th, 2013, 8:02 pm

Skakos wrote: scientism-love
Why do you hate on science so much? I've read several of your posts and you seem to be really against anything science. I don't get that. I don't get people who are angry and upset over reason and logic. Science is just people trying to reason out the real world by watching it and thinking logically. They may not always get it right but its not like they out to get you like people seem to be out to get them.
Skakos wrote:1. Healing is very much related to "non-scientific" things, like Faith. All too many people get better just because they BELIEVE.
I think your confusing medicine with shamanism here. There's a reason life expectancy has jumped way up over the last 100 years and it ain't because people just started believing in themselves a bunch more.

Skakos wrote:2. Do not mistake Medicine with Technology. All too many advances in "saving lives" are actually advances of Technology (e.g. better ultrasound technology) rather than advanced in Medicine Science.
You don't get new technology to fix you without a better understanding of what's wrong. People used to think your body was made up of 4 humors. I think its safe to say medicine has advanced.
Skakos wrote:3. The Human ascpect of doctor-patient relationship plays also a very vital role in medicine. In the same way, things like Love and Compassion and Caring are all too important factors for someone to get better and they are surely not a "science" thing to boast about.
How do you know it plays a vital role? Let me take a shot in the dark here. You read a SCIENTIFIC study showing a correlation. Huh....that's food for thought.
Skakos wrote:4. Being "healthy" has never been proved to be better than being "ill".
Really dude? You want to argue medicine isn't any good because it's better to be sick? You can be sick if you want but I'd rather be healthy.

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Re: Why Medicine is NOT a pro-Science argument!

Post by EMTe » April 12th, 2013, 2:51 pm

Skakos wrote:Many people regard Medicine as a pro-science argument and use it all too often to defend their own scientism-love. However there are many things to say the opposite:

1. Healing is very much related to "non-scientific" things, like Faith. All too many people get better just because they BELIEVE. Even mainstream science has accepted the role of Faith in medicine. The role of the mind over body is a great chapter in medicine. If you look carefully, you will find out that medicine can be too irrational for modern science...

2. Do not mistake Medicine with Technology. All too many advances in "saving lives" are actually advances of Technology (e.g. better ultrasound technology) rather than advanced in Medicine Science.

3. The Human ascpect of doctor-patient relationship plays also a very vital role in medicine. In the same way, things like Love and Compassion and Caring are all too important factors for someone to get better and they are surely not a "science" thing to boast about.

4. Being "healthy" has never been proved to be better than being "ill". Yes, I understand that we all (me incuded) want to be healthy, but philosophy in general has never solved this puzzle. If you ask an agnostic or an atheist he will tell you that we do not even know what we are doing here, but he will be very "certain" about "health" being better than "sickness". Why is that?

I do go to the doctor every time I am ill. But I always hope the doctor is a good person who can really see other aspects of the treatment process than just the "I put you in a machine, I measure, I diagnose like a robot" line of reasoning...
You seem to see things in black and white colours. It's either medicine or hostility towards medicine. Nobody in academic circles questions the so-called human aspects - approach to patient, potential healing qualities of faith, role of placebo. Herbs, which are sometimes viewed as "traditional" medicine and are linked with witch-doctors are beneficial to our health what was proved by science. Basically, whatever helps to cure whatever is considered illness should be considered rightful medicine. If you pray during chemotherapy and you and your doctors think it helps - go along, why bother?
The penultimate goal of the human is to howl like the wolf.

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