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Questions to an agnostic

Discuss philosophical questions regarding theism (and atheism), and discuss religion as it relates to philosophy. This includes any philosophical discussions that happen to be about god, gods, or a 'higher power' or the belief of them. This also generally includes philosophical topics about organized or ritualistic mysticism or about organized, common or ritualistic beliefs in the existence of supernatural phenomenon.
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LuckyR
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Re: Questions to an agnostic

Post by LuckyR » August 23rd, 2018, 10:27 pm

ThomasHobbes wrote:
August 23rd, 2018, 4:27 pm
LuckyR wrote:
August 23rd, 2018, 3:55 pm
. Thus comments on the known shortfalls of Modern Medicine can be logically addressed with: "compared to what?"

I was not trying to imply that one made the other impossible, rather that one opposes the other in a universe where inconsistencies are common and expected (as you pointed out)
As you presented it, could be implied that there was a break down in logic as if it would be impossible for a corrupt health system to be oversubscribed by those wishing to use it.

My view is that there are many aspect of the system which are corrupt. And alongside that are some of the most brilliant, altruistic, loving and giving humans you could ever hope to meet working in that system. In some ways those paragons of duty and service we call nurses and doctors are in part unwittingly supporting money grabbing wankers whose main aim is to screw as much money out of sick and vulnerable people, and these wankers are not only exploiting suffering patients but the good people who genuinely care for the sick.

I think the claim that health care is exploited by people over using it is poor. Obviously there will always be a minority of hypochondriacs visiting the doctor for minor ailments but I do not think this is significant.
In the US visiting the GP is not fully covered by insurance. If it were then people might want to visit for piffling ailments to get their money's worth. In the UK I can't imagine many would sit in a busy waiting room for no reason at all, - and it can be a bitch to get a convenient appointment.
You might want to argue that A&E is oversubscribed by self inflicted idiots on a Saturday night - true. And little boys with saucepans stuck on their heads - but triage tends to to take care of oversubscription with serious cases getting the care they need.
Many could do with staying away and letting their common cold run its course, but people get genuinely worried about persistent symptoms and a visit can have a reassuring effect. Medicine is all about making people feel better.

You can talk about drugs all day - over prescribed, over designed, under engineered, and aggressively advertised. Pharma does not tend to meet suffering patients face to face. They are money making enterprises, and the move to make really expensive palliative drugs for the cancer "market" rather than work on cheaper curative solutions is scandal.

On the matter of vaccinations. Anti-vaccers and basically idiots, goaded on by the most disgraceful irresponsible media.
We are in complete agreement on the reality that the business of medicine is governed by the rules and motivations of business (profit seeking), we also agree that the practitioners of medicine tend as a whole to adhere to the rules of medicine, curing disease and alleviating suffering.

As I mentioned already I similarly do not feel that patients overuse medicine to a large degree.

Of course there are idiots in every arena, and the science deniers and conspiracy theorists are Medicine's cross to bear.

As to the shortfalls of Western medicine, it is well known that in the area of disease treatment, it can't be beat. OTOH, it is not particularly successful at symptom alleviation when compared to nonWestern medicine. However, that is not a bad thing. If your problem is insomnia, why use a weird chemical from a factory instead of a glass of warm milk? If you have low energy (in the absence of disease), going to the gym will be better than a pharmaceutical. So stop going to the doctor, read a book and fix these First World problems without a prescription.
"As usual... it depends."

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Felix
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Re: Questions to an agnostic

Post by Felix » August 23rd, 2018, 11:32 pm

Exactly Felix you think you know more about acupuncture than trained medical professionals (even going so far as to use the no true Scotsman fallacy), i.e. they can't be a professional unless they agree with you.
Not sure how you reached that conclusion based on my comments.... What I said is that there are, on one hand, scientists who have thoroughly investigated acupuncture and devised a credible theory as to how it may work while on the other hand, there are those who have not studied it and have decided based on consensus opinion alone that there is nothing to it, it is simply a placebo. I trust the conclusions of those who have actually investigated it over those who have not. However, no one has yet established beyond a reasonable doubt that it either does or does not work as suggested, which is why I am agnostic about it.
Again what the hell is qi. How would I test for qi?
By using electrodes and specialized electronic equipment to measure ionic currents and fluctuations in the skin at the meridian points, just as one would use EEG and EKG machines to measure such electrical activity in the brain or heart.
Much too vague. You get similar vagueness if you wonder how needles are supposed to allow the qi to flow. Needles aren't renowned for making things flow?
Do you know anything about electrical engineering principles? - circuit boosters and breakers, etc. - it's based on those principles.
Also I can legally perform acupuncture tomorrow.
Where can you do that? Professional certification and licensing is required to practice it in the U.S.
The comment (Felix's) that Modern Medicine is corrupt
For the record, I never said that "modern medicine is corrupt." I did critique the corporate business model that focuses more on promoting the financial strength of medical manufacturers (pharmaceutical and medical device makers) than on providing quality medical care to medical patients. The current prescription opiate addiction epidemic in the U.S. is a product of that business model.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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Greta
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Re: Questions to an agnostic

Post by Greta » August 24th, 2018, 12:49 am

As far as I can tell modern medicine is great for serious ailments and can be helpful in masking symptoms to allow workers to keep going.

As for chronic ailments, I find neither modern medicine or the alternative variety to be effective without problematic side effects.

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ThomasHobbes
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Re: Questions to an agnostic

Post by ThomasHobbes » August 24th, 2018, 2:07 am

LuckyR wrote:
August 23rd, 2018, 10:27 pm
ThomasHobbes wrote:
August 23rd, 2018, 4:27 pm


As you presented it, could be implied that there was a break down in logic as if it would be impossible for a corrupt health system to be oversubscribed by those wishing to use it.

My view is that there are many aspect of the system which are corrupt. And alongside that are some of the most brilliant, altruistic, loving and giving humans you could ever hope to meet working in that system. In some ways those paragons of duty and service we call nurses and doctors are in part unwittingly supporting money grabbing wankers whose main aim is to screw as much money out of sick and vulnerable people, and these wankers are not only exploiting suffering patients but the good people who genuinely care for the sick.

I think the claim that health care is exploited by people over using it is poor. Obviously there will always be a minority of hypochondriacs visiting the doctor for minor ailments but I do not think this is significant.
In the US visiting the GP is not fully covered by insurance. If it were then people might want to visit for piffling ailments to get their money's worth. In the UK I can't imagine many would sit in a busy waiting room for no reason at all, - and it can be a bitch to get a convenient appointment.
You might want to argue that A&E is oversubscribed by self inflicted idiots on a Saturday night - true. And little boys with saucepans stuck on their heads - but triage tends to to take care of oversubscription with serious cases getting the care they need.
Many could do with staying away and letting their common cold run its course, but people get genuinely worried about persistent symptoms and a visit can have a reassuring effect. Medicine is all about making people feel better.

You can talk about drugs all day - over prescribed, over designed, under engineered, and aggressively advertised. Pharma does not tend to meet suffering patients face to face. They are money making enterprises, and the move to make really expensive palliative drugs for the cancer "market" rather than work on cheaper curative solutions is scandal.

On the matter of vaccinations. Anti-vaccers and basically idiots, goaded on by the most disgraceful irresponsible media.
We are in complete agreement on the reality that the business of medicine is governed by the rules and motivations of business (profit seeking),
That is wholly the case in the USA, but in countries where you have social medicine the dynamics are different. Whilst social medicine can be held to ransom by business interests that is not the prime motivator in the NHS, where treatments are allocated on the basis of greatest need to the sick.
In recent years piecemeal privatisation of some services have led to areas of corruption where Tory politicians bestow upon their own companies contracts. But a large organisation, if run well can even be made to exploit private interests with massive spending power, economies of scale and careful understanding of the market.
The disaster comes when the same people are in control of the public purse and the companies that benefit from the private contracts.

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ThomasHobbes
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Re: Questions to an agnostic

Post by ThomasHobbes » August 24th, 2018, 2:09 am

Greta wrote:
August 24th, 2018, 12:49 am
As far as I can tell modern medicine is great for serious ailments and can be helpful in masking symptoms to allow workers to keep going.

As for chronic ailments, I find neither modern medicine or the alternative variety to be effective without problematic side effects.
Methinks its not so simple.

My oft quoted example chronic gout is wholly understood and alleviated by drugs and knowledge all from modern medicine.

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ThomasHobbes
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Re: Questions to an agnostic

Post by ThomasHobbes » August 24th, 2018, 2:11 am

Felix wrote:
August 23rd, 2018, 11:32 pm
Exactly Felix you think you know more about acupuncture than trained medical professionals (even going so far as to use the no true Scotsman fallacy), i.e. they can't be a professional unless they agree with you.
Not sure how you reached that conclusion based on my comments.... What I said is that there are, on one hand, scientists who have thoroughly investigated acupuncture and devised a credible theory as to how it may work while on the other hand, there are those who have not studied it and have decided based on consensus opinion alone that there is nothing to it, it is simply a placebo. I trust the conclusions of those who have actually investigated it over those who have not. However, no one has yet established beyond a reasonable doubt that it either does or does not work as suggested, which is why I am agnostic about it.
So tell us all what 'credible theory' have these "scientists" come up with beyond placebo?

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Greta
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Re: Questions to an agnostic

Post by Greta » August 24th, 2018, 4:01 am

ThomasHobbes wrote:
August 24th, 2018, 2:09 am
Greta wrote:
August 24th, 2018, 12:49 am
As far as I can tell modern medicine is great for serious ailments and can be helpful in masking symptoms to allow workers to keep going.

As for chronic ailments, I find neither modern medicine nor the alternative variety to be effective without problematic side effects.
Methinks its not so simple.

My oft quoted example chronic gout is wholly understood and alleviated by drugs and knowledge all from modern medicine.
Are there issues with side effects with long term use?

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Felix
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Re: Questions to an agnostic

Post by Felix » August 24th, 2018, 4:06 am

So tell us all what 'credible theory' have these "scientists" come up with beyond placebo?
The theory I'm familiar with proposed that acupuncture meridians conduct electrical currents along subdermal perineural cells. These currents relay an injury message to the brain, which responds by sending back the appropriate level of direct current needed to stimulate healing in the affected area. Consciously the input message to the brain would be interpreted as pain. By blocking the incoming message, one could inhibit the pain, which is apparently what acupuncture does, and why it has been found to be most useful for pain management (in the hands of a competent practitioner of course).

A current will grow weaker with distance due to resistance along the transmission line. The smaller the amperage and voltage, the faster the current will dissipate. Electrical engineers solve this problem by including booster circuits at set locations along a power line to amplify the signal (current) strength. The electrical currents that travel thorugh the meridians are measured in nanamperes and microvolts and therefore the signal amplifiers will only need to be a few inches apart, just like the acupuncture points. A metal needle stuck in one of these amplication points (i.e., acupuncture points), would connect it with nearby tissue fluids and "short out" the pain message.

Traditional Chinese medicine carries the theory a step further (some would say "one step beyond" as in the old television show) by suggesting that various patterns of needle placement can harmonize the perineural currents and thereby help to alleviate various health conditions, but I don't think this claim has ever been evaluated by Western medical science. It's not the sort of study for which one can get a grant, as there is unlikely to be any financial pay-off.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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Re: Questions to an agnostic

Post by Eduk » August 24th, 2018, 4:12 am

What I said is that there are, on one hand, scientists who have thoroughly investigated acupuncture and devised a credible theory as to how it may work while on the other hand, there are those who have not studied it and have decided based on consensus opinion alone
How can you tell which scientists are which? There have been numerous world wide clinical trials using acupuncture. You know that all the negative studies are from bad scientists and all the positive studies are from good scientists. How can you possibly know such a thing? Where does this idea even come from that people you disagree with clearly are only going with the consensus? Can you read minds? Have you tried asking them?
Unknown means unknown.

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Re: Questions to an agnostic

Post by Felix » August 24th, 2018, 4:32 am

There have been numerous world wide clinical trials using acupuncture.
Garbage in, garbage out.... you will first have to have a basic understanding of what you are studying, the theory behind it, before you can conduct a proper study on it. In those studies where the researchers were knowledgeable about acupuncture, they found objective bases for the theory, e.g., the same acupuncture points were found in every person tested.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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Re: Questions to an agnostic

Post by Eduk » August 24th, 2018, 5:04 am

How do you know who is the garbage scientist? You seem to be operating under the illusion that acupuncture is real therefore if a scientist disagrees than logically they are garbage.
Unknown means unknown.

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Re: Questions to an agnostic

Post by ThomasHobbes » August 24th, 2018, 6:45 am

Greta wrote:
August 24th, 2018, 4:01 am
ThomasHobbes wrote:
August 24th, 2018, 2:09 am

Methinks its not so simple.

My oft quoted example chronic gout is wholly understood and alleviated by drugs and knowledge all from modern medicine.
Are there issues with side effects with long term use?
Only in some individuals. Allopurinol replaces a part of the chemical chain which converts purines to urine.
Side effects can include a rash, which is rare and not present in my case.

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Re: Questions to an agnostic

Post by Felix » August 24th, 2018, 2:45 pm

Eduk: How do you know who is the garbage scientist?
As I implied, the garbage studies (not scientists) would be the ones in which the researchers lack sufficient know-how and resources to design a proper study o acupunncture, i.e., they can't say precisely where the acupuncture points and meridians are (they can be found and measured with the proper electronic equipment), how they are connected, the purported therapeutic applications, strengths and limitations of acupuncture, etc. Even then, due to it's many subtleties, I would think even well designed studies would be likely to produce inconclusive results.

To establish beyond a reasonable doubt that acupuncture does or does not have any real merit would require a large investment of time and money, and it's not something that venture capitalists will have an interest in, because as I said, it can offer no definite promise of financial return.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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Re: Questions to an agnostic

Post by ThomasHobbes » August 24th, 2018, 2:53 pm

Felix wrote:
August 24th, 2018, 2:45 pm
Eduk: How do you know who is the garbage scientist?
As I implied, the garbage studies (not scientists) would be the ones in which the researchers lack sufficient know-how and resources to design a proper study o acupunncture, i.e., they can't say precisely where the acupuncture points and meridians are (they can be found and measured with the proper electronic equipment), how they are connected, the purported therapeutic applications, strengths and limitations of acupuncture, etc. Even then, due to it's many subtleties, I would think even well designed studies would be likely to produce inconclusive results.

To establish beyond a reasonable doubt that acupuncture does or does not have any real merit would require a large investment of time and money, and it's not something that venture capitalists will have an interest in, because as I said, it can offer no definite promise of financial return.
Such studies have been tried again and again. The results are consonant with controls, having no appreciable effects.
My own local cancer centre(c 10 years back) studied the use of AP in the recovery of salivary glands following neck radiation. Having been treated for cancer by the consultant in charge I know that he was very keen on finding positive results for his patients so he could offer a gentle recovery regime to his patients. Sadly the study showed no significant positive results.

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Re: Questions to an agnostic

Post by Eduk » August 24th, 2018, 5:13 pm

More recent trials have attempted to improve the blinded control of such trials by using acupuncture needles that are contained in an opaque sheath. The acupuncturist depresses a plunger, and neither they nor the patient knows if the needle is actually inserted. The pressure from the sheath itself would conceal any sensation from the needle going in. So far, such studies show no difference between those who received needle insertion and those who did not – supporting the conclusion that acupuncture has no detectable specific health effect.
Acupuncturists take part in clinical trials. I guess to this point even though there have been untold trials, many of them setup by acupuncturists, that they never did manage to get a 'real' acupuncturist. This does not surprise me.
Unknown means unknown.

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