tesla33 wrote:They KNOW they are right, and anyone who disagrees with them is WRONG.
Oh? Who are they? As a "true scientist," (official title: Medical Research Analyst, where my job is to design and maintain studies, and debunk those that are flimsy), the only thing I "KNOW" is what the data shows me. And it's not s matter of disagreement, but a matter of showing me the DATA and STATISTICAL ANALYSIS supporting your views.
tesla33 wrote:but unlike you folks I can see grey areas,
And unlike you, "seeing" is not good enough for us. We're not so arrogant as to rely on something so subjective.
As for grey areas, we scientists are not only capable of seeing them -- but we actively search for them. What do you think Statistical Analysis is all about? It's a formalized way to quantify how "grey" an area is. We don't just say an area is grey, but we want to know how confidently we can trust those grey areas. Do you do that?
And what do you think Peer Review is all about? it's a way of inviting alternate interpretations and criticisms. Have you even picked up a scientific journal or paper? If so, you'd see that the Conclusion section almost always have alternative explanations, and admitted weaknesses of our own studies.
tesla33 wrote:and I take *all* studies with a grain of salt - not just the ones I don't agree with.
And that is your problem. You have a category the absolutist label, "ALL studies." We instead have gradations of confidence based on proven mathematical techniques.
tesla33 wrote: Chiropractic is based mainly on antiquated beliefs from a long-gone age, but like Acupuncture the methods used in treatment (and to a lesser extent in diagnosis) have real value.
Why did you have to get me started on acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)? And yes, I am VERY familiar with the modality. As you can see, my last initial is "C." Make a guess on what half of my racial makeup might be. Here's a clue: my mom is a trained practitioner of TCM. Let's put it this way: None of her training holds up to modern statistical analysis. Even the concept of placebo-control is foreign to her. When I was at Columbia University's School of Biostatistics, over 70% of the grad students were from China. They told me that as China relies more and more on modern statistics, more and more of TCM is falling apart.
The Skeptical Inquirer had an excellent piece on the flimsiness of acupuncture. Yeah it works -- but only for subjective conditions like pain, and only if you believe or are psychologically in tuned. Studies with sham meridians and sham retracting needles show how much it relies on psychology. I will admit that there is a very intriguing study with animals, but human studies have not been favorable to TCM.
As for diagnostics, it's a joke. I visited over 10 practitioners for the fun of it and none of them, including my mother, were able to detect some of my major medical problems by feeling my pulse or looking at my tongue. And if you want a good laugh, you should read some of their textbooks. My research area is in HIV neurophysiology so I have a couple of TCM books on AIDS. In their opinion, AIDS arise from "the ministerial fire" that is created when two Yangs interact sexually. In other words, HIV/AIDS arise spontaneously out of two men having sex; no initial microbe is necessary. Abiogenesis was disproved by Pasteur in the 19th century yet a TCM text from 2000 still advocates it.
As for Qi, which forms the foundation of TCM, including acupuncture, it's been disproved many times, including some notable demonstrations on PBS's Scientific American Frontiers. Practitioners were asked to exert their Qi over microbe cultures, trying to influence their growth, Absolutely no effect. The BBC also had a great program where a Qi master were shown to knock over multiple assailants (consisting of his students) with a wave of his hand at a distance! Yet when skeptic Massimo Pigliucci asked to be knocked down, no waving from even inches away had any effect. In other words, either there was mass hypnosis among his students or outright fraud.
BTW, there's a sadly hilarious YouTube video showing an elderly Japanese Kiai (the Japanese form of Qi) master in a monetary challenge against an MMA fighter. The master claimed a 200-0 record, and is shown beating his pupils effortlessly. But in the match, the old coot kept throwing unseen Qi energy balls to no effect. After the poor old man was knocked over twice, the match was stopped.
Finally, consider the wonderfully elegant experiment by 10 y/o Emily Rosa. She devised a very simple controlled experiment to test Therapeutic Touch to see if practitioners can truly detect a "life force." The results were no better than chance. The study made Rosa the youngest author to publish in a peer-reviewed journal (the prestigious JAMA). A similar experiment showed that practitioners were also unable to feel Qi.
I will stop here. But please, familiarize yourself with what scientists actually do before criticizing us. We're very open minded, but demand data and formal analysis before giving a modality any credibility. If we weren't open minded, we wouldn't be researchers, which by definition means that we seek new information to challenge the status quo.
If you want more information, contact me privately as I am unlikely to revisit today's Woot, depending on my workload (this is not a product I'm particularly interested in).
PS - you're wrong about Quantum Physics. No one "laughed" at its founders. People were merely skeptical because it conflicted with Newtonian physics, i.e. the need for ether. No one "laughed." They were waiting for evidence, as scientists should, i.e. Morley Michelson, Bell's Inequality, etc. The same went for Einstein's theories, which took years for experimental confirmation. To quote Carl Sagan, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."