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February 13, 2007

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See, this is what the semi-rational dickheads like RevRon don't get.

They say "acupuncture works" and back it up with that one study that shows sticking needles in people may relieve pain more than a placebo.

1. That's not acupuncture, it's puncture.
2. Just because it may "relieve pain" does not mean we can disengage our brains and think it'll cure cancer. Aspirin relieves pain, should we research as to whether or not it'll cure Jerry's kids?

I know a "Third Degree Reiki" (whatever that means) who is, naturally, also into any and all alternative Eastern medicines, and has said that "Western medicine doesn't know anything." And yet, when he encountered some stress in his life (his father died) and developed insomnia, he went to a Western doctor and got a prescription for a sleep aid. They're so big on energy work and how wonderful it is that these alternative treatments exist to really help people when Western medicine just wants to harm -- but when it comes right down to it, they only use the reiki to cure imaginary ailments ("My qi is unbalanced") and seek the medical doctors for real problems. If only they encouraged their clients to do the same.

Is it just me, or are the believers in woo insane? "I'm going to go stick myself with needles to correct the flow of something that cannot be proven to exist!"

Some people want to believe that there's "more" to life than just, well, life.

I've has some bad times where I thought it would be nice to shut my mind down and pretend. I couldn't ever quite do it, but I understand the temptation.

Have read several studies on acupuncture, I must say the evidence seems to show that poking needles into someone's skin does provide pain-relief in a number of conditions that is superior to placebo.

Having said that, and bearing in mind the difficulty of blinding in a study involving acupuncture, the evidence also seems to suggest that it doesn't really matter where you stick those needles. In other words, 'dermapuncture' works, while 'acupuncture' seems to be an inaccurate theory to describe the phenomenon we are observing.

It's a pity proponents would rather spend their time selling a theory that doesn't fit rather than trying to find out how dermapuncture really works. But then again, the qi business is what they base a whole lot of other 'alternative medicine' on...

The temperature of energy? I thought heat was energy!

Stagnant energy? You mean it doesn't have much oxygen dissolved in it?

What are the units for chi energy? Joules don't seem to cover it, somehow. What sort of meter does an acupuncturist use to measure it? How does he know he hasn't warmed energy up too much, or unbalanced it the other way? Why do acupuncturists not examine the mechanisms that cause chi to clog up, cool down or stagnate, rather than just stepping in to give the poor sufferer a tune-up when it goes wrong?

Oh, I forgot! There's already a great answer to all of this: "Look, it just works, okay?"

Damn my inquisitive mind and its senseless thirst for meaningless "How" answers instead of the much more useful "Why" ones!

angry doc:

I'm all for the fact that sticking needles in people may relieve pain better than placebo. Fine and dandy if that's what people want to do instead of taking an aspirin (although I can assure you every tattoo I have hurt like hell).

But it's when the woos bring that fact up as a reason to do "more research" that pisses me off. Just because something relieves pain does not mean it'll cure chicken pox.

Oh, Ryan, you DO rock! I will be forever grateful for this:

They say "acupuncture works" and back it up with that one study that shows sticking needles in people may relieve pain more than a placebo.

1. That's not acupuncture, it's puncture.

Exactly.

And to John Marley, about those bad times when we grok the temptation ...thought it would be nice to shut my mind down and pretend... (though you could not quite manage the self-deception): of course, but the difference is most folks who play acupuncture are not in "bad times", rather it is a fulltime habit of delusional thinking.

Ok I may get a pile on just for asking this question, and I'm ok with that, because it's just a question. I don't fall for the acupuncture thing either because of all the stated reasons above. However, I used to work for this guy at a climbing shop who would go to an acupuncturist and the ONLY thing that sort of made sense to me is that there is some possibility that jabbing sharp needles into one area of ones body may have the potential to increase blood flow to that area thereby speeding healing to injuries. I haven't seen that addressed here and please shoot this down too because (and granted I haven't done much research nor do I plan to go out and get acupuncture) I was always curious.

Rev. BigDumbChimp:

Yeah, it's possible.

Thanks Skeptyk, but I can not tell a lie - I stole that from berlezebub, a frequent commenter on skeptical/critical thinking blogs.

In line with Rev. BDC, I also have a question. If my memory serves, can't endorphins also be stimulated by exercise and some *ahem* recreational drugs? If so, why sit/lay down to have needles inserted into your skin? Why not make yourself more physically fit, or go for a good trip?

-Berlzebub

Rockstar Ryan, thanks for the recognition, but it wasn't stealing. As long as you don't quite mine, anyone is free to quote me or use my ideas (that aren't patented).

Berlzebub:

I imagine there are many easier ways than acupuncture to stimulate endorphins. Acupuncture seems a very complex procedure for such an equivocal benefit.

As long as you don't quite mine, anyone is free to quote me or use my ideas (that aren't patented).

*AHEM*

They should also spell your name right Berlzebub. I wear the robe of shame + 5...

I think I've figured it out-
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internal_energy

"The internal energy is essentially defined by the first law of thermodynamics which states that energy is conserved:

ΔU = Q + W + W'

Read: Change in You = Qi + Work performed by acupuncturist + Heat developed by sliding MA/V/AMEX across a terminal.

Since Qi is nonexistent and the acupuncturist work is approximately zero, those two terms drop out leaving ΔU = W'.

The change in you (benefit) is equal to the heat developed by sliding a credit card.

So, from Dr. Oz's perspective, more CC transactions = patient benefit. Brilliant. "Alternative medicine is the globalization of medicine"

ΔU is the change in internal energy of a system during a process.
Q is heat added to a system (measured in joules in SI); that is, a positive value for Q represents heat flow into a system while a negative value denotes heat flow out of a system. W is the mechanical work done on a system (measured in joules in SI)
W'is energy added by all other processes.

JC

Indeed, Ryan.

Which is why I am for demystifying acupuncture. If we can determine why dermapuncture gives pain-relief and show that it is not based on qi and meridiens, then it's one more step in the fight to end woo.

If it's only about releasing endorphins, even eating chocolate will do that. Personally, I'd rather eat a Godiva truffle than get poked with needles.

Hear hear!

Rock on Angry Doc,

I'm with you all the way. I didn't mean to insinuate in any way that you buy into the woo-woo. Just venting my frustrations at the people who automatically correlate the placebo effect of puncture with curing disease.

No worries, Ryan.

We are also discussing acupuncture (and alternative medicine) over at my blog now, so do drop by if you are free.

Well...I wish I'd known this a week and 1/2 ago! I have lower back and sciatic nerve pain and have been laid up for 5 weeks now. I had surgery 2 years ago for the same problem. This time, however, the sciatic is so "ticked off" that I'm unable to sit at all and also unable to stand for more than 1/2 hour before I have to lay back down again. Taking pain killers and anti-inflammatory meds...been to a chiro...been to another chiro who performs A.R.T. (Active Release Technique) which works with muscles, tendons, and nerves...he couldn't help...he recommended I see an acupuncturist. This particular doctor who is an acpuncturist was a chief neurosurgeon in Japan before coming to the U.S. and is now practicing acpuncture and chiropractic. Well, after 3 treatments I learned that this is against my Catholic faith as it is considered New Age treatment. So, here I lay...in pain...wondering what to do next. I guess it's to another doctor for a cortizone injection and hope for the best. Just thought I'd throw in my 2 cents worth.

How can acupuncture be considered new age when it is 5000 years old?

The Oprah bit did not explain why acupuncture works at all, and was poorly put together.

The problem with what you all are trying to figure out is how can this treat specific western ailments that western medicine has discovered over the last 200 years. The answer is that it came from a culture that had a completely different way of explaining the world, and none of these words like "fibromyalgia" etc. existed at that point in time.

It came from thousands of years of observing humans and the natural world and is rooted in the cycles of life.

Water gives birth to wood. When it rains foliage and trees sprout from the earth, if rain was to not exist then there would be no wood or life on this planet.

Wood gives birth to fire. Rub two sticks together, or make a bonfire, there is no fire without wood.

Fire gives birth to earth. When wood burns it returns to ash and becomes earth. Earth itself could not exist without the sun.

Earth gives birth to metal. The core of the earth is metal and the earth itself would not exist without this metal core which is rich in minerals.

These minerals create the gasous cloud necessary in our atmosphere for hydrogen to bind with oxygen and rain to form in the first place.

So we're back full circle. That is the natual cycle of life, and humans are life, we are part of that cycle and all of that is present in our bodies. Each of these elements of the cycles have organs that correspond to them in the body ie water kidney's and bladder. Wood liver and gallbladder...

Could we exist without kidneys and bladder? Absolutely not, just like life can't exist without water.

So we call something kidney stones and have no treatment, they call something water imbalance and can stick needles on points in the body that correct this imbalance and get the bodys natural cycle to return to normal.

This is not placebo affect, people from almost every country in the world have been doing this for as far back as 5000 years, there is no way people would bother if there wasn't something to it.

It is more logical from a western mind to understand that it works than to think hundreds of thousands of people have been involved in new agey bullshit for 5000 years.

Western medicine is a baby and has made breakthroughs that are remarkable. In 4800 years I'm sure it will integrate eastern practices to enhance healing.

What I don't get is why you people want to shit all over something that helps people if you at all are interested in medicine. People in our culture are so caught up in the why that they don't think, well what do we do with it.

Acupuncture works, because our bodies have an amazing ability to heal themselves. Taking drugs to limit symptoms and going under the knife are NOT always necessary, but anyone I've met who studies or practices acupuncture knows that they are necessary at times.

Skeptico replies to Jeff

Re: How can acupuncture be considered new age when it is 5000 years old?

It doesn’t have to be “new” to be “new age”.
New Age is defined as:

a broad movement of late 20th century and contemporary Western culture, characterised by an individual eclectic approach to spiritual exploration. [1] [2] [3] The New Age is a diverse movement of individuals including many who graft new age beliefs onto a traditional religious affiliation.

Re: The problem with what you all are trying to figure out is how can this treat specific western ailments that western medicine has discovered over the last 200 years.

First – are you telling me these are new ailments that didn’t exist before “western medicine” as you put it discovered them?

Second, we are not trying to figure out how acupuncture can treat ailments. First you need to establish if it can treat them. The evidence suggests, mainly, “no”.

Re: It came from thousands of years of observing humans and the natural world and is rooted in the cycles of life.

Really? Where can I read the evidence for this?

Re: This is not placebo affect

Ignoring for now the fact that you haven’t demonstrated that, there are many reasons that people may believe acupuncture works. For example:
1. Placebo
2. Temporary mood improvements due to the personal nature of the treatment
3. Psychological investment of the patient in the success of the therapy
4. Misdirection
5. Incorrect diagnosis to start with
6. The cyclical nature of the illness (gets worse/gets better/gets worse/gets better…)
7. Other medicines the patient is taking
8. The illness just goes away by itself.
9. Release of endorphins

Re: people from almost every country in the world have been doing this for as far back as 5000 years, there is no way people would bother if there wasn't something to it.

This is the appeal to popularity and the appeal to ancient tradition combined into one consolidated fallacy. The truth of something does not depend on how many people believe in it or how old it is. The truth of something depends on whether it is actually true or not. Something you haven’t demonstrated.

Re: Western medicine is a baby and has made breakthroughs that are remarkable. In 4800 years I'm sure it will integrate eastern practices to enhance healing.

Well it’s funny that life expectancy over those previous 4,800 years was a lot less than it is now. Evidence based medicine (not "western medicine", please), will incorporate ancient practices when and if they are shown to work and not before.

Re: Acupuncture works...

That is what you assert. You have not demonstrated that though, and the evidence from studies show you are wrong. Thanks for playing though.

The problem with what you all are trying to figure out is how can this treat specific western ailments that western medicine has discovered over the last 200 years. The answer is that it came from a culture that had a completely different way of explaining the world, and none of these words like "fibromyalgia" etc. existed at that point in time.

Language does not determine reality. Just because they didn't have a word for fibromyalgia doesn't mean it didn't exist. Whether you call it. People don't just start getting diseases once they have names.

'Bleeding with leeches' came out of a time when these words didn't exist either; are we to understand that bleeding is effective as well?

It came from thousands of years of observing humans and the natural world and is rooted in the cycles of life.
So did medicine. Strangely enough, one is far more effective than the other.
Water gives birth to wood. When it rains foliage and trees sprout from the earth, if rain was to not exist then there would be no wood or life on this planet.
Well, that's possible. But life likely first developed in the oceans, where the effects of rain are typically negligible. I can't cite a source for the condition of the Earth in those days, but it's entirely possible that there was no rain, due to any number of conditions.
Wood gives birth to fire. Rub two sticks together, or make a bonfire, there is no fire without wood.
Sure there is. There's volcanic fire, there's brushfire and grassfire ignited by lightning, and that's just natural fire. Once you start talking mechanical or human intervention, as with rubbing sticks together, you get into flammable chemicals and all sorts of non-cellulose fire. Why do you think there are three types of fire extinguisher?
Fire gives birth to earth. When wood burns it returns to ash and becomes earth. Earth itself could not exist without the sun.
Ash isn't "earth" in any conventional understanding of the term. It does make a decent fertilizer, from what I understand, though.

Then again, the sun isn't "fire" in any conventional understanding of the term either. And if we are to call the sun 'fire,' then we have a clear example of fire that exists without wood. Unless you think there's wood in space (I guess the teapot's sitting on a table).

Earth gives birth to metal. The core of the earth is metal and the earth itself would not exist without this metal core which is rich in minerals.
The metal core is rich in minerals? The metal core is mineral.
These minerals create the gasous cloud necessary in our atmosphere for hydrogen to bind with oxygen and rain to form in the first place.
Yeabuhwha? No, gravity creates the 'gaseous cloud' in our atmosphere (I would call that "the atmosphere," but that's just me). Are you suggesting that oxygen and hydrogen combine in our atmosphere to form rainwater? If so, you must have missed several days of second grade science class: water exists in rivers, lakes and oceans. It is heated by the sun, and evaporates into the atmosphere. In the atmosphere, the water vapor forms clouds, which eventually rain water down into the lakes, rivers, and oceans, beginning the cycle once more.

What you're suggesting is that hydrogen violently combusts in the atmosphere to form water, which is fairly absurd. Is the sky on fire, Jeff? Because it would pretty much have to be in the scenario you've described.

Not sure how minerals create a gaseous cloud, either...

So we're back full circle. That is the natual cycle of life, and humans are life, we are part of that cycle and all of that is present in our bodies. Each of these elements of the cycles have organs that correspond to them in the body ie water kidney's and bladder. Wood liver and gallbladder...
Why is liver "wood"? This sounds like top-shelf woo to me, plenty of ad hocking and arbitrary distinctions.
Could we exist without kidneys and bladder? Absolutely not, just like life can't exist without water.
We can absolutely exist without kidneys, or haven't you heard of dialysis? This is a false analogy; you're right, no life can exist without water (more or less). But there are plenty of life forms that exist without kidneys and bladders. Are they outside the 'cycle'?
So we call something kidney stones and have no treatment, they call something water imbalance and can stick needles on points in the body that correct this imbalance and get the bodys natural cycle to return to normal.
Prove it. Double-blind tests if possible. At least a citation. And show me how "water imbalance" and "calcium buildup in the kidneys" can possibly refer to the same thing.

And we have lots of treatments for kidney stones. Besides just passing it through the urethra (like the vast majority of stones), for which the doctor can prescribe pain relievers, there's also surgery, and various noninvasive laser and ultrasound techniques designed to break the stone up inside the body, so it can pass in the urine without incident.

This is not placebo affect, people from almost every country in the world have been doing this for as far back as 5000 years, there is no way people would bother if there wasn't something to it.
The ol' argumentum ad populum. People in nearly every country in the world have believed in vampires for millennia. There is no way people would bother believing it if there wasn't something to it.

Millions of people believe that Bigfoot exists and Elvis is still alive. Reality isn't dictated by what people believe, and people are often stupid.

It is more logical from a western mind to understand that it works than to think hundreds of thousands of people have been involved in new agey bullshit for 5000 years.
That's the grand irony of newage: it isn't new. It's the same old bullshit with a veneer of new terminology. People have bought into stupid shit since there have been people.

It's only logical to believe it works if it can actually be shown to work. So far, the only evidence is that sticking needles in the skin may provide some pain relief, either through the placebo effect or stimulation of endorphins. No actual, substantial health effects have ever been shown, and the tests have shown that there is no difference between randomly sticking needles in people and doing acupuncture with pressure points. You've had over 5000 years, why haven't you produced a single successful controlled study?

Western medicine is a baby and has made breakthroughs that are remarkable. In 4800 years I'm sure it will integrate eastern practices to enhance healing.
If, in 4800 years, Eastern alternative practices have shown themselves to be effective in double-blind controlled studies, then sure, science will accept them. I'm not holding my breath.
What I don't get is why you people want to shit all over something that helps people if you at all are interested in medicine.
When you show that it actually does help people, then you can start looking to include it in medicine. Science doesn't want maybes and sometimeses, it wants repeatable, reliable effects, and preferably a mechanism to explain them.
People in our culture are so caught up in the why that they don't think, well what do we do with it.
In this instance, it's not because we're caught up in the "why," it's because we're caught up in the "what," specifically "what does it do?" And so far the answer is "not much." Darn that pesky need for reliable evidence.
Acupuncture works, because our bodies have an amazing ability to heal themselves.
You're right, the body does have an amazing ability to heal itself. And so, when you're suffering from some ailment, say a kidney stone, and you go to an acupuncturist, who does his magical needling, and then your kidney stone passes without incident, as most do, you attribute the cure to the acupuncturist, when in fact it was just your body naturally dealing with it.
Taking drugs to limit symptoms and going under the knife are NOT always necessary, but anyone I've met who studies or practices acupuncture knows that they are necessary at times.
Great. But no one (except various kooks) will deny that. What's questionable is if acupuncture is ever necessary. And every test so far says the same thing: absolutely not.

Jeff.

That's brilliant satire mate, brilliant.

Er, it is satire, right?

Not that you people will accept what I have to say, but here is my story.

I would wake up in college and vomit every morning, I went to every doctor you could imagine. Drank barium, got an upper endoscopy, blood tests.

I was diagnosed with severe food allergies and told to avoid many foods, and to take Prilosec twice a day for life.

I also was put on a diet where I avoided foods and then reintegrated them one at a time to see how I did.

It was slightly better, but if a food set me off I'd spend 3 days in bed with severe abdominal pain. Clutching my stomach in pain, vomiting. (often times blood)

Around this time I also started having my knee give out at random times. I fell five times randomally without warning over the year.

I was still vomiting 3-5 times a week.

I accepted death and I was 22 years old, I just wasn't getting better. I was helpless and scared, and sad. I became overweight and had deep black bags under my eyes.

A friend of mine who I hadn't seen in years came back into my life and told me she was in acupuncture school at the East/West School of medicine. She said they could help me with food allergies.

I met my practioner who had been an ER doctor in China for 30 years. She worked on me over the next few months. Probably had 30 treatments or so with her. She treated me for the basic ten allergens, and then worked on the blood test results allergens I had on a card in my wallet.

We cleared all of that, and I felt better. Towards the end I ate some alfalfa sprouts and went into that 3 day abdominal pain again. I saw her on day 2 and she needeled many other points all in my stomach and legs.

Immediately after the session I was feeling fine. I started reintegrating the foods I was highly allergic to into my diet with no problem.

It got to a point where I was eating the foods I was allergic to more than foods I wasn't sure about.

White onion was the most amazing, if I so much as touched one I would be sick for days, now I can eat them fine.

My knee was still an issue so I went to a surgeon in Sarasota. They said my knee was pushing to the left too far, and they had to cut a tendon and push it back into place. I was weary of this. I ended up moving to Richmond (unrelated) and went to see an acupuncturist here about my knee.

I thought she did nothing, it was a different kind of treatment and I felt ripped off. But when I woke up the next day my knee that was so horrible felt fine.

It has been a year, and that knee is now my good knee. My other knee is fine, but not as strong.

I lost 30 pounds in the next 4 months, and hit my ideal BMI and just stayed at that. I was losing 2 pounds a week until I hit my natural weight.

I was feeling amazing, could eat anything I wanted, was not falling over. My only complaint was a slight nausea after pooping.

Saw an acupuncturist about that, and for the past two weeks that has stopped.

I'm sure you'll rant some bullshit about what has happened to me, but this saved my life. I went from someone who could barely walk around, to someone who is the picture of perfect health.

I have begun my schooling in acupuncture as of January. I am surrounded by others with similiar stories, and see patients improve daily.

The placebo affect is not that powerful people. I understand looking out for people, but your comments just show a huge amount of ignorance to something that is making peoples lives so great.

Acupuncture isn't western and doesn't need to stand up to western clinical trials to be of worth. People are different, and some won't respond to it. Completely rejecting treatment because you think it's bullshit, likely will affect the treatment.

Medicine should always be integrative because we all want people to live and be well. It just saddens me that you people feel the need to obsess over discrediting a healing art that has done so much good for people.

Flame away, break every sentence I said down and show me why my healing experience isn't powerful. I know in my heart what it has done for me, and have as a result decided to study it.

In doing so I've met amazing friends, and have great teachers.

I don't need to defend it, it has enough interest as is, but I just wanted you people to think for a fucking second about what you're accomplishing here. Or not as it were.

Keep those minds closed, and those bodies aching.

-Jeff

PS. I stopped taking Prilosec about a year ago, and have not had reflux since, though was diagnosed with SEVERE life long acid reflux.

Acupuncture isn't western and doesn't need to stand up to western clinical trials to be of worth.

The laws of physics are the same everywhere. Truth is truth. It doesn't matter what hemisphere anything comes from, or do you reject the unity of the universe?

It's people like you who helped trivialize all the real accomplishments that were done in the East. Take a look at India when they were doing real astronomy and mathematics.

It's great that you're better, but I severely doubt acupuncture had anything to do with it: There's no difference between sticking needles into "meridians" and sticking them randomly, for one thing.

Well whilst we're passing anecdotes around.

I had a friend who was very severely injured in a car crash. The NHS paid for him to have acupuncture and it did nothing for him. They gave him conventional medical treatment and physical therapy, and he got better.

When I was little I used to get violent headaches and become violently ill every Saturday evening. I didn't have acupuncture, and it went away after a few weeks.

I also used to get acute tonsilitis on a regular basis. The doctors wanted to remove my tonsils but decided not to. I didn't have acupuncture. I haven't had tonsilitis for 13 years.

I used to suffer from quite severe reflux. I lost weight and cut down on alcohol. It went away. I didn't have acupuncture.

I went through a brief period in my teens where I had a severe case of piles. I didn't have acupuncture. They went away.

I used to suffer from regular bouts of severe ear-ache. I didn't have acupuncture. It went away.

I'll hazard a guess that everyone on here will be able to site similar circumstances.

Not that you people will accept what I have to say, but that was my story.

Completely rejecting treatment because you think it's bullshit, likely will affect the treatment.

Oh for crying out loud, more loa nonsense. It's fucking everywhere. What use is a treatment that might not work if you don't believe it? Once again we hear a woo argue that if their particular style of rubbish doesn't work it's not because its bollocks, it's because you didn't believe in it enough.

In doing so I've met amazing friends, and have great teachers.

Ohh, well it must be true then. Why would you even say this? I don't waste my time studying nonsense and still have amazing friends and have great teachers. What exactly was your point?

I don't need to defend it

Well sod off then.

Keep those minds closed, and those bodies aching.

Oh yes that's original. And are you arguing that people who don't recieve acupuncture all have aching bodies, and that all the people who do recieve acupuncture are ache free? I'm sure you have some evidence to back this up, right? Or do you just feel it to be true, in your heart?

I am willing to accept that acupuncture might work and that's why I want it to be properly scientifically studied. What evidence would you need to be shown that would prove it does not work?

The inability to accept you might be wrong is the very definition of closeminded, but you know you're right. Now who is being closeminded?

It's always been my experience that woos are the most closed-minded people.

Skeptic: "Hey, we've got a common sense scientific test!"

Woo: "Science doesn't apply! I don't have anything to prove! The universe makes special exceptions for me! The rules don't apply to me! I KNOW it works, and if you don't agree with me based off of a shoddy, uncontrolled, unverifiable anecdote involving only my very human memory, you're closed-minded!"

Funny to me that you cite physics and the universe in opposition to acupuncture. The reasons it works are currently being explained through quantum physics. The idea of yin yang is seen in spin theory.

Universe didn't make an exception for me, the unity of the universe, that oneness moves in cycles, like I said.

The World Health Organization lists over forty conditions, ranging from anxiety to osteoarthritis, for which acupuncture treatment has been shown to be effective. Research at the National Institutes of Health has established the efficacy of acupuncture in treating several problems, including postoperative pain and chemotherapy-induced nausea. In addition, studies using functional MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) clearly show that particular parts of the brains of test subjects are activated when specific acupuncture points are needled. As for how acupuncture works, scientists may have identified some, but far from all, of the answers.

Acupuncture is one of the oldest continuously-practiced systems of medicine in the world. Why it would ever have to defend itself in the face of the baby that is western medicine is beyond me.

::cue angry villagers::

Acupuncture is one of the oldest continuously-practiced systems of medicine in the world.

When will it occur to you people that "old" does not mean "correct" or "useful?"

"But the ancient Chinese did it! It must be true!"

They also worshipped a God-Emperor with unlimited dictatorial power. Let's do that! After all, it's that youthful modern upstart "Democracy" that has to prove itself in light of the ancient tradition represented by the Son of Heaven.

Hey! Slavery is an ancient tradition, too! Sounds good to me!

Genocide! Imperialism! Feudalism! Human sacrifice! Oracular precognition! Misogyny! They're all ancient, so let's have at it!

The premise "People have used X for a long time" does not entail the conclusion "X is effective/good/useful/worth two shits." If you had some evidence that acupuncture worked better than placebo, or worked better than sticking needles in at random, you might have something. Unfortunately, all you have is anecdotes and half-baked pseudoscience.

The idea of yin yang is seen in spin theory.

And the true extent of your idiocy is revealed. "Hey! You got spin up, you got spin down...It's just like yin and yang!"

Peddle your quantum flapdoodle elsewhere.

I thorougly enjoy your ignorance. :)

Skeptico replies to Jeff

Re: Funny to me that you cite physics and the universe in opposition to acupuncture. The reasons it works are currently being explained through quantum physics. The idea of yin yang is seen in spin theory.

LMAO – an appeal to quantum mechanics. The ultimate refuge of the woo with no evidence for his claims. Please describe the QM experiments that show how acupuncture works.

Re: The World Health Organization lists over forty conditions, ranging from anxiety to osteoarthritis, for which acupuncture treatment has been shown to be effective. Research at the National Institutes of Health has established the efficacy of acupuncture in treating several problems, including postoperative pain and chemotherapy-induced nausea.

Let’s have the evidence please. Studies.

I asked you before for evidence acupuncture came from thousands of years of observing humans and the natural world and is rooted in the cycles of life, but you have not been able to do this and have instead come back with standard woo drivel. Will you continue with this or do you have anything?

Re: In addition, studies using functional MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) clearly show that particular parts of the brains of test subjects are activated when specific acupuncture points are needled.

Yes – I’ve written about that before. As I wrote, it’s hardly surprising that sticking needles in people results in parts of the brain lighting up. It would be surprising if there were no reaction. But that’s not the same as saying it cures any illnesses. Try to keep up.

Re: thousands of years of observing humans and the natural world and is rooted in the cycles of life.

And I explained why an appeal to ancient tradition was fallacious. Either explain why I am wrong or drop this line of reasoning. Your tactic of ignoring what I have written and just repeating your assertions is tedious, and demonstrates you have nothing.

Re: Why it would ever have to defend itself in the face of the baby that is western medicine is beyond me.

I’m sure it is beyond you – that’s because you are stupid. I also explained why we need evidence based medicine. If it works, it should have an effect that is measurable – ie it should pass empirical tests.

Now, deal with my rebuttals of your arguments or go away.

Ok your major assertion is dealing with the "sham acupuncture" study that showed sticking needles in random locations had some benefit.

It was a celebration for skeptics who could finally say acupuncture doesn't work because sham acupuncture had affects.

Prooving that sham acupuncture works doesn't disproove acupuncture however.

That's a leap.

Bottom line time. Acupuncture works, I see it daily. We are part of the universe, and in us is that cycle of creation. It can get stuck, and there are places on the body that can be needled to help move qi in ways that promote healing.

I don't know what "woo" is but it to me just seems like a way for ignorant people to pat themselves on the back for worshiping science as god.

The reasons it works are currently being explained through quantum physics. The idea of yin yang is seen in spin theory.

So obviously you will be able to cite the studies and experiments in quantam physics that specifically support acupuncture then? I mean, I know you wouldn't simply take the usual woo tactic of throwing in quantam physics would you?

And why is it that one minute science has nothing to do with examining acupuncture, but then you claim it explains it? Make your mind up.

If quantam physics explains acupuncture, then scientific experiments, as in controlled medical trials, can be used to prove it works, right? So you would be in favour of the double blind scientific testing of acupuncture, right? So, if scientific tests showed that acupuncture was nothing more than placebo you would look ridiculous rejecting science and embracing it all at the sametime, right?

I thorougly enjoy your ignorance. :)

Come on Jeff, the music is playing, time to dance the Woo Step Waltz. How are you going to get around the fact that you've now said both that acupuncture doesn't need to face clinical trials, and that science proves acupuncture.

Universe didn't make an exception for me, the unity of the universe, that oneness moves in cycles, like I said.

So again other than wishy washy mysticism, you'll actually have some evidence for this, right?

Acupuncture is one of the oldest continuously-practiced systems of medicine in the world.

And violence is the oldest continuously practised system of solving disputes in the world. Why it would ever have to defend itself in the face of the baby that is western pacifiscm is beyond me.

::cue usual woo response::

Skeptico replies to Jeff

Re: Ok your major assertion is dealing with the "sham acupuncture" study that showed sticking needles in random locations had some benefit.

It’s not an assertion – it was shown by the studies I linked.

Re: Prooving that sham acupuncture works doesn't disproove acupuncture however.

Well, the burden of proof is upon the claimant – in this case those claiming acupuncture works. You haven’t backed up this claim – you just assert it is true. However, I’m glad to see you agree that sham acupuncture works. Sham acupuncture shows acupuncture is no better than when people just pretend to do acupuncture. Are you happy with that?

Re: Bottom line time. Acupuncture works, I see it daily.

So you keep asserting. This assertion is contradicted by the evidence.

Re: I don't know what "woo" is but it to me just seems like a way for ignorant people to pat themselves on the back for worshiping science as god.

It’s a term for people who believe things in spite of contrary evidence – people like you. And if you don’t approve of science, what is your better way to evaluate claims?

That’s another question – the list is growing.

List of questions Jeff has not answered:

  1. Where can I read the evidence that acupuncture came from thousands of years of observing humans and the natural world and is rooted in the cycles of life?
  2. Please describe the QM experiments that show how acupuncture works.
  3. Let’s have the evidence for acupuncture please. Studies.
  4. Why is it that one minute science has nothing to do with examining acupuncture, but then you claim science (QM) explains it?
  5. If you don’t approve of science, what is your better way to evaluate claims?

There may be others I missed.

Jeff – time to stop avoiding the issues. Answer the questions. If you continue to ignore them you’ll just be continuing to demonstrate your vacuousness.

So far, Jeff has lived up to every single stereotype I can think of for woos. Quite unoriginal in his thought patterns.

So, Yin and Yang represent spin? I thought they represented positive and negative ions, at least according to the Q-Ray guys, who talk about the 'ancient technology' behind their magic bracelet.

I especially love how he says that the universe (and, by extension, logic) makes an exception for how to test his pet woo, but claims it doesn't make an exception for him. Newsflash, Jeff: You can't have it both ways.

Love the cliche quantum reply. So, how exactly does it help your case? A few particles do a couple weird tricks that don't include a lot of large-scale changes. I fail to see how they'd add up to precise medical changes that would require intimate knowledge of the human body from people who, for a long while, had forbidden dissection.

With regard to the lack of good research to demonstrate the effectiveness of acupuncture: Double blind randomised controlled trials (RCT's) on acupuncture really only demonstrate that it's inordinately difficult to design and carry out good-quality RCT's on interventions such as acupuncture (or surgery, for that matter).

If you want some RCT's on surgery, you can start here:
A Controlled Trial of Arthroscopic Surgery for Osteoarthritis of the Knee
J. Bruce Moseley, M.D., Kimberly O'Malley, Ph.D., Nancy J. Petersen, Ph.D., Terri J. Menke, Ph.D., Baruch A. Brody, Ph.D., David H. Kuykendall, Ph.D., John C. Hollingsworth, Dr.P.H., Carol M. Ashton, M.D., M.P.H., and Nelda P. Wray, M.D., M.P.H.

From the New England Journal of Medicine
or here:
1. Coulter H: "The controlled clinical trial. An analysis." Washington (DC): Center for Empirical Medicine. Project Cure; 1991.

2. "Placebo controlled trials are needed to provide data on effectiveness of active treatment" (editorial). British Medical Journal 1996;313:1008.

3. Horng S, Miller FG: "Is placebo surgery unethical?" N Engl J Med 2002;347(2):137.

4. Weijer C: "I need a placebo like I need a hole in the head." J Law Med Ethics 2002;30(1):69.

5. Stolberg SG: "Sham surgery returns as a research tool." The New York Times. 4/25/99.

6. Cobb LA, Thomas GI, Dillard DH, et al: "An evaluation of internal mammary artery ligation by a double-blind technic." N Engl J Med 1959;260:1115.

7. Hung M: "Placebo surgery gains wider acceptance." https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/411258

8. Freed CR, Greene PE, Breeze RE, et al: "Transplantation of embryonic dopamine neurons for severe Parkinson's disease." N Engl J Med 2001;344(10):710.

9. Moseley JB, O'Malley K, Peterson NJ. Et al: "A controlled trial of arthroscopic surgery for osteoarthritis of the knee." N Engl J Med 2002;347(2):81.

10. Moseley JB, Wray NP, Kuykendall D, et al: "Arthroscopic treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee: a prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Results of a pilot study." Am J Sports Med 1996;24(1):28.

11. Kolata G: "A knee surgery for arthritis is called a sham." The New York Times. 7/11/02.
If you're interested in actual fact rather than simply broadcasting your own opinion, you can look at the cited references on each of these pages and start thinking about why RCT's are not necessarily the 'gold standard' research tool that western science has previously thought.

Have a look at PubMed:
A comparison of acupuncture and oral estradiol treatment of vasomotor symptoms in postmenopausal women.

* Wyon Y,
* Wijma K,
* Nedstrand E,
* Hammar M.

Faculty of Health Sciences, University Hospital, Linkoping, Sweden.

for a comparison (for one symptom only) of electro-acupuncture, 'sham acupuncture' (consisting of superficial needle insertion- more on this later) and currently prescribed western pharmaceutical intervention.

Again, from PubMed:
Are minimal, superficial or sham acupuncture procedures acceptable as inert placebo controls?

* Lund I,
* Lundeberg T.

Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
is an article raising the question: is superficial needling suitable for use as a sham in acupuncture trials? (to which the answer so far seems to be 'no') - and if there can be no such thing as sham acupuncture, there can really be no RCT's on acupuncture at all... Please think about that one for a while. No such thing as sham acupuncture means no valid RCT's.

More from PubMed:
Sham device v inert pill: randomised controlled trial of two placebo treatments.

* Kaptchuk TJ,
* Stason WB,
* Davis RB,
* Legedza AR,
* Schnyer RN,
* Kerr CE,
* Stone DA,
* Nam BH,
* Kirsch I,
* Goldman RH.

Osher Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, 02215 USA.

is a trial attempting to compare a sham acupuncture device with an inert pill - read the conclusions- kind of interesting...

There are more...

Essentially what is consistently being demonstrated in the research is that the human body can react in very significant ways to very small amounts of stimulus. Have a look at the work of Manaka Yoshio, Fukaya Isaburo, Hara Shimetaro (hard to find, it's quite old research from Japan), Stephen Birch- have a look at the work coming out of the Paris Medical University since the 1930's.

Have a look at:

Regulatory effect of cytokine production in asthma patients by SOOJI CHIM (Koryo Hand Acupuncture Therapy).

Jeong HJ, Kim BS, Oh JG, Kim KS, Kim HM.effects of superficial needling on the hand only.
Electroacupuncture and moxibustion influence the lipopolysaccharide-induced TNF-alpha production by macrophages.

* Aoki E,
* Kasahara T,
* Hagiwara H,
* Sunaga M,
* Hisamitsu N,
* Hisamitsu T.

Department of Physiology, School of Medicine, Showa University, 1-5-8, Hatanodai, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo, 142-8555, Japan.

Examines the effects of electro-acupuncture and moxibustion (heat stimulation) treatment on the immune system via observation of bacterial challenge.

Even if acupuncture only functions as a peripheral nervous system stimulation; even if the 'non-specific' effects of acupuncture treatment are stronger than the 'specific' effects- there is still a lot of clinical evidence for its efficacy- Maybe if we can start doing some sensible research and not rely solely on RCT's, then we can start discussing these issues properly

Tim..

Tim,

As I wrote earlier I think there is evidence that sticking needles into people can relieve a number of symptoms better than placebo can, but the fact that there is also evidence that relief is produced even when the needles are stuck into fake acupoints suggests that the theory behind acupuncture is wrong.

The problem is there are proponents of alternative medicine who refuse to see the point but instead use the fact that dermapuncture works to claim that acupuncture and by extension the whole theory of meridiens and qi and other related pseudo-science work.

And then there are those who instead of trying to find out how exactly dermapuncture produces symptomatic relief spend their efforts trying to explain how acupuncture works with quantum physics and string theory and what-have-you.

Just seems like a lot of misdirected energy to me.

Finally, if you think RCT is not a suitable tool to research acupuncture, what form of research do you think is fair enough to acupuncture and robust enough for medical science?

Just thought i'd add some more useless comments to this thread:

First of all when trying to understand a problem, one must have the right tools for the job. Secondly, we need to add some humility into this toolbox, and accept that science can not explain everything, and scientific method is not the only method one can use to understand physical phenomena. This is, for me, at the heart of this disscusion.

To understand accupuncture, we need to understand Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), to understand TCM we need to study the relationship between yin and yang, which is a alien concept in the west You can't take TCM, roll it up in a ball and throw it into the Physics-Solver machine, because the machine won't reqognize what it is your trying to analyze. So either the ball wasnt real, or your machine isn't working properly. It is my hope that quantum mechanics can improve this machine, and sometime in the future it will help us to unite ancient wisdom and science.

First of all when trying to understand a problem, one must have the right tools for the job. Secondly, we need to add some humility into this toolbox, and accept that science can not explain everything, and scientific method is not the only method one can use to understand physical phenomena. This is, for me, at the heart of this disscusion.

1. Humility is one of the foundations of the science toolbox: It doesn't matter if you've got 8 PhDs or a 6th grade education: If you do something through the scientific method, you're doing good science. There is nothing that can't be challenged by science.

2. NO ONE ever said science can explain everything.

3. What other method do you propose for testing stuff? Why does this question typically provoke so much silence?

To understand accupuncture, we need to understand Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), to understand TCM we need to study the relationship between yin and yang, which is a alien concept in the west

You're jumping to the presumption that there is something to understand: Prove that acupuncture works. Then we can talk about explaining it.

You can't take TCM, roll it up in a ball and throw it into the Physics-Solver machine, because the machine won't reqognize what it is your trying to analyze.

Are you saying that, say, curing a headache with acupuncture is different than curing a headache with aspirin? In either case, the headache is there, then it's not. I don't see the difference in observing the effect.

So either the ball wasnt real, or your machine isn't working properly. It is my hope that quantum mechanics can improve this machine, and sometime in the future it will help us to unite ancient wisdom and science.

It sounds like you're arguing that there's an invisible, incorporeal, heatless-fire-breathing dragon in your garage.

Martin:

You were right about the useless comment. Your comment was just a fallacious appeal to other ways of knowing. Science has proved to be the most reliable method we know for evaluating claims and figuring out how the universe works. If the you claim there is a better method, it is up to you to justify that claim – something you haven’t done. Thanks for playing.

Martin.

First of all when trying to understand a problem, one must have the right tools for the job.

Promising start. Downhill from there.

Secondly, we need to add some humility into this toolbox, and accept that science can not explain everything, and scientific method is not the only method one can use to understand physical phenomena.

Whilst I do not argue that science can explain everything yet, how do you know it can't ever? Do you have an alternative to the scientific method? Let me guess, feelings? Guesswork? Women's intuition? Choosing solutions at random? Ancient 'wisdom'?

To understand accupuncture, we need to understand Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), to understand TCM we need to study the relationship between yin and yang, which is a alien concept in the west.

Can you demonstrate that yin and yang exist as physical concepts? Just because it is alien to us does that mean it is right? Widow burning was alien to the west as well. Genital mutilation is alien to the west.

You can't take TCM, roll it up in a ball and throw it into the Physics-Solver machine, because the machine won't reqognize what it is your trying to analyze.

Why would it, physics is not biology or medicine. But more than that TCM is not science, it's psuedo-science.

So either the ball wasnt real, or your machine isn't working properly.

Exactly, but why do you choose that the machine isn't working properly when science is constantly shown to work properly over and over again? Are you saying that science works in every case except where that case disproves one of your cherished beliefs?

It is my hope that quantum mechanics can improve this machine, and sometime in the future it will help us to unite ancient wisdom and science.

How original. If you have a woo belief but want to sound all 'sciencey', say quantam mechanics. Who says that ancient wisdom should be united with science?

I just have to emphasize:

scientific method is not the only method one can use to understand physical phenomena. This is, for me, at the heart of this disscusion.

Great! Propose your other method, with evidence please. Holding onto this knowledge is selfish. Stop being a dick and share, baby, share!

Bronze Dogg:

Since our bodies are not simple clockwork-like mechanical beings, to test acupuncture i would propose that each individual test it on themselves. If you feel an improvement, it works for you. If not, it doesn't work for you. Before you test it, you will not know.

If you find it working for you i see no point in trying to prove it any further.

An aspirin relieves the symptoms of the headache, TCMs aim is to remove the cause of the headache.

Maybe if you stop eating pills, you will stop hearing sounds in your head where i claim dragons exists (see "humility").

Sorry for double post, but this is for all the morons who bleeve in acupuncture:

No one is arguing that sticking needles in people may temporarily reduce pain. This is called "puncture". What we are arguing is how pain is reduced; advocates have their "chi" theory that they have yet to prove - this is "acupuncture". We say "puncture" works due to:

1. Placebo
2. Temporary mood improvements due to the personal nature of the treatment
3. Psychological investment of the patient in the success of the therapy
4. Misdirection
5. Incorrect diagnosis to start with
6. The cyclical nature of the illness (gets worse/gets better/gets worse/gets better…)
7. Other medicines the patient is taking
8. The illness just goes away by itself.
9. Release of endorphins

i would propose that each individual test it on themselves. If you feel an improvement, it works for you. If not, it doesn't work for you. Before you test it, you will not know.

He is not perfect. That is why he relies on double-blind studies.

Skeptico replies to Martin

Re: Since our bodies are not simple clockwork-like mechanical beings, to test acupuncture i would propose that each individual test it on themselves. If you feel an improvement, it works for you. If not, it doesn't work for you.

That’s it? That’s your better method? Well, good luck with that.

Since our bodies are not simple clockwork-like mechanical beings, to test acupuncture i would propose that each individual test it on themselves. If you feel an improvement, it works for you. If not, it doesn't work for you. Before you test it, you will not know.

I don't trust in my objectivity enough to accurately measure my wellbeing after such an effect.

An aspirin relieves the symptoms of the headache, TCMs aim is to remove the cause of the headache.

Evidence?

Maybe if you stop eating pills, you will stop hearing sounds in your head where i claim dragons exists (see "humility").

1. I don't "eat pills": I don't take much medication at all. Don't need it right now.

2. 1984 Word of the Day: "Crimestop": The first and simplest stage in the discipline, which can be taught even to young children, is called, in Newspeak, CRIMESTOP. CRIMESTOP means the faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought. It includes the power of not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive logical errors, of misunderstanding the simplest arguments if they are inimical to Ingsoc, and of being bored or repelled by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical direction. CRIMESTOP, in short, means protective stupidity... orthodoxy in the full sense demands a control over one's own mental processes as complete as that of a contortionist over his body. [Emphasis mine]

Oh, and of course, Martin fails to note that double-blind controlled studies are about trying it, except controlling the results to eliminate bias. Apparently, he'd rather I go in there with my biases.

Controlling the test rather: If you don't know whether or not you're actually getting the real treatment, you can't force the result in either direction.

Sorry about the repeat postings.

Martin:

Are you going to be another bleever who won't answer simple questions about what they wrote?

Whilst I do not argue that science can explain everything yet, how do you know it can't ever?

Do you have an alternative to the scientific method?

Can you demonstrate that yin and yang exist as physical concepts?

Just because it is alien to us does that mean it is right?

Why do you choose that the machine isn't working properly when science is constantly shown to work properly over and over again?

These are not difficult questions to answer since they are about subjects you have already given some thought to, given what you post.

Jimmy blue:

I don't know that science cant ever explain everything. I hope science can explain everything some time in the future, but a Theory of Everything seems some way off at the moment...

In the meantime, using a scientific method to _understand_ something science cannot explain seems like a bad idea to me. It's a matter of personal choice if you want to discard everything that falls in this category, just because science cannot explain it.

The closest i can come to relating yin yang to any physical concept, is Niels Bohrs Principle of Complementarity (Bohr actually put the yin yang symbol in his coat of arms, which he received in 1947). However, i'm not an expert in TCM, and will not try to demonstrate anything.

What i meant by "alien to us" was the fact it has not been researched to a great extent, and it is not in the pharmacutical industry's interest to do so anyway. Thus we have little knowledge about it.

I didn't chose that the machine didnt work. I just put it up as an alternative explanation. What science really has showed us though, is that science is constantly growing and improving, and at every stage we have thought that we were close to having all the answers, when suddenly new knowledge made us rethink our position.

And i said "quantum mechanics" because those are the words printed on the cover of my textbook. Didnt mean to sound 'sciency'. (see "Humility")

using a scientific method to _understand_ something science cannot explain seems like a bad idea to me.

Thank you for displaying your complete ignorance of what "science" is. I don't think you should comment on "science" anymore...

In the meantime, using a scientific method to _understand_ something science cannot explain seems like a bad idea to me.

In other words, don't study anything we don't already know. Of course, you first have to establish that there's something to understand in the first place: We want you to prove that acupuncture works, first.

It's a matter of personal choice if you want to discard everything that falls in this category, just because science cannot explain it.

1. Science already explains it. Placebo effect. Endorphins. Yadda, yadda. Give us a good reason to reject those explanations.

2. Stop lying about our stance! We tenatively reject it based on lack of evidence, not on this alleged inexplicability that results when you ignore all the known explanations.

What i meant by "alien to us" was the fact it has not been researched to a great extent, and it is not in the pharmacutical industry's interest to do so anyway. Thus we have little knowledge about it.

Ah, the conspiracy angle. Last refuge of an altie. Because the eeeee-ville corporations control EVERYTHING, thus preventing anyone from carrying out bias-killing double-blind control studies.

We've found the research to all be shoddy or negative. Perhaps you should start a study, or motivate someone to so that you can *gasp* gather evidence.

I didn't chose that the machine didnt work. I just put it up as an alternative explanation. What science really has showed us though, is that science is constantly growing and improving, and at every stage we have thought that we were close to having all the answers, when suddenly new knowledge made us rethink our position.

So get to work, instead of blustering about how science won't give you a free pass or give you special treatment. All the great scientists jumped through a lot of hoops to revolutionize the way we think, and guess what: You and the acupuncturists have to jump through the same hoops. We didn't lower them for anyone else, so we won't lower them for you.

Skeptico replies to Martin

Re: In the meantime, using a scientific method to _understand_ something science cannot explain seems like a bad idea to me. It's a matter of personal choice if you want to discard everything that falls in this category, just because science cannot explain it.

I am suggesting we should use the scientific method to see IF acupuncture works. Whether or not science can explain it, if it has a real effect, science should be able to measure it. So far, the scientific results are equivocal at best. Your better method (better than science), was to try it on ourselves and see if we feel an improvement or not. That has been proven to be an unreliable method. That’s why we use double-blind studies – because “try it and see what you think” is very unreliable.

Re: What science really has showed us though, is that science is constantly growing and improving, and at every stage we have thought that we were close to having all the answers, when suddenly new knowledge made us rethink our position.

Yes – but this doesn’t mean acupuncture works. This is really just a fallacious appeal to “science was wrong before”. Of course science is sometimes wrong, but science has proved the most reliable method we know for evaluating claims and figuring out how the universe works. Your argument is just a smoke screen to disguise the fact that you have no evidence acupuncture works, and no better method to test it.

Martin:

I don't know that science cant ever explain everything.

But you specifically stated that it can't, so what did you mean when you wrote:

and accept that science can not explain everything

These two positions seem a little contradictory don't you think?

In the meantime, using a scientific method to _understand_ something science cannot explain seems like a bad idea to me.

Well it would, wouldn't it. Science does explain it, you just don't like the explanation. Again, what other method do you propose other than the scientific method?

The closest i can come to relating yin yang to any physical concept, is Niels Bohrs Principle of Complementarity (Bohr actually put the yin yang symbol in his coat of arms, which he received in 1947).

I fail to see how yin and yang compare to Complentarity, please explain.

What i meant by "alien to us" was the fact it has not been researched to a great extent, and it is not in the pharmacutical industry's interest to do so anyway.

Big Pharma did it! It's the Man. It has been researched, again, you just don't like the answers.

I didn't chose that the machine didnt work.

Er, yes you did. Your choice was either science (the machine) can't examine TCM because it doesn't 'work', because science doesn't get it; or TCM isn't real. You then say that quantam mechanics is needed to improve the machine. So, you choose that the machine (or science) doesn't work because your position is that TCM does work.

Are you saying you choose TCM not being real?

Isn't this kind of woo - belief in the secrets of the "Far East" that we rational westerners "just don't understand" - just another form of Orientalism? Which is a view of the east as the "other", usually mysterious, decadent, and keepers of mystical knowledge in matters like sex, martial arts and medicine. We should be past all that by now, but it seems to just be getting worse. (Edward Said's book came out in the 70's, discussing these issues in 19th cent literature. Weird how 19th cent cultural bias doesn't go away.) Enough already, it's getting creepy. I'm sick of watching cliched movies where the white hero goes to the Himalayas or wherever to learn the secrets of the universe. Right, and "jews are good with money"! Seinfeld did a great send-up of this on one of his episodes, in which everyone wanted advice from a woman just because they thought she was Chinese. Acupuncture is just part of that bigger picture, as far as I'm concerned.
madaha

Sceptico:

What i am suggesting is that even though scientific methods would show that acupuncture does not work, there might be a possibility that these methods we are using, somehow, are not working for this particular problem.

Because western medicine treat specific viruses, bacteria etc we can isolate this diseases in a lab and test our medicine on them. TCM takes a holistic approach to health, not seperating mind and body, and its aim is to stimulate the 'qi' to flow freely in the (entire) body. They say that when the 'qi' flows freely through the meridians the body/mind will be healthy.

Now, how can you measure this? We are talking about personal well-being. It's not a quantity you find among the SI units. And because of our dynamic nature as humans, it will vary from person to person. But if you find that a acupuncture treatment works for you, then thats the end of the road for me. And it's my personal beleif that this is a shortcoming in science, and not the other way around.

afterthought double post, sorry. I guess my point was that I wonder if so many people would believe in acupuncture if it was labeled according to what it actually is: folk medicine. Rather than the mystical, mysterious "Eastern medicine" which gives it a false sense of status or legitimacy (because, of course, the East is beyond our limited understanding).
madaha

Skeptico replies to Martin

Re: What i am suggesting is that even though scientific methods would show that acupuncture does not work, there might be a possibility that these methods we are using, somehow, are not working for this particular problem.

But what makes you think this? What is this other way of knowing that does not come under the heading of “scientific methods”?

Re: Because western medicine treat specific viruses, bacteria etc we can isolate this diseases in a lab and test our medicine on them. TCM takes a holistic approach to health, not seperating mind and body, and its aim is to stimulate the 'qi' to flow freely in the (entire) body. They say that when the 'qi' flows freely through the meridians the body/mind will be healthy.

Again, how do you know this? How do you know it is stimulating qi, etc?

Re: But if you find that a acupuncture treatment works for you, then thats the end of the road for me. And it's my personal beleif that this is a shortcoming in science, and not the other way around.

Your belief is incorrect. The easiest person to fool is yourself – that’s why we have progressed so much since the advent of the double-blind trial.

Jimmy blue:

Science does NOT explain it. It proposes some hypothisis about the possible reasons for the effects claimed by many people treated by acupuncture. As i said earlier the "theory" behind acupuncture lies within the realm of TCM, which in my view may not be possible to test with the scientific methods we have today.

Re: Bohrs coat of arms... it read "Contraria sunt complementa" which is latin for "opposites are complimentary" which is basically what yin yang is all about. I dont know if that answers your question, but i can't do any better i'm afraid.

I'm sick of watching cliched movies where the white hero goes to the Himalayas or wherever to learn the secrets of the universe.

Oh, don't get me started, madaha! It's so racist to perpetuate stereotypes like those movies do.

Reminds me of an article I read where India got the reputation of being all "spiritualist", despite having some great science history.

Now, whenever anyone thinks of India, they think of the meditating mystic on a bed of spikes, rather than something like "Hey, that's where Aryabhata's from! He shot down geocentrism in frikkin' 499 CE!" (I need to look that guy up. Wikiing right now.)

Why? Because everyone had to smile for the rich, easily impressed European tourists. The cost: A vital part of their culture and identity.

Glad that China seems to be resisting, since TCM's being phased out/relegated by evidence-based medicine, last I heard.

What i am suggesting is that even though scientific methods would show that acupuncture does not work...

You want to make up something that proves acupuncture because you like the sound of it. Scientific method shows acupuncture doesn't work. Scientific makes rational, logical conjecture at why puncture even works.

Please, pretty please with sugar on top think about what I wrote and show us a reason not to dismiss your claim.

Martin:

Re: …the "theory" behind acupuncture lies within the realm of TCM, which in my view may not be possible to test with the scientific methods we have today.

Then how did the originators of the theories of TCM work out all the rules? If we can’t test it now, how did the ancient peoples do it?

Skeptico:

Clinical studies over thousands of years, contradict the results of the scientific methods used today. Thats why i'm _sceptical_ towards these claims. I'm not saying we should discard scientific methods, i'm suggesting the setup of the test is wrong, and thus giving false results. I'm also suggesting that science may not have all the tools required yet to prefrom these tests.

I don't personally know that qi is flowing in the body, what i was trying to say was that this is the "theory" behind TCM.

Fantastic article! Thanks Bronze Dog!
madaha

Questions for Martin:

  1. What is your other way of knowing that does not come under the heading of “scientific methods”? Is “try it and see if it works for you” really it? Is that your better method? Really?
  2. How do you know that TCM stimulates qi, etc?
  3. Why have we progressed so much since the advent of the double-blind trial, if “try it and see if it works for you” is a valid method?
  4. How did the originators of the theories of TCM work out all the rules? If we can’t test it now, how did the ancient peoples do it?
  5. You wrote: “Clinical studies over thousands of years, contradict the results of the scientific methods used today”. Where can I read these clinical studies? Where are they published? Give us some examples.

Skeptico:

How the hell did they build the pyramids, raise Stonehedge, how did tha Mayas predict planet orbits?

We didn't "invent" science in the west.

As for your question, my answer is i don't know.

How the hell did they build the pyramids, raise Stonehedge, how did tha Mayas predict planet orbits?

We didn't "invent" science in the west.

That's exactly what we're trying to drill in your head!

All of those people used science and mathematics. Geography doesn't matter. The rules of the universe and logic are the same everywhere. Science isn't "Western" or "Eastern": It's universal.

Skeptico replies to Martin

Re: How the hell did they build the pyramids, raise Stonehedge, how did tha Mayas predict planet orbits?

Irrelevant to whether TCM works or not. This is a typical woo ploy – no evidence for the woo he is promoting so instead he raises questions about other (supposedly) hard-to-explain stuff. We are supposed to infer that since we can’t explain how they build the pyramids*, other ancient mysteries must be true too. But this is a false analogy – we KNOW the pyramids exist. We don’t know acupuncture works. And the truth or otherwise of acupuncture has nothing to do with any other hard to explain mysteries of the ancient world.

[* Ignoring for the sake of argument, the fact that we do actually know how they were built.]

Re: We didn't "invent" science in the west.

Never said we did. On the contrary, YOU are the one referring to “western medicine” as though this is somehow different from the presumed ancient wisdoms of the east. So that makes you a hypocrite.

Re: As for your question, my answer is i don't know.

Finally, you admit to your own vacuousness. You claim that “Clinical studies over thousands of years, contradict the results of the scientific methods used today”, and yet you can’t name a single one. NOT ONE! It’s easy to make claims – anyone can say anything - but if you can’t support them they are worthless. I don’t know who you normally debate where this type of bullshit convinces anyone of anything, but it won’t work here. The 5 questions I asked were reasonable questions arising from your actual posts. That you can’t answer them shows you were just making the whole thing up. If you can't answer those questions, you're done here.

Skeptico:

As for your 5 questions,

1) I would agree that we cannot say today that based on scientific study aquapuncture definately works. But what does "works" really mean? I does not work according to our science, yet so many people have experienced the benefits of this treatment. What do you suggest we do with all these people? Lock em down in some dark basement, until they align themselves with our scientific results?

2) I dont know, this is what the "theory" says. Since this is a part of their theory, i would like to think that we should include this in a model of the problem, if we were to examine the claim that acupuncture works. Again, we don't have the tools for this at the present moment.

3) Progressed in physical health. We have also regressed in the west in terms of mental health. Remember that.

4) Still don't know.

5) I'm not sure where to get hold of this material, i'm afraid. Google?


Comment to Bronze dog:
"Glad that China seems to be resisting, since TCM's being phased out/relegated by evidence-based medicine, last I heard."

The Chinese govn is also phasing out human rights, ethnic minorities and what else. Look up "Cultural Revolution". And although TCM har lost some of it's position, it is still an integrated part of the chinese health system today,

yes, exactly. There is funky folk medicine from the west too - bat dropping paste to cure baldness, you name it. I'm just saying that folk medicine from the East is just as silly, and just as non-scientific.
madaha

Well, my work here's done.

Martin:

Bronze Dog hits your first point so well I got nuthin'. But,

As for your question, my answer is i don't know.

I respect that answer. But why do you so vehemently defend the methods the ancient Chinese used if you don't know what they were or even have a theory?!

Ease up man, i was refering to a previos question. My point with the Stonehedge etc, was that even though we don't know how they did it, they are still there as you say. And for people treated with acupuncture and are relieved of they illnesses, the treatment feels as real as the Stonehedge. Even though you can't explain it with ur scientidic theories.

[Martin - I changed your name on this post from Skeptico to Martin. I presume this was a typo on your part, but please try not to comment with my handle as it confuses everyone. Thanks - Skeptico.]

AHHHHH!!!! DAMN IT!

I does not work according to our science, yet so many people have experienced the benefits of this treatment. What do you suggest we do with all these people? Lock em down in some dark basement, until they align themselves with our scientific results?

Jesus Harold Christ they do!! Damn it Martin, please fucking see

1. Placebo
2. Temporary mood improvements due to the personal nature of the treatment
3. Psychological investment of the patient in the success of the therapy
4. Misdirection
5. Incorrect diagnosis to start with
6. The cyclical nature of the illness (gets worse/gets better/gets worse/gets better…)
7. Other medicines the patient is taking
8. The illness just goes away by itself.
9. Release of endorphins

It explains it all, rationally with proof, no need to assume magical qi! Man that makes me mad.

Bronze dog:

Except when it comes to the theory of quantum mechanics, logic and rational thinking doesnt really cut it anymore, when it comes to interpretating what the theory actually tells us. And without taking this too far, in my view this opens up (in the future) the possibility to explain phenomena, which we do not understand sufficiently with the tools we have today.

Rockstar:

I'm not sure i see your point. For the sake of the argument i claim there is a qi flowing. You claim that these 9 points are causing the effect?

I'll list some hypothetically properties of free flowing qi:

1) The illness just goes away by itself.
2) Temporary mood improvements due to the personal nature of the treatment
3) Release of endorphins
4) Psychological investment of the patient in the success of the therapy

etc..

So no, this does not "explain it all" i'm afraid.

Skeptico replies agaaaain to Martin

Re: As for your 5 questions,

1) I would agree that we cannot say today that based on scientific study aquapuncture definately works. But what does "works" really mean? I does not work according to our science, yet so many people have experienced the benefits of this treatment. What do you suggest we do with all these people? Lock em down in some dark basement, until they align themselves with our scientific results?

Er, that did not answer my question. My question was:

What is your other way of knowing that does not come under the heading of “scientific methods”?

Now, are you going to answer that or not?

Re: 2) I dont know, this is what the "theory" says. Since this is a part of their theory, i would like to think that we should include this in a model of the problem, if we were to examine the claim that acupuncture works. Again, we don't have the tools for this at the present moment.

If you don’t know then please don’t claim it as a fact.

Re: 3) Progressed in physical health. We have also regressed in the west in terms of mental health. Remember that.

Avoidance - that didn’t answer the question either. The question was:

Why have we progressed so much since the advent of the double-blind trial, if “try it and see if it works for you” is a valid method?

Now, are you going to answer that or not?

Re: 4) Still don't know.

No one does. Don’t you think that’s because the ancients just made up the whole story about qi and meridians?

Re: 5) I'm not sure where to get hold of this material, i'm afraid. Google?

Well it was your claim – you back it up or withdraw it.

At least we know for certain now that you just made up that “fact” about all the studies.

Re: Ease up man, i was refering to a previos question. My point with the Stonehedge etc, was that even though we don't know how they did it, they are still there as you say. And for people treated with acupuncture and are relieved of they illnesses, the treatment feels as real as the Stonehedge. Even though you can't explain it with ur scientidic theories.

Again – false analogy. We know Stonehenge is there. We also know it’s not hard conceptually to build a stone monument. But with qi – we can’t measure it now nor find the meridians. So how did the ancients do it? Show some intellectual honesty – ASK YOURSELF THAT QUESTION. How could they possibly have done it? The obvious answer is they made it up, just the same as western doctors made up the theories of humors. We now know there is no reason to believe in humors, and so doctors in the west dropped the practice of bloodletting, etc. It’s time to do the same with the similar made up theories of qi.

Martin, stop ignoring my points. Stop thinking we're anything like the Hollywood stereotype you're busy arguing against in your head. Stop pretending that eliminating bias is a bad thing.

How can we have a serious discussion if you keep arguing against the points you wish we made, and run away like a coward from the actual points raised.

And, most of all, stop lying about quantum mechanics. If anything, QM has shown us that the sorts of biases you, as well as the rest of mankind, have can be dead wrong. Though the scientific method mankind understands QM much more than you give credit for. Weird does not mean it can't be understood. It's shallow defeatism like yours that stands opposed to all science.

Saying, effectively, "it's magic" only closes doors. Your kind of thinking actively promotes dead ends.

3) Progressed in physical health. We have also regressed in the west in terms of mental health. Remember that.

We aren't talking about the "west." We're talking about the world. Do you have to reduce everything to race/nationality/whatever to "win"?

Skeptico replies to Martin

Re: Except when it comes to the theory of quantum mechanics, logic and rational thinking doesnt really cut it anymore, when it comes to interpretating what the theory actually tells us.

Actually QM is about testable results – modern science. What you mean to say is that personal experience doesn’t really cut it anymore. Personal experience would suggest QM must be wrong – just as it suggests to you that acupuncture works. But QM proves to us that personal experience is unreliable – which is why your suggestion to suck it and see is fallacious. Thanks – your QM example just proved you wrong.

Some advice – please do not embarrass yourself by invoking quantum mechanics any more. Yes, QM is weird, but that does not mean any weird idea is true.

Re: 'm not sure i see your point. For the sake of the argument i claim there is a qi flowing. You claim that these 9 points are causing the effect?
I'll list some hypothetically properties of free flowing qi:

How are any of those 9 points a result of free flowing qi?

Say we have two possibilities:

1) Temporary mood improvements due to the personal nature of the treatment

and

2) Temporary mood improvements due to the personal nature of the treatment and qi flows more freely.

Why should I use explanation (2)? Have you heard of Occam's Razor?

Martin:

That is really annoying. I explained myself very clearly and you do the woo-woo waltz. Again, you said:

I does not work according to our science, yet so many people have experienced the benefits of this treatment. What do you suggest we do with all these people? Lock em down in some dark basement, until they align themselves with our scientific results?

I've told you that science agrees with the fact people feel pain relief from getting stuck with needles! That's my point! The reasons why they experience pain relief can be explained by:

1. Placebo
2. Temporary mood improvements due to the personal nature of the treatment
3. Psychological investment of the patient in the success of the therapy
4. Misdirection
5. Incorrect diagnosis to start with
6. The cyclical nature of the illness (gets worse/gets better/gets worse/gets better…)
7. Other medicines the patient is taking
8. The illness just goes away by itself.
9. Release of endorphins

All of these are logical, rational, scientific explanations as to why people experience pain relief when stuck with needles. A very honest, complete answer to your silly assertion that they do not fall in line with science.

You, on the other hand, ignore these natural, logical explanations in favor of magical thinking (chi, meridians, etc.) with no evidence and that just pisses me off.

If you want to prove that Ryan's list doesn't cut it, perform a double-blind experiment. If the acupuncture group improves significantly more than the placebo group, you will have proven that there's more to acupuncture than that list of items.

I'm not about to give you a free pass and at the same time, endorse forcing the pharmaceutical companies to undergo strict tests. That would be hypocritical. Also, giving preferential treatment to someone or something else because of its nationality is racist. If you want to be held in higher regard than all of the current evidence-based medicine, you'd better undergo at least equal tests.

Ryan/Dog:

I think what he’s saying is that the things in Ryan’s list could be caused by free flowing qi. What he doesn’t get is that these nine items do not require qi to explain them. Qi is an unnecessary assumption – hence my question about Occam’s Razor.

Ryan/Dog:

I think what he’s saying is that the things in Ryan’s list could be caused by free flowing qi.

So, you think he's saying that taking a sugar pill and thinking it's aspirin unblocks qi?

Well, I've heard weirder woo "logic" so I guess it wouldn't be much of a surprise, I guess. No doubt we'll find out, soon.

Skeptico:

I'll try again.

1) Except for inutive knowledge, which you would probaly reject, i don't know of any other way of "knowing", at least that i can come to think of right now. But, as i said, scientific methods can only answer questions for which we have the right tools to measure, interpret results etc, and therefor if we feed the methods with the wrong variables so to speak, they will give us the wrong results.

2) You asked How do you know that the qi is flowing?? I thought that was what we were trying to figure out. If i had the proof i would've given it to you already? And i'm trying to take a sceptical view of you effort to claim the contrary. It's your facts that are being examined? You are claiming it does not work. I'm suggesting that there can be a possibility that it in fact works.

3 Well i dont really agree that we have progressed so much. Yes we live longer, and have come up with antibiotica etc, but as i said our mental health has regressed, cancer is on the rise, and stress-related illnesses is a big problem in most western countries today. So overall i dont think we are entitled to pat our backs just yet. Double-blind trials would suit medicine typically made to "put out fires" more than TCM treatments. This is due to the fact that these treatments are of an entire differnt kind than a typical western treatment. Maybe other methods than double-blind trials are better to use when dealing with TCM. And an obvious way to check if a treatment worked, is to just ask your self if you feel better. Remember that TCM treats the whole mind/body at once,

4) Maybe the qi and meridians is their model of the problem. Just like we assume an electron exsist even though we have never seen one.

5) Still not getting into this tedious task. Sorry.

About the measurment of qi, what are u going to measure it with? The meridians is the "medium" through which the qi flows. I wouldnt worry too much about finding it. Call it "ether" if you like. Still, dude, i have to fucking clue how the ancients did it! They were probably alot smarter than you and me!

Martin:

Science does NOT explain it.

Yes it does, see Rockstar Ryan's repeated posts on the matter. You can ignore it all you want, but science DOES explain it. (Remember, amount of capitals used is directly proportional to the truth of an assertion. At least according to your average woo).

As i said earlier the "theory" behind acupuncture lies within the realm of TCM, which in my view may not be possible to test with the scientific methods we have today.

So again, science works for you when it works for you, but when it's your own belief that you are personally invested in, it doesn't work. Do you have any evidence that science cannot test the claims made by acupuncture?

Re: Bohrs coat of arms... it read "Contraria sunt complementa" which is latin for "opposites are complimentary" which is basically what yin yang is all about. I dont know if that answers your question, but i can't do any better i'm afraid.

Are you taking the piss? I ask you to show yin and yang are real physical concepts. You cite complentarity from quantam physics. I ask you to show how the two are related, and you say 'Well there was a Latin phrase on some guys coat of arms that was a bit like the concept of yin and yang.'

At this stage, the similarities between you and What-The? become a little to difficult to ignore.

How the hell did they build the pyramids, raise Stonehedge, how did tha Mayas predict planet orbits?

We didn't "invent" science in the west.

What does this have to do with acupuncture?

1) I would agree that we cannot say today that based on scientific study aquapuncture definately works.

Aquapuncture. Now that's not a typo. Go away What-The? You've been banned.

But what does "works" really mean?

Didn't the Dead Sea scrolls tell you?

3) Progressed in physical health. We have also regressed in the west in terms of mental health. Remember that.

What? Some of us have at least. But go on I'll bite, where's your proof?

And for people treated with acupuncture and are relieved of they illnesses, the treatment feels as real as the Stonehedge. Even though you can't explain it with ur scientidic theories.

Just can't helping slipping out of character can you? Come on, posting as Skeptico. Jeez.

logic and rational thinking doesnt really cut it anymore

Maybe in your world.

And for people treated with acupuncture and are relieved of they illnesses, the treatment feels as real as the Stonehedge. Even though you can't explain it with ur scientidic theories.

How can you be so mind-bogglingly obtuse? Is it deliberate? The relief is real, like we've been saying all along. It's just caused by something else. See: Ryan's list. If you want to prove it's not something from that list, show that acupuncture provides statistically significantly greater relief than placebo in a controlled study. It's that [frell]ing simple. What's so hard to grasp about that?

Ragarding QM: i was talking about the _interpretation_ of the theory and what it means for our concept of reality (contra a deterministic world view). Some way off topic i admit.

Skeptico replies to Martin

Re: Except for inutive knowledge, which you would probaly reject, i don't know of any other way of "knowing",

YOUR OWN example of quantum mechanics shows why intuitive methods are unreliable. Why don’t you see this?

At least you agree there is no other way of ascertaining if acupuncture works. Thanks for confirming that.

Re: You asked How do you know that the qi is flowing?? I thought that was what we were trying to figure out.

Well, I am looking for evidence that it is true. But you don’t have any evidence any supposed effects of acupuncture are due to qi. My question to you then is – why do you keep saying it’s due to qi. On what basis do you say that? You’re making it up.

Re: Well i dont really agree that we have progressed so much.

Denial. And more intellectual dishonesty.

Re: Double-blind trials would suit medicine typically made to "put out fires" more than TCM treatments. This is due to the fact that these treatments are of an entire differnt kind than a typical western treatment.

Why? And HOW DO YOU KNOW?

Martin, I’m getting tired of your continued “western medicine doesn’t work but TCM does” drivel.

Re: Maybe other methods than double-blind trials are better to use when dealing with TCM. And an obvious way to check if a treatment worked, is to just ask your self if you feel better.

An obvious way to fool yourself, as I have explained numerous times but you keep ignoring.

Re: Maybe the qi and meridians is their model of the problem. Just like we assume an electron exsist even though we have never seen one.

Oh for crying out loud - we know how scientists study atoms and electrons. Where is the equivalent body of knowledge for how they figured out qi?

Answer – it doesn’t exist because THEY MADE IT UP.

Re: Still not getting into this tedious task. Sorry.

Then withdraw the claim. Back it up or withdraw it.

Re: About the measurment of qi, what are u going to measure it with?

No – how is anyone going to measure it? Face it – it doesn’t exist.

I think it is important to say that, while we do accept that some people experience pain relief when stuck with needles due to all the reasons on the list I posted, acupuncture goes even further, claiming

Acupuncture treats any condition from allergies to, obviously, pain to gastrointestinal issues—a wide range of chronic diseases.

which is a wholly unjustified claim (from waaay back in the original post) backed up by zero evidence.

Martin, do you really believe acupuncture can cure any condition? If so, what is the basis for this belief?

Btw, I don’t think Martin is What-The? Unless he’s teleporting from Australia to Norway and back on a daily basis.

Btw, I don’t think Martin is What-The? Unless he’s teleporting from Australia to Norway and back on a daily basis.

Good to know. Must just be some kind of woo meme.

Martin:
define "intuitive knowledge". What I think of as intuitive knowledge is common sense, but I don't think that's what you mean.

Our mental health has regressed? According to whom? What's the basis for this claim? I suspect this is like the idea that rapes are on the increase because more people are reporting them. In our culture we have the luxury of spending time on our mental health, and curing certain problems. Others may not have this chance, but that doesn't mean people didn't have mental ailments either now, or in the past. That's an argumentum ex silentio.
madaha

Just like we assume an electron exsist even though we have never seen one.

Oh, yeah, we just assume, despite that fact that my computer on which I'm typing on right now is based on our knowledge of electrons. If electrons didn't exist, this computer wouldn't work... unless you mean to suggest that the designers and factory workers assembled the components using inaccurate knowledge as a basis and that they just *happen* to work out of dumb luck.

How do you function in society?

Oh, and what is it about double-blind studies that's so wrong? Are you telling me that you KNOW acupuncture works through your god-like, unfoolable, unbiased perception of causation, and therefore when reality contradicts you, reality is wrong?

I know you're going to deny claiming that, but I can't see any other attempt at justifying the alleged inappropriateness of DBT. So, when you do get to denying it, be absolutely sure to articulate the reason well, and it'd better not be Eastern "We are above logic because we say so!" chauvinism.

>My question to you then is - why do you keep saying it’s due to qi. On what basis do you say that?

On the basis that this is what the classics on TCM claim.


>Why? And HOW DO YOU KNOW?

I don't know. I'm just using this as a hypothsis for why the research failed to determine the effects that TCM claim to have,


>Where is the equivalent body of knowledge for how they figured out qi?
Probably the Neijing which is one of the most important classics of Taoism, as well as the highest authority on TCM.


>Then withdraw the claim. Back it up or withdraw it.

I withdraw it.


>No - how is anyone going to measure it? Face it - it doesn’t exist.

How do you know?

Bottom line is this:

The Neijing is not a physics book. It doesnt make sense in the way we are used to, just like physics is hard to grasp at first for someone who is unfamiliar with it. If you want to discuss TCM you need to do it on its own premisis. It's a whole different world view, which you chose to call "babbel". This is an ignorant stance in my view. You dismiss something because you cannot understand through physics. You yourself said that physics does not explain everything, so it cannot hold the whole truth within its framework. Physics is great, but it is not the only source of information.

Like every other medical system, including modern western medicine, TCM is a product of chinas history, and exists within a given cultural setting. My stance is that we can learn from everybody.

I'm pretty much finished here, and i thank you for your insight Skeptico, and some of the other comments from others.

Peace & joy to all

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