The open-Minded Skeptic views…..Science

Science is ususally regarded as the ‘default’ position regarding any discussion. At least this seems to be the opinion of most ‘intellectuals’ many of whom regard any disucssions of spirituality or even mind/body interaction with some disdain.

Quite frankly, I do regard science as an amazingly powerful successful metaphysical tool by which the nature of physical reality has been revealed. Much of the improvement in infant and Mother perinatal mortality must be laid at the feet of advancements in drugs and technology. Likewise, the large numbers of Americans now living into their eighties and ninties with chronic medical conditions is directly attributable to this as well.

Yet science is far from perfect. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal described a study of multiple other medical studies. It discovered that their own statistical analysis of their own data often conflicted with their own conclusions.  This should raise a bit of skepticism regarding the validity of the pronouncements of scientific/medical articles.

In my experience I have taken note of numerous clinical studies, published in highly reputable journals, whose conclusions differed from my own personal clinical experience.  For example, perhaps 10 or 15 years ago the clinical correlation between H.Pylori infection and ulcer disease was noted. Articles were proclaiming that the cause of nearly all ulcers had been discovered and that it was an infectious disease.

In my clinical practice in which I do endoscopy and biopsy, I was finding a much less impressive correlation with this bacteria and ulcer disease. In fact I was finding that many patients had mininal inflammation of the lining of their stomachs [gastritis] yet had numerous quantities of H. Pylori anyway.

Now years later, scientific articles have reduced the correlation between ulcers and this infectious agents. Other factors contribute to ulcer disease and they now admit that many people carry the bacteria with minimal effects on their stomach lining.

The fact that the initial articles were incorrect is only a part of the issue. What science does offer is the opportunity to be incorrect and then correct itself later on by either confirming or disagreeing with prior studies. This ability to self-correct is a powerful metaphysical tool and should be applauded.

But this awareness that scientific truth is often a long and labrynthian path needs to be acknowledged.

My approach is that of the open-minded skeptic.  This should apply equally to conventional, scientifically derived conclusions as well as the less well studied alternative world of healing.  Be willing to try different therapies and see what ‘works’.  At the same time, maintaining awareness of the possibilities of adverse reactions which may be highly individualistic.  Don’t be a slave to the published results of one scientific study. Require more evidence and apply these findings judiciously and cautiously to individual patients.

I am comfortable with using what ‘works’ even before I know why it does so. Acupuncture remains the best example.  It ‘works but conventional Western scientific theories still do not know why. Randomized controlled studies have been used to confirm this observation.

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