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Is medicine a scientific enterprise?

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A view from alternative medicine and a view from anti-alternative medicine. The row was touched off by the Mayo Clinic offering alternative therapies (linked at sites).

One reason this is an unusually difficult problem is that the patient’s view of what is happening is part of what is happening. As great physicists have noted, the mind is real. The placebo effect is one of the most powerful effects in medicine, which is why drugs must be tested against placebo (control group). Not because placebo doesn’t work but precisely because it does.

Thoughts welcome.

See also: Neuroscience tried wholly embracing naturalism, but then the brain got away

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2 Replies to “Is medicine a scientific enterprise?

  1. 1
    daveS says:

    As a patient, I take it for granted that medicine is indeed a scientific enterprise, to the extent that the treatments my physician prescribes have been shown to be effective.

    I’m a little surprised to see the Mayo Clinic touting Reiki. If they’re going to do so, I hope they also inform patients that there isn’t any evidence showing it works better than placebo.

  2. 2
    Robert Byers says:

    If it proves to work then its proven scientifically.
    Our minds don’t heal us surely. I think the power of the memory can affect how people feel in their bodies. After all we don’t feel anything but only observe feeling by way of the memory. One doesn’t feel a feather on ones arm. Only it arriving or leaving. Just test.

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