Empiricism is science, and it is the reason I love homeopathy and a few other straightforward natural therapies.
Empiricism is just a description of what works or doesn’t, without answering why.
I don’t mean to state there is no room for theory at all. Holding a theory as a question is a great state to be in while exploring and looking for answers. But, why something works is never justification for it’s use. The justification for it’s use is solely because it works.
However, as people, we too often desire to be sold the story of why.
If you believe you understand something because of knowing why then any other possibility is already lost and so is science.
Stories about why something works currently are being used to sell us on health therapies, procedures, and medications. It is rationalizations and theories which need to be confirmed by empirical data or we have no-science (i.e.. nonsense).
Considering again the class of drugs mentioned in part 1 where empirical data showed a direct increase for dementia with their use over time:
What is it exactly we are waiting for if not the direct empirical data we were just given to make a choice about those drugs hurting us or not?
Knowing these drugs create a greater probability for dementia what should we do about them? At the very least, wouldn’t we need to consider stopping the use of those drugs until further empirical data was reviewed? Maybe the drugs themselves should no longer be available over the counter without these direct warnings being attributed to them strongly on their labels? What do you think?
Or, should we wait to have a story describing why the empirical data is this way before we make those decisions? Who will make up that story? How about if we start this story with preaching how we need to understand this better before coming to any conclusions. Then, should that story describe the dangers vehemently, or soften them with showing the relief these drugs cause for people? Personally I would find either absurd! How many people have read that article compared to how many are taking those class of drugs and are currently at risk without even hearing this information yet?
Danger! Warning Will Robinson!
What is the cost of using theory and rationalization (story), (sales pitch) to base our health choices on?
1. The story becomes all consuming and limits our perspective and removes any potential for other possibilities. The observer heavily influences the results of the studies usually by proclaiming a (why). Consider this, with drug testing the (why) has to be proclaimed to sell the cost of doing the study on the drug in the first place. It’s inherently flawed even before the study is created.
2. We may defend our theory, story, rationalization fervently. (The money invested alone could have us do this.) Medically speaking anything outside the rationalized story would occur in the medical world as quackery to us. It would be discounted or attacked before even being considered, or tried. If you have anything to do with alternative or natural healthcare, this is life.
3. Medical science would become a belief about whys (mechanisms of action). The best (mechanism of action) like a popularity contest would give us our selection of therapy. The more money and publicity used to create the popularity (fad) wins. How about that purple pill you should ask your doctor about? By the way, why do you need to ask your doctor about any drug mentioned on TV? Wouldn’t your doctor make recommendations she believes you need anyway?
4. Sadly the Hippocratic oath of, “first do no harm,” would go completely out the door for a rationalization of why (sales pitch). We would see death from iatrogenic causes (medically induced death) become one of the leading causes of death in our society. And, unfortunately, iatrogenic causes of death are currently the third leading cause of death in the U.S.. How well are we relating to, “first do no harm?”
That’s brutal. And, this is hardly an all inclusive list of detriments from choosing rationalization and theory as our guides for choices in our health. There are many more results from choosing rationalization over empiricism which are just as brutal, but I would like to distinguish more clearly what empiricism actually is. That’s what gets me up in the morning.
I’m going to leave you with a few questions to consider before part 3.
Can we trust our therapies without understanding why they work?
Can we trust ourselves to avoid therapies just because the empirical data says we should, even though the story suggests it isn’t so?
Please mull this over for awhile. Empiricism actually dictates trusting what is, without demanding to know why it is.
Empiricism is asking us to trust therapies for our health without a story about why they work. Wow, that’s difficult.
Can that be done?
What would that even look like?
Empiricism will ask us to consider not trusting therapies sometimes with wonderful people (doctors) having recommended them to us for decades.
Empiricism is also asking us not to trust our health to therapies having a great story backing them up with lots of expensive adds on TV. Because the empirical data now shows regular use greatly increases the occurrence of problems like dementia, or even death due to iatrogenic causes.
Can we do this?
Can we not treat our hay fever with that doctor recommended antihistamine and all the smiley people on TV feeling better surrounded by butterflies, because when we are older there’s a greater chance we won’t even recognize our own children?
I hope we can…
To be continued…