Scipsy

littletropicalthunder-deactivat

: Any popular-science magazines you would recommend? I started reading "New Scientist" for a few months and ever since I didn't really paid attention to other publications.

I don’t read any magazine regularly. Any now and then I read Scientific American. But aside from reading books or the actual paper of a research (when it’s something psychology-related) I’m mostly online-based for sciency readings. Blogs, most of all.

pienitytto

: Hello! I'm look for some books to read on science (any area) and was wondering if you could maybe post a list of those you particularly enjoyed/would like to recommend? Thank you!

I’m reading The Emotional Brain by Joseph LeDoux. It’s a little old (1996) but I’m liking it. Another suggestion could be Self Comes to Mind by Damasio.

I’m not reader fast as I’d like to be, so I buy an enormous amount of books that sit around my room for years before I actually read them. 

Anonymous

: I wonder if astronauts in zero-g have those falling dreams, and then wake up to realize they're in constant free-fall? that must be weird...

Mmm…now I wonder if dreams are affected by the absence of gravity, like if astronauts have dreams about flying or swimming etc, more often than on Earth.

Seen that often questions on this tumblr turns in long discussions that continue in other posts, replies and questions, and since I find these discussions one of the most interesting things on this blog, I will try to tag them with a specific tag, (so for example, today’s discussion will be tagged ‘Qi and Traditional Chinese Medicine’) and then put the link in a page I will create so that anyone who wants to read it could do it more easier.

Anonymous

: Do you follow any personal blogs or are you all science 24/7? Which are your favorite?

I follow all sorts of blogs, science has a small place on my dash, really.

According to the stats, the “personal” blogs I liked the most are: myownsecretceremonialbidonica, stewiis, and andykaufmanisnotdead.

scify65

: To borrow from Tim Minchin's Storm: "By definition (I begin), alternative medicine (I continue), has either not been proved to work, or been proved not to work. Do you know what they call alternative medicine that's been proved to work? ... Medicine." While I certainly agree that Western medicine doesn't hold all the answers, a lot of traditional medicine isn't very effective (at best), with a few pieces that genuinely work. We can study that stuff while dismissing the metaphysical aspects.

Now, medicine has not all the answers because… well because the whole concept of “all the answers” is silly. But medicine has some answers, and they are really good answers. 

feliciadelaawesome replied to my previous post saying:

I looked into Medical Anthropology, in fact Anthropology was one of my favorite subject when I was studying in University. Medical Anthropology has very interesting things to say, but trust me, an anthropologist who’s having a heart attack would want you to call an ambulance, not a shaman. 

And there are good reasons to call an ambulance. Defibrillation greatly increases chances of surviving.

One of the reasons why so many people turn toward alternative medicine is because medicine doesn’t always meet their emotional needs. That’s an issue that is addressed within the field. But that’s an issue that is possible to address just because we have very efficient health care, and thanks to medicine in the last century our health is improved in a degree that is difficult to understand, and because of that, now we can raise questions about how doctors could improve the relationship with their patients, how hospitals could be more comfortable environments, etc. and we should do it, we should ask for better hospitals, more competent doctors and nurses and all the other things that could improve our health, but we should not pay for acupuncture or homeopathy or reiki or whatever, because it doesn’t work! I know you feel it works, but it’s the placebo effect! And you are risking more than you could gain, trust me.

So, it’s not that I’m an atheist and a materialist and so I dismiss Traditional Chinese Medicine (or some other alternative medicine) because of its metaphysical aspects, I dismiss it because the things I studied (psychology) explain the effect of these things better than the confuse statements of the alternative medicine experts, I dismiss it because it encourages irrational belief, for instance as logicianmagician said:

And I dismiss it because when it comes to health problems, you should go see a doctor, because he/she could cure you, a shaman can’t.

I really wouldn’t compare Traditional Chinese Medicine to AIDS prevention in Africa.
…
Even if I wouldn’t assume that I don’t know what I’m talking about, I understand why you may think I’m close minded, but I don’t take Western medicine for granted, I question it whenever I feel it’s necessary (often), and although I think Traditional Chinese Medicine is impossible to reconcile with all the biomedical data we have, I would use it if there was evidence that it cures something.
Yes, many people believe it works and feel it as useful, but that’s something I’ve discussed several times on this blog (talking about other topics in alternative medicine): you say it works but there’s (yet) not scientific evidence, I say it works because of placebo effect. 
Of course you should not trust me. You’re an aspiring health professional, so I really hope you will continue studying science as much as you can and figure out things yourself.

I really wouldn’t compare Traditional Chinese Medicine to AIDS prevention in Africa.

Even if I wouldn’t assume that I don’t know what I’m talking about, I understand why you may think I’m close minded, but I don’t take Western medicine for granted, I question it whenever I feel it’s necessary (often), and although I think Traditional Chinese Medicine is impossible to reconcile with all the biomedical data we have, I would use it if there was evidence that it cures something.

Yes, many people believe it works and feel it as useful, but that’s something I’ve discussed several times on this blog (talking about other topics in alternative medicine): you say it works but there’s (yet) not scientific evidence, I say it works because of placebo effect. 

Of course you should not trust me. You’re an aspiring health professional, so I really hope you will continue studying science as much as you can and figure out things yourself.

I have a lot of respect for ancient cultures, both Western and Eastern, what I do not respect and what I find irritating is the way modern people from the rich world use (dilute) portions of those cultures. One of their arguments, just for instance, is to say to anyone who questions those belief, that modern science is limited, simplistic, and blinded. 
That’s nothing new. 
Another common strategy I’ve seen many times is to switch from a discussion on the concept, to talk about the people involved in the discussion, often with some insults. So, just to be clear, let me say that I’m Italian and so mine couldn’t be an anglo-american attitude, but yes, I’m an atheist and a materialist, although I don’t see how this is relevant right now. Also, my ass is not positivistic, but on this you’ll have to trust me, ‘cause I’m not posting it on tumblr.

I have a lot of respect for ancient cultures, both Western and Eastern, what I do not respect and what I find irritating is the way modern people from the rich world use (dilute) portions of those cultures. One of their arguments, just for instance, is to say to anyone who questions those belief, that modern science is limited, simplistic, and blinded. 

That’s nothing new. 

Another common strategy I’ve seen many times is to switch from a discussion on the concept, to talk about the people involved in the discussion, often with some insults. So, just to be clear, let me say that I’m Italian and so mine couldn’t be an anglo-american attitude, but yes, I’m an atheist and a materialist, although I don’t see how this is relevant right now. Also, my ass is not positivistic, but on this you’ll have to trust me, ‘cause I’m not posting it on tumblr.

erminisat

: What about the balance of water (ie oceans) vs gravity. That semi fits the ying yang concept doesnt it?? And then you have the ideal about environmental panarchy.. That, in a sense, would also be compareable to the ying yan idea. I dont agree with it either but im just pointing out that i dont think thr philosophy as a skeleton idea should be entierly ruled out. Love you blog btw!

Maybe it’s the fact that I studied psychology, but I feel that you are forcing these (random) concepts to fit into the Yin & Yang pattern, denying all the data that suggest the Universe is far more complex. I’m inclined to think that all your examples are just as valid as “carrots are Yin and tomatoes are Yang”, in the sense that they are a product of the human mind continuing struggle to make sense of the confusing experience it has of the world.

Anyway as I said in the other post, even supposing Yin & Yang is an appropriate concept to describe reality, the major problem for me is that I don’t see any use for it. But that’s a person opinion, so…

deigeridemon

: I know you've answered metaphysical questions in the past, and maybe you could direct me to a post made about this previously, but do you happen to know of any scientific studies done on Qi/Chi energy and its application of manipulation? Whether in therapy or practice? Would you mind sharing your thoughts on it?

I don’t know any study about Qi/Chi.

You ask what I think, so I’ll be honest: I happen to know something about Qi, its theory and its supposed utility. It’s just an obsolete theory without any sense in the light of modern science, like humorism (you know, Hippocrates, black bile, yellow bile, phlegm and blood, and all this stuff). I think we shouldn’t spend money funding studies of this sort (like those on acupuncture). Of course we don’t believe humorism is a credible theory anymore, and we do not practice medicine thinking that all diseases are due to an imbalance of humors. But many are willing to believe in a equally primitive and ungrounded theory. They are mistaken, they are not using logic, observation, and evidence to base their reasoning.