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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.