Friday, February 22, 2008

Eternal Struggles VII: "Pseudoscience argues from ignorance, an elementary fallacy"

From the Coker article:
"Pseudoscience argues from ignorance, an elementary fallacy.
Many pseudoscientists base their claims on incompleteness of information about nature, rather than on what is known at present. But no claim can possibly be supported by lack of information. The fact that people don't recognize what they see in the sky means only that they don't recognize what they saw. This fact is not evidence that flying saucers are from outer space. The statement "Science cannot explain" is common in pseudoscience literature. In many cases, science has no interest in the supposed phenomena because there is no evidence it exists; in other cases, the scientific explanation is well known and well established, but the pseudoscientist doesn't know this or deliberately ignores it to create mystery."

My bolds.

Carol Davis says in her next paragraph in the EIM thread:
"Some of you say all that we observe can be easily explained by understanding basic Newtonian physics and cellular physiology. But some very compelling questions cannot be explained so easily, and certain patient responses cannot easily be dismissed as "ouliers" to the normal bell curve of responses. For example, the thousands of recorded cases of the spontaneous remission of space invading tumors, or where the extra energy comes from when given off in a muscle contraction (greater than is produced by the mitochondria of the cell), like how in the world can a person hit a baseball coming at them at over 90 miles an hour when the speed of neural transmission is far less than is needed with those conditions?"

Let's move on to the deconstruction of Davis' thoughts.

I have some thoughts on this.. points to make.. I confess my own knowledge base has a lot of gap and distortion, but it seems to me that biology is based on ordinary physics (thermodynamic considerations about energy transformation) and that cellular physiology concerns itself with how the body produces new combinations of substances that are life supporting. It also seems to me that our own profession, PT, which concerns itself with human interaction and the strategic application of outside forces to the body by person A (the "therapist") to help the nervous system of person B (the "patient"), to effect change for the better from the patient's perspective, is safe in relying on ordinary science to help it along, help it do its job.

About tumors, I know nothing, so choose to say nothing.

One of the best books I have ever read on the topic of energy transformation that did not insult my intelligence was Into the Cool: Energy Flow, Thermodynamics and Life, by Eric Schneider and Dorion Sagan. Much of it is available to read online through the link I've provided. So easy.

My understanding is that actual, ordinary neural transmission speeds vary depending on fibre size, length etc, but that important stuff, like avoiding or connecting with an object hurtling toward one at 90 mph is managed by the nervous system at a rate of about 270 mph, which seems fast enough to me. I found a (reasonably good I think) paper (I think it's a book chapter) by googling (so it would seem that it is free access), called Excitable Tissue. It discusses the voluntary nervous system, which, we should remember, is as much under the control of vision as it is of the sort of kinesthetic sensation referred to in the paper.

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