Walking the scientific tightrope
A new article on the Huffington Post by Saybrook President Mark Schulman looks at new studies showing the efficacy of acupuncture - and asks why there was such hostility among mainstream medicine to even conducting such experiments.
The problem, Schulman says, is that a legitimate demand for rigorous proof is often taken to the next step - hostility towards anything that doesn't fit our dominant paradigm about what is and isn't legitimate, even when experiments are conducted rigorously.
"This is a problem the scholars at Saybrook University know well," Shulman writes:
The faculty who founded the College of Mind-Body Medicine (now the School of Mind-Body Medicine) were some of the first researchers to get prestigious grants to study phenomena that, for decades, medical science refused to acknowledge existed. The techniques they are pioneering -- from using guided imagery to help cancer survivors to using biofeedback and meditation to reduce high blood pressure -- received the same kind of hostility acupuncture did (and still does) from the "respectable" scientific community, only to be even more clearly validated when the data were finally collected and examined.
The solution, Schulamn suggests, is better science education: one that offers students of science to ask more inconvenient questions. "To the extent that this gives some shelter to opponents of climate change and evolution, we must be cautious, but it is also essential to conducting good science -- science able to ask questions that don't fit with its preconceptions."