Confessions of a Quackbuster

This blog deals with healthcare consumer protection, and is therefore about quackery, healthfraud, chiropractic, and other forms of so-Called "Alternative" Medicine (sCAM).

Friday, November 05, 2004

Quotes regarding science

1. Why Medicine Cannot be a Science:

"... The use of scientific methods does not itself make an activity a science. If barbers conducted experiments, made observations, and confirmed generalizations about cutting and styling hair, we would still not consider barbering a science. We might speak of "scientific barbering" in recognition of the methods employed to establish claims to knowledge and to determine effective and satisfactory techniques, but we would still insist that being a science requires more than using certain methods of enquiry. In particular, we would call attention to the fact that the aims and products of inquiry in barbering differ significantly from those of the sciences. Similarly, the fact that medicine employs the methods of science and works to expand knowledge is sufficient to justify our speaking of "scientific medicine", but it is not sufficient to demonstrate that medicine is a science." [Ronald Munson, University of Missouri; _Journal of Medicine and Philosophy_, 6(2) (May, 1981) 183-208].

2. Science, Engineering, and Technology:

... Science is the process of investigation of physical, biological, behavioural, social, economic, and political phenomena. Engineering is the process of investigation of how to solve problems. Technology is the process of production and the delivery of goods and services, and technological innovation is the process of investigating how to produce and deliver more effectively goods or services, modify significantly their characteristics, or create and deliver new goods or services. ... The three are synergistic.... [Anna J Harrison, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, Massachusetts 01075; _Science_, 223 (10 February, 1984) 543]

3. The Cultures of Science and Technology:

... Science is the most open of activities. ... Technology is developed in secret. Publication is anathema, and the final test of validity is public use. The cultures of science and technology are thus almost opposites a fact we either ignore or deny when we establish agencies under the rubric of "science and technology". If we are to make and implement sound public policy regarding science and technology, we must understand these differences and capitalize on them rather than deny them. Indeed, the linking of science and technology that we do routinely may be the first hurdle of denial that we must overcome.... [Jordan J. Baruch, President Jordan J Baruch Associates, Washington DC 20036. Editorial in _Science_ 224 (6 April, 1984) 7].


TS Raman

(Used by permission)