By Dr. David Lake
Science and the scientific method have been the cause of the advance of much of Western thinking and civilisation. I am fascinated how narrow this kind of thinking can be, despite the obvious discoveries by original thinkers. Pioneers throughout the history of science and medicine have often met a nasty fate. Their greatest enemies were the beliefs, egos and unexamined fixed thinking of their colleagues. So I am talking about ‘science thinking’ as a shortcut to what I mean by humans thinking about science.
There are trends in scientific thinking which resemble tribal thinking—a kind of knowing what is OK. This is the world of expectation and speculation since so much of what we do know has its narrow context.
For example, it was not so long ago that X-rays were seen as so useful that they were utilized widely. I recall having my feet fluoroscoped ( portable X-ray machine)at a shoe store when I was about 8 years old; I still have the X-ray of myself and my sister in utero.
These were routine applications in the 1950’s. Early uses of some plastics in microwave ovens brought about some potentially serious health risks. Now we see the use of nanoparticles in sunscreens without real research into their safety. Somebody thought up the idea of grinding up dead cows to feed to other cows. Then there is the world of genetically-modified food and organisms. It seems typical of a new discovery in science that the population is introduced to it long before the real risks are apparent. The concept now seems to be that if something can be scientifically proven to have a result in one context, then it can be applied to other areas in a giant uncontrolled human experiment.
The rationale in the beginning is that “there is no evidence that the agent/practice/use is harmful”. No, there isn’t any evidence. Precisely the point. Yet the practice typically continues until the evidence does accumulate, and then the cry is “We couldn’t have known that at the time”. This from scientists and researchers. It begs the question as to why anybody would run the risk in the beginning that it wasn’t safe enough. This is ‘uncritical thinking’.
In one context scientists use the ‘double negative’ (no evidence of harm) and in the other they demand the positive evidence first (proof of good).
‘Woolly thinking’ (uncritical) is all around us. Two years ago I saw a newspaper headline: “The planet is dying”. It was an article about Earth reaching a “tipping point” of global warming from which it would not recover. Even then I realized that the planet had been through far worse than some recent warming, and that we humans were the likely possible losers in this equation. More to the point, it now appears that if you doubt the contributing human role in generating excess greenhouse gasses, you deny as well the concept of global warming (as the science is now ‘done’ and there is a ‘consensus’). You are a climate change “denier”. What if you agree that there is global warming but want more proof that humans have actually caused this? Well, that makes you a polluter who doesn’t care about our children’s future. Surely the debate must be about the scientific evidence, or lack of it. It must be fundamentally important to have this proof before throwing most of the world’s spare cash at the problem. A cost-benefit analysis as well.
In the world of orthodox medicine the constant criticism is that the results of alternative treatment remain unproven and unvalidated scientifically (or insufficiently). This is a legitimate point. But often the real critique is about the prevailing paradigm of how things should work. This is ‘too critical’ thinking. The paradox is that many alternative treatments have stood the test of time, are empirically safe, and have a body of subjective results. It brings up the question: “How do we know what we know?” This is eminently researchable.
On the other side of that fence, alternative practitioners seem to be in an “us versus them” intellectual struggle with conservatives, narrow thinkers and drug companies. Sometimes alternative treatments are extolled as having the merit of cures when this may just not be true. I have personal experience of several women acquaintances who chose to “go natural” for their potentially curable breast cancer. Presumably they were afraid of the orthodox treatment and attitudes of those helpers (as they understood such). All have now passed away prematurely, in my opinion. And don’t mention the radical views of the anti-vaccination brigade. Vaccines are not perfect, but greatly beneficial to populations for the scourges of polio and child-killing diseases. Who remembers the great disease fears—and deaths— of their grandparents’ generation? Do we want to live in a world that has such danger if it can be eliminated at little risk?
The new field of Energy Psychology will be scientifically validated—and sufficiently—one day. Because they do work well in certain conditions, and seem to be harmless in themselves, I am not waiting for that day to have some fun with the techniques. My doubts about how and why they work will continue in a positive way. This is my cost-benefit analysis in context.
I don’t know where all the dark matter in the universe is. I don’t know where one’s mind is actually located. Nor do I worry about the size of the Yellowstone Park volcanic magma chamber. I don’t even know why the moon and the sun—when viewed from Earth—are exactly the same size. I do know that Energy techniques have marvelous, practical applications, even though these remain theoretically mysterious.
So the possibilities from having an open mind are more valuable than the so-called knowledge of what is the correct way to proceed.
Einstein was quoted as saying that imagination is more important than knowledge. But I am impressed by science even if the humans who apply it are often less than realistic. Einstein also said that “God doesn’t play dice with the Universe”, meaning that there was a lawful explanation for the universe’s complexity; it was not random. Stephen Hawking famously rebutted the statement by adding that “Not only does God play dice with the Universe, but He throws them where they can’t be seen”. The actuality is currently under investigation via the use of the Hadron Collider in Switzerland.
If e = mc2 we are all energy.
Those who can find out how to use energy for healing, and those who can discover the scientific cause for such results, therefore have much in common already.