REDUCED BY TOUCH
an atherosclerosis study, 60% reduction in plaque formation in one of two groups of
rabbits fed the identical diets was noticed. As
it turns out, this group was being fed by a technician who took the rabbits from their
cages before feeding, and caressed and handled them before returning them to their cages. Handling was the only variable. We either reject
the results as being too absurd to be believed, or reassess our worldview.
does not occur in a biological vacuum. There
are direct neurological links to both the cellular and humoral segments of the immune
system. These handled rabbits demonstrated
that higher-level affects (touching, loving) modulate lower level immunity and disease
Cancer Topics, September 1987
- GREAT MINDS ARGUE WHOLISM
Buckminster Fuller is considered one of the best minds of the present century. He is a geometrician, architect, philosopher and
world ecologist. His most visible
accomplishment is the geodesic dome that was erected at the 1967 Montreal Expo. His more esoteric works reveal profound
contributions in terms of understanding the world. After
a lifetime of studying the inherent shape and geometric patterns in the universe, he
concludes that whole systems, from bacteria to man, to the Earth, and even the Universe,
have qualities that transcend the description of any of their parts. Without full
consideration for these composite wholistic qualities, it is not possible to understand
a child, most of us have large questions. But at school, we are told never mind these big
questions, like Where did I come from? and What are the stars made
of? Never mind and learn A B C. The student continues through school into college
and becomes more and more specialized. Fuller
argues we never have a chance to return to the whole, to the original questions we had in
educational system is designed to create specialization.
We are given tools for learning but only to assist us in understanding
specialized parts of our world. The more
educated we become, the more funneled we are, the more sieved through smaller and smaller
holes, until we are intellectually cubby-holed. Specialization
is necessary for progress, yet specialization usually renders one more vulnerable to
example, biological extinctions throughout history have occurred primarily as a result of
overspecialization. It could therefore be
argued that the present trend toward more and more specialization without integrating
these specialties into the whole renders our educational system, as well as the
occupations it trains, vulnerable. We become
less capable of adapting to new paradigms of thought that would shift the meaning and
purpose of what we do.
finds that in describing synergy, wholeness, as it exists throughout the Universe, he must
use language and methods of expression that for the average student, are difficult to
comprehend. For example, his definition
of human is: Humans are each a special case enfoldment and integrity of the complex
aggregate of abstract weightless omni interaccommodative maximally synergetic nonsensorial
Universe of eternal timeless principles.
makes a strong case that all systems, whether human or geometric, contain properties not
explained by their parts. For example, alloys
of metal create a unique emergent quality. When
I say emergent, I am referring here to a new quality that exists in the whole, but does
not exist in the part. For example, if the
tensile strength of chrome, nickel, iron, carbon and so forth are measured, there is no
way to predict the tensile strength of the new alloys created.
humans are something other than the skin that we shed, the nails that are clipped and the
hair that is cut off. There is, in effect, a
flow-through of material from the food that we eat, to that which is lost or excreted, yet
neither in the food, nor in that which is lost, is a description of the whole of the
reductionistic method of breaking wholes into smaller and smaller parts to explain
questions about the whole is doomed to failure. Yet
this is how the majority of science, in particular the life sciences, proceeds. We could argue from Fuller that whole food, as it
exists in nature, contains qualities not represented by processed, fractionated parts.
complex web of interdependency, synergism and emergent qualities that exists at all
scales, is the essence of the real world and must not be ignored.
won 2 Nobel prizes. He argued that at every
step of analysis, subtle qualities exist which are not in the parts. This
comes from a lifetime of reductionistic study. He
states, We must not lose our bearings, or we may fall victim to the simple idea that
any level of organization can best be understood by pulling it to pieces, by a study of
its components, that is by a study of its next lower level.
This may make us dive to lower and lower levels in the hope of finding the
secret of life there. This made my own life a
wild goose chase.
the existence of these emergent qualities changes our field of vision. We focus less and scan more. With this skill, we will be much more likely to
develop the wisdom of peripheral vision, a wisdom that permits adaptation and the flow of
new truths and discoveries.
- UNTANGLING DEFINITIONS
is a word that risks losing its intrinsic meaning. Particularly
has this been true since consumer surveys demonstrated that natural on a label
was the most effective of any slogan in increasing sales.
But natural fruit juice may contain only 5% fruit juice,
natural shampoo might contain a half a dozen synthetics and a
natural human or animal food might contain food fractions, processing
additives, purified synthetic amino acids, mineral salts and synthetic vitamins. Furthermore, these foods can be processed by
methods that alter natural ingredients and create new synthetic species such as racemized
amino acids and carbohydrates, oxidized and isomerized fatty acids, and Maylard
protein-carbohydrate complexes to name a few.
the race for sales, have a way of distorting definitions.
Taken to the extreme, everything can be considered natural since everything
is made of atoms (or ultimately energy), and atoms are natural. Or put another way, since humans are natural, it
therefore follows that whatever humans do is natural.
This confusion of terms conveniently blurs the distinction between what is
natural and what is synthetic. The resulting
obfuscation helps food producers minimize or eliminate natural food, their strongest
competition. The goal of the food processing
industry, that everyone eat from packages confident that they are not sacrificing health,
becomes all the more accessible.
this discussion, I am here restricting the use of the term natural to the archetypal
character of the Universe. Things natural are
physical and biological phenomena that are spontaneous, not artificial, manufactured or
otherwise anthropogenically altered.
is food by definition? Food is nourishment. Nourishment is that which fosters life, growth and
health. Food can therefore be viewed as being
much more than what is simply consumed per os. In
addition to what we actually eat, sunlight, air, magnetism, gravity, circadian rhythms and
perhaps many other as yet identified factors and forces all may provide nourishment in one
form or another. Natural food in its broadest
imaginable sense can therefore mean our natural environmental context. It may even be taken so far as to be considered
everything that is not the eater. Since by
definition all organisms are a part of the Universe,
not extraneous to it, integration with the Universe implies dependence on it.
is perhaps the most critical of foods, since its deprivation can result in death in
minutes. Other foods, however, may also be
essential even though their absence may create health disturbance only after many years of
deficiency, or perhaps never result in any clinically apparent effects at all. Determining all effects of deficiency or excess
depends upon the ability to analyze perfectly, to discern all subtleties of less than
optimal health. Unfortunately that ability,
that science, is still in its infancy. Cause
and effect relationships, nevertheless, continue and can ultimately rob us of health.
by definition must also predate the eater, since an organism could not arise without the
preexistence of the nourishment upon which it depends.
Natural foods of course were extant prior to the origin of life, and thus
fit the definition. Modern processed foods
are a late arrival after the fact, and thus do not fit the definition. In this regard, we can change the terms of the
old which came first the chicken or the egg conundrum to which came
first, the chicken or its food. The
answer is obvious in this case. By this
definition of food we can decide what is best to eat.
Therefore, by this definition, any of the modern concoctions, having arrived
after the fact, so to speak, cannot be considered to even be food.
definition of food suggests that it is (1) natural, (2) holistic and (3) preexistent. The modern reductionistic analytical approach
defines foods as (1) unnatural, (2) isolated fractions and (3) arising after the life
forms it is meant to sustain.
the natural character of a food is altered with no apparent ill effect, can we conclude
that natural could be replaced with synthetic without consequent? Fouling our own
environmental nest and perfuming, coloring, fractionating and embalming our food supply
are all one in the same phenomenon. The
recent ability of humans to disrupt macro cyclic balances and alter food context, has
changed all the parameters, but not the rules, of the great life phenomenon. All life has now become unwitting subjects in a
new gigantic experiment. The results so far
are not encouraging. At least 70% of the
diseases afflicting modern humans are a direct result of an environment alteration
be it the environment of the food we eat, the air we breathe, the land upon which crops
are grown, the atmospheric canopy, and our entire context.
All interplay to affect health or disease.
definitions become critical. Food
is not just anything we put into our mouth. A natural environment is not
defined by whether it results in immediate disease or death. We can clear the semantic
smoke from the air by filtering all the nonsense with the genetic context archetypal
- THE SPURIOUS 100% COMPLETE CLAIM
can the claim be made that anything is 100% complete, let alone a synthesized modern
processed diet? It would seem that this claim
would be immediately dismissed simply because it assumes that which is preposterous,
namely that here, at this point in time, the science of nutrition is a completed science. If all knowledge is not held, how can the claim be
made merely because a food can be fed for several weeks to an animal and disease not
result? This presumes we know all
manifestations, not only of gross deficiency, but also of subtle imbalances. This claim requires the ability to measure, at the
biochemical level, sub-optimal enzyme systems that will not manifest disease until,
perhaps, the last quarter of life. This
ability is, of course, nonexistent, and is not even within the realm of possibility at
this time. Not only is nutrition not a
completed science, it is probably the least developed and most challenging since a
complete understanding of the field requires a complete understanding of essentially every
other discipline. Pillars representing every
other field of knowledge at the top, at the pinnacle, support it.
claim that a diet is 100% complete and some manufacturers guarantee it
should not be permitted. It leads the public
to a level of confidence in human knowledge and nutritional expertise that simply does not
exist, and thus puts them at risk. It serves
only one purpose, to sell product. Nutrition
depends upon basic sciences, such as chemistry, physics, physiology, anatomy, and just
about every field of thought and inquiry that exists.
In none of these sciences would anyone claim 100% complete knowledge. How, therefore, can a product that is derived from
an aggregate science such as nutrition, which depends upon these basic sciences,
legitimately make a 100% complete claim.
faulty nature of the analytical reductionist approach in nutrition is manifest in the
ongoing discovery that manufactured foods are not 100% complete after all. Processed foods, for humans as well as animals,
are not properly balanced with fiber, trace minerals, amino acids, essential fatty acids,
or vitamins. These discoveries are only the
tip of the iceberg. A price will be paid by
humans and their dependent animals who defer to the claim that any processed packaged
product is 100% complete.
- HOSPITALIZATION: LESS IS MORE
President Eisenhower suffered a heart attack in 1955, he spent 7 weeks convalescing in the
hospital. He was permitted very little
physical activity and was virtually carried from place to place by corpsmen. A recent randomized controlled trial of hospital
discharges 3 days after myocardial infarction reveals surprising results. This study was to determine if patients, treated
with coronary reperfusion therapy, such as thrombolysis, angioplasty, or both, would
survive better after a short stay or after a long hospital stay. Over the past 25 years, the length of stay in a
hospital has decreased from about 7 or 8 weeks to approximately 8 days at present. This is for uncomplicated myocardial infarction. Uncomplicated means that within 72 hours after
admission, there were no further signs such as angina, heart failure or arrhythmia. In other words, the common everyday heart attack. Two randomized groups were made with 179 patients. Eighty patients were randomly assigned to either
an early 3-day hospital discharge, or a conventional 7-10 day discharge. Then these patients were followed up at the end of
6 months. The results are as follows:
those discharged early, 6 had hospital readmission, whereas of those discharged after the
longer stay in the hospital, 10 had a readmission.
of the early discharge group had reinfarctions. Five
in the long-stay discharge had readmission for reinfarctions.
of the short stay had angina and eight of the longer stay had angina.
discharged early returned to work an average of 40 days after discharge, whereas those in
the later discharge group returned to work an average of 57 days after discharge.
group staying only 3 days averaged a cost of about $12,000, whereas those who stayed 7-10
days had a cost upon discharge of approximately $18,000.
all criteria measured after 6 months, the group discharged after 3 days had better results
and it was certainly more cost effective. You
could pay more, stay longer, and get sicker!
even more extreme approach is now being advocated in parts of Great Britain, where they
are treating patients exclusively in the home. This
has not met with great enthusiasm in the United States.
But increasing pressure is being placed on the medical care system to
decrease costs in this burgeoning industry, which is creating a tremendous financial drain
on our economy. Prolonged hospitalization and
inactivity have proven harmful by causing physical deconditioning, promoting deep venous
thrombosis and demoralizing patients and their families.
Results should supercede medical special economic interests.
- ARSELIN, A NATURAL PESTICIDE
the generations, plants in the wild have developed the capability of protecting themselves
against a variety of threats. Genetic
variation, natural selection, dormancy, seed dissemination and inherent pest control all
contribute to the survival of plants.
of the important agricultural grains contain antibiosis chemicals against attack by
various predators including insects, bacteria, viruses and fungi. So why do we use the thousands of tons of
pesticides on crops in this country?
answer, in part, lies with the distance that has been created between the domestic
varieties of plants and their wild counterparts, as plants have been cultivated with
particular target characteristics in mind. These
would include the ability to flourish on lands fertilized by the NPK (nitrogen,
phosphorous and potassium) fertilizers, tolerance to weather, and high yield and weight. These factors were perceived to work to the
benefit of the agricultural industry. But at
the same time that these artificially imposed selective processes were occurring, plants
were losing innate defense mechanisms that affected their survival. One
of these is the ability of plants to create natural pesticides.
example, the common bean, Phaseolus bulgaris,
contains a carbohydrate binding lectin protein called Phytohemagglutinin (PHA). PHA protects the against the common cowpea weevil. However, PHA is incapable of protecting against
the two most important pests, the bean weevil and the Mexican bean weevil. However, the wild version of Phaseolus does have resistance against them. Wild beans have a protein called arsilin, which
protects wild species against weevils. Arsilin
is controlled by a single Mendelian gene and which can be easily transferred from wild
accessions into cultivors by back-crossbreeding.
is inactivated upon heating, so it does not affect the nutritional value. Pesticide chemicals produced by plants are not
without danger to humans and animals. Some
can interfere with the digestive process, such as enzyme inhibitors, or directly exert
toxic effects, just as they would on an insect pest.
Crops specifically selected to be grown on weakened soils, and to be
dependent upon artificial pesticides, and bred to produce yield rather than nutrient
content, have seriously jeopardized the food supply.
The solution is to look at the prototype, the archetypal model. In this case, breeding to incorporate the arselin
gene into the domestic bean is a step in the right direction. Other efforts being made by some organic producers
are to select specific variants of plants high in micronutrient concentrations. Selection for health and safety rather than yield
and profit should be the ultimate objective of food producers.
is nothing within the components of a lever system to predict the laws of leverage. There is nothing within two separated bodies in
space that would predict that halving the distance between them would quadruple their
interactive attractiveness. There is also
nothing that would predict that if an automobile is traveling 65 miles per hour and you
hold a flashlight out the window and turn the flashlight on pointing in the direction of
travel, that the speed of light will not be the 186 thousand miles per second the
speed of light plus the speed of the vehicle.
It will still be 186 thousand miles per second. If we are traveling in the same automobile at 65
miles per hour, and we throw a baseball 50 mph in the direction of travel as we are
traveling 65 miles per hour, the speed of the baseball will be 115 miles per hour. The contradiction cannot be explained.
the life sciences, there also are many non-rational events.
For example, handling mice at young ages can increase the resistance to
age-related disease as compared to mice who are not handled. Although the mechanism has been explained in a
reductionistic way with the discovery of hippocampal receptors that develop in the brain
and their role in glucocorticoid feedback mechanisms, how touch causes this is a total
mystery. Heres another example. 393 coronary care patients in California were
split into two groups, unbeknown to the patients, or even to the treating physicians. Prayer groups were arranged to pray for one half,
but not for the other. People in different
parts of the state, remotely removed from the area where the patients were, prayed for
half of this group. The groups were
comparable in terms of age and severity of medical condition.
patients who were the recipients of prayer, did much better in several categories. For example, only three of the prayed for group
required antibiotics compared to sixteen of the unprayed for. Only six suffered pulmonary edema compared to
eighteen of the unprayed for. None of the
prayed for required intubation compared to twelve of the unprayed for. Distance, as we mentioned, of the prayer
from the prayee made absolutely no difference at all.
Prayers were coming from all parts of California. Additionally, the denomination of the prayer made
no difference at all. Prayers came from
Christians, Buddhists, Hindus and others. Another
mystery is why handling rabbits decreases atherosclerosis in spite of being fed a highly
atherogenic diet. We need to make a change in
our worldview to accommodate these phenomena. We
cannot assume that truth is only a product of that which we can visualize. We have as yet
to devise any method or protocol to achieve fundamental truth. We just cannot seem to get this all inclusive
knowledge that we seek. We are mere specks in
a universe, governed by laws still undiscovered. After
all, why would we assume at this particular point in time, that the few laws we have
discovered are all that exist.
must take the position of student, rather than master, and must have a worldview that
allows the incorporation of ideas and experimental results that do not fit tradition or
orthodox thinking. Presuming incomplete
knowledge is complete is a sure way to be forced to relearn the great lesson of history,
we are usually wrong.
1986 issue of Medical News, the March 3 issue,
Dr. Byrd, a cardiologist, studied 393 coronary care unit patients at San Francisco General
the next 50 years, Earths climate may change more than since agriculture began some
10,000 years ago. Before this time, Earth
boasted a rich mantle of forests and open woodlands covering 6.2 billion hectares or
roughly 15.3 billion acres. (A hectare is
about 2.471 acres.) Today, however, this has
been reduced by nearly one-third to a level of only 4.2 billion hectares. Deforestation has taken place at a rate of 150
million acres a year. Thats 410
thousand acres a day, 17,000 acres an hour, almost 300 acres a minute. Our rain forests alone are being removed at a rate
of 28 million acres a year with 10% of the plant species becoming extinct each year. In fact, it is estimated that in the near future
there will be greater mass extinctions as a result of habitat destruction that at any time
in geologic history. This rate of habitat
removal is equivalent to the size of Austria disappearing from the Earth every year. Fifty thousand trees fall in the worlds rain
forests every few minutes and only 40% of Central Americas original forests remain. In the short time you are going to spend reading
this one topic, about 60,000 trees will fall.
reasons for this escalating decline include:
clearing for crop production. Clearing and
burning of our forests account for about 20% of the carbon dioxide released to the
atmosphere each year,
timber harvesting is a part of the modernization process in third countries. Poor economies are more willing to sacrifice
natural resources to help feed themselves and to develop as a third world country.
the Pacific Northwest there are 25% fewer workers producing 10% more lumber and this is
attributable to more efficient mills and a huge international market demand. Poor
commercial planning has forced timber companies to seek out new timber supplies from
national forests and the U.S. Forest Service. Old
growth timber is targeted first, because it is viewed as over mature wood, which must be
cut or lost anyway. It yields the best
timber. Old growth is fine grade and
knot-free. 80% of the National
Forests old growth is available for logging.
ranching requires clearing earth-wide.
trees are vital components of survival to the economy for their rural poor. Many rural areas rely on timber to cook their
meals and heat their homes.
is also linked to acid rain, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen compounds, heavy metals, ozone,
insects and so forth. Forests anchor soils. Deforestation can lead to vast losses of topsoil,
especially on sloping hills and highly erodible wind-prone areas. Erosion transfers sediment to river channels,
which aggravate local flooding and can contribute to premature silting of reservoirs
downstream. Sediment can also kill stream
fish such as salmon and trout, which require clean, fresh, cool water to live.
increases the available water supply because the amount lost to the atmosphere through
evapotranspiration decreases. However, if
there are dry spells, the land loses the ability to absorb water, resulting increased
runoff that can lead to flooding depending on the amount of rainfall. Also, increased levels of carbon dioxide lead to
increased precipitation, an average of 7-11% worldwide. However, in many regions, this
increase will be offset by higher temperatures and therefore higher rates of evaporation,
decreasing crops natural supplies of water.
the most serious consequence of deforestation is the loss of biological diversity. Although it is true that extinction is a natural
part of life patterns, the present rate is at least a thousand times that of the preceding
tens of millions of years as estimated by geologists.
This is a genetic information implosion.
Accelerated deforestation translates into accelerated extinction. The tropical rain forests contain half of all the
worlds plant and animal species.
do affect humankind. For example, the
African clawed frog, an example of an endangered species, could produce a whole new family
of antibiotics. Then there is the greenhouse
effect. Life cannot exist on this planet
without vegetation to remove carbon dioxide and restore oxygen to the air. The global cycling of carbon is critical to life. The Earths soil and vegetation hold about
two thousand billion tons of carbon, three times the amount in the atmosphere. When trees are cleared and harvested, the carbon
they contain, along with that in the underlying soil, is oxidized and released to the air. This reaction occurs slowly with normal
decomposition, however burning greatly increases the rate of this reaction. This build-up of carbon dioxide and other
greenhouse gasses leads to an increase in atmospheric temperature, which could lead to
increased respiration rates for trees. When
the respiration rate outpaces the rate of photosynthesis, trees release more carbon
dioxide to the air than they can remove. This
build-up of carbon dioxide, which increases temperature further, increases the rate of
respiration, hence we have a vicious cycle that goes on and on. If the rate of respiration exceeds the rate of
photosynthesis for an extended period of time, the trees will simply die. It is impossible, it appears, to tamper with any
part of the web of life without affecting all other parts.
if all deforestation were halted today, millions of hectares would have to be planted to
meet future fuel wood needs and stabilize soil and water resources. Most tree planting over the last several decades
has been aimed at increased supplies of marketable timber, pulp and fuel wood for cities. This is for economic, not environmental, benefit. But expanding commercial growth of timber to meet
the needs of the paper and lumber industries would decrease the pressure on virgin
forests. It would also mitigate the build-up
of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. We must
shift emphasis to the more complex tasks of:
nurseries in thousands of villages earth-wide.
the planting of multi-purpose trees along roads, on farms and around homes and buildings. The effect of these trees should not be
rural peoples to plant to meet their own needs. This
type of grass roots approach to local involvement in planning and
implementation helps people to perceive their own interests and success. Involvement is the best education for helping
people to realize what is behind a cause.
at the economical value of just one tree. A
trees worth, during its lifetime, is $196,250.
A tree living 50 years will generate $31,250 in oxygen, $62,000 in air
pollution control, $31,250 in soil fertility and erosion control. This does not account for the value in timber and
products produced such as fruit and nuts.
are the first generation, to be faced with decisions that will determine whether the Earth
our children will inherit will be inhabitable or not.
It is not a matter of somewhere, somebody, sometime it is here, now,
new frontier mentality was innocuous because much of the Earth was as yet untouched and
puny technology of that time was simply swallowed up by the vast resources of the planet. The gigantic Earth lungs easily purified the
campfire and minor land clearing and trail cutting did little to disrupt even the local
environment let alone do anything on a macrocyclic earth-wide scale. However, now, we as a community on spaceship Earth
have the ability to reroute major rivers, dry up thousands of acres of wetland, consume
millions of acres of forest and change the very nature of the air, water and food every
living creature on the planet uses.
was brought vividly into focus for me recently when a wooded area across from our offices
was being cleared to increase the length of an airport runway for the local municipal
airport. This was a beautiful forest
abounding with wildlife. There were deer,
rabbits and the like. Soon there was this
marauding, huge, tractor-driven machine that drove into the forest one day. It reached out with a giant claw, grabbing the
tree, sawed it off with one stroke, tipped the corpse horizontally and then fed it into a
giant shredder. Within minutes the tree was a
pile of chips. It was absolutely amazing that
this tree had lived for almost a hundred years and in a matter of minutes it vanished. If you compare this with what is required with
only an ax in hand, you can see that the main difference between now and the past is the
ability to compress time. We are able to
destroy faster than the healing mechanisms in our environment can heal. Being alert to this uniqueness in time is
essential to reversing trends that can affect the entire globe.
destruction and consumption exceed renewable resources, we cut the branch we sit on. Being aware, being alert, is not doomsaying or
whacko environmentalism, it is the seed for change that can mean our very survival.
- VAMPIRES AND THE SEARCH FOR TRUTH
are only two verified vampires. They are bats
and humans. The vampire bat obtains its meal by making a cut in the skin of its host and
then lapping the blood as it trickles from the wound.
Human vampires are of the medical sort.
Since before the time of Hypocrites, bloodletting, the making of incisions
in the skin to release harmful humors, was practiced with vigor up until the early part of
the 20th century. Bloodsuckers
were also used for bloodletting. In the year
1833, 41 ½ million leaches were imported into France for this purpose. Suction cups were used to draw blood from the
wounds by skilled venesectionists. Even
the prestigious medical journal of Great Britain, The Lancet, is named after the surgical
instrument that was used by venesectionists, the lancet.
South America healers still practice bloodletting as a means of removing
demons from the body. George Washington, on
the day that he died from a course of inflammatory upper respiratory disease, had more
than a quart of blood removed. It is argued
today by medical science that bloodletting was nothing but mere witchcraft with no true
scientific basis. But this is difficult to
believe, since some cause and effect relationships must have been observed on countless
thousands of people over a period of more than two thousand years. There must have been indications. There must have been positive results. Everyone before our present era was not an
ignoramus. Because today we cannot understand
a mechanism does not discount the fact that it could have worked and may still work.
am not advocating the return to bloodletting. I
am just suggesting inability to understand does not mean anything. It was shown by Pierre Louise as early as 1840
that perhaps more harm than good was coming to patients and that there was perhaps a weak
rationale for bloodletting. Yet the medical
community continued the practice for almost 100 years thereafter. The medical community is resistant to change. Its not confined to the less intellectual
minds of the past. There is no indication
that humans in the past were any less intelligent than we are today or were not moved by
the same rational processes we revere today. Many
practices, many beliefs, are held not necessarily because of their validity but
because its customary, because there have been instances of success, because of a
world view that incorporates the practice and holds it in place.
face the very same thing today. Medical,
social, and political practices are not necessarily there because they are the products of
a rational process. History is the teacher. If leaders in medicine and science performed
improper practices in the past, why could not such similar improper beliefs be held today? Must we not therefore be careful about holding to
any particular practice or method? Can we be
sure that it is the only way?