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Why are intellectuals so Grecophilic?

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Robert J. Kolker
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The first earthquake detector
This would be a good example for you to try to support. We don't care whether the Chinese invented an eartquake detector a million years ago, what matters is whether we are using a device created by the Chinese and not credited to the Chinese. You could show us your evidence that this is the case, if you had any evidence. The fact is that in our civilization, we do not use the Chinese earthquake detector, and therefore the Chinese earthquake detector is of no relevance. We use the seismograph which is a vastly superior instrument (in fact so much so that even the Chinese are using them). The current design descends from the work of Milne, Ewing and Gray: this is a bit of arcana that the vast majority of people are actually not aware of. In fact, the Chinese earthquake detector is well-enough known and credited in the West -- it's a bit of widespread junior-high trivia that many of us learned decades ago and most forgot as being useless info -- to the point that I bet more people think the earthquake detector was invented by the Chinese than would know that it was actually invented by those three gents.
practice of acupuncture
You are kidding, of course. First, acupuncture is largely bunk. Second, acupuncture is as architypically Chinese as moo goo gai pan. The question is whether Westerners are ignoring important contributions to our lives made by the Chinese (compared to the contributions of the Greeks, Italians, Dutch, etc). We all know that acupuncture is Chinese, for the love of god!
blast furnace
Again, you can provide your evidence that we received the blast furnace from China, if you have such evidence. You are presumably aware that in the West, we have been smelting metal for many millenia before any contact with China. Independently, Africans discovered how to create metal many millenia ago. Metallurgical techniques are of such antiquity and generality that you will have a hard time establishing whatever you're thinking about us crediting the Greeks as opposed to the Chinese on this point.
and who can forget the lovely dim-sums.
After moo goo gai pan, that is so obvously Chinese.

I'm wondering if you read any of the posts first, or did you just kick in your Sinophile module without thinking. The underlying question is whether we are cheating them out of due credit for their contributions to our world. The answer is "No". It's irrational to expect everybody to know who invented each and every gadget from thousands of years ago. Do you know who invented the violin? Who invented the screw, the wine cork, glass etc?

And I have yet to see any application of Chinese logic, metaphysics, epistemology or ethics in modern society which we are cheating them out of credit for.

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Ok first of all to all three of you I am sorry I didn't read the post clearly because I just thought you want to hear some inventions by the Chinese that weren't well-known.

To David, yes the next actual seismograph was only invented in 1703 by some French guy I forgot his name, but again I didn't know the topic better so I'll shut up. But I would like to point out about the point where you said the majority of people would believe the Chinese had invented the first earthquake detector because sometimes people remember the most trivial things and just for example, textbooks ( most that I know ) would credit the detector to the three gents, mainly Milne in opinion ( actually that's what my old textbook still says ).

Practice of acupuncture - It does work, the Chinese aren't stupid and they know quite well how to handle most medical problems unlike the medieval times of the western world. Take a look at this picture I've found on Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Hua_t08.jpg. I know you are going to say something negative about this, so I'll start here by saying those Chinese Characters are identifying the vital parts of the human body. Our science is not yet advanced enough to explain many things, the human body is still a mystery so you cannot say it's just a bunk.

Blast Furnace - This was quite random and I didn't know much about it, so I'll agree with you about the Africans ( Egyptians?) had been smelting as long as the Chinese have and the Westerners ( assuming you are saying Greeks ) might also have been smelting as long as they have.

Dim Sum- I was just joking...

Final Words - In my high school days, the teachers tell us the first printing press was invented during the Industrial Revolution; In grade 9, my teacher thought the Portuguese had invented the compass. I am making the same mistake all over again am I?=)

They've made guns, but they just stopped doing it for what reasons? I don't know=p

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Practice of acupuncture - It does work,

I am going to do my best to remain civil since the practice of woo-woo (James Randi term) and the fradulent fleecing of innocent, ignorant people out of their money is something that passionately angers me.

I will reiterate what I said earlier. Showing me some photo of the body with a bunch of points labels proves nothing. What if I took a picture of a human body and randomly labeled a bunch of points on it? Is that evidence that some system I invent works too? No. Only scientific evidence is scientific evidence.

I will say again what I said before since you said nothing to directly address it. (And I will continue to repeat this until you directly adresses it)

Show me ONE (Just ONE) reputable, proper, double-blind (PLEASE look that term up if you don't know what it means because it is VERY important) scientific study that showed results for anything more than placebo effect. You can't - because it doesn't exist.
Edited by KevinDW78
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This is one of the most idiotic statement I have EVER seen on this forum. As Jake pointed out - science CAN explain that it DOESN'T work. It's placebo garbage. If you seriously are an Objectivist and not a troll, then in the interest of your own rationality, you need to go to http://Randi.org and view the wealth of scientific information showing there is not one shred of evidence that this nonsense does anything.
what

theres a fair bit of scientific evidence that acupuncture works in some cases, I managed to find some within about 10 seconds of loading up google/pubmed and I'm sure you could do the same.

Edited by eriatarka
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theres a fair bit of scientific evidence that acupuncture works in some cases, I managed to find some within about 10 seconds of loading up google/pubmed and I'm sure you could do the same.

Show me ONE (Just ONE) reputable, proper, double-blind (PLEASE look that term up if you don't know what it means because it is VERY important) scientific study that showed results for anything more than placebo effect.

Anything you find HAS to also specify HOW the study was conducted. If it doesn't, then the "evidence" has no scientific basis. The budren of proof is on YOU to show that it works. Simply saying "I found the proof, so can you" is not an acceptable answer.

I can google all sorts of nonsense that has "evidence" for all sorts or quackery and nonsense. Astrology, psychics, etc. That doesn't mean it is reputable, scientific, or double-blinded.

If I googled a site that gave "scientific" evidence that the world is ending tomorrow, is that proof of my argument that it's true? I think you can see how your response is not a valid answer to the issue.

At this point, This might need to be split into another thread if there are going to be people here who want to call themselves "Objectivists" in the same breath as they try to tell me mystical quackery works.

Edited by KevinDW78
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I don't know what "evidence" you think you are presenting:

For the first link:

Both employed virtually the same methodology and criteria for evaluation

And they are? Was this criteria double-blind? It doesn't say, so it's meaningless as "evidence". For all we know, a guy in alab coast asked a patient "Do you feel better now? Yes? Ok. That's proof it works." Was there a control group? These are questions that a reputable scientist would asnwer. Please don't argue from authority. Just because someone has a PhD doesn't mean they can't still be a quack and that any study they perform is automatically reputable or scientific.

The second article is just as pointless because no mention if the test is blinded. If a test is not double-blind, the researchers can "prove" all sorts of nonsense that fits their whims.

Same for the third article. If the procedure is not SPECIFICALLY described and it double-blinded, then the "study" is meaningless.

I really suggest you go to http://herebedragonsmovie.com/ or read Carl Sagan's Demon Haunted World to learn how reputable scientific study actually works.

So in conclusion, I will repeat:

Show me ONE (Just ONE) reputable, proper, double-blind scientific study that showed results for anything more than placebo effect.

Edited by KevinDW78
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And they are? Was this criteria double-blind? It doesn't say, so it's meaningless as "evidence". For all we know, a guy in alab coast asked a patient "Do you feel better now? Yes? Ok. That's proof it works." Was there a control group? These are questions that a reputable scientist would asnwer. Please don't argue from authority. Just because someone has a PhD doesn't mean they can't still be a quack and that any study they perform is automatically reputable or scientific.

The second article is just as pointless because no mention if the test is blinded. If a test is not double-blind, the researchers can "prove" all sorts of nonsense that fits their whims

Same for the third article. If the procedure is not SPECIFICALLY described and it double-blinded, then the "study" is meaningless.

Why dont you read the papers and find out - obviously an abstract isnt going to contain all the methodological details

edit: also double-blinding is essentially impossible when it comes to things to acupuncture, but yes, most of the research uses control groups.

I really suggest you go to http://herebedragonsmovie.com/ or read Carl Sagan's Demon Haunted World to learn how reputable scientific study actually works.
I suspect I know a lot more about experiment design than you do. Edited by eriatarka
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Why dont you read the papers and find out - obviously an abstract isnt going to contain all the methodological details

I have a better idea - why don't YOU read the papers and give me a quote since this is your "evidence" not mine. I'm not going to do your work for you. Since you found these in "10 seconds" of google searching, I doubt you even read them yourself.

also double-blinding is essentially impossible when it comes to things to acupuncture, but yes, most of the research uses control groups.

bullsh*t. You stick a group in a bunch of places that are random and another group in "proper" places and don't tell anyone involved which group is getting which.

I suspect I know a lot more about experiment design than you do.

Since you've now descended to the "I know you are, but what am I" level of maturity. I will refrain from addressing your absurdity anymore.

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I have a better idea - why don't YOU read the papers and give me a quote since this is your "evidence" not mine
Ive gave you the links to papers, if you cant be bothered to read them then thats not my problem.

bullsh*t. You stick a group in a bunch of places that are random and another group in "proper" places and don't tell anyone involved which group is getting which.
I'm not sure if you know what a double blind test is. Assume youre doing a basic control-group study where you partition your subjects into two groups and give one the drug you want to test and the other a placebo. If you dont tell the subjects which group they are in (ie they dont know whether theyre getting the real drug or the placebo) then this is a blind test, not a double-blind one. In order for it to be double-blind, the people administering the test need to also be unaware whether each specific patient is getting the real drug or the control until the experiment is over, avoid various versions of the expectency effect (among other things). Its not sufficient that the subjects dont know whether theyre on the placebo - the test administrators need to also not know.

Now this is clearly impossible when it comes to testing things like acupuncture which arent just a case of administring pills. Its easy to do a blind test - you just give one control group 'real' acupuncture and treat the control group by jabbing pins randomly into their foot. But the problem is that the person doing the acupuncture is going to know whether he's administring proper acupuncture or just jabbing random pins, and hence it isnt going to be a double blind study. This isnt just a problem with acupuncture - it applies to pretty much all epidemiology research which is based around medical procedures rather than the administration of drugs.

Since you've now descended to the "I know you are, but what am I" level of maturity. I will refrain from addressing your absurdity anymore.
If youre going to try and patronise people then it might be an idea to ensure that you actually have a good knowledge of what youre talking about first. Edited by eriatarka
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Now this is clearly impossible when it comes to testing things like acupuncture which arent just a case of administring pills.
Here is how you do it. Individuals -- acupunturist proxies --with no knowledge of acupuncture are instructed to stab patients in certain places. The locations are assigned at random by computer from a database constructed by the research who has a clue as to which point are supposed to have magical effects.
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Here is how you do it. Individuals -- acupunturist proxies --with no knowledge of acupuncture are instructed to stab patients in certain places. The locations are assigned at random by computer from a database constructed by the research who has a clue as to which point are supposed to have magical effects.

Exactly. I suppose David knows a lot more about experiment design than you do. (see how well that evasion works?)

Edited by KevinDW78
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Here is how you do it. Individuals -- acupunturist proxies --with no knowledge of acupuncture are instructed to stab patients in certain places. The locations are assigned at random by computer from a database constructed by the research who has a clue as to which point are supposed to have magical effects.

I doubt its that simple - theres probably more technique in acupuncture than just jabbing needles into people. Its like trying to research the effect of massaging different areas of the body (shoulders, neck, etc) on stress relief - you couldnt just get untrained people to do it, telling some to 'rub the shoulders here', because they obviously arent going to have the same technique that a professional masseur does.

Another relevant example is hypnosis - you cant double blind test different hypnosis strategies by using untrained hypnotists who dont know whether the techniques theyre using are effective, since the quality of hypnosis depends to some extent on the skill of the practioner.

If this sort of test resulted in a difference between the two groups then it would provide evidence that the technique being studied worked, but if failed to produce a difference then this would only be weak evidence against the technique since you dont really have a way of knowing whether the failure to produce an effect is due to the technique being bogus, or due to the inexperienced person using it. In this way, its the direct opposite of blind testing (if blind testing fails to produce an effect then this is evidence the technique doesnt work, but if it does produce an effect then sceptics can claim this is due to expectancy bias caused by the lack of double-blinding).

Edited by eriatarka
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Here is how you do it. Individuals -- acupunturist proxies --with no knowledge of acupuncture are instructed to stab patients in certain places. The locations are assigned at random by computer from a database constructed by the research who has a clue as to which point are supposed to have magical effects.
The third link that was provided did something like this, and concluded that the results from acupuncture and "sham acupuncture" were similar. Now, that study did also say that the results from acupuncture were better than conventional therapy; but, in the context of the placebo result, this can -- at most -- be considered as evidence that something is wrong with the conventional therapy. "Doing no harm" is all that one say of the acupuncturists in that study.
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"Doing no harm" is all that one say of the acupuncturists in that study.

Except to the patient's pocketbook. It's still fraudulently taking people's money for a placebo effect.

But eriatarka has pointed out that acupuncture has an even more remarkable quality than it claims - an inability to be tested - whatsoever.

Edited by KevinDW78
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I doubt its that simple - theres probably more technique in acupuncture than just jabbing needles into people.
I'm sure it's not simple. The German experiment failed to control for training: what they needed to do is take innocents without prejudices, and teach them to insert needles without indoctrinating them in a belief that there are specific spots with salubrious consequences. BTW I found it interesting that they showed that real acupuncture is no different from fake acupuncture, and yet the Chinese approach claims that it actually matters where you stab your victims. Of course it's impossible to perform even a single-blind test on acupuncture vs. drug therapy. Moffet is correct that the original design can't rule out extra attention and placebo effects.
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I'm sure it's not simple. The German experiment failed to control for training: what they needed to do is take innocents without prejudices, and teach them to insert needles without indoctrinating them in a belief that there are specific spots with salubrious consequences.
Yeah this would be a good approach but it would add a lot to the cost of the study (and its not like acupuncture research is getting heavy funding from pharma companies). I've no idea how long it takes to train someone at acupuncture but I'd be surprised if it was something you could do in a weekend.

However I dont think extensive double-blind testing is required until theres strong single-blind evidence which suggests that acupuncture works, and as far as I can tell this still seems to be unresolved. My original point was more that the current research is still fairly inconclusive - its a relatively new area and making any definitive statement about its effectiveness seems misguided. Calling it 'fraudulent woo-woo' is pretty ignorant - there seems to be more evidence supporting it than there is for (eg) chiropractry, but less than there is for many mainstream medical products. Theres nothing wrong with saying 'we dont know for sure whether it works yet'.

BTW I found it interesting that they showed that real acupuncture is no different from fake acupuncture, and yet the Chinese approach claims that it actually matters where you stab your victims.
Well some studies concluded this, but some others never. But yeah I thought one of the more interesting aspect was that fake acupuncture seems to perform better than certain other placebos, so maybe there actually is some benefit from just stabbing someone randomly in the foot. Or maybe people just have stronger belief in acupuncture than they do in pills, who knows. Edited by eriatarka
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I'm sure it's not simple. The German experiment failed to control for training: what they needed to do is take innocents without prejudices, and teach them to insert needles without indoctrinating them in a belief that there are specific spots with salubrious consequences.

Setting aside the question of whether acupuncture works, the fact is there are particular spots that must be used, and one must be trained to put the needle (or pressure if using acupressure) on the correct spot.

The spots do correspond to clusters of nerves and a needle being put incorrectly into an acupuncture point will hurt a lot more than a needle being put incorrectly into a non-acupuncture point.

Also, if you've ever had a sore and/or knotted muscle you will find that rubbing some points alleviates the soreness and helps undo the knot more than rubbing other points. These points are acupuncture points.

So, no, a person can't just be sticking needles anywhere.

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Setting aside the question of whether acupuncture works, the fact is there are particular spots that must be used, and one must be trained to put the needle (or pressure if using acupressure) on the correct spot.
The only problem is, that is not a fact, it's fiction. I assume you didn't read the study.
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My original point was more that the current research is still fairly inconclusive - its a relatively new area and making any definitive statement about its effectiveness seems misguided.
Recall the context in which this bizarre practice was brought up -- it was about evil Westerners cheating the Chinese out of due credit for the marvelous contributions that they have made to our lives. It was claimed that acupuncture was one of those wonderful Chinese contributions. Now in light of that, first, note that the metaphysical underpinnings of Chinese acupuncture are sheer hoakum. There is no yin or yang needing to be balances, no flow of nothing. Second, Chinese acupuncture is a specific set of claims about stabbing people in particular places and getting effects. The German study nicely demonstrates that that is complete bullshit, that the claimed stabbing-loci don't make any difference. And third, everybody knows that acupuncture is Chinese, especially since it is typically packaged with all sorts of snake oil (often containing actual snake) and dried icky bits with Chinese characters. So as far as real acupuncture in the Chinese sense being a denial of a Chinese "contribution", it plainly isn't. There is no denial (we blame the Chinese for this nonsense), and there is no contribution, because the Chinese claim is false.

It's entirely plausible that we discovered the same effect millenia ago, when we started to stick leeches on people. I am perfectly willing to fantasize that electric currents, pressure points, massages and so on have a physical effect, and at random those effects might be good or bad. Let's get a firm grip on what acupunture really is. A half-BILLION dollars wasted annually on ineffective treatment. That is a first-degree felony in every state in the union.

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Where did you exactly read acupuncture doesn't work?

And to those who thinks acupuncture does not work can you show me your evidence? I would like to view it myself to see if I may be wrong. And DavidOdden, I am asking his race because I feel he is speaking from a western perspective.

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