Letter writer: Articles on non-Western medical practices are interesting

Graphic by Lori Deaton

Although your occasional coverage of non-Western medical practices seems to enrage some hard-core skeptic readers, I find these stories to be interesting. Perhaps your critics have your paper confused with scientific journals, where referees must determine the scientific reliability of submissions before they are published. I can get that elsewhere, so I don’t require it of the Mountain Xpress.

As a trained physicist, I am aware of the standards of evidence required for proving hypotheses and having your theories accepted. But my years of experience have also taught me some humility about what we think that we know about reality.

A 19th-century scientist would have found modern ideas about wireless communications, black holes, a 13.6 billion-year-old universe, or quantum behavior to be totally absurd. Similarly, 22nd-century scientists will be comfortable with even stranger concepts as they probe deeper into the nature of our universe and its inhabitants.

There are skeptics, and there are people who deny any evidence contrary to their beliefs in the name of skepticism. Those are not the same thing. Much better to retain some curiosity and openness to the possibility that the world has a few surprises left in store for us.

There are medical practices that have been employed for centuries that have endured to the present day, presumably because they often work. The fact that they lack any explanation within the context of current Western science does not invalidate their effectiveness. Science may have some catching up to do.

— Glen Reese, Ph.D.
Asheville

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