Sunday, March 16, 2008


Watch out for those menacing subluxations, and you might live forever:
A subluxated vertebrae . . . is the cause of 95 percent of all diseases. . . . The other five percent is caused by displaced joints other than those of the vertebral column.
- Daniel David Palmer, The Science, Art and Philosophy of Chiropractic. Portland, Oregon: Portland Printing House Company, 1910.

Causality should not be confused with correlation, nor coincidence.


Anonymous said...

Hey Mr. Smarty-Pants Philosopher,

Do I detect a bit of irony in your ridicule of that poor fellow, in his Chiropractic evangelicalism, warning us of the dangers of spinal misalignment? Would it have been OK in your book had he used that term, instead of the mysterious (and according to allopathic medical authorities, nonexistent)"subluxation"? Would he have been excused for confusing correlation with cause? Here's my point: do you honestly think a philosophical analysis of Chiropractic is going to change anyone's opinion of it? Those who have been treated by an excellent Chiro (yours truly) DON'T NEED TO BELIEVE IN SUBLUXATIONS. They know they have been helped, they experience less pain, better health, etc. It is this experience which determines their view of Chiropractic medicine. Logic, theories, philosophy: these mean next to nothing to a person with a pulled muscle, nagging headache, or rib lesion. You are too young or too healthy (or probably both)to have experienced that of which I write. Praise God for that, but don't count on things staying that way.

Three further points.

1.I detect a bit of irony in your ridiculing Chiro theory. You accuse our admittedly dogmatic (fanatic?) Chiropractic physician of confusing cause with coincidence or correlation. Could you not be guilty of a related crime by implying that ALL D.C.'s are quacks--because of their idea of subluxations? If you found ONE D.C. that consistently helped patients with their ailments, then you could no longer lump them all together as wackos and could no longer ridicule their beliefs about the human body. Would it not change everything? Would it not compell you to investigate what they do and why, rather than fall into the trap of the narrow-minded, arrogant, know-it-all blather we often hear from Western medicos.

2. I also pray that you never have to face a situation in which the above-mentioned egotists are responsible for treating you or your loved one who is struggling with chronic illness, especially of the autoimmune variety. You will soon discover that the M.D.s don't know nearly as much as you were led to believe. If you or your child doesn't fit in their neat little box, GOOD LUCK!

3. It might be helpful to ponder a moment the deepest beliefs of the empiricists (i.e. Atheists)that were featured in that very entertaining mock music video you posted awhile back. Their belief system is so lame, so chock full of holes, so shallow, that it is hardly worth debating them (the beautiful essay from Liz I received today not withstanding. Brava!). YET THESE ARE THE SAME TYPES OF PEOPLE WHO MAKE FUN OF CHIROPRACTIC BECAUSE THEIR VIEW OF THE HUMAN BODY DOESN'T FIT THE MODEL. They are so lacking in imagination (or even in a simple objective look at the history of science) that they cannot CONCEIVE of the idea that Chiros might be onto something that their smarty-pants M.Diety pea-brains can't grasp. Acupuncturists are sticking needles into people's energy meridians (that science cannot even detect let alone understand)with consistently amazing results in surgical anesthesia, pain relief,etc. Yet next to no one is interested enough in this imcomprehensible phenomenon to do a little serious investigation. What is lacking in the Western mind is IMAGINATION and SYNTHESIS and INTEGRATION. We are so determined to break everything down to its component parts to get at the "heart" of it, that we pull the heart OUT of it and ruin it, leaving it lifeless and limp.

You are too valuable to participate in this narrow-minded arrogant approach to the physical world which our creator has given us. If St. Thomas is right (and how could he not be?), then the universe is supercharged with God. He is like the soul of the created world. Let us stop using stilted and narrow models for the human body, which is perhaps the most amazing of the Lord's creations. Let's stop inviting Atheists to tell us what is real and not real about our bodies, stop allowing them to pump us full of drugs to control symptoms of illnesses the cause of which they haven't the slightest notion. And let's slap them in the face when they tell us we are nothing but biochemical factories. AT THE VERY LEAST, CHIROPRACTORS ARE TRAINED TO THINK OF THEIR PATIENTS AS PEOPLE, NOT FACTORIES. Yes there are bad chiros. Sure, some of them are money-hungry lying thieves. It's true that more than a few of them are fanatic lunatics. (I have some experience with all of the above.) But let's not fall into the trap of lumping them and their model all together in one prejudice pie...lest we do what the culture has done with our dear Catholic priests.

I go now.

Thanks for some interesting, stimulating and enlightening stuff.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Smarmy-Pants Philosopher,

I should like to issue a rebuttal to your rebuttal.

Allow me to begin by issuing a protest. IS THERE SOME DEEP SYMBOLISM IN THE FACT THAT I HAVE TO RESPOND TO YOUR RANTINGS (THINLY DISGUISED AS WELL-REASONED AND CALM DELIBERATION, I SHOULD ADD) ON THIS TINY SCREEN? I am sure that YOU get to see what you're writing on a honking BIG screen, where it's easy to edit, add italics, and do all those wonderful digital things. WHY AM I STUCK IN THIS MINISCULE WINDOW WORLD ON MY COMPUTER? Am I missing something....again?

1. You are correct and please accept my apology: I am indeed guilty of confusing correlation with cause. I DO NOT believe that spinal misalignments CAUSE illness. But that is not the real issue. DO SPINAL ADJUSTMENTS HELP PEOPLE HEAL, AVOID DISEASE, ACHIEVE PHYSIOLOGICAL BALANCE? These are the real questions which, I hate to admit, I neglected to ask. On the other hand, we are led to believe by western allopathic medicine that PATHOGENS cause disease--at least the ones you mention in your rebuttal. Aren't all of them "caused" by either genetic predisposition and/or pathogens? Contrary to what you may have been told (and contrary to what SEEM TO BE the beliefs of our fanatic friend Dr. Palmer), Chiros do not NOT BELIEVE in pathogens. None of them I've dealt with would have suggested I go out and drink Giardia-infected water or get a blood transfusion from an AIDS patient. What they do believe, however, is that pathogens, in many cases, have a deleterious affect on the body ONLY WHEN IT IS OUT OF BALANCE, COCKEYED if you will. We are subject to all kinds of terrible germs all the time, especially influenza, for example. Why do the bugs sometimes "get to us" and most of the time don't? Chiros and most other alternative medical folks focus on what HEALTH is, not what DISEASE is. (By the way, you and I know that the ULTIMATE cause of illness is neither pathogens, nor spinal misalignment, but original sin. Try telling THAT to a Chiro, M.D., or any other health practitioner.)

2. Your response to my statements is interesting, especially in light of what you DON'T say. That is why I intend to respond to your comments in a systematic fashion, leaving no inconvenient observation unaccounted for.

"'Anonymous' and I would likely not disagree as much as one might gather from our apparently contrary postings."

Nay, nay, say I. I would NEVER post anything that ridicules Chiropractic or any other alternative health care modality. They are unjustly victimized enough without you or I adding fuel to the fire. And at the risk of sounding a bit like a psychotherapist, I would ask our illustrious blogster WHAT HE EXPECTED TO ACCOMPLISH BY POSTING THIS. Who was he trying to reach and what point was he trying to make? You did not respond adequately to the basic issue I raised: HAVE YOU EVER BEEN TREATED BY A GOOD, GIFTED CHIROPRACTIC PHYSICIAN? If so, you wouldn't be ridiculing them. If not, you have no right to do so. Any more than the Atheist has the right to ridicule Padre Pio's gift of reading souls in the confessional without having experienced it(either directly or through first-hand accounts). You are influencing other people's minds. You are shaping their view of a healing modality about which you seem to know nothing, at least in a practical sense.

"I still think Palmer was a crank; yes, Anonymous reads far too much--and in the wrong direction--into my background assumptions regarding the post; and yes, Anonymous could use getting to know some more/different 'Western medicos' [e.g. HERE and HERE (remember, if you turn down a certain path, you meet only those on the same road)]"

Tsk, tsk, say I. What bearing has Palmer's crank status on the legitimacy of Chiropractic? I would ask again: WHAT PURPOSE WAS SERVED BY MAKING FUN OF A FANATIC CHIRO'S WILD STATEMENTS MADE A HUNDRED YEARS AGO? I am absolutely amazed that our blogster is subtly accusing me of being narrow-minded! Again, I would ask how many times you have received chiropractic treatment? You are looking at this issue from the standpoint of PEOPLE instead of PRINCIPLES. The sites you link to concern M.D.'s who are dedicated to treating their patients as persons instead of numbers. This is wonderful, and is nothing new, by the way. Doctor Norman Cousins was a pioneer in this area decades least I think it was Cousins. NO, I WASN'T TALKING ABOUT INDIVIDUAL DOCTORS AND THEIR CONCERN OR LACK OF CONCERN FOR THEIR PATIENTS. I was and am talking about a belief system and its educational system that reduces humans to machines. Furthermore, surely you understand that the sites you lead us to and the objectives they espouse are the exception and not the rule. Do you think I could have lived 55 years, almost half of them immersed in the New Age movement, and not discovered that there are plenty of compassionate and wonderful M.D.'s in the world? Again, they are not the issue. What they are taught (and not taught)in medical school is the issue. And let me assure you: they are taught that Chiropractic is a hoax. Yes, my dear philosopher, if you turn down a certain path, you meet only those on the same road. But some of those on said road might lead you on an entirely different path; it all depends on the width of the path and who you are willing to listen to. For twenty-five years, my path was as wide as the universe. I traveled MANY different roads because electicism was my god and syncretism his prophet.

I will not quote the rest of your rebuttal for fear of putting you to sleep with my meanderings. Suffice to say that you are (perhaps unwittingly) quoting poor Dr. Palmer out of context--at least to the extent of not understanding his intention. You imply that he (and by dangerous inference, all chiros) are ignoramuses. That's silly: their chiropractic courses are pretty much parallel to M.D.'s up to the third or fourth year, when practicum begins in earnest. They are not dummies. Furthermore, at least one D.C. that treated me could diagnose my problems extremely accurately in a matter of minutes. No blood tests, no blank stares as I described my symptoms, no drugs. This guy was definitely NOT a quack.

I will finish by asking you to respond to my points ONE and TWO in my original post. For some reason, you completely neglected them. Hmmmm....These two points are related to the path you refer to in your rebuttal. To wit: no matter what road we travel down, our objective must be to LEARN THE TRUTH of any given phenomenon. Our commitment to the truth is what keeps us linked to the Spirit of Truth, and that Spirit can and does work through many modalities and is not limited to conventional philosophy or medicine.

The truth behind Chiropractic, whatever that might be, is NOT served by holding up one of its fanatic adherents (who was subject to who-knows-what kind of persecution and antagonism), quoting him out of context, and in the process implying to other gullible smarty-pants philosopher types that Chiropractic is bunk.

Sorry to be long-winded.

Thanks for listening. I eagerly await your answers to my points one and two from the original diatribe and the further issues and questions raised herein.
Yours truly,
Paul "Polemic" Delegato
aka "anonymous", who used that name only because Doug, my computer mentor and keen-minded friend, told me it was the safest way to deliver my feeble thoughts to our esteemed philosopher.