An insidious confusion of terms is what is preventing most people from having greater health and happiness. After noodling around this area for some time, I have finally figured out the root. It is the confusion between science and technology. While these two are certainly related, they are NOT the same thing.
Science is defined as: “the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.” Science is a methodology and how it is studied and used is called the scientific method. As a method, for understanding how things work, there may not be any better. (Though this doesn’t mean it isn’t without flaws).
Technology is defined as: “machinery and equipment developed from the application of scientific knowledge.” As you can see, science produces technology.
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BUT that doesn’t mean that all technology is scientific…at least not in every way.
Engineering has taken us far. Physical engineering. Software engineering. It’s amazing stuff. These technologies allow us to communicate across vast distances-worldwide, via computers. But just because something can be scientifically engineered, a.k.a. new technology is created, it doesn’t mean it’s uses are “scientific” in all areas.
Furthermore, because of the success in the sciences’, largely in creating technology, it has also become generalized and became a worldview. This may be better termed as ‘scientism’ which is a set of essentially religious beliefs and paradigms about how the world works. Materialism is nothing more than a scientific theory. One which, doesn’t adequately fit the scientific model or evidence, but is still taken as “the way the world works” by many.
Part of this generalizing of science includes the idea that because something was created by technology—it is the best and most advanced. Once again, just because something is created via science, it does not automatically mean it’s uses are scientific. For instance, let’s take look at the health sciences. Remember, science is a method. Thus, using the scientific method, we can investigate whether any technology supports or detracts from health.
The most common opinion, that anything highly advanced in technology automatically means the most scientific, is demonstrably false. When it comes to health sciences, there is an opinion that the most highly advanced technology is automatically considered to be the healthiest. Reading that, you’d probably disagree with it. However, it tends to be the belief that guides most people’s choices and opinions. Maybe it’s not the most advanced technology because it’s untested; but the technologies that have been around and used for over a decade are generally considered to be quite healthy, right?
Case in point, pregnancy, and birthing. A topic which recently illuminated me, while having my first child. Another pregnant woman was telling my wife about our choices for using a midwife and the use of hypnosis in pregnancy. A little way into the conversation she shut down saying, “I want science.”
What she assumed is the most technologically advanced method of birth — is also the most scientific; and therefore, best for her and her baby…but she was wrong.
Most people consider the USA to be the most technologically advanced country in the world. While that is debatable, it is certainly near the top of the list. If technology is equated to health, we ought to have the best birth rates. But this is not the case. According to Save the Children’s State of the World’s Mothers 2015 report, the USA was ranked 61st globally in birth outcomes. 
It was ranked LAST of any developed country.
How can this be?
The fact is we use TOO MUCH technology…
which has proven to actually kill more mothers and babies than had we used less technology and relied on more natural methods.
In other words, the highest tech birth is more likely to kill you than using the most scientific one. Tech and science are not the same things. A high-tech birth is not the most scientific birth. Instead, science supports using midwives instead of hospitals. The science supports the use of doulas. The science supports not using drugs. The science supports only performing Cesareans in the case of emergencies or when other serious medical conditions arise.
Now, I’m not saying that all technology is bad. But there is a time and place for it. Clearly, the lack of some technology leads to poor birth outcomes in non-developed countries. But the time and place for high-tech are less than the majority of people would imagine. A cesarean can be a life-saving procedure for a mother and baby so it’s an important option– as a last resort. Yet, early technological interventions can lead to higher C-section rates. And some people schedule them now (out of convenience), thinking technology trumps mother nature. But any major surgery does not come without serious complications, including death. Aside from the many other long-term health detriments that are in natural design, like the baby not being inoculated by the mother’s vaginal bacteria, which it needs to be healthy.
What is scientific?
Alice Dreger, Ph.D.. a former professor at Feinberg School of Medicine stated:
“According to the best studies available, when it came time to birth at the end of my low-risk pregnancy, I should not have an induction, nor an episiotomy, nor continuous monitoring of the baby’s heartbeat during labor, nor pain medications, and definitely not a C-section. I should give birth in the squatting position, and I should have a doula – a professional labor support person to talk to me throughout the birth. (Studies show that doulas are astonishingly effective at lowering risk, so good that one obstetrician has quipped that if doulas were a drug, it would be illegal not to give one to every pregnant mother.) In other words, if the regular low-tech tests kept indicating I was having a medically uninteresting pregnancy, and if I wanted to scientifically maximize safety, I should give birth pretty much like my great-grandmothers would have: with the attention of a couple of experienced women mostly waiting it out, while I did the work. (They call it labor for a reason.) The only real notable difference was that my midwife would intermittently use a fetal heart monitor – just every now and then – to make sure the baby was doing okay.”
Understand the difference between science and technology
That is just about birth, but we can zoom out to the entire medical monopoly. All of Western medicine is considered the most technologically advanced. Again, that is different than the most scientific. A 2013 report stated 210,000-400,000 deaths per year were associated with preventable harm in hospitals. And serious harm, though not deadly, was estimated at ten to twenty times that amount. 
Essentially, staying away from doctors and hospitals is scientifically advised to avoid death and ill-health.
In a report titled ‘Death by Medicine,” a calculation of 783,936 deaths per year were found. This calculation put it as the #1 cause of death in the US. 
It states, “US health care spending reached $1.6 trillion in 2003, representing 14% of the nation’s gross national product. Considering this enormous expenditure, we should have the best medicine in the world. We should be preventing and reversing disease and doing minimal harm. Careful and objective review, however, shows that we are doing the opposite. Because of the extraordinarily narrow, technologically driven context in which contemporary medicine examines the human condition, we are completely missing the larger picture.” [emphasis added]
Technologically driven medicine.
Understand, putting your health in the hands of machines and designer drugs is not necessarily scientific. Also mentioned in that paper is the fact that back in 1978, the US Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) reported that, “Only 10-20% of all procedures currently used in medical practice have been shown to be efficacious by controlled trial.” 
Do you think that number has gotten better or worse over time? The OTA was disbanded in 1995. Apparently, our government didn’t like what it was hearing. If you actually dig in, you may be surprised at just how little science is behind the technology of surgery and pharmaceuticals.
Let’s talk surgery because most people are not aware of this. As I often state, when placebo-controlled studies are done on surgery, doing no surgery often performs as well as the surgery itself. A systematic review of placebo controls in surgery found, “In 39 out of 53 (74%) trials there was an improvement in the placebo arm and in 27 (51%) trials the effect of placebo did not differ from that of surgery. In 26 (49%) trials, surgery was superior to placebo but the magnitude of the effect of the surgical intervention over that of the placebo was generally small…In half of the studies, the results provide evidence against the continued use of the investigated surgical procedures. Without well designed placebo-controlled trials of surgery, ineffective treatment may continue unchallenged.” 
Once again, not all surgery is bad. But, while they are very technologically advanced, you have to ask whether its scientific.
People want to see well done double blind-placebo controlled studies with herbs…well, let’s have them with all surgeries too. Most…do…not.
You will not hear the surgeons or hospital staff tell you this. Shake free of that belief that technology is necessarily scientific, nor healthy. Just look at pesticides, GMO’s, EMF’s, plastics, LED lights. All technologically advanced. None scientifically found to keep you healthy, let alone increase your health. So, what do you do?
Realize so much of the standard medical system is propped up for financial reasons. Technology tends to be something you can charge a lot of money for…whether or not, it has solid science behind it. Most surgeries are four to five figures. Easy.
And when you recognize how easy it is to buy ‘science’ this whole problem becomes much further complicated. Unfortunately, very common in the world of pharmaceuticals.
Instead of thinking that technology will save us all, as a principle I look at doing things that are in alignment with nature. That’s my starting place. That’s what I personally do for radiant health, and what I advocate for others.
Herbs are a natural part of our diet.
Always have been. Only in our technologically-advanced age have we gotten away from herbs and replaced them with technologically advanced drugs. Some people claim herbs aren’t scientific enough. Well, as you’ve seen, neither is most of Western medicine. And in regard to herbs, this is mainly because funding isn’t available.
My aim is to break down the current, broken system, so we can create something new and better. I choose, based on principle, to go with things that are natural and have stood the test of time.
What about you?
- Save the Children’s State of the World’s Mothers 2015 report http://www.savethechildren.org/atf/cf/%7B9def2ebe-10ae-432c-9bd0-df91d2eba74a%7D/SOWM_EXECUTIVE_SUMMARY.PDF
- James JT. A new, evidence-based estimate of patient harms associated with hospital care. J Patient Saf. 2013 Sep;9(3):122-8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23860193
- Null G, Carolyn Dean, Martin Feldman, Debora Rasio, Dorothy Smith. ‘Death by medicine. Virginia: Praktikos Books; 2010. http://www.webdc.com/pdfs/deathbymedicine.pdf
- Office of Technology Assessment, US Congress. Assessing the Efficacy and Safety of Medical Technologies. Washington DC : Office of Technology Assessment, US Congress; 1978. http://ota.fas.org/reports/7805.pdf
- Wartolowska, K., Judge, A., Hopewell, S., et al. Use of placebo controls in the evaluation of surgery: systematic review. BMJ 2014;348:g3253 http://www.bmj.com/content/348/bmj.g3253
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