Tuesday, October 29, 2013

I did not leave the sinking ship... the sinking ship left me

Here from 2012 is a defense of medical quackery, part of a special report on "Complexity, Whole Systems Research, and Complementary Therapies".

It is all about Other Ways of Knowledge, and "Differing views on the nature of causality itself", and Chaos Theory and Holism and nonlinear dynamics which are why various alt-med scams cannot be judged by traditional Western standards of "working" or "curing". Everything's so complex, but the authors need to put the bong down and take a breath.

From the Abstract we learn that it is not fair to expect homeopaths / Ayurvedic / TCM practitioners to cure you in exchange for the money you pay:
WS-CAM practitioners do not necessarily treat a symptom directly. Rather, they intervene to modulate an intrinsic central imbalance of the person as a system and to create a more favorable environmental context for the emergence of health.
The first author is paid to shill for a homeopathy supplier. Pincus, the third author -- psychotherapist and clinical psychologist, also editor of this Special Report -- appears to be doing it for free. It may be a matter of Professional Courtesy, like lawyers not jumping sharks.

The paper rests on the output of Frederickson & Losada. As any fule kno from the previous post, Losada claims to have independently rediscovered Lorenz's differential-equation model of convection but in the context of group dynamics, pulling the variables and the nonlinear-interaction terms from his ass, a practice not well-thought-of among equine veterinarians. Indeed, he independently invented the same arbitrary exemplar values for the model's control parameters. Losada cannot distinguish between convection and conduction, so readers suffering from a similar handicap will be encouraged to see how little this has held back his use of physics. Anyway, the mathematics are cited approvingly and at length:
In the Losada research, the mathematical models for conditions under which systems manifested well-being revealed that ratios of positive to negative (P/N) system behaviors of at least 2.9:1 were the cut-off for bifurcation of the system dynamics to occur. For a P/N ratio between 2.9 and 11.6, people and groups as complex living systems exhibited the healthier, optimally complex dynamics of human flourishing in the short term and greater objectively measured success in the long term.

So how does Pincus regard Losada now that his fraudulence is known outside of the small group of people who read and tried to understand his papers?
“My opinion of the paper has always been that it was a metaphor, disguised as modeling,” said David Pincus, a psychologist at Chapman University who specializes in the application of chaos theory to psychology.
Truly a Profile in Courage!
Must credit Narad.


Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

"Differing views on the nature of causality itself"

Or, put succinctly, insanity.

Yastreblyansky said...

The effort to craft better placebos will certainly start yielding more convincing results now that the effectiveness of placebos has been established. I'd elaborate but I have to get to my chiropractic appointment.

Helmut Monotreme said...

"a psychologist at Chapman University who specializes in the application of chaos theory to psychology"

How does one achieve a job description this free of meaning? I don't go around describing myself as a database programmer at a mid sized company specializing in the application of dadaism to sequential query language.

Substance McGravitas said...

A whole lot of what I do I do through metaphor. Chores for instance.

tigris said...

I found I couldn't get metaphors to pose well enough to use as models, so I had to cancel the Like Drawing class.

Smut Clyde said...

the Like Drawing class.

Smut Clyde said...

My Simile Is Just A Firown (Turned Upside Down).