Author: Virgil Seutter
Date: October 8, 1997
6.0 Is it Biomedicine or InfoMedicine?
6.1. The emergence of alternative medicine as a viable methodology in health
care has transfixed the attention of paradigmatic biomedicine to a more liberal
holistic paradigm. The latter, while not yet definable, encompasses an array
of procedures that challenge the reigning paradigm of biomedicine. The cultural
endorsement of holistic health care suggest that a scientific revolution
1962) is underway leading to a
paradigm shift that
addresses the anomalies of classical medicine. How medicine (and chiropractic)
address these problems depends upon the viewpoints from the different thinking
that has emerged in recent years.
6.2. Some of this thinking has focused on a conceptual shift away from biological
systems infrastructure to that of a self-organizing infrastructure. This
latter position deals with the concept of information from multiple sources
(body, mind, culture or psycho-social interrelationships, and environment)
and less from the somatic biological model. This viewpoint is expressed by
Foss and Rothenberg who see the transition from "biomedicine" to "infomedicine"
as part of a "Second Medical Revolution." They view the single causal links
(initial trigger) to disease as a problem. The mechanistic process cannot
account for feedback that demonstrates itself as an open system of information
exchange and entropy transfer. This portrays a nonlinear interconnectedness
that identifies a "cybernetic circularity" in which the physical body cannot
be accepted as a passive machine. Rather, it appears to display a
"self-organizing (cybernetic) unity which, as a complex system, can internally
interact." This boldly translates into the idea that mutual causal loops
operating within the system can "increase structuredness within the system.
6.3. This latter observation becomes interesting from the perspective of
holistic claims. The idea that the body responds to multiple influences in
its environment might be understood from an information perspective. Furthermore,
for the chiropractor, claiming that physical, chemical, and spiritual (mind)
elements contribute to structural changes (subluxations) within the system
is interesting in view of the above. Expanding the idea a little further,
one might conjecture whether the existence of mutual causal loops predetermine
the structuredness of the system (body) as a manifestation of disease (or
health and healing) in a brief time period or acts as a predetermining causal
relationship in long term (evolutionary) changes in the system?
6.4. Either way, the insurgents (holistic, behavioral) approach as a
countermovement to reductionist, classical medicine cannot be viewed as anything
more than tautological. Holism has not fulfilled Kuhn's invocation that
paradigmatic changes are projected on "accepted examples of actual scientific
practice---examples which include law, theory, application, and instrumentation
together---[and] provide models from which spring particular coherent traditions
of scientific research. (6.0)"
6.5. Holism, and particularly chiropractic, has not contributed beyond the
theory and the application. Its fulfillment as a law remains in limbo depending
upon the ability to articulate the argument and refine the research to
accommodate the application and the determination that a process [for
chiropractic, the subluxation] is, indeed, instrumentive in disease causation.
If holism follows the biomedical legacy of reductionist inquiry it supports
the predominantly pathophysiological model in establishing diagnostic laws.
On the other hand, if holism (and chiropractic) attempt to establish a research
parameter invoking the information paradigm, the search requires a strategy
that translates structure into function (control and communication within
HOW TO CITE THIS
Seutter, V. "Commentary: Holism, Alternative Medicine, and Why
Chiropractic Embraces It. Is it Biomedicine or InfoMedicine?" Chiropractic
Resource Organization. 8 Oct 1997. ChiroZine
(c) 1997-2001 Chiro.org. All rights reserved.
(c) 1997 Chiropractic Resource
Organization. All Rights Reserved. Reprint by