Talk:Traditional Chinese medicine

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Pseudoscience and other meanings[edit]

I'd like to suggest that the discussion above may have wandered somewhat off-track. It may help to consider another term that combines pejorative with more objective meanings: I imagine that we could find sources, possibly even reliable ones, that describe TCM as "a load of bollocks". In colloquial language this simply rejects the utility of the entire concept of TCM. More meaningfully, it might be applied to the occasional use in TCM of the private parts of rare animals. I hope I don't need to underline that the term is therefore likely to be inappropriate in an encyclopedic article, and if a consensus based on RS compels its use, this should be done very carefully so as to make absolutely clear which meaning is intended.

So also with "pseudoscience"; the term can mean either an emotional rejection or a specific claim about imitating science. The issue is further complicated by the two meanings of "science", either the scientific method and its results, or a learned art or craft. I note that TCM is a typical pre-Enlightenment school of medicine in being a nonscientific, but certainly learned, art and craft; to say otherwise would be merely silly. I also note that some work using good scientific methods has been done as part of TCM - skeptics may like to reflect upon the various studies of TCM approaches that have come up with negative results. Important features of TCM are that its remedies haven't in general been found to work, that its theoretical basis has no useful resemblance to modern science-based ideas of how the human body works, and that modern TCM includes quackery and jibberish by people who do know about the scientific method and who should know better. Those features could usefully be clarified, but they are in the article already and the use of the word "pseudoscience" isn't making them any clearer.

I suggest that use of the term "pseudoscience" in this article should:

1) be based on definitive sources reliable for this purpose (having looked through Jytdog's references, it seems that Quackwatch may be accepted with caution, but I note it's also been described as "simply Stephen Barrett's blog"). An invited editorial in Nature is more or less unimpeachable.

2) make the meaning clear, either "rejected nonsense" or "imitation of science"

3) if we mean "imitation of science" then we should make clear that RS mean that TCM is or includes an imitation of the scientific method, and we should be clear what element or aspect of TCM we are describing.

4) benefit an encyclopedic article by making things clear to the reader. In our present lede "pseudoscience" is merely used as an insult that then has to be explained by the remainder of the sentence. This is not a good use of space in any lede.

I propose to remove the word "pseudoscience" from the lede, and I hope that editors will then use their time more profitably to make the lede, and indeed the rest of the article, clearer. Richard Keatinge (talk) 20:44, 4 June 2014 (UTC)

"An invited editorial in Nature is more or less unimpeachable." NONSENSE! First of all, it is an editorial, not a research article. An editorial by definition is an article that reflects the opinions and interpretations of its author, and regardless of the prestige of the publication, its statements should never be cited as fact. Secondly, Nature is a scientific journal that publishes mostly primary sources (primary investigation journal articles), which according to WP policy we are highly discouraged from using, except in rare circumstances, and with proper language that makes it clear that the cited research is a primary source with no implication of scientific consensus or certainty. 207.204.255.83 (talk) 22:23, 28 September 2014 (UTC)
focusing on the lead is a bad bad sign. Fix the body, then fix the lead. Jytdog (talk) 20:51, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
Rejected nonsense? I'd found that even more insulting. :O Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 12:00, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
Why insulting? -Roxy the dog (resonate) 12:10, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
No need to discuss this really, is there? Did you use terminology as nonsense in your thesis? I think not. End of discussion. Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 12:40, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
I'm just trying to help with the specific issue brought to DRN, and I don't really have sufficient interest in the subject to spend a lot of time on the main body. I propose to edit the sentence "Nature found it to be largely pseudoscience, with no valid mechanism of action for the majority of its treatments.[10]" to read "There is no valid mechanism of action for the majority of its treatments.[10]" Does anyone think that this would make the article worse? Richard Keatinge (talk) 21:16, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
If we would have a very good source stating that TCM is pseudoscience, I would recommend to include it in the lede, however, the source we have is too ambiguous. A Nature editorial of course is a reliable source, however, the wording it uses is not as clear as it should be. The correct text summarizing the Nature source should be something on the line of: "Nature argued that the most probable reason why pharmacologists have only been able to develop such few effective therapeutic substances from TCM medicinals, is that TCM is just pseudoscience" (please cf. the source's original text). A complicated sentence like this is ok for the body of our article's text, but IMO not appropriate for the lede. And shortening it in the way we currently do is changing its meaning since it makes Nature's speculation sound like an unambiguous verdict.
I find it remarkable that reliable scientific sources have been so careful about calling TCM pseudoscience - this Nature editorial is a good example, as the wording it uses seems to hazard a very complicated sentence structure in order to avoid a clear verdict. Why is that? The most probable answer I can come up with is that the term pseudoscience automatically implies lack of efficacy in terms of treatment. Since research about TCM efficacy (both for herbal treatment and acupuncture) is ongoing, I guess everybody is afraid that there might actually some evidence of efficacy be found in the future (I personally think that's unlikely, but not fundamentally impossible), and thus be proven wrong.--Mallexikon (talk) 04:56, 5 June 2014 (UTC)
This is getting kind of forum-y, but briefly.... the problem with TCM is that there is no scientific basis for it. It comes down to vitalism. This is one of these things that is so obvious that scientists just don't say it over and over. It is very true that specific interventions used in TCM can be tested with the scientific method. As you know, many oppose putting money into investigating whether those interventions work because there is no plausible basis for them (see for example here). Think about witchcraft and spells. We could definitely investigate whether a given potion or spell works or not, to ....say, transform a man into a frog, using the scientific method. But why would we? That is the argument that some make. Arguments like that aside, yes, absolutely we can test TCM interventions using science. Starting with vitalistic ideas of the body and disease, one can derive specific physical interventions (just like magic or alchemy) - this is exactly what makes TCM pseudoscience. If any of those interventions are validated, they become empirically validated, yes. But they still have no mechanism of action....no scientific basis. Jytdog (talk) 12:57, 5 June 2014 (UTC)
@Jytdog I think you have a quite naive view of how modern "scientific" drug/treatment development and clinical trials work. There are MANY, MANY, MANY drugs and treatments that are widely used in Western biomedicine where our scientific community has no consensus on any definitive mechanism of action. I would even venture to say that most molecular compounds used in modern medical treatment, particularly those that target the brain and central nervous system disorders, are quite poorly understood, and that most proposed mechanisms of action for these compounds/treatments are tenuous and shaky at best. (If you look carefully at your prescription inserts, you'll probably often notice language that says "xxxx is thought to work by...") If you have any background in organic chemistry or pharmacology, then you already know that many extremely common reactions that have been observed and then used for decades in industry and medicine do not yet have any definitive mechanism of action, only hypotheses. For translational medicine, what matters is not necessarily the strict mechanism (although, of course, as scientists, we would love to have this!). What we care about is the statistically significant EFFECTIVENESS and SAFETY of the treatments, ascertained through the scientific method in controlled double blind trials. There is absolutely no reason that this same scientific method cannot be applied to researching treatments proposed by TCM, and indeed many studies have been performed this way, with rare but non-negligible positive results. 207.204.255.83 (talk) 22:51, 28 September 2014 (UTC)
Heh, I find that harsh to compare TCM with witchcraft and spells but ... in general, science also studies phenomena where the mechanism of action has still remained unknown. For examples, some herbs might have been found to be efficient in treatment of certain diseases long before the mechanism of actions has been understood (e.g. cinchona bark). I say this just as a general comment, not as a plea for witchcraft or alchemy here. ;) Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 12:00, 6 June 2014 (UTC)

You guys are all making bucket loads of assumptions, and trying to use sources to make a point. There is evidence of efficacy for both acupuncture and herbs. As an outsider you can CHOOSE to interpret that to mean it was an accident that had nothing to do with traditional theory, but people choosing to use that herb (the reason we want to know if it works) did so based on that traditional theory. Of course this does not mean it is scientifically validated. As Mallexikon points out, real scientists do not make generalized sweeping judgements because that would be unscientific (and in the case of efficacy, clearly premature). Just because you think something is obvious does not make it appropriate for an encyclopedia entry. Herbxue (talk) 15:59, 5 June 2014 (UTC)

We are very much in forum territory now.... Jytdog (talk) 16:05, 5 June 2014 (UTC)
Ok, but I think Richard and Mallexikon are both advising caution with loaded words like pseudoscience and I agree that that caution improves the article.Herbxue (talk) 17:25, 5 June 2014 (UTC)
As we discussed above, this is a way way bigger topic than this article. It comes down to how Wikipedia handles health claims and science.Jytdog (talk) 17:47, 5 June 2014 (UTC)

Neutrality POV ?[edit]

I start this thread to explain why I add POV template, I don’t intend to argue or debate with others.

Here is why I add POV template: This whole article seems littered with negative criticisms and opinions about TCM and they scatter around all over the sections, I can see some criticisms accuse TCM as “pseudoscience” right in the 2nd paragraph(as far as I know, TCM never really claims itself as modern science, so it’s a bit extreme to label it so negatively) ,I feel like I’m reading some sort of a biased report or criticism rather than an encyclopedia which introduces objective knowledge in neutral way, I presume this article probably has been heavily edited by some extreme editors with negative views against TCM.

I know someone will still try to reverse my edit and insist their negative or subjective opinions,but it doesn’t really matter since I don’t want to spend too much time on these kind of things,I just want to leave some records to tell people that this article has some neutrality issues. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 118.157.74.169 (talk) 07:55, 2 August 2014 (UTC)

@118.157.74.169: This has been discussed at length, including the pseudoscience label. Please review the this talk page and its archives as to how this came about. What is WP:NPOV and WP:DUE is based upon WP:Reliable sources and, for medical claims, WP:MEDRS. Given that, I have removed your POV template. Please discuss this further here before replacing the POV tag. Thank you Jim1138 (talk) 08:48, 2 August 2014 (UTC)

Why does the lead first sentence contain an entire line of Chinese characters?[edit]

The lead first sentence should be in plain English that any English speaker can read and understand. If Chinese characters must be in the article, they should be elsewhere. FloraWilde (talk) 00:02, 29 September 2014 (UTC)

The lede sentence should contain the Chinese wording. This is done throughout the article. QuackGuru (talk) 00:18, 29 September 2014 (UTC)
MOS says use "Plain English". What policy or guideline says the lede first sentence should contain Chinese characters? FloraWilde (talk) 02:08, 29 September 2014 (UTC)
It is in plain English (with some Chinese characteristics). QuackGuru (talk) 02:26, 29 September 2014 (UTC)

I am not sure with the Chinese specifics with respect to MOS, but at least in the Japan-related articles there are included 1) the English translation, 2) kanji/kana, and 3) romanization.[1] It seems there is some sort of guide for Chinese as well[2]. Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 19:56, 29 September 2014 (UTC)

Attempt to make the article more neutral, per many discussions on this page[edit]

I'm going to attempt to make the lede take a more neutral tone, as many of you on this talk page have invited editors to attempt to do, and try to improve the sentence flow and writing style.

Please do not automatically revert/vandalize my edits without clearly documenting your specific disagreements here, and trying to achieve a consensus first.

Thank you for your diplomacy and consideration! 207.204.255.83 (talk) 00:22, 29 September 2014 (UTC)

I removed the strange changes to the lede. QuackGuru (talk) 00:25, 29 September 2014 (UTC)
I agree with removing those changes (not mine!) 207.204.255.83 (talk) 00:48, 29 September 2014 (UTC)
It isn't neutral to misrepresent the cited sources. For example, the cited source states TCM "is largely just pseudoscience, with no rational mechanism of action for most of its therapies," yet you deleted "TCM is largely pseudoscience, with no valid mechanism of action for the majority of its treatments" from the article. That simply isn't a neutral edit. You also called artemisinin a 'notable' exception to TCM's poor record of documented successes, but the cited source does not refer to it as notable. So that appears to be original research, and I'd argue undue weight on the single success that the source mentions, especially for the lede. Cheers, Dawn Bard (talk) 01:17, 29 September 2014 (UTC)
I did not remove the pseudoscience references. You can see it is still there, just with more neutral tone. However, it is not neutral to represent an editorial opinion article as fact, without quotations. (Actually, we probably should not be citing an editorial article at all, and certainly not passing it off unequivocally as fact). So yeah, I agree that the sources/citations for this needs some fixing. Will try to get better citations for this. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 207.204.255.83 (talk) 01:31, 29 September 2014 (UTC)
It's not a 'more neutral tone' is what I'm saying. (And others evidently agree with me; I'm not the only one to revert you.) It is neutral to reflect the tone of the cited sources; your wording does not do that. Cheers, Dawn Bard (talk) 01:43, 29 September 2014 (UTC)
I'd appreciate if you could provide specific reasons why you think the current tone is not neutral. Like I said, I agree that the citation needs work, and that article should not be cited at all as is! (Also, thank you for putting quotes around that sentence that you referenced, and attributing it to the editorial! If this were the way that it were presented in the actual article, I wouldn't have as much of a problem with the neutrality).
Fixed the citation per your comments 207.204.255.83 (talk) 02:48, 29 September 2014 (UTC)
Shermer, Michael. "What is Pseudoscience?". scientificamerican.com. Scientific American. Retrieved 29 September 2014. 
The source What is Pseudoscience? is not specifically about TCM.
This source is definitely unreliable. I deleted the unreliable source and adjusted the wording for another sentence. See: "The effectiveness of Chinese herbal medicine remains poorly researched and documented.[5]" QuackGuru (talk) 03:38, 29 September 2014 (UTC)
Is there a reason that you found a US National Institutes of Health (NIH) review article to be unreliable? 207.204.255.83 (talk) 06:19, 29 September 2014 (UTC)
It says "Due to the cumulative nature of medical research, some of the information in this statement is likely to be out of date."[3] QuackGuru (talk) 18:13, 29 September 2014 (UTC)

Why is Mao's fraud invention of TCM as "traditional" not in the lead first sentence?[edit]

This source is used in the article - Chairman Mao Invented Traditional Chinese Medicine. Many other reliable academic sources on the history say the same thing. It is used incorrectly in the sentence purportedly cited by it, which is then incorrectly used in the lead first sentence. FloraWilde (talk) 02:40, 23 July 2014 (UTC)

The text in history is accurately sourced using that source. Not sure what the issue is? QuackGuru (talk) 03:51, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
Our article says -

"In 1950, Chairman Mao Zedong made a speech in support of traditional Chinese medicine which was influenced by political necessity. In 1952, the president of the Chinese Medical Association said that, "This One Medicine, will possess a basis in modern natural sciences, will have absorbed the ancient and the new, the Chinese and the foreign, all medical achievements—and will be China’s New Medicine."

Those are weasel words masking that Mao invented TCM and faked it was "traditional" using his propaganda machine. The RS says Mao and the Chinese Medical Association knew TCM was nonsense and they were making the rest up using propaganda and fraud. No one reading our Wiki article could know this because of the weasel wording used in our article. FloraWilde (talk) 04:10, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
You read the part staring with: "Mao’s support of Chinese medicine was inspired by political necessity."...[4] Would you like to add anything more specific to TCM? QuackGuru (talk) 04:14, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
The article is about Mao and the Chinese Medical Association knowing TCM is nonsense, but making it up as a form of propaganda and fraud. The source does not say it was "politically necessary" to commit fraud. It is never polictically necessary to commit health fraud crime. The Wiki article says nothing about the massive TCM fraud perpetrated on the world, which is the main point of the article. Look at the word in the title - "invented". Here is a rewrite by the same author - 'Chinese Medicine': Chairman Mao's Giant Fraud. The author's main points are these historical facts - "invention", "fraud", and "propaganda", as he makes clear in the article titles and bodies. Yet the words "fraud", "invention", and "propaganda", the three main characterizing historical facts about TCM, occur nowhere in the Wiki article. FloraWilde (talk) 04:23, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
This links to the same article when you click on Read Full Article ››. 'Chinese Medicine': Chairman Mao's Giant Fraud.
The current text starts with: "In 1950, Chairman Mao Zedong made a speech in support of traditional Chinese medicine which was influenced by political necessity.[20]"
Do you have a specific suggestions? QuackGuru (talk) 04:31, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
Here is something from the source:[5]

"The reason so many people take Chinese medicine seriously, at least in part, is that it was reinvented by one of the most powerful propaganda machines of all time and then consciously marketed to a West disillusioned by its own spiritual traditions."

You can expand the article. QuackGuru (talk) 05:02, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
Thanks. I will do so after allowing time for comments as to why this should not go into the article. FloraWilde (talk) 12:25, 23 September 2014 (UTC)
  • Why were RS content and sources just deleted with vague "WP:OR" and no talk page discussion before revert?

There was consensus per WP:Silence on adding the content from the quote cited by Quackguru. I made the WP:SILENCE-consensus edit. Then it was immediately reverted. The edit summary saying "Mass original research". Reverting editor, what is an example or original research that was not in the sources? FloraWilde (talk) 01:57, 29 September 2014 (UTC)

There was no consensus for the changes. There was only a previous discussion and possible wording. The changes were OR and not neutral. There was a discussion about the recent changes. Two editors disagreed with the changes. QuackGuru (talk) 02:08, 29 September 2014 (UTC)
Quackguru wrote that the RS said, ""The reason so many people take Chinese medicine seriously, at least in part, is that it was reinvented by one of the most powerful propaganda machines of all time and then consciously marketed to a West disillusioned by its own spiritual traditions,", then wrote "You can expand the article." There was silence for several days and therefore consensus under WP:SILENCE. I put the content in the article per the cited quote by Quackguru, then Quackguru immediately reverted my edit without any discussion at talk, and an edit summary that said "mass original research". What are specific examples of "mass original research"?
There was never any specific proposal. I did discuss the recent change. QuackGuru (talk) 02:28, 29 September 2014 (UTC)
The sentence that you were attempting to support with that citation stated that TCM was "invented by Mao Zedong and promoted as being based on tradition by using Communist Party propaganda methods." The source you gave provides no such statement, or even any statement that remotely resembles that *topic*, nevermind the specific claim. The citations that are referenced must actually provide support for the text that they follow.207.204.255.83 (talk) 02:46, 29 September 2014 (UTC)
@207.204 - It is clearly in the source as just quoted.
@Quackguru - This[[6] is not a "discussion". It is a notice you deleted content and called it "strange". What is one example of "mass OR"?' FloraWilde (talk) 13:08, 29 September 2014 (UTC)
Mao did not invent TCM. QuackGuru (talk) 18:18, 29 September 2014 (UTC)

Why was National Science Foundation removed as a source?[edit]

This recent edit removed National Science Foundation? FloraWilde (talk) 01:01, 29 September 2014 (UTC)

National Science Board (2002). "Chapter 7: Science and Technology: Public Attitudes and Public Understanding, Section: Belief in Alternative Medicine". Science and Engineering Indicators - 2002. Arlington, Virginia: Division of Science Resources Statistics, National Science Foundation, US Government. 
The source does not say much that is relevant to TCM. QuackGuru (talk) 02:13, 29 September 2014 (UTC)
It says it is in a group of practices that have "not been proven effective using scientific methods". How is that not relevant? It is especially important to disambiguate it since the word "medicine" would lead most educated encyclopedia users to automatically think it is based on science? FloraWilde (talk) 02:24, 29 September 2014 (UTC)
It says "Alternative medicine is another concern. As used here, alternative medicine refers to all treatments that have not been proven effective using scientific methods." That is completely to TCM. QuackGuru (talk) 02:27, 29 September 2014 (UTC)
Did you make a typo when you wrote, "That is completely to TCM"? If TCM is a kind of alternative medicine, then it is certainly essentially relevant, especially when TCM has a word, "medicine", that implies it is based on science to many readers. FloraWilde (talk) 02:30, 29 September 2014 (UTC)
I thought I wrote it is completely irrelevant to TCM. The source is about alternative medicine in general. QuackGuru (talk) 02:38, 29 September 2014 (UTC)
Being alternative medicine is not irrelevant to TCM. FloraWilde (talk) 13:39, 29 September 2014 (UTC)
The source does not verify the claim you added to the lede. QuackGuru (talk) 18:25, 29 September 2014 (UTC)

The lead first paragraph should have info about Mao, that TCM is alt med, and that it is not based on science[edit]

The lead sentence should say TCM is alt med. The lead first paragraph should say it is not based on science and that Mao invented much of TCM as being an ancient tradition, using fraudulent Communist propaganda, and even admitted to doing so. FloraWilde (talk) 13:38, 29 September 2014 (UTC)

Two editors disagreed that Mao invented TCM. QuackGuru (talk) 18:16, 29 September 2014 (UTC)
Whatever Mao did, there's no question that Chinese medicine is as ancient as Greek or Indian, maybe moreso. See Huangdi Neijing etc. etc. --Middle 8 (contribsCOI) 05:36, 1 October 2014 (UTC)
I added text to the history section but kept it out of the lede. QuackGuru (talk) 05:38, 1 October 2014 (UTC)

US National Library of Medicine sources on Traditional Chinese Medicine[edit]

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/exhibition/chinesemedicine/chinese.html

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/exhibition/chinesemedicine/books.html

Rajmaan (talk) 23:53, 5 October 2014 (UTC)

can't understand why delete the content I added[edit]

Look at the section Drug research. In this article "Huperzine A" was labeled as "poor quality evidence that huperzine A seems to improve cognitive function and daily living activity for Alzheimer's disease" and "Huperzine A" was the "one of the few successes" in content. I tried to add the Ephedrine which is from the research on traditional chinese medicine and Kampo, and it was deleted because of Tangential and trivial. I don't know why Ephedrine was considered as Tangential and trivial but Huperzine A is "one of the few success"? I added the regulation in United Kingdom but was also deleted for Tangential and trivial. Then I see the regulation in Canada,Indonesia and many other countries was in this article— Preceding unsigned comment added by 72.33.240.216 (talk) 22:55, 15 October 2014 (UTC)

  • After I checked the source [7] for Huperzine A. It seems a misrepresentation for sources (I am not sure). The conclusion of this source is "Huperzine A appears to have beneficial effects on improvement of cognitive function, daily living activity, and global clinical assessment in participants with Alzheimer’s disease. However, the findings should be interpreted with caution due to the poor methodological quality of the included trials," but the article rephrase this like "a 2013 systematic review and meta-analysis found poor quality evidence that huperzine A seems to improve cognitive function and daily living activity for Alzheimer's disease" . I don't think they are the same meaning so I changed the words to cite original words from source. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 72.33.240.216 (talk) 23:24, 15 October 2014 (UTC)