Talk:Traditional Chinese medicine

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
          This article is of interest to the following WikiProjects:
WikiProject Alternative medicine (Rated B-class)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Alternative medicine, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Alternative medicine related articles on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the quality scale.
WikiProject Dietary Supplements (Rated B-class, Top-importance)
WikiProject icon Traditional Chinese medicine is part of WikiProject Dietary Supplements, a collaborative attempt at improving the coverage of topics related to dietary supplements. If you would like to participate, you can choose to edit this article, or visit the project page for more information.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Top  This article has been rated as Top-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject China (Rated B-class, Top-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject China, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of China related articles on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Top  This article has been rated as Top-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject East Asia (Rated B-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject East Asia, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of East Asia on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Medicine (Rated B-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Medicine, which recommends that this article follow the Manual of Style for medicine-related articles and use high-quality medical sources. Please visit the project page for details or ask questions at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Medicine.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Skepticism (Rated B-class)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Skepticism, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of science, pseudoscience, pseudohistory and skepticism related articles on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 ???  This article has not yet received a rating on the project's importance scale.
Note icon
This article has been marked as needing immediate attention.
WikiProject Taoism (Rated B-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Taoism, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Taoism-related subjects on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.

Original research?[edit]

Artemisinin is not extracted or derived from a fever treatment. QuackGuru (talk) 14:31, 14 May 2014 (UTC)

The source says "artemisinin, for example, which is currently the most effective treatment for malaria, was fished out of a herbal treatment for fevers". Perhaps I am missing something, but please respect other people's time by being clear and accurate in your objections. II | (t - c) 07:19, 15 May 2014 (UTC)
Artemisinin is not derived from the herbal treatment for fevers. That's not how the drug is made. The part "fished out" does not mean Artemisinin itself is derived from the herbal treatment for fevers. QuackGuru (talk) 07:27, 15 May 2014 (UTC)
Perhaps a better-written source will help us to provide better encyclopedic text. Although I wouldn't usually provide a lede with two references for an uncontentious fact, at this edit I have added an extra reference which I hope will meet whatever your objection is. Richard Keatinge (talk) 08:29, 15 May 2014 (UTC)
The extra reference does not verify the entire sentence. I don't see your point to adding an extra reference. The word "derived" still failed verification. QuackGuru (talk) 12:58, 15 May 2014 (UTC)
I'm left deeply puzzled by your problem. Are you having trouble reading the sources given, do you mean that we should only use the exact words of a source, or what? Please clarify. Richard Keatinge (talk) 14:44, 15 May 2014 (UTC)
I checked both of the sources and can't really understand why it wouldn't verify the sentence? Actually, can it be any more clearly expressed? This is not the first time you keep playing with tags, QuackGuru. Please stop it. Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 18:25, 15 May 2014 (UTC)
The extra reference does not verify the claim. See diff. The source does not say artemisinin was "derived" from an herbal treatment.[1] Fished out does not mean that the pharmaceutical companies uses the herbal treatment to make the drug. See the definition for fished out. Fished out is not a synonym for derived and the lede should not make a claim that is misleading. Do you think the wording can be improved and the extra reference that failed verification can be removed? I don't think we have to use the exact words of the source. QuackGuru (talk) 16:49, 15 May 2014 (UTC)(Jayaguru-Shishya did not respond to my comment. My comment was misplaced out of context. QuackGuru (talk) 21:27, 15 May 2014 (UTC))
QuackGuru, I have moved your comment from my talk page to above, in chronological order and into context. I still don't understand what is bothering you. Can you suggest a better form of words? Richard Keatinge (talk) 20:02, 15 May 2014 (UTC)
I am trying to think of a better word that won't suggest that the drug is "made" from the herbal treatment for fever because it was not "derived" from the traditionally used herbal treatment. It is misleading to suggest pharmaceutical companies used the fever treatment to make the drug. QuackGuru (talk) 21:27, 15 May 2014 (UTC)
The body of the article says "artemisinin [is] a processed extract of Artemisia annua, a herb traditionally used as a fever treatment," citing the Nature editorial and PMID 21907397. The Artemisinin article uses "Artemisinin is isolated from the plant Artemisia annua, sweet wormwood, a herb employed in Chinese traditional medicine" and "Tu Youyou discovered artemisinin in the leaves of Artemisia annua (annual wormwood)." Sunrise (talk) 19:40, 18 May 2014 (UTC)

Best source?[edit] is being used to state in the lead " The TCM theory and practice are not based upon modern scientific knowledge, and its own practitioners disagree widely on what diagnosis and treatments should be used for any one patient.[3]".

Question: a) is this the best possible source? It is certainly a biased source. Are there no peer reviewed reviews available on PubMed or MEDLINE? b) This statement casts a very broad net, stating simultaneously that TCM theory and practice are 100% not based upon modern scientific knowledge. This implies there is no legitimate scientific research into mechanisms underlying TCM, or research re: effectiveness, etc. Thoughts? DVMt (talk) 15:46, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
Quackwatch is not a reliable source for anything but opinions, in my opinion. The statements are not only inaccurate, but poorly sourced. Saying that practitioners disagree widely on what diagnosis and treatments should be used is a casual observation that should not be used to make a definitive statement in an encyclopedia.Herbxue (talk) 17:01, 19 May 2014 (UTC)
I agree that Quackwatch is at the low end of reliability; we should certainly not rely on it for over-generalized statements whose semantic content is disputable. We do need, and we have, quite well-framed statements to the effect that TCM theory has very little to do with a modern science-based understanding of the body, and that very few TCM treatments have any scientific evidence of effectiveness. But we don't need repetitive and dubious statements rejecting TCM theory and practice. For an example of how to write a good article in the face of analogous problems, see Astrology. Richard Keatinge (talk) 11:20, 22 May 2014 (UTC)
I agree with Richard Keatinge, Herbxue and DVMt (providing that DVMt was actually making a statement there). Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 14:35, 22 May 2014 (UTC)

See Talk:Traditional Chinese medicine/Archive 6#Recent edits. There is WP:CON that the Quackwatch is reliable and we can use it for this article. Please read the previous comments made by User:Roxy the dog, User:BullRangifer, User:CFCF. It is not repetitive to say "its own practitioners disagree widely on what diagnosis and treatments should be used for any one patient.[3]" This statement is not repeated twice in the lede. QuackGuru (talk) 17:10, 22 May 2014 (UTC)

Agreed. Quackwatch is recognised and accepted as a valid mainstream view on such subjects. Adam Cuerden (talk) 17:25, 22 May 2014 (UTC)
There may have been consensus on QW one day when the quack crusaders were the only ones commenting, but I don't believe there is consensus now. QW is not objective and while its notable opinions should be included, they should be stated clearly as opinions on an opinion-pushing website. I think Richard states it clearly - you just don't need to keep piling on negative rhetoric when other sources already support the text that TCM is not based on contemporary science. You guys (particularly QG, PPdd, DV, Roxy and Tippy) are just full of blood-lust and a desire to bury any alt-med subject. Why? Let the article just state the facts.Herbxue (talk) 17:41, 22 May 2014 (UTC)
The statement is a notable opinion on the subject. It's accurate, and says nothing about research or the future. Whitewashing isn't allowed here, especially when it comes from practitioners of TCM. Don't let your COI affect your editing. -- Brangifer (talk) 02:21, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
What's COI? If doctors are commenting on medicine, isn't there a COI already? On the same logic, shouldn't economists be prohibited from commenting themes related to economics? The idea is absolutely absurd. No COI there. Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 14:15, 23 May 2014 (UTC)
Thanks JS - I agree, or should we tell editors like Doc James they are banned from all medicine-related articles? Herbxue (talk) 15:33, 23 May 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Hey ya'all, WP:NOTFORUM. Please recall that the topic of pseudoscience has been addressed at Arbcom and TCM is generally considered pseudoscience by the scientific community. There is a looooong road to travel to change that basic stance at Wikipedia. To the point of this section, if there is a question now about QuackWatch, those questioning it should bring the source to WP:RSN and note that posting here. I doubt that will get far. Jytdog (talk) 05:11, 31 May 2014 (UTC)

Nothing is final - especially an agreement of like-minded people about using a pejorative term about another group of people. Saying that TCM is among the list of topics considered pseudoscience by the people that are looking to call things pseudoscience is weak and unconvincing. I can start a group agreeing that religion in general is bs and that catholicism is among the topics considered bs. That wouldn't be hard. But stating, as fact, "religion is bs" would not have an encyclopedic tone and would assume that a truly conclusive consensus had been met. In this case, people who actually do science are careful enough to not use such broad labels, because they actually respect fact rather than a cynical, political need to discredit one group or another. TCM is not pseudoscience if the definition demands that TCM holds itself out as a science. Also, you'll have to do a little better Original Research to convince me that the "scientific community" is of one mind, or even close to consensus, on the value or validity of TCM (or any traditional healthcare system).Herbxue (talk) 06:24, 31 May 2014 (UTC)
It is true that nothing is final. What I am trying to tell you - and please hear me - is that this is not an issue for an article Talk page. The issue of pseudoscience has indeed gone all the way to arbcom, and currently, TCM is considered pseudoscience on WP. It was decided a long long time ago in WP that anything health-related goes under the rubric of science here, since diseases and conditions manifest in the physical body and interventions can be and are tested with the scientific method. To the extent that TCM makes health claims, those claims and the basis for them, are evaluated and discussed under the rubric of science. As near as I can tell, the root of this is the policy/pillar WP:VERIFY, and what the community accepts as reliable sources for health-related content, as per the two sourcing guidelines that stem from the policy, namely WP:RS and WP:MEDRS, as well as WP:FRINGE. So my sense, is that if you want to make changes about what kinds of sources and therefore what kinds of content can be in this article, you have to go to the root, to WP:VERIFY, and this would likely end up back at arbcom. It will be a long haul. This article's Talk page is not the place to work on these fundamental issues. It is not productive. And again, Quackwatch has been brought up repeatedly at RSN and at Talk:MEDRS and at Talk:Project Medicine and has been found just fine; I understand that the key set of discussions that you will likely find most relevant, being at RSN. Jytdog (talk) 13:48, 31 May 2014 (UTC)
I agree with you on this one, Herbxue. Wikipedia should strive to be an encyclopedia; if one saw the article of Britannica over traditional Chinese medicine, I am pretty sure one would get the point. Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 11:19, 2 June 2014 (UTC)
I hear you, thanks for taking the time. I still don't accept Quackwatch as reliable but will take that complaint elsewhere. In the article talk page however I believe it is appropriate to discuss whether certain sources are being given undue weight. Herbxue (talk) 19:54, 31 May 2014 (UTC)
You are welcome, and thanks for hearing me. Talk pages are always appropriate places to talk about specific content and sources, but (to risk beating the horse) those discussions need to remain grounded on the policy/guideline foundations of Wikipedia, where TCM is pseudoscience and its health claims and view of the body are subject to WP:MEDRS and WP:FRINGE. WP:CON can be painful sometimes, I know. It is much bigger than what you or I necessarily like. What is great is that one can work to change consensus in this ultimately democratic space. btw, if you do bring up Quackwatch as it is used here on RSN or another board, please do us the courtesy of posting notice of it here. Thanks again. Jytdog (talk) 00:57, 1 June 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for your post Jytdog. Commenting about the reliability of QuackWatch, as far as I understand, it is by no way a peer-reviewed source and therefore I find it at least very problematic to be used. Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 11:19, 2 June 2014 (UTC)
Again, please see the many discussions of Quackwatch that I linked-to above. Please engage with the community's past discussions; if you don't like them, the place to bring it up is one of those boards. Saying "no" here is not sufficient to overturn WP:CON... thanks Jytdog (talk) 12:53, 2 June 2014 (UTC)
There might have been earlier discussions and I don't disacknowledge that. As stated above, nothing is final. I'd suggest that let's keep it simple though: whether the source is peer-reviewed or then it is not. I don't mean to sound rude but I think that will serve Wikipedia the best and save us from any unnecassary speculation. Neither does the science world speculate on such. Cheers! Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 15:10, 2 June 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── You are trying to fight consensus established on notice boards on an individual article page, and that is not how we operate as per WP:CON. As I said, the source has been found reliable for statements on pseudoscience on several notice boards, several times. Please see the discussions there. You are not the first to question this source, not by far.Jytdog (talk) 15:20, 2 June 2014 (UTC)

I don't quite understand what you mean. Whether a source is a peer-reviewed one, or then it is not. I am not commenting about what has been discussed at the notice boards here; as far as I understand, Wikipedia has no say to what is a peer-reviewed source and what is not. Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 15:38, 2 June 2014 (UTC)
Notice boards are where the community applies policies and guidelines to specific issues to establish a consensus judgement. That is the purpose of noticeboards. You are coming very close to WP:IDHT and this is the last time I will respond to this. If you want to re-open discussion of this source on any grounds please bring it to the boards where it has already been found to be reliable for statements on pseudoscience. When you bring it to the boards, the people there will expect you to have already done your homework, so I suggest that you read the extant discussions, which it appears that you have not done yet. If you do generate a new posting, please provide notice here. Thanks. Jytdog (talk) 15:56, 2 June 2014 (UTC)

Criticism spans the whole article[edit]

I edit a wide variety of topics, rarely anything to do with medicine and possibly I'm just not used to the science critics. This article is littered with criticisms, so much so it's difficult to follow the subject being presented. A separate article or a rewrite with a section devoted to the western medicine/science critics would be most welcome.Dougmcdonell (talk) 14:57, 4 June 2014 (UTC)

Dougmcdonell it's harder than it looks. WP is strongly based on science and science cannot be shunted to the side. For example, when there are statements in Wikipedia's voice about "qi", those statements cannot imply that "qi" is real. And statements cannot be put in quotes that imply it is real, as this is just coatracking. Yet the article should indeed communicate clearly how the idea of "qi" works in TCM. This is not easy to accomplish. And there are POV-pushers on both the pro-TCM side and the anti-quack side that make it very hard to craft careful language. It's not easy. Come try if you like! Jytdog (talk) 20:57, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
Jytdog I protest, TCM is not a science, it makes no claim to the scientific method why not shunt science to the side as might be appropriate for religion or art. Science does not own all knowledge or truth of the human body. The use of science in parts of western medicine does not automatically make all other systems subject to the god of science. "qi" is not an object, therefore no objective scientist needs to discuss it. Couldn't TCM be the "art of medicine" and skip the conflict, oh maybe in a different world. I read the WP:MEDRS where it explicitly states that science owns the medicine topic, and by extension the TCM topic, bummer. Thank you for your insight and invitation.Dougmcdonell (talk) 00:59, 5 June 2014 (UTC)
thanks!!! whew. Jytdog (talk) 01:40, 5 June 2014 (UTC)
I agree with you, Dougmcdonell. Welcome to the world of Wikipedia's alt-med articles ;) ! The lede jumps into criticism as soon as in the 2nd paragraph, and if you compare this to real encyclopedic articles like traditional Chinese medicine of Encyclopedia Britannica, you'll see a huge different (in favour of Britannica, unfortunately). I just hope that this very article will never get chosen in these comparisons between different encyclopedias.
In my opinion, the lede should be more of an introduction of the article. This is of a bigger question though, and should be discussed at forums like WP:LEDE. Some dominating editors in alt-med articles such as QuackGuru, however, usually arguments his edits by saying: [[WP:LEDE]] is summary of the body (a description which cannot be found from WP:LEDE though). Anyway, I find it highly unprofessional that the lede jumps straight away into rather detailed research results, and that is usually result of extreme POV pushing by certain editors. There are some quite cynical editors who reject absolutely everything that contradicts their own negative views.
Anyway, your opinions and efforts would be the most welcome in editing this article, so welcome! :) Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 12:35, 6 June 2014 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jayaguru-Shishya (talkcontribs) 12:31, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
Jayaguru-Shishya, you really have to put the axe down. Please get grounded on Wikipedia policies and guidelines. It is not criticism to clarify the relationship between TCM and science - it is a statement of fact and it is what we do here. We need to do that neutrally and (IMO) respectfully but we have to do it. Really, you are going to get terribly frustrated and burn out if you keep trying to fight policy battles at the article level every step of the way, and you are going to upset a lot of other people who make the mistake of actually trying to argue policy/guideline at the article level. I have tried to warn you repeatedly that pseudoscience topics are under Arbcom discretionary sanctions- please please stop fighting battles in the wrong places. It is unpleasant for everybody involved and not productive.Jytdog (talk) 13:05, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
JYtdog, maybe you didn't read my post in full accuracy, but I actually said the very same that you are now telling to me here: these things need to be discussed at appropriate forums, not here. ;D User Dougmcdonell told us that he isn't really editing that many articles and is new to TCM as well, so I guided him to proper forums (such as WP:LEDE). On top of that, I told him what I think, both about the current state of article and WP policies.
JYtdog, I am not fighting WP policies at article level, I hope the above-mentioned cleared my point. Cheers! Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 13:17, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
It is good to hear, that this is where you are coming from. However, when I read " The lede jumps into criticism as soon as in the 2nd paragraph", what I am hearing is that discussing the relationship between TCM and science is something negative - "criticism" - not statements of fact that follows WP's policies and guidelines. I tried very hard to gather the scattered statements on the relationship in the lead and edit them together neutrally so that they didn't interrupt the flow. Please help me understand how to read your remark differently. Jytdog (talk) 13:32, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
Oh, sorry! JYtdog, I am not attacking against the edit you made (which I find pretty good even). I am participating the discussion at Talk:Chiropractic at the same time, and I guess I left out some arguments here that I brought up at the other forum. What I meant by jumping into criticism right away in the lede, it was related to neutrality and bias of the lede. "...positive stances on chiropractic should be summarized in the lede as well..."
Summa summarum: if the lede will jump straight away into the criticism (which could be handled in a separate section as well), it would be neutral and balancing to the article to also include the "positives" of TCM. Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 13:51, 6 June 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── You will do as you will, but I recommend that you get more solidly grounded and understand that stating the relationship between TCM and science in Wikipedia in a neutral way is not criticism - it is what we do here. I know it is difficult when you are dealing with hard core anti-quack people, but at the end of the day, you are responsible for your own head. Jytdog (talk) 14:10, 6 June 2014 (UTC)

Criticism is fine, but the positives should be given an equal weight with the negatives in the lede. Or are you arguing that lede should only contain criticism? Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 16:26, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
When the positives are rooted in pseudoscience, providing them with an equal weight in the lede is prohibited, Jayaguru-Shishya.—Kww(talk) 17:11, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
You mean, 'rooted in reliable scientific sources, providing them with an equal weight is more than welcome? We base things here on reliable sources, am I right? Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 17:29, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
As this is about medicine, WP:MEDRS is the standard for sources. Jim1138 (talk) 17:57, 6 June 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── we are not talking about the article anymore. done here. Jytdog (talk) 19:53, 6 June 2014 (UTC)

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)

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 scientific basis. Jytdog (talk) 12:57, 5 June 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)

Deletion of text without discussion[edit]

I restored the text that was in the article for a long time and I added in-text attribution as a compromise. User:Jim1138 thinks consensus has not been reached for its removal in the first place. The text is currently in the Traditional Chinese medicine#Drug research section. QuackGuru (talk) 18:12, 6 June 2014 (UTC)

Instead of discussing here at the article Talk Page, QuackGuru ran immediately to Kww's Talk Page. It seems he has not learnt anything from his most recent ban for edit warring at electronic cigarettes -article. Anyway, it has been all said in the edit summary already, I don't see the reason for ranting about it here, especially since Jim1138 already made a further edit.
According to WP:Consensus Flowchart, since the revert made by QuackGuru over the edit of user Bexgro, you can easily see from the Revision history that how many users have kept editing the article still keeping User Bexgro's edit. This per WP:CON. And as I stated in my edit summary: "Revert this if I'm wrong,...". Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 18:29, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
According to WP:CON:

Consensus is a normal and usually implicit and invisible process across Wikipedia. Any edit that is not disputed or reverted by another editor can be assumed to have consensus. Should that edit later be revised by another editor without dispute, it can be assumed that a new consensus has been reached. In this way the encyclopedia is gradually added to and improved over time.

This happened over several editors before QuackGuru's revert[2]. Jayaguru-Shishya (talk) 18:34, 6 June 2014 (UTC)

The only edit made by Bexgro to Wikipedia was one edit to this article. I don't see your explanation as a rationale explanation for deleting the text, especially after I added in-text attribution. QuackGuru (talk) 19:46, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
I don't even think WP:FRINGE allows us to remove it without replacing it. Without that, the paragraph becomes very WP:WEASEL-y. Adam Cuerden (talk) 06:02, 7 June 2014 (UTC)
Couple things:
1. The compromise wording that QG finally agreed to (thank you) is a minimally acceptable compromise, and the statement is very close to elimination altogether by consensus.
2. The wording is repeated in the article and so is redundant, and as such is not an attempt to improve the article but rather an attempt to get the most "bang for your buck" by using one source to justify using insulting terminology twice. I'm not sure this text is really a good faith edit.
3. @Adam: "allows us"? Give me a break. And if I hear "weasel wording" one more time, please really mean it (addressed more to QG than Adam). Making things more accurate with appropriate attribution is not weasel wording, its responsible writing. Herbxue (talk) 06:40, 7 June 2014 (UTC)
Well, I do mean "weasel wording": The actual edit made and reverted removed all mention of it from the article. This changed the argument: Because the section uses a very detached writing style, it turned a paragraph that was within NPOV into one where the detachment basically served to distance the reader from any need to consider the facts as a problem for TCM, which I would say was weasel wording, albeit accidental. Adam Cuerden (talk) 08:52, 8 June 2014 (UTC)