Talk:Allopathic medicine

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Use as a pejorative[edit]

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The lead sentence Allopathic medicine or allopathy is a pejorative used by proponents of alternative medicine to refer to modern scientific systems of medicine appears to be an excessive generalisation. I do not dispute that the term was and is used to disparage modern scientific systems of medicine by proponents of alternative medicine, but that is not the only usage of the term and therefore does not accurately define the concept. It seems quite clear from other sources such as the dictionary definitions, which are generally neutral, and the WHO report ( Xiaorui Zhang (2001). "Legal Status of Traditional Medicine and Complementary/Alternative Medicine: A Worldwide Review"), that the term is used in other contexts, quite neutrally, as a way of distinguishing western scientific medicine from other systems. I find it hard to believe in the absence of reasonable evidence that the World Health Organisation would publish a report using a term for western/scientific/evidence based medicine that is universally or even generally considered pejorative of one of the systems they represent and support. The way the lead sentence is composed suggests against this evidence that there is only one usage, and while the derogatory meaning is a common usage in parts of the world, the neutral meaning is common in other parts of the world. This statement, in Wikipedia's voice, in my opinion constitutes undue weight and/or an American/Eurocentric bias. There are many ways this could be corrected. I am not unduly fussy about which is used as long as the balance is restored. · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 09:26, 25 February 2019 (UTC)

[1] shows that your WHO example is actually an example against your position. Xiaorui Zhang is a proponent of alternative medicine. --Hob Gadling (talk) 09:42, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
That special report certainly shows that there is disagreement with the Xiaorui Zhang report, and the arguments seem rational. I am not going to argue against them. If anything, I agree with the gist. Renckens, Schoepen, and Betz do not mention the terms allopathy or allopathic medicine at all, so while they are clearly objecting to the general content of the report, they do not seem to consider those specific terms worth mentioning. Maybe they do not consider them particularly derogatory, or maybe they just had more important matters to discuss. I cannot draw any strong conclusions from this. · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 10:07, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
You are missing my point. My link only shows that the author of the WHO report, Xiaorui Zhang, is a proponent of alternative medicine. Therefore, your claim
"I find it hard to believe in the absence of reasonable evidence that the World Health Organisation would publish a report using a term for western/scientific/evidence based medicine that is universally or even generally considered pejorative"
is invalid. Yes, the WHO would do that, if the author of the report belongs to a subculture that regularly uses those pejoratives and there is no one there in the WHO who can and will override it.
Your deduction is WP:OR anyway - your phrase "I find it hard to believe" would be a dead giveaway if it were not obvious anyway that you are trying to insert your own POV into the article. We say what the reliable sources say. They say the term is used in a pejorative way. Even if you managed to find a counterexample, the research done by the reliable sources trump your original research. --Hob Gadling (talk) 10:19, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
[ec] Xiaorui Zhang may be a proponent of alternative medicine, but the use of the term allopathic medicine in the WHO report specifically states:

Allopathic medicine, in this document, refers to the broad category of medical practice that is sometimes called Western medicine, biomedicine, scientific medicine, or modern medicine. This term has been used solely for convenience and does not refer to the treatment principles of any form of medicine described in this document.

(my emphasis). Unless she was going out of her way to be deliberately offensive to that broad category, it suggests that the term is in common use for that purpose in a significant part of the world. · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 10:50, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
Fair enough, you have deduced from a statement of disbelief that I do not currently have evidence to support that disbelief. That is why I used those terms. However your claim that I am trying to insert my own PoV into the article suggests that you have some preconception of my PoV other than my stated intention to reduce bias and provide a more global and neutral explanation of the term which is the subject of the topic than the current lead section contains. Since you have not stated what you believe my PoV would be, that is not particularly useful to the discussion. · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 10:50, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
Do your reliable sources state that the term is always used in a pejorative way everywhere? If so, please provide quotes to support this and I will concede the point. · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 10:50, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
"but the use of the term allopathic medicine in the WHO report specifically states" Yeah, the alternative medicine proponent Zhang does specifically state that. But it is not the goal of Wikipedia that its users draw the sort of conclusions from sources you do: "it suggests that the term is in common use for that purpose in a significant part of the world". Actually, it suggests nothing except that Zhang likes to use that vocabulary. Everything beyond that is WP:OR.
"However your claim that I am trying to insert my own PoV" - this doesn't matter. Maybe you are trying to insert the opposite of your own POV. So what? You are trying to insert WP:POV and WP:OR.
"Do your reliable sources" - They are not mine, and they do not need to say that. The article says
"Allopathic medicine or allopathy is a pejorative used by proponents of alternative medicine",
and not
"Allopathic medicine or allopathy is a pejorative used everywhere by proponents of alternative medicine",
nor
"Allopathic medicine or allopathy is always a pejorative used by proponents of alternative medicine",
nor
"Allopathic medicine or allopathy is a pejorative only used by proponents of alternative medicine".
or anything like that. There is no reason to demand that the sources give a stronger statement than the article that quotes them. --Hob Gadling (talk) 11:17, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
I have arrived at this page via wikipedia comments from some fairly typical 'modern western mainstream' viewpoints. In those conversations any type of 'alternative medicine' is spoken of with a level of disdain which renders 'alternative medicine' to be effectively a pejorative term also. While talking of allopathy I come from a British perspective as a patient who is simply seeking whatever works best for me. When I am consulting my GP I listen carefully & have no wish to denigrate her or her profession but when discussing medical options as a whole I have a need for a term that describes the schools of thought she is trained in. This article section referred to above [[Evidence-based medicine#Limitations and criticism] addresses quite well some views that I share and I'd say are quite widely held. Another example of why some people look for alternatives in medicine is found in another wikipedia article which states < Systemic mycoses due to opportunistic pathogens are infections of patients with immune deficiencies who would otherwise not be infected. Examples of immunocompromised conditions include AIDS, alteration of normal flora by antibiotics, immunosuppressive therapy, and metastatic cancer. > Without antibiotics I would have died a long time ago & I don't think alternatives would've saved me. Equally it must be said antibiotics are often prescribed in non life threatening situations where the balance of risks and benefits looks different. In practical terms there are many instances where the cure leads to new problems which then require another cure & so on. Personally, being rationally trained I find it impossible to place any faith at all in (e.g.) homeopathy but I do personally know individuals who have had consistently good results with certain practitioners for conditions where allopathy has failed them. Perhaps it is a placebo effect but if it works for someone then it works. In short, I & people I know do not generally use the word allopathy in a pejorative sense, we simply use it with an awareness of the limitations of the schools of thought it represents. Another aspect not yet adequately addressed here is the wider philosophical & cultural context in which modern medicine has developed and is practiced, this can become especially relevant when we start to look at choices faced by (e.g.) cancer patients. 86.148.15.235 (talk) 10:38, 24 April 2019 (UTC)
Wikipedia doesn't care how you use words in your life, but we use them properly. -Roxy, the dog. wooF 11:33, 24 April 2019 (UTC)
I certainly appreciate that wikipedia would wish to use words "properly" as you put it but I'm quite sure that the way I use the word is the way it's most commonly used in every day conversation in England. I certainly didn't invent this usage myself & I learnt the meaning I know from people who I'd say were well qualified to explain their meaning to me. In finding ways to improve the article surely that should be acknowledged? It seems reading here that the precise meaning may have shifted over time, however that is the case with much of our language.86.148.15.235 (talk) 14:34, 24 April 2019 (UTC)
Sources are what you need to bring to this discussion, Wikipedia doesn’t care how you learned your usage.-Roxy, the dog. wooF 15:05, 24 April 2019 (UTC)
Sources are needed for the article, what I hope for is that someone else may at some point be able to bring to the talk page acceptable sources which illustrate my view, either they will or they won't. You need not be afraid that I would be interested in editing the article otherwise. I'm afraid though that I don't find it constructive to be as dogmatic as you seem to be, denial of real world experience is a betrayal of common sense and I can't see how good articles can happen that way.86.148.15.235 (talk) 15:26, 24 April 2019 (UTC)
You are free to "hope for is that someone else may at some point be able to bring to the talk page acceptable sources which illustrate my view", but the fact that no such reliable sources exist makes this unlikely. I wrote up some good advice for editors in your position at WP:1AM. Please let me know on my talk page whether it helped.
"...the fact that no such reliable sources exist makes this unlikely" I am prepared to be very patient here thanks! 86.148.15.235 (talk) 17:23, 24 April 2019 (UTC)
"any type of 'alternative medicine' is spoken of with a level of disdain which renders 'alternative medicine' to be effectively a pejorative term"
You misunderstand the meaning of the word "pejorative". 'Alternative medicine' would be a pejorative if the use the word lowered the respect for the concept itself. But the reason alternative medicine is disdained is not the word "alternative medicine", it is the concept itself, which is skipping the careful evidence gathering process and routinely using the stuff on humans when there is no good evidence for its effectiveness, or even when there is good evidence against its effectiveness. Alternative medicine by any other name would stink as bad.
Also, please do not use Wikipedia Talk pages as a forum. They are not. Their purpose is the improvement of the article, and you should only do that here. --Hob Gadling (talk) 05:30, 25 April 2019 (UTC)
My purpose in commenting here (as opposed to elsewhere) has been to assist with badly needed improvement to this article, what I have said is not out of line with now quite extensive discussions above on this page. You might not like the chattiness of my style but it is my way of making points that are relevant to the purpose of this talk page. Dictionaries give a neutral meaning for both allopath & allopathy (while in contrast the same dictionaries - e.g. Oxford English - make clear that terms such as 'paki' & 'nigger' most usually now have informal derogatory meanings). I think it's absolutely fine for the article to point out that allopathy is not a term routinely used by the mainstream medical profession to describe itself & it's fine to point out that there are medical professionals who for various reasons might take offence at this label & it's fine to point out that there have been times when some alternative practitioners have expressed as much contempt for mainstream medicine as you express for them. It isn't fine when using 'look up' on my apple computer automatically takes me to a wikipedia article which straight away introduces allopathy as a pejorative term, that's POV, this is wikipedia spreading fake news. 86.148.15.235 (talk) 13:25, 25 April 2019 (UTC)
The article uses reliable sources which call the term a pejorative. If you have other reliable source which say it is not a pejorative, name them. That you personally disagree with the reliable sources currently used, and that your dictionary is either not up to date or is not very detailed, is your personal problem, not that of the article. BTW, calling things you disagree with is "fake news" makes people think that your intelligence is only on the same level as a certain US president. --Hob Gadling (talk) 09:22, 26 April 2019 (UTC)
Hi Hob, so far I am relying on the fact that when I wrote that Apple had appeared to connect me directly to the online (so presumably up to date) version of the actual Oxford English Dictionary https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxford_English_Dictionary & while there also I was able to confirm that if that (so wikipedia leads me to believe) 'full' version of the OED thinks that the most common current use of a word is chiefly pejorative, then it can be expected to say so. With such slender pickings I could end up with egg on my face so let's see who comes up with the goods. I would urge anyone interested to first view a presentation on http://www.oed.com entitled "Have you ever wondered how words enter the Oxford English Dictionary?" I would then ask you to reflect upon how the valiant but disparate volunteer/amateur resources of wikipedia compare with the professional resources of such a prestigious institution as the OED. In choosing reliable sources for me the OED does what wikipedia aspires to, I would say so far this doesn't look so much like my personal problem but one of whether wikipedia thinks it's a more capable organisation than the OED? My personal view (though shared by some other more experienced WP editors) is that the WP processes for choosing reliable sources are imperfect. In this case for example, where there has been controversy, the context, the circumstances surrounding any sourced information require careful scrutiny. If we already have an opinion & are just looking for something to back it up with things are going to get skewed aren't they? I am English, speaking English every day in England & have been accused of improper use of words in English wikipedia. The OED seemed a good place to go. Is there anywhere better? It turned out that the OED definition was not incompatible with my own everyday experience. Now, I know little of the full story here, my intervention stems chiefly from concern at the social harm liable to be caused by the blanket misrepresentation of essentially innocent social groupings. For a way forward I'm thinking an avenue not yet exhausted is suggested in wikipedia's own page on Pejoratives < Sometimes, a term is regarded as pejorative in some social or ethnic groups but not in others, or may be originally pejorative and eventually be adopted in a non-pejorative sense (or vice versa) in some or all contexts > < When a term begins as pejorative and eventually is adopted in a non-pejorative sense, this is called "melioration" in historical linguistics. It may also be called amelioration, reclaiming, or semantic change.[5] Some examples of melioration are "punk", "dude" and "nerd".> Finally I apologise that unlike the president of the USA I lack the talent necessary to summarise all of this within the space of a Tweet 86.148.15.235 (talk) 20:37, 26 April 2019 (UTC)

Am I getting this right now?[edit]

I have been skimming through all the historical discussion here trying to see what the problem really is. It looks to me like the camp that wants to claim that allopathic is always a pejorative (in the face of contrary evidence from many well mainstream websites) has an orchestrated agenda aimed at replacing the current usage of the term 'allopathic' with the term 'evidence based'. It would save an awful lot of bother here if you would just own up. (profound apologies if I'm misjudging anyone). I briefly thought of nominating the article for deletion but actually there's a lot of interesting material gathered here which would be a shame to waste. I now think the real problem with this article begins with its title. An article entitled 'allopathic medicine' ought logically to be based upon the philosophy of those practicing 'allopathic medicine' but as far as I can see a significant proportion of those supposedly practising it reject any concept of it, so that's a recipe for endless conflict. Would a better title be something like 'A history of the usage of the term allopathic medicine'? just a thought...86.148.15.235 (talk) 23:37, 27 April 2019 (UTC) 86.148.15.235 (talk) 20:26, 27 April 2019 (UTC)

Proposal to rename article - 'Uses & meanings of the term allopathy'[edit]

I am a long term user of the terms 'allopathy', 'allopathic' - even allopath for an allopathic practitioner. However, in my view an article entitled 'allopathic medicine' ought logically to be based upon the philosophy of those practicing 'allopathic medicine'. As far as I can see here though a significant proportion of those supposedly practicing it reject any concept of it (& that's fair enough because the term & any definition did not originate within their school of thought). So with the current title we have a recipe for unresolvable unnecessary conflict (within a subject that will remain nevertheless not without controversy). Would a better title be something like the above 'Uses & meanings of the term allopathy'? Or if not then perhaps some variation such as 'A history of the usage of the term allopathic medicine'? 31.51.220.92 (talk) 18:02, 29 April 2019 (UTC)

No – there is no reason to rename the article, and it would be contrary to WP:PRECISION to rename it. The situation is not unresolvable at all; it simply needs to reflect the definition used by the preponderance of reliable sources, as Wikipedia's Verifiability policy requires. I'll be addressing this separately. Mathglot (talk) 21:34, 4 May 2019 (UTC)
Looking back at this now, although IP's proposal for a title wouldn't wash, their idea about how to restructure the article is a reasonable one, and has something in common with a Broad concept article, discussed in more detail below (especially, here and here). Also, I no longer agree with my previous comment about using one definition (now struck), based on the preponderance of sources, because a BCA wouldn't have just one definition, it would have several, thus resolving the conflict in warring about a single definition for this article. Mathglot (talk) 07:12, 21 May 2019 (UTC)

Undue weight given to negative connotation[edit]

The current lead contains a definition which does not represent the majority of reliable sources, which states that it is pejorative when it is not, and which claims that it is "used by proponents of alternative medicine" when in fact, it is used broadly. The overwhelming evidence is that allopathic is a neutral term in current usage, as shown in dictionaries, encyclopedias, in medical schools, in glossaries, and elsewhere; such as these:

Definitions and excerpts from dictionaries, encyclopedias, and other sources

Allopathy – that system of medical practice which aims to combat disease by the use of remedies producing effects different from those produced by the special disease treated; —a name invented by Hahnemann, as opposed to homeopathy. Also, erroneously, the system of medical practice making use of all measures which have proved of value in the treatment of disease --Webster's New International Dictionary Second Edition Unabridged G&C Merriam, 1956 Springfield Mass

allopathy – Therapies with remedies that produce effects differeing from those of the disease treated. Compare homeopathy. American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language Houghton Mifflin Boston 1979

allopathy – The treatment of disease by conventional means, i.e. with drugs having opposite effects to the symptoms. Often contrasted with homeopathy. New Oxford American Dictionary, Oxford Univ. Press NYC 2001

allopathy – a system of medical practice that aims to combat disease by use of remedies (as drugs or surgery) producing effects different from or incompatible with those produced by the disease being treated — compare HOMEOPATHY m-w.com

allopathy – A method of treating disease with remedies that produce effects different from those caused by the disease itself. The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved. https://www.merriam-webster.com/medical/allopathy

allopathy – The treatment of disease by conventional means, i.e. with drugs having effects opposite to the symptoms. Often contrasted with homeopathy https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/allopathy OUP 2019

allopathy – a name for conventional (= traditional and ordinary) medicine used by some followers of alternative medicine Cambridge Dictionary Cambridge Univ. Press 2019 https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/allopathy

allopathy – the method of treating disease by the use of agents that produce effects different from those of the disease treated (opposed to homeopathy). Dictionary.com https://www.dictionary.com/browse/allopathy, from Am Heritage Stedman's medical Dict, 2002 Houghton Mifflin

allopathy – field of therapeutics concerned with using drugs and other therapies to produce effects upon patient’s body that are opposite from or incompatible with those of disease being treated; term was coined by German physician C.F. Samuel Hahnemann, founder of homeopathy; often considered opposite of homeopathy; word comes from Greek words allos (other) and pathos (suffering); term often wrongly used to describe conventional medicine in general. Brittanica Kids https://kids.britannica.com/students/article/Allopathy/316096

M.D.s, also known as allopathic physicians, treat disease mainly with drugs, surgery, and other well-established remedies. Brittanica Kids https://kids.britannica.com/students/article/medicine/275767

There are two kinds of practicing physicians in the United States: allopathic physicians (MD's) and osteopathic physicians (DO's). Both are fully licensed physicians, trained in diagnosing and treating illnesses and disorders, and in providing preventive care. Indiana U Bloomington http://www.hpplc.indiana.edu/medicine/med-res-twokinds.shtml Two Kinds of Physicians: Allopathic and Osteopathic

allopathic medicine refers to a system in which medical doctors and other healthcare professionals (such as nurses, pharmacists, and therapists) treat symptoms and diseases using drugs, radiation, or surgery. Also called biomedicine, conventional medicine, mainstream medicine, orthodox medicine, and Western medicine. Allopathic physicians receive an MD. https://www.cc-seas.columbia.edu/preprofessional/health/types/allopathic.php "Allopathic Medicine – Overview of the Profession"

allopathic medicine – Allopathic schools, the most widely available type of medical training, confer the MD degree on their graduates. The traditional model of training consists of two years of basic science courses followed by two years of clinical rotations. Allopathic schools focus on the “systems-based” approach to medicine. The program is organized around physiologic systems, such as the endocrine system or the nervous system. Many schools employ case studies and teach through clinical vignettes. Allopathic training will give you the option to practice in any of the medical specialties and is universally recognized as the medical degree, including international practice. "Types of Medical School Programs and How They Lead into Primary Care" https://www.aafp.org/medical-school-residency/premed/programs.html AAFP American Academy of Family Physicians

ALLOPATHIC MEDICINE (M.D.) – According to MedTerms Dictionary, allopathic medicine is defined as “The system of medical practice which treats disease by the use of remedies which produce effects different from those produced by the disease under treatment. M.D.s practice allopathic medicine. The term “allopathy” was coined in 1842 by C.F.S. Hahnemann to designate the usual practice of medicine (allopathy) as opposed to homeopathy, the system of therapy that he founded based on the concept that disease can be treated with drugs (in minute doses) thought capable of producing the same symptoms in healthy people as the disease itself.” Johns Hopkins University https://studentaffairs.jhu.edu/preprofadvising/pre-medhealth/overview/allopathic-medicine/

allopathic medicine – A system in which medical doctors and other healthcare professionals (such as nurses, pharmacists, and therapists) treat symptoms and diseases using drugs, radiation, or surgery. Also called biomedicine, conventional medicine, mainstream medicine, orthodox medicine, and Western medicine. National Cancer Institute https://cybercemetery.unt.edu/archive/oilspill/20120921182436/http://www.cancer.gov/dictionary?CdrID=454742

The allopathic medical degree is the traditional medical degree, and these physicians can take patient histories, order laboratory tests, read x-rays, diagnose illness or the extent of an injury, and prescribe medications. They have also completed hands-on training in an area of specialty that gives them license to perform a variety of tasks specific to their residency or fellowship training (i.e., surgery). Allopathic physicians can do a residency in any medical specialty that they choose (and get accepted into) such as family practice, cardiothoracic surgery, orthopedics, pediatrics, etc. "What does an allopathic physician do?" Wittenburg University https://www.wittenberg.edu/academics/pre-professional-programs/allopathic-medicine

DO vs. MD: The differences -Most students attend traditional (or allopathic) medical schools that offer an MD. However, osteopathic medical schools are growing in popularity. David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA https://medschool.ucla.edu/body.cfm?id=1158&action=detail&ref=1019

This table reviews MCAT and GPAs for applicants and acceptees to U.S. allopathic medical schools in the 2017-2018 application cycle. "AAMC Allopathic Medical School Data: MCAT, GPA and Major" https://www.wellesley.edu/careereducation/resources/aamc-allopathic-medical-school-data-mcat-gpa-and-major Wellesley College

allopathy – The mode of curing diseases by restoring the natural and healthy functions of the body, by using remedies calculated either to combine with, and thereby neutralize the morbid material in the diseased system, or by expelling the same through the emunctories, or by doing both, and sometimes by producing gradual and systematic counteractions. The Kansas City Medical Index-lancet, Volume 8, Issue 9 (August 11, 1887) p. 377

allopathic medicine is the mainstream practice within the National Health Service. It treats medical conditions mainly by attacking their symptoms, usually with pharmaceutical products or with surgical interventions. Allopathic medicine makes great use of technology, and relies on scientific research to establish the safety and efficacy of the methods and products used in its practice. Moonie, Neil: "GCE AS Level Health and Social Care Double Award Book" (2005) p.332

allopathy: The system of medical practice which treats disease by the use of remedies which produce effects different from those produced by the disease under treatment. MDs practice allopathic medicine. MedicineNet, https://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=10981

None of these sources mention "pejorative", and only one of them mentions "used by proponents of alternative medicine".

The article needs to have a definition in the lead which corresponds to the majority view, such as this one from April 23:

Allopathic medicine or allopathy is a term which refers to modern scientific systems of medicine,[1] such as the use of pharmacologically active agents or physical interventions to treat or suppress symptoms or pathophysiologic processes of diseases or conditions.[2][3]

That is a fair paraphrase for most of the sources above.

Sources viewing the term as "pejorative" are in the minority. Per WP:DUEWEIGHT, the minority views should not be mentioned first in the lead, nor first in the body sections that cover them, but rather after the majority view, and only in in proportion to their presence in reliable sources; and the defining sentence should give a standard definition like the ones found everywhere. Sources that support minority views may of course be used, but should not be cherry-picked to create a WP:FALSEBALANCE with the majority view, which should predominate. Mathglot (talk) 23:58, 4 May 2019 (UTC)


I just did my own search to see how the term is defined in various widely-read sources. I purposely did not restrict myself to reliable sources, because some definitions are widely used and are defined in widely-read unreliable sources while the reliable sources give you the little-used but correct definition. Here are my results.
Definitions from widely-read sources
  • Allopathy: the method of treating disease by the use of agents that produce effects different from those of the disease treated (opposed to homeopathy). --dictionary.com
  • Allopathic: relating to or being a system of medicine that aims to combat disease by using remedies (such as drugs or surgery) which produce effects that are different from or incompatible with those of the disease being treated. First Known Use of allopathic: First Known Use of allopathic: 1827, in the meaning defined above --Merriam Webster
  • Allopathic: Pejorative retronym. First invented by homeopaths trying to poke fun at orthodox medicine in the 1800s, the term gained new life in the 20th Century as a retronym to distinguish medical doctors (MDs) from osteopathic physicians (DOs). --Urban Dictionary
  • Allopathy: (in homeopathic medicine) the orthodox system of medicine, in which the use of drugs is directed to producing effects in the body that will directly oppose and so alleviate the symptoms of a disease. Compare homeopathy. --Oxford Reference
  • Allopathy: Allopathy is a term used by American homeopaths, naturopaths, chiropractors and other advocates of alternative health practices to refer to scientific medicine. My Random House Dictionary of the English Language (unabridged edition) defines allopathy as "the method of treating disease by the use of agents that produce effects different from those of the disease treated (opposed to homeopathy)." The word was invented by homeopath Samuel Hahnemann as a term for those who are other than homeopaths. In America, the term has not caught on and is used mainly by "alternative" practitioners and some osteopaths. Further reading: Sampson, Wallace and Lewis Vaughn. (2000). Science Meets Alternative Medicine: What the Evidence Says About Unconventional Treatments.], [Misuse of the Term "Allopathy" by William T. Jarvis, Ph.D.] --Skeptics Dictionary
So my search leads me to the conclusion that the term may have started out as a pejorative and may appear to be only used as a pejorative if all you read are fringe sites or skeptic sites, but that Mathglot got it exactly right concerning the definition used by medical professionals and by that part of the general public who know what the word means. --Guy Macon (talk) 01:21, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/cpsos-muddled-draft-policy-on-non-allopathic-medicine/ and https://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=33612 list it as derogatory. While Science-Based Medicine counts as a "skeptic" site, I think that MedicineNet is "part of the general public".
It looks like one of the problems is that the current meaning varies by culture. It's non-derogatory in India. It's more or less tolerated in the US in the context of DOs differentiating themselves from MDs, but not necessarily in other contexts. It is unusual to find an American MD who self-identifies that way by preference. Specifically in the context of homeopathy, it's not really intended to be a neutral descriptor. WhatamIdoing (talk) 07:06, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
This is the first page I have ever removed from my watchlist, (that I can remember). -Roxy, the dog. wooF 08:33, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
I am not sure how relevant this is. Do those sources usually say a word is pejorative if it is?
[2]
[3]
[4]
After looking at those three examples, I think I would be able to "prove", using the same method, that "bastard" is not pejorative or derogatory. But it is.
Also, since when do we use sources which don't say one specific thing for canceling out other sources that do? I often had to tell pseudoscience proponents that we don't do that. Is there a Wikipedia rule that says sources can be used for voting each other down? --Hob Gadling (talk) 12:38, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
Another thing: "used by proponents of alternative medicine" may be rare, but either homeopathy or another fringe subject appears in the definitions most of the time as the opposite. That means that those sources have a some-say-yes-others-say-no stance regarding fringe subjects. Wikipedia explicitly does not. Also, they are dictionaries and have short entries. Wikipedia is not and does not. It seems dubious to me to dilute our rules by copying their stance. Wikipedia always contains stuff dictionaries do not. --Hob Gadling (talk) 12:48, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
Hi, Hob, a couple of points:
  • I agree that the sources you quoted don't say that bastard is pejorative. But first you say, "but it is", which seems to be a proxy for the argument, "since the reliable sources either don't mention by choice, or screwed up and forgot to mention that bastard is pejorative, that means we can assume they forgot to say "allopathic" is pejorative, and are free to mark it so." If that's what you're saying (it's not clear to me why you brought up bastard otherwise), then there are two problems: as WP editors, we can't decide that bastard is pejorative, and secondly, even if it is, it has no bearing on the situation with "allopathic", whose "pejorativeness" (or lack thereof) is an independent research question, irrespective of the situation with bastard.
  • We can't base Wikipedia articles on what reliable sources don't say, just because they also don't say something somewhere else that looks pretty similar to us; or because of our assumptions about why they don't say it. I think the policy about verifiability is clear on this point.
I agree that MD's rarely call themselves "allopathic doctors" or say that they follow "allopathic medicine". But this is very different from claiming that's not what they are. This can best be understood as an aspect of linguistic markedness: "doctor" means "medical doctor", i.e., a physician with an M.D. degree. But nobody says, "My brother is an allopathic doctor." People use the "minimum-effort form" because doctor is the unmarked term, and it is not necessary to say "allopathic", because "allopathic doctor" is the primary form. It is only when you mean to indicate a secondary form, that you need to specify it to eliminate confusion: "My brother is an osteopath." (In fact, they rarely would say "My brother is a medical doctor" either; and for the same reason.) This also explains why you don't see allopathic all that often in medical schools, because most offer only the M.D. degree, and saying "M.D." is equivalent to stating "degree to practice allopathic medicine". However, any medical school that offers both the M.D., and D.O., almost invariably mentions "allopathic medicine" somewhere, in order to distinguish it from the "other" medicine, i.e., osteopathic medicine.
When allopathic and osteopathic are in dyadic opposition, they are both neutral, descriptive adjectives, distinguising one form of medicine (or physician, or medical diploma) from another, and are often issued by the same medical school. That is the majority of cases among dyads where allopathic is one member. The days when allopathy and homeopathy were the main dyad are gone, but no doubt a minority still intend the former negatively. Interestingly, I find that while the principles and practice of homeopathy are definitely viewed as pseudoscience by traditional doctors, the word homeopathic itself seems to carry none of that baggage. Mathglot (talk) 01:01, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
Hi, Hob, further to your point questioning whether sources saying something is pejorative if it is: I don't know if they do, in those three cases. Clearly, some articles here indicate that a term is pejorative, for example, this at Queer: Critics of the use of the term include members of the LGBT community who associate the term more with its colloquial usage as a derogatory insult..., along with the appropriate sourcing. So I certainly see no bar to saying so, if it is indeed the case. We just need the sources, mentioned in proportion to their majority/minority views. Mathglot (talk) 01:36, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
"as WP editors, we can't decide that bastard is pejorative, and secondly, even if it is, it has no bearing on the situation with "allopathic", whose "pejorativeness" (or lack thereof) is an independent research question, irrespective of the situation with bastard."
That is not what I was trying to say. I was trying to say, or rather, I did actually say: "since when do we use sources which don't say one specific thing for canceling out other sources that do?"
The bastard example was just my clumsy way of explaining that the argument from silence is a fallacy, using the same online dictionaries as you did.
We do have sources which say allopathic is pejorative. We also have sources which do not. The second ones do not cancel the first ones because the argument from silence is a fallacy. --Hob Gadling (talk) 05:32, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
I see what you meant by that, now. And of course you're right about some sources not "cancelling out" other sources. But what we're supposed to do in that case, per Neutral point of view, is to "fairly represents all significant viewpoints... in proportion to the prominence of each, and that "articles should not give minority views... as much ...[space].. as more widely held views."
I think based on the proportion of each, the lead does that fairly now, with the homeopathic definition inm the second paragraph. However, the article body is way out of line, and since the lead is supposed to follow the body, that's actually a serious mismatch, and needs to be corrected. User:WhatamIdoing has an interesting proposal, that might speak to that. Mathglot (talk) 03:19, 11 May 2019 (UTC)
About fairly representing all significant viewpoints: the absence of "pejorative" in all those sources is not a viewpoint. It is the absence of a viewpoint. If even one of them said it is not pejorative, instead of all of them ignoring the issue, then you would have a point. As it is, you do not.
That way of thinking is completely foreign to me. If we followed it consequently, WP would be empty, because for every sentence that could be in it, there are legions of sources that do not corroborate it. --Hob Gadling (talk) 17:16, 11 May 2019 (UTC)
"I agree that MD's rarely call themselves "allopathic doctors" or say that they follow "allopathic medicine"." – outside of the Indian subcontinent. If you ask your favorite web search engine about allopathic versus ayurvedic, you will get a very different POV.
I sometimes wonder about turning this page into a disambiguation page, like this:
Allopathic medicine can refer to:
Modern medicine, especially in contrast to ayurvedic medicine in India
• Medicine practiced by a physician with a Doctor of Medicine, especially in contrast to Osteopathic medicine in the United States and Canada
Heroic medicine in the 19th century, especially in contrast to homeopathy
Then details from the current article relevant to each of these meanings could go into the relevant article, and we wouldn't have to have an article about three different subjects. WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:32, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
@WhatamIdoing: This is very interesting; at first glance, it might solve a bunch of problems, including the body-lead mismatch I alluded to above, as well as others. I need to think about it some more, but I think it deserves serious consideration. Maybe you'd like to restate this as a proposal in a new section, or just break it out by adding an H2 section header above your comment?
Also, thanks for the reminder about Indian usage. I did not turn up a lot of mentions of ayurvedic medicine in a general search, although I recognize that that contrast exists in India. Of course, if you add the term to the search query, you're going to turn up more of them, probably disproportionately to the overall picture, so we'd have to be careful about proper proportion, if everything stays in this (or any one) article. A look at the results from, say, allopathic vs Tibetan medicine illustrates what I mean. But by going with your Dab proposal, that whole issue goes away. Mathglot (talk) 03:32, 11 May 2019 (UTC)
I'll make a new section. Maybe this (or something like it) will be what we want to try next. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:46, 14 May 2019 (UTC)

Can we just say, "drugs"?[edit]

Can we just say "drugs" in the first sentence, instead of "pharmacologically active agents"?

I think it's a good idea to keep the lead, and especially the first sentence of an article as simple as possible without sacrificing accuracy. There's plenty of room to go into technical detail, and more jargon, in the body of the article. Most people never read past the lead upon visiting a page, and no doubt many are just looking at the first sentence or two, or even just the snippet that Google search gives them, and a lot of those are probably doing homework. It would be nice if we could have a comprehensible, one-sentence take-away, for those that never get very far past that point. I'd hate to take a pop quiz demanding a definition of "pathophysiological processes". How about instead of the current first sentence (see a copy of it in the section above, or here: permalink) we have something like this instead:

Allopathic medicine or allopathy is a term which refers to science-based, modern medicine,[1] such as the use of drugs or surgery to treat or suppress symptoms or the ill effects of disease.[2][3]

Note on changes: "Physical intervention" is just a piped link to surgery, so let's just say that. (There are other, non-surgical interventions: CPR is one. Chemotherapy and radiation are others. But I don't think that all needs to go in the first sentence; or maybe we could say, "surgery and other medical treatment".) I removed "conditions" because medical condition just redirects to "disease" already. "Pathophysiological" is basically "malfunctioning biological bodily processes" (i.e., the mechanism of disease) but at a first sentence-level, that's kind of redundant with "disease" and I don't think it adds anything. Added links to treat and drugs.

And that's only working with that one lead sentence and simplifying it; we could pick a completely different starting point based on one of the many other definitions; see the collapse boxes above. But my basic idea was to demystify it. I think a weakness of the proposed sentence (as well as the jargony one) is that it omits a key part of the meaning, namely, a treatment that produces different effects than those of the disease itself. But I think that would be difficult to squeeze into one sentence in a way that was clear; I think it would be okay to add a second sentence to explain that part of it, or even just leave the detail for the body. Mathglot (talk) 03:24, 5 May 2019 (UTC)

This is a good idea, User:Mathglot. And since the sentence is giving examples ("such as"), listing the most common and recognizable examples is a good idea.
You might consider a link to Modern medicine (the relevant section on the page that scientific medicine points to). WhatamIdoing (talk) 07:11, 5 May 2019 (UTC)
@WhatamIdoing: How do you envision adding that link? Currently we have [[Scientific medicine|science-based, modern medicine]]. Were you thinking of something like, [[Scientific medicine|science-based]], [[Medicine#Modern|modern medicine]]? Mathglot (talk) 01:09, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
Also, still need ideas how to work in the missing bit, presumably in a second sentence of the lead paragaph, unless it fits better in the body? Mathglot (talk) 01:17, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
I was thinking of [[Scientific medicine|science-based]], [[modern medicine]], since the redirect will take the reader to the right section.
I'm not sure that the etymology-based definition is relevant, or even true. Desensitization therapy probably produces the same effects as the allergy/sensitivity being treated, but it's still science-based, modern medicine. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:31, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
I went ahead and made the change as you proposed. The "opposite effects" part of the definition seems not to be relevant for modern medicine, or Ayurvedic, afaict. I suppose it could be kept as part of the original sense as invented by Hahnemann. Mathglot (talk) 03:47, 11 May 2019 (UTC)

Doc James changed "drugs" to "medications", which I think is fine. It's still perfectly clear, and there's probably some nuance between the two I'm not aware of, or maybe it's just the secondary bad connotations of "drugs" (brings to mind, "dealers", "addiction", etc.) In any case, beats the heck out of "pharmacologically active agents". Mathglot (talk) 11:03, 15 May 2019 (UTC)

Make this page a disambiguation page[edit]

Allopathy is a wikt:exonym for mainstream medicine. It was created by and is used by people who don't do mainstream medical practice, as a means of differentiating themselves. Sometimes this term is used disparagingly; sometimes it's for lack of a better alternative. Getting this page "right" has been a struggle for years, because different people think it "should" mean different things.

I propose solving the problem by sending people to the pages where all of those things can be explained, instead of continuing to mix things up here. This means that parts of this page would get WP:MERGEd to other pages, and we'd have a simple WP:DPAGE page here, approximately along these lines:


Allopathic medicine may refer to:


(This is just given as an example; we can sort out the ideal links and phrasing later.)

The merge project should be fairly quick and easy. Turning this into a disambiguation page will also produce a little clean-up work for the existing links, but most of the links are via {{Alternative medicine sidebar}} (it should probably be removed, rather than replaced), and the remaining ~60 are probably something we can handle (and that User:Narky Blert will remind WP:MED about if needed).

The main advantage is that we won't have to maintain an article whose topic is "Plain old Medicine, except with a side order of whatever whomever differs from it says". I think this could do a great deal to centralize information, reduce duplications, and get readers to the content that interests them most.

What do you think? WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:09, 14 May 2019 (UTC)

I do indeed have a another pile of bookmarked medicine-related articles with ambiguous links which I haven't yet told WP:MED about. They turn up in my routine activities: I find 'em, you fix 'em.
As an alternative to a DAB page, how about a WP:BCA? I'm thinking of a trimmed-down and pretty concise version of the current page, with short paragraphs (or sections) describing the various meanings and including the relevant links. That would get round the potential MOS:DABENTRY problem of "Include exactly one navigable (blue) link to efficiently guide readers to the most relevant article for that use of the ambiguous term. Do not wikilink any other words in the line" (emphasis in the original).
WhatamIdoing has identified a key issue: readers might be searching for either allopathic medicine (as distinguished from so-called medicine) or so-called allopathic medicine (as distinguished from medicine), i.e. the term as used by proponents or opponents. A BCA could be neutral on the issue of what is or is not woo; that battle can be fought out in the main articles. All a BCA would need do is set out the various meanings, and non-contentiously point readers in the relevant directions. Narky Blert (talk) 05:41, 14 May 2019 (UTC)
DABSTYLE says "Rarely should a bulleted entry have more than one navigable link; including more than one link can confuse the reader", and I think that this is one of those rare cases. In most cases, I think the readers aren't actually looking for this page; they're looking for the page that explains this term in relationship to one of its opposites.
(It wouldn't be BCA; it'd be a set index. It's 'all the things that are called this' rather than 'this broad concept'. The overlap between the first two is substantial, but modern medicine has almost nothing to do with heroic medicine.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 06:02, 14 May 2019 (UTC)
@WhatamIdoing: "In most cases, I think the readers aren't actually looking for this page; they're looking for the page that explains this term in relationship to one of its opposites." I completely agree.
The meanings are disparate, and who knows what new meaning someone might dream up next? A WP:SIA instead of a BCA would work for me; just, not a DAB page. None of the links would match the title.
In summary: I like the idea of a stable navigation page which is unlikely to get hijacked. (It might be a good idea to include a stern hidden warning at the top of the page to deter editors with an agenda to push.) Narky Blert (talk) 20:37, 14 May 2019 (UTC)
The problem with anything that involves "paragraphs" is that one paragraph begets two, and two begets four, and four begets six, and then we're right back here with the "but this is all biased, because in my culture, this word means..." problem all over again. A plain page DAB page signals "Go away and write all of those paragraphs somewhere else" far more effectively than any hidden warning ever could. WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:53, 15 May 2019 (UTC)
generally agree w/ WAID--Ozzie10aaaa (talk) 10:54, 15 May 2019 (UTC)
At first blush, this sounds good to me. Also, the two-links-per-entry also seems quite defensible in this case. Is it premature to also discuss here what would happen with all the content already in the article? Also, WhatamIdoing, thanks for adding the feedback request at WT:MED; are there any other projects where a notice would make sense? Perhaps at WP:WPDAB? Mathglot (talk) 11:10, 15 May 2019 (UTC)
Thinking some more about this, I'm trying to weigh the set index article idea, vs. the DAB page idea and WhatamIdoing's concern that a SIA might get bloated and we'd end up back here again. So, I'd like to pose the question to both of you: do we have real world examples or data about what happens to SIA articles, and is SIA-bloat-creep™ an actual thing, or just an empty worry? I think one of these two suggestions is the way to go, I just don't know yet which one would be better.
Also, if it's going to be an SIA, a practical questions poses itself: what would the title be? Since an SIA is a list article, typically it's "List of <something>s", and I started thinking of what goes in the blank. "List of allopathic medicine comparands" (or, contrasting therapies, comparisons, discriminants, antonyms)? They all sound pretty awkward. If for no other reason than ease of implementation, this might favor the DAB page solution. Mathglot (talk) 09:32, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
Other places to notify might be WP:DAB, WP:SIA and WP:BCA. The more input, the better.
It seems to me that there is a broad WP:CONSENSUS that this should be essentially a navigation page, and that its current form is not the best. The discussion is about what form would be best.
I have no experience of bloat-creep™ in SIAs, though I do have some experience of it on DAB pages: there can be a tendency (which should be ruthlessly suppressed) to add free-associating see-also's to synonyms which no-one deliberately landing on the DAB page would be looking for. (See e.g. Wikipedia talk:Disambiguation/Archive 50#Avenger disambiguation pages.)
If the article is turned into a navigation page of some sort, extraneous material should be merged into the target pages; and it should probably be there already. Narky Blert (talk) 09:57, 16 May 2019 (UTC)
Agree with you that there's at least a mini-consensus forming; should we wait a bit for others to weigh in? Or be bold and go for it, and see if there's a revert? I guess I'd lean to waiting a week or two to see if there are any big objections, but curious what y'all think. What about you, Ozzie, WhatamIdoing? Mathglot (talk) 06:29, 17 May 2019 (UTC)

Survey[edit]

Should the article Allopathic medicine get converted to a DAB page, BCA (Broad concept article) or a Set-index article, remain As is, or something else?

  • BCA   DAB – at this point, I'm leaning to DAB page with two blue links per entry, as proposed above by WaId, but am open to persuasion otherwise. Mathglot (talk) 06:41, 17 May 2019 (UTC)
    Considering II's comments below, and taking another look, I'm leaning BCA now. See #BCA prop 1 below. Mathglot (talk) 08:34, 17 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Disambiguation is OK but personally would prefer not to link to redirects in a disambiguation page. But that's not too big of a deal to me. Page should definitely mention alternative medicine since that's where it comes from. Set-index seems maybe ok too, not as familiar. II | (t - c) 06:54, 17 May 2019 (UTC)
    II, unless I'm missing something myself, there would be no link to redirects in the entries in a proposed DAB. See sample DAB entries above; none are redirects. Mathglot (talk) 06:59, 17 May 2019 (UTC)
  • BCA --- this really isn't an SIA, which would be a list of the different instances of the same type of objects (e.g., "ships" or "mountains") with the same name. —hike395 (talk) 09:19, 17 May 2019 (UTC)
  • DAB. Keep it simple. There should be no need for second links in any line, see discussion. Andrewa (talk) 23:45, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
  • BCA. As a rule of thumb, when you start talking about needing to make a disambiguation page with exceptions to MOS:DAB to accommodate peculiarities of the topic, then what you need is probably something other than a disambiguation page. In this case, I would say that what is needed is a broad concept article delineating the relationship between uses (and misuses) of the term. bd2412 T 00:52, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
  • BCA (note that appears to be the same option as As is). WP:SUBPOV details how this is a legitimate article from a different POV. (and it certainly is invalid as a dab or SIA). Widefox; talk 06:54, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
    @Widefox, please see discussion below for why I believe they're not the same. Mathglot (talk) 07:23, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
    Dab, list, article. (the A in BCA). I !vote against a non-article and for an article. Widefox; talk 07:43, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
  • BOTH. Like Open source is a new BCA after I overflowed the Open source (disambiguation) with profoundly missing information and redirected countless ambiguous links from Open source licence, Open source model, and Open source software, and we finally agreed it needed all of the above. ~ JasonCarswell (talk) 18:33, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
    Open source is a complicated concept with a network of logical connections. Allopathic medicine does not have a life of its own beyond the word itself as a synonym or antonym. So, bad comparison. --Hob Gadling (talk) 04:31, 22 May 2019 (UTC)
    Yes, Open source is a valid BCA and a valid dab. This is a valid BCA and a poor or invalid dab. Widefox; talk 12:29, 23 May 2019 (UTC)
  • BCA. Second choice, DAB. Not both, not none of them, not SIA, and not what it is now. --Hob Gadling (talk) 04:31, 22 May 2019 (UTC)
  • BCA. The introduction could explain that the word has been independently devised several times, always as a distinction from some other term, but always from the same Greek roots. The business part could then set out what those meanings are and their opposites. Narky Blert (talk) 17:56, 22 May 2019 (UTC)
    Independently? Are there sources for that? My impression was that after Hahnemann invented the word, proponents of other quackeries adopted it. The word does not really make sense as an antonym to ayurveda or osteopathy. "Allo" (other) is sort of the opposite of "homeo" (similar), but not of "osteo" (bone). And ayurveda, with its humors, is itself pretty similar to the heroic medicine of Hahnemann's time. Homeopathy is very popular in India, so ayurveda practioners likely got the word from there. --Hob Gadling (talk) 13:01, 23 May 2019 (UTC)
  • BCA. Basically this is what I wanted to achieve some time ago, but it was not received well at the time. · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 21:55, 22 May 2019 (UTC)
  • BCA or Remain As-is. I think this article serves a very useful purpose, is well-written from the perspective of mainstream expert sources, and is a battleground for homoeopaths. I don't think we should change it just because it is describing a pejorative usage, since it describes that usage in an encyclopedic and unbiased way. I was leaning BCA, but the BCA proposals below are not sufficient in my mind. They all remove encyclopedic information from this article. --Shibbolethink ( ) 22:00, 23 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Hybrid of the current content (good text poorly organised) restructured like the BCA proposed below (good format but too short). Failing that, either as-is or the BCA but not a dab. Certes (talk) 23:20, 23 May 2019 (UTC)

Discussion[edit]

In the section above, WhatamIdoing said,

DABSTYLE says "Rarely should a bulleted entry have more than one navigable link; including more than one link can confuse the reader", and I think that this is one of those rare cases. In most cases, I think the readers aren't actually looking for this page; they're looking for the page that explains this term in relationship to one of its opposites.

This is what I was referring to, in my original survey !vote above (since changed). I agree that this is one of those rare cases: each of the entries will have one other article that is distinguished from allopathic medicine, and that is the second blue link. This is, indeed, one of those rare cases. Mathglot (talk) 06:48, 17 May 2019 (UTC) updated by Mathglot (talk) 08:38, 17 May 2019 (UTC)

I don't believe that there's any need or benefit to having multiple wikilinks in any line of this DAB. If we do need them, then either the DAB structure is faulty (dealing with two topics in one line) or the article structure is faulty (not adequately covering the topic described by the article name, owing to either an ambiguous name without a hatnote, or the article needing expansion). These problems should be addressed rather than worked-around by a tweak in the DAB (with rare exceptions, and this isn't one). Andrewa (talk) 23:45, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
Thanks for your comment, Andrewa. The problem I see with a DAB (after initially being in favor of it) is that each of the DAB entries would point to the same article, i.e., Medicine. That makes it not a DAB, in my opinion. Or were you envisioning other articles as the targets? Mathglot (talk) 00:32, 21 May 2019 (UTC)

BCA prop 1[edit]

WhatamIdoing, II has a point; if we don't have three different articles to point to, then it's not a DAB page, right? Entries can't all point to "medicine" even if it's contrasted with something else. And it doesn't seem to be a SIA either, because it's always basically the same thing, but defined in terms of what it is not (not homeopathy, not ostepathy, not ayurvedic). So, I'm starting to think more about BCA, now. We could have:

Allopathic medicine is a term used at different times and in different places to describe what we now label scientific medicine, western medicine, or just plain medicine, as contrasted with a competing system of health maintenance or treatment of illness, from each of whose perspectives different aspects of allopathic medicine were emphasized in the comparison. The term was created by S.H. in year, and then took on other meanings.
Contrasted with homeopathy
[section on 19th c. creation of the word, and description of how it was used by Hahnemann to contrast with homeopathy, and any pejorative sense it took on. How viewed now by homeopaths, if different.]
Contrasted with osteopathy
[section on how it's used mostly in 20th c. N. America as a neutral word to distiguish from osteopathy, etc., otherwise not used.]
Contrasted with ayurvedic medicine
[section (possibly just a definition sentence with a couple of references) on how it's used to contrast with ayurvedic medicine in India (20th c?)]

Thoughts? Mathglot (talk) 08:30, 17 May 2019 (UTC)

Since scientific medicine and western medicine are both redirects to medicine, we should not have links, but rather write
what we now label "scientific medicine", "western medicine", or just plain medicine
to avoid frustration when readers click the links.
Also, "western medicine" is similar to "allopathic medicine" insofar as it is "just a term used to describe medicine, as contrasted with competing systems of health maintenance or treatment of illness, for example Traditional Chinese Medicine". On top of that, homeopathy could be called "traditional western medicine", from an Asian viewpoint. That is why I would drop any mention of "western medicine" altogether and just say
what we now label "scientific medicine" or just plain medicine
Otherwise, it looks fine. --Hob Gadling (talk) 11:02, 17 May 2019 (UTC)
Took your advice, and made changes in the boxed material per your suggestions. Mathglot (talk) 11:23, 17 May 2019 (UTC)
A dab would work well if we were distinguishing between three similarly named articles on non-homeopathic, non-osteopathic and non-ayurvedic medicine respectively. However, as Mathglot and others have pointed out, those three topics are one and the same: (scientific) medicine. The current article isn't bad but should distinguish the three meanings better. (How appropriate to treat allopathy by presenting its opposites rather than the term itself!) The BCA outline presented above would achieve that but I would reorganise most of the existing content into those sections rather than shortening the article drastically. Have we covered (or decided not to cover) sense 1. in wikt:allopathy: a system of alternative medicine that treats symptoms with substances that produce the opposite effect? That overlaps with heroic medicine but I think it's a different concept. Certes (talk) 23:53, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
what we now label "scientific medicine" or just plain medicine – Who is this "we" · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 11:49, 23 May 2019 (UTC)
Well, it was pre-scientific medicine when the term was coined. But I think we could say "conventional medicine" in all three cases.
Mathglot, this is an improvement over what we've got now, and I would very much like to see you put it in the mainspace. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:32, 5 June 2019 (UTC)

Redirect[edit]

Is the BCA option the same as 'As is'?[edit]

In his !vote, Widefox opted for BCA, adding:

(note that appears to be the same option as As is)

.

But I don't agree; I think they are distinct. I see the BCA as different in an important way for what is there now, and also some of the arguments that have happened on Talk before, as well as the whip-sawing of the lead back-and-forth (see the History over several years). The difference to me, is this: if it is a BCA, then there's no need to argue over which one has an overall "majority" of the reliable sources, because majority/minority wouldn't be relevant anymore.

To give an example: I find it completely pointless to determine if more reliable sources contrast allopathy with ayurvedic medicine or with homeopathy in order to establish the "correct" lead and defining sentence. Once we've agreed (if we agree) that it's a BCA, now we can approach it completely differently, and the RSes in each camp simply belong to the sections devoted to them. See #BCA prop 1 below for an attempt to draft something that would demonstrate this distinction with the "As is" version.

Putting it another way, given the article's history, nobody can really agree on what the "As is" version really is. (We've already lost one years-long editor of this article, who has removed it from their watchlist.) The BCA idea is an attempt to resolve this intractable disagreement about what allopathy "really" means, and put an end to the fighting about a single definition, that will probably never work, in favor of multiple definitions. The lead paragraph should merely indicate this state of affairs, without choosing one definition over the other. Mathglot (talk) 07:22, 21 May 2019 (UTC)

My point being a !vote for an article, as opposed to a dab or a specific type of list (SIA). WP:BCA A broad-concept article is an article .... Once an article is decided, editors can follow normal editing without the distraction of dabs and SIAs. Widefox; talk 07:30, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
I concur with Mathglot on the plan described above. · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 22:07, 22 May 2019 (UTC)