Acupuncturist Frees Convicted Rapists with Magical Ear Dot Defense

Comments

1
I'm guessing she thinks butterflies are virgins.

And made from butter you leave out overnight.
2
ha ha look at the developing world boy they sure are crazy and superstitious thank goodness americans would never put their faith in psuedo-science.
3
Creepy, but it seems clear that if investigators hadn't found the convictions were based on a record that left out exonerating witness statements, her publicity splash would have been no more than that.
4
but what if she's right? WHAT IF SHE'S RIGHT?!
5
And check out the history on Thích Quảng Đức to learn why Vietnamese officials take political note of self-immolation threats.
6
If the magical ear dot frees innocent men, I'll put about the same stock in it that I put in the rest of Eastern medicine: Some. Enough to give it a good serious look, especially when Western medicine has dried up its answer pool.
7
@6 personally, you would be better off following Central and South American traditional medicine.

Lots of cures there that might work.

My fave involves ripping someone's heart out with an obsidian knife to keep the Sun God from destroying the world in 2012.
8
The thing that bothers me the most is that this story is going to make the rounds and give everyone an excuse to make jokes about how stupid traditional Eastern medicine is. One acupuncturist behaving badly turns into 'acupuncture is worthless,' which is a real shame. Traditional medicine from Asia helps a lot of people.
9
"Her claims are unusual even for a country where acupuncture and traditional medicine are still common remedies, but Hong's determination to have the case reopened — even threatening to light herself on fire — led to prosecutors re-examining the case. The convictions eventually were suspended due to flaws by initial investigators."

Assuming that the article is accurate, they weren't released because anyone believed the ear thing, but because she drew attention to the case.
10

You know what gets me? Ignorant Western hubris bullshit. We've got plenty of superstitions; *including* the bias of scientific rigor, individualism, and materialism.
11
Yeah, scientific rigor never got us anywhere.
12
The internet is such a Western biased scientific rigor made up thing. Jeez. I'd comment on it, but it wouldn't exist even if I did.
13
Not saying scientific rigor is bad, saying it's a bias of our current civilization and we definitely practice *faith* in it. Not all achievements of Western technology are great, btw--and the internet as it exists (if that was an attempt at irony, execution was lacking) does present serious problems.
14
It's all irrelevant, because they have clear wimax in Eugene, OR and I'm sitting in a bar off campus listing to really, really loud tight jazz band. $7 cheesesteaks? Can they really survive on that...but maybe the Rasta gear gives away their true source of revenue.

Technology of the 21st century drives us on!!
15
Wow, those Asians are so dumb. Here the woman has to be wearing skinny jeans or a skirt for the rapist to be cleared of rape charges.
16
@13, it has nothing to do with faith. Science is the most successful tool humans have ever created for understanding the natural world. I don’t have “faith” that a hammer is a better tool than a screwdriver for a nail.
17
Yeah, down with scientific rigor, with its silly, pedantic insistence on so-called "evidence" and "repeatability"! Because we all know that the truth value of a premise is dependent upon whether or not we like the consequences, or the perceived attitude of its proponents.

Besides, everyone knows that the Real Truth™ comes from interpreting the patterns in the droppings left by the Great Green Aardvark.
18
Another reason to hate acupuncturists. I pretty much say fuck off to alternative medicine. If there is no science behind then it is almost certainly fairytale nonsense.

@8 Prove it. Double blind, real tests. None of this anecdata bullshit.
19
@7: You're such a fucking idiot, Will. Do you know what the traditional remedy for a wound is in Central America? Rubbing cowshit in it. Really.
20
@18: Some internet research dug up these studies of acupuncture and its effects on depression during pregnancy, the ability to exercise in patients with heart failure, polycystic ovary syndrome, and pain regulation in women with fibromyalgia. All of the studies were released in the last year, and all point to positive results in patients who received acupuncture as opposed to those who did not or who received "sham" acupuncture.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/201…

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/201…

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/200…

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/200…

Traditional Chinese medicine is not a scientific endeavor, but the science of acupuncture seems to be catching up with the clinical reality, which is that it helps people manage illness.

Just for the record, I'm not one of the people participating in the "tradition vs. science" debate. Both medicines have a lot to offer people. I just want to be a voice in favor of acupuncture and other traditional medicines in the face of a little bad press. For as many Pham Thi Hongs as there are out there, and they are out there, there are many more acupuncturists who are really helping people.
21
@8 yes placebos can be remarkably powerful
22
I dunno, lets see her light herself on fire to see if that proves anything.
23
IF YOU GUYS DON'T STOP USING SCIENTIFIC RIGOR I WILL LIGHT MYSELF ON FIRE
24
@20 A lot of those studies suffer from methodological problems(only two you mentioned had any kind of sham acupuncture). The vast majority of studies show that sham is no better than the real thing. You can basically jab someone anywhere and get a result which pretty clearly suggests a placebo effect is at work. Might as well save a couple hundred buck and just have a friend come and poke you with sewing needles.

Some more info here: http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2010/0…

There is really only one kind of medicine, that which can be proven to have an actual affect. Sure a lot of medicine has its roots in 'traditional' practice, but that does not mean that its on par with science based medicine.
26
Faith in scientific rigor? Is that why we have others repeat our work? Because we have faith in it? Scientific rigor is the opposite of faith.

Finding middle ground does not automatically make you sound clever.

@17 NO!!! The TRUTH is based on how strongly the believer feels about their TRUTH!!! I'll kill you and your Aardvark!!!
27
@24: If you start from the assertion that only science is real knowledge, then there is no way I can convince you that acupuncture has real effects on the human body. I believe in knowledge outside of science; you don't. I stand by the studies I linked to above -- I think they're a great example of how scientists are engaging with acupuncture and trying to make sense of an ultimately unscientific modality. And I believe that Western scientific medicine and Eastern non-scientific medicine can find a lot of common ground. But they don't completely overlap.

For example, you're not satisfied with the placebo effect. I think that if placebos are helping people, then that's great. I would probably call it something different, belief or intention, but the result is the same. I think our beliefs and intentions during medical treatment have a lot to do with the outcomes of that treatment. Just because belief isn't scientific doesn't mean that people aren't helped by it.

In any case, I hope that people can see the benefits that acupuncture and other Eastern modalities have to offer modern Western medicine, as well as the other way around. There's a lot of suffering in the world, and I want people to feel better. I know you and I agree on that point. The difference is that I don't care how they feel better, while you are convinced there is only one way.
28
@27, the problem with the placebo effect isn't the effect itself. The problem is with the dishonesty that coincides with practices that benefit *only* from the placebo effect. If an acupuncturist claims to be doing something specific to your body, and all that's really happening is that you *believe* that it's happening and that belief makes you feel better, then it's dishonest. Yes, you feel better, and that's good, but the practice isn't doing what it claims to do.

Science isn't about owning all knowledge everywhere, but it is about discovering objective truth. It's about trying to separate the assumptions people make from verifiable facts. If you think that requires faith... well, I guess I'd question what your definition of 'faith' is.
29
Like I said, it's still a bias and postulates/axioms and such are based on faith. That's why science has to continually throw out what was previously proven and repeated (an actual asset to be sure).
30
@28: I fail to see the dishonesty in what we're talking about. An acupuncturist claims that an acupuncture protocol is going to have 'x' effect on the patient; the acupuncturist performs the protocol; due to the combined belief and intention of the acupuncturist and the patient (the placebo effect), 'x' effect happens. That seems pretty straight forward to me. The acupuncturist claimed 'x' was going to happen and then it did.

Not that I'm saying that all acupuncture is placebo. Clearly, I don't believe that. But even if some of it is, why does that matter?

I have nothing against objective truth, but I don't think we need to throw out subjective truth to get to it. If people experience acupuncture as a means of positive change in their lives and their health, which many people do, then their reports are just as valid as studies that prove the effectiveness of a new drug. In fact, many scientific studies rely on self-reporting as a means to determine some objective truth -- subjectivity is inescapable, especially in medicine. What is more subjective than how your own body feels?

And for the record, I've never used the word 'faith' in any of my arguments, and I'm unlikely to do so. You're thinking of dirac (@29 as the latest example).
31
I think I have scientific rigor mortis.

Oh, wait, no, it's that dumb Twilight movie coming to town for the Fremont Outdoor Cinema.
32
@29, no, I'm afraid you're just repeating yourself. And you're saying something that is factually incorrect. Please state some recent examples of science having to “continually throw out what was previously proven and repeated.” Or just one recent example. See, it just doesn’t work that way, which is why science is nothing like faith.
33
Ahem. In the words of Heisenberg (yeah, that fuckin' Eastern-religion, anti-science hippie): "What we observe is not nature in itself but nature exposed to our method of questioning." Consider the implications of quantum mechanics - that you cannot observe something without altering it. The entirety of western science is based on the (physically disproven) belief that the observable world has nothing to do with our perception of it, that is: we can neatly separate between subject and object. For the scientists themselves, things are not nearly as cut and dry as you might hope...

Recommended reading: Thomas Kuhn - The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, or (for an alternate perspective) The Reenchantment of the World, by Morris Berman. Both of these books should be mandatory, before anyone opens their mouth about the epistemology of science.

34
@zivilsierter Wurm:

Oh boy, here we go with the quantum woo.

The reason that you cannot "observe" "something" without altering it is not because It Knows What You're Thinking, it is because at the scales where this holds true, the manners in which you have to "observe" (really, measure) the state of the particles, e.g. by their magnetic alignment or by bouncing photons off of them, the tiny amount of energy of the measuring process itself is sufficient to alter the object's state. To wit: it doesn't change states because you're looking at it; you imparted that energy on it directly, in a straightforward fashion, by the way you have to measure it.

Now that you know that, the rest of your first paragraph is meaningless.

Heisenberg's quote is true, but as this is the nature of our existence, and we /know/ that, we can then correct for problems in observer bias or interpretation. This is why independent repeatability is part of the scientific method of verifying results: to correct for the many and common failures of an individual's perception.

The quantum tunnelling effect that makes the transistors in the computer that you're typing this postmodernistic tripe works the same for you as it does for me. The engineering that went into the automobile that you drive to work, or the bus you take, or the bike you ride, doesn't give a flying leap what your particular interpretation of the cosmos is. Reality doesn't care what you, I, or anyone else thinks. "Personal interpretation" does not even come into play. If acupuncture works or not, it will do so regardless of what we believe about it. And when controlled for poor methodology and bias, multiple independent lines of evidence show that acupuncture does not work.

But it doesn't matter. I don't give a flying leap what kind of crystal-worshipping baloney you or anyone else believes in, as long as it doesn't become the basis for policy that puts others at risk. It doesn't matter that Miss Crystal Waterfall believes that the moon sends her love letters in Morse code; if she makes extraordinary claims about something that happens here in the Really Real World, someone else should be able to verify them. And it damn well should be the case, in things that affect this shared Real World like those described in this story, that the evidence is solid, as the rest of society can be directly harmed by trusting the extraordinary claims of a charlatan that managed to set convicted rapists free.