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Is medicine a science?


Greg Boyles
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Medicine is the science and art of healing.

 

Therefore GPs are scientists even if they do not engage in research.

 

 

http://medicalsciences.med.unsw.edu.au/somsweb.nsf

School of medical sciences - faculty of medicine

 

 

When I was working at the austin hospital I was not engaged in research, merely routine laboratory work, but I was never the less a grade 1 medical scientist.

 

Exclusive engagement in scientific research does not seem to be a requirement for the title of 'scientist'.

 

But then again the art of diagnosis is very much like research. The GP gather's initial evidence from the patient and formulates a hypothesis as to their illness. He then orders appropriate diagnostic tests, looks at the results and then decides whether his initial hypothesis is correct or not. Eventually he forumulates a conclusion or diagnosis and then embarks on a treatment regime for the patient.

 

 

How can one argue that this is not a scientific process?

Edited by Greg Boyles
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Therefore GPs are scientists even if they do not engage in research.

 

http://medicalsciences.med.unsw.edu.au/somsweb.nsf

School of medical sciences - faculty of medicine

 

 

When I was working at the austin hospital I was not engaged in research, merely routine laboratory work, but I was never the less a grade 1 medical scientist.

 

Exclusive engagement in scientific research does not seem to be a requirement for the title of 'scientist'.

 

But then again the art of diagnosis is very much like research. The GP gather's initial evidence from the patient and formulates a hypothesis as to their illness. He then orders appropriate diagnostic tests, looks at the results and then decides whether his initial hypothesis is correct or not. Eventually he forumulates a conclusion or diagnosis and then embarks on a treatment regime for the patient.

 

 

How can one argue that this is not a scientific process?

Seems like a bit of a stretch to me. My nephew is an Emergency Medical Technician. Is he also a scientist? How about a nurse?

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Did they got a degree from a faculty of medicine?

 

 

Yes.

No.

 

Are you suggesting that if you get a degree from faculty of medicine you are a scientist, but you are not necessarily a scientist if you got an equivalent degree from another school?

 

But if getting your degree from a faculty of medicine is what makes you a scientist, then does that mean the graduates in Exercise Physiology are scientists?

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To my way of thinking it is a science from the discovery and exploratory stand point. I wouldn't count a practitioner as being a scientist from the standpoint of practicing medicine. But on the other hand, if on the side that practitioner were to explore new ways to use a medicine or practice, then yes I would classify that as a science. Does that make sense?

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No.

 

Are you suggesting that if you get a degree from faculty of medicine you are a scientist, but you are not necessarily a scientist if you got an equivalent degree from another school?

 

But if getting your degree from a faculty of medicine is what makes you a scientist, then does that mean the graduates in Exercise Physiology are scientists?

It is not a matter of opinion.

 

Faculties of medicine belong to scientific studies. The right to practice medicine is strictly regulated.

 

Are you suggesting that if you get a degree from faculty of medicine you are a scientist

Yes of course. As much as I know, medicine is one of the hardest branch of studies.

 

but you are not necessarily a scientist if you got an equivalent degree from another school?

Did I say that?

 

does that mean the graduates in Exercise Physiology are scientists?

I don't know. Again this is not a matter of opinion.

Edited by michel123456
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To answer the question of this topic, one has to define what 'science' is.

 

Medicine is both a science and an art. It is neither one or the other.

 

Those who practice medicine relying solely on science (such as evidence-based medicine), are missing the point of true medicine which inludes the benefits of a pat on the back, a listening ear, a caring-looking face and a reassuring word.

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Medical research is not the same as practicing medicine. An MD is normally not qualified to do medical research, similarly a PhD in biomedical sciences is not qualified to treat patients. There are certain overlaps especially in diagnostics and knowledge diffuses between the two areas.

Also note that there are specialized PhD\MD programs that try to bridge the two.

 

A scientist has a totally different set of questions and skills as compared to a physician. In a very crude way one could assert that the former is dealing with the unknown, trying to figure out how nature works. The latter is using that knowledge to find the right (already established) diagnosis/treatment.

 

A GP does usually not, for instance, figure out novel pathogenicity mechanisms. It is fair to state that there are overlaps (especially in the area of clinical research), though.

Edited by CharonY
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It is not a matter of opinion.

Who declared it a matter of fact?

Faculties of medicine belong to scientific studies. The right to practice medicine is strictly regulated.

I don't know what regulation of the right to practice medicine has to do with whether or not its participants are scientists.

Yes of course. As much as I know, medicine is one of the hardest branch of studies.

I don't know what medicine being one of the hardest branches of studies has to do with whether or not its participants are scientists.

Did I say that?

No. But when I asked if my nephew or a nurse was a scientist, you asked if they got a degree from a faculty of medicine. Since you did not mention any other schools that left open the possibility that you believed someone was not a scientist if their degree was from some other school. You did not say so explicitly, so I asked.

I don't know. Again this is not a matter of opinion.

But you do seem to be saying that a degree in Exercise Physiology, if obtained from faculty of medicine, makes you a scientist.

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To add some context - this is a spin off from a closed thread where I and others took objection to you equating the ethics of general medical practice to the ethics of conducting novel scientific research and your subsequent claim that general practitioners were equatable with research scientists - which is a fallacy.

 

Medicine (distinct from medical research) is an applied science (along with engineering, agronomy, pharmacology, veterinary, etc etc etc). GPs apply validated scientific research to the treatment of human illness - GPs are generally restricted from conducting novel trials and drug development on their patients as they are not equipped, nor specifically trained to conduct such experiments.

 

The ethics of applying validated scientific research to the treatment of illness is distinct from the ethics of developing new treatments and conflating the two is disingenuous, as is claiming that a GP is a research scientist, which is what you did.

Edited by Arete
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Who declared it a matter of fact?

The definition from all dictionaries, the law from governments, humans in general consider medicine as a science, except you as it seems.

 

from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/medicine

med·i·cine (md-sn)

a. The science of diagnosing, treating, or preventing disease and other damage to the body or mind.

b. The branch of this science encompassing treatment by drugs, diet, exercise, and other nonsurgical means.

 

from Collins http://dictionary.reverso.net/english-definition/medicine

medicine

n

1 any drug or remedy for use in treating, preventing, or alleviating the symptoms of disease

 

2 the science of preventing, diagnosing, alleviating, or curing disease

 

3 any nonsurgical branch of medical science

4 the practice or profession of medicine

 

from wikipedia in French (checking outside the U.S. for another culture)

Médecine

médecine (du latin medicus, « qui guérit ») est la science et la pratique (l'art) étudiant l'organisation du corps humain (anatomie), son fonctionnement normal (physiologie), et cherchant à restaurer la santé par le traitement (thérapie) et la prévention (prophylaxie) des pathologies.

 

even in Greek http://el.wikipedia.org/wiki/%CE%99%CE%B1%CF%84%CF%81%CE%B9%CE%BA%CE%AE

Ιατρική

 

Η Ιατρική είναι επιστήμη και τέχνη[1] που ασχολείται με την έρευνα και την εφαρμογή μεθόδων και τεχνικών για την πρόληψη, τη διάγνωση και τη θεραπεία των ασθενειών του ανθρώπου.

 

in Japanese

Nokidin i dono tzapaneze.

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The definition from all dictionaries, the law from governments, humans in general consider medicine as a science, except you as it seems.

 

from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/medicine

 

 

from Collins http://dictionary.reverso.net/english-definition/medicine

 

 

from wikipedia in French (checking outside the U.S. for another culture)

 

 

even in Greek http://el.wikipedia.org/wiki/%CE%99%CE%B1%CF%84%CF%81%CE%B9%CE%BA%CE%AE

 

 

in Japanese

Nokidin i dono tzapaneze.

That is all very interesting but rather irrelevant since I did not say medicine was not a science. What I did was question whether a GP was a scientist. You should have looked up Scientist, επιστήμονας, or 科学者.

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Therefore GPs are scientists even if they do not engage in research.

 

 

http://medicalsciences.med.unsw.edu.au/somsweb.nsf

School of medical sciences - faculty of medicine

 

 

When I was working at the austin hospital I was not engaged in research, merely routine laboratory work, but I was never the less a grade 1 medical scientist.

 

Exclusive engagement in scientific research does not seem to be a requirement for the title of 'scientist'.

 

But then again the art of diagnosis is very much like research. The GP gather's initial evidence from the patient and formulates a hypothesis as to their illness. He then orders appropriate diagnostic tests, looks at the results and then decides whether his initial hypothesis is correct or not. Eventually he forumulates a conclusion or diagnosis and then embarks on a treatment regime for the patient.

 

How can one argue that this is not a scientific process?

 

By this logic it could be argued that an electrician, plumber or mechanic is also a scientist

 

"But then again the art of diagnosis is very much like research. The Plumber gather's initial evidence from the boiler and formulates a hypothesis as to the problem. He then does appropriate diagnostic tests, looks at the results and then decides whether his initial hypothesis is correct or not. Eventually he forumulates a conclusion or diagnosis and then embarks on a treatment regime for the boiler."

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My rather limited expose to medical doctors suggests that overall medicine is not really a science. My personal treatment seems to be based on educated guesses and experience rather than hard and fast scientific rules.

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The fact that there exists a push towards "evidence-based medicine" should be enough to show that the general practice of medicine is not science, but that people are trying to push it in that direction.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evidence-based_medicine

 

My rather limited expose to medical doctors suggests that overall medicine is not really a science. My personal treatment seems to be based on educated guesses and experience rather than hard and fast scientific rules.

 

Agree. There is quite a bit of "conventional wisdom" that comes into play, based on "this worked in the past". Example: treatment for peptic ulcers. Conventional wisdom was that they were caused by caused by stress or eating spicy food, because these made the ulcers worse. Treatment was bland diet and antacids, because that relieved the symptoms (and this approach covers quite a bit of medicine) and if the symptoms go away it passes for "cured" in a lot of cases. It wasn't until someone did some actual research that they discovered that most ulcers are caused by Helicobacter pylori.

 

One can approach a problem systematically, which is a hallmark of science, but that does not make all cases of problem-solving by a systematic approach science.

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One can approach a problem systematically, which is a hallmark of science, but that does not make all cases of problem-solving by a systematic approach science.

QFT

An important aspect of science is to add knowledge to the scientific corpus.

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