Sunday, November 19, 2006

[to return to the main document, click here, http://standtoyourduty.blogspot.com/]
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04. Journals:
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Agri Marketing states:
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[in "Roots of the Organic Movement[...]"(2006-07-01)]
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"[per Avery, A. (? ?)] the notion that certain chemicals could only be made by living creatures was at the core of 'vitalism'-- a scientific theory of life that was held by many scientists prior to the 20th century. Vitalism held that life arises from and involves special 'life forces' that are apart from the purely physical/chemical realm [...] vitalism was dealt a major blow in 1828 when a young scientist named Friedrich Wohler accidentally made urea in the laboratory by heating inorganic salts together in a dish [...] by the turn of the 20th century, vitalism was dead within the mainstream scientific community, having been replaced by our modern understanding of chemistry and biology [...] the final nail in the coffin of vitalism was the successful synthesis of ammonia for fertilizer on an industrial scale in 1909 [...] a devoted vitalist, Steiner [etc.]";
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Allergy, Asthma and Clinical Immunology states:
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[in "Letter to the Editor: Supported by Science? What Canadian Naturopaths Advertise to the Public" (authored by Timothy Caulfield, Christen Rachul; 2011-09-15, 7:14 doi:10.1186/1710-1492-7-14)]
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[regarding naturopathy's METHODS, not their oath-bound vitalistic sectarian philosophical context they falsely pose as science-based]
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001.a. [as a 'provisional' abstract]
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"[regarding] the increasing popularity of complementary and alternative medicines [CAM] in Canada [...and] evidence for efficacy of these therapies [...] those who are supportive of naturopathic medicine often support the field by claiming that the naturopathic treatments are supported by science and scientific research [...] we examined the websites of 53 naturopathic clinics in Alberta and British Columbia to gain a sense of the degree to which the services advertised by naturopaths are science based [...] many of the most common treatments - such as homeopathy, chelation and colon cleanses - are viewed by the scientific community to be of questionable value and have no scientific evidence of efficacy beyond placebo [...therefore] a review of the therapies advertised on the websites of clinics offering naturopathic treatments does not support the proposition that naturopathic medicine is a science and evidence-based practice";
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(for a press release of this abstract, click here,
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001.b.
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001.b. [as full text]
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"Supported by Science?: What Canadian Naturopaths Advertise to the Public [...by] Timothy Caulfield and Christen Rachul -- Health Law and Science Policy Group Faculty of Law University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada [...] naturopathic medicine has gained popularity as a form of primary care [...and] a number of provinces have granted more official status to these and other CAM practitioners [...yet] many critics contend that naturopathy treatments are not supported by scientific evidence [...] that naturopathy is 'no more based on science than astrology' [...that there is a] lack of scientific evidence in naturopathic practices [...yet] many involved in the [supposed] profession have stated that the remedies provided by naturopathic practitioners are supported by solid research [...such] claims of scientific rigor [...] for example, the British Columbia Naturopathic Association (BCNA) claims that '[t]here is a wealth of research, both controlled and double-blind clinical studies, showing the scientific basis and validity of naturopathic protocols (http://www.bcna.ca/files_3/ naturophatic.php ) [...] the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges similarly states that 'diagnoses and therapeutics are science based and increasingly evidence based' (http://www.aanmc.org/careers/todays-naturopathic-doctors.php). But is this true? Are the treatments that are offered by naturopaths science based? [...] the goal of this survey was to gain a sense of the degree to which the services advertised by naturopaths are, in a broad sense, science based [...] what did we find? A list of largely scientifically unsupportable treatments and services [...like] homeopathy  [...which] does not work and there is no scientific reason to think that it could work  [...NDs also offer such bunk as] colon hydrotherapy, detoxification and hair analysis [...naturopathy is a supposed] profession that has embraced practices that are remarkably unscientific [...] one website declares that their therapies are 'derived largely from scientific research conducted by the same universities, laboratories and medical schools that do the research on drugs and surgery' (http://www.demontecentre.com). Another asserts that '[n]aturopathic medicine is patient treatment in the best possible way; personal, individual, caring as well as evidence based and scientific' (http://www.abbottnaturopathic.com/) [...] for many of the core naturopathic treatments, clinical studies and thorough scientific critiques of the foundational rationales [like their vitalism!!!!] do exist [...] the most generous interpretation of this literature would not support a characterization of 'science based' if this phrase is meant to imply the therapies have been shown to be efficacious using traditional scientific methodologies [...] all healthcare options should, as much as possible, be informed by good science [...] if the naturopathic medicine were truly 'science based' as so often claimed by the advocates of the field, would they still be providing homeopathy as one of their core treatments [...or] chelation and colon cleanses [?...] it is misleading to imply that the core services provided by naturopaths – as disclosed on clinic websites – are based on sound scientific evidence or, at least, that there is a scientific consensus about their efficacy [...] if the naturopathic profession wishes to present itself as science based, the treatments offered by naturopath clinics should reflect these claims [...] the profession should not just use the language of science, it must embrace and act on the conclusions of scientific inquiry";
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(click here,
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the American Journal of Nephrology states:
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[per Hierholzer K. (? ?), Ullrich K.J (? ?) in ‘History of Renal Physiology in Germany during the 19th Century’. AJN 1999;19:243-256]
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“the roots of renal physiology in Germany in the last century have been traced. Vitalistic concepts became replaced by physical, chemical and mechanistic laws which govern biological processes”;
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(click here,
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Archives of Internal Medicine states:
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[in "Preparation of Synthetic Immune Serum and Nature of Immunity"{Bacon, D.C. (MD ?)}{1943;72(5):581-593}]
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"prior to the work of Woehler, who synthesized urea more than a century ago [1828], vital processes and products were considered inseparable from the living body, and the doctrine of vitalism proclaimed them forever beyond the poor power of mankind to understand or reproduce. The tiny crack produced by Woehler in the structure was enlarged by many others, and vitalism is long since defunct";
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arstechnica.com states:
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[in "Genome Sequencing Pioneer: How Biology Entered the Information Age" (2012-12-10)]
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"[as reported by John Timmer] at the end of the 1800s, vitalism, the idea that life had features that were distinct from the rest of the physical worl, was still popular. It was the parallel progress in genetics and biochemistry that helped bring vitalism to a close. It took until the 1940s [...] as researchers started to study the genetics of biochemical pathways and the biochemistry of heritable material. This is when the central role of DNA became clear [...] the double helix moved biology into the information age";
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(click here,
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Biophysical Journal states:
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[in "Message from the Editor in Chief"{per editor Egelman, E.H. (? ?)}(2007-07-01)]
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"[regarding] the defeat of vitalism. While physics made enormous advances [...] biology suffered from a vitalistic outlook. Vitalism held that biological entities, whether cells or organisms, differed from nonliving objects by the presence of 'vital' forces. Thus, life could not be reduced to the laws of physics and chemistry [...vitalism died as] the basic principles of evolution were emerging [...and with] the development of molecular biology over the past half century, which is the application of chemistry and physics to understanding the molecules responsible for living cells";
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(click here,
(archived here,
)[pw blocked, so far]
(for the archive.org history of this page, click here,
(or click here,
(or click here,
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BioScience states:
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[in "The Evolution of Sex [...]"(1993-02-01)]
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"[per Mooney, S.M. (? ?)] evolutionary theorist August Weismann (1834-1914) saw himself as championing science against the specter of vitalism. The belief in vitalism -- that life entails something beyond that of the physical, mechanical world -- was characteristic of the prescientific world view [...] Weismann criticized the notion of rejuvenescence as vague and unscientific, an unjustifiable return to an antiquated, vitalistic position";
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the Canadian Journal of Public Health states:
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[in "Invited Guest Editorial: Alternative Medicine: Where’s the Evidence?"{Beyerstein, B. (? ?); Canadian Journal of Public Health; Vol 88(3): 149-150. May-June 1997}]
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"the core of alternative medicine is the scientifically-discredited doctrine of vitalism [...] a 'vital force' that pervades the universe and animates living organisms. Believers say this ethereal 'energy' is undetectable by conventional instruments but, paradoxically, it can still influence bodily organs that are also made of physical matter. Anything that impedes or 'unbalances' this energy flow, in or around the body, causes disease. Detecting these blockages is entirely subjective, however. They are purportedly caused by such things as 'devitalized foods,' psychological strain, 'autointoxication' (accumulation of bodily wastes), idiosyncratically-defined metabolic disturbances, colon toxicity, nutrient malabsorption, and 'liver sluggishness.' Germs, in this scenario, are not specific disease-causing entities but parasites that attack a weakened body that has fallen into an unbalanced condition. Therapy, then, consists of restoring normal flow by 'balancing,' 'cleansing,' or 'detoxifying' the system with what amount to magical rituals. In keeping with holistic doctrines, treatments are aimed at restoring 'whole body balance,' whatever that may mean. E.g., 'natural' herbs or 'therapeutic touch' are supposed to rebalance 'energy fields,' thereby 'treating the whole person.' By reasserting belief in a moralistic force that governs the natural universe, New Agers have also revived the age-old penchant for blaming the victim. The ancient Greeks, for instance, shunned the sick because health was considered synonymous with virtue and those who were ill were therefore despised by the gods. It is only a small step from exorcising evil spirits to 'realigning energy fields' with 'therapeutic touch'";
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(click here,
(archived here,
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c2cjournal.ca states:
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[in "Peeking Behind the Veil: The Artificial Promises of Organic Food" (2013-01-21)]
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"[via Mark Hanson] the junk science at the heart of the organic food movement: vitalism [...] at the heart and soul of the organic movement is the non-scientific belief in vitalism [...] vitalism is essentially the notion that life can only come from life [...] 'dead' things, such as synthesized molecules, lack this 'vital' property (usually an unnamed 'energy') [...] vitalism as a belief system has been effectively debunked for decades, if not since the early 19th century [...] vitalism is also indicative of superstitious thinking where conscious purpose is attributed to something despite the fact that no conscious purpose exists [...] a child-like belief in how the world works [...] the lack of any evidence for 'vital' forces [...] organic food proponents rely on pseudoscientific appeals to the innate, unmeasurable differences in those molecules that are produced by living and non-living things";
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Chiropractic and Osteopathy (? ?) states:
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[in "Chiropractic as Spine Care: a Model for the Profession"{per Nelson, C.F. (? ?) et al.}{Chiropractic and Osteopathy; vol.13, no. 9, 2005}]

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"[similar to naturo.] more than 100 years after its inception the chiropractic profession has failed to define itself in a way that is understandable, credible and scientifically coherent [...] we must also consider the concept of vitalism (in chiropractic, innate intelligence) [...] although there is a long historical legacy of vitalism, and although it continues to be a feature within many contemporary belief systems, there really can be no compromise on its inclusion as a defining principle of chiropractic. It was precisely the rejection of vitalism in the 18th Century and the emerging understanding (through the invention of the microscope and other technological advances) of biological mechanisms that marks one of the watershed moments in the evolution of science. Chiropractic can choose to retain its vitalistic component only if it chooses to operate completely outside the scientific healthcare community. Vitalism does not require any further or more extensive analysis before rejecting it. To reject vitalism is to simply to announce that one accepts the conventional view of biology similar to the way one accepts the conventional view of cosmology by rejecting a geocentric universe";
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(click here,
(archived here,
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(for the archive.org history of this page, click here,
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(for a youtube.com slideshow of this, click here,
(for a digg.com social bookmark of this, click here,
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the Chronicle of Higher Education states:
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[in “Colloquy”{per Moody, T. (? ?)}]

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“vitalism, for example, was never falsified, but it was rendered superfluous”;
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(click here,
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Clinical Investigative Medicine states:
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[in "USA - Bedside to Bench"{per Hirsch, J. (MD ?)}{Clin Invest Med 2005; 28 (1): 9-11}]
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"as the methods of chemistry and physics analyzed the human body, vitalistic approaches to human disease were swept aside";
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(click here,
(archived here,
(for the archive.org history of this page, click here,
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Competition Science Vision states:
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[in "Topic on Chemistry: Classification and Nomenclature of Organic Compounds"(1999-02)]
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"for more than 200 years, chemists divided the materials into two categories [...] organic compounds contained a vital force that was only found in living systems. The synthesis of urea from inorganic starting material by Friederich Wohler marked the first step in the decline of the vital force theory [...] the synthesis of urea from inorganic material, inevitably led to the removal of vitalism from the list of theories [...] mysterious vital forces [p.1743...] until about the middle of the 19th century, it was generally believed that organic compounds were different from other chemical compounds in that organic compounds could be formed only by living organisms and that they contained a 'vital force' [...] the vital force theory was gradually abandoned after 1826 when [...] Wohler found that urea [...] could be synthesized [p.1748]";
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ii.
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(2008-01)(also 2003-10, p.1116]
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"[question] what was vital force theory regarding organic compounds and how was it discarded? [...answer] in 1815 Berzelius indicated that the organic compounds can only be synthesized in nature by living organisms under the influence of a mysterious force known as vital force, i.e., life force [..per] vital force theory [...] in 1828 Wohler synthesized [the] first organic compound in [a] laboratory [...that was] a serious blow to the vital force theory and this theory was subsequently discarded [p.1529]";
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Current Biology states:
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[in "GUTs in biology?"{per Maderspacher, F. (? ?); vol. 17, iss. 14, July 17 2007, pp. R529-R531}]
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"the notion that life is based on processes that can be described in physical terms was the kiss of death for vitalism. It brought biology closer to sciences, such as physics and chemistry, that are governed by laws that can be formulated mathematically";
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(click here,
(or click here,
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Evidence-Based[supposed] Complementary and Alternative Medicine states:
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[in "CAM Modalities Can Stimulate Advances in Theoretical{not even hypothetical!} Biology"{per Hankey, A. (? ?)}{eCAM 2005; 2(1)5-12}]
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a vitalist who admits "life force [...] rejected in the middle of the last century [p.009]";
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{and who, I think, unsuccessfully tries to argue 'quantum mystical vitalism' as scientific, in a journal about supposed evidence for this stuff, in an article that provides no actual evidence, but instead evaporates into the land of 'quantum mechanics vitalistic mysticism' -- the author seems to think that materialistic mechanism can support immaterialistic vitalism, but the VFS entity is not needed, is therefore not ascribed directly by the evidence, and therefore violates parsimony'; same old vitalistic wine in the 'new quantum label'}
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(click here,
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the Evolution and Cognition Journal states
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[in "Varieties of Emergentism"(1999, vol.5, no.1)]
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"[per Stephan, A. (PhD )] weak emergentism. The first feature of contemporary theories of emergence -- the thesis of physical monism -- is a thesis about the nature of systems that have emergent properties (or structures). The thesis says that the bearers of emergent properties (or structures) consist of material parts only. According to the thesis, all possible candidates for emergent properties, such as, e.g. being alive or being in a mental state, are instantiated only by material systems with a sufficiently complex physical microstructure. It excludes all vitalistic positions which hold that properties like being alive can be instantiated only by a compound consisting of an organism and some supernatural entity, e.g. an entelechy or an élan vital. Thus, all substance-dualistic positions are rejected; for they base having cognitive states on supernatural bearers such as a res cogitans. Hence, the thesis of physical monism denies that there are any supernatural components responsible for a system's having emergent properties. Particularly, this means that living or cognitive systems -- whether artificial or natural -- consist of the same parts as lifeless objects of nature. There is no reason to suppose that there are some specific components that belong just to those systems which are alive or able to cognize, but are missing in systems which are lifeless or unable to cognize. Instead, it is nothing but specific constellations of physico-chemical processes that show vital behavior or have mental qualities. Physical monism. Entities existing or coming into being in the universe consist solely of material parts. Likewise, properties, dispositions, behaviors, or structures classified as emergent are instantiated by systems consisting exclusively of physical parts. Embracing a naturalistic position, emergentists subscribe to a scientific position, but in so doing, they do not subscribe to reductionism";
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(click here,
(click here,
(archived here,
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Extropy: The Journal of Transhumanist Solutions states:
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[in “The Mechanization Menace”{per More, M. (? ?)}{Feb 2002}]
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“many scientifically-informed people have abandoned the ghost-in-the-machine view of substance dualism. Yet many still cling to a subtler form of dualism, a view that has been called vitalism, despite its loss of scientific support back in the nineteenth century. Vitalism holds that the difference between living and non-living things is that only the former possess a vital force. Dead matter comes alive when suffused with this elan vital, as Henri Bergson called it. In more mystical forms, vitalism holds that life results when physical matter joins with some supernatural, immaterial force that animates it. In its popular nineteenth century version, vitalists believed that dead matter was made into living flesh when some as yet undiscovered force was present. This force seemed to attach itself only to biological, organic materials. Today's vitalists generally hold their view implicitly, not having thought it through clearly [...] scientists discredited vitalism decades ago. No vital force was ever found. Postulating its existence merely stuck a label on living things; it did not explain life nor predict new features of living creatures. Biologists and biochemists realized that life results from biochemical complexity and the complex interactions between different biological systems. The human body is a biochemical organism. Making up that organism, we find numerous organs and tissues. Peering more closely at these parts, we find them to be composed of cells. Closing in further we discover even smaller functional units, such as blood cells, muscle fibers, the mitochondrial energy factories, ribosomes, and genetic material. Zooming in on these chemical machines, we find molecules and atoms. No vital force. Only the mutually supportive arrangement of physical parts, their intricate dance resulting from millions of years of evolutionary selection. Hand-waving and talking of a vital force no doubt satisfied people in the past. It made them feel that such things as the miraculous growth of a fertilized egg into a baby were explained. But now we know that this process of ontogeny is programmed by genes and influenced by chemical signals. Nor does the abolition of vitalism lessen our wonder at life. Awe can be even more profound when based on deep understanding rather than ignorance”;
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(click here,
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the Journal of Chiropractic Education states:
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[in “The Unsubstantiated Web Site Claims of Chiropractic Colleges in Canada and the United States”(17:113-119, 2003)]
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“[via Sikorski, D.M. (DC SCUHS), Grod, J.P. (DC CMCC)] objective: to determine the prevalence of claims by chiropractic colleges for the clinical art which are not currently justified by available scientific evidence, or which are intrinsically untestable [...or] not known to be scientifically validated, or is not experimentally testable [...school] Parker College of Chiropractic [...unsubstantiated unjustified claim] 'since the nervous system controls the human body by providing the life force [...objections] the existence of a 'life force' has not been experimentally established”;
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(click here,
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the Journal of the International Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine states:
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[in "History of Clinical Chemistry Wöhler & the Birth of Clinical Chemistry"{per Wilkinson, I. (? ?)}{eJIFCC vol 13 no 4}]
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"in the 19th century, leading physiologists [...] believed that processes within living organisms were unique and could not be duplicated in the laboratory [...] it was postulated that living organisms contained a 'vital force' that was the very essence of life [...] vitalists believed that life cannot understood in terms of chemical or physical properties alone. There was a hidden synergy within all living things, which exceeded the sum of their material parts [...] the spectre of 'vitalism' continued to haunt the biological sciences well into the present [20th] century [...] in 1828, Friedrich Wohler [...] found that urea [...] could be synthesized in vitro without any 'vital force' [...] this work removed [in retrospect] the requirement for any mysterious 'vital force' that separated in vivo biochemistry from in vitro chemistry [...] according to Fruton and Simmonds [biochemistry text 1953 - no vitalism], 'the ultimate goal of biochemistry is to describe the phenomena that distinguish the 'living' from the 'non-living' in the language of chemistry and physics'";
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(click here,
(archived here,
(archived here,
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the Journal of Nutrition states:
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[in "The Measurement of Energy Expenditure"{per Webb, P. (? ?); 1991}]
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"with the demonstration of conservation of energy in a living system by Rubner (4) and by Atwater and Benedict (5) came the death knell of vitalism, the 'innate fire' of the ancients [p.1897]";
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(click here,
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Medical Humanities states:
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[in "Medicine and the Humanities - Theoretical and Methodological Issues"{per Leiman M. (? ?), Puustinen, R. (? ?), Viljanen, A.M. (? ?)}{Med. Humanit. 2003;29;77-80}]
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“the development of modern medicine has been closely tied to the development of biology and its subdisciplines. Theoretical debates in medicine have, therefore, echoed the conceptual problems encountered in the biological sciences. Until the 20th century the theoretical demarcation line in the study of living processes resided in the debate between physicalism and vitalism. The advocates of physicalism claimed there was no fundamental difference between living organisms and inanimate matter. Living phenomena could therefore be studied and explained with the methods and laws of physics. This approach was strongly opposed by vitalists who postulated that living organisms had properties that could not be reduced to physics or chemistry and, therefore, biological phenomena could not be analyzed with the concepts or methods of those sciences. Instead, vitalists claimed, to explain the nature of living phenomena one needed to apply such concepts as ‘vital force’ and ‘vital fluids’ to the analysis. With the development of cellular and evolutionary theories it became apparent, however, that living processes could not be satisfactorily explained either by Newtonian physics or by any non-material life forces. This fundamental theoretical dispute in biology was eventually resolved with the conceptual development in biology of organicism, where life processes were explained by physiochemical and evolutionary instead of physical or teleological concepts. This conceptual change had a profound impact also on the development of medicine. The cellular theory of disease and its biochemical explanatory principle displaced the physical, humoral, and vitalistic approaches to human health and illness, and formed the knowledge base of 20th century medicine”;
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(click here,
(archived here,
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Medscape (? ?) states:
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[in “Naturopathy: A Critical Appraisal” {per Atwood, K. (MD ?)}{Medscape General Medicine; vol. 5, no. 4, 2003}]
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"'naturopathic medicine' is a recent manifestation of the field of naturopathy, a 19th-century health movement espousing 'the healing power of nature.' 'Naturopathic physicians' now claim to be primary care physicians proficient in the practice of both 'conventional' and 'natural' medicine. Their training, however, amounts to a small fraction of that of medical doctors who practice primary care. An examination of their literature, moreover, reveals that it is replete with pseudoscientific, ineffective, unethical, and potentially dangerous practices [...per 1968] 'naturopathic theory and practice are not based on the body of basic knowledge related to health, disease, and health care that has been widely accepted by the scientific community. Moreover, irrespective of its theory, the scope and quality of naturopathic education do not prepare the practitioner to make an adequate diagnosis and provide appropriate treatment' [...] 'in our research for this chapter, we provided naturopaths and their professional associations ample opportunity to refute the conclusions of several major commissions of inquiry over the years that deemed their therapeutic rationale lacking in scientific credibility' [...] 'we therefore conclude that clients drawn to naturopaths are either unaware of the well-established scientific deficiencies of naturopathic practice or choose willfully to disregard them on ideological grounds' [...] 'naturopathic medicine' is an eclectic assortment of pseudoscientific, fanciful, and unethical practices. Implausible naturopathic claims are still prevalent and are no more valid now than they were in 1968 [...] the assumption is that naturopaths will act responsibly, but they have neither the medical training nor the requisite scientific skepticism to do so [...] if physicians continue to consider naturopaths and other 'alternative' practitioners as inconsequential -- or, if the only articles on CAM that most physicians read are uncritical -- pseudoscience will continue to make inroads into patient care and health policy";
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(click here,
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the nashuatelegraph.com states:
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[in "Insurers Must Cover Therapies of Naturopathic Doctors in NH"(2013-01-29)]
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"[via David Brooks] naturopathic medicine [...] has long battled for acceptance because it includes controversial practices like homeopathy, in which medicine is diluted until it is considered worthless by mainstream medicine [...] critics say the field depends on a long- discredited theory of 'vitalism' or life energy that was left behind decades ago by evidence-based medicine [...] the field faces opposition from mainstream medicine partly because of its use of homeopathy, which involves repeatedly diluting medicine with water or alcohol, to the point where few or no molecules of the medicine are even present. Practitioners claim that because the liquid is struck or shaken between dilutions, the medicine’s actions are somehow passed to the molecules of water or alcohol, maintaining the effectiveness, but no scientific evidence for that process has been found. Medical doctors regard homeopathic medicine as a placebo, at best [...] naturopathic doctors also tend to disagree with mainstream medicine over the topic of vaccinations, which are frowned on by many of them";
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(click here,
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Nature states:
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[in "Highlights"{per Robertson, J.A. (JD Harvard)}{Nature Reviews Genetics 4, 162-162 (01 Mar 2003)}]
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"a belief in a vitalistic life-force that has long been absent from contemporary biology";
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(click here,
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Nature Chemistry states:
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[in "Teetering Towards Chaos and Complexity"{Gibb, B.C. (? ?);1, 17-18 (2009)}]
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"when Friedrich Wöhler demonstrated that reaction between the inanimate (inorganic) materials silver isocyanate and ammonium chloride gave the animate (organic) urea, he not only hammered the first nail in the coffin of vitalism";
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the Popular Science Monthly states:
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[in "Claude Bernard"(1914)]
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"[Wilson, D.W. writes] the vitalistic theory had impeded, at every step, the attempts to study living organisms [...eventually] psycho-chemical explanations substituted [p.569]";
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[1914-06, vol. 84 no. 36; ISSN 0161-7370]
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Science [journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science] states:
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[their wikipedia entry is here, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Association_for_the_Advancement_of_Science, which states: AAAS "is an organization that promotes cooperation between scientists, defends scientific freedom, encourages scientific responsibility and supports scientific education and science outreach for the betterment of all humanity. It is the world's largest general scientific society. The AAAS is also the publisher of the well-known scientific journal Science."{04-23-2007}]
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[in "Whole-istic Biology"{per Chong L. (? ?), Ray L.B. (? ?)}{Science(03-01-2002); vol. 295, no. 5560, p.1661}]
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"vitalism [...is] the doctrine that vital phenomena are inexplicable in terms of natural science";
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(click here, [registration required]
(archived here,
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ii.
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[in "Cause and Effect in Biology: Kinds of Causes, Predictability, and Teleology Are Viewed By A Practicing Biologist"{per Mayr, E. (PhD ?)}{Science (11-10-1961), 134:1501-1506; DOI: 10.1126/science.134.3489.1501]
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"the many dualistic, finalistic, and vitalistic philosophies of the past merely replaced the unknown x by a different unknown, y or z, for calling an unknown factor entelechia or elan vital is not an explanation. I shall not waste time showing how wrong most of these past attempts were. Even through some of the underlying observations of these conceptual schemes are quite correct, the supernaturalistic conclusions drawn from these observations are altogether misleading [...] scientific biology has not found any evidence that would support teleology in the sense of various vitalistic or finalistic theories";
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(click here [registration required],
(also click here,
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Scientific American states:
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[in "Understanding Germ Warfare"(2002)]
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"teleology or vitalism, errors banished only recently and with great effort from medical thinking [p.019]";
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(ISBN 0446679542)
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the Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine states:
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[in “The Physics of 'Alternative Medicine' Bioenergetic Fields”{Stenger, V. (PhD[physics] ?)}{spring/summer 1999; vol.03, no.01}]
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“much of alternative medicine is grounded on vitalism, the notion that living organisms possess some unique quality, an élan vital, that gives them that special quality we call life [..] a living force [belief that] is ancient and remains widespread to this day [...aka] prana by the Hindus, qi or chi by the Chinese [...] the chi force is not limited to the body, but is believed to flow throughout the environment [...] chi or qi remains the primary concept in traditional Chinese medicine, still widely practiced in China and experiencing an upsurge of interest in the West. Chi is said to be a living force that flows rhythmically through 'meridians' in the body [...or] ki by the Japanese, and [by] 95 other names in 95 other cultures [...a] substance is said to constitute the source of life that is associated with soul, spirit, and mind [...via Wheeler] 'all the various doctrines which, from the time of Aristotle, have described things as actuated by some power or principle additional to mechanics and chemistry' [...] the idea that matter alone can do the job has never proved popular [...most recently per] Driesch [...and] Bergson [...classically] the vital force was widely identified with breath, which the Hebrews called ruach, the Greeks psyche, or pneuma (the breath of the gods), and the Romans spiritus [...but] breath was gradually acknowledged to be a material substance, [and] words like 'psychic' and 'spirit' evolved to refer to the assumed nonmaterial and perhaps supernatural medium by which organisms gain the qualities of life and consciousness [...] a few scientists sought scientific evidence for the nature of the living force. After Newton had published his laws of mechanics, optics, and gravity, he spent many years looking for the source of life in alchemic experiments [...] perhaps the forces of life and thought had similar immaterial properties. Still, Newton and others who followed the same trail never managed to uncover a signal for a special substance of spirit or life [...] in the eighteenth century, Anton Mesmer imagined that magnetism was the universal living force and treated patients for a wide variety of ills with magnets, a therapy still being promoted today [...per] a force called 'animal magnetism' resided in the human body and could be directed into other bodies. Indeed, patients would exhibit violent reactions when Mesmer directed his energy toward them by pointing his finger, until the flow of 'nervous current' would rebalance the patient's energies [...] 'mesmerism' has become associated with hypnosis and disconnected from animal magnetism or other notions of a living force, but Mesmer's ideas have survived in various modern 'holistic' theories that contradict science [...] conventional medicine follows conventional biology, conventional chemistry, and conventional physics in treating the material body-a complex, nonlinear system assembled from the same atoms and molecules that constitute nonliving objects [...] alternative practitioners find many eager listeners when they announce that they go beyond materialism and mechanism and treat the really important part of the human system -- the vital substance of life itself [...per] religious sensibilities and images of self-worth are greatly mollified when they are told that they are far more than an assemblage of atoms-that they possess a living field that is linked to both God and cosmos [...] the desperately ill will quite naturally seek out hope wherever they can find it. So a ready market exists for therapists who claim they can succeed where medical science fails [...] unified biofield theory. The hypothetical vital force is often referred to these days as the bioenergetic field. Touch therapists, acupuncturists, chiropractors, and many other alternative practitioners tell us that they can effect cures for many ills by 'manipulating' this field, thereby bringing the body's 'live energies' into balance [...] what the new vitalists have in mind. They imagine the bioenergetic field as a holistic living force that goes beyond reductionist physics and chemistry. By 'holistic' here, I am not referring to trivial homilies such as the need to treat the patient as a whole and recognize that many factors, such as the psychological, emotional, and social, contribute to well-being along with the physical body. While this is often the example used by those who claim to practice holistic medicine, they imply that something much more is at work in their treatments. Treating the whole person does not contradict any reductionist principles. Neither does the fact that the parts of a physical system interact with one another. Reductionism is not about a universe of isolated objects. The holism that goes beyond reductionism implies a universe of objects that interact simultaneously and so strongly that none can ever be treated separately. This concept enters into the discussion of bioenergetic fields, where that field is imagined as some cosmic aether that pervades the universe and acts instantaneously, faster than the speed of light, over all of space [...] the bioenergetic field [...] on the one hand, the biofield seems to be identified with the classical electromagnetic field; on the other it is confused with quantum fields or wave functions [...] electromagnetic radiation is now understood to be a fully material phenomenon. Photons have both inertial and gravitational mass (even though they have zero rest mass) and exhibit all the characteristics of material bodies. Electromagnetism is as material as breath, and an equally incredible candidate for the vital field [...so] the fact remains that no unique living force has ever been conclusively demonstrated to exist in scientific experiments [...yet CAM expounds a] strong assertion that current scientific evidence exists for some entity beyond conventional matter, and that this claim is supported by modern physical theory-especially quantum mechanics [...yet] the evidence is not to be found in the data from our most powerful telescopes or particle accelerators, probing beyond existing frontiers [...vitalistic] claims simply do not follow from reasonable application of scientific criteria [...a] bioenergetic field plays no role in the theory or practice of biology or scientific medicine [...since] vitalism and bioenergetic fields remain hypotheses not required by the data, to be rejected by Occam's razor [the principle of parsimony] until the data demand otherwise [...] what criterion should be applied to those studies that claim to show that some therapy works when that therapy violates well-established scientific principles, such as the laws of physics? [...e.g.] should we publish an experiment that indicates that therapeutic touch works where the significance level is 5%? I argue that we should not [...] I am not advocating censorship-just tighter standards to apply for any extraordinary claim, in physics and medicine [...] if bioenergetic fields exist, then some 200 years of physics, chemistry, and biology has to be reevaluated. I would insist that any experiment claiming their existence be forced to obey the same criteria that particle physicists and other forefront researchers must obey, a significance level of 1 part in 10,000 rather than 1 part in 20. It is one thing to publish a low significance result that does not violate known principles; it is another to publish one that forces science to undergo a paradigm shift and redirect the limited resources of research to areas that are extremely unlikely to produce any payoff [per 'extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence'{Sagan}...] much of alternative medicine is based on claims that violate well-established scientific principles. Those that require the existence of a bioenergetic field, whether therapeutic touch or acupuncture, should be asked to meet the same criteria as anyone else who claims a phenomenon, the existence of which goes beyond established science [...these claimants] have an enormous burden of proof, and it is time that society laid it on their thin shoulders [...] the author is grateful for very helpful comments from Benedict Adamson, Stephen Barrett, Paul Bernhardt, Keith Douglas, Robert G. Grimes, Jim Humphreys, Peter Huston, and David Ramey“;
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The Physiologist states:
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[in "Claude Bernard and the Cell" {per Schiller J. (? ?)}{The Physiologist 4(4): 62, 1961}]
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“Cuvier [...] went further and denied the possibility of obtaining valid information from a study of the living body. It is obvious that such irrational thinking left the door open to vitalistic explanations”;
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Skeptical Briefs {per the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal / Committee for Skeptical Inquiry} states:
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[in “Reality Check - The Energy Fields of Life”{per Stenger, V.J. (PhD ?)}
{Skeptical Briefs #2, June 1998}]
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“the unifying principle behind almost all of alternative medicine is that some élan vital is responsible for infusing organisms with the property of life […a] vital force […or] bioenergetic field […that] is confusingly associated with classical electromagnetic fields on the one hand, and quantum wave function fields on the other. Belief in the existence of a living force is primeval and remains widespread. Called prana by the Hindus, ch'i by the Chinese, and ki by the Japanese, it is the source of life that is often associated with soul, spirit, and mind. In ancient times the soul was identified with breath, which the Hebrews called ruach, the Greeks psyche or pneuma (the breath of the gods), and the Romans spiritus. Obviously, the origin of words like ‘psychic’ and ‘spirit’ resides in what we now know is a completely material substance -- the mixture of N2, O2, and other gases we call air. But bioenergetic fields are much thinner than air, so thin in fact that they cannot be distinguished from the void […] despite complete scientific rejection, the concept of a special biological fields within living things remains deeply engraved in human thinking”;
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(click here,
(archived here,
[defunct](for a youtube slideshow of this, click here,
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the Skeptical Inquirer states:
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[per Kurtz, P. (PhD ?); Chairman of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (Nov-Dec, 2004)]
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"Crick is widely recognized as one of the founders of modern molecular biology [...] in his first book, Molecules and Men [...] Crick raised the question of the demarcation line between 'living' and 'non-living' matter, a difficult issue to resolve, he wrote. He abandoned this quest and instead proposed to explain all biology in terms of physics and chemistry. He rejects what is known as 'vitalism,' the view that there is a 'special force' directing the behavior and growth of living systems; or in recent years the reconsideration of 'intelligent design.' Crick was especially critical of religion as a substitute for science in explaining biological phenomena [...] many observers believe that Crick's co-discovery of DNA's structure will be recognized as one of the greatest breakthroughs in science in the twentieth century, virtually equal to the work of Darwin and Mendel. The world has lost not only a great scientist, but a powerful voice on behalf of science";
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(click here,
(archived here,
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[in "A University's Struggle With Chiropractic"{Robertis, M. (? ?)}]
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"chiropractic has remained on the margins by choice, refusing even today to reject vitalism in all its guises. And there is considerable doubt that a four-year university program culminating in a D.C. degree is necessary to treat musculoskeletal conditions, something conventional therapists do with comparable effectiveness but without the vitalistic baggage; (c) is entirely irresponsible until chiropractic renounces its antiscientific practices and attitudes of its own volition [...] in the same way, even if some alternative therapies are eventually found to be effective and safe, until colleges adopt contemporary biomedical paradigms instead of millennia-old vitalistic notions -- i.e., get rid of the nonsense in their curricula and make an attempt to educate its practitioners -- no university should contemplate an affiliation";
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(click here,
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the-scientist.com states:
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[in "Capsule Reviews" (2013)]
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"[a review attributed to Annie Gottlieb & Bob Grant] Life’s Ratchet: How Molecular Machines Extract Order from Chaos [...] The secret of life, he says, is not some 'vital force,' but the unique operations of the second law of thermodynamics at the nanoscale, where molecular machines from kinesins to DNA synthase, fueled by ATP, can harness the energy of the 'molecular storm' — the random bombardment of water molecules at jet-plane speeds — to move and work";

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