Tuesday, September 28, 2021

943: An explanation.....

What we are trying to discover in the history of knowledge is how Homo sapiens time and again managed to recognize patterns and capture them step by step in principles. 


We find, however, a fascinating discrepancy in the medical science of the Greeks: while in most sciences they strived for an ever greater convergence between principles and patterns, 


the Hippocratic physicians in medicine apparently contented themselves with principles largely independent of patterns and also with ideas that were far removed from actual reality. 


Possibly this discrepancy can be explained from the classical Greek world view, according to which the microcosm was a reflection of the macrocosm. 


There was a certain fascination with the number four and not just among the Greeks. We see this fascination with four in many cultures and religions.


For Pythagoras (c. 570 – c. 495 BC) the ratios 1 : 2 : 3 : 4 were the expression of cosmic harmony.


According to Aristotle, the Pythagoreans used mathematics for solely mystical reasons, devoid of practical application. 


They believed that all things were made of numbers. The number one, the monad, represented the origin of all things and the number two, the dyad, represented matter.


The number three was an "ideal number" because it had a beginning, middle, and end[ and was the smallest number of points 


that could be used to define a plane triangle, which they revered as a symbol of the god Apollo. 


The number four signified the four seasons and the four elements. 


The four human fluids blood, phlegm, black bile and yellow bile thus corresponded to the four cosmic elements: fire, water, earth and air, 


to the four seasons and even to the four stages of man's life, being child, adolescent, adult, elderly. 


The humor theory formed an all-encompassing world view from which it was not easy to deviate. 


In addition, the divergence of medical principles and patterns can also be understood from the fact that the physician was seen primarily as a scholar: surgical practices were left to specialized craftsmen. 


The Hippocratic Oath even forbade doctors to cut a body. As a result, less attention was paid to empirical patterns than was the case in the other sciences.


Nevertheless, concrete discoveries are also being made, especially in Alexandria, where empiricism in medicine reigned supreme. 


Not only did the study of anatomy boom, hernia operations and even eye operations and trachea operations were performed for the first time.


Herophilus of Chalcedon (c. 330-260 BC, so at the time of Aristotle) ​​distinguished arteries from veins, noting that arteries had a pulse as opposed to ordinary blood vessels. 


Herophilus was also the first to publicly perform anatomical dissections. His greatest achievement is probably the dissection of the nerves, which he discovered were connected to the brain. 


Herophilus also related the nervous system to movement and experience, and placed intelligence in the brain. Yet this development has been lost and medicine has remained more theoretical and philosophical. 


This bit of history reminds me of a pattern: As long as it concerns observations of the empirical "outer world", Homo sapiens is willing to get scientific, 


but as soon as it concerns his body and "inner world", spiritual principles are sought, the influence of gods, a soul, sickness as God's will, death as the way to reincarnation, and so on. 


Even in 2021, we still encounter fierce resistance to a scientific worldview here and there, with the anti-vaxers leading the way these days.


Thank you for your attention again...

MacMillan The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2nd edition
Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 1995
Rens Bod: "Een Wereld vol Patronen".  2019

The Discussion

[13:26] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): Thank you Herman

[13:27] herman Bergson smiles

[13:27] herman Bergson: Nice bit of history :-)

[13:28] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): with the Internet some things that are told are hard to believe

[13:28] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): what is true and what is not

[13:28] herman Bergson: sure...it needs facts checking...

[13:29] herman Bergson: Of course, a lot of what I tell you isnot produced by MY brain :-)

[13:29] herman Bergson: I read books.....

[13:30] herman Bergson: and thence I accept facts on authority of the author of the book....I have to trust him

[13:30] oola Neruda: depends upon who does the fact checking... I was kicked off of Face Book within seconds of saying Trump lied about the election being stolen

[13:30] oola Neruda: mere seconds

[13:30] herman Bergson: weird...

[13:31] bergfrau Apfelbaum: lol holy cow facebook!! i hate it

[13:31] herman Bergson: Yes...not the best place to find reliable facts

[13:32] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): but what Oola said was the truth, and yes they removed her

[13:32] oola Neruda: if i give them all kinds of info about my parents, birthplace... drivers license ...etc... they will "let me return".... well... they can wait ...forever... i want nothing more to do with them

[13:32] herman Bergson: and later they removed Trump because of his lies

[13:33] oola Neruda: none too soon..... they sure put up with a lot of hogwash before being pressured into it

[13:33] oola Neruda: follow the money

[13:33] herman Bergson: But bacl to the issue....

[13:33] herman Bergson: back

[13:34] herman Bergson: A lot of our knowledge of facts is based on accepting reliable authorities

[13:34] herman Bergson: That is...we assume that they are reliable

[13:35] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): lots of people say they are reliable, but aren't

[13:35] oola Neruda: right

[13:36] herman Bergson: Well....let me restrict this claim of reliability to scientists....and even they now and then manipulate their data

[13:36] oola Neruda: publication... and peer review

[13:36] herman Bergson: But deceit is an incident in science not common practice (I hope:-)

[13:37] herman Bergson: right oola

[13:38] oola Neruda: lose you reputation... and job

[13:38] herman Bergson: yes has happened a few times in the Netherlands

[13:38] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): but was that the same in the time of the old Greek?

[13:38] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): did people believe everything they said?

[13:38] herman Bergson: Don't think they were fact checkers Beertje

[13:39] herman Bergson: A lot was still explained in terms of religious like explanations...

[13:39] oola Neruda: one thing is that an experiment must be reproducible..... to pass inspection by other scientists... who do reproduce it to be sure

[13:39] herman Bergson: a lot must have been a matter of belief

[13:40] herman Bergson: Yes oola...these days we have such safeguards....the Greek were still far away from that level of knowledge acquisition

[13:40] oola Neruda: nods

[13:41] herman Bergson: The process we are studying is actually the story how we went from believers to hardcore scientists

[13:42] herman Bergson: What I find amazing is that the Alexandria medicines were very empirical ......and it was not accepted

[13:43] oola Neruda: ignorance a fear win many battles

[13:44] herman Bergson: My Latin teacher always said: Against stupidity even gods fight in vain...:-)

[13:44] oola Neruda: and fill hospital beds .... barring others from getting help

[13:44] herman Bergson: Ok...hora est :-)

[13:45] herman Bergson: let's  conclude our talk and let me thank you again :-)

[13:45] herman Bergson: Class dismissed  .....

[13:45] oola Neruda: thank you Herman

[13:45] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): ~Never argue with an idiot, they'll take you to their level then beat you with experience~

[13:45] herman Bergson: A pleasant weekend for you all :-)

[13:46] herman Bergson: lol

[13:46] herman Bergson: so true Beertje

[13:46] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): :))

[13:46] bergfrau Apfelbaum: thank you Herman and m├Ądels:-) = girls

[13:46] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): Thank you Herman

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