Science and Nature

I’m going to go out on a limb here. I’m going to say that every time I hear someone say that something has been scientifically proven, or scientifically unproven, my immediate thought is, that doesn’t sound very scientific!

Let me explain. I am not anti science. I think it’s a great thing. But I think that people have somehow forgotten or just not realised that scientific “proof” as non-scientists are presented with it is often a potent mix of economic and political bias baked with a liberal interpretation of the statistics involved and served with a healthy dash of media fear-mongering. Pure science is rarely deemed newsworthy. 

Let’s take the health of western society which (and yes, I am going to be very general here for the sake of brevity) for tens of thousands of years thrived on a diet high in organic fat, protein, seasonal produce and un-treated water. Walking, running, climbing, swimming and swinging daily in all elements without sunscreen, sports drinks or orthotics. Sleeping when tired. Socialising in small communities while hunting, gathering and caring for each other. 

Modern medicine was necessitated by an increasingly intensive agriculture and industry based society in order to invent ways to keep the population alive and useful without easy recourse to the basics that had allowed the human population to thrive thus far. And now, guided by medicine, by science we have scientific proof that we need low-fat margarine, fluoridated water, sunscreen and gym memberships. Please! 

You may be aware that science is becoming  increasingly interested in autism. This is evidenced by the sheer number of cause claims and “cure” research turning up on the net. Now, let’s be clear, autism is down to a difference in brain wiring. It seems unlikely that any one trigger, such as genetics, stress in pregnancy, or vaccination will cause such a specific deviation from the “norm.” It also seems rather fanciful to suggest that any amount of therapy, whether conventional or complementary, is going to re-wire the brain so dramatically that it causes such an exact reconfiguration of the neural pathways. 

As I see it, we have three factors at play in autism. Perception, Interpretation, Action. Any claim or cure needs to be able to address each and all of these to effect a permanent change. To my knowledge, this has not yet actually happened (although much effort has been put into researching these factors separately.)

It is important to note here that many autistics would not wish this to be so either, for while our perception of most types of stress is generally far higher than that of allistics (as is often evidenced by our actions) our interpretation of information is unique to each individual and is as valid to the benefit and evolution of society as the next persons. 

Now, I have a theory. It may not be a scientific theory, but it is my current theory and if anyone thinks it’s worth researching further please do! My theory is that the further we (the population and the individual) strays from the food, water, movement, direct sunlight quota and work/rest/play model that sustained humankind for most of our existence, the more stress we subject our bodies to. Now it is stress that causes our physical selves to adapt in order to keep us alive. It is these very adaptions that our physical selves make that give feedback to our brains as to how to react to stress. Acute stress is vital to existence. But accumulated chronic stress? That’s always going to cause problems. Chronic stress forces adaptive responses that, whether structural, biochemical, digestive, neurological, behavioural etc. may not be beneficial to either the individual or the community at large. 

Meanwhile, any therapy that enables us to return to an earlier lifestyle model is going to help to relieve stress, allowing our adaptive systems to stand down and informing our brains that everything is ok. Autism itself is not the problem. Stress is. 

If I’ve been on an ancestral based diet, had some time away from  people other than my immediate family and/or a close circle of friends, slept well and spent time walking barefoot through a forest you’d be hard pressed to pick out any of my more autistic traits. But on a binge-eating cycle, after a winter of multi-tasking under fluorescent lights and having to communicate daily with strangers  I’m going to be spending all my energy on trying to behave “normally”, and I will go into meltdown and I, along with anyone in the vicinity, will have to suffer the consequences. 

I don’t need an explanation as to why I have autism and I sure as hell don’t need a cure, but I will take any therapy that enables me to thrive with, rather than despite of, my autism. 

And I know from experience that the therapies that help me to do this, from natural nutrition, to acupuncture and to homeopathy are the ones most often hounded by and “disproved” by science. And I feel that the energy used by the scientific communities, the pro or anti activists and the media to argue whether or not structural therapies, precaution used in vaccinations, and the overuse of antibiotics are valid in preventing an apparent rise in autism, could be far better spent in helping all of us, whether autistic or allistic, to more closely emulate a lifestyle that predates the study of science altogether. Because living a life more closely aligned with nature allows all of us to thrive, without need for either cause or cure. 

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13 thoughts on “Science and Nature

  1. I am as sceptical as they come. I don’t believe in acupuncture or homeopathy as the evidence doesn’t support them, but (and it’s a big but), the placebo affect has been proven time and time again. My favourite test on it, was when one group were told that they were being given a placebo, and they still got the benefits of the improvement.

    That’s a really long winded way of saying, homeopathy and acupuncture may well work, but not for the stated reasons šŸ™‚

    Going by my life, I’ve lived in cities, I’ve lived in villages, and I now live in the middle of nowhere. I have my own space to be outside whenever I need it. I have my own tyre swing.

    I usually try and fail to eat as well as I can, but without losing the joy of food.

    All these things ground me and make me happy. I have slowed down. I am not frantically planning the future, I’m living right now.

    I really enjoyed your post. Especially about the misrepresentation of “science” in the media. They so often grab a headline without understanding the research (or the fact that it was based on four mice, and extrapolating that to the general population of people is a long shot). The scientist is pointing out an interesting feature, and it’s being taken out of context as some kind of fact.

    And now I’ve rambled far too much.

    Thanks again!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree, when someone tries to explain why something works someone will always be able to disprove that theory and claim that therefore the original “thing” (dammit, lost my words again!) is invalid. I don’t really care how acupuncture is suppose to work, I just know that every treatment I have with a particular therapist is profound, and that I’ve seen others to little effect.
      Don’t stop rambling Rhi, it’s never too much xx

      Liked by 3 people

      • Also happy to throw everything out the window and try anything at a push.

        Even did Moxibustion when baby was breech at 38 weeks. Whilst I did it I though, “I don’t believe in any of this, but I need to do something”. Which helped in itself. Nothing worse than feeling helpless.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. A great post Flo! AND I like your analysis though I have a very limited understanding of science. But stress is the real target for interventions and research – and more natural lifestyles and conditions must surely be a factor in improving our lives. I see my allergy to most chemicals as my body telling me this. A low tolerance for irritants may actually be protective and adaptive? xx

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you! I did read that autistic folks have a much higher rate of chemical sensitivities. (Me included!)
      My understanding is largely limited to health, because that’s what excites me. But my husband is a science teacher with a real interest in the concept, history and philosophy of science so I grill him sometimes!
      And yes, if you are aware of sensitivities you’ll be more careful to avoid them. We no longer use anything synthetic in our home and I now make most of our toothpaste, moisturiser etc. But I react more strongly to other people’s products than I used to. Dammit! X

      Liked by 3 people

  3. This is a fantastic post. I have to admit, I am always very suspicious of ‘alternative’ therapies like homeopathy – I’m often very ‘pro-science’ about a lot of things. But I totally agree that modern life is too bloody complicated, and NOT healthy for most people on this earth. And I hate the way scientific studies are misreported time and time again by the mainstream media.

    And when people talk about an ‘autism epidemic’ (>coughs<), I think what's really happening is that more people are identifying/getting diagnosed as autistic because there's too much goddamn stress. Too much information. Sensory overload. Everything is complicated. We live virtually on top of each other. There's no space.

    I live in a city, but it's s very green one, with an unusually high number of trees and open spaces. I NEED those open spaces, I actually crave the colour green – I can't get enough of it, and can't stand a day when I go without seeing something 'natural'. I can't live in the country because I don't drive, having never learned, and the fact that I have probable ADHD and dyspraxia alongside the autism doesn't exactly fill me with enthusiasm for learning. So I need to live somewhere I can, for the most part, get where I need to by walking (public transport, for me, is only ever a necessary evil for longer journeys). And I need simplicity. I need access to a healthy diet without having to stress too much over it.

    Yes. Minimising of stress – by whatever means work best for the individual – is of paramount importance.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Another non-driver! I still can’t cross the road (been knocked down several times and nearly caused lots of accidents) so don’t think learning to drive is an option for me either. But luckily I’m only a 20 min bus journey from the city and once I’m there I’ll happily walk several miles to get where I need to go. I do actually prefer city living just as long as I have access to green space. Village life, for me, is claustrophobic. Not to smile and acknowledge everyone you see is seen as rude – it’s blimmin’ knackering!

    Thanks for commenting! Xx

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Beautifully, beautifully written! Your knowledge is incredible.
    As an “ActuallyAutistic” doctor, I thoroughly enjoyed–and love–your post from multiple angles šŸ™‚ ā¤

    Liked by 2 people

  6. And actually, there are respected medical journals for acupuncture, moxibustion, Traditional Chinese Medicine herbal formulas, homeopathy, therapeutic diets, nutritional supplementation, massage therapy, essential oils/aromatherapy, Ayurvedic medicine, and just about every other therapy we can think of. I won’t take up space by posting links here (unless requested), but just search respected top-notch medical publishers such as Elsevier (a UK-based publisher who writes many of the textbooks for allopathic medical schools), Springer (same thing–also has a medical textbook on homeopathy), etc. Simply search PubMed.gov or EuropePMC.org for any of the above therapies and it’ll be obvious that much research work has been done into each and every one of the complementary therapies, many–and increasingly–with excellent results. Top medical entities in the US are using acupuncture alongside conventional cancer treatment and it’s working. About 43% of conventional doctors in one of the European nations (the UK or Germany) are pro-homeopathy, and many of those doctors even prescribe it, or so I’ve been told (I don’t live in Europe, unfortunately, so I don’t know firsthand, but I do trust the source who told us) šŸ™‚ All of the continuing education training I take involves learning how to apply the therapies listed above in clinical settings, and behind each and every claim, recommendation, academic FunFact, or instructional tidbit, there is at least one, if not multiple–credible research references cited. Medicine is changing, and doctors are either going to get with it, or they–and most importantly their patients–will get left behind. ā¤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Love this! And that’s some exciting news there šŸ˜ŠšŸ˜Š
      I think it’s Germany that’s used homeopathy alongside mainstream medicine. They’re streets ahead of the U.K. in that respect. I see I’ve got some research to do xx

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Science brought us allopathic medicine, medications, surgery, blood transfusions, X-Ray’s, MRIs etc. It started with Louis Pasteur. His research stated germs invaded the body – the conclusion, one pill for one disease. the King, liked this hypothesis, offered Pasteur lab/research in the castle – allopathic medicine was born.

    The pertinent bit – Pasteur stole his lab partners research, a man called Antoine Bechamp. But Bechamp hadn’t finished his research. when Bechamp looked at cells under the microscope he saw cells changing into bacteria and back again to a cell. Bechamp came to the conclusion healing comes from within. (Nancy Appleton – The Curse of Louis Pasteur).

    Fast forward. We know that many drugs are manufactured or synthesised from plants, think of aspirin, from willow bark. The drug industry is big business, especially in countries who have to pay for their medical care. But even our GPs buy their medications, flu vaccines, holiday vaccinations etc through drug Reps, then they send their invoices to the Prescription Pricing Agency (PPA), which pay a set price for the drugs. If GPs negotiate well with their drug reps, they make a profit! It’s business.

    Based on Louis Pasteur’s stolen research, drugs are designed to treat the symptoms not the root cause. Allopathic medicine treats each part of the body separately, as if its disconnected. Complimentary medicine tends to treat the body holistically and generally focuses on restoring blocks energy pathways. We are all different, one size does not fit all, which explains why some therapies work for some and not for others.

    Energy medicines, cannot to be synthesised, measured, regulated and have dramatically fewer side effects. Did I mention it’s cheap, which the large drug companies hate! There’s also old wisdom hasn’t been passed on from generation to generation. Try cutting your nails on a Friday night when the sun had gone down and lick the filings. You’ll get a fabulous set of nails after a few weeks. Go on, I dare you to try it!

    Then there’s animals/pets. They can’t tell you what’s wrong but it’s well documented that they respond well to Flower Remedies, homeopathy, osteopathy, and acupuncture. Racehorses are a prime example.

    It’s a great shame that Central Government in the last few years legislated that herbal preparations need to be licensed – some great products have disappeared as the licences are too expensive, which is criminal.

    It’s criminal because it takes away our choice of treatment and we should all be able to choose – allopathic or complementary or a mix of both …. We all want to go from dis-ease to harmony

    Liked by 1 person

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