Egg White Protein May Help Lower High Blood Pressure
Chlorogenic Acids In Green Coffee Beans Help Control Blood Sugar Levels
Balkan Bean Remedy Traps Bedbugs
What was interesting is that all three of these articles would have likely been disregarded and considered pseudoscience or "anti-science" even a few decades ago. Now, I think most readers would agree that the benefit we derive from science is that through examination and testing, we are able to confirm the efficacy of various processes and thereby confirm that there is a sound basis for using them. Similarly, many beliefs that have been held for a long time can also be demonstrated to be wrong or flawed.
I certainly don't have a quarrel with such validation.
What I do often wonder about is whether our quest for scientific knowledge may often be too dismissive about earlier forms of knowledge that haven't actually be refuted by modern science(1). One thing that bears consideration is that humans and human-like ancestors have been around for at least a million years. We all know the kinds of things that happen to people either by accident, disease, or just their normal dumb antics.
Somehow we are often lulled into thinking that every problem encountered by humans was only resolved within the past few centuries. Prior to that somehow humans are presumed to simply have been hapless victims of whatever occurred (2).
Yet, we have striking evidence that most animals are hardly such hapless victims and actively engage in self-medication and care, so why should we assume that humans [with their vastly superior brain capabilities] would have somehow remained ignorant through all those millennia?
In fact, we are often so convinced regarding scientific information we tend to trivialize or even ignore phenomena like "the placebo effect". Yet, even in individuals that discount it, they fail to answer the question of why it should exist at all? After all, if someone can actually get better, regardless of the mechanism, then shouldn't it be taken more seriously?
Similarly, if we have a placebo effect for positive results, then don't we need to consider the ramifications of a placebo effect that promotes negative results?
Furthermore, we can certainly recognize that there are certain biological principles in play that would be readily understood and capable of being exploited even by our early ancestors. One such principle is the idea that for every organism that exists on this planet, there is likely another organism that is capable of exploiting it or killing it. Similarly, we may also presume that for any chemical interaction we might experience, there is a chemical solution that can probably neutralize it.
Such a simple premise can give rise to a tremendous amount of information for primitive peoples just from observing life around them. For example, simply noting that bee honey doesn't spoil could lead to the conclusion that there must be some property present that prevents bacteria from thriving. Now primitive people don't need to be aware of bacteria to conclude that an infection might be regarded as similar to the spoilage of food, so if honey doesn't spoil, then perhaps it can help a festering wound?
Similarly, it wouldn't be a stretch to see how sap from plants might be used to make a kind of glue which might also be used to treat injuries.
In 1964 Eastman submitted an application to use cyanoacrylate glues to seal wounds to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Soon afterward Dr. Coover's glue did find use in Vietnam--reportedly in 1966 cyanoacrylates were tested on-site by a specially trained surgical team, with impressive results.All, in all, let's not overlook what the purpose of science is. Science is about understanding. It is NOT about technology. Therefore, in science we should be more concerned about evaluating what we know and how it works, and less inclined to invoke the "not invented here syndrome" simply because an answer appears from a more primitive source.
For all the good things that science does, let's not lose sight of the fact that humans have lived, thrived, and survived for millennia longer than formalized science. So, let's remember to use science to expand our knowledge and not simply as a bludgeon to ridicule other ideas.
(1) I wonder how many people would dismiss the ability for older civilizations to have constructed the pyramids, or other ancient megalithic structures if we weren't forced to actually see the evidence in existence today. Even then, there are many speculative theories [often quite extravagant] about how these structures could have been built, invariably based on the assumption that these people lacked the technology. The truth is that they didn't lack it. We lack the understanding, not the other way around.
(2) Despite modern hype, the reality is that many humans lived quite long healthy lives well before the availability of modern medicine, and while modern practices may have improved longevity for many suffering from specific ailments, there is no evidence to suggest that it has actually extended life in any general sense [i.e. for individuals that are not sick].