Critique of Chinese Medicine by Professor Joseph Agassi 艾格思教授对中医的批评

“Swine Flu Herbs”: Criticism by Profesoor Joseph Agassi  (2)

猪流感中医疗法: 艾格思教授批评(2)


   From :  (Professor)Joseph Agassi  约瑟夫.爱格思(教授)

To :        KWAN Lihuen 关理煊

      Cc 副本:   Dr Margaret NG 吴霭仪博士

Sent :    2009-11-20

My dear Lihuen 理煊仁棣足下:

     You confess ignorance of European traditional medicine and yet you assert that it is not much in practice. You are mistaken. 你承认对欧洲传统医学一无所知, 可是你又说欧洲传统医学已经是历史故旧, 不为今世所用.  你错了.

     Also, you overlook the fact that science-based medicine is in practice in China (including Hong Kong) and that it influences traditional medicine everywhere, although in different ways and to different measures. (Ignorant of science-based medicine, most practitioners of traditional medicine hardly notice this influence on them.)  还有, 你忽略了以科学为基础的医学在中国实用的事实(包括香港), 你忽略了以科学为基础的医学对世界各地传统医学的影响, 虽然其影响有不同的方式和程度.  因为对以科学为基础的医学无知, 难怪多半传统医学医士没觉察到科学医学对他们如何影响了.

     Of course, every two traditions can learn something from each other.  当然, 任何两个传统都能够互相学习得益. 

     Now, do corrections of some errors occur in science-based medicine and in traditional medicine? Do they accept corrections? In my opinion, not enough, but more in science-based medicine than anywhere else, and more openly so.  问题是以科学为基础的医学和传统医学有没有改错?  接不接受改错?  我认为都不足够.  不过我认为以科学为基础的医学改错比任何别的医学改错较多, 而且是公开的改错.

     For example, the idea that Chinese medicine is macro is either too vague (and so it should be clarified) or refuted (and so it should be abandoned).  例如, 说中译宏观, 就太含糊(就应该说清楚), 或者已证实是错误的(就应该摒弃这宏观说法概念.)

     In science-based medicine there is too much attention to mechanisms — micro AND macro — and too little attention to systems, whereas traditional medicine — east AND west — is holistic. (Note: holistic is not the same as macro; holism is present everywhere, as it is most obvious.)  以科学为基础的医学太着意於<机制(机理)>—微观宏观都如是–, 而疏略於  <系统> ; 而传统医学—东方西方都如是—是整体医学. (注意: 整体学说不等于宏观学说; 整体学说到处都是, 因为整体学说是最浅显的理论.)

     This is so partly because every time a mechanism is discovered, it is great progress, whereas holism is stagnant, and partly due to mechanistic dogmas.  原因是每次发现一个新的<机制/机理>都是一个巨大的进步.  而整体学说却是停滞不前的; 另外原因是教条的 <机制/机理>.  

     Dogmatisms nowhere fully eliminated, especially since it is masked as defensiveness, and, regrettably, defensiveness is not sufficiently strongly rejected.  教条何时何地都没有被完全除掉, 尤其是当教条戴上了辩护的面具; 可惜, 对教条辩护的摒弃不够有力.

     A big question concerns much traditional practice — east AND west — that science-based medicine says nothing about: is it of any use? is it ever harmful? We know it is harmful when it delays urgent diagnosis. Much is still left open for further study.  传统医学存在着一个大问题—东方西方传统医学都如是—这问题是以科学为基础的医学所不提的: 传统医学还有没有任何用处?  传统医学从来有没有为害?  我们知道, 当传统医学拖延紧急断症的时候, 就为害了.  等待研究的还有很多.

     Your last question, how is it best for practitioners of two traditions to learn from each other, is very good.  你最后的问题问得很好:  两个传统的医士最好如何互相取长补短?

     We can hardly address it before practitioners — traditionally AND scientifically trained — stop being defensive.  要解答这问题, 首先要医士们—传统训练的科学训练的—都不再为自己的偏见面子死辩.  

    Are we defensive 我们为自己的偏见面子死辩吗?  I do not know 我不知道.  

    For my part 我个人认为, I think the matter is not personal but public 此事非个人的事,而是大众的事。  And so 因此, what we need is non-defensive public discussions 我们需要非偏见死辩的公开讨论, the like of which goes on 这样的公开讨论有在进行中– not enough 可是不够– in democratic countries where science-based medicine is malpractice under official auspices and在民主国家里有, alas 可叹, hardly ever in China 在中国差不多从来没有, the good Chinese public cannot protest 在中国, 以科学为基础的医学从来是腐败的(没有医德/疗法失当/玩忽职守/渎职/歪风/恶癖/违法), 可是却有官方的主办 (保护/赞助); 而广大的良好中国人民都不能抗议.

Best wishes 祝福你!

Joseph Agassi 约瑟夫.艾格思 谨覆

37, Levi Eshkol Street,
Herzliya 46745 ISRAEL 以色列
WebPages 网页:

“Swine Flu Herbs”

Critique by Professor Joseph Agassi (1)

 On Comparing Treatments between Chinese and Western Medicine 


艾格思教授评猪流感中西医疗法比较 1


My dear Lihuen 理煊仁棣足下:

        You ask me if I would approve of Mr. WU Yuan’s being awarded a Professor Joseph Agassi Scholarship. Of course, this depends on who else is applying. If he is the only one, then do grant him the scholarship and wish him good luck.   你问我是否同意艾格思教授奖学金给吴渊同学,这当然要看还有别的谁申请。  要是只有吴渊同学一人申请,那么奖学金肯定要给他,也祝愿他幸福。

        You also ask me to write a little comment on his two papers. This is harder, as I am no expert. Indeed, I am utterly ignorant of Chinese traditional medicine. I am also reluctant to do so. Allow me to explain my reluctance.  你请我给吴渊同学的两篇论文(“猪流感按摩”, “猪流感中医疗法”)写评语,我可觉得比较困难了,因为我不是(这方面的)专家。其实我对中医是一窍不通。 我也不愿意写这样的评语。且让我解析为什么我不愿意写。

        I find misleading the contrast between traditional Chinese and Western medicine that you and Mr. WU Yuan endorse. The contrast should be either between traditional Chinese and traditional European medicine, or between traditional and science-based medicine.   你和吴渊同学两人所认可的传统中医与西医的比较,我认为有误导的毛病。要比较,应该传统中医与欧洲传统医学作比较,或者传统医学与以 科学为基础的医学作比较。

        You and Mr. WU Yuan are no students of traditional European medicine, and so you cannot possibly compare their merits and demerits.  你和吴渊同学,两位都不是欧洲传统医学的学生:因此你两位不可能比较两者的利弊。

        In any case, both are inferior to science-based medicine for the simple reason that practitioners of science-based medicine test traditional ideas, as any idea that makes sense, and endorse any that passes the test.  无论如何,以科学为基础的医学比(传统中医与欧洲传统医学)两者都 优胜。理由很简单:以科学为基础的医学的医士测验传统的概念,只要是合理的概念,从而肯定经得起考验的概念。

       This is how the use of amphetamines in traditional Chinese medicine was discovered, as you can read about, say, in the Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences传统中医用‘安非他明’(苯异丙胺)就是这样发明的。可以查看《医学类史刊》   2006 61(3):288-323: .  

     Let me also mention that you do not know if Mr. WU Yuan’s self-diagnosis is right as he notices. He says it does not matter. Perhaps. In most medical cases it does: diagnosis is very important for science-based medicine, and knowledge is never a demerit, no matter what experts in Chinese medicine say.  让我补充一点:正如吴渊同学自己说,你也不知道他对自己的病的断症是否正确。他说这并不重要。  或者如此。可是大部分医案,断症是重要的:以科学为基础的医学,断症是非常重要的; 且知识从不吃亏,不管中医专家怎么说。

With best wishes 祝愿幸福,

Joseph 约瑟夫 谨复

2009年11月10 日

Note : It is Master Dr PANG Kon’s (1910-1979) view that Chinese traditional medicine cannot tell what virus (H?N?) causes the flu, but cures it nevertheless.  彭干师尊观点中医不知什么病毒致流感病,还是医好了。He concedes that the ignorance is a shortcoming, but asserts that it is also a merit that it (CTM) can cure the flu caused by whatever virus..  不知是什么病毒是缺点,不管什么病毒流感病都能医好却是中医的优点。 KWAN Lihuen 关理煊2009.11.13 

(File 文挡: Swine Flu Herbs Critique by Prof. Agassi 艾格思教授评猪流感中西医疗法比较 bilingual 汉英对照。)

—– Original Message —–

From : 关理煊Lihuen Kwan

Sent : Thursday, November 19, 2009 7:14 PM

Subject: Response to Prof. Agassi’s Criticism  回应艾格思教授的批评


Dear Professor Agassi, Dr HO Yuping (Hong Kong), WU Yuan and teacher (Changchun University), and (teacher) Ms HUA Chunling (Jinan, Shandong Province):           


How will Chinese traditional medicine reply to Professor Joseph Agassi’s criticism?

1。我同意吴渊与我都对欧洲传统医学没有认识,没资格对传统中医与欧洲传统医学作比较评论。可是我们根本没意去这样比较, 因为欧洲传统医学已经是历史陈迹, 而中医今天还是活生生的.  要比, 要今天的中医与今天的西医比, 否则没意义, 也没用.   I (Kwan) agree that WU Yuan and I are both ignorant of European traditional medicine and therefore not qualified to compare it with Chinese traditional medicine.  But we never wanted to compare the two, because European traditonal medicine is past history, while Chinese traditional medicine is still very much alive today, being practised and turned to.  Any comparision has to be between (Western) science-based medicine today with Chinese traditional medicine today, to be meaningful and useful.  

2.  Don’t you agree that Chinese traditional medicine is not science-based, in that its practitioners do not test the traditional ideas, and endorse only those ideas that pass the tests?  “Science is the unending elimination of errors.” (Agassi.)  CTM today uncritically holds on to ideas two thousand years old without severely testing them: that is why it is not sciene or science-based.  您们同意中医不以科学为基础吗? 因为中医士不测验中医传统概念, 因此没有放弃会经不起考验的概念. (艾格思教授说) 永远不停除掉错误才是科学. 至于中医, 俗云照单全收. 两千年如是, 所以不是科学, 基础不是科学.

3.  今天的中西医各有长短, 要互相取长补短. (何誉丙医师说)西医微观, 中医宏观, 还是要互相取长补短. 结论有何不妥, 请问艾格思教授?  WU Yuan says “Western (science-based) medicine and Chinese traditonal medicine each has its merits and demerits, and should learn from and compensate and complement each other.”  Dr HO Yuping says Western (science-based) medicine is microscopic, whereas Chinese traditional medicine is macroscopic, and should learn from each other, etc.  What is wrong with such a conclusion, Professor Agassi? 

4.  猪流感今天的中西医断症,疗法,疗效, 区别优劣如何? 如何互相取长补短?   With Swine Flu ravaging today, how do science-based medicine and CTM differ in their diagnosis, treatments, and results?   How can they adopt each other’s merits and compensate each other’s shortcomings? 

With best wishes 顺祝安康!

关理煊 KWAN Lihuen

Compiled by KWAN Lihuen 关理煊 编辑

Canada 加拿大 2009-12-10 draft 3 搞 (2983 words 字)

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