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Chapter 4 -- continued

< --- Chapter 4, Section 2

Scurvy: The "Cancer" of a
Previous Era in Orthodox Medicine
I'm not sure I know of anyone who cannot remember the grade school version of scurvy; how it was a widespread affliction in the British navy "because sailors had no access to fresh food during the long sea voyages; how it was discovered that lime juice prevented -- or was thought then 'cured' -- the symptoms"; and how the discovery of ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), made possible through the miracle of modern science, finally brought about the elimination of this deficiency disease. [ 1 ]
The basis for this deficiency is well-established: that humans are among a handful of primates who, along with guinea pigs and fruit bats, share a "genetic defect." Namely, that they (we) are alone within the more than thirty subclasses of Mammalia that do not metabolize their own ascorbic acid (C6-H8-O6). In fact, the internal production of ascorbate is almost universal to animal life. We lack it. [ 1B ]
None of this really tells the story as it deserves to be told, of course. And as well-read as I thought I was, it wasn't until I myself went to prison and came across story after story that showed the startling parallels between the history of scurvy and the more recent history of cancer that I began to understand the importance of the parallels. Most notably . . .
  • Cures for scurvy, like cancer, are amazingly and breathtakingly bountiful. They're everywhere. We may now be able to point to a single, isolated nutrient, ascorbic acid (or simply, Vitamin C) as the cure for scurvy, but from a naturopathic point of view, the number of source materials that will cure scurvy are many and ubiquitous. So ubiquitous among fruits and vegetables, that for all intents and purposes, one could say that in a balanced diet, the cure as well as the prevention of scurvy was and is . . . food that is FRESH. In fact, scurvy is possible primarily because an important "freshness factor" (Vitamin C) has well-established lability issues.
  • Suppression Evidence Equally "Everywhere." Evidence of attempts by the orthodox medical community to suppress the obviousness of these bountiful cures are equally bountiful, shameful, and self-serving. (Should we be surprised?) This is particularly galling, given the number of effective cures within a wide range of indigenous communities that have been deliberately suppressed.
  • Suppression Even AFTER the Cure is Found! Even after cures have been found, the orthodox establishment has encouraged nutritional regimens that will cause the problem to re-surface for an indeterminable period of time extending well into the future. (In the case of scurvy, this is done by downplaying the very existence of hypoascorbemia, of which scurvy is only the most severe or advanced stage -- including attempts to qualitatively downplay the human nutritional requirements for ascorbal-containing foods. In the case of cancer, it is done by discouraging the use, consumption, education concerning, and sometimes even the cultivation of, cancerolytic herbs like red clover, pokeroot, purple lepacho, violet (viola odorata), chapparal, bloodroot, cat's claw, mistletoe, aveloz, alzium, oleander, aloe vera, nitriloside-containing fruit seeds, etc. as having importance in the diet.) [ 2 ]
  • CURES for both are/were dietary. Yet in both cases the Medical Establishments of the day take/took the position that diet has nothing (and then later, "very little") to do with the disease.
  • CURES for both are/were low in cost.
  • CURES for both are/were widely accepted by people OUTSIDE the orthodox medical community. You'll find this no less galling, in a moment, when we review our "People's History of Scurvy," as you have in our review of cancer cure suppression.
  • CURES for both are/were suppressed in their respective time periods largely because implementation WILL COST PEOPLE IN POWER A LOT OF MONEY! . . . or will cause specific revenue streams related to the flourishing of the disease to become extinguished.
  • The CURE was publicly acknowledged and revealed (in cancer's case, we use future tense) when those in Power had milked the cow dry and there was nothing further to gain by allowing curative techniques and methodologies to become public knowledge.
  • Ultimate source: maladaptation. Both diseases are caused, if not exacerbated, by maladaptive conditions that are entirely manmade and unnatural. Such maladaptations are almost always related to some profit-producing line of endeavor by a small, elite minority.
  • Both have a maladaptive zeitgeist: By this, I mean that each disease, although potentially existing at any point in human history, finds its greatest number of victims during those periods in which the underlying etiological maladaptations are most widely manifest in human affairs.
  • PREVENTION for both are/were simple and also suppressed -- and in both cases easier to prevent than to cure.
The author readily admits that there are places where the analogy breaks down. Most noticeably, cancer is a leading killer in our own time. It has, from the beginning of the nineteeth century to the present taken the lives of tens of millions of people. Scurvy, by contrast, can claim only a little more than 2 million men during its heyday. It was never a serious contender with the most aggressive killers of the time, such as bubonic plague, smallpox, or malaria. [ 3 ]
Additionally, whereas scurvy is the most extreme manifestation of a single nutrient deprivation, cancer is considerably more complex -- by definition. Many different malignant cell developments had to be lumped together -- some 200 different, separate diseases -- into a single disease that we call "cancer." (This was important economic development. In fact, medical authorities should be proud of themselves that there will NEVER be one single, one-size-fits-all cure for cancer. Why? Because unlike scurvy, the word "cancer" does not define a single disease. It defines many -- some of which, like basal cell carcinoma and leukemia, are only tangentially related. But we'll get to that later.)
Despite these differences, the similarities and the methods of suppression are sufficiently and surprisingly similar that, relative to the current study, they deserve our attention. Additionally, suppression of the benefit that Vitamin C poses in the prevention of cancer adds an additional and important causal relationship in our comparison. [ 3B ]



The time frame within which the scurvy is usually thought in the West as having been an epidemiological problem is roughly sixteenth to eighteenth century, but the many of the important parts of the story can be found outside these chronological boundaries.
Vogel begins his work with a retelling of Jacques Cartier and the bitter winter of 1535-36. [ 4 ] His three ships were frozen in the St. Lawrence River, near what is now Montreal, and with four feet of ice beneath them and the extinction of fresh food within the ship holds. Scurvy soon set in so severely that by mid-March, 25 men had died, and within the remainder, only "three or foure" men were not so ill as to be considered hopeless. However, with the help of a local Indian chief, Domagaia, (who had himself once cured himself of scurvy -- a questionable appendage to the story, since scurvy was almost unheard of among the Indians), "the juice and sappe of a certain Tree," saved the remaining men.
The branches from this "magical tree" were first gathered and then "boiling bark and leaves for a decoctain, and placing the dregs upon the legs." All those who were treated "rapidly recovered their health and the Frenchmen marveled at the curative skill of the natives." We now know that the CURE used was nothing more than hemlock or white pine.
Far from being a obscure story, it is James Lind, himself, credited in the West with "discovering" the dietary basis for curing scurvy (which we'll review in a moment), who launched his experiments proving thus, but only AFTER he read of Cartier's account. [ 5 ]
The most amazing thing you discover when studying the cultural anthropology surrounding this phenomenon is that there is almost no indigenous peoples on Earth outside of "Civilized Europe" who did not know how to cure scurvy -- if they ever had it at all. The issue is that much of a no brainer.
Today we know the relationship between Vitamin C and a host of fresh fruits and vegetables, so one would think that if anyone on earth would be susceptible to getting scurvy, it would be at the most northern latitudes. After all, surely people with no regular access to any fresh fruits or vegetables would be afflicted with this illness.
Weston Price found this not to be the case. During his travels in the Canadian north in the 1920's, he happened to ask an old Indian, through an interpreter, "why the Indians did not get scurvy."
The Indian promptly replied, "That's a white man's disease." He told Price that Indians know how to prevent scurvy, but that white man does not. The secret? After killing a moose for game, the Indians would seek out the "two small balls of fat" at the back of the moose, just above the kidneys (adrenal glands), cut them up into small pieces and give them to their family members. We know that the adrenal glands -- even of moose -- contain Vitamin C. [ 6 ]
How many "civilized people" know this?
The most shameful and misleading aspect of the grade school version of the history of scurvy, in my opinion, is one of the suppression of critical facts much larger than this. How much does the story change when it is revealed that even among many Europeans, the cure for scurvy was well-known all along, but just not "officially acknowledged," (just as in the case with effective cancer cures today)? How much does the story change when it is revealed that even medical officials at the time knew the cure, but it was suppressed because to implement proven prevention, in an age when citrus and other fresh fruit were seasonal and refrigeration non-existent, was considered an intolerable inconveniency? How much does the story change when it is revealed that the official rallying cry to "find a cure for scurvy" was sounded by the Elite only AFTER extremely expensive war vessels had to be abandoned at sea because the deathtoll wasn't leaving enough sailors to navigate the ships -- thus, making the search a matter of profit and not human life? [ 7 ]


Scurvy, like cancer, is largely a manmade disease.
There is such an abundance of ascorbate throughout the vegetable kingdom, that one has to create a highly artificial condition to induce scurvy in the first place. It is no wonder the evolutionary process jettisoned the ascorbate manufacturing capability within man: why sustain a metabolic process that is redundant throughout the vegetable kingdom and readily accessible through one's natural diet?
Such an artificial condition is rare in the world, but it did exist with the emergence of larger ships in the 15th century, capable of transporting men over great distances through long journeys lasting for months. This advance in seafaring created an unnatural condition, a "maladaptation," for which man was not created. Disease, remember, is created when demands are placed upon the human body for which it is not naturally designed to adapt, or for which the attempt to adapt brings disrepair. Applied to scurvy, we may restate this principle as a corollary : namely, that the farther foods are removed from nature, the more likely they are to create disease.
The unfortunate story of Jacques Cartier and his scorbutic crew may have been one of the earliest of the modern era, but the disease was so rare and unknown to that point that it was not defined and popularized until much later. The disease was not well-known or widely experienced because, again, the maladaptation that created it -- namely, having men live and work aboard ship for months on end without consuming fresh, ascorbate-laden vegetable foods, which are part of the natural diet of man -- was a rarity in the experience of humanity. It was not until 1589 that Richard Hawluyt's Principall Navigations was published, where he makes mention of two men dying of "skurvie," one of the very first appearances of the word in an English publication.
Conjoining the increased demands upon sailors to subsist in unnatural habitats for months on end was a complete lack of regard for their general welfare. This is evident in examining their assigned diets, which set the stage for scorbutic conditions. One must be careful not to be eating or drinking while reading Bown's sickening account of the standard naval diet, which varied only slightly over the centuries "and only slightly between the various European nations." Victuals were limited by what could be preserved or stored for many months at a time without spoilage . . . but the most influencing factor in the victualling process was, of course, money. Officers of the line were far less likely to get scurvy than were the poorly paid non-commissioned, because they could afford to bring their own provisions: dried apples, pears, berries, and the like, whereas the crew was subjected to an unnatural diet that even by modern, orthodox standards of nutrition, was devoid of most nutrients, even if ample in calories. Bown recounts the typical weekly menu for the average sailor:
Biscuit 1 lb. daily
Salt beef 2 lb. twice weekly
Salt pork 1 lb. twice weekly
Dried fish 2 oz. thrice weekly
Butter 2 oz. thrice weekly
Cheese 4 oz. thrice weekly
Peas 8 oz. four days per week
Beer 1 gallon daily
This might not sound too unappetizing until one realizes the condition in which it was served. The remarks made by James Patten, a surgeon aboard Captain Cook's second voyage, were par for the time: "Our bread was . . . both musty and mouldy, and at the same time swarming with two different sorts of little brown grubs, the circulio granorius (or weevil) and the dermestes paniceus . . . Their larvas, or maggots, were found in such quantities in the pease-soup, as if they had been strewed over our plates on purpose, so that we could not avoid swallowing some of them in every spoonful we took." [ 8 ]
Such was the little regard that the Admiralties of the various national navies took for the diet of their sailors. And, yet, it was not because they couldn't have provided better. Quite the contrary, the authorities of the day often went out of their way to ensure that the sailors would NOT get what they needed. As late as 1736, William Cockburn, a noted physician and naval surgeon, wrote in his influential Sea Diseases that scurvy had nothing to do with diet, but was the result of idleness. With added physicial exertion [i.e. working harder for the Admiralty] "digestion and nutrition were better performed" and scurvy would be abated. Another influential voice, John White, opined that fresh fruit caused enteritis and that "one must, when ships reach countries abounding in oranges, lemons, pineapples, etc., ensure that the crew eat very little of them since they are the commonest cause of fevers and obstruction of the vital organs." [ 9 ]
And yet the historical record is chockful of reports where it was apparent that wise sailors throughout Europe, not tethered to purse-conscious, national navies, fully understood the importance of proper diet in their seafaring activies. Both the Norse and the Chinese knew the value of including fresh cranberries, seaweed, or ginger in their victuals, common before the construction of larger ships and much longer voyages. [ 10 ]
In the early 1600's, the legendary sea captain of Elizabethan England, Sir James Lancaster, was well-known for taking lemon juice as a provision aboard his ship, Red Dragon, for the specific purpose of warding off scurvy among his men. When scurvy did begin to surface, Lancaster led his ships into port "to refresh our men with oranges and lemons, to clear ourselves of this disease." He even purchased thousands of lemons, then put his men to work, squeezing them to make a "lemon water" for his continuing journey.
Far from being considered the recommendations of a seagoing crank, Lancaster's methods were standardized in his day. In 1617, The Surgeon's Mate, written by John Woodall, the surgeon general of the East India Company, wrote that lemon juice was often used as a daily preventative on company vessels. "There is a good quantity of juice of lemons sent in each ship out of England by the care of the merchants and intended only for the relief of every poor man in his need, which is an admirable comfort to poor men in that disease."
Likewise, the Dutch East India Company not only made frequent use of lemon juice on their voyages, but they went so far as to maintain citrus plantations at key stops along their routes, including Mauritius, St. Helena, and the Cape of Good Hope, where by 1661, they reportedly had 1,000 citrus fruit trees. These were influential companies, experienced at international trade and maintaining viable fleets. So, it is no wonder that by the early 1600's -- long before any mention of an "official cure" by orthodox medicine, and even long before scurvy's emergence as an epidemiological nightmare among the national navies of the world, lemon juice was "well regarded as the universal solution to the scurvy problem".
Francois Pyrard, who sailed two French ships to the Spice Islands in 1602, recorded his own ship's bout with scurvy and remarked that "there is no better or more certain cure than citrons and oranges and their juice: and after using it once successfully everyone makes provision to it to serve him when in need." Likewise, lemon juice was considered a cure for scurvy by early American colonists. Baron De La Warr, a governor at Plymouth in the early 1600's who came down with scurvy on a trip to the Carribean, remarked, "There I found help for my health by means of fresh diet, and especially of oranges and lemons . . . an undoubted remedy for (scurvy)." In neighboring Canada, the Hudson Bay Company from their beginning in the 1600's, shipped out small quantities of lime juice to prevent scurvy. [ 11 ]
The story of how purveyors and sutlers of citrus products came to be effectively labelled "quacks," not unlike a host of herbal providers of effective treatments are today, is a common tale. Over the course of the next hundred years, slowly but surely, the use of citrus products was replaced by more expensive remedies with much better markups for their providers and the creation of an orthodox medical system to provide a theoretical foundation for their use. That these newfound "remedies" didn't work was beside the point. No one could explain how "lemon water" worked. But medical personnel were trained to explain how "oil of vitriol" (alcohol and sulphuric acid) worked.
That made it legitimate.
A new theory, with official sanctions, was all that was needed to create a new onslaught of scurvy as a seagoing disease reaching epidemic proportions. The products that would replace lemon juice as a cure for scurvy proved to be as outlandish, goofy, and baseless as the official products used today to treat cancer (i.e. chemotherapy, radiation, and radical surgery). One hundred and fifty years later, the British Admiralty ordered as standard antiscorbutic treatment: a daily ration of two ounces of vinegar, oil of vitriol, and a potent patent medicine called "Ward's Drop and Pill" (a "viciously strong purgative and diuretic"). Such remedies were taken because the authorities in charge ordered it -- not because they had earned any reputation of efficacy among those who were the intended recipients. "(I) gave a quantity of (these remedies) to the surgeon, for such of the sick people as were willing to take them; several did so; though I know of none who believed they were of any service to them," wrote Lord Anson. [ 12 ]
As one reads historical records of this period, it is evident that with the infusion of professional medicine comes the abandonment, not the embracing, of the "obvious cure." As Carpenter notes, "(the medical profession) made the subject so complicated that a safe and effective treatment could hardly be chosen without sophisticated diagnosis. This was certainly of benefit to the medical profession -- if not to the patient. As a modern French scholar has written: 'When theoretical considerations prevailed over empiricism, treatment became more and more complex and less effective.' " [ 13 ]
Well before sailors like Sir James Lancaster were keeping their crews alive by committing themselves to the obvious cure for scurvy, orthodox medicine was busy at work, attempting to find a way to profit from it. But therein lay the challenge. How could a professional class of physicians and their allied apothecaries (i.e. pharmacists) profit from a disease if those outside their class could easily identify this disease and cure it themselves?
It couldn't.
What was required at this point was a state of dependency upon the medical professional. But how could orthodox medicine profitably insert itself into the newly emerging scurvy phenomenon without discrediting the already established cure?
It couldn't.
There was always the option of leaving well enough alone and let the sailors continue to identify and cure -- again, not treat, cure -- their own malady. But then how could professional medicine assert its own authority in the affairs of society if one of the fastest emerging medical crises was being eradicated without them -- no doctor, no apothecary, no medical authority required?
It couldn't.
Could the status quo possibly continue without severely impacting the very legitimacy of established medicine?
It couldn't.
And so the stage was set -- not for the acknowledgement of the cure for scurvy (though it be obvious, even in the absence of a Vitamin C discovery), but rather its eradication. This would be a campaign so successful -- executed wittingly and unwittingly -- that it would not be until well into the 20th century that these efforts would finally be laid to rest : by which time cancer had taken the limelight as the "disease de jour," and orthodox medicine would develop the audacity to take credit for the scurvy cure -- a cure it had spent over three centuries suppressing and to a considerable and paradoxical extent, still suppresses to this day in its less extreme state: hypoascorbemia.
Because humanity's tragic experience with scurvy occurred during a time when modern medicine, as we now know it, was just emerging -- indeed, an epidemic at its birth, its study provides an opportunity to gain clarity as to how culture creates patterns that become entrenched over time. These patterns contain the seeds of a civilization's demise, but not before exhibiting ghastly anomolies -- like the out-of-control condition endemic to today's orthodox medical establishment.

For there to be any institutionalized medical infrastructure under the cultural operating system that now defines Western civilization, you would have to have several indisposable components -- all of which are interrelated. You need an authoritative hierarchal structure, an ideological foundation, a monopoly of force, and the resources to sustain these functions. Yet all of these are subservient to -- and feed into -- the most critical element of all: the need to "establish and constantly reinforce legitimacy." In this respect, the anatomy of institutionalized medicine is no different from that of any governmental state. [ 14 ]
Hierarchy and complexity, as Joseph Tainter has noted, "are rare in human history, and where present require constant reinforcement. No societal leader is ever far from the need to validate position and policy, and no hierarchical society can be organized without explicit provision for this need."
Hierarchy and social complexity naturally gravitate towards the creation of a center, not necessarily a geographical one, but certainly a "symbolic source of the framework of society. It is not only the location of legal and governmental institutions, but is the source of order, and the symbol of moral authority and social continuity. The center partakes of the nature of the sacred. In this sense, every complex society has an official religion." Tainter goes onto to say this "moral authority and sacred aura of the center" is critical not only to the maintenance of a complex society, but its emergence.
This demands not simply the manipulation of ideological symbols, but requires substantial resources. As it applies to medicine, how are these resources created? If it is the case, as I clearly postulate, that the cures for most diseases are simple, natural remedies that do not lend themselves to private ownership (via patent, proprietary process, etc.) or higher profit margins, then what primary condition would have to be put in place for a viable organized medical community to emerge?
The answer is obvious: it requires artificiality. It requires systems of thought, bordering on religion -- that give artificial value to artificiality. And if disease can be thought of as unresolved maladaptation, it means creating complex, artificial, maladaptive approaches to treating maladaptation. To understand this principle as it applies to organized medicine is to understand why it is not possible for orthodox medicine to have ever evolved into anything more -- or other -- than an extended crime syndicate, parasitic on those it claims to serve, while devoted to the suppression of legitimate cures. The simple, indisputable fact of the matter is that "value-added" products and services, in medicine as in every other field of endeavor, means taking what Nature has provided (most often for free) and creating from it something that is scarce. This isn't even medicine: it's a tautological "given" in microeconomics. To take what nature has freely provided and make something uncommon, scarce and perhaps even difficult to replicate and expect this artifact, extrinsic to nature, to improve what is intrinsic to Nature, is ludicrous.
Organized medicine is itself a disease -- self-serving and malignant. It enters into the field of nature, where of their own accord, wounds heal, blood clots, pathogenic microbes are overcome by natural immunity, and attempts to co-opt Mother Nature and claim that using methods entirely Un-Natural that it can improve upon biological systems that are immovably bound to Her Domain. Modern medicine proposes the impossible: that through maladaptation, it can bring health -- when health never exists outside an organism's own adaptive boundaries. In this sense, Modern Medicine functions in ways that mimic the disease process itself.
Applied outside the realm of "direct aggression against individuals," Ivan Illich calls this "social iatrogenesis," where "medical bureaucracy creates ill-health by increasing stress, by multiplying disabling dependence, by generating new painful needs, by lowering the levels of tolerance for discomfort or concede to an individual when he suffers, and by abolishing even the right to self-care." [ 15 ]
We see this again and again in the unfolding of the "scurvy cure" and the revisionist version that now passes for history. I can think of no better example than James Lind and the "Salisbury Experiment" of 1847. This was "one of the first controlled trials in medical history, or in any branch of clinical science." [ 16 ] It deserves our attention not just because it proved conclusively that oranges and lemons contained something -- who cares at this point what it is -- that cured scurvy, but to any thinking human being, the manner of its suppression is almost too painful to read. It would take another 48 years (1795) -- only after the loss of untold thousands of sailors, an indeterminable number of warships, the loss of the American Colonies, and then nearly England's own survival -- when the lords of the British Admiralty would admit a more humiliating defeat and make citrus fruit standard issue on its ships of the line. Only when the life of the nation itself was at stake would those in authority admit the folly of their unproven remedies and allow sailors ready access to a cure that had been known for hundreds of years. (For those who would conclude from my commentary that indifference to the health of their charge was or is exclusive to British authority, I would present its American counterpart: after 30,000 soldiers came down with scurvy during the American Civil War, the U.S. Army finally adopted anti-scorbutic rations in 1895 -- another 100 years after the British adopted them.) [ 16b ]


"It must however appear clear to every reflecting mind, that the care of the sick and wounded is a matter equally of policy, humanity and economy. Independently of men being sentient beings and fellow creatures, they may also be considered as indispensable mechanical instruments."
Adm. Gilbert Blane 17
By any reasonable standard, James Lind's experiment aboard the HMS Salisbury, beginning in May, 1747 -- today hailed as a remarkable scientific accomplishment -- was an exercise in common sense. At this time, Lind did not possess a medical degree -- something which, in retrospect, probably gave him a decided advantage. He was a "ship's surgeon," a position which, at that time, carried with a level of respect (and pay) only slightly above the common sailor and well below that of the officers. What Lind did have aboard the Salisbury, a fourth-rate ship of the line, was the confidence and permission of his captain to proceed with his "experiment." Bown describes the simplicity of Lind's approach : he took twelve sailors, all with similar levels of advanced scorbutic symptoms. He then . . .
". . . hung their hammocks in a separate compartment in the forehold -- as dank, dark, and cloying as can be imagined -- and provided 'one diet common to all.' Breakfast consisted of gruel sweetened with sugar. Lunch (or dinner) was either "fresh mutton broth" or occasionally 'puddings, boiled biscuit with sugar.' And for supper he had the cook prepare barley and raisins, rice and currants, sago and wine. Lind also controlled the quantities of food eaten. During the fourteen-day period, he separated the scorbutic sailors into six pairs and supplemented the diet of each pair with various antiscorbutic medicines and foods.
The first pair were ordered a quart of 'cyder' (slightly alcoholic) per day. The second pair were administered twenty-five 'guts' (drops) of elixir of vitriol three times daily on an empty stomach and also 'using a gargle strongly acidulated with it for their mouths.' A third pair took two spoonfuls of vinegar three times daily, also on empty an empty stomach, also gargling with it and having their food liberally doused with it. The fourth pair, who were the two most severely suffering patients, 'with the tendons in the ham rigid,' were given the seemingly oddest treatment: sea water, of which they drank 'half a pint every day, and sometimes more or less as it operated, by way of a general physic.' The fifth set of sailors each were fed two oranges and one lemon daily for six days, when the ship's meagre supply ran out. The sixth pair were ordered an 'electuary' (medicinal paste), 'the biggest of a nutmeg,' thrice daily. The paste consisted of garlic, mustard seed, dried radish root, balsam of Peru, and gum myrrh. It was washed down with barley water 'well acidulated with tamarinds.' and on several occasions they were fed cream of tartar, a mild laxative, 'by which they were gently purged three or four times during the course.' Lind also kept several scorbutic sailors aside in different room and gave them nothing beyond the standard naval diet other than the occasional 'lenitive electuary' (painkiller) and cream of tartar." [ 18 ]
The results would probably not surprise many indigenous people, but they surprised Lind. The lucky pair who were fed the citrus fruit were nearly recovered after only a week. None of the other test subjects were to similarly recover. In fact, the citrus eaters ended up helping to nurse the other unfortunate scurvy victims who had not been so treated. Lind's conclusion clear and concise, "the most sudden and visible good effects were perceived from the use of the oranges and lemons . . . Oranges and lemons were the most effectual remedies for this distemper at sea." [ 19 ]
The following year (1748) Lind retired from the Royal Navy, as hostilities between England and Spain diminished. He completed his medical degree at the University of Edinburgh and 1750 was elected a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in Edinburgh. He then got married and established a private practice.
It would appear, however, that Lind was a rare bird in the nascent field of modern medicine as we now know it. A contrarian not content with conventional thinking on scurvy that ran contrary to his own findings, he spent the next three years on work so comprehensive and bibliographical that it took into account every known desription of scurvy, from the earliest records to the most modern. Letters and documents were compiled and translated from places all over Europe.
In 1753, six years after the Salisbury experiment, Lind's treatise appeared in Edinburgh: Treatise on the Scurvy, Containing an Inquiry into the Nature, Causes, and Cure, of That Disease Together with a Critical and Chronological View of What Has Been Published on the Subject.
This book is hailed by numerous sources and authorities as a landmark in the history of medicine. It was, of course, resisted by an inertial system of patronage that was every bit as grotesque as the one that infests the military establishments of most modern Western nations today. [ 20 ] But what is more revealing is now modern historians treat the matter. Harvie himself opens his treatise on Lind by remarking that scurvy killed "thousands of men, mainly sailors, every year for at least four centuries before a remedy was found." Found by whom? For whom? [ 21 ] Not the Eskimos. They had a cure. Not any of the native peoples of North America. They had their own cures. Not the Polynesians, or the Melanesians, or the Maori, or the Chechuans -- hell, try to name an indigenous people who were not contaminated by the sick cultural environment that gave birth to the modern abortion we call Modern Medicine that did NOT have a cure! [ 22 ]
The entire Western-centric thinking in which the "discovery of the scurvy cure" is framed reminds me of our treatment of Christopher Columbus. He, too, is credited with discovering something : AMERICA -- but, once again, by whom and for whom? (How can you "discover" a place where over 55 million human beings are already living? A hemisphere which, as Las Casas eyewitnessed, was "teeming with people. . . like a beehive.") [ 23 ]
Lind's contribution does not merit the use of the word "discovery." How can you discover something that people all over the world who are not connected to the intellectual convolutions of modern medicine already know and use and benefit from? Instead of noting the obvious: that Lind simply used Cartesian methods of observation to confirm what people in cultures all over the world already knew, he is instead, within the confines of modern medicine history elevated to a position on its own private Mount Olympus. He is exalted for his "truly pioneering controlled clinical trial," while one eulogy of note contends that Lind is "one of the greatest names in the whole history of medicine," and, "the discovery of the cause and prevention of scurvy is one of the great chapters in all human history . . . largely the work of James Lind." [ 24 ]
What unmitigated rubbish.
For lost in the heady crediting of Lind with the initial "discovery of the scurvy cure," is the suppression of the good doctor's involvement in the suppression. Not content to leave well alone -- for what contribution to medical science is there is recommending the consumption of lemons? -- Lind decided to make his own contribution to medicine. Nature's cure wasn't good enough. What respectability could there be in that? So he came up with the idea of producing a "rob" -- a concentrate of citrus fruit, made by boiling down the citrus fruit itself. The astute observer today will readily see the fault there: Vitamin C, being subject to heat lability, would be destroyed in any such process.
Now surely, James Lind, the man credited with doing the first controlled medicine study, would test his rob to ensure that it worked as well as raw oranges and lemons. So that's exactly what he did, right?
Of course not.
As time went on, Lind began making untested, untried, untrue, mindlessly ineffective recommendations that were no better than the other profit-producing recommendations of his peers. In 1779, his final work suggests that cream of tartar is an adequate substitute -- and so it is confidently inserted among Lind's other stupendous recommendations for mitigating scurvy: including the fumigation of ships with burning tar. By diluting his initial finding with a plethora of ineffective nonsense, it has been noted that Lind "complicated, if not delayed, the successful management of scurvy in British and Western European shipping." [ 25 ]
Nonetheless, Lind never suffered the consequence of leveraging the publicity of his positive initial scurvy find into this series of worthless, untested scurvy recommendations. How could official opprobrium result when those in charge were backing proprietary scurvy treatments that were every bit as untested and void of any curative properties? (What comes to mind is Dr. John Pringle's position as President of the British Royal Society and his influence on the Admiralty to promote, for many years in the late 1700's, the continued use of "wort of malt," a completely worthless treatment.) Instead, Lind spent the rest of his professional life as a high ranking hospital administrator, and I believe it would be fair to say a member -- though not of the highest stature therein -- of the ruling aristocracy.
As we saw earlier, modern medicine requires ideological foundations to sustain its legitimacy and having become a full-fledged physician and member of the establishment, it would have been unthinkable for Lind to conclude his Treatise without introducing his own theory about its cause and cure. Not only are Lind's theories (too extensive to recount in full here) every bit as hare-brained as his contemporaries, but he actively criticizes the ideas of the one physician who, more than any other in his day, understood the true cause and cure of scurvy.
Johan Friedrich Bachstrom was a Dutch physician of this period who correctly identified scurvy as a dietary deficiency disease. He divided plants into three broad categories, ranking their strength as antiscorbutics (in fact, he coined the term). Though primitive and in need of alteration by today's understanding, the uncelebrated Bachstrom, unlike the highly celebrated Lind, correctly saw that "the most common herbs and fresh fruits excel the most pompous pharmaceutical preparations," and that "this evil is solely owing to a total abstinence from fresh vegetable food and greens, which alone are the true primary cause of the disease."
What? No proprietary formula? No special treatment -- or officially sanctioned remedy? Wrong answer.
For his impudence, Bachstrom was imprisoned and died in Lithuania in 1742, at the age of fifty-six. [ 26 ]


From this point the official story -- depending on whose version of history you listen to -- winds through the empirical success of Captain James Cook's arresting scurvy at sea and on to Gilbert Blane's ultimate success at getting citrus products back into fashion as a scurvy preventive and cure. [ 27 ]
This is where the story ends, if you listen to the common narrative. Citrus fruit becomes accepted as the answer, later to be confirmed as containing the one true isolated cure, Vitamin C. Scurvy is accepted as a deficiency disease. And now everyone gets to live happily ever after, once again, THANKS to modern medicine.
But that is not at all what happened. Over the last 200 years, scurvy has repeatedly been resurrected -- and in nearly every case, it recurred where modern medicine, with and without assistance from its brethren in the processed food industry, couldn't resist the temptation to intervene with some twisted angle to make money from its remanifestation. Carpenter's work is packed with nauseating examples -- of which only a couple will be drawn here for brevity's sake.
Beginning with the summer of 1845, weather in northwest Europe took a nasty turn resulting in the loss of about half the potato crop -- an important staple and a vital source of Vitamin C. In July of the following year, a similar turn resulted in almost a total loss for crop in Ireland and Britain. This period in history is referred to The Great Potato Famine (1845-1848).
Ascorbates would not be discovered for another eighty years, and yet despite a well-established Treatise on Food and Diet (Pereira, 1843), noting the "need for succulent vegetables and variety in the human diet," prominent voices obtained the imprimatur of the medical establishment to help introduce an array of new, zanny theories about scurvy and the exciting new therapeutic possibilities.
In 1842, Animal Chemistry was published, giving voice to the "protein theory" of nutrition by Justus von Liebig. Carpenter summarizes his three main points:
  1. "The proteins (as we would call them) are readily converted to each other in animal digestion because of their common fundamental character.
  2. The energy needed for muscular contraction is derived from the breakdown of the muscle proteins themselves.
  3. The only function of the nonnitrogenous starches and sugars in foods is to protect the tissue from the destructive effects of oxygen, by themselves reacting with oxygen and, at the same time, giving out heat that keeps animals at their optimal working temperature.
This theoretical framework created what would become the nutritional wisdom of the day, lasting almost to the 20th century: that only nitrogenous foods (proteins) had true nutritional value and that other organic compounds (what we would call carbohydrates and fats) acted as "respiratory materials," providing the basis for thermal integrity. Drawing upon Liebig's work, Dr. Robert Christison, created a new theory that found "the main cause of scurvy" was a lack of milk. He drew his conclusions from observations made of scurvy outbreaks in British prisons, and his opinions on the matter were so influential as to what we might call "protein deficiency" that he got the diet of inmates altered to include skimmed milk, morning and evening, and half a pound of meat. Never mind that the indisputable cure to that point, citrus fruit, could not at all have been considered a "nitrogenous" food -- common sense observations mentioned by a handful of Christison's critics, but insufficient to alter his influence. (Remember, protein-based foods have, since the earliest stirrings of capitalism, carried higher profit margins than foods from other food groups, undoubtedly an influencing factor and something I discuss in my first book). [ 28 ]
An equally hare-brained theory that became widely accepted in orthodox medical circles was the "potassium theory," reasoning that by restricting their diet of succulent vegetables, the scurvy sufferer was subjected to a deficiency in mineral salts, primarily potassium. In time, their theory sank, too, with the sheer weight of common sense (i.e. if a deficiency of mineral salts has anything to do with scurvy, why does the mere act of dehydration -- wherein mineral salts are preserved -- kill the anti-scorbutic value of fruits and vegetables?) However, as late as 1862, the theory still had a following among the medically prestigous.
Gradually, interest in new scurvy cures subsided with the absence of scurvy as a problem on land: in the summer of 1848, there came a normal potato harvest, scurvy subsided -- and without a way to help "create" new scurvy cases, orthodox medicine had to look to other markets to peddle its goods and services, but not before issuing its final, inane, dietary recommendations for avoiding scurvy: "Avoid the use of uncooked vegetables, unripe, sour or stone fruit . . . and acid drinks generally." [ 29 ] The cure for scurvy would, of course, require ignoring this "sound medical advice," just as surely as curing cancer today would require the avoidance of nearly all chemotherapy, radiation, and invasive, radical, surgical techniques -- the FDA approved modalities in the West.
With this in mind, it shouldn't surprise the alert observer that scurvy has always been rare in areas where people live "close to the land" -- not just because they are more apt to get fresh fruit and vegetables, ample in ascorbate, but because they are blessed with an absence of menacing medical authorities. A good example is Hudson's Bay Company, the oldest commercial corporation in North America, with continuous operations going back to 1670. In all that time, scurvy has NEVER been a "serious problem that it hampered their development." Bypassing the many "theories de jour," Hudson's shipped out small quantities of lime juice during this same nineteenth century period. [ 30 ] One can only ponder what scorbutic horrors would have awaited their employees in the New World had they followed "sound medical advice."
Regardless, it is the period that follows, a period for which any Western school child will probably tell you that the scurvy problem had already been solved -- (after all, it's in the common narrative), that scurvy reared its ugly head again and modern medicine came forth with yet another zanny theory.
We'll call this period "The Age of the Ptomaine Theory." [ 31 ]


In 1876 a British naval expedition returned from the Arctic after just one year. Our of 120 men, half had suffered from scurvy, and 4 had died of it. A full-scale inquiry was called for by the House of Commons, leading to the development of an entirely NEW theory on the cause of scurvy, one that would become influential by 1900.
That scurvy should still be a problem for explorers, over 120 years after Lind's now famous publication and only slightly more time than this to the date of this writing, deserves examination. As stated earlier, Weston Price noted that despite a dirth of fresh fruits and vegetables, Eskimos and other peoples of the far north are rarely seen to suffer from it. They are in touch with the land and their relationship to it. [ 32 ]
But such observations clearly do not square with modern medicine's own common narrative, so a new theory in the age of polar explorations had to be created to explain why those who ate meat in the northern latitudes did not get scurvy, while those farther to the south did not. Out the window went over a century of proof that fresh citrus was already an established cure. And so came about "The Ptomaine Theory," which, as one of its main proponents, Frederick Jackson, unwittingly declared, required the dislodging of the already established cure, "the use of lime juice neither prevents nor cures scurvy . . . (it) is a disease developed through eating tained food . . . a slow poisoning . . . " Modern medical historians act as apologists -- (they have no choice) -- for the re-sprouting of these periodic zanny theories that orthodox medicine latches onto -- excuses that do not comport with common sense. In this case, the escape is that Jackson observed crews taking their aged daily ounce of lime juice to no effect. Ergo, citrus fruit is of no value. Never mind that the simple observation that nearly all foods degrade in value the longer they are removed from their natural source -- the greater the distance in time from their initial harvest.
Working with Vaughan Harley, a Professor of Physiological Chemistry in London University, Jackson sought to give life to his theory -- which garnered credibility from the new acceptance of Pasteur's Germ Theory. The testing for the Ptomaine Theory is described by Jackson in a then respected 1899 monograph:
"If meat is not properly preserved, micro-organisms contaminate it, and as a consequence it goes bad -- the bacteria chemically change the albumen, fat, carbohydrates in the meat, and the new chemical products formed (ptomaines) cause the change in colour, smell, etc . . . Before the meat has actually gone so bad as to be repugnant to the sense of smell and sight, bacteria may have done their work, and yielded their ptomaines . . . It is such tainted meat, and not bad meat, that one must look to as the cause of scurvy. The greater prevalence of scurvy in the winter -- which used to be argued in favour of the fresh vegetable theory of the disease -- is in support of this theory; for in summer, if meat is kept, the bacteria would proliferate with such rapidity that the meat would soon smell bad and be rejected. In winter it would not taint so rapidly, and might be cooked and eaten without thought of danger. It must be remembered that, although cooking will destroy bacteria, the ordinary heat so used would have no action on their chemical products, or ptomaines. Again, if the meat were putrid, eating it would cause acute ptomaine-poisoning, with headache, violent diarrhoea, sickness . . . if only slightly tained meat were taken, the dose would cause no immediate symptoms, and the disease would gradually develop itself as we know scurvy does. [ 33 ]
This theory wasn't considered hair-brained or on the fringe. It had support from no less than Lord Lister, President of the Royal Society -- representing the pinnacle of establishment respectability. Readers will remember that this is the same position held by Dr. John Pringle in the late 1700's, who, for financial gain, promoted his worthless wort of malt despite the clear evidence of citrus's effectiveness as abundantly articulated by Lind.
Monkey studies were crafted to support the theory -- which is to be expected, because one of the most grevious flaws in the popular religion we call scientism is that experiments always carry a bias to the willed, established doctrine. [ 34 ]
That the smallest consultation with students of the East would have killed the ptomaine theory in its cradle didn't seem to matter. After all, in India scurvy had been observed with soldiers who didn't even eat meat. When hospitalized, their scurvy was cured "by the simple addition of fresh limes or potatoes." [ 35 ] Such observation, however, would run counter to orthodox medicine's efforts to unify and filter its constellation of medical observations, theories, and practices under the rubric of the now hallowed Germ Theory. It is, therefore, not surprising that two years later, in 1902, the British Medical Association opened its annual meeting with a report from its Inspector-General, a retired naval surgeon named Turnbull that pronounced, "From extensive . . . researches in the literature . . . I am forced to the conclusion that . . . the presence of some toxic material in the food is the cause of scurvy . . . also that lemon or lime juice has been erroneously accepted as a certain preventative . . . Fresh or pure provisions are the true antiscorbutic." (emphasis added) Such thinking, now established as medical, scientific fact by the Establishment for the early 20th century, is reflected in comments by Reginald Koettlitz, the senior surgeon on one of Jackson's arctic expeditions: "The benefit of the so-called anti-scorbutic is a delusion . . . that the cause of the outbreak of scurvy in so many polar expeditions has always been that something was radically wrong with the preserved meats, whether tinned or salted is practically certain. An animal food is scorbutic if bacteria have been able to product ptomaines in it . . . otherwise, it is not." (emphasis added) [ 36 ]
The disaster that followed, namely the death of Commander Robert Falcon Scott (1868-1912) and his companions in his last Antarctic expedition (1910-1912), deserves our attention not because they died of scurvy. The medical wisdom of the day -- which we will soon see has not progressed that far in the last century, and in many ways has regressed -- made it inevitable. What is important is the manner in which the information was suppressed.
That suppression became a necessity because the second and final Scott expedition is the most famous in British history -- setting forth a flurry of historical reconstructions that were not published until the late 1970's. [ 37 ] That Scott lost out to Roald Amundsen in the race to the Antarctic -- an irrepressible source of embarrassment to the British -- is not as important as unearthing the truth source of their demise. The daily ration on Scott's expedition itself tells its own story: pemmican, biscuits, butter, cocoa, sugar and tea. Low in calories and deficient in Vitamin C.
When one of the naval surgeons, Atkinson, filed a report on the conditions of Scott and his companions after the bodies were found, hunger and frostbite were mentioned, but not a word is said about scurvy. Huntford speculates, based on his own evidence, that "there are stray hints that he [Atkinson] might have been concealing evidence of scurvy, which could not be revealed because it would have reflected on the whole conduct of the expedition." Considering comments made by surviving crew members, as well as the degree of editing of Scott's own posthumous diary, this author would say that the "hints" become far more certain than suggestive. [ 38 ]


Western civilization, as we have seen, has taken mankind far on the path of maladaptation, but few examples are as illuminating as that of infantile scurvy, a disease which is, first and foremost, rooted in the inability to accept mother's milk as a human infant's most perfect food. Since modern medicine proposes, in so many innumerable ways, that it can improve upon Nature better than Nature herself, it isn't surprising that our civilization would introduce an array of baby formulas which provide nutritional deficiencies to infants that proceed right up to the present day. [ 39 ]
Late in the 19th century, infants who manifested the symptomology of scurvy were diagnosed as having what was then called Barlow's disease. An orthodox medical system that can't cure scurvy in adults, certainly isn't likely to do any better for infants -- and such is the case, with prescriptions resulting for items such as potassium chlorate, iodide of iron, quinine bark, cod liver oil, etc. For well over forty years, medical doctors made money, (of course), by visiting and prescribing a variety of compounds to treat a deficiency disease for which the REAL cure is unthinkable. For an weaning infant, the best antiscorbutic prescription is mother's milk. Imagine!
Infantile scurvy is rightly a "disease of affluence," a subset of the "diseases of civilization" from which earlier adult versions of scurvy are themselves prime examples. Boyden identifies the impact of civilization on the emergence of new diseases: "the majority of the disorders of which people complain in Western society are disorders of civilization, in the sense that they would have been rare or non-existent in primeval society." [ 40 ] We come to much closer grips with the underlying conditions under which infantile scurvy would surface when we realize in that modern civilization, the very mention of women's breasts do not, first and foremost, bring to mind either milk or the sustinence of small infants. Among certain cultural groups breast-feeding is associated with a certain backwardness or even perversity.
Again . . . maladaptation.
So, it is not surprising that as we proceed with our chronology of a short history of scurvy, we would find that the next development would lend itself to modern medicine's key specialty: addressing maladaptation -- the source of disease states -- with yet MORE maladaptation. This took the form of yet more reinforcement of the still nascent Germ Theory with the sterilization of milk. Carpenter's work is quite suggestive of "cooked milk," as the cause of the large number of infantile scurvy during this period. A speaker at a Royal Society meeting in 1898 sets forth the dominant medical thinking of the day:
"The sterilization of milk is one of the greatest advances that has been made in infant feeding . . . The most important diseases which we have to deal with among infants are the digestive disorders in summer time. The sterilization of the milk offers more advantages in checking or preventing those diseases than any other method which has, as yet, been offered . . . Is it possible that sterilization of milk may injure its nutritive properties to a slight extent . . . but the injury done by this is far outweighed by the greater advantage offered in preventing disease."
Another paper considered by the Society at the same meeting is even more emphatic:
"It does not seem fair to put into an infant's stomach a food containing thousands of bacteria in each drop, these bacteria being of unknown quality and very possibly dangerous and pathogenic nature." [ 41 ]

None of this squared with the papers going back to 1894 that raw milk was known to be anti-scorbutic -- a quality that was lost during sterilization. But then, which was more important? Curing infantile scurvy? Or exalting information that supported, while suppressing information which discredited, any facet of the Germ Theory -- the newest cornerstone of medicine's profit model?
By 1920 there existed, however, enough epidemiological support for the idea that breast milk had a unique value to infants not obtainable from the common substitutes of the day. In the 1920 edition of the Index Catalogue to the Library of the Surgeon-General's Office reports were compiled from twenty-two countries, including Australia, Japan, Norway and Brazil. In communities where adult scurvy was rampant, breast-fed children showed no evidence of Barlow's. Evidence was making it clear even to critics that Barlow's in children and scurvy in adults were, in fact, the same affliction.
With the publication in 1907 of Axel Holst's famous paper on the use of the guinea pig as an animal model for studying scurvy, it would only be a matter of time before the cure for scurvy would be expressed in a way that even modern medicine's most entrenched opposition would be hard-pressed to combat.
The discovery of Vitamin C, its implications and the manner in which the "cure for scurvy" is still suppressed to this day are the subject of the fourth and final section of this chapter.


Chapter 4, Section 4 >>

  1. Morris Fishbein, Fishbein's Illustrated Medical and Health Encyclopedia, Volume 20 (Scurvy to Stretch Marks), p. 2629-2631. I could have used any of hundreds of difference references for a quick summation on our school book understanding of "scurvy," but nothing is as rigid and uncompromisingly fixed in orthodox medical mythology as the mid-twentieth century work (and there's a boatload of it) by former AMA President, Morris Fishbein. -- 1B: There are many introductions to this subject, but I recommend Jonathan Wright's. (See Dr. Wright's Guide to Healing With Nutrition, ("A Genetic Defect We All Share -- Hypoascorbemia"), p. 67 - 80.
  2. One of the better books for the lay reader that gives some sense of the scope of the suppression of cancer-fighting herbs is Herbs Against Cancer: History and Controversy by Ralph W. Moss, Ph.D.
  3. Stephen R. Bown, Scurvy: How a Surgeon, a Mariner, and a Gentleman Solved the Greatest Medical Mystery of the Age of Sail. p. 3, 4, 26. The astute reader will readily ascertain that I regard Bown's work with respect for its depth of historical reporting -- even if I disagree with many of his conclusions -- 3B: See Irwin Stone's The Healing Factor: "Vitamin C" Against Disease. Dr. Stone was a pioneer in Vitamin C research, and like Dr. Linus Pauling, whom he greatly influenced, he preached Vitamin C's protective effects against a variety of cancer-causing agents. It is Stone who originated the concept of "hypoascorbemia," and his critics attempts to discredit his findings have not worn well. As Jonathan Wright points out, the critics' arguments can be summarized as "no one thing could be capable of so much." [ Translation: It's all about the money! ]
  4. See Virgil J. Vogel, American Indian Medicine, p. 3 - 4. Also, Jonathan Eisen, Suppressed Inventions & Other Discoveries, p. 7 - 8, quoting from Racketeering in Medicine. Fuller accounts are found in Bown (Scurvy), who tells his version (p. 27-31), as does Carpenter (The History of Scurvy and Vitamin C) (p. 8-10).
  5. Ibid., p. 4, 84-86.
  6. Weston A. Price, D.D.S., Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, p. 75. Bown concerns in Scurvy concerning the Inuits. See p. 39.
  7. See Bown's Scurvy, What comes to mind here is Lord (Commodore) George Anson's disastrous four-year voyage (1740-1744) that "historians have described as the worst medical disaster ever at sea. Most of the Anson's crew were killed by scurvy; and only one of the five warships that departed England in 1741 made it home." (p. 50, 51). The loss of the Gloucester was particularly hurtful, as it was "outrageously expensive" to build. Even the author (Bown) is lead to comment: "It was becoming apparent that even if the Admiralty placed little value on the lives of the sailors, it did place value on its ships." (p. 68). The official "search for a cure" began shortly after the Anson expedition's conclusion.
  8. Bown, Scurvy, p. 13 - 19.
  9. Ibid., p. 37.
  10. Ibid., p. 39.
  11. Ibid., p. 71-73. See also Carpenter's History : on the Dutch establishment of plantations, p. 23; and on the Hudson Bay Company, p. 137.
  12. Ibid., p. 58.
  13. Carpenter, History, p. 42.
  14. Joseph A. Tainter, The Collapse of Complex Societies, p. 25-28.
  15. Ivan Illich, Limits to Medicine / Medical Nemesis: The Expropriation of Health, p. 40-41.
  16. Bown, Scurvy, p. 97. -- ( 16b ) -- Irvin Stone, The Healing Factor: Vitamin C Against Disease, p. 31.
  17. Ibid., p. 203. (Emphasis added).
  18. Ibid., p. 96.
  19. Ibid., p. 97.
  20. David I. Harvie, Limeys, p. 145.
  21. Ibid., p. 1
  22. Two things came to mind as I wrote this. First, Weston Price's study of the superb health and physical condition of people he found all over the world who had not (yet) been contaminated by Western dietary habits. See his Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. The very idea of "searching" for a cure to a disease that is artificially induced by separating yourself from fresh food would strike indigenous peoples as tragically ridiculous.
    Then secondly, my own personal experiences with the Quechuan shamen of Ecuador and Peru. The "ayahuascaros," who utilize the ayuhuasca / chacruna formulations (the vine, Banisteriopsis Caapi, and the leaves of Psychotria Viridis) in their own quest to obtain healing knowledge from "the plant teachers," sound ludicrous to outsiders. And yet many tribes in South America, completely isolated from one another have this same understanding. (See Schultes, Vine of the Soul, which although centered in Columbia, gives some sense of the ubiquitousness in the Amazon of this common knowledge).
    My own ayahuasca journeys with shamen in the Amazon have taught me that plants do, indeed, have spirits that can be your personal teachers, in all matters of life -- such that something as readily curable as scurvy could be cognized in that altered state -- (as if you'd ever put yourself in such a state that you'd really need it). This is not a "belief," as that term is used in the West, it is what I have directly cognized. Moreover, I think that most indigenous peoples, especially those who have preserved the use of of entheogens from their ancient cultures and are uncontaminated by a Western culture far removed from Mother Nature, intuitively have this sense. Plant teachers can be used in the wild to acquire knowledge about all things related to healthy living, and several shamans I know in Ecuador has used them to learn the proper use of many hundreds of medicinal plants. (See Pinchbeck's Breaking Open the Head; Smith's Cleansing the Doors of Perception; the compilation, Entheogens and the Future of Religion; but especially any of the books by the late Terence McKenna, particularly Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge).
  23. See Mann, 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus. It sickens me to think of how much the Baconian / Hobbesian view of indigenous peoples and their ways has worked to suppress our understanding of history. Mann recounts the conclusions of a generation of anthropologists who now conclude that in 1491 there were probably more people living in the Americas than in Europe, that the earliest cities in the Western Hemisphere were "thriving before the Egyptians built the great pyramids," that Mexico was the most densely populated place on Earth (p. 94). As the actual numbers debate itself, a more focussed source is Denevan's The Native Population of the Americas in 1492, whose careful methodology comes up with a hemispheric total of approximately 57,300,000 (p. 291).
  24. Carpenter, The History of Scurvy and Vitamin C, p. 72-73.
  25. Ibid., p. 74.
  26. Bown, Scurvy, p. 82-83.
  27. Ibid., p. 133-162, and 163-184 respectively.
  28. The examples to this point concerning Liebig and Christison are taken Chapter 5 of Carpenter, The History of Scurvy & Vitamin C, entitled "Land scurvy, potatoes, and potassium (1810-1905)", p. 101-107; where my comment on profit margins for protein-based foods comes from The Lumen Book.
  29. Carpenter, The History of Scurvy, p. 109. This ridiculous medical advice was made by the Edinburgh Board of Health in 1848 -- the same year as the founding of the American Medical Association (AMA) in the U.S., and ten years before the announcement of a confirmed cancer cure in London in 1858, which we examined in Chapter 2.
  30. Ibid., p. 137.
  31. Ibid., p. 133-157. The section that follows is taken from Chapter 6 of Carpenter's book, entitled, "Problems in the Arctic and the ptomaine theory (1850-1915)."
  32. Ibid. p. 146. It is interesting to note that Carpenter cites a comment from the Admiralty Committee on Scurvy (1877) that Eskimos were not immune from the disease because "they had been seen to suffer from it when living in the Danish settlements in Greenland." This again brings to mind Weston Price's frequent observation (see Nutrition and Physical Degeneration) that indigenous peoples have always lost their immunity and health generally health when they associated with Western civilized peoples and adapted their diet. If Eskimos were seen at Danish settlements with scurvy, it was most likely that they had already begun to assimilate Western diet practices before acquiring the disease -- a common phenomenon, historically.
  33. Jackson, A Thousand Days in the Arctic, p. 382-5, as cited in History, p. 147-148.
  34. Kuhn, Thomas S., The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, p. 35-38, Section IV. "Normal Science as Puzzle-Solving."
  35. Carpenter, History, p. 150.
  36. Turnbull, A., (1902). Discussion on the prevention of scurvy. Br. Med. J. ii: 1023-4. Cited in History, p. 150-151.
  37. Carpenter cites three: Huxley, Elspeth, Scott of the Antaractic (1977); Thompson, David, Scott's Men (1977); and Huntford, Roland, Scott and Amundsen (1979). The last book (Huntford) was the leading source work from which the television mini, The Last Place on Earth (1985) was derived. Some criticism has been levelled at Huntford for being too harsh on Scott. More recent and less controversial volumes include Captain Scott (2004) by Ranulph Fiennes -- himself a polar explorer; and Susan Solomon's The Coldest March: Scott's Fatal Antarctic Expedition. Any criticism levelled at me for using Huntford in coming to the conclusion that scurvy had a decisive role in the death of Scott and most of his crew I leave to my readers . . . consider, if nothing else, the horrific scorbutic state of their diet (discussed above).
  38. Carpenter, History, p. 155-157. Incidentally, this section closes our discussion of Scott, sparse though it is, taking into account the objectives of the current volume. A more thorough reading of the above cited works is encouraged for those wishing to learn more on the subject. Again, my starting point was Carpenter.
  39. One of my companies, Lumen Foods (soybean.com) became embroiled in controversy in the early 2000's over comments we made telling parents to avoid giving their children soymilk, because of evidence that this was a source of low level manganese toxicity that lead to an array of health problems for children as they aged. My position is that we cannot measure all the subtle ways that children are made deficient by our lack of appreciation for mother's milk.
  40. McKeown, Thomas; The Origins of Human Disease, p. 143, quoting Byden's The Impact of Civilization on the Biology of Man.
  41. Carpenter, History, p. 164-5. Both quotes are taken from this citation.
The History of Scurvy
I use Kenneth Carpenter's work liberally throughout this section. His treatment of the subject is most comprehensive and focusses on scurvy itself instead of the biographies of those involved. It is less entertaining, but far more meaty. I also found Carpenter's work to be the most consistently quoted by other authors who rendered their own treatment of the subject.

Scurvy
Typical of broad biographical works on the subject of Lind and the drama that unfolded in the aftermath of his Treatise is Stephen R. Bown's Scurvy: How a Surgeon, a Mariner, and a Gentleman Solved the Greatment Medical Mystery of the Age of Sail. (He is, by the way, referring to James Lind, the famous Captain James Cook, and Sir Gilbert Blane).
I use Bown's work because it gives a clear account of scurvy's history in Britain from the 16th century through the 19th. However, I do not at all subscribe to Bown's glowing account of this "miraculous discovery" on his terms. Bown is himself under the anesthesia of our common narrative and he appears careful to ensure that his account is concurrent with modern, orthdox treatment of medicine's history.
By way of example, Bown closes his opening Prologue, gushing that "the defeat of scurvy was one of the great medical and socio-military advances of the era, a discovery on par with the accurate calculation of longitude at sea, the creation of the smallpox vaccination, or the development of steam power . . . How the cure for scurvy was found and lost and finally found again at an important juncture in the history of the world is one of the great mysteries of the age." (p. 7)
No, it's not.
It's not a mystery.
It wasn't a mystery then and it isn't a mystery now.
When you understand the inner-workings of orthodox medicine and establishment power, there is nothing within the convoluted history of scurvy's history in the West that cannot be readily explained.
You simply have to be willing to step away from the propagandistic fog.


There was a point during my imprisonment in the U.S. when I realized that there was almost nothing in Meditopia that was original. The best that I could accomplish was to provide a fresh, current facade on a body of work, a veritable stream of wisdom extending through the Vedas, into the earliest Sumerian texts, and beyond into as yet unrecognized antiquities.
This thought is well represented in the Introduction to McKeown's The Role of Medicine: Dream, Mirage, or Nemesis?, wherein McKeown opens with an unnamed historian's comment about the originality of "new ideas." "It is always earlier than you think," he says. Given the time frame under which we examine the history of scurvy, he is, I believe, worthwhile to repeat his recounting of the long-held opinion of Montaigne (1533-1592), concerning the value of medicine.
". . . at least from the time of Montaigne, the notion that treatment of disease may be useless, unpleasant, and even dangerous has been expressed frequently and vehemently, particularly in French literature. Moliere's Le Medecin Malgre Lui, the famous operation in Madame Bovary and Proust's account of the psychiatrist's cursory examination of his mortally ill grandmother ('Madame, you will be well on the day when you realize that you are no longer ill . . . Submit to the honour of being called a neurotic. You belong to that great family . . . to which we are indebted for all the greatest things we know') are examples of the irony and bitterness with which some of the greatest writers have expressed their conclusions about the work of doctors.' " (p. xi)

"I have no difficulty in dating the origin of my own doubts . . . They began when I went to a London hospital as a medical student after several years of graduate research . . . there are two things that struck me, almost at once. One was the absence of any real interest among clinical teachers in the origin of disease, apart from its pathological and clinical manifestations; the other was that whether the prescribed treatment was of any value to the patient was often hardly noticed . . . I adopted the practice of asking myself at the bedside whether we were making anyone any wiser or any better, and soon came to the conclusion that most of the time we were not. Indeed, there seemed to be an inverse relation between the interest of a disease to the doctor and the usefulness of its treatment to the patient . . . Neurology, for example, was highly regarded and attracted some of the best minds because of the fascination of its diagnostic problems; but for the patient with [insert your neurological disorder of choice here], the precision of the diagnosis which was the focus of medical interest made not the slightest difference to the outcome."
Thomas McKeown


But the writers of the Renaissance who wrote about the inherent problems of the medical profession are, once again, not expressing original ideas that do not extend into antiquity.
One example that fits our purposes and helps make sense of dscurvy's insane history as presented in the main text at left extends as far back as Plato.

Technopoly
Neil Postman opens his work, Technopoly, by describing a story from the Phaedrus, concerning the nature of technology. The failure of medical science, from its very beginning to the present day, to effectively address even the simplest of disorders becomes more clear in Postman's description of the issue of man's relationship to his technology:

"The story, as Socrates tells it to his friend Phaedrus, unfolds in the following way: Thamus once entertained the god Theuth, who was the inventor of many things, including number, calculation, geometry, astronomy, and writing. Theuth exhibited his inventions to King Thamus, claiming that they should be made widely known and available to Egyptians. Socrates continues:
Thamus inquired into the use of each of them, and as Theuth went through them expressed approval or disapproval, according as he judged Theuth's claims to be well or ill founded. It would take too long to go through all that Thamus is reported to have said for and against each of Theuth's inventions. But when it came to writing, Theuth declared, "Here is an accomplishment, my lord the King, which will improve both the wisdom and the memory of the Egyptians. I have discovered a sure receipt for memory and wisdom.' To this, Thamus replied, 'Theuth, my paragon of inventors, the discoverer of an art is not the best judge of the good or harm which will accrue to those who practice it. So it is in this; you, who are the father of writing, have out of fondness for your off-spring attributed to it quite the opposite of its real function. Those who acquire it will cease to exercise their memory and become forgetful; they will rely on writing to bring things to their remembrance by external signs instead of by their own internal resources. What you have discovered is a receipt for recollection, not for memory. And as for wisdom, your pupils will have the reputation for it without the reality: they will receive a quantity of information without proper instruction, and in consequence be thought very knowledgeable when they are for the most part quite ignorant. And because they are filled with the conceit of wisdom instead of real wisdom they will be a burden to society." (p. 1-5)
Postman goes on to say that this story from the Phaedrus is no less relevant today than it was in the days of Plato -- in fact, more so. For "we are currently surrounded by throngs of zealous Theuths, one-eyed prophets, who see only what new technologies can do and are incapable of imagining what they will undo."
Such is the misguidance in constructing large warships to wage questionable wars -- only to see more men and ships lost on account of disease and poor judgement than could ever be lost in battle.
Such is the centuries long detour that the cure for scurvy took when Lind introduced a "technology" for boiling and concentrating lemon juice ("rob of lemon"). The processing not only deactivated the ascorbate, but in the process of no longer seeing lemons work in the new, intended way, gave complete disrepute to any notion that citrus fruit was anti-scorbutic. The mistake would not be uncovered and understood until well into the 20th century.
Such is the fallacy in manufacturing vitamin supplements (including Vitamin C) for the purposes of reinforcing devitalized, processed foods. For although the intended purpose is to make the food more nutritious, it only detracts the consumer away from more natural, organic foods that possess the needed nutrients without having to have somebody add them -- always producing results that are not as nutritious or healthy or life-supporting as the original foods they replace.
Such is the tragedy in allowing political organizations, such as the U.S. Congress, to create "protective" bureacracies, such as the U.S. Food & Drug Administration -- itself, a kind of technology. For although its ostensible purpose is to protect Americans from harmful effects from improperly made or sold foods, beverages, cosmetics, etc., it is functionally and quite literally, a cruel mechanism to provide false assurance to the Public that they have an organization that looks out for their best interest, when the truth is that it is a brothel for powerful pharmaceutical companies and others within the Industrial Medical Complex. More Americans have been killed by the predictably, ill-advised policies of the U.S. Food & Drug Administration than have been killed by all wars in which America has ever been.
As the history of scurvy shows, "our inventions are but improved means to an unimproved end." Postman makes this clear in his discussing the implications of embracing technology as an end-all: medicine is today, as it was in the days of James Lind, all about disease and not the patient. What the patient knows is untrustworthy; but what the machine knows is reliable. (p. 100) This is the tautology of modern science itself and it can never be made to comport with the needs of good health: for science itself is built on a foundation that dictates that the senses are not reliable, but the tools of the scientist are.
In 1748, the year that Lind performed his scurvy study on the H.M.S. Salisbury, a book was published in Europe entitled Man a Machine. It so scandalized the clergy that its author had to seek refuge in the court of the philosopher-king Frederick the Great. The essay opens by stating, "It is not enough for a wise man to study nature and truth; he should dare state truth for the benefit of the few who are willing and able to think. As for the rest, who are voluntarily slaves of prejudice, they can no more attain truth, than frogs can fly." (See Man a Machine p. 85).
The book wasn't written by a philosopher or student of political economy.
It was written by a physician.
A "truth for the benefit of the few" will always inure to that few at the expense of the many. For technology is and always has been a generator of the kind of social assymetry of which an unbiased view of medical history provides a treasure trove of key, supportive examples. In the present work we might say that our short history of escharotics was "Exhibit A." The truncated history of scurvy is, in the present chapter, "Exhibit B."

Limeys
On a lighter note, readers wanting to get a closer look at James Lind's life and struggles would do well to examine Harvie's Limeys. I used the work only lightly in my research because very early in the read I felt that Lind's contribution was excessively glorified. I take the position that in promoting his own worthless concoction, he became as much an impediment to promulgating the true cure for scurvy as the very forces and personages against which he fought.
James Lind is a wonderful, historical example of why someone who works in the system, for the system, and must maintain respect by that system is ill-equipped to be a reformer of that system.
I first learned this from Paracelsus.
It is a subject also covered by Kuhn in his study of scientific revolutions, which we will now examine . . .

Few books in the history of science have created such a tumultuous response within the scientific community. I cover this briefly in the bibliographical insert for The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.
I bring up Kuhn's work at this juncture -- (we will be hearing more from him later) -- because no one else has done such a brilliant job of providing the conceptual framework that would allow a seeker of Knowledge to understand why the scientific community is -- and this is, in my estimation, Orthodox Medicine's greatest truism -- so consistently wrong. Why what we call scientific fact so often changes with the leaves of the tree.
Kuhn also provides us with yet more tools to uncover the details in "the man behind the curtain." The points below are taken from my Prison Notebook on Kuhn's work. What you see is a combination of Kuhn's comments (with pages cited), excerpts from my unpublished Prison Notebook as it pertains to my reflections on Kuhn, and my own current commentary. In other words, this material contains the most salient concepts I learned from Kuhn, the inferences I drew therefrom in conjunction with all my other readings and contemplations, and the originating source in Kuhn's work.

  • Orthodoxists take the foundations of their field for granted, making them the least likely to uncover its cracks. (After all, acceptance of the prevailing foundation makes science, science!) (p. 21) "Almost always the men who achieve these fundamental inventions of a new paradigm have been either very young or very new to the field whose paradigm they change." (p. 90)
  • The effect of a system where those who reconfirm the prevailing paradigm get more credit, praise, financial reward, etc. than those who uncover its flaws is hughly inhibitory to an impartial pursuit of Knowledge or Truth, by whatever standard you wish to define Knowledge or Truth, as long as it isn't one controlled or dictated by Modern Science! (p. 26)
  • The seeking of Truth by the scientific method aims at confirming and upholding the prevailing doctrines. (Projects do not aim at "unexpected novelty" -- the missing variable in any research project leans to how to make the path fit the intended results.) (p. 35-36)
  • "One of the things a scientific community acquires with a paradigm is a criterion for choosing problems that, while the paradigm is taken for granted, can be assumed to have solutions. To a great extent these are the only problems that the community will admit as scientific or encourage its members to undertake." (p. 37) By limiting their perspective, scientists are able to veer away from the interdisciplinary challenges that a true acquisition of nature's secrets would demand. Kuhn makes this clear by telling the story of an investigator "who hoped to learn something about what scientists took the atomic theory to be." So the investigator "asked a distinguished physicist and an eminent chemist whether a single atom of helium was or was not a molecule. Both answered without hesitation, but their answers were not the same. For the chemist the atom of helium was a molecule because it behaved like one with respect fo the kinetic theory of gases. For the physicist, on the other hand, the helium atom was not a molecule, because it displayed no molecular spectrum. Presumably both men were referring to the same particle, but they were viewing it through their own research training and practice . . . (p. 50-51). An astonishingly good illustration of this, both current and relevant to our cancer/scurvy comparative study is the findings of Gerald B. Dermer as discussed in his book, The Immortal Cell: Why Cancer Research Fails. Dermer was a pathologist doing studies on tumors removed from live cancer patients. What he found was a "vast and deadly gap between the reality of cancer, which strikes human beings, and the theory of cancer, which thousands of researchers are using in their [supposed] search for a cure." It was the indifference to this fact that struck Dermer to write his book: "Although some of my colleagues are aware of this gap, few are willing to risk their careers by discussing it openly. In the absence of public debate, cancer scientists around the country are free to propagate the myth of a productive 'war on cancer.' No one wants to admit that this so-called war has been a worthless investment of taxpayers' money and scientists' time. But as more and more money is spent, with fewer and fewer meaningful results, increasing numbers of patients and their familiers, taxpayers, and politicians want to know the reasons why . . . Although I firmly believe that research can and will produce practical and effective treatments for cancer, such advances will never come from the present research paradigm . . . it is an account of a scientific and medical scandal of the highest order." [The gist of Dermer's book, by the way, is that cancer researchers use cell lines that behave totally different from live cancer cells. Cancer researchers could use their current methods for the next 2,000 years and still never come up with a cancer cure -- guaranteed. Dermer, of course, fails to realize that this is the whole point ! Viewed from the proper economic perspective, cancer researchers have been, are, and will continue to be successful ! They are successful every day of their careers. For to find a cure for cancer would make them a failure: they'd lose their jobs and an entire industry would be left in ruins !]
    It will be obvious to alert readers to this point that Dermer himself is operating without fully seeing through the common narrative. He cannot (or has not, perhaps because he has already bitten off enough of a controversy with his current work) admit that, like scurvy before it, the cure for cancer is already here. Knowledge about the forms of maladaptation that foster cancer and other diseases is half the battle. Any widespread knowledge that effective cures for cancer already exist and have since antiquity, if obtained by a critical mass of Western citizenry, would cause an unpredecented economic collapse of the medical industrial complex, the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs, the overnight evaporation of a huge source of income for politicians, and an unpredictable reshuffling of the political order.

  • "Paradigms guide research by direct modeling as well as through abstracted rules." That "normal science can proceed without rules only so long as the relevant scientific community accepts without question the particular problem-solutions already achieved." (p. 47) When you understand this, you understand why medical science has consistently, to this very day, downplayed the importance of ascorate. Not that scurvy cannot be denied as a dietary deficiency disease because the proof is too overwhelming, orthodox medicine has retreated to its next line of defense by denying that scurvy is only the most advanced stage of disease, a subset of a larger phenomenon called "hypoascorbemia." "To the extent that normal research work can be conducted by using (its own) paradigm as a model, rules and assumptions need not be made explicit." . . . Orthodox medicine, or any other branch of establishment science for that matter, can create and sustain itself with the most ridiculous assertions because they create their own rules. This is why the path to understanding scurvy is lined with the lifeless skulls of the millions who died from it because there existed an establishment, an authoratative scientific body, which upheld the right to ignore the obvious. Above all else --- THIS IS SCIENCE. (I can think of no better example to demonstrate that the scientific establishment more closely resembles a brothel than it does an impartial body that seeks after Truth than the current common narrative that has been created for AIDS. In an upcoming chapter we will examine how proposterous it is that anyone could get away with proposing that the HIV virus has anything to do with AIDS -- the very idea attempts to overthrow the establishment's own, long-established adherence to Koch's Postulates.) (p. 88)
  • Science involves assemblage of presentable "fact" into assimilated theory. What happens to the facts when the power elite control the acceptability of the theories? (p. 55)
  • The tendency of the human mind to take established fact and twist even the most anomolous information into pre-established paradigm is well illustrated by the Bruner/Postman experiments. Here, subjects were displayed a series of playing cards -- always with some anomolies, "a red six of spades and a black four of hearts," etc. "Even on the shortest exposures many subjects identified most of the cards, and after a small increase all the subjects identified all of them. For the normal cards these identifications were usually correct, but the anomolous cards were almost always identified, without apparent hesitation or puzzlement, as normal. The black four of hearts might, for example, be identified as the four of either spades or hearts. Without any awareness of trouble, it was immediately fitted to one of the conceptual categories prepared by prior experience . . . With a further increase of exposure to the anomalous cards, subjects did begin to hesitate and to display awareness of anomaly. Exposed, for example, to the red six of spades, some would say: 'That's a six of spades, but there's something wrong with it -- the black has a red border. Further increase of exposure resulted in still more hesitation and confusion until finally, and sometimes quite suddenly, most subjects would produce the correct identification without hesitation. Moreover, after doing this with two or three of the anomalous cards, they would have little further difficulty with the others. A few subjects, however, were never able to make the requisite adjustment of their categories. Even at forty times the average exposure required to recognize normal cards for what they were, more than 10 percent of the anomalous cards were not correctly identified. And the subjects who then failed often experienced acute personal distress. One of them explained: 'I can't make the suit out, whatever it is. It didn't even look like a card that time. I don't know what color it is now or whether it's a spade or a heart. I'm not even sure now what a spade looks like. My God!' (p. 62-65) This illustrates one of Kuhn's main points: "that novelty emerges only with difficulty, manifested by resistance, against a background provided by expectation." My problem here with Kuhn is that he fails to explore how economics both quantatively and qualitatively is consistently the 800-pound gorilla that weighs into that expectation. Another point, however, he makes in this connection is worth observing: "In the development of any science, the first received paradigm is usually felt to account quite successfully for most of the observations and experiments easily accessible to that science's practitioners. Further development, therefore, ordinarily calls for the construction of elaborate equipment, the development of an esoteric vocabulary and skills, and a refinement of concepts that increasingly lessens their resemblance to their usual common-sense prototypes. That professionalization leads, on the one hand, to an immense restriction on the scientist's vision and to a considerable resistance fo paradigm change." (p. 64) We see this repeatedly in the history of scurvy.
  • The Bruner/Postman experiment is further reinforced by research conducted at the Hanover Institute (p. 112-113). A subject who "puts on goggles fitted with inverted lenses initially sees the entire world upside down. At the start his perceptual apparatus functions as it had been trained to function in the absence of the goggles, and the result is extreme disorientation, an acute personal crisis. But after the subject has begun to learn to deal with his new world, his entire visual field flips over, usually after an intervening period in which vision is simply confused. Thereafter, objects are again seen as they had been before the goggles were put on. The assimilation of a previously anomalous visual field has reacted upon and changed the field itself. Literally as well as metaphorically, the man accustomed to inverted lens has undergone a revolutionary transformation of vision . . . (Thus) what a man sees depends both upon what he looks at and also upon what his previous visual-conceptual experience has taught him to see."
  • The support for an outmoded, disproveable requires the interjection of both complexity and money (p. 69). We saw this both in Tainter's work and now we see it in Kuhn's. This is why the multi-trillion dollar health care system in the West continues to suck in more and more money and produces diminishing results -- from the patients' point of view. (From Orthodox Medicine's point of view, spending more money to get worse results equates to success -- just as long as this parasitic activity does not "kill the host" or pose a serious threat to its legitimacy or hegemony.) Excuses for this state of affairs on the part of establishment personages is only more predictable: the explanations just keep getting bullshitier and bullshitier. Kuhn presents a replication of this same phenomenon in the field of astronomy in his The Copernican Revolution, from which we are less than four centuries removed.
  • More than one theoretical construct can always be placed over a collection of data. (p. 76) However, Kuhn himself fails to consider that the construct that yields the best monetary return to the establishment representing the science always has "the edge." A construct is made weaker not so much by its failure to live up to observation or a lack of repeatability or an insufficiency of any of the "common narrative criteria" that are supposed to substantiate "good science." A construct or paradigm is made weaker because it fails to provide an economic return that is on par with a competing construct. The superior construct supplying better financial returns is usually abandoned only when it threatens the legitimacy of the scientific establishment that is backing it -- and this phenomenon exists only because losing "legitimacy" itself is the ultimate threat to an establishment's economic hegemony.
  • In the absence of crisis, a new paradigm doesn't surface. The most ridiculous concept prancing around as scientific fact will endure so long as it goes unchallenged. So a theory is declared invalid only if it has a suitable candidate to replace it. (p. 77-79). The degree to which a suitable candidate poses economic or political loss will be a far more influencing factor than any of its underlying non-monetary merits.
  • Good paradigms leave "all sorts of problems (yet) unresolved." Thus, there is a built-in prejudice against final solutions to which any further research is unneccesary! (p. 10). This explains why the cancer establishment works so hard to suppress evidence of effective cancer therapies. It explains why modern medicine fought to ignore the true "cure for scurvy" and why it fights to acknowledge "hypoascorbemia" right up to the present day.
  • Science, by definition, demands concensus -- or it languishes in a pre-paradigm state. (P. 101) The inference, although Kuhn is never bold enough to state it straight away, is that because science, by definition, is built on the concensus of a specialized body, it is always vulnerable to economic leverage. If a truth is or can be damaging to the financial welfare of the specialized group, then suppressing that truth becomes a needful activity of that group. For this reason, science is always vulnerable to be co-opted by those who represent it. Or, more to the point, scientific truth is dictated by those who pay the bills. (p. 101) Languistically, it is no coincidence that the word "real" in English, although etymologically said to be derived from the fifth declension Latin noun, "res," ("thing"), is more accurately placed as a derivative of the third declension Latin noun "rex (regis)," meaning "king," which in the adjectival is "regalis." The meaning is clear and unmistakeable: through all ages, that which is "real" or "factual", that which has existence, that which has legitimacy, that which is acceptable as true, is consistently that which has secured the consent of the King (represented by a Power Elite which has secured its parasitic position over the majority of the population over which it feeds . . . er . . . rules). It takes an idiot not to see that "Kings" are loath to accept "facts" which limit the stream of wealth pouring its their coffers.
  • By way of inference: paradigms provide scientists not only with a map, but also with some of the directions essential for map-making. (p. 109)
  • Here it is three centuries after the discourses of Descartes and we still have no "pure observation-language," an agreed upon theory of perception and of the mind. This does not yet exist. But science has and does behave as if it does. It is part of its enduring mythology. (p. 125-128).
  • "It is hard to make nature fit a paradigm. That is why the puzzles of normal science are so challenging and also why measurements undertaken without a paradigm so seldom lead to any conclusions at all." Understanding the conflict between nature and the rise and fall of paradigms explains why orthodox medicine is, never has been, and never will be evidence-based. To be evidence-based is to commit oneself to the best outcome of the patient, even if you cannot explain how it came about. To be evidence-based it to pick what is empirically provable as the best therapeutic choice for the patient, regardless of whatever rules and regulations have been created by the medical establishment -- themselves having been established by monetary incentives. In fact, to be evidence-based is to do what is best for the patient regardless of whether or not it makes any money at all. Orthodox medicine must co-opt evidence. It is in natural opposition to it. To take a cooperative position with the search for true evidence means sacrificing the monetary and political imperatives that an orthodox medical system requires to sustain its very existence. (p. 135; also see comments on Joseph Tainter's "Collapse" in a previous sidebar in this chapter).
  • The prevailing pharmaceutical paradigm (that the only true, authentic "drug" is one that descends from a single, pure, patentable molecular compound -- usually one that is so original that one cannot find evidence of its existence anywhere in nature) must be destroyed to allow acceptance of more effective healing evidence and bring about anything close to an "evidence-based system."
  • "Textbooks . . . being pedagogic vehicles for the perpetuation of normal science, have to be rewritten in whole or in part whenever the language, problem-structure, or standards of normal science change. In short, they have to be rewritten in the aftermath of each scientific revolution, and, once rewritten, they inevitably disguise not only the role but the very existence of the revolutions that produced them. Unless he has personally experienced a revolution in his own lifetime, the historical sense either of the working scientist or of the lay reader of textbook literature extends only to the outcome of the most recent revolutions in the field." The importance of this truism, as it relates to orthodox medical education, regardless of type or speciality, is that suppression of information that would support the notion that science, regardless of field, is constantly in flux in accordance with monetary and other un-scientific inputs -- that there are, in fact, few unchanging "facts," is a requirement to sustain the respectability and integrity of each respective scientific field. At all costs the scientists in each field cannot be placed in a situation where they convey either to the lay person or to new, upcoming students who will become the field's new standard-bearers, "We do not really know any ultimate Truth. But we represent that we do and we change it from time to time -- quite frequently as it turns out. And what we call Truth today is based on the mythology that what we represent is the best, most accurate information available -- obtained through impartial investigation using indisputable methods of observation. Moreover, although you may be aware of mistakes made in the past, it is important that you accept that we REALLY have the truth this time! We work diligently to ensure that it doesn't occur to you that the information we provide in the future will, in great likelihood, look very different from what we call Truth today. And what is the key determinant as to what that future Truth will look like? Well, of course . . . it's the underlying political and economic incentives." That this key lynchpin of Scientism's mythology is necessary for its credibility is demonstrated by the fact that scientific textbooks hide the very existence of these revolutions. To provide students with this historical foundation serves not only to discredit science itself, but it detracts from a key objective of the educational process: to communicate the vocabulary, syntax, respectability and believability of a contemporary scientific language and mode of thinking. (p. 137)
  • "Yet the textbook-derived tradition in which scientists come to sense their participation is one that, in fact, never existed. For reasons that are both obvious and highly functional, scientific textbooks (and too many of the older histories of science) refer only to that part of the work of past scientists that can easily be viewed as contributions to the statement and solution of the texts' paradigm problems. Partly by selection and partly by distortion, the scientists of earlier ages are implicitly represented as having worked upon the same set of fixed problems and in accordance with the same set of fixed canons that the most recent revolution in scientific theory and method has made seem scientific. No wonder that textbooks and the historical tradition they imply have to be rewritten after each scientific revolution. And no wonder that, as they are rewritten, science once again comes to seem largely cumulative. Scientists are not, of course, the only group that tends to see its discipline's past developing linearly toward its present advantage. The temptation to write history backward is both omnipresent and perennial. But scientists are more affected by the temptation to rewrite history, partly because the results of scientific research show no obvious dependence upon the historical context of the inquiry, and partly because, except during crisis and revolution, the scientist's contemporary position seems so secure. More historical detail, whether of science's present or of its past, or more responsibility to the historical details that are presented, could only give artificial status to human idiosyncrasy, error, and confusion. Why dignify what science's best and most persistent efforts have made it possible to discard? The depreciation of historical fact is deeply, and probably functionally, ingrained in the ideology of the scientific profession, the same profession that places the highest of all values upon factual details of all sorts. Whitehead caught the unhistorical spirit of the scientific community when he wrote, "A science that hesitates to forget its founders is lost." Yet he was not quite right, for the sciences, like other professional enterprises, do need their heroes and do preserve their names. Fortunately, instead of forgetting these heroes, scientists have been able to forget or revise their works." (p. 138-139)

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