By J. Ghosh, M.A., P.H.D., F.N.I.
[Presidential Speech delivers before the Annual Union of he Bihar Homoeopathic D.M.S. Students Association, held on September 25, 2955].
Sri Mitter, LAdies and Gentlemen,
I should just like to say a few words on the logical foundation of science. Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry are usually regarded as the basic Science and the other branches of science are more or less supposed to be the application of these sciences in different fields. For example, Geography is the application of Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry to the earth, Botany, the application of these to plant life, Physiology, the application of these to human body, and so on. We have also been used call a proposition or a theory scientific, if it is based on or deduced from these basic subjects.
But the fact is that there are phenomena, specially these relating to living organism, which are not deducible from Physics and Chemistry. The human body, for instance, is not merely a Physico – Chemical compound. Physics and chemistry cannot explain the phenomenon of of life and cannot distinguish between a living cell and a cell which has just died. There are physiological processes within the human body, which cannot be explained by Physics and Chemistry. It is therefore obvious that a perfect science of Physiology cannot be regarded as a mere application of Physics and Chemistry. We must go beyond and go deeper.
Any attempt to go beyond Physics and chemistry need not be regarded as unscientific, because the logical foundation of science is neither Physics or chemistry but it is the foundation on which all sciences are based. Just as Geometry depends on the assumptions of axioms and postulates, derived from intuition, e.g., things equal to the same things are equal to one another, so every science must depend on some fundamental logical principles.
The first of these principles is the Law of Uniformity of Nature, according to which we must expect the same phenomena under identical circumstances. That is to say, if a certain combination of Hydrogen and Oxygen gives us water here and now, the same combination must give us water anywhere and anytime. The same combination cannot produce different objects at different place and at different times.
Next, we come to observation. In order to arrive at any scientific truth, we must carry on observations with extreme care. We must be sure that our observation are correct, relevant and complete. This is a very difficult task. Very often our observations are incomplete and biased. From the individual observations, we arrive at a generalisation or a theory, which we regard as universally true. For instance, from the observation that every man or woman meets with death, we arrive at the general conclusion that human beings are mortal.
It is also a physiological fact that, even if men were perfectly healthy and had no disease of any kind, he would still die, because a time would come when the regular replacement of the cast off dead cells would cease to occur. Even in the most carefully carried out observations, it is hardly possible to be perfect. That is why, a physical law based on observed facts and supposed to be true for centuries, has to be discarded as soon as a new observation is made which contradicts the law. Even then, we have to depend on the generalisations based on observations.
Next we come to deduction as a fundamental logical process, when a law or theory is discovered, we must know how to deduce true fact in accordance with the law. After we have accepted the generalisation that every living persons will die, we can assert with certainty that A or B or C must die in course of time. Similarly, when we arrive at physiological laws, we can desire from the law many facts relating to health and disease.
We thus see that whatever laws, theories or rules we have in any branch of science, they have been obtained from observation, Generalisation and Deduction. In criticising a theory, or a law, in any sphere of knowledge, we must see weather the observation have been properly carried out, whether the generalisation is logical and whether the deductions are justifiable. These are the true criteria for testing a theory or law. We must not accept or reject a theory simply because it is not not properly understood or explained by Physics or chemistry.
As I have already mentioned, to arrive at a true law or fact or conclusion, our observation, generalisation and deduction must be correct and as perfect as possible. Errors are inevitable but we must be on our general to avoid there. As an example of how easily we commit logical errors, I will give you a very common example. Suppose that we find in a newspaper an advertisement for an amulet which, if worn before the examination, would make you pass the examination. you also see in the advertisement copies of a large number of letters certifying the fact that the wearer of the amulet actually got through the examination.
You are immediately tempted to buy an amulet with ground that so may certificates case a sound proof of its real efficacy. Here you commit that is known as the fallacy of mal – observation, because you have observed only the twenty – five or thirty cases quoted in the advertisement, but you have not cared to enquire what happened to five hundred others who might have used the same amulet. If you had done so, you would not have been so sure of the efficacy of the amulet. This is a trite example, but we do commit such errors more often than we are aware of.
So far as the scientificity of Homoeopathy is concerned, we must not be misled by the idea that all sciences must be based merely on Physics and Chemistry. But they must be based on a logical foundation. Hahnemann was an acute observer and very keen logician. His laws and theories are based on very sound observations, were fully logical and justifiable. In our deduction from and applications of his theories, we must also be logical and be free from personal idiosyncrasies. Only then we shall be able to justify the homoeopathic system to the scientists the public and the suffering humanity.