In recent decades, the denunciation of a crisis in empirical science has become increasingly evident.
One of the first criticisms was made by Thomas Khun, who questioned his reliability (1). Later Paul Feyerabend did it, exposing the overvaluation of scientific reason, defending the thesis that a disproportionate trust in the method and in scientists has limited personal growth in general (2).
- In this context, the crisis of validity and reliability of the results of published scientific research, subject to various biases, sample size limitations, conflicts of interest, etc., leads to conclusions such as that of Ioannidis (3):
- “the Current research findings are mostly false”, or frequently retracted (4), or “results are presented that no one can replicate, neither the laboratory that carried out the study nor other independent laboratories” (5,6).
The origin of this crisis is often attributed to the inappropriate use of the scientific method, either due to insufficient experimental models, incorrect trial design, erroneous applications of statistical calculations, or a malicious use of the method used: exaggerated interpretation of results, plagiarism, among others.
One of the main difficulties that modern experimental science is going through is that it is isolated, without a project and without interest in the human person, since it has “abandoned all philosophical pretensions and has become a gigantic business” (7).
The scientific method itself (quantitative studies), however, can initiate the manifest crisis.
Indeed, the method relies on experimental models that are biased from the start of their application. On the other hand, the application of a physical-mechanical method requires extrapolating the results to present conclusions that answer questions related to life.
Can a method based on experimental models be effective in the treatment of human diseases?
The limitation of the scientific method (8) is evident in the broad spectrum of autoimmune diseases (i.e. autoimmune hepatitis). Causes, markers for diagnosis and effective therapies continue to be investigated, without being able to prevent the disease or promote a cure. In addition, its association with additional diseases such as primary biliary cirrhosis or sclerosing cholangitis remains unclear (9).
Another example of the limitation of the scientific method is in the study of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, without a single pathophysiology, of variable prevalence, it affects more women without discerning its origin, proposing as causes mere associations as intriguing as socioeconomic status (10 ), or some mental health problems.
All of the above allows us to affirm that “science is in a hopeless situation” (11). Ivan Illich (12), argues that “unquestionable medicine hurts more than it heals”, and considers that the practice of medicine causes a “social iatrogenesis”. The patient must be analyzed as a whole, be holistic, not leave aside the social determinants of the disease, the psychic and spiritual aspects of the patients.