Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Another CE congress

About what?

ACENA recently held its annual conference in Toronto and SAHK will be running the big International Congress in Hong Kong in December. For some time there have been rumors about another event this semester, this one in Germany, but details have not been forthcoming.

Susie Mallett has opened a door on this and promises more details as soon as she has translated more into English:

Thank you Susie, be soon.

The information so far available is intriguing: The title of the two-day event is comprehensive enough:

Forschung und Förderung für Kinder und Erwachsene mit Cerebralparese,
MS, Schlaganfall, Parkinson und anderen neurologischen Dysfunktionen
Kongress 12. und 13.November 2010
Tagungszentrum der Stadt Würzburg auf der Marienfestung

It is the focus that intrigues, see Susie's translation of the brief email that has confirmed the conference:

Brain damage seen from a medical and therapeutical view point. How should the transfer of knowledge take place into everyday life, so an independently active lifestyle can be achieved?

As stated here, this is indeed Nobel Prize-winning stuff!


Stephen Hawkings is indeed a very clever man. I tried to read 'that book' once and gave up by the end of the first chapter. I had no idea what he was talking about. Recently he has been in the news saying some fairly sixth-form stuff about science and religion. Presumably it is because he is a very clever man in his oven field that this gets coverage.

He was in the news again today, for saying some equally elementary stuff about science and philosophy.

In both instances, 'science' has to be understood as his science, wherein I have no grounds to believe other than that he speaks with enormous authority.

His recent pronouncements were confronted on the radio this morning by philosopher A. C. Grayling, who very gently dismissed them.

They were also confronted by neuro-pharmacologist Susan Greenfield, from whom I learned only that has redefined herself as a 'philosopher of mind'. Oh dear, doubtless we shall hear more...

Cobblers should stick to their lasts (oe should that be, in the spirit of the above title, 'awls'?). S. Hawkings and S. Greenfield are happily venturing into areas where they can demonstrate no grounds for expertise that would stand up for a moment in a court of law – and it shows.

This coincidence of information, the first puzzling information about the focus of the German congress and the brief Hawkings/Greenfield episode on this morning's wireless gave me a queasy feeling.

Perhaps the German CE focus will not be the Nobel-winning stuff that this brief details might imply. Perhaps it will be evidence from a certain level of scientific endeavour projected blindly on to an area to which they are at best of contributory relevance, and at worst distracting or actively misleading.

So, Susie, be soon!

1 comment:

  1. I reflect that along with most of my peers I managed to achieve a reasonably "independently active lifestyle" without recourse to much in the way of medical and therapeutic interventions.

    Older, I once went to see a doctor about a troublesome knee, who sent me to see a physiotherapist, who told me I was getting old and should expect these failings. She gave me exercises to do which were more troublesome than the knee so I didn't bother after a couple of days. The knee plays up still, from time to time.

    Like my daughter Sarah, I've largely been blessed with a reasonably healthy life. Without recourse to medics and therapists, I've managed to achieve and maintain an "independently active lifestyle": leisure, work, relationships, friends, living where I choose, get out and about, make plans ....with thanks, enabled perhaps by a decent education, a loving family, and the rest.

    What I don't see is what medics and therapists had to do with it.

    What I don't hear is the debate about the non-medical and the non-therapeutic, the education and the upbringing that for children like Sarah is essential, even into adulthood.

    Let the medics and the therapists have their conferences - by all means - so that they can develop better interventions for my daughter and I when we need it to maintain our health into old age. But please do not encourage them to imagine that by surgery or exercises, I will thereby lead an "independently active lifestyle".

    They can fix me all they like - I might just decide to waste it all and, and from the living-room couch, watch on TV England footballers do whatever it is they do. (Which, from all accounts - and considering their "independently active lifestyle" is more active off the park than on it.)