3 Reasons Chiropractic Isn’t “New Age Medicine,” Part 3 

 January 3, 2010

By  Dr. Tripp Stover, D.C.

In the first post of this series I made mention of the term “universal intelligence” and how it has been misapplied in chiropractic.  Partly due to the authors choice of words and people have made too much of it over the years.  Meaning, it became an easy term to use as a synonym for God or a pantheistic god.  This of course, is not believable, or coherent, if a Christian worldview is the correct understanding of reality.

There is another principle from Stephenson’s 33 chiropractic principles that causes confusion and like the Major Premise (see above) can be made to say more than is meant.  We must be careful not to make that misstep.  That principle is the 20th.  It goes like this: Innate Intelligence – A “living thing” has an inborn intelligence within its body, called Innate Intelligence.

If you read the previous post you will immediately see the first problem.  Stephenson once again capitalizes the term in question.  Thus giving it a sort of personal quality.  But if the principles are taken as a whole one will see we are dealing with natural law and physiology.  Not commentary on metaphysics.  But if one reads this out of context it is easy to think of innate intelligence as something analogous to a “divine spark” or the god within us.  People start referring to it as “my Innate.”  Even at times claiming to listen to their Innate, as if it is a “personal source of intelligence” not a principle.

Now to be totally forthcoming, I have to admit, B. J. Palmer the developer of chiropractic did apply innate intelligence to all matters of life at times.  So if one wants to use only the Palmer sources to debate my point, they have a case.  But I agree with Joseph Strauss (and many others) at this point.  B. J. made mistake when he applied innate intelligence to every aspect of mankind, even the non-physical.

I appreciate what Joseph Strauss says in his book, Chiropractic Philosophy:

“There are many similarities between innate intelligence and universal intelligence.  Both are principles, hence both are impersonal.  This takes chiropractic philosophy out of the mystical or religious realm….It (universal intelligence) is a principle and has certain characteristics, on of which is impersonality…Similarly the innate intelligence of the body is an impersonal principle…It is a principle of organization that causes matter to behave in a certain manner, that is, to adapt to its environment.”

Now WHAT that intelligence is and HOW it came to be a part of us is another matter.  Instinct, genetic information, a creator?  That is not and should not be answered by chiropractic principles and philosophy.  My point has been, there are confusing terms, and some missteps in chiropractic history.  But in the end, the principles that Stephenson wrote for us, do not claim too much.  The innate and universal “intelligences” chiropractors speak of should be understood as principles.  Nothing mystical or personal in nature need be read into it.  Someone who has a theistic worldview or clearly Christian worldview does not need to be turned off or worried about the terms.

Dr. Tripp Stover, D.C.

Dr. Stover grew up in Richmond. He has been married to his wife Andrea since 2000 and they make their home in Mechanicsville with their children, Avery and Garnett.

Dr. Tripp Stover, D.C.

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