Tridosha Theory
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Tridosha Theory

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Many have argued that Tridosha theory can explain anything and everything concerned with human body. Many have also argued that it is irrefutable. (Irrefutabililty lowers the scientific value of a theory, by the way).
Hence I thought of doing a thought experiment to test this theory.
Let us evaluate if Tridosha theory can sustain the challenge of falsification.
First of all, is it testable reasonably well? I doubt, because there are three mutually opposite entities that balance out one another whenever there is some disturbance in one of them. It actually makes it easy to explain any phenomenon using any of the three entities, i.e., if one entity cannot explain something, the other can do so easily because it is inverse to the first. This makes the theory irrefutable and hence non testable. 
I explain this in the following paragraphs:
Kapha-aggravating diet and lifestyle (indulgence in high fat/ carbohydrate diet, a lack of physical activity, excessive sleep etc) leading to overweight and obesity is confirmation of the theory. 
But we know that confirmation or verification is not enough to call a theory sound enough. We can find verification for nearly any theory, if we look for. 
We need to search for an instance where this phenomenon goes wrong.
For example, Hyperthyroidism and Diabetes mellitus are the two conditions where there is progressive weight loss inspite of increased appetite. Person suffering from these conditions eats more (Kapha aggravating cause) but still loses weight (Vata aggravating effect). Hence, here, the theory crumbles. 
However one may argue that eating is not the cause of these diseases. We have identified a wrong cause for the sake of demolishing the theory. Here the cause is endocrine abnormalities. However, even in case of obesity, aren't there endocrine abnormalities involved? There are. Over eating normally should trigger a behaviour that discourages more eating.
Hence a simple explanation like "increase or decrease in Kapha" is grossly insufficient to explain such complex phenomena.
Supporters of the theory usually bring in some other Dosha to explain these mechanisms. For example, they may say that increased Pitta leads to increased rate of metabolism and that is how the case of hyperthyroidism should be understood. 
But is this not an instance of "conventionalist strategem", wherein we rescue the theory by proposing ad hoc conjecture? By simply observing one eating more, one would expect that there should be weight gain, which doesn't happen here. To explain this, when we bring in Pitta, we make the theory non falsifiable and hence irrefutable. 
In case of diabetes mellitus one might say that it is a Vata disease and hence there is loss of weight. But as per our theory, indulgence in Kapha-aggravating diet should lead to suppression of Vata, not to its aggravation.
Supporters may say that initially there would be obesity which later on leads to insulin resistance and eventually to diabetes and loss of weight. Hence it requires deeper understanding of Tridosha such as Samprapti. They may say that aggravated Kapha leading to insulin resistance makes Vata get aggravated, and it is a case of Avarana. But they forget that they are using current biological understanding to explain away Tridosha model. That again makes our theory inadequate. They don't realise that they are rescuing the theory using conventionalist strategem.
Let us similarly test Vata. 
By indulging in Vata-aggravating diet and lifestyle (exercise/ loss of sleep/ fasting/ low fat - low carbohydrate intake) should lead to decrease in body weight (Vata features). Indeed it is seen in real world. This is confirmation of the theory. It doesn't make the theory strong. 
Now, is there an instance where this doesn't happen? 
Yes, it maybe seen in abnormal endocrine conditions such as Cushing syndrome where obesity may result irrespective of the lifestyle. Increased corticosteroid levels due to any reason may lead to this disease. Without understanding this endocrine physiology we cannot explain this disease using Tridosha logic. 
Supporters may say that Cushing Syndrome is a Kapha disease or Pitta disease. However, this disease can manifest irrespective of indulgence in Kapha / Pitta - alleviating diet and lifestyle. Basically it is not the diet that leads to this condition. But without understanding the pathophysiology in terms of current science, we cannot explain this. One would diagnose it as Obesity and would treat it as Kapha disease normally, in the absence of this knowledge.
Delving into the pathophysiology of endocrinal disease, if we propose that Hyperthyroidism is a Pitta disease and Cushing Syndrome is a Kapha disease, Pittahara and Kaphahara drugs should be useful in treating these conditions respectively. But so far I haven't come across any proven effective treatment of these conditions using Ayurveda interventions.
This is how we make Tridosha theory irrefutable but at the same time, weak.