During the first wave of philosophy in chiropractic, the philosophy was in its earliest development. D.D. Palmer was a magnetic healer for 9 years prior to discovering chiropractic in 1895. Palmer first coined the term “Innate” in 1904. D.D. Palmer’s early students were encouraged to go forth, practice, and teach.
And they did! They also started their own schools, wrote their own texts, and challenged their teacher’s authority as the founder of chiropractic.

Joe Keating wrote several articles exploring the evolution of D.D. Palmer’s concept of Innate Intelligence. In 1992, Keating writes,*

“The 1903-04 period also witnessed the introduction of Palmer’s distinction between the “educated” and the
“innate.” Apparently, at this early date these terms had acquired neither the anthropomorphic nor the theological
significance that Old Dad Chiro would later imbue them with. In 1904 “innate” and “educated” (spelled without
capitalization by Palmer) were employed as adjectives to describe Palmer’s subdivision of the nervous system (27); the innate and educated nerves had not yet assumed mental characteristics and identities. Old Dad Chiro would later indicate that he had penned his first article on Innate Intelligence as early as 1904 (16, p. 641) or 1905 (16, p. 639), and Donahue (12) identifies two letters from Palmer students, published in the March 1905 issue of the Palmer school’s journal, The Chiropractor, which briefly mention Innate. However, Zarbuck (28, 29) reprinted what he suggests as the “Original Innate Intelligence article by D.D. Palmer 1906,” the year of Palmer’s incarceration in Scott County Jail, and Donahue (12) similarly credits the first publication on Innate Intelligence to The Chiropractor of February, 1906. Presumably, it was this same article which B.J. Palmer republished in his 1906 The Science of Chiropractic (26, pp. 109-14).

“Although this seminal piece (26, pp. 109-14; 28, 29) does not mention the divine origins of the Innate (i.e., Universal Intelligence), Innate by 1906 is clearly construed as a distinct personality who cohabits the patient with Educated Intelligence. The latter was conceived of as “wholly acquired – learned by experience”; these two “persons” within the patient were believed to be unaware of one another. At this stage of theoretical evolution the anthropomorphization of the innate and educated nerves is readily apparent:

“…The Innate and Educated are two separate intellects….In all organized living beings endowed with sensation, the
innervation, assimilation, circulation and respiration are under the control of and managed by the Innate, except in
cases where the action of the Innate nerves are affected by being pinched and pressed upon, causing abnormal
function…” (D.D. Palmer, 1906, quoted in 28)”


References are numbered according to Keating’s article posted below:

12. Donahue JH. D.D. Palmer and the metaphysical movement in the 19th century. Chiropractic History 1987; 7(1):22-7

16. Palmer DD. The chiropractor’s adjuster: the science, art and philosophy of chiropractic. 1910b, Portland Printing House, Portland, Oregon

26. Palmer BJ. The science of chiropractic: its principles and adjustments. 1906, Palmer School of Chiropractic, Davenport IA. Reprinted (1988) by the Parker Chiropractic Resource Foundation, Fort Worth, Texas

27. Palmer DD. Chiropractic defined.** The Chiropractor: a Monthly Journal Devoted to the Interests of Chiropractic 1904 (Dec); 1(1).**This version of the article was published as part of Palmer’s 1910/1921 book.

28. Zarbuck MV. Innate Intelligence (Part 1). Illinois Prairie State Chiropractic Association Journal of Chiropractic 1987 (Oct): 8(4):12-3

29. Zarbuck MV. Innate Intelligence (Part 2). Illinois Prairie State Chiropractic Association Journal of Chiropractic 1988a (Jan): 9(1):11, 16

*The entire article can be found here: The Evolution of Palmer’s Metaphors and Hypotheses