How to counter the circus of pseudoscience

Posted 11 January 2018

An excellent article by Lisa Pryor in the New York Times, points out how orthodox health professionals are taught to consider all facts, consider emerging evidence, and a change in factors. These result in constant doubt, readjustment of opinion based on new facts, and constant re-evaluation of your opinion. How this compares with alternative medicine practitioners who have no doubt, only certainly, in spite of little training or expertise.

Most doctors, especially the good ones, are acutely aware of the limits of their knowledge. I have learned from those much more experienced and qualified than me that humility is something to be cultivated over time, not lost.

Our field is built around trying to prove ourselves wrong. In hospitals we hold morbidity and mortality meetings trying to show where we have failed, what we need to change, how we can do better. Our hospital work is audited to identify where we fell short of our ideals. Through scientific research we try to disprove the effectiveness of treatments. Our failings are exposed from the inside.

The nature of evidence-based health care is that practices change as new evidence emerges.

In the face of such doubt, it is not surprising that some individuals, even those who are intelligent and well educated, are swept away by the breezy confidence of health gurus, who are full of passionate intensity . . .

This article in the New York Times gives a great perspective on this debate.

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