The 20th century was an explosion of scientific innovation and discovery. The success of chemistry, physics, and biology to produce things such as antibiotics, radiography, and genetic analysis could not be ignored. While medicine is not now, nor has it ever been, a science. Over the past century medicine became science based, meaning that while medicine was not in adherence with the scientific method it did rely on underlying scientific principles, conceptual frameworks, and methodologies in how it goes about establishing relationships among variables and solving problems. There has been a major shift in the underlying value systems medicine utilizes. This shift in value systems, along with the larger cultural adoption of postmodernism, has pushed medicine away from science. Replacing it with policy and activism. This radical framework first emerged in the early 1990s as “Social production of disease” courtesy of various pseudoscientific disciplines.
Postmodernism is the core underlying philosophy behind most modern era social studies (previously referred to as pseudoscience) and humanities. It is intrinsically against any form of objectivity.
Humanities and social studies such as psychology, sociology, gender studies, and etc. offer virtually no utility in any objective sense. Thus they have had no choice but to dismiss objectivity and fully embrace a subjective conceptual framework in how they view events and phenomenon. Since science is the epitome of an objective conceptual framework, it has become the ultimate goal of post-modernists to replace any and all forms of actual science and its applications (namely, medicine) with their anti-science propaganda. They have done this by attempting to rewrite the definition of what is “Science” to suit their needs as they invade our medical schools and healthcare systems.
As long as the humanities, social studies, and other conceptual frameworks rooted in postmodernism continue to infiltrate and influence our medical schools medicine will continue to place science at the very bottom of its value hierarchy.
David Gorski over at ScienceBasedMedicine.org frequently discusses this issue ad nauseam.
“As currently practiced, EBM (Evidence Based Medicine) appears to worship clinical trial evidence above all else and nearly completely ignores basic science considerations, relegating them to the lowest form of evidence, lower than even small case series. This blind spot has directly contributed to the infiltration of quackery into academic medicine”
As Science has taken a backseat in medical education, quality of care has declined. Life expectancy in the USA has subsequently been declining since 2014. I cannot help but call attention to the fact that this decline in life expectancy happened around the exact same time that the MCAT ( Medical College Admission Test) began to integrate the social studies such as psychology and sociology. Including but not limited to: “feminist theory” , a gross misuse of the word “theory”.
The association listed above is merely correlative, but it illustrates how backwards the USA has become in how it educates its physicians. I mention this because the only way one can “drink from a fire hydrant” and have a productive career in medical school is to have a strong underlying theoretical and conceptual framework in the basic sciences guiding you. If you understand biochemistry well enough, pharmacology is just familiarization of a specific theme with virtually no learning being conducted.
Placing an overemphasis on stress and underemphasis on basic science.
One of the core tenants of science is the ideas of cause and effect models to explain observations. Objects fall to the ground because of the attractive force of gravity. Humans and Chimpanzee’s both have 5 fingers because they evolved from a common ancestry and etc.
Lacking in any objective cause and effect model to explain diseases and illness, postmoderist-medicine often resorts to blaming an unspecified pathology on “stress”. The danger of this “stress” model of disease has been severely underestimated and caused major impediments towards innovation and progress in our understanding of illness, it has also cost many lives in the form of failed medical care and medical error.
The most obvious example being the blaming of peptic ulcers on “stress” rather than the infectious microorganism H Pylori. This idea was met with intense skepticism and criticism by the medical community, even a decade after its original publication. Ultimately it required the co-discover Dr. Barry Marshall to willingly infect himself with H. Pylori to convince others of the validity of his claim. Though Dr. Marshal’s singular act was merely anecdotal evidence, it seems the H. Pylori model of peptic ulcers was not fully accepted until this wild PR stunt caught the attention of the media.
Citing the essentialism of “stress reduction” many hospitals have begun the incredibly pathological practice of using “therapy dogs” to alleviate stress and depression among their patients. Despite the criminally weak scientific evidence that therapy dogs work. Hospitals seem to think that stress is more detrimental to one’s health than a superbug infection. While common sense would be apt to say that introducing a reservoir host with unrestricted behavior in an environment that kills 100,000 people each year would be a bad idea. It wasn’t until one therapy dog began to infect sick children battling cancer with superbugs that the hospital finally decided to re-assess their “therapy dog” program. An example of the current anti-science “Evidence Based Medicine” that insists on being reactive and waiting for “clinical data” rather than proactive and relying on scientific principles or even common sense.
Another slightly less dangerous example (while not directly responsible for the needles death and suffering of human beings) that still poses a major road block towards scientific progress would be the baseless claims of “microagressions being equal to physical violence” because of stress, that “structural racism” is the cause of poor health outcomes because of stress, that sexism causes poor health via stress, and much more propaganda disguised as science thrown under the umbrella of “stress” and reverberating in an echo chamber built for social researchers and postmodernist physicians.
Which leads me to my next point: Social studies rely on the blind use of statistics with zero regard for biochemical roles and functions.
Theoretical biologist Stuart Kauffman (along with the Virologists Nessa Carey) pointed out that if you just look at the statistical relationships among components in medicine it will lead you down a blind alley. You will conclude that the heart exists solely to add weight to the chest: filling up the space between the lungs.
I stress this point because statistics is also not a science. Statistics can tell you if your data are significant or not, but they cannot say anything about your methodology and experimental design. I mention this because many brilliant clinicians are never given formal education in raw statistics and do not understand probability. Regardless of this, many physicians make assumptions and clinical decisions based solely on “statistics” and “probability” with zero regards for the underlying mechanistic relationships between the variables that they are operating on. To put it in Kaufman’s terms they make clinical decisions based on the idea that the heart exists to add weight to chest and not to pump blood.
To give on example of many: Several well respected physicians do not believe that proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), increase the risk of contracting the superbug: Clostridium Difficle (C. Diff). They reason that “the probability is low” completely ignoring the fact that the C.Diff grows at an optimum pH of 6, which is within the pH range of stomach acid for patients taking PPIs.
Even more serious, but not yet as prevalent as the debate about PPI therapy and C. Diff risk, is the insistence by many in the social “studies” and post-modernists physicians that obesity is not a health problem, and that “fat people can be as healthy as thin people” both of which are based on mindless use of statistics and willful ignorance of the underlying pathophysiology of metabolic syndrome. The purpose of the scientific experimental design is to provide a distinction between causation and correlation, in the mind of the anti-science postmodernists correlation supersedes causation.
In the hierarchy of value systems, medicine places science at the very bottom.
The ultimate danger of these ideas is that they are inherently subjective, and this subjectivity emerges from their lack of legitimacy and usefulness. Thus the only way humanities, social pseudosciences, and other various postmodernist frameworks have been able to survive is to adopt yet another anti-science perspective as they integrate themselves into medicine: Authoritarianism and the subsequent fallacy that accompanies its appeal.
Science is and has always been: non-authoritarian. There is no “king of science” or other major authoritative body to tell others what to think. Merely the scientific method, its replicability, and the capacity for ideas to make predictions that determines one’s “belief” about if science is “real”. One of the key components to the success of the social sciences has been their cult like hierarchy of conformity and submission. This creates a severely pathological overlap with value systems that place “clinical data” above scientific evidence and principles. One of the most striking consequences of blind authoritarianism in medicine is that it forces healthcare systems to adopt a top heavy hierarchical structure that cannot respond to changes fast enough to maintain a steady-state. When the aforementioned “changes” such as new diseases are introduced into the population, they quickly overwhelm hospitals and care facilities. COVID19 being the most recent example. One would imagine that under these dire circumstances, any compound that has been on the market for decades and demonstrated efficacy at slowing the replication rate of COIVD (Ivermectin) would be an ideal treatment thus enabling the healthcare system to prevent patient overload. However, the idea of utilizing Ivermectin and other similar compounds to treat COVID has been rejected as it runs contrary to the established authoritarian agencies which value conformity and submission above everything else. Going so far as to censor a Congressional Hearing in a chilling Orwellian fashion.
This blend of postmodernism, policy, and activism coupled with authoritarian stances has removed the modern provider’s ability to think for themselves and operate their practice freely in the marketplace of ideas and in the marketplace of patient care. This will continue to lead to poorer health outcomes as market forces, are one of the key components that can enable our healthcare systems to become adaptive and respond to changes such as the emergence of new diseases.
We are in danger of having entire generations of physicians, mid-level providers, pharmacists, and etc. who are all apt to believe the sales pitch of pharmaceutical companies,
Snake oil CBD oil, and etc. Providers who cannot tell the difference between scientific experiments and an advertisement. A generation of physicians who care more about “social justice” and less about improving and providing medical care. Disease is and shall forever be, the greatest injustice of all and we should object violently to anything that causes lowered standards of medical care, especially ideologically motivated ones. We must return to teaching our next generation of healthcare providers the importance of the scientific method, and the underlying principals and conceptual frameworks that have made physics, chemistry, and biology so successful.