White Coat Underground

Overheard—evidence is for suckers

Overheard from the 210th annual emergency meeting of the Society for Evidence-Free Healing.

Chair: The meeting will come to order.

Some Dude: Seconded.

Chair: Um, I’m the Chair. I don’t need a “second”.

Some Other Dude: That sounds like an oppressive application of the dominant paradigm.

Chair: Fine, fine. Would anyone object coming to order? No? Thank you very much.

While it may seem to many of you that we have made great strides in having our ancient, holistic healing methods given an official stamp of approval (and perhaps Medicare reimbursement) we have some very troubling developments.

The forces of so-called science-based medicine are starting to rally. In fact, they are actively opposing our efforts to set up shop in universities, hospitals, and government.

Some Dude: That’s so not cool. How are they doing this?

SOD: If I may?

Chair: Please.

SOD: They are trying to hold us to a certain type of oppressive standard. They are demanding “evidence” of the efficacy of our methods. When presented with the evidence, they always have another excuse for why our evidence isn’t good enough.

First, they are trying to tell us that our patients’ experiences are not valid evidence. This clearly demeans our patients, and belittles our experiences…

OD: You have to be kidding me! What could be more important than what the patient in front of you says?

SOD: It may sound crazy but they want us to actually publish our stories. And then when we go ahead a put something in Medical Hypotheses, they go and, what was it they call it? Oh yeah, they “move the goalposts” and demand even more evidence.

To quote one of our esteemed Leaders:

Although validation of the individual modalities used by naturopathic physicians such as nutrition and herbal medicine is important in establishing the usefulness of these therapies, it does not evaluate the eclectic approach of the discipline. The method of healing is not always consistent from patient to patient, which makes naturopathic medicine difficult and expensive to study. Consequently, at present, the evidence supporting the use of multiple concurrent complementary therapies remains almost completely empiric in nature.

Chair: You see? We cannot be bound by their definitions and standards. They fail to recognize the special nature of our art; one that recognizes only individuals and their experiences, and not heartless statistics.

What we need is a way to get at these “evidence monkeys” when they’re young. Dude?

SD: I have implemented a program to bring speakers to medical schools to indoct..er…educate these young minds before they become hardened.

SOD: And how is it going?

Chair: This is where the good news comes in…

Comments

  1. #1 Michael Simpson
    April 22, 2009

    Wow. How did you sneak into the meeting? Didn’t they have a facial recognition program to have you detained?

    Do we get Part II, where they describe how homeopathic water cures cancer?

    BTW, is comment #1 is a bit troubling.

  2. #2 The Perky Skeptic
    April 22, 2009

    This is funny but also very scary in light of Kim Atwood’s posts on Harvard Med School….

  3. #3 The Perky Skeptic
    April 22, 2009

    @ Michael Simpson–

    Unfortunately for them, they used the same facial recognition program as the makers of Expelled, so while they kicked Orac out of the line, they let PalMD right on through. ;)

  4. #4 Joe Average
    April 22, 2009

    Interesting article. Tea-tree oil for gum disease? Any source on this one?
    http://healthy-nutrition-facts.blogspot.com/2009/04/gum-disease-prevention-with-vitamins.html

  5. #5 Michael Simpson
    April 22, 2009

    @Perky Skeptic.

    That was funny!!!!! Of course, unless you’re a PZ Meyer fan, the humor might be lost.

  6. #6 Michael Simpson
    April 22, 2009

    @Joe Average. Tea-tree oil has been investigated by a few fringe researchers. As of this time, there are no double-blind trials that would indicate it would work better than flossing or brushing your teeth.

  7. #7 rob
    April 22, 2009

    hear that muffled “thump thump thump” in the distance?

    that’s the Society for Evidence-Free Healing’s black helicopters coming to get you!

    :)

  8. #8 Toaster
    April 22, 2009

    I recently saw, on a Facebook advertisement no less, claims that Siberian pine-nut oil could cure Helicobacter pylori-mediated gastritis. I laughed at that almost as much as I laughed at this post.

  9. #9 Jennifer B. Phillips (aka Danio)
    April 22, 2009

    Unfortunately for them, they used the same facial recognition program as the makers of Expelled, so while they kicked Orac out of the line, they let PalMD right on through. ;)

    I LOL’d…but I wonder if the “PZ is to RD as Orac is to Pal” analogy is going to spark a raging debate :)

    BTW, Perky Skeptic, I saw your question about the ‘Danio’ handle on one of the threads that closed–yes, that’s my research organism. I use them to unravel the molecular mysteries of Usher syndrome. As model organisms go, they kick ass.

    Good luck with the birthday preparations–and the celery!

  10. #10 Bob O'H
    April 22, 2009

    that’s the Society for Evidence-Free Healing’s black helicopters coming to get you!

    That’s OK. With their approach to evidence, they’ll probably get Denyse O’Leary.

  11. #11 The Perky Skeptic
    April 22, 2009

    @ rob and Bob O’H– ROFLOL!

    @ Jennifer B. Phillips (aka Danio)– …Darn it, Jennifer, now I am going to be up all night trying to solve the analogy “PZ:RD as ?:PalMD”!!! That’s ok, it’ll give me something to do while baking. ;)

    Also, oooooooooh, thanks for the link to your guest-post on Pharyngula! Very interesting how Usher syndrome is so different in mice and humans, and how the zebrafish genes swoop in to help us fill in the gaps in our understanding! Great post– it was really exciting! I love reading about the narrative behind the research. Science is awesome because it’s a cascading series of questions, and the answers take us interesting and unexpected places!!! We live in a freakin’ wonderland!!!

  12. #12 The Blind Watchmaker
    April 26, 2009

    That was so funny.

    The quote should be given in the Skeptic’s Dictionary as a prime example of “Special Pleading”.

  13. #13 ruol
    April 26, 2009

    idiots, doct…er… educate. Sounds like a bad movie

  14. #14 Anonymous
    April 27, 2009

    Chair: The meeting will come to order.

    Some Dude: Seconded.

    Chair: Um, I’m the Chair. I don’t need a “second”.

    Some Other Dude: That sounds like an oppressive application of the dominant paradigm.

    Umm. That sounds exactly like very many activist meetings in the 1970s, at least those in Europe.

  15. #15 Lonnie
    June 5, 2009

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