Published on September 25th, 2014 | by Rayne3
Rejecting Modern Science: Why the mummy instinct is not enough
One of my Facebook fans linked me to this article (entitled “Rejecting Modern Science“) from a blogger by the name of “Modern Alternative Mama”. The blog is a den of anti-doctor, anti-medicine ideals with a hefty dose of religion no doubt contributing to overall “anti-science” vibe of the blog. I know there are plenty of people who are religious and use science and critical thinking but as you will see – religious indoctrination has not done this blogger any favours. This is my response. Bold is my emphasis.
Rejecting modern science might sound crazy. Science has done so much for us, hasn’t it? Yes and no. I find that a lot of modern scientists have blinders on, and cling just as strongly to beliefs that don’t make any sense as they say we — religious people — do. The more research I’ve done, the more flawed I’ve come to think modern science really is. Now, just in case you still think I’m crazy, I’ll explain why I do not believe in modern science.
Why I Do Not Believe In Modern Science
First — I’ll tell you what I do believe in. I believe that trauma medicine is great. If we had a car accident and had horrible injuries, I’d be in the hospital getting stitched up. I think our trauma doctors do an awesome job of saving people who otherwise surely would have died, and experienced great pain. I also believe in the scientific method in general — that we can look at an issue openly and examine the evidence to come to a true conclusion.
I’m going to stop here for a moment. The word “believe” has no place in science or medicine. It has a place in religion where belief equals faith which equal certainty without evidence. To believe is to accept as true. Science doesn’t require a belief to be accurate. Medicine that has been rigorously tested and proven to be effective, doesn’t require belief. You don’t need to believe that stitching a wound shut will assist the healing process. You don’t need to believe that CPR is a proven method for helping someone. Science is ever changing and self correcting. It adapts and updated to new information to improve and/or expand ideas.
However, I think doctors have overstepped their bounds (especially in obstetrics, an issue I’ll be discussing more in a few weeks). They have dogmatic beliefs in drugs, vaccines, and interventions.
Because vaccines, medications and interventions have been thoroughly and rigorously tested and proven to work against the disease or illness they have been created to treat. Dogmatic means to “lay down principles as undeniably true” a criticism which is hilariously ironic coming from a religious blogger. Science is adaptable to change – it takes us where the evidence leads us, however science also has things it will hold steadfast such as Gravity and Avogadro’s constant – unless new information is presented and evaluated.
They have overly simplistic explanations for the way the human body works, and they don’t look for reasons WHY or for underlying causes. They only observe and assume.
Yes, science starts with observation. This is what research is for. If we find a treatments that works and works effectively, we use it and we endeavour to find out as much information as possible about the disease, how it operates, how it affects the human body, how it occurs in order to better treat, prevent and eradicate the disease. Scientific hypothesise are created by first observing the world around us, that observation is then put to the test by designing a high quality study (either qualitative or a quantitative study) to see how that observation holds up against scrutiny.
I also think that the scientific method is rarely used anymore. Researchers start out with a question, and they know what answer they would like or what they expect to see. Research is conducted in such a way as to provide the expected answer most of the time.
No it isn’t. I recently wrote on post on how research and how testing a hypothesis works. Science attempts to prove itself wrong and is self correcting which is why science adapts itself to new information. If you have an hypothesis based on an observation, you do your damnedest to analyse every nook and cranny of it. I doubt the author has ever had a dissertation torn apart by a panel of reviewers before. The highest quality study a researcher can conduct is randomly controlled double blind study, this is the best method for reducing observation bias, selection and sampling bias, human error and confirmation bias – a well-designed high quality study is an impartial way to test a hypothesis.
This is then called peer-reviewed research and is published in medical journals, and is the foundation for “evidence-based medicine,” which I entirely reject. Using these two phrases, “peer-reviewed medical journals” and “evidence-based medicine,” dogmatic scientists try to make people like me look like we are stark raving lunatics with no knowledge or brain function whatsoever. It’s rude, and it’s wrong.
It may be rude but it isn’t wrong. High quality studies peer-reviewed by a panel of qualified people has less of a chance of having bias and human error in it than online bloggers with a degree from Google.
Typical Medical Thinking Example
Here is an example of typical medical thinking: Several breastfeeding women are tested for the presence of vitamin D in their milk. All the levels are found to be low. Doctors conclude that vitamin D must not get into breastmilk very much, and recommend supplementing all breastfed babies. What the doctors failed to ask is WHY is vitamin D low in the breastmilk? They did not test the womens’ blood to see if they were deficient. Most people in this country are deficient, so it’s likely these women were, too. If the women were deficient, their breastmilk would be, as well. But, the doctors did not test this, and they assumed that breastmilk must just not have much vitamin D, since their samples didn’t.
I noticed the blogger didn’t leave a link to this particular study. Study findings are a good indication of whether further investigation should be conducted and a well-designed high quality double-blind study should have taken into account any confounding variables – that is, the researchers should have taken into account the vitamin D levels of the mothers as a factor to consider when evaluating the result of the study. Congratulations blogger, you’ve discovered that not all scientific studies are created equal.
Confusing Common With Normal
This is a fundamental problem: confusing COMMON with NORMAL. It is COMMON for people to be deficient in vitamin D…but it is not NORMAL. It is common for children to get frequent ear infections…but it is not normal. It is common for people to believe that injecting poison (i.e.vaccines) into themselves will prevent disease…but it is not normal! Doctors and researchers believe that the way they practice medicine must be correct because it is “evidence-based.”
But in the above examples, doctors have “evidence.” They can observe these things — low vitamin D levels in breastmilk and frequent ear infections in children — and so they make assumptions about this evidence. i.e. that they must be normal. Then they figure out ways to deal with this. The simplest way to deal with an ear infection (in their view) is to give an antibiotic. There is no thinking like “Why are these children getting ear infections? Why did children not get them so often in the past? What is different today? What might we change to remedy the ear infections so that children do not get them in the first place?” It is is more difficult to think this way because WHY each child is getting ear infections can be different — food allergies, overly vaccinated, given too many antibiotics, ear canals too small/misshapen, etc. — so this requires a lot of case-by-case calls. Perhaps individual doctors still address these issues, but these are not generally mentioned over all. Medical journals simply have taken ear infections as generally “normal” and not preventable through diet/lifestyle changes, and they are now working on a vaccine to prevent them. Yes, really.
Evidence based medicine needs to treat the symptoms first to reduce harm to a person, however they can look at the overall cause of the ear infections while treating the ear infection itself. If a patient has cancer, you’re not going to delay treatment to study why that person has developed cancer. No, you’re going to treat the cancer while researching into why cancer happens, what caused different types of cancer, what factors are involved that may increase the risk of cancer to gather a comprehensive look at cancer and how it operates in order to treatment, prevent and eradicate it. Doctors treat, medical researchers research.
Also did that blogger just say “Medical journals simply have taken ear infections as generally “normal” and not preventable through diet/lifestyle changes” and then say “and they are now working on a vaccine to prevent them“. She is criticising medical journals for attempting to create a vaccine to prevent ear infections and she is criticising medical journals for labelling them as “normal” – not as something that can be prevented through diet/lifestyle change.
She’s getting annoyed at medical journals for not saying ear infections can be prevented by diet/lifestyle changes – instead they are working on a vaccine.
1. Where is your source at doctors attempts at ear infection vaccines?
2. Do you know how infections work?
3. Medical journals can’t create vaccines – medical journals are publications. People create vaccines with the assistance of education and science.
What About GMO’s?
What about the new GMO (genetically modified organisms) food, or irradiated food? Or even pasteurized milk? Scientists claim it is nearly equivalent to fresh, non-GMO food because by all the basic measures they use — vitamin and mineral content, mostly — it is basically the same, and it also looks the same. But when testing for enzymes, phytonutrients, amino acids, etc. it becomes clear that it is NOT the same. Animals fed GMO foods die or develop cancer or diabetes very quickly. Cats consuming irradiated foods also developed tumors and became very ill. Microwaves basically irradiate food, too.
Plants watered with microwaved, cooled water die. Clearly, even though they LOOK the same and we may not see immediate effects (people don’t just keel over and die when eating them), there are very negative effects present. Again, the “evidence” that scientists have seems to prove their point — but they are being far too simplistic and asking the wrong questions.
Please cite your research. If you make a claim – be ready to back it up.
“Peer Reviewed” Studies
As far as “peer reviewed” studies, it is easy to get the answer you want when you word your question a specific way. It is also easy if you exclude people who are “anomalies,” in that they have several side effects. It is easy if you break down the side effects into sub-categories so they look rarer. It is easy if you report only the major side effects — or only the minor ones. It is easy if you use only health individuals and exclude people who do not match very specific criteria. It is easy to misinterpret the data. All of these are techniques frequently used in studies which are later peer reviewed and published in medical journals.
As mentioned before – not all scientific studies are equal. High quality randomly controlled studies are the best method for testing a hypothesis. A well-designed study attempts to control, account for and eradicate forms of bias that may skew the results. This is not a reason to disregard all science, this is a reason to learn to critically think and learn how to read a scientific paper.
The Issue With Modern Medicine
Modern medicine misses the point frequently. The answer isn’t to observe what is currently happening and find a new drug, vaccine, or therapy for it. The answer is to ask WHY this is happening and how we can prevent it naturally. Why were people not overweight very often 100 years ago? Why are they overweight today? Modern medicine has only part of the answer — trans fats and sedentary lifestyles — but that is not all. Our diets have completely changed. Even more interesting, why did people not get skin cancer 100 years ago, and they do now?
100 years ago there were many more farmers and more people spent all day in the sun. Today many people are indoors all day, in office buildings, and they get skin cancer. Somehow, modern doctors have decided that the sun causes cancer and that sunscreen and/or sun avoidance is the answer. This has not led to a decrease in skin cancer (it has probably increased due to the chemicals absorbed through the skin in sunscreen, though I’d have to double check that), but has led to chronically low vitamin D levels (which also increases risk of cancer). Modern medicine has MISSED the big picture entirely!
Again, doctors treat. Medical researchers (who are doctors) conduct research. Researchers need to research why a disease is happening, what causes it, where it comes from, how it happens and what effect it has on the body. If medicine only just treated the symptoms and symptoms only – we wouldn’t be able to treat infections or cure sexually transmitted disease. We can treat these things because we have researched into how they work and why they occur. We know what cause they take and how they affect the human body.
If the point is find out why a disease happens and to treat it naturally – well, sorry to say but your aren’t going to cure Syphilis with a carrot. Do you know what treats and cures Syphillis? Penicillin. Do you know the origins of Penicillin? It is derived from the Penicillium fungi – a genus of ascomycetous fungi. A substance found in nature.
For this reason (and many other examples), I don’t have a lot of respect for modern medicine. I don’t believe that they are asking the right questions. I don’t believe they are seeking the best answers. Many doctors think they can intervene and do a better job than God. They think that by giving children vaccines and antibiotics and practicing “preventative” care, they can make a child healthier than they were at birth. They think they can hurry along pregnancy and birth, and that taking a newborn away from its mother (cutting the cord immediately) and putting it on oxygen and bottle feeding and heated beds, they can improve that newborn’s outcome.
Wait, you don’t trust medicine – evidence based medicine that uses the scientific method because you think doctors are arrogant and better than your god? Your unprovable god? The guy in the sky who flooded the entire planet because people used their free will (that he gave them) and continued “sinning”? Even though your god is meant to be all-knowing and should have already known the final outcome would be people would continue to sin? You reject evidence based in logic and tested methods because doctors are better than your illogical invisible friend in the sky?
If that is so, why does the U.S., which has the highest rate of intervention in birth, also have the highest infant mortality rate of any developed country?
Socio-economic factors, genetics, lack of affordable healthcare and poverty just to name a few. You cannot state a correlation between high rate of intervention at birth with high rate of infant mortality means high mortality rates is caused by high intervention rates without first eliminating all the confounding and extraneous variables from the equation. Didn’t the blog spend half of the article criticising the fact doctors don’t look into the “why” of a situation? Pot meet kettle.
The Broken System
Evidence that the current system is broken is popping up everywhere, daily. There is plenty of evidence that laboring mothers who are gently supported and not given drugs and whose babies are allowed immediate skin-to-skin contact have far better outcomes than those who have interventions. There is evidence that these interventions are linked to childhood illnesses, like cancer and diabetes. There is evidence that vaccines cause brain damage, including autism. There is evidence that today’s lifestyle causes obesity. It goes on and on. Modern medicine continues to try new innovations, ignoring that the problem worsens every year. Clearly their interventions are NOT making the problems better, and they still fail to realize it.
Invoking the no-existent vaccine/autism link? The one that has been disproven time and time again? I wish anti-vaxxers would stop flogging this horse – it’s not only died but has decayed to the point its skeleton has bleached in the sun. There will never be a study that is satisfactory to anti-vaxxers because science will never say what anti-vaxxers want to hear – that vaccines have been linked to autism. Anti-vaxxers still believe (there’s that word again) despite all evidence to the contrary, that vaccines are linked to autism. It’s almost faith, certainty without evidence.
I’m sorry but your “mummy instinct” doesn’t count as evidence.
Perhaps individual doctors are driven to help people, and feel powerless when there is really nothing they can do. Perhaps they feel bad sending parents home with a prescription for extra vitamin D and C and lots of chicken soup. Perhaps they feel the need to do something — give an antibiotic, give vaccines to try to prevent suffering. This desire to help is admirable if misguided. Some, however, are not so innocent. Some are concerned with profits. Some are more concerned about public health than personal health (which is NOT ever a reason to get a vaccine, since they don’t work at all in the first place). Some are being paid by the drug companies, who, of course, are motivated by profit.
Oh goodness, you’ve realised that doctors are human. They fuck up. I never understood how drug companies making a profit and reinvested it back into research for better, more effective drugs can be considered a bad thing. Especially when Big Placebo – the alternative medicine industry – like homeopathy pulls in $5.35 billion dollars per year (in India alone) without reinvesting it into research and clinical trials.
The entire system is broken. I have no respect left for it. I have some respect for individual doctors, but not for “evidence-based medicine” whatsoever. Too much harm has come from it. Medical errors and hospital-acquired infections are in the leading causes of death in adults in this country, as are properly-used medical interventions (which are actually unnecessary). Medicine is killing as many (or more) people as they help.
This is why I avoid the medical system as much as possible. I do not believe that doctors are magical and worthy of any extra respect. Certainly they deserve the same respect as any other human being, but they are not elevated above the rest, as many seem to believe (how many of you have been talked down to by a doctor if you disagreed with their recommendations? or even been thrown out of a practice for refusing to comply?). The arrogance is wrong, and unjustified. Next time someone tells you that you should fall in line because this is “evidence based medicine” and the results are published in “peer reviewed journals,” tell them just how little faith you have in these, and exactly why.
Instead, tell them you believe God created us perfectly and we don’t need these interventions in almost any case to continue to be perfect. God gave us all the medicine we need all around us, which Chinese medicine and other natural healing takes advantage of (a topic for another blog post later). Don’t let them bully you into thinking they are right. They are wrong!
I really want to ask this person why her god would create us perfect only to have us contract diseases and infections. I would really like to ask her why her god allows West Africans to die from Ebola, why did god create Polio or HIV or Diabetes? Illnesses that are either managed by drug therapy or have been eradicated via the use of vaccines.
Doctors can be arrogant because they are not perfect however wouldn’t you get frustrated at going to school for a decade or more of your life only to have person who thinks a medical degree came out of her vagina along with a baby – attempt to tell you they know more about your profession and illnesses than you do? Medicine is not perfect because people are not perfect.
Medicine doesn’t require faith. Science doesn’t require faith. Science does not have all the answers but it sure as shit has more answers and qualified people to utilise it correctly – more so than a religious person who tells her readers to not trust medicine in favour of her god, Appeals to Nature and pseudoscience that has been proven to be junk.