The Myth of Medical Science

(c) 1998 Owen Fonorow

When was the last time you heard a medical doctor say: "Our best guess is that if we try this, the following outcome might occur?" Doctor do not tell us the truth because we don't want to hear it.

There are no known basic scientific laws of life, or even laws of the human body on which to base scientific predictions. Even the physicists do not claim that they yet know all the basic laws of physics. As Nobel Prize winning physicist Richard Feynman wrote, "there is an expanding frontier of ignorance."

Feynman also said,

"Each piece, or part, of the whole of nature is always merely an approximation to the complete truth, or the complete truth so far as we know it. In fact, everything we know is only some kind of approximation, because we know that we do not know all the laws as yet. Therefore, things must be learned only to be unlearned again or, more likely, to be corrected." [Feynman, Six Easy Pieces, 95]

The medical doctor does not say to her patients that the sum total of her knowledge is an approximation. That she is treating the patient to the best of her ability based on a current hypothesis. That her knowledge does not even constitute a scientific theory, and that this knowledge may be subject to change. No patient wants to think that they are being treated with anything less than perfection.

We all want to believe that medicine is based upon scientific truths.

If there are no scientific laws of medicine, then what is the basis for "medical science?" Experimentation. But if there are no guiding principles, experiments only tell us what happened in the context of the experiment. All that medical science has to offer is a long string of "scientific" experiments, and recently, uncontrolled "epidemiological" studies that try to extrapolate knowledge from the health reports of large groups. But without strong theories, how does the medical scientific community make sense of a mass of seemingly conflicting experimental and epidemiological data?

I think most doctors even believe the myth of medical science themselves. They have faith that knowledge they are taught and learn from the best medical journals has passed the test of scientific rigor. They believe in large, very expensive clinical trials. Since their knowledge is sanctioned by great medical wisdom, they can not bring themselves to look upon it as a hypothesis. An approximation. A best guess.

Doctors want present medical knowledge to seem etched in granite as truth because that is the way their patients want it. This attitude makes it very difficult for the medical profession to accept new knowledge. Medicine thus becomes the antithesis of science. Otherwise, we and our doctors and medical authorities would have to face the fact that prior knowledge might be wrong; a near death experience for most doctors.

A good example is the H. Pylori stomach bacteria that was discovered by medical researchers Barry Marshall and Robin Warren in 1982. These Australians discovered that these bacteria exist in the stomach and were present in patients with stomach ulcers. As late as 1994, authoritative medical text books held that bacteria in the stomach are "impossible" as no bacteria can withstand the strong stomach acid.

There is a long list. When experimental facts contradict current dogma, the experimental facts must be questioned, ridiculed and ignored. The correction of old ideas is at the heart of science. Thus, medicine becomes the antithesis of science.

The danger of this pseudo science approach, not grounded in theory, is that any position can be taken in the "name of medical science" by powerful interests. Stomach acid causes ulcers. Salt causes high blood pressure. A high carbohydrate diet is healthy. Cholesterol is "bad" and causes heart disease. Vitamins cause kidney stones or "DNA Damage." Simple oxygen therapies don't work.. How is a simple soul to make sense of this madness?

The end result is that drugs, medicines and doctors have become one of the leading causes of death in the United States. This is the real danger of the myth of medical science.

Owen Fonorow

Vitamin C Foundation
PO Box 73172
Houston, TX 77273

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