By Mark Crislip
We all construct our narrative based on our biases and spin the facts so that the narrative confirms our biases. Among other characteristics, what separates an SBM provider from a SCAM provider is realizing that biases are always active and apply to me as well as everyone else.
My biases are simple: I am skeptical that humans can reliably understand reality without assistance and the best source of assistance is science.
I have a job where the expectation is that I will change practice as information changes. How I practiced medicine 30 years ago is very different from how I practice it today. Still, I note it is harder and harder to change my approaches as I get older. I get more set in my ways and it takes more effort to change as new studies are published. Sometimes it seems almost physically difficult.
Again, it is expected that not only will I change my mind over time, as the sole ID doctor at my hospitals, I will be the one to lead the change. Imagine how much harder it would be to change your mind if you were committed to a universal truth such as those that are alleged to underlie reiki or chiropractic. Years committed to a pseudo-medicine probably renders changing one’s mind virtually impossible.
I will admit there is one bias I cannot fathom, the conspiracy/pharmaceutical shill world view. The idea that those of us concerned with pseudo-medicine are doing so because we are paid by big pharma is just so weird. There are a number of articles on Pubmed concerning medical conspiracies, but the search term “pharmaceutical shill’ yields nothing on either Google scholar or Pubmed. It is a bias that evidently has no research to help understand why people have that opinion. I suspect it is derived in part from the often-remarkable sums paid to some doctors to pimp medications to other doctors. But I can’t even find how common the belief is.
I can kind of understand why people practice and/or participate in the various SCAMs given my understanding of the various fallacies and dysfunctional ways the mind works. It is easy to see how both the practitioners and patients misjudge the efficacy of pseudo-medicine. We have evolved to survive reality, certainly not to understand it.
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