Thatís not science: itís propaganda

Dr Vernon Coleman MB ChB DSc FRSA

Doctors like to give the impression that they have conquered sickness with science but thatís just promotional baloney. There are, at a conservative estimate, something in the region of 18,000 known diseases for which there are still no effective treatments - let alone cures. Even when treatments do exist their efficacy is often in question.

Itís not surprising that the treatments for the coronavirus are completely confusing and itís not surprising that many people, me included, suspect that effective treatments are being ignored or suppressed because they might interfere with the need for a nice expensive vaccine that would make billions for drug companies and establish a greater need for compulsory annual vaccinations for everyone.

Modern clinicians may use scientific techniques but in the way that they treat their patients they are often still more like quacks and charlatans, loyal to existing and unproven ideas which are profitable, and resistant to new techniques and technologies which may be proven and effective.

One report a few years ago concluded that 85% of medical and surgical treatments have never been properly tested.

The fact that a doctor may use a scientific instrument in his work does not make him a scientist - any more than a typist who uses a word processor is a computer scientist. The scientific technology available to doctors may be magnificent but the problem is, and donít tell anyone I told you this, that the application of the scientific technology is too often crude, untested and unscientific.

Drugs which are commonly prescribed have often never been properly tested. And there are scores of simple questions which go unanswered. Why, for example, do doctors prescribe the same dose of an antibiotic for a 7 stone woman as they prescribe for a 27 stone man? Iíve been asking that question for decades and no one has ever got an answer. Or the other way round. Most drugs are given in similar doses to patients who are 16-years-old as to patients who are 86-years-old Ė even though their bodies will be very different.

Modern doctors, whether practising as physicians or surgeons, do not see the human mind and the human body as a single entity (which is why the medical profession has been slow to embrace the principles of holistic medicine and doubly incompetent in its attempts to deal with stress-related disorders) and they rely more on hopes and assumptions than on evidence and objective clinical experience. Iím afraid that too many modern doctors are as narrow-minded, and as influenced by their personal experiences and interpretations as their predecessors were 2,000 years ago.

Most patients probably assume that when a doctor proposes to use an established treatment to conquer a disease he will be using a treatment which has been tested, examined and proven.

But Iím afraid that is often not true.

The first problem is that there are tens of thousands of medical journals in the world and it is difficult for anyone to keep up with new papers Ė even in a small speciality and even with the aid of computer search engines.

Amazingly, only about 15% of medical interventions are supported by solid scientific evidence' and `only 1% of the articles in medical journals are scientifically sound.

What sort of science is that? How can doctors possibly regard themselves as practising a science when six out of seven treatment regimes are unsupported by scientific evidence and when 99% of the articles upon which clinical decisions are based are scientifically unsound?

How can doctors regard themselves as scientists when it is known that a kind, compassionate doctor can have a healing rate 50% better than his or her crueller colleagues - simply because patients respond better to his or her remedies?

How can doctors regard medicine as a science when it has been proven many times that at least a third of patients will get better if given a placebo Ė a medicine that contains no active ingredients?

How can doctors regard medicine as a science when it is known that a large proportion of patients expecting to have heart surgery will get better if they are merely given a scar on their chests and told that they have had an operation?

Medicine is no science. It's an art. Mysticism.

But these days it is polluted by business. And money.

The savage truth is that most medical research is organised, paid for, commissioned or subsidised by the drug industry. This type of research is designed, quite simply, to find evidence showing a new product is of commercial value. The companies which commission such research are not terribly bothered about evidence; what they are looking for are conclusions which will enable them to sell their product. Drug company sponsored research is done more to get good reviews than to find out the truth.

A study published in one major journal found that one in five researchers in the life sciences had delayed publication of their results, or had not published them at all, because of their relations with business firms.

Whenever I have accused scientists of being prejudiced and `bought' because of their allegiance to their corporate paymasters the answer has invariably been the same: `Everyone does it. There isn't a scientist in the world who hasn't taken corporate money.'

Sadly, this is probably true - and is one explanation for the fact that many allegedly independent Government bodies are almost always packed with men and women who work for (or have taken fees from) the large corporations their Government body is supposed to be policing.

It is also a fact that most of the doctors and scientists writing articles, papers and reviews for medical and scientific journals have received money, grants and freebies from drug, chemical or food companies.

And it is also worth remembering that many allegedly and apparently independent journals accept corporate advertising and some accept payment in return for running articles.

With a very few exceptions there are no certainties in medicine. The treatment a patient gets will depend more on chance and the doctor's personal prejudices than on science. The unexpected seems to happen so often that it really ought to be expected and the likelihood of a doctor accurately predicting the outcome of a disease is often no more than 50:50.

Even in these days of apparently high technology medicine there are almost endless variations in the treatments preferred by differing doctors. Doctors offer different prescriptions for exactly the same symptoms; they keep patients in hospital for vastly different lengths of time, and they perform different operations on patients with apparently identical problems.

There is, indeed, ample evidence now available to show that the type of treatment a patient gets when he visits a doctor will depend not so much on the symptoms he describes but on the doctor he consults - and where that doctor practises. And yet most doctors in practice seem to be convinced that their treatment methods are beyond question. Many GPs and hospital doctors announce their decisions as though they are carved in stone.

But for me the big worry is that today's research is largely controlled by and for the pharmaceutical industry. Doctors are unquestioning. Most don't read original papers (and couldn't read between the lines or assess papers accurately even if they did). The majority obtain 99% of their information from two biased and thoroughly unreliable sources: drug companies and the Government.

No one bothers to look for evidence that vaccinations actually work or are safe or donít cause problems when several different vaccines are injected into the same body. I wrote a book called Anyone who tells you vaccines are safe and effective is lying. And no one in the medical establishment has ever tried to dispute that statement.

Young doctors are told that what they are taught are facts. And they are taught (and then believe) that medicine is a science. But the fact is that outside the anatomy room and, possibly, the physiology laboratory, there are no facts in medicine. The gaps in our knowledge about the body are far greater than the extent of our knowledge.

Medicine is not a science. It is an art and a craft. With a smidgen of science stuck on the side. Economics, psychiatry and psychology are all pseudosciences with no more relation to real science than astrology or iridology. Medicine is somewhere in between real science and economics. But it isn't a science.

Doctors like to be thought of as scientists because it contributes to their aura of infallibility. Drug companies like to think that doctors are scientists because it encourages patients to have faith in the remedies they produce. And research doctors like to pretend that they are scientists because it makes it easier for them to obtain grants and to tell convincing stories to the media. Too often, Iím afraid, modern medical scientists decide on a commercially acceptable solution and then select the facts which support the solution they have selected.

That's not science: it's propaganda.

And itís not surprising that the whole coronavirus hoax has been allowed to meander along unhindered by proper debate.

Copyright Vernon Coleman July 2020

Vernon Colemanís international bestseller How to Stop Your Doctor Killing You is available on Amazon as a paperback and an eBook. Vernon Colemanís latest novel Dr Bullockís Annals is a black comedy. It is the story of a doctor working in Victorian England when life was rather more straightforward than it is now.