There is a thing in bad science, and indeed in all life, called confirmation bias. I’ve said many times that all scientists know and believe in the concept, just as all believe and know it only happens to the other guy, never themselves.
Confirmation bias happens when disconfirmatory or negative evidence is discarded, explained away, not taken seriously, or usually just left unseen. We all feed our biases, but some of us are better at it, if you will, and can even make a living out of the (dis-)ability to seek and recognize only that evidence which conforms to and confirms a cherished belief.
Take conservative George Will. He was so sure that Trump was a genuine lunatic tyrant—Will took that genuine seriously—that he supported publicly General Milley’s treason as the lesser of two evils.
That example of confirmation bias shows that it can happen to the most celebrated minds. Will was not alone, of course, in being certain sure Trump was dangerously insane. Most of the bien pensant were. Confirmation bias is easier when there are many confirmers.
Will and others could not see negative evidence for their belief. And this made a difference in their diagnosis of the political situation.
Doctors, of course, also diagnosis patients, seeking the cause of reported symptoms. Bad doctors, like bad conservatives and bad scientists, have favorite theories and do their best to squeeze the evidence to fit the frame.
Chiropractors, for instance, will want to say most maladies are caused, wholly or partially, by subluxations of the spine. Surgeons will want to cut out the bad parts, internists want to prescribe the latest ask-your-doctor-about pills, and so on for every specialty.
None will ever admit to bias.
This is fine when second, and third and more, opinions are allowed (a decreasing situation) and when those opinions don’t all share the same bias.
We’ve already seen medical schools, following, or possibly in concert with the AMA’s, abandoning sex.
A female may be recommend for prostate surgery by these newly minted “doctors” if the female insists she is a man. These doctors will not only not seek to inform the lady about anatomy, a social construct, and will not only cash the check of the lady, but they’ll make sure to “find” a prostate in her.
What these object will really be in anybody’s guess. In the PI, “psychic surgeons” remove “tumors” through bellies without causing a scratch. A trick made easy when the “tumors” are chicken guts concealed in the surgeons’ palms. The “real” certified, degreed “doctors” in the USA will be doing equivalent tricks, but using more sophisticated methods (and expensive) than crude slight-of-hand.
Beside doctors pretending to believe—or, worse, believing—their crazier patients’ notions about sex, we might wonder if there are other popular biases ready to be confirmed. New ones, I mean, the old ones, like the irrational prejudice against eating fat, still surviving fine.
There are. Turns out students demand to be taught the disease of global warming, which they call “climate change.”
Yes: medical students at Emory believe patients suffer from warm winds, and demand (students never ask anymore) their professors to explain it to them.
They are sure that global warming—when it finally strikes—will cause disease. How they are sure of this is a curious question, because almost every one of these medical students is ignorant of physics. But set that aside. They are sure global warming is going to create illness.
“Despite this…my peers and I, as we sat in our first-year medical school lecture halls, we really heard no mention of this whatsoever,” says Emaline Laney, a student at the Emory University School of Medicine. [ellipsis original]
Laney never considered the possibility that she never heard about it because it is not so. Instead, she insisted that her bias be confirmed.
“We ended up really one by one going through every single lecture we ever went through throughout our medical school curriculum,” she says.
They developed a proposal to integrate climate change content into the standard course of study for first-year medical students.
Emory agreed to let the students be taught the biases they themselves cobbled together, probably figuring it’s easier to go along than be accused of deniers, or whatever. Since the idea is false, the professors likely wouldn’t have know what to teach anyway.
On the other hand, maybe they would have. It seems the editors of 230 peer-reviewed publications swear that global warming is going to infect global health. Not only that, but they said global warming is the “greatest threat to global public health”.
Not coronadoom. Global warming.
We’ll check into this more carefully soon, but for now, don’t be surprised if you get a lecture from an over-earnest “doctor” upset how your fever is contributing to global warming.
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