What is PalMD Ashamed Of?
In a recent post, I pointed out the obvious -- that traditional allopathic medical practice is capable of causing considerable harm to patients, and I appealed to some of the particularly nasty critics of alternative medicine to back off with the venom directed against practitioners and ordinary people who have experienced benefit from alternative medicine or who are concerned about the risks associated with vaccinations. We doctors have our hands full protecting patients from our own mistakes, without spending our time excoriating accupuncturists. A little perspective is in order.
So why are these particular bloggers so obsessed with hatred for people who question medical or scientific orthodoxy? Most of these arrogant critics are atheist/materialist physicians, and their anger is fueled by the refusal of the public and many other scientists and physicians to accede to their orthodoxy. Their issue is ideological, not medical or scientific. Scientism is a materialist religion -- a metaphysical stance -- and its priests don't suffer questions lightly.
My view on the debate between allopathic medicine and alternative medicine is straightforward: follow the evidence wherever it leads, and do so with professionalism and respect. It is based on the evidence that I doubt the efficacy of many of the claims made by proponents of alternative medicine, and it's based on the evidence that I support intelligent design theory and the viewpoint that the mind is not merely the brain. In that sense, I'm very much a denialist. I deny many of the claims of proponents of alternative medicine, I deny some of the claims made by proponents of allopathic medicine, and I deny Darwinism as an adequate explanation for life and I deny materialism as adequate for the mind. I'm interested in evidence, not doctrinal purity or ideological bullying.
For my temerity, I got 'smackdowned.' One PalMD from 'Denialism blog' thumped his anonymous chest:
Smackdown, please (yes, Egnor, I'm talking to you)
...You see, once you wander off the reality reservation, you open up your mind to all kinds of narishkeit. Take Dr. Michael Egnor, the creationist neurosurgeon. He holds some fantastical beliefs about mind-body dualism and creationism. His big thing is "non-materialist neuroscience"---an idea that is prima facie ridiculous, especially for someone who plays with brains all day, and can quite literally change someone's mind with a scalpel...
It's not worth quoting much more. You get the drift. So who is 'PalMD'? 'PalMD' is an anonymous physician blogger who claims to be an "internist in the Midwestern United States." He's challenged me by name with a schoolyard taunt, but... what's his name? Who is 'PalMD'?
The irony is delightful. PalMD claims to represent mainstream 'science-based medicine,' yet he lacks the courage to blog under his real name. I've always blogged under my own name, because I have little respect for physicians who express viewpoints on the internet and yet are afraid to have their names associated with their opinions. I mean what I say, and I'm willing to stand by it. I don't say one thing anonymously, and another thing for attribution.
Why then is PalMD -- who's 'talking to...me' -- afraid to provide readers with his own name? Obviously, he's afraid that people will link his opinions with his name. 'PalMD' is afraid that his patients will google his name and read his blog. Perhaps his patients would realize that they're the people who he derides as idiots, crazy, cultists, 'anti-science,' and 'Deniers.' Perhaps his patients would take offense at his equation of people who don't march in lock-step with his atheist/materialist beliefs (that is, most people) with Holocaust deniers. Perhaps PalMD's patients and colleagues would realize that their doctor/colleague is an arrogant bigot who ridicules Christians who pray and believe they have souls:
...illogical thinking leads to the adoption of idiocy...[Egnor] reached out to the creationist cults. Apparently their brand of crazy wasn't enough for him...[Egnor] bemoans the arrogance of doctors...[b]ut what is his solution?... Prayer? ...So [Egnor] believes that the mind is not brain-dependent---so what?...Does he make sure to use a Sharpie to demarcate the soul before putting steel to flesh?
Devout Christians who take Genesis literally (i.e. half of Americans) are 'idiots' and members of "creationist cults"? PalMD should be afraid that anyone would read his swill and link it to his name. It's likely that most of his patients, colleagues, and friends pray, believe in God, and believe they have souls, and they probably would take offense if they knew that their doctor/colleague/friend equated them with cultists and Holocaust deniers because of their religious beliefs. Anonymous blogging is common among atheists/materialists/Darwinists, and for a reason. Despite their claim to represent mainstream science, many Darwinian fundamentalists like PalMD are ill-tempered bigots who are loathe to have their opinions publicly associated with their names. For obvious reasons.
So I won't be engaging in a 'Smackdown' with PalMD unless I (and readers) know who 'PalMD' is. It's hard to take an anonymous chest-thumping bigot seriously. Once I know his real name, and once his viewpoints are publicly associated with his name, we can begin a genuine discussion about medical errors, medical arrogance, scientism, bigotry, 'denialism' and...oh yes... cowardice.