Saturday, August 19, 2006

Evidence based medicine is microfascism!

Stop laughing...it really, really is! If some are still wondering why nice British middle class boys from good homes are turning to obscurantist weirdo religions, then read on...

Wondering why religion and not modernity retains its influence on so many in Poland? And what about Islam in the UK? Are both a threat to 'our European way of life'?

Journalists like Melanie Phillips et at, who go on and on about the ‘threat to the West' from 'alien ideologies' like 'Islamofascism', are missing the point.

This is not about the strength of Islam but the increasing weakness of Western culture and its turn away from Enlightenment values.

Irrationality in the west is coming from our own, increasingly anti-science, relativist culture. It’s nothing to do with ‘them’ ‘over there’.
Check out this nonsense from post-modernist academic and Foucaultian nursing researcher Dave Holmes entitled Deconstructing the evidence-based discourse in health sciences: truth, power and fascism (snigger!).

If you can’t stomach reading the whole lot then here is a choice bit of bullshit which attacks the ‘microfascism’ of evidence based medicine (meaning the normal medicine that has helped make us the healthiest and longest living in the history of humanity):

‘Drawing on the work of the late French philosophers Deleuze and Guattari, the objective of this paper is to demonstrate that the evidence-based movement in the health sciences is outrageously exclusionary and dangerously normative with regards to scientific knowledge. As such, we assert that the evidence-based movement in health sciences constitutes a good example of microfascism at play in the contemporary scientific arena.

The philosophical work of Deleuze and Guattari proves to be useful in showing how health sciences are colonised (territorialised) by an all-encompassing scientific research paradigm — that of post-positivism — but also and foremost in showing the process by which a dominant ideology comes to exclude alternative forms of knowledge, therefore acting as a fascist structure.

ER...right. I used to teach that sort of crap at university. I should have been taken outside and made to eat a book by Foucault. Instead, people tried to give me research grants!

So are you still wondering why middle class British boys believe that blowing themselves and others up on trains and airplanes will bring them an early date with 12 virgins?

Are you still wondering why religion and not rationality has retained its influence with many in Poland? It’s because it is not meeting much opposition from liberals, many of whom are becoming as obscurantist as the religious.

The threat is not from ‘without’, it’s from our own, stupid, rotting culture.

More?
Poseurs of the World Unite, By J. Carter Wood
Archie Cochrane: fascist! by Ben Goldacre
The Sokal hoax shows how post-modernists will swallow any old bull...

24 comments:

steppx said...

yeah....I fear though that we end up bashing Derrida and Foucalt....and even D&G, when its the empty suits that follow them....the endless parade of grad students, who churn this shit out, who we should more carefully target.

Philosophy is important....and critisizing an overdependence on "enlightenment" values can be useful too.....but clearly it becomes pretty comical when you see much of what gets published.

I just dont want to end up being reactive against theory. Terry Eagleton's latest book, Holy Terror is pretty cogent regards this topic.

Thinkers like Badiou are very good.....but for every Badiou you get a bunch of really bad academic-industry pseudo thought.

My man Adorno also hated this shit.....mystifying irrationality he called it. And so it is. It comes from both the left and right, too.

beatroot said...

Terry Eagleton's latest book, Holy Terror is pretty cogent regards this topic.

Have not seen that yet but he is the best at Po MO bashing from the left. But it isn;t just trendy lefties who go in for this shit...check out John Grey!

But can you see what I am getting at? It’s the hole in our culture – the end of modernism really - that has opened us up to post modernist distrust of ‘truth’ ‘objectivity’ ‘progress’…I put all those in inverted commas to please the Po Mos…

Into that vacuum comes pre-Enlightenment thought…from homeopathy to Islamo-whatever…

Post modernists deny the possibility of social progress, they love ‘anything goes’ thinking. ‘Who is to say who is right and who is wrong’…baff, puke, vomit.

Politics consequently is all but useless. So whereas once Iraq would be fought politically, now it is fought nihilistically…by blowing up bombs without even claims of responsibility. No political goals at all…just a symbolic suicide bombing.

It’s not them we should be scared of, it’s us.

roman said...

beatroot,

The Po Mos so eloquently derscribed by you should be a concern in the near future.

"It’s not them we should be scared of, it’s us."

I am not quite sure who you are refering to with "them" but the "us" I can definitely recognize. In my case, I am still very comfortable with "us". As a civilized culture we have attained great advances. We, through the lessons of bloody history, recognized early on that the separation of church and state is the best tried and true form of government. Democracy, while not perfect, beats the hell out of both left and right forms of fascist governments. Anyone using terror is, in fact, promoting chaos as a way to re-establish proven "failed" forms of rule and are mainly relying on ignorance as a weapon of mass destruction.
I agree, Po Mos that rely on mysticism instead of science will be a concern in the near future and will need to be addressed. The current strain of violent religious fundamentalism needs to be addressed now because it is the vanguard of this new phenomenon of mysticism over reality.
Right now, us I trust, them I don't.

steppx said...

john grey is a perfect example.

And I do agree, Beat....and its a big big topic. One beyond the scope of a blog comment thread. Suffice it to say that po-mo has all too often drifted into the realm of un-critical acceptance of anything....utter relativity.

But its a big topic...and how it affects the political realm is quite germane (have you read Philip Goodchild?). The mis-use of instrumental reason (to borrow Horkeimers term) led to the co-opting of much of science....where research is conducted in the interests of big corporations....and not in a search for knowledge or truth (gulp...the po mo's will hate that term).

and roman.....for the record I dont trust "us". Not with how we managed to create a toxic planet and a narcotized and deeply unhappy population of cyborg consumers. Barbie dolls, breast implants, bottled water, american idol, MTV, bush and blair and defense spending, Halliburton and increased polorization of rich and poor. One in three americans use anti depressents. No, I dont trust us.

Much of po-mo reasoning ends up very reactionary. It is uncritical and simply intentionally obscurantist.

Anyway, its a good subject....wish we had more space and more time and etc.

beatroot said...

Roman: As a civilized culture we have attained great advances. We, through the lessons of bloody history, recognized early on that the separation of church and state is the best tried and true form of government. Democracy, while not perfect, beats the hell out of both left and right forms of fascist governments.

The threat to all that, which I agree are real social gains over the last century, comes from our post modernist culture.

Second, third generation Muslims are rejecting our society and those gains more than their parents did. And I would argue that they are doing that because they see a culture and a way of life that has no confidence in itself. It can't even hold the line on medicine and science, surly one of the great cultural gains of our society. So, under a multiculturalist 'anything goes' culture they are looking for something that seems to be more certain and absolute - nihilism.

Our culture should reject the wishywashy rubbish of Po Mo multiculturalism and start praising the progress we have made.

Not all cultures are equal...ours is (was) much better than what the jihadists want.

beatroot said...

And you are right Step about what a huge subject this is but a very necessary one. I want people - especially so called 'progressives' to start looking at their own societies and stop obsessing about the 'evil from without'. We should be trying to change our own societies because that is where the problem is...

Anonymous said...

Talking about the Enlightenment I just have to recommend Stephen Eric Bronner's timely book Reclaiming the Enlightenment: Toward a Politics of Radical Engagement which now is available in paperback.

beatroot said...

What, are you his agent?

But thanks, it does seem to be on the same wavelength. A review says:

Stephen Bronner's study of the Enlightenment and its reception is not only superb but timely. Bronner rescues the Enlightenment from critics of both the left and the right. In the future, anyone who wants to defend arguments about ethical reason or scientific knowledge based on local prejudices will have to deal with Bronner's decisive arguments."

I would also point people towards Butterflies and wheels web site

http://www.butterfliesandwheels.com/notes.php

ignacy said...

You'll probably hate this, BR, but on the price of "progress", here's a liberal Catholic perspective by William Pfaff:

http://www.commonwealmagazine.org/article.php3?id_article=1674

lemuel said...

If I read Deleuze maybe I would have wanted to blow myself up too.

beatroot said...

I think that is a relativist text, Ignacy, so no, don’t like it.

But I think the problem comes with the definition of ‘western’. The west is really just the deposit of the best of ‘human values’ and progress. That these have happened in the ‘west’ is just a geographical accident.

When Europe was in the dark ages China, the middle east, Indian were much more advanced in the many ways than the countries in the western hemisphere.
It was the collapse of the Chinese empire and the renaissance plus enlightenment that gave the west its impetus.

The article also criticizes colonialism….which I share too. In principle it was wrong and it actually had very mixed results for the countries affected.
But in general I would say that the progress we have made in the west is worth defending, particularly the values of the Enlightenment.

We can thank Copernicus etc for that.

ignacy said...

Well, thanks for reading it. I don't get the relativist quip but so it goes.

It seems, though, that the values you want to preserve are the same of which you are oft so critical: ie., western liberalism.

And about geographical accidents and such, see Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel which, I think, presents a very unique and sophisticated analysis, groundbreaking really, of why the west came out and remains on top of the heap.

BTW, if you are into good rock music, I see the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs will be in Warsaw soon. Check them out!

beatroot said...

Ignacy: if you are into good rock music, I see the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs will be in Warsaw soon.

I know them. Good. I have played guitar and other stuff what feels like all my life, so slightly punky American bands go well with me.

It seems, though, that the values you want to preserve are the same of which you are oft so critical: ie., western liberalism.

Problem here is with the word ‘liberalism’. If you mean classical J S Mills type liberalism then fine. But liberals today are a very different breed. They are actually extremely conservative and illiberal.

And I thought the article relativist because of bits like this:

I do not believe in human progress. There is no evidence that humans today are, morally speaking, an improvement on the Attic Greeks, or the Christians of medieval Europe-or for that matter, the Magdalenian cave painters.

And that is not relativist?

Following that logic I cannot say that modern day London is better than Victorian London, with its disgusting workshops and disease and poverty. And if I cannot say that then I cannot say that modern day London is progress from modern day Saudi Arabia where women cannot go out unaccompanied and even drive a car.

But I can say that and I do think that. That’s progress!

ignacy said...

Pfaff's writing about morality not creature comforts or even rights.

He explains in the same article,"I do not deny the obvious development of society-institutional and legal progress, the benefits of representative government, the internationalized norms of justice (now, alas, under attack by the present U.S. government, which in its treatment of enemies has reverted to a barbarism last experienced in Nazi-occupied Europe), the increase of scientific knowledge, and the accumulation of the power technology affords. The moral progress of individual men and women is another matter."

While he ain't claimin' we be "devo," he's not seeing the human capacity for choosing good over evil as at all improving. Indivially and not collectively, either.

No sweatshops today? Go south of the Texas/California border. Or bop on over to Asia. Or what about those Poles in Italy recently? And what about sweatshops in the sun (agricultural production)? And it's the same kinda folks, same family line sometimes, still makin' da big bux offa other folks' misery.

beatroot said...

No sweatshops today? Go south of the Texas/California border. Or bop on over to Asia. Or what about those Poles in Italy recently? And what about sweatshops in the sun (agricultural production)? And it's the same kinda folks, same family line sometimes, still makin' da big bux offa other folks' misery. ?

We certainly have a lot of work to do...to progress....but we have come a long way. And we will go much firther I am sure. But if we go on like we are at the moment, with people even questioning the possibility of progress then the struggle to become civilized is even harder than it already is and has been.

Viva le Englightenment!!!!!

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