Wednesday, 30 August 2006

A Setback for Medical Science

To the ever-growing list of those labelled “fascist” — a list that runs the range from followers of Mussolini to postmen who whistle —, there is a new addition: those who demand that medical science be based on evidence:
[W]e assert that the evidence-based movement in health sciences constitutes a good example of microfascism at play in the contemporary scientific arena. [1]
One ought to note that our authors are even of the opinion that this “microfascism” is “more pernicious” than the “fascism of the masses, as was practiced by Hitler and Mussolini” [2]. Undaunted by the scale of this blight, and armed with the most fearsome quackery, courtesy of Messrs. Deleuze, Guattari and Derrida of Paris, our authors are therefore ready for a fight:
It is fair to assert that [we] critical intellectuals are at ‘war’ with those who have no regards other than for an evidence-based logic [in medical science]. The war metaphor speaks to the ‘critical and theoretical revolt’ that is needed to disrupt and resist the fascist order of scientific knowledge development. [3]
And to what end is this war enjoined?
We believe that health sciences ought to promote pluralism – the acceptance of multiple points of view. [4]
So, next time you visit the doctor, if he blows smoke in your ear and mumbles something about the stars, you’ll doubtless be happy to know that the fascism of evidence-based medicine has suffered a setback.

[1] D. Holmes, S.J. Murray, A. Perron, and G. Rail, “Deconstructing the Evidence-based Discourse in Health Sciences: Truth, Power and Fascism”, in International Journal of Evidence Based Healthcare, Vol.4:3, September 2006, p.181; original emphasis. (H/T to and link via J. C. Wood, “Poseurs of the World Unite”,, 25th August 2006, in which the reader can find a more detailed discussion of the cited work.)
[2] Ibid., p.180.
[3] Ibid., p.185; original emphasis.
[4] Ibid., p.181.


Anonymous said...

A curious idea, but not nearly as curious as how you came across such a thing in the first place...

Do tell.

dearieme said...

"microfascism" seems a pretty handy term. I think we might see more of it.

D. C. Warmington said...

George Orwell, writing in 1944, had this to say:

It will be seen that, as used, the word 'Fascism' is almost entirely meaningless. In conversation, of course, it is used even more wildly than in print. I have heard it applied to farmers, shopkeepers, Social Credit, corporal punishment, fox-hunting, bull-fighting, the 1922 Committee, the 1941 Committee, Kipling, Gandhi, Chiang Kai-Shek, homosexuality, Priestley's broadcasts, Youth Hostels, astrology, women, dogs and I do not know what else.

More recently, Mike Godwin made this contribution. His idea has been formulated as "Godwin's Law":

As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.

See also the Wikipedia entry. Godwin's Law is a useful thing to be able to quote in online debates!

Deogolwulf said...

Mr Davies,
I came across an article at (see footnotes), which linked to and critised the other, curious article.

Mr Dearieme,
I fear we shall.

Mr Fuller,
Thank you for the introduction to Godwin's Law.

Anonymous said...

Don't know why, because it isn't strictly relevant, but it reminded of an old Tommy Cooper joke:

"Doctor, doctor, I can't feel my legs."

"That's because I amputated your arms!"

(Sorry, it's been one of those mornings and I feel rather silly.;)

Deogolwulf said...

Mr Duff,
A stiff drink should do the trick.