SEVERAL years ago, I wrote a book called Doctoring Data to help people navigate their way through medical headlines and data.
I wrote it because I was deeply concerned that medical science had been taken over by commercial interests. Much of the (research) data was enormously biased, thus corrupted, and I wanted to show how bias gets built in.
I was not alone in my concerns. John Ioannidis wrote the very highly cited paper ‘Why most Published Research Findings are False’ back in 2005. It has been read by many thousands of researchers, so they can’t say they don’t know.
Marcia Angell, who edited the New England Journal of Medicine for twenty years, wrote:“It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgement of ‘trusted’ physicians or ‘authoritative’ medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of the NEJM.
”From Peter Gotzsche’s book, ‘Deadly Medicine and Organised Crime’:
The main reason we take so many drugs is that drug companies don’t sell drugs, they sell lies about drugs… virtually everything we know about drugs is what the companies have chosen to tell us and our doctors… if you don’t believe the system is out of control, please e-mail me and explain why drugs are the third leading cause of death.
”Richard Smith, former editor of the British Medical Journal:
Twenty years ago, the statistician Doug Altman published an editorial in the BMJ arguing that much medical research was of poor quality and misleading. He wrote that it was seriously flawed through inappropriate designs, unrepresentative/small sample, incorrect methods of analysis and interpretation…Twenty years later, I feel that things are not better, but worse…
In 2002 I wrote a book on medical journals. My confidence that ‘things can only get better’ largely drained away. Medical research has inexorably turned into a very lucrative industry. Medical journals charge authors thousands of dollars to publish their research.
It is all very profitable for big publishing houses. The Return on Investment (profit) is around 35%. Pharmaceutical companies can afford the publication fees but it is very
difficult for any researcher not supported by a university or pharmaceutical company to publish anything unless they are independently wealthy. Driven by financial imperative, the research has inevitably become biased. He who pays the paper, calls the tune.
A naïve researcher published a scientific article in a respectable journal. She thought her article was straightforward and defensible. It used only publicly available data and her findings were consistent with much of the literature on the topic. Her co-authors included two distinguished statisticians.To her surprise her publication was met with unusual attacks from unexpected sources within the research community. These attacks were not pursued through normal channels of scientific discussion.
Her research became the target of an aggressive campaign of insults, errors, misinformation, social media posts, gossip and complaints to her employer.
The goal appeared to be to undermine and discredit her work. The controversy was deliberately manufactured and the attacks primarily consisted of repeated assertions of preconceived opinions. She learned first-hand the antagonism that could be provoked by inconvenient scientific findings.
Development of public health policy and clinical recommendations is complex and needs to be evidence-based rather than belief-based. Guidelines and recommendations should be based on objective and unbiased data.
Where is science in all this? I don’t mind attacks on ideas. I like robust debate. Science can only progress through a process of new hypotheses being proposed,
attacked, refined and strengthened – or obliterated. But what we see now is the obliteration of science itself.
Anyone who has been a scientist for more than 20 years will realise that there has been a progressive decline in the honesty of communications between scientists and their institutions and the outside world.
Science must be an area where truth is the rule or else the activity stops being scientific and becomes something else:
Zombie science, a science that is dead but artificially sustained by a continual infusion of funding. From a distance, Zombie science looks like the real thing but it is not interested in the pursuit of truth – it is externally controlled and everything inside it is rotten.
Scientists push the envelope of exaggeration, selectivity and distortion as far as possible and tolerance for this kind of untruthfulness has greatly increased over recent years. It is routine for scientists to ‘hype’ their status and ‘spin’ the importance of their research.
– Bruce Charlton, Professor of Theoretical Medicine.
When covid-19 came along, the distortion and hype became so outrageous that I almost gave up trying to establish what was true, and what was just made up nonsense.
I stated right at the start that vitamin D could be important in protecting against the disease and recommended vitamin C for those already in hospital. I was attacked by fact checkers, along with anyone else promoting vitamins to reduce the risk of covid-19 infection. Vitamin C is known to have powerful healing activity. It has been known for years.
As of today, any criticism of the mainstream narrative is simply being removed. Those who dare to raise their heads above the parapet have them chopped off.
Where does the censorship and punishment end? Well, we know where it ends.
We are heading for some form of totalitarian state, where dissent against the medical ‘experts’ will be punishable by imprisonment. We are already in a situation where doctors who fail to follow ‘guidelines’ can be sued or struck off.