Readers will recall a story we ran on Tuesday about a surgeon, Jeffrey Singer, who protests scientific gatekeeping. Gatekeeping’s an obvious problem in any field.
But those who imagine themselves in charge of the gates (they’re usually not) in the case of science are, in themselves, a mildly interesting study. Get a load of this:
A surgeon attacks “scientific gatekeeping” over COVID-19 in Reason. It goes so poorly that I might have to resurrect an old shtick that I used to use with creationist surgeons.
Longtime readers might remember a humorous (I hope) shtick that I used to employ from time to time when I encountered a fellow physician—or, worse, a fellow surgeon—spewing science denial. The vast majority of the time, back in those early heady days of this blog, what provoked this shtick was seeing a surgeon spew creationist nonsense denying the theory of evolution. So what was this shtick? In brief, I had a running gag that involved highly extravagant descriptions (based on old Looney Tunes) of how I wanted to hide my face behind a paper bag in sheer embarrassment over the antiscience antics of fellow physicians, particularly fellow surgeons. Over time, the gag evolved to my expressing a mock desire to hide my visage behind a metal Doctor Doom-style mask, again, over sheer embarrassment over the antiscience stylings of one of my colleagues. In most cases, it was evolution, because there are a depressingly large number of creationist physicians out there. (Anyone remember the creationist neurosurgeon Dr. Michael Egnor?) I retired the shtick many years ago, but every so often a physician or surgeon seriously tempts me to resurrect it. Thus far, I’ve resisted, but I failed when I encountered an article in Reason by a fellow general surgeon entitled Against Scientific Gatekeeping. As if to goad me further into resurrecting the paper bag, its subtitle read: Science should be a profession, not a priesthood.Orac, “A risible attack on the “priesthood” of “scientific gatekeeping”” at Respectful Insolence (April 6, 2022)
Let’s just say, 1) the author goes on at some length and 2) readers may find it useful to know that gate defenders are out there and some of them would appear to have a lot of time on their hands.
You may also wish to read: A surgeon protests scientific “gatekeeping” Singer: “… a problem arises when some of those experts exert outsized influence over the opinions of other experts and thereby establish an orthodoxy enforced by a priesthood. If anyone, expert or otherwise, questions the orthodoxy, they commit heresy. The result is groupthink, which undermines the scientific process.”