The war has begun…

…and I’m just itchin’ for a fight. The medical “De-lightenment”, that movement to marginalize the role of science in medicine, has just made a strategic error. Like other weak movements, they’ve formed unwise alliances. Orac reports that so-called mainstream altmed folks like Andrew Weil and Deepak Chopra have now made friends with the more obviously wacko altmed gurus, such as Gary Null.

Perhaps “friends” is pushing it, but these supposedly educated physicians are actually citing HIV-denialist Null as a reliable source for health information. I’m tempted to coin a new internet Law here, perhaps The Chopra Blunder:

    “In an argument regarding medical science, when a person cites Gary Null as a source, the argument is over, they have lost, and anything they say in the future may be safely ignored. And they may be laughed out of the room without guilt.”

As an educated physician, I have the ability to comb the medical literature with tools such as Ovid or PubMed. Hell, even Google Scholar isn’t half bad. If I have to resort to quoting a charismatic TV health guru with a fake PhD who thinks that HIV doesn’t cause AIDS, perhaps my argument wasn’t that great to start with.

This is really, really good news for those of us advocating science-based medicine. It means our foes are weak, and they know it. Their status is lessened by alliances with obvious cranks. While some of us have chosen to work with the likes of Steven Novella and Wally Sampson, the Chopras and Weils have reached down into the sewer of pseudoscience just to find a shred of support for their absurd ideas.

I’m kvelling.

Of course, it’s not as if real medicine is on the ropes. Any one of these idiots would call 911 if they had chest pain, and submit to a cardiac cath to save their lives. They’d probably do it for their patients, too, but the kind of people they are starting to hang with might not be as careful. Once you open the door to non-science-based medical practices, anyone can walk right in.

The New Year promises to be a good one in the fight against fake medicine. You’ll be hearing a lot more about it, both in this space and on the podcast. As the cult medicine folks become more desperate, I think we will see more of the Chopra Blunder.

Vive la guerre!