Wednesday, December 4, 2013

#818: David Katz

David Katz is, believe it or not, a doctor at Yale (assistant professor of Neurology), where he heads their Integrative Medicine Program” (yes, Yale has become one of the most significant pits ofquackery in the US). As such, Katz is an apologist for all sorts of non-working woo and crackpottery (see here and here).

Even more interesting, he is sort of aware that there is no scientific evidence for his beliefs. So how does he deal with that? Katz wants to allow for “a more fluid concept of evidence” to be applied to CAM. This way modalities he favors, such as homeopathy, that have failed by the generally accepted rules of science can still win – just change the rules “fluid” rules. “I think we have to look beyond the results of RCTs in order to address patient needs today, and to do that I’ve arrived at the concept of a more fluid form of evidence than many of us have imbibed from our medical educations,” says Katz. In other words, when rigorous scientific investigations fail to show the efficacy of his woo, then he wants to be able to change the rules for what counts as evidence – surely, when Katz likes a treatment, then anecdotes, for instance, should count (insofar as those anecdotes support his beliefs, of course). And current science is also close-minded indoctrination becuase it doesn’t agree. “Science does not make assertions about what cannot be true, simply because evidence that it is true has not yet been generated. Science does not mistake absence of evidence for evidence of absence [how many times does that ridiculous nonsense have to be repeated]. Science itself is fluid,” continues Katz, displaying an understanding of science so shallow that it almost beggars belief, concluding that since there is an absence of evidence for homeopathy, it must work.

Presumably qualified by this lack of understanding, Katz currently writes columns for Huffington Post, where he for instance flaunts his complete lack of understanding for the human genome project in a false dichotomy that almost boggles the mind (he is generally fond of false dichotomies, by the way).

Diagnosis: Hardcore woo-proponent who is willing to deny absolutely anything, including observation, reasoning, rationality, or evidence, if it might conceivably fail to align with his preferred method of investigation: his own powers of intuition. His position and influence makes him extremely dangerous.

1 comment:

  1. Katz's false dilemma; according to Katz either doctors have to abandon their patients, or they have to abandon science.