MM on ME


  Apr 29, 2010



Hi Mark,

Quote Originally Posted by Mark View Post
Maarten is correct 100% in his analysis of what the verdict means and how it is legally highly dubious. Sadly Maarten, I doubt your hope to be undeceived will be realised. It looks to me exactly as you have said. They admitted themselves that they weren't interested in the truth, on this occasion. Their decision made no reference to clinical reality; actually, I read on Bad Science a warning that the patient testimony would be completely irrelevant to the process, they found it all quite comical, that we all had no understanding of how this thing works in law. Perhaps we all made the classic mistake of thinking Law is somehow connected to Justice. Perhaps we made the mistake of thinking that the experience of patients has some relevance to their process of deciding who can treat those patients. Clearly, it all has nothing whatsoever to do with healing the sick.

Gerwyn, I often find that I differ ever so slightly from the way your analysis reads purely in the respect that I don't assume a planned and organised conspiracy. On this occasion, however, your analysis is particularly compelling. There is no logic to the decision to prevent Dr Myhill prescribing prescription drugs, in the context of the case against her. It does seem that it only really makes sense in terms of the desire to stop her practicing and successfully treating ME/CFS patients. Your analysis of the reasons behind the decision is logical, theirs is not.

Even so, I do still think it is unnecessary, and perhaps unhelpful, to describe the conspiracy in such explicit terms. I uncovered a minor conspiracy myself once. None of the conspirators saw themselves as a conspiracy. They found the idea ludicrous and laughable. Only when I took one of them through the logic and the definition of a conspiracy did he begin to realise what a conspiracy actually is. People 'inside the loop' do not see themselves that way. Talking explicitly in those terms tends to make any criticism easier for them to dismiss.

Furthermore, there are abstract and subtle mechanisms that can explain conspiracies in much less explicit terms. We can explain the confluence of behaviours, the convenient and suspicious-looking shared interests, in terms of the shared flawed assumptions and unquestioned principles of the people involved. The big modern "conspiracies" are most probably in reality led by mistaken ideas and dogmas, and supported by shared financial interests and institutional dynamics, rather than being explicitly organised.

In our case, narrow and uncritical approaches towards what is meant by "Evidence-Based", a paternalistic dogma about who should decide what is best for the masses, a left-winger's distrust of private medicine, and perhaps most crucially an unquestioning trust of authority and the benign nature of 'the system' - these characteristics are essential to career success in our current political environment, and they are sufficient to explain how the establishment works together in its own interest and against ours.

We almost need a new language to communicate how 'conspiracies' do not need to be 'organised'. Sad that it is so, because the correct analysis of the word 'conspiracy' is along the lines sketched above. But unfortunately, the word has come to mean something deep, dark, organised and explicit, and those using it are widely dismissed as 'conspiracy nutters'. I think we would serve our interests better by trying to avoid that sort of language.

And in case I'm misunderstood, Gerwyn, I'm not really saying you're any more guilty of all this than I am! And where you say "I'm not surprised if Wessely and cronies are behind this" - well, I must admit, I wouldn't fall off my chair if that turned out to be true either. But I tend to think there's no necessary reason to assume any such master plan or even any intent. The whole thing would play out just the same if it really was some random graduate student who came across Myhill's site and reported it. So personally, I'm trying to avoid implying any organisation to the behaviour of them. If my earlier post doesn't read that way, that's probably just down to the sense of anger and powerlessness I'm feeling right now.

I agree Chris, I had already reached a similar conclusion yesterday re: strategy re: Bad Scientists. The best defence is a good offence.

As Adam said the other day, we need to select and stick to some core, simple messages, and the clearest most indisputable arguments, and we should keep hammering those messages again and again.

For example: the fundamental question I had in mind to ask Bad Science was this: "Somatisation disorder" - in what way is this a 'scientific' hypothesis? How could this hypothesis, that the mind caused the physical illness, be proved or disproved? How can anything concerning the innermost workings of the human mind ever be proved or disproved? If you claim to be scientists, why are concepts like "somatisation disorder" allowed in? This is one of the core concepts that everybody I have spoken to buys into straight away. I struggle to get other arguments through, but this one is winning every time for me amongst sceptical audiences with no axe to grind.

To have any chance of success though, our materials need to be thoroughly reviewed and critiqued by our most moderate, most sceptical friends on this forum. That is why we need a variety of viewpoints, and a friendly and secure environment where we can disagree over details as friends - because we must make a case that gives them no opportunity to reject it.

+1 with the addition that much of what is called 'conspiracy' is just collaboration or conformism. (The Dutch excelled in it and still do: The Dutch National Norm And Command is: "Act normal, for then you act mad enough already" - as a personally informed clogged - not socked ;) - aside: Obey the authorities that be; only say what is socially approved and allowed, where one lives.) (*)


(*) Over 1% of the Dutch population was arrested and sent for Endloesung, for being supposedly 'of inferior race'. After the war, most cloggies claimed falsely - a Labour parliamentarian locally-famously included - having been resistance heroes. Menschlich-all-zu-menschlich is, I suppose, the word for it, perhaps, on a sunny day...)

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