The Magical Land Of Oz!

Mehmet Oz once said that butter is solid at room temperature, so it solidifies in your arteries.  That’s funny, because butter melts to liquid in my hands.  He is also the genius doctor who wrote in Time magazine that a low carb diet causes ketoacidosis.  There is a big difference between ketosis and ketoacidosis, maybe Oz can read it here.   He continues to hawk his high fiber diet as healthy for the intestines, in spite of the fact that he has had precancerous polyps removed from his own colon.  Dr. Oz’s diploma must be written in crayon.  Yet, Oz has finally been awarded an honor befitting his service – I am referring to the not-so-coveted Pigasus award.  This makes Oz the first person to receive the award for two consecutive years.  For those who don’t know, the Pigasus is an award given by world renown psychic investigator James Randi to any celebrity bozo advocating pseudoscientific or paranormal advice.

Oz received the award for using his syndicated television show for promoting faith healing, “energy medicine,” and other quack theories that have no scientific basis.  Oz has given legitimacy to the claims of Brazilian faith healer “John of God,” who uses old carnival tricks to take money from the seriously ill.  He’s hosted Ayurvedic guru Yogi Cameron on his show to promote nonsense “tongue examination” as a way of diagnosing health problems.  In March 2011, Dr. Oz endorsed past Pigasus winner John Edward, who supposedly talks to dead people. Oz even suggested that bereaved families should visit psychic mediums to receive messages from their dead relatives as a form of grief counseling.  A Dr. Oz medical clinic would look like a Coney Island side-show.  How does anyone, other than his ringmaster, Oprah, take this buffoon serious?

Did Dr. Oz serve his surgical fellowship performing alien autopsies?  Can he bend scalpels with the power of his mind?  Even if John Edwards could actually speak to the dead, I’m sure that Oz wouldn’t want to hear what many of his dead patients would have to say to him.  It’s really not surprising that Oz believes in all this hocus-pocus bullshit, because I always felt that his dietary advice was less believable than a Miss Cleo cold reading.

Is this just media sensationalism, or are there really doctors this ignorant?  The largest misconception in medicine is the belief that doctors are scientists; Very few are.  Doctors are more often simply practitioners, studying diagnosis of symptoms and treatment with drugs – researchers are the scientists with the biochemistry knowledge to create the drug, medical device or procedures.  An analogy might be an automobile designer creates the car from the ground up, whereas the mechanic strictly diagnoses the problem and changes the faulty part.  The doctor plays the role of the mechanic.

It is not just alternative medicine that has turned into a performing monkey for profits, but it has encroached into mainstream medicine as well.  It’s getting harder and harder to find the blurred line between science and pseudoscience in modern medicine.  James Randi, Mike Shermer, Brian Dunning and Penn Jillette like to brag in their ability to “spot the looney”, but I have found them to be just as “taken in” by some of these charlatans, just because they “belong to the right club”, so to say.

Shermer, Randi, Dunning and especially that know-it-all Jillette, claim to be true skeptics, but in the larger picture, they tend to resemble that of a pseudoskeptics, because their faith in a particular science is not always based on the default position of disbelief until proven to be true (as is mine), but is contingent on whether the author of the thesis has a particular degree or follows what is deemed as “peer-reviewed” or backed by government regulators or researchers.  “Blind faith” is blind faith.  Their position assumes that there is no influence of money, power or corruption in mainstream science or government, which is wishful thinking at best and every bit as blind in its ideology as those that they criticize. (I would love to cover this in more detail in a future post).  I am the only true skeptic that I know of.

I have been more than shocked by some of the clueless utterings from some doctors I have encountered.  For instance, my father had by-pass surgery about four years ago and has since been under the care of a cardiologist.  This lipophobe is constantly badgering him to lower the saturated fat in his diet and focuses all his efforts on LDL levels.  I explained to my father that the body synthesizes most of our cholesterol and saturated fat intake has little to do with it.  His doctor replied that all cholesterol is acquired through diet and that vegetarians have NO cholesterol in their blood!  What!?  This doctor must have gotten his degree from the Ringling Brothers Clown College.

The real kicker had to be this chucklehead who somehow achieved the rank of executive medical director at a hospital I had the misfortune of ending up at.  I had been rushed there for a blood sepsis from a medi-port line infection and was heavily treated with antibiotics.  After a week-long bombardment of anti-bacterial agents, my sister inquired whether the doctors would use a prophylactic anti-fungal treatment?  Even she was knowledgeable enough to realize that yeast would proliferate after such an aggressive antibiotic session.  This doctor confidently stated that, “men do not get yeast infections – only women do”!  This is no joke people!   An M.D. actually said this!  A week later I came down with a systemic candida infection that nearly killed me.  Close to 45% of people who develop a systemic yeast infection die [source] (and closer to a 90% mortality rate among patients on TPN, as I was) and it could have been prevented if this moron hadn’t skipped school on the day they taught that yeast can breed in places other than vaginas.

Fortunately there are knowledgeable doctors, but never assume that everyone with an M.D. after their name has a superior knowledge of human biology or science.  And certainly never trust a doctor dishing out advice from your television.  Dr. Oz has earned his two Pigasus awards and the smart money is on him to win a third one.  Frank Lloyd Wright once said, “A doctor can bury his mistakes, but an architect can only advise his clients to plant vines.”.