Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Secular Priesthood

“In the matter of disease and healing, the people have been treated as serfs. The doctor is a dictator who knows it all, and the people are stupid, dumb, driven cattle, fit for nothing except to be herded together, bucked and gagged when necessary to force medical opinion down their throats or under their skins. I found that professional dignity was more often pomposity, sordid bigotry and gilded ignorance. The average physician is a fear-monger, if he is anything. He goes about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may scare to death.”

Dr. John. H. Tllden, Impaired Health: Its Cause and Cure, Vol. 1, 1921.


At 2:06 PM, July 21, 2008 , Blogger RR said...

While there is some truth to this guy’s statement, don't throw the baby out with the bath-water:

In 1900, global average lifespan was just 31 years, and below 50 years in even the richest countries. By the mid 20th century, average life expectancy rose to 48 years. In 2005, average lifespan reached 65.6 years; over 80 years in some countries

Life expectancy for most populations is still increasing -- and that's a recent phenomenon... it isn't due to evolution or genetics but mostly to modern medicine. Are there problems? Sure, but the fact that my grandfather died at 31 of pneumonia is almost unimaginable today. It is testament to the fact that medical science has succeeded in stopping, delaying or preventing more than 90% of the ailments that killed people at the turn of the last century.

Lets try to fix the problems, but recognize without the efforts of this science we’d all likely be dead by now and unable to have this conversation.

At 3:34 PM, July 21, 2008 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

Lifespan increased more because of improvements in sewage treatment and better distribution of food and water than the medical system we have in effect today.

At 6:15 PM, July 21, 2008 , Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

I disagree, besides any estimation of "the average" anything reeks of prejudice and deceptive logic.

We didn't even have antibiotics in 1921 and most people died of infectious diseases that are fairly easily cured today.

Funny you should mention sanitation - improved sanitation is one of the causes of the polio epidemics that terrorized everyone when I was a kid.

It wasn't voodoo that made polio go away though, or the plague or smallpox or whooping cough. More people died of the flu in 1918 than died in WWI. Today's medicine would have saved nearly all of them. Tuberculosis killed millions and millions; leprosy and a thousand other scourges are gone. Diabetes is no longer a death sentence.

Of course countries with national health plans have higher life expectancies and lower infant mortality than does the US. I wonder why.

At 9:42 AM, July 22, 2008 , Blogger RR said...

There are undoubtedly other things in play when you consider a large populations life expectancy... However, it is easy to determine that infectious disease is no longer the number one killer. As you point out, people (in most developed countries anyway) don't die of TB or pneumonia. Medical science (and the germ theory of disease) simply cracked the code on these ailments.

I find it truly amusing how some folks not only take all the advances of the recent age not only for granted, but even suspect them of causing the very conditions for which they were the cure...

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