When Dr. Steve Novella inaugurated the Science-Based Medicine blog on January 1, 2008, he observed that
. . . there are numerous and powerful influences in society that strongly appose the scientific basis of medicine. Driven by some combination of ideology or the desire for profit they wish to eliminate standards of science in health care, or (often under the guise of “health care freedom”) create a double standard in which unscientific methods and products can thrive unchecked. Others simply lack the training or knowledge to achieve minimal standards of quality for scientific medicine.
At the time, the infiltration of pseudoscience into medical and government institutions, combined with a growing anti-science cohort of the public that had always lurked from the fringes, was concerning enough that a group of medically-trained, gifted writers joined forces, donating their time and talents, to push back against this alarming trend. Thus, one SBM post grew to over 4,000.
I doubt anyone could have anticipated that this troubling turn of events would morph into a full-blown, sometimes government-backed attack on medical science or that this would occur in the midst of the first global pandemic in a century. This meant that SBM would assume even greater importance in counteracting an anti-science movement of a scale previously unimagined.
I (with no science background) jumped into the fray with a guest post on June 7, 2010, bemoaning the fact that state legislatures had allowed practitioners of pseudoscience, like chiropractors, naturopaths, and acupuncturists, to become licensed health care professionals giving them an undeserved imprimatur of legitimacy, a phenomenon I came to call “Legislative Alchemy“. That first post also called out state legislatures for shielding quacks from prosecution via so-called “health freedom” laws, later dubbed “Quack Protection Acts“, allowing charlatans with no medical education or training to essentially practice medicine. (Just how dangerous a folly this is has become was painfully obvious during the COVID-19 pandemic.)
I consider myself fortunate that this guest post soon turned into a regular gig. However, after a dozen years, it is bittersweet to announce that this will be my last regularly scheduled bi-weekly post for SBM.
It has been my great privilege to work with Dr. Novella and my “boss”, Dr. David Gorski, along with the all the other SBM writers and support team, past and present. I have learned so much from them and it has been an honor to call them my colleagues. I was given free rein to write about a variety of topics, some deadly serious and others just plain wacky. And I’ve had the pleasure of “meeting” many of you regular readers, or at least your avatars. Anticipation of your comments has kept me on my toes while drafting posts, to my great benefit.
This does not mean I am going silent. As I watch my home state, Florida, devolve into an anti-science haven, it has become more important than ever to support good science. As part of that effort, I plan to submit guest posts to SBM from time to time. I will, of course, remain a loyal SBM reader and sometimes commenter.
Keep up the important work of defending science and I’ll see you back on SBM, just not bi-weekly. Take care.