Eppur si muove

Things I Think About, by Peter Bowditch

Speaking of references and citations …

I have had long experience with the opponents of real medicine and I am always suspicious when they start citing the medical literature. Almost universally, the citations fall into one or more of the following categories:

  • Ancient works, sometimes more than a century old, which predate much of modern medicine
  • Preliminary findings which have subsequently been shown to be either erroneous or dead ends
  • Research which refutes what the citer claims it supports
  • Publication so far in the past that family doctors or general practitioners are unlikely to have access to the relevant journal issues to check the relevance of the work
  • Letters to the editors of journals, rather than peer-reviewed articles
  • Papers in non-peer-reviewed journals edited by proponents of doubtful treatments
  • Newspaper articles
  • Papers in foreign language publications which may not have an English edition
  • Outright fabrications, where sometimes the journal does not even exist
  • The use of non-standard abbreviations for journal names, making it difficult to search library catalogues
  • Research which is irrelevant to, or barely tangential upon, the matter under discussion.

The intention is to impress people who might not have scientific training, and even if they did, might not be able to locate the cited research. Put another way, the intention is to deceive.

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