Alternative Facts are so yesterday. We need Integrative Facts

Alternative Facts are so yesterday. We need Integrative Facts

I thought I had a solution to all the hassles of medicine. Don't want to go with standard treatments as they are too expensive or inconvenient? Use alternative facts. Here is some oral PCN VK for your MRSA endocarditis. Infection rates up and we have to report it to the feds? Use alternative facts and say the rates are zero. Don't know the right answer on the recertification test? Use alternative facts and any answer becomes the right answer.

But, sadly, the euphoria did not last the day. It turns out that using alternative facts is not a technique that is useful if you want to practice reality based medicine to diagnose and effectively treat patients. Nothing like a real infection to bring you back to earth.

It was so freeing not having to worry about reality. I can see why it is popular in the Integrative Medical Clinics. All all run on alternative facts:

Acupuncture: qi and meridians 

Chiropractic: subluxation complex

Homeopathy: like curing like and the efficacy of dilutions 

Reiki and Therapeutic Touch: their 'energy' 

Anti-vax: Toxins in vaccines causing autism

And on and on and on.

Alternative facts are the defining characteristic of the entire pseudo-medical industrial complex and the correcting alternative facts has been the purpose of almost all 2700 plus posts of SBM over the last 11 years.

Alternative has long had a positive connotation

the word alternative often serves to "collapse epistemologies"—to destabilize the foundations of our knowledge and make us feel that traditional sources of information cannot be trusted.

But more importantly

Most of all, alternative facts evokes a total alienation from—and disinterest in—objective truth.

What the consequences of alternative facts will be now that they have reached the mainstream is uncertain, but I am not optimistic it will be beneficial.

In the skeptical/SBM world we have been seeing the results of alternative facts for years. The What's the Harm website (which has not been updated in a while) suggests

368,379 people killed, 306,096 injured and over $2,815,931,000 in economic damages

from alternative facts.

I do expect that the term will be abandoned going forward. I would suggest substituting Complementary Facts or Holistic Facts or Functional Facts or Precision Facts or, even better, Integrative Facts, combining the best of real facts and fiction. It works in medicine to hide the lies from prying eyes. Time to expand to politics.

Points of Interest 01/25/2017
Points of Interest 01/24/2017