Are colleges beginning to train a generation of anti-science doctors?
Local news media has taken an obvious turn in the past few years, and at least part of the explanation appears to be a new generation of journalists who simply don’t believe in objective reporting — or at least they do believe that some social “truths” around identity are just so clear that it isn’t factually accurate to convey contrary ideas. It’s destroying journalism and doing real harm to our state and our country.
A terrifying article by Katie Herzog on Bari Weiss’s Substack suggests that the same thing is now happening in the medical profession. Often under the implicit threat of political activism by students, professors at medical schools are beginning to deny the biological reality of sex, or at least to muddy the language to such a degree that it becomes impossible to teach or think with clinical clarity.
The article has this Rhode Island reference:
Curious about what was happening, [then–Brown University Professor Lisa] Littman surveyed about 250 parents whose adolescent children had announced they were transgender — after never before exhibiting the symptoms of gender dysphoria. Over 80 percent of cases involved girls; many were part of friend groups in which half or more of the members had come out as trans. Littman coined the term “rapid-onset gender dysphoria” to describe this phenomenon. She posited that it might be a sort of social contagion, not unlike cutting or anorexia, both of which were endemic among teenage girls when I was in high school in the ’90s.
In August 2018, Littman published her results in a paper called “Rapid-Onset Gender Dysphoria in Adolescents and Young Adults: A Study of Parental Reports” in the journal PLOS One. Littman, the journal, and Brown University were pummeled with accusations of transphobia in the press and on social media. In response, the journal announced an investigation into Littman’s work. Several hours later, Brown University issued a press release denouncing the professor’s paper.
Littman’s paper was republished in March 2019 with an amended title and other minor, mostly cosmetic changes. The journal has since confirmed that, while the paper was “corrected,” the original version contained no false information.
But Littman’s career was forever altered. She no longer teaches at Brown. And her contract at the Rhode Island State Health Department wasn’t renewed.
If these trends continue, it won’t be long until it’s difficult to find a doctor who hasn’t been trained (or who has survived the indoctrination) to deny biological reality based on fashionable politics. When such a doctor has been found, a fog of mutual suspicion will hover between him or her and the patient. Worse, this end of belief in objective reality may start with denying that sex is a biological fact, but if doctors can deny that, they can deny pretty much anything.
In a sane world, these medical schools would risk losing their authority to bestow credentials based on the danger they pose to public health.
Featured image by Francisco Goya on WikiArt.