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Living in the Orwellian age of 2021 demands that we reconsider things that were once thought to be valid symbols of truth. One such banner is the peer-reviewed medical journal article. Once regarded as a reliable standard of integrity in reporting medical data or new research, the peer review process must now be seriously questioned.
Truthfully, peer review has become nothing more than a catch-all phrase to distract readers from performing their own critical review. In the process of my own recent administrative court hearings, the legal defense for the Oregon Medical Board (OMB) religiously introduced each medical journal article submitted for evidence as being peer-reviewed, as though that somehow magically immunized each article from critical scrutiny. It was a good tactic, but a deceptive one. How pleasant are the words “peer-reviewed.” How fit and proper to cite peer review as a validation of the content as being “real science.”
The only problem is, this presumption is far from true. Peer review is only as good as the author’s peers. A peer is often like-minded and like-biased. The peers of any given medical journal have been carefully selected, not only for their professional credentials, but also for their political and big-pharma affiliations. In a perfect world, peer review would entail a careful screening for content, authenticity of research, good scientific method, absence of bias, and financial incentives that might favor one outcome over another. In a word, peer review was designed to maintain integrity. But when the integrity of all peers is suspect, what good then is peer review?
This statement is strongly affirmed by merely looking at the ever-increasing retractions of published articles in recent years. Retracted articles from major medical journals and esteemed medical sources such as NIH, New England Journal of Medicine, The Lancet, and many others, trigger suspicion among readers.
A disturbing number of retractions occur not because of honest errors or duplicate publications, but from blatant fraud, overwhelming bias, gross errors (in judgment and data), and serious ethical concerns. Add to this the number of corrections and “revisions,” and you might rightly become suspect of every article you read.
Retractions, corrections, and revisions to articles tend not to receive the same scrutiny as the original articles. Publishers and authors know this. False articles still have their effect. Like fake news.
As reported by Fox News on June 4, 2020, both the Lancet and New England Journal of Medicine faced severe criticism for publishing “controversial COVID-19 papers,” the controversy involving misinformation, fraud, and lack of scientific integrity. So harsh was the backlash that both journals retracted the articles. The Lancet also retracted a false study stating the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine was dangerous and of no benefit in treating COVID-19. Wrong!
Likewise, the number of retracted cancer studies is astounding. For a sampling of these, take a look at a comprehensive database on retracted scientific articles posted on retractionwatch.com.
The harm done by politically and financially motivated medical journals, scientists and physicians, is immeasurable. Americans must become aware that the mention of an article as being peer-reviewed, in this age of deception, offers little or no credibility to the article. Having previously researched in the field of microbiology, I will say firsthand that the researcher with an agenda can easily manipulate scientific data. Politics, money, and power, can all shape the outcome of a study! We mustn’t be so trusting as to believe every author simply because an article is written in a reputable medical journal.
If the pandemic response has taught us anything, the chief lesson is that corruption, in the pursuit of world power, has no boundaries. Anything goes—even if it’s your mental and physical health at stake.
When physicians depend on the quality research of well-designed randomized control trials as a basis for medical practice, honesty and validity in research are critical to providing the best care for our patients. Sadly, many lesser quality peer-reviewed studies have slipped past the validity and integrity tests, causing much harm and division in the medical community.
When the NEJM can get away with writing an article titled Failed Assignments—Rethinking Sex Designations on Birth Certificates (N Eng J Med 2020; 383:2399-2401), one must ask, what benefit is peer review? The fact is that many medical journals are run by liberal, Leftist-leaning scholars who seem incapable of keeping their wacky politics out of science.
Medicine has proven itself a useful tool in the commandeering of the gullible minds of the masses who desperately hope to protect their health. The circuit breaker of cognitive reasoning has been tripped by a surge of fear in the world population. The American prototype of independent-thinkers is history—a history I pray is soon forgotten as with authority, question peer review.
The mutiny of medicine is almost complete!
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