Question Everything in Science and Medicine

The confidence in medical scientists and institutions have decreased sharply in the past year. A recent survey by the Pew Research Center had the headline “American’s Trust in Scientists, Other Groups Declines.”
The results are not surprising given the conflicting information about the health crisis of the past two years. The research group found that overall, only 29% of U.S. adults have a great deal of confidence in medical scientists to act in the best interest of the public. This number used to be 40%  in November 2020.
There has long been a climate of scientific elitism in North America. The idea is that scientists and doctors know best. Listen to them since you do not have the knowledge or smarts to figure out what is best for you and your family. And if you question the data and conclusions of scientists, you are an ignorant rebel who should be quiet and do what you are told.
It reminds me of a patient who told me about an experience she had with a surgeon. The patient had surgery on her foot that did not turn out well. She found out after the surgery that the person conducting the surgery was not the surgeon she had initially consulted. So, the patient sought out another foot surgeon to correct her foot problem. At her consultation, she asked the surgeon if he would sign a document confirming that he be the one to do the surgery. You and I would think this would be a logical question given her previous experience. Her answer stunned me. She told me that the surgeon’s face got red and said something to the effect of,” Do you know who I am? I am the head of this surgery department. He flung his clipboard toward her, which clipped the top of her head. The patient, a lady in her late 60’s, was by herself. So stunned, she did not even respond to the doctor. You would think this is an unbelievable story, but sadly these things happen. This would be an example of scientific elitism.
I like when patients ask questions about my interpretations and recommendations. It tells me they are vested in their health. I also want to ask patients what they think the cause or causes of their health problems are since they have qualitative insight that cannot be measured with a lab test.
You should question everything in science and medicine (and all areas of life). Questioning does not mean one has to be rude, but you have the right to assess the information and make your own conclusions. Get the interpretation and advice of experts on your health problems. It is wise to get counsel to help assess situations. Yet you be the one in control of the health destiny of you and your loved ones.
Kennedy B, Tyson A, Funk C. Americans’ Trust in Scientists, Other Groups Declines. Pew Research Center Science & Society. Published 2022.
Dr. Mark Stengler NMD is a bestselling author in private practice in Encinitas, California, at the Stengler Center for Integrative Medicine. His weekly newsletter Dr. Stengler’s Health Breakthroughs, is available at