Book Club: Natural Causes discussion thread #1

Welcome back!

Next week, we’ll read chapters 4, 5, and 6. This week, chapters 1, 2 and 3 of Natural Causes by Barbara Ehrenreich.

Ehrenreich introduces some of her more iconoclastic ideas about medicine in this one, talking about the regularity with which people undergo medical tests that they don’t actually need, and do so without too much question.

  • What did you make of her critique of “evidence-based medicine” oftentimes truly being “eminence-based medicine.”

  • One line that resonated with me a whole lot was this one. What do you think of it?

    There are arguments that can be made against an overrreliance on statistical evidence, that for example it may obscure the patient’s unique constellation of problems. As the popular doctor-writer Jerome Groopman puts it, “Statistics cannot substitute for the human being before you, statistics embody averages, not individuals.”

  • Where do you come down on the book so far? It’s been a thrilling read for me, if only because it’s been exciting to see if at any point it’ll straight up cross the line from skepticism into denialism.

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