Sometimes patients complain when they discover a doctor’s views are out of date, even in the face of evidence. Well, that’s not new: here’s a quote from the guy who won the Nobel Prize in physics, in 1918:
“A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.”
~ Max Planck (Wikipedia)
This quote was cited by Thomas Kuhn in his incredibly important book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, which recounts the tremendous social barriers to adopting new thoughts. Even the concept of bacteria subjected physicians to ridicule: “Pus is caused by invisible evil creatures? That’s witchcraft!” And in cancer, the importance of angiogenesis (cancer’s ability to grow new blood vessels as its fuel supply) was ridiculed for decades. Same for the bacteria that causes ulcers, and on and on.
Those of us engaged in changing culture – the culture of medicine – often experience this. The establishment “knows it’s right” and disses people whose experience runs counter to it; Kuhn says science is, amazingly, a fashion industry, where if you don’t wear the right glasses or shoes, you’re scorned. (The irony, of course, is that the scientific community is supposed to be evidence-based, and Kuhn established forty years ago that it’s not.)