Do No Harm member Dr. Jim Lally recently sent us a copy of a letter he wrote to the Medical Society of Delaware in response to their promotion of the discredited Implicit Association Test. A shortened and adapted version is posted below:
Dear Medical Society of Delaware:
I have been a member of the Medical Society of Delaware for forty-six years. I have also been on the editorial board of the Delaware Medical Journal for thirty years. I was greatly disappointed in the Society’s recent mailing, “Committee on DEI Requests your Participation” and its implications for the Delaware medical community.
At the heart of the communique is this statement: “An Implicit Association Test (IAT) measures attitudes and beliefs that people may not know about.” I join many others who are academicians and well-versed in psychological testing who have argued that this attempt to measure implicit bias and unconscious racism is flawed in its methodology and its application—it is a fool’s errand. Meta analysis has shown that the above techniques are “a weak predictor of behavior.” I will be forwarding to you two articles that analyze IAT in detail. One was published in Quartz and the other in Scientific American. I suggest that you read them.
The cultural storms that have engulfed America in the last few years have seductively cajoled organizations such as the AMA to embrace wokeism. The Medical Society of Delaware has thoughtlessly joined the parade of lemmings who are marching to the AMA’s tunes.
The AMA has a pseudo-scholarly manifesto, “Advancing Health Equity: A Guide to Language, Narrative and Concepts,” that asks physicians to “promote critical reflection on language and word choice.” It is taking a page unedited from George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984, in which he creates a new language, Newspeak. Orwell later commented that Newspeak was “designed to diminish the range of thought.”
Political philosophers have shown that centralized power is held by those who control the narrative and that is defined by the language employed. The AMA manifesto writes of “changing the narrative” and it “is essential to transform power…end dominant privilege.”
It is in the ten page “Glossary of Key Terms” in the AMA’s manifesto that the uninitiated will find most illuminating. Take its definition of “class consciousness,” which includes the phrase “recognition by workers as a social class in opposition to capitalists and to capitalism.” One has to wonder why the “Discovery of The Americas” is also included in the glossary. It is defined as: “The land known as the Americas was not discovered; it was conquered and appropriated.”
In my opinion the AMA and MSD have lost their way and are heading in the wrong direction in this watershed moment for American medicine. So after all these years I find it distressing that I feel compelled to break off all contact with the Medical Society. That is most unfortunate but I feel it is the only way that I can say: I PROTEST.
James F. Lally, MD
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