Petr Skrabanek

The pursuit of health is a symptom of unhealth. When this pursuit is no longer a personal yearning but part of state ideology, healthism for short, it becomes a symptom of political sickness.

5 thoughts on “Petr Skrabanek

  1. shinichi Post author

    The Death of Humane Medicine
    by Petr Skrabanek

    “The Death of Humane Medicine”, subtitled “and the rise of coercive healthism”, was published in 1994, a year after Skrabanek’s death, and had mixed reception; there was admiration and approval, but also sharp disagreement and resistance.[citation needed] In the book, Skrabanek comments on the current change in the understanding of medicine advocated by American and English medical societies and their governments. He says that the goal was no longer to help sick individuals, but to have a positive influence on the entire population. He writes that health ceases to be private and individual, instead becoming a moral duty, a new religion with priests and dogmas. Skrabanek also says that the state tries to interfere with the way of life, even against the wishes and interest of citizens. Skrabanek criticizes what he sees as the obsession with super-health, maximum prolongation of life, healthism and lifestylism, but especially with the coercion of the citizens to achieve these ideals. He disagrees with prohibitions of all kinds, with the fight against tobacco, obesity, alcohol consumption, and, on the contrary, the promotion of: ??  jogging and yogurt. Skrabanek goes so far as to see in this policy the continuation of the health policy of fascist Germany, and the totalitarian tendencies in the health of the Communist states,[20]and says “The pursuit of health is a symptom of unhealth. When this pursuit is no longer a personal yearning but part of state ideology, healthism for short, it becomes a symptom of political sickness.” Skrabanek also relies on his criticism of the evidence that most of the preventive and screening actions are less effective, scientifically unsubstantiated, and are often only a manifestation of the desire of bureaucracy for power and the efforts of pharmaceutical companies to increase profits. He also points out the huge and ineffective cost of such actions.

  2. shinichi Post author

    Petr Skrabanek

    Petr Skrabanek (1940 – 1994) was a doctor, physician, professor of medicine, and author of several books and many articles. Skrabanek was described by Ben Goldacre as “a lifelong champion of clear thinking, scepticism, and critical appraisal”, and expressed vocal criticism of what he dubbed “cacademics”, “quackupuncturists” and “nonsensus-consensus”. Skrabanek was a polymath, loving jazz, history, literature, playing the piano. He spoke several languages thanks to which he was able to deeply study Joyce’s last work – the avant-garde novel Finnegans Wake.

  3. shinichi Post author

    The collection which we have compiled may give the false impression that doctors are at best charlatans and at worst rogues, and that medicine is itself a major threat to health. Medicine only becomes a threat to health if it remains untempered by the use of rational inquiry and criticism. Such criticism is an important and relatively neglected task.

    Follies and Fallacies in Medicine
    by Petr Skrabanek

    Skrabanek’s first book, which was co-authored by J. MacCormick, entitled “Follies and Fallacies in Medicine”, was published in 1989. It had a broad response and was promptly translated into Danish, German, Spanish, Italian, French, Dutch and Czech, and is on the reading list of medical schools around the world, to encourage an appropriate skepticism about medical dogma. It was a critique against mistakes, delusions, myths and frauds in medicine and healing.
    The first chapter emphasizes the role of placebo as a little emphasized, but crucial element in medicine and healing. The importance of placebo is illustrated by numerous examples. In the second chapter, there are almost thirty different delusions and temptations, to which a doctor can succumb as a scientist and practitioner. A provocative chapter is one on prevention, the importance of which Skrabanek partly questions as he highlights possible risks. Another chapter is about alternative medicine, the validity of which he clearly rejects without tolerance or attempted reconciliation.

  4. shinichi Post author

    Medicine is not about conquering diseases and death, but about the alleviation of suffering, minimising harm, smoothing the painful journey of man to the grave.

  5. shinichi Post author


    The pursuit of health is a symptom of unhealth.



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