Sigmund Fraud? (new Freud bio) + Functional Medicine: Pseudoscientific Silliness

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Sigmund Fraud?

EXCERPT: [...] Malcolm Macmillan [...] considers [Frederick] Crews, because of his focused, matter-of-fact style, probably the most effective of Freud’s critics. [...] Crews’s Freud will be scarcely recognizable to those envisioning the beneficent, tender Viennese doctor.

He is a reckless, greedy, bullying, inept, and monomaniacal clinician. He fosters some patients’ addictions to morphine, cocaine, or both. He treats symptoms with possible physiological causes — arthritis, say, or ovarian cysts — as obvious consequences of hysteria. He bilks rich but hopeless clients for whom he has no sympathy or coherent treatment plan. [...] He browbeats nominal hysterics into relating questionable traumas, and some of his early patients scoff at his interpretations on their way out of his empty waiting room. None of this stops Freud from writing up cases with a cocky flair, in conscious imitation of Sherlock Holmes tales, depicting treatments as indisputable triumphs of psychological detection and portraying questionable casual encounters as triggering virtuoso insights. He reinterprets cases with ever-shifting ideas of whether symptoms were set off by actual or imagined sexual traumas.

"That is where his ‘genius’ will be found," Crews writes, "not in having understood anyone’s mind but in having created an impression of success from stories that, regarded objectively, constitute evidence of his own obsession, coercion, and want of empathy."

Crews’s Freud is also a backstabbing protégé and colleague — groveling for the attention of the physician Wilhelm Fliess, for instance, then blurring the record to suggest that Fliess’s notion of a universal bisexuality was Freud’s own.

He is a tyrannical husband, belittling and possibly cheating on his wife, Martha. He is a snob, notably toward Jews of a lower social order than his own. He is a depressive who self-medicates with cocaine on and off for 15 years, lofting himself into many of the grandiose flights of sloppy theorizing that become psychoanalysis.

What’s more, Crews offers circumstantial evidence that Freud’s gloomy fixations on sex, guilt, and neurosis stemmed from his apparent molestation of a younger sister in childhood. Crews also considers little-known evidence favoring the view that Freud and his sister-in-law Minna became lovers — resulting in a pregnancy and an abortion that haunted him.

Will the real Sigmund Freud please stand up?


Functional Medicine: Pseudoscientific Silliness

EXCERPT: Language keeps changing. We used to call questionable remedies “folk medicine,” “fringe medicine,” or “quackery.” In the 1970s, the term “alternative medicine” was coined, an umbrella term for all treatments that were not supported by good enough evidence to have earned them a place in mainstream medicine. Then came “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM), and later, “integrative medicine.” Now there’s a new kid on the block, “functional medicine” (FM) which is really just the latest flavor of integrative medicine. These are all marketing terms, Trojan horses designed to sneak non-science-based medicine into conventional medical practice. [...] Functional medicine was invented by a single individual...


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