MD, PhD, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd.

I have recently given interviews to German, Austrian, French and Canadian journalists. They all had different perspectives, but they all had one question in common:

YOU ARE RETIRED AND COULD BE ENJOYING LIFE, WHY DO YOU CARRY ON WORKING?

And every time I was asked this question, I was surprised. To me, it seems perfectly natural to carry on. But having been asked several times, I did ponder: why do I do it? Here are some answers found through this exercise of introspection.

First let me list three reasons that my detractors regularly imply which, however, are all false:

  1. I do not do it for the money. In fact, I earn nothing from writing this blog and even have to pay for the pleasure.
  2. I do not do it because of a bad personal experience; such an event does simply not exist.
  3. I do not do it because I want to be famous.

So, why then?

The best reason I can give is that I feel a responsibility to do what I do. I am perhaps the only person on the planet who has studied so-called alternative medicine (SCAM) extensively and who, at the same time, has been critical about it. Practically all other full-time SCAM researchers are demonstrably less than critical about their subject (in case you know someone who isn’t, please tell me). And other SCAM critics are often (rightly or wrongly) dismissed by SCAM enthusiasts because they have never done original research on the subject. This does not easily work in my case.

The responsibility I feel relates to the abominable amount of false or unreliable information that is being published every day about SCAM. In my view, it harms and even endangers the life of many consumers and patients (see, for instance, this recent case). Confronted with this endless flow of seriously misleading information, I feel unable not to do anything about it. I thus see my work since retirement as an attempt to counter-balance this danger and to make a small contribution to progress.

If I am honest, I also have to admit that I am enjoying what I do. Thus the question ‘why don’t you enjoy life…?’ entirely misses the point. I have enough time to pursue my hobbies and, when I work on SCAM, I usually have plenty of fun.

In conclusion, I am retired and I enjoy life!

8 Responses to Why? Why on earth do I carry on? Is it for the money?

  • Dear Professor,

    You are not retired at all!

    Your blog, talks, lobbying are all work – often considerable work to do the analyses you do. Don’t do yourself down!

    People ask me if I am retired. I answer:
    “I am retired from clinical practice and no longer treat patients, but ‘once a doctor, always a doctor’, and I continue work as an expert witness to the courts, to the GMC, my college, charity administration, as a representative of my colleagues in our trade union and associated professional activities, as an author and as contributor to blogs!”

    I do hope you continue to enjoy life, you deserve it, but please don’t retire!

    Best wishes and may the Wu be with you.

    Richard Rawlins
    Member of Council and Finance Committee of the BMA
    Chairman of BMA’s Retired Members Conference and Retired Members Committee
    (We refer here to clinical practice – not all the myriad of other duties a doctor might carry out, and from which, many never retire.)

  • Your blog has been quite an education for me. As a lay person, I admit that reading it is a tough slog, sometimes, but well worth the journey.

    On behalf of all of us who seek to learn the truth, thank you for doing what you do.

  • Reading this blog fells like a fresh breeze of sanity in a world filled with irrational traditions and crazy beliefs.
    Although the arguments presented probably will not change the fact that -to quote the great philosopher Taylor Swift- “the haters gonna hate” and “the fakers gonna fake”, I very much appreciate the opportunity to quite freely exchange ideas via this forum.
    I have not lost hope that in the end, the better arguments will prevail.

  • You’re amazing Edzard! Your work is unique. An example to us all!

  • Edzard, your willingness to lift your head above the parapet and respond tersely to even the most stupid comments on your blog is an inspiration. I don’t know how you keep it up, but you’re performing a unique service to consumers of medicine and I hope you continue to do so for many years to come.

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