The editor-in-chief of the BMJ medical journal, Kamran Abbasi, was criticized this week after he wrote and published an article discussing "The Colonization of Medicine" and why it needs to be "rebuilt."
In the article, doctor Lara Akinnawonu says that the current medical trade unions, "must examine its history and current structures and policies through a decolonial lens." She claims that racism's effects on medicine need to be understood and that decolonization is needed to "benefit disadvantaged communities."
In a post on X, evolutionary biologist Colin Wright said, "Western medicine is far from perfect, but the last thing it needs is to be 'decolonized' and infused with pseudoscientific "other ways of knowing." He added, "What medicine needs is to fully commit to evidence-based medicine and have its incentive structures realigned to aid patients."
The idea of colonization in medicine according to the National Institute of Health is that "Colonial powers promoted medical advancements when diseases affected their people, and only did so for locals when in the colonies' best interests" and that the medical standards are pushed by "high-income countries."
Abbasi references the example of Seye Abimbola from Nigeria, who said that rich countries destabilize the local communities when they come in. Using news outlets as an example, she said, "The BBC, for example, can never do for Nigeria what it does for Britain."
Paraphrasing UK Biologist Richard Dawkins, Wright noted, "The solution to bad or incomplete science isn't to abandon science, but rather a stronger and more fervent commitment to science."
X owner Elon Musk responded to Wright, saying, "Someone needs to fire that editor."
Molecular neuroscientist Lauri Nummenmaa said the ideas expressed in the article are "horribly wrong and dangerous." He added, "The scientific method IS universal, and the same laws of nature work everywhere on the planet. We cannot put patients at risk with some primitive mumbo-jumbo-hoaxes or witchcraft. Evidence-based medicine is the only way ahead."
Seemingly unrelated to medicine, Abbasi also used a paragraph in the article to call for a ceasefire in the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.