Alright, I will state outright that I have no intention on getting involved in the seemingly endless, pointless pissing contests between Col Sun and Marcus et al. So keep me out of it, please.
In my world, medical practice is as much of an art as it is a science. Any competent medical practitioner has to keep up on the peer reviewed research to know what the hell he or she is doing and to stay up to date. A respect for science and the findings of solid research and ongoing education is required for any practitioner. So I have reserved at least 2, usually typically dull, days each month to review my journals to keep on top of stuff.
But the fact that you know your science does not make you a good practitioner. I have known many an academic who knows the research and literature inside out but who pretty much sucks in their clinical and surgical practice. That is because every patient, every situation, every organ, blood vessel, artery, is different, and it typically takes many years of experience to know what to do in an instant of decision with those to save a life, a heart, a brain, or a limb.
Medical and surgical practice is an art based upon your experience and the quality of your clinical observations and reasoning. When I work with residents, I often don't give a sh-t about what research studies they cite. I want to know what they heard and understood from the examination of their patients and their review of their radiological and laboratory studies. I want to know what hypotheses and strategies they have devised from those experiences and reviews and why. Tell me what you think and why about this particular person and what needs to be done next, not what "blank blank et al" published in the latest Journal of Vascular Surgery, the NEJM, or whatever.
After observing me in surgery, they ask me sometimes why I did X or Y procedure with a patient, but, to me, it just seemed like the obvious thing to do, but I cannot cite an article to support what I did. How the patient did later proves I was right or wrong, and fortunately for my patients, I am usually right. Some residents never seem to get that line of thinking. Oh well, I am sure they can find some academic post in a medical school somewhere where they can cite Duffus et al or whatever to their wowed medical students.
Alternative medicine? Much of it is probably crap, but I will keep an open mind about it and keep an eye on it for myself.