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← An Open Letter to Bill Maher on Vaccinations

Dr Benway's Avatar Jump to comment 237 by Dr Benway

Bonzai,

Some in the "evidence based movement" woke up to the point you're making about statistical limitations* when studies of magic water began appearing in prestigious journals.

Science-based medicine's message in a nutshell: data are only useful when the prior probability for the hypothesis under study is pretty good.

If we can't imagine a plausible mechanism for some therapy, we probably shouldn't bother with a controlled trial. The signal-to-noise ratio in medicine is low and without the constraint of plausibility, most positive results will be false positives.

"Evidence-based medicine" has been a gravy train for the pseudoscientists. Occasionally the magic water or the magic herbs seem to work. And even when they don't work, well, those federal dollars can make a facility look a lot more pretty.

SBM kicks EBM's ass. Too bad SBM is only like 12 dudes.
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*OK, not your exact point, which has more to do with access to first person data. But you were talking limitations, so I'm riffing on that.

Wed, 21 Oct 2009 12:53:00 UTC | #407258