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Evidence-based medicine: Introduction Part 1

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Evidence-based medicine: Introduction Part 1
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Blog of ReasonHelperUser avatarPosts: 240Joined: Fri Apr 10, 2009 2:28 pmLocation: League of Reason

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Tue Mar 05, 2013 4:59 pm
ProlescumWebhamsterUser avatarPosts: 5009Joined: Thu Dec 31, 2009 8:41 pmLocation: Peptone-upon-Sores

Post Re: Evidence-based medicine: Introduction Part 1

That was very informative. Also funny. Thank you, Inferno.
if constructive debate is allowed to progress, better ideas will ultimately supplant worse ideas.

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Tue Mar 05, 2013 6:36 pm
FrengerBloggerUser avatarPosts: 831Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2011 12:50 pmLocation: Derby, UK Gender: Male

Post Re: Evidence-based medicine: Introduction Part 1

I've been racking my brains trying to think of something that was more nonsensical than PSE, but I've failed.

Good work. I wish you had managed to set up a test with Lady PSE. Perhaps in the future?
Wed Mar 06, 2013 12:31 pm
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InfernoContributorUser avatarPosts: 2298Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 7:36 pmLocation: Vienna, Austria Gender: Cake

Post Re: Evidence-based medicine: Introduction Part 1

Frenger wrote:Good work. I wish you had managed to set up a test with Lady PSE. Perhaps in the future?


At the moment, neither the resources (3k€ for the machine, about 500€ for the remedies per person) nor a venue is available, so I have no idea how to get it working. No sensible person/organisation will want to do it and the loony-bins will want their money back if I come up with negative results. I'm currently trying a different route, but it doesn't look promising.
"Sometimes people don't want to hear the truth because they don't want their illusions destroyed." ― Friedrich Nietzsche

"I shall achieve my objectives through the power... of Science!" --LessWrong
Wed Mar 06, 2013 3:32 pm
he_who_is_nobodyBloggerUser avatar
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Post Re: Evidence-based medicine: Introduction Part 1

Inferno wrote:Her response: “I don’t care about evidence, I have seen it work with my own eyes. And I probably wouldn’t change my mind if I saw studies to the contrary.”


It is quite sad to see someone, who obviously went through years of education, is unable to think critically. I know in the U.S. the approach to education leads to a major lack of critical thinking skills (which is one major reason why I think religiosity is so high). However, to see that someone has that same uncritical eye outside of the U.S. might throw a wrench in my hypothesis.

Inferno wrote:Interestingly, I was then chastised by nearly everybody at the table for daring to challenge a doctor and for being a “damn skeptic”.


This is something else I have noticed when having discussions with my friends and family. People have a blind adherence to authority. People will blindly accept something they hear from their doctor friend or scientist friend when I can easily show that they are wrong. This also seems to stem from a lack of critical thinking skills.

It also saddens me that people would use the term skeptic in such a pejorative way. Above everything else (atheist, scientist, etc…) I would call myself a skeptic above all else, and I think everyone should strive to be a skeptic. Skepticism leads to being a better doctor, scientist, and human in my opinion. Without it, one is falling for whatever snake oil is being sold.
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Sun Mar 10, 2013 3:58 am
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Gnug215ModeratorUser avatarPosts: 2673Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 10:31 pm

Post Re: Evidence-based medicine: Introduction Part 1

he_who_is_nobody wrote:
Inferno wrote:Her response: “I don’t care about evidence, I have seen it work with my own eyes. And I probably wouldn’t change my mind if I saw studies to the contrary.”


It is quite sad to see someone, who obviously went through years of education, is unable to think critically. I know in the U.S. the approach to education leads to a major lack of critical thinking skills (which is one major reason why I think religiosity is so high). However, to see that someone has that same uncritical eye outside of the U.S. might throw a wrench in my hypothesis.

It isn't just sad, it's despicable. Especially when you're a peddler of "it" (that which you have seen work with your own eyes).


Inferno wrote:Interestingly, I was then chastised by nearly everybody at the table for daring to challenge a doctor and for being a “damn skeptic”.


This is something else I have noticed when having discussions with my friends and family. People have a blind adherence to authority. People will blindly accept something they hear from their doctor friend or scientist friend when I can easily show that they are wrong. This also seems to stem from a lack of critical thinking skills.

It also saddens me that people would use the term skeptic in such a pejorative way. Above everything else (atheist, scientist, etc…) I would call myself a skeptic above all else, and I think everyone should strive to be a skeptic. Skepticism leads to being a better doctor, scientist, and human in my opinion. Without it, one is falling for whatever snake oil is being sold.



Correction: People have a blind adherence to authority THAT JUST SO HAPPENS to agree with them already. Watch how quickly people will turn around and say stuff like: "Oh, doctors. What do they know, anyway? Weren't they the ones who used to believe the Earth was flat, and that Satan hated syrup?"

Yes, Skeptic seems to be getting a more and more negative connotation, which I'd chalk down to just another assault in the Word Wars between, well, the League of Reason and the Asshat Brigade.


Btw, Inferno, what is this "table" you talk about, where you were chastized? This table seemed to come out of nowhere. (Although it's quite possible that I didn't read the blog post properly.)
- Gnug215

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Sun Mar 10, 2013 8:27 am
InfernoContributorUser avatarPosts: 2298Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 7:36 pmLocation: Vienna, Austria Gender: Cake

Post Re: Evidence-based medicine: Introduction Part 1

he_who_is_nobody wrote:It is quite sad to see someone, who obviously went through years of education, is unable to think critically. I know in the U.S. the approach to education leads to a major lack of critical thinking skills (which is one major reason why I think religiosity is so high). However, to see that someone has that same uncritical eye outside of the U.S. might throw a wrench in my hypothesis.


I too would chalk it down to education, which I'll talk about in successive posts. (I'm done with medicine for the moment.) I have yet to see a school or university system which properly encourages critical thinking and skepticism.

he_who_is_nobody wrote:This is something else I have noticed when having discussions with my friends and family. People have a blind adherence to authority. People will blindly accept something they hear from their doctor friend or scientist friend when I can easily show that they are wrong. This also seems to stem from a lack of critical thinking skills.

It also saddens me that people would use the term skeptic in such a pejorative way. Above everything else (atheist, scientist, etc…) I would call myself a skeptic above all else, and I think everyone should strive to be a skeptic. Skepticism leads to being a better doctor, scientist, and human in my opinion. Without it, one is falling for whatever snake oil is being sold.


I would agree with Gnug here: It's acceptance of authority they happen to agree with. The rest of the time, they'll feel duty-bound to challenge authority whenever it conflicts with their views.
Just think of creationists: They disagree with real experts but blindly accept what their phoney "experts" tell them.

Gnug215 wrote:Btw, Inferno, what is this "table" you talk about, where you were chastized? This table seemed to come out of nowhere. (Although it's quite possible that I didn't read the blog post properly.)


You're absolutely correct, I failed to mention that. That's what happens when you write 2k+ words and you don't proof-read it properly.
I was in Kenya this winter, from the 22nd of December until the 5th of January. (Awesome piccies, btw!) On one of the evenings, my family of 14 and I were sitting at the table, like usual, and waiting for our dinner. I had just read the book on PSE and my aunt (doctor, advocate of PSE) wanted to hear my views. I told her, in kinder words than these, that it was obviously complete bullshit, but that I was willing to accept its usefulness if it could be shown to be effective in randomised controlled trials.
She said that a physicist had written the physics parts in the book (the part where I complained about them using at least three different definitions of energy) so obviously my comprehension of physics was faulty. And she also said that bit about not needing evidence.

Subsequently, my second aunt (Spanish and French teacher for 14-18 year olds), my grandfather (pensioner, used to sell insurance policies, I think he has a degree in law), my grandmother (pensioner, used to be a kindergarten or primary teacher, forgot which), my mum (law degree) and my step-dad (law-degree) all turned on me. My other aunt and uncle couldn't, they were too far away, but I bet you they would have done so too. Here's the kicker: Of those six people (my first aunt, the doctor, also counts of course), four were using an ineffective malaria prophylaxis. (clay mixed with water and some plant or other to drink, effectiveness zero) Oh, here comes another rant...

Basically, the clay does absolutely nothing. It's some voodoo healing clay. The only properties I can ascribe to it are: Congesting and cooling. Everything else (my aunt used it against blisters, broken bones, malaria, etc.) is purely fictitious. They subsequently "enhanced" their malaria-prophylaxis by partaking heavily of gin and tonic. That sounds like it's a smart thing to do, it having been used by the Brits as an anti-malarial.
Here's the thing though: The active ingredient, quinine, is what battles malaria. It tasted bitter, so the Brits invented this drink around the medicine to make sailors drink it. We now don't put as much quinine into the mix, (about half of the lower end of what it would take to be effective; about 1/4th of the upper end; or 83mg vs a needed 167-333mg) so gin and tonic is not an effective anti-malarial.

Anyway, rant over. That was the "table". A final amusing anecdote. When that whole "skeptic" thing came up, my grandmother interjected: "That's because you're an atheist!" Which obviously had diddly squat to do with anything, but I think she's right! Unbelief makes you less prone to believe stupid bullshit.
"Sometimes people don't want to hear the truth because they don't want their illusions destroyed." ― Friedrich Nietzsche

"I shall achieve my objectives through the power... of Science!" --LessWrong
Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:11 am
Gnug215ModeratorUser avatarPosts: 2673Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 10:31 pm

Post Re: Evidence-based medicine: Introduction Part 1

Inferno wrote: [..] Unbelief makes you less prone to believe stupid bullshit.


I think it's the other way around, actually: being a skeptic, which makes you less prone to believing in stupid bullshit, makes you less prone to being a believer.

Also, thanks for the info on the table!

And I'm sorry to hear that you're family is like that.
- Gnug215

YouTube channel:
http://www.youtube.com/user/Gnug215


The horse is a ferocious predator.
Sun Mar 10, 2013 7:33 pm
InfernoContributorUser avatarPosts: 2298Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 7:36 pmLocation: Vienna, Austria Gender: Cake

Post Re: Evidence-based medicine: Introduction Part 1

Gnug215 wrote:
Inferno wrote: [..] Unbelief makes you less prone to believe stupid bullshit.


I think it's the other way around, actually: being a skeptic, which makes you less prone to believing in stupid bullshit, makes you less prone to being a believer.

Also, thanks for the info on the table!

And I'm sorry to hear that you're family is like that.


Whichever way round...

Yeah, as am I. They're all nutters... and I'm not exaggerating.
"Sometimes people don't want to hear the truth because they don't want their illusions destroyed." ― Friedrich Nietzsche

"I shall achieve my objectives through the power... of Science!" --LessWrong
Sun Mar 10, 2013 9:41 pm
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