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Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science

Susan Notes:

Here's The Atlantic lead to the article: Much of what medical researchers conclude in their studies is misleading, exaggerated, or flat-out wrong. So why are doctorsâ€"to a striking extentâ€"still drawing upon misinformation in their everyday practice? Dr. John Ioannidis has spent his career challenging his peers by exposing their bad science.

Dr. Ioannidis's concluding remark certainly holds true for teachers: "Doctors need to rely on instinct and judgment to make choices. But these choices should be as informed as possible by the evidence. And if the evidence isn't good, doctors should know that, too. . . ."

Dr. Ioannidis also thinks patients should know when the "evidence" isn't good. Hmmm. Our government and our media systematically tout bad "evidence" about what works in schools. The Atlantic has been guilty of this for years.

by David H. Freedman

. . . "Researchers headed into their studies wanting certain resultsâ€"and, lo and behold, they were getting them. We think of the scientific process as being objective, rigorous, and even ruthless in separating out what is true from what we merely wish to be true, but in fact it's easy to manipulate results, even unintentionally or unconsciously. 'At every step in the process, there is room to distort results, a way to make a stronger claim or to select what is going to be concluded,' says Ioannidis. 'There is an intellectual conflict of interest that pressures researchers to find whatever it is that is most likely to get them funded. . . . '"

You can read this article online here.

— David H. Freedman
The Atlantic


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