The Three Most Dangerous Words in Medicine

A brief look at why individual uncontrolled observations are often unreliable. This was my opening statement in a debate at the 2012 Annual Convention of the AVMA on the subject of “Which is Better: Clinical Trials or Clinical Intuition?”

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One Response to The Three Most Dangerous Words in Medicine

  1. I enjoyed the video as a whole very much, although I am particularly keen on point that you raised about cognitive dissonance. Many individuals, in situations where reliable scientific evidence challenges one’s beliefs, choose to fall back onto what is the unstable foundation on which their beliefs are based.

    It is logical to exclaim that incorporating evidence into practical applications, to determine what the likelihood of a therapy or drug working is or to evaluate the suitability of said therapy or drug, will result in more accurate prognoses and a improved resolution of afflictions.

    In order for this evidence to be fairly included in practice, individuals must surely make decisions based on critical and fair analyses of evidence. Ingrained beliefs and personal experiences cannot serve as the sole determinant (or major determinant) of the efficacy of a therapy or drug.

    If humanity is to move in a positive direction into the future, with regards to medicine, evidence and the gathering of evidence that is fair, reliable and accurate, needs to be prioritized.

    The same can be said for other spheres of humanity’s functioning. Religion, politics, socio-economics and morality must all be exposed to scientific inquiry and the results of this need to be painstakingly considered before any real progress can be made.

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