With the Drunken Skeptics, and I hadn’t even had a single beer…

Here’s an interview I recorded a while back that’s shown up on the Michigan Skeptics website. Check out Adam’s Song: Episode 5 of the Drunken Skeptics Podcast. It was a fun and interesting discussion…

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7 thoughts on “With the Drunken Skeptics, and I hadn’t even had a single beer…

  1. ChrisLindsay says:

    Thanks for the interview and the mention!

    The interview with Dr. Gorski starts at 39:20 mark into the podcast. It was a great discussion on what distinguishes between Evidence-Based Medicine and Science-Based Medicine.

  2. ConspicuousCarl says:

    One problem with using homeopathy as an example is that it is too easy to dismiss. Anyone with education in medicine or chemistry can just hear the basic premise, and that voice of intuition voluntarily pops into their head and says, “that sounds stupid”. There are sound scientific reasons why homeopathy is dumb, but a person with the right education almost doesn’t even have to think about it.

    I think the problem with “evidence-based medicine” is that it relies on that voluntary intuitive voice to tell us not to waste time researching an irrational hypothesis, even though we have learned that we can’t rely on that kind of thing to affirm a hypothesis (or else we wouldn’t have words like “evidence”).

    Can we get some less-obvious examples where people have wasted money (or lives) on things which were at odds with established science, even though it was not obvious without careful forethought? I was just watching a video of Donald Prothero, which included mention of some doctor who tried to use a baboon heart for a transplant to a human. Lacking prior knowledge that this doesn’t work, it might not seem impossible. But evolution and genetics say that a baboon was not even a good choice as an experiment because chimps are more closely related to us. That’s a good example (unless I remember incorrectly) of how something might not be so obviously impossible as to tickle our automated skepticism, but better scientific evaluation up front would have shown that it was a horrible idea.

  3. ChrisLindsay says:

    It occurred to me after the interview, but I wonder if a good example to also include (when making a distinction between EBM an SBM) would have been Dr. Paolo Zamboni’s ideas about the causes (and possible treatment) to Multiple Sclerosis?

    Steven Novella wrote an article on it awhile back.

    “Zamboni is also getting attention from neurologists and MS specialists, who remain skeptical because Zamboni’s claims run contrary to years of research and thousands of studies pointing to the current model of MS as an autoimmune disease.”

  4. David Gorski says:

    The reason I use homeopathy is because it is so inherently ridiculous. I use it as the most extreme example, in order to make it understandable why relegating basic science to the bottom of the evidence hierarchy, as EBM does, can lead to great mischief. Perhaps I need to find one or two gray areas to use to follow up on the point.

  5. Isn’t the point that homeopathy is inherently ridiculous but is taken seriously in Cochrane reviews anyway?

  6. BillyJoe says:

    “Isn’t the point that homeopathy is inherently ridiculous but is taken seriously in Cochrane reviews anyway?”

    Acupuncture as well.
    Reading Cochrane on acupuncture, you would be forgiven for thinking that acupuncture has been proven to work and that it is now time to stop placebo controlled trials of acupuncture and start working on the best proptocols that maximise the return.

  7. S.C. former shruggie says:

    @ ChrisLindsay

    There was an article in the Toronto Star the other day about MS patients dying following Zamboni treatment.–hype-around-ms-cure-proves-deadly

    Besides not working, highly implausible, poorly researched neck surgery just might kill people. Go figure.

    It’s downright rotten the way the woos attatch themselves to patients so desperate thet they’ll take enormous risks of death or injury. They sell pain and no gain.

    And look how nicely ‘balanced’ the journalism even when someone dies. It amounts to “Oh yes, well, experts say it’s outright silly, and a few people have already died during treatment, but um, people are desperate and want to believe in something.”

    Hello, journalists! That’s exactly why you shouldn’t spin the articles to make unproven and highly dubious surgeries look attractive!

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