Rich Winkel writes: > According to Stathis Papaioannou: > > Given that even in case (c) doctors were completely wrong, the way we test > > new treatments now is more stringent. However, evidence is still evidence, > > including evidence of past failures from medical history, which must be > > included in any risk/benefit analysis. You can criticise someone for making > > a > > decision without fair consideration of all the evidence, but you can't > > criticise him if he does. > > Actually we can and often do. The question is one of insight into > one's own ignorance. Suppose a child is run over by a car which > is driven at high speed through a residential neighborhood. The > question of the driver's guilt isn't determined by his knowledge > or ignorance that the child was about to run into the street, but > by his lack of insight and prudent adaptation to his own ignorance > of same. In this case prudent adaptation = driving at a safe speed.
Why would you not include the well-known fact that driving at high speed is more likely to kill someone as "evidence"? If the driver honestly did not know this, say due to having an intellectual disability, then he would have dimminished responsibility for the accident. > Medicine is not like astronomy. Given the self-healing properties > of adaptive systems, doing nothing is often the best course of > "action." The precautionary principle applies. Astronomy does not really have an ethical dimension to it, but most other sciences do. Discovering that cyanide kills people is science; deciding to poison your spouse with cyanide to collect on the insurance is intimately tied up with the science, but it is not itself in the domain of science. As for doing nothing often being the best course of action, that's certainly true, and it *is* a question that can be analysed scientifically, which is the point of placebo controlled drug trials. > The human mind, especially, is capable of "healing" itself (i.e. > finding a new stable equilibrium) in most circumstances without the > aid or hinderance of drugs or lobotomies or electroshock or drilling > holes in the skull to release demons. Of course it often takes > time and a change of environment, but what's the alternative? To > chemically or physically intervene in a self-organizing neural > system is like trying to program a computer with a soldering iron, > based on the observation that computer programs run on electricity. > > Ignorance is unavoidable. The question is whether one adapts to one's > own ignorance so as to do no harm. You are suggesting that certain treatments believed to be helpful for mental illness by the medical profession are not in fact helpful. You may be right, because the history of medicine is full of enthusiastically promoted treatments that we now know are useless or harmful. However, this is no argument against the scientific method in medicine or any other field: we can only go on our best evidence. Stathis Papaioannou _________________________________________________________________ Be one of the first to try Windows Live Mail. http://ideas.live.com/programpage.aspx?versionId=5d21c51a-b161-4314-9b0e-4911fb2b2e6d --~--~---------~--~----~------------~-------~--~----~ You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Everything List" group. To post to this group, send email to email@example.com To unsubscribe from this group, send email to [EMAIL PROTECTED] For more options, visit this group at http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---