Over the last two decades, the Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM) movement has transformed medical science, pushing doctors to rely less on intuition or "common wisdom" in choosing treatments, and more on evidence from studies. Sounds great -- but has EBM become a victim of its own success? This episode features John Ioannidis, Stanford professor of medicine, health and policy, and statistics, and author of the famous paper, "Why Most Published Research Findings are False." John and Julia discuss how EBM has been "hijacked," by whom, and what do do about it.Ioannidis makes a lot of great points about the fallibility of research papers in medicine and social sciences, but he loses me with this:
There's some things in science that we're very, very close to 100% certain about them. It's like 99.999% — like climate change and the fact that humans are making a difference in that regard, or smoking is killing people. It will kill a billion people in the next century unless we do something.Really? No need for more evidence?
It's 99.999%. I think that it makes a huge difference, compared to pseudoscience claims that are “100% correct” and there's no way that you can reach a different conclusion, in that we're always open to evidence, and open to understanding what that evidence means.
I don't think we need more evidence about smoking and about climate change. I think that we've had enough.
I get worried when our most extreme skeptics refuse to be skeptical about some things. Even assuming that humans are making a difference in the climate (which is probably correct), we need a lot more evidence before we can adopt reasonable policies. We need more smoking evidence also. This opinion is strange.