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Don’t Believe the Police Are Biased? Explain This

Bad apples.  That’s the explanation provided by those in power for police brutality.  The problem, we are told, is that there are just a few of these bad apples, only a few bad cops.  After all, what group doesn’t have bad apples?  The idea that this may be a systemic, widespread problem is judged as…

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Equipoise and its problems

I recently participated in a debate opposing me to Professor Adam Cifu on the topic of “Evidence-based medicine in the age of COVID.” The debate took place on an episode of Dr. Chadi Nabhan’s Outspoken Oncology podcast. Dr. Saurabh Jha was the moderator and he did a great job keeping us on point and asking…

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It’s Not About Tradeoffs

It is tempting to oppose the harmful effects of COVID-related lockdown orders with arguments couched in terms of trade-offs.  We may contend that when public authorities promote the benefits of “flattening the curve,” they fail to properly take into account the actual costs of imposing business closures and of forced social distancing: The coming economic…

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Stanford Scientist Gleeful Even His Own Research Findings Are False

San Francisco, CA—Stanford University physician and data science maverick John P. A. Ioannidis appears to be ecstatic to find out his own research findings are false.  The scientist, whose 2005 PLOS article “Why Most Published Research Findings Are False” propelled him to international fame, was caught making unexpected and unusual statements during a meeting with…

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Understanding the “severe error” in the IHME model: a conversation with Magilla Gorilla

We had an enlightening conversation about COVID-19 forecasting models with the anonymous @39magilla.  The self-described gorilla detective was the first to identify a severe weakness in the influential Bill Gates-sponsored, University of Washington IHME model.  His discovery was subsequently confirmed to be correct by other experts in the field.  The conversation is on video only…

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The profit motive is irrelevant

In our most recent podcast episode (Privatizing the NHS: Who Profits?), my co-host Anish Koka reacted to our guest Bob Gill’s wish that the NHS insulated itself from the “profit motive” that is characteristic of the private sector. Anish pointed out that, at least in the US, wait times for oncology or orthopedic appointments are…

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How normal is the normal distribution?

Reflections on the early 19th c. French military hat-shaped curve At some point in our illuminating conversation with Mike Acree (episode 57), I brought up the fact that the normal distribution curve, on which much of statistical inference rests, is open to infinity at both ends.  The tails are supposed to hug but never cross the…

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More on sham peer review

Dr. Lawrence Huntoon, who was our guest on Ep. 37, has just returned from Jerusalem where he gave a talk at the UNESCO’s 13th World Conference on Bioethics, Medical Ethics and Health Law. In this talk, Dr. Huntoon relates some of the most outrageous examples of hospital sham peer review.  Some of these cases  have involved…

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