[Foundation-l] Misplaced Reliance, was Re: Paid editing, was Re: Ban and...

George Herbert george.herbert at gmail.com
Mon Oct 25 20:19:20 UTC 2010

On Sun, Oct 24, 2010 at 3:38 PM, SlimVirgin <slimvirgin at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Sun, Oct 24, 2010 at 16:26, Fred Bauder <fredbaud at fairpoint.net> wrote:
>>> On Sun, Oct 24, 2010 at 15:59, Andreas Kolbe <jayen466 at yahoo.com> wrote:
>>>> And where there is a body of scholarly research, the peer-reviewed
>>>> scholarly literature is the most authoritative literature around.
>>> Can you address the issue of vested interests? If a drug company has
>>> financed all or most of the peer-reviewed work, your argument is that
>>> we should nevertheless reply on those studies exclusively, and not
>>> allow high-quality mainstream media who may be pointing to problems
>>> before anyone else does.
>>> Why would you place so much trust in the companies who benefit
>>> financially, and why do you feel that it would not be an NPOV
>>> violation?
>>> There is no other area of Wikipedia where we allow the people who sell
>>> things to be our exclusive sources on whether those things are good.
>>> Sarah
>> Conflict of interest plays a role in determining reliability of sources.
> It ought to, but as a matter of fact we don't note in articles who has
> financed the scientific research we rely on.
> We would not allow the people who make Coca Cola to be our sole
> sources on whether it's safe, or on whether we all ought to be
> drinking it. But when it comes to drugs and scientists, we lose sight
> of the fact that there is often a very strong conflict of interest.
> Sarah

There's a societal problem there; we don't independently pay for many
scientific grade studies on medications.  There are some - but the
bulk of them are done by the drug companies in the course of getting
drugs studied and approved, and then as ongoing due dilligence as
they're used.

The problem here is in the world - with lack of independent studies,
and lack of government regulator interest in promoting them.

If we start accepting ancedotal or non-controlled studies, we start
introducing noise.  Nose like "ibuprofin cured my brain cancer!" as
well as "my daughter's vaccine killed her!".  Neither type of noise is
much help to the public.  Without significant investigation and
research, cauation and correlation are confused all the time in
medical ancedotal reports.  Even most doctors aren't any good at the
serious analysis and pathology needed to try and understand the actual
source of a problem (as opposed to, "Patient X started using drug Q,
and had lymphoma six months later" - this is an actual correlated side
effect of some medication my wife is on, but there seems to be decent
evidence that the underlying condition is the causation rather than
the drug; my wife is a statistically sophisticated medically trained
individual who understands the difference and takes the drug
willingly, aware of the potential risk).

I don't want the noise, particularly in articles on medical issues.

-george william herbert
george.herbert at gmail.com

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