Posted: Jun 10, 2010 11:01 pm
by Dudely
DST70 wrote:

anecdotal evidence is no substitute for actual peer reviewed scientific analysis

What I was trying to say is that personal testimony covers a huge range of experience. There's the kind of reporting that you can correct with reference to an error in perception/memory e.g. eyewitness testimony. But there's also more direct and intimate first person accounting that's not always easily explained with reference to generalised data.

It counts as weak evidence though in the sense that the scientific data is not supportive. So there's a discrepancy between the two types, at least it seems to me. The placebo effect is obviously not always plausible to many of those with certain strong cases of non-scientific testimony.


There are a few problems with that kind of thinking.

There is no reason why a very convincing, unexplained event is proof of anything. It could very well be a fluke or a mistake. The ONLY things that matters are those that you can repeat- if I said there were gnomes in my garden you would expect that you could come over and see them yourself- if you can't then what's to say I'm not lying, crazy, or simply mistaken?

The most convincing and bizarre personal experience in the world is still not proof or even evidence. Sometimes, however, it can be a very good clue to something that that could be proven, or evidence that has yet to be found. But without that evidence it is no better than claiming the moon is made of cheese.

So in regards to medicine it doesn't matter who says they were cured by some strange means, how convincing their experience was, or even their reasoning for why it happened. What matter is if it can be repeated.