In 1992 Guyatt et al wrote a paper about a new way in which doctors practice medicine. I wrote a question which basically asks whether that way of practicing medicine is shown to be advantagous.

According to Guyatt et al medicine is the act of making clinical decisions. Any reasonable answer should therefore address the point of how doctors make decisions about treatments. The act of actually running scientific studies is generally called "doing science". A question about the the new medicine that Guyatt et al described is therefore not a question about "doing science" but about "practicing medicine".

Now I get an answer with ignores me question which is about practicing medicine. The answer argues that it's worthwhile to do science. Furthermore the person who writes the answer specifically says in the comments that his answer doesn't address the approach that Guyatt et al describes in his paper.

Basically the answer is offtopic. A while ago we had a question that was about whether the composition of CocaCola was secret. A bunch of people answered the question by saying that the recipe of CocaCola is secret and providing evidence for the claim.

Given that those offtopic answer to the Coca Cola composition question got deleted I think the offtopic answer to the approach of medicine that Guyatt et al describes should also be deleted.

1 Answer 1


It seems to me that answerers have made a decent stab at what was not a well-asked question. The question does easily read like: "what evidence is there for evidence-based medicine?" (EBM), as Brightblades says in the comments.

And Matt Black's answer, answers that very well, and provides good content.

(also, the first sentence in your question, "In evidence-based medicine every treatment that a doctor prescribes is supposed to be exclusively based on controlled placebo blind studies." is wrong, and you may wish to remove it)

Given how far the existing question has gone, I suggest writing a new one. Perhaps use chat to thrash out a question that's much clearer from the start.

Do you want something like: studies that look at the performance of doctors who use intuition plus EBM, versus doctors who use just EBM? In which case, perhaps the comparison would have to be between human doctors and AI diagnosticians / prescribers.

  • Matt Black doesn't believe "Evidence-based medicine de-emphasizes intuition". It's the first thing that Guyatt et al write about to describe EBM. It's a core feature. Matt Black doesn't think that feature exist and therefore doesn't argue in a way that practicing medicine in that way makes sense.
    – Christian
    Commented Oct 29, 2012 at 0:54
  • 2
    "The question does easily read like: "what evidence is there for evidence-based medicine?" Evidence-based medicine is a well defined term. This is a bit like Eric Holders argument that putting people on a kill list to assignate with drones is due process because it about following a process. It's playing a semantic game that evades the real meaning of the term. Guyatt et al wrote the prime paper about EBM. Just reading the title of the question and ignoring the body misses the point.
    – Christian
    Commented Oct 29, 2012 at 1:03

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