November 25, 2011

parallel tensions

The term "evidence-based" seems to really freak people out. This reflexive distaste has always annoyed me, and it also makes me sad. I think this distaste has far more to do with scientific illiteracy than anything.

Evidence-based doesn't mean "this is the only thing and you must only do this." It just means "this can be distinguished from myth and from that which has not yet been studied." Evidence based doesn't mean life's tools can and should be reduced to their elements, or that Big Brother is overriding your good judgment; it is a TOOL to improve your judgment.

This essay on a controversial exchange over psychoanalysis, and characterizing the NIMH as mafioso, offers a wonderful tonic to the endless polemic. Another reminder of how being reasonable and balanced can appear threatening and extreme to those who don't understand what is being discussed. And why defensiveness says more about the defender than the ideas that seem so threatening.

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