Shortly after I posted yesterday on whether placebo based studies are properly a gold standard, one of our common objectors, JT, linked the Guardian. Perhaps, he did not realise just how aptly it illustrates my point.
I therefore responded, as I now headline as a shop window case- in- point illustration of what is going wrong with medical testing, linked statistics and linked ethics . . . not to mention, too much of the media and the way we tend to think:
This is part of why I have written as I have in the OP:
[Guardian, annotated:] >>The French doctor Didier Raoult has claimed [–> has reported, on now almost 3,000 patients, under a test protocol approved by relevant authorities] the combination is a cure, leading to public clamour for the drugs in France. [–> Actually, after the 80 patient test, there was an initial approval in France, and a second level in the US] President Macron visited Raoult’s hospital in Marseille last week, giving him tentative support but suggesting that trials [–> not, further trials, i.e. precisely the dismissiveness that is not warranted] were needed . . . . hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin are being tested separately [–> have they heard of synergy? The results in hand point to synergy. And where is the Zn?] as part of the Recovery trial, and if there is any effect in patients given those drugs alone [–> so, you load in lack of effect at the design phase], compared with those given no drugs [–> in the face of a fast-acting deadly disease, given deliberately mislabelled sugar pills], they can be combined later. [–> as synergy is clearly involved on tests and cases in hand, this boils down to loading the dice against a result not wanted, based on locking out evidence in hand willfully ignored]
For now, said Horby, the data flying around in emails from enthusiasts and posted on social media [–> deliberately misreprresents results and context in hand, refusing to acknowledge Dr Didier Raoult, i.e. classic no true Sassenach] about patients who have recovered after taking hydroxychloroquine proves [–> inductive evidence never amounts to proof, but may provide good cogency] nothing. He says there is no real evidence [–> Classic no true Sassenach, and selective hyperskeptical dismissal] to support its use yet.>>
In short, here we see the precise problems identified in the OP. And besides, I think in S Dakota tests of 100,000 are beginning.
In short, precisely as expected.
I then pointed to a pre-emptive correction by Locke, in Section 5 of his introduction to his Essay on Human Understanding:
[Essay on Human Understanding, Intro, Sec 5:] Men have reason to be well satisfied with what God hath thought fit for them, since he hath given them (as St. Peter says [NB: i.e. 2 Pet 1:2 – 4]) pana pros zoen kaieusebeian, whatsoever is necessary for the conveniences of life and information of virtue; and has put within the reach of their discovery, the comfortable provision for this life, and the way that leads to a better. How short soever their knowledge may come of an universal or perfect comprehension of whatsoever is, it yet secures their great concernments [Prov 1: 1 – 7], that they have light enough to lead them to the knowledge of their Maker, and the sight of their own duties [cf Rom 1 – 2, Ac 17, etc, etc]. Men may find matter sufficient to busy their heads, and employ their hands with variety, delight, and satisfaction, if they will not boldly quarrel with their own constitution, and throw away the blessings their hands are filled with, because they are not big enough to grasp everything . . . It will be no excuse to an idle and untoward servant [Matt 24:42 – 51], who would not attend his business by candle light, to plead that he had not broad sunshine. The Candle that is set up in us [Prov 20:27] shines bright enough for all our purposes . . . If we will disbelieve everything, because we cannot certainly know all things, we shall do muchwhat as wisely as he who would not use his legs, but sit still and perish, because he had no wings to fly.
In short, we have been warned about what we are doing, over 300 years ago, by one of the leading lights of our civilisation.
Will we listen? (I frankly doubt it, until we undeniably go over the cliff.) END