Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

The mammogram brouhaha

with 3 comments

It is depressingly clear why the American public in general does not like science: science consists of replacing old theories and ideas with new, better theories and ideas, all based on observed evidence.

First of all, the public in general hate change. They think change is evil. Things should always be the way they are now, or possibly (for the older public) the way it was when they were younger.

That’s why so many jumped on something so trivial as a change in a recommended procedure—a change based, of course, on evidence so that it is known that the new recommendation is better than the old recommendation. One would call that "progress," right?

But the millions and millions who loathe change don’t want progress. They want things to stay the same. Even if it’s demonstrably better and would save money while giving more people healthcare coverage (for example), a large proportion of the public will be frightened and resistant. Something new!! OMG!!! Panic! Quickly! All this without examining (to return to the eponymic example) the actual findings and statistics that led to the new recommendation.

I just realized that, to a large extent, I’ve described the GOP.

Written by Leisureguy

22 November 2009 at 4:54 pm

Posted in Daily life

3 Responses

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  1. Described them and the reason they find so much traction.



    22 November 2009 at 11:11 pm

  2. Just because one set of scientists makes a recommendation, it does not mean that anyone who disagrees is irrational. In fact, many of the opponents of this particular change are also scientists, who are drawing different conclusions from the same data. They do not “loathe change” and “not want progress” – and it seems to me that the technique of demonizing one’s opponent is ALSO a GOP tactic.

    Please see (as one example of many, many scientists and medical groups that have responded):


    The Eldest

    23 November 2009 at 1:34 pm

  3. Let me outline my thinking on this. When a long-established recommendation is changed based on studies, I thought it was safe to assume that the studies would be peer-reviewed, checked, and confirmed because no one would take lightly a change in the recommendation. Moreover the medical profession is notoriously reluctant to embrace change—in the past major changes have sometimes taken a generation to take hold because the doctors already in practice would not accept the change (scrubbing before surgery, for example), and even now many ICU doctors will not accept checklists despite their proven efficacy.

    Moreover, the public in general seems reluctant to embrace change in all sorts of ways—take healthcare reform, for example.

    I had not seen the article at the link, and I now see that in this case the resistance may be valid. I was mistaken.

    On the general topic (resistance to change), I must say that I continue to see many instances where the resistance is hard to divine.



    24 November 2009 at 8:38 am

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