Sunday, November 22, 2009

Science vs Advocacy: The Breast Cancer Debate

It's been an interesting week of debate and finger-pointing and political gamemanship, of science vs advocacy vs. political posturing.  Of course I'm talking about the breast cancer policy suggestion (read about it just about anywhere, so I'm skipping the details), the subsequent attacks on this policy recommendation, and the political maneuvering of some to point to this as part of a darker, deeper plot to hurt health care.

I'm not going to get into the debate and which side is right or wrong.  I don't know the science, but I do know enough to say that one person on a TV "news" show drawing from personal experience is very different than the data.  Never generalize from an N of 1, my research methods teacher always cautioned.  Besides that, I think the debate has been good in that it probably pushed the topic to the front of people's minds and, hopefully, increased knowledge about breast cancer.  That's always a good thing.  Might be interesting if someone had a knowledge survey before this debate and then did one afterward to see if the constant blabbering on TV made a difference in what people know.

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