We have a new version of our handbook for evaluating evidence of mechanisms on our papers page:
Do take a look and send us comments!
Back in 2001, Leonard Leibovici presented an RCT which found a correlation between remote, retroactive intercessionary prayer and length of stay in hospital. The patients in question had bloodstream infections in Israel during the period 1990–6; the intervention involved saying ‘a short prayer for the well being and full recovery of the group as a whole’ in the year 2000 in the USA, long after recovery or otherwise actually took place. The study also found a correlation between the intervention and duration of fever. The author concludes:
Inferring Policy from Experiment was the title of a workshop held at the University of Kent on 15 May. There were three speakers:
Last week, there was a very interesting, and very wet, conference on Causation and Complexity in Sydney. This was the 10th Munich-Sydney-Tilburg Conference in the Philosophy of Science (MuST10). Some of the talks related to EBM+ and RWT. Before I introduce these talks, let’s review the difference between EBM+ and RWT:
EBM+ is interested in using evidence of mechanisms in conjunction with evidence of correlation to help evaluate causal claims in medicine. One objection to this idea is that it is hard to do this in practice.
It’s hard but it’s not impossible …
The talk was based on his paper What Causal Illusions Might Tell us about the Identification of Causes, written jointly with Robert Thorstad. They argue that causal judgements are based on two kinds of process: