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Irrational Persistence in Beluef

In medicine, it is rational to base beliefs and practices on evidence. Belief regarding diagnosis or treatment is established through the scientific method—at its best, randomized controlled trials assessing treatment effects, epidemiological measurements of risk, and objective assessments of the accuracy of tests and the impact of their use. The source of standards for evaluating medical practices is decision theory, as expressed in analyses that include best estimates of costs, event probabilities, and the utilities of health states and outcomes. When these sorts of evidence establish that a particular belief or practice is superior to others, one might expect the rational physician to immediately adopt the better practice and use it consistently. And yet it has been seen that physicians—each of them occasionally, perhaps, ...

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