Someone shared this link on another site and thought it was funny/interesting. Yes, it's satire but still makes a good point. What do you guys think about it?
Objectives To determine whether parachutes are effective in preventing major trauma related to gravitational challenge.
Design Systematic review of randomized controlled trials.
Results We were unable to identify any randomised controlled trials of parachute intervention.
Conclusions As with many interventions intended to prevent ill health, the effectiveness of parachutes has not been subjected to rigorous evaluation by using randomized controlled trials. Advocates of evidence based medicine have criticised the adoption of interventions evaluated by using only observational data. We think that everyone might benefit if the most radical protagonists of evidence based medicine organized and participated in a double blind, randomized, placebo controlled, crossover trial of the parachute.
"Parachutes and the military industrial complex
However sinister doctors may be, there are powers at large that are even more evil. The parachute industry has earned billions of dollars for vast multinational corporations whose profits depend on belief in the efficacy of their product. One would hardly expect these vast commercial concerns to have the bravery to test their product in the setting of a randomised controlled trial. Moreover, industry sponsored trials are more likely to conclude in favour of their commercial product,11 and it is unclear whether the results of such industry sponsored trials are reliable."
"While Galileo was a rebel, not all rebels are Galileo." - Norman Levitt, mathematician and critic of anti-science postmodernism
Mother of two living in UK. Daughter (2007) born in USA, son (2010) born here. I'm pro natural birth, midwife care, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, baby wearing and a keen advocate of cloth diapering. I'm a full time working research scientist (physical sciences). Vaccines save lives.
I think it makes a good point--RCTs aren't always necessary or desirable--but when I'm trying to explain study design to people who don't understand it, this isn't necessarily going to be a very helpful illustration to help explain the stuff they're misunderstanding.