Critical appraisal of evidence - does the BMJ have a vacancy? 25 April 2003
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Peter J Flegg,
Consultant Physician
Blackpool Victoria Hospital, UK, FY3 8NR

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Re: Critical appraisal of evidence - does the BMJ have a vacancy?

Wouldn't it be wonderful if the problem of ever-burgeoning nmbers of medical research publications could be tackled by someone with David Rasnick's amazing faculties of critical review?

Perhaps he should be snapped up by the BMJ to reject all the papers that are submitted for publication - this will certainly save a lot of trees.

It seems that nothing, no methodology, no data, no facts and no evidence, even if it has already passed muster through a peer-review process, will ever get his seal of approval. If the evidence seems sound, he will criticise the authors' motives in doing the study. A paper is either too short, or too long. A conclusion can be dismissed because it came from a cohort study, or because the study design is flawed. I can just imagine his rejection letters ..... "I am sorry to dismiss what you think is a significant finding, Dr Fleming. I don't care what you found, it cannot be true because your experiment was not really designed to show moulds can inhibit bacterial growth"

Before he gets too excited by the prospect of a new job, however, I must point out to David that there are bound to be problems. Firstly, his criticisms are usually completely without foundation, and secondly his critical faculties seem to mysteriously fail him when he is confronted by anything that might support his own idiosyncratic theories about HIV/AIDS.

Rasnick should realise that a lack of critical consistency and constant bias actually undermine his position, not strengthen it.

Competing interests:   None declared