Trial By Error: Sir Simon Scores An Own Goal

David Tuller

 

By David Tuller, DrPH.

 

From the start, one of my strategies for this PACE-debunking project was to draw in outside experts–people with no ax to grind and no pre-conceived notions about the trial and its methodology–and encourage them to scrutinize the matter. It was telling that many well-regarded scientists and researchers were willing to make scathing public comments about PACE and the related claims being made by the CBT/GET ideological brigades. When Bruce Levin, a professor of biostatistics at Columbia, calls something “the height of clinical trial amateurism,” people should pay attention and stop maligning PACE critics as being irrational, anti-science or vexatious.

That’s why I’m delighted that Simon Wessely himself, in a recent Twitter exchange, invited Mike Godwin, an American attorney and social commentator, to review the PACE trial controversy. After scrutinizing the published record, including the PACE research and the special issue of the Journal of Health Psychology dedicated to the issue, Godwin pronounced PACE to be “so profoundly flawed that it cannot be trusted.” In response, Sir Simon attempted to re-direct the narrative, reiterating his own positive beliefs about the trial. What he fails to understand is that, despite his knighthood and his widely hailed courage in “standing up for science,” his beliefs and opinions are irrelevant here. In this case, the facts are what count.

 

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