That’s the title of an article by David H. Freedman in the November issue of The Atlantic. Described is the work of John Ioannidis, who was very prominent in the news media in 2005 as a result of articles in PLoS Medicine and in JAMA that pointed out how frequently even highly cited claims and universally held beliefs about medical facts and practices turn out to be wrong.
In “Antiretroviral treatment benefits? from 3 MILLION to 1.2 million to …!?!”, posted on 2008/07/18, I had cited a 1996 article by Ioannidis et al. that found prophylaxis against PCP had not increased lifespan: “no statistically significant reduction in the overall mortality of patients who received prophylaxis”.
The article by Freedman is well worth reading, if only to reassure AIDS Rethinkers that our claims, of basic mistakes by the orthodoxy, are highly plausible given how often such mistakes occur.