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December 1971

What Is the Evidence?

Author Affiliations

Los Angeles
From the Division of Health Administration, School of Public Health, University of California at Los Angeles.

Am J Dis Child. 1971;122(6):469-474. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1971.02110060039004

If the evidence available to answer the question posed amounted to more than a minute fraction of the total volume of literature describing its importance, its virtues, and the programs being planned to provide this form of service to mankind, I would feel considerably less frustrated and more satisfied with my efforts. I have divided my remarks into three sections: Philosophical Reflections on the Epistemology of Health Care, In Support of Cynicism as a Way of Life, and Causes for Optimism (when rape is inevitable...).

If Ambrose Bierce, the American journalist, were alive today, he would certainly be involved in health services research. Bierce defined philosophy as "a route of many roads leading from nowhere to nothing," and said that cynics were blackguards whose faulty vision saw things as they were, not as they ought to be. He also described optimism as a blind faith, inaccessible to the light of

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