CJ Blunt

The Pyramid Schema: The Origins and Impact of Evidence Pyramids

Evidence pyramids are amongst the most recognisable artefacts of the Evidence-Based Medicine movement. Yet no study has established the origins of evidence pyramids, or analysed whether they offer any information beyond simple lists or tables. In this paper, I establish the origins of the first evidence pyramid and argue that the pyramidal turn is a retrograde step in evidence appraisal.

Machine Evidence II: The Abstract Setting

A recent study by Gao et al. (2022) validates the warning of ‘Machine Evidence’ (Blunt, 2019) that language models would soon become capable of beating detection attempts by human peer reviewers. This piece looks at the near-term steps that journal editors and conference organisers can take to prevent AI-generated abstracts bypassing their screening processes, along with a warning for the long-term viability of those strategies.

The Machine Scientists: Iatrophysics and Selective Scientific Realism

The Machine Scientists – Giovanni Borelli, Jan Swammerdam and Niels Steensen – followed Rene Descartes in modelling the human body mechanically. The scientific success of this ‘iatrophysical’ programme, replete with rejected entities such as ‘Animal Spirits’, poses a problem for Scientific Realism. Using Psillos’ moderate realism, this paper attempts to reconcile a selective realist position with the historical record.