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The urge for evidence based knowledge
  1. L D Castiel
  1. National School of Public Health, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Rua Leopoldo Bulhões 1480/802, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 21041-210; castiel{at}

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    Clearly, the context of health sciences is increasingly been influenced by a general commitment related to interventions intending to improve the health conditions of individuals and populations brought by the so called evidence based knowledge. You can easily notice a proliferation of evidence based issues and debates in scientific health (including community health) journals.

    Our view about the challenges to an evidence based knowledge does not refer to the impending difficulties of, sometimes, not having confirmed evidences on specific matters, or, even when they are available, there is uncertainty on which of them would be the best choice. The emphasis here is placed in the debatable conviction of the supremacy of some kind of knowledge over others that does not seem to require a plain belief in the truth itself to support it.

    This standpoint needs some kind of a reasonably grounded concept of truth (even if it is a provisional one). Especially when anyone says that they possess the techniques to establish what is the actual best approximation to the truth. None the less, truth as a hierarchical quality of knowledge is, eventually, a social relationship whereby hegemony and domination are acting decisively. Rational truth will, in the end, guarantee the certainty that rational order is the only

    ticket that should enable mankind to arrive—sooner or later—to the ultimate and universal truth, whatever it may be.

    You can notice in language that there are verbal forms for the opposite nouns of truth/veracity: falsehood—to falsify; lie—to lie. But there is not an equivalent verb for “truth”. We can only verify the truthfulness of something. Perhaps because it seems that there is always the supposition that its “concrete” existence as a fact can, sooner or later, be established. The truth extracted by scientific means seems to have an ontological dimension in itself. Only, it would be necessary in a due course of time, to discover it, reveal it...

    Well, a theory of truth tries to sustain a constant and secure superiority of some set of beliefs over others based upon an idea that these beliefs were achieved through reliable procedures and/or were put forward by special kind of people that can be trusted sufficiently to be followed. Therefore, a rhetoric of power granted by a rationalistic mode of reasoning and its undeniable successes is always at stake.