This paper presents a strong criticism of the current enthusiasm for clinical randomised prospective studies in surgery. In the process, the author probes the 'intellectualism' or lack thereof in present day surgical attitudes. The subjects are examined against a framework of ethics and inescapable dilemmas. Ways of correcting the more obvious weaknesses are suggested. The manuscript is, and is meant to be, provocative and is particularly aimed at the academic audience served by this journal.
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