Placebo trials are used to tell researchers whether a tested drug has any healing effect beyond that which occurs a certain percentage of time when people take an inert pill. A patient’s belief in a pill – a supposed medicine, but chemically innocuous – is thought to activate their body’s healing powers.
Is there something wrong with the scientific method? - “The decline effect is troubling because it reminds us how difficult it is to prove anything. We like to pretend that our experiments define the truth for us. But that’s often not the case. Just because an idea is true doesn’t mean it can be proved. And just because an idea can be proved doesn’t mean it’s true. When the experiments are done, we still have to choose what to believe”