ARGUING BY ANALOGY
Brent S. Rushall in a commentary on the positive test of the Australian cricketer, Graeme Rummans (2002).
Truth is not necessarily discovered through arguing by analogy. In this case, there are two important analogies that should be declared false reasoning.
- The first is that Probenecid will retain performance-enhancing drugs in the same manner as it does antibiotic, anaesthetic, and some anti-inflammatory substances. There is no published scientific evidence to show that Probenecid has this function with anabolic steroids. It is a great leap of faith to make such an assumption although that appears to be the genesis of Probencid's original inclusion in the IOC banned-drug list. That analogy promoted a myth that has now achieved a factitious status through longevity ("time-tested") and ignorance of the origin of its inclusion.
- The second is that all masking agents are equally effective. Classes of masking agents exist, each working in different ways. Diuretic masking agents (e.g., triamterene) flush substances from the body so that the concentration in urine is very low ("acceptable limits"). Their physical action and chemical structure are very different to masking agents (e.g., "Probenecid") that retain substances in the body so that a greater proportion of a prescribed dose will work as intended and excretion is reduced by "leaking" at a slower than unsupported rate.
The arguments promoted by various sport drug-testing agencies are based on these false analogies. It would be unjust to give those analogies a status of truth or validity when harmful decisions are possible.
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