Redefinition of community standards through evidence

This article in the NY Times (free registration required) reports on how Google is planning to use the frequency of search terms in various US communities to show that those previously defined as being outside the community standard are in fact more frequently used than "apple pie". On the one hand, this trend is likely to grow and may likely do so even in medicine (to define the standard of care from the data rather than from the experts interpreting the data). On the other hand, just because the majority follows a particular practice does not make it best, optimal, desirable or even necessarily permissible. It does however, shed considerable light on double standards of various stripes.

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